Walt Disney World Resorts Allow Dogs in Rooms

OL 063: Walt Disney World Resorts Allow Dogs in Rooms

Now that Walt Disney World resorts allow dogs in rooms, the Internet seems to be in mass hysteria. Some people are elated while others have dire predictions. How will this impact your Disney World vacation?

Why Would Walt Disney World Resorts Allow Dogs in Rooms

Quite simply, it's a business decision. Other hotels and resorts have dog-friendly policies. For example, the Universal Studios resort hotels allow dogs. While Disney World had a kennel on property for decades, it never quite crossed the line to allow dogs in rooms.

There is an audience of people who want to travel with their dogs and they are willing to pay for the privilege. That means Walt Disney World was leaving money on the table by not allowing dogs in guest rooms.

People come to Orlando for a Disney vacation with their dogs. Since they could not get a dog-friendly room on-site at Walt Disney World, they elected to stay elsewhere.

Worse, they may avoid Walt Disney World completely and vacation at Universal Studios, instead.

Having a dog-friendly policy at some of the resorts also opens up other paths to earn money – merchandising! Not only can you bring your dog to your resort hotel, but you can also deck him out with Walt Disney World merchandise.

Which Walt Disney World Resorts Allow Dogs in Rooms?

Four out of the 26 Walt Disney World resort hotels have been designated dog friendly. Each property’s per night/per room pet-cleaning rate is:

Walt Disney World will accommodate a maximum of two dogs per guest room. Each guest room has easy access to outdoor pet walkways for exercise and green spaces with pet relief areas.

Certain floors or sections of a hotel are dog-friendly, while the majority of areas remain canine-free to accommodate Guests with allergies or other concerns.

How Will a Dog-Friendly Policy Impact Your Next Vacation?

Disney doesn't seem to think this will have much impact for the following reasons:

  • Most resorts won't allow dogs – only four out of 26 allow dogs
  • You can request that your room not be used by dog owners, or even in the same part of a hotel that allows dogs
  • Pets are restricted to specific areas and most of the resort areas won't allow dogs.

Of course, Disney is very quiet about specific policies. There's no mention of a leash policy, for example. Maybe your pet is well behaved, but allowing a dog off-leash in a new area may be an overwhelming experience for many dogs.

Even behavior that's typically considered friendly, such as licking, may be quite gross to other guests. Dog owners are expected to have well behaved pets or they may have to leave the resort.

I have other concerns, though.

Leaving a dog alone in a room may lead to unexpected behavior. Dogs are social animals. If left alone while you're in the parks (where they aren't permitted), your dog may bark and annoy other guests. He or she may get destructive in the room, which potentially is a danger to your dog.

We Love Dogs

Walt Disney World Resorts Allow Dogs in Rooms

These are our current dogs from left to right – Lola, Milo and Emma.

We love them and we love being with them. However, we would never consider taking them to Walt Disney World resorts or any other hotel for a number of reasons.

In our case, we're one dog over the limit of two dogs per guest room.

Our dogs do sleep inside every night, but they sleep in crates. Each dog has his or her own crate with some toys and comfort items inside. They sleep well in their crates, which also prevents them from roaming around and getting into things they ought not to have. S far, I've heard nothing about Disney providing crates for pets.

We keep our dogs up to date with their vaccinations. Can you say the same for other dogs they could meet at the resort hotel? Orlando kennels had to deal with a rough bout of kennel cough and other diseases because some pet owners, and most strays, simply aren't kept healthy. As such, we only board our dogs in a kennel with strict restrictions about immunization before boarding. No record of shots, then no entry.

Walt Disney World is a fun place for people, but there's really not much for a dog to do, or place that welcome dogs. Quite simply, your dog will have to stay at the hotel or the kennel. What's the point of that? Not only does it mean you aren't spending time with your dog, but they get stuck alone in a room for hours at a time.

Disney is notoriously vague when it comes to documenting policy. Instead, they leave the details to the imagination of whichever cast member has to deal with a situation. In other words, you really don't know what is or isn't permissible.

Are there size of breed restrictions? Is there a leash policy? What constitutes well behaved for your dog? What are your options if they kick you out because of your dog?

So far, no answer about these details in Disney's announcement.

Our Recommendation

We aren't saying that you shouldn't take a vacation with your dog. However, we're suggesting that Walt Disney World isn't the right place to do it. The resort simply doesn't provide enough activity for your dog, or information about potential restrictions.

A lack of communication can lead to a vacation nightmare, so Disney needs to clearly document what is and isn't permitted.

We completely understand the desire to be with your pet. So take your dog elsewhere; someplace with plenty of activities and dog-friendly locations so you can truly be together.

Until or unless Walt Disney World expands offerings for your dog, I'd say that your dog deserves a better vacation than what Walt Disney World has to offer.

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