If you want to stay at a reasonably priced resort with easy access to the Skyliners, there are two right next to each other that are really good options, Disney’s Art of Animation and Disney’s Pop Century.
These are very similar resorts on the Skyliner route, so which one is the best value?
Art of Animation and Pop Century are both considered value resorts, and they’re almost mirror images of each other across Hourglass Lake. Both have a centralized main building where you check-in, connected to a cafeteria-style dining area, a large merchandise store, and an arcade.
Branching off from those main buildings are the blocks of guest rooms, with each section themed around a Disney film at Art of Animation or a specific decade at Pop Century. At Art of Animation, the sections are The Little Mermaid, the Lion King, Finding Nemo, and Cars. At Pop Century, the sections are the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s.
So, if they’re so similar, they must cost about the same, right? If you look up the rates for each on the same exact day, you’ll see that isn’t the case. For Art of Animation, the rate for a standard room on a random date I looked up was $245 per night. For that same date range at Pop Century, it’s $200 per night. Let’s say you’re looking to stay for four nights, it would cost you $180 more to stay at Art of Animation.
And here’s the thing… the only standard rooms at the Art of Animation resort are the Little Mermaid rooms. The rest of the sections are family suites for at least double the nightly rate. These standard rooms are 247 square feet versus the 258 square feet of a standard Pop Century room. You’re paying more for less space. Not only that, but the Little Mermaid area is the furthest away from the main building and the Skyliner station. I stayed there one year, and you have to walk through the Nemo and Lion King areas just to get there. At the end of a long day in one of the parks, every step counts!
The best part of Art of Animation is the photo opportunities, with character statues and movie scenes scattered throughout the resort. You are fully immersed in those worlds, and it’s a lot of fun for kids, and way cooler than the random items featured at Pop Century… like Play-Doh cans and foosball tables. But because the two resorts are connected by a walkway over the lake, you can always walk over to experience it and take all the pictures you want.
So, all things considered, you get the best value for your money by staying at the Pop Century resort, where the rooms are a little bigger and cheaper, and I would argue nicer, and can be closer to the Skyliner and cafeteria, compared to what you get in a standard room at Art of Animation. You can still experience the fun of the Art of Animation theming with a quick walk across Hourglass Lake.