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Disney Resorts That We Think are in Need of Some Love

Disney Resorts That We Think are in Need of Some Love

Disney has completed some massive resort refurbishments in the last few years. It is truly incredible to see the transformations that have taken place (looking at you, All-Star Sports). Here are some of the resorts that we think should be next (or already are) on Disney’s list and why you may want to avoid them until they are complete.

Resort Refurbishments

Credit: Monica

Attractions are not the only things at Disney that need refurbishments! Disney has given some major care and attention to the places where Guests go after a long day in the parks: the resort.

The last few years in particular seem to be an explosion of room refreshes and complete overhauls. Almost every single room I (Monica) have stayed in over the course of the last 4 years or so has been newly renovated.

But, there are a few I have stayed in where I think to myself, “Oh, yeah. This room feels more dated than other rooms I have stayed in.” While that is not necessarily a bad thing (some of these new rooms feel very sterile), I think for the average Guest these rooms may come in at a disadvantage.

Refurbishment Schedule

New Resort Studios at the Grand Floridian open on this date
Credit: Monica

Let’s take a quick look at Disney’s refurbishment schedule since 2019. That provides a really good representation of what has been updated in the last five years. As a note: many of these refurbishments overlap years. I categorized the resorts by year they were completely finished or mostly finished.

  • 2019: Old Key West; Riviera (opened late 2019); Coronado Springs and Gran Destino Tower (opened in 2019); Port Orleans – Riverside; All-Star Movies
  • 2020: Art of Animation
  • 2021: Saratoga Springs; All-Star Music; Contemporary
  • 2022: Grand Floridian; Polynesian
  • 2023: Beach Club; Boardwalk; Boulder Ridge; All-Star Sports; pirate rooms in Caribbean Beach; Pixar Place
Credit: Monica

Please note this is NOT a comprehensive list. I’m sure I missed a few here or there. Please kindly let me know in the comments below, and I’ll be sure to add it!

Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, the Cabins at Fort Wilderness, and the Cabins at Copper Creek (Wilderness Lodge) are all planned to begin refurbishment in 2024.

#1 Bay Lake at Disney’s Contemporary Resort

Credit: Monica

Bay Lake Tower (or BLT for short) is the Disney Vacation Club(DVC) tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. Disney completed a really fun renovation of the cash rooms at the Contemporary Resort. The Incredibles theme is appropriate and exciting for this resort. While we don’t expect that theme to continue into Bay Lake Tower, we are excited to see what Disney accomplishes with it.

The rooms are in desperate need of not just a cosmetic upgrade, but also logistical/technical upgrades as well. There are not enough outlets and/or USB ports to charge electronics in the rooms. This can be especially difficult for all the MagicBand+ and other devices to charge.

As far as aesthetics, I think the room is really puzzling. The headboard has a light wood, while the small table and chairs and kitchenette feature dark wood. Then, the dresser is white and black. It all feels confusing as there is no continuity throughout the room.

Credit: Monica

Another component I am not a fan of is the separate kitchenette in the studios. It does offer a dedicated space, but it is a poor use of the already-small square footage. Many deluxe studios are able to sleep 5 with a pull down bed, but Bay Lake Tower does not. In my opinion, these rooms should offer a 5th sleeper instead of the kitchenette space.

It feels unlikely that Disney will completely gut this area, which puts the one bathroom at a disadvantage in comparison to the Grand Floridian’s and the Polynesian’s second bathrooms, which are also on the Monorail.

To see what these rooms currently look like, check out my photo tour HERE. If you want to see a guide to the entire tower, then click HERE.

#2 Grand Californian

Credit: Monica

Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel and Spa is located at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California. It is a deluxe resort that boasts premium accommodations and Craftsman-style elegance. The theming takes you to the woods of Northern California with the pine trees and natural details throughout the resort. Imagineers wanted to pay tribute to the Arts and Crafts Movement in the early 1900s.

To read our full guide of the Grand Californian, click HERE. And this post has a photo tour and review of the standard rooms. While I do love the rooms here, I think they are in need of some renovations.

Credit: Monica

I have a love/hate relationship with carpet. While it does bring warmth to a room, it can also date a room very quickly. In the case of the Grand Californian, the dark green carpet looks so old. I think a nice area rug would really do a lot to bring the rooms up to date. There is already wood flooring in the bathroom. It would be so easy to continue the wood flooring into the bed area and then add an area rug.

The bathroom also needs some work. The tile flooring and tile accents in the shower/tub combo are not up-to-date. I love the overall theming of the resort and the lobby is stunning, but the rooms are lackluster with the white walls and simple artwork.

#3 Copper Creek

Escape to the Wilderness (Lodge) in a Copper Creek Studio
Credit: Monica

Copper Creek is located within the main Wilderness Lodge resort. This separate DVC accommodation opened in 2017, and it is my understanding that it has not received any refurbishments since. While the cabins will undergo refurbishment this year and next, I think the other rooms could benefit from a small refurbishment.

My biggest complaint is how plain the rooms look. Disney did a fantastic job with the Boulder Ridge refurbishment last year, and I hope to see the same in Copper Creek. Other than two pictures on the wall, there is no other wilderness theming. The walls are beige, the couch is beige, everything feels beige. Adding some color to the walls or including more wall art would make this room so much more beautiful.

In addition, I wish Disney would replace the dresser with a pull down bed. It is a horrible use of space and adding that pull down bed would increase the maximum occupancy. You can take a look at the studios HERE.

#4 Animal Kingdom Lodge

Credit: Susan

Animal Kingdom Lodge is themed after an African Savana. Let me tell you, Disney delivered on this theming. From the deep wooden accents to the African animals grazing right outside your window, you may forget you are even in Florida.

Disney describes the Lodge as, “Step into the heart of Africa at this magnificent Resort hotel. Inspired by the traditional African kraal, the horseshoe-curved design provides spectacular views of 4 lush savannas that over 200 hoofed animals and birds call home. Delight in dazzling pool areas, exciting animal programs and one of the largest collections of African art in the United States as you experience your own African safari adventure with a touch of Disney magic.”

We love the 1 bedroom villas at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge and you will too!
Credit: Susan

Overall, I think the rooms at Animal Kingdom are fantastic. I hope when Disney completes the next round of refurbishments here, they do not lose too much of the beauty. Some simple updates like updating the bathroom and changing the carpet to something that isn’t brown would only increase my love for this resort.

I am just begging Disney to keep the color and over-the-top theming! You can see the one-bedroom villas in this post and the studios in this post.

Why I think the Disneyland Hotel should NOT be refurbished

You will love these magical rooms at the Disneyland Hotel
Credit: Disney

Disneyland just opened the Villas at the Disneyland Hotel. I have not personally stayed in those rooms yet, but I have stayed in the other rooms. It’s my understanding that it has been several years since these rooms were touched, and I am begging Disney not to do anything to these rooms!

I absolutely love the theming of these rooms. The carpet has fireworks on them, the massive headboard lights up and plays music, and the Walt Disney artwork is just so, so good. These rooms are my favorite Disney rooms to stay in at any resort in the United States.

It is the perfect amount of magic and nostalgia, and I fear if Disney did anything to these rooms they would lose that. Check out my guide to the resort HERE and a photo tour of the rooms HERE.

Final Thoughts

We Love the New Beach Club Refurbishments at Disney World!
Credit: Monica

I think Disney has slowly learned their lesson with resort refurbishments over the last 5-6 years. People do not want boring rooms with no theming. The value resort refurbishments and even some of the moderate resorts (Port Orleans) are pretty sterile with no theming.

But, we see recent refurbishments like Disney’s Beach Club where they kept all of the same elements just freshened them up. Disney did a fantastic job with this resort-wide refurbishment, striking the perfect balance between keeping on theme and bringing it up to the present. I hope this continues with any resort refurbishments that occur in the future.

Credit: Monica

I hope this list has helped you a bit in your decision-making process. It may wise to hold off on any of these rooms until they are refurbished. On the opposite side of that, if you love any of these rooms you may want to squeeze a stay in one before they receive work!

Are there any resorts that you think need a good refurbishment? Any on my list that you do not agree with? Let us know in the comments below. And, share this post with a friend who is considering a stay at any of these resorts.


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