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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.