Should You Do A Split Stay?

Well first of all, what is a split stay? A split stay is staying at two (or more) different hotels in one vacation. It is quite popular at Walt Disney World, but is it right for you? There are a lot of different reasons for doing a split stay. I’m here to explain the pros and cons for you!

Why would I do a Split Stay?

Like I said, there are a lot of reasons for doing a split stay.

  1. Can’t decide on one resort so you decide to try two (or more!)
  2. Have “Poly” taste on a “Pop” budget
  3. The resort you want is only available for part of your trip
  4. Some people like to move to be closer to the park they want to go to, so they will stay on Bay Lake/Seven Seas Lagoon to go to Magic Kingdom, then move over to the Boardwalk area for EPCOT and Hollywood, and maybe even move to Animal Kingdom Lodge to enjoy Animal Kingdom.
  5. The Conference/Dance Competition/Field Trip etc. is over and your family is staying longer, but you want a new resort

I Like ALL the Resorts! But I can’t afford a whole week at a Deluxe!

So you don’t know which resort you want to try. Why not try two? Or three? What if you want to stay at the Polynesian but you can’t afford a whole week? Why not stay 2-3 days there and then move to a Moderate or Value? Deluxe resorts are typically cheaper Sunday through Thursday, and the rates jump up on the weekend. A smart play would be to book the Polynesian for Sunday through Tuesday, then book, say, Coronado Springs Tuesday through Saturday.

I Want To Stay at Wilderness Lodge but I Can’t Get my Whole Week!

Sometimes, the resort you really want is only available for part of your trip. Let’s say you want to stay Sunday-Sunday and you want the Wilderness Lodge. But Wilderness Lodge is only available Tuesday-Sunday. Why not stay somewhere else Sunday-Tuesday and then move to Wilderness on Tuesday? You get what you want and you get to try somewhere else, too!

I Want to Walk to the Park I’ll Be Going to Each Day

Sometimes, people would like to walk to the parks instead of depending on Disney Transportation. If you have a 6-day trip, with 5-days at the parks, why not try 3 days at a Magic Kingdom resort and 3 days at a Boardwalk Resort? There is no resort within walking distance of Animal Kingdom, so it really wouldn’t matter which resort you’re at to go to that park, but you can walk to the Magic Kingdom from the Polynesian, Grand Floridian, or Contemporary (not to mention the monorail and boat transportation, and boat transportation to and from Wilderness Lodge). You can also walk to both EPCOT and Hollywood Studios from the Boardwalk hotels (Boardwalk, Beach and Yacht Clubs).

What do I do with my luggage?

As long as you are staying at two on-site hotels, Disney Bell Services will transfer your bags for you for free. You should remember to tip, though. Don’t be that guy. So once you have everything packed up from your first resort, take your bags to Bell Services and tell them you are moving resorts. They will mark your luggage with your name and your new resort, and it will be moved that day for you. If you are staying off-site and moving on-site, you’ll need either a car or call an Uber or Lyft.

How Will Disney Handle my Reservation and Payment?

First of all, you should use an Authorized Disney travel consultant (which is, of course, me), to make the entire process easy peasy. No matter what way you decide to book, you will have multiple reservations. There is just no way around that because Disney’s booking system is not that sophisticated.

1. 2 (or more) Room-Only reservations, then purchase tickets separately and link them to your My Disney Experience account. This is the easiest way to do things, but you will not get the perks and Magical Extras that come with the packages.

2. Your first reservation is a package with room and tickets (and, hopefully soon, Dining). As long as your trip does not end before 14 days after the first day you use your tickets, you can purchase a 7-10-day ticket with your first reservation, and your second reservation can be Room-Only. This gets a little more tricky with Dining but, again, using a travel consultant will make all of this easier to set up, as I will do all the leg work for you. You COULD do multiple packages, but, unless you are staying for 2 weeks or more, you will end up paying more money than you should. Remember, the longer your ticket, the cheaper it is. So if you will have 10 park days, a 10-day ticket is cheaper than 2 5-day tickets. A good travel consultant would never let you waste your money!

The entrances to two of the popular eating venues are seen here. on the left is Chef Mickey’s, a character buffet, and on the right is the main quick service facility, Contempo Cafe. Photo by Donald Fink.

So what do you suggest?

My personal opinion is that a split stay can be an excellent way to experience multiple resorts on the same trip. You can visit the South Pacific AND the Caribbean on the same trip to Florida. You can also have that bucket list experience at the Grand Floridian without breaking the bank. If you’re going to do it, some tips:

  • Always go low to high. You’re gonna HATE Pop if you start at the Grand!
  • Never do only one night. You’ll never get to enjoy everything the resort has to offer and you’ll spend most of your time unpacking and packing.
  • Coordinate your hotels with your park days. Start at Magic Kingdom and a Deluxe, then move to a Skyliner resort. Or start at EPCOT and a Boardwalk hotel, then move to a Value.
  • Do what is best for your family and your budget!

Have you ever done a Split Stay? How did you like it?! Need help booking your vacation? Contact me today!!

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