The average return park goer goes to Walt Disney World once every three years. If you are that park goer it’s nice to know what changes to Disney World’s resorts and transportation have been made before you make your plans. This blog covers attractions, lands and entertainment. New Things to do at Disney World 2017 thru 2020 and Disney World’s New Restaurants 2017-2020 will cover the rest.
Changes to Disney World’s Resorts and Transportation: Transportation
Normally there would be little to say about changing transportation in Disney World. But, in 2019 Disney opened the Skyliner. After an initial glitch the Skyliner has been operating wonderfully and like the monorail, is quickly becoming an iconic transportation option. Branches of the Skyliner run from
- Art of Animation/Pop Century to/from Caribbean Beach Resort
- Caribbean Beach Resort to/from Hollywood Studios
- Caribbean Beach Resort to/from Riviera Resort
- Riviera Resort to/from Epcot International Gateway
The Skyliner isn’t the only transportation change. In 2019 new character themed buses were rolled out. These buses include laminated floors, new benches and USB ports between seats.
Another new transportation option in the Minnie Vans. Minnie vans operate like Uber or Lyft. Unlike Lyft/Uber, Minnie Vans are operated by Disney Cast Members and come with two car seats.
For the first eight months of 2017 Disney World offered the Walt Disney World Express Transportation service between parks. For a small fee these buses would pick you up from a back stage area and bring you to the next park. You got to bypass security and lines. We availed ourselves of this service three years ago and we will sorely miss it.
Changes to Disney World’s Resorts and Transportation: New Resorts/Buildings
Technically the first new resort opened in 2019 was not a resort at all. The Gran Destino Tower is a new part of Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort. As such Gran Destino Tower shares many of the same amenities with Coronado Springs. But, the Gran Destino Tower has a separate theme as well as it’s own pools and restaurants. The theme is based on “Destino” a short film that Walt Disney and Salvatore Dali collaborated on. Gran Destino Tower is truly a unique stay experience and belongs on Disney World’s New Restaurants, Resorts and Transportation list.
Disney’s Riviera Resort is Disney’s only true new resort for 2019. Located at a Skyliner hub and populated with top restaurants the Riviera is destined to be a favorite. The theme of this resort is the best of the French and Italian riviera. Both the food and the stately décor reflect this. Deluxe Villa property, the Riviera offers Studios and 1-3 bedroom villas.
Changes to Disney World’s Resorts and Transportation: Resort Renovations
Disney World resorts are under a constant state of maintenance. At some point significant changes need to be made. Rooms may upgrade their ‘Soft goods’ (carpeting, bedspreads, curtains, fabric covers) or ‘hard goods’ (Furniture, electronics or even bathroom fixtures). Additionally, common areas may also go through major changes above and beyond common maintenance. With thousands of rooms something will be under renovation or have just completed renovations at any time.
(Only the most recent are listed).
- All-Star Movies Resort– Hard/Soft Goods Upgrade
- Caribbean Beach Resort– Skyliner Station, Old Port Royale upgrade, Sebastian’s Bistro and Banana Cabana, Rooms had hard and soft goods upgraded.
- Coronado Springs Resort– Gran Destino Tower (see above), Three Bridges Bar & Grill, Pool refresh, Rooms remodeled, new bar
- Old Key West Resort – Hard goods refurbishments of guest rooms
- Pop Century Resort– Hard and soft Goods, Disney Skyliner station
- Port Orleans French Quarter Resort– Soft goods refurbishment, minor thematic and functional changes to the rooms, and concluded last year.
- Yacht Club Resort & Beach Club Resort– hard goods refurbishments of guest rooms, Ale and Compass Restaurant & Lounge.
- Wilderness Lodge Resort–Disney Vacation Club expansion
Renovations currently underway:
Note: it’s a good policy to ask for a newly renovated room when you reserve your stay. It isn’t guaranteed but you won’t get a new room if you don’t ask.
- All-Star Music Resort – Hard/Soft goods
- Animal Kingdom Lodge (Jambo House) – Hard/Soft goods comleting early 2020. Value Studio villas will be renovated through Spring 2020.
- Animal Kingdom Lodge (Kidani Village) – Refurbishments of the common areas, facades painting repainting, roof work, and ornamental details. Does not impact guest rooms.
- Art of Animation Resort –Lobby overhaul and Big Blue Pool upgrade. Art of Animation Suites replacing carpet with laminate flooring, Disney Skyliner Station (Complete).
- Port Orleans Riverside Resort– Alligator Bayou soft goods
- Saratoga Springs–hard good refurbishment
What are your favorite changes over the last few years? Let us know in the comments or on Facebook or Twitter!
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