The Ultimate Guide to Resort Hopping at Disney World

Resort hopping is one of the best ways to make the most out of your Disney World vacation. By visiting multiple resorts, you’ll get a chance to see everything that Disney World has to offer.

This article will go over resort hopping at Disney World. We’ll discuss the details of resort hopping, which resorts to include, and look at a few resort hopping itineraries.

Each resort at Disney World has its own unique atmosphere and things to do, so you’ll be able to experience something different at each one.

The hard part is choosing which resort hopping itinerary works best for your group! Technically, you could do them all, but that might not leave you with much park time.

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 couple of hours and then “hop” over 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 for breakfast, hop to the Contemporary for a while, and then hop over to the Polynesian.

As for the best time to do a little resort hopping, that’s up to you. You might plan an entire day at some point during their trip.

Since resort-hopping makes up a relatively mild day, a resort day could allow you to rest up mid-vacation. You could sleep in and start your day with a late brunch.

Or you might make a partial resort-hopping trip after a day in the parks. For example, you could spend part of the day at Animal Kingdom before having dinner at an Epcot Resort.

While you’re in the area, you might hop over to the Boardwalk to check out the evening entertainment.

There are indeed so many options!

Resort Hopping Disney World

Disney World Resort Hopping Itineraries

Below I’ve put together a few resort hopping itineraries. I’ve grouped the resorts to make the tours as convenient as possible.

However, you are welcome to pick and choose your own resort-hopping itineraries. Sometimes planning these things is part of the fun.

And if you want to hop several resorts that aren’t near each other, you can. You’ll want to have a plan to get to and from each resort as efficiently as possible.

We’ll start with the most popular resorts to hop to, the monorail resorts.

Monorail Resort Hopping

The monorail resorts are probably the easiest to hop, given the convenience of being on the monorail system. After arriving at one of these resorts, you can board the monorail to the following stops:

Related: Disney World Monorail Guide

Truthfully, there are so many things you can do while you’re touring these resorts. Below, I’ll mention a few of the highlights for each resort. Additionally, I’ll link to the entire resort review if you want to learn more.

Things to do at Disney’s Contemporary while resort hopping:

  • Plan a meal at Steakhouse 71. (Reservations Required)
  • Have dinner at California Grill. (Reservations Required)
  • Lounge Options: Steakhouse 71 or California Grill (If seating is available.)
  • Grab a bite to eat at Contempo Cafe.
  • Tour the new lobby.
  • Explore the Grand Concourse, which is the resort’s fourth floor.
  • Watch Magic Kingdom fireworks from the observation deck or Skyway bridge.
  • Explore the Contemporary’s beautiful backyard and take in views of scenic Bay Lake.
  • Do a little shopping in Bay View Gifts.

Of course, these are only a few fun things you can do while visiting the resort. Here are the related articles to these activities if you want to learn more:

After leaving the Contemporary, we’ll hop on the monorail and head to our next resort, Disney’s Polynesian. I don’t know about you, but I’m getting excited just thinking about spending a little time at this tropical oasis.

Here are a few 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)
  • Do a little shopping in Boutiki.
  • And don’t forget to pick up a Dole Whip at the Pineapple Lanai.

Hopefully, I’m not forgetting anything significant here. There are so many things you could do during your visit to the Polynesian! To get a better idea of some of these items, here are a few related articles:

At this point, 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, and that’s at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa.

Tip: If you enjoy spending time outdoors, skip the monorail and walk over to the Grand Floridian from the Polynesian.

Related: Can I walk between the Polynesian and Grand Floridian?

Favorite things to do while resort hopping the Grand Floridian:

  • Enjoy the live piano player Grand Floridian lobby. (Most Afternoons)
  • Have a meal at Grand Floridian Cafe. (Requires Reservations)
  • Grab a bite to eat at Gasparilla Island Grill.
  • Have a cocktail or small meal in the Enchanted Rose Lounge.
  • Tour the luscious grounds of the resort.
  • Do a little shopping in the gift shop.
  • Grab a lounge chair and rest on one of the resort’s beaches.
  • Schedule an appointment at the spa!
  • During Christmas, check out the Grand Floridian Gingerbread House.
  • See the large chocolate Easter eggs on display in the lobby in the Spring.

Here are a few related articles to learn more specifics:

One can easily spend an entire day resort hopping the monorail resorts. However, if you only walk the grounds, browse a few shops, and grab a snack or meal here or there, you’ll have time to see a good deal.

To put this all together, here’s a sample itinerary for spending a little time at each monorail resort.

  1. Visit the Grand Floridian for brunch to start your day.
  2. Tour the resort’s grounds at Grand Floridian.
  3. Take the monorail to the Contemporary.
  4. Explore the Grand Concourse and check out the new lobby.
  5. Take a walk through the resort’s backyard.
  6. Walk out to the Skyway Bridge and take in the views.
  7. Shop in Bay View Gifts.
  8. Board the monorail to Disney’s Polynesian.
  9. Pick up a Dole Whip and relax for a bit.
  10. Shop in Boutiki or Moana Mercantile.
  11. Walk out to the water to see the Bora Bora Bungalows.
  12. Grab a cocktail or beverage and walk over to the Grand Floridian.

One thing I didn’t mention is the Electrical Water Pageant. The pageant floats by all of these resorts nightly. The times are available here on Disney’s site.

Now that we’ve discussed a few things to do at the monorail resorts, let’s move over to the Epcot Resorts situated on Crescent Lake. There is plenty to do here as well.

Epcot Resorts Hopping

Disney’s Epcot Resorts sit in a circle around a lake between Epcot and Hollywood Studios. You can walk from one resort to the next in this area.

Additionally, Disney’s Friendship Boat service provides boat transportation between each resort.

Related: Disney’s Friendship Boat Guide

The following resorts make up the Epcot Resort Area:

We’ll start with Disney’s Boardwalk Inn and then move around to Disney’s Beach and Yacht. 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, enjoy nightly entertainment.
  • Grab a bite to eat at the Boardwalk Bakery.
  • Order ice cream at the Boardwalk Ice Cream Shop.
  • Have dinner at Trattoria al Forno or Flying Fish. (Reservations needed)
  • Enjoy lunch at Big River Grille (Takes walk-ups)
  • Shop at the gift shops.
  • Visit the Wyland 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 at most any time of day. However, there is not much shade on the actual boardwalk. So it’s more pleasant to explore the area near sunset hour into the evening.

Additionally, the Boardwalk comes alive in the evening with carnival games and performers. There are even a few nightspots that some adults might be interested in, like Atlantic Dance Hall and Jelly Rolls.

Here are a few related articles if you would like to learn more:

Moving on, we’ll take a look at the neighboring resorts.

While Beach and Yacht Club are two separate resorts, they are connected. So you can see and do a good bit while in one location.

And while I think resort hopping the monorail resorts is fun, this resort is my favorite place to spend time at Walt Disney World.

Things to do while resort hopping Disney’s Beach and Yacht Club:

  • 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 the breakfast with a buffet at Ale and Compass. (Reservations)
  • Have lunch or an early dinner at Beaches and Cream.
  • Explore the indoor/outdoor walkway between Beach and Yacht Club.
  • Lounges: Martha’s Vineyard and Crew’s Cup
  • At Christmas, see the train station and gingerbread carousel.

These related articles will provide further details:

Next, we’ll take a look at Disney’s Swan and Dolphin hotels and the Swan Reserve. These resorts are unique because while they sit on Disney property, they are owned and operated by Marriott.

Things to do while resort-hopping the Swan, Dolphin, and Swan Reserve:

  • 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)
  • Enjoy some time in the Dolphin’s lobby.
  • Shop at the different resort gift shops and boutiques.
  • Visit The Swan Reserve and tour the new resort.
  • Enjoy a round of putt-putt golf at Fantasia Gardens. (next door to the Swan Reserve)

Related articles with more information:

Surprisingly, a tour of the Epcot Resorts offers a different variety of things to do than the monorail resorts. Here’s a sample itinerary of what you might do while resort hopping in this area.

  1. Make early reservations for dinner at the Yachtsman Steakhouse.
  2. Visit the Beach and Yacht Club about 2-3 hours before your dining reservation.
  3. Tour the Beach Club side of the resort.
  4. Shop in the resort’s gift shops.
  5. Enjoy a pre-dinner cocktail at Ale and Compass Lounge.
  6. Have dinner at Yachtsman Steakhouse.
  7. Enjoy a sunset stroll or boat ride to the Swan and Dolphin.
  8. Walk over to Fantasia Gardens for a round of mini-golf.
  9. Head over to the Boardwalk to see all the nightlife.

For those looking to do something extra special, you might consider reserving a fireworks cruise to see Harmonious at Epcot. That sounds like the perfect way to end an evening at Disney World.

More information for the fireworks cruise is available here on Disney’s site.

Resort Hopping the Skyliner Resorts

Disney’s Skyliner is the newest form of transportation at Walt Disney World. So there isn’t any wonder that guests like to incorporate the gondolas into their resort-hopping adventures.

Here are the Skyliner Resorts:

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)
  • Do a little shopping in La Boutique.
  • Enjoy a quick bite to eat outside on the lawn from Prima Piatto!
  • Relax at the indoor and outdoor lounge at Bar Riva. They have a great salad!
  • If visiting in the evening, have dinner at Topolino’s or check for availability at the rooftop lounge. (Reservations required for dinner.)

If any of these ideas sound like a must, here are a few related articles that will provide more details:

While you’re at Disney’s Riviera, you can continue on your journey to Caribbean Beach Resort. You can take the Skyliner to Caribbean Beach.

However, it will be much closer to walk over to Old Port Royale, where the lobby and recreation area are located.

Caribbean Beach is a beautiful resort, and the 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 Caribbean Beach Resort:

  • Walk to the lighthouse between Caribbean Beach and Riviera Resort.
  • Explore Castaway Cay (an island near Old Port Royale) and take a break in 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.

Here are a few related articles that will provide more details if any of these items interest you:

Lastly, we’ll leave Old Port Royale at Caribbean Beach to hop over to the value resorts located on the Skyliner. Caribbean Beach’s Skyliner station is the central hub for the gondola system.

Related: Disney Skyliner Resorts

Pop Century and Art of Animation both share a stop on the Skyliner. And you’re probably wondering what on earth there is to do at either of these value resorts.

But if you’re the type who enjoys leisurely walks, seeing new things, and Disney, you’re going to love this stop on our resort hop! I know I do!

Things to do resort hopping at Disney’s Art of Animation:

  • Take a walk around Hourglass Lake.
  • Tour the different sections of Art of Animation.
  • Tour the different areas of Pop Century.
  • Enjoy a meal at either resort’s food court.

Usually, I would list participate in the drawing class at Art of Animation. But unfortunately, it’s not being offered at the time of this update.

However, if you’re at the resort, you might check to see if it’s returned. The class was offered in the afternoons and available to anyone.

At Art of Animation, you’ll want to walk the grounds and see all of the larger-than-life representations. For example, there is a Little Mermaid section, Cars section, Finding Nemo section, and The Lion King section.

Make sure to take lots of photos of the kids! Art of Animation is my favorite resort for taking pictures. You’ll see why when you visit.

Related Articles:

Okay, I resort hop the Skyliner Resorts fairly often. So here’s a sample itinerary of how I might spend my time in the area.

  1. Start at the main Caribbean Beach Skyliner station and visit Art of Animation.
  2. Take a walk through the grounds of Art of Animation.
  3. Start with The Little Mermaid Section and work your way to the Cars section.
  4. About midway, take a break in the resort’s lobby.
  5. Join the trail around Hourglass Lake from the Cars section and make your way around the lake.
  6. Tour the 90s section and maybe the lobby before heading through the Hippy Dippy Pool area back to the Skyliner.
  7. Take the Skyliner back to Caribbean Beach and walk down to the bridge.
  8. Explore Castaway Cay and then stop in at Old Port Royale
  9. Enjoy a refreshment at Banana Cabana.
  10. Walk by the lighthouse on your way to Riviera.
  11. Have dinner at Primo Piatto or Bar Riva if you don’t plan a reservation.
  12. Pick up dessert from Le Petit Cafe.

Resort Hopping Disney’s Wilderness Lodge and Fort Wilderness

If you love the great outdoors you’re going to want to plan a hop between Fort Wilderness and Wilderness Lodge during your vacation. There are so many things to do between the two resorts!

For reference all of our articles for each resort are available here:

We’ll start with Fort Wilderness. The earlier you start this resort hop the better. There are many fun things to see and do throughout the day!

Things to do on a resort hop to Fort Wilderness:

  • Know where you are going! Fort Wilderness is large and getting lost could be a thing you end up doing.
  • Visit Tri Circle D Ranch for a horseback trail ride. (Extra cost and often reservations are required.)
  • Visit the new horse stable near Pioneer Hall to see Cinderella’s ponies and the other working horses at Disney World. (No charge, closes at 3:00 p.m.)
  • 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 get back if you get tired.)

I love Fort Wilderness and have spent a good amount of time there over the years. Since the resort is so large, I recommend keeping a map on your phone.

It’s important to know 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.

The 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 probably a 20-25 minute walk from Pioneer Hall. So take an internal bus over if needed. The information to reserve a horseback riding trail is available here on Disney’s site.

Unfortunately, the walking trail between Fort Wilderness and Wilderness Lodge is closed. Boat service is provided between the two resorts.

Related: Fort Wilderness Resort Review

Things to do while resort hopping 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 all the way 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 off the lobby.
  • Enjoy character dining at Artist Point. (Reservations Required)
  • Grab a bite to eat (or a magic bar) at Roaring Fork. Enjoy it outside.
  • Explore the grounds of the resort, it’s beautiful!
  • Grab a beverage or mushroom bisque at Territory Lounge.
  • Have breakfast at Whispering Canyon Cafe! (Reservations Required)

The following articles will provide you with a few specifics for some of these items:

As far as an itinerary goes, you can easily add the Wilderness Lodge to any of the resort hops we’ve discussed. When you leave a resort, head to Magic Kingdom, and take a boat over to Wilderness Lodge.

For hopping between Fort Wilderness and Wilderness Lodge, here’s an example of an itinerary:

  1. Enjoy breakfast at Whispering Canyon Cafe.
  2. Take the boat from Wilderness Lodge to Fort Wilderness.
  3. Walk over and tour the stables that are near Pioneer Hall.
  4. Visit The Meadow and rent a bicycle or canoe.
  5. After exploring Fort Wilderness, take the boat back to Wilderness Lodge.
  6. Have a late lunch at Geyser Point.
  7. From here you might hop over to the Contemporary and visit the monorail resorts.

Resort Hopping Animal Kingdom Lodge and Kidani Village

Animal Kingdom Lodge is another resort where I spend a good deal of time at Disney World. Usually when I plan a resort hop here, I’ll spend some time at both Jambo House and Kidani Village.

Jambo House is the main portion of the Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. Kidani Village is a second Disney Vacation Club Resort located on the property.

Both resorts offer a wealth of items to see and do while visiting.

Things to do while resort-hopping Jambo House:

  • Tour the large lobby inside of Animal Kingdom Lodge.
  • Take a self-guided art tour of the resort.
  • Visit the different savanna public viewing areas to see the animals.
  • Have lunch at The Mara!
  • Dine at Jiko, the resort’s signature dining location. (Requires Reservations)
  • Have breakfast at Boma, Flavors of Africa.
  • Pick up an order of zebra domes for a snack.
  • Shop in Zawadi Market Place.
  • Wonder around until your heart’s content.
  • Walk down to Kidani Village.

Related Articles:

Things to do at Kidani Village while resort-hopping:

  • Enjoy a self-guided art tour of the resort.
  • 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!)

Related Articles:

Putting it altogether, here’s a sample itinerary for an early day at both resorts:

  1. Enjoy breakfast at Boma, Flavors of Africa.
  2. After that substantial meal, walk the grounds around the pool area of the resort.
  3. See the flamingo habitat and talk to the guide at the savanna viewing area.
  4. Go back inside and tour the lobby.
  5. Visit the resort’s main savanna and see the animals.
  6. Walk down to Kidani Village
  7. Take a tour of the resort to see the African art pieces.
  8. Walk out to Samawati Springs and take a break in the shade.
  9. Visit the savanna by the pool.
  10. Have a late lunch or early dinner at Sanaa that includes bread service.

Resort Hopping Port Orleans Riverside and French Quarter

While all of Disney’s Resorts are suitable for resort hopping, there’s one last pair worth mentioning in our guide. That pair of resorts is Port Orleans Riverside and Port Orleans French Quarter.

These sister resorts are located within walking distance of each other. Better yet, they’re only a boat ride away from Disney Springs.

Given their location along Disney’s Sassagoula River, you could easily hop these two resorts combined with a trip to Disney Springs.

Here are a few things to do while resort hopping these two resorts:

  • Tour the grounds of French Quarter and check out the pool area.
  • Enjoy beignets at Scat Cat’s Club Cafe.
  • Have a meal at Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory.
  • 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’re wanting to put together an itinerary for touring these resorts, I’d plan an afternoon or early evening. You might spend an afternoon at Disney Springs, then visit these resorts, and finish back up at Disney Springs.

I would probably plan a dinner reservation at Disney Springs at somewhere like Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’, Jaleo, or Frontera Cocina.

Related Articles:

Final Thoughts on Resort Hopping at Disney World

This concludes our guide to resort hopping at Disney World. I hope this article provided you with a ton of new and fresh ideas to include in your next resort-hopping adventure.

Spending time at the Disney Resorts, for many of us, is the thing that makes us most feel like we’re on vacation. Sure the character meets at Magic Kingdom are great, and you did have an amazing time riding Rise of the Resistance at Hollywood Studios.

But that afternoon where you enjoyed the live piano player in the Grand Floridian’s lobby 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 tours interest you the most?

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