Best Friends Pet Resort opens to rave woofs and meows

In 2008, Best Friends Pet Care took over operation of the five existing boarding kennels at Walt Disney World. And in September 2010, those kennels were consolidated, and one central kennel facility opened - the Walt Disney World Best Friends Pet Resort.

The 17,000-square-foot facility, located across from Disney's Port Orleans Resort-Riverside at 2510 Bonnet Creek Parkway, offers boarding, day care, grooming and doggie day camp. It has space for more than 300 dogs, cats and pocket pets, with 10,000 square feet of covered outdoor runs and play areas.

There are a variety of suites and condos, plus lots of special services and amenities, -- you can pay extra for Playgroup, Playtime, Cuddle Time, or even an Ice Cream Break. There's also a 25,000-square-foot dog park for canine guests to enjoy with their families.

And while the accommodations are top-notch, the resort is a little pricey. See prices for dog boarding and cat boarding, pocket pet boarding, doggy daycamp, and daycare.

Would you consider using the Disney World Best Friends Pet Resort? Or does it seem too frou-frou for your pooch or kitty?

Or, would you rather leave your pets at home with friends, family, or the local kennel?

If you've used the facility, what is your review? Leave a comment below!

JeffC wrote on Fri, 01/21/2011 - 03:15:

Hi Kristen! We had an opportunity to use Best Friends in December. Since we just moved to Charlotte this past summer, we didn't have a go-to boarding place, and didn't know anyone well enough to care for Gus, so we just took him with us and boarded him at Best Friends. Gus is a 2 year old, 15 pound dachshund.

I'm going to be a bit lazy with the next part and cut and paste from my original trip report. Apologies for duplicating for anyone who's read that already. Here's what I wrote:

Overall, it was really good. The staff was great, and the facility was clean and well-maintained from what we could tell. We booked Gus in a Vacation Villa, which runs $53 a night. A lot, I know, but I am glad we spent the extra money. The standard kennels are more like you would expect for boarding, and were very loud with barking dogs. The Vacation Villas were much quieter which I think helped Gus. We also added a daily frozen peanut butter ice cream treat for a few more dollars a day.

While they take him out for walks once or twice a day, his villa has a doggie doorway that opens up several times a day for him to go to another enclosed area to do his business. It's a great idea, but the area is concrete. Not a whole lot of dogs I know that know how to go on concrete. In other places we've boarded him with similar set-ups, the area to go to the bathroom as gravel, and Gus got that. This concrete, he was not getting.

We called the first night to see how he was doing, and they told us he was shy around them (normal), and had not gone to the bathroom at all since 3:00, which is when we last left him.

When we called the next morning, he still had not gone, so that's when we decided we just needed to go over and visit him. As soon as we got him and took him outside, he peed. A lot. If you've seen the first Austin Powers movie, after he's initially un-frozen, you get the idea!

In the end, we set our schedule so that we would go visit Gus 3 times a day " once in the morning, again in mid-afternoon, and finally on our way back to the resort. This way we knew he was going, and he really seemed to settle in once he realized we were coming back regularly. This worked well since the POFQ was right down the street, but if we were at any other resort, it would have been more of an effort. One really good part is they open (for visits) an hour before the first park opens, and stay open for visits an hour after the last park closes that day. SO we did not have to sacrifice any park time to make sure he did his business.

The off-leash play area outside is half artificial turf, and half real grass, with a patch of gravel to one side. Gus would go on either the real grass or the gravel, but not the artificial grass.

The walking path is really short, with very little grass. It was more productive for us to take Gus for a walk outside the front of the pet place along Bonnet Creek Parkway.

The last thing is regarding the playgroups. Gus hasn't spent a lot of time in doggie playgroups, but he does like to play with other dogs his size. Unfortunately, they don't have separate play groups for small dogs and large dogs - it's all one playgroup. After watching the play group for a few minutes, it was clear it was just too many big dogs playing too rough for us to feel comfortable leaving Gus there in one. Most places will have separate groups, so that surprised us. A playgroup was included in the price, but since we opted out, he got an extra daily walk.

We were very excited to get an e-mail from Gus while we were at the parks on Sunday - picture included! That was a nice little perk they did. We also got a hand-written report from the staff at the end of his stay telling us how he did, what he liked and didn't like, etc. It was cute!

Again, the staff was fantastic and they treated Gus really well. I wouldn't hesitate to take him there again, but now that I know what I know, I'd make sure I could visit a few times during the trip. And keep in mind this is our dog - he's not been boarded much. There were plenty of other dogs that seemed to have no problem figuring out the concrete thing.

We'd use them again - we plan to do the same thing when we go in September. And since we will be staying at the POR, it will be super convenient to visit.

Kristen H wrote on Tue, 03/15/2011 - 13:27:

Kristen H's picture

Jeff C -- This is a great review! Thanks so much for sharing.

Donna wrote on Sun, 06/19/2011 - 15:30:

Donna's picture

I am going to be returning to disney next year and I want to bring my three small furry babies to stay at best friends kennel because like Jeff, I want to be able to check on them during the day and make sure they are eating and doing ok. I plan on staying at the Port Orleans Resort so that I can be as close to them as possible. I prefer the French Quarter resort but the map shows Riverside as being closer. I would like Jeff to tell me if it is possible to walk to the kennel from either of the port orleans resorts or if I would need to take the car. If one is within walking distance it would help me decide which resort to stay in. Thanks so much!

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