Everyone’s idea of a 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. This 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 Disney Resort Hopping?
Resort hopping at Walt Disney World is actually a lot easier than most people think. To start, there are only 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. We like both! Here’s everything you need to know about each choice.
Disney Resort Hopping During the Day
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 Disney Monorail, and Disney Skyliner routes, the Resorts with Ferry Access, and also the Boardwalk Resorts. While you can easily drive to any resort throughout your stay at Walt Disney World, using the internal transportation to get you to and from keeps things simple, and free.
The Monorail Resorts | Resort Hop From Magic Kingdom
These resorts are Disney Deluxe Resorts and 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. If you’re looking for a break, the Enchanted Rose Lounge at Disney’s Grand Floridian is always a treat, or grab a Dole Whip at Pineapple Lanai at the Polynesian. And the Contemporary Resort has a couple of great gift shops, California Grill, and one of our favorite places to each lunch, Contempo Cafe.
How to Get There
The Monorail Resorts are some of our favorite Disney resorts to Resort Hop. They’re adjacent to Magic Kingdom and can be visited by walking path, or monorail. The Contemporary, The Polynesian and The Grand Floridian are just a quick monorail ride to and from the Magic Kingdom and can be accessed by looking for the “Resort Monorail” sign at the Magic Kingdom entrance. And don’t worry, the monorail resorts are on a loop, so you will simply come back from where you start.
If you are a military family, the Shades of Green Resort is also accessible from the Magic Kingdom to Polynesian Walking Path. And The Contemporary is only about a 10 minute (or less) walk from Magic Kingdom. Read more about the Monorail Resorts for everything you can do throughout your visit.
Wilderness Resorts | Resort Hop From Magic Kingdom
One of our favorite places to Resort Hop at Walt Disney World is the Wilderness Lodge and Fort Wilderness Resort and Campgrounds. At Wilderness Lodge, you can explore the grounds, and resort lobby, browse the gift shop and stop by the Roaring Fork Cafe for a coffee, snack, or meal. Fort Wilderness Resort offers up walking trails that loop throughout the camping areas, the Trails End restaurant, and a gift shop. Both of these resorts have theme-specific merchandise, making it a fun way to see things you wouldn’t have access to in the parks.
How to Get There
To get to either of these resorts just take the boat from Magic Kingdom to Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground and Wilderness Lodge. We love using this day trip to get away from the crowds and head into nature!
The Disney Boardwalk Resorts | Resort Hop From EPCOT
The Disney Boardwalk Resorts include The Yacht Club, Beach Club, Disney’s Boardwalk Inn, and the Swan and Dolphin Hotels. Each hotel brings something different to the experience. The Beach and Yacht Club resorts offer up a calming atmosphere and include great gift shops, both with food-to-go options and seasonal coffees. The Ale and Compass Restaurant is right off the Yacht Club lobby and is wonderful for a sit-down breakfast. Plus, you can snag a gourmet milkshake at Beaches and Cream if that strikes your fancy. We also love the Belle Vue Lounge at the Boardwalk Inn, Trattoria al Forno and so many other things on the Boardwalk.
How to Get There
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 makes 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. Check out everything to know about the Disney Boardwalk Resorts.
The Skyliner Resorts| Resort Hop From Hollywood Studios
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! From the coffee shop at Disney’s Rivera Resort to the gift shop and Disney snacks at Pop Century and the avocado toast at Caribbean Beach.
How to Get There
Disney’s Skyliner can be accessed at both EPCOT’s International Gateway and Hollywood Studios and travels to the following resorts. Pop Century, Art of Animation, Caribbean Beach, and Disney’s Riviera Resort.
Disney Springs Resorts | Resort Hop From Disney Springs
Craving world-famous Beignets, straight out of the Princess and the Frog? Head to the Port Orlean’s Resorts. Home to, not only beignets, but unique gift shops, trails and walkways, and more, you can even rent surrey bikes during your resort hop. We love these resorts for the laid-back feeling and beautiful scenery. Walk the path nearby the river, or head to the Scat Cat’s Lounge for drinks before heading off on your next adventure.
How to Get There
Enjoy a leisurely boat ride from Disney Springs over to Port Orleans French Quarter and Port Orleans Riverside. And then grab the bus from the resort back to the parks, or head back to Disney Springs when you’re finished.
Animal Kingdom Lodge | Resort Hop From Animal Kingdom
Animal Kingdom Lodge is one of our favorite places and includes two buildings; Kidani Village and Jambo House. Each has its own set of amenities and there is a walking path at Animal Kingdom Lodge that connects the two. Want to relax in a giant rocking chair while watching giraffes and zebras graze in your backyard? Head to Jambo House for savannah views, Boma, The Mara, and the larger gift shop. Interested in visiting Sanaa for their famous bread service instead? Head over to Kidani Village to see the animals from the restaurant.
How to Get There
Take the bus to the Animal Kingdom Lodge. You can even check out all the fun and free Animal Kingdom Lodge activities you can do, even if you’re not staying there. When finished just hop on board the bus to any Disney Park of choice to transfer and make your way home.
Disney Resort Hopping Tips
Truthfully, we love so many of the resorts at Walt Disney World how could you not add a resort hopping day into your vacation? 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 of 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. Preferably you would choose 2 resorts, over 10 days. 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 knowing 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 is required.
Does Disney Transfer your Luggage on a Split StayBetween two Resorts?
Yes, IF you set it up right! 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 1 PM 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.
Disney Resort Hopping Packing Tips
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!