It’s easy to focus on the four theme parks at Walt Disney World and forget about all the magic the Disney Resorts hold! If you can fit it in the schedule, we’d highly recommend spending one of your days “resort hopping”. Whether or not you are a Disney Resort Guest, you are welcome to go explore the many Disney Resorts on Walt Disney World property. By “hopping” from one resort to another, you’ll have a chance to take in the many different resort themes and atmospheres. Check out these eight tips below to make the most of your resort hopping experience.
1. Plan around a meal
The easiest way to resort hop and see some different resorts at Walt Disney World is to plan your trips around meals. It’s more efficient to get dinner at the resort you’re hopping to than it is to hop to a resort just to check it out and then have dinner later on at a different resort or your next park. Doing this also allows you to try lots of different restaurants that you may not have considered otherwise!
2. Hop from a nearby park
Another tip to make your resort hopping as efficient as possible is to hop to resorts that are near the park you’re currently at. From Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Animal Kingdom Lodge is the shortest possible bus ride away and there is plenty to see and do at the resort. (This resort is also a great pick for a non-park day because you can still walk around and see some animals!) At the Magic Kingdom and Epcot, you can hop on the monorail (or walk in some cases) and from Hollywood Studios you can walk or take a boat. And don’t knock the Disney Springs Resorts, some are a quick boat ride away and some of the closer (non-Disney) resorts are even walkable.
3. Take an Uber, Lyft, or Minnie Van
If you are planning on a less-efficient resort hop, say something like Disney’s Hollywood Studios to the Contemporary Resort or an early morning breakfast at a different resort, it may be easier to get your own ride. To go from your resort to a different resort (assuming you’re not going somewhere on the same monorail or boat route if possible) you’ll need to switch buses at a park. Doing this can take up more time and it’s often difficult to plan how much extra time you’ll need, though Disney recommends an hour to get anywhere on property. To speed this up, try taking an Uber or Lyft, or if you prefer a Disney/Lyft partnered Minnie Van.
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4. Resort hop during the holidays
Resort hopping is always a fun way to spend some time outside of the parks at the Walt Disney World Resort, but it’s even more exciting during the holidays. Throughout the Christmas season, the resorts are decorated with stunning trees, wreaths, garland, and even life-sized gingerbread displays and carousels. For Easter, the resorts put out their best hand-painted (or sculpted) chocolate Easter eggs, which are also a treat to see!
5. Respect resort guest amenities
When resort hopping, it’s important to remember that some amenities are only available to guests staying at the resort. You’re always welcome to browse the grounds and check out all of the shops and restaurants, but certain amenities like fitness centers and pools are reserved only for guests of the resort. Many pools and fitness centers even require a MagicBand with that specific resort reservation to access them to help keep them open only to resort guests.
6. Don’t only hop to Deluxes
Most resort hopping probably takes place around the Magic Kingdom monorail loop and the Epcot Resort area, simply because these are all deluxe resorts that are easy to get around. The other resorts are definitely worth visiting as well though, so do not feel like you only need to see the Deluxe Resorts. Disney’s moderate and even value resorts have their own charm (along with specific food items, merchandise and more), and the resorts near Disney Springs (Port Orleans, Old Key West, and Saratoga Springs) are also not to be missed.
7. Know which Disney transportation to take
Disney’s transportation system is extremely convenient for resort hopping, but it can also be overwhelming if you’re not used to it. While using Disney transportation, confirm that you know where you’re going so you don’t waste any vacation time wandering around or backtracking to figure out what went wrong. This is especially important when taking buses that go to resorts with multiple stops (think Coronado Springs, Caribbean Beach, Port Orleans: Riverside, and even some resorts with Disney Vacation Club areas like Animal Kingdom Lodge). If you’re popping in for a quick lunch, you’ll want to be sure that you’re getting off the bus at the right spot.
8. Ask a Cast Member if you have any questions
If you ever find yourself unsure of how to get to/from a resort, do not hesitate to ask a Cast Member for help. Not only will they always be happy to assist you, but they may even know of a quicker way that you weren’t away of (like buses that only run certain times of day or when it’s easier to walk than wait for and take a boat). You can also always find complete details on transportation from each resort on the go by using the My Disney Experience app.