Everyone’s idea of vacation is different. Some look at it as a way to get away and relax, others may look at it as a way to explore something new and some people are just happy that they’re not at work. We are a mix of all those things. Which is why Resort Hopping at Walt Disney World is something we love to do. Because we get a little bit of all those things. A little relaxation, some exploring and a feeling that we had “more” vacation on our time off work. It’s one of the best ways we’ve found to balance the chaos of the parks, while still maintaining that magic Disney feeling.
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What is Resort Hopping?
Resort hopping at Walt Disney World is actually a lot easier than most people think. There are two ways to resort hop at Disney World. The first is simply to visit the resorts that are not your own. The second is to actually split stay your vacation between two or more Disney resorts. Lets start with the easier of the two and probably the more common.
Resort Hopping to Other Disney Resorts by Visiting Them
Resort hopping can simply mean visiting another resort that’s not your own. While you do have access to all of the resorts on Disney property, the most challenging part will be figuring out transportation. The easiest Disney Resorts to access are the ones located on the monorail, and skyliner routes, and also the Boardwalk Resorts.
The Monorail Resorts
The Contemporary, The Polynesian and The Grand Floridian are all monorail resorts and are just a quick monorail ride to and from the Magic Kingdom. These all have great restaurants, gift shops, beaches and lounge spaces. You can include a resort restaurant reservation into your vacation and then take some time before or after your meal to explore. If you’re not dining at one of these resorts, however, even just getting a glimpse of these gorgeous grounds is worth the trip. And a great way to get a break from the busy parks. By 2021 there will be a walking path from Magic Kingdom to the Grand Floridian and The Polynesian as well. If you are a military family, the Shades of Green Resort is also accessible from this path.
You can also take the boat from Magic Kingdom to The Grand Floridian, The Polynesian and Fort Wilderness Campground and Wilderness Lodge. The Contemporary is only about a 10 minute (or less) walk from Magic Kingdom.
The Disney Boardwalk Resorts
The Yacht Club, Beach Club, Disney’s Boardwalk Inn, and the Swan and Dolphin Resorts are all within walking distance from Epcot and Hollywood Studios. These parks are also accessible by boat which also make them easy to include in your resort hopping venture. There is also a walking path from Hollywood Studios to Epcot that you can reach these resorts without having to worry about transportation.
The Skyliner Resorts
Disney Skyliner Resorts can be found on the new skyliner line. They Include Pop Century, Art of Animation, Caribbean Beach, and Disney’s Riviera Resort. You can check out our post on visiting the Disney Skyliner Resorts for tips on the restaurants and activities at each resort. We love that each includes amazing things you can still enjoy, even if you’re not staying there!
Other Resorts Worth Visiting
Want to relax in a giant rocking chair while watching giraffes and zebras graze in your backyard? Take the bus to the Animal Kingdom Lodge. Craving world famous Beignets, straight out of the Princess and the Frog? Enjoy a leisurely boat ride from Disney Springs over to Port Orleans French Quarter and Riverside. Truthfully, we love so many of the resorts at Walt Disney World how could you not add a resort hopping day into your vacation?
Disney Resort Hopping Tips
While the options really are endless, there are several important things to remember. First, unless you’re staying there, you will almost never have access to another resort’s pool. Second, always make sure you know what your transportation is back to where you’re going. Not all forms of transportation within Walt Disney World run continuously. And resort buses bring you back to the parks, not to other resorts, so you will always have to return to the parks to catch your resort bus. It’s for this reason that the Monorail, Boardwalk and Skyliner resorts are easier for daytime resort hopping. Be sure to find out beforehand what you need to do to get back to your home resort. While Disney will always make sure you get home, it’s tough to find out you missed the last bus.
Resort Hopping to Other Disney Resorts with a Split Stay
We’ve done this a couple times so far and absolutely love it! The second way to Resort Hop at Disney is to actually STAY at your other resort of choice. This is actually a lot more common than you might think. And a lot of people will do it as a way of staying within budget while getting to see more than one resort. It was the strategy we used to stay at the Grand Floridian.
When does a Split Stay at Walt Disney World Make Sense?
While we think resort hopping is a great way to experience other resorts and their amenities staying at more than one Disney resort only really works for a vacation that is 6 Days or more. The biggest part of planning a split stay at Disney is making sure everything is linked up in the My Disney Experience or Disney website. From your Disney park tickets to your dining plan, to any resorts, to booking the magical express to and from your arrival and departure resorts. Why is this such a big deal? Because if you do this right, the rest of your vacation, you just show up! No more heavy lifting required.
The advantage of resort hopping is that all you have to do is drop your luggage off and head to the parks, right? Nope! If your tickets for the entire trip aren’t linked to the first resort you checked into, you will have to check into your second (or third) resort before the remaining tickets are activated. The same holds true for your dining plan which can cause problems with using your meal credits or entering the park on days between resorts. And once everything is linked on your end, give Disney a call to confirm that everything will go as planned.
How to stay at Multiple Disney Resorts in One Vacation?
Once your plans and reservations are set up, it’s really just a matter of checking in and out at your resorts when you’re supposed to. On days when you’re going from one resort to another, you just “check out” like usual, and drop off your luggage with your current resort’s concierge or at the luggage kiosk.
Let them know your next resort, and they will have it sent over for you. Just note that they will not deliver your luggage until after 1PM and that your luggage will not be delivered to your room until you have checked in to your new resort. So be sure to check in online or in the My Disney Experience app as soon as you are able to keep everything running smoothly. So if you have plans of staying at the Parks until the clock strikes midnight on the day that you will be checking into your new resort, be aware that your luggage may not be magically waiting for you in your room if you have not officially checked in.
To keep the packing and unpacking simple, we recommend using packing cubes . They are a huge time saver when you are trying to make the most of your time at Walt Disney World. Also be sure to have everything you need in your Disney day bag in case you come to your resort only to find your new luggage hasn’t yet been delivered.
Have you ever resort hopped before? Where is your favorite resort to visit while at Walt Disney World? Feel free to share tips you may have in the comments!