A new on-site hotel is opening at Walt Disney World in Fall 2022! The Drury Plaza Hotel Orlando Lake Buena Vista is being built within walking distance of Disney Springs, and is nearing completion. This post shares official details, our commentary, and a preliminary recommendation on the new accommodations.
By way of background, the Drury Plaza Hotel Orlando Lake Buena Vista is technically a partially-new hotel. It replaces the Best Western Lake Buena Vista Resort, and is a full renovation to that existing property plus a totally new tower. In 2017, Drury Hotels bought the Best Western property for $20.5 million and continued to operate the hotel as normal while planning this expansion.
Permits were filed for this project back in 2018 and construction began the following year. Then the closure of Walt Disney World happened. The Best Western never reopened when other Disney Springs hotels started returning, and the project was paused for a while. I know this because it’s on our way to Trader Joe’s, and I always marveled that so much equipment was on-site yet nothing was happening.
Per the company, the Drury Plaza Hotel Orlando Lake Buena Vista is their largest hotel to date and is now nearing completion. It will begin to welcome guests by Fall 2022, with reservations now being accepted for October 27, 2022 and beyond.
The new hotel is located in the Disney Springs Area and is the company’s first official Walt Disney World Hotel and the fourth Drury Hotel in Florida. The entire project includes 604 rooms and more than 17,000+ square feet of meeting and event space will be finished by Spring 2023, but the first 264 rooms available by Fall 2022.
The Drury Plaza Hotel Orlando Lake Buena Vista will feature a host of amenities and is in close proximity to the Walt Disney World theme parks. Drury also will offer transportation to and from the theme parks and other surrounding attractions.
The new hotel will be within walking distance of Disney Springs, and can be booked as part of a Walt Disney World vacation package. There are also a number of restaurants and stores within walking distance off-site on Vineland.
“We look forward to welcoming guests and providing them with a magical experience,” said Chuck Drury, CEO of Drury Hotels. “Our designation as an Official Walt Disney World Hotel means we have been entrusted to adhere to exceptional service standards. Given our track record of providing award-winning guest service, I know our team’s efforts will delight and impress our guests and visitors.”
Tom Drury, a seven-year veteran in the hotel and hospitality industry, has been named the hotel’s general manager. Drury team member, John Branciforte, will serve as the hotel director of sales. Once open, the hotel will employ 150 full- and part-time team members.
The Drury Plaza Hotel Orlando Lake Buena Vista will feature a resort-style pool, splash pad and poolside dining and refreshments at the Lakeside Bar & Grill. It will also offer an extensive marketplace for grab-and-go food items and sundries, and a cozier dining experience at The Kitchen + Bar.
Additionally, there will be a wide range of complimentary amenities, including hot breakfast with pancakes, scrambled eggs, sausage, fresh fruit, oatmeal, biscuits and gravy, KELSO+BROS coffee, and more. The new Drury Plaza Hotel Orlando Lake Buena Vista will also offer a daily 5:30 pm reception including hot food and cold beverages, as well as 24-hour business and fitness centers.
The Drury Plaza Hotel Orlando Lake Buena Vista offers a number of special and discounted rates for auto club members, seniors, federal government, military, law enforcement and more. Most of these appear to be 10% off standard nightly rates.
Additionally, Florida residents will be able to save 10% on rates (proof of ID required at check-in) at the Drury Plaza Hotel Orlando Lake Buena Vista.
It appears that the best discount will be for Walt Disney World Annual Passholders, who can enjoy up to a 15% discount off the Best Flexible Rate when booked through the official Drury Hotels website.
As with all other Disney Springs Area resorts, Annual Passholders can make Disney Park Pass reservations for their length of stay if staying at the Drury Plaza Hotel. This means you will not be subject to passholder daily allotments to the theme parks. Not a meaningful benefit most of the year, but potentially relevant if you’re booking a stay for Thanksgiving or Christmas 2022. (I really hope not!)
In pricing out a range of different dates, the best pricing I could find was the above. That’s not too shabby for a new on-site hotel at Walt Disney World, but it’s nothing remarkable, either. As with most of the Disney Springs Area resorts, my expectation is that the biggest savings won’t come with any of the above affiliations, but via Priceline, Hotwire, and other discount booking sites.
That’s one thing we loved about its predecessor, the Best Western. That hotel almost always had great last minute rates, and we’d frequently use it as a gap-filler reservation on nights when rates were high elsewhere. I loved that Best Western–it offered great budget accommodations and spacious rooms.
I’m also excited for the Drury Plaza Hotel Orlando Lake Buena Vista. I don’t expect it to be anything like the Best Western in terms of pricing, but it should also benefit from being newer and having a more robust slate of amenities. Plus, more on-site hotels and competition is always a good thing, especially at a time when resort prices have spiraled out of control.
We’re also eager to check out another Drury Hotel. Admittedly, our experience is rather limited with this Midwestern chain, but we have heard nothing but great things. It sounds like an excellently-run family operation that takes care of its staff and guests. Based on feedback from friends and other travelers, they punch above their weight and the free hot breakfast and dinner/happy hour services are excellent. That alone is worth a lot for those who can take advantage, as food isn’t getting any cheaper at Walt Disney World! (If you have any feedback about Drury, we’d love to hear it in the comments.)
With that said, there’s absolutely no way I’d book this for October or November 2022. At least, not yet. Although Drury claims that the first phase is nearing completion, I’m skeptical. That doesn’t appear true when driving past the property. Although significant progress has been made in the last several months, it looks like there’s still a lot to be done.
If using other recent Orlando hotel projects as benchmarks, it’s impossible to say with certainty that it’ll be done by October 2022. On top of that, labor shortages and supply chain woes are ongoing–and there’s the potential the latter could worsen in the coming months.
Anyone who booked the Swan Reserve last February when its reservations opened for summer can tell you how that went. Several delays later, the hotel finally opened in mid-November. In fairness, that hotel had some unique issues and delays necessitated by work needing to be redone, but it’s hardly an outlier in terms of construction projects not hitting their original target.
The bigger difference between the Swan Reserve and this is that the Drury Plaza Hotel Orlando Lake Buena Vista doesn’t have a gigantic fish pyramid next door to which it can relocate displaced guests. Personally, I would not gamble with a cancellation during what’s likely to be another busy holiday season.
Nevertheless, the Drury Plaza Hotel Orlando Lake Buena Vista is an attractive option, especially for those already planning ahead for 2023 Walt Disney World vacations. As a general matter, we think the Disney Springs Area Resorts are underrated and overlooked by a lot of fans.
That should start to change this year, as the end of Disney’s Magical Express forces visitors to find alternative airport transportation to Walt Disney World, which will also open the door to third party hotels for some. The options at Disney Springs are compelling in that they’re technically on-site, significantly cheaper, and offer on-site perks like early entry. For how these hotels stack up, see our Disney Springs Resort Rankings.
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 of the Drury Plaza Hotel Orlando Lake Buena Vista? Did you ever stay at the Best Western in the same location? Do you agree or disagree with our recommendation to wait until 2023 to book this? 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!