Hey, y’all! It’s time to visit a bunch of Walt Disney World Resort hotels to see What’s New (and what’s cool!)! We’re hitting up six resorts, so leave your carry-on with luggage services and put on some sunscreen– it’s time to go exploring!
What’s New at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort
We’re starting at Art of Animation, where you’ll find the Skyliner Station which will service AoA and Pop Century Resorts when the new gondola transportation system starts carrying guests this fall. Construction continues on the station itself, but we’re making a pit stop. Yeah, it’s a bathroom break. 😉 You’ll find the new Skyliner Station bathrooms on the Art of Animation end of Generation Gap Bridge.
And with all those ubiquitous construction fences, you might think we couldn’t get a good shot of how things are progressing, but we’re not above shoving a phone through a gap, so…
Check it out! The exterior structure seems to be in good shape, and forms are down and ready for concrete walkways. We’ll keep an eye on those colors to see if the color scheme remains blue and yellow, but we otherwise love the sail-like shape of the overhang. Maybe it’s supposed to look like a page turning, similar to exterior decor at Art of Animation?
There appears also to be a water fountain (can we get a bottle refiller station, please?!) and signage, too! It’s fun to see things coming together!
Construction doesn’t stop at the Skyliner Station, though, as part of Art of Animation’s lobby is currently closed for construction. We’re told they’re working on the floors (and we hope they’ll keep the colorful tile!). Note that the main entrance is closed, so guests and visitors are being directed to use the side entrance that’s close to the bus stops (and behind those large animation pieces you can see from the parking lot).
Notice that about half the lobby is blocked off as work progresses behind that big ‘ol barrier.
They’ve tried to spiffy it up with some animation artwork, but, you know, black plastic just isn’t working with the decor.
Word is that once one section is complete, work will progress to the next section of the lobby and, finally, through the Ink & Paint Shop. Cast members tell us the work is expected to continue through September.
Inside the gift shop, there are plenty of H2O+ products for purchase, and the Wish Granted promo (complimentary gift with purchase of $60+ of H2O products) is still being advertised.
We spotted Toy Story 4 merchandise at a couple of resorts on this visit, including Art of Animation. Click here to see more info about merch at Walt Disney World!
Guests at Art of Animation can participate in Mickey Tie-Dye for a small fee. Signage is up in the lobby to advertise this offering. (We know it’s not new, but we wanted to update for guests heading to the resort!)
Animation Drawing Classes are also happening twice a day — but the location has moved while the lobby work is underway. Guests can now get their art on in the Resort Airline Check-In Room.
What’s New at Disney’s Pop Century Resort
Pop Century Resort’s Everything Pop food court
has delineated an Express Lane for those guests paying with cash and credit only.
The pastry case has several irresistible cupcakes. The Birthday Sundae Cupcake is here, as well as a Cookies ‘n’ Cream. A couple of options are pre-packaged in to-go containers, which is helpful if you’re looking for a bedtime snack. 😉
For Mother’s Day, Pop had a Strawberry Lemon Cupcake complete with sugar daisy.
The old Millennial Pink cupcake design remains here (see it from a year ago!) — and it’s guava-flavored!
Americana merch is having a heyday, and we spotted this Glow Necklace in the Everything Pop gift shop.
As for resort amenities, guests can join a “family-friendly painting class” at Painting with a Pop! It’s not a new offering, but it’s a fun one we wanted you to know about.
What’s New at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
Animal Kingdom Lodge — Jambo House was pretty quiet on our visit! We found this beautiful Sunshine Cupcake at Mara, the resort’s quick service spot. Read our review here!
Guests were also having some rainy day fun in the lobby creating artwork with rubbings of animal shapes!
Good job, kiddos!
What’s New at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort
There was rainy day fun at Saratoga Springs Resort, too. Games were set up on this low table in the lobby, and cast members were on hand (free from lifeguard duty!) to play, too!
We love the name of the painting class at Saratoga Springs: Win, Paint, Show! (Check out that hashtag to see some folks’ artwork!)
Then there’s this resort-specific activity: Purple Martin Nest Checks! Participants get a Potion Purple beverage for free!
Featured Cupcakes at Artist’s Palette are still Orange Bird and Aladdin!
And in the shop at Saratoga Springs, guests can pick up Disney’s Riviera Resort gear, including some new-to-us jackets and phone cases.
We also spotted Mickey and Minnie rain gear! See what other fun, new rain gear came out recently!
What’s New at Disney’s Port Orleans — French Quarter
At Port Orleans French Quarter, we said “hey, y’all” to Steve! He’s about the friendliest person this side of the Mississippi Delta, so if you’re visiting the French Quarter, don’t forget to say hi!
French Quarter also had this big, organized pin trading board. What satisfying rows they’ve created. Tiana, we’re there, girl!
Princess and the Frog fans, check out this fun Trivia Board! We’re seeing these at various resorts, and they’re a fun way to test your Disney knowledge!
For resort-specific fun, the Shower of Flowers Scavenger Hunt at French Quarter sounds like a blast! Use hints on this list to find hidden flowers in public places throughout the resort. Then turn in your sheet for a prize! We found Dumbo — but we’re not saying where! 😉
Fun painting opportunities at the Port Orleans resorts, too!
What’s New at Disney’s Port Orleans — Riverside
Ooh, more pin board fun! This one captures the alphabetic fun that is “PO.”
And more lobby fun at Riverside, too! But not just fun: Fun & Games!
In addition to color pages featuring characters, the resort also had some floor-sized Snakes & Ladders!
Riverside-specific art opportunity is Dockside Drawing in River Roost Lounge. So much art, so little vacation time, y’all!
And if you want to nama-stay a little calmer on vacation, join Poolside Yoga at Riverside’s Ol’ Man Island. This free event has space for 20!
And then use your new-found zen to scoop up some more Toy Story 4 merch! 😉
And in case it wasn’t abundantly clear, our resort day was… rainy. But that’s okay: you can drop a waterfall of cash money on some ponchos and umbrellas, available behind each register at Fulton’s General Store!
Splish, splash, we had a blast visiting these resorts, even with the rain! Thanks for jumping in puddles with us — and stay tuned for our next (hopefully dry and sunny) What’s New at Walt Disney World!
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What’s your favorite resort profiled above? Let us hear the love in the comments!
These resort activities are a great idea for when it gets too hot in the parks. Looks like a lot of fun