The Art of the Disney World Room Request

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You’ve finally decided where to stay. Your resort hotel choice is perfect. Now you’re wondering if there are better or worse places to stay at your chosen resort. Will it matter what room you’re in? And if it matters, how do you go about making that happen? Welcome to the wonderful world of the room request.

Should I be making a room request?

Not necessarily. If you’re only going to be sleeping in your room, it may not make much difference where you are. In this case, making a room request may just be creating unnecessary work for yourself.

Note the "Search for Accessible Rooms" box. Click to enlarge.

What would I want to make a room request?

There are a number of reasons why a guest would want a specific room or specific type of room. Some of these are:

  • Sentimental attachment to a previously visited area.
  • Need for a room with handicapped access.
  • Need for connecting rooms for larger families.
  • Preference for a particular view.
  • Preference for proximity to food or transportation.

I want the BEST room, can I simply request that?

Not really. The “best” room could be entirely different depending your personal needs or preferences.

What do you mean?

Some people prioritize quiet. My husband usually asks for a room on a high floor as far away as possible from the elevators. He doesn’t like to hear people walking past the room. Someone else might have mobility issues and would prioritize closeness to the elevator. What’s best for my husband might be worst for someone else. Before making a room request, think about what you really want.

If I’ve made a request, what are the odds I’m going to get what I ask for?

Disney does NOT guarantee room requests. They just don’t. That being said, if you’ve made your request in advance, then the odds of getting what you ask for are pretty good. Personally, I’ve made requests for either room location or connecting rooms about a dozen times and only not gotten what I asked for once.

Any exceptions to the “no guarantees” thing?

If there are real medical reasons for your request, these are given priority. Specify this while making your reservation.

I’ve decided I want to be near the resort transportation. How do I ask for this?

Note the "Multiple Room Booking" link.

First figure out what you really want. Some resorts have multiple transportation access points. Many of the moderate resorts have multiple bus pick-up points, and some of the deluxe resorts are served by two types of transportation. Specificity is important. Do you want to be near any bus stop at the Caribbean Beach Resort, or only the MAIN bus stop? Similarly, it would be tough to be near both the boat dock and the bus stop at the BoardWalk Inn, as those are on different sides of the building. Be clear about what you prefer.

I really want to be next to my kids in another room. Can I make that happen?

The first step is to make sure you’re asking for the right thing. There is a difference between connecting rooms (with an internal door between them) and adjoining rooms (that are simply next to each other). All the Disney resort hotels have a limited number of rooms that connect, but obviously have many rooms that adjoin.

I have a bunch of kids and would like to have three rooms connecting together. How do I ask for that?

You shouldn’t be asking for this, because it doesn’t exist. Before you make a room request, you should first make sure that what you’re asking for is actually in the realm of possibility. This can be handled by making a quick call to the resort.

I’m staying at the Wilderness Lodge with my family later this year. Our ideal room configuration is a bunk bed room connecting to a standard room, but I wasn’t sure if this particular combination even existed at the resort. Before making a request we called the Lodge directly and asked if they had any rooms with that profile. (They do, yay!)

It pays to do a bit of research on the types of rooms available at each resort. For example, there are no bunk beds at any of the value resorts. Don’t bother asking for something like this.

Click on the room type options to find out more about those options.

Another type of request to avoid is one where your choices contradict each other. For example, don’t ask for a Caribbean Beach Resort pirate room that’s close to the main building and transportation. The pirate rooms are all faaaaar away from the main building. Which factor is most important to you?

If the particular type of room you want does not exist, ask the hotel to suggest alternatives. For example, guests wanting three rooms connecting together might be offered a two or three bedroom villa as a substitute. Or, if you need something very specific that doesn’t exist on Disney property, you may want to expand your search to off-site accommodations.

We’re traveling with another family. Can I request a room near their room?

Yes, this is something you can request. If you’re making a request involving another party with another reservation number, be sure that you both ask for the same thing.

I’m staying at the Contemporary and really want a view of the Castle. Can I request this?

Well, kind of. Some types of rooms are only available for a premium price. So, for example, you can ask for a Castle view, but this would be made as part of your regular reservation, not a special request, as Castle view rooms cost more than standard view rooms.

The description of preferred rooms tells you that these rooms are close to the pool and guest facilities. If you want to be close to the pool, that's the type of room to select. You're going to have to pay more.

I’m staying at the Beach Club. Can I request a view of the lake?

Again, there are some rooms that have premium pricing. In the case of the Beach Club, there are some rooms designated as “water view.” This doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll be gazing out your balcony at Crescent Lake. Some water view rooms overlook Stormalong Bay or even the small quiet pool. If you’re selecting a water view room and want the lake, ask for the lake.

OK, I’ve figured out what I want and I know that it exists at my resort. How do I go about making my request?

If you’re reserving while speaking with a person, either at the Disney reservations phone line (407-W-DISNEY) or with a travel agent, simply state what you need, and the agent make a note on your file.

If you’re making your reservation yourself online, keep any eye out for markers in the reservation system that prompt you to note requests. For example, the first reservation screen asks if you want to search for Accessible Rooms. If you want to make a request for a handicapped accessible room, be sure to start your reservation process there.

You’ll also notice on the first reservation page a link that says “multi-room booking?” Clicking this will bring you to an alert that you can make a connecting room request later in the process. Make sure you follow through with this.

What next?

The next page of an online booking shows you what options are available. For example, in the fictional Pop Century booking shown here, there are options for standard view, standard pool view, preferred standard view, and preferred pool view. Not sure what those things mean? Click on the options for more information. Still not sure, call Disney and ask.

Some resorts have special request options. For example, Port Orleans Riverside has an option to select a room with a trundle bed.

Again, look carefully at every page in the booking process. There are many places where you’re asked for preference-type information.

I forgot to make my room request when I booked. What can I do?

Once you have a reservation in place, there’s currently no mechanism in place to add something to it online. Your best bet is to call Disney and ask the reservations agent to amend your reservation. If for some reason you can’t or don’t want to call, you can go to the bottom of the disneyworld.com website and (in the lower right corner) click on “Contact Us.” You can send an email making a room request in the “Questions” box (including the confirmation number), and make sure you select “My Current Walt Disney World Reservation” for the subject line.

I’ve made my reservation and request. Is there anything else I should do?

Although you should make your room request at the time of booking, the actual room assignments are not made until a few days before arrival time. Many guests confirm their room requests directly with the resort 3-5 days prior to their trips. This makes sure that the request is in the system at the time the rooms are being assigned. Previously, guests were told to fax requests to the hotel; if you can fax your request, that’s great, but in an age where fax machines are on the wane, most folks just call.

If you are calling, have the following information on hand: your resort confirmation number, your arrival and departure dates, and the exact nature of your request. Sample requests might be:

  • In the 60s section (for a Pop Century reservation)
  • Two connecting rooms
  • A handicapped accessible room with a view of the lake
  • A room on a high floor
  • A room near the elevator
  • A room in the building closest to the food court
  • A room near the main bus stop

If you have multiple requests, be sure to rank them according to your priorities.

Are there types of requests I shouldn’t make?

Beyond asking for something that doesn’t exist, it can be counterproductive to just ask for a particular room. If that room isn’t available, then the room assigner doesn’t know what to do next. You could say something like, “We stayed in room X last year and loved it, but if that’s not available we prefer a room at the end of the hall.”

Online booking screen to request a room near another party.

Does doing advance online check-in impact the odds of getting my requested room?

In my experience, it doesn’t make a difference if you’ve taken the above steps.

Do you have rooms that you prefer?

Well, I’ve spent MANY nights in Disney hotel rooms, but I’m just one person, so not really a representative sample of what’s going on in the tens of thousands of rooms out there. But lucky for you there’s an entire team of folks at the Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World who have done lots of work on this topic. The Unofficial Guide gives recommendations for specific room areas at each WDW hotel. It’s certainly worth checking out if you want to dig further into the topic.

Anything else?

Well, it never hurts to be nice. You are, in a way, asking a favor. If you’re pleasant about it, you’re putting positive karma out there.

What has your experience been with requesting rooms? Have you been lucky or have your requests not been honored. Let us know how you’ve fared in the comments below.

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Posted on April 18, 2012

21 Responses to “The Art of the Disney World Room Request”

  • In 2009 we had asked for a king room (All Star Movies), when we checked in we asked again if it wasd a king room and were told yes. Once we got to our room, it was a standard room. We went back down to the front desk and switched our room for us right away. Everytime we’ve asked for anything, they have been very accomodating. We always make sure that pleases and thank you’s are used profusely as well.

  • by K in Philly on April 18, 2012, at 2:26 pm EDT

    I requested connecting rooms, top floor, lake facing at Pop … we eventually got it but had to wait a while at check-in. My sister’s room (the one we were connecting to) had been assigned to her when she checked in the day before but then somehow the room we were to have was blocked from them assigning it … turns out it was preblocked FOR US, but it took three employees before they figured it out ..

  • I would also add that you may need to be “sneaky” with certain resort requests as some CM’s may not understand what your asking for. We were very thankful to see fireworks from Pop with my son who was 3 and scared of loud noises, but requesting specific buildings may be easier than “fireworks view”

  • We recentely stayed at ASMovies and I had faxed the hotel saying my daughter was scared of the Mighty Ducks masks, and we’d like to be on the other side of the resort. I had no idea what they would do with this, but when we checked in, we were given Love Bug, and the CM at the check in desk specifically showed us where we were and where Mighty Ducks were on the map and told me we wouldn’t be close to the “scary masks” – so the fax did get through and it was noted on the file in the way that the CM at the front desk could see it. However at Boardwalk we had a continuing reservation and our only request was to stay in the same room. I noted both files and also faxed the hotel. When we checked in, we were told we were upgraded to a Pool view room from Standard…lovely, but we asked if we had been upgraded for both reservations, and were told no…we’d be back in the standard room for res # 2. I said I didn’t want the upgrade, then, and they said they had no standard rooms available. It was a big fight and the manager was called and she accused me of being a liar and never sending the fax or making the requests (I had the fax with me, with confirmation it was sent!!!) So we had to change rooms, which was a huge hassle (no unpacking, having to be out of the first room by 11 and then coulnd’t check in to the second one until 4 (with a child who needed a nap in the afternoon)…etc….

  • We stayed at the GF this past summer. I requested the 1st floor and specifically asked to not be in a dormer room. This was noted on our reservations. When we checked in, we were given a dormer room on the third floor! Not the the first time our requests were not met by Disney.

  • My wife and I usually request a water view king room – I realize that’s not the same as other room requests because both king rooms and water views are paid for – and we’ve always been accommodated. Additionally, at both Port Orleans resorts, we’ve requested buildings, floors, even which rough direction we’ve wanted to face, and as far as I can recall we’ve never had any issues. For the most part, it seems like Disney staff are exactly like the rest of us: they respond well to courtesy and are eager to perform well in their jobs and satisfy their customers.

  • It’s funny that this should get posted today-I called Disney just a few hours ago with my room request at the Beach Club for next Saturday.

    Every time I’ve made a reasonable request(i.e. not asking for a castle view) Disney has made the accommodation. We got a lagoon view at the Poly for no extra charge a couple of years ago.

    It’s smart business on Disney’s part. Provided the request is not outrageous, it costs them nothing to fulfill it and it engenders more goodwill from the guest.

    Definitely worth doing every time you go!

  • In 2009 we stayed in the All Star Movies, we book through the Disney’s Travel Agency. Our reservationist was wonderful. She helped with a lot of our requests. We even paid to have a preferred room. We requested the not to be near the pool and the Toy Story building. We also requested bedrails and a fridge (all our boys were on medication at the time). We were told we were quaranteed adjoining rooms since we were a family of 5 (2 adults and 3 kids(5,3,3))(adults outnumbered children). When we checked in we were given a room in the Fanastia Building (not fun for 3 little boys) with the pool as the view! Our room was a handicapped room (we did not need it, and I felt bad b/c they were overbooked and gave us this room when I am sure there was someone who could have used it more). No bedrails and no fridge! We did have adjoining rooms. All of our requests were noted and on the printout but i can’t say they were met. They were prompt in the fridge and bedrail delivery. I wanted to ask for a change but my husband wouldn’t let me. He didn’t want to be a bother. Well, I think he regretted that after a few nights of being kept awake by screaming and laughing coming from the pool. This year we stayed at the Yacht Club had a wonderful room with a fantastic view of the lake and boardwalk, even a peek at some fireworks,not a lot but enough to excite the boys (boys (7,5,5 now)say we had the best room at Disney). We did pay for a water view and I was very specific about a lake view and not a pool view and called several times to reconfirm request was noted. I know where we will and won’t be staying from now on!

  • Great post, Erin.

  • I’ve never been very picky about rooms. I’m not willing to pay more just to see water out my window. I wake up, take a shower, and I’m on my way to the parks. No time to stare out my room’s window and look at the water! If I can save money by not upgrading my room, that means another Epcot dinner or a nice souvenir. It’s also fun to see where you end up! It’s one of the few things that’s a “surprise” on my trips.

  • I think you meant to say the pirate rooms are farrrrr away, not faaaar away. At least, that’s how I would say it if I were a pirate.

  • Accessible rooms are no longer a matter of a “request.” All accessibles rooms will be guaranteed and blocked per new ADA regulations. When you or your Disney vacation planner goes online and you check the “Accessible Room” box, only rooms that are accessible will be displayed. If you call your Disney reservationist will do the same. This new ADA regulation is mandatory of all US hotels.

  • Maybe we are the exception, but the last 2 years at Pop we requested the 70s in the online booking; mostly to be away from the noisy pools. We were thrilled both times at having a lake view on the 3rd and 4th floors for the Standard room price AND got to check in early last time. They’ve always honored our request and then some.

  • Was at French Quarter two weeks ago. 10 days prior I did online check in but couldn’t make specific room requests, so I called. I asked to be in building 7 as it is one of the 2 closest to Riverside (where my family was staying). They wrote it on my reservation and when I got there I was put in building 7.

  • by Julie Errington on April 29, 2012, at 4:16 pm EDT

    We stayed at Pop last Easter (2011) for 2 weeks and prior to our arrival I asked if we could either have a room in the 60′s, a room on a high floor, a room facing the lake, or a room facing East so we could see the fireworks. I really didn’t expect anything, but couldn’t believe it when we checked in and they had not only honoured one of our requests – we got all 4!!! A room in building 4 (60′s) on the 4th floor overlooking the lake with a view of the fireworks. AMAZING! I guess all you can do is be polite, and hope for the bast

  • We stayed at Wilderness Lodge and I had requested a quiet area, high in the building that might offer a view of fireworks. I explained why~ our son has sensory issues, and would need to be connected to an infusion pump at night while in bed. If he had a view it would be great. We were thrilled! The room was away from the elevator and quiet, and to our delight… we watched Wishes from the room and balcony. It was somewhat through trees, but we didn’t care. So go ahead and ask, it can’t hurt.