ORLANDO, Fla. — By the end of the year, all of Disney World’s resort hotels are due to be welcoming back guests.
What You Need To Know
- Walt Disney World continues to reopen more of its resort hotels
- Some hotels like Disney's Polynesian Resort have undergone some renovations
- Citricos at Disney's Grand Floridian recently reopened with new menu, decor
- Disney officials say staffing at resorts is on par with pre-pandemic levels
The resorts, along with Disney World’s theme parks and water parks, closed in March 2020 in response to growing concerns around the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the months since the shutdown, Disney World has reopened all of its theme parks, one water park and most of its hotels.
And with the reopening comes a number of changes, including some that guests might see if they are staying at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa (which reopened last fall) or Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort (which reopened this week).
Citricos, a restaurant inside the Grand Floridian, recently reopened and now features a new look inspired by “Mary Poppins Returns.” Décor inspired by the film can be found throughout the dining room, from the decorative lamps to the chairs, and transports diners to a garden setting.
A few nods to the film can also be found in the Sommelier Room, where diners will get to have an exclusive dining experience that features wine pairings. The room will be available for booking later this year, according to Disney.
Citricos also has a new menu crafted by Chef Andres Mendoza. It features starters such as a Strawberry Salad, Sweet Corn Bisque, and Berkshire pork belly. As far as entrees go, the menu features Guava Barbecued Short Ribs, Buttered Poached Florida Cobia with mashed fingerling potatoes, grilled asparagus, mushrooms and grapefruit beuree blanc and House Made Rigatoni. There are also desserts such as the Blackberry Tartelette as well as specialty cocktails, including “zero-proof” cocktails such as the Paradise Punch.
At the Polynesian, the guest rooms have been remodeled and now feature décor inspired by the Disney film “Moana.” The subtle theming can be found in artwork throughout the rooms as well as Polynesian-style patterns on light fixtures and headboards. One of the lamp shades also features multiple “Moana” characters such as Maui and Te Fiti.
Other changes underway at the resort include a new entrance to the resort’s Grand Ceremonial House and a new monorail station — both of which are still under construction.
The company has taken a gradual, phased approach to fully reopening Disney World in what has been an unprecedented year. But with the resort hotels, each reopening brings excitement to Disney employees, called "cast members," who get to return to work, says Maribeth Bisienere, senior vice president of resort operations at Disney World.
“Our cast are just so excited,” she said. “Every time we’ve reopened one, our cast are coming home. And it’s been a really wonderful experience, and our guests are also equally excited about it.”
Disney World, which laid off or furloughed workers during the shutdown, continues to hire for a number of positions at its resorts. However, officials say staffing at the resorts is on par with pre-pandemic levels.
There are still has a few resort hotels left to reopen, including Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge on Aug. 26, Disney’s All-Star Music Resort on Sept. 16, Disney’s Port Orleans Resort-Riverside on Oct. 14, and Disney’s Port Orleans Resort-French Quarter on Oct. 28. The last one scheduled to reopen is Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort on Dec. 9.