We are planning our next visit to Disney World in August 2014 (we were just there in January) and would like to get a hotel, park tickets, dining package but would like to hotel hop next time.
I know that you need to have park tickets to book the dining package and that the more days you buy for park tickets, the cheaper they are per day. What I'm would like to know is if I can purchase a 10 day park ticket and stay at one hotel for 5 nights and one for 3 nights and still get the dining plan for the entire stay or would I only be able to get dining with the hotel that I purchase the park tickets with?
The Beach Club is a great resort to try - Photo by Scott Thomas
Dad’s Hotel Hopping Answer
While there are nearly countless ways to structure a Magic Your Way vacation package, with options like hotel, park tickets, park hopper or waterpark fun ‘n more add-ons, and various Disney Dining Plans to choose from, there isn’t a real easy way to hotel hop without circumventing the system a little. But don’t worry – it can be done and Dad’s just the person to tell you how (Mrs. Mom and I tried this out on the Palooza last fall).
There are three different package components we need to get straight to talk about how you can hotel hop and still get all the benefits of a longer Walt Disney World vacation package. We’re going to look at hotel reservations, the Disney Dining Plan, and park tickets.
First up are your hotel reservations. If you’d like to hotel hop and stay at one resort for 5 nights and another for 3 nights, that’s no problem. You’ll have to check-in twice, but the folks at Disney will help you out and move your bags from the first hotel to the second if you like, removing a lot of the hassle. You will have to make two separate reservations, and you’ll check in and out of each hotel separately – but that’s no big deal.
The Disney Dining Plan is tied to your hotel reservations, so you’ll be able to book a 5-night dining plan package with your first reservation, and a 3-night dining plan package with your second reservation. There is no discount for longer stays where the dining plan is concerned, so you won’t be missing out on a deal.
In this arrangement, your first Key to the World Card will be used as your room key and dining plan card for the first 5 days, and you’ll get a new Key to the World Card to be used as your room key and dining plan card for the last 3 days. Sounds simple? Great!
When we get to park tickets, things change up a bit. The more days of park tickets you buy, the cheaper they are per day, so it wouldn’t make sense to buy a 5-day pass and a 3-day pass when you could save a bundle with an 8-day pass. Luckily, park tickets have nothing to do with your hotel reservations (other than the fact that they “live” on your Key to the World Card too).
What you can do is buy an 8-day park ticket pass with your first 5-day reservation. Park tickets can be used for 14 days once activated so the unused days won’t expire when you check out. Then your last 3 days, book a package that includes your hotel and dining plan with no park tickets. You’ll continue to use your first Key to the World Card as your park ticket card for your whole trip.
The other option is to book your hotel and dining plan reservations with Disney as above, and then buy your park tickets separately at the gate or with a reputable Disney ticket vendor like The Official Ticket Center. Then you’ll have your two Key to the World Cards for hotel and dining and a totally separate park pass.
One big caution when you are planning hotel hopping, you can miss some Disney World discounts when you plan your trip this way. In the past, Disney has required a 4 night stay to qualify for some of their discounts. Just be sure of the rules of the discounts (if any are available) before you book your trip.
Dad's Bottom Line
Shelley, have fun hotel hopping at Walt Disney World! It’s not as hard as it may seem, and if you follow Dad’s suggestions, you’ll have no trouble at all having the Perfect hotel hopping Vacation!