Vacation Tips

Is a Walt Disney World Split Stay (Resort Hopping) Right For You?

Walt Disney World is not only home to four theme parks, two water parks, a shopping district, and countless other attractions but also has 25 resorts. For first timers, choosing a resort can be a daunting task. For repeat visitors, having a different hotel to stay can be a nice change to a familiar place. Multiple trips isn’t a necessity to stay at multiple resorts though. A split stay, also known as resort hopping, is a great option for those that want to see a little more on their Disney World vacation (among other benefits). In this post we’ll dive into the topic, explaining how a split stay works and whether it’s right for you.

AKL lobby

What is a split stay and how do you do it?

Split stays score a point in the practical name department, being exactly what they sound like. A Disney World guest would start at one hotel and then, at some point in their trip, move to a different resort. Sounds simple enough and it really is. Even without a rental car, this process is painless. There are very few nuances to this.

This process starts by simply booking a hotel for part of your stay and then a different hotel for the remainder of your trip. I guess one negative of a split-stay is that you are less likely to get a Disney vacation package for multiple resorts that you’re staying at. The Free Dining promotion, for example, would only work at one resort as both reservations would require buying a park ticket and that would be a waste of money. With that being said, booking a vacation package on one of your resorts, extending the length of stay of the ticket, and then booking another hotel with a room discount is an option. Also, booking room only discounts is a good way to go in the first place and will be available for both ends of a split-stay. If all of these discount options are confusing please let me know in the comments and I can break them down further.

Water Wheel Port Orleans

Once those resorts are booked (and double check to make sure the days line up and you didn’t book an extra night somewhere) then the process is as simple as showing up to your reservations. Disney will even move your bags for you free of charge. On the day you check out of your first resort call ahead to bag services and tell them that you are changing resorts. They will ask you what resort, among other questions, and will take all of your bags over to that resort by 4 PM while you enjoy time in the park. Whenever you are ready to go back to your hotel, just board a bus to the new resort instead of the one you checked out of earlier that day.  The process is very simple and adds maybe 10 minutes to your day at most, just with the check-in, check-out, or bell services aspect.

Let me know if there are other questions about the logistics of split stays in the comments.

Caribbean Beach hammock

What are the reasons to do a split stay?

I’ve already covered one of the reasons for a split stay at the beginning of this post and that reason is simply just being able to see more. Disney World has some really interesting and fun hotels to stay in. There are gorgeous lobbies, incredible pools and amazing restaurants throughout the 25 on-site hotels and that doesn’t even mention the rooms. If you’re a Disney junkie then chances are that seeing more than one resort may be for you. Speaking for myself, I love checking out all of the resorts partially as research for this blog but also as a way to see more of Disney World. Eventually we’d like to be able to stay at all of the resorts. Here’s a list of our favorites so far.

Most other reasons for split stays are built off of that main reason. A comment I often see in our hotel reviews is that deluxe resorts are too expensive to stay over the course of a vacation. A split stay will make those dreams of staying there come true quickly. Instead of spending a week at a $400/night hotel, split your stay up by finding the cheapest night or two to spend at that deluxe resort and then spend the rest of the week at a value resort. Melissa and I regularly employ this strategy.

OKW golf course

Even if money isn’t an issue but you’re a WDW veteran, I’d advise moving to another resort halfway through a longer (think 6 days or more) trip. I think this gives a trip fresh energy and is something to look forward to, especially if you save the hotel that’s most exciting for the end of the trip.

All in all, I think split stays and resort hopping offer a nice, convenient way to add a little extra to your Walt Disney World trip. While there’s never enough time to see it all, this idea makes it easy to do more while not adding any extra time to your trip. This can also be a way to save money while staying at a nicer hotel. I highly recommend split stays for those that want to experience more of Disney World.

Lighthouse Boardwalk

What do you think of the split stay concept? Let us know your thoughts, as well as any questions you might have, in the comments below. Planning a trip to Walt Disney World? Check out our guide to help you through the process. If you enjoy what you’re reading on Wandering in Disney please subscribe to the blog and like our Facebook page. You can find both of those on the right side of this page. Thank you for reading, we really appreciate it!

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