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Things You Need to Know About Resorts at Disney World

Disney's Polynesian Village Resort

A lot changed during the pandemic, and Disney World is no exception. Some things changed because contracts expired or companies went out of business, other things changed to help support crowd control initiatives and staffing concerns. Since I have some insider experience, I'm going to share some of the things many guests aren't aware of regarding these changes. None of them are secrets, but you'll run afoul of them if you think Disney resorts still work the way they did in the 80s and 90s.

It's a brave new world, folks.

Airport Shuttle

Over the pandemic the idea of driving a shuttle full of strangers who had just spent several hours breathing each other's air lost much of its appeal. And with flights stopping and parks closing, it didn't make financial sense to keep these things funded. It was a necessary expense when crowds were high, so when they weren't it got cut.

When the pandemic was over (<s>good job guys, we won!</s>) and the parks opened back up, people showed up in droves despite having to find their own way from the airport. Disney noticed and said, "Cool" or words to that effect, and didn't bring the shuttles back.

Calling the Front Desk

Can't. Not until you get to your room. Seriously. All those numbers for the resorts, they get redirected to a cast member in Resort Reservations.

Why? Seems crazy that you can't talk to the front desk. It happened because so many cast members were furlough during the pandemic, there weren't enough at the resorts to handle the existing guests, much less waste time with calls asking if there would be water in the pools or if they could get a rain-free stay. Most of those calls were pre check-in things anyway, so the numbers just redirected to people who could do pre-check-in things.

Once you check in, you become the resort's problem. If you're in your room, there's a button on your room phone that connects to the front desk. If you're sitting by the pool or at the bus stop and you call the resort, it won't be the front desk. The cast member you get can't forward you to the front desk, even if they try. It just goes back to the queue that will take you to Resort Reservations again.

Calling Guests

This one, although very different from how things used to work, is a sign of the times. People are crazy and do crazy things. Disney tries to limit that. So, no, you can't call and be connected to room 210. You can't call and be connected to you son who's staying at the Contemporary. Maybe you really do know them, maybe you don't. There's no way for Disney to tell. And there's no way for Disney to know if room 210 wants to talk to you, or if they're hiding from you.

And it's 2024. Everyone has a cell phone. If they aren't answering their cell phone when you call, why would Disney connect you? You need to learn boundaries, Carl.

Park Reservations

Over the pandemic Disney started requiring park reservations to control crowds. Recently they relaxed that requirement so that date-based tickets don't need them. So if your ticket is good for June 12th-June 15th, you don't need reservations. If you have open tickets, like an Annual Pass or a special ticket good for any day in a 6 month period, you still need reservations.

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