Best Trip Tips: Pool Hopping
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The resorts on Walt Disney World property are above and beyond your average hotel. No matter what price point your hotel is in, they all have great pools. Many have more than one. What we have done on the last couple of vacations is pool hop. Using transportation from our resort to a park and then heading to another resort to spend a morning or afternoon at their pool. This is a great way to check out another resort for your next trip and to add some excitement to your non-park days.
Now there are a few pools that you can’t hop to. These include Stormalong Bay at Disney’s Yacht Club and Beach Club Resorts, Bay Cove Pool at Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Uzima Pool and Samawati Springs Pool at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, the leisure pool at Disney’s Beach Club Villas, the pools at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, the pools at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge and the pools at Disney’s Art of Animation. With this being said, if you are at Walt Disney World at a very low time of year, the pools are not that busy. The only time we’ve been “carded” at a pool is at Stormalong Bay. But we went to the Animal Kingdom Lodge one of the first weeks of September and we were the only ones using the pool. No issue. Now some of the pools are gated off and require MagicBands to enter. Just wait for someone to come by and they’ll open the gate for you. All pools have restrooms stationed nearby, giving you a place to change before and after your pool hop. Pools open at 9am. The earlier you go the less busy it is. The later you go the more guests there are around. Also in the afternoon buses do not travel as often so you may end up wasting some time waiting for buses to arrive. To make the best use of your time head to the closest park and take transportation from that park. My personal suggestion is to pool hop to Saratoga Springs. With it’s four pools, two with water slides and three pool areas with water play areas, you’ll be able to find one that isn’t too busy. And if you get sick of one, head over to another.
Here’s a couple of examples of how you can mix pool hopping into your Disney Vacation. Head to 1900 Park Fare for breakfast, after a delightful meal put on your swim suits and enjoy one of the two great pools they have at the Grand Floridian. Head to Disney Springs for a morning of shopping and lunch. Then walk over to Saratoga Springs, change in the restrooms and lounge at the Congress Pool.
See below for a list of transportation options for all resorts and their pools by resort area for all applicable pools.
Magic Kingdom Resort Area
Make your way to the Animal Kingdom, Disney Springs, EPCOT or Hollywood Studios (whichever is closest) and take the next bus to the Grand Floridian. Or head to the Magic Kingdom and take the resort monorail, or boat to the Grand Floridian.
Zero-depth entry pool with small water spots to add a little playfulness for the kids. Gated off, there’s a restroom and bar that offers snacks and cool drinks.
Zero entry pool with a 181-foot-long waterslide. Water play area nearby. Surrounded by rocks and waterfalls. Changing rooms and showers plus a pool side bar with snacks and drinks.
Make your way to the Animal Kingdom, Disney Springs, EPCOT or Hollywood Studios (whichever is closest) and take the next bus to the Contemporary Resort. Or head to the Magic Kingdom and take the resort monorail, boat or walk the pathway to the Contemporary.
This pool has a 17-foot-high water slide and fountains and water spurts. It’s got a beautiful view of the lake and the resort in the background. This is not a zero entry pool.
Bay Lake Pool
Located on Bay Lake, relax in this leisure pool as motorboats ride by.
Epcot Resort Area
Take a bus to Hollywood Studios and walk the pathway to the Boardwalk. This is the fastest way and most direct way to the Boardwalk pools. Otherwise take a bus to any of the other parks and take the next Boardwalk bus. This bus is shared between many resorts so you could be on the bus a while.
This pool is circus themed with a toddler pool (not to be confused with a splash park area), whirlpool and 200 foot-long waterslide that looks like a roller coaster. This is not a zero-entry pool.
Villa Leisure Pool
This pool is located in front of the Community Hall. This pool is known as a “quiet pool” where major activity is discouraged. It’s more of a place to relax and unwind.
Inn Leisure Pool
Nestled in between buildings of the Inn, this Leisure Pool is secluded. To get here you need to go through the lobby, down the elevators to the ground level. Out the doors walk to the courtyard and discover a quiet, relax pool.
Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort
Make your way to your closest park and then take a bus to the Caribbean Beach Resort. This is a very busy resort. The best time to pool hop here is in the morning or early afternoon before the rush back to the Magic Kingdom for the fireworks. There are six bus stops at this resort so be sure to know which “village” pool you plan on stopping at.
Fuentes Del Morro Pool
This zero-entry pool has two slides. There’s also a water play area nearby and a whirlpool. There are a lot of guests stay at this resort and this is the one pool with activities and slides making it very popular. Take the Old Port Royale bust stop.
Martinique Leisure Pool
Trinidad North Leisure Pool
Trinidad South Leisure Pool
Jamaica Leisure Pool
All five of these pools are very similar. Take their respective bus stops to reach these pools. There’s nothing unique about these leisure pools, you would find the same style at your own resort. They have restrooms in close proximity but no place to eat. If you want to check out a leisure pool I would suggest the leisure pool at the Boardwalk Inn and Villas.
Take a Saratoga Springs bus from a park or even from Disney Springs. There are 4 pools and 6 bus stop so make sure to take the bus stop you want, to the pool you want.
The Grandstand Pool
Get off at the Grandstand bus stop and walk towards the buildings and the pool is in the middle just past the parking lot. There are three areas to this pool: a leisure pool, a water play area and a whirlpool. Giving you lots to do for every age. There’s changing rooms, and a great place to grab a quick lunch or a nice drink.
Get off at the Springs Bus Stop and walk towards the big rocks. This pool is a zero-entry pool with a 128-foot long slide, and a small splash area right beside it. There’s also a little waterslide for young ones. This pool is beautiful to look at and a lot of fun to spend time at. It’s located right beside a bar and there’s a quick-service restaurant and table-service restaurant located in the main building just a few steps away.
Get off at the Paddock bus stop and enjoy a great pool area for everyone in your family. This zero-entry pool has a 146-foot-long waterslide and a separate gated water play area. There are lounge chairs and tables and chairs seated in front of the Paddock Grill, a great place to grab a snack or any meal.
Congress Park Pool
With a beautiful view of Disney Springs in your background, this leisure pool is found at Congress Park, a short walk from Disney Springs. If you’re taking the bus, get off at the Congress Park bus stop. The only thing special about this leisure pool is its awesome view. A great place to come for a quiet evening.
Disney’s Old Key West
Even though this is in the Disney Springs resort area your best mode of transportation is the bus. Take the bus from any park to Old Key West.
Located near the hospitality house, this pool features a 125-foot-long water slide. This is not a zero-entry pool. There is a kiddie pool off to the side, as well as a whirlpool. This pool is in the middle of all the excitement at Old Key West. With restaurants close by, shops and a playground this is a fun location to come spend a beautiful morning or afternoon. To access this pool get off on the hospitality house bus stop.
Miller’s Road Leisure Pool
Old Turtle Pond Road Leisure Pool
South Point Road Leisure Pool
Each of these pools is your normal Leisure pool but they each have a playground in close proximity, giving you another thing to do beyond swimming. At Old Turtle Pond there is also a quick-service restaurant. For each of these pools take their respective Bus Stops.
Disney’s Port Orleans-Riverside
One of the busiest and biggest resorts on site, your bus will be full if you plan to pool hop in the afternoon. In the morning most guests will be heading to the parks so you should be fine picking up a bus and heading to the resort at that time. Take transportation to your nearest park and then jump on the next Port-Orleans Riverside bus. Do not mistake this bus for the French Quarter bus. Because of the amount of bus stops, I would forgo this pool hop unless you plan on staying at this resort on your next stay. If you are staying down the road at French Quarter then you should definitely check these pools out to give your vacation some variety.
Take the River Delta to reach this pool. Go through the lobby and outside, across the bridge to this pool. With a 95-foot-long waterslide and wooden rafters over top of the pool. You’ll be getting wet in the water and be splashed as you swim under or beside these rafters and rocks. A fun spot with a quick-service restaurant and restrooms nearby, along with a toddler pool, whirlpool and playground.
There are 5 leisure pools at Port Orleans-Riverside. They are all nestled in the middle of resort buildings. They are normal pools, I wouldn’t recommend spending the time to get to these pools when there are so many other great pools to check out. But if you are so inclined, get off at any bus stop and follow the signs to the pool.
Disney’s Port Orleans-French Quarter
This resort is smaller than Port Orleans-Riverside, so you won’t have to wait as long on the bus to get to the main building. To get to this resort your only access, other than an epic boat transport from Disney Springs is by bus. So head to your closest park or Disney Springs and take a Port Orleans-French Quarter bus. Be sure you’re on the French Quarter bus and no the Riverside bus.
There is only one bus stop at this resort. This exciting pool has a 51-foot long waterslide, with water splashing into the pool. The waterslide is a big serpent that wraps around the pool. It’s quite the sight. The pool also has a water play area that is separate and dedicated to younger kids. This pool is not a zero-entry pool. There’s also a whirlpool nearby. This is the only pool at this resort but you could also take the boat down the river to Port Orleans-Riverside once you get tired of this one. There is a quick-service restaurant nearby as well as a playground. The only bathroom/changing room available are the lobby restrooms. Not ideal for pool hopping.
Animal Kingdom Resort Area
Disney’s Coronado Springs
This resort is on its own so the only way to get there is to take a bus from the closest park from your resort. There are four bus stops so be sure to get off at the stop that has the pool you wish to enjoy.
The Lost City of Cibola Pool
Located in the centre of the resort you can access this pool from walking from any part of the resort but the easiest way is to disembark from the bus at the Ranchos bus stop and then walk to the centre of the resort. This pool offers the largest whirlpool on property, along with a 123-foot-long waterslide, nearby volleyball court and kiddie pool. Playground, arcade and quick-service restaurant as also easily accessible. The nice thing about a pool like this is everyone has to travel from their rooms to this pool therefore you’re not going to look odd lugging all your clothes and bags to the poolside, many families will be doing the same.
Casitas Village Leisure Pool
Ranchos Village Leisure Pool
Cabanas Village Leisure Pool
All three of these leisure pools have restrooms easily accessible and can be found at the centre of the buildings they share their name with. Simply get off at that village bus stop.
Disney’s All-Star Music
To get to All-Star Music take a bus from the closest park. If you’re heading here from one of the other All-Star resort you can simply walk. All-Star music has two pools and both are walking distance from the bus stop.
Closest to the lobby, this pool has no add ons. There are no whirlpools or waterslides. There is a kiddie pool. But the only reason for coming to this pool is if you’re staying at one of the other all-star resorts and are looking to add some variety. There is a kiddie pool nearby.
This pool is at the farther end of the resort. This is considered a leisure pool and it does have restrooms nearby.
Disney’s All-Star Sports
To get to All-Star Sport take a bus from the closest park. If you’re heading here from one of the other All-Star resort you can simply walk. All-Star sports has two pools and both are walking distance from the bus stop.
This pool is close to the main building, giving you quick and easy access to restaurants and shops. There are separate restrooms for this pool area and there is a kiddie pool. To get to the pool simply walk outdoors through the lobby.
Grand Slam Pool
This pool is baseball themed. Located in the centre of the two buildings, this pool has a separate restroom facility. It’s a leisure pool so don’t expect to much excitement at this pool.
Disney’s All-Star Movies
To get to All-Star Movies take a bus from the closest park. If you’re heading here from one of the other All-Star resort you can simply walk. All-Star Movies has two pools and both are walking distance from the bus stop.
Mickey has the sole focus at this pool. Walking out of the lobby you’ll see a large pool with Sorcerer Mickey front and centre. Nearby is a kiddie pool with splash zone and a restroom.
Duck Pond Pool
This Leisure Pool is close to the All-Star Music resort. Bathrooms nearby, there’s nothing too different from this pool other than its decorations.
Wide World of Sports Resort Area
Disney’s Pop Century
To get to this resort, take a bus from any of the parks. If you’re staying at the Art of Animation simply follow the footpath to this neighbouring resort. There is only one bus stop for this resort so simply get off at that bus stop and walk to the pool you plan on checking out.
Hippy Dippy Pool
Enter through the main lobby and find yourself at the Hippy Dippy Pool. With a kiddie pool nearby, pool bar, restrooms and plenty of lounge chairs. This is a good spot to spend a non-park morning.
Just down the lane is a unique looking leisure pool, designed to look like a bowling pin. With a set of restrooms nearby.
On the southern side of the resort is the computer pool. Another leisure pool with easy access to restrooms.
In conclusion, whether you’re planning on spending one, two or three days pool side think about heading to another resort to check out something new and maybe find a new place to stay on your next Disney Vacation.
Happy Pool Hopping.