There are a LOT of planned projects for Disney World Resort hotels.
From redecorated rooms to new restaurants and updated check-out procedures to fancy technology, there are quite a few changes coming to Disney World’s hotels. It can be tough to keep all of the projects straight, so we’ve got a complete list of ALL the changes that are in the works here! Check out the updates and see if any of these will affect your upcoming vacation.
Some of the changes we found are happening at individual hotels, and then there are some big changes coming to ALL of Disney World’s hotels. Let’s start out with the individual changes, most of which are happening at the Magic Kingdom Monorail resorts.
At Disney’s Contemporary Resort, many hotel rooms are being redesigned with an Incredibles theme!
Some of the rooms are already open to guests, so we’ve been inside and taken you on a full virtual tour already. But this project isn’t quite finished yet! All 9 floors of guest rooms in the tower are being completely refurbished with this new theme.
Once the tower guest rooms are finished, they’ll begin work on the rooms in the Garden Wing, out on the shore of Bay Lake.
This project still has a ways to go, with many rooms being refurbished over time. But the good news is that you can stay in some of the finished Incredibles rooms now!
There’s going to be a MAJOR addition coming to Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort in the next few years. Disney announced a brand-new Disney Vacation Club building, which will house DVC villas as well as new recreation and dining options.
These villas are expected to open in late 2024, and they’re “inspired by the early concepts for Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort,” according to Disney.
Unfortunately, the new DVC building is taking the place of the Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show, which used to feature an all-you-can-eat menu along with a luau. This dinner show did not return when the theme parks reopened in 2020, and now it has been closed permanently.
Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa is celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2023! And, it’s getting a bit of a sprucing up for its birthday, too. The resort has undergone a LOT of changes in recent years with the opening of new Disney Vacation Club villas, an updated Narcoossee’s restaurant, and changes at Citricos and Victoria & Albert’s, too.
And the renovations continue! The Disney World website does warn that the hotel “is currently undergoing refurbishment. Guests will be able to see and hear construction around the resort – including the lobby – during daytime hours.” But, they note that “Most Resort hotel amenities will remain available.”
Ultimately, the lobby itself will also receive its own refurbishment. Disney has shared that the new look “will maintain the classic theming [guests] know and love with some fresh new enhancements.”
There are a LOT of changes in store for Disney’s BoardWalk Inn. This resort will be getting a NEW table-service restaurant called The Cake Bake Shop by Gwendolyn Rogers. This restaurant already has a couple of locations in Indiana, but this will be the first location in Disney World.
The new restaurant features lots of tasty-looking cakes (of course), as well as other treats in the bakery section like cookies and pies.
The restaurant is a full table-service spot with an option for an afternoon tea service as well. Existing Cake Bake Shop locations serve brunch-style dishes like quiche, sandwiches, soups, and more. So we could see options like that at the Disney World location as well! The Cake Bake Shop will open in early 2024.
We actually got an exclusive interview with Gwendolyn Rogers, the owner of The Cake Bake Shop, and she revealed some great details about special decor that could come to the Disney World spot, private rooms that will be available, and more. Click here to read the full interview!
In addition to those dining changes, a new coffee shop has also opened in the lobby. This spot serves artisanal beverages and snacks that are available to-go, although there is some seating both inside and outdoors.
AND Blue Ribbon Corn Dogs is coming to Disney World’s BoardWalk Inn later this year!
But dining isn’t the only thing getting an upgrade at the BoardWalk Inn. The hotel itself — including the lobby — is being “reinvigorated” with some “light and airy touches.”
For instance, newly refreshed spaces inside and outside are debuting at the hotel.
The new rooms look bright and modern, but still manage to capture that classic BoardWalk vibe, and you can explore the refreshed look with a video and photos HERE.
Disney’s Beach Club Resort
Over at Disney’s Beach Club Resort, some room changes will be taking place in 2023. Thus far, Disney has shared that the refurbishment, which started on January 7th, will last through late this fall.
The Resort’s amenities will continue to be available, but you might hear some construction during the day.
These photos are from a Club Level room, but the hotel hopes to have the rest of the rooms at the resort upgraded by October.
Additionally, work on the Beach Club lobby began in June 2023.
You’ll notice signs in the area notifying of any currently inaccessible areas, and Cast Members can redirect you regarding the best way to get to your destination accordingly.
Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort
Over at Caribbean Beach, more room changes have taken place! In 2022, Disney revealed that the hotel’s pirate-themed rooms would NOT be available in 2023.
We later learned that the rooms were being refurbished and decorated with “characters from under the sea.” Then we finally got the big reveal — a look INSIDE these new rooms with theming inspired by The Little Mermaid! The updated rooms have new artwork, brighter decor, pastel colors, and a 5th sleeper bed that let each room fit more guests (so, invite your cousin Shelby to the next trip, she can fit in the room!).
The refurbished rooms are located specifically in the Trinidad section of the hotel.
Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort
Heading over the value resorts, All-Star Sports is the last of the All-Star resorts to get a room upgrade. The refurbishments are in progress currently but should be completed sometime this year.
So far, a few sections of the resort have been completed, and the updated rooms look very similar to the new ones at All-Star Movies and All-Star Music, with two queen beds (one of which is a Murphy bed).
Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground
Trail’s End Restaurant at Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground closed in mid-April to undergo a MAJOR refurbishment and it reopened on July 27th! The family-style table service option is gone, and the restaurant now features “a marketplace concept with expanded quick service options.”
The “refreshed marketplace concept” includes an on-stage pizza station where you can get just a slice or a whole pie. Both chilled and hot items are offered in the Grab and Go section and include items such as pecan-smoked whole chicken or brisket, and a rack of pork ribs — and fried chicken! Sides are available by the pound — including macaroni & cheese, plant-based cowboy beans, and mashed potatoes. Homestyle meals and classic Quick Service options are also on offer. WHEW! But that’s not all…
Crockett’s Tavern has been refreshed as a lounge with expanded seating, both indoors and outdoors. The inside of the restaurant has new seating and continues to feature lots of charming rustic accents.
AND Disney Vacation Club has announced its plan to redesign the cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground. The proposal calls for more than 350 refreshed cabins to replace the existing cabins at the resort.
Although the new cabins will be part of the Disney Vacation Club resort lineup, the proposed cabins will be open for reservations to all guests, including those who are not Disney Vacation Club Members. So far, the concept art shows modern cabins “inspired by the resort’s idyllic setting, while also paying homage to the resort’s unique culture and heritage through the magic of Disney storytelling,” per Disney.
Cabins will sleep up to six adults and feature a bedroom, bathroom, living room, full kitchen, and private patio. Disney noted that a select number of cabins will be dog-friendly. Currently, Disney expects the new Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort to open in 2024.
Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotels
In March, Rosa Mexicano opened its first Orlando-area location at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin! The new restaurant offers “an elevated fiesta dining experience” which includes signature menu items and award-winning margaritas.
You can check out our very first visit HERE!
Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser
Though it’s by no means a traditional hotel, we still feel compelled to note that in May 2023, Disney announced that the Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser will be closing permanently. The final voyage for the Star Wars Hotel will be September 28th-30th, 2023. For the time being, new bookings will be temporarily paused. Disney will be contacting those who had bookings from September 30th through the end of the year. Bookings will then reopen on May 26th for voyages on the Starcruiser until its final “trip.”
Here’s the statement a Disney spokesperson has released on the matter: “Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser is one of our most creative projects ever and has been praised by our guests and recognized for setting a new bar for innovation and immersive entertainment. This premium, boutique experience gave us the opportunity to try new things on a smaller scale of 100 rooms, and as we prepare for its final voyage, we will take what we’ve learned to create future experiences that can reach more of our guests and fans.”
Obviously, if this is something you’d planned on visiting, a 2023 trip is necessary to experience it.
All Disney World Hotels
Some big changes are coming to all of Disney World’s hotels!
First of all, Disney is changing how you check out of your hotel room. There’s already a feature on the My Disney Experience app for guests to check into their hotel rooms without even stopping at the front desk, but now guests can use the same app to check out as well.
Currently, automatic check-out means guests are checked out of their hotel room at 11AM on the day of their departure, and any remaining charges are sent to the email on file. But the new Mobile Check-Out means guests can view their charges on the My Disney Experience app and check out of their room as soon as they leave.
To use the feature, guests will need to have a credit card on file (or a zero-dollar balance). You can find out if you meet this criteria by opening the My Disney Experience app, going to your reservation details, and selecting “view charges.” From there, you can view and approve all charges.
Once you’re finished, you can hit “Check Out Now” in the “Mobile Resort Checkout module” to begin your checkout process. Note that guests will still be able to charge purchases to their room during the day if they use the Mobile Resort Checkout feature.
This feature was only available at a limited number of Disney World hotels initially, but seems to have expanded since then as the Disney World website no longer specifies that it is only available at a limited number of resorts. Be sure to check and see if this feature is available for you during your Disney World hotel stay.
When Disney World’s hotels reopened in 2020, housekeeping looked a little different. And many of those changes have stuck around to this day! Prior to guests’ arrival, the room undergoes a “thorough cleaning” with special attention paid to high-touch areas.
Some items in the rooms are individually wrapped to show that they have been cleaned, such as remotes and cups.
For a time during a guest’s stay, housekeeping generally did a “light” cleaning service every other day, which includes removing trash and used towels, replenishing towels, wiping the vanity and counters, and vacuuming as needed. However, THIS HAS CHANGED in Disney World hotels!
You see, as of the end of February 2023, full housekeeping room cleanings are once again available at ALL Disney World Resort hotel rooms! This includes replenishing amenities, changing and restocking linens, vacuuming, cleaning the bathrooms, making the beds — the WORKS. You can read more here!
“Hey, Disney” Devices
Disney World is introducing new “Hey Disney!” devices into hotel rooms. “Hey Disney!” is a “magical companion” that uses Alexa technology for supported Amazon Echo devices to assist guests with a variety of questions and requests.
The devices can answer questions, set alarms, introduce guests to Disney characters, and more. You can even ask, “Hey Disney! Can we have some extra towels?” and a Cast Member will bring them to your room.
More examples of questions that you can ask “Hey Disney!” include “Hey Disney! When does the next bus to EPCOT depart?” and “Hey Disney! When does Magic Kingdom open today?”
In late November 2022, “Hey Disney!” made its debut in a testing phase in a limited number of rooms at Disney World’s Polynesian Village Resort.
Disney had previously shared that this initial launch is taking place “before expanding in phases to additional Disney Resort hotel rooms across Walt Disney World.”
In May 2023, we saw that the ‘Hey, Disney!’ Alexa Voice Assistant had been added a room at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, and we’ve also been informed that “Hey, Disney!” has arrived at Port Orleans Resort — French Quarter and Saratoga Springs Resort, so the rollout to other Resorts has officially begun!
And that’s it so far for our look at ALL the changes announced for Disney World’s hotels! We’re sure Disney has plenty more projects in the works, so stay tuned with DFB for all the latest news and updates.
Which of these changes are you looking forward to the most? Let us know in the comments.