Change. It’s a powerful word — a word that could mean so many good things and bring so much happiness, or could signal the loss of something important and bring lots of disappointments. And it’s a word we’ve heard (and used) a LOT lately thanks to all of the CHANGES (there we go again!) taking place in the Disney parks and resorts.
Within the last few years and even just the last few months, Disney’s hotels have changed in a particularly big way. We’ve seen Moana-inspired rooms open at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, a NEW coffee shop open at Disney’s BoardWalk Inn, and other projects announced for Disney’s future. So, what will 2023 be like at the Resort hotels? What major changes should YOU expect? We’re breaking it all down for you here.
H2O+ Products *Could* Disappear
Back in August of 2022, we shared that the BELOVED provider of Disney’s bath and body products in the hotels — H2O+ — would be retiring at the end of 2022. And yes, some of us may have shed a few tears. For a limited time, items were available on shopDisney, though they subsequently sold out.
A press release about the end of H2O+ previously indicated that H2O+ would “fulfill its obligation to supply products, etc., in accordance with agreements with its business partners, and proceed with dissolution procedures during the second half of 2023. Subsequently, the liquidation will be concluded upon the completion of the necessary procedures.”
So we expect that after fulfilling its current obligation to supply products to Disney and proceeding with those dissolution procedures in the second half of 2023, H2O+ products could start to disappear from Disney World hotels.
Keep in mind, Disney hasn’t announced an end date for their partnership with H2O+ and has not announced when products could potentially leave the hotel rooms. This is just based on the press release and the dissolution of the H2O+ company. Things are subject to change. The big takeaway we want you to get from this is to at least be mentally prepared for the potential that those beloved products could disappear from Disney World hotel rooms at some point this year.
Click here to see more about the end of H2O+
Quite a few construction projects are going on at Disney’s hotels. Let’s go through some of the big ones here!
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
From February 1st, 2023 through September 2023, refurbishment work is scheduled for Animal Kingdom Lodge’s Kidani Village. If you’re planning to stay at Kidani Village this year, be aware of this refurbishment as you might encounter some construction barriers, additional noises, and perhaps even some restricted amenities.
If you want the full Animal Kingdom Lodge without the construction, consider moving your reservation over to the Jambo House, or postponing your plans until after the construction concludes.
Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
When it comes to the restaurants at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, Narcoossee’s is undergoing some important changes! The restaurant closed on July 14th, 2022, and will reopen on April 1, 2023! Advance Dining Reservations are NOW OPEN for booking.
Construction has also been ongoing at the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, most recently at the Conch Key building. There has been some scaffolding up around parts of the building and construction could impact noise levels during the day here, so just keep that in mind.
Aside from Narcoosee’s, the iconic lobby at the Grand Floridian is also set to be refurbished soon. Thus far, Disney has only indicated that the lobby will “will maintain the classic theming [guests] know and love with some fresh new enhancements.”
Could the lobby get a Mary Poppins Returns theme like Citricos did? Disney hasn’t revealed that yet. Only time will tell!
Click here to see our full post about the changes coming to the lobby
Disney’s BoardWalk Inn
At Disney’s BoardWalk Inn, more changes are underway! We’ve already seen BoardWalk Deli take the place of the BoardWalk Bakery, and a NEW coffee shop — Carousel Coffee — has opened up near the lobby. But more is on the way.
In terms of restaurants, the ESPN Club has CLOSED and is being partially demolished. In its place will be a brand NEW restaurant called the Cake Bake Shop, which will feature sweet and savory menus, afternoon tea, a table service side, and quick service items too! That is set to open at some point in 2023.
In terms of the hotel itself, the Belle Vue Lounge already got an updated look, and the lobby and guest rooms at the hotel are being refurbished, too. They are getting a “reinvigorated” look that’ll have “light and airy touches” and “carry and seaside breeze right inside.”
“Newly refreshed” seating spaces inside and outside are also expected to come to the hotel, and the Concierge Lounge closed for refurbishment on March 11th. While we don’t have an exact date that it will reopen, we do know that it will last until the end of April.
See more about the BoardWalk Inn’s restaurants here
Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground
At Fort Wilderness, Trail’s End Restaurant is going to close for refurbishment this coming spring. (Though an official closing date has not been announced, signs point to a possible early May closure.)
It will reopen later this year as “a marketplace concept with expanded quick service options.” The table service option will no longer be offered. We will keep you posted as more information is revealed!
Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
At the Polynesian, we’ve already seen new Moana rooms debut (as we mentioned above), but 2023 is sure to be full of MORE construction updates from this resort. In March of 2022, Disney revealed that the Polynesian is being EXPANDED with NEW Disney Vacation Club villas! They are set to be inspired by early concepts of the resort, and there will be new recreation and dining offerings in addition to the new rooms.
The Spirit of Aloha show has closed, and the building has been demolished to create space for this addition.
The new villas aren’t expected to open until late 2024, but we’ve already seen lots of construction taking place and expect that 2023 will be full of the same.
Click here for the latest update on the construction at the Polynesian!
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. Thus far, Disney hasn’t announced how exactly the refurbishments will impact the rooms, what refurbished rooms will look like, or any other details, but we’re on the lookout for more information!
Click here to see our full post on these room changes
Disney’s BoardWalk Inn
As we mentioned earlier, one of SEVERAL projects taking place at Disney’s BoardWalk Inn includes a refreshment to the guest rooms.
Disney shared a few photos that offer a bit of a sneak peek, and you can see more here! Disney also mentioned that the newly refurbished rooms at BoardWalk would be available for guests VERY soon (though we don’t yet know an exact date)!
Get a sneak peek at the NEW look for the BoardWalk Inn guest rooms here!
Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort
Over at Caribbean Beach, more room changes are taking place! In 2022, Disney revealed that the hotel’s pirate-themed rooms would NOT be available in 2023. We later learned that the rooms would be 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 will have new artwork, brighter decor, pastel colors, and a 5th sleeper bed that will let each room fit more guests (so, invite your cousin Shelby to the next trip, she can fit in the room!).
The rooms that will be refurbished are in the Trinidad section of the hotel and the refurbishment is already underway.
The rooms are expected to become available in 2023! We can’t wait to see them and give you a full tour. If you’re planning on visiting in 2023, stay tuned for more details as to exactly when these new rooms will become available to stay in.
Click here for our full post on these room changes
If a trip to the hotel pool is a MUST during your vacation, be WARNED. Several hotel pools are undergoing refurbishment this year.
Beginning in January and lasting until late March, the High Rock Spring Pool is closed for refurbishment at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa. During this time, the On The Rocks Pool Bar is also be closed.
The leisure pool at Treehouse Villas is also closed during this time, so keep that in mind.
Also, from January 9th through early April 2023, the feature pool and whirlpool spa is closed at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. During this time, however, the water play area and Bay Look Pool are still available.
The Meadow Swimmin’ Pool and whirlpool spa at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campgrounds is also closed from early January (January 9th) through early April 2023. But, don’t fret! During this time, the water play area, Meadow Snack Bar, and Wilderness Swimmin’ Pool and the whirlpool spa near there remain open.
That’s a decent amount of pool closures to keep in mind! If you’ll be visiting a Disney World hotel in 2023 and pools are a must-do for you, be sure to check with the hotel for any upcoming closures so you can be prepared.
No More Parking Fees
2023 brought a HUGE change that many fans are likely thrilled about. Starting on the evening of January 10th, 2023, FREE overnight self-parking returned to Disney World’s hotels (for those staying at the hotels).
So if you stay at a Disney World hotel this year, you can remove those parking fees from your budget! But, keep in mind that hotel, ticket, food, and merchandise prices can change (and increase a lot!) so you’ll need to evaluate that budget carefully and see what costs might be higher now than you might have previously expected.
Click here to see our full post on the return of free parking
But wait…there’s MORE! In terms of other changes at the Disney World hotels in 2023, at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Chef Mickey’s — a Character Dining experience featuring every single one of The Fab Five: Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, and Pluto — has switched BACK to buffet service once again as of March 1st, 2023! (Previously, Chef Mickey’s was serving an all-you-care-to-enjoy Family Feast, featuring a family-style dining experience, but now the spot is offering its traditional Buffet.)
Also, 2023 marks the end of the 50th Anniversary celebration in Disney World. The festivities will only last through March 31st, 2023. After that time, we expect some special 50th Anniversary touches could go away. At the hotels, that could mean the end of any 50th Anniversary snacks, the removal of 50th Anniversary-specific decor, and the end of other 50th-specific offerings.
For example, during the 50th Anniversary, characters made surprise visits to the hotels in their 50th Anniversary outfits. While the character caravans could continue, we expect the 50th Anniversary outfits would go away.
Additionally, for the 50th Anniversary, California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort has been serving a special prix fixe menu. Starting April 1st, 2023, California Grill will serve a 3-course selection menu featuring “contemporary, market-inspired cuisine.”
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!
Step inside the NEW Rosa Mexicano with us by clicking HERE!
Another thing we wanted to point out is that Disney has announced a Dining Promo Card offer for 2023! We saw something similar to this done for select guests last year. We have also seen Quick Service Dining Cards offered in the past, but this seems to be a more expanded offer.
The Dining Promo Card offer applies to trips booked for arrival dates between July 1st, 2023, and September 14th, 2023. (Other dates might qualify too so be sure to ask). If you book a minimum 5-night stay at a Disney World Resort with at least 4 days of tickets, you could be eligible to get a Dining Promo Card.
That Promo Card can then be used at select restaurants throughout Disney World. Basically, it’s similar to a gift card…but for restaurants!
We’ve got ALL the details you need to know about this offer, so check out our posts below for more:
- Is This Disney World’s Answer to the Dining Plan in 2023? Dining Promo Card Details
- How Disney’s NEW Dining Promo Card Clues Us in to the Future of the Dining Plan
- When You Should Say NO to Disney World’s New Dining Package
- How to Get OVER $1000 With Disney World’s New Dining Offer!
- 24 Restaurants To Visit To Make the MOST of Your Disney World Dining Promo Card
- What Is a Dining Promo Card and How Do You Use It in Disney World? We Have the Answers
And finally, we have a potential change that could impact Disney World hotels in 2023. Hey, Disney is a service being created with Amazon’s Alexa that will offer “custom voice assistance” to guests at Disney World hotels and Disneyland. Basically, it’s a digital service that’ll answer your questions about the parks, can help you order extra things like pillows, and can also provide interactive elements (like jokes!).
The system was set to debut in the hotels in 2022, but so far all we’ve seen is limited testing announced for the rooms at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. But the service is expected to launch soon for select Amazon Alexa devices you might already have in your home, and Disney did indicate that the initial launch at the Polynesian would be taking place “before expanding in phases to additional Disney Resort hotel rooms across Walt Disney World.”
So 2023 could finally bring these devices to many more Disney World hotel rooms. We’ll be on the lookout for more updates there!
You can see “Hey, Disney!” in action HERE!
And that’s our COMPLETE list of the ways in which Disney World hotels are CHANGING in 2023! For more hotel info, click here to learn about the WORST Disney World hotels for 2023, and click here to see 25 things you should NEVER do at Disney World hotel rooms.
And, as always, stay tuned for more news!
Click here to see why you should be CAREFUL staying at these Disney World hotels in 2023
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What other CHANGES do you hope will be made at Disney World’s hotels? Tell us in the comments!
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