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Walt Disney World Resort Hotels – Need to Know After Reopening

The Walt Disney World Resort Hotels reopened on June 22, in front of the theme parks reopening July 11. Because of that, you may be thinking about making a trip down to the most magical place on earth soon. However, the Disney World Resort Hotel experience will be quite different during this reopening period…

Walt Disney World Resort Hotels Reopening

Disney has recently released new information about The Walt Disney World Resort Hotels and what you need to know after they reopen. Included is a list of changes to the hotels, reopening dates, and what to expect before you go.

Some of the important changes you need to be aware of are:

  • New health and safety guidelines
  • Limited Walt Disney World Resort Hotel openings
  • New reservation and cancellation policies
  • Changes to hotel amenities such as pools, fitnesses centers and dining

(Update 11/11/20) – Disney’s All-Star Music Resort will be reopening on February 9, 2021. Also, Walt Disney World Resort Hotel reservations are now available for booking through the end of 2021, including the 50th Anniversary celebration.

We also recently found out that the Polynesian Resort reopening has now been delayed until Summer 2021 with a big refurbishment to the Great Ceremonial House and Moana-themed rooms coming.

See the full details on both of these stories below in the News section…

In the post, we are going to explain all these hotel changes and what you can expect to find on your vacation. We have a complete list of all the resorts that are opening and how to make reservations for them.

We think it’s only right to tell you up front, this is NOT going to be your normal Walt Disney World Resort experience. Anyone wanting to go during this time will need to temper their expectations, especially if you are a Disney World vet and have a particular idea of what a normal vacation here is like.

Disney World Resort Hotels After the Reopening

Everyone from guests to Cast Members will need to have patience during this time as there are a lot of new rules and many experiences and amenities that won’t be available for a while. Hopefully, the reopening period doesn’t last a long time and we can eventually get back to a normal Disney World vacation again.

Also, despite all the changes so far to the Disney World Hotels, more will inevitably happen from now until July and beyond. We’ll continue to update this post whenever Disney makes adjustments to anything that will impact your vacation.

Hopefully we’ll be able to answer any and all questions about The Walt Disney World Resort Hotels that you have!

Before we get started, here are some other recent posts that will help you with all your planning needs for the Disney World reopening period:

Also, if you want the very latest information on the Disney World reopening, including the new Park Reservation System, don’t forget to sign up for our FREE Weekly E-Mail Newsletter. You can sign up here: Join our E-Mail Newsletter

(NEWS 10/21/20) – Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort Reopening February 9, 2021

Lobby of Disney's All-Star Movies Resort

As the months pass, more and more Walt Disney World Resort Hotels are reopening, and today we just got the news that Disney’s All-Star Resort will reopen on February 9, 2021.

The All-Star Movies Resort closed down back in March and has been empty ever since. This is the first of the 3 All-Star Resorts to get a reopening date and give guests another Value Level Resort option for booking their trip.

Reservations are now available so you can start booking your room at this time.

There are still not reopening dates for Disney’s All-Star Sports or All-Star Music, but we’ll keep you updated as soon as we find those out too.

(NEWS 10/15/20) – Walt Disney World Resort Hotel Reservations Now Available through End of 2021

Disney's Coronado Springs Resort lobby

If you have been waiting to book a trip for Disney’s 50th Anniversary celebration I have good news for you, Walt Disney World Resort Hotel reservations are now available through the end of 2021, which includes the celebration!

Starting today, Disney World hotel reservations are available through December 31, 2021. Prior to this announcement, reservations were only available through September 26, 2021, making planning for the 50th impossible.

If you are planning to go during that time, we suggest you start booking your hotel today as we are expecting hotel capacity to increase by then and most likely sell-out.

At this point, we don’t know if the current Disney World safety guidelines will still be in place or not and if some of the suspended services and experiences will come back by then. Know that FastPass+, fireworks, Park Hopping, and the Disney Dining Plan might not be running by October 2021.

Need help planning your Disney Vacation? Contact René from Show You the World Travel for all your trip planning needs. All of the agents there are certified Disney Travel Agents and are super helpful with all your planning needs. I highly recommend them and the best part about it is they are FREE to use!

(NEWS 9/18/20) – Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotels Eliminating 1136 Employees

Disney World Dolphin hotel from the water

We know that hotel occupancy is down significantly at The Walt Disney World Resort since reopening, and we are now starting to see some of the effects of the low attendance as The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotels are eliminating 1136 positions by November 13, 2020.

The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort reported to the state of Florida that they are eliminating these jobs due to the current health crisis and the fact that they have record-low hotel occupancy. Troubles are expected to continue into 2021.

This doesn’t come as a shock as the demand for hotel rooms throughout Orlando and the Disney World Resort are just not sufficient at this moment. We also wouldn’t be surprised to see more cuts like this at other hotels in the near future as businesses tighten down during these stressing times.

We’ll let you know if more cuts happen soon.

(NEWS: 08/31/20) – Moana-themed Guest Rooms Coming to Disney’s Polynesian Resort, Reopening Delayed Until Sumer 2021

We’ve been waiting on a bunch of Disney World Resort Hotels to reopen, and now one of them is going to be delayed longer than expected. Disney has just announced that a big refurbishment is coming to the Polynesian Resort including the Great Ceremonial House and rooms, and its reopening has now been delayed until Summer 2021.

Disney's Polynesian Village Resort Lobby

The news was given to travel agents this morning that refurbishment will be starting on the Great Ceremonial House and guest rooms in October 2020.

Not too many details were given on exactly what is being done on the project, but we do know that rooms are being re-themed to Disney’s Moana. The rooms will be complete with details, textures, and patterns from the film and a include a move to a Pacific Ocean-inspired color palette.

It’s unclear is EVERY room will get the Moana treatment, or select rooms like the Little Mermaid rooms at Art of Animation. From what we understand it will be ALL, the rooms, but we have to confirm that.

I dig putting characters in the rooms, but not all of them. I like it when some rooms are more environment-themed rather than the constant push to IP.

Other than that, we don’t know what’s coming to the Great Ceremonial House. However, if the work is getting started in October and finishing in Summer 2021, it’s obviously going to be a significant one.

Disney's Polynesian Resort Lobby

We do know that the Villas and Bungalows at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort will remain open during the refurbishment, so you still can plan a trip to the resort in the next few months. We haven’t received word on the restaurants at the Polynesian yet that are located in the Great Ceremonial House and if they also will be closing at some point for refurbishment.

We also found out that the monorail stop at the Polynesian Resort will be closing in October because of the construction and is expected to be closed at least through the end of 2020.

Originally, the Polynesian Resort was supposed to reopen on August 12, then it was delayed to October 4, and now Summer 2021. With overall demand for resort reservations being extremely low, Disney likely felt it was a good time to get some necessary work done on what will be one of the most important hotels for Disney’s World’s upcoming 50th Anniversary in Fall 2021.

We’ll update you as soon as we learn more about the project and what enhancements are being made.

What do you think about the Moana-themed rooms?

Know Before You Go

Inside Polynesian Resort Disney World

There are some other things you want to keep in mind if you are considering staying at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel in the near-future. Here are the most important things to know BEFORE you leave:

  • Hotel Reservations – Both 2020 and 2021 Walt Disney World Resort Hotel packages and rooms are now on sale. That means that everyone can make a Disney World hotel reservation once again!
  • Hotel Access – Guests arriving at a Disney World hotel will need a confirmed hotel reservation or dining reservation to enter. If you don’t have one, you will not be let in. Important information will be sent to you from Disney before your arrival date so look for emails.
  • Cancellation Policy – Disney is waiving its change and cancellation fees up to the date of check-in for reservations with arrivals through December 31, 2020. 
  • Park Reservations – A Disney World Resort Hotel Reservation gives you priority in getting a Disney Park Pass reservation. It does not GUARANTEE theme park access however and will depend on reservation availability.
  • Coming from Quarantine Areas – Right now Florida has a 14-day quarantine rule for anyone coming from Connecticut, New York, or New Jersey. If you are coming from one of those areas you will not be allowed to enter Walt Disney World at this time.
  • Checking your own Temperature Before Coming – Guests are encouraged to check their own temperatures, including everyone in their party before coming. If you are showing any symptoms, you will not be allowed to enter Walt Disney World.

Besides the above information, guests are encouraged to have:

  • Latest Version of the My Disney Experience app – Having the latest version of the app downloaded on your mobile device will be useful for the many services it will help you with during your stay.
  • Cashless or contactless forms of payment – Guests are encouraged to not use cash and instead use contactless forms of payment including MagicBands, Apple Pay, Credit Cards, etc.

Which Walt Disney World Resort Hotels Are Open?

Walt Disney World Resort Hotels Open

Right now the most important thing to know is that not all Walt Disney World Resort Hotels are opening to guests during the reopening period.

  • Disney World DVC Resorts reopened on June 22, 2020.
  • Disney Non-DVC Resorts started a phased reopening on July 10 with reopening dates through Summer 2021.

The decision to reopen the DVC resorts first was an easy one from Disney’s side. Everything in Disney World needs to have limited capacity during the reopening period including the theme parks, restaurants, and hotels.

By not reopening all the hotels at once, it helps Disney keep the resort to the right number of people to properly enforce distancing.

Walt Disney World DVC Resorts

Also, reopening all the hotels at once when there are not enough guests doesn’t make sense from a financial point of view. Disney will save millions of dollars limiting the hotels and the staff required to run them.

Here is a list of all Disney World Resorts at are NOW OPEN:

  • Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort
  • Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
  • Copper Creek Villas & Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas – Jambo House (DVC Guests Only)
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas – Kidani Village
  • Disney’s Art of Animation Resort
  • Disney’s Beach Club Villas
  • Disney’s BoardWalk Villas
  • Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort
  • Disney’s Contemporary Resort
  • Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort
  • Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground
  • Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
  • Disney’s Old Key West Resort
  • Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows
  • Disney’s Pop Century Resort
  • Disney’s Riviera Resort
  • Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort
  • Disney World Dolphin Hotel
  • Disney World Swan Hotel
  • The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort
  • Disney’s Yacht Club Resort

So that means until July 10, the regular non-DVC resorts will not be opening. If you are going from now until then, that eliminates the Value and Moderate level resorts.

Disney World Hotels reopening Beach Club beach looking at Boardwalk

Here are the other Walt Disney World Resort Hotels with announced reopening dates:

  • Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort – February 9, 2021
  • Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort – Summer 2021

One interesting case is Disney’s Animal Kingdom – Jambo House. This resort has changed from opening, to not opening and now back to opening again. However, only DVC members will be able to book a stay here in the villas at this time. Also, the restaurants and shops will not be open at Jambo House at this time either.

We also recently found out a big refurbishment is starting at Disney’s Polynesian Resort in the Great Ceremonial House. The resort will remain closed until Summer 2021, except the Villas & Bungalows which will remain open.

Which Disney World Hotels are Not Reopening?

Animal Kingdom Jambo House Lobby Disney World

You’ll notice that there are still a few hotels missing from the above list of hotels with reopening dates. Almost all the Value Resorts are missing, as well as some Moderate Resorts and a couple of deluxe resorts.

Here is the full list of Walt Disney World Resort Hotels without a reopening date and without current 2021 availability.

  • Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort
  • Disney’s All-Star Music Resort
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge – Jambo House
  • Disney’s Beach Club Resort
  • Disney’s BoardWalk Resort
  • Disney’s Port Orleans Resort French Quarter
  • Disney’s Port Orleans Resort Riverside
  • Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

It’s obvious that the main reason behind these latest hotel reopening delays is the lack of guests visiting Walt Disney World at this time. The parks are empty almost every day and there aren’t even enough guests to reach the drastically lowered park capacities.

There is just not enough demand to reopen a huge hotel complex like the All-Star Resorts for example and only one of them has an opening date. When park capacity starts to increase, we will then see the other resorts open.

Disney's Beach Club Pool

On top of that, a large part of the guests that are coming to the parks are Florida locals and Annual Passholders, who for the most part, are not booking hotel rooms at the Disney resorts. We can see this as more and more Park Pass reservations are being allocated to Annual Passholders.

Since Disney isn’t getting as many out-of-town visitors as they had hoped, this means that there is no need to open as many resorts as planned, and this is why some reopening dates have been pushed back

Also, as we said above, Disney’s Animal Kingdom – Jambo House was on the list of hotels reopening July 10, but only the DVC Villas. The regular rooms remain without a reopening date for now.

Welcome to Walt Disney World

Disney has made this statement:

“Given the current situation, there are some Disney Resort hotels and other areas that are not, as of this time, being scheduled for reopening yet. We will continue to evaluate the situation and reopen more locations when the environment is right to do so. While these plans may evolve, we will be monitoring the constantly changing health environment and its impact on the state of Florida as we find the right time to welcome back even more of our Guests.”

It’s important to note that Disney World hotel reservations are now open at this time, after being closed for months. Not all hotels are available for booking, so check availability according to the reopening dates on the list above.

Jazz Player All-Star Music Resort

What If I Have a Reservation for a Date When that Hotel is Closed?
Many guests already had reservations in Disney World Hotels before Disney stopped taking reservations. Since not all those hotels are going to be open, guests are being asked to switched to other hotels that are open for those dates.

It’s unclear at this time if guests are getting a complimentary upgrade or if they have to pay the difference in price. If guests don’t want to switch hotels they will have the option of canceling their reservation.

Safety Guidelines

Disney Cast Member taking order for Virtual Queue

Just like in the theme parks, the Disney World Resort hotels will have strict safety measures in place that guests will need to comply with if they want to visit. These include:

  • Face Masks – Guests 2 years old and up will be required to use face masks throughout the hotel (while dining and in the pool are the only exceptions).
  • Temperature Screenings – Though this is being done at other Orlando-area hotels, for the moment Disney World is NOT enforcing temperature screening before entering the resort hotels. We’ll see if it stays this way or changes.

One question we have is what exactly happens if a family shows up to their Disney World hotel and one of the members is showing symptoms? Will they get turned away at the door and have to return home immediately? Will they be forced to quarantine in their room for the duration of the stay?

Cleaning/Sanitization

Cleaning the Walt Disney World Resort Hotels during Reopening period

Disney is working hard to improve the cleaning and sanitization of the resort hotels in all areas.

  • Disney has assured guests that their rooms will be fully sanitized before their arrival.
  • All common areas of the hotels will be cleaned with higher frequency, especially high-traffic areas including: doors, handles, tables, elevators, escalators, buttons, restrooms, handrails, benches, etc.
  • More hand sanitizer stations are being added.

In-Room Cleaning

To prepare for guests, all housekeeping members will receive increased training on new cleaning measures and sanitization methods for each guest room. These will include the best cleaning practices and how to clean around various amenities, luggage, etc.

All rooms are thoroughly cleaned and sanitized before your arrival. Light cleaning is offered every other day.

Before Your Arrival

  • High-touch areas, like TV remotes and door handles
  • Housekeeping tools will be cleaned between rooms
  • Floors, which will be steam cleaned and vacuumed between Guests

Cleaning During Your Stay Optional

  • DVC members will receive in-room cleaning on the 4th and 8th days of their stay.
  • Guests can choose to decline in-room cleaning during their stay if they desire.

In-room cleaning services during your stay will consist of:

  • Removal of trash and used towels
  • Replenishment of towels and amenities throughout the room and bathroom
  • Wiping and cleaning of the vanity and counter surfaces
  • Vacuuming if needed

Disney has made some improvements to the hotel rooms including:

  • Extra linens and towels wrapped in single-use packaging
  • Individually wrapped glassware
  • Double-cased pillows
  • Additional items that have been cleaned and wrapped in single-use packaging

Disney has released a new infographic showing what the enhanced cleaning procedures will be like in your hotel room:

enhanced cleaning measures Disney World hotels

Are Free Shampoo and Conditioner Still Provided at Disney Resorts?

Yes, Disney Resort Hotels are still providing guests with free shampoo, conditioner and soap, just like before.

Some of them are in the mini-portable bottles while others are in the larger dispensers attached to the wall in the shower. They even tell you when they’ve been sanitized!

Disney shampoo and body wash soap in the shower

Amenities and Experiences

Cooking marshmallows at campfire in Walt Disney World Resort

While you are normally used to lots of fun activities and experiences when visiting the Disney World Hotels, during the reopening phase many of those will not be available.

All of the amenities and experiences that are open will be adjusted to allow for preventive measures such as distancing, increased cleaning and sanitizing, and reduced capacity.

Temporarily Unavailable:

  • Electrical Water Pageant – will not be available for the time being.
  • Pin Trading – is still available at the hotels on specific lanyards, though you will not be able to trade with Cast Members.
  • Arcades
  • Campfires
  • Character experiences
  • Dog parks
  • Electrical Water Pageant
  • Marina rentals
  • Playgrounds
  • Spas, salons and Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique

Additionally, the following special offerings and childcare services will not be available during the initial reopening:

  • Fireworks voyages and tasting cruises – including the Pirates and Pals Fireworks Voyage
  • Fun runs
  • Wonderland Tea Party at Park Fare
  • Hula lessons
  • In-room childcare services
  • Mermaid school
  • Special classes and programs – including culinary, cultural and animal programs

Pools

Walt Disney World Resort Hotel pool
  • Feature pools have reduced hours
  • Smaller pools will be open 24 hours a day
  • All pools will have reduced capacity to allow for physical distancing
  • Select poolside activities may be available at select Resort hotels

Resort pools will have reduced operating hours and not all of them will be open right away and guests will be encouraged to use the smaller DVC-area pools when possible.

For example, Stormalong Bay at Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club has not been running during the reopening period. It will be reopening on August 24. Until then, guests are invited to use the pool at the Beach Club Villas instead.

Do I Have to Wear a Face Mask at the Pool or in the Pool Area?
Face masks are NOT required in the pool area while swimming, sitting at a table or lounging in a chair.

Face masks ARE required while walking around the pool deck and when arriving and leaving the area. Sometimes this is not enforced though and once you enter the gated area of the pools you can walk mask-free without anyone saying anything to you.

What is the Capacity for the Pools?
Disney has not said specific numbers for pool capacity, just that they have been reduced from normal levels. This has not been an issue so far since the hotels currently have fewer guests than normal.

Fitness

While you can still enjoy fitness at the Disney World Hotels, here is what you need to know:

  • Fitness Centers will have reduced operating hours.
  • Reduced capacity
  • No instructor-led fitness classes
  • Fitness and sports courts will be open, and Guests must maintain physical distancing

Is there Still Pin Trading?

Pin trading is still possible at the Disney World Resorts. Cast Members have set up special boards where you can pin trade. Pins the guests give to be traded are sanitized before getting put on the board for others.

Resort Services

Disney World deliveries
  • Bell Services – They will still deliver luggage to your room, but separately from the guests to comply with distancing rules.
  • Club Level – will not be operating for now.
  • Deliveries – Disney guests will not be able to receive deliveries to their rooms unless they are occupied by the guest at the time of delivery.
  • Dry-cleaning and valet laundry services are temporarily unavailable; self-service laundry will remain available.
  • In-room celebrations are not available
  • Resort airline check-in – this is unavailable from your hotel.
  • Shipping services are temporarily unavailable.
  • Valet Parking – This is not available.

Making Reservations

Giant Mickey Mouse statue with telephone in Disney World

As of this writing, Disney has now reopened new Walt Disney World Resort hotel reservations for both 2020 and 2021.

Again, with the theme parks, restaurants and hotels all running at a limited capacity, Disney was forced to stop new hotel reservations for a while so they could concentrate on making everything run smoothly for existing guests in the reopening phase. Now that is taken care of and all guests can start booking hotels again.

Here are the dates when guests can make new hotel reservations:

  • DVC Resorts – Now Available.
  • 2021 Disney World Resort Hotel packages or rooms are Now Available.
  • 2020 Disney World Resort Hotel packages or rooms are Now Available.

For almost two months, all new Walt Disney World hotel reservations had been suspended, leaving only DVC members and guests with existing reservations knowing when they could stay in Disney World. Now finally that is changing and we have some more info!

Disney has announced that new Walt Disney World Resort hotel reservations and vacation packages are now available for arrival dates anytime in 2020 through the end of the year.

2021 Packages and Rooms are also available for arrival dates starting in January 2021 and carrying on through December 31, 2020. That means you can now book a room for Disney World’s 50th Anniversary date in October.

Reservations includes hotel rooms and 2021 vacation packages with park tickets.

Disney World Hotels You CAN Book for 2020 and 2021 Vacation Packages:

  • Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort
  • Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
  • Copper Creek Villas & Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas – Kidani Village
  • Disney’s Art of Animation Resort
  • Disney’s Beach Club Villas
  • Disney’s BoardWalk Inn
  • Disney’s BoardWalk Villas
  • Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort
  • Disney’s Contemporary Resort
  • Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort
  • Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground
  • Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
  • Disney’s Old Key West Resort
  • Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
  • Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows
  • Disney’s Pop Century Resort
  • Disney’s Riviera Resort
  • Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa
  • Disney’s Yacht Club Resort
  • The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

Disney World Hotels You CANNOT Book for 2020 or 2021 Vacation Packages:

  • Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort
  • Disney’s All-Star Music Resort
  • Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge – Jambo House
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas – Jambo House
  • Disney’s Beach Club Resort
  • Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter
  • Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside
  • Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

Now, it doesn’t mean all the resorts on this list won’t reopen in 2021, it just means they aren’t taking reservations at this time.

It’s possible that if park capacity starts to increase as the weeks and months go by, guests will also be able to book more rooms in 2020, but that remains to be seen.

Should You Make a Reservation at This Time?

Fountain at night in Disney's Port Orleans French Quarter

That depends if you are planning on going in 2020 or 2021. If you are going in 2020 or 2021, then yes, you should make a reservation as soon as possible.

The biggest advantage of making a resort reservation right now is to be able to book park reservations. We recommend getting a jump on other guests and booking your resort now so you have no problems making park reservations.

This is especially true if you plan on going to the Disney World 50th anniversary which starts October 1, 2021. In that case, it’s even more vital you make your reservations soon because those rooms will book up quickly.

Disney is planning on using the Park Pass reservation system even after the current health problem is over, so no need to put it off and risk getting shut out of the parks on October 1.

Many visitors we’ve talked to who put off going to Disney World in 2020, are waiting for the 50th anniversary, so we expect the parks to be much more packed than they are now. If better offers become available on 2021 packages, you can always upgrade your current offer. The most important thing is that your room is reserved.

Cancellations & Refunds

Reservations for Walt Disney World Resort Hotels

Because of the increased uncertainty of a Walt Disney World Resort vacation, Disney is modifying their cancellation and refund policy to give guests more options moving forward.

Disney has announced they will be waiving any cancellation fees or charges up to the date of check-in for reservations with arrivals through December 31, 2020.

That means you can cancel your trip at the last minute on the same day you would be arriving and still get a full refund for your money.

Disney World Cancellation Policy Extended

The previous cancellation policy for refunds was only valid through the Disney World closure period, but this new policy extends out much further than that. This is a huge change that should help out a lot of families who are on the fence about going or not.

If you need to reschedule your reservation, please call the Disney Reservation Center at (407) W-DISNEY or (407) 934-7639. If you’re a Disney Vacation Club Member, please call Member Services at (800) 800-9800.

Dining

Giant Veal Chop at Topolino's Disney Riviera Resort

Even though many of the resorts are reopening, not all of the restaurants in each resort will be open right away. Most of the quick service restaurants and bars & lounges will be open. Some table service restaurants are opening too, but the majority of the signature restaurants are remaining closed for the time-being.

Here is a list of Disney World Resort Restaurants Currently OPEN:

Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort

  • California Grill
  • Chef Mickey’s (No character meals – Breakfast Only)
  • Contempo Cafe
  • Cove Bar
  • The Sand Bar
  • The Wave

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas – Kidani Village

  • Maji Pool Bar
  • Sanaa
  • Sanaa Lounge

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge – Jambo House

  • Cape Town Lounge and Wine Bar

Disney’s Beach Club & Villas

  • Beaches and Cream
  • Hurricane Hanna’s Waterside Bar & Grill (Bar Only)
  • Martha’s Vineyard

Disney’s BoardWalk Resort & Villas

  • AbracadaBar
  • BoardWalk Bakery
  • Leaping Horse Libations
  • Pizza Window
  • Trattoria al Forno

Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort

  • Banana Cabana
  • Centertown Market

Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort

  • Barcelona Lounge
  • Dahlia Lounge
  • Rix Sports Bar & Grill
  • Siestas Cantina
  • Three Bridges Bar & Grill

Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort

  • Crocket’s Tavern
  • Meadow Snack Bar
  • P&J’s Southern Takeout

Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Villas

  • Beaches Pool Bar & Grill
  • Enchanted Rose
  • Gasparilla Island Grill
  • Grand Floridian Cafe
  • Narcoossee’s

Disney’s Old Key West Resort

  • Good’s Food to Go
  • Gurgling Suitcase
  • Olivia’s Cafe

Disney’s Polynesian Polynesian Village Resort, Villas & Bungalows

  • Barefoot Pool Bar
  • Capt. Cook’s
  • Chip ‘n’ Dale’s Deli
  • Kona Cafe
  • Pineapple Lanai
  • Tambu Lounge

Disney’s Pop Century Resort

  • Everything POP Shopping & Dining
  • Petals Pool Bar

Disney’s Riviera Resort

Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort

  • The Artist’s Palette
  • Chip ‘n’ Dale’s Cafe
  • The Paddock Grill
  • On the Rocks Pool Bar

Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

  • Geyser Point Bar & Grill
  • Roaring Fork
  • Whispering Canyon Cafe

Disney’s Yacht Club Resort

  • Ale & Compass Restaurant
  • Ale & Compass Lounge
  • The Market at Ale & Compass

Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin Hotels

  • Garden Grove
  • Il Mulino
  • Il Mulino Lounge
  • Java Bar
  • Kimonos
  • Kimonos Lounge
  • Shula’s Lounge
  • Shula’s Steak House
  • Splash Pool Bar and Grill
  • Todd English’s bluezoo
Donald Duck at Disney Riviera Resort Character Breakfast

Character Dining – Out of all the restuarants, you may have noticed that character dining options and buffets are missing from the list. In fact, the only character meal that will be immediately available is Topolino’s at the Riviera Resort.

Topolino’s is unique in the sense that it is a large, open room, giving characters a lot of space to move around greeting guests, without getting too close. They can sing songs and involve the crowd like always and still practice proper distancing.

When are the Other Restaurants Opening? – Disney continues to reopen restaurants as more demand for them builds. This includes table service, signature dining and quick service locations. Character dining locations are still closed at the moment and it will probably be a while until they come back.

Can I Go to Other Resorts’ Quick Service Restaurants?
Technically no, you can’t. Access to a specific Walt Disney World Resort Hotel is reserved for guests staying at that hotel or if you have a confirmed dining reservation at one of the table service restaurants.

However, this is not always enforced and depending on the resort, Cast Members may or may not be checking guests as they come and go. This is true between the Grand Floridian Resort and Polynesian where you can freely walk between each hotel.

Online Check-In

start Disney World Online Check-In Service in My Disney Experience

One way to avoid crowds in the resort hotel lobbies is by using Disney’s Online Check-in system. This can be accessed through the My Disney Experience app and allows guests to skip the front desk when checking in and go straight to their room.

Online Check-in will not be required, but definitely promoted by Disney. The fewer guests have to interact with Cast Members, the better, and this allows that to happen.

If you use Disney’s Online Check-In, you will receive a notification on your phone when your hotel room is ready. You can use your MagicBand or the My Disney Experience app as a hotel room key to open the door.

For a more detailed look, read our Guide to Disney’s Online Check-In. There we show you all the benefits of using it and step-by-step how to use the Online Check-In system.

Park Pass Reservations

2 giraffes outside Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge

One of the big benefits of staying in a Walt Disney World Resort hotel is you have priority in booking a Disney Park Pass reservation, which is necessary for entering the theme parks.

  • All guests with valid theme park tickets can now make Park Pass reservations.

If you book a new Walt Disney World Resort package, you can then immediately start making your park reservations.

For more details on how the whole system works, and to find out which hotels you can stay at for Park Pass reservations, read our post on How to Make Disney Park Pass Reservations where we go into more detail.

Hotel Transportation 

suitcase in front of Disney's Magical Express

One of the perks of staying at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel is the free transportation provided for guests. Disney has confirmed that will continue to be the case when it reopening in June and July.

Magical Express

Disney’s Magical Express is the free bus shuttle that brings you back and forth from the Orlando International Airport to your resort hotel.

Disney has confirmed that the Magical Express will be operating, as usual, starting June 22 when the resorts reopen.

  • It is important to note that Disney’s Magical Express will NOT be delivering your bags to your room at this time. Guests can use the Magical Express to bring checked-in bags to their resort, but they are required to pick up and drop off their own luggage.

Many airlines have modified their flight schedules, so please confirm your flight information. If you plan to use Disney’s Magical Express service, contact your room reservation booking agent, or call (407) 939-1936 to make any updates to your flight information on file.

To Theme Parks/Disney Springs

Disney has confirmed that transportation will be provided from all the resorts to Disney Springs and the Disney theme parks. This includes:

  • Buses
  • Boats
  • Monorails

Minnie Vans and the Disney Skyliner on the other hand, will not be running right away.

Safety Measures

Of course, in order to safely bring guests from one location to another in Walt Disney World, there will be new safety guidelines for the various forms of transportation.

Transportation methods will operate with physical distancing in place which means there may be barriers in place to space-out guests. This will result in a lower-than-normal capacity which might mean longer wait times for guests.

Because of this, we recommend you allow for a few more minutes than you normally might whenever using Disney World transportation at this time. Read about all the Changes to Disney World Transportation in our recent post.

Ride Sharing

Ride sharing services like Uber and Lyft are still running on Walt Disney World property and you can use the to bring you back and forth to the theme parks, hotels and Disney Springs.

Minnie Vans however are still not running at this time.

Parking

Parking lot at Disney World Resort Hotels

If you choose to bring a car to Walt Disney World, that is no problem. Parking will still be available at the resort hotels and guests will still ahve to pay the daily parking fees.

Valet parking will not be available however, except guests with disabilities. Guests will be required to have a valid disability parking permit to use valet services.

Virtual Chat with Cast Members

Once again, to keep guests from assembling in the hotel lobbies as much as possible, Disney is creating a new virtual chat for guests to communicate with Cast Members at their resort.

The virtual chat is available starting June 22 in the My Disney Experience app. It is available 24 hours a day so there is no need to go to the lobby to talk with someone.

From our experience with the app, it works but it takes a long time to use. Often it’s faster to call the front desk and get your question answered that way. It’s also doesn’t really anything different than the Chat feature that was already in My Disney Experience.

Checkout

Automatic Checkout – Guests will be automatically checked out of their rooms at the end of their stay. There will be no need to visit the front desk unless you have an unresolved issue on your account.

NBA in Walt Disney World

A big part of figuring out which hotels are going to be open during the reopening phase was figuring out where all the NBA teams were going to stay for the playoffs.

Gran Destino Tower front sign

(The NBA Players have all gone home from Disney World, but here is some information about their stay.)

If you hadn’t heard, Disney was working with the NBA to locate a facility where the league could finish out its season. Disney and the NBA have been talking about a deal for some time, and were finally able to complete it.

NBA games in Walt Disney World started July 30, 2020.

NBA Teams are split up between 3 hotels. They will be assigned according to their playoff standings in the following Disney World Hotels:

  • Gran Destino Tower – Bucks, Lakers, Raptors, Clippers, Celtics, Nuggets, Jazz, Heat
  • Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort – Thunder, 76ers, Rockets, Pacers, Mavericks, Nets, Grizzlies, Magic
  • Disney’s Yacht Club – Blazers, Kings, Pelicans, Spurs, Suns, Wizards
Lighthouse tower Disney's Yacht Club Resort

As part of the agreement, Disney World essentially becomes the NBA’s Orlando Campus. Players will be provided the following amenities:

  • Hotel Amenities – Players-Only Lounge, Pool, trails, barbers, manicurists, pedicurists
  • 24-hour VIP concierge
  • Entertainment – movies, video games, ping pong, lawn games, DJ sets, etc.

Talk about living in the “Disney Bubble!”

The only question is: “What happens if one of the teams staying at the Grand Floridian or Yacht Club goes far into the playoffs?” In that case the remaining NBA team would be transferred to the Gran Destino Tower to be with the other clubs, potentially freeing the other two hotels up for regular guests.

Disney will cross that bridge when it comes to it. Obviously, while the teams are still there it means that guests with prior reservations in any of those three hotels will be switched to another location.

Grand Floridian Resort Disney World

The players will have regimented schedules of practices and games, but they will also get some downtime for dining and leisure activities like golf, fishing, and swimming.

It will be interesting to see how much freedom the NBA players are given and if they can walk out of the bubble of their resort when they aren’t playing. The Boardwalk is located right next to the Yacht Club, will we see NBA stars walking around there?

According to some promotional materials, NBA players will be able to take excursions like bowling, boating and even to Disney’s Animal Kingdom and the Wild Africa Trek. How they plan on keeping players separate from the crowds is unknown.

Why Isn’t Disney Reopening All the Hotels?

Disney's Riviera Resort view from the roof

The financial aspect is also important when talking about reopening the hotels because until Disney actually has enough guests coming to fill the hotels, it doesn’t make sense to open them. That’s why they are filling DVC Resorts first.

Once attendance starts to return and Disney has shown it can also increase the capacity in the parks, then Disney will start reopening some of the other Non-DVC hotels. The Jambo House at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge is a good example as Disney is just keeping it closed for now (except for DVC rooms) and moving all reservations to Kidani Village.

Right now, park attendance has been extremely low, and with it, low demand for hotel rooms. When they are able to attract more people to the parks, then you will start to see more hotels slowly reopen. At this time there is no rush and the list is already quite big.

When Will Things Go back to Normal?

Coca Cola Bottle at night All-Star Sports Resort Disney World

While everyone would like for all these extra safety guidelines and restrictions to go away, right now there is no telling when that will happen.

Disney is saying that these new procedures for the resort hotels will be in place during the entire Disney World reopening phase. The only problem is we don’t know how long that phase is going to last.

Whatever the case, don’t expect it to be brief. Disney has gone through a lot of trouble to come up with these new guidelines and they aren’t going to be in place for just a few weeks and everything will then go back to normal.

While there is no way of knowing exactly how long things will be like this, as you are planning your Disney World vacation you should go into it with the mindset that it’s possible we will continue this way for the rest of 2020 and maybe beyond.

If things change before then, that’s great. But you should prepare yourself for the fact that they might not.

You can read our post “Should I Visit Disney World in 2020 or 2021?” That will give you an overview of both years in case you are considering putting your vacation off some.

Your Thoughts

I want to know what you think about the Walt Disney World Resort Hotel changes…

  • What changes are the best/hardest to get used to?
  • When are you planning on staying at a Disney World hotel?

Let us know in the comments section below!

If you enjoyed this article, as always I appreciate it if you’d share it with others via social media.  I work hard at making this website into a useful resource for you and your family to plan your visit to the Disney Parks and I hope it can help you! Thanks 🙂

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patricia smith

Sunday 21st of June 2020

can we still stay at the beach club or what. If we do have to change our accommodations will there be an additional charge (which I do not think is fair). We are a party of 16. When will we be advised about this?

DV

Friday 19th of June 2020

The enhances room cleaning indeed !

Why wasent this being done before now ?

It this new protocol for good or just until they can go back to wiping up counters and spraying tubs and showers. Will they wash the comforter in the room Now ?

They never used to wipe light switches and toilet seats ! YUCK !!!!

I'm sure the "extra magical reimagined enhancements" will magicaly appear as an increase in room fees for guests.

So I'll pay extra to get cleaning service that was never really done in the first place. Who the hell runs the health department in that county ?

Will they hire a maid service to do the room service since I-9 workers can't return yet because of immigration holds ? There goes the minimum wage workers they saved so much money using instead of locals !

Probably priced me out of their product. The trend toward special event, cafeteria style upgrades, to charge a fee for things that used to be free and available to everyone,was getting to be annoying and out of hand.

Now only their elite hotel guests and professional sports teams are allowed. The rest of the lower revenue generating customers are as usual, last on their list. (UNLESS YOU AN AP HOLDER THEN YOUR SECOND TO LAST)

A money grab if their ever was one. Yeah they lost money like the rest of us, but will cater to higher paying customers to maximize profit. If you wanted a vacation, too bad, they canceled you in favor of big dollar customers.

We shall see when the elites go their way how many pee-on's will return to more fee's, hassles, lousey food, and long lines if they let you in their $130 a day extravaganza............

Disney Lover

Friday 2nd of October 2020

Are you available to travel with? You sound like a blast.

Jason

Friday 19th of June 2020

So what have others heard about someone who has a Yacht Club - Club Level (yes, I know that mean nothing at this point) reservation in late July? I spoke to Disney customer service and no knowledge of reservations being cancelled to keep NBA player in a bubble. If so, I would hope that a good move would be offered.

Just looking at options ahead of the Disney Park Pass booking on Monday, 6/22.

CDeemer

Wednesday 17th of June 2020

Where are you getting your information that AKL Jambo House will remain closed? I have a reservation for a studio there & Disney hasn't canceled it or reassigned me to Kidani Village. I've asked Disney about it & the cast member didn't know anything about it being closed, either.

Ziggy

Thursday 18th of June 2020

Hi CDeemer, thanks for the question. Disney sent the notice out to travel agents a couple of days ago stating the Jambo House would be staying closed at this time. Not all Cast Members might have been notified yet

Patricia Baumann

Thursday 11th of June 2020

We go to Disney once or twice almost every year. When our kids were little, we would take them out of school to go for a week every September. They went to a private school and we had the school's blessing. Our reservation for 10 days in May was cancelled. We booked a reservation for a Fort Wilderness cabin for early September thinking the hysteria would be over by then. However, it does not seem likely that we will keep our reservation. If they are giving us a seriously modified experience without any discount off the Disney price, i can't justify going and staying on property. If I lived close enough to make it a day trip, I would go just for a day or two. I do have an annual pass. I also feel like I would be angry the whole time I was there. I am not in for wearing a face mask at Disney ever, but especially in the heat of early September. I will spend my money elsewhere until Disney is Disney.