What Disney resorts are open in 2020?
How do I choose from the available Disney World hotels that have reopened?
Choosing a Disney World hotel in “normal” years can be overwhelming enough. With over 20 resorts on Disney property, the choices can seem endless!
Every hotel at Disney World offers a different combination of price, amenities, location, dining, and theme so finding the right one for your family can be daunting. Throwing COVID-19 closures into the mix can add even more confusion.
So, let’s dive right into what your Disney resort options are RIGHT NOW.
First, we’ll take a quick glance at the operating status of all resorts on Disney property.
Then, I’ll take you through each resort price category – value, moderate, and deluxe – to show your current options and factors you may want to consider when choosing one of the Disney World hotels in this current environment.
Keep in mind that your reasons for choosing a Disney World hotel in 2020 and 2021 might be different than previous years.
Do you want to avoid shared interior spaces? Rooms at value and moderate resorts open to the outdoors and might be preferable even if you haven’t considered them in the past. Deluxe resorts have interior hallways and towers may require elevator usage.
Are you driving your own car and not relying on Disney transportation? Location may not be a determining factor on this trip if you plan on driving yourself.
What about dining? Look for resorts with quick service locations offering mobile ordering. Additionally, more table service restaurants at resorts are offering take out.
My One Page Guide to Disney World Hotels still lists many features and amenities at all Disney World resort hotels to help you make your resort decision process less stressful. Be sure to grab your free guide from my Disney World trip planning resources library and then continue reading here to narrow down your hotel choices.
What Disney World hotels are open?
First, let’s quickly go straight to the basic lists of resorts that are open right now … and those with no reopening date in sight yet.
Here are the Disney World hotels that are already open or reopening soon:
- All-Star Movies Resort (reopening February 9, 2021)
- Art of Animation Resort (reopening November 1, 2020)
- Caribbean Beach Resort
- Contemporary Resort
- Coronado Springs Resort
- Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground
- Grand Floridian Resort
- Pop Century Resort
- Yacht Club Resort
Additionally, all Disney Vacation Club (DVC) deluxe villas except Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas – Jambo House are open. Reservations can be made at these resorts even if you aren’t a DVC member.
What’s still closed with no reopening date?
- All-Star Music Resort
- All-Star Sports Resort
- Animal Kingdom Lodge
- Beach Club Resort
- BoardWalk Inn
- Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter
- Port Orleans Resort – Riverside
- Wilderness Lodge
Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort falls between these “open now” and “no reopening in sight” lists. The resort was due to reopen in the fall of 2020, but will now remain closed through the summer of 2021 to allow for renovations. So, I’ll keep it off that second list for now since there’s a tentative reopening plan.
Keep in mind that, even at the open resorts, some activities and amenities might not be available. Salons and spas have yet to reopen. Some dining locations may have remained closed. These amenity reopening schedules are not often published in advance and change frequently, so be sure to check the Disney World website for the status of all dining locations and amenities at your resort right up until your trip departure day.
Now, let’s take a look at each Disney World resort category and see how the resorts that are currently open might be best for your family.
Value Disney Resorts Open Now!
Disney World’s value resorts are always great choices if you’re visiting Disney on a budget. Their motel-style buildings with room doors that open to the outside are also desirable if you’re avoiding public interior spaces as much as possible. They’ll be among the easiest Disney World resorts to stay socially distanced and away from resort areas where most people congregate.
Your choice of Disney World value resorts has been nearly cut in half with two All-Star Resorts yet to reopen with no reopening dates in sight.
Your remaining choices in the value category are Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort, Disney’s Pop Century Resort and Disney’s Art of Animation Resort.
So, what’s the difference between these resorts?
All-Star Movies and Pop Century are an easy comparison. They both have recently renovated rooms with queen size beds (one is a murphy bed), tons of storage, and a clean, minimalist theme. You won’t be making a decision between these resorts solely based on the rooms themselves because they’re nearly identical.
Where these two resorts differ is in price and location. Pop Century has a transportation advantage on the SkyLiner route while All-Star Movies usually has a lower price point. Choose All-Star Movies if your budget’s bottom line is top priority. Choose Pop Century if SkyLiner access to Epcot and Hollywood Studios is a perk you’d enjoy.
Now, let’s compare Pop Century and Art of Animation.
These two resorts are neighbors so location won’t factor into your decision.
Neither will transportation. Both Pop Century and Art of Animation share a SkyLiner station for transportation to Hollywood Studios and Epcot along with Disney bus transportation to Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom.
With the exception of Art of Animation’s family suites, both resorts have exterior hallways and a maximum of four floors, so elevators may be avoided and closed hallways.
The majority of the rooms at Art of Animation are large family suites that are twice the size of a normal hotel room. This means that most of the rooms aren’t exactly “value” pricing. There is one section of standard rooms with a Little Mermaid theme. These are the rooms that can be directly compared to rooms at Pop Century.
Little Mermaid rooms at Art of Animation typically cost a little more than Pop Century rooms, but rarely enough for price to be the sole determining factor in your choice. This section is farthest from the main building, dining, the feature Blue Blue Pool, and transportation. Inside, the rooms have far less storage space than Pop Century rooms. However, they are recently renovated with hard floors and queen beds, and are an easy pick if you have a Little Mermaid fan in the family.
Pop Century rooms are also renovated with far more storage, but less “Disney” touches aside from artwork over the beds.
The location of these two resorts as they sit across Hourglass Lake from one another means that visiting the other resort is easy. If you’re tempted to stay at Art of Animation because you’ve seen photos of the amazing grounds with Disney movie characters, you can still stay at Pop Century and easily make the walk over to Art of Animation to enjoy the grounds.
Clearly, there is little to separate a choice between Pop Century and standard Little Mermaid rooms at Art of Animation. Art of Animation is the clear choice if anyone in your family is Little Mermaid-obsessed. Otherwise, Pop Century will usually be the better choice.
Do you need a family suite? With All-Star Music Resort still closed, Disney’s Art of Animation Resort is the only resort offering family suites that is currently open. Note that, unlike the Little Mermaid standard rooms, buildings with family suites have interior hallways. However, they are all closer to amenities, dining, and transportation and are a fantastic choice for larger families.
Don’t miss my free One Page Guide to Disney World Hotels which includes a simple comparison grid including resorts where family suites, 5th sleeper rooms, and SkyLiner transportation are available.
Moderate Disney Resorts to Consider
A step up in price from value resorts, moderate resorts offer slightly larger rooms, feature pools with water slides, pool spas, on-site table service dining, and grounds with beautiful, lunch landscaping and scenery. These resorts are more immersively themed than value resorts with fewer characters so they may not feel as “Disney” as the values.
The Port Orleans resorts – both Riverside and French Quarter – are among the most popular Disney World resorts, but both are still closed with no reopening date in sight.
So, what’s the next best choice in moderate resorts?
The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness are difficult to compare to any other Disney resort due to their uniqueness, so I’ll quickly address them first.
If you value privacy, ample living space (including a full kitchen!), love nature, and don’t mind the transportation issues inherent in staying at Fort Wilderness, the cabins are a fantastic choice especially during these pandemic times.
However, the Fort is huge and transportation time can be frustrating. In addition to the cost of the cabin, which is often more than other moderate resorts, you may want to consider renting a golf cart on-site for the length of your stay for exploring the Fort and avoiding your reliance on the resort’s internal bus system.
So, that leaves two other resorts open in the moderate category and they’re very comparable.
Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort and Coronado Springs Resort are nearly the same in size and price.
Like all unique Disney resorts, they differ in theme. Caribbean Beach has a laid back tropical vibe with sandy beaches, relaxing hammocks, and a fort-themed feature pool. Coronado Springs is inspired by the American Southwest with Spanish and Mexican touches, and a Mayan pyramid pool.
Both are sprawling resorts with numerous two-story buildings that surround a large lake and internal bus systems.
Perhaps the most notable differentiators between these two resorts is transportation and the room interior.
Caribbean Beach offers transfer-free SkyLiner transportation to Hollywood Studios and Epcot. This resort’s SkyLiner station is the hub where all guests traveling on the SkyLiner must disembark and get on another gondola to their ultimate destination. Staying at Caribbean Beach means direct access to the two parks. Caribbean Beach also offers rooms with “5th sleeper” twin-sized murphy beds making them a great choice for families of 5. However, the rooms are not renovated, have carpeting, and less storage space than the Coronado Springs rooms, especially in the bathroom.
Coronado Springs offers more dining options, has recently renovated carpet-less rooms with hard floors, platform beds, and more storage. There are no 5th sleeper rooms although larger (and pricier) suites are available. The resort is not adjacent to any of the parks so only Disney bus transportation is available.
Additionally, Coronado Springs offers rooms in a new “deluxe-lite” tower that also come with higher “deluxe-lite” prices. The rooms themselves are very similar to the regular Coronado Springs rooms but have no private outdoor space which is standard at the Disney deluxe resorts and might be expected in a tower with interior hallways.
If SkyLiner transportation to two parks sounds ideal or you need a budget room for five, choose Caribbean Beach Resort. If you prefer recently renovated rooms and a slightly more upscale moderate resort, choose Coronado Springs. For an entirely unique experience that sleeps up to six with a full kitchen, try the Cabins at Fort Wilderness.
Deluxe Disney World Hotels in 2020
The deluxe Disney World hotels offer the largest rooms, most amenities, ideal locations, and highest prices.
Four deluxe resorts remain closed with no reopening dates announced: Animal Kingdom Lodge, Beach Club Resort, BoardWalk Inn, and Wilderness Lodge. Additionally, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort will remain closed for renovations until the summer of 2021. If you’re interested in the amenities any of these resorts have to offer, their DVC counterparts are all operating so consider one of the deluxe villas.
Only three deluxe resorts out of eight are currently open.
Disney’s flagship Grand Floridian Resort offers large rooms with a Victorian theme that sleep five, monorail transportation to the Magic Kingdom, and numerous dining choices.
Nearby, the Contemporary Resort is also open with rooms that sleep five and a walking path to the Magic Kingdom in addition to monorail transportation. The Contemporary’s tower rooms may not be ideal for those avoiding elevators, but the garden rooms should be considered for a little more seclusion and a lower price tag.
The third deluxe resort, Disney’s Yacht Club Resort, is located just outside Epcot’s International Gateway entrance. From here, you can walk to both Epcot and Hollywood Studios so transportation to two parks can be bypassed completely! These rooms also sleep five and the Stormalong Bay mini-water park swimming pool is easily the best on Disney property.
If your family will be spending the most time at the Magic Kingdom, choose the Contemporary or Grand Floridian. If walking to half of the parks sounds ideal or you plan on lots of pool time, choose the Yacht Club.
Amenities are deluxe resorts are numerous! Don’t miss my free One Page Guide to Disney World Hotels to compare other features of Disney deluxe resorts.
Disney Deluxe Villa Resorts
While not all deluxe resorts are open, all of their Disney Vacation Club (DVC) deluxe villa counterparts are with the exception of Animal Kingdom Lodge’s Jambo House (Animal Kingdom’s Kidani Village IS open).
I typically don’t write much about the villas here on this blog. Most DVC deluxe villas offer rooms in various sizes – studios which compare to a regular hotel room, one-bedroom, two-bedroom, and larger suites.
Staying with the basics, the studio villas are most comparable to standard hotel rooms but they aren’t desirable, in our family’s opinion, for one main reason – the sofa beds. Most DVC studio villas offer sleeping arrangements of one queen bed and one full-size sleeper sofa. Many rooms also have the twin-size murphy bed that is also available in some moderate and deluxe resort rooms.
For many families, two queen beds is a standard requirement and the price that goes along with a room where kids sleep on a sofa bed just isn’t desirable.
However, Disney’s newest DVC resort, Riviera Resort, features a queen-sized murphy bed as the second bed instead of a sleeper sofa. Saratoga Springs is currently being renovated with murphy beds replacing the old sofa beds. Additionally, studio villas at the original DVC resort, Old Key West, have always offered two standard queen beds. All three are solid options if two real beds are needed for your family.
If the sleeping arrangement is a non-issue and you’re looking for more deluxe options than the three resorts currently open, certainly look into the DVC deluxe villas.
How is your process of selecting from the list of Disney World hotels different now amidst the pandemic? What hotel features are now a priority?