As you can imagine, we love resort hopping at Disney World! We think it’s one of the best ways to maximize your Walt Disney World vacation.
When you visit multiple resorts, you’ll get a chance to see the other side of Disney–that relaxing, peaceful, and mostly air-conditioned side. Of course, resort hopping also includes trying new things, browsing unique gift shops, and sampling things like truffle fries and drinks that come in a pineapple!
Below, we’ll discuss five of our favorite itineraries for resort-hopping at Disney World. We’ll discuss the ins and outs of getting between the resorts using Disney transportation and a few places you don’t want to miss!
Remember that each Disney World Resort has a unique atmosphere with plenty to do. So the hard part is choosing which resorts to include in your itinerary. Technically, you could do them all (we wouldn’t blame you), but that might not leave much time for the theme parks in your schedule!
What is Resort Hopping?
Resort hopping is a term coined to describe touring multiple resorts at Disney World. Not to be confused with a split stay, where you stay at multiple resorts during your vacation.
Resort hopping is similar to park hopping. When you park hop, you might visit Magic Kingdom for a few hours and then “hop” to Epcot. Of course, you must have a park-hopper ticket to do that.
With resorts, it’s the same idea. For example, you might visit Disney’s Grand Floridian, hop to the Contemporary, and then the Polynesian. Don’t worry. You can take the monorail between these resorts. You don’t have to hop–that would take forever!
For starters, you can’t always park at a resort. So if you’re staying on property, you’ll likely want to use transportation provided by Disney, which is also part of the fun.
If you’re visiting from off-site, you might have to pay for valet at a resort, or you can secure a dining reservation at your first stop. Since we live nearby and are annual passholders, we often park at one of the theme parks and then walk or take a bus to our destination.
On these holidays, some resorts give armbands to their guests to indicate they are staying at the resort. (Think resorts like the Polynesian, where guests watch the fireworks from the beaches.)
As for the best time of day to do a little resort hopping, that’s up to you. You might plan an entire day of resort hopping or spend a day at the pool and then resort hop later that evening.
Disney World Resort Hopping Itineraries
Below we’ve put together a few resort-hopping itineraries. Each set of resorts is grouped by location to make tours as convenient as possible. Toward the end, we’ve added the option to mix and match your resort-hopping itinerary with a few extra ideas!
Sometimes the planning is part of the fun. If you have several resorts spread out, you’ll want to spend extra time planning how to efficiently get to and from each resort.
Monorail Resort Hopping
Disney’s monorail resorts are probably what started it all when it comes to resort-hopping. Given the convenience of being on the monorail, you can quickly get from one resort to another. They are as follows:
- Disney’s Contemporary Resort
- Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
- Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
Unfortunately, with so many things to do, it’s hard to tackle everything. And the last thing we want is for you to be overwhelmed.
So below, we’ve listed a few highlights for each resort. Then we’ve combined some of our favorites to make an itinerary. If you see something more important to your group, add it or swap it for another item.
Things to Do at Disney’s Contemporary while Resort Hopping:
- Plan a meal at Steakhouse 71. (Reservations Required)
- Have dinner at Disney’s California Grill. (Reservations Required)
- Lounge Options: Steakhouse 71 or California Grill (Based on Availability)
- Grab a quick-service meal at Contempo Cafe.
- Explore the Grand Concourse, the resort’s fourth floor.
- Watch Magic Kingdom fireworks from the observation deck or Skyway Bridge.
- Explore the Contemporary’s beautiful backyard and scenic Bay Lake.
- Shop at Bay View Gifts (This is one of our favorites!)
After leaving the Contemporary, we’ll hop on the monorail to Disney’s Polynesian. I don’t know about you, but I’m always happy to spend time at this tropical oasis.
Things to Do While Resort Hopping the Polynesian:
- First, relax. (That’s a must at the Poly!)
- Take a walk along the shores of Seven Seas Lagoon.
- Watch fireworks from the beaches of the Polynesian.
- Get a drink that comes in a pineapple.
- Lounges: Tambu Lounge, Trader Sam’s, Trader Sam’s Tiki Terrace
- Enjoy a meal at Kona Cafe. (Requires Reservations)
- Grab a bite to eat at Captain Cook’s.
- Tour the Great Ceremonial House. (Polynesian Lobby)
- Shop at Boutiki or Moana Mercantile.
- Enjoy a Dole Whip from Pineapple Lanai.
You’re probably wondering if you can even make it to another resort after doing a few of these things. But we have one more stop on the monorail: Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa.
Favorite Things to Do While Resort Hopping the Grand Floridian:
- Enjoy the live piano player in Grand Floridian’s lobby. (When available)
- Have a meal at Grand Floridian Cafe. (Requires Reservations)
- Grab a bite to eat at Gasparilla Island Grill.
- Have a cocktail or small dinner at the Enchanted Rose Lounge.
- Walk to The Villas at Grand Floridian and see the Mary Poppins fountain.
- Shop in the hotel’s gift shops.
- Grab a lounge chair and rest on one of the resort’s beaches.
- Schedule a spa appointment
- Bonus: See holiday decorations at Christmas (gingerbread house at Grand Floridian) and Easter.
One can easily spend an entire day resort hopping the monorail resorts. So you’ll have to decide which aspects are important to you.
Itinerary for Resort-Hopping the Monorail Loop
To put this all together, here’s a sample itinerary for spending a little time at each monorail resort.
- Visit the Grand Floridian for brunch to start your day.
- Tour the resort’s grounds at Grand Floridian.
- Take the monorail to the Contemporary.
- Explore the Grand Concourse and check out the lobby.
- Take a walk through the resort’s backyard.
- Take in the views from the Skyway Bridge.
- Shop in Bay View Gifts.
- Board the monorail to Disney’s Polynesian.
- Explore the Great Ceremonial House
- Shop in Boutiki or Moana Mercantile.
- Pick up a Dole Whip and relax for a bit.
- Enjoy a specialty drink on the resort’s white sand beaches.
You might want to watch fireworks or the Electrical Water Pageant if you visit any monorail resorts in the evening. You can check times for the fireworks in the My Disney Experience app, and the water pageant’s schedule is on Disney.com.
Epcot Resorts Hopping
Next, we’ll discuss resort-hopping the Epcot Resorts area. For this cluster of resorts, you’ll have the option to walk or take Disney’s Friendship Boats. All of the resorts in this area are centered around Crescent Lake.
- Disney’s Boardwalk Inn
- Disney’s Beach Club Resort
- Disney’s Yacht Club Resort
- Disney’s Swan and Dolphin Resort
We’ll start with Disney’s Boardwalk Inn. Then we’ll continue to Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club. Additionally, I’ll provide a few things to do at the Swan and Dolphin Hotels.
Things to Do While Resort Hopping at Disney’s Boardwalk Inn:
- Explore the Boardwalk, play games, and enjoy nightly entertainment.
- Grab a bite to eat at the Boardwalk Deli.
- Order ice cream at the Boardwalk Ice Cream Shop.
- Have dinner at Trattoria al Forno or Flying Fish. (Reservations needed)
- Enjoy lunch or dinner at Blue Ribbon Corn Dogs! (Coming Soon)
- Make reservations for lunch or dinner at the Cake Bake Shop (Coming Soon)
- Shop at the gift shops.
- Visit the Promenade Art Gallery
- Rent a Surrey Bike and pedal it around Crescent Lake.
- Pick up a cocktail at Belle Vue Lounge or Abracadabar.
Tip: You can enjoy the Boardwalk any time of day. However, the entire area lacks shade. So it’s more pleasant to explore the Boardwalk near sunset into the evening hours.
The Boardwalk comes alive in the evening with carnival games and performers. Some might be interested in locations for adults age 21 or over, like Atlantic Dance Hall and Jelly Rolls.
Moving on, we’ll visit neighboring resorts, Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club. While two separate resorts, they are both connected and share some amenities. This resort area is our favorite place to spend time at Walt Disney World.
Things to Do at Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club While Resort Hopping:
- Sit in a swing on the beach and take in the views.
- Hang out in the Yacht Club lobby.
- Locate the Ariel statue in the Beach Club Villas.
- Grab a bite to eat at Hurricane Hanna’s.
- Have dinner at Yachtsman Steakhouse. (Reservation Required)
- Enjoy breakfast with a buffet and entree at Ale and Compass. (Reservations)
- Have lunch or an early dinner at Beaches and Cream. (Try the Kitchen Sink!)
- Explore the indoor/outdoor walkway between the Beach and the Yacht Club.
- Lounges: Martha’s Vineyard and Crew’s Cup
- Bonus: See the train station and gingerbread carousel at Christmas.
Next, we’ll examine Disney’s Swan and Dolphin Hotels and the Swan Reserve. These resorts are unique because while they sit on Disney property, Marriott owns and operates them.
Resort Hopping at the Swan and Dolphin Hotels
- Explore the beautiful grounds of the Swan and Dolphin.
- Enjoy a meal near the pool at the Cabana Bar and Beach Club.
- Have lunch or dinner at The Fountain inside the Dolphin.
- Have dinner at Shula’s Steakhouse or Il Mulino. (Reservations Needed)
- Have dinner at Amare at the Swan Reserve. (Reservations Needed)
- Spend some time in the Dolphin’s lobby.
- Shop at the resort’s gift shops and boutiques.
- Tour the Swan Reserve.
- Enjoy a round of putt-putt golf at Fantasia Gardens. (next door to the Swan Reserve)
Itinerary for Resort-Hopping the Epcot Resorts
Here’s a sample itinerary of what you might do in this area.
- Make reservations for dinner at the Yachtsman Steakhouse.
- Visit the Beach and Yacht Club a few hours before your dining reservation.
- Tour the Beach Club side of the resort.
- Shop in the gift shops.
- Enjoy a pre-dinner cocktail at Ale and Compass Lounge.
- Have dinner at Yachtsman Steakhouse.
- Enjoy a sunset stroll or boat ride to the Swan and Dolphin.
- Walk over to Fantasia Gardens for a round of mini-golf.
- Head over to the Boardwalk to see the nightlife.
For those who might enjoy something unique that costs extra, consider reserving a fireworks cruise at Epcot. More information is available on Disney’s site.
Resort Hopping the Disney Skyliner Resorts
Disney’s Skyliner is the newest form of transportation at Walt Disney World. Often, guests like to incorporate a ride on the gondolas into their resort-hopping adventures.
Here are the Skyliner Resorts:
- Disney’s Riviera Resort
- Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort
- Disney’s Pop Century Resort
- Disney’s Art of Animation Resort
Additionally, the Skyliner drops off at both Epcot and Hollywood Studios, making it within walking distance of the Epcot Resorts. So if you want to extend your resort hopping to include both the Epcot and Skyliner Resorts, you can do just that!
First, we’ll look at Disney’s Riviera Resort before moving on to Caribbean Beach, Pop Century, and Art of Animation.
Things to do while resort hopping Disney’s Riviera Resort:
- Take an art tour! (Pick up a copy of the self-guided tour in the lobby.)
- Explore the beautiful grounds of the resort.
- Visit Le Petit Cafe for a coffee, pastry, or cocktail!
- Have breakfast with characters at Topolino’s Terrace. (Requires Reservations)
- Shop at La Boutique.
- Enjoy a meal from Primo Piatto outside near the lake.
- Relax at the indoor and outdoor lounge at Bar Riva. (They have great entrees!)
- If visiting in the evening, have dinner at Topolino’s Terrace or check for availability at the rooftop lounge. (Reservations required for dinner.)
While at the Riviera, you can continue to Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort. You can walk around the lake to Old Port Royale, where the resort’s lobby and main recreation area are located.
Caribbean Beach is a beautiful resort, and its grounds are fun to explore. However, if you’re visiting during extreme heat, remember that sunset visits tend to be more enjoyable than midday.
Things to Do While Resort Hopping at Caribbean Beach:
- Walk to the lighthouse between Caribbean Beach and Riviera Resort.
- Explore Caribbean Cay (the island near Old Port Royale) and take a break on one of the swings.
- Enjoy a beverage at the Banana Cabana.
- Have dinner at Sebastian’s Bistro. (Reservations Required)
- Grab a bite to eat at Centertown Market.
- Rent bicycles and take a ride around Barefoot Bay.
After exploring Old Port Royale at Caribbean Beach, you’ll walk to the main Skyliner station. We’ll hop over to Disney’s Pop Century and Art of Animation from there.
Resort Hopping between Pop Century and Art of Animation
- Take a walk around Hourglass Lake.
- Tour the grounds of Art of Animation.
- Tour the grounds of Pop Century.
- Enjoy a meal at either resort’s food court.
At Disney’s Art of Animation, you’ll want to walk the grounds and see the larger-than-life representations. The resort has a Little Mermaid section, a Cars section, a Finding Nemo section, and The Lion King section.
Make sure to take lots of photos of the kids! Art of Animation is an excellent resort for taking pictures. You’ll see why when you visit!
Additionally, you can take a scenic walk around Hourglass Lake between Art and Pop. Pop Century has tons of references from decades between the 50s to the 90s. It’s like taking a trip back in time!
Skyliner Resort Hopping Itinerary
- Start at the Caribbean Beach Skyliner station and visit Art of Animation.
- Take a walk through the grounds of Art of Animation.
- Start with The Little Mermaid Section and continue to the Cars section.
- About midway, take a break in the resort’s lobby.
- Join the trail around Hourglass Lake from the Cars section and make your way around the lake.
- Tour the 90s and 70s section before heading through the Hippy Dippy Pool area back to the Skyliner.
- Take the Skyliner back to Caribbean Beach and walk to the bridge.
- Explore Caribbean Cay and Old Port Royale.
- Enjoy a refreshment at Banana Cabana.
- Walk by the lighthouse on your way to Disney’s Riviera.
- Have dinner at Primo Piatto or Bar Riva.
- Pick up dessert from Le Petit Cafe.
Resort Hopping The Lodges at Disney
If you love the great outdoors, you’ll want to plan a hop between Fort Wilderness and Wilderness Lodge during your vacation. Additionally, I like to include Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge in this hop, even though it’s not close.
We’ll start with Fort Wilderness. The earlier you begin this resort hop, the better. There are many things to see and do throughout the day!
Things to Do at Fort Wilderness:
- Know where you are going! Fort Wilderness is immense! (Ask a bus driver if you need help!)
- Visit Tri Circle D Ranch near the Settlement. (Extra-cost trail rides are available.)
- Visit the Tri Circle D Ranch stables near Pioneer Hall to see Cinderella’s ponies and the other working horses at Disney World. (No charge.)
- Take children for a pony ride. (Minimal cost, Stable at Pioneer Hall)
- Rent bicycles to tour the resort.
- Take a walking tour of the resort. (It’s a long walk, but you can take an internal bus to return if tired.)
It’s important to note that Tri Circle D Ranch has two sets of stables. The first set is located near Pioneer Hall and is more for pony rides and touring. You’ll be near this stable if you take a boat to the resort from Magic Kingdom.
A second set of stables is on the opposite end of the resort. This set of stables is where the horseback trail rides are located. It’s approximately a 20-25 minute walk from Pioneer Hall to the Settlement. So take an internal bus.
Things to Do While Resort Hopping Disney’s Wilderness Lodge:
- Find a seat at one of the galleries on the upper-level floors off the lobby and relax.
- Follow Copper Creek Springs from the lobby out to Bay Lake.
- See the geyser erupt!
- Enjoy lunch or dinner at Geyser Point Bar and Grill. (No reservations, but there might be a wait.)
- Shop in the gift shop.
- Enjoy character dining at Artist Point. (Reservations Required)
- Grab a bite to eat at Roaring Fork and enjoy it outside.
- Explore the grounds of the resort. It’s beautiful!
- Grab a beverage or a meal at Territory Lounge in the evening.
- Have breakfast at Whispering Canyon Cafe! (Reservations Required)
- Sneak down to the villa’s lobby at Boulder Ridge!
Things to Do at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge:
- Tour the lobby at Jambo House.
- Take a self-guided art tour of the resort.
- Visit the public viewing areas to see the animals grazing on the savannas.
- Have lunch at The Mara!
- Dine at Jiko, the resort’s signature dining location. (Requires Reservations)
- Have breakfast at Boma, Flavors of Africa. (Requires Reservations)
- Pick up an order of zebra domes for a snack.
- Shop in Zawadi Market Place.
- Wander around until your heart’s content.
- Walk down to Kidani Village.
- Visit the savanna viewing areas at the resort. (Don’t miss the one by the pool!)
- Tour the resort’s beautiful pool area.
- Grab lunch at the Maji Pool Bar.
- Shop in Johari Treasures gift shop.
- Have lunch or dinner at Sanaa (It’s the one with bread service!)
The Lodges Resort Hopping Itinerary
Putting it all together, here’s a sample itinerary for the Lodges:
- Enjoy breakfast at Boma, Flavors of Africa.
- Tour the Jambo House lobby.
- Check out the public savanna areas at the resort.
- Participate in a hidden Mickey scavenger hunt. (Ask the front desk.)
- Explore Kidani Village and have lunch at Sanaa.
- Take a bus to Magic Kingdom and a boat to Fort Wilderness.
- Visit Tri Circle D stables near Pioneer Hall.
- Take a bus to Disney’s Wilderness Lodge. (The bus stop is near the stables.)
- Explore the Wilderness Lodge.
- Take an elevator to one of the upper floors off the lobby, find a couch, and relax!
- Watch the geyser erupt!
- Have dinner at Geyser Point Bar and Grill or cocktails at Territory Lounge.
Resort Hopping (Mix and Match)
While all of Walt Disney World’s Resorts are suitable for resort hopping, you might have a few you specifically want to visit. So, when planning, you can make up your own itinerary to mix and match the resort you most want to visit.
That said, a few resorts are still worth mentioning. So below, we’ve listed the things to do at each one.
You could spend a reasonable amount of time at Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter and Port Orleans Riverside Resorts. They are within walking distance, or you could take a water taxi between them.
Things to Do at Disney’s Port Orleans Resorts:
- Tour the Port Orleans French Quarter grounds and check out the pool area.
- Enjoy beignets at Scat Cat’s Club Cafe. (French Quarter)
- Have a meal at Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory. (French Quarter)
- Take a horse-drawn carriage ride. (Requires Reservations)
- Walk or take the boat between the resorts.
- Rent bikes at Port Orleans Riverside.
- Shop at either of the resort’s gift shops.
- Take in a performance of Yehaa Bob Jackson at River Roost Lounge. (Select evenings)
If you want to organize an itinerary for touring these resorts, I’d plan an afternoon or early evening. You might spend an afternoon at Disney Springs before or after visiting these resorts. (Water taxis run between both resorts and Disney Springs.)
You’ll need to take a bus from a theme park or Disney Springs to get to Coronado Springs. Or you can always take a taxi, Minnie Vans, or a car service like Lyft or Uber.
Things to Do at Coronado Springs Resort:
- Tour the El Centro Lobby.
- Shop in Panchito’s gift shop.
- Take a walk around the lake and enjoy the wildlife.
- Have dinner at Three Bridges Bar and Grill.
- Tour Gran Destino Tower.
- Have dinner at Toledo. (Requires Reservations)
- Enjoy a cocktail and the views from Dahlia Lounge.
Final Thoughts on Resort Hopping at Disney World
Hopefully, this article gave you plenty of new and fresh ideas to include in your next resort-hopping adventure. For many of us, our time at the resorts is an integral part of our Disney vacation.
Sure, you enjoyed meeting characters at Magic Kingdom, and riding Rise of the Resistance at Hollywood Studios was too much fun.
But that afternoon, when you napped by the fireplace at the Wilderness Lodge (the one when it was 100 degrees outside), that small moment was priceless. Yeah, it’s those little moments. They’re the ones that count big—more than anything.
In the Comments
What are your thoughts on resort hopping at Disney World? Which of these itineraries interests you the most?