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10 Facts About the Abandoned Disney Hotel that Became One of its Most Popular Resorts

6. The idea for Art of Animation was first used at All-Star Music as a test run

Disney's All Star Music Resort

Though Disney assured news outlets that the Legendary Years would be finished one day, the company seemed to lack a plan until years later. Guests were noticing a lack of options for larger families at Walt Disney World. It’s difficult for an average family to rent multiple rooms when they have too many children to fit in a standard one. As a result, Disney decided to test the idea of family suites at the All-Star Music resort.

The suites were a hit with Disney guests, so the company announced that the new Pop Century section would consist of family suites only. Though the announcement was made in 2006, however, the plans were put on hold until 2010, and the section was subsequently rebranded as the Art of Animation resort.

7. Disney used old Pop Century buildings for the new Art of Animation resort

Little Mermaid building and pool area at Art of Animation

The original Legendary Years buildings were converted into new construction for Art of Animation. The Legendary Hall was revamped as the Animation Hall, and the 1940s building now houses the Little Mermaid rooms.

Guests may notice that Little Mermaid rooms are different from other areas at the resort. For one, the building features exterior corridors, while others have a hallway. Also, this is the only building that has standard rooms. Because the rooms and corridors were already constructed, Disney left the building as-is, with the exception of décor and a few upgrades. Other rooms at AoA were built as suites with interior hallways, however.

8. To date, Art of Animation is the only Walt Disney World resort built for larger families

Art of Animation family suite

Standard rooms abound at Walt Disney World resorts, and several resorts have large suites available, as well. However, Art of Animation is the only one built with families of five or more in mind.

It’s one of the more popular resort ideas at Walt Disney World, so a similar plan may already be in the works, though Disney hasn’t announced anything so far. For now, at least, Art of Animation is the most popular place to stay if you want to keep your family together without paying for extra rooms or deluxe amenities.

9. The name for Art of Animation was borrowed from a traveling attraction, which ran from 1960 to 1966.

Disney's "The Art of Animation" attraction

The Art of Animation was a publicity attraction for “Sleeping Beauty.” It showcased the history and development of animated drawings over the years. It was located in Tomorrowland at Disneyland for a while, then toured the United States before ending in Japan and Europe.

Developers decided to use the name for the new resort at Walt Disney World, too, since the focus of the resort was the history of Disney’s animation.

10. Disney has never confirmed why the Legendary Years idea was scrapped

Satellite view of Pop Century resort

While no one knows for sure why the original concept for the area was scrapped, there are many speculative theories. Some believe the events of 9/11 caused its demise, while others think the idea simply became outdated after the original delay. After all, many young adults with families of their own weren’t alive in the 70s, much less the 20s or 30s. This generation grew up with films like The Lion King and The Little Mermaid, so it makes perfect business sense to redesign the resort with these movies in mind.

Whatever the reason, both Pop Century and Art of Animation remain hugely popular resorts for Disney World guests. They each have unique appeal, and families on a budget appreciate the pricing. Unfortunately, the mystery of the abandoned Legendary Years will probably never be solved.

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