Top Five Tips for Increasing Your Odds of a Disney Resort Upgrade

Walt Disney World is called the “Most Magical Place on Earth” for a reason. There is so much to experience, and many things are unique to Disney World. Disney World is expensive though. You could spend a small fortune to purchase every possible upgrade.

It doesn’t happen often, but occasionally Disney will give out a room upgrade or a late checkout privilege.

All of the Disney resort hotels are great, but some rooms are better than others. You can see fireworks from many spots, but there are a few rooms where you can enjoy them from your own balcony, without crowds.

A late checkout allows you just a bit more time in your room in the morning to clean up and pack up.

So how do you get these upgrades? There are no guarantees, but there are a few things you can do increase your odds of getting them.

Let’s take a look at the top five tips for increasing your upgrade odds.

1. Make Simple Reservations

Your upgrade potential starts with your reservation. If you make simple reservations, it’s more likely that you could get a room upgrade because there are fewer requests to be accommodated.

When you book your hotel reservations, avoid special requests like location, proximity to dining and transportation, etc. It’s less likely that a Cast Member will grant an upgrade if you have too many other requests.

Don't put in requests for certain rooms in advance if you are hoping for an upgrade.
Don’t put in requests for certain rooms in advance if you are hoping for an upgrade.

2. Arrive early

Check in is at 3pm for most Disney resort hotels. The earlier you arrive, the more likely it is that you’ll get a room upgrade because fewer people have asked for or been granted them already.

You can also plan to arrive on a common checkout day. Lots of people check out on Fridays and Sundays. If you arrive on one of these days, the resort will be emptying out, and it’s more likely that an upgraded room will be available.

3. Smile

Your mom probably told you that you get more flies with honey than with vinegar. Well, it’s true!  A smile can go a long way.

When you arrive at the check-in desk, smile and be happy. This has to be a real thing though; real enthusiasm can’t be faked. The Cast Member will likely recognize your obvious excitement and can put in a good word for you!


4. Just Ask

If an upgraded room is your goal, just ask. After your check in is complete, ask the Cast Member if an upgraded room is available and how much it would cost.

This is a good strategy for getting a late checkout, too. Sometimes the rooms aren’t filled right away so Disney can grant you a late checkout, which would usually be around 1pm. This doesn’t always happen, but it’s worth asking!

Asking works for just about anything especially in Disney World. Cast Members are told to do everything they can to make your stay more enjoyable, so if you ask for something, they’ll do what they can to make it happen. It’s important to realize, though, that sometimes it just isn’t possible. Nice try. Ask again next time.

5. Be thankful!

Cast Members aren’t allowed to take tips, but you can “tip” them by telling their supervisors that they did a good job.

Keep track (either in a note on your phone or in your head) of exemplary service during your stay. Then e-mail with as much detail as possible including a name, a time, a date, and a brief description of your great experiences. This information is passed on and the Cast Members are recognized in their staff meetings. These mean more than monetary tips since they can lead to transfer requests being granted and even promotions being given.

Disney keeps track of your vacation history including these comments, how often you’ve visited Disney World, how often the visit has coincided with a stay at one of the Disney Resort Hotels, and how much you’ve complained. If you have a stellar Disney vacation history, it’s more likely that you’ll be granted an upgrade.

Have you received an upgrade at a Disney World Resort?