Some Disney World guests actually choose to check out of their hotel well before their vacation is over!
A Disney World vacation can take a LOT of planning. From snagging Advance Dining Reservations to making Disney Park Pass reservations, there are tons of details to consider. So, with all those moving parts, why would some guests choose to check out of their hotel with days — or weeks — still left of their trip??
Believe it or not, checking out of a Disney World hotel mid-trip might not be due to a booking error. (But P.S.A., mistakes do happen, so triple-check your dates and screenshot ALL your reservations!)
Yup, some guests actually prefer to do a split stay when they visit Disney World!
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What Is a Split Stay?
Wondering what “split stay” even means? We’re glad you asked! Some guests opt to do a split stay by booking one hotel for the start of their vacation and another hotel for later in their trip.
Depending on the specific situation, guests might choose to split their hotel stays pretty evenly down the middle, or they may decide to stay at one hotel for just a night or two and spend the majority of their trip in another hotel.
If you do book a split stay, Disney will even transport your luggage between hotels for you. You can drop off your luggage at bell services in the morning when you check out, then head out for a day in the parks or Disney Springs without having to worry about your bags!
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Why Would You Choose a Split Stay?
There are a few reasons you may want to split your time between multiple hotels. For one, it allows you to experience two hotels during the same vacation. If both Disney’s Contemporary Resort and Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge are at the top of your bucket list, a split stay will keep you from having to choose between the two!
Also, split stays are great if you want to experience the amenities at a Deluxe Resort, but save money on the days you’re in the park. For example, if you plan to spend the first several days of your trip in the parks, you could book Disney’s Pop Century Resort for those days, and book Disney’s Yacht Club Resort for your planned Resort day so you can take advantage of Stormalong Bay!
This is also a helpful money-saving tip if you’re flying in late. If you won’t get to your hotel until super late on your arrival date, you can book a Value Resort for your first night to save some money, and then book the hotel you reallllly want to stay at for the rest of the trip.
A split stay can also get you closer to the parks you plan to visit, which can save a TON of time on transportation. This makes it a great option for people who want to take advantage of every minute they can inside the parks AND those who prefer to hop back to their hotel room mid-day for a break!
Let’s say you plan to spend the first few days at Magic Kingdom and the next few days at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and EPCOT. You could book a room at Disney’s Contemporary Resort for the start of your trip to get you within walking distance to Magic Kingdom. Then you could book Disney’s BoardWalk Inn or Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club Resorts to get walking access (plus Skyliner and boat transportation!) to EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios later in your trip.
From saving money to checking items off your Disney bucket list, there are several solid reasons a split stay might appeal to you!
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Why a Split Stay Might NOT Be For You
As with most things around Disney World, when it comes to hotel plans, there isn’t a “one size fits all” option that’s perfect for all guests! And for some people, the benefits of a split stay might not outweigh the cons.
First, even though Disney will transport your luggage between hotels, it’s still important to consider all the effort and hassle of actually packing everything back up when it’s time to check out of your first hotel. If you’re traveling with lots of little ones or messy unpackers, the time and stress of repacking mid-trip might outweigh the benefits you could gain by switching hotels.
And keep in mind that while having Disney transport your bags will save you from lugging them around yourself, you will be without your suitcases for a big chunk of your transfer day.
Plus, you’ll be without a “home base” until you can check into your second hotel. Check-in begins at 4PM in most cases. There’s a chance you could get into your room a little early, but it might not be worth the risk of being temporarily stuck without access to a room, especially if you’re traveling with a napper.
If the logistics of packing up and transferring over to a second hotel mid-trip are overwhelming for you and your party, the potential benefits of a split stay might not outweigh the hassle!
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Split stays can offer some awesome perks. Whether you want to get as close as possible to your planned parks or check out a range of amenities, switching up hotels can deliver some extra magic. Just don’t forget to consider the downsides of split stays, especially if having a constant home base is important to your travel party. As always, it’s not about what’s “best,” it’s about what’s best for YOUR family!
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Have you ever done a split stay in Disney World? Share your experience in the comments!
We love doing split stays. It lets us change up the scenery after a few days and see more of what WDW has to offer. It normally goes well except during our last trip Animal Kingdom never transferred our bags to the next hotel. We spent our last resort day with none of our things (really needed those swim suits) and it wasn’t until 10pm that night our bags were found and delivered. Rough when you were hoping to get to bed early to catch a morning flight home. Missing out on one last pool day was a bummer too.
Isn’t check-in 2pm for regular resort hotels and 4pm for only DVC rooms? It used to be, and I sure hope they haven’t changed it to 4pm for all resort hotels on property. It’s so late and unreasonable.
We’ve done several “split/split/split” stays (staying at 3 resorts) and we’ve done at least 2 resorts for the last several years. It helps when you can’t decide where you want to go. Yes, it’s a hassle on the day you move to the next resort, but I think it’s worth the trouble to experience 2 or more different resorts!
Doing a split/split/split stay in November, and I couldn’t be more excited. All-Star Music for arrival night, Contemporary for our MK day & POP for our Epcot & Hollywood Studios days. Love saving some $ and taking advantage of some pretty nice Disney transportation 🙂
We always do a split stay! Love it!! Did one in September and stayed onsite for half and off site for half just to see how they compared. Eye opening!
We really loved split stays when the dining plan was available so we would only get the plan for first half of our trip and book the most expensive dining reservations for that half. Then it overlapped another day into the second half of our stay so got to use up those QS meals and snacks.
We have also stayed at Bay Lake Towers for first half and enjoyed Magic Kingdom for two days and then moved to Boardwalk Inn and enjoyed HS and EP for a few days.
We often make our rest day the day we change hotels, just booking a nice lunch at a resort or Disney Springs.
Rocky Y says
We are split staying on Aug 2023. AoA for 4 nights and 4 nights at AKL!!!!
Does it cost anything to transfer your luggage or do you just give bell service a tip? What is the going rate for a tip for transferring luggage?