What is Resort Hopping at Walt Disney World?

What are you crazy? You can’t go to a hotel you’re not staying at! That is for the guests staying there. They pay for the facilities and hospitality to enjoy, guests that don’t pay for that aren’t allowed to just show up and enjoy it.

Whats that? At Walt Disney World you can go “resort hopping” and enjoy the facilities? That is amazing! No wonder people love going there! I can see the movie under the stars, watch the fireworks, take amazing pictures, and even eat a meal? You betcha!

What is “resort hopping”?

Resort hopping is a Walt Disney World tradition for many people. It is essentially the practice of visiting Disney Resorts that you are not staying at. The only condition is that you can”t use exclusive facilities like laundry or the pools and hot tubs.

This does mean, though, that you can watch their movie under the stars, eat at their dining facilities (paid, obviously), enjoy their entertainers if they have them, get a drink at the bar, take awesome pictures, and just overall enjoy the experience. This is all without having a reservation there!

When you first bring this up to most people, they think you are entirely crazy for saying it. I was first introduced to this phenomenon by my parents when we were on trips to Florida where we couldn’t necessarily afford to go to the parks or stay at Disney World. I cherish those memories and I’m glad they were introduced to me so that I can pass the tradition on to others.

There are definitely some ground rules for doing it so that you don’t get in trouble or feel weird. Disney World is all about experiences and the cast members are there to help that. Respecting the grounds you’re visiting and the people working there is your first priority, other than that, just have fun and soak it in!

Mitchell Resort Hopping at the Wheel Well Motel at Disney's Art of Animation

Where can we go to resort hop?

You can resort hop at any of the Walt Disney World owned resorts and hotels. This includes the Value, Moderate, and Deluxe resorts. You can also check out the Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin, which is not Disney owned, but is on Disney grounds.

Can I use Walt Disney World transportation?

Absolutely! And we encourage it! Even if you’re not staying at a Disney World property, you can use the buses, monorails, and Disney Skyliner to move around on the property. Some of my favorite childhood memories were on the monorail listening to “Please stand clear of the doors! ¡Por favor manténgase alejado de las puertas!” as you get ready to go from the Polynesian to the Grand Floridian.

Megan Resort Hopping at the Port Orlean's Riverside Arcade

What resorts should I go to?

All of them! Megan and I haven’t gotten to all of them together, but through the years I’ve visited just about every on-site Disney Resort. It is amazing the theming that Disney will put into a place where you’re sleeping and hanging out on off days. They really do try to transport you into a different world!

Can I use the pool at a Disney Resort I’m not staying at?

You cannot, and I would not recommend trying. This is a sure fire way to get yourself kicked off Disney property immediately, and it might even end up with a ban from coming back. Respect the rules of the resorts, it is marked that you cannot swim on their property without being a guest staying in the rooms.

Can I eat at a Disney Resort I’m not staying at?

Yes! This is one of the best ways to enjoy “resort hopping.” There are two different ways to do it. There are quick-service restaurants or table-service restaurants in most resorts. If you do want to sit down at a table-service restaurant, I suggest making a reservation ahead of time because there are not many opportunities to walk up at these restaurants. If you need help with reservations, follow our reservation guide.

Mitchell Resort Hopping outside the Dining Hall at Disney's Port Orleans Riverside Resort

What is the best Disney Resort to go to?

Megan and I love going to the Magic Kingdom Resorts. These are the “big three” connected by Disney’s monorail system. In one afternoon you can see the Polynesian, Grand Floridian, and Contemporary. Grab a dole whip from the Polynesian and walk down by the beach! There is no shortage of fun when you can jump from one to the next in just minutes.

Your Thoughts

Have you been resort hopping? Let us know in the comments if you have and what your favorite place to go is. If you haven’t been resort hopping, go on your next trip. It is a great way to enjoy Disney for free! That’s a word you don’t hear often when you’re down there. If you have a personal question or want us to help plan your trip for free, shoot us a message and we can set up a time to talk!

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Mitchell Tomczak

Mitchell Tomczak

I'm 26 years old and I've been to Disney over 10 times in my life. 3 of those have been as an adult and twice with Megan! I love learning about the mystery behind the magic, Walt's life, and what's coming to Disney down the line! If I can share that with you, I'm doing my job!

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