What To Do When Resort Hopping
Since time is a priority, research and planning are your best friends when it comes to resort hopping. Disney World hotels are plentiful and unique, with each offering distinct theming, atmosphere, dining, and recreation.
To narrow down which resorts you want to visit, youll first need to decide what youd like to do once youre there. Use Disneys website, blogs like this, or social media posts for inspiration and let that guide where youd like to go.
The holidays are easily the most popular, and arguably the best, time to go resort hopping. The Christmas decorations are up, there are cozy seasonal snacks to try, and it is downright enchanting. If you arent into the whole tinsel-and-gingerbread thing, or if you cant make it out to Disney World in November or December, never fear there are lots of things to see and do at the Disney hotels all year round.
Some of the best dining at Disney World can be found in the resorts, so take a break from your wandering to try a bite, have a meal, or sip on something in the lounge. Or, turn resort hopping into a culinary adventure with a self-guided food tour or dine-around. Better yet, plan your visit around the Disney World fireworks and catch the show with a drink in hand, no park ticket necessary.
The only exception to this is with Disney Vacation Club members. This DVC perk gives guests complimentary access to select pools at various DVC resorts and Disney resort hotels. Capacity is limited and blockout dates apply.
Have A Clean Disney Record
Again, not being a cast member, I cant say for sure if this is an upgrade factor, but I do know from working in customer service that customers have records on them, and you can tell if someone has been a particular complainer over the years.
Particularly now with Magic Bands, you seem to be tracked at Disney World at all times. Theyll certainly have files of your past stays with them.
If you make it your duty to complain everywhere you stay and have a list of problems a mile long, I wouldnt think that Disney World would be as quick to upgrade you as someone who has a sparkling clean Disney rap sheet.
How To Get Around Disney By Disney Skyliner
Coming soon, a whole new complimentary transportation system called Disney Skyliner will give guests a birds-eye view of Walt Disney World Resort from gondolas as they travel between their Disney resort hotels and the Epcot and Hollywood Studios theme parks.
Select Disney Skyliner cabins will have iconic Disney characters incorporated into their exterior design to give the appearance that a Disney pal is riding along with guests. The Epcot station will reflect the flavor of the park’s European Pavilions, with metal and glass canopies, hand-painted murals and ornamental steel structures that harken back to the early 18th century Art Nouveau style.
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The Dreaded End Of Night Lines
The end-of-the-night lines for buses are the worst. I dont know why, but the buses going to the parks always seem to arrive on time. But the buses taking you home always seem to take forever. Or maybe thats just me.
If you want to watch the fireworks and milk every ounce of Disney joy out of your day, thats wonderful. Just know there will be lots of other people who have the same plans. That end of the night wait when youre tired and your kids are whining can be painful, especially if youre not prepared for it.
Also know each bus can accommodate up to two mobility scooters. Scooters take up seat space, and guests with disabilities normally board before other guests, regardless of their place in line. This can impact your wait time. If you use a scooter or have mobility issues, you can check out this post from the Disney Parks.
The Best Disney World Splurges For Night Owls
If you have the budget for some VIP experiences but dont like early mornings, Disney World still has you covered.
Ultimate Night of Adventure VIP Tour at Animal Kingdom: To avoid both lines and FastPasses for Pandora and other Animal Kingdom rides, spend $249 per person to get expedited FastPass+ access to Expedition Everest, Kilimanjaro Safaris, Dinosaur, the Rivers of Light nighttime spectacular and, most important, Avatar Flight of Passage. This four-hour evening tour also includes snacks and a specialty nonalcoholic or alcoholic beverage.
Rivers of Light Dining Package: Choose breakfast, lunch or dinner, and score premium seats to the Animal Kingdom nighttime light show. Packages start at $50 for adults and $26 for children.
Fantasmic! Dessert and VIP Viewing Experience: Thirty-nine dollars per person will get you a buffet to satisfy your sweet tooth and VIP seating at Fantasmic!, the nighttime spectacular at Hollywood Studios.
Frozen Ever After Sparkling Dessert Party: If your little princess or prince loves the Frozen ride at Epcot, this one is for you. It includes a great seat for Illuminations! the nighttime fireworks show at Epcot a buffet of sweets and afterward, Frozen Ever After without waiting in line. The experience is $99 for adults and $59 for children.
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How To See Bus Wait Times In My Disney Experience
Or, if youd rather, the My Disney Experience app will also show you when the next bus is scheduled to arrive to your resort.
You must have a Disney Resort hotel reservation and be logged into your Disney account in order to see bus times at your resort via the My Disney Experience app.
My Disney Experience > Resort Hotel
Unfortunately, the parks and Disney Springs dont have anything similar that will tell you when the next bus is scheduled to arrive. You can only find out bus arrival info at the resorts.
Book A Disney World Vacation At A Discount
No matter where you are staying or what transportation you plan to use, consider booking all your Walt Disney World vacations with Trips With Tykes partner Get Away Today. Get Away Today offers discounts on Walt Disney World tickets and deals on both on and off-property hotel stays. Get Away Today also has a special free concierge service to help you with dining reservations, Fastpass+ bookings, and more. Request a vacation package quote from Get Away Today here or book tickets only directly here.
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Disneys Coronado Springs Resort
Since its recent refurbishment and the addition of the Gran Destino Tower, Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort has become one of the top choices in the Moderate resort category. Located near Disney’s Animal Kingdom, this Spanish-, Mexican-, and American Southwest-inspired hotel has one of the best pools on property, with a 50-foot Mayan pyramid centerpiece and a 123-foot waterslide . Rooftop Toledo Tapas, Steak, & Seafood and Dahlia Lounge offer upscale Spanish flavors with a great view. We recommend staying in the Gran Destino Tower for easy access to the restaurants and resort transportation with nearly 2,000 rooms spread out in many buildings across the resort, some are a bit of a walk from the main tower.
Uber Or Lyft From The Orlando Airport To Disney World
Your next option is to take a taxi, Uber or Lyft from the Orlando Airport to Disney World. The cost on this one is going to vary based on time of day and your party size. If youre traveling with kids be sure to check out our tips on using rideshare services with littles. Need a car seat? Look under more options for a list of car seat rides available. Prices run roughly $10-15 higher with a car seat. Be aware that availability varies. UberX fits 3 passengers UberX with car seat was exactly $10 more. However, UberXL which fits 5 had no car seat availability over 5 times of me checking.
The benefit of using one of these services is that drivers are usually very close by with minimal wait times. You can reserve and be in a car in under 5 minutes in many cases. For this reason we recommend checking availability once you land but not booking until you have your luggage in hand and are out the door. Uber and Lyft pickup is located on Level 2 near baggage claim in both terminals . Follow the signs for Ride App Pickup to the end of the curbs.
Calculate Uber or Lyft cost to Disney without installing an App
TravelingMom Tip:Pay close attention to the passenger count when reserving both Uber and Lyft. You want to make sure your entire party will fit in the ride you select!
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Disney World Speedway Gas Stations
There are two Speedway gas stations on Disney property, one across from Disney Springs and one across from the Boardwalk resort. This could be a good choice for grocery shopping if you are going to be near Disney Springs at some point during your trip, or if you are staying close to Boardwalk. Also, unlike the Disney World grocery delivery services, you dont have to worry about minimum orders or delivery fees.
Unfortunately, these two gas stations arent going to be conveniently located for everyone. And like most gas stations, the prices will be inflated and the selection will be limited.
This is a good option for something super quick to pick up, but there wont be too many options!
Best Way To Get From Disney World To Universal Orlando
Its not usual for a Disney World vacation to also include a visit to Universal Orlando Resort. After all, its only about 10 miles away and no more than a 20 or 30-minute ride away. So if have some extra time and a desire to see The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and the rides of Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure theme parks, then we definitely recommend planning a day or two here!
So how do you get from Disney World to Universal Orlando Resort?
There are a few options, including ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft, taxi, direct shuttle, or car rentals. Below we go through these options.
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Private Car Service/limo Service
: Surprisingly, the best deals in Orlando transportation to Disney can be found by booking a private car and driver if you know where to look. Plus, it’s generally the most comfortable and efficient way to travel. You’ll have the entire vehicle just for your family or group, so you’re not at the mercy of other customers and you can book a car that best fits you and your family’s needs.
Benefits Of Staying Off
Many Walt Disney World fans are going to recommend everyone stay at a Disney-owned on-site hotel for their trip because thats what they personally prefer for their trips. However, its important for us fans to remember that not everyone is nuts about being immersed in the Disney experience, and off-site hotels can offer great advantages for other guests.
Value Proposition The biggest advantage to off-site hotels is bang for buck. This is usually expressed as off-site hotels being cheaper, but thats not all it is. Even if you want luxury accommodations that arent going to be cheaper than all on-site hotels, you will find that they offer better value off-site. In other words, youre not paying Disneys premium for its name, reputation, and location. Theres more competition among off-site hotels, keeping prices low.
Even if you arent necessarily looking for a bargain basement price on a hotel, youll typically get more value out of non-Disney hotels. In addition to this, although Disney does many things well, their best hotels simply do not compete with the best real world hotels in terms of luxury.
If you want luxury accommodations, your best bet is to look elsewhere, such as the Four Seasons , the Waldorf Astoria, Ritz-Carlton, Hyatt Regency, etc. Even the Swan & Dolphin offer superior bedding and other amenities than any Walt Disney World resort hotels, and usually these can be booked for about the price of a Walt Disney World Moderate-tier hotel.
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Disney World Hotel Discounts For Military And Veterans
Military Salute Discounts
New!Military Salute Discounts for stays January 1 December 16, 2022
Military discounts of up to 30% off Value Resorts, 35% off Moderate Resorts and Fort Wilderness Cabins, and 40% off Deluxe Resorts are available for stays 1/1/22 12/16/22.
Offer excludes Little Mermaid rooms at Art of Animation Resort, Pop Century Resort, Caribbean Beach Resort, Villas at Grand Floridian, Cabins at Copper Creek Villas, Polynesian Bungalows, suites in Moderate and Deluxe Resorts, 3-bedroom villas and campsites.
This offer can be booked as a room only reservation. If you wish, one of the Dining Plans can be added, which will then change your booking to a package and therefore subject to the package rules. Park tickets cannot be added to special military packages because this offer is tied in with a specially priced ticket offer for military personnel and their families.
Offer valid for active or retired members of the US military, including the National Guard, Reservists and the US Coast Guard, with a valid military ID card. Dept of Defense and Coalition Forces are not included. Military ID required at check-in.
- To reserve a room with the Military Salute discount running 1/1/22 12/16/22, call the Disney Reservations Center at or contact a travel agent who specializes in Disney travel, and request this special offer.
Military Salute Discounts for stays January 1 December 17, 2021
Shades of Green
The Best Moderate Disney World Resorts
For midlevel budgets, we like the Cabins at Fort Wilderness Resort.
If you are okay at a resort without a major dose of Disney theming, we also enjoy the new Gran Destino Tower, which is the only Disney Moderate resort with a club lounge option.
And while we dont love everything about Disneys Caribbean Beach Resort, its a good example of what is available at a sprawling Disney Moderate resort.
The Moderate-level hotels usually set you back $200 to $300 per night during peak season.
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Dont Forget Dining Splurges
This may surprise you if you havent been before, but Disney World has some world-class dining.
But before we get into our favorites, know that dining at Disney is a little different right now. While many Disney restaurants have reopened, some are still closed. The character meals are also operating in a different manner than before. So, while well talk about our all-time favorites below, do a little research directly with Disney to determine which restaurants will be open during your visit.
In the mood for some of the best sushi in America in a quaint, quiet dining space away from all the crowds? Yes, Disney World has that. Takumi-Tei, relatively new to the Disney World dining scene, made our list of the best eats at Disney World. Its not cheap, but youre guaranteed to be blown away. Just not right now. Most likely due to the relatively small size and quaint nature of the space, Takumi-Tei has yet to reopen. We absolutely, positively promise it will be worth the wait.
If you dont have young children in tow , Victoria & Alberts has some of the best food at Disney World. Expect to bring a dress or a dinner jacket and a few hundred extra dollars if you want to enjoy a meal at this Grand Floridian mainstay. Like Takumi-Tei, there is no scheduled reopening date for Victoria & Alberts. It does seem that it will be open in time for the 50th anniversary celebration in October, but we dont expect it to reopen before then.
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The 50th Anniversary Is Here
From Oct. 1, Disney World will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the park opening.
This has noticeably increased demand for hotels, park pass reservations and pretty much everything related to Disney World. With Remys Ratatouille Adventure, a much anticipated new attraction at Epcot, debuting on Oct. 1, and the normal crowds for the Food & Wine Festival, expect Epcot to be even more crowded than normal.
All the parks will have celebrations going on for the golden anniversary. The Magic Kingdom has received a castle makeover ahead of the big date. But dont worry if now is not the time for you to head to Disney the celebration is scheduled to last into 2023.
Since park pass reservations are already in a sold-out state for the start of the celebration, you may want to wait a bit if youre trying to avoid crowds and increased pricing on hotels.
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Are Park Hopper Tickets Worth It
If your goal is to do everything Disney World has to offer from sunup to sundown, thats when you should consider Park Hopper tickets. For around $65 to $85 more, the Park Hopper add-on to any multiday ticket lets you go from park to park as often as youd like that day.
Thats not a huge cost in the grand scheme of Disney, but the fact is most families especially those with little kids dont need access to more than one park per day.
Amid the pandemic, park-hopping got even more complicated. There used to be no limitations on how many parks you could visit, or what times you could hop. Currently, you need to start with a park pass reservation for one park and enter that park. Park-hopping officially begins at 2 p.m. each day and is capacity-controlled. If time permits, you can hop to a third or fourth park assuming those parks have capacity as well.
To find out if there are any restrictions on park-hopping, guests can call 407-560-5000 to check availability, though on most days it should work out.
Before you dole out that extra cash, be sure you and your family have the stamina for it: You can easily walk eight to 10 miles per day at Disney World in just one park. Generally speaking, older kids or adults without kids benefit more from Park Hoppers, but even then its not essential. You can also hold off on the decision until you get there and simply have guest services help you upgrade to Park Hoppers if needed.