Today In Disney History ~ August 10th
Originally, the land the Art of Animation Resort occupies was planned to be part of Disney’s Pop Century Resort as part of the “Legendary Years” section. Several buildings were constructed for these plans, some even to the point of adding decorative details. While one half of Pop Century (the “Classic Years”) opened in 2003, the other half was left abandoned following the tourism halt after the September 11 attacks on the United States.
Disney started to prepare the land for the resort in January 2010, and construction began in the summer of that year. At the time of this announcement on May 12, 2010, Disney did not say how much construction is expecting to cost, but it was mentioned that approximately 800 jobs would be produced.
When the “Legendary Years” buildings were first being made, a bridge named the Generation Gap Bridge was constructed to connect both parts of Pop Century and made them accessible to each other. The bridge connects Pop Century to the Finding Nemo section of the Art of Animation Resort.
The resort is designed “with families in mind.” It features four of Disney’s popular character themes: Cars, Finding Nemo, The Lion King, and The Little Mermaid. Much like the other Disney Value Resorts, giant versions of various items are built around the hotel on each of the ten wings, such as a 35-foot (11 m) model of King Triton. In total, there are 1,984 rooms. of which 1,120 are family suites capable of housing up to six people, featuring living rooms and bedrooms. The remaining 864 sport the standard value layout.The resort has a total of ten buildings, as well as three themed pools.
- Finding Nemo: The Finding Nemo section of the resort is themed with the ocean setting featured in the film, with underwater plant and animal decorations throughout the buildings. This is the first area of the resort, which opened on May 31, 2012.
- Cars: The Cars section of the resort is themed like the Cozy Cone Motel that has featured in the film. Resort buildings are themed with the movie’s characters, including Lightning McQueen, Sally, Mater, and Luigi and Guido. The second section of the resort opened on June 18, 2002.
- The Lion King: The Lion King section of the resort features a “natural” setting, such as that found in the wild. The third section of the resort opened its doors on August 10, 2012.
- The Little Mermaid: The Little Mermaid section of the resort is themed with 600 cutout objects on resort balconies. “Under the Sea” decorations are incorporated throughout the section. This section of the resort has exterior walkways, where the other sections have enclosed interior walkways between the rooms. (This section uses a couple of buildings that were originally built for Pop Century’s “Legendary Years” section before construction halted, which left them unfinished for years.) It opened on September 15, 2012 as the fourth and final section of the resort.
TMSM Today in Graphic by Sherry Rinaldi DeHart
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