We’ve been exploring the Disney World theme parks A LOT now that all four have reopened!
And while we all know park hopping is temporarily unavailable during the initial phase of Disney World’s reopening, we also know a lot of you folks back home are curious if guests can resort hop at Disney World right now. And we’re not gonna lie — it’s a little confusing right now.
The official terminology on Disney World’s website states, to even get INTO a Disney World hotel right now, guests will need a confirmed room reservation, or a confirmed dining reservation if you’re a day guest not staying overnight.
This has been the official policy on Disney World’s website since several Disney World resort hotels reopened last month BEFORE the parks. Now that the monorail, Skyliner, buses, and other forms of interconnecting transportation are running and many walkways connecting the theme parks to the resorts have reopened, can you still resort hop?
What IS resort hopping (and why would anyone want to do it)?
First of all, we should probably backtrack a little and cover all our bases since some of our readers might not be familiar with the term “resort hopping.” The general principle behind resort hopping is the same as park hopping, only you don’t need a special Park Hopper ticket to visit any of the various hotels at Disney World.
Resort Hopping at its simplest is just checking out OTHER Disney World resorts you might not be staying at. This could be to try the food, experience the atmosphere, or maybe sample a special activity.
And as for why anyone would want to resort hop, it can be fun to do, and it’s usually completely free! The theme parks are great and all, but sometimes you just need to break up your trip (and give your wallet a break for a day) with a few non-theme park adventures!
Resort hopping is also a great way to check out potential places you might like to stay someday down the road, dine at new restaurants, and experience new lounges…it’s just a neat thing to do especially if you’re excited to see what other hotels are like at Disney World.
So can you still visit other hotels?
The answer is yes and no. From our experience these last few weeks (and especially recently now that Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and EPCOT have reopened — all of which are within walking distance of some of the hotels), it’s still really inconsistent.
Based on which resort you’re trying to get to, you might have an easier or tougher time, and often it depends largely on the Cast Members you encounter when trying to enter the resort. But we do have some resort hopping tips and tricks we’ve picked up that we want to share with you!
Resort Hopping Dos and Don’ts
DO have a dining reservation or a Mobile Order placed for pick-up at the resort you’re trying to visit.
We’ve had no trouble visiting Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, and Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa recently because we’ve been using a dining reservation or placing a Mobile Order using the My Disney Experience app to get in. That’s right — all of the Cast Members we’ve encountered so far are cool with us being at the resort as long as we’re dining in or picking up some grub!
If you’re not familiar with Mobile Order, it’s basically Disney’s smartphone-based program where you can pre-order and pay for meals at quick-service locations around Disney World. In the My Disney Experience app you can select and customize what you’d like to order and set a pickup time, and once you arrive, your food will be prepared for you. It’s easy, free to use, and Disney is HIGHLY encouraging use of it at all available quick-service locations.
Think of food as your Golden Ticket into the hotels right now. It’s a great chance to try out some resort restaurants you may have never experienced or to scope out the latest and greatest treats at each resort’s quick-service location (one of our favorite pastimes!).
We’ve taken the monorail to visit each of the Magic Kingdom-area hotels and haven’t run into any issues yet. When the Poly and Grand Flo first reopened, we were told their walkway was open for guests to move between the two resorts. Guests can also walk back and forth from Magic Kingdom to Disney’s Contemporary Resort in case you want to grab a quick bite at Chef Mickey’s which is now open, although it’s no longer a character meal for the time being.
DON’T be too early for your dining reservation
But like we said, some of the resorts are a bit more complicated. When we recently drove to Disney’s Wilderness Lodge for our dining reservation, we were stopped by a Security Cast Member at the gate who told us we were too early. This happened at the Beach Club Resort as well.
Ultimately, he let us in, but with a warning that arriving too early could result in you being turned away until closer to your reservation time. He recommended we wait in our car until closer to our reservation time and not wander. This has been the exception to the rule so far for us.
Basically, arrive within 15-30 minutes of your dining reservation time.
Where can you easily resort hop?
Keep in mind you can always hop in your car or get a rideshare over to the resort of your choice, but some resorts are just inherently easier to resort hop than others. We already covered the wonderful Monorail resorts above but these are still some of the most easily accessible resorts for guests — especially those coming from a day in the Magic Kingdom. Even Disney’s Wilderness Lodge is relatively easily accessed by boat from Magic Kingdom.
From EPCOT, you can walk to Disney’s Beach Club Resort to visit Beaches and Cream Soda Shop but not Disney’s Yacht Club Resort since that side of the hotel is still closed to guests. Several dining locations are now open at Disney’s BoardWalk Inn as well, although only the DVC villas have reopened. The rest of the resort is set to reopen on October 1st.
At EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios, you can also hop on Disney’s Skyliner to access Disney’s Pop Century Resort or Disney’s Riviera Resort. Disney’s Art of Animation Resort (reopening August 12th) and Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort (reopening July 29th) are not open at this time.
Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, Disney’s Old Key West Resort, and Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa, as well as a few third-party hotels on Disney property are open as well, but each of these resorts is a bit more isolated than the more easily accessible hotels listed above. You’ll still find dining options and activities at each you can enjoy.
Resort hopping isn’t quite as intuitive or spontaneous as it used to be, but for now, guests can still enjoy visiting the various Disney World hotels with a little careful planning! And for folks who are heading to Disney World soon, find out how to make the most of your vacation without park hopping here!
Do you enjoy resort hopping at Disney World? Let us know which hotels you enjoy visiting in the comments below!