Booking a DVC Split Stay: When I first joined DVC, I booked a lot of split stays.
A split stay is any stay that involves checking out of your room and checking back into a different room during your trip – whether that room is at a different resort or not. A split stay may involve moving resorts, changing room sizes or just changing the view.
There are a ton of reasons to book a split stay. You may do it to spend part of your vacation near the Magic Kingdom and part near Epcot. Maybe you are forced into a split stay if you’re booking a trip on short notice. Spending part of your vacation at one DVC resort and then switching to another allows you to experience the fun in a new way partway through your vacation. Perhaps you’ve always wanted to book a Bungalow at the Polynesian Villas but don’t want to blow so many points – so maybe you just book one night. Split stays also make it possible to splurge a little. Maybe you want to sprawl out in a one-bedroom unit, but you can’t afford to do so for the whole time you’ll be there – so you book a split stay (Studio then 1-BR).
The nice part is you won’t have to worry about moving your luggage. Just call Bell Services from your room when you are packed and ready to leave, and they will handle the transfer for you. They will tag your bags for the next resort and arrange for them to be delivered there. However, you may not see them again until late in the afternoon or early evening, as it will take a few hours for your bags to arrive at the second resort.
The bad part is you have to pack up, move and be homeless for part of the day – until you get your new room sometime after checking in at the resort you are moving to. Packing up, giving your luggage to bell services, and checking back in all takes time. The time “wasted” to do all that does cut into your vacation time. If you have small children who need midday naps and won’t sleep in a stroller, this might be inconvenient.
Although there will not be direct transportation for you between resorts, you can give your luggage to Bell Services at your first resort in the morning, and then head out to a theme park. When you are done enjoying your fun out and about for the day, simply catch Disney transportation to your second resort.
When you arrive at your second resort, stop at Bell Services to claim your luggage, or you can simply call them again from your new room and they will bring everything up.
If you have to pack and move and be homeless for a day, why on earth would anyone choose a split stay? My wife would say it’s crazy (well, I certainly drove her crazy in the early days moving around), and we don’t do it anymore.
Be aware that split stays are treated as separate reservations – not as one continuous reservation. Keep that in mind as it relates to the Disney Dining Plan. That may be advantageous if you want the Disney Dining Plan only for a portion of your trip (just be aware that the dining credits expire on the night you check out). When it comes to booking advance dining reservations, the online ADR system will not recognize the second stay when you reach the 180 mark for the first stay, only allowing you to book ADRs for the length of the first stay.
You should be able to book FastPass+ for the entire split stay 60 days in advance for both reservations as long as they are back-to-back. You will get two sets of Magic Bands = one for each reservation.
You can use Disney’s Magical Express to arrive at the airport and be dropped off at your first resort, while getting picked up at your second resort for the trip back to the airport when you head back home. Just make two on-way DME reservations.
In the same way, you can have your Owner’s Locker dropped off at your first resort, but picked up at your second.
As I’ve said, we don’t book split stays anymore, as we don’t like to have to re-pack, be homeless, and then unpack in the middle of a trip.