Wednesday Q&A: Planning for a Late Arrival

late arrival at Disney
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, especially for families of school-aged children. Parents don’t want their kids to miss more school than absolutely necessary, so they plan their flights for early- or mid-evening. By the time they arrive at their resort, there’s only time to grab something to eat and then wind down for the evening (or go for a late-night swim). In such cases, I always recommend a split-stay.

A split-stay is when guests spend part of their Disney vacation at one resort, and part at another. There are many reasons for split stays including cost, as some guests will split their stay between moderate and deluxe properties in order to have a better experience at a more economical price. Today’s example, though, is simply a solution for late arrivals.

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

Here is how it works:

Before you leave home, check-in online for your reservations. 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 and tell the cast member that you are on a split stay and they will note the information for your next resort. You can now 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.

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

Hope this helps! Have a Disney day!


I would love the opportunity to help plan your trip. You can request a free quote HERE.

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