My First Split Stay

Posted:  Resorts

When we don’t have availability for guests’ entire length of stay at one resort for Walt Disney World, they will usually ask us if we can assist with booking a split stay. We have done this for hundreds, if not thousands, of guests over the 18 years we have been in service. Some guests even prefer doing split stays so they can stay at different resorts closer to certain parks they are visiting during their stay, or they just have too many favorites and can’t decide which one to stay at.

Exterior of Boulder Dige Villas at Disney's Wilderness Lodge. The building is designed to look like a log cabin.

 Now, every Disney vacation is different, and every group will have different wants and needs. Some may think split stays are perfect and they will never go back, whereas others think it’s a hassle to have to pack up in the middle of your vacation and move resorts. To be transparent, I was one of the people who thought split stays were more of a hindrance than a benefit. So when I was offered my most recent research trip and was told it would be a split stay between Disney’s Polynesian Villas and Bungalows and Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, I was a little nervous.

Wooden Tiki Statue in the lobby at Disney's Polynesian Villas.

To start, I was elated to stay at both of these resorts. The Polynesian has been on my resort bucket list for a long time, and the new, refurbished villas at Boulder Ridge have been all I’ve been talking about these last few months.

Grass Topiary of Mickey Mouse holding a sign that reads "Disney Vacation Club" next to a brass dumpster holding boulders that reads "Boulder Ridge."

The first thing that swayed me more towards the “yay” side of split stays was crossing off two resorts from my list in 1 trip. The Polynesian is a very popular resort, and I got to see some of the highlights of the resort when we visited on my first research trip. However, looking at photos of the Studios and seeing how spread out the buildings were on the resort map, I don’t think this is a resort I would have chosen for a personal trip based on my research. Staying at the Polynesian has certainly changed my mind about that, though.

Two Wooden Chairs sitting in the sand in front of one of the buildings at Disney's Polynesian Villas.

We stayed in the Pago Pago building, which looks to be pretty far from the Ceremonial House when looking at a map, so I was pretty surprised when we checked in, and it took us about 5 minutes to walk from the lobby to our room! Another bonus was being only a 5-minute walk from the Ticket and Transportation Center, which meant if we wanted to take the monorail over to EPCOT, we could just walk over instead of taking the Magic Kingdom Monorail loop all the way around, saving us time.

Two blue fabric chairs sitting on either side of a wooden table in the Studio at Disney's Polynesian Villas. There is a wooden lamp on the table that has a base shaped like the Tiki Statue from the Polynesian lobby.

Chairs on the patio at Disney's Polynesian Villas looking out into a green space.

The Studios have a lot of dark wood and warm lighting, which gives the room a darker feel. However, the second we opened the curtains to our patio door, the sunshine came pouring in, and the room felt so much brighter. The split bathroom was a HUGE bonus and something I will always keep in mind when planning any trips going forward.

Blue Fabric couch in the studio at Disney's Polynesian Villas. There is a wooden coffee table sitting in front of the couch and a print of Stitch on the beach playing a ukulele above the couch.


One of the bathroom vanities in the studio at Disney's Polynesian Villas.

Exterior of Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney's Wilderness Lodge. The building is designed to look like a log cabin.

Seeing the refurbished Studio at Boulder Ridge was amazing! It was so bright and colorful. It was very spacious, and the kitchenette had a massive counter. If you are buying groceries, there is a ton of prep space for making meals like sandwiches or wraps. I loved the resort’s woodsy feel and the short walk through “nature” to get to the main building.

Kitchenette in the Studio at Boulder Ridge Villas.

Queen Bed and pull-down bed in the Studio at Boulder Ridge Villas.

After staying at both resorts, I would definitely consider going back. I think split stays are perfect if you are hesitant about a resort, because if you love it, you want to come back for more, and if you’re not a fan you only have to stay there for part of your trip.

Seating area in the lobby of Boulder Ridge Villas.

I will say packing in the middle of your stay after a full day in the parks is not fun. Knowing that I was moving resorts, I didn’t fully unpack as I usually do. The day before check out, if I knew I was done with something and wouldn’t need it until we switched resorts, I immediately packed it up and continued to do this until we checked out. This helped with packing the night before and the next morning before we jetted to the parks. This is also a great time to do a non-park day. You can have a slower morning sleeping in and taking the time to pack up, drop off your luggage to bell services so they can transfer it to your next Disney resort, enjoy breakfast at the resort, or head over to Disney Springs to enjoy some breakfast and shopping for the day. Once you get that notification that your room is ready, you can head to your new resort and check in to your room. You can call Bell Services to have your bags brought up and begin unpacking. Don’t forget to explore your new resort. You can kick off the next part of your vacation with dinner at your resort or maybe one of the surrounding resorts.

Whispering Canyon Cafe sign at Disney's Wilderness Lodge.

Speaking of eating, a split stay is a great choice for someone who is looking to try as many new things as possible. On one of my personal trips, towards the end of the stay I was starting to eat the same things at the quick service option at the resort. I will certainly consider it when I stay at that resort again and maybe consider having some groceries delivered. But back to the split stay. With switching resorts, you have new dining options to try! Between our two stays, I was able to try four different dining experiences, Capt. Cook’s, Tambu Lounge, Whispering Canyon Cafe, and Roaring Fork. It was so nice to have a variety of dishes and cuisines.

Colorful Graphic Prints of the Polynesian islands on the walls in Capt. Cook's.

Overall, I think split stays can be seen as a lot of work. However, sometimes more work means more payoff. I had a lot of hesitancies heading into this split stay, but I ended up leaving very reassured. Going forward, I will definitely consider a split stay for my personal trips.




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