Most people would gladly agree that going on vacation to Walt Disney World Resort is just about the most magical experience ever. But for some, the trip wouldn’t be quite as magical without having their faithful, furry companions by their side. But can you actually bring your dog along with you to Disney World? Surprisingly, the answer is yes. Of course, certain rules and conditions do apply, but just the same it is in fact possible to enjoy the magic of Disney World without taking time away from your best friend. Here’s everything you need to know about vacationing at Walt Disney World with your dog.
Know Your Resort Options
The first thing you need to consider when deciding whether to take your dog along with you on a Walt Disney World vacation is where you plan on booking your accommodations. While there are a number of pet-friendly hotels throughout the greater Orlando area, those who enjoy the exclusive perks that come with staying on Disney property may rest assured that there are four onsite resorts that currently meet the criteria. They are Disney’s Art of Animation, Disney’s Port Orleans — Riverside, Disney’s Yacht Club, and the Cabins (and Campsites) at Disney’s Fort Wilderness. Do take note that on average there is a $50 nightly fee applied at these resorts with the exception of Disney’s Yacht Club Resort, which incurs a $75 fee.
Disney’s Pooch Perks
Even a vacation that’s literally for the dogs is worthy of the Disney star treatment. For starters, you and your canine companion will be staying in a specially designated room within the Resort you decide upon. These rooms all boast easy access to dog-designated areas and are conveniently located near doors, exits, and walkways that lead straight out to green spaces and pet relief spots. But perhaps the biggest perk of all comes in the form of your dog receiving his or her own Disney welcome package. Known as “Pluto’s Welcome Kit,” you and your pooch will receive this special package upon checking in at your Resort. Included in the kit is a food bowl, feeding mat, a special pet ID tag, puppy pads, disposable waste bags, a Pluto-themed “do not disturb” door hanger, and a complimentary map displaying all the doggy designated trails and specified dog-friendly areas throughout your Resort. Package contents may vary slightly from one Resort to the next, but do take note that food is not included in any of the welcome kits, and Guests must bring their own.
There are a couple of rules that you need to know about bringing your dog (or in some cases, dogs) to a designated Disney Resort. First, the total number of dogs you may have with you per room is limited to two. At this time, dogs are the only pets permitted to stay on Walt Disney World premises — sorry cat lovers. Dogs must also be up-to-date on all their current shots prior to being brought onto Disney property. As is the case with all Guests, Disney expects all visiting dogs to be on their very best behavior. This means no biting, excessive barking, chewing, or displaying other destructive or disruptive behaviors of any kind. While traveling through public areas, dogs must be kept on leashes at all times and must remain confined to a Resort’s designated dog areas in particular. And while you will understandably want to go out and explore some Disney locations that dogs are prohibited from accompanying you in, Disney asks that you do not leave your dog unattended in your Resort room for longer than seven hours at a time. Cast Members also request that you hang your Pluto sign on your door during those times when your dog is in the room alone, as Mousekeeping will know not to enter a room with an unattended dog or dog(s). If there are any signs that your dog needs attention (barking, whining, scratching, etc.) while you are out, you will receive a phone call from a Disney Cast Member requesting that you return to your furry friend within the next 30 minutes or so.
Keep to Designated Areas
If you’re one of those people who share in a peer-to-peer relationship with your pooch and you regularly let him/her accompany you wherever you go, this next need-to-know concept may be a little hard to grasp. But it’s important that you keep your canine companion confined to only those areas at your Resort designated for dogs specifically. We’re sorry to burst the bubble for anyone who has ever dreamed of riding Expedition Everest alongside their pups, but with the exception of service animals, your four-legged friend is not permitted to accompany you to any of the four theme parks, water parks, restaurants, recreational areas, or to nearby Disney Springs. But don’t worry; all four designated pet-friendly Disney Resorts have plenty to bark about, from green areas designed to let dogs play and release all that energy to scenic trails you both can explore together. And for those who choose to stay at Fort Wilderness, take note of their fantastic resident dog Park—Waggin’ Trails.
Best Friends Pet Care Hotel
An alternative to leaving your dog alone in your Resort room for hours on end is to consider pet daycare at Disney’s very own Best Friends Care Hotel. Here you get to choose from a wide range of different services for your dog to enjoy while onsite, some of which include playtime, cuddle time, bedtime stories, grooming services, special “ice cream” treats, and so much more. You can even choose villas and VIP luxury suites with featured PetChatz webcams. Other amenities here include 17,000 square feet of air-conditioned indoor space, 10,000 square feet of covered outdoor space, and even a vast dog park spanning 25,000 square feet. The facility opens each day an hour prior to the first park opening and remains in operation an hour after closing. And while day services are the norm for most dog parents, overnight lodging is also available. It should also be noted that in addition to boarding dogs, Best Friends Pet Care and its committed staff of more than 75 professionals do see to the needs of other animal species as well, including cats, birds, and any other pets you may not have wanted to leave at home. Rates start at $30 a day with customizable add-ons available. Click here to learn more.
Treat Your Pooch Pal
Taking your dog on a shopping spree to Disney Springs may be off-limits, but you really should consider a stop by to check out the unique stores on location there, with plenty to offer pets. So, while your dog is relaxing around your Resort room or living it up at Beast Friends Pet Care, slip into such venues as Happy Hound or Marketplace Co-Op—Disney Tails for some special Disney-themed exclusives. Options are almost unlimited, spanning everything from themed collars and harnesses to more elaborate pet-themed costumes and toys. And because all dogs like goodies, you may want to up your furry friend’s Disney World vacation even more with some delectable Disney-themed Table Scraps snacks from Phelps Pet Products. These are available through a wide range of distributors, so if your dog likes them, they’re fairly easy to find at other places as well.
Sharing the magic with your dog can last beyond the vacation, as there are plenty of other ways to enjoy Disney with your faithful companion. Whether watching a great pet-themed Disney movie or show or embarking on an actual Disney vacation together, you cannot deny that experiencing Disney magic with a dog by your side makes the overall experience a doggone deal better!