6 Disney World Hotel UPDATES to Know For 2021

We’ve seen a lot of changes at Disney World hotels since Disney World reopened this summer.

Grand Floridian Resort

From face covering requirements to new policies about Disney’s Magical Express to new social distancing guidelines, Disney World and its resort hotels are a lot different now.

But what can Disney World resort hotel guests expect in 2021? Here are 6 hotel updates you need to know for the New Year!

1. Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort Makeover

Disney’s Polynesian Resort has been getting a massive refurbishment, including a new entryway, and is set to fully reopen in summer 2021. The hotel including the guest rooms are going through a HUGE change… it’ll now be Moana-themed! Say goodbye to the classic Hawaiian room theme of old, and say hello to something a little more Disney!


The new rooms will include “a Pacific Ocean-inspired color palette, as well as details, patterns, and textures from Disney’s Moana.”

©Disney Polynesian Concept Art

We’re expecting lots of swirling patterns and textures like those on Moana’s skirt! Maybe they’ll even throw in a few things inspired by Maui’s tattoos! No one knows how far it goes! Work has already begun on the resort and we are eager to find out an official reopening date.

Poly Construction

Do keep in mind that the Villas and Bungalows are open at this time along with locations like Kona Cafe and Capt. Cooks. But at this time, the Polynesian’s monorail station is currently closed.  

Learn more about the new Moana theme at the Polynesian

2. Grand Floridian Walkway to Magic Kingdom

In case you missed it, we’ve been following the construction of the walkway between the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa to the Magic Kingdom, and guess what? It’s finally open! So if you’re at the Grand Floridian and want to bypass other modes of transportation or just want to take a leisurely stroll to Magic Kingdom (or vice versa) you’re in luck! Just follow the signs to find it.

Grand Floridian Walkway

If you’re coming FROM the Grand Floridian, you go through security at the boat docks. Although it took us about 15-20 minutes to walk it, you definitely can’t fault the amazing view.

Grand Floridian Walkway

We do suggest taking another mode of transportation if the weather is questionable since the walk can take a bit!

Grand Floridian Walkway

The gate at the main bridge locks around an hour to an hour and a half after Magic Kingdom closes, and there is ample lighting for guests who want to take the path at night.

See more photos of the Grand Floridian Walkway here! 

3. Some Hotels Still Haven’t Reopened

In addition to the Polynesian Resort, some hotels at Disney World haven’t reopened yet. Although Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort is closed right now, it is scheduled to reopen on February 9th, 2021. The following hotels, though, still don’t have solid reopening dates:

  • Animal Kingdom Lodge
  • Animal Kingdom Villas Jambo House
  • All-Star Sports Resort
  • All-Star Music Resort
  • Beach Club Resort
  • Boardwalk Inn
  • Wilderness Lodge
  • Port Orleans Resort

Animal Kingdom Lodge

However, Disney Vacation Club rooms are open at the following hotels, although the resorts themselves are still technically “closed:”

  • Animal Kingdom Villas – Kidani Village
  • Boulder Ridge Villas and Copper Creek Villas & Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
  • Beach Club Villas
  • Boardwalk Villas
  • Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows

Boardwalk Inn

We’re keeping an eye out for when some of these hotels might reopen, and we’ll let you know the details as soon as we have them!

Learn more about what hotels and attractions are closed

4. Room Service Is Unavailable at Most Resorts

It’s always nice to come back to your hotel room at the end of a long day at the parks and have food brought to your room, but at the moment, room service is still unavailable at most Disney World resort hotels. Now we said “most” and not “all,” because we were pleasantly surprised when we recently learned that In-Room Dining is available at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort! If this is a concern of yours, be sure to check with a Cast Member to see if room service is available at your hotel before booking there.

Disney’s Yacht Club & Resort

No worries though, even if room service is unavailable, you have options. First, many quick-service restaurants have Mobile Order: you just place on the My Disney Experience app, pick it up, and take it back to your room to relax and dine. And several resort Table Service restaurants have the Mobile Order To Go option, which works exactly the same way!

Mobile Order to Go for Three Bridges Bar & Grill

It is possible, though, that room service will eventually return next year to more resorts, and if that happens, we’ll let you know.

In the meantime, learn more about Mobile Order Table Service To Go! 

5. Getting Into Disney Hotels Isn’t the Same As It Used to Be

If you’re checking into a hotel, Disney encourages you to use the My Disney Experience app to bypass the check-in desk. The app will allow you to get your room number, as well as let you use your phone as your room key (although MagicBands still work, too).

MagicBand Reader at Gran Destino Tower Room in Coronado Springs Resort

However, resort hopping is definitely not the same. If you want to visit a hotel that you’re not staying at, you will likely need a confirmed dining reservation to get in or an order placed on Mobile Order.

Topolino’s Terrace Dining Room

It really depends on which hotel you are trying to hop to and the mode of transportation you take to get there. We’ve had different experiences depending on the Cast Members at the resorts. However, we recommend grabbing a dining reservation or Mobile Order to ensure you can enter the resort.

Can You Still Resort Hop in Disney World?

6. Certain Parts of the Monorail Aren’t Open

If you’re looking to use the Monorail for much of your park transportation, you’ll want to consider the fact that parts of the Monorail are not running. As noted above, the Polynesian Village Resort station is completely closed down while that hotel gets a refurbishment.

Monorail at the Polynesian

The Monorail is also still not available for EPCOT. However, you can still catch the Skyliner to and from EPCOT. And of course, bus transportation to and from the parks is available at all resorts.

Looking for more info? Check out the BEST Disney World hotels for 2021 in our video below.

Overall, the experience of staying at a Disney World hotel is the same. But there are a few changes surrounding the hotels themselves that you need to know about, especially if you’re booking a trip next year. We know that planning a Disney trip is a little different right now, so please let us know you’re questions and concerns and we will do our best to get you the info you need! 😊

Check out more Disney World changes that you NEED to know for 2021.

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