Now that Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort is welcoming guests again, all of the Disney World hotels are officially open! But that doesn’t mean that we won’t still see some serious changes in the near future. In fact, there are a LOT of planned projects at Disney’s resorts.
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.
We’ve since seen parts of the area that housed the Spirit of Aloha show demolished at this resort, so things truly are moving along when it comes to this project.
At Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, the Big Pine Key building is being refurbished to become 200 Disney Vacation Club Resort Studios. This project officially started construction on March 1st, 2022, and it’s expected to finish sometime in the summer of 2022.
DVC Vacation Club members and the general public could start booking the new rooms in March for dates starting as early as June 20th, 2022. So should already be able to stay in one of these updated rooms, though keep in mind that some construction in parts of the resort may still be taking place during your stay.
The new rooms have a Mary Poppins Returns theme, with details in the room pointing to the movie. On our tour of a model for the new DVC Resort Studios, we spotted several subtle nods to the story, including glass birds on the chandelier, images of umbrellas on the air vent, and a pastel color scheme.
Some other DVC rooms were being refurbished as well, including the Deluxe Studios and the villas. Among other refurbishments, Disney is adding new pull-out beds to these rooms.
The extra beds should mean that more people can stay in each room once all of the refurbishments are complete!
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 2023.
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, there will also be a new coffee shop located just off the hotel’s lobby. This spot will serve artisanal beverages and snacks that are available to-go, although there will also be some seating both inside and outdoors.
But dining isn’t the only thing getting an upgrade at the BoardWalk Inn. Disney said that the hotel itself — including the lobby, lounge, and guest rooms — will be “reinvigorated” with some “light and airy touches.”
We don’t have any specifics for this renovation, except that the changes are meant to “carry the seaside breeze right inside” with new seating spaces inside and outdoors.
All Disney World Hotels
Some big changes are coming to all of Disney World’s hotels soon!
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. During your visit, housekeeping generally does 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.
But this is starting to change at some Disney World hotels! For example, at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort, a Cast Member told us that guests will receive full housekeeping every day. At some other hotels, housekeeping remains modified with various schedules.
We’re expecting Disney to continue to move back to full housekeeping every day, but they have not announced yet when or if this change could take place.
“Hey, Disney” Devices
Disney announced that, as part of the 50th Anniversary celebrations in Disney World, they will be 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 will be able to answer questions, set alarms, introduce guests to Disney characters, and more. Disney has said that 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?” During a media preview event, one of the Disney representatives asked the service for a joke and Dory appeared on the screen with some funny quips!
According to Disney, guests can discover “more than a thousand magical interactions, such as hearing special greetings and jokes from authentic Disney character voices, asking trivia questions, and exploring audio environments inspired by Disney films and destinations.”
Disney has said that this feature will be offered as an optional and complimentary addition to a Disney World hotel stay. It should start coming to hotel rooms sometime in 2022!
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.
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Which of these changes are you looking forward to the most? Let us know in the comments.