If you are someone who loves Disney resorts as much as Disney parks, you may understand why I thought it would be a “fun twist” to book three different resorts in one week. Specifically, my quest was to find out what it would be like to go from a value resort to a moderate resort to a deluxe resort all in one trip.
It was an adventure, and the number one lesson I learned – there’s lots to love about a Disney resort stay no matter what the price point.
The journey started at the All-Star Movies Resort, a value resort. My family and I had never stayed at any of the All-Star resorts before, so I was a little nervous. All-Stars don’t always get the best reviews.
Happily, I was impressed with All-Star Movies. First-off, it surrounds guests in theming. It’s like having a room in Toy Story Land. The Love Bug was right outside my door, Sorcerer Mickey presided over the pool, and we passed three-story statues to Perdita and Pongo on the way to breakfast. The entire resort was impeccably clean and not crowded at all (this was an end of August trip).
The most significant pro to staying at the All-Star Movies Resort was the price – around $160 a night, plus taxes and fees. Our first few days in Florida were spent enjoying the parks, and because the resort was lower priced, I never got that guilty feeling that I should be spending more time at my resort.
I honestly only found one downside to our stay at All Star Movies. The room was on the small side. Our family of four felt a little cramped, but I was traveling with two tweens. When they were toddlers, it may not have felt like such a tight squeeze.
The next leg of our triple-split-stay was to the Coronado Springs Resort, a moderate resort I had not visited since 2002.
The Coronado was better than I remembered. We stayed in one of the two-story units that surround Lago Dorado. It was the perfect choice for relaxing and swimming. My family was placed in the Cabanas, which I highly recommend because it is closest to the beach area. Every morning, I was able to stroll out my door, walk 50 feet to the sand, and relax with a book and a coffee.
Our room had a corner window which gave off lots of natural light. It was also beautifully decorated and clean. When we arrived, there was a welcome message on the TV and towels folded in the shape of Mickey on the bed. The resort was uncrowded, and I loved the footbridges over the water.
It was also priced reasonably – about $210 a night before taxes and fees.
The only con about the Coronado was the quick service dining location El Mercado de Coronado. We tried it for dinner and breakfast and received disappointing food both times. I regret not trying Three Bridges Bar & Grill for dinner instead. (The Maya Grill was not open on the nights we stayed, but its menu of empanadas and short ribs looked promising.)
After the Coronado, we moved on to Bay Lake Tower, a deluxe Disney Vacation Club resort. Bay Lake Tower stands right on the edge of the Magic Kingdom and is attached to the iconic Contemporary Resort. It is one of my favorite places to stay because it is so easy to get to the Magic Kingdom on foot or by Monorail. The resort has views of the park and surrounding lakes, which make it a magical spot to enjoy the fireworks or the Electrical Water Pageant.
Staying here was a splurge for a milestone birthday. After five nights of sharing a standard hotel room, it felt great to have a little more space, a washer and dryer, and a kitchen. By the time we checked into Bay Lake Tower, we had seen all the parks and were ready for more resort time. (Of course, we couldn’t resist popping into the Magic Kingdom for a few hours each day, but really, we spent most of our time poolside, eating, and resort hopping along the monorail loop.)
Deluxe accommodations come with hefty price tags, which vary wildly based on room size and view – starting anywhere from $600-$1,000 a night. At those prices, I would say my biggest disappointment with Bay Lake Tower was the condition of the room. Boy, did it need a refresh!
The split-stay option isn’t for everyone (the packing and unpacking is a little much), but Disney makes it as easy as possible for guests, even transporting your luggage for you.
If you love staying at Disney resorts and dream of visiting them all, then the split-stay option might entice you. If you want some luxury on your vacation, but can’t afford five nights at a deluxe resort, then a split-stay option may appeal to you as well. (Don’t forget to look into renting DVC points for a deluxe resort stay. You can save money that way, too.) The possibilities are endless!
If you’d like help booking your next Walt Disney World vacation (including split-stays!), reach out to the agents at Dreams Unlimited Travel. Their expert advice is available to you at no extra charge. Touch base with them today for a free no-obligation quote!
I'm a writer living in East Lansing, Michigan. I have loved Disney ever since my first visit in 1977, and I always keep my Annual Pass in my wallet just in case the opportunity to visit WDW comes up (you never know). I publish a weekly e-newsletter called MAIN STREET POP IN and can be found anytime at www.mainstreetpopin.com.