2023 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 December 20, 2022.)

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 in December 2022. This project should be completed by early 2023.

BoardWalk Inn – Over the next few years, Disney’s BoardWalk Inn will be reimaginedNo timeline has been given for when the work will end, but our expectation is late 2023. Currently, the lobby gift shop is being replaced by Carousel Coffee Shop, which should open by early 2023.

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 a new restaurant will replace ESPN Club, and will 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.

Additionally, from January 2024 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 from January 9, 2023 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.

Additionally, Narcoossee’s–the waterfront restaurant at Grand Floridian–is now closed. Narcoossee’s is expected to reopen in 2023 as an enhanced dining experience. In the meantime, Citricos is now open seven days a week.

In 2023, 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.”

Additionally, a pool closure will occur in Winter 2023–the Lava Pool water slide at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort will be closed for refurbishment beginning January 3, 2023. The water slide is currently scheduled to reopen in early February 2023.

According to Disney: “To ensure our facilities are maintained to the highest quality standards, we conduct routine maintenance from time to time…While Guests may see or hear refurbishment work in the area, the Lava Pool will remain available to Guests throughout the refurbishment; only the water slide will be closed. The Oasis Pool will also be available for use.”

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 – From early January 2023 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.

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!

Your Thoughts

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!

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