Ever wish you could bring your dog along on your Walt Disney World vacation? You can! Here’s your guide to traveling to the most magical place on Earth with pups in tow.
Last year, my husband, and I booked a stay at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside. Even though we live fairly close to Walt Disney World–slightly less than two hours—we didn’t relish the thought of driving home from Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at midnight, all hopped up on sugar (cookies!) and then struggling to stay awake after the following sugar crash (totally worth it.)
We have spoiled our dogs. They go everywhere with us: to work, kayaking (yes, a coonhound can fit in a kayak), on walks, and camping. We’ve camped at Disney’s Fort Wilderness with the pups before, and when the Walt Disney Company announced in 2018 they would welcome dogs at certain hotels, I brought Calypso and her pooch pal Dougal (and my human pal Nicole) to stay at a dog-friendly Walt Disney World Resort hotel room.
The “ongoing pilot program” continues almost four years later, and I was happy to return to the same resort hotel and see what had changed. The answer? Not much. It’s still easy to bring your dog to a Walt Disney World hotel. If you haven’t yet brought your dog to the Walt Disney World Resort, here’s some answers to frequently asked questions about what to expect.
How Do I Get My Dog Into Magic Kingdom or Other Disney World Theme Park?
First things first: Only the hotels are dog-friendly. All four Walt Disney World theme parks only allow service dogs inside the front gate.
While you may occasionally see a dog at one of the theme parks that clearly isn’t a service dog and think, I could bring my dog in and simply say he or she is a service dog (some signs: barking at people, paying more attention to other people than their human, or acting in an undisciplined fashion), remember that a theme park filled with people is probably not your dog’s idea of a great time: Between the crowds, way-too-hot-for-their-paws-in-the-summer pavement, and overall stress of the experience, your pup would probably rather take a snooze back in the room. That’s why it’s so great that four resort hotels offer dog-friendly rooms!
Which Disney Resort Hotels are Dog-Friendly?
Four resort hotels—one at each price point, and two in the “moderate” category—allow dogs in certain rooms:
- Disney’s Art of Animation Resort (Value Resort Hotel)
- Disney Port Orleans Resort – Riverside (Moderate Resort Hotel)
- The Cabins at Fort Wilderness Resort (Moderate Resort Hotel)
- Disney’s Yacht Club Resort (Deluxe Resort Hotel)
In addition, the Campsites at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort offer pet-friendly camping loops.
Where Can I Bring My Dog at the Walt Disney World Resort?
Each pet-friendly resort hotel has designated dog walk areas. Please remember that every body of freshwater in Florida has alligators in it; The Walt Disney Company has clearly posted these area are off-limits to everyone, including dogs. The dog walks offer plenty of room for your pup to stretch his or her legs, and while there’s no off-leash dog park on property, your pup will have a blast with all the great smells in these areas.
Off-limits areas include pools, shops, club lounges (although Disney’s Yacht Club Resort does have dog-friendly rooms), fitness centers, and any Walt Disney World transportation (with the exception of the buses that run only inside Port Orleans Resort – Riverside, and, in those instances, dogs must be in a carrier.) Disney Springs does not allow dogs.
As in all of Florida, The Walt Disney World Resort does not allow dogs inside any restaurants. Most restaurants on property do not have dog-friendly patios (the State of Florida has certain laws about how restaurants can do this), although Muddy Rivers Pool Bar at Port Orleans Resort – Riverside has allowed pets on its patio.
Can Dogs Stay at Animal Kingdom Lodge?
Although this would be great—this resort hotel is far from any fireworks displays, which at least one of my dogs would appreciate—no, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge does not offer dog-friendly rooms. It makes sense: All it would take is one excited (and vocal) hound to stress the animals on the savannah.
What Are the Rules for Dog-Friendly Rooms?
Walt Disney World has pretty easy rules for dog-friendly resort hotel rooms. They only allow dogs, and they limit the number of dogs to two per room. Additionally, pups can stay in your room unattended for up to seven hours. You’ll want to make sure to check in at least once daily if you’re headed out!
Your pup should have good manners (and know how to use an inside voice—this means no incessant barking!), all his or her shots (including regular flea and tick meds), and be leashed whenever you’re not in the room. Of course, you should pick up your dog’s waste—but Disney makes this easy, because every dog gets Pluto’s Welcome Kit at check in that includes poop bags (other swag in the kit varies, but usually includes a place mat and two dog bowls.)
What Does It Cost To Board My Dog at Walt Disney World?
If, for whatever reason, you opt to board your pup at Walt Disney World, you can use the on-property boarding service, Best Friends Pet Care. This is also a great option if you’re traveling with a cat or pocket pet, as the Walt Disney World Resort only offers dog-friendly resort hotel rooms.
Boarding at Best Friends starts at $49, per pet, for a day rate, and at $61 for an overnight stay. You can upgrade your pet’s stay to Villa, Luxury, or Club Level (the upgrades offer more amenities, but each includes a pet webcam so you can check in on our furry or feathered BFF.)
How Can I Book a Dog-Friendly Room at Walt Disney World?
While Walt Disney World’s official guidance on booking pet-friendly rooms suggests calling to book, on our December trip to Port Orleans Resort – Riverside, we booked online and the chat agent told us all we needed to do was tell the concierge at check in.
What Pet Fees Does the Walt Disney World Resort Charge for Dog-Friendly Rooms?
The Walt Disney World Resort charges $50 (plus tax) per night (not per pet!) for a dog-friendly room.