Pardon the Pixie Dust: Walt Disney World Resort Update

Refurbishments and renovations at the Disney Parks and Resorts is nothing new (pardon the irony). Disney has always done their best to update rides, resorts and the like to increase overall guest experience with the least amount of disruption as possible.  The most recent round of room refurbishments feature laminate hardwood flooring in place of carpet, sliding barn doors separating the bathroom space from the living/sleeping area, updated fixtures, a sleeker, more modern look overall but still keeping with the respective resort theming (and Disney touches of course), shower curtains are being replaced with glass doors, additional USB ports have been installed along with new large flat-screen t.v.'s (some including smart t.v.'s), and overall room space and storage is being better utilized with clever, multi-functional furniture. 

Last year with all of the changes, closures and gradual reopening's brought about by Covid, plus with the 50th Anniversary of Disney World slated for October 1st of this year, Disney has taken the opportunity to do several major overlapping resort refurbishments. Let's take a look at some of the major refurbishments recently completed, currently under way, and those about to begin, as well as the opening status of each Walt Disney World Resort...

Just Finished...

 All Star Movies

Featuring similar upgrades and styling to that of Pop Century,  All Star Movies now has an official reopen date of March 22, 2021.

Murphy Bed Folded Down

Cleaner/Sleeker Bathroom
Murphy Bed Installed for Extra Space

Coronado Springs

Completed in July of 2019, this massive renovation included the addition of the brand new Gran Destino Tower - now the main resort entrance and check-in location - along with 15 floors featuring brand- spanking-new rooms and along with several dining locations. Previously existing rooms all received refurbishments as well to match the new additions, and even the grounds were spruced up (pun intended). The overall feel (particularly in the Gran Destino Tower) makes this moderate feel like a Deluxe. 

After playing host to several NBA teams over the summer, Coronado has officially reopened to guests of the Walt Disney World Resort!

Here's a walkthrough of my water view room at Coronado's Gran Destino Tower shortly after opening...

Caribbean Beach Resort
The rooms here had minor aesthetic room refurbishments computed, but the most notable renovations were done to the shared resort areas like the dining locations, lobby, and outside grounds. The addition of the new Disney Skyliner and subsequent station location on the property, has seen a notable rise in resort stays. 

Officially reopened for guest stays!

Animal Kingdom Lodge (Jambo House)

Completed in 2019, the guest rooms at Animal Kingdom Lodge became one of the first to experience the new refurbishments (Yacht Club was the very first) laid out by the Disney Design Team, and are now being incorporated throughout all of the resorts. Everything from the lament flooring (I will not miss the carpet), to the overall more modern look, but with subtle, resort appropriate Disney theming.  

*Animal Kingdom Lodge (Jambo House) has not reopened to the public and no reopening date has been set at the time of writing this post. 

Under Construction...

Wilderness Lodge

Wilderness Lodge Refurbishments have been ongoing and began before the Covid induced shutdown with the addition of the new Copper Creek DVC rooms and dining location Geyser Point Bar and Grill. Other onsite dining was reimagined as well - everything from the Quick Service (Roaring Fork), to the Signature Dining Artist Point (now Storybook Dining with Snow White).

Sliding Barn Door For Extra Privacy
Bambi Backsplash/Closet Space
The regular Wilderness Lodge room (and by that I mean non DVC) refurbishments had just begun before the resort closure, but now Disney is expediting the refurbishment by delaying guest stays until June of this year.  This allows them to complete the refurbishments all at once, plus have the entire resort back up and running prior to the 50th Anniversary celebrations in the fall. 

All onsite dining locations are currently open to guests, accept for the Storybook Dining with Snow White at Artist Point. 

Standard WL Room                  
Wilderness Lodge will be reopen for Guest stays beginning June 6, 2021. Reservations available for stays beginning June 6th and later.

Polynesian Village Resort

This may have been one of the biggest resort refurbishment surprises! After initially opening the villas, Disney decided to keep the standard rooms (again I mean non DVC) so they could do an extensive reimagining. Additionally, other renovations are being made to the Great Ceremonial House as well. While we don't have a lot of detail or visual renderings yet, we do know that the updated rooms (and even in the Great Ceremonial House), will featuring theming from the movie "Moana."

Moana carpet in the Great Ceremonial House
Like Wilderness Lodge, this was probably an opportune decision to expedite needed refurbishments and renovations in time for the 50th Anniversary celebrations. Plus, Magic Kingdom monorail resorts are in high demand and almost completely booked for the Anniversary weekend, I would
imagine Disney wanting to ensure guests get more bang for their buck.

*Set for a Summer 2021 reopening (I will update once a specific date is announced). The resort is currently available for booking for stays in the fall of this year, while the villas are open and accepting reservations for all guest stays.

Old Key West and Saratoga Springs Resorts

Both DVC resorts are still undergoing their 2-year refurbishment overhaul. These Disney Springs resorts were in desperate need of updating, and with the majority of work done on both Old Key West and Saratoga rooms, it shouldn't be too much longer before both are completely finished. In the meantime, the resorts are open for guest stays and accepting reservations for future travel. 

Coming Soon...

The Contemporary Resort

Breaking News this week! It has been confirmed by the Disney powers that be, beginning April 1st and completing sometime mid-September, a a room only refurbishment will take place (again with hopes of completing by the 50th Anniversary Weekend). A few things to note with this refurbishment:

*This is for TOWER ROOMS ONLY! Garden Wing rooms will be completed, but at a different time.
*The lobby/monorail/dining will not be affected
*Guests with reservations during this time will be moved to another resort by Disney.

Additional Resort Reopening Notes:

*Pop Century finished its room refurbishments in 2017 and is open for reservations and guest stays.

*Art of Animation Resort had minor room refurbishments completed (most notable a paint job to all of the rooms) and has reopened for guest stays.

*All Star Sports and All Star Music Resorts have not reopened or been given a reopening date at the time of writing this post.

*Port Orleans French Quarter and Riverside Resorts recently had minor (aesthetic) room refurbishments completed. Neither have reopened as of yet and no reopening has been given at the time of writing this post.

*Beach Club Resort is set to reopen May 30, 2021. Reservations can be made for stays May 30th and later.

*Beach Club Villas have reopened and accepting reservations for guest stays.

*Grand Floridian Resort & Spa and Grand Floridian Villas are both reopened and accepting reservations for guest stays.

*Yacht Club Resort finished its room refurbishments in 2017 and is now reopened and accepting reservations for guest stays.

*Boardwalk Inn and Villas are both reopened and accepting reservations for guest stays. Construction is being done on the main pool (the creepy clown is being replaced with a Mickey and Minnie Runaway Railway theme).

Copper Creek and Boulder Ridge Villas (at Wilderness Lodge) have reopened and are accepting reservations for guest stays.

*Kidani Village  (Animal Kingdom Lodge Villas) is reopened and accepting reservations for guest stays,

*Riviera Resort is reopened and accepting reservations for guest stays.

*Bay Lake Tower (Villas at the Contemporary Resort) is reopened and accepting reservations for guest stays.

*Fort Wilderness Cabins and Campgrounds are reopened and accepting reservations for guest stays.

*Star Wars Galactic Starcruiser: Coming to Walt Disney World 2021. Creating buzz throughout the galaxy when it was first announced, this 2-night, all-immersive adventure will see you live out your Star Wars dreams. *While no official opening date has been set, the Disney website is still showing a 2021 launch.

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