Connecting rooms at Walt Disney World hotels (and most other hotels) are those which have an internal door between them allowing you to move between the two rooms without entering a hallway or other public space. Unlike a multi-room suite, each room will have its own exit to the hallway, and the connecting door locks from both sides so that the rooms can also be sold separately.
There are a number of reasons why you might be interested in having connecting rooms. Among them are:
- Your overall party size exceeds the room capacity at your preferred resort and members of your party (typically children) need nighttime access for safety or supervision.
- Your immediate family needs ready access to more than one bathroom.
- You’re traveling with a caregiver who needs ready access to a person with medical needs but also wants some personal privacy.
- You’re traveling with a nanny or other childcare provider who needs ready access to children but also wants some personal privacy.
- You’re traveling with a large group of adults who want to have a slumber party atmosphere (a bachelorette party, for example).
- You’ll be “working from home” at your hotel and want to have a separate space to take calls while also minding a napping child, for example.
- You’re traveling with people you want to share a room with, but don’t want to sleep in the same bed (a large group of adult siblings, for example). Connecting rooms can increase your options for individual sleep surfaces.
- You’ve found an accommodation option for a larger party that is more cost-effective than booking a suite or villa.
Why There’s No Guarantee of Connecting Rooms
The Disney World hotels allow you to request connecting rooms, but they don’t guarantee them.
Wait, what? But … but my next-door neighbor said she always gets connecting rooms at Disney. But my travel agent says I can definitely get connecting rooms if I’m traveling with a large family. But I asked for connecting rooms last time and it worked out fine.
Sure, Disney does its best, and most of the time it works out. But they do not guarantee connecting rooms. Here’s why:
- Your hotel may have a limited number of connecting rooms in inventory
- Your hotel may be undergoing routine maintenance that takes many connecting rooms out of inventory
- You may be traveling during a peak period when your hotel is fully booked. The Tetris of other guests’ arrival and departure dates makes your request untenable
- There may be an unexpected maintenance issue (broken toilet, for example) in half of an otherwise available pair of connecting rooms
Increasing Your Chances of Getting Connecting Rooms
Again, much of the time Disney does what guests want. They want you to be happy and they don’t want you to complain to your friends who are thinking about booking a vacation. But here are some things you can do to increase your odds of getting connecting rooms:
1. Avoid traveling during peak seasons.
Hotel staff will have more flexibility to meet guest needs if the resort has lots of open rooms. And if you arrive to find that you haven’t received connecting rooms, you’ll have a better chance of getting that addressed after arrival.
2. Book your rooms together, at the same time
This helps room assignment staff see that your two rooms are related. You can even add a request for connecting rooms when you book.
Some parties (1 or 2 adults ages 18+ with minor children) may be able to book multiple rooms on a single reservation that will be marked as guaranteed connecting rooms; call Disney to inquire or book through a travel agent. Although travel agents tell us that it’s rare, keep in mind that issues above like rooms unexpectedly out of service may still find you with non-connecting rooms.
3. Request connecting rooms IN ADVANCE
Disney agents begin to assign rooms at the hotels about a week in advance. Your odds of getting connecting rooms vastly increase if you’ve made a request prior to this. There are four ways to do this:
- Have TouringPlans send a room request
- When you book your room on the WDW website, choose the “Connecting Doors” option in the “Room and Amenities Requests” section of the purchase process
- Call Disney directly to have a note added to your reservation (add to BOTH reservations if you have two separate numbers). To do this call 407-939-1926
- Have your travel agent add a request to your reservation
Anecdotal evidence suggests that if getting connecting rooms is your primary aim, you should NOT make additional room requests. For example, don’t ask for a high floor AND a room near the elevator AND connecting rooms. The room assignment team may not be able to accurately parse which request is most important to you. But, you can use more than one of the methods above – for instance, having your travel agent add a request to your reservation and sending a room request through TouringPlans.
4. Make sure that what you want actually exists.
There are standard rooms that connect to other standard rooms at most WDW hotels. There will likely not be a room with a king-sized bed and handicapped accommodations that connects to a family suite. If you book those room types on your reservation, all the goodwill in the world won’t give Disney the power to grant your request for connecting rooms. If you have concerns, call Disney directly or ask your travel agent to do so.
If You Can’t Risk Not Having Connecting Rooms
I’m a belt-and-suspenders kind of girl and would probably make a request via several of the above options and then confirm those requests a few times as my trip grew closer, but you may not be the worrywart that I am. However, making your first request for connecting rooms in person at the hotel on check-in day will vastly decrease your odds of getting what you want because you will be considered after all the other guests who made earlier requests.
Our personal experience and anecdotal evidence suggest that, in general, among guests requesting connecting rooms, preference will be given to guests with medical needs, parties with one adult and multiple minor children, and then parties with two adults and multiple minor children. Requests in these situations are accommodated so routinely that some travel agents have told us that they have never had clients who were disappointed on check-in. (Or at least, not because their rooms didn’t connect.) But again, Disney does not make guarantees.
If you ABSOLUTELY MUST have two separate rooms with internal access and want to stay on Disney property, you should book a suite or a Disney Vacation Club villa with one, two, or three bedrooms and common living space, though this is rarely the most cost-effective option. See our post on WDW accommodations for larger parties for more ideas.
If you’re fine with staying offsite, Hilton (which has several Orlando-area properties) is one of the few major hotel chains that does offer a Confirmed Connecting Room feature. There are also numerous Airbnb properties, condos, and suite-style hotels near Disney World that have more space.
On the flip side of this, some guests prefer that they do not stay in rooms with connecting doors because they find the soundproofing between the rooms to be suboptimal. If you fall in that camp, you can make a request to not be placed in a connecting room. Rest assured, however, that the internal door between two rooms will never open unless unlocked by the parties on both sides.
Have you requested connecting rooms at Disney World hotels? Tell us about your experiences.