Walt Disney World continues to update the resort reopening timeline for 2021, with revised dates for hotels that were TBD and continuing delays. This looks at the schedule, how refurbishments and construction are impacting opening dates, and offers predictions for what’s next through 2022. (Updated May 30, 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 Summer 2021…
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
- Art of Animation Resort
- Beach Club Resort
- Caribbean Beach Resort
- Contemporary Resort
- Coronado Springs Resort & Gran Destino Tower
- Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
- Pop Century Resort
- 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:
- June 6, 2021 – Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
- July 2, 2021 – Disney’s BoardWalk Inn
- Late July 2021 – Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
Additionally, the following hotels do not have 2021 reopening dates yet:
- Disney’s All Star Music Resort
- Disney’s All Star Sports Resort
- Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge – Jambo House (hotel rooms)
- Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter
- Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside
Let’s start with the latest update to this list: Disney’s Beach Club Resort, which reopened on May 30, 2021.
This update is pretty uneventful, as both Yacht Club and the Beach Club Villas had been open since last summer. Accordingly, a lot of the shopping, dining, and recreation–including Stormalong Bay–had already been open for months. The major additions returning with Beach Club are Cape May Cafe and Hurricane Hanna’s.
Next up is Wilderness Lodge, which will reopen on June 6, 2021. This is another relatively uneventful one, as the DVC side of Wilderness Lodge has been open since last June, meaning the main lobby, most restaurants, and amenities returned long ago.
This delayed reopening was driven in large part by Wilderness Lodge’s big hotel room refurbishment, which began before the closure with the Club Level and higher floors of the hotel going down for overhauls. This room project is now finished. A lot has changed in these redesigned rooms–new feature wall art, walk-in showers, elevated beds, and removal of bunkbeds.
Following that, Disney’s BoardWalk Inn will return July 2, 2021. This makes sense from a couple perspectives. First, it’s Independence Day weekend, which is the peak of summer season. Second, the BoardWalk Villas have been open since last June and there are a lot of shared facilities between the two.
Hopefully having every Crescent Lake resort open will facilitate the reopening of all the restaurants in this area. We’re still anxiously awaiting the return of Flying Fish, Yachtsman Steakhouse, and Crew’s Cup Lounge.
Then there’s Polynesian Village Resort, which is officially slated to return in “Late July 2021” according to Walt Disney World. The reason for this delay is well-documented elsewhere, as we’ve done construction reports and recently shared a sneak peek at the Moana Room Makeover at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort.
Additionally, the porte cochere is in the midst of a dramatic overhaul that will feature a high-pitched, open-truss roof covered in a thatch style with pops of color. The Monorail station is essentially being rebuilt, and getting new wooden screens with tropical colors, adding to the open and airy vibe befitting of the South Seas.
Now let’s turn to resorts that do not yet have reopening dates. Of these, our expectation is that All Star Music will be next to return. Movies was the logical first choice of the All Stars to reopen because it’s the only one of the trio to complete the room redesign project prior to the closure of Walt Disney World.
All Star Music is the sensible second to return since its room overhaul was in progress at the time of the closure, and could be finished by now (or in short order) whereas work had not started at All Star Sports. (See our Photos & Video: Newly Reimagined Rooms at the All Star Resorts post for more on the room overhaul.)
Our expectation is that All Star Music will reopen in Late Summer 2021. There have already been rumors that it’s being prepped for a return, with Cast Members being relocated and hired for this resort.
This is not particularly surprising, as demand has been strong for the Value Resorts. In fact, All Star Movies has been overbooked to the point that there have been widespread and persistent reports of guests being upgraded from there to the Grand Floridian.
On the Moderate Resort level, there are both of the Port Orleans Resorts–Riverside and French Quarter. A few months ago, we said it was entirely possible neither Port Orleans Resort would reopen until 2022. However, that was when bookings at Coronado Springs were weak and Caribbean Beach was only busy on weekends and holidays.
A lot has changed since, and another Moderate Resort is needed for the summer tourist season. The problem at this point is not demand, but rather, staffing. Walt Disney World has expedited the return of the College Program and has gone on a hiring blitz, so we’d expect one of these to return as soon as possible. That could be another “Late Summer 2021” timeline. Port Orleans French Quarter probably makes more sense, as it has fewer rooms and a smaller footprint. That means it’s a less burdensome hotel, staffing-wise.
That leaves Port Orleans Riverside and All Star Sports. Both of these resorts have a lot of rooms, but the demand is already 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?!
Assuming Disney is able to hire enough new Cast Members and onboard College Program participants by September, our expectation is that both of these resorts will open by October. Failing that, Christmas 2021 is another possibility. It’s no longer likely that these hotels will remain closed until 2022, unless Disney’s staffing shortage stretches into next year.
Finally, there’s the last Deluxe Resort without a reopening date: Animal Kingdom Lodge – Jambo House. This is another one that is already operating in some capacity due to DVC rooms in the main building. However, there are considerably more hotel rooms in Jambo House than DVC units, so that’s a lot more of the resort that Disney would need to fill.
Moreover, demand has not been nearly as strong for Deluxe Resorts as Value or Moderates. That’s why both the Polynesian and Contemporary are undergoing room refurbishments, and several Deluxes have had their reopening dates pushed back. Nevertheless, an opening date for Jambo Hours around October 1, 2021 makes sense.
Ultimately, Walt Disney World has seen a shift from hotels having their reopening dates delayed due to a lack of demand–it was mostly locals who didn’t need rooms visiting the parks last year–to not reopening despite high demand due to a lack of staffing.
Obviously, a lack of Cast Members is not ideal…but it’s something Walt Disney World is actively working to fix. By mid-July 2021, the hiring blitz and return of the College Program should facilitate the return of more resorts and restaurants, which is great news. At this point, our expectation is that every remaining closed hotel without a reopening date is returning as soon as possible. Walt Disney World won’t delay anything into 2022, so long as they have the employees to open and operate the remaining hotels.
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 Beach Club and Wilderness Lodge now have dates? Hopeful that Port Orleans Riverside and French Quarter 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!