What’s New at Walt Disney Resort Hotels

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In 2009, three new Disney Vacation Club properties opened at Walt Disney World Resort, offering family guests new and exciting ways to immerse themselves in Disney magic. Next to Disney’s classic Contemporary Resort, the iconic A-Frame with a monorail running through its center, Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort emerged as a luxury leader for families seeking a front door to Cinderella Castle at Magic Kingdom Park. In the Downtown Disney neighborhood, fans of Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa gained a unique opportunity to bunk high into the sky, with the debut of Treehouse Villas at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa. The three-bedroom vacation homes built on pedestals offer fantasy vacation living for parties of up to nine. In September 2009, construction on the second phase of Kidani Villas at Animal Kingdom Lodge was completed. Now, more families can experience an immersive African adventure in a richly themed environment, complete with sweeping savannah views.

Meanwhile, a number of resorts were renovated or refreshed in 2009 to 2011, with updates ranging from new drapery, new carpets, and new furniture to up-sized beds and redecorated, re-themed rooms. At Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, new pirate-themed guest rooms debuted in February 2009, offering a fun-filled overnight for wannabe buccaneers, enhanced by an expanded resort pool complex that features a pirate ship water playground.

Among the most dramatic resort makeovers is the room redesign currently underway at Disney’s Old Key West Resort. At the Deluxe Disney Villa property, spacious one and two-bedroom villas are receiving refinished floors, new couches and a new sleeper chair that will raise maximum occupancy by one. At Disney’s French Quarter Resort, new queen-size beds replaced double beds — making the resort the second moderate-category property (other than Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort) with this elbow-room enhancing option. Disney’s Pop Century Resort, the World’s largest Value category lodging, received a new decor last year, including bedspreads, flat-screen televisions, privacy curtains and modern dressers.

When Disney’s Art of Animation Resort opens in 2012, it will be the second budget-minded resort (besides Disney’s All-Star Music Resort) to offer expanded spaces for traveling families. The 2,000-room property will feature 1,120 family suites and 864 standard rooms that pay homage to “The Lion King,” “Cars,” “Finding Nemo” and “The Little Mermaid.”

Furry family members weren’t left out in the cold by the recent round of new lodging launches. In September 2010, Best Friends Pet Care, a luxury pet resort, opened across from Disney’s Port Orleans Resort- Riverside, replacing the kennels at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort. Special amenities include room service, bedtime stories and cuddle time. The facility offers day and night care for animals, ranging from cockatoos to cats and dogs.

Need more help planning your vacation? Turn to our Planning Your Walt Disney World Vacation article. To learn more about Disney, in general, check out our Disney Family Vacations page. Oftentimes, the hotel makes or breaks the vacation. Pick out the best Disney resort for your family, with our Choosing your Walt Disney World Resort Hotel and Disney Resort under $100 — They Do Exist! articles.

For more information on booking a Disney resort, see our Disney Resorts under $100 and Choosing Your Walt Disney World Resort Hotel articles. Also check out our Disney World and Disneyland destination reviews. To learn about what’s happening right now in Disney, see our What’s New at Walt Disney Theme Parks article. Got advice of your own? Visit our Disney Forums and share your tips!

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