6 Reasons You’d Want to Book a Split Stay at Disney World and How to Make It Simple

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A split stay at Disney World allows you to try two or more Disney resort hotels in a single trip. Imagine, seamlessly transitioning from the opulent splendor of one resort to the whimsical charm of another, all within the confines of a single Disney vacation. And since your hotel accommodations can easily set the tone for your vacation, you may even feel that you’ve squeezed two adventures out of one.

However, curious travelers may still wonder if a split stay at Disney World is really worth it? After all, you will need to pack up your bags and change to a new hotel mid-trip.

In our experience the answer is a resounding yes. A split stay does more than expand your adventure; you could easily expand your budget as well as your horizons, while sacrifcing little in the way of convenience. If you’re still not convinced, join us as we unravel the top the top x reasons guests enjoy a split stay at Disney World.

The Advantages of Changing Resorts at Disney World

Split stay at Disney World means experiencing more than one resort decor
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A split stay at Disney world is more than just packing up and moving to another resort part way through your trip. Changing resorts at Disney allows you to experience the culture of two resorts in one stay. Especially if you do not visit Disney often, the experience is worthwhile.

1. Disney Resort Experiences

Each Disney World resort on the property is elaborately themed and offers different experiences. For example, at the Boardwalk Inn and Beach and Yacht Club resorts, you can rent surrey bikes to ride along the boardwalk. The Contemporary is the only resort that has a monorail that drives through the interior of the resort, and Animal Kingdom Lodge is the only place on the property with savannah views of real African animals such as zebras and giraffes right from your room. 

Savannah views can be experienced during a split stay at disney world
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Each resort also boasts unique pools. Old Key West has a large pool with a sandcastle water slide. At the Polynesian Village, you can slide down a volcano into a pool with a waterfall effect.

Resorts even offer different transportation experiences. While all resorts have bus transportation and the ability to use Uber and Lyft, not all resorts have a monorail, for example. If you want to experience the monorail, boat transportation and the Skyliner during one trip, you may want to do a split stay in Disney World to achieve this.

For a complete comparison, check out our Disney World resorts list for a review of  amenities.

2. Saving your Budget on a Deluxe Resort

A split stay at Disney World gives you the opportunity to experience one of Disney’s more expensive resorts without breaking the bank. For instance, staying in a deluxe resort, or maybe a villa, for your entire visit could easily stretch your budget to the limit. A split stay at Disney World allows you to enjoy that deluxe experience at a resort with out breaking the bank. Simply book a few days at the more expensive resort and then switch mid trip to a different Disney World hotel in a lower cost tier.

For example, we have always wanted to stay at the Grand Floridian, one of the most expensive and prestigious resorts in Disney World. Unfortunately, our budget did not allow an entire length stay at this resort.

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Instead, we budgeted for one day and night at the Grand Floridian Resort before moving to the more affordable accommodations, of Animal Kingdom Lodge. This allowed us to experience what the resort had to offer, including a glorious balcony view of the Magic Kingdom fireworks, without breaking the bank.

3. Go Club Level with a Split Stay at Disney World

Club level rooms at Disney’s deluxe resorts are the grandest of the grand. Here, you’ll discover what luxury at Disney is really like, complete with private concierge service and a lounge offering snacks, drinks and food throughough the day.

Since club level rooms occupy the apex of the Disney resort experience, they naturally cost more than other room types. Similar to splitting your Disney World vacation between a deluxe resort and a lower cost option, spending only part of your vacation in a club level room can also help you to afford the higher cost luxury experience.

We like to book a room at a moderate resort for a few days and then switch to a club level room to finish out our trip. Beginning your stay with a typical resort experience sets different expectations than if you start with a club level room and then move to a different resort. You aren’t necessarily moving down as each Disney resort is spectacular in its own right, but you will miss the added club level amenities.

4. Make Better Use of the Disney Dining Plan

The Disney dining plan is an excellent way to budget your vacation, by rolling the cost of your food into your vacation package. However, with 2 meals a day and a snack, we can often come away with unused meals, depending on how we’ve structured our trip.

A split stay helps us to make better use of those meal credits. We simply add the dining plan to the second part of our stay. We’ve found that we are so excited during the first 2 to 4 days of our trip, that we don’t have as much interest in stopping for long meals.

However, as we hid the middle portion of our trip, we’re ready to slow down. Booking a split stay at Disney World, and adding the dining plan to the second reservation, allows us to capitalize on the budget friendly perks of a dining plan when we are most likely to utilize all of the credits.

5. Making Better Use of Your Time

Let’s face it, there are few resorts on Disney property that offer close proximity to all parks. Magic Kingdom resorts, for example, are close to EPCOT and Magic Kingdom but far from Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios. The opposite holds true for Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge.

If you’re booking a shorter visit to Disney World, a split stay can help you make better use of your vacation hours by cutting down on transport time to and from your resort. Simply book one of the Disney hotels closer to Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios on the days you plan to visit these parks. Then switch to a resort closer to Magic Kingdom and EPCOT for the remainder of your trip.

To understand why this is important, here are some typical transit times between Disney resorts and parks:

  • Magic Kingdom Area Resorts to Magic Kingdom: 5 minutes via monorail
  • Magic Kingdom Area Resorts to Animal Kingdom Park via bus: 15-20 minutes
  • Animal Kingdom Lodge to Animal Kingdom Park via bus: 5 minutes
  • Magic Kingdom Area Resorts to Hollywood Studios via bus: 10-15 minutes
  • Disney Art of Animation to Hollywood Studios: 5-7 minutes

By comparing the transit times listed above, you can easily see that some resorts are closer to certain parks than others. Booking a resort closest to the parks you wish to visit can save you a lot of time. An if you’re wondering if adding an extra ten minutes to your travel time will really make a difference, you should see how much longer the line gets for opening rides and attractions over a ten minute period during early entry.

6. Making the Most of Discounts with a Split Stay at Disney World

Long term Disney fans understand that if you wait to book, you might just find a discount for your Disney resort room. When rooms aren’t selling, Disney will release room discounts, often as much as 35% off. Unfortunately, not all room types or resorts will qualify for these discounts. This means qualifying rooms book up fast.

A split Stay at Disney World may help you afford to stay a night or two in the Grand Floridian
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Grand Floridian

If you are looking to take advantage of a Disney World travel discount, but are having a hard time finding one for your room type or resort, consider changing resorts at Disney World during the course of your stay.

While you may not be able to find one room that has the discount for your entire trip, you are almost guaranteed to find two rooms that qualify if you’re willing to look at a few different resorts.

Be sure to check out our blog covering all of the current 2024 Disney World discounts.

Booking a Split Stay at Disney World

Booking a split stay at Disney World is easy. Simply select the resorts you’d like to book, enter the dates you’d like to stay, and complete the booking.

Where things may get complicated is when you’re booking a split stay to capitalize on recently released discount offers. You’ll first need to search availability at the primary resort you want to book. This will allow you to see where the discount is available and when it is not. If you’re having trouble isolating dates with discounted availability, try entering each day of your stay one at a time.

Once you understand when discounts are available for your primary resort, you can book an alternative resort that also offers a discount during the days that your first choice is booked. Often, there are only one or two days when a discounted room is unavailable.

For example, if you want to stay at Port Orleans Riverside but a day-by-day search reveals that there is no availability on the last day of your stay, you could switch to another resort to end your trip. It takes somelegwork, but is worth it for the coveted discount.

If you’re not sure you’re up to all of the legwork, there is an easier way to book a split stay at Disney World. Simply contact a travel agent who specializes in Disney travel. They can easily find you any split stay opportunities and help you make the most of available discounts.

The Disadvantages to a Split Stay at Disney World and How to Overcome Them

Despit the advantages, there are a few disadvantages to a split stay at Disney World. Before deciding if a split stay is right for you, it’s certainly worth considering any drawbacks and how you will handle them.

Repacking and Transfering Luggage

The biggest and most glaring disadvantage to a split stay at Disney World is repacking and moving luggage mid trip. However, with a little help from Disney and some strategic planning, it certainly isn’t a deal breaker.

For one thing, Disney resorts will handle the transfer of your luggage from one hotel to another, as long as you are staying somewhere on Disney property. During my last trip I switched from Disney’s Coronado Springs resort to the Boardwalk Inn. From there, I took a tour of Shades of Green before settling in at Polynesian Village. A simple stop at Bell Services on the day of my transfer was all it took to move my luggage from one resort to the next.

At this point, I can guess what you’re thinking. What about all that unpacking and repacking. We have a strategy for this as well.

Utilizing packing cubes, we simply pack the clothing we plan to wear during our stay at the second resort in one set of cubes. To make it really easy, we even select a different color cube. These go in the bottom of our luggage.

We than pack the things we need for the first resort in packing cubes of a second color or design. These are placed in our luggage next. The last thing to enter our suitcase is anything we plan to use during the entire length of the trip, such as shoes or toiletries.

When we arrive at the first resort, we simply remove the items we will use for the entire trip along with the first set of packing cubes. We then zip up our luggage closed to avoid confusion and live out of the packing cubes.

As clothese are worn, we place them back into the packing cubes to differentiate between dirty and clean. When it’s time to move to the next resort, this set of packing cubes gets moved to the bottom of our luggage and the second set gets moved to the top. When we arrive at the next resort, we’re ready to pull out the new set of packing cubes and start over again.

Missing Out and Relearning a New Resort

Another drawback of a split stay at Disney World is missing out on everything a resort has to offer. Disney World resorts offer so much onsite entertainment, including pools, uniquely themed restaurants, outdoor movies, games, arcades, biking, boating, and more. If you move partway through your stay, you may not have time to do everything at one resort.

While there is not a lot that can be done about this, other than skipping time in the parks, there is a bit of consolation. Even when we’ve spent an entire week at a singl resort, we’ve never managed to take advantage of all the experiences available.

When changing resorts at Disney World you will have to learn a new resort layout as well, right after you’ve gotten used to the last one. This means finding the new bus stop, new transportation options, restaurants, pool and most importantly, your room.

Fortunately, you’ll find a wealth of tools available in the Disney World app, including a section dedicated to each resort you have booked. Here, you’ll find entertainment options, a map, bus stop schedules and more. Familiarizing yourself with each resort before you arrive will ease any transition pains you may experience.

Tips for Managing a Split Stay at Disney World

Bedroom inside Old Key West
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When deciding to do a split stay at Disney World, there are several small steps you can take to make the process more manageable and to get the most from each resort.

Packing for a Split Stay at Disney World

Pack strategically. The biggest way to ease the pain of a split stay at Disney World is through thoughtful packing prior to your trip.

While you always have the option to throw everything in your suitcase and move resorts, things often get left behind, and it can be hard to decipher what has been worn already.

To combat this, we suggest using packing cubes. You can set a day’s worth of clothes in each cube, repack them once they’ve been worn, and move to the bottom of your suitcase. Be sure to read our tips above in the section on coping with disadvantages for our clever and very simple strategy.

Room inside of Animal Kingdom Lodge
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Alternatively, if you plan to unpack and place clothing in the dresser of your hotel room, pack everything for the first resort in one set of cubes and place them at the top of your suitcase. This will ensure that everything you need for your first stay is within reach.

Then, as you wear things, pack the dirty clothes into the empty cubes. When it’s time to change resorts, simply place the cubes with the dirty clothing at the bottom of your luggage and move the cubes with clean clothing to the top for your next resort stay.

This will keep your dirty and clean clothes separate and make repacking a breeze without the fear of left behind items.

Another option is to bring two suitcases, one for dirty or used clothes, and one for clean. When the dirty clothes are used, they move to the empty suitcase. This method requires less planning before your trip, but does mean more luggage and possibly more luggage fees if flying.

Bell Services

If you have been wondering how to manage baggage while moving resorts, bell services is your answer. There is no need to call an Uber and drive your luggage to the new resort. Instead, simply leave your bags with bell service at your old resort when you leave for the park in the morning. Request to have them delivered to the new resort, and voila. It’s like magic

You’ll have more time in the park with no baggage worries. Simply call bell services at your new resort, and one of the kind and considerate bell hops will bring your luggage to your room.

Just remember that it’s common practice to tip the bellhops $1-$2 per bag. If you’d prefer to avoid the added expense, you can always retrieve your bags from bell services yourself.

Learn Those Resort Maps

A split stay at Disney World means learning a new resort and what it has to offer. We find it helpful to study maps of the resort prior to our stay. While you may not know exactly where your room is before you arrive, you can still learn where restaurants, pools, transportation stops and activities are.

Resort maps are important to study during a Split Stay at Disney World
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Something else to consider when planning a split stay at Disney are the amenities of each resort. For instance, if you are staying at a resort serviced by Disney’s monorail, you might want to plan to visit monorail parks during the days at that resort.

For example, if you stay at the Contemporary, Polynesian Village, Bay Lake Towers, or the Grand Floridian for two days, be sure to plan your visit to Magic Kingdom and EPCOT for that time to be certain you get to experience this unique highway in the sky.

Overall, it’s a good idea to plan your parks around the location of each resort. Another example is Disney Springs or Animal Kingdom. These two areas are at the far end of Disney property when compared to the Magic Kingdom and its associated resorts. So, it just makes sense to plan your visits there during your stay at the closest resort to minimize travel time.

A Disney World resort map will clearly show where each resort is in relation to the parks and will prove very helpful in planning your vacation.

Additional Things to Keep in Mind for a Split Stay at Disney World

Booking Tickets

When booking Disney World tickets during a split stay, do not book a package with each room reservation. Doing so will incur more costs.

Disney tickets are priced so that the per day cost of a ticket decreases with each consecutive day you add. If you plan to stay for ten days, and book two five day packages (one for each room,) you will be paying much more than a one 10-day ticket pass.

When booking a split resort stay, it’s best to book the first resort as a package. However, when it comes to selecting your tickets, instead of indicating the number of days you plan to spend at this resort, select a ticket for the number of days that match your entire stay.

For instance, if you plan to book three days at Disney’s Caribbean Beach resort and finish your trip with four days at Disney’s Old Key West resort, select a 7-day ticket.

a split stay means experiences more than one resort pool
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Booking the Dining Plan during a Split Stay at Disney World

When doing at split stay at Disney World with the dining plan, the dining plan must be added to both resort reservations if you plan to use it for the entire length of your stay. Since The Disney Dining Plan is linked directly to the number of nights you are staying in a resort, the plan must be added to both resort stays so you are covered for your entire trip.

This becomes clearer with a little example. Meals for your Disney dining plan begin at midnight on your check in day and end at midnight on your checkout date. If you book a stay at one resort for three days, your dining plan will be valid as of midnight on day one and expire at midnight on day three. When you check into hotel two on day four, your first dining plan will have expired, even if you have not used all available meels or snacks.

Advanced Dining Reservations

Advanced dining reservations (ADRs) may be made 180 days before the start of your trip. Disney resort guests may begin booking ADRs 180 days before arrival for the entire length of their trip. In most cases, this will extend into your split stay.

However, if you attempt to book dining reservations and find dates blocked for the second half of your stay at a different resort, be sure to call Disney Dining to sort things out.

A split stay at Disney World does come with its pros and cons. Being able to stay in and enjoy more than one Disney resort will be worth it, and easy, if you take a little time to prepare.

More Disney Tips and Tricks

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Mother daughter travel bloggers exploring the U.S.

We're Kat and Ali, a pair of mother-daughter travel bloggers exploring the U.S. We're sharing our experiences, tips and insights to help you more easily get out and explore the beautiful landscapes and places of this nation.


Ali Patton

Ali is a travel blogger for Seconds to Go, where she shares her experiences traveling the U.S. with her co-blogger Mom, Kathleen. She is also an avid Disney travel enthusiast, and with multiple Disney World trips under her belt, is a knoweldgeable resource for all things related to Disney vacations. Ali can be found managing the Seconds to Go social media accounts as well as the famed Double Z Farm pages on Instagram, Facebook and TikTok.

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