I walked my dog along the edge of a man-made lake at Walt Disney World's Art of Animation Resort in January.
Six months ago, this would have been impossible. Annie is not a service dog. She's my pet, and for the first time, my room could be her room while I visited the Magic Kingdom.
In September, Walt Disney World allowed guests evacuating inland from Hurricane Irma to bring their pets with them. That experience prompted the company, which has 28,000 rooms at its Florida location, to pilot a one-year program that designates as dog-friendly 250 rooms at four properties.
"We've been around for almost 12 years, and pet travel is certainly much easier today than it was a decade ago," said Jason Halliburton, chief operating officer of Bring Fido, a website and app that pairs dog owners with dog-friendly activities, events, parks, restaurants and hotels. His wife, Melissa Halliburton, started the website to help people find places to bring their pets while traveling.
In November, Hilton announced its new "Paws in the Neighborhood" program, which is piloted at the Canopy by Hilton location in Washington, and partners with Planet Dog to provide pet toys, treats and collars.
At check-in at Disney, I was given a "Pluto Welcome Kit," which included a new food and water bowl, a place mat, a roll of pickup bags and a scarf for Annie.
The pilot program will run until October. There are some limits and additional costs. While Disney doesn't set weight limits for canine guests, only two dogs are allowed per room.
Dogs cannot be left unaccompanied for more than seven hours, and guests are expected to come back to their rooms if their dog is barking or otherwise being disruptive. You should be prepared to show your dog's vaccination records, too.
And you'll pay extra: $50 more per night at Art of Animation, Port Orleans - Riverside, and Fort Wilderness resorts. At Yacht Club Resort, it's $75 more.
Annie and I experienced only one hiccup: After making my room reservation online, I called to make sure that it included the notation that I was bringing my dog. But when I checked in at Art of Animation, Annie wasn't on my reservation. Fortunately, they still had a dog room open.The Washington Post