What to Know About Staying at Disney World Hotels Right Now

Walt Disney World Resort Reopening
Walt Disney World Resort via Getty Images / Getty Images

Walt Disney World is home to some of the most uniquely themed hotels with top-notch amenities, world-class dining, and proximity to the Disney theme parks. The hotel experience at Walt Disney World has changed due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, but all of the changes are to ensure guest and cast member safety. If you’re staying at one of the Walt Disney World resort hotels during the pandemic, use this guide to prepare. 

Checking In and Out

Checking into a Walt Disney World resort hotel is convenient and can be done online or through the My Disney Experience app on any smartphone, allowing for a contactless experience. When you go through online check-in, you can note what time you’re arriving and where you want your room to be located within the hotel. You also have the options to decline housekeeping. 

Once you get to Walt Disney World, you’ll get a push notification from the My Disney Experience app or a text message to let you know when your room is ready. This will allow you to bypass the main check-in counter and go straight to your room where you can unlock your hotel room door with your MagicBand or through the My Disney Experience app. 

When your trip is over, check-out is automatic. You will not need to visit the front desk unless you have an unresolved issue with your bill. Check out time is 11 a.m.

Housekeeping and Guest Services

Before your check-in day, your Disney hotel room will undergo a deep cleaning. This new cleaning procedure pays special attention to high-touch surfaces like TV remotes and door handles. You'll find recently cleaned TV remotes as well as disposable coffee cups and silverware will be sealed in a single-use plastic bags (unless you’re staying at a Disney Vacation Club resort with real plates, cups, and silverware). 

During check-in, you should have been able to choose whether you wanted housekeeping during your stay. If you declined, you will be responsible for taking out any trash during your visit if needed. To get more towels, you will need to call housekeeping or take some from the pool area. If you accepted housekeeping, your room will get a light cleaning of surfaces and replenishing of towels every other day. Disney Vacation Club members using points to stay at a resort will receive cleanings on the fourth and eighth days unless declined. 

Guest services that are still available include bell service (but they will not escort guests) and deliveries, but you must have someone present in the room during the delivery time. Services that are not available include club-level service, in-room celebrations, in-room dining, dry cleaning, valet service (except for those who require assistance), and airline check-in.

Amenities & Activities

Extra Magic Hours have been canceled at the four theme parks, and there is no restart date announced. The main pools at the resorts are operating with limited hours and only allowing a certain amount of people inside the gates to allow for social distancing. Fitness centers are operating with limited hours and restricted capacity.

Some recreation activities, such as movies under the stars, are still available, but are subject to change. To ensure you know what’s going on at your specific hotel, swing by the pool or front lobby where a sign should list all of the activities, or read the flyer in your room. Arcades, campfires, character experiences, marina rentals, playgrounds, spas, salons, and Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique are unavailable. 

Restaurants & Dining

Depending on where you choose to stay, your hotel might have limited dining options. For example, if you’re booked at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge-Jambo House on Disney Vacation Club points, there is no option for on-site dining. You will have to take an internal shuttle to Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge-Kidani Village to go to the one open restaurant, Sanaa, which requires a reservation. 

If your hotel does offer table-service dining, you will have to go through a temperature screening just like the ones at the theme parks to be taken to your table. Quick-service dining is available at most hotels, and also offers takeout if you want to eat in your room. 

Helpful Tips

  • Have the latest version of the My Disney Experience app downloaded to your phone. This is the best way to ensure a smooth online check-in and to unlock your door with your smartphone. 
  • Use the mobile chat feature on My Disney Experience to talk to a cast member who can answer any question you might have about your trip.
  • For a true socially distant trip, consider staying at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground. Here you can rent a cabin, or bring your own RV or tent to camp right at Disney. 
  • If you’re staying at a resort that uses real plates and silverware, consider washing what you’ll need for your family right when you arrive to your room. Disney does bring in fresh dishes before new guests arrive, but this will ensure everything you’re using is clean to your standards. 
  • Because the parks close relatively early, plan what you might want to do at your resort after you get back from the park each day. If that means dining at your resort, make sure you have a reservation, or if you plan to go to the pool, check the operating hours. 
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