It’s always been a Disney dream of ours to try and stay at every resort at Walt Disney World. This is something we really want to do for a couple of reasons. We believe that each resort offers something unique, and we would like to be able to share what it’s like to stay at each resort from our first-hand experience. We also love that each resort is fun for a different reason, whether it’s the dining, the landscape, the theming, the pool or a host of other things that make the Disney resorts so great.
Since we started visiting Walt Disney World, we have been slowly working our way through the list of resorts. It’s a tricky thing to do, especially when you live far away and it’s not exactly an easy place to travel to as often as we’d like. We also have to consider the price tag since a lot of the Disney resorts can be expensive. And while we think the resorts at Disney are worth spending the money on, we also have to be realistic and work within our budget. So this is a where a split stay comes into play.
As much as I want to, I have to face the fact that we just can’t stay at a deluxe Disney resort on each visit for 10+ days. But we can, however, stay at a deluxe or moderate for a few of those days. When we plan on a split stay, we’ll book the first few nights of our vacation at a value resort, and then book the following few nights at a moderate or deluxe. I always like the idea of starting our split-stay vacation off at resort in the Value tier – That way we end our vacation on a ‘high note’. The split stay approach is also a good way for us to stay at more of the resorts in a shorter period of time (although we realize not everyone has the same goal as us to stay at all the resorts).
The great thing about planning a split stay is that Disney makes it easy for guests to stay at multiple resorts in one trip. On one of our first split stays, we stayed at All Star Sports for one night and then moved over to Animal Kingdom Lodge for the next few nights. We drove down to Disney on this particular trip so we decided to move our own luggage. We piled up our things into the car in the morning, checked out of All Start Sports, kept our car there, and took the bus to the parks for the day. At the end of the day, we took the bus back to All-Star Sports, hopped in the car and drove to Animal Kingdom Lodge where we checked in and unloaded our luggage. Since we had our own car, we thought it would just be easier to take our luggage and check in late, since check-in time for most resorts is around 3pm. We didn’t want to drive over to Animal Kingdom Lodge in the morning and leave our luggage with Bell Services, AND THEN head to the parks. We wanted to maximize our time in the parks, and figured that waiting to check in at our second resort at the end of the night was the best use of our time.
When we don’t have our own vehicle, we like to check out in the morning, leave our luggage with Bell Services and ask them to deliver it to our next hotel. After our day in the park, our things are already waiting at our second resort for us when we check in. It’s an easy process, and the Bell Services Cast Members are always there to answer any questions you might have about changing resorts mid-trip – they’re honestly phenomenal at making the process so easy and stress-free.
If you’re contemplating a split stay, one thing to take into consideration is whether or not you’re planning on using the Disney Dining Plan. On paper, and in Disney’s system, a split stay does mean two separate reservations, with two different reservation numbers. It’s like each resort stay is a self-contained trip. Because of that, you can’t purchase the Disney Dining Plan for your entire stay. Instead, you would have to purchase it for each reservation, which can get a little tricky, depending on how many nights you are spending at each resort. When we only stayed one night at All-Star Sports, we chose to purchase the Dining Plan for the second leg of our stay at Animal Kingdom, because we were there for the majority of our trip.
On our next vacation, we are doing a split stay and it’s one of the reasons we’ve decided not to do the Dining Plan, in order to keep things simple for us. We also have annual passes this year, and they currently have increased discounts at many dining locations for passholders, so not only is it simpler, but also more economical for us to not do the Dining Plan on our upcoming trip.
We typically wouldn’t recommend trying a split stay if it’s your first time visiting Walt Disney World, and it may also be too hectic if you’re traveling with young children or a large party. But after you’ve had a chance to visit, gotten the lay of the land and feel confident in how Disney transportation works, a split stay can be a great way to extend your vacation by a few more days and get the most out of your time. Currently, Ryan and I love split stays, and most of our Disney planning conversations include talking about which resorts to split our time between. It’s worked well for us since we like trying out new resort experiences during our trips.
Would you consider a split stay vacation at Walt Disney World, and if so, what would you pick as your two (or dare I say three) resorts to visit?