Walt Disney World Resort hopping 101

Are you tired of sweating outside in the Florida heat? Are you looking for a one-of-a-kind dining experience or a fun afternoon excursion? Does your Instagram feed need some TLC? If you answered yes to any of these questions, I have the perfect solution for you: go resort hopping! Walt Disney World® Resort boasts over 25 resort hotel locations, all with their own unique offerings and immersive theming. On your next day off, grab a friend or roommate and follow some of these tips for a guaranteed fun time! 

Before we start, though, let’s be clear: there are way too many resorts to squeeze into one outing. The good news is that in addition to being sorted into value, moderate and deluxe categories, Disney resort hotels are also organized by geographic area. A good rule of thumb is to select just one of the following groups to focus on per day. 

  • Magic Kingdom Park area 
    • Overview: This is the perfect area for a quick afternoon of resort hopping, because the resort monorail line conveniently transports you between Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, Disney’s Contemporary Resort and Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. If you have a little extra time, Disney’s Wilderness Lodge is accessible by boat, and Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort is just a short car or bus ride away. 
    • Food and drink: The deluxe resorts that surround Magic Kingdom Park are known for their one-of-a-kind dining. Enjoy afternoon tea at Garden View Tea Room, take in a live show during your meal at the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue, enjoy storybook dining at Artist Point or try Polynesian fare at Kona Café. Of course, you can’t miss Dole Whip at Pineapple Lanai, which now comes in lime flavor. If you’re on the lookout for seasonal cupcakes or treats that match your new mouse ears- Contempo Cafe has a consistently great selection. 
    • Attractions: Take a seat in the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa lobby during the afternoon or evening, and hear a live pianist play some of your Disney favorites! Or, for a fee, take a horse-drawn carriage ride around Fort Wilderness Resort. Join a hula lesson in the Polynesian Resort lobby on select afternoons, then watch the fireworks from a beachside hammock that evening
    • Photo ops: You can’t go wrong with a shot in front of the Grand Floridian’s iconic red rooftops, or one overlooking the lobby on the second floor. At Disney’s Contemporary Resort, head outside for a group picture on their silver Mickey Mouse sculpture or pose in front of the neon Mickey wall next to Bayview Gifts.

  • Epcot area  
    • Overview: Disney’s BoardWalk Resort, Disney’s Beach Club Resort, Disney’s Yacht Club Resort and the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotels are all within walking distance of each other, making this an excellent spot spend a day off. Just be sure to wear comfortable shoes!  
    • Food and drink: For a quick and authentically boardwalk-style dinner, get a slice from the Boardwalk Pizza Window and follow it with an ice cream cone from Ample Hills Creamery. Over at the Disney’s Beach Club Resort, check an item off your Disney bucket list by ordering the Kitchen Sink from Beaches & Cream Soda Shop, or enjoy all-you-can-eat seafood at Cape May Café. For some New England comfort food, try Ale & Compass and Disney’s Yacht Club Resort. 
    • Attractions: Rent a Surrey bike to ride down the BoardWalk, or opt to walk on a weekend evening when musicians and jugglers are out performing their acts. Catch the final showings of Illuminations! Nighttime Spectacular from the bridge near the resort, and take in a game at ESPN Club. Disney’s Fantasia Gardens Miniature Golf is also within walking distance. 
    • Photo ops: Create a retro photo strip in the booth located on the BoardWalk. The blue-and-white striped wall at the BoardWalk Resort makes a perfect Instagram backdrop, and the swings along the beach by the Yacht Club Resort are ideal for couple or group shots.
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park area:
    • Overview: Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge is a short drive away from surrounding resorts, but because it’s situated right on the savanna, you can easily spend some time here without having to hop in the car. Should you have some more time to spend near Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park, Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort featuring the all-new Gran Destino Tower is also located nearby. 
    • Food and drink: No visit to Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge is complete without getting Indian-style bread service from Sanaa. If you don’t have time for a complete dining experience, bread service is also available at the Sanaa Lounge! Alternatively, you can pop over to The Mara for a delicious Jungle Juice Slushy and some signature Zebra Domes. At Coronado Springs Resort, visit the all-new Toledo restaurant for tapas and incredible views. 
    • Photo ops: The lobby at Animal Kingdom Lodge is one of the most stunning on property, and perfect for pictures. Head outside to snap photos of some of the many species that reside in the savanna. 
    • Attractions: You can explore the savannas surrounding Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge day and night, thanks to the resort’s complimentary night-vision goggles. For an enhanced experience, reserve a Starlight Safari. 
  • ESPN Wide World of Sports Area: 
    • Overview: Disney’s Pop Century Resort and Disney’s Art of Animation Resort are next-door neighborsand because both resorts occupy huge areas, you can make an afternoon of walking their photogenic grounds! 
    • Food and drink: Try Pop Century Resort’s famous rainbow cheesecake, or create your own pasta dish at Art of Animation Resort. For breakfast, Art of Animation serves up delicious waffles with character. 
    • Photo ops: Take photos with Simba, Tow Mater, Ursula and more around Disney’s Art of Animation Resort. Find classic, colorful Disney walls at both resorts; my personal favorites are the blue diamond wall at Art of Animation and the flower wall at Pop Century.  
    • Attractions: Walk the Art of Animation Resort jogging trail and travel through scenes from your favorite movies! Both resorts feature arcades for a fun rainy-day activity.  
  • Disney Springs Resort Area
    • Overview: Resorts in this area are all accessible to Disney Springs by boat, so why not stop by after a day of shopping and dining? You can also take a scenic boat ride to travel between Disney’s Port Orleans Resort- French Quarter and Disney’s Port Orleans Resort- Riverside.  
    • Food and drink: While going down the bayou at Port Orleans Resort- French Quarter, take a note from Princess Tiana and stop for beignets at Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory. Over at Old Key West Resort, Olivia’s Cafe will transport you to the Florida Keys with their delicious weekend brunch! 
    • Photo ops: Old Key West has a plethora of pastel walls to choose from, and Saratoga Springs also offers tons of picture-perfect backdrops. The Magnolia Bend section of Disney’s Port Orleans- Riverside, which is reminiscent of classic Louisiana mansions, also makes for great photos!
    • Attractions: Stop at the River Roost Lounge at Port Orleans Resort- Riverside to take in a wacky piano performance by Yehaa Bob Jackson. Enjoy a campfire and starlit movie at Old Key West Resort, or take a bike ride around the grounds of Saratoga Springs.  

There’s no end to what you can see and do (and eat!) at Disney’s resort hotels! If you’ve spent time resort hopping on your program, share your adventures with us here! 

CaseyDisney Internships and Programs Communication
August 13th, 2019|Categories: Disney College Program, Fun on the Program|Tags: , , , , |Comments Off on Walt Disney World Resort hopping 101