Does Disney World Have Too Many Hotel Rooms?

There are more than 36,000 hotels room on Walt Disney World property. Thirty. Six. Thousand. That is a lot of beds, towels, and shampoo. But is it too many rooms?

Disney’s Contemporary Resort

That total encompasses the more than 30 resorts on property — including good neighbor hotels and non-Disney resorts like the Swan and Dolphin. That number also includes resorts opening this year such as the all-new Riviera Resort.

Disney’s Riviera Resort Concept Art ©Disney

And while new resorts provide new amenities, restaurants, and concepts — it also means more people are staying on Disney property and taking advantage of perks like Extra Magic Hours and the 60-day FastPass window. This naturally lessens the value of those perks and makes them possibly less enjoyable.

But let’s be honest, vacationers are coming to Disney no matter where they stay. Increasing the number of hotel rooms gives them the opportunity to stay on-property. And clearly, if there wasn’t a demand, Disney wouldn’t add more resorts. This year alone, two new resorts will open, not to mention the expansion of current resorts to include more Disney Vacation Club space.

Coronado Springs Resort Gran Destino Tower Concept Art ©Disney

So the question at hand — are there too many rooms? My answer is no, not exactly. In fact, I don’t think there are enough rooms — at least not enough of the right rooms.

The least expensive resort opening this year is the Gran Destino Tower at Coronado Springs. It is still considered a moderate resort, but the cheapest rooms will still run around $275 a night, before any fees. Disney’s Riviera Resort is a Disney Vacation Club property, and points are looking comparable to deluxe resorts.

Additionally, the most recent additions to Disney’s Polynesian Village, Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, and Disney’s Grand Floridian have all been deluxe Disney Vacation Club villas.

Art of Animation Resort’s Cars section

Disney seems to be growing their hotel room quota in just about every category: except Value and Family Suites.

The most recent addition to these categories was the Art of Animation Resort, which opened in 2012. Art of Animation is revolutionary in that it has one unit of standard hotel rooms, and the remaining three are family suites that sleep six with two full bathrooms, plus a small kitchenette. This type of room is great for families because it gives them more space and room to get ready, and the ability to cook some light meals or prepare food for young ones.

The cost of a family suite is typically slightly less, but fairly comparable to a standard room in a deluxe resort.

Art of Animation Lion King family suite

The family suites are very popular, and in my opinion, Disney is missing the market on not making more of them. Families who need more space and the kitchen features aren’t likely to just get two deluxe or even moderate rooms to get the same space. They are more likely to get a suite or Airbnb elsewhere, for less. Disney would be better off making more family suites — the rooms may cost less, but families are very likely to spend more money there anyway.

When staying on property you’re more likely to eat all of your meals on property or get a dining plan. Staying on property virtually eliminates your need to rent a car, and therefore you’re less likely to visit other theme parks and attractions in the area.

Disney doesn’t have too many hotel rooms — the crowds are inevitable whether people are staying on or off property.

They just don’t have enough of the right ones yet.

What do you think — does WDW have too many hotel rooms? Let us know in the comments!

 

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Molly is a lifelong Disney enthusiast, and former Walt Disney World Guest Relations Cast Member and tour guide. Her Walt Disney World favorites include Festival of the Lion King, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Fantasmic!, Mickey-shaped pretzels and rice krispie treats, and anything with Buzz Lightyear! She lives in Orlando with her husband (who she met in Guest Relations) and their two rescue dogs, Kronk and Cruella de Vil (Ella for short!)

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20 Replies to “Does Disney World Have Too Many Hotel Rooms?”

  1. WDW is a very expensive place. When I take my family (4 people) we stay for 9 nights/10 days. The last time we went I stayed at the All-Star Movies and I spent approximately $7,000.00 on the entire vacation. That’s an expensive vacation for most Americans in my opinion. Due to the cost, I only visit every 2 to 3 years.

    1. I’m waiting on my kids to start taking me to (and paying for) WDW. I might not live that long though. If they do, I’ll take you with me CS.

  2. I am a DVC member and have been doing more no Park trips due to the cost of the park tickets. I feel they are really looking for those with deep pockets. I do miss going to the parks at times, but the cost is at times prohibitive.

  3. Disney is building plenty of the right rooms…for them. Their target audience is deep pockets and guests who don’t think twice about paying for “extras”. They have ZERO interest in value for you. But hey, the market is bearing it, so they must be doing something right by changing $400/night for a hotel rooms, raising ticket and food prices every year, AND increasing attendance. Their ADMITTED strategy now is to make it expensive enough that it reduces crowd levels.

    Mark my words, there will never ever ever ever be another Value resort built at WDW. Think about it. What would Disney gain out of building another Value? They can build the same thing for a few bucks more, uptick the cost by declaring it a Moderate or even Deluxe, and STILL fill the place. Or even better, sell it as a DVC! The ROI on that is much much better than building a Value.

    It’s a shame this is where WDW is at these days, but I guess it is what it is.

  4. I visited WDW in mid March. I am a DVC member. I am not a thrill ride person. But…The week before I went down and the week I was there some of the rides (e.g Avatar ) had stand by lines of 3-4 hours. The ticket set up has been changed to manage crowd size. And then almost immediately ticket prices increased. I think Disney needs to do something to make the experience more enjoyable with less wait times. Having more people at the parks needs to be offset by more ways to accomodate the crowds(?more fast passes per day. 3 to 4 or 5? or not permitting stand by lines longer than 2 hours). I used to tell people Disney was the only place you could stand in line for 1- 1 1/2 hours, ride a two minute ride , and then the kids would say “Can we do it again”. I can’t imagine doing it for 3-4 hours. With Star Wars area and other rides opening, it will get worse. There has to be a breaking point, I would imagine. Are people willing to spend $250-$500 a day for a family of 4 to spend a great deal of their time in line? Apparently they will. But for how long? And will they return as often?

    1. Disney is doing a good job of repeatedly filling the place up with people that might only visit once. So they are not concerned with repeat business.

      And with DVC owners, they already know they will be returning over and over, because they have way too much money invested not to.

      1. Yes Disney is filling the place up. But if you were describing your trip to friends back home and they heard the wait was 3-4 hours for a ride, and they were considering their first trip there, is that the kind of advertising Disney wants? If Disney adds more hotel rooms, is that to take away business from other hotels off property with the attendance staying roughly the same? Or will that increase attendance? Let’s face it. Fast Passes are great, but if you can only get 1 A ride and 2 B rides, by the time you use up the 3, there are no fast passes left for A rides. And very few B rides. So the fast pass system does nothing for you really after the initial choices. And if the average ticket price is , say $80-$100 a day, and you are there for, say, an average of 10 hours and spend 6-8 of those hours in line, is it still worth it? Multiply that by 4 for a family and….It really does not impact me that much, and I will still go, but I think it would be in Disney’s best interest to come up with creative ways to make going there fun and the headaches more tolerable. Many rides have fun queues and now park game apps on phones. But that only goes so far. I guess my feeling is the geniuses at Disney should be able to come up with some solutions. Once that line at the People Mover is an hour,the handwriting is on the wall. Maybe it’s time for a new park to be added?

  5. We are staying at Art of Animation in October for EXACTLY the reasons you stated. More room to spread-out (with 10 and 13 year olds), TWO full bathrooms for the morning get-ready rush and a mini-fridge and microwave included. We booked the day they announced the opening of Star Wars Land. The price of our family suite has gone up SUBSTANTIALLY since we booked.

  6. Totally agree. There are a lot of rooms but they are needed. They are just the wrong rooms. I would love to stay at the Polynesian Village or Contemporary but I just can’t justify that amount for a bed and bathroom. It’s a shame these deluxe resorts are so over priced. I stayed at the Polynesian Village in February of 1972 for $35.99 a night. A long time ago I understand but really. They need to focus on value resorts that the average middle class family can afford and have a worth while vacation.

  7. As the OP stated, I feel that too many hotels, including “sister” hotels, are diluting the fast passes and adr’s. One of the perks of staying onsite includes these. I just wonder where Disney is heading? Perhaps only onsite will be able to get fp’s in the future? or have to pay for more or a better type fast pass? I don’t know.
    Universal seems to have it right with a good mix of deluxe and value resorts.
    More hotels means more people in the parks, which means more crowding and less fp’s and adr’s. Just MHO.

    1. the fact that disney is starting to give perks like fps to offsite hotels is flat out wrong and unfair. why stay on property?

  8. Yes it has wayyy too many hotel rooms. Disney needs to quit building hotels and start building another park. With the sharp increase of guests attending the parks each year, Disney desperately needs to control the crowds by building another LARGE park. Not just tiny “lands” within preexisting parks that won’t spread out the crowds!

    1. Totally agree with you Sarah. The existing parks are way too crowded, just about all year long. We all whine about Disney’s increasing prices, but truth is, right now they have a hot commodity and more people willing to pay high prices for it than they can accommodate. I told my son on our last trip that Disney needed to duplicate MK somewhere else on property and accommodate twice as many people. Basically the same thing they did with Dumbo except with the whole park. I know it sounds crazy, but imagine how much easier Disney could perform maintenance if they could shut down during off-peak season, whichever park needed major repairs and complete the work better and faster. Sorry, I digressed there, but IMHO, Disney needs to stop letting greed drive their sales of rooms when those rooms are used to fill an already overfilled park system.

      1. There’s that evil word “greed” again. In your analogy, just replace the word “greed” with “supply and demand” and you have your answer and a description of free market capitalism at its finest.

  9. I agree completely. I don’t stay on site because the majority of rooms have 2 beds in the same rooms for families and with older children this just isn’t the most desirable accommodations. Also, to have separate sleeping areas is too expensive for the average family. I love Disney, but you can get much nicer larger accommodations off site. Universal just opened some new great lower priced hotels with many more family suites.

  10. From a business standpoint, they’ll keep building until occupancy drops below 90% and they can always
    offer deals. 36,000 rooms is probably 80-100,000 people even at 90%. At what point will staying on property be a requirement for tickets? 20-25,000 in each park is already stretching capacity when you add off property and FL season pass holders.

      1. They are already making staying on property a requirement for securing a reservation to “Galaxy’s edge” at Disneyland. Well, there was a limited number available to offsite guests. You know the peons not staying at the Grand Californian.