As DVC members, we all know the scene. You’ve got points to use and have some time off work coming up, so you want to squeeze in a trip to visit the mouse. You log onto the DVC member site to see which resort is available for a short trip, only to find its none of them. You can get one day here and there at various resorts but nothing for any decent length of time.
Some people see this as a downside of DVC, but I like to think of it as a perk. This allows you to do something that a non-DVC member would be very unlikely to do. Split your vacation across multiple resorts, otherwise called resort hopping. This might seem like a bit of a chore, packing up and moving hotels every one or two nights, but like most things, Disney makes this very easy for you. Bell services will collect your luggage from your room and transport it to your next hotel, where it will be available to pick up from about 4 pm. If you plan your stay right and book those odd available days in different resorts, you can use this to your advantage and really get the most out of your stay. I’ve come up with my ideal resort hopping stay to help maximize my time visiting the parks around Walt Disney World.
Night One: Bay Lake Tower
Where better to go for your first day in Walt Disney World than the Magic Kingdom, and where better to stay when you plan to visit than Bay Lake Tower. I’d choose to stay here first as I can walk to Magic Kingdom from the hotel, taking travel time down to an absolute minimum and increasing my time in the park. I’d plan to stay late for the fireworks, and then, rather than joining the lines of people trying to get on transportation away from the Magic Kingdom, I’d be able to smugly walk back to my room and be in bed before others have even made it onto a bus.
Nights Two and Three: Boardwalk Villas
Like many of us DVC owners, Epcot is my favorite park. It’s relatively easy to get to using the monorail from the Contemporary Resort where Bay Lake Tower’s located, so it would make sense to do this second after the Magic Kingdom. An Epcot Resort hotel is obviously a good choice to stay at after a busy day at Epcot. Beach Club rarely has any availability after the 7-month mark, but you can sometimes find a random night or two available at the Boardwalk, so this would be my plan. If only one night were available, I’d probably use a waitlist here to try and get two nights together as Boardwalk is ideal for visiting Epcot one day, followed by Hollywood Studios the next, as you can walk to both. I’d be able to maximize time in both parks and even pop back during the day for a sneaky dip in the pool to cool down!
Night Four: Animal Kingdom Lodge
From BoardWalk, I would get the bus over to Animal Kingdom park, and although I wouldn’t be able to walk back to Animal Kingdom Lodge from the park, it’s by far the closest DVC resort to this park, only a short bus ride away. I’d plan a shorter park morning at Animal Kingdom, followed by a relaxing resort afternoon doing some animal spotting to wind down after a busy few days in the parks!
Night Five: Saratoga Springs Resort
It might not be everyone’s favorite resort, but I personally love Saratoga Springs. Especially now, some of the newly renovated rooms are becoming available to stay at. It would be easy to get to from Animal Kingdom Lodge as I’d just get the bus to Disney Springs and walk over to check-in. Plus, who doesn’t want to finish off their vacation with some serious shopping? Saratoga Springs is located in the perfect place to take advantage of the many shops and restaurants Disney Springs has to offer. I’d leave all my shopping until the last day when I’d be able to pick up those last-minute souvenirs before heading home. I’d also plan to have one last Disney meal at The Boathouse overlooking the water; it’s one of my favorite places to chill out and reminisce about the vacation.
Resort hopping might not be everyone’s idea of relaxation, but I really believe it can add to your vacation rather than detract. Would you ever plan your vacation around the resorts that were available to book? Or have you already done it? Did you find it helped you enjoy your vacation more? Let me know in the comments below.