Things at Disney World are constantly changing.
Whether you’re looking to stay at a Disney hotel during your next visit, or just looking to stop by to grab a meal at one of the hotel restaurants, these are the 5 updates that could change your vacation plans.
1 — Lots of Changes at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows are currently open and available for guests. Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort (meaning non-Vacation Club rooms) was most recently set to reopen on October 4th, but we shared with you yesterday that the resort will not be reopening until summer 2021.
While the resort is closed, refurbishment work will be completed. As part of the refurbishment, guest rooms will get a Moana-inspired makeover. Enhancements will also be made to the Great Ceremonial House. Work on this project is expected to begin in October.
Also in October, the Monorail station at the Polynesian will close temporarily and remain closed likely until 2021. But, bus transportation to Magic Kingdom will be provided to guests at this hotel starting in October. Monorail access is one of the greatest perks of staying at a deluxe resort like the Polynesian, so if hopping on the Monorail every morning to rope drop Magic Kingdom was part of your vacation plans, you’ll have to consider whether you should stay at another resort.
If you were planning to stay at the Polynesian Resort in 2020 or even early 2021, your vacation plans will definitely be impacted by these changes. Disney will be accommodating guests who are affected by this at a different Disney World Resort hotel for no additional charge. If you had an upcoming reservation at Polynesian Village Resort, keep an eye out for an email from Disney.
Although the Villas and Bungalows will remain open, guests staying there will also be impacted by these changes. Parts of the hotel, including the Great Ceremonial House, will be undergoing refurbishment, meaning there will likely be a bit more noise and commotion in those areas at certain times of the day and shopping and dining in this area could potentially be impacted.
Other guests will be impacted by these changes as well. If you had plans to end your Magic Kingdom park day with a quick hop on the monorail and dinner at Kona Cafe, that won’t exactly be a direct option anymore. Guests will still be able to take the monorail or ferry from Magic Kingdom to the Ticket and Transportation Center, and then walk over to the Polynesian, but it would just require a bit more planning and effort.
Once construction is complete, however, fans of Moana may actually want to change their reservations to be able to stay at the Polynesian instead of whatever hotel they were booked at to enjoy the remodeled spaces. We’ll definitely keep an eye out for any more updates from this hotel.
2 — Temperature Checks at Disney Resort Hotel Restaurants
In July, Disney announced that it would be instituting temperature screenings for guests dining in table-service restaurants at Disney Resort hotels. Guests have to undergo these screenings prior to entering dining locations.
Any guest with a temperature of 100.4 F or above is then directed to additional rescreening. If their temperature remains high, they, along with their party, won’t be permitted to enter. Temperature checks are now required at the theme parks, Disney Springs, and table-service restaurants at the Walt Disney World Resort hotels.
The temperature check is just something to keep in mind as you make your plans to dine at a hotel restaurant. Most importantly, you’ll want to be mindful that if anyone in your party has a temperature of 100.4 F or above, your entire party will not be allowed to dine at the restaurant.
3 — In-Room Dining
But, recently we got confirmation that in-room dining had in fact returned to Disney’s Yacht Club Resort. The room-service menu is currently limited, but it is still interesting to see that it has returned.
While we have not seen any official announcements from Disney, it’s possible that in-room dining will slowly begin again at other resorts on property. If you love sleeping in late, ordering room service, and enjoying a relaxing meal in your resort room, you’ll definitely want to keep in mind that this is not an option at any of the Disney hotels except the Yacht Club at the moment.
But, it may become available in the future. This may be a particularly nice option for those guests looking to enjoy a meal in a more private location for purposes of maximizing social distancing. We’ll definitely be on the lookout for more updates there.
4 — Hotel Reopening Date Changes
Aside from the Polynesian, other resort hotels have had their reopening dates change in the past. Initially, Art of Animation Resort was set to reopen on August 12th. Now, Art of Animation is set to reopen on November 1st. Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa is currently scheduled to reopen it’s non-DVC rooms on September 21st, and Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort is set to reopen on October 14th.
Although Disney’s Beach Club Resort and Disney’s BoardWalk Inn were both supposed to reopen August 24th and October 1st respectively, they have now both been removed from the reopening calendar. The All-Star Resorts are still awaiting reopening dates as well.
As we noted before, things in Disney World are constantly changing. So, it’s possible that some of these resorts’ reopening dates will be changed, and it’s possible that those resorts that have been removed from the reopening calendar will remain closed for an extended period of time.
We’ll definitely be watching for more updates from Disney to see if they issue any updates related to these resorts. While Disney’s Yacht Club Resort did in fact open as scheduled recently, it’s possible that more changes are still in store for those resorts that have not yet reopened.
5 — Resort Hopping: Can You Do It Anymore?
If you’re like us, grabbing lunch at one resort, merchandise at another, and a mid-day snack at a third sounds like a dream day. We could easily spend our entire vacation just enjoying the resort hotels. But, can you resort hop anymore with all of the new rules in place?
According to the Disney World website, just to get INTO a Disney World hotel right guests will need a confirmed room reservation, or a confirmed dining reservation (if you’re a day guest not staying overnight).
So, can you really resort hop anymore? The answer is yes and no. Our experience has really varied depending on what resort we’ve tried to get into. Oftentimes, it depends on the Cast Members you encounter when you’re trying to enter the resort.
One of our biggest recommendations to accomplish your resort hopping plans is to have a dining reservation or a Mobile Order placed for pick-up at the resort you’re trying to visit. Generally, the Cast Members we’ve encountered have been fine with us being at the resort if we were dining in or picking up some delicious treats.
Keep in mind, it’s also easier to hop to certain resorts like those on the Resort Monorail loop or those with access to Disney’s Skyliner because you can avoid having to use a car or rideshare to get there. Other hotels, like the Beach Club and Yacht Club are also easy to walk to from EPCOT.
If you don’t have a dining reservation, you can now put your name on a waitlist for some resort restaurants which could also enhance your resort hopping experience. If you love to spend some of your vacation exploring the resorts, just be sure to keep these rules in mind. If you’re driving to a resort in your own car or through the use of a rideshare service, be prepared to potentially be turned away if you don’t have a reservation or mobile order.
Consider visiting the resorts that are easier to access without your car if you want to simplify your resort hopping experience.
We’re always on the watch for more updates and changes affecting the Disney parks and resorts. Keep coming back for the latest in Disney World news.
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Will you be staying at or visiting a Disney resort hotel during your next visit to Disney World? Let us know in the comments!