Hotel refurbishments, resort construction, and character-inspired makeovers continue at Walt Disney World through 2024 & 2025. 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 November 26, 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 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 2025, the Fantasia Pool at Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort will be closed for routine maintenance from January 2025 through April 2025. 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.
NOTE: This refurbishment was previously scheduled for Winter 2024, but bumped to 2025. Just drawing your attention to that, as literally the only thing about the bulletin that has changed is the year, the months and all other details are the same. Just one full year later, which is a pretty big difference, but an easy one to miss!
This routine downtime of the “Most Magical Flight on Earth” affects all of the Skyliner routes and resorts. These gondolas service two Walt Disney World theme parks (Hollywood Studios and Epcot) plus four resorts (Art of Animation & Pop Century, Caribbean Beach, plus Riviera Resort & Caribbean Beach again) via 5 stations.
We strongly recommend switching resorts if you’re staying at a Skyliner hotel during those dates. As discussed in that article (link above), the Skyliner is the selling point of those resorts, and why they charge premium prices. We’d also recommend not booking any of those resorts in mid to late January 2025, as another Skyliner refurbishment is likely at that time.
All Star Sports – The room refurbishment at All Star Sports is now almost totally finished.
This wrapped up at most buildings by early this year, but they still haven’t started on Building 1 for some reason. No clue why–it would’ve been done by now if they stuck to the schedule.
Beach Club Resort & Villas – The soft goods refurbishment and lobby refresh of Disney’s Beach Club Resort and Villas is now finished. Not much changed–there’s new carpet in the hallways, and inside the room the carpet has been replaced by a laminate flooring.
There’s also new furniture–chairs and couch–as well as new curtains, Donald Duck wall art, and other refreshed surfaces. That’s all I noticed. These rooms were bland before, and they’re still pretty bland now–but minus carpet and plus better on-theme artwork.
With that said, a huge closure is on the horizon: Stormalong Bay Pool is Closing in 2025 for Refurbishment. From January 2025 through May 2025, Stormalong Bay and Shipwreck Pool at Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club Resorts will be closed for routine maintenance. Guests may see or hear construction work during daytime hours. During this time, Guests are welcome to swim at the Tidal, Admiral and Dunes Cove leisure pools.
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 mid-2024. The room renovations are now finished (see our Review, Photos & Videos of the New Rooms at Disney’s BoardWalk Inn) and work is occurring along the BoardWalk itself.
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.
Inside Disney’s BoardWalk Inn, it’s difficult to discern whether work on the lobby is finished. Carousel Coffee has opened and Belle Vue Lounge has been refreshed, with both being done in half-measure. It seems that the same has also happened with the lobby, but it’s truly tough to tell. Very little changed.
The biggest project at the BoardWalk is the new Cake Bake Shop Restaurant will replace ESPN Club, and is slated to open in early 2024. (Judging by the actual pace of progress, it may slip into spring or even summer.) This isn’t the only new “restaurant” coming to this area: pickle-stuffed corn dogs (you read that correctly) will soon be coming to the BoardWalk courtesy of Blue Ribbon Corn Dogs.
Caribbean Beach – The Pirate Rooms at Caribbean Beach Resort have been retired and have been all replaced by ‘Under the Sea’ Inspired Little Mermaid Rooms. Crews have since moved on to other buildings around Caribbean Beach and are doing soft goods refurbishments to those. We’re pretty sure this is also finished–we didn’t see any construction here in November 2023.
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.
Fort Wilderness Campground – Walt Disney World announced New DVC Cabins Coming to Fort Wilderness Campground. The proposed plans call for more than 350 new cabins to replace the existing cabins at the resort, turning the resort side of the campground into a Disney Vacation Club property. In so doing, a “collection of improvement projects” are underway at Fort Wilderness aimed at enhancing the guest experience, including proposed pool and walking trail improvements.
Work on the Disney Vacation Club cabins has not yet started, and the current cabins are still available to reserve through late 2024. This makes sense, as the current cabins were pre-fabricated off-site and installed unit-by-unit, not built on location. The same will almost certainly be true of the new cabins–it’ll be a matter of swapping out the old cabins for the new ones, which will likely occur in phases next year.
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.
These reimagined rooms have since debuted on the regular resort side of the Grand Floridian, and all of the outlying buildings are now finished. Crews have now moved into the main lobby, which is being done in phases. Crews paused their work for the Christmas 2023 season, and we’re anticipating that they’ll resume in January 2024. How long it’ll take is anyone’s guess–it really depends upon how involved the project is. We’re guessing it’ll last for at least the first half of 2024.
We’re also guessing that 1900 Park Fare and the Grand Floridian Tea Room will not return until after the reimagining is finished. In a logical and ideal world, those venues would be reimagined alongside the lobby, and open in time for Spring Break 2024. At present, there’s no indication that’s the intent–no construction activity has been observed in or around either.
Grand Floridian will 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 main lobby receiving an aesthetic and new carpet comparable to the smaller outlying buildings. See our Grand Floridian Resort Reimagining Reportfor more details.
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 is visible from other locations in the resort, but the impact is otherwise minor.
Actually, we recommend avoiding the Polynesian completely for the next year. As explained in Worst Hotels at Walt Disney World for 2024, 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.)
Yacht Club Resort – No room refurbishments or common area construction scheduled in 2024.
However, the same Stormalong Bay Pool closure that’ll impact Beach Club will impact Yacht Club in 2025. We’d avoid staying at both resorts during that project unless significant discounts are offered. That’s one of the main selling points of these hotels, and its ‘value’ is built into room rates.
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 2024 or 2025? 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!