One term that you will hear fairly often when researching Walt Disney World is “resort hopping”. What does it mean? Is that when someone will stay in one resort for part of their vacation, and then move to another resort? No, that’s not resort hopping, many people will refer to that as a “split stay”. Resort hopping is a little bit different.
The definition of resort hopping is simply checking out some of the Walt Disney World Resorts. You do not have to be staying at a resort in order to eat at the restaurants, walk the grounds, look around the lobby, or shop in the stores. You DO need to be staying at a resort in order to use their pool. All of the Walt Disney World Resorts are themed and they are spectacular. It’s fun to see what they are like, and maybe even start to think about where you will want to stay on your next trip.
There are two places at Walt Disney World where resort hopping is especially easy. At the Magic Kingdom, you can take the monorail to Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, and Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. Just get off at each spot, then spend some time exploring. They’re three of the most beautiful resorts at Walt Disney World.
Another easy loop for resort hopping is in the Epcot Resort Area. Around Crescent Lake you can see Disney’s Beach Club Resort, Disney’s Yacht Club Resort, Walt Disney World Swan Hotel, Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel, and Disney’s BoardWalk Inn. If you’re at Disney’s BoardWalk in the evening the area comes alive after dark. You can also see the fireworks portion of IllumiNations and Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular at different spots along Crescent Lake. If the night is clear you might also be able to see the Happily Ever After fireworks in the distance as well.
The Deluxe Resorts offer lots of extras, but that doesn’t mean that you won’t want to see the Moderate and Value Resorts. The themes are a lot of fun, and you will want to have your camera ready because there are some great photo opportunities.
If you’re into fitness and looking for a place to walk or run, there are fitness trails of various lengths at some of the resorts. Make sure you bring water with you, because there aren’t a lot of water fountains along the paths, and the Florida heat can take a lot out of you.
Although there is no bad time to visit the various resorts, the best time of year to go resort hopping is during the Christmas season. This is when you’ll want to visit each resort, because the decorations are remarkable. A trip to Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa is a must if you’ve visiting during the holidays, the giant gingerbread house is a tradition that takes months to create and dates back almost two decades. If you’re in Florida during the holidays, it’s a must-see.
Day parking at the Walt Disney World Resort hotels is free, although there may be a limited number of spots available in some lots. Have your ID ready and tell the Security Guard why you’re there. If you don’t have a car, you can reach the resorts by taking a bus from the parks or Disney Springs.