Hopping good news! You can now book Walt Disney World Resort hotels for 2021! It's a great time to lock in savings for vacations starting Jan. 1, 2021. More dates and hotels are being added, so if you don't see your dates, please check back! And you can now purchase Walt Disney World Resort theme park tickets for 2021 too!
If you're planning a trip to Walt Disney World Resort in 2020, the chances are good that you are staying at a Disney Resort hotel. After the temporary closure due to COVID-19, Disney has been implementing new health and safety measures all across the resort, including its hotels, theme parks and dining locations, to keep cast members and guests safe. Select Disney Resort hotels started reopening June 22, 2020, and will continue to do so gradually through the fall. Here's everything you need to know about the changes to housekeeping, transportation, amenities and more!
Reopening Dates for Disney Resort Hotels in 2020
Disney Vacation Club resorts at Walt Disney World and Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground began to reopen June 22. Disney Vacation Club resorts at Vero Beach, Fla., and Hilton Head, S.C., reopened to members and guests June 15.
Walt Disney World Resort hotels that are currently open include:
- 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 Beach Club Villas
- Disney’s BoardWalk Villas
- Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort
- Disney's Contemporary Resort
- Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground
- 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's Yacht Club Resort
- The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort
Disney has also announced that the following hotels will open on these specified dates:
- Sept. 21: Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
- Oct. 14: Disney's Coronado Springs Resort
- Nov. 1: Disney's Art of Animation Resort
- Summer 2021: Disney's Polynesian Village Resort
As the current health environment evolves, these dates are subject to change, and guests' reservations could still be modified to other Disney Resort hotels. Disney's Beach Club Resort and Disney's BoardWalk Inn previously shared reopening dates, but will remain closed until further notice at this time. Opening dates for the remaining Disney Resort hotels have not been scheduled yet at this time. If you booked your hotel stay with Undercover Tourist and your arrival dates are impacted by the resort's phased reopening, please contact us by phone at 1 (800) 846-1302 or by email at Info (at) UndercoverTourist.com — we're hoppy to help!
Disney Resort Hotel Health and Safety Policies
Before traveling to Florida, be sure to review any travel restrictions in place. Guests who are under self-quarantine orders may not enter Walt Disney World Resort. Those who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or have been in contact with someone with confirmed or suspected of having COVID-19 symptoms without completing a 14-day quarantine may not enter Walt Disney World Resort (including its resort hotels). By entering Walt Disney World Resort, you are confirming that your party understands and will abide by these health and safety requirements.
Much like the theme parks, hotel guests are subject to additional wellness screenings, including temperature screenings. Overnight guests will need a confirmed room reservation. You'll need a confirmed dining reservation to hop to a particular resort for a daytime visit. Face coverings are required for each guest age 2 and up in all public areas, except while swimming or seated for dining. To enter a theme park, both a park reservation and valid admission for the same park on the same date is required. It's important to note that a Disney Resort hotel reservation does not guarantee you entry to the theme parks.
Cleaning Measures in Place at Disney Resort Hotels in 2020
Prior to guests' arrival, rooms will undergo thorough cleaning, with special attention to high-touch areas such as remotes and door handles. Housekeeping tools will be cleaned between rooms, and floors will be steam cleaned and vacuumed between guests.
Guests will find extra linens and towels wrapped in single-use packaging, as well as individually wrapped glassware and double-cased pillows in their room. Housekeeping will perform a light cleaning service every other day, including removing trash and used towels, replenishing towels and amenities, wiping and cleaning surfaces and vacuuming. Guests, of course, can decline this ever-other-day service. (DVC Members will receive service on the fourth and eighth days of their stay, unless declined). If you have more than one room on your reservation and you choose to decline housekeeping, that selection will apply to all rooms on the reservation.
At the resorts themselves, common areas are also receiving enhanced cleaning measures at this time, including high-traffic areas such as elevators and escalators, handrails, benches, handles, restrooms and more.
Transportation and Parking at Disney Resort Hotels in 2020
Disney's Magical Express Service will remain available to guests during the initial reopening phase, as will complimentary resort transportation. However, beginning July 16, 2020, Disney’s Magical Express service will not be providing luggage delivery service for those arriving to and departing from the airport. Guests who choose to use Disney’s Magical Express service will be responsible for picking up any of their checked luggage from the airport’s baggage claim area, so that it can be loaded onto the motorcoach to their Disney Resort hotel.
Bus transportation will continue to run between Disney Resort hotels, Disney Springs and the theme parks. Each bus can hold six separate parties. Handrails are cleaned every 20 minutes, and the entire bus undergoes a deeper cleaning every two hours. The emergency roof hatch is lifted to provide additional airflow.
Overall, Disney transportation will operate with physical distancing measures in place, including reduced capacity, so give yourself a little extra time when hopping around the resort. Also keep in mind that the EPCOT monorail line is not currently running, so if you're staying at a Magic Kingdom area resort, you will need to take a bus to EPCOT.
Minnie Van Service will not be available during the initial reopening period. Self-parking will be available at resort hotels, though valet service will be unavailable (with the exception of guests with disabilities who require parking assistance). Parking fees still apply.
Changes to Disney Resort Hotel Services, Amenities and Recreation
Based on physical distancing and health guidelines, some Disney Resort hotel services may be modified or unavailable, including:
- Bell Services will deliver luggage to rooms, but will not escort guests.
- Club-level service will be temporarily unavailable.
- Deliveries will only be made to occupied rooms.
- In-room celebrations will not be available.
- Dry-cleaning and valet laundry services will be temporarily unavailable; self-service laundry will remain available.
- Shipping services will be temporarily unavailable.
- Resort airline check-in service may be temporarily unavailable.
You can expect the following changes to amenities and recreation at Walt Disney World Resort hotels:
- Select dining locations will be available at Disney Resort hotels, following the same general dining guidelines established resort-wide. You can find a resort-specific list of the restaurants available here.
- Feature pools may operate with reduced hours; leisure pools will be open 24 hours a day.
- Pools will operate with reduced capacity to allow for physical distancing.
- Select poolside activities may be available at select resort hotels.
- Stormalong Bay at Disney's Yacht and Beach Club Resorts will not be available during the initial reopening period. Guests of this Disney Resort hotel may enjoy the leisure pool at Disney's Beach Club Villas or the Luna Park Pool and leisure pool at Disney's BoardWalk Villas.
- Fitness centers will open in alignment with state and county regulations, and may have reduced hours and capacity.
- Instructor-led fitness classes will not be available.
- Fitness and sports courts will be open, and guests must maintain physical distancing.
- Activities and schedules will vary. The schedule of activities for your Disney Resort hotel will be shared during your stay.
- In merchandise locations throughout Walt Disney World Resort, guests will continue to discover favorite Disney items, with some modifications to the shopping experience that will help in managing capacity and fostering physical distancing.
- New collection product launches and limited-edition merchandise will not be available for in-person purchases at Walt Disney World Resort until further notice. As always, guests can find these items on shopDisney, subject to availability.
- Pin trading will be available with cast members through the use of pin boards in select locations. Cast pin trading with lanyards will not be available at this time to maintain physical distancing.
- Package delivery to the front of the theme parks or to Disney Resort hotels will be suspended. However, shipping merchandise to guests’ homes continues to be available.
- For the time being, dressing rooms will not be available.
- In-person returns will be available upon the reopening of merchandise locations.
The following Disney Resort hotel amenities and experiences will not be available during the initial reopening period:
- Character experiences
- Dog parks
- Electrical Water Pageant
- Marina rentals
- Pin trading (via cast members' lanyards)
- 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
My Disney Experience Enhancements for Disney Resort Hotel Guests
Before you go, don't froget to download the My Disney Experience app — the same handy-dandy app that helps you make dining reservations can also provide you with the most up-to-date policies around the resort and provides you with a mobile check-in option. We recommended checking in the day before, as you submit your contact information and expected arrival time. You can select a time before the normal 3 p.m. check-in time, but there is no guarantee that your room will be ready before then. On the day of your arrival, once your room is ready, you'll get a notification, including your room number. Then, you can proceed straight to your room and enter either using a MagicBand or the digital key feature straight from the app. On your scheduled checkout day, you'll automatically be checked out of your room.
You can skip a visit to the Front Desk unless you have a question about your folio. If this is your first visit to a Disney Resort hotel, you can create a PIN number during the mobile check-in, so you're able to make purchases using your MagicBand. However, if you don't remember your PIN number from a previous visit, you'll need to visit the Front Desk to reset it. Beginning June 22, guests will also be able to chat directly with a resort cast member in the My Disney Experience app for virtual assistance during their stay.
In 2021, Disney World plans bring the features of a MagicBand to guests' smart devices via the My Disney Experience app, building on the app’s existing digital key feature. That said, Disney will be retiring complimentary MagicBand distribution to Disney Resort hotel guests for new reservations with arrivals beginning Jan. 1, 2021. Disney Resort hotel guests will be able to purchase new MagicBands at a discount, but guests who choose not to purchase a discounted MagicBand will be able to use the My Disney Experience app or a Key to the World card during their visit instead. MagicBands will remain available in retail locations and on shopDisney.com, and guests will be able to continue using the wearables throughout Walt Disney World Resort.
The Frog Family's Experience at Disney's Contemporary Resort
Disney hosted our recent stay at Disney's Contemporary Resort. We utilized the Direct-to-Room service by starting the mobile check-in process through the My Disney Experience app. We checked in the night before our arrival, and it only took a few minutes! Our room ended up being ready an hour before the 3 p.m. check-in time, so we were able to drop off our stuff in the room and hop over to EPCOT earlier than we expected! We used our MagicBands to open the door, but as we mentioned, the My Disney Experience app has an "Unlock My Door" feature (which requires Bluetooth to be turned on).
We noticed that everything in our room was individually wrapped or packaged, including the TV remote and coffee cups. For our reference, there was an infographic on display about the enhanced cleaning measures that take place. Instead of large, refillable shampoo, conditioner and body wash dispensers, the bathroom had small individual bottles and toiletries.
When swimming at the pool, we did not have to wear our face coverings — only as we entered and exited the pool area. The lounge chairs are appropriately spaced, and there were signs asking guests not to move them. Poolside activities, such as hula hoop contests, still hoppened, and the feature pool's waterslide was available. Splish, splash!
The table-service restaurants required a quick temperature check before being seated. Chef Mickey's is not offering character dining at this time. Meanwhile, the quick-service restaurant, Contempo Cafe, offered mobile ordering. The gift shops had designated entrances and exits. Using the escalators to get to the second and fourth floors from the main lobby were highly recommended, as the elevators are limited to one family (or four individuals) at a time.
If taking Disney transportation, we recommend traveling during off-peak times if you don't want to wait. On our way to EPCOT, we were the only frogs on the bus because we hopped over in the afternoon. However, when we left EPCOT shortly after closing time, we had to wait about 30 minutes for a second bus (the first one reached capacity). The monorail line to EPCOT was not running, so taking the bus was the only option, aside from using a non-Disney, ride-share service. The next day, we took the monorail to Magic Kingdom! In addition to the normal security screening, we had to pass through a quick temperature check. Easy peasy!
Have any questions about the new changes and procedures at the Disney Resort hotels in 2020? Ask away in the comments below!