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Beginner Guide to Disney World Resort Hopping

Last Updated on September 6, 2019

What to Do, Where to Go, How to Get There

What is resort hopping? Unlike the more well-known term “hotel hopping” where you are hopping from one hotel to the next on a grand road trip, Resort Hoping has nothing to do with sleep.

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On the contrary; resort hopping the act of touring the various resorts that Walt Disney World has to offer, without actually having to pay to spend the night. Walt Disney World resort hopping is a great activity to do on a day you are not planning on visiting the parks.

Especially the Deluxe resorts, but the Moderate Resorts also have a lot to offer guests. You will want to Resort hop when the Parks start to get crowded, want to explore the other resorts looking for options for future visits, are already visiting for a special dinner reservation, or are having a relaxing non-Park day and the pool just isn’t doing it for you right now.

Most guests choose to hop around the resorts that are easily accessible via Disney Transportation, as it is becoming harder and harder to drive to a resort without a reservation. Don’t get any ideas about pool hopping while you are there, however.

Disney has figured out that many guests want to experience the various facilities that these Deluxe resorts have to offer and are nipping this little loophole in the bud. If you are not a guest of that hotel, you are not allowed to use their facilities. How do they know? Magic Bands.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

Drop the kids off at the Simba’s clubhouse while parents get an evening alone at a handful of amazing restaurants. Thrill little lions with an evening of games, movies and more. Stay until sunset and check out the view over the savanna.

animal kingdom lodge

Take a quick 20-minute bus ride from the Animal Kingdom park to the Animal Kingdom Lodge. There are no walking paths available to safely walk to the hotel.

Disney’s Beach Club Resort

Make a reservation for Minnie’s Beach Bash Breakfast at Cape May Cafe. Take advantage of the Sandcastle Club, full of Science, Baking and Swashbuckling Fun, while parents head out for some grown-up fun of their own! Also, check out the Fantasia Gardens and Fairways Miniature Golf.

Walk from Epcot. Friendship boat from Hollywood Studios. Bus from anywhere else. Try a kitchen sink sundae from Beaches & Cream soda shop.

Disney’s BoardWalk Inn

There are always street performers to watch and plenty of benches and tables to sit and enjoy the ambiance. You can rent a surrey bike here as well. Fantasia Gardens and Fairways Miniature Golf is located just next to the resort is looks to be hours of great fun for the whole family. Between the Boardwalk Bakery and the Funnel Cake Cart, you are sure to replace those precious calories lost while touring the parks.

Check out our full guide to >> Disney’s Boardwalk << The shopping centre everyone forgets.

Disney’s Contemporary Resort

Home to Chef Mickey, a restaurant with an all-you-care-to-eat buffet where Mickey, Minnie and friends will come and join the party. Disney’s Contemporary Resort is also famous for it’s California Grill restaurant. Both require Advance Dining Reservations, so make sure to choose your rest days wisely.

If you’re resort hopping at night, you can watch Wishes over the castle from the 4th-floor observation deck, or catch the nightly Electrical Water Pageant (a little-known retro Disney experience).

Pixar Play Zone opened on April 13, 2018, for children ages 4 to 12. They can enjoy a Pixar-packed evening of fun, games and Character encounters. This kids-only experience also includes dinner and dessert! For a little adult-only entertainment, there are motorized boat rentals, cabana rentals, and yoga on the lawn to enjoy and explore.

For ease of travel if you’re staying at a Walt Disney Resort use Resort Transportation to the Magic Kingdom. This way you can hop on the monorail to the Contemporary Resort unless of course, you are staying at a Monorail resort.

Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa houses white-sand beaches, a spa and fitness centre, tennis courts, elaborate theatrical dining from high tea to personal butler service, and so much more. Relax in the luxurious lobby as the live orchestra plays ragtime, jazz, and popular Disney tunes.

Visiting during Christmas or Easter is always a treat. During Christmas, a Disney pastry chef shares gingerbread house decoration techniques with guests receive free recipes and tasting opportunities. Artists perform Christmas carols in the lobby. During the Easter season, the lobby is decorated with enormous chocolate Easter eggs.

The Grand Floridian Resorts more famous restaurants include the breakfast buffet 1900 Park Fare, as well as the Grand Floridian Café, Victoria & Albert’s Dinner Queen Victoria Room or Grand View Tea Room.

Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort

Another monorail resort, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort is a huge complex laid out like a South Seas–island village around a ceremonial house.

The resort is home to the Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show featuring South Seas-island native dancing followed by an all-you-can-eat “Polynesian-style” meal. The resort restaurant Ohana also offers a daily character breakfast with Mickey, Pluto, Lilo and Stitch.

The beach of the Polynesian is a perfect place to enjoy the fireworks over the Magic Kingdom and to watch the daily, free Electric Water Pageant held around 9:00 p.m.

Don’t forget to check out Captain Cook’s and get a Dole Whip, or grab a tropical cocktail at the lounge outside of Ohana.

Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

This deluxe resort is inspired by the National Park Lodges of the early 20th century. Disney’s Wilderness Lodge has a beach and a pool modelled on a mountain stream complete with waterfall and geyser. While outside guests can’t enter the pool, it is still a sight to see.

Book a dinner reservation at Whispering Canyon Cafe – it’s one of the most fun and family-oriented restaurants on property. You can also catch the Electrical Water Pageant at night.

To get to the Wilderness Lodge, you can take a boat from the Magic Kingdom or Contemporary Resort, or a bus from the other parks.

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Maybe the parks are crowded and you want to get away from the hustle and bustle. Maybe you have an extra day of vacation without tickets and want some fun ways to fill your time. Walt Disney World resort hopping is a great activity to do on a day you are not planning on visiting the parks. #waltdisneyworld #disney #disneyworld #resorthopping #disneyrestday
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