Split Stays Pro And Con At Walt Disney World Resorts

Back in October my oldest daughter and I made a last-minute trip to Walt Disney World. Most DVC members know how hard it is to get a Deluxe Studio room reservation during October, but we didn't let that stop us even for a last minute reservation. With a burst of youthful enthusiasm we decided to do something we had never done before - a split stay. What a split stay we had, staying 3 nights at Walt Disney World in 3 different fabulous resort rooms. We soon discovered that there are both pros and cons to a split stay, but the real question is, would we do it again?

Split Stays Pro And Con At Walt Disney World ResortsSplit Stays Pro And Con At Walt Disney World Resorts

A split stay is defined as staying at more than one hotel during your Walt Disney World vacation. So if you think having to move from one hotel to another in the middle of vacation sounds like a real pain. Let me fill you in on some of the good things we discovered regarding split stays.

  1. We made considerable progress in our quest to stay at every Walt Disney World Resort in one trip. The Grand Floridian, Polynesian Village, and Old Key West have now been crossed off of my daughter's "must stay" at list. You'll cross off your resort bucket list much sooner using split stays.

  2. If was nice to be able to enjoy more unique resort options that we would have missed staying at just one hotel. We caught the electrical water pageant one night from our room balcony, saw the torch-lighting ceremony another, and the third we were able to catch a boat to Disney Springs. While those are always options, we would have been less likely to experience them if we weren't staying at that particular resort.

  3. During busy times of year it can be hard to find a room, especially for DVC members, splitting your room nights amongst different resort hotels may allow you to book a longer vacation. Tori and I couldn't find two nights together in a studio anywhere, but we were able to acquire single nights at two different resorts, the split stay allowed us to spend an extra night.

  4. Split stays may help you to save money too! When working with a limited budget you may be able to get the best of both worlds buy staying at two different levels of resort. If you play your cards right, you may be able to stretch your length of stay a couple of nights by choosing a Value Resort for the first half of your trip, and then switching to a Deluxe for the last half for the same cost. My pro tip here is to try and put the "nicer" resort or room at the end of your trip, that way you won't be disappointed by finishing off your vacation in a resort with fewer amenities, such as the All Stars.

  5. This positive is all about easing your mind. We were a little concerned about moving our luggage from point A to point B each day, but all you have to do is drop it off at Bell Services and tell them which resort to send your bags on to in the morning. By the afternoon you can retrieve your bags at the next hotel's Bell Desk. The Bell Staff takes care of all the heavy lifting your you. Just please, don't forget to leave them a tip.

  6. Bonus Tip - If you've always wanted to swim at Stormalong Bay, but don't want to stay in a Disney's Deluxe Resort for your full trip, consider just adding on one night at the Yacht or Beach Club for two days of swimming fun.

Pack Up An Move, Disney Split StaysPack Up An Move, Disney Split Stays

That all being said, we did have a few bumps in the road on our trip that were a direct result of our DVC split stay reservations. You'll have to decide if the potential for hassle is worth it to you.

  1. We chose not to use Package Delivery from the Parks for our purchases since we were only at each resort for one night. This wouldn't really be a problem if your split stays are more than one night.

  2. I'm one of those people who unpacks their suitcases during vacation. This wasn't something that we really had time to do with just one night at each hotel. Short term split stays mean living out of your suitcase.

  3. The Disney Dining Plan may have glitches with split stay reservations, ours did. We discovered that there was an issue when we sat down for breakfast after our first resort switch, the dining credits didn't transfer correctly. DVC Member Services had warned me that this sometimes happens. It took us an hour and a half on the phone calling the two resorts and getting the credits put onto the correct MagicBands while we sat at our table before the server would even take our order.

  4. Since Bell moved our bags and we had checked in online, we didn't arrive at one of our resorts until 10PM at night. Due to mobility issues, I was using an electric scooter. When we arrived we discovered that the resort didn't have elevators, and we were on the third floor of the resort. The resort was sold out, so moving us to a different room was not an option. Had we checked in earlier in the day it would have been easier for them to find us a more suitable room. Just know that arriving late after a long day at the park may limit your room options.

Late Arrivals Can Limit Your OptionsLate Arrivals Can Limit Your Options

Overall, Disney's friendly Bell Staff make split stays much less stressful than I thought they would be. Catching some unexpected benefits of different resorts enhanced the trip by letting us experience new things. We found we were in better locations on nights that we went to certain Parks because we were in a closer hotel, and that saved us time. We used that time to explore more of the resorts in ways we wouldn't have if we weren't guests there.

3 nights at 3 different hotels was way too much for my comfort. However, I would consider doing a less hectic split stay again in the future. Have you done a split stay at Disney? What are your thoughts about the experience? Let me know your story in the comments below.

wdwizbest wrote on Sun, 05/05/2019 - 17:13:

wdwizbest's picture

The last and only time I've done a split stay was way back in the fall of '84. We did The Contemporary and the Polynesian, I'm glad I did it. However I doubt I would do it again.

Kristen K. wrote on Thu, 05/02/2019 - 14:35:

Kristen K.'s picture

It's not my ideal trip, but I usually think that some Disney is better than no Disney even if I have to do a split stay. That being said, for my trip this month I paid a premium in DVC points to not have to do another split stay.

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