Why I Love DVC Split Stays

I know a lot of Disney Vacation Club members are forced into split stays when they’re trying to book their non-home resort at the seven-month window. But I book split stays on purpose for almost all of my Disney World vacations. Why on earth would I do that? Here are just a few reasons.

DVC Split Stay
Cinderella Castle – Magic Kingdom

Convenience

Yep, I said convenience. I know that seems odd when a split stay involves transferring all of your personal belongings to another resort on a property the size of the city of San Francisco but hear me out.

First, Disney makes the resort switch as easy as possible. The night before we check out of our initial resort, I call Bell Services and schedule a pick-up for the next morning.  When they arrive for the pick-up, I remind them where I’m transferring, and they give me a luggage claim ticket. Then I give them everything – all our suitcases, the carry-ons, and the food in my fridge (which they keep cold until I get it back). I keep anything I might want to use until I can check into my new resort (generally after 4 PM, although I’ve almost always received my room assignment earlier). I tip the cast member appropriately and then don’t give my luggage a second thought until I call Bell Services in my new resort.

DVC Split Stay
Boardwalk Villas

Then I check into my second resort via the My Disney Experience app and wait for my room notification.

At this point, we usually head for Disney Springs and a table service lunch reservation.  After shopping and enjoying the sights there, we take the bus to our second resort. If our room isn’t ready yet, we explore the new resort, and if the weather is nice, head to the pool. Each DVC resort has outdoor facilities near the pool where you can change into swimsuits. If you have small kiddos, put their bathing suits on under their clothing for the day, and bring undergarments with you in your park bag. It makes the clothes changing go much more smoothly.

DVC Split Stay
Stormalong Bay – Beach Club

Alternatively, you can also hit one of the parks. Just make sure that you have everything you need with you (medications, diapers, other personal items) because you will technically be “homeless” for a few hours.

Now, why did I say convenience at the beginning of this article? Because while there may be a small amount of juggling on the morning of your split stay (and honestly, it becomes second nature after you’ve done it a couple of times), it’s so much more convenient to be staying near the parks you’re visiting on the days you’re visiting them.

So if you’re a big Magic Kingdom fan, nothing is better than being at a monorail resort on your Magic Kingdom days. For the prime MK spot, stay at Bay Lake Tower. Then when everyone else is waiting for a bus or the resort loop monorail, you can just walk home and be there in five minutes. Priceless.

DVC Split Stay

After a monorail resort stay, we love to hop over to one of the Epcot resorts. Again, the ability to walk to the parks and avoid the Disney transportation hubbub is a huge perk. We also love the boat transportation from all of the Crescent Lake resorts. It’s so much more pleasant than the buses.

When we want to just relax at the end (or beginning) of a longer trip, we move to our home resort, Old Key West. That resort is one of the best for feeling like you’ve escaped the chaos. Plus, you can take a ferry to Disney Springs, which is always a nice way to spend the last day of your trip.

A Mental Recharge

DVC Split Stay
Grand Floridian

As DVC members, we all know how draining a Disney World trip can be at times. It’s particularly difficult during extremely busy times and during the heat of an Orlando summer. Crowds and hot weather can make the best of us grumpy, irritated, and tired. I find that a resort switch in the middle of a trip is like a shot in the arm. It’s exciting to go to a new resort. It definitely brings up everyone’s mood and gives us new energy. It’s like a different vacation because each DVC resort is so unique and offers so many new things in terms of food, activities, and theming. It provides a much-needed lift in the middle of a vacation, especially if you’re staying longer than a week. Which brings me to my next point…

A Change of Scenery

Going from a resort like Riviera to the Animal Kingdom Lodge is a big switch! Everything about those two resorts is completely different. And I love that. A change of scenery like that allows me to experience the best that both resorts have to offer in one vacation.

DVC Split Stay
Animal Kingdom Lodge

Disney World resorts are vacation-worthy destinations in and of themselves. You can have an amazing time at any of the deluxe villas without ever setting foot in the parks. And because we have one or two “resort only” days on our trips, I love having two resorts to enjoy and explore.

Doing a split stay between Animal Kingdom Lodge and a monorail resort allows me to enjoy the animals, the special tours, and cultural activities AKL offers, then switch to a resort with a beach to lounge on, and water activities, like boat and jet ski rental. Two separate resorts with a very different feel is often what I choose while doing a split stay because it adds so much to our vacations.

Conclusion

DVC Split Stay
Bay Lake Tower

One of the best perks of being a DVC member is having so many wonderful resorts to choose from. I love that I can stay at any of the deluxe villas and enjoy everything they have to offer. Before I owned DVC, that was one of my wildest dreams, and now I live it every time I go to Disney World. It never gets old. I love being able to go from Boulder Ridge Villas to the Grand Floridian in one trip and hear “welcome home” in both places. And the greatest benefit of all? No matter where I’m staying at Disney – I always feel like I’m home.

19 thoughts on “Why I Love DVC Split Stays

  • May 3, 2020 at 9:07 am
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    We really enjoy split stays as well, and plan to book them on all our upcoming trips. We love that it’s possible to book a dining plan for just one of the stays. Typically it works so well for the first part, since the plan is valid until midnight of your check-out date. Thanks for sharing this!!

    • May 3, 2020 at 12:41 pm
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      You’re welcome! And thanks for your dining plan tip! That’s a great way for people to try it and see if it works for them.

  • May 3, 2020 at 11:27 am
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    Thanks for posting. Just to confirm, does bell services transfer your luggage from one resort to the other?

    • May 3, 2020 at 12:08 pm
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      Yes – They will ensure your luggage gets to your new resort by 5pm that evening.

    • May 3, 2020 at 12:44 pm
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      Yes, they do! And I give them everything, including carry-on luggage and food items. Be sure to save the bags that your food is delivered in for this purpose if you’re switching resorts, and have used an online grocery service to buy food. If you forgot to do that, just buy one of those recyclable park bags in any gift shop. They work great for food packing. I usually toss one or two into my luggage just for that purpose.

  • May 3, 2020 at 12:16 pm
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    I enjoy the article BUT the one thing that is TYPICALLY an issue and to me- and quite honestly it’s frustrating altohugh it shouldn’t be an issue for DVC guests’, you are at the mercy of finding a resort that is available for which park or area you want to go that specific day or season. It cannot be helped, i understand but the perks of DVC are non-existent at times and again, to me, for the money DVC guests pay, there should be easier access for the resorts a DVC member would like to stay. I just think the DVC should allow hotel rooms as part of the rooms allowed to be rented by a DVC guest. Again- just my opinion.

    • May 3, 2020 at 9:40 pm
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      If you purchased from Disney directly, you can use your points for a regular hotel room. It’s a terrible use of points, but it can be done.

  • May 3, 2020 at 6:22 pm
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    Another great perk is being able to add different dining plans (or no plan) to the separate reservations. Our last 9 day trip, we did our 7 nights at the Poly with the standard plan, transferred to AK Lodge for the last 2 nights and splurged on the deluxe dining plan for that reservation.

    • May 3, 2020 at 9:40 pm
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      That’s such a great idea!! I haven’t tried that yet, but I’m definitely planning on it!!

  • May 3, 2020 at 8:25 pm
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    Another perk of doing the dining plan for the first part of a split stay is that the reuseable mugs work for weeks so they will last your whole trip!

    • May 5, 2020 at 1:10 am
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      Excellent point!! Thanks!

  • May 3, 2020 at 9:07 pm
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    I can’t even remember the last time we did a single resort stay at WDW. We absolutely love “restarting” our vacation with split stays.
    In fact, on our longer trips (10-12 nights), we’ve started splitting our vacations into 3 parts.
    Currently we’ve got a Riviera/Poly/Wilderness Lodge trip booked that’s hopefully gonna happen later this Summer.

    • May 5, 2020 at 1:11 am
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      How fun! And what a great line-up of resorts you have booked! Crossing my fingers that it all works out for you!

  • May 3, 2020 at 9:27 pm
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    I really loved your article. We have been doing split stays for years. I completely agree with the excitement of not only going home but also experiencing the different ambiance with the resorts. Our family ( both our now adult DD’s and partners) spend months deciding our choices then we start our booking or wait lists for the trip. We usually rent a car on moving day then get more groceries or go to the outlet or just tour the resorts.
    Thanks again

    • May 5, 2020 at 1:12 am
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      Thank you! I think trying different resorts is as fun as going to the parks. They’re a huge part of my vacation! So glad I’m not the only one!

  • May 4, 2020 at 1:46 pm
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    Thanks for posting, such a great idea! I think this opens up a lot more possibilities! How many times have we all had the disappointment of partial availability and let that stop us from staying where we really want? Finding a week of availability at Beach Club is so hard for those of us that have kids in school and don’t own there. A split stay would allow more choices when you consider partial availability also.

    • May 5, 2020 at 1:14 am
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      It definitely does! On our last trip, we stayed for nine nights. We wanted Boardwalk, but we could only get six consecutive nights there. So we booked our home resort, Old Key West, for the first three nights, then moved to Boardwalk for the last six nights. It was perfect!

  • May 4, 2020 at 1:48 pm
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    This also makes points more flexible. There are a lot of years where we want to stay at the Poly but don’t have enough points for length of stay. This shows a few days at a more expensive resort and then the split can be more economical to balance point usage.

    • May 5, 2020 at 1:15 am
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      Yep. We usually book the point-heavy resort (like Grand Floridian) at the end of our vacation for just a couple of nights. It ends the trip on a high note, and we save points by combining it with OKW or Saratoga. It’s a great way to have the best of both worlds!!

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