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Access to Disney Resorts & Hotels
There is a common misconception that the Walt Disney World resorts and hotels are the exclusive domain of their paying guests. It is easy to understand why this should appear to be the case as the entrance to each is heavily guarded with security officers and electronic barriers reminiscent of something like ‘Checkpoint Charlie’…. well not quite perhaps but I’m sure you get my drift.
The security is intended to make sure that the parking lot is not used by unauthorised vehicles and that residents always have priority access. By displaying resort passes in their windscreens the officers on the gate are able to recognise authorised users and allow them entry whilst, at the same time, challenging those who do not meet the given criteria.
However, Disney is quite open to the ‘try before you buy’ approach as long as there are no negative impacts on their private or business clientele that may give cause for complaint.
Basically, if there are no business conventions or other major functions taking place it is most probable that there is plenty of parking available and, as a non Disney resident, you would be welcome to sample the delights of any the resort areas for a limited time period.
By just turning up unannounced there is a risk, albeit relatively small, that you may face the embarrassment of being refused entry, whereas if you are expected, access is more or less guaranteed.
How do you become an expected guest I can hear you ask……. well the simplest way is to book a meal in advance through the Disney Dining dedicated phone line (407) WDW-DINE (939-3463) with all resort restaurants accepting bookings from non residents. These restaurants, however, do get very busy and it is recommended that you make a reservation as early as possible.
Upon arrival at the security gate the officers will ask what the reasons are for your visit.
If it is to have a meal, then their paperwork will be scrutinised to check off your name, if it is for a casual visit to simply have a look around they may just ask a few more questions.
In either case you will be asked to provide proof of identification, (a passport or driving licence is ideal), and the car registration number before a temporary pass is issued.
The passes usually carry three hour duration although we are not sure how rigidly this is enforced. In any event it should provide more than enough time to get a feel of what the Disney resorts have to offer…. . . we think you’ll be impressed.
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