Working Remotely From Walt Disney World


"The Woz" can get work done inside Spaceship Earth, shouldn't you too?

The last thing you want to do on vacation is log into your work email or take a conference call, but sometimes working remotely from Walt Disney World is inevitable. For example, if your boss will approve a longer vacation on the contingency that you're available by email, or if an emergency arises while you're away that requires your immediate attention, it's nice to know that technology has made remote workplaces possible.

But from Walt Disney World?

While you may not immediately think of Walt Disney World as a remote workplace, it is exactly that for many of us who vacation there. In the days of crackberries and palm pilots, we can work from just about anywhere. (I've sent emails from the Haunted Mansion and taken conference calls on the monorail!) Also, Disney World hosts hundreds of business conventions and conferences every year, so you may actually be headed to Disney World specifically to work there.

Don't let a few spreadsheet deadlines keep you away. This article will give a bit of insight into what working from Walt Disney World can look like.

What business amenities are available at Walt Disney World?

When you consider Disney World as a remote workplace, know that most of what you'll need can be found in your hotel room. If you're staying at a Walt Disney World Resort Hotel (i.e., any hotel owned by Walt Disney World), you will have access to: internet, (somewhat decent) cell phone signal, a landline, chairs, and a table that can be used as a desk. Some suites at Walt Disney World Resort Hotels have business amenities as well.

  • Internet: All Walt Disney World Resort Hotels have high-speed internet access. However, Disney has not yet installed wireless internet in its hotel rooms, and the cable internet it does offer costs $9.95 per 24 hour period. (Disney hotels provide the cable for you, though it's quite short; you may decide to bring a longer cable if you'd like to work on your balcony or bed.)

    Disney has provided wi-fi access in common areas (i.e. pools, lounges, and lobbies) of several of its deluxe resorts. Pricing is $4.99 for the first 60 minutes or $9.95 for 24 contiguous hours.

  • Business Centers:When you can't get away with the basics, Walt Disney World also has business centers available to guests. Business centers can provide access to printers and fax machines, typing assistance, personal workstations, etc. I recently had the opportunity to work with the business center at Coronado Springs Resort and was wowed by the service, support, and knowledge of the staff.

Wi-Fi In Your Room

There is not much information about this subject, but it can be dire for many of us (those who need more than one connection) and convenient for almost all of us. Is there any way to get wireless in your room. If you ask Disney they will give you the unequivocal answer of "no." In fact we asked them specifically if a Wireless router in the room would work and they said "no." However we tested it out and found that it does in fact work. Some advice for best results:

  • Configure it for normal use and connect the upstream port to the room's network jack. So instead of plugging the cable into your computer you plug it into the upstream port in your router.
  • Make sure you use some kind of encryption key. Setting this up can be tricky, but you do not want the whole hotel using your wireless.
  • Give the network an "official" but "non-Disney" name. We use something like "port-07" so that guests don't ask management about it. If it's something they think they should be able to connect to they might very well mention it.
  • Conceal the router when you leave the room. Just in case management is looking for it, don't help them discover you!

We're not even sure they mind if you do it, but we're guessing they'd discourage it. It's vital to us that we be able to both have Internet access while there, so this was a huge help!

Don't want to spend the day in a hotel room or business center?

When working remotely, most of us would prefer to be in a quiet, office-like environment such as a hotel room or a business center. However, should you be in the middle of park touring and need to take a scheduled call or check in on a project, there are actually some spots in the theme parks themselves that are often relatively unpopulated and quiet (especially during slow seasons).

Here's a list of spots from which we've been able to check in on work most of the time. (Please note: if you're in WDW on Christmas Day or during another peak time, NO PLACE is quiet or relatively unpopulated; on those days, either don't work, or stay in your hotel!)

  • All Parks:
    1. Guest Services: Guest Services offices in all of the parks are often quiet spaces and suitable to check email or make a quick call. Because other park guests are moving in and out of the space, however, it might not be the best place to take a scheduled or long conference call.
    2. Quick Service restaurants in the morning (especially those with large seating areas like Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe; and Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe; in the Magic Kingdom, Pizzafari and the Flame Tree BBQ in Animal Kingdom, and Electric Umbrella in Epcot): Guests are often able to walk into these restaurants even when they're not yet open, so they're perfect places to find an indoor space with tables and chairs, where few bother to travel until lunchtime. Note that a few of these areas do play instrumental background music, so warn your colleagues that they may be serenaded.
  • Specific Park Locations:
    1. Magic Kingdom: The back of the Town Square Exposition Hall: Walk past Tony's Town Square podium and the little gift shop. You'll see a long, wide hallway leading toward the back of the building. There are a couple of large rooms past that hallway with picture spots and a continuous movie. This place always seems dead and has few visitors. If it's crowded, move as far down the hallway as possible and you should find some quiet space.
    2. Animal Kingdom: Path between Asia and Africa: Walking on the path between Asia and Africa there are several trails that lead off to "rest areas." These areas are meant to be picture spots and viewing areas for the Tree of Life or were queue areas for defunct rides, and now have tables and chairs. They are often unpopulated and are set enough apart from the main pathway to be relatively quiet.
    3. Animal Kingdom: Sausage Tree Courtyard in Mombasa Marketplace: This courtyard filled with tables, chairs, and sausage trees is across the path from the Tusker House Restaurant and Dawa Bar in Animal Kingdom's Africa. You'll often find characters (usually King Louie and Baloo) greeting guests at one of the entrances. This place is usually deserted and offers a good opportunity to check email or make a call. Because its outside and park guests are walking by, it's not completely quiet.

      The Odyssey Center can be your oasis in a sea of noise.
    4. Epcot: American Pavilion's American Heritage Gallery, Morocco Pavilion's Gallery of Arts and History, Norway Pavilion's Stave Church: All of these places are quiet and actually relatively unpopulated simply because few guests know they even exist! The Stave Church likely gets the most traffic of the three. All are indoors and may or may not have background music.
    5. Epcot: Living Seas Pavilion: The Living Seas Pavilion has seen more traffic since the addition of Turtle Talk with Crush, but there are still several areas of the pavilion that are quiet and set apart from Epcot's crowds.
    6. Epcot: Odyssey Center: The Odyssey Center is on the bridge between Test Track and World Showcase (closest to Mexico). Disney now holds special events in this building, which also houses a baby care center and some of the most deserted restrooms in Walt Disney World! Guests can wander in and out of the Odyssey Center when it's not in use, it's completely silent inside, and it makes the perfect spot to take a scheduled conference call. I've done this several times and have never had a problem.
    7. Hollywood Studios: The Magic of Disney Animation: You can bypass the "animation tutorial" and head right into the exit area where there are exhibits about animation and the history of Disney and Pixar movies. This place is usually pretty empty, is indoors, and has comfortable padded benches. It's also large, so should a group of guests exit the tutorial and raise the noise level, you can venture to another part of the building to continue your work.

When is the best time to schedule a call or a remote work period?

To determine the best time to get work done in Walt Disney World, especially if you're on a vacation, pay attention to park hours; special event, parade, and show times; and your own internal time clock. I prefer to get my work done in the morning, which frees up the rest of my day for flexibility. Another good time to schedule work is during the late afternoon hours, spending the least crowded morning hours in the parks and retiring to your hotel to get some work done and rest up before your evening activities.

We hope this has been useful! We'll be investigating further on our next trips to Walt Disney World to furnish even more detailed information about how to get work done at Walt Disney World. If you have suggestions for or questions about this article, please email us at webmaster@wdwforgrownups.com!

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Anonymous wrote on Fri, 05/13/2011 - 16:53:

Anonymous's picture

We are hoping to travel with our WIFI iPADs and an Airport Express, or other router. The airport express would need to be preconfigured because there is no configuration tool for the iPad right now, while the other travel routers are web configureable.

Do you have any suggestions on setup, such as bridge mode?

Thanks,

Paul

julimiller wrote on Mon, 06/26/2017 - 11:11:

julimiller's picture

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