It's interesting to hear people say that AoA is for people who want to be surrounded by Disney 24x7. Or that the lack of real theming and decorating with over-sized icons is because of the target audience.
I am so glad that I didn't grow up with this version of Disney. Could you imagine if today's Disney built Ft. Wilderness? It would have a giant cowboy boot for Pioneer hall and everything would be covered in Woody.
Instead we have Disney's original 'value' resort with real theming, first class transportation to MK, a dinner show, watercraft, horseback rides, etc. Thank goodness!
This is exactly what I mean. The oversized icons are cheap theming. Sometimes appropriate (like the pool), but otherwise cheap.
The "value" in "value resorts" should indicate a good value, not "cheap".
I really do see Fort Wilderness as a model of great theming for families that includes characters but also things for the whole family to see and enjoy together. I love the watercraft and horseback riding options, and they were the first resort to offer movies over a campfire at night, with real s'mores to make. Not to mention the Hoop-De-Doo Revue, which is also wonderful (although too expensive these days) -- and so far, no Woody or Pixar pals to be found, unlike it Diamond Horsehoe counterpart in the MK.
I do believe that Disney was a Johnny-come-lately to value-priced family suites. That will be a great incentive for this resort (as opposed to two bedrooms or the crazy price of the "villa" resorts). So, that is very welcome. But the theming in the rooms does not have to hit your over the head and glow in the dark to be good, even for children. Subtlety and room for imagination can be good, too: Anyone ever heard of "hidden Mickeys" or children playing "hide-and-go-seek"?