Your dog is toadally terrific and a part of the family, but should you bring them on your Disney World vacation? If staying onsite, there are four pet-friendly hotels at the Walt Disney World Resort so you can bring your furry friend with you. There are some important factors to consider to make sure your dog can still have a magical visit too. In most cases, you can make bringing a pet to Disney World work, but only you can decide if it is truly a good idea for you both. If it is, then here's everything you need to know for a frogtastic trip to Disney World with your pet!
Service Animals Versus Companion Animals
All Orlando hotels, theme parks and attractions comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act when it comes to service animals. While dogs are the most common service animals seen in the Orlando theme parks, other true service animals are welcome, including miniature horses. Your service animal can stay with you in your hotel, accompany you to most rides and destinations (roller coasters are an exception, due to safety restraint requirements) and go wherever you do. Here is the full frogtastic scoop on traveling to Disney World with your service dog.
While service animals are welcome everywhere, companion animals are not. Both Walt Disney World Resort and Universal Orlando Resort consider pets and emotional support dogs to be companion animals, so they are welcome in some but not all locations. Pets are not allowed at the theme parks, water parks, Disney Springs or ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. This is for the safety of your pet and the enjoyment of everyone who visits the Orlando theme parks and hotels. Most Orlando hotels and attractions follow the big parks' lead, but you should always call ahead to any hotel you are considering to confirm its pet policy.
Pet-Friendly Hotels at Walt Disney World
You have two options when it comes to staying on-site with a companion animal at the Walt Disney World Resort. You can book your on-site hotel at one of four pet-friendly locations and have your pet join you in your room each evening, or you can use a local boarding facility. We prefer the on-site boarding and daycare at Disney World for pets; animals get plenty of attention in a caring environment and you get peace of mind that your pet is safe. Other facilities are further from the attractions and may have mixed reviews and levels of service.
Dog-Friendly Hotels in Disney World
In 2017, Disney World made some changes to its long-standing pet policy and decided to allow dogs at four of its on-site resorts. The policy only covers dogs — cats, reptiles and other pets will still need to stay home or at a boarding facility.
Dogs are welcome at the following Disney World hotels:
- Disney's Art of Animation Resort
- Disney's Port Orleans Resort - Riverside
- Disney's Yacht Club Resort
- Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground
There are some restrictions you should be aware of when it comes to dogs at Disney World. While these hotels welcome dogs (and offer some toadally magical amenities for them), they do so on select floors only. To protect guests with allergies, a select number of rooms or cabins are available, so if you do want to bring your dog, you should book your stay as early as possible. There is a limit of two dogs per room. Each of these hotels has an additional pet cleaning fee if you bring your dog with you. The standard fee is $50 per night, per room (or cabin), though there are two exceptions: $75 per night at Yacht Club and $5 per night at the Campsites at Fort Wilderness.
Every dog that checks in gets a frogtastic welcome — a Pluto-themed kit to make your stay easy and fun. Pluto's Welcome Kit typically includes:
- Pet identification tag
- Food mat
- Doggie bags and holder
- Map to walking paths
- List of pet policies and dog-friendly areas
- "Do Not Disturb" Door hanger
If bringing your pet to Disney World, we highly recommend staying at the Cabins at Fort Wilderness. This outdoor oasis is a perfect location for your dog with tons of walking areas and a dog park. We saw so many guests with dogs during our recent stay with Hopper, our frog dog. The cabin suites allow for plenty of space for the whole family, plus there are lots of outdoor activities your dog can join you for, such as the campfire sing-a-long and Movie Under the Stars!
Rules for Dogs in Disney World Hotels
The room policy includes rules for keeping your pet on property with you. Keep in mind that these rules cover companion animals only. Your service animal is welcome in all resorts and theme parks in Orlando.
- You may bring up to two dogs per room; there are no breed restrictions.
- Dogs may not roam the grounds and must remain on a leash at all times. There are designated rest areas at each of the four resorts specifically for your dog, and the dog-friendly rooms are close to pet walking and rest areas.
- Dogs are not permitted in dining locations, shops, pool areas, fitness centers, ponds or fountains. At Fort Wilderness, dogs are not allowed in tents or pop-up campers.
- Dogs are allowed in all Minnie Vans on property as well as internal buses at Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground and Disney's Port Orleans Resort.
- You'll receive a special door hanger that must be placed on the dog alerting cast members that a dog is present. Housekeeping is only available when dogs are not present, so you'll need to schedule a cleaning time.
- Dogs should not be left unattended for more than seven hours. (Your dog can still spend the day at the on-site Best Friends Pet Care for exercise, pampering, grooming and more, even if he stays in the room with you at night.)
What To Pack For Your Dog at Disney World
Any time you travel to a hotel or other pet-friendly destination, you will need to bring along proof of vaccinations. You should provide your hotel with this information in advance and bring a copy with you just in case. Walt Disney World Resort hotels require that proof of vaccinations be available upon request, so have documentation on hand just in case.
While Disney provides you with a cute doggy welcome pack with an identification tag, your pet should also have a tag with ID. Your dog needs a sturdy leash, plus a collar and/or harness, for safety and to comply with Disney World resort rules. Since it will be new surroundings for your frog dog, make them extra comfortable by bringing their favorite items such as bedding, food and toys. While food and treats are available at each of the dog-friendly Disney World resorts, your pet will likely be most comfortable with their own diet.
You can find costumes, leashes, toys and more in the gift shops at each of these designated resorts. You’ll also find pet gear in many on-site shops in the parks and hotels but bring along any important toys your dog needs or wants to have with them.
What to Do With Your Dog During the Day at Disney World
You want to head out to the theme parks, but your pet won’t enjoy staying in the room all day. Consider using the on-site Best Friends Pet Care. You can book this in advance so you know your pup has a fun place to stay during the day. Best Friends Pet Care is right across from the dog-friendly Port Orleans Resort - Riverside and has over 75 staff members to make sure your pup gets plenty of attention each day. You could also use an outside boarding facility or hire a pet sitter to come and walk your dogs.
If you’re staying at the hotel for the day, your dog can hang out with you in your room or enjoy a walk in one of your resort’s designated areas. We highly recommend Fort Wilderness as almost the entire resort is pet-friendly with lots of outdoor areas to explore, including Waggin' Trails Dog Park with separate sections for small and big dogs.
Best Friends Pet Care at Disney World
Best Friends Pet Care is a toadally impressive resort just for pets — offering over 50,000 square feet of amenities, spaces and fun. A sprawling dog park makes it easy for your pup to get out and run, while cool and crisp air-conditioned spaces allow them to wait in comfort as you enjoy the theme parks and attractions. There are also some designated outdoor play areas and runs that your pet can enjoy.
You’ll find this sprawling pet complex just across from Port Orleans Resort - Riverside. Best Friends hours vary seasonally; it usually opens an hour before the theme parks each day and closes an hour after the parks to give you time to drop off or visit with your pet. You should make a reservation in advance for your pet by calling 877-4-WDW-PETS or visiting the Best Friends Pet Care website.
Best Friends also offers daycare, grooming and pampering for your pets (cats and other animals are welcome here). Best Friends offers several grooming packages, ranging from simple bathing to a full spa treatment complete with massage. Nail clipping, tooth cleaning and even shed reduction treatments are available and can be booked at check-in. VIP programs offer extra care and attention and offerings change regularly; current “VIP” Vacation Villas for Dogs include a fun playgroup, flat-screen televisions and even a turndown service for your dog.
Rates range from $56 per night for a resort guest using standard services and $107 per night for the deluxe Vacation Villas. Discounts may apply for each additional pet sharing the room, and peak rates may apply to all rates based on holidays and breaks.
If you are staying at one of the Disney World hotels with your dog, they can stay at Doggy Day Camp each day. You’ll be able to check in by webcam as you have fun in the theme parks, and your dog can enjoy all the amenities of the facility but stay with you at night. Expect to spend $49 per day at Doggie Day Camp and build in extra time for drop-off and pick-up each day.
Veterinary Care in Orlando
While there is not a veterinarian on-site at the Disney World resort, there are several emergency vets that accept walk-ins as needed in the Orlando area. Opinions and reviews are available on Yelp. Use these to get up-to-the-minute details and contact information for 10 of the area's top emergency vets.
Should You Bring Your Dog to Disney World?
You can bring your pup to Disney World if you enjoy spending time together, but in most cases, you’ll spend more money to do so than you would on a pet sitter or boarding facility at home. The resorts that welcome pets do so happily, and you’ll see other dogs and owners out on the walking paths, especially at Fort Wilderness. Visiting Disney World with your dog can be a magical experience and is worth exploring, but it is not for everyone or every dog.
Bring your dog along if:
- Your dog is healthy, active and loves meeting new people. You’ll have a blast spending time together at your Disney World hotel!
- You won't be doing long park-open to park-close days every day of your visit and plan on spending lots of time at your resort.
- You have other destinations to head to after your Orlando vacation that are pet-friendly as well.
- You’re interested in traveling with your dog and want an excellent first experience for you both.
Leave your dog behind if:
- Your dog does not travel well, is aggressive toward or afraid of other dogs or people, or simply prefers to stay at — leaving them at home is a better option. Travel can be stressful, and visits from a pet sitter or a stay at a kennel at home may be a better idea.
- Your dog is unwell or elderly. The stress and excitement of travel may be too much for them, so take their current health into consideration before booking.
- Affordability is a concern. Weigh the extra pet fee and possibly the daycare fees against the cost of boarding your pet at home. One option may be less expensive than the other.
You can have a toadally awesome trip with your dog, provided you book at the right resort, make reservations in advance and bring along everything your pup needs to travel in comfort.
Do you take your furry friends on your theme park visits? What are your tips for bringing a pet to Disney World? Be sure to let us know in the comments below!