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Part of Your World: ‘The Little Mermaid’ Wing of Disney’s Art of Animation Resort Opens September 15

Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, which immerses guests in the stories of “Cars,” “Finding Nemo” and “The Lion King,” will celebrate the opening of “The Little Mermaid” courtyard this Saturday, September 15.

I recently had the opportunity to stay in the “Cars” courtyard for my son’s birthday, and the level of detail our Imagineers went to to recreate the places and characters from these films is simply amazing! Not to mention that the family suites offer three different sleeping areas, two bathrooms, and a kitchenette – plenty of room for a birthday party!

Here’s a look inside each of the resort’s four courtyards.

The Little Mermaid’ Wing of Disney’s Art of Animation Resort Opens September 15

The Little Mermaid courtyard offers 864 standard rooms, which are decorated in perfect “Under the Sea” style. Outside, the area features large icons of Ariel, Flounder, Ursula, and King Triton, among others, plus a Flippin’ Fins pool.

The Finding Nemo courtyard offers 320 family suites, an impressive Big Blue Pool and a kids’ water play area. Character icons that can’t be missed here include Nemo, Marlin, Crush and Mr. Ray.

The Cars courtyard

If your kids loved the movie “Cars,” this is a not-to-be-missed trip through Radiator Springs. The Cars courtyard offers 480 family suites, and on your journey to your room, you’re sure to pass the Cozy Cone Motel, Tow Mater Towing & Salvage, the Wheel Well Motel and other nods to the film.

The Lion King courtyard, which offers 320 family suites, allows guests to embark on a journey through Africa with Simba and friends. Here guests can visit Pride Rock, watch Timon and Pumbaa dance “hakuna matata” style across a log bridge, and more.

Which area of the resort looks most intriguing to you? Tell us in the “comments” section below!

 

 

Details Announced for Expanded Water Fun and Dining Options at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa

I told you a few weeks ago about the enhancements coming to Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa in Ko Olina, Hawai`i. This morning, some additional details about the new water features and two new quick-service restaurants were unveiled by Joe Rohde, Walt Disney Imagineering Senior Vice President, who led the design work on Aulani.

enhancements coming to Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa

New water features will include a themed family pool, extending literally to the very edge of the resort property and highlighted by a misty grotto from which relaxing swimmers may view the sunset. After dark, a magical starscape of glimmering lights will appear on the grotto ceiling and the floor of the pool.

Near the family pool will be a new kids’ splash zone, designed to resemble tidal pools with some playful surprises for youngsters, including rainbow water jets, images of tidal pool creatures on the pool floors, and hidden Menehune – the legendary little people of the islands – who may be spotted through chinks in the rocks. Additional deck space, chairs, chaises and cabanas will surround these new water features.

Also coming to Aulani will be two new food service locations. One of these, located adjacent to the new water play area, will serve continental breakfast and offer a lunch and dinner menu with a selection of sandwiches, salads and snacks that can be enjoyed in the adjoining outdoor patio, which provides a beautiful ocean view. A second quick-service eatery will be located beachside, offering grab-and-go snacks and easy access for beachgoers.

Work on these enhancements will begin in September and conclude in mid-2013, coinciding with the final build-out of the resort. Along with the water play and dining additions, the expansion will provide a new, larger lawn location for events, weddings and the guest-favorite nighttime Starlit Hui show. There will also be additional merchandise space – to provide guests with a greater variety of Aulani products, apparel and memories – and a protective awning over the patio of  Makahiki restaurant, home of “Aunty’s Breakfast Celebration,” featuring breakfast with Disney characters.

AquaLab Debuts on the Disney Fantasy

Disney Fantasy AquaLab DCL

An array of wet and wonderful new surprises help guests cool off as they enjoy soaking up the sun aboard the Disney Fantasy, Disney Cruise Line’s newest ship scheduled to set sail in March 2012.

On the Disney Fantasy, guests can splash and play in the AquaLab – a brand-new water play area on deck 12, near the entrance to the AquaDuck water coaster. Families can frolic among pop jets, geysers and bubblers in this fun and fanciful 1,800-square-foot space. As the story goes, AquaLab was created by Donald Duck’s nephews, Huey, Dewey and Louie, and features a variety of water “experiments” designed to drench the whole family.

Children entering the AquaLab will see that the nephews are away for the time being, leaving the young cruise guests in charge of the AquaLab. Through hand-painted notes left by the nephews, kids are put in charge of the AquaDuck water coaster. By turning wheels and moving levers at three wacky aqua stations kids “control” the speed and temperature of AquaDuck.

At a leaky wall, the water fun is all hands on deck as kids try to keep the water circulating by covering holes in squirting and spurting pipes with their hands. In another area, kids scramble to stop leaky pipes from filling Uncle Donald’s row boat with water. Water leaks and sprays from the Ducky Dinghy, suspended overhead, and as the boat fills a fish pops his head out of a bucket while everyone gets delightfully drenched.

In addition to AquaLab, the Disney Fantasy features another new area for guests of all ages to cool off. On deck 12 forward, a wading pool with a fountain water feature, ample seating and lounge chairs under canopy offer a respite in the shade.

Disney Fantasy AquaLab DCL

Exclusively for Adults

In addition to Quiet Cove Pool and Cove Bar on the Disney Fantasy, a new adult-exclusive area offers a retreat on the upper decks for guests 18 and older.

At Satellite Sun Deck on deck 13 forward a brand-new water feature called Satellite Falls is a circular splash pool with benches and a gently falling rain curtain that provides cool comfort. Around this upper deck, adult guests can soak up the sun in loungers or relax in the shade under a canopy.

More Fun on Deck

Like her sister ship the Disney Dream, the Disney Fantasy offers many options for sun and fun on deck with a shipboard water coaster, fresh water swimming pools, a whimsical water play area for little ones, a relaxing poolside oasis for adults and an interactive sports deck:

  • The world’s only shipboard water coaster – AquaDuck – sweeps guests away on an exhilarating flume ride featuring twists, turns, drops, uphill acceleration and river rapids – all while traversing the upper decks of the ship.
  • Donald’s Pool is a place where families gather to enjoy all of the activities up on deck.  Overlooking Donald’s Pool, the giant Funnel Vision LED screen – more than 30 feet wide and 18 feet high – shows Disney films, television shows and live broadcast events.
  • Mickey’s Pool for children continues a Disney Cruise Line favorite feature.  An oversized version of Mickey’s hand supports a yellow winding slide that splashes down near the pool.
  • Children discover oceans of fun at Nemo’s Reef, a water-play area featuring colorful, interactive figures that move and spray water, including Nemo, Dory, Marlin and a pint-sized water slide shaped like Mr. Ray.
  • Quiet Cove Pool and Cove Bar is a retreat exclusively for adults to sunbathe and swim, indulge in a cool drink or enjoy a relaxing dip in a nearby hot tub overlooking the ocean.
  • The fun tees off with Goofy’s Golf – a nine-hole miniature golf course where “lessons” featuring Goofy and his son, Max, lead guests through nine themed holes of wacky fun.
  • Goofy’s Sports Deck features full-court basketball, table tennis and foosball tables.
  • Two digital sports simulators offer virtual game experiences where guests participate in high-action sports such as golf, hockey, soccer, basketball, rugby, baseball and football.

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