We love Disney Resort Hopping. I think we actually tend to spend more time these days resort hopping than we do in the Parks! But one of our favorite ways to resort hop is by booking a split stay. This lets us experience multiple resorts, often at much more reasonable prices. Read on for all you need to know about Split Stays at Walt Disney World!
Split Stays at Walt Disney World
So, what exactly is a split stay? It’s basically just what it sounds like! You stay at one resort for part of your trip, and then another resort for the rest. Or if you have a longer trip, or are just very daring, you can stay at as many resorts as you’d like in one trip. A Disney Split Stay offers you the option to stay at resorts to take advantage of Disney Resort Prices at different levels. And take advantage of a wider array of amenities on your trip.
How To Book a Split Stay at Walt Disney World
To book a split stay at Disney World you simply add your resort choices to your cart on Disney’s website. It’s actually really easy to book a split stay at Walt Disney World. The initial downpayment will likely be more expensive than if you booked just one resort. But overall, this tactic can actually save you money. To book a split stay, simply decide which resorts you want to stay at, and during which dates. If you need tickets, you can add tickets to the first package you book. Keep in mind that Disney tickets are no longer good for extended periods of time like many people remember. So if your trip is very long, just make sure you know how long those tickets are good for. It may be a better choice to book each room individually, and then purchase tickets separately.
When booking a split stay, be aware that there is no way to only pay one deposit at this time. Even if you are creating a package. So, you must pay a deposit on each reservation. If you need tickets, you can create a package with tickets for the length of your trip, put $200 down on it, and then move on to the next reservation. You’ll likely want to book this as a room-only reservation, in which case you’ll need to put down one night’s stay as a deposit. And if you’re planning to stay at more than two resorts, you’ll just repeat this process each time. If you don’t need tickets and therefore don’t need a package, you’ll just put the room deposit down on each reservation. And if you don’t feel like doing all of that, reach out to a Disney Travel Planner who will do it for you for free!
Luggage Transfers for Split Stays at Walt Disney World
Only recently have I discovered that a lot of people don’t realize Disney will transfer your luggage to another resort for you. No, you don’t need to call an uber and lug your bags from resort to resort. Unless you really want to. Just go to Bell Services and let them know you need your bags transferred. They’ll get your bags transferred over to your new resort usually between 3 and 6 p.m. if you drop them off around check-out time.
When you arrive at your new resort, you can stop by Bell Services to see if your luggage has arrived. Or you can call down from your room. In many cases, they’ll offer to bring it to your room for you. But if they don’t and you need assistance, just ask! This is a free service, so you don’t need to pay anything for it. We always tip our bellmen, and they are always extremely helpful. So, you can use your better judgment about whether or not you want to do that.
At the time of writing this, Disney does provide luggage transfers between Walt Disney World hotels and the Swan and Dolphin Resorts, including the Swan Reserve. If you need to transfer to a Good Neighbor hotel, for example, one near Disney Springs, then you’ll likely need to transfer your luggage yourself.
How to Pack for a Split Stay at Walt Disney World
Since you’ll be without your luggage for a short time, we recommend packing your Park Bag with things you’ll need for the immediate future. Money, medication, portable phone chargers, sunscreen, water bottles, and cameras are all things you’ll want to keep aside. If you’re hoping to take advantage of either of your resort’s pools while you wait for your room, pack swimsuits in your Park Bag so you have it when you want to swim, rather than having to wait for your luggage to be ready. If you’re traveling with kids and feel like there may be a lot you need to carry around while waiting for your new room, don’t forget Walt Disney World has lockers that can be rented. Pack everything you need while your luggage is away and store it in a locker while you’re in the Parks.
If you’re someone who likes to unpack during your vacation, I highly recommend packing cubes. Not only do they keep things nice and tidy, but they’re also super helpful for moving from place to place. Just put the packing cubes in your drawers, and when it’s time to pack up, you won’t have to worry about messing with all of your luggage each time you move. This helps keep things organized no matter how often you change rooms.
How to Plan for a Split Stay at Walt Disney World
Planning for a split stay at Walt Disney World is not as complicated as it might seem. It’s actually pretty easy! Take a look at what you’re prioritizing each day and go from there. For example, what are you doing on your arrival and departure days? If you don’t have tickets for those days, planning for some pool time or a trip to Disney Springs is a great idea. Do you have a few days in a row that you want to go to Epcot and/or Hollywood Studios? Booking part of your trip at a Boardwalk resort or a Skyliner Resort will make transportation back and forth to those Parks much easier.
Another rule I like to follow is saving the best for last. Now, obviously, this isn’t always practical. But much like how we prefer to do a Disney Cruise after a Disney Parks trip, we like to end the trip on a more relaxing note. And even though we love our Value Resorts like Pop Century, there’s no doubt that Moderates and Deluxe Resorts just give you more of that vacation feeling. So, starting a trip at Pop Century is great for budget and convenience. And then ending it at somewhere like Animal Kingdom Lodge can help you relax a bit more before you have to return to reality.
Benefits of a Split Stay at Walt Disney World
A split stay at Walt Disney World allows you to experience more than one resort in a trip! For people who may not have the budget, or the time, to stay at all of the Disney resorts they want to, a split stay is a great choice. Choosing to stay at a deluxe for the duration of a weeklong trip can get pretty pricey. But staying for 2 or 3 days might be more doable for you if you can balance it out with a Value Resort. Or maybe you want to have access to the Skyliner for the first half of the trip. And then easy access to Magic Kingdom for the other portion. Booking Caribbean Beach to start and then moving over to a monorail resort or Wilderness Lodge can help you make the most of your time.
Another benefit is that it can help you prioritize Park Days vs Resort days. If you know you want to be able to experience the pool at Beach and Yacht Club but don’t want to blow your budget for the week, you can easily book a couple of days that you know you’ll be likely staying at Beach Club Resort for Stormalong Bay, and then move over to a more affordable option like Pop Century for the days you know you’ll mostly be in the Parks.
We also love split stays for being able to experience things like Club Level Experiences that might not make sense budget or timewise on a longer trip, but are perfect for a day or two.
Cons of a Split Stay at Walt Disney World
The biggest cons of a split stay are mostly the inconvenience. It can be slightly inconvenient to book them. And it can also be inconvenient to move your luggage around and not stay in one place. Another con of a split stay is that sometimes shorter stays will limit which resorts you can book. Disney prioritizes longer stays, so when you’re searching for resorts for a one- or two-night stay, some resorts may not show up even if they have availability. Disney generally releases these rooms for shorter stays later on if not booked, but if you’re hoping to have a reservation secured in time for making dining reservations at the 60-day mark, you might have to reconsider.
Speaking of the 60-day mark, booking a split stay can also make getting dining reservations a little more complicated. Instead of one standard booking window, you’ll have two. And for those really difficult-to-get reservations, that could make things a little tricker too.
Why Book a Split Stay at Walt Disney World
Should you book a split stay? That depends! If you’re hoping to experience multiple resorts in a shorter amount of time, want to stay somewhere fancier but don’t have a big budget, or want to use certain resorts’ locations to your advantage, then yes! If you’d rather just unpack at one resort and stay there, though, then a split stay may not be for you. And that’s OK!
A Split Stay at Walt Disney World is a great way to use the resort’s location to your advantage, save money, and experience multiple resorts in one trip. We love this option for experiencing more, often for less. And think it’s a great tactic for longer trips! If you don’t want to commit to a Disney Split Stay, you can give it a test run by Resort Hopping at Walt Disney World first. This will give you a better idea of which resorts you might want to lodge at in the future. Have you ever done a Split Stay at Walt Disney World?
Melanie Renee is a photographer, writer, designer and mom. Visiting Disney destinations since 2010, she is also an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner. When she's not creating her next coffee recipe, or designing apparel at Polka Dot Pixie Shop, she's seeking beautiful sunsets and planning her next trip .