Dogs are taking over Disney World!

Well, that’s at least what social media reaction has sounded like after news broke that  Disney is now welcoming 4 legged friends to several of its resort hotels.

The quick details:
-Starting Oct 16th, Disney is allowing dogs at 4 of their resort properties (listed below)
-The price will be $50-$75 per dog per night depending on the resort
-Common Sense rules are in place for leashes and behavior.
-A kit will be provided at check-in with little extras and goodies for the dog.

I wanted to share my reaction and, since I usually like the role of centrist peacemaker, try to bring people from both sides toward some sort of logical agreement here.

First, I must say… I’m not a “dog-person”.  For some of you that will make you hate me straight away and click off this page… but just give me a second!  First of all, I had some bad experiences with a family dog at a young age and I’m also very allergic to the vast majority of K-9s.  I immediately tense up around dogs I don’t know, which makes them tense and perpetuates the cycle.

Having said that, I actually like the idea of having a dog, and can really appreciate the love and affection most people have for their furry companions. I totally respect that they become a deeply loved member of the family.

As a non-dog-owner, I do get irritated with the significant portion of people who do not respect others with how they manage their pets. I have seen many instances of poorly behaving pets un-leashed at crowded playgrounds. I’ve seen owners let their dogs defecate at those same playgrounds and, while they cleaned it up, I still don’t want the leftover “stuff” in a place where my kids may crawl around. Also, I know we have all stepped in some not-so-nice stuff when an owner hasn’t cleaned up after their dog. Oh, and don’t get me started on the 6am barking from my neighbors yard!

Goofy has all his pals onboard for this!

The bark is worse than the bite…

That leads to my first concern: Will Disney enforce the rules they have placed alongside this change in resort policy? They claim that dogs need to be well behaved at all times and leashed when outdoors.  I see people break this rule all the time at my local beach or a park. Will Disney CMs really be going up to people and asking them to correct any issues? I sincerely hope so.

My main concern is that this is just a test run in an effort to bring this new policy to all Disney resorts.  For me, that should not be the case.  Disney has currently opened this to a resort at each price tier: Value-Art of Animation, Moderate-Port Orleans RIverside, Deluxe-The Yacht Club, and Disney’s Ft Wilderness Campground.  I see no need to expand beyond that. If your priority is to bring your pet to Walt Disney World then, to me, that’s ok that your resort options are limited.

My 3rd concern is simply that it just doesn’t seem like a great idea to leave a dog in a hotel room all day.  There is a dog daycare service on property but who wants to pay both the boarding fee AND the resort fee? I know people who would swear by how gentle or calm their dog is and yet they have chewed/scratched up carpets and floor boards in a new place. Just seems like a recipe for disaster to me.

Maybe it won’t be so ruff…

I believe if Disney implements this as a special circumstance and doesn’t try to make it work at every single resort, this can be a good thing.

I hope they not only keep this to limited resorts but also block off a section of rooms or a building that is pet-friendly. No matter how much you deep clean it is hard to get rid of everyday pet smells and allergens. Trust me, I know first hand!

Well.. this guy sure seems happy!
My main positivity comes from what I know I don’t know. I have many friends and family who just adore their dogs and, while I admire their affection, I can’t empathize because I don’t share that same affection. That doesn’t mean I don’t need to put myself in their shoes. If this makes for a more magical Disney vacation for them… heck, that’s what I’m ALL about.

For real dawg…

In our society, we tend to pick one extreme side of a topic or the other… and then yell at each other on social media about it. Most of the time if we just actually talk and think about reality for a second, we could probably come to some decent compromise.

I have to imagine those dog owners who are willing to pay such a premium to have their dogs with them, care enough to be conscientious of others.  Hopefully I’m not being naive about that.

In this situation, it is likely that your vacation will be affected very little. If that’s not the case then Disney has failed. The likelihood is that there will be seperate sections so that pet owners and non pet owners can continue on their merry way, never affecting each other at all.

If you are up in arms about this, or you are upset that other people are up in arms, let’s just relax and see how this pans out.

Let’s finish gnawing on this bone…

In the same way Disney enforces a rule like people not being allowed to smoke on their hotel balcony, they also needs to stick to their new policies and make sure that pet-loving guests don’t infringe too much on pet fearing or pet allergic guests.

Disney World is a place where everyone should be able to create their own special vacation, without infringing upon anyone else’s ability to do so. For those of you who this effects in a positive way, I support you.  For those who are a little amped up, let’s let this play out and see if it really affects your vacation.  

The alternative is not going…

Let’s just say, I’ll be doggoned if I’m going to try that approach.

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