A while back, I wrote about all the useful things you’ll find in your Walt Disney World hotel room. After a recent spate of non-Disney and semi-Disney travel (sacrilege, I know), I’ve realized that there are also a number of things that many travelers might expect to see in their Disney hotel rooms, but won’t be found there. Please be aware that some of the items on this list can be found at a select few WDW hotels, but not all of them. Be sure to consult with your own resort directly if you have concerns.
A Magnifying Mirror
My mother pointed this out to me after she joined me for a stay at Disney’s Bay Lake Tower earlier this year. Her aging eyes had trouble doing her makeup without the magnifying mirror she was accustomed to finding in hotels. Since she mentioned this, I’ve stayed in about a dozen non-Disney hotels and sure enough mom was right, all but one of the non-Disney hotels was equipped with a magnifying mirror in the bathroom, while the vast majority of Disney hotels do not. If your eyes are on the downswing or you routinely use a magnifying mirror for personal maintenance, they you’ll want to bring your own from home.
I spent part of this past summer on the Adventures by Disney excursion to China. This was an incredible experience. A small part of that was due to insanely over-the-top awesome hotels we visited (Ah, Peninsula Shanghai, I miss you so!). One of the countless details which made the hotels seamlessly efficient and luxurious was that in addition to the usual soaps and shampoos, the bathrooms were all stocked with teeny tubes of Colgate. So great, right?! While toothpaste is certainly available for purchase in the WDW gift shops, you’ll no doubt note here that toothpaste is almost never found in US hotel rooms. (You can read more about this in a Slate article that hotel geek me found fascinating.) So, if you’re an international guest expecting toothpaste to be a standard feature, you’re out of luck.
Other Enhanced Toiletries
Some US hotels do offer complimentary in-room toiletries beyond the basic soap/shampoo/conditioner/lotion that Disney provides. Again, while all of these items are available for purchase in your gift shop, you won’t find razors, shave cream, nail files, Q-tips, cotton balls, sewing kits or other nice niceties provided in your room.
A Coffee Maker
Guest staying at Disney’s moderate and deluxe hotels will find a coffee maker in their rooms, but if you’re staying in a standard value room at Pop Century, All-Star Movies, All-Star Music, All Star Sports, or Art of Animation, then you’ll have to head to the food court to get your caffeine fix. Some guests in this situation opt to bring their own coffee maker. A quick spin on Amazon, and you’ll find several drip machines retailing for less than $15.00. Even if you decide to leave it at the hotel, this small investment could end up saving you a fortune at Starbucks.
Only guests at the swanky Grand Floridian will find a robe in their hotel closet. Everyone else will have to bring one or improvise. My personal strategy is to bring a lightweight terry gown that doubles as a swim cover-up at the pool and as a post-shower wrap in the room.
Yes, I’m exaggerating, but not much. There will be a few open electrical outlets in your Disney hotel room, but nowhere near enough of them. When I travel with my three teenage kids and their multitudes of electronic gear, a power strip or two is essential equipment for the room.
A Place to Put Your Stuff in the Bathroom
Several of the Disney hotels offer very little counter space in their bathrooms. (I’m talking to you, Contemporary Resort!) It’s not a big deal if you’re traveling with just one or two adults, but if you’re traveling with a larger family, you may want to consider bringing a toiletry bag that hangs on a door.
Again, I exaggerate. There are, of course, lamps in the Disney World hotel rooms. However, many guests find them provide inadequate lighting. I’ve found it so bad on some occasions that I’ve plugged in my phone and set it on a bright flashlight mode just to up the wattage in the room. If you’re particularly sensitive to low-light situations, you may want to consider bringing a battery powered lantern.
The Disney World hotels do include a small refrigerator, but these are kept empty for you to fill. On the plus side, there’s no $15 tin of macadamia nuts to distract you from your diet. But on the minus side, if you’re in the mood for late night munchies, you’re stuck with room service or the vending machines down the hall. BONUS TIP #1: In many of the WDW hotels, the vending machines alternate by type on each floor. For example, there are beverage machines on floors 1 and 3, and snack machines on floors 2 and 4. If you want both a Coke and some chips, you’ll need to make use of the stairs or elevator. BONUS TIP #2: One of the hotels included in the Adventures by Disney trip to Germany includes a mini-bar stocked with FREE beer. Prost!
Many moderate to deluxe hotels in the non-Disney world provide guests with in-room bottled water either free or for a feee depending on their policies. You won’t find bottled water provided in the vast majority of Disney rooms. Given the perceived unpleasant taste of Florida tap water, you may want make a stop to stock up on water bottles at a local supermarket or bring a filter with you.
Some European guests may expect to find this as a standard feature. It’s not a common component of US bathrooms.
While the Disney TV situation has improved somewhat since I wrote this post, they’re still lacking several channels that are considered standard by many travelers. Notably absent from the Disney TVs are Comedy Central, HBO, and Showtime. If you need your Colbert or Homeland fix, invest in a Slingbox.
While you can still ask for a key card, Disney appears to be phasing out the credit-card style room keys they’ve been using for eons. Use your MagicBand to open your room. The future is here.
Is there anything that you typically find in other hotels, but is missing at the Disney resorts? Is there anything you wish they stocked to make your stays easier, more relaxing, or just plain better? Let us know in the comments below.