Walt Disney World Hotels Reopening Procedures & Details

As excited as we all are about the theme parks reopening, let’s not forget about Walt Disney World hotels.

Guests need somewhere to say, right? Plus, the hotels offer dining, so there’s a lot to know about the resorts when WDW reopens. You’re also probably wondering about health and safety procedures at hotels.

So, let’s get to it.

When do resorts open?

Disney Vacation Club properties in Vero Beach, Florida and Hilton Head, South Carolina are open to member and guests.

DVC resorts at Walt Disney World and Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground are open to members and guests.

Here are the reopening dates for other resorts:

  • July 10: Disney’s Pop Century Resort, Disney’s Contemporary Resort
  • July 29: Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort
  • Aug. 12: Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort and Disney’s Art of Animation Resort
  • Aug. 24: Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club Resorts
  • Sept. 21: Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
  • Oct. 1: Disney’s BoardWalk Inn
  • Oct. 14: Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort

These resorts don’t have reopening dates yet:

  • All Star Resorts
  • French Quarter and Riverside
  • Animal Kingdom Lodge
  • Animal Kingdom Villas — Jambo House
  • Wilderness Lodge

Note the following important details:

Guests with current reservations at impacted Disney Resort hotels can request help with modifying their reservation starting Monday, June 22. Reservations for stays in 2021 will are open for booking now. If no action is taken for impacted stays, Disney will automatically cancel your reservation within 7 days of the original check-in date and process any refund due to the original form of payment.

Here’s a list of the available offerings at each resort upon reopening:

Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort

  • Dining: The Wave… of American Flavors, Chef Mickey’s, The Wave Lounge, Contempo Café, Cove Bar, The Sand Bar, California Grill
  • Shops: Bayview Gifts, Fantasia Market
  • Activities: Pools, Poolside Activities, Movies Under the Stars, Fitness Center, Community Hall, Sports Courts

Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

  • Dining: Whispering Canyon Cafe, Roaring Fork
  • Shops: Wilderness Mercantile
  • Activities: Pools, Poolside Activities, Movies Under the Stars, Fitness Center, Reunion Station, Multi-Purpose Courts

Copper Creek Villas & Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

  • Dining: Whispering Canyon Cafe, Roaring Fork, Geyser Point Bar & Grill
  • Shops: Wilderness Mercantile
  • Activities: Pools, Poolside Activities, Movies Under the Stars, Fitness Center, Reunion Station, Multi-Purpose Courts

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas – Kidani Village

  • Dining: Sanaa, Kidani Breakfast at Sanaa, Sanaa Lounge, Maji Pool Bar
  • Shops: Johari Treasures
  • Activities: Pools, Poolside Activities, Movies Under the Stars, Fitness Center, Community Hall, Sports Courts

Disney’s Beach Club Villas

  • Dining: Beaches and Cream Soda Shop, Beach Club Marketplace, Martha’s Vineyard
  • Shops: Beach Club Marketplace
  • Activities: Poolside Activities (Stormalong Bay unavailable; more details below), Movies Under the Stars, Fitness Center, Seaside Retreat, Sports Courts, Fishing Excursions

Disney’s BoardWalk Villas

  • Dining: Trattoria al Forno (excluding character dining), Pizza Window, BoardWalk Bakery, Leaping Horse Libations, AbracadaBar
  • Shops: Screen Door General Store
  • Activities: Pools, Poolside Activities, Movies Under the Stars, Fitness Center, Community Hall, Sports Courts

Disney’s Contemporary Resort

  • Dining: California Grill, Chef Mickey’s, Contempo Café, Cove Bar, The Sand Bar, The Wave… of American Flavors, The Wave Lounge
  • Shops: Bayview Gifts, Fantasia Market
  • Activities: Pools, Poolside Activities, Movies Under the Stars, Fitness Center, Sports Courts, Fishing Excursions

Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground

  • Dining: P&J’s Southern Takeout, Meadow Snack Bar, Crockett’s Tavern
  • Shops: Settlement Trading Post, Meadow Trading Post
  • Activities: Pools, Poolside Activities, Movies Under the Stars, Bike Barn, Sports Courts, Trail Rides and Horse Barn, Fishing Excursions

Disney’s Old Key West Resort

  • Dining: Olivia’s Café, Good’s Food to Go, Gurgling Suitcase
  • Shops: Conch Flats General Store
  • Activities: Pools, Poolside Activities, Movies Under the Stars, Fitness Center, Community Hall, Sports Courts

Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows

  • Dining: Kona Cafe, Capt. Cook’s, Pineapple Lanai, Barefoot Pool Bar
  • Shops: Moana Mercantile, Bou-tiki
  • Activities: Pools, Poolside Activities, Movies Under the Stars

Disney’s Pop Century Resort

  • Dining: Everything POP Shopping & Dining, Petals Pool Bar
  • Shops: Everything POP Shopping & Dining
  • Activities: Pools (the Hippy Dippy Pool, Bowling Pool and Computer Pool), Poolside Activities, Movies Under the Stars

Disney’s Riviera Resort

  • Dining: Topolino’s Terrace – Flavors of the Riviera (modified character dining available), Primo Piatto, Le Petit Café
  • Shops: La Boutique
  • Activities: Pools, Poolside Activities, Movies Under the Stars, Fitness Center, Eventi

Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort

  • Dining: The Artist’s Palette, The Paddock Grill, On the Rocks Pool Bar
  • Shops: Artist’s Palette
  • Activities: Pools, Poolside Activities, Movies Under the Stars, Fitness Center, Community Hall, Sports Courts

The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort

  • Dining: Grand Floridian Cafe, Gasparilla Island Grill, Enchanted Rose, Beaches Pool Bar & Grill
  • Shops: M. Mouse Mercantile, Sandy Cove Gifts and Sundries
  • Activities: Pools, Pool Cabana Rentals, Poolside Activities, Movies Under the Stars, Fitness Center, Multi-Purpose Courts

New ticket sales and hotel reservations for Walt Disney World's reopening

What about making new hotel reservations?

Hotel reservations for 2020 are temporarily paused to deal with guests who have existing reservations. That said, DVC members can still make new reservations.

Sales of 2020 tickets and Disney Resort hotel arrivals will resume later this summer, based on availability of park reservations. This will happen while Disney continues to provide existing ticket holders and Annual Passholders the chance to make park reservations for 2020 dates.

By June 28, all guests will be able to purchase new Disney Resort hotel packages and theme park tickets and make their park reservations for arrivals starting in 2021 as the phased reopening continues. These are the official WDW hotels that can currently be booked for 2021 travel dates:

  • 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 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

If you’re an existing ticket holder or an Annual Passholder, you can make reservation requests in phases before new tickets are sold.

What about cancellations and refunds?

If you want to cancel your Walt Disney World vacation, Disney will waive change and cancellation fees up to the date of check-in for reservations with arrivals through the Oct. 3, 2020.

You can either call the Disney Reservation Center or chat with someone online to cancel. You can also cancel most reservations online.

If you don’t take any action before your check-in date, Disney will automatically cancel your reservation within seven days of the original check-in date. They will also process any refunds due to the original form of payment.

If you didn’t book directly through Disney, be sure to contact your travel agent.

Does a Disney Resort hotel reservation guarantee me park entry?

It does not. With the new park reservation system (details haven’t been released yet), every guest needs both valid theme park admission and a park reservation to enter. The purpose of the reservation system is to help maintain a limited park capacity.

Can I hop around Disney Resort hotels?

No, you must have either a hotel reservation at that particular hotel or a dining reservation at that hotel in order to visit.

Is checking-in and checking-out the same?

Checking-In

Guests are encouraged to check-in online on the official website or using the My Disney Experience app.

After checking-in online and upon your resort arrival, you will receive a room-ready notification via text. Sometimes the text doesn’t come through, so be sure to check MDE for a notification or room number.

You can either use your MagicBand or MDE’s digital key feature to unlock your room door.

Checking-Out

Instead of visiting the front desks, you’ll automatically be checked out of you room. However, if you have unresolved charges to your hotel folio, you’ll need to visit the front desk.

Virtual Chatting

Starting June 22 (the same day select hotels reopen), Disney is offering guests to chat with a resort Cast Member via MDE for assistance. Virtual chatting allows everyone to maintain a safe physical distance and without have to visit the lobby or stand in line.Photo of My Disney Experience Online Check-In

What about housekeeping?

Housekeeping, or as Disney guests like to say “Mousekeeping,” will continue to ensure guests have clean rooms. But, there are some changes.

Common Areas

High-traffic areas (elevators, escalators, handrails, benches, tables, handles, restrooms, etc.) will be cleaned more frequently.

Rooms

Prior to your arrival, your room will be thoroughly cleaned, with special attention to:

  • 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

Rooms will now also have individually wrapped glassware, double-cased pillow, and other items cleaned and wrapped in single-use packaging.

Cleaning

Rooms will receive a light cleaning every other day, which includes::

  • Removal of trash and used towels
  • Replenishment of towels and amenities
  • Wiping and cleaning of the vanity and counter surfaces
  • Vacuuming (if needed)

You can also decline every-other-day service. Disney Vacation Club Members using their membership will receive cleaning service on the 4th and 8th days, unless they decline the service.

Take note: if there is more than one room on your reservation and the declining of service applies to all rooms on the reservation.

Photo of Walt Disney World' enhanced cleaning measures

Which resorts services are available?

Select hotel services will either be modified or unavailable during the initial reopening period due to physical distancing and health guidelines.

  • Bell Services: will deliver luggage to rooms, but will not escort guests
  • Club-level service: temporarily unavailable
  • Deliveries: only made to occupied rooms
  • In-room celebrations: temporarily unavailable
  • Dry-cleaning and valet laundry services: temporarily unavailable, but self-service laundry will remain available
  • Shipping services: temporarily unavailable
  • Resort airline check-in service: may be temporarily unavailable

What about resort amenities and recreation?

Swimming Pools

Feature pools may operate with reduced hours and leisure pools will be open 24 hours a day. That said, pools will operate with reduced capacity and select poolside activities may be available at select hotels.

Note: Stormalong Bay at Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club Resort will not be available during the initial reopening period. However, guests of this hotel can use the leisure pool at Disney’s Beach Club Villas or the Luna Park Pool and leisure pool at Disney’s BoardWalk Villas.

Fitness Centers & Sports Courts

Fitness centers will reopen in alignment with state and county regulations, and may have reduced hours and capacity. While classes with an instructor won’t be available, fitness and sports courts will be open and guests must maintain physical distancing.

Photo of recreation activities at French Quarter in June 2018

Available Recreation

Activities and schedules will vary depending on the hotel. Make sure you check your hotel’s daily activities schedule.

Amenities & Experiences

The following amenities and experiences are not be available during the initial reopening:

  • Arcades
  • Campfires
  • Character experiences
  • Dog parks
  • Electrical Water Pageant
  • Marina rentals
  • Playgrounds
  • Spas, salons, and Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique

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 (includes culinary, cultural, and animal programs)

Check out my complete Walt Disney World Reopening Guide for other details.