How (and When) to Make Room Requests [Updated]

Note: Please see updated advice below regarding time scales for making requests (Sept 2019)

 

So you’ve made your vacation booking, and after checking out our Room Categories and Locations page you may decide you want to request a particular location or some specific room features.

Before reading any further though, it’s very important to remember that any room requests are just that: requests. Disney does not guarantee to fulfil any particular requests apart from medical requirements and paid booking categories — such as Preferred Locations, King Beds, Royal Guest Rooms, etc. The other thing to be aware of is that the cast members who handle room allocations may have to allocate hundreds of guest rooms every day, and sometimes it’s simply not feasible, or even desirable, to block out every special request that they might receive in advance. All of this notwithstanding, it’s always been my experience that the room allocators and Front Desk cast members always try their best to match requests where possible, and it certainly can’t do any harm to ask.

The first thing for you to decide is which features are most important to you, and have these added to your Disney reservation in advance. Usually this is done while making your original booking, but you can always call back later to add anything that you forgot. 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 those 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 on 1-407-WDISNEY (1-407-934-7639) 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 in those cases 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 you may wish to consider

A corner room in the new Royal Guest Room format (river view room 9239)

A corner room in the new Royal Guest Room format (river view room 9239)

Apart from the actual booking category of the room (see our Room Categories and Locations page for more details) one feature that many people seem to like is to be assigned a room situated on an outside corner. These corner rooms have a second window next to the table which makes the room feel much lighter and more airy. Note: there are some corner rooms where the extra window faces inwards, such as beside central 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 rooms on the floor 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 or close to each other. If you’d like the linking doorway, 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 a number of dependent children from the same household, and this detail should be noted on the booking in advance.

One of the most common preference at Port Orleans Riverside is the broad area of the resort that guests desire. Some people strongly prefer the relative ‘plushness’ of the Magnolia Bend mansion buildings, whereas others love the rustic woodsy atmosphere of the Alligator Bayou lodges — or just want to make use of the fold-down beds which are only provided in the Alligator Bayou rooms. Booking a Preferred Location room, or merely having a party of five, guarantees an Alligator Bayou room, while booking a Royal Room similarly assures guests of a room in the Oak Manor or Parterre Place mansion buildings.

However for the vast majority of Standard and Garden View bookings it was originally not possible to indicate any preference, until January 2019 when two new booking categories were introduced. Now, if you book either of the “5th Sleeper” options you will be guaranteed an Alligator Bayou room, whereas booking one of the regular (non-5th Sleeper) options means you are much more likely — although not guaranteed — to be assigned to a mansion building. Pool View, River View, and King Bed have no such distinctions, so when booking those categories you are equally likely to be assigned to either area.



 
 

Confirming your requests in writing by fax — now up to 30 days prior to arrival

If you telephone the resort — even from a guest room during your stay — please be aware that your call will initially be answered by an off-site switchboard that handles calls on behalf of all of the Walt Disney World hotels, so you may need to ask to be connected directly to the team at Port Orleans if you want to discuss specific details.

There is currently no guest-accessible phone number, email or other internet method for contacting the room inventory management team directly. Longer term there are plans to improve the content that can be entered into the Online Checkin system, however (and somewhat bizarrely) sending a good old-fashioned fax is still the best way to confirm your requests in writing — especially if you want to explain your reasons in more detail.

Disney Reservations Center:1-407-WDISNEY (1-407-934-7639)
Port Orleans Riverside Telephone:1-407-934-6000
Port Orleans Riverside Fax:1-407-934-5777
   Port Orleans French Quarter Telephone:1-407-934-5000
Port Orleans French Quarter Fax:1-407-934-5353

A few tips to remember when making room requests:

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?

Arriving at the Resort

When you finally check in at the resort (even if you have already done Online Checkin, and may have been assigned a room number directly by text or email) check or ask to be shown where your room is located on a map. If you find yourself looking at a ten minute walk to the far side of Alligator Bayou with three young children, you can always ask a Front Desk cast member whether they might be able search their system to see if they can find you something a little closer to your original request. Please work with them rather than just complaining — 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 the specific location you requested. Again, work with your Front Desk cast member to see what’s possible, as they are now able check on their system to look 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 text to you let you know when your room is ready (US numbers only).

Because rooms are not 100% confirmed until the guest has actually been granted access on the day, it is not possible for room numbers to be given out in advance until the room is cleaned and ready.

Background on how the Disney Room Assignment process now works

During Summer 2019, Disney made some changes to the way resort rooms are allocated and how guest requests are processed, and this transition was broadly completed by mid-August 2019. Previously, reservations were effectively handled as a two-stage process. Initially bookings were held on the central computer system and accessed by the Disney Reservations Center. Then around a week before arrival day, control of bookings was transferred to the Back Office teams at each resort ready to be evaluated around 3-5 days out.

In Summer 2019, an extra operational layer was created to improve the overall efficiency of room inventory management across the whole of Walt Disney World. Known as Central Inventory Management, this new team is based near Disney Springs and they have access to guest bookings for all WDW resort hotels, with visibility much further out than before. They now routinely start to look at bookings around 30 days ahead, and even further out in specific circumstances.

Any room requests that are faxed in by guests are forwarded to the CIM team, who will assess all upcoming bookings and determine what needs handling in advance and possibly 'blocking out' (such as large groups, extended stays, medical needs, etc) and which ones are better to left for the resort teams to assign on checkin day just before the guest arrives (generally simpler requests, such as asking for an upper floor or for one particular building). Front Desk cast members can now directly adjust room assignments when you arrive too, without having to refer to a Back Office team.

As a lot of these new processes are based on each guest’s predicted arrival time, it is strongly recommended that you complete the Online Checkin process well in advance, so the resort knows when you are expected to arrive and can (hopefully!) have a room ready for you. The new computer systems can even notify Housekeeping of the order in which rooms are likely to be needed, so they are better able to prioritise their cleaning schedules.



 

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.