A New Treat for Pets at Disney World

| September 1, 2010

Best Friends Pet Care at Walt Disney World opened its doors today, offering a luxury, full-service pet resort with a wide range of activities, amenities and extras. Located across from Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside Resort, this 50,000-square foot complex includes accommodations for up to 300 dogs, cats and pocket pets. It also includes a full-service grooming salon and two 1,100- square foot doggy day camp rooms.

The outdoor areas consists of 10,000 square feet of covered patios and play areas and a 25,000 square-foot private dog park, which is reserved exclusively for the use of the Best Friends guests.

Let me start by saying that my wife and I are the owners of two very spoiled dogs, Bailey and Zoe (Miniature Pinschers). Before our children came into the world, our dogs were the babies of the house, and my parents referred to them as the Grand Dogs. Even now with children in the picture, our vacation plans still include the question, “What are we doing with the dogs?” Asking someone to watch our youngest dog, Zoe, reminds me of what Dennis the Menace’s parents went through when calling the list of past babysitters. She’s a sweet dog, but I swear she needs doggy diapers. For the past few years, we’ve been leaving our dogs at high-end pet care facilities, or so we thought. My opinion of these places have changed after touring the Best Friends Pet Care at Walt Disney World.

The pet resort offers high-quality overnight boarding and daycare, grooming services and doggy day camp. The doggy day camp room is equipped with a webcam for your viewing pleasure.

All suites are climate-controlled and include a pet cot for comfort.

For those of you that have sailed on the Disney Cruise Line, and stayed in anything less than an Oceanview Stateroom, this pet resort offers a VIP Suite larger than the stateroom you and your family stayed in during your cruise. There are four 226-square foot super deluxe VIP suites that include a tiled bedroom with glass doors, raised platform bed and a flat panel television. These dogs have a flat screen in their room!! There are resorts on Disney property that still have huge box TV’s that you can’t even buy at Wal-Mart anymore. The TV stations include Animal Planet and the Disney Channel, unless you bring a DVD for your dog to watch. Each VIP suite also has its own private, covered outdoor play yard. Complimentary activities include: 2 walks, 2 play group sessions, an ice cream treat and bedtime story each day, and a go-home fresh bath (with a 3-night stay). For the owners, you have a webcam available to watch your dog having a better vacation than you. How much? Keep reading…

If your dog is not a VIP, the next option down is the Vacation Villa. Poor non-VIP dogs! I think Lindsay Lohan would’ve taken this option over the room she had in the big house. Each of the 14 villas include a 72-square foot tiled bedroom with a raised platform bed, a flat panel TV, and a 28-foot private outdoor patio. The TV stations include Animal Planet and the Disney Channel.

For moderate-type people, like me, there are the Indoor-Outdoor 2-Room Suites. These 36- to 48-square-foot suites include an indoor bedroom with pet cot, and an outdoor patio. One walk is included each day. I wish I could show you a photo of this but they were not allowed. These suites are basically (very nice) cage-type enclosures with the 2nd room being an opening to another suite. In my opinion, these seem very roomy, but I do have two small dogs.

For the value dogs, there’s the All Indoor Suites. While still very roomy, I would consider this more of a Kennel-type enclosure with two sections for the dog to move.

This is a luxury facility, so the service provided here will never compare to your local Veterinary boarding or Kennel. It’s not even in the same league. The Associates here treat every pet with the highest quality care and attention, no matter what level of boarding you choose.

Here are the boarding prices for dogs:

  • Indoor Suites: Standard $37 / Resort Guest $34
  • Indoor-Outdoor 2-Room Suites: Standard $40 / Resort Guest $36
  • Vacation Villas: Standard $59 / Resort Guests $53
  • VIP Suite: Standard $76 / Resort Guest $69

*2nd and 3rd pets sharing a standard suite receive 30% off
*2nd and 3rd pets sharing a Villa or Luxury suite receive 50% off
*Hourly daycare rates are available.

In addition to the prices above there are some a la carte offerings for dogs.

  • Playgroup: $15 for 30 min
  • Playtime: $8 for 10 min
  • Cuddletime: $8 for 10 min
  • Walk & Explore: $8 for 10 min
  • Bottled Water: $5 per day
  • Bedtime Story: $6 each
  • Ice Cream Break: $4 each
  • Premium Bed: $5 per day

What about the Cats?

I’ve never owned a cat but the accommodations here seem very nice. The Kitty City sanctuary is located away from the sights, sounds, and smell of the dogs. The entire section holds up to 30 feline guests where they can watch the world through the windows of two or four-level condos. Each condo has a private “relief” area. The four level ones have two. In the photo below you will see that each column has a few openings for the cat to move to different levels.

Two level condo with one side area.

Here are the boarding prices for cats:

  • Two Level Condo: Standard $23 / Resort Guest $21 / DVC $19
  • Four Level Condo: Standard $32 / Resort Guest $30 / DVC $28

In addition to the prices above there are some a la carte offerings for cats.

  • Playtime: $8 each
  • Cookies & Milk: $3 each
  • Tuna on a Ritz: $3
  • Activity Toy: $3 per day
  • Deluxe Kitty Bed: $5 per day

In addition to dogs and cats, Best Friends Pet Care provides a safe little haven for “pocket pets” such as hamsters, guinea pigs, rabbits and ferrets. Fees range from $12 to $23 per day ($10 to $21 for resort guests) depending on the size and type of pet. You have to provide your own enclosure. Exotics, venomous pets, and primates are not accepted for boarding.

Unlike some boarding facilities, Best Friends Pet Care at Walt Disney World will let you tour the facility. For me, I find comfort in knowing that they have nothing to hide. It is similar to a restaurant having an exposed kitchen for diners to see.

For our next staycation to Disney World, Bailey and Zoe will be taking a short trip to this resort. I’ll be sure to let you know how they like it.  For more information on Best Friends Pet Care, you can visit http://www.wdw.bestfriendspetcare.com/


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Category: Disney World

About the Author ()

I was born and raised in New Orleans and received my degree from Louisiana State University in Graphic Design. I did the WDW College program during the summer of 1997 as a Blizzard Beach Lifeguard. Moved to Orlando immediately after college and started with the DIS shortly after in 2001. I am currently the President of the DIS, including disboards.com and wdwinfo.com, and a member of the DIS Unplugged podcast team. I am the proud father of two beautiful children (Ferris and Finley) and husband to an incredible wife and mother. I have a passion for Art, Design, Technology, Photography, Social Media, and Sushi. Other organizations I am involved with include the Down Syndrome Association of Central Florida and the LSU Alumni of Central Florida.
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  • Joshua_me

    It seems like a very mice place if one happens to be a dog,
    but the kitty accommodations seem downright small and rather spartan
    by comparison. We’ll leave Simba at home with the neighbors looking
    after her… Thanks for a great blog !

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  • steve-o

    I have used the kennels at EPCOT, Animal Kingdom and Hollywood studios a number of times and found them to be a reasonably good and clean habitat for a loved pet. Best Friends, who have been operating the kennels in a professional and pet-friendly manner for several years, have shut them all down in favor of one new, large, fancy pet “prison”. Why a prison? 1) The only material thing dogs have with them at all times to connect them to their owner both logically and emotionally is their collar. This is immediately removed from the dog when they are processed in (substitute a plastic collar, aka Orange Jumpsuit). 2) The dogs’ own leash, over which the owners have the ability to maintain sanitation, is replaced with a shared leather leash over which neither the owner nor the facility has any control of the sanitation. (no belts in this prison!) 3) Unlike the older kennels where the known and trusted owners take the animals to and from their kennels, the new facility does not allow owners past the front processing desk. So the animals get no reassurance when they are put into their kennel and probably even worse, are fetched out of their kennel by some stranger. So if the animal is nervous about being in the kennel, imagine what it must be like to have some stranger come and try to get you to go somewhere else. We teach our children not to go off with strangers and we expect the same of our pets. Of course, in prison all those rules go out the window. 4) There are more people working at this location than the prior kennels. Pets do not have the ability to get to know any particular staffer (guard). 5) Even with more staff at the larger location there are not enough. Long waits to retrieve your pet for personal time or to return them afterwards are typical (I imagine just like visiting a prison inmate). The facility, itself is impressive (to humans) and it is probably reasonably good for the pets but the processes around treatment of the pets from their arrival to their departure is more focused on humans’ and lawyers’ interests than the best interests of the pets. The pictures are representative of only a very few areas, most of which your pet will never see. Their idea of a “Suite” (upgraded but not deluxe accommodations) is a typical kennel cage with one still sliding steel wall that opens several times a day to a small outdoor fenced area. They probably think it’s a great freedom for the dogs (as if they were human). I think that the dogs finally get used to their cages and then a wall disappears to expose another unfamiliar area. I’m sure all these “features” would be beneficial for a long term stay with plenty of time to become accustomed to them all. However, for a few days, the pets are in a constant state of confusion. Needless to say I will NEVER take my dog back to this prison.

  • Evelyn Caban

    I love Best Friends Pet Care, Disney. They have ALWAYS treated my yellow Labrador with love, sweetness, and caring. I took my Labrador there when he was 8 weeks old. And since that day they have loved him in a way that surprise me. They always spend time with him. I love that I can go at anytime and see him, or call them at anytime and get an update on my dog. As for it being a PRISON. You are so wrong. I have been to many, many place where I hated the way they kept their animals. Best Friends Pet Care is the only place I would ever leave my pet. I always leave my dog in the VIP and he loves it. We have seen many many times the employees playing with him, giving him a belly rub, walking him outside and playing with him. Your opinion is just one. I FOR ONE LOVE BEST FREINDS PET CARE.

  • Laura

    This is not a Doggy Prison. Everything there is so nice. My dog spent 8 days there. We would drop her off in the morning and pick her up in the evenings. As soon as we pulled into the parking lot she got excited and when we checked her in she went off with the workers and never even looked back at us. In the evenings when we picked her up they gave us cards telling us how she did, who she played with, if she ate or used the bathroom. She played with other dogs, went on walks and played in the water. It cost more than a regular kennel and you can pay extra for more playtimes but it is worth it. I was able to enjoy the parks without worrying that my dog was locked up all day. I would recommend this place to everyone.


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