Disney’s Art of Animation Resort: New details, images released

Walt Disney World‘s newest hotel will feature four courtyards themed around four beloved Disney animated films: Finding Nemo, The Little Mermaid, The Lion King and Cars.

Disney has just released this concept art for Disney’s Art of Animation Resort.

The Little Mermaid section of the resort will have 864 traditional hotel rooms with sea-inspired decor.

Buildings featuring theming from the other three movies will house a total of 1,120 family suites designed to accommodate up to six people. The family suites will include two bathrooms, a master bedroom, and three sleeping areas in the living room.

The design includes a piece of furniture Disney calls an “Inovabed,” which transforms from a dining table into a bed.

The new Florida resort will also have a large main pool with a pool area, two quiet pools and an animation-themed food court. It is scheduled to open in the summer of 2012.

The property is near the ESPN Wide World of Sports, adjacent to Disney’s Pop Century Resort.

Disney’s Art of Animation Resort will be considered one of Disney’s “value” class hotels. Rates at value resorts currently start at $82 per night.


Mickey’s Toontown Fair to close at Disney World

When you travel to visit Mickey this spring, you won’t find him in his house. Walt Disney World has announced that the Mickey’s Toontown Fair area of the park will close after Feb. 11, 2011.

The area features the side-by-side houses of Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse, Goofy’s Barnstormer – a kiddie coaster, Donald’s Boat – a playground for toddlers, and a large character greeting area where guests can meet Mickey and Minnie, Tinker Bell and her fairy friends, and several Disney princesses.

Mickey’s Toontown Fair is being closed as part of Disney’s grand plans for the largest Walt Disney World expansion ever. Princess castles, restaurants, and a new ride based on The Little Mermaid are being added to Fantasyland.

The construction is set to be completed in 2013.

Mickey’s Toontown Fair opened as a new “land” at Walt Disney World in 1988, when it was called Mickey’s Birthdayland in celebration of the Mouse’s 60th birthday.

Many Disney enthusiasts dislike the cartoon theming of the area and say that it doesn’t fit in with the rest of Walt Disney World. But the land in the northeast corner of the Magic Kingdom has proven popular with families.

The Disney Parks Blog says that Disney World guests will still be able to meet their favorite characters after Toontown Fair closes. Mickey, Minnie and the Disney Princesses will greet guests in a building in the Magic Kingdom’s Town Square. Tinker Bell will move to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and her fairy friends will flutter over to Epcot.

Disney’s Spectacle of Dancing Lights: By the numbers

The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights is one of the most popular holiday events at Walt Disney World.

Each night at dusk, the lights are turned on at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. It is impossible to take a picture that shows the magnitude of Disney’s dancing lights display. It completely covers the buildings in the theme park’s Streets of America section. So, to try to give you the big picture, here are some of the numbers that go into making this display.

1,000 – The number of lights this display started with when Jennings Osborne put some lights up outside his Little Rock, Arkansas, home at his daughter’s request. When the exhibit grew into millions of lights, it drew too much traffic to his neighborhood and was moved to Walt Disney World near Orlando, Florida.

16 – The number of years that the spectacle has been lighting up the night at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, where it was first displayed in 1995.

5,000,000 – The number of individual lights now in the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights display.

350 – The number of miles the strings of lights would cover if laid end to end.

40 – The approximate number of “hidden Mickeys” in the lights display. Disney designers add Mickey shapes to the display, and many guests try to find them all.

%Gallery-108574%1 – The number of black cats in the Christmas light display. When the Osborne family’s lights were transported to Walt Disney World, a cat from the family’s Halloween display wound up with the Christmas stuff. Each year, the Disney designers put the cat in a different location in the display for guests to find.

66 – The number of machines used to make the “snowflakes” that fall periodically during the display, according to Studios Central.

5 – The number of songs the Christmas lights are programmed to “dance” to. This year’s songs include “Christmas is Starting Now” by Big Bad Voodoo Daddy and “A Mad Russian’s Christmas” by Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

3 – The number of “Phineas & Ferb” characters heard in the audio track that plays on the Streets of America. A bit with Phineas, Ferb and Dr. Doofenshmirtz has been added to the Spectacle of Dancing Lights this year.

21,000 – The approximate number of hours that Disney employees work to install the display.

53 – The number of nights that Disney’s dancing lights display can be seen this holiday season. It runs through Jan. 3, 2011.