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Today, we are going to talk about resort hopping. We have done posts before about this topic but having just returned from a trip to Disney with my mom I feel it is important to revisit this and go into a bit more detail about what it is and why people do it.
Resort hopping is one of my husband and my favorite activities at Walt Disney World. It’s a great change of pace from the parks and a great way to explore even more Disney magic.
What is resort hopping?
Resort hopping is taking time to explore the various Walt Disney World Resorts. You can get to many by boat, Monorail, Minnie Van or bus and it’s a wonderful way to take in all of the incredible details, food and sights of the various resorts. There are currently 25 Walt Disney World Resorts with one more currently under construction and two additional resorts that are not owned or operated by Disney but are on Disney property. There is absolutely no way you could hit all of these resorts in one day but there are some that I absolutely love and can’t wait to visit again!
Walt Disney Resorts are divided into three categories; the value resorts, the moderate resorts and the deluxe resorts. The deluxe resorts are then further divided into deluxe resorts and deluxe villas. Here is a list of all of the resorts:
What are the top resorts that you should check out!
Each resort has something very different to offer but there are some that are just a step above the rest in terms of visiting as a resort hopper so let’s dive into what I believe are the best resorts to hop to!
First of all, there are two sets of easy resorts when hopping from a park. The easiest resorts to visit from Magic Kingdom are the Monorail resorts. These are the resorts we are going to focus on for this post. Our next post will be about the Epcot Resorts and then we will have a third post highlighting the best (in my opinion) resorts to visit that are not directly accessible a park.
The Monorail Resorts are the three resorts that all have stops on the Monorail. In addition, you get also get to these resorts by boat from the Magic Kingdom so it is super easy to hop a boat or a Monorail and head over to one or all of these resorts for a little relaxation and time away from the crowds and chaos. There is a fourth resort that can be easily accessed from Magic Kingdom as well and that is Disney’s Wilderness Lodge.
The Monorail Resorts are Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa, Disney’s Polynesian Resort and Disney’s Contemporary Resort that also includes Bay Lake Towers which is the DVC resort at the Contemporary. You can visit our post called Tis the Season to Resort Hop to learn more about resort hopping at these resorts during the Holiday Season. You can also visit our post called Grand Floridian Greatness to learn more about my absolutely favorite resort, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa.
So, you’ve decided to go explore the Monorail Resorts. Now what? If you are starting from Magic Kingdom, why not hop on a Friendship Boat to Grand Floridian? Once there, you can head to Mizner’s on the second floor and have a cocktail and sometimes there is live music as well! Be sure to take in the details of this resort! You will find Cinderella and Prince Charming over by the large staircase, Mrs. Potts and Chip right outside the Garden View Tea Room. Be sure to look up and take in the amazing chandelier and the grandness of the main building. You can also head out to the Wedding Pavilion if there are no events going on out there. Walk over to the beach and take in the views as well. If you are looking for a spot to view the fireworks, you can take a seat outside of Gasparilla Island Grill. You even have a view of the castle!
If you are able to snag a reservation there are great restaurants to visit here as well. You can have tea at the Garden View Tea Room, have brunch at Narcoosee’s, meet characters at 1900 Park Fare, or sit on the patio and people watch at Grand Floridian Cafe.
From the Grand Floridian, you can take either a Friendship Boat or the Monorail to the Polynesian. There is a lot to take in at the Polynesian! You can relax on the beach in one of the chairs or swings (also a great place to take in Happily Ever After from the Magic Kingdom), have a drink at Tambu Lounge, take in the amazing Polynesian decor all over the resort. This is also the perfect spot to sink your toes in the sand and watch the Electric Water Pageant that takes place on Bay Lake and Seven Seas Lagoon.
One of the most coveted reservations in Walt Disney World right now is at the Polynesian as well. If you are able to get a reservation at ‘Ohana you can meet characters at breakfast including Stitch, Mickey and Lilo or you can enjoy all you can eat fare at dinner and don’t forget the banana’s foster bread pudding.
From the Polynesian hop on the resort Monorail to the Contemporary. You can also take A Friendship boat but you will have to get off at the Magic Kingdom and switch boats to the one that goes to the Contemporary. The Friendship boats are one of our favorite ways to travel around Walt Disney World. They are the perfect way to sit back and enjoy a different view of your surroundings.
The Contemporary is a great place to visit because it is the original Walt Disney World resort. The Monorail goes right through the resort, there are great views of the Magic Kingdom and the Grand Floridian. There is a a great tiled mural towering above the atrium of the hotel. You can visit Chef Mickey’s with a reservation where you can meet the fab five. You can grab a drink or a meal at California Grill, where, if you time it right, you can get an excellent view of the Happily Ever After fireworks show and they pipe the soundtrack in from the show for that as well which is really cool. Contempo Cafe is here as well, where you can get your hands on the cutest rose gold cupcake in all of Walt Disney World (again, in my personal opinion) and also the peanut butter pie for those peanut butter lovers in your group (AKA my hubby).
We are going to include Disney’s Wilderness Lodge in this post. Even though it is not a Monorail resort because there is no Monorail station leading here, you can get here from Magic Kingdom by taking a Friendship boat. Disney’s Wilderness Lodge is spectacular; There is no doubt about it. When the boat docks, you walk a path to the lodge that winds through a pool and then opens up to large lodge with amazing windows. There is a waterfall and amazing photo opportunities.
When you walk into the main lodge, there is a great gift store and a small bridge that goes over a tiny river and a massive fireplace. You can take a break on the rocking chairs on the patios overlooking the lake, the pool and the grounds. Grab a campfire cupcake or a snack at Whispering Canyon Cafe. Trails End is another amazing food spot here but reservations are highly recommended.
It is so worth it to take a trip out to these resorts and go off the beaten Disney path. The incredible theming, the attention to details, the treats and the experiences at these resorts are amazing and I hope you will take some time to check out these resorts and appreciate the work and magic that goes into them.
That’s it for this post. Be sure to stay tuned for more in this series. We’ll see ya’ real soon and for the love of the mouse, never forget, that it all started with a mouse.