I saw a fantastic deal on Disney Vacation Club points, but it was right in the middle of a workweek. So I began wondering if working remotely at Disney World was possible. What must I do to have the best Walt Disney World workation ever?
Working at Disney World is easy for a solopreneur or digital nomad. While many freelancers do it (and I’ve done it many times before while self-employed), working a 9 to 5 job has certain restrictions.
Best Places On Disney Property To Work Remotely
Working remotely at Disney World means finding a quiet area with a quality internet connection. For those who WFH, Walt Disney World is the perfect travel destination for a workation. While the price is high, nothing is better than grabbing lunch at Disney Springs or hitting the parks after a long, remote workday. Scroll down to the bottom if you want to read my personal work-from-Disney experience!
Port Orleans River Roost Lounge
For the most part, working remotely in the Port Orleans River Roost Lounge seemed like the perfect spot. However, the River Roost Lounge is next to the lobby- so often, loud families waiting for their rooms will come to sit. There is also a fireplace that draws people in.
I quickly learned that it’s best to tuck yourself in near Boatrights if you want the quietest portion of the lounge. There were many tables to choose from, even though many other adults were working on their laptops nearby. Mostly, the space had strong enough internet connectivity for a teleconference.
Luckily, a kind manager offered me the option to sit by the fireplace at Boatwrights to take the meeting as the lounge filled up.
Swimming at lunchtime and then snagging a (gluten-free in my case) meal from Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory to eat while catching up on email is the best use of workation time.
The lounge doesn’t open until 5 PM, just as my remote workday ended. It’s the perfect time to grab a drink to celebrate before you hit the Disney parks.
Swan and Dolphin Hotel
If you’re looking to save money and check out the Boardwalk during work breaks, the Swan or Dolphin is the best possible deal.
The chairs outside the convention centers (off the Dolphin lobby, down a hallway) were fairly quiet. However, the hallway becomes extremely loud and crowded once conferences have breaks. It could be a quiet place to work but quickly shift into overwhelming, with two businessmen loudly debating the stock market right over my laptop.
Swan and Dolphin Beach
The beach between the Swan and Dolphin is perfect for quiet work if it’s a cooler day. Just keep the sand out of your computer. If you looking to get out of the room while soaking up rays, it was fairly quiet with few other people around. Keep in mind that the playground is nearby and sand in your computer isn’t a good time- so there are distinct drawbacks.
While this resort is one of my favorites, all areas of the Grand ceremonial house and pools are very loud. The lush greenery at the Polynesian requires near-constant landscaping to keep it looking lovely. While I love the greenery, it wasn’t quiet on the balcony. I thought working on the beach would be fun, but my computer got so hot rapidly that it didn’t work out well.
Boardwalk Inn Alcoves
The Boardwalk Resort is one of my favorite places to work remotely in Disney World. It took some effort to find, but the elevators in the Boardwalk Inn feature little nooks with couches, and at the far ends of the villas, little alcoves with sofas, chairs, and tables were present. There were also power outlets for those requiring a computer charge. If you start facing the Belle Vue Lounge and head right towards the elevators, keep walking past them. You will see the quiet areas. These are located on every floor so if one is taken, keep going up a level until you find a calm space.
Port Orleans Riverside outdoors
Many benches and hammocks dot the Sassagoula River, and the internet is strong enough if you want to work outdoors. I chose to work in a Gazebo near Magnolia Terrace (in Magnolia Bend) in one of the beautiful courtyards. The problem with working outside, including on the balconies, is that you are mercy to noisy landscaping, carts driving past or yelling conversations on neighboring balconies. When I went out for a call, the landscapers started cutting the tree directly outside my balcony.
Saratoga Springs Resort Courtyards
Saratoga Springs Resort has various courtyards and benches where you can work remotely in Disney World. They are reasonably private and quiet. I worked in the courtyard of the Paddock building when he stayed in the two-bedroom 4627. They’re reasonably private but not shaded. Luckily, it was a cloudy day without rain showers. The wifi was strong enough for a conference call. The lake is nearby and very peaceful. It was only noisy when the occasional rowdy family or Disney golf cart roared.
Riviera Resort Voyageur Lounge
The lounge is ideal for curling up with your computer and putting in some serious work. However, it’s next to Le Petit Cafe and features a board game table, so many people come to enjoy their coffee in the morning or cocktails in the evening. The bookshelves are full of hardcover books, but they are glued to the shelves. If you can handle working without requiring absolute quiet, this is a great place to come with headphones to get work done. (Plus, Disneyana adorning the walls is super festive!)
Disney Vacation Club resort balconies
We stayed at the Polynesian Village Resort and the Boardwalk Villas. The Disney Vacation Club balconies are fairly conducive to remote work, so long as your neighbors aren’t out chatting. My kids could catch an afternoon nap from the parks while I worked on the balcony and even took a brief phone call. Unfortunately, the Boardwalk was much noisier because of the many people, performers, and music celebrating the entertainment venue.
Honorable Mentions to Work Remotely at Disney World
These are places that I observed but did not personally try.
- Coronado Springs Convention centers
- Yacht Club Crew Club
- Beach Club alcoves and Solarium
- Pop outside tables from the food court (the further away, the better)
Disney World Remote Work Failures
While I was very optimistic after starting at Port Orleans, my move to Boardwalk had me questioning the possibility of remote work from Disney World. Places that were loud or had poor internet were considered Disney World remote work failures.
Belle Vue Lounge
Belle Vue Lounge is one of the coziest and most intimate lounges at Disney World, which has both exterior and interior seating. Regardless of your mood, you can switch it up throughout the day or hang out on indoor couches or outdoor chairs. However, the Belle Vue lounge hosts breakfast offerings until 11 AM.
The outside area is a balcony with several chairs and tables. Between 11 and 5 seemed like a quiet and lovely option- but it is in direct sunlight most of the day, causing an overheated computer and a remote worker who felt hot and exhausted despite doing very little physical work. Luckily, the Lounge opens at 5 PM pm if you need one of their unique craft cocktails to keep you going throughout the night.
While it seems that Tambu Lounge would be an excellent spot to work during the quieter times of the day, many people pass that area, and there are ‘Ohana crowds. The only pro is that ‘Ohana is closed for lunch, so there would be the best window to take advantage of the space. Unfortunately, Kona Cafe is nearby- so you will still get major foot traffic.
Anywhere along the Boardwalk itself was very hit-or-miss. Remember that there are street performers, surrey bikes, and people headed to and from Boardwalk restaurants and Epcot. I would have occasional quiet lulls, but for the most part, it wasn’t quiet.
Best Tips to Work Remotely in Disney World
- Use web conferencing backgrounds. I thought I was prepared and tried to tuck myself away from crowds, but I always had unexpected ‘visitors.’ From the daily safety check-in by housekeeping or random people passing behind me, I was grateful for the background coverage.
- Bring a headset, headphones, or earbuds. The background noise was very distracting on the rare occasion that my Air Pods died. I would time my turns to speak with a quieting in the random background noise. Bring your main set and a second pair in case they die. I used this pair of wired noise-canceling headphones with a high-performance microphone that worked well when there was more noise than I anticipated. See price here>>>
- Always have a backup plan. Having a Plan B has saved me on almost every day of work. I started with a plan that didn’t work out (working on my balcony) and had to be flexible (moving to a quiet alcove with a desk and chairs).
- Bring more supplies than you need. Try to have an extra computer charger, a second set of headphones, and a cell phone charger. If you want to have all your bases covered, bring a portable power bank that will charge your computer, tablet, and cell phone. You will never risk your laptop or phone dying, even if you can’t find a working spot near an electrical outlet. See price here>>>
Who Can Work From Home (WFH) at Disney World?
Anyone who is looking for a magical workation. But these travel trips work best for those with annual passes, allowing you to come and go from the parks without feeling that you’re not getting your money’s worth from an expensive park ticket.
The annual pass will also offer cheaper merchandise, activities, and meals. Often Disney hotels will have special discounts for annual passholders. However, renting DVC points is often a better deal. Most merchandise shops and sit-down restaurants give a 10% discount with your annual pass, Disney Chase Visa, or to DVC members. Always ask!
So what do you think- could you do the ultimate Disney World workation?