Walt Disney World continues to update the resort reopening timeline for 2021, with revised dates for hotels that were TBD. This looks at the schedule, how refurbishments and construction are delaying opening dates, and offers predictions for what’s next. (Updated September 20, 2021.)
As a quick recap, all Disney Vacation Club resorts welcomed guests back during the summer, before the parks even reopened. This included the DVC units in hotels that were–and still are–otherwise closed. The most extreme example of this is at Animal Kingdom Lodge, which is operating at about ~10% occupancy because the hotel rooms are not in use.
In the months since the parks reopened, Walt Disney World has resumed operations at numerous hotels, starting with those on the Skyliner gondola and monorail routes, and also opening some other properties that are only connected to the parks via bus transportation. At this point, most hotels either are operating or have reopening dates in Fall 2021. At least, they do for now.
Let’s start with a look at the resorts that are currently operating at Walt Disney World, followed by the hotel reopening timeline for 2021…
Walt Disney World Resorts – Now Open
Here are the Disney Vacation Club & Deluxe Villa resorts that are currently open at Walt Disney World:
- Animal Kingdom Villas – Jambo House
- Animal Kingdom Villas – Kidani Village
- Bay Lake Tower at Contemporary Resort
- Beach Club Villas
- BoardWalk Villas
- Boulder Ridge Villas at Wilderness Lodge
- Copper Creek Villas & Cabins at Wilderness Lodge
- Old Key West Resort
- Polynesian Villas & Bungalows
- Riviera Resort
- Saratoga Springs Resort
- Villas at Grand Floridian Resort
Here are the hotels open at Walt Disney World:
- All Star Movies Resort
- Animal Kingdom Lodge – Jambo House
- Art of Animation Resort
- Beach Club Resort
- BoardWalk Inn
- Caribbean Beach Resort
- Contemporary Resort
- Coronado Springs Resort & Gran Destino Tower
- Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
- Polynesian Village Resort
- Pop Century Resort
- Wilderness Lodge
- Yacht Club Resort
Note that it might appear some hotels are listed on the ‘currently open’ list above and the ‘reopening timeline’ below. However, that’s because some resorts have both standard hotel room wings and Disney Vacation Club villa wings. In many cases, only the DVC wings of the properties are open, with the hotel side yet to open.
2021 Walt Disney World Resort Reopening Timeline
Here’s the new timeline for 2021 Walt Disney World resort reopening dates:
- September 16, 2021 – Disney’s All-Star Music Resort (possibly delayed–see below)
- October 14, 2021 – Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside
- October 28, 2021 – Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter
December 9, 2021 – Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort
Now that the Port Orleans and All Star Resorts have reopening dates, all currently closed hotels have scheduled returns between now and 2021. Barring delay, every hotel at Walt Disney World will reopen before 2022.
September 20, 2021 Update: Walt Disney World has announced that the reopening of All Star Sports Resort has been delayed indefinitely, sending the following message:
At this time, Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort will remain closed while we take the opportunity to refresh the Sports theme area, and we look forward to sharing a new reopening date for rooms in the Sports theme at a later time.
Guests with upcoming reservations will receive communication via email and will be instructed to reach out to their Travel Professional to modify their stay, at no additional charge. This modification will have no impact to other vacation experiences that may be booked, such as Theme Park reservations or dining.
As a reminder, we’re excited to reopen Disney’s Port Orleans Resorts next month for our Guests, with bookings available beginning Oct. 14 for Riverside and Oct. 28 for French Quarter, subject to availability.
We’ve heard from readers who received this email for travel dates as far out as April 2022, which strongly suggests that All Star Sports is going to remain closed for a while. Prior to that, our guess was that All Star Sports would reopen around March 2022–guess not! (Please let us know in the comments if you got this email and are traveling in or after April 2022–we’re trying to figure out just how long this indefinite delay might be. Thanks in advance!)
Note that if you received this email, it means Walt Disney World will relocate you. Usually that means to another Value Resort, but it depends upon where there’s availability. Back when All Star Movies reopened, there was a lengthy stretch when that hotel was overbooked and Disney was regularly moving Movies guests to Grand Floridian as that was the resort with the best availability. Don’t count on that happening again, but the point is that upgrades are possible!
The most recent hotel to return is All Star Music Resort, which reopened on September 16, 2021. Despite some rumors that its reopening would be delayed due to weak bookings last month and this month, All Star Music is now back and operating as normal.
During the closure, All Star Music’s renovations project was finished. (See our Photos & Video: Newly Reimagined Rooms at the All Star Resorts post for more on the room overhaul.) In addition to the guest room overhaul, All Star Music also received a lobby refresh.
Before that, Animal Kingdom Lodge returned. This might seem insignificant since the Disney Vacation Club villas in Jambo House have been open for over a year. However, the vast majority of Jambo House is hotel rooms (~1,200 hotel rooms v. ~200 villas), so this is a lot of inventory for Walt Disney World to bring back online.
Along with the hotel rooms reopening, Boma – Flavors of Africa and Victoria Falls Lounge have both reopened, while Jiko – The Cooking Place remains closed. See our Boma Review: Walt Disney World’s Best Buffet is BACK! for more on our recent experience eating there.
Prior to that, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort returned in late July. We stayed in the new rooms at the Poly following its reopening, and share our thoughts, photos & video in Review: New Moana Rooms at Polynesian Village Resort.
Note that as of mid-September 2021, the porte-cochere, entrance, and monorail station are all finished, as well. Moreover, monorail service is now operating at the Poly!
Following that, the sister Port Orleans Resorts–Riverside and French Quarter will both reopen in October 2021.
Walt Disney World has expedited the return of the College Program and has gone on a hiring blitz, which will facilitate the return of both hotels shortly after Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary Celebration kicks off.
As with the All Star Resorts, our expectation is that the room refurbishment project underway at Port Orleans Riverside when the hotel closed will be finished when it reopens.
That means the Royal Rooms (pictured above) will likely have a new look upon returning.
Similarly, the likely reason that All Star Sports is reopening so much later than the other hotels is to accommodate its room reimagining. As noted above, this was scheduled but had not yet started when the closure occurred.
Undertaking this overhaul while the resort is not operating would expedite the project and mean that it doesn’t negatively impact guests. No one likes active construction at a hotel where they’re staying. So, bad news that All Star Sports won’t be back until December, but good news that it’ll be freshly-refurbished upon returning!
Ultimately, it’s great to see all hotels at Walt Disney World now having scheduled reopening dates. Even with the off-season downturn, demand should be there for bookings October 1, 2021 and beyond for the World’s Most Magical Celebration–Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary event. In fact, some hotels are totally sold out for fall and the holiday season–see What’s Up with Sold Out Walt Disney World Hotels?!
With the Port Orleans and All Star Resorts now having reopening dates, that means another ~10,000 hotel rooms will come back online between now and the end of October 2021. Obviously, this is a very significant number of rooms, and Walt Disney World has limited turn around time to book them. Most visitors to Walt Disney World book approximately 5 to 6 months in advance of traveling, and right now there’s roughly 3 months between today and October. The combination of that limited lead time coupled with the sheer number of rooms that’ll be returning around the same time is good news for Walt Disney World vacation planners. This might be a recipe for more aggressive discounts than what we’ve been seeing!
Planning a Walt Disney World trip? Learn about hotels on our Walt Disney World Hotels Reviews page. For where to eat, read our Walt Disney World Restaurant Reviews. To save money on tickets or determine which type to buy, read our Tips for Saving Money on Walt Disney World Tickets post. Our What to Pack for Disney Trips post takes a unique look at clever items to take. For what to do and when to do it, our Walt Disney World Ride Guides will help. For comprehensive advice, the best place to start is our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide for everything you need to know!
What do you think about these reopening dates for Walt Disney World hotels? Any surprises on this list for you? Excited that Port Orleans Riverside and French Quarter now have dates? Happy more Value Resorts are returning with the remaining All Stars set to reopen? Hopeful that more hotel dining will return by October 2021? Will you be attempting to visit Walt Disney World this year, or are you waiting until 2022? Do you agree or disagree with our advice? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback—even when you disagree with us—is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!