With the reopening of Disney Vacation Club Resorts at Walt Disney World only a few days away and theme parks debuting in only 3 weeks, many are wondering when the remaining on-site WDW hotels will reopen. Well, we finally have some answers as to which resorts will–and will not–open later this year, along with dates they will open, and commentary.
To briefly recap, Deluxe Villas and DVC resorts are reopening on June 22, 2020 with the exception of Animal Kingdom Lodge – Jambo House. Disney Vacation Club members have been able to book at these resorts, and most still have plenty of availability for June, July, August, and September 2020. (There’s far less availability for Halloween and Christmas seasons.)
Guests with bookings between June 22 and July 4, 2020 who are booked at other resorts are being offered adjustments. During this window, Walt Disney World will move guests from closed to open resorts at no additional cost. However, anyone choosing this option won’t be able to pick the resort to which they are moved for this date range.
While there have been rumors that guests with travel dates of July 5 and later are being asked to pay the cost of upgrading, this is not exactly true. Guests may modify their resort choice and choose an alternative, but must pay the difference in cost if picking the resort. Guests with reservations from July 5 to July 10 are likewise expected to be moved to a Deluxe Villa Resort not of their own choosing.
However, beyond that it’s likely that the guest recovery option will not be moving guests to Deluxe Villa Resorts. That’s because several other Walt Disney World-owned resorts will begin opening in phases starting July 10, 2020.
Additionally, starting on June 22, guests with existing hotel reservations at impacted resorts can request assistance in modifying their reservations. (We understand this to mean that guests with resorts booked will be able to call to add tickets to their reservations, but are awaiting further clarification on that.)
Here are the official reopening dates for each of the resorts…
Disney’s All Star Movies Resort – TBD
Disney’s All Star Music Resort – TBD
Disney’s All Star Sports Resort – TBD
Disney’s Art of Animation Resort – August 12, 2020
Disney’s Pop Century Resort – July 10, 2020
Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort – July 29, 2020
Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort & Gran Destino Tower – October 14, 2020
Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter – TBD
Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside – TBD
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge: Jambo House – TBD
Disney’s Beach Club Resort – August 24, 2020
Disney’s Boardwalk Inn – October 1, 2020
Disney’s Contemporary Resort – July 10, 2020
Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa – September 21, 2020
Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort – August 12, 2020
Disney’s Wilderness Lodge – TBD
Disney’s Yacht Club Resort – August 24, 2020
Deluxe Villa Resorts:
Animal Kingdom Lodge: Jambo House – July 10, 2020
All Others Reopening June 22, 2020
There are some surprises here and some reopening dates that pretty well comport with expectations and what’s been rumored. The latest NBA at Walt Disney World rumors point to three resorts being used: Gran Destino Tower, Grand Floridian, and Yacht Club. These official dates align with that, even though the NBA arrangement no longer seems like a sure thing.
With regard to other resorts, our previous expectation that we repeatedly stated was that the hotels most likely to reopen sooner rather than later would be any resort connected to a DVC property, any resort with non-bus transportation (Skyliner, monorail, boats), and resorts that don’t typically host special events.
Specifically, we predicted that Coronado Springs, both of the Port Orleans Resorts, and the All Star Resorts would be least likely to reopen right away–potentially not at all in 2020. Based on the ‘to be determined’ dates above, we got 5 of those right.
Given the size and sprawl of the Port Orleans Resorts, with their bus-only transportation to the parks, it makes complete sense for Riverside and French Quarter to remain shuttered. We wouldn’t be surprised if these resorts aren’t back again until 2021, perhaps with some very light rebranding in spots.
The All Star Resorts host a lot of youth groups that host events at the ESPN Wide World of Sports. For the remainder of 2020, virtually all of those events have been (or will be) cancelled. So no surprise there, either.
Speaking of events, we honestly did not expect Coronado Springs to reopen right after the NBA was done there. It’ll be interesting to see whether that’s just Gran Destino Tower (which makes complete sense) or the outlying building clusters as well. Perhaps it’s easier to simply keep it open rather than wind down and back up again later.
There are a few other things we definitely didn’tsee coming. Chief among them are the delayed reopening dates for Deluxe Resorts that are attached to Disney Vacation Club properties. Given the shared infrastructure costs, it’s very surprising to see Disney’s BoardWalk Inn not reopening until October and others delaying until August.
Wilderness Lodge is far and away the biggest surprise, which does not have a reopening date set at all. This strikes us as especially odd since the main lobby will be open as of June 22, with restaurants and the Copper Creek DVC villas in the main lodge reopening then. (Not to be confused with the Boulder Ridge stand-alone building, which is also reopening in June.)
We’re curious as to what this means for Disney Vacation Club maintenance fees down the road for these properties, as that DVC is footing the entire bill for shared amenities for several months. (Thankfully, we pay ours at Saratoga Springs Resort, which doesn’t have that issue.)
That’s another story for another day, though.
The big thing here is how this will allow Walt Disney World to accommodate guest relocations. At present, it’s unclear how this will work, but it appears that Walt Disney World will proactively require guests to modify, request a modification, or confirm a modification made by Walt Disney World.
Recently, Disney has been requiring guests confirm their visits. If no action is taken for impacted stays, Disney has been automatically canceling reservations within 7 days of the original check-in date. (We already had to do this for our upcoming stay.)
With Pop Century and Contemporary Resort opening as of July 10, 2020–not coincidentally the day before Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom reopen–this gives Walt Disney World two additional resorts above the Deluxe Villas as a “release valve.”
In other words, if you have a reservation at the All Stars, it’s likely you’ll be moved to Pop Century. If you’re booked at any Moderate Resort, you’ll probably get Contemporary Resort or one of the Deluxe Villas. Art of Animation family suites will likely end up with the Fort Wilderness Cabins or a Deluxe Villa. You get the idea. This only applies to mid to late July reservations; Caribbean Beach and other resorts should provide another release valve/relocation option for August and beyond bookings.
Overall, this should provide some clarity and reassurance to those with upcoming vacation bookings at Walt Disney World. It should also underscore a couple of things that we’ve been stressing. First, Walt Disney World is being slow and methodical with its reopening plans, and is not overly-eager to have everything back up and running this year. As we’ve said before, the remainder of 2020 is like a de facto soft opening for locals, Annual Passholders, DVC members, and very motivated visitors.
Second, on-site occupancy for later this summer and fall remains really low (the second point probably helps explains Disney’s perspective with regard to the first). We’ve already pointed out that there’s a ton more DVC availability than normal. The fact that so many other bookings can be consolidated at just Pop Century and Contemporary should be further proof of this. Once again, this should be viewed as good news by anyone who is worried about Disney Park Pass reservations ‘selling out’ incredibly quickly.
What do you think about these reopening dates for Walt Disney World hotels? Any surprises on this list for you? Think any of the TBDs will end up opening later in 2020, or are those resorts looking at 2021? If you have an upcoming booking in June or July 2020, has Disney already relocated you? Will you be attempting to visit Walt Disney World this summer or fall, or are you waiting until next year? 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!