With so many different Disney resort hotels from which to choose, you might have a hard time picking just one for your vacation. That’s ok. You can actually plan to stay at more than one Disney resort during your next vacation. It’s called a split stay – when you start your Disney vacation at one Disney hotel and then transfer mid-vacation to a second Disney hotel.
Why Plan A Split Stay?
There are plenty of reason why you might want to plan a split stay, including:
Money: If you want to experience a Deluxe Disney Resort hotel but don’t have the funds to stay there for the entire trip, consider staying at a Value Resort for the first part of your vacation and the moving to a Deluxe Resort for the remainder.
Location: If you like to be close to the parks you will be visiting, you might consider staying at a hotel on the monorail line for the days you plan to visit the Magic Kingdom and Epcot, and then switch to another hotel for the days you plan to visit Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
Availability: Disney hotels do book up. If your preferred hotel isn’t available for your entire stay, you might be able to stay at a second choice hotel for part of your visit and then move over to your preferred hotel.
Fun: It can be fun to try out different hotels with different themes and amenities.
How To Plan A Split Stay
It’s very easy to plan your split stay. Just make two different reservations, making sure that you set up the second reservation to begin when the first ends. Disney will provide you with two different reservation numbers.
What About Moving?
This is where Disney helps to make things easy. On the last day of the stay at your first hotel, check out as you normally would. Contact the Bell Services desk and let them know that you are moving to a different Disney Resort Hotel. They will tag and transfer your bags, and you can go have fun.
At the end of the day, go to your second hotel and visit the Bell Services desk there. They will have your luggage and can either give it to you directly or help you transport it to your room. The entire process takes a few hours for your luggage, but it happens while you are off enjoying all the fun that Disney has to offer.
Since your luggage will be taking a tour of Disney property on its own, be sure to keep anything you might need right away, such as important papers or medicines.
Aside from the complications we will look at below, the biggest hassle in a split stay at two different Disney hotels is probably the repacking and unpacking of all your stuff mid-trip. If you pack light (good idea) or have a small group, this is probably a simple undertaking. However, if you bring lots of stuff on your vacation or if you have a large group, this may become a bigger effort than you want to tackle.
Are There Complications?
So far, everything sounds pretty simple, right? It is – mostly. However, there are several complications to consider.
Complication #1: Disney’s Magical Express
If you are using Disney’s Magical Express to get free transportation to and from the Orlando International Airport, you might want to call the service to explain your plans. They will provide you with two different travel booklets, which may arrive at your home at different times. Overall this isn’t a big deal – just explain your plans and keep the separate travel booklets.
Complication #2: Disney Dining Plan
This is where it starts to get more tricky. The Disney Dining Plan is only available as part of a package that includes theme park tickets, hotel room, and dining plan booked together.
There are two pieces to the dining puzzle: The first is that you have to book the ticket plus hotel plus dining on both of the separate reservations that you will make. More on the ticket implications in a moment.
The second is that there is no roll-over of dining credits from your first reservation to your second reservation. This means that you will need to carefully watch your credits from each separate reservation to make sure that you use them and don’t unintentionally lose them.
Complication #3: Disney Dining Plan And Tickets
There is where things get really tricky. Do you remember the catchy marketing phrase Disney uses to promote their ticket packages? You know, the one that says “The More You Play, The Less You Pay Per Day”? That is really true. If you are staying for six days, you will pay a lot less money on a per-day basis if you purchase one six day ticket vs. purchasing two tickets of three days each.
Now combine that with the rule that, in order to get the Disney Dining Plan, you have to book a ticket plus hotel plus dining on each reservation.
See the issue? You need to purchase a ticket on each reservation, but tickets are cheaper if your purchase more days on a ticket. In this example and the case of a split stay, you will need to purchase five days on an admission ticket connected with your first reservation, and then one day on an admission ticket connected with your second reservation. This means that you will end up paying more for admission.
Is It Worth It?
Like with so many decisions around vacation planning, this issue takes a bit of analysis and consideration.
If you aren’t planning to use the Disney Dining Plan, things are pretty simple. Stay at two different hotels, if that is something you would like to do, and enjoy the change of scenery.
If you are booking Disney dining, you will need to compare the extra cost of tickets vs. your enjoyment of staying at two hotels and the added complications of monitoring two separate sets of dining credits.
Run the numbers for yourself and make an informed choice, or get the assistance of a well qualified travel agent who specializes in Disney vacations.
Have you ever done a split stay at Disney World?