Wednesday Q&A: Saving Money at Walt Disney World When Arriving Late

arriving late to wdw

Hello everyone. Welcome to Wednesday Q&A. Today’s question is one that guests frequently ask me when planning their Walt Disney World vacations. I hope today’s post will help you if you are thinking about a later arrival.

Q:  We are arriving late and I don’t want to pay for a full day at a deluxe resort plus the dining plan for the first day. What can we do?

A:  This scenario is pretty common for Walt Disney World guests. Many guests don’t want to take an additional vacation day from work. Or, they don’t want their kids to miss more school than absolutely necessary. For these reasons, they book later flights and arrive in the evening.

By the time they arrive at their resort, there will only be time to grab something to eat and then wind down for the evening. In such cases, I always recommend a split-stay.

A split-stay is when guests split their stay rather than staying on a package at one resort for the entire time. Some guests spend part of their Disney vacation on a room-only booking and part on a package reservation. Sometimes guests even spend part of their stay at one resort, and part at another. Other guests will split their stay between moderate and deluxe properties. This way, they can have a better experience at a more economical price. Today’s example of a split-stay, though, is simply a solution for late arrivals.

This particular situation calls for a 1-night room-only stay before moving to a package stay at the same or a different resort. This can be done very simply, as Disney has taken all the hassle out of it.

Here is how it works:

Before leaving home, check-in online for your reservation. Pack all your luggage for the trip. Pack a separate bag containing everything your entire party will need for the first night and the first day in the park. Once your flight lands, take the Magical Express to your first resort. The Magical Express staff will deliver your luggage within 3 hours*.

The next morning, you should take all of your luggage to Bell Services. Tell the cast member that you are on a split stay. If you will continue your stay at the same resort, they will store your bags until you arrive at your new room.

If you will be changing resorts, they will note the information for your next resort. You can go ahead and take the Disney transportation to the park for the day! The Disney staff will take your luggage over to your new resort sometime that day. When you leave the park, take the Disney transportation directly to the new resort. It’s really that easy!

This does require a bit more planning on the front end as your Magical Express reservation for arrival must be booked under one reservation while your Magical Express reservation for departure will be booked under another. That is what I am here for, so you don’t have to worry about any of that.

Also, you should know that guests with split-stays must pay a separate deposit for each reservation. The room-only deposit is 1-night room and tax. The package reservation requires a $200 deposit.

As an awesome added bonus, your reservations are booked as 2 completely separate reservations, and that means you get 2 sets of magic bands!

Having an agent looking out for your best interest and advising you on the best way to travel in different situations is really the way to go. My services are free to my guests and I would love the opportunity to help plan your trip. You can request a free quote HERE.

*Special note about Magical Express: Guests on flights that arrive at 10:00 PM or later must retrieve their own luggage from Baggage Claim before proceeding to the Magical Express check-in.

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