How to Travel to Disney with Pets

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Are pets welcome at Disney World?

There’s no place like the happiest place on earth – it has magic for everyone, but can you take your dog to Disney? While they can’t walk down Main Street USA or ride along on It’s a Small World, they can be near the family during your Disney adventure.

There are plenty of pet-friendly Disney resorts and hotels, as well hotel accommodations near Disney in the Orlando area.

Pet-friendly Disney Resorts

If you’ve ever stayed at a Disney resort, you know that the bedding, wallpaper, even shower curtains are specially-made for the Disney theme – and I wouldn’t want to be responsible for damages if my dog chewed the ears off of a Mickey Mouse end table. But Disney is playing it safe for now. Most Disney resorts do not allow pets on the property. (Assistance animals are a different story!)

Currently, four Disney resorts (Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside Resort, Disney’s Yacht Club Resort, and Cabins at Disney’s Ft. Wilderness Resort) allow up to two dogs to stay in your room, but as with anything Disney, this doesn’t come cheap. Fees start at $50 per night per room. That fee includes room cleaning, but no additional services. Disney pet care while your pets are there include:

  • Green areas for exercise & pet relief

  • Pluto’s Welcome kit that comes with dog bowls, mats, and the other essentials

  • Disney has a partnership with Best Friends Pet Care so you can arrange for someone to help with walks & kennel breaks while you’re in the parks (for additional fees)

While three of the four pet-friendly resorts are traditional hotel-style resorts with elevators and shared walls, the fourth is the Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness which provides more private quarters. There’s even the Waggin’ Trails Dog Park to help your dog burn off some energy off-leash.

Pet-friendly Hotels Near Disney

As mentioned above, Disney has partnered with national chain Best Friends Pet Care to provide a variety of pet care needs including:

  • In-room Visits

  • Walks

  • Doggie Day Camp

  • Grooming

  • Overnight Boarding

When I say boarding, I’m talking about VIP Luxury Suites and Vacation Villas, complete with TVs and private patios. A pet concierge can walk your pet twice a day, take them to play group, and even read them a bedtime story. Rates are discounted for Disney guests and, in some cases, might be less than your nightly pet fee at a resort.

Best Friends is located within a 10 minute walk of Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside resort (also pet-friendly), or less than a 10 minute drive from Port Orleans French Quarter (not pet-friendly) and the Campsites at Fort Wilderness (the one with the dog park) so you might want to consider these resorts if you’ll be utilizing their facilities.

Magic Real Talk

I’m not a travel agent, but I am a pet parent as well as a parent to two princess-loving kids. We’ve done Disney a few times and, in case you have never been, let me let you in on a little secret. You get so so so tired. An average guest walks up to 10 miles per day. If you go crazy with park hopping, you could easily put in a 12-hour-day of travel, eating, riding, lines, and parades – not counting lots of walking around your resort for meals or catching buses.

This means that your pet will likely not be with you for 12 hours at a time. And when you’re back in your room, you’re checking your itinerary or putting up your sore feet. So, while you’re vacationing together, you’re not really together. I am sure there are instances where a pet really would rather stay with you than visit a dog resort, but your dog is not in the parks to make magical memories.

If you’re going to travel with your dog, it might be most fun for them (and practical for you) to let them stay the day – if not the night – at Best Friends. If they play all day in the splash pools and chase other dogs, they’ll come back to the room as tired as you are and ready for a good night’s sleep. And you can trust that someone is taking excellent care of your buddy (or check in on their webcam), and head back to your room to crash and start fresh the next morning if they stay overnight.

Pro-tips from a Dog Mom/Disney Dork

  • Amazon Prime Now delivers groceries and pet supplies to your resort within about 2 hours. If you’re flying with your pet, just have their food delivered. It’s as easy as using the app, even before you check in

  • You can have your dog stay in a sitter's home away from all the pixie dust and parades. We’ve had great experience with  Rover.com here in Ohio and they have sitters listed in Orlando too

  • Make sure your pet’s microchip and ID tag are current. It never hurts to have more than one cell number listed on their tag, just in case of an emergency

Always research traveling with your pets before you dive in to save everyone the headaches.