FAQ: Get to Know Towels at Walt Disney World

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When you visit a hotel, one of the absolute givens is that there will be towels at your hotel. So, check, there will be towels in your Walt Disney World hotel room. While that seems like the end of the story, there is much more to know about towels at Disney World.

Typical WDW poolside towel station.

What kind of towels can I expect to find in my WDW hotel room?

At check in, every Walt Disney World resort hotel room is stocked with a bath towel, a hand towel, and a wash cloth for the maximum number of guests allowed to stay in that room. For example, a standard guest room at the Beach Club can sleep up to five guests, so the room will be stocked with five towels, five hand towels, and five wash cloths. This is true even if only one or two people are checking into room that could theoretically sleep five.

What is the quality of the towels like?

In my opinion, they’re fine, but not fabulous. If you’re used to 6-foot-long, plush bath sheets, you may be disappointed, but most folks will find the towels to be perfect serviceable.

Anecdotal reports are that the towels are nicer at the deluxe hotels. However, I have randomly been given brand new towels a during a few value resort stays. To me, these felt equivalent to deluxe resort towels.

Will I get fresh towels every day?

Even during normal times the answer to this is “maybe.” During the COVID-19 pandemic, there are several different versions of “maybe.”

OK, give me the “normal times” answer.

Bathroom towels at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

In non-pandemic times, most Walt Disney World hotel rooms receive a cleaning, with fresh towels, every day. There are, however, exceptions to this rule.

The main exception to the rule that you do get fresh towels every day occurs if you’re staying in a villa-style room using Disney Vacation Club (DVC) points as your payment method (more on that in minute). Otherwise, if you want fresh towels every day, you can get them at no extra charge. Just call the front desk or housekeeping to ask for more.

What’s the pandemic times answer?

During the COVID-19 pandemic, [regular, non-DVC] guest rooms will receive a “light cleaning” every other day. Per the Walt Disney World website, “light cleaning” means:

  • Removal of trash and used towels
  • Replenishment of towels and amenities throughout the room and bathroom
  • Wiping and cleaning of the vanity and counter surfaces
  • Vacuuming if needed

If you prefer, you can decline every-other-day service.

What do I do if I need more towels than are initially provided in the room?

If you need more towels and do not want to wait for housekeeping, you can grab some from the pool area.

Assuming that you’re staying in a regular, non-DVC hotel room, you can get fresh towels any time you want or need. Just pick up your phone and touch the “housekeeping” button. A small word of warning: depending on where you’re staying, it could take while for them to bring you the extra towels. If I’ve needed more and my room is close to the hotel pool at a resort that has pool towels, I’ve been known to go down and grab a few of those pool towels as supplements for the room.

Do I have to tip the person that brings me more towels?

It would be nice to give the person a few bucks.

You mentioned towels at the pool. Does every pool have towels?

Yes, there are carts full of towels by the pool whenever the pool is open. Just take what you need.

Note: During my most recent value resort stays, there have been towels available by the pool. However, in years past, Disney has occasionally been stingy with poolside towels at the value resorts, sometimes offering carts full of towels by the pool, and sometimes not. Disney goes through periods where value resort guests are asked to use their room towels at the pool. You may encounter this during your visit. If you are using your room towels at the pool, you will likely find you have the need for more towels. Just call housekeeping and ask for them.

Are the pool towels the same as the room towels?

In my experience, the pool towels are a bit smaller and less substantial than the room towels. They’re fine for drying off, but if you want to wrap yourself up, you’ll need to use several.

Is there any charge for using the towels at the pool?

Disney-themed beach towels for sale at the Magic Kingdom’s Emporium.

Nope, not at the Disney World resort hotels.

If you’re talking about pools at the Disney water parks, that’s a different story [more below].

Is there any Disney towel etiquette I should know about?

Two things:

When at the Disney hotel pools, it’s considered poor form to use towels (or anything else) to block off lounge chairs for your party. Use the lounge chairs when you’re at the pool, don’t hog them in advance of your arrival.

When you’re done with towels at the pool, please bring them to the “towel return” bin yourself rather than leaving them ambiguously on a chair or table.

A friend mentioned towel animal. What’s a towel animal?

It’s what it sounds like: an origami-esque folding of a towel or washcloth to form an animal or other creature. Sometimes the animals are made out of just towels. Other times the animals are put together with rubber bands, tape, or pipe cleaners, which make them more sturdy and portable.

My towel animal is cute! Who put it there?

Your housekeeper did. Towel animals are one of those little extras that make a Disney hotel stay so fun.

Will I definitely get a towel animal in my room?

No. Right now it’s pretty unlikely that you’ll get a towel animal in your Disney World hotel room.

Towel animals are all but guaranteed when you’re sailing on Disney Cruise Line (well, they were before the pandemic), but towel animals have become relatively uncommon at the WDW hotels. If someone insists that they “always get them,” ask when their last trip was. Prior to 2015, I estimate that I found towel animals in my room about 60% of the time. Since then, I’d put the odds closer to 10-20%.

Bathroom towels, Disney’s Art of Animation resort

Can I do anything to increase my odds of getting a towel animal?

You’ll some find anecdotal evidence among Disney fans that leaving a tip for your housekeeper will increase your odds of getting a towel animal. Personally, any time I’ve gotten a towel animal in my room, it was there when I checked in, with no possibility of a tip influencing it either way.

During the pandemic, I wouldn’t expect them at all.

Darnit, in that case, do you have any tips on how to make towel animals at home?

There are actually several books about this topic including: The Lost Art of Towel Origami, How to Make a Towel Monkey and Other Cruise Ship Favorites, and Towel Folding 101. If you’re crafty, this could be a nice way to add a little Disney magic to your home world.


Are there towels at the water parks?

The water parks are currently closed, but yes, prior to the pandemic there were towels available to rent at the water parks. If you’re flying to Walt Disney World and visiting a water park, towel rental is usually your best option.

Rent towels? How much does it cost to rent a water park towel?

Prices can change, but, prior to the pandemic, the current fee was $2.00 per towel. Think of it this way, if renting towels saves you money over a checked baggage fee, then you’re ahead of the game.

What are the water park rental towels like?

They’re pretty much like the pool towels at your resort: standard thin-ish white bath towels.

Can you bring your room towels to the water parks?

You probably could, but this would be a bit of a pain, particularly if you’re going anywhere except your hotel either before or after you hit the water park. If money is not a big issue, renting there is probably easier, but the cost can add up if you have a large group or like to use multiple towels.

Art of Animation bath towel. Red one-foot ruler for size reference.

What if I want something more substantial to dry off with?

There are large, fluffy beach towels sold at the water parks, as well as at many theme park and resort gift shop locations. Prices are typically in the $25-30 range each.

Any other suggestions?

If you happen to be thinking about replacing your home bath towels, rather than discarding your old towels at home, bring them with you to Walt Disney World. When you’re done, leave them at the hotel. As an added benefit, you now have lots of empty suitcase space to use for bringing home souvenirs.

Back to the hotel room towels, you mentioned that if you’re staying in a Disney Vacation Club villa, you don’t normally get fresh towels every day. What’s up with that?

Just to be clear, if you’re staying in a DVC villa and you’re paying with money, you’ll get a regular room cleaning with fresh towels according to the standard regular practice [daily during normal times, alternate days during the pandemic]. If you’re in a villa and paying with money, you can call housekeeping and get more towels at any time, with no charge.

However, if you’re staying in a DVC villa and you’re paying with DVC points (your points, borrowed points, or rented points), things are totally different.

Guests paying with points will have bare minimum housekeeping service on days 1-3 of their visit (either no service at all or just trash removal). On day four, you will receive “trash and towel service.” You will not get a full cleaning until day 8 of your visit. If you’re staying as long as 8 days, you’ll get a room cleaning, including new towels.

Places in the parks that embroider Mickey ears will usually also embroider towels purchased in the parks.

What does “trash and towel” service mean at the Disney Vacation Club Villa?

It’s pretty much what it sounds like. A housekeeper will enter your room to empty your trash cans. The housekeeper will also take away your dirty/wet towels and replace them with fresh ones.

What are my options if I’m staying on DVC points and I want new towels on days 1-3 or 5-7 of my trip?

If you’re in a one-, two-, or three-bedroom villa, then you have a washer/dryer in your room. You’re welcome to wash your room towels yourself.

If you don’t want to do this, you have two options:

  • Call housekeeping and ask for additional “trash and towel” service. With this, a housekeeper will enter your room, collect all the wet or dirty towels, and restock your rods and racks with fresh towels. There is a fee for this: Deluxe Studio, $10 per day requested; 1-Bedroom Villa, $15 per day requested; 2-Bedroom Villa, $20 per day requested; 3-Bedroom Grand Villa, $30 per day requested
  • Call housekeeping and make an “additional amenity request.” With this, you can get a towel package (4 bath towels, 2 hand towels, 4 washcloths, 1 bath mat) for free

Note: Prior to January 2020, there was a $6.00 charge to have a fresh towel package delivered to your DVC room. (A rare moment of prices decreasing at Disney World!)

There are towels for guest use at the hotel gyms.

What’s Disney’s position regarding the environmental impact of towel washing?

There will often be a little card in your bathroom explaining that there is an environmental impact to unnecessary towel washing. The card will instruct you to hang up your towel if you want to reuse it, or place it in the tub or on the floor if you want a fresh one.

In my personal experience, during non-pandemic stays, I found in that in regular (non-DVC) Disney hotel rooms, I was given new towels regardless of whether I hung them or left them in the tub. You many encounter something different during your vacation.

I’m interested in the backstage stuff that goes on with keeping Disney hotel linens and towels clean. Do you have any scoop on that?

Disney’s Backstage Magic Tour is just the thing for you. When this tour is running [it’s currently on hiatus due to COVID], one of the stops is the massive WDW central laundry facility where all the hotel sheets and towels are laundered. The scale of the operation is fascinating.

I don’t love sharing towels with my companions on vacation. Any tips?

Some people have A LOT of feelings about this topic. When I brought 12 teen girls to Walt Disney World, I provided them each with their own color of binder clip to attach to their main hotel towel. That way they could easily identify which towel was which.

I’m driving to WDW, so I have plenty of room to bring what I want, including towels. Any tips?

If you decide to bring your own towels to use in the room, at the pool, or at the water parks, you should try bring towels that are not white. All the WDW resort towels are white. You’re much less likely to have a housekeeper inadvertently take one of yours if yours are a different color.

Towels available at All-Star Movies resort.

Is there any time I would need a towel at the theme parks?

There are many situations where you’ll get damp at the parks, including two rides that have the potential to soak you to the bone (Kali River Rapids at the Animal Kingdom and Splash Mountain at the Magic Kingdom). If you’re planning on enjoying those attractions, you could wear a poncho to avoid some of the wet. Or, yes, it might be helpful to have a small towel in your backpack to triage your dampest areas.

If you’re traveling with a small child, you may want to throw an extra towel into the stroller as you head to the parks. It can serve as a sunshade, a blanket or pillow, or a mop to dry off your wheels after the inevitable mid-afternoon shower.

I decided to buy a towel at a Disney World store. Is there any way to make it special?

You know all those places in the parks that will embroider your name on a Mickey ear hat? Most of them will also embroider other fabric items purchased in the parks, including towels. You can have your name, a date, or something like “Foster Family Reunion” stitched on a towel. Prices vary depending on the style of writing and the length of your message.

If I use the gym at my Disney hotel, do I have to bring a towel from my room?

Some of the WDW hotels do have gym facilities. When these are open, they do include small towels for guest use. There’s no need to bring one from the room.

Are there ever any special deals on Disney towels?

With some regularity, the gift shops in the parks and resorts will promote a special offer along the lines of, “If you spend X dollars in our store, we’ll let you buy this super cool souvenir at a great price.” Often the “super cool souvenir” is a towel. Look for signage in the shops to see if a similar offer is available at the time of your visit.

So folks, what did I miss? Are there other towel topics to discuss? Do you have any towel tips and tricks to share? 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.

One thought on “FAQ: Get to Know Towels at Walt Disney World

  • September 8, 2020 at 6:49 pm
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    I know the water parks are closed but as resort hotel guests we were able to get towels for free at the water parks in the past-just scanned our magic bands.

    Reply

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