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Disney Resorts That Celebrate Disney

3. Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort

Image: DisneyYour first instinct in evaluating the Disney elements of the lobby of All-Star Movies likely isn’t a positive one. You may feel as if the designers slapped a bunch of movie characters on the walls and figured that they’d done their job. Like the other All-Star resorts listed here, the lobby is fairly generic. Once you walk the grounds, however, you’ll get a much fuller picture of the Disney celebration on display here.

The most recognizable feature is the Fantasia Pool right in front of the Cinema Hall lobby. Sorcerer Mickey shoots streams of water into this pool, while the dancing brooms fittingly carry buckets of water. The hotel buildings have themes such as Herbie the Love Bug, Toy Story, and 101 Dalmatians. Given the hotel’s theme, it’s almost a cheat to grade it against the other titles listed thus far, but All-Star Movies embraces Disney characters far more than other All-Star resorts.  

2. Disneyland Hotel

Image: DisneyWalt Disney didn’t build Disneyland Hotel. An unassociated entrepreneur named Jack Wrather did. And The Walt Disney Company wouldn’t own the property for roughly 30 years. Once they gained control of it, however, Disney executives moved quickly to establish the identity of Disneyland Hotel. It’s unmistakably the most Disney-riffic of the three company-operated resorts at the Happiest Place on Earth.

The Disney elements on display at this resort aren’t characters or movies, though. Instead, they’re Disney theme park attractions. Some of the seats are modeled after the tea cups in Mad Tea Party. A gigantic diorama of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is the centerpiece of a different lobby. And a giant map of Disneyland Map is framed on the wall. This hotel is unmistakably proud of its heritage straight down to the hotel pool slides styled after classic monorails. You’ll never wonder whether you’re on a Disney vacation when you stay here.

1. Disney’s Art of Animation Resort

Image: DisneyWhat I suspect that you’ve realized today is that Disney needs to do more to connect its movies and characters with its hotel designs. They’ve consciously avoided doing so for the most part. None of us could argue with the results, as hotel occupancy hovers in the 90 percent range most quarters. For those of us who are Disney fanatics, however, the lack of Mickey Mouse and co. is a disappointment.

Disney’s Art of Animation Resort is the huge exception to this issue, though. When Disney themed this hotel, they mined their catalog of intellectual properties. Films like Cars, The Lion King, Finding Nemo, and The Little Mermaid have a strong presence here. And the lobby of the hotel connects the dots to numerous other Disney classics. Guests can examine lithographs of their favorite animated films, as these cels adorn the walls of the hotel. It’s the one Disney hotel in America that truly feels like a collection of Disney’s greatest hits. And we need more like it.

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