The Resorts at Walt Disney World are some of the most immersive and creatively themed hotels you will find. Many offer some of the best dining on the property. Resort Hopping to explore a the wide variety of resorts is bound to be a highlight of your trip!
When you visit Walt Disney World, your first thought probably involves a theme park. As a Disney activity, Hopping between resorts may never have ever crossed your mind.
The Walt Disney World resort has three categories of resorts: Value, Moderate, and Deluxe. The deluxe resorts can also break down further. Deluxe resorts offering villa options for Disney Vacation Club members (or non-members looking for a luxurious and spacious option).
I have stayed at resorts in all three categories, even in a couple of villas. Every single variety of resort has its merits. Here are some reasons to schedule a resort hopping day on your next trip!
Unique Theming at Each Disney Resort
Each resort at Walt Disney World has its own unique theme. From a trip through the decades at Pop Century to the islands at Caribbean Beach to the splendor of Europe at the Riviera – every single resort has a carefully planned and executed theme for its patrons to enjoy. These are just a few of my favorites!
Art of Animation: Celebrating the creative artistry of Disney and Pixar films, Art of Animation has four distinct sections: Lion King, Cars, Finding Nemo (all suites), and Little Mermaid (standard rooms). Between giant, story-tall statues, fun play areas, and the fantastic “Big Blue” swimming pool, this beautiful, delightful resort is a must-see!
Caribbean Beach Resort: This was my family’s resort of choice growing up, so I have a lot of nostalgia for Caribbean Beach. Each section is themed to a different Caribbean destination. Its colorful buildings are so representative of the brightness of the Caribbean. After a recent renovation, the resort is clean, bright, and beautiful. Perfect for a relaxing resort visit!
Animal Kingdom Lodge: Possibly my favorite resort on Disney property, Animal Kingdom Lodge holds hundreds of beautiful African artifacts in its vast accommodations. Visit one of their observation areas, book a savanna view room, and sit on your balcony to enjoy the wildlife without visiting the park. Who doesn’t want to wake up to a giraffe outside their window??
Expand Dining Options
A hidden gem many people don’t often consider is resort dining. The resorts have some of the best dining on the property. For example, the Contemporary Resort has a couple of my family’s favorite restaurants at Walt Disney World, both for the food and the experience!
Steakhouse 71: Formerly known as The Wave, Steakhouse 71 was recently remodeled and celebrates a contemporary vision of the 1970s. With photograph displays of Walt Disney World’s early designs and even Walt himself, you could spend a long time just walking around enjoying the artwork. But the food at this casual steakhouse is incredible. Try the seasonal pancakes for breakfast or the delicious stack burger for lunch. Steakhouse 71 also boasts a variety of specialty cocktails.
Chef Mickey’s: You can join Mickey and pals for breakfast or dinner at the all-you-care to enjoy a buffet of Chef Mickey’s. What’s better than enjoying Mickey-shaped waffles while chatting with Mickey and Minnie? Try a NY strip loin or peel-and-eat shrimp for dinner before snapping a picture with Pluto, Goofy, Donald, or Daisy. Chef Mickey’s is a fun and immersive experience, one of my family’s favorite character meals on the property!
These are just two examples of the delicious options you can enjoy at a Disney resort. Try Boma at Animal Kingdom Lodge, Ohana at the Polynesian, or Topolino’s Terrace at the Riviera. Even the quick service or pool bar options are fun and different at each resort! For a fun way to taste other things, go on a “crawl” of the resorts.
Take the monorail to each resort on the monorail line (Grand Floridian, Polynesian, and Contemporary) and try something at each place! Or do a Skyliner crawl between Caribbean Beach, Riviera, and Pop Century/Art of Animation to get a different treat at each location!
Holiday Cheer at the Disney Resorts
Sure, this is more of a seasonal offering. Still, one of my favorite things to do at Walt Disney World around the holidays is resort hop to look at the different décor the resorts put up. From the towering tree at Animal Kingdom Lodge to the gingerbread house large enough to stand in at the Grand Floridian, each resort has unique decorations that you shouldn’t miss!
How to Resort Hop
Resort hopping is a fun way to spend your day at Walt Disney World. You will need to do some planning to ensure you can easily access each resort you want to visit.
Sometimes the transportation is simple – you can take the monorail to three resorts and the Skyliner to four. Visit the Boardwalk resorts (Yacht Club, Beach Club, the Boardwalk, and a bonus of the Swan and Dolphin resorts) from the Epcot Skyliner Hub by walking to each one.
You can also walk to the resorts connected by transportation; you must take a bus from a park (or Disney Springs) to access them unless you have a dining reservation. Disney does not allow non-guests to park at a specific resort unless they have a dining reservation at that particular resort, so it will take a bit of a plan if the resorts you want to visit are only accessible by bus.
Resort Hopping for your next WDW Trip
Walt Disney World has some of the most unique resort options you will ever find. Each has its own fun theme, décor, and dining options that make it unique. Exploring these resorts is a fun way to spend your no-park day at Walt Disney World. And you might find the next place you want to stay while you’re at it!
Author: Ashley Hunt
Ashley co-founded The Midwest Mouse, a Disney Instagram account and blog she started with her husband, Braden. Ashley lives in Indiana with her husband and their two daughters. They are Walt Disney World annual pass holders and visit Disney parks as often as possible. They look forward to crossing more things off their Disney bucket list while continuing to share their adventures on their Instagram (@the_midwest_mouse) and website.
Whether you’re traveling with young children, teens, or adults, we’ve got you covered. From the whimsical fun of Disney’s Art of Animation Resort to the luxurious elegance of Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, we’ve got something for everyone. So look at our resort reviews and start planning your dream Disney vacation today!