2023-2024 Hotel Construction & Refurbishments at Disney World
Hotel refurbishments, resort construction, and character-inspired makeovers continue at Walt Disney World in 2023. This resource provides info on room renovations, what to avoid, where to book, and what to expect in terms of hotel work at Walt Disney World. (Updated February 24, 2023.)
Walt Disney World continues to undertake refurbishments as staffing shortages preclude full occupancy of the resorts. Consequently, there are a number of smaller-scale projects that take certain buildings or a portion of rooms out of commission as part of more-targeted, rolling refurbishments.
We do Walt Disney World monthly hotel stays, usually emphasizing resorts where there are new things, changes, or ongoing construction to see how that harms, improves, or otherwise impacts the guest experience. If you’ve yet to book a hotel for your upcoming Walt Disney World vacation and want to be notified about all of the latest resort changes, sign up here for our FREE Disney newsletter here.
When booking a Walt Disney World vacation, we highly recommend taking into account recently-completed and ongoing construction projects at the various resorts, as these absolutely can impact the quality of your trip. Booking a hotel with a closed pool or construction noise and cranes right outside your window is obviously going to be a worse experience than a resort that just finished its big refurbishment and still has that fresh feeling and ‘new hotel’ smell.
Note that this does not include DVC villas if they do not impact the hotel side of a resort. For those projects, see our 2023-2024 Disney Vacation Club Resort Refurbishments & Construction Timeline. That covers all of the room reimaginings at Walt Disney World, Disneyland, and beyond that we just announced at the condo association meeting. Those projects also impact Boulder Ridge, Bay Lake Tower, and both Crescent Lake DVC resorts.
Suffice to say, a lot is happening on the hotel front at Walt Disney World. Let’s take a look at all of the current and upcoming major hotel projects that have the potential to impact guests…
Ongoing or Upcoming Hotel Refurbishments
All Star Movies – While the room renovations at Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort are now finished, more updates are expected in the next couple of years.
Looking way down the road to early 2024, the Fantasia Pool at Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort will be closed for routine maintenance from January through April 2024. Guests may see or hear construction work during daytime hours. During this time, hotel guests are welcome to swim in the Duck Pond Pool at Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort.
All Star Sports – Walt Disney World delayed the reopening of All Star Sports Resort to “refresh the Sports theme area.” Many of the facades and props received thorough cleanings and a fresh coat of paint, and are looking great.
The room refurbishment is now proceeding at All Star Sports. Work is now finished in the Touchdown (football) and Homerun Hotel (baseball) sections of the resort–above is a photo of our reimagined room taken at Christmas last year. This project should be completed by early 2023. (It might already be done, but I cannot confirm.)
Animal Kingdom Lodge’s Kidani Village – Walt Disney World has the following warning posted on its Kidani Village page: “From February 1, 2023 through September 2023, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge – Kidani Village will be undergoing refurbishment. During this time, you may be able to see and hear construction during the daytime hours.”
To the best of our knowledge, the only scheduled work at Kidani Village is routine maintenance to the building exterior. This could mean anything from noises heard from the roof to construction workers around or on balconies. For the most part, the project should be minimally disruptive–visible from the outside of the building but not significantly impacting stays.
BoardWalk Inn – This resort is current in the midst of a multi-year reimagining. No timeline has been given for when the work will end, but our expectation is late 2023. Currently, the rooms are being redone and work is occurring along the BoardWalk itself.
As continue continues to overhaul guest rooms, the Club Level Lounge at Disney’s BoardWalk Inn will be closed for refurbishment March 11, 2023 through the end of April 2023. Guests will hear refurbishment work in surrounding areas during daytime hours; nighttime refurbishment work should not be audible to guests in their guest rooms.
Walt Disney World is also adding and changing elements of the beloved turn-of-the-century promenade and inside the Deluxe Resort, including a new lobby design, nearby coffee bar, delectable dining options, refreshed guest rooms, and more. The biggest change is that the new Cake Bake Shop Restaurant will replace ESPN Club, and is slated to open in 2023.
Caribbean Beach – The Pirate Rooms at Caribbean Beach Resort have been retired and are currently being replaced by ‘Under the Sea’ Inspired Little Mermaid Rooms. That project will likely last through mid-2023, with the possibility that the regular rooms receive similar treatment after that. (The first of these new ‘Under the Sea’ rooms has now opened.)
Through April 2024, the Fuentes del Morro Pool at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort will be closed for routine maintenance. Guests may see or hear construction work during daytime hours. During this time, hotel guests are welcome to swim in any of the 5 leisure pools at Caribbean Beach Resort.
Contemporary Resort – Work on room overhauls in both the A-frame tower and Garden Wing of Disney’s Contemporary Resort is now finished. Additionally, the redesigned lobby and Steakhouse 71 restaurant have opened. See Photos & Review: Contemporary’s Hit & Miss Makeover for a look around.
Additionally, the Feature Pool and whirlpool spa will again be closed for refurbishment through early April 2023. The water play area and Bay Lake Pool will remain open during that project.
Fort Wilderness Campground – Through April 3, 2023, Meadow Swimmin’ Pool and whirlpool spa will be closed for refurbishment. The water play area and Meadow Snack Bar along with the Wilderness Swimmin’ pool will remain open.
The beach refurbishment at Fort Wilderness is finished. This began at the start of summer, and occurred in sections. There are still lingering vestiges of the cancelled Reflections — A Disney Lakeside Lodge project. However, there is no audible/visible construction impact at Fort Wilderness.
Grand Floridian Resort & Spa – Disney Vacation Club overhauled the Big Pine Key building of hotel rooms at Walt Disney World’s flagship resort. This building has since reopened and the new rooms have debuted–see Grand New Rooms at Walt Disney World’s Flagship Resort for a look inside.
Due to refurbishments of guest rooms and buildings at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, the walking path between Grand Floridian and Magic Kingdom will be temporarily closed until late Spring 2023. This closure is occurring because the room reimagining is progressing to the building closest to the Grand Floridian walkway. Thus far, the Big Pine Key (DVC) and Boca Chica buildings are finished; Conch Key and Sugarloaf are now in progress. Sago Key is next up, and that’s the building adjacent to the walkway.
Grand Floridian will also receive a substantial overhaul with “Enchanted Gardens” as the unifying visual style. The scope and scale are not yet known, but the most likely scenario is the hotel rooms receiving a reimagining that’s similar to the DVC side. See our Grand Floridian Resort Reimagining Report for more details.
Polynesian Village Resort – Walt Disney World is building a new DVC tower at Polynesian Village Resort between the existing Polynesian longhouses and Wedding Pavilion, near the Grand Floridian.
In light of this, Walt Disney World’s official site has this message: “As we prepare for the proposed expansion at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, you will see and hear construction at certain times of day. To minimize disruptions during your stay, activities that may create noise will not start earlier than 9 a.m.”
If you’re staying at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort anytime in the next 2 years, we’d recommend requesting a room that is not in the Aotearoa, Fiji, or Tuvalu longhouses. Those buildings are adjacent to the construction site, and the only ones that should be impacted in any material way. The DVC tower construction will be visible from other locations in the resort once it goes vertical, but the impact should otherwise be minor.
Actually, we recommend avoiding the Polynesian completely for the next couple of years. As explained in Worst Hotels at Walt Disney World for 2023, the construction impact will be ongoing and it’s likely that smaller projects will be undertaken in addition to what’s already been announced to prepare the resort infrastructure for the tower and its added DVC guests.
Prior to this tower, work wrapped up on the Great Ceremonial House, porte-cochère, new monorail station, and gardens. Room refurbishments were also part of the Poly’s overhaul and those are now finished. See our Review, Photos & Video: New Moana Rooms at Polynesian Village Resort for a tour and thoughts on the changes from our most recent hotel stay.
Port Orleans French Quarter – From January 2024 through April 2024, the Doubloon Lagoon pool at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter will be closed for routine maintenance.
Guests may see or hear construction work during day time hours. During this time, hotel patrons are welcome to swim in the Ol’ Man Island pool at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside. (That’s about a 10-15 minute walk from Port Orleans French Quarter.)
Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa – Through late-March 2023, High Rock Spring Pool and On the Rocks Pool Bar will be closed while the pool undergoes refurbishment. The Grandstand Pool, The Paddock Pool, and Congress Park Pool will remain open.
Otherwise, the multi-year enhancement project is now finished, and Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa is looking great! Every single room new and has a number of functional and aesthetic improvements. We’ve stayed in these overhauled accommodations at SSR, and share the experience in our Photos & Video: New Rooms at Saratoga Springs Resort post.
Along with the new rooms, a number of upgrades have been made around Saratoga Springs Resort in the last couple of years. The lobby was renovated and modernized, with seating added in this area and elsewhere in the main building. In addition to that, the Paddock pool and its slide were refurbishment.
Major Completed Refurbishments
All Star Movies & Music – Following their reopening, the room overhauls are finished at both All Star Music and Movies.
We’ve stayed in these new rooms, which you can read about in Photos & Video: Newly Reimagined Rooms at the All Star Resorts. This is a huge upgrade from the previous design, which was more minor leagues than all-star caliber. Suffice to say, we’re fans.
Wilderness Lodge – This big top to bottom room redesign for the hotel side of Wilderness Lodge is now finished. In addition to standard guest rooms being redesigned, the same has happened with Club Level rooms and Old Faithful Club Lounge. Work on the grounds around Wilderness Lodge also has concluded, with Fire Rock Geyser being refurbished and some larger trees removed.
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Have any recent observations or experiences with hotel construction at Walt Disney World you’d be willing to share? Where at Walt Disney World are you staying in 2023 or 2024? Any resorts you’re intentionally avoiding? Do you agree or disagree with our assessments of these resort refurbishment or reimagining projects? 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!
I’m trying to book a dinner at Citricos for this summer. It’s seems no dates are available. Is the restaurant closed?
I stayed at Beach Club May 1-4 2023 on the 4th floor and heard VERY LOUD construction above us. It started before 9 am. We called the lobby and were informed they were working on the villas/rooms directly above us.
Hi Tom, love the blog!
I was wondering if your April 3rd reopening date for Fort Wilderness pool is accurate? I am hoping it is! The WDW website says “early April” and we have a trip planned for April 11th. Hoping the pool area is up and running!!
Some 40+ years ago, my family visited Disney World and stayed at Contemporary. Both my husband and myself are architects. We were impressed by Disney’s “urban planning” experiments – particular in the hotel structure being a “mega-structure frame” insert with pre-fab hotel suites. Now my grand son is interested in architecture and urban planning. Where can we get information of Disney “Pre-fab units” and “mega-structure frame” construction details and development? How well the system function? Has it been re-used or improved? Time flies, but Disney is still ahead of time. Love to learn more.
We stayed in Boca Chico at GF last month. Rooms imo are drop dead gorgeous! The rooms kind of feel like the “old Disney “ in terms of theming. The Mary Poppins art it is lovely but subtle and a penguin shaped lightbulb in the chandelier is a priceless touch.
We have another stay booked for when Narcoossee’s is up and running again. Citrico ‘s was delightful.
Any thoughts on what’s going on at Kidani in 2023? I just booked two nights there in March and this message was active. The only information that I can find on Kindani refurbishment relates to the work done in 2022.
“From February 1, 2023 through September 2023, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge – Kidani Village will be undergoing refurbishment. During this time, you may be able to see and hear construction during the daytime hours.”
We have had our stay booked for awhile for March and that message just popped up. We have a little one who needs naps and planned to spend more time at the resort than most probably do. Upon a Google search, WDW news today is reporting it’s a roof refurbishment.
is there any time frame when Animal Kingdom resorts Kadani and Jambo house will be up for refurbishment. I have been a member there since 2012 and I have noticed peeling of walls and vanity items in the bathroom walls falling off. These resorts definitely need an update.
Jambo was refurbished in 2018-19
Only the cash rooms at Jambo were refurbished. Eric Peters is referring to the DVC rooms it sounds like. Eric – the DVC rooms were due to refurbished this year but it appears they’ve pushed the refurb back to 2024.
I agree, we love kidani but after our last stay in. 2021 my husband said he didn’t want to stay there again until it’s refurbed. The master bathroom in particular is really feeling old 🙁
Some adds: At this point, I believe that Boca Chica is also done at the Grand Floridian, and work on Boulder Ridge renovations continues to progress.
Additionally, at the DVC annual member event in early Dec, the renovations at Beach Club and Boardwalk Villas were listed for 2023, with the Contemporary’s Bay Lake Tower (which is in definite need of an overhaul) on the books for 2024.
Yep–covered all of that in this post: https://www.disneytouristblog.com/disney-vacation-club-resort-refurbishments-construction-timeline/ (as mentioned up top). 🙂
Appreciate the clarification, and I’m sorry I missed that notation at the top. Generally speaking, though, why separate out the construction/room refurbs for non-DVC hotels/sections of hotels and DVC? They’re all bookable using dollars and those considering a stay in one may certainly “cross shop” another. For me, a holistic understanding of the latest and greatest in Disney resorts is definitely valuable.
Hi Tom. This article refers to 2022/23 hotel refurbishments but the comments for Port Orleans French Quarter says the pool will be down from January 2024 to April 2024. Is the 2024 a typo? Trying to figure out if we need to change hotels if the pool is down in 2023. Thanks
There was work being done at the Dolphin around the beginning of October. While mostly limited to the convention center area (and whatever they did to the Fountain’s ice cream counter), it was impossible to walk directly to the Yacht Club. I had to cross over to the Swan and walk towards the Boardwalk Inn to get to Crescent Lake. (Until that work is finished, the “five minute walk to WDW transportation hack” only works from the Swan.)
We are scheduled for a 1-bedroom in Boulder’s Ridge 4-10 december. Do you think this will be impacted by the refurbishment? What happens in those cases in your experience?
Rather than the ugly DVC tower at the Polynesian, they should have built a second DVC tower at the Contemporary in place of the garden wing. Two matching towers would be better overall at that resort.
I love the Garden Wing!
Hi Tom, there are reports that refurbishments started today (August 16, 2022) at Boulder Ridge Villas. Do you have any scoop on this, and how long these types of refurbishments usually take?
We are booked to stay at The Boardwalk Inn in September for our 30th anniversary. It’s first time we will be staying there and I read it will be refurbished. Any idea of exactly when this Fall? Are they nice or just really old hence why they need to be refurbished? Was hoping for a really nice place to stay. And right now there isn’t any availability at the Beach Club or Yacht Club. And we would prefer to stay at an Epcot resort. We usually stay at Swan or Dolphin and I know there not owned by Disney but they use to use the Disney busses. Just found out at our stay there last week that Swan and Dolphin no longer use the Disney Busses (just the boats) and their new bus drop offs are terrible compared to the Disney ones. We were told that these resorts (Marriot chain) did not renew their contract for the Disney busses when they re-opened after the shut down.