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Most Walt Disney World visitors know that there is far more to this vacation destination than just theme parks. Walt Disney World hotels offer world class dining locations, plenty of fun activities and some expert theming that will delight those who venture beyond the theme parks, whether or not they are actually staying at the resorts or not!

This month brings a number of updates to the various hotels around Walt Disney World, iincluding a perk extension for Disney Springs-area hotels, some new discounts and more! If you are staying at a Walt Disney World hotel in the near future, here are all of the essential updates from the past few weeks you might want to catch up on:

1.  Disney Springs hotel early FastPass+ window extended into 2019

Image: Disney

Earlier this year Disney made the unexpected move of expanding the extended 60-day FastPass+ booking window to include properties near Disney Springs on Hotel Plaza Boulevard and the surrounding Good Neighbor hotels. Though these hotels are not Disney-owned, they have enjoyed some perks in the past, including Extra Magic Hours and special character experiences, and the addition of the extra FastPass+ booking windows was certainly a welcome new perk for guests staying at these budget-friendly locations. And now it has been revealed that guests staying at these hotels will be able to contine to enjoy this perk for a while, as Disney has officially said this additional booking window will be available to guests staying at these hotels all through 2019. 

This is actually somewhat surprising, as 2019 will bring the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge to Disney's Hollywood Studios, which seems like an opportune time to curb bonus benefits at non-Disney owned hotels. However, it looks like Disney has comitted to keeping this perk around for Disney Springs hotels at least through the end of tnext year, which is definitely good news for guests looking to stay at these lower-cost hotels next year. 

2. Digital Key feature expanded to Epcot hotels

Image: Disney 

Back in April Disney rolled out a new Digital Key feature within the existing My Disney Experience app, which allowed guests with hotel reservations to access a a special “Key” from within the app on their check-in date that could use the power of their NFC-compatible phone to quickly unlock hotel room doors using just a smartphone.

In addition to being able to unlock doors with this app feature, guests are also able to use their digital key inside My Disney Experience to unlock the hotel entrance gate and common area doors requiring a key, which may include pools, fitness centers, elevators and club level lounges.

Guests staying at Wilderness Lodge, Copper Creek Villas and Cabins at Wilderness Lodge, and Boulder Ridge Villas at Wilderness Lodge already have this unlock feature available for their stay, but now the following additional hotels have made this new feature available for guests: 

  • Disney’s Beach Club Resort
  • Disney’s Beach Club Villas
  • Disney’s Yacht Club
  • Disney’s BoardWalk Villas
  • Disney’s BoardWalk Inn
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