How (and When) to Make Room Requests
So you’ve now made your vacation booking, and after checking out our Room Categories and Locations page you’re probably ready to try to narrow down the possibilities by requesting your favourite area.
First though, it’s very important to remember that any room requests are just that, requests. Disney will not guarantee to fulfil any special requests apart from medical requirements and categories that have been specifically paid for — such as Preferred Locations, King Size beds and Royal Guest Rooms. The other thing to be aware of is that the cast members who handle room allocations may have to allocate several hundred new guest rooms every day, and requests would need to be ‘blocked out’ for the duration of that guest’s stay, so it simply may not be feasible to accommodate all of the special requests that they might receive. All of this notwithstanding, it’s always been my experience that the room allocators and Front Desk staff usually try their best to match requests where possible, and it certainly can’t do any harm to ask.
The first thing to do is decide what features are most important to you and have these added to your reservation in advance, usually when making your original booking. Don’t be tempted to ask for too much at this stage — a request for a second floor corner room with a blue door, next to an elevator, with a view of the river and a fountain, beside the car park is quite likely to be ignored! Equally, requests for specific room numbers can be difficult to fulfil and are best avoided. If you’re celebrating a special event — perhaps a birthday or an anniversary — make sure the relevant details are noted too. There is no need to specify that you require a non-smoking room, or to request a refrigerator or queen-size beds, as these options are all now standard.
If you made your booking directly with Disney, it will be held on their central reservations system and you can call the Disney Reservations Center and ask for your requests to be added to your booking as soon as you have made it. This does not necessarily apply to third-party bookings though, such as package bookings made via high street travel agents, and you may need to contact the third-party agent instead.
Note: To discuss room requests based on medical grounds, or other special needs, please call (407) 939-7807 well in advance of your stay and the cast members will do their best to ensure that your individual needs are met. The TTY number for the hearing impaired is (407) 939-7670.
Some Common Requests to Consider
Apart from the general category of the room (see our Room Categories and Locations page) one feature which many people seem to like is to be given a room situated on an outside corner of one of the walkways. These corner rooms include a second window next to the table, which makes the room feel much lighter and more airy. This is especially true of rooms in the Alligator Bayou section where the room decor and fixtures are already somewhat darker than in the other areas. Note: there are some corner rooms where the extra window faces inward, such as beside stairwells, so be careful how you phrase your request.
It’s also worth considering whether you would prefer to be on the ground floor or one of the upper levels. Obviously anyone with mobility issues, or with small children in strollers, might find a ground floor room easier — especially in the Alligator Bayou area where there are no elevators. On the other hand, it’s sometimes possible to hear people moving about in the room above (especially if they have younger children) so that might sway you towards asking for a top-floor room instead.
Another common request with multiple-room bookings is for Connecting or Adjoining rooms. Connecting rooms include an internal (but lockable) doorway between the two rooms, while Adjoining rooms are merely located next door to each other — or quite possibly just somewhere near to each other. If you want to be located directly next door, always ask for Connecting rooms. Again, these requests are normally not able to be guaranteed, with the sole exception of two-room bookings where one or two adults are travelling with any number of dependent children from the same household, and this detail must be noted in the booking in advance.Please could I ask that people do not bombard the resort with requests for specific room numbers though. The room numbering information given in our maps is best used as a general guide rather than as a “checklist for the perfect vacation”. It’s preferable to let the resort know WHAT you want from your room and WHY, rather than requesting one specific room number (which might not even be available during your stay, and then then you could get assigned anywhere in the resort).
Confirming your Requests Directly with the Resort (but not until five days prior to your arrival)
Although recent upgrades to the resort computer systems now allow staff to access exactly the same information as the central reservations team, they will not normally start actively working on a booking until around five days before you arrive. At any point after this it might be worth elaborating on your original request with a quick phone call to the resort, or even better a short fax.
|French Quarter Telephone:||1-407-934-5000|
|French Quarter Fax:||1-407-934-5353|
If you do phone, please be aware that your call will initially be answered by an off-site switchboard handling calls on behalf of all of the Walt Disney World hotels, so please ask to be connected directly to the room allocation team at Port Orleans itself. There is currently no email or other internet-based option for you to contact the resort directly.
Sending a fax is probably the best solution though, and I can confirm that faxes are read, and actioned if possible, by the room allocation staff at Port Orleans. Please be polite and explain your requests, and ideally the reasons why you are making them, to help the cast members understand your wishes. Don’t forget to include your contact details (phone number and/or email address) in case they need to get in touch with you to clarify something about your request — for example if a party of five makes a request for Acadian House, which doesn’t accommodate that many people.
A few tips to remember when considering making room requests:
- First, ALWAYS make sure that any requests are noted in your original reservation as this is the official method to log room requests for WDW hotels. This can be done by calling your travel agent or the Disney Reservation Center on (407) 934-7639.
- Online checkin can be done up to 60 days in advance, but the requests section which you can fill in is very limited. It would be best to do online checkin BEFORE sending any faxed requests, so any more detailed choices are not overridden.
- Send a FAX directly to the resort about 3-5 days before your arrival date using the numbers listed above. If you don’t have access to a fax machine you can send a free fax online via www.gotfreefax.com.
- Provide your full details (name, address, phone number, email address and reservation number/arrival date). They may contact you about your requests, but don’t worry if you don’t get any confirmation back.
- Be polite but personable, and let them know how much you are looking forward to your stay at POR and how getting your requests fulfilled would make your stay extra-magical.
- Generally, try to request the features or details that you are looking for, rather than just quoting a set of building numbers (e.g. ask for "a mansion building room, fairly close to the food court and the main bus stop").
- Very specific requests (e.g. for one particular room number) can be hard to accommodate, although it might help to use room numbers to narrow down an area you are trying to describe.
- Try to explain the reasons for your requests, as that helps the room assignment team find other options in case your first choice may not be available.
- If you have multiple requests, try to prioritise them in order of your preferences.
- Do your homework first so you don’t make requests that cannot be fulfilled (e.g. don’t ask for a room with a pull-down Murphy bed when you have booked a Royal Guest Room, or book a Preferred Location and then request a mansion building room).
- You can ask if an upgraded room category might be available for your stay (e.g. a River View if you were only able to book Water View) but obviously not all such requests can be granted. It certainly can’t hurt to ask though.
A bit of background at this point: the Port Orleans room assignment team run a regular series of reports which are designed to catch multiple-room bookings, linked guests with the same surname, continuing reservations (especially at the start or end of offer periods, where people may make two consecutive bookings to take advantage of time-limited deals) and other special requests. In some cases they will then ‘block out’ rooms as required. Thus larger travelling groups, or more complicated requests, are likely to be blocked out a few days in advance — so if you have three or more rooms booked for your party then it might be worth getting in touch with the resort around 3-4 days before arrival. For one or two rooms, around 2-3 days might be better. Online checkin makes no difference to this allocation process by the way, and they recommend that you take advantage of this facility.
Other than the above, single rooms (even if you have used online checkin) are almost always allocated from the currently available pool of “Ready Rooms” near to your time of arrival. This mean that the system scans for any rooms that are currently flagged as being ready to occupy — i.e. they have already been vacated and cleaned and are available for you to move straight in. This has the advantage that even if you check in well before 3pm the system may be able to find you an available room there and then. Some guests have even reported being allocated their rooms at 6am after overnight flights, but I certainly wouldn’t count on that happening! The downside of the Ready Room system is that at any given moment the system only shows the rooms that are available NOW, rather than ones which are still due to be cleaned and which might otherwise match your requirements better (see section below on Arriving at the Resort).
Anecdotally, success rates can vary using this approach, with some people reporting that their exact requests were met while others don’t even seem to end up in the general vicinity of where they wanted. However, again — what have you got to lose by trying?
Upon Arriving at the Resort
Finally, when you first check in at the resort (even if you have already done online check in) ask to be shown where your room is located on a map. If you find yourself looking at a ten minute walk over to the far side of Alligator Bayou Lodge 36 with three young children, you can always ask the front desk cast member whether they might be able search their system to find you something a little closer to your original request. Again, please work with them rather than just moaning — you’re far more likely to get what you want by being polite and enthusiastic than by ranting.
If you don’t mind waiting a little while for a room that still needs to be made ready then you may have more luck in getting closer to the specific location you requested. Again, work with your Front Desk cast member to see what’s possible, and be patient if they need to refer to back-room staff in order to check for any further availability later in the day. You can always store your bags at Bell Services and go for a swim or visit the theme parks in the meantime, and they can even text to you let you know when your room is ready.
If you’ve got any comments about your favourite room locations, or regarding your experiences in getting special requests fulfilled or otherwise, please let us know via our Discussion Forums.