Does Disney World Need a Microhotel?

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With the recent hubbub about visiting Walt Disney World with or without children, I’ve been thinking about how Disney meets the accommodation needs of its various clientele. They have the luxury market (Grand Floridian), team travel (All Star Sports), convention (Gran Destino), and family-friendly (Port Orleans, and many others) markets all sewed up. But what they don’t have is a hotel designed with child-free millennials specifically in mind.

A 260 square foot room at All Star Music. For a solo traveler or adult couple, there’s lots of wasted space.

To meet the needs of the young adult market traveling without children, does Walt Disney World need to add a microhotel?

So what is a microhotel? Excerpting from a July 2019 New York Times article, “Their guest rooms are small — often half, or less, the size of a typical room in an urban hotel — with furniture that often can be folded up or stowed away, and bathrooms that usually have showers and toilets but no bathtubs. Wall-mounted TVs are also major space savers…Their rates are substantially less than typical urban hotels’… Many microhotels feature expansive lobbies, with spaces designed for hanging out; dining and drinking; and co-working.

In short, a microhotel has inexpensive, efficient rooms, with lots of opportunities for guests to be out and about socializing and spending money. Sounds perfect for childfree adults. Let them sleep in small rooms that are easy to clean and maintain, while encouraging them to be off in the parks spending money on entertainment, libations, and souvenirs. Win for Disney. Win for the young adults.

But what about those room sizes? How small is small? As noted in the Times article, “Generally, microhotels today have guest rooms that range in size from about 115 to 220 square feet, depending on the number and size of beds. A typical room at an urban hotel in the United States can range from 250 to 300 square feet.”

That “typical room” range fits squarely in the zone of the smallest of Disney’s current room stock. The standard All Star value rooms are 260 square feet. The tower studio rooms at the new Riviera resort will be 255 square feet, and will feature pull-down Murphy beds.

Will Disney guests be okay staying in even smaller spaces? Well, it certainly works on Disney Cruise Line, where the inside staterooms on the Dream and Fantasy are a petite 169 square feet. That’s firmly in microhotel footprint zone and I have happily slept in those rooms on four-night cruises, and they didn’t even have any windows. Put in a large window, a nice bar downstairs, and free transportation to Epcot and I’d be good for at least a week.

Inside stateroom on the Disney Dream, 169 square feet.

In addition to wondering if individual guests would be comfortable, the next question is, “How does the existence of a hotel with super small rooms impact Disney guests overall? Would the pixie-sized pads become a spring break party palace with hoards of young adults sipping sangria by the pool? Maybe. And not that there’s anything wrong with that.

But that’s probably not what would happen. For example, I’d stay at a WDW microhotel in a heartbeat. I’m a childfree adult now in the sense that my children are young adults now and travel with me to WDW only infrequently. I can see a microhotel being a boon for active seniors who want to vacation at Disney. Similarly, single parents with one child, or solo travelers of any age could thrive in a compact room, and would provide balance to a potential party squad.

What do you think? Would you stay in a Walt Disney World microhotel? Are you looking for more luxury on vacation? Is price your guiding factor? Would you be okay with Disney having a hotel without bathtubs or other child-centric amenities. Let us know in the comments.

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.

8 thoughts on “Does Disney World Need a Microhotel?

  • August 5, 2019 at 10:31 am
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    I’ve stayed in a few microhotels in Europe. Yotel, Hub, Z hotel, Citizen M, etc.

    Mostly these have been very central in areas where normal rooms are ridiculously expensive. They are a great base for a city break or a business trip where you want to be in the middle of the action.

    The other key factor is most of them are, for lack of a better word, “cool”. Very design focussed and stylish. The rooms are comfortable and as you mention the lobby is normally a fun place to be.

    In most cases, the room was fine for what I needed, but bigger would have been better.

    The reason these make sense in cites is that space is at a premium. If you can squeeze in 50% more rooms then great. At DW, space is not really an issue. You need all of the expensive bits of the room (TV, Bed, Window, Door, Bathroom suite, aircon) whatever size the room is. I would guess that building the room 30% smaller wouldn’t have that much impact on cost.

    So what you would end up with is a hotel, 30% smaller for roughly the same cost. So I’m not really sure of the benefits.

    I think they should take on board the positives (cool design, better integrated tech, fantastic lobby), but why include the main negative as well.

    Reply
    • August 5, 2019 at 11:35 am
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      I was also going to say I stayed in places like that all over England. I’d rather have some room when I’m staying at a place in the US, especially for the cost of a Disney room.

      Reply
  • August 5, 2019 at 11:41 am
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    If the prices were significantly cheaper, I’d be all about it! That would be the major factor, though. Also, I would assume all other on-property perks would remain – Magical Express, EMH, etc.

    Reply
  • August 5, 2019 at 12:40 pm
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    The DVC Riviera Resort is already geared up to the “childless”, millenial, boomer, or even my group, the forgotten Gen X, with two person studios. I have been on my honeymoon, 21 years ago, been with different combinations of family with kids and grandparents, and even back again for my 20th anniversary, just me and the wife. We’ve enjoyed Disney every time.
    A word on the “childless couples”…. We have immensely enjoyed Disney without children. There is a freedom there that allows a couple not to inconvenience anyone or be inconvenienced by anyone. Couples never block up walkways with a stroller because “Junior dropped his binky”, and they never hold places in line for the rest of their 15 person party. I will also venture to say that childless couples coming to Disney are more polite, or at least they do not do as many rude things while worrying about whether EVERY SINGLE PERSON IN THEIR PARTY IS GETTING THEIR MONEY’S WORTH OF FUN, OTHERS BE DAMNED, like that crazy “childless millenials in slutty shorts” rant lady.
    I feel that Disney has enough configurations for accommodations now.
    The economy of having rooms that can handle 2, 3, or 4 people makes way more sense than dicing up hotel rooms into smaller sections that can ONLY be used for couples. A hotel with smaller rooms is okay, I guess, but even when we were just going as a couple, a room with two queen size beds was still nice to spread out.

    Reply
  • August 5, 2019 at 1:54 pm
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    As others have said, I don’t think a micro-hotel is needed as the WDW campus has plenty of room (maybe Disneyland?). Frankly I would like to see a “pod” hotel, not even a lobby, food court, etc, just a bed and bathroom (shower only) with a kiosk to check in and out, or do it over your phone. Make it half the cost of a value.

    Reply
  • August 5, 2019 at 2:09 pm
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    I would def stay there as long as the resort theme was “Disney grown-up cool”. We don’t spend much time in the room so comfortable and efficient is fine. We would be fine with a room like the All Stars except just cant bring myself to stay there bc of the garish resort decor. It doesn’t feel relaxing to me. We would go to WDW more often if didn’t have to pay so much to stay in a deluxe or moderate in order to get a less childish feel.

    Reply
  • August 5, 2019 at 2:38 pm
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    I don’t think Disney should bother with microhotels for all the reasons listed above. I also would expect that a family of 4 trying to cut costs would likely try to squeeze into one of these tiny rooms even if the rest of the hotel is not designed for young ones.

    However, Erin, I think you may be on to something for an entrepreneur in the areas surrounding Disney (or Universal, or Seaworld) for childless adults who want to cut costs and don’t have to be in the Disney bubble 24/7.

    Reply
  • August 6, 2019 at 1:16 pm
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    As someone who uses a hotel to sleep and shower, I would love this. Unfortunately I don’t think Disney world ever consider it but perhaps a property close by would.

    Reply

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