For many families, the perfect family vacation is not complete without the companionship of our furry friends. However, bringing your dog along on a big trip may not be as easy as it sounds, and it’s essential to research to determine where they are and are not allowed to go.
While Disney Springs currently allows service animals, other animals and pets are prohibited from being on the premises. There are also strict rules for service animals, such as not being allowed in or within 4ft of water attractions, being kept on a leash or harness, and relieving themselves in designated areas.
Where Are Dogs Allowed at Disney?
While it is unfortunate that your pup can’t join you at any of Disney’s magical parks, they do offer a few pet-friendly hotels. Below is a list of all pet-friendly resorts on Disney property.
- Disney’s Art of Animation Resort
- Disney’s Yacht Club Resort
- The Cabins at Fort Wilderness Resort
- Disney Port Orleans Riverside Resort
These hotels have designated rooms that are fit to accompany two pets, up to 75lbs each. They offer walking paths and areas for dogs to relieve themselves. These rooms are limited, so you will want to ensure you book appropriately.
Remember that even though your room may be pet-friendly, dogs are still forbidden from entering the pool or other recreational areas. They also are required to be crated if left unattended.
If you do not plan to stay on Disney property, check out this list of Dog-Friendly Hotels in Orlando.
Doggie Daycare at Disney
While staying in a hotel room might be okay for a short time, you will not want to leave your pup alone all day while you explore the parks. Instead, you can set them up to stay at the Best Friends Pet Hotel while you are away.
They offer Pet Care options for pets of all shapes and sizes, including day-time pet-sitting or overnight boarding in their air-conditioned facilities. They are open an hour before the parks and close an hour later, so you won’t be rushing to pick up Fido in time.
For as little as $45 per day, your dog will get a crate-free play day with some new friends, food and water, and a comfy bed to relax on while your family enjoys the Disney Parks.
Best Friends has a variety of packages you can upgrade your pup to, which adds on things like their own private patio, a bedtime story, a Pup-cicle, extra outside time, and a webcam for you to check in on them. They also offer bathing and grooming for additional costs.
What Qualifies as a Service Animal?
Disney follows the ADA’s strict guidelines for a service animal, meaning the only exceptions apply to domestic animals professionally trained to assist disabled individuals.
These can be Guide Dogs for blind or low-sight individuals, Alert Dogs for deaf or hard-of-hearing individuals, Navigational Dogs for individuals in a wheelchair or with cognitive disabilities, and Medical Dogs for those with epilepsy and other medical disabilities.
The definition of a Service Animal was updated in 2010, eliminating farm animals such as miniature horses and other wild animals from being accepted. Emotional Support dogs are also no longer qualified.
Service animals are required to be on a leash unless it would inhibit them from performing a necessary task and are expected to be under the control of their owner at all times.
Disney employees are not allowed to take control of any animal, so you will want to be sure you have someone with you if you plan to go on rides or other attractions where your Service Animal will not be permitted.
Why Doesn’t Disney Allow Pets?
It may seem sad not to be able to bring your furry friend along with you to one of the most magical places in the world, but remember that Disney doesn’t have anything against dogs. Over the years, they’ve done their best to accommodate pet owners and ensure you have plenty of options available for your pet while you explore the parks.
There are many reasons why dogs are not allowed at Disney parks, with the most prominent one being that not all pet owners are responsible pet owners. Dogs can get loose and become lost in the parks wreaking havoc and causing injury.
Likewise, not all dogs are well mannered. In areas where thousands of people congregate daily, even the best-behaved dog can experience fear and anxiety, causing unpredictable behavior. Children flood the Disney Parks, and dogs are not uncommon to be less-than-friendly around tiny humans. Avoiding these interactions altogether is the surest way to prevent a tragic accident.
Additionally, many people experience severe allergic reactions when they are around dogs. This can be magnified if there are many dogs in one place. Disney wants to ensure that all of its guests are as comfortable as possible, which means minimizing this exposure as much as possible.
Finally, not all pet owners can be trusted to clean up after their dogs correctly. Because of this, Disney Parks would end up littered with doggy-doo, and it would fall on the employees to clean up the mess. If they didn’t, well, you get the picture. Not to mention the tendency of un-neutered male dogs to pee on every corner—yikes!
In closing, Disney does not allow pets at Disney Springs or other parks. This is for the safety and health of all guests, employees, and dogs. If you plan to bring a Service Animal, check out the map to see where your dog can take care of their business and where they are not allowed to go.
Don’t be disheartened if you plan on bringing your pup or any other pet to Disney. There are plenty of options to ensure they enjoy their stay just as much as the rest of the family—maybe even more so! Remember to be considerate of the people around you, and you and your pet will indeed have an amazing Disney World experience.
More about our TFVG Author
A seasoned traveller, Dad, and avid sports tourist, James foundered The Family Vacation Guide to share his expert vacation experiences- especially when it comes to being a travelling family man.
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