Walt Disney World Resorts, A chat with the front desk
Just a disclaimer before I dive in, I have only worked Front Desk at a few resorts: Fort Wilderness, Art of Animation, and Caribbean Beach. This is going to be my experience at those resorts. I have not worked at any others for Front Desk and do not know their processes. However, I will try to make this as general as possible with similarities I noticed between the resorts.
What’s Your Favorite Walt Disney World Resort?
Let me start with the fun questions. My favorite resort out of the three I have worked at is Art of Animation. It was where I started my front desk career and it is my home away from home. It is an incredible resort not only because of the fantastic themeing but all of the details and extra touches Disney puts into it that most guests do not even know about. My favorite room has to be the Lion King suite. There are so many bright colors in the room and the sunrise in the bathroom is simply gorgeous. I want to redo my shower to look like that. My favorite in Fort Wilderness are the cabins. It feels like you are still out in the middle of nowhere but you have all the conveniences of your home, like indoor plumbing. My favorite at Caribbean Beach is a water view standard room. I do like the fun, special themeing of the pirate rooms but I prefer the space of the queen beds versus the doubles in the pirate rooms.
How do I get a complimentary upgrade at my Disney resort?
Onto business, the best way to get a complimentary upgrade is to not ask for one outright. You have to ask if that resort has the availability to upgrade and how much that would cost. I know my current resort does it randomly where we have certain periods where we upgrade a good amount of people automatically and then periods where we upgrade no one. It depends on the time of the year as well. If the resort has low occupancy, we might do it as a Magical Moment. The higher occupancy we have, the less rooms we have to play around with, the less upgrades we do. Whenever someone asks me for a comp upgrade as soon as they come up to my desk, it almost makes me view that guest in a negative way. It makes me feel that they want to cheat the system. (Not to say I react that way for every guest who asks for one, just that I do not like when people try to weasel their way out of paying for something other people have worked so hard to be able to afford.)
Increase your chance for a Disney World Room upgrade
To increase your chances, do not do Online Check In. We don’t know you want an upgrade unless you physically ask us. As much as people think we are, Disney cast members are not mind readers. It is also better to check in as early as you can. Resorts assign rooms to guests automatically after a certain time so if you check in after about 6 or 7, we already have a room assigned to you and if we are full or nearly full, we cannot switch your room. We have a lot more rooms available when you check in early in the day versus at 9 o’ clock at night. It is always a plus to add various celebrations to the room. We want to know that you are on your honeymoon or celebrating a graduation.
Don’t be upset if you don’t get an upgrade. If you want to guarantee a specific room category you will need to book it. An upgrade depends on a great deal of things and most of the time is not in the cards, but if it does happen think of it as an extra magical moment. I hope this information was helpful for you, spread the happiness and have a wonderful time on your Walt Disney World vacation.
Are the people at the front desk allowed to accept tips? I plan to request an upgrade for an upcoming trip and I am willing pay for the upgrade, of course if I get a complimentary upgrade that saves me money I would like to give a nice tip to the person at the check in desk. Magic moments should be shared after all
The Disney front desk cast members can not accept tips. You can tip bell services and valet for a job well done.
Have an awesome vacation!
Hi Steve, How can I upgrade to a polynisan bungalow is it hard to get.
These bungalows are Disney Vacation Club rooms (DVC) so they would not upgrade guests from the Polynesian resort to these rooms. You would need to book these if they are available as a cash reservation if available. DVC members would have the first option to book these before they would even show up to be available to book as a regular room.
Hi Steve! We will be staying at Art of Animation here in a few weeks. In these times of limited park attendance, what might be the odds of being upgraded from a standard Little Mermaid room to a possible suite? Thanks for your time! Jake
You know it might actually happen. I would just ask the cast member at check in nicely. Times have changed in 2020 and 2021 and if they have the rooms you might be able to talk your way into an upgrade. Have an awesome Disney Vacations!
How do you add the special celebrations that we are going to have. We are doing a few from a first time to Disney ,a birthday,
a life celebration, a anniversary and a renewed love.
So we have a lot of celebrating to do.
When you call the resort or reservation center you can let them know.Also be sure to get a celebration button at any of the parks when you walk in. Every Castmember will see that button and wish you a Happy Birthday etc.
Have an amazing time at Walt Disney World
We have a party of 15 (4 families with kids) traveling to celebrate our parent’s 50th wedding anniversary for 7 days– June 7-14. All staying at Beach Club Resort in water view rooms. All accommodations have been booked by a travel agent. Do you have any recommendations in terms of requesting club level room comp upgrades? What are the odds of that happening? Just looking for your input.
Have a magical day…
Thanks for the message. With that many people and rooms I don’t think it’s likely to get room upgrades to club level at no cost. I’m not even sure you would be able to get an upgrade with just one room. The Disney World parks and resorts are very busy right now. Everyone is traveling again because they cancelled their vacations for the last 2+ years and want to get out again with family and friends. But you picked an amazing resort. My favorite pool at all of Disney World is the Beach Clubs main pool and what a great location for EPCOT and Hollywood Studios access too. Have an amazing vacation!
Hi, how do I add a special celebration to a room? I’ve booked via a travel agent so not sure if it’s possible via disney direct?
I’m going for my honeymoon literally 2 days after we get married and its also my 30th birthday while we are there so its two big celebrations for me ? im very excited and upgrade or not I would still be super happy but it would be nice to be able to let staff know in advance too of our special events!