We’ve all done crazy things for the love of WDW. From waking up at insane hours to secure ADRs to fielding an onslaught of ‘you’re going to Disney again’ queries from friends and coworkers to the even more extreme but not unheard of world of Disney-themed tattoos, we’ve all done at least something crazy for the love of the mouse.
My personal brand of insanity led me to plan two different trips that involved resort-switching. One trip I switched between Animal Kingdom Lodge in WDW and ‘the dark side’–Portofino Bay Resort at Universal. And on the other trip, I switched not once but twice–from a room in Jambo House to a one-bedroom villa in Kidani Village and then again to a studio at Kidani.
Switching Disney Resorts Mid-Trip
There are a variety of reasons to change Disney resorts mid-trip. Many have to do with money; if you are staying for more than a few nights, you can save a lot of money by doing a split stay between two different resort levels. Other times it’s an availability thing; if you are visiting during peak times–like over the holiday season–it may be difficult to find one single room that is available for your entire desired stay. Or, like me, you just might think it is fun. But whatever the reason, here’s how it works:
-You arrive, likely via Magical Express, at resort number one. You check in, hit the Parks and have a great time.
-Several days later, you check out of resort number one. You give your bags to the desk, and they will transfer them for you.
TIP: Here’s where packing light comes in handy. The biggest complaint I’ve heard people cite when switching resorts is that ‘it’s a pain in the ears to pack and re-pack over and over.’ I think the reason for this is twofold: one, there’s really nothing else anyone could complain about because Disney makes resort switching so easy and two, people tend to overpack.
-You hit the Parks again and have a great time. When leaving your last Park of the day, remember to get on the bus for resort number two. This is very important! I know it sounds silly, but really, anyone could make this mistake, especially when on ‘vacation mode’.
-Upon arriving at resort number two, you check in again and ask to have your bags brought to your room or, if you prefer (and I always prefer), simply pick them up yourself at bell services.
Truly, switching resorts in WDW is so much easier than doing so in real life; trust me, I took a month-long road trip last summer that included no fewer than twelve check ins and check outs. What makes it really easy is that typically, when in WDW, you’re out and about during the time when you’d be checked out of one room but not yet into another; say between the hours of 11 am and 3 pm.
Please note: the above advice is given with the understanding that you booked your trip in a room-only fashion; you did not get a package including a meal plan and tickets.
Switching from a WDW Resort to a Universal Resort Mid-Trip
I’m not going to lie–this is a little more complicated. And a little more annoying. But still totally worth it if you or your child has a burning desire to visit Universal. In my case, it was my husband. I fought him tooth and nail and somehow he won. But that’s ok because I loved Portofino Bay Resort and had a fabulous time in the Wizarding World.
You will obviously need to secure transportation if you are not renting a car for the duration of your stay. If you are traveling WDW to Universal, don’t worry. WDW Resorts always have taxis waiting around the corner; you need only ask the valet, they will press some sort of magical button and a cab will arrive. If you are traveling Universal to WDW, it’s best to arrange for a car service–or at least call a cab a bit in advance of when you want to leave.
Speaking of order, there are pros and cons to WDW-Universal vs. Universal-WDW. Personally, I would have preferred to start at Universal and end at WDW–but that’s because I like Disney World better (I think) and would want to save it for last.
The real downside to making this switch is the loss of time. Between checking out of WDW, traveling to Universal, and checking back in (or vice versa), you’ll lose at least two hours. And, because of when checkout time is, those two hours are likely going to be early in the morning. I don’t know about you, but I’m a rope drop kind of gal; it kills me to wake up in WDW (or Universal, for that matter) and not rush to a park.
So–was all of this jumping around worth it? In both cases, I’d have to say yes, yes it was. Switching between AKL and Portofino allowed me to have two vacations in one. Switching between Jambo House and Kidani Village gave me the ability to experience a variety of rooms, compare the two different AKL lodges (and write THIS POST on the subject) and, most importantly, because it involved a collection of borrowed DVC points, provided me with a mostly-free WDW stay.
Would I switch resorts in the future? Sure. After all, I’d eventually like to stay at every on-site WDW resort. Personally, I think it would be fun to start off at a value, move to a moderate, and then finish up a stay at a deluxe resort. In fact, I may do just that on my next Disney trip!
Have you switched resorts mid-trip? If so, why? And what was your experience like? Do you have any more tips on resort-switching for Mouse on the Mind readers? Please share in the comments below!