A few months ago, we started a series of articles called “getting to know the Disney World Resorts.” We’ll continue that series with a stroll around Hourglass Lake.
Those of you that visit Disney World regularly are often privy to some of these special areas. Nearly all of the resorts have a walkway that surrounds a large body of water.
So if you’re visiting Disney World and have a little extra time, a stroll might be in order. Preferably a sunset stroll, like the one we’re about to take around Hourglass Lake.
We’ll start on the Art of Animation side of the resort. A bridge crosses over the center of Hourglass Lake. This bridge provides a short walkway that connects Pop Century and Art of Animation.
The Disney Skyliner station for Pop and Art sits in the middle of the bridge. Guests line up along both sides of the bridge each morning to take the Skyliner to Epcot or Hollywood Studios.
So if you’re coming from a park or resort via the Skyliner, Art of Animation is on your right, and Pop Century is on the left. We’ll start on the Art of Animation side of the bridge.
First, we’ll head toward the Cars section of Art of Animation. Since we’re walking around the perimeter of Hourglass Lake, we won’t see the oversized characters inside the different areas.
Related: Cars Section at Art of Animation
As we move away from the bridge, we can see Pop Century in the distance.
In the summer, these beautiful flowers add an extra pop of color.
You’ll know you’re passing the Cars section of the resort because of the different sketches on the side of the building.
As we get closer to the end of Art of Animation, you’ll see more references to the film.
Some of these pictures were taken at different times of the year. Below is a photo of the lake in December. No matter what time of year you visit, the views are exquisite.
At this point, I’m about halfway between Disney’s Art of Animation and Pop Century. Toward the center of the photo below, you can see the bridge and Skyliner station.
Along the way, you’ll encounter signs offering fun facts about various subjects. At Pop Century, each sign reflects the decade of that section of the resort.
For instance, the sign below says 1999 and references Y2K and the preparations that were made for the new century.
In this photo, you can see how different signs are placed along the walkway every so often. This one reflects on when Elton John revised “Candle in the Wind” as a tribute to the memory of Princess Diana back in 1997.
You can’t help but read them as you pass by. Additionally, they make for interesting conversation topics. It’s a wonderful place to enjoy a leisurely walk with your children or loved ones.
The majority of the walkway is shaded.
Next, we’ll pass the 80s section. All of the stairwells on this side are wrapped in giant Rubik’s Cubes. Did you ever solve one? I didn’t.
We’ll wave hi to Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head.
The 70s section of the resort has a few eight tracks prominently on display.
Along the way, you’ll pass other signage that indicates pathways to different areas of the resort. For instance, if you want to grab a snack or find a nearby restroom, you might want to visit Classic Hall.
Related: Everything Pop Food Court
Classic Hall is where the resort’s gift shop, lobby, food court, and bus stop are all located.
Related: Pop Century Gift Shop
Pop Century has so many fun references. The 60s section features staircases wrapped in overside Duncan yo-yos. Remember those?
Benches are appropriately placed looking out toward the lake.
Before we loop back around toward Art of Animation, we’ll pass by the 50s section. This section of the resort has bowling ball pins protecting its staircases.
You might notice that I’ve mentioned staircases on the different buildings at Pop Century. All of the Disney value resorts have exterior staircases. However, each building has an elevator. Unfortunately, there are a few moderate resorts that do not have elevators.
Related: Disney’s Moderate Resorts
It’s fun to watch the Skyliner as it sails past.
Eventually, you’ll pass directly underneath it. And then we’re back on the Art of Animation side, looking back toward Pop Century.
This side of Art of Animation is home to The Little Mermaid wing. All of the staircases on this side are covered by a large sketchpad featuring a character from whatever movie the area represents.
Here we have Ursula. On the opposite side of this building, she stands tall, towering near the Flippin’ Fins Pool.
Similar to Pop Century’s side, there are signs placed along this portion of the walkway at Art of Animation. However, these signs offer fun facts about the different movies represented at the resort.
The sign below is for The Little Mermaid and tells how the movie won an Academy Award.
Before we make it back full circle, we’ll pass by The Lion King section. It’s important to note that The Little Mermaid section is the only area of Art of Animation that offers value category rooms.
The other sections all are made up of family suites that are much larger in size and cost considerably more than a standard room. For this reason, we like to stay at Pop Century over Art of Animation.
The rooms are laid out more efficiently at Pop Century. Since the resorts are so close, you can always walk over and enjoy the grounds of Art of Animation during your stay.
Related: Pop Century vs Art of Animation
At this point, we’ve come almost full circle. The Skyliner Station is not far ahead of us.
We’ll pass by the Finding Nemo section of the resort before finding ourselves back at the bridge. Additionally, the Finding Nemo section provides the quickest walkway to get to Animation Hall.
You’ll walk by The Big Blue Pool area and then run directly into the hotel’s lobby. If you pass Crush along the way, you’ll know you’re in the right spot.
Animation Hall is home to the Ink and Paint gift shop and Landscape of Flavors, the resort’s food court. If you enjoy art, you might like to browse the lobby during your visit. There are a variety of sketches on display.
The walk around Disney’s Hourglass Lake is approximately 1.38 miles. It’s an excellent place to stretch your legs with no crowds involved. In addition, it’s a favorite place for many to jog at Disney World.
Related: Disney World Jogging Trails
And don’t forget about taking a walk here during sunset. I think you can tell from the picture below that you probably won’t forget it.
For more information about Disney’s Art of Animation, you might enjoy reading our resort review:
Related: Disney’s Art of Animation Review
Additionally, we have a review of staying at Disney’s Pop Century Resort.
Related: Disney’s Pop Century Review
I hope you enjoyed our tour of Hourglass Lake and found a new place to explore on a future visit!
In the comments:
Do you ever take long walks around the resorts when you visit Disney World? Have you ever enjoyed a stroll around Hourglass Lake? If not, do you enjoy learning about these types of places at the resorts?