Why Make A Disney World Hotel Room Request?

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For about a year now, Touring Plans has offered an nifty feature – automatic room requests. Just tell us what type of room you want, and we’ll contact your Disney World hotel for you to make the request. While request fulfillment is not guaranteed, we’ve had an amazing success rate at getting users the room location they want at WDW hotels.

So, since it’s easy and it works, everyone should make a room request, right? Well, as with most things Disney, the answer is, “It depends.”

A view like this might be great. Or it might not, if noisy kids are playing on the field.
A view like this might be great. Or it might not, if noisy kids are playing on the field.

Personally, I rarely make a room request. As a researcher of all things Disney, I like the experience of being placed in unfamiliar resort locations. I like seeing what the “bad” rooms are really like. To me, as a frequent short stay solo visitor, I have rarely encountered a room that made a significant negative impact on me. But if you’re an infrequent Disney visitor on site for an extended stay, your room location might have an outsized influence on your vacation enjoyment.

Here are some things to think about as you decide whether to submit a room request for your Disney World hotel stay.

How large is my hotel?

There is a wide variation in the physical footprint of the Disney World hotels. If you’re staying at the Contemporary, the very farthest Garden Wing room is just .16 miles from food at the main building, as the crow flies. If you’re bunking at the Caribbean Beach resort, the distance from the farthest room to food at the main building is about .47 miles as the crow flies, and unless you’re sporting a jetpack, your actual walking distance will be longer still.

A resort hike of any distance can seem too long if you’ve been on your feet in the parks for the past 10 hours. Compound that with 90+ degree temperatures when you’re carrying a 30 pound preschooler and you’ll understand that a third of a mile can be a substantial undertaking.

The larger the hotel, the more likely it is that you’ll want to make a room request.

No amount of room requesting will make the Princess Rooms at Port Orleans closer to the main entrance.
No amount of room requesting will make the Princess Rooms at Port Orleans closer to the main building.

What have I paid for?

Disney likes to find ways to charge a bit extra for little perks like a better view or shorter walk. For example at Disney’s Pop Century resort, a hotel with a relatively uncomplicated price structure, you can reserve a “standard” room, a “standard pool view” room, a “preferred” room, or a “preferred pool view” room, all offered at different price points. (You can see which rooms are which using our Room Finder Tool.)

Understand that making a request for a room type you haven’t paid for is likely to result in frustration. However, even within a particular category, there may be better or worse locations.

Also note that there may be few options with some categories of specialty rooms. For example, the Pirate themed rooms at Caribbean Beach are only located in the cluster of buildings most distant from the food court. No amount of requesting a Pirate room near the main reception center will make that happen.

If you’ve purchased certain room types, then there may be no need to make a further request.

Am I traveling with someone very young, very old, or with mobility issues?

If you have a true medical need for a particular location, be sure to let your resort know about this in advance. Medical requests are given priority.

If you have a fear of clowns, don't request a pool view room at the Boardwalk Inn. Seriously.
If you have a fear of clowns, don’t request a pool view room at the Boardwalk Inn. Seriously.

But you should also be aware about whether your toddler will be tempted to run down long hallways or be overly enthralled with pushing elevator buttons. Maybe a room in shorter wing or the first floor will mitigate small issues before they become large frustrations?

Will your ECV-bound aunt not want to use up battery life making a long haul to her room? Are stairs a problem? Does this mean that a room close to the elevator will be helpful?

The characteristics of your traveling party may make a particular location more or less impactful on your vacation.

Is absolute quiet a must for me?

I tend toward being a light sleeper. On the rare occasion when I sleep in, I’ll easily be woken by the sound of footsteps or light chatter in the hallway. If this is you, you may want to request a room at the far end of a hall, away from other guests accessing the entry or elevator. Similarly, light sleepers will want to avoid rooms facing pools. Guests who plan to nap during the day will particularly want to avoid facing main feature pools, which often have noisy dance parties during the afternoon.

Will I be spending lots of time in my room?

If you’re in theme park commando mode, returning to the room only to sleep and shower, then your room location is less likely to matter.

If you’ll be avoiding the parks, spending lots of relaxation time in the room, then a particular view of water or woods may make for a more enjoyable vacation than staring at a parking lot.

In my opinion, the lake overlook rooms at Bay Lake Tower have a more appealing view than the more expensive Castle view rooms. Do some research and figure out what you're really requesting.
In my opinion, the lake overlook rooms at Bay Lake Tower have a more appealing view than the more expensive Castle view rooms. Do some research and figure out what you’re really requesting.

Additionally, be aware that the value and moderate resorts typically do not have balconies where you can enjoy the view while you sip your morning coffee or work the Times crossword while your baby naps. You can request a view of the pools at the All Star resorts, for example, but the impact of that view on your vacation enjoyment is likely to be minimal because you’ll only see it for the brief moments when you’re entering/leaving your room.

What mode of transportation will I be using at Walt Disney World?

If you’ll have access to a personal auto, then the location of your room may not be much of an issue — you’ll just drive wherever you’re going. Indeed, if you have your own auto, a theoretically less desirable spot near a parking lot may be most appealing to you. If you’ll be pushing a large double stroller, then maybe a first floor situation where you’re not constantly squeezing into elevators may appeal.

Are there any special circumstances for my vacation?

Will you be honeymooning? Is your baby in a colicky phase? Is it your first visit? Will you be participating in a runDisney event? These situations and more may impact your desire to be closer or farther away from the main part of your hotel.

Before making a room request, it pays to research whether anything unusual, like a construction project, will be going on at your hotel.
Before making a room request, it pays to research whether anything unusual, like a construction project, will be going on at your hotel.

During one visit in which I was running in a WDW half marathon, I stayed at the Wilderness Lodge Villas. My room was on the top floor, the very last one at the end of a long hallway, facing the woods. This was an excellent location for my sleep purposes; it was dead silent when I needed to get to bed at 7:00 p.m. for a 2:30 a.m. wake up. This was a miserable location after the race, when I all I wanted to do was slip into a hot bath, the long hallway felt like torture. If you are going to make a room request, think about all the implications of your choice.

Where will I be eating?

At some resorts, there are numerous nearby dining venues, not just the ones associated with the hotel itself. For example, depending on your room location at Disney’s Saratoga Springs resort, many of the dining options at Disney Springs will be as close as the hotel’s own restaurants. A similar situation exists at the Epcot area resorts. If you’re staying at the Beach Club or Boardwalk and plan to do most of your evening dining at Epcot (my family’s typical touring style), you may find the more Epcot-proximate areas of the hotel to be more appealing.

Is there anything unusual going on at your hotel?

During my most recent stay at the Wilderness Lodge resort, I encountered significant construction (we had been advised about this). Many people would want to avoid this view, and thus might request a room facing away from the demolition. However, a family with young boys in the cars-and-trucks-fascination phase, might enjoy having this as their view.

Other types of events meriting a room request might include interest in a view of the race at a hotel along the Disney marathon route, or a view of a particular type of holiday decoration.

Do you usually make a Disney resort room request? What motivates your decision? Have you encountered particularly good or bad luck with room requests? Let us know in the comments below.

Erin Foster

Erin Foster is an original member of the Walt Disney World Moms Panel at DisneyWorldMoms.com, a regular contributor to TouringPlans.com, and co-author of The Unofficial Guide to Disney Cruise Line. She's been to WDW, DL, DL Paris, Hong Kong Disneyland, Aulani, DVC Vero Beach, and DVC Hilton Head. She's a Platinum DCL cruiser and veteran of 10 Adventures by Disney trips. Erin lives near New York City, where she can often be found indulging in her other obsession - Broadway theater. Erin can be reached on Twitter @MsErinFoster.

31 thoughts on “Why Make A Disney World Hotel Room Request?

  • April 18, 2016 at 8:34 am
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    I’ve only made one room request at Disney, but it worked out great! I went to Coronado Springs last June and I wanted to be conveniently located because I knew we were going to do a ton of walking in the parks and I didn’t want to do any more walking than I had to in the resorts, but I also didn’t want to pay for anything higher than “standard”. I used the Room Finder to pick a room and the request tool to send the fax. I didn’t get as good of a view as I hoped (I wound up facing the parking lot) but I got the building I wanted, which was more important to me (which I noted in the fax). I’ll definitely do this for trips going forward, especially if I’m at another huge resort.

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  • April 18, 2016 at 9:12 am
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    We’ve made a room request this trip, to be near the Paddock pool at Saratoga Springs. Since we’re going in August, we’ll spend a good amount of time at the pool and the water parks.

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  • April 18, 2016 at 9:42 am
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    I’ve made two already, one for BW and another for AK, both cases they had no idea what I was asking about when I got there. I’m hoping my 3rd times the charm in the fall. It really is a good idea though.

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  • April 18, 2016 at 10:28 am
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    I have two requests in for a split stay that we’ll find out about this week. I am using the TouringPlans service.

    I was looking for convenience to Disney Springs at Saratoga Springs, and then convenience to parking at All Star Music. I’ll let everyone know how it works out!

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  • April 18, 2016 at 10:28 am
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    I know the Auto Room Request tool isn’t available for Disneyland. Any suggestions on how to do this for Disneyland rooms? Grand Cali DVC rooms?

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  • April 18, 2016 at 10:39 am
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    If we have 2 rooms and need connecting rooms, can touring plans make that request?

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    • April 20, 2016 at 1:20 pm
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      We had two connected rooms at All-Star Sports. We did not even have to request this, they just assigned them at check in. If you’re worried about it you can call ahead of time or ask at check in. If it is available they will accommodate you.

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  • April 18, 2016 at 11:37 am
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    We used the room request on our stay at Pop Century in March. Got the floor we requested in the 60s although in Building 5 instead of Building 4. I think the difference was that our room got upgraded from standard to preferred.

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  • April 18, 2016 at 12:18 pm
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    You mention being at the end of the hall for quiet, but that also depends on the resort. We were at the end of a hall at AoA and every time someone went in or out the exit there, we could hear it pretty well. Those doors are NOT quiet. 🙂

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  • April 18, 2016 at 12:21 pm
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    We are Disney rookies and we are staying at Pop at the end of May. When we originally booked back in December, we opted to pay for a preferred room thinking it would be a nice little upgrade not really knowing the big difference between all the room types. After discovering and subscribing to this wonderful site, we were able to check out all the different room types at Pop and the room we want is a standard room, not a preferred. Will this be an issue with the room request fax? Is there any way to modify the original reso to get some $$ back? If not, it’s not a huge deal…it’s maybe a difference of $10-12 a night. Thanks!

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    • April 18, 2016 at 7:23 pm
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      Check and see if there are standard rooms available for your dates. If there are, you can rebook at that lower rate. Not sure if you have a package or room only reservation, but you can probably modify it online or try calling.

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  • April 18, 2016 at 12:38 pm
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    I think that when you talk about room choice, though it’s not talked about often, I think there is value in considering the fact that even if you don’t plan on spending much time in your room, it is where you *start* and *end* EVERY day of your Disney vacation. Having a room, a view, a commute, etc. that you can look forward to at the beginning and end of each day is a big deal, and is one expense that is well worth the extra coin.

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  • April 18, 2016 at 1:03 pm
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    I did a room request last June for BWV for 3 rooms. We paid for standard view and in my request all I ask was for a higher level (thought it might make the parking lot prettier) and that the rooms be as close as possible. What we received was 2 rooms over looking the main pool which was fantastic for my sister to sit on balcony and watch her children play on slide and 1 room across hall for my mother which overlook the adult pool. They went above and beyond my expectations. Will definitely use again!!

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  • April 18, 2016 at 1:59 pm
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    We have found that Disney is flexible, based on availability, to change a room assignment after check in. On our last visit we had requested, through the online check in process, a 4th floor, lake view room at the Art of Animation in The Little Mermaid section. When we arrived we discovered that we were in a first floor room facing a busy sidewalk area on the opposite side of the lake. A quick trip to the front desk (we had received a text with our room number and so had initially bypassed the front desk) and a friendly conversation with a Cast Member and we were reassigned to a room that met our requests. Our initial requests were somehow changed in the computer system. Another time we were given a room (at the same resort) with a connecting door as well as near some construction in the parking lot. We called the front desk and asked if we could change to another room. The next day while we were in the parks they transferred our luggage to a new room.

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  • April 18, 2016 at 2:41 pm
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    I requested 3 studios be close to each other and near the elevator for our recent trip to Boardwalk Villas. Our request was granted! We seem to have better luck with room requests at BWV then at BLT.

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  • April 18, 2016 at 4:04 pm
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    I made a room request once- and got it. But then my boyfriend was checking in for us while I was off doing something different. He told them he wanted a room ready right away, which they gave him instead of the room I’d already requested- about as far away from the main dining and pool area as possible. So either make sure the rest of your party is aware of your room request or get a new boyfriend!

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  • April 18, 2016 at 4:10 pm
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    I complete agree with your point on deciding if you will be in the room enough to justify the view. We once stayed at the Poly in a theme park view room. It was lovely… for the approximately 5 minutes I actually looked out the sliding glass door. We were in the parks too much to enjoy the view and even when we were in the resort, we were on the beach, not looking out the window. Ugh, lesson learned! I’m booking a standard room at POR next time.

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  • April 18, 2016 at 4:17 pm
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    We requested a room this last time at Old Key West. I was so glad we did. We were close to the pool and main entrance. We had an elevator. With the stroller that was key. . with 6 kids that was key.

    Thanks Touring Plan.
    Becky

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  • April 18, 2016 at 5:23 pm
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    We’ve used it twice, March 2015 and December 2015, with great success. The 1st time we got the exact room requested. The 2nd time it was 2 or 3 rooms away from the requested room. These were both at Pop, our 1st stay at that resort. I recommend it to anyone looking to stay at a value resort.
    Don’t forget to give the folks at touring plans feedback about your experience with this and other cool features of their services. It’s the best way for them to make sure thing are working well or tweak things that aren’t.

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  • April 18, 2016 at 5:58 pm
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    On our last trip we recieved the 2 Bedroom DVC Villa next door to the one I requested at BLT. We are giving it a try again this October.

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  • April 18, 2016 at 9:00 pm
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    How far in advance should you put a room request in?

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    • April 19, 2016 at 12:03 pm
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      You can put in your request anytime. Five days before you check-in we will send the room request. You will receive a notification before we send the request and when Disney received it.

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      • April 29, 2016 at 9:36 pm
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        Our 6/16 reservation is at BLT in a 1BR. We already requested 16th Fl on our reservation. Do you think putting in an automatic RR on top of that will help or hurt our chances of getting on 16th Fl at this location? (I’ve heard mixed comments about helpfulness of BLT staff…)

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  • April 18, 2016 at 9:09 pm
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    One of my favorite rooms we stayed in was at the Poly. A ground floor “Garden View”…which should have been called a Monorail view. The area outside was a grass lawn with a very large hedge for privacy. We had birds and rabbits outside the window and above all that, peeking above the headge was the monorail track. I think the rooms above that room where ‘parking lot views’.

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  • April 18, 2016 at 11:38 pm
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    As I type I’m sitting in my requested room at POR. I had never been here, but needed a room for a RunDisney race. I wanted quiet and close to transportation. I used Touring Plans to search by my selected criteria, then checked out the views from all of the rooms I liked. It worked perfectly. It has everything I wanted, plus a nice view to boot. Unless one wants to try a lousy room for research, I would recommend the room search and request for everyone!

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  • April 19, 2016 at 6:54 am
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    This service is great and one of my favorite touring plans features. We have used it 3 times. The first time at the Polynesian we got the room next door to the one we requested, and the second time at CBR we got the exact room. The third time at Yacht Club we had reserved a garden view room and selected one where if you cranked your head sideways enough you could see the water, and said in the fax that we would love to be able to get a glimpse of the lake. We didn’t get the room we requested, or anywhere close, because they upgraded us to one of the rooms with a full on view of the lake! We will definitely be using the room requests on all future visits.

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  • April 19, 2016 at 1:04 pm
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    I used the Room Request service through Touringplans.com for our most recent visit to Disney in February 2016 during Princess Half Marathon weekend. We stayed at Caribbean Beach last February and fell in love with the location of the Jamaica buildings (close to the bus stops, a nice walk to the pools, beach & food court/restaurant). Not only did I request to stay in Jamaica again via the Room Request, but I requested a specific room number as that was our room from the previous year. I wasn’t expecting to get it but looking at it as a “that would be cool”. When I got the text alerting me that our room was ready, not only did we get Jamaica but the same exact room.
    You don’t know if you don’t ask!

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  • April 19, 2016 at 2:54 pm
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    I requested second floor in Jamaica via online chck in followed up with a touring plans fax for a specific room area. We were allocated first floor in Aruba 🙁 with an over look to a smoking area, just the one view I didn’t want.

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  • April 21, 2016 at 1:55 pm
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    Do room requests work the same for DVC rooms? (I am renting points). Or do I need to go through the rental agency?

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    • April 22, 2016 at 10:03 pm
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      Yes, they work for DVC rooms. We rented points in March, and did a split stay, and used the touring plans fax, and both times got the exact room we requested.

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  • April 29, 2016 at 5:00 pm
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    I used the room request service on my last trip this April. I had a split stay 5 nights at BLT and 1 night at Port Orleans French Quater. I was very careful about asking for a room in my category at both resorts and didn’t get anything close to what I requested at either resort. Neither of the rooms I got was bad but just not anywhere close to what I requested. Oh well maybe next time.

    Reply

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