By Dalia Colón
Walt Disney World has gone to the dogs. And we’re not just talking about Goofy, Pluto and the 101 dalmatians.
Each day, the most magical place on earth welcomes tens of thousands of visitors—and many are of the four-legged variety. Of course, leashed service animals are welcome in most areas of Disney World, but even non-working pets can enjoy some R&R in certain parts of the parks.
Whether you’re visiting for a day or settling in for a longer stay, you’ll be at ease knowing Disney can accommodate your favorite dog. While only service animals are allowed in Disney theme parks and at Disney Springs, there are a few areas where vaccinated pets can have a doggone good time.
When it’s time to turn in for the evening, don’t let sleeping dogs lie in subpar accommodations. Four Disney Resort Hotels are designated as pet-friendly, with easy access to outdoor walkways and greenspaces for leashed pets.
Upon check-in, your pooch will be greeted with Pluto’s Welcome Kit, which includes a mat, bowls, an ID tag, disposable pet waste bags, puppy pads and dog-walking maps. There’s also a Pluto “do not disturb” door hanger so hotel staff know to steer clear of your room when the pet is inside unattended.
This resort is fun for the whole family, with three swimming pools, kid-friendly casual restaurants and accommodations inspired by the movies Finding Nemo, Cars, The Lion King and The Little Mermaid. The themed suites sleep up to six guests—and that’s only counting the human visitors. 1850 Animation Way, Lake Buena Vista, (407) 938-7000.
Classy canines will appreciate the Southern charm of this New Orleans-inspired resort. While your dog lounges in a guest room fit for Princess Tiana and Prince Naveen, their human companions can enjoy N’awlins-style cuisine at Boatwright’s Dining Hall, hire a horse-drawn carriage or walk over to Disney's Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter for beignets and jazz music. 1251 Riverside Drive, Lake Buena Vista, (407) 934-6000.
Pamper your pooch with stay at this swanky resort on Stormalong Bay that’s within walking distance to Epcot. While Fido lounges in a chic guest room, you can relax in the lazy river, get a massage at Ship Shape Health Club or slice into a Porterhouse at Yachtsman Steakhouse. Just be sure to bring him a doggie bag. 1700 Epcot Resorts Blvd., Lake Buena Vista, (407) 934-7000.
What’s more therapeutic than a camping trip with your best friend? Unplug with your pet at this campground that’s surrounded by 750 acres of pine and cypress trees, deer, ducks and rabbits. A charming, furnished cabin will be your home base for glamping, with activities like swimming, guided horseback excursions and a dinner show. 4510 North Fort Wilderness Trail, Lake Buena Vista, (407) 824-2900.
At all pet-friendly Disney Resort Hotels, a maximum of two dogs are allowed in each guest suite. For details on pet fees and to arrange for your pet to visit one of the above resorts, call (407) 939-7539. For more information about visiting Walt Disney World with your pet, refer to these frequently asked questions.
Best Friends Pet Care
Your dog likely has little interest in riding Space Mountain, and tending to Fido’s needs probably isn’t how you’d like to spend your vacation. If you’d prefer not to leave your fur baby in a hotel room while you enjoy the theme park, take her to this doggie day camp conveniently located on Disney property. Your pet will be in good hands with TLC and even grooming, if you wish. For more information, including fees, call (877) 4-WDW-PETS or (877) 493-9738. 2510 Bonnet Creek Parkway, Lake Buena Vista, bestfriendspetcare.com.
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