The Pros and Cons of DVC Resort Hopping
I just spent six days at Walt Disney World, but I somehow managed to unpack my bags at three different resorts. Of course, DVC Resort Hopping isn’t for everyone. For some intrepid Disney Vacation Club guests, it’s status quo, though.
I’ll admit that this latest trip didn’t go the way I planned, either. So, I feel uniquely qualified to explain the pros and cons of DVC Resort Hopping!
Pro: Logistics of DVC Resort Hopping
What is Resort Hopping? It’s when you stay at different resorts during the same vacation. Some DVC members do this a lot, while others prefer to stay in one place for the entire trip. Personally, I fall in the first category.
There’s one main reason why I always favor Resort Hopping. I love the convenience of staying right beside a theme park. You can pick your hotel stay based on which Park Pass you’ll book for those days.
Thanks to my DVC membership, I can leave my hotel room and enter a Walt Disney World theme park in a matter of minutes. At hotels like Disney’s Beach Club Villas and Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, the walk can take as little as five minutes.
Other properties like Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort and Disney’s Riviera Resort provide monorail or Disney Skyliner rides to the parks. You’ll reach the entrance gate in ten minutes or less at these places as well.
By taking this approach, you avoid the chaos that stems from the Disney bus system. It’s a much more efficient approach to a Disney vacation and saves you a ton of walking.
Con: The Luggage
That convenience comes at a cost, though. One of the best official Disney resort amenities is Early Theme Park Entry. You get to enter the park 30 minutes early, but you must be at the park before that 30-minute window. Otherwise, you’ll waste your extra park time.
On a recent morning, I found myself Resort Hopping from the Garden Wing at Disney’s Contemporary Resort to Bay Lake Tower. Since I wasn’t going to return to the room until after checkout, I had to transport my luggage to Bell Services at Bay Lake Tower.
If you’re unfamiliar with Bell Services, arrival times vary wildly depending on when you call. So, my choices were to take the bags myself or wait 15-60 minutes for someone to show up at my door.
I chose to do it myself…and was exhausted when I reached Magic Kingdom. Even worse, Early Theme Park Entry had nearly ended. I had wasted time and energy before the park even officially opened to guests.
When you Resort Hop, the luggage is your responsibility for each leg of your visit. It can really wear you down. Plus, you go without most of your stuff until around 4-6 p.m. that day.
Pros: Cleaner Rooms and More Towels
DVC and I strongly disagree on the appropriate number of towels for a hotel stay. For whatever reason, Disney thinks people shouldn’t shower much. So, the rooms come with four to six bath towels for a four-day visit, which is fine if you’re traveling alone and have no mishaps.
Those of us who travel with loved ones must share towels and eventually re-use some of them. And that’s before we factor in the inevitable spills that occur on vacation.
Also, hotel rooms are only clean on the first day. After that, you have spread the contents of your luggage across the room. If you’re like me, it’s probably sprawled on the floor.
The genius of Resort Hopping is that you cannot fall victim to your lesser demons. You’re moving soon. So, you can only unpack some of your luggage since you know you must pack it again soon.
Meanwhile, you sidestep the arbitrary towel limit because you’re probably not staying for four days. So, you’re beating Disney at its own game!
Cons: The Aggravation
I’ve already mentioned two aspects of Resort Hopping that I find exhausting. For instance, the constant luggage concern weighs on me during a trip.
I’m constantly debating whether I need something enough to unpack it. Then, I must decide how long I’ll use it before I can put it back in the luggage. Logically, if something matters enough for me to pack it for the trip, I must need it, but I forget that when I’m living in fear of Bell Services.
Similarly, going without luggage for most of the afternoon is problematic. For example, I was locked out of my luggage for at least six hours on three different days during my recent vacation.
Since I accidentally packed my cellphone charger once, I lost My Disney Experience access for an entire afternoon. That makes a Disney visit nigh-on impossible these days. If I hadn’t Resort Hopped and had access to my bags, I could have avoided that.
Pros: The Amenities that come with DVC Resort Hopping
The hidden benefit of Resort Hopping stems from the access to additional amenities. When you stay at one resort, you are likely to choose from its set of restaurants, pools, and stores.
However, when you Resort Hop, you open a wider array of options during your vacation. For example, I ate at Contempo Cafe, Steakhouse 71, Grand Floridian Cafe, Gasparilla Island Grill, and Kona Café. In addition, I shopped at Bay View Gifts, BouTiki, Fantasia Market, M. Mouse Mercantile, and Moana Mercantile.
I expanded my options exponentially by spending time at these resorts, something I wouldn’t have done if I had stuck to only one. Obviously, monorail resorts work a bit differently, but the same concept applies to the Riviera or Beach Club.
The reality is that when you stay at a DVC property, you’re more likely to shop and dine there. So, Resort Hopping opens your world while you’re on vacation. Personally, even though I’ve found it overly challenging on recent trips, I’ll continue to do it because I love staying five minutes away from every Disney park!