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, including the resort-wide rollout of a new, high-tech amenity, the announcement of an upcoming restaurant, plus Disney officially confirms the future of one of its most controversial programs... 

1.  Disney extends pet program indefinitely at current resorts, but does not plan to expand

Little Mermaid building and pool area at Art of Animation

Image: Disney

Last October, Walt Disney World Resort shocked longtime guests when they began allowing dogs to stay at four of the resort’s on-property hotels: Disney’s Yacht Club Resort, Disney Port Orleans Resort – Riverside, Disney’s Art of Animation Resort and the cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground, setting aside specific blocks of each hotel for guests with pets. Guests who chose to take advantage of this program received a special dog "welcome" kit, and we're charged either $50 or $75 per night on top of their hotel fees to accommodate their pet. 

Several months ago it was reported that Cast Members were being told his program would no longer be offered after this fall, but it seems like these reports were either incorrect, or Disney has reversed their decision, as WDWNT reports that this program will now be a permanent offering for guests who are willing to pay the $50-$75 per night pet fee. This amenity is currently only available at the four resorts listed above, and there are no plans to extend it to any other properties at this time. 

2. New restaurant announced for Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort  

Image: Disney

Full service eatery Shutters closed last year at Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort, and now we know what this dining location will be when the Centertown area of this resort reopens: Sebastian's Bistro! This lightly Little Mermaid-themed restaurant will offer a menu that blends Latin and Caribbean flavors, and will feature an interior design that reflects a tropical beachfront home with coral patterns and kelp filigre as well as lure-inspired art and nautical designs. 

Though all of these details sound really exciting, unfortunately Disney has yet to release information about when this new dining location (as well as the redesigned Centertown Market) will be open at this resort. Many are guessing Disney is targeting an early 2019 opening for this new dining establishment, but nothing has been officially announced yet. 


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