Split stays are a clever way to divide your Walt Disney World trip into two (or more) different resorts, providing flexibility and variety to your time at The Most Magical Place on Earth. However, they can also present a few unexpected drawbacks. Here, you will uncover the pros and cons of a split stay to help you discover if this creative insider travel hack is right for you.
Pro: Variety – It’s the Spice of Life!
What is better than one Walt Disney World resort? Two Walt Disney World resorts! A split stay lets you immerse yourself in multiple settings in just one trip. You can wake up in a tropical Polynesian oasis that overlooks the Seven Seas Lagoon and fall asleep that night beneath the twinkling lights of a turn-of-the-century Boardwalk.
Pro: Save Some Mickey Bucks!
Deluxe Disney resorts can be a great way to celebrate a special event. However, unless you’ve got that Scrooge McDuck kind of dough, they can be a bit pricey for the full length of your stay. A split stay gives you the best of both worlds. You can select a more affordable location for a portion of your visit, while still having enough left over to splurge on a higher-end resort later in your stay.
Finding full availability at a resort for your exact days, length of stay, and particular price range may be challenging, as hotels can book up fast. But split stays give you a better chance at availably by mixing and matching your requirements. You won’t believe what you can land just by throwing a few different date combinations out there!
Pro: Bragging Rights
Okay, maybe this one is a stretch, but if you’re like me, I love telling my friends and family that I’ve stayed at almost every Walt Disney World resort hotel. Split stays are an easy way to help me add multiple resorts to my roster with each trip!
If you really like to spread out and make your hotel room your home, a split stay may mean unpacking at the first hotel only to pack those bags all over again to move resorts. On the plus side, moving luggage between resorts can be done easily through Bell Services. Simply call the Front Desk 45 minutes prior to checkout to schedule pickup, or drop off your bags as you head off to the parks and Bell Services will transfer your luggage for you! By the time you are back from a fun-filled day, your belongings may even be in your room awaiting your grand arrival. Oh, and if you’ve got a few perishable leftovers from the night before, Bell Services will even keep them refrigerated throughout the relocation process.
Con: Tricky Timing
The check-out time at most Walt Disney World Resorts is 11:00 a.m., while the check-in time is typically 4:00 p.m. This could leave you with an undesirable lag time of five hours. If you find that you enjoy making frequent stops back at your room or enjoy a midday nap, a split stay may be a less-than-desirable option for you, as you may not have a room ready for you at your new resort.
Con: A Glitch in the Dining Plan Matrix
During COVID, the Disney Dining Plan is suspended, but when it returns it is possible this glitch will return with it. For the purposes of the Disney Dining Plan, split stays are treated as separate reservations, therefore you must purchase the dining plan separately for each individual stay. This can be a bit of a hassle, especially if you like to make quick changes to your reservations. In addition, Disney Dining Plan’s dining credits expire at 11:59 p.m. on your check-out date and will not carry over to the following day. Depending upon your credits, that could mean as little as a lost dollop of Dole Whip or as much as a missed meal at Le Cellier!
Whether due to limited availability or a personal desire to explore, split stays can be a fun new addition to your Walt Disney World experience! If you’d like to learn about more pros and cons of a split stay, join in the conversation on the TouringPlans Discussion Forum.
Do you foresee a split stay trip in your future? Which two resorts would you pair together?
Ted Wioncek III is a Walt Disney World Annual Passholdin’-D23 lovin’-DVC card carryin’-Theme Park Journalist, whose work has garnered him a reputation as a “master in storytelling.” He specializes in theatrical review, food critique, travel planning, and double-blind Dole Whip taste testing. Ted lives in sunny Florida with his beautiful wife, Kimberly, and their adorable rescue beagle, affectionately named, Professor Indiana Bones. You can contact him at TheRealTraderTed@gmail.com.