PlanningThe ParksTips

4 Big Changes Since Your Last Disney Vacation

Walt Disney World is constantly changing and adjusting to make the most magical experience for Guests when they come down on vacation.  Because of this, there are a lot of new changes that Guests need to be aware of before their Disney vacation.

We have four of the biggest changes in Walt Disney World since your last Disney vacation.  Knowing about these changes is going to be key to having a magical experience.

Disney Genie
Credit: Disney
  1.  Disney Genie, Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lanes

We are going to jump right into the biggest change that has come to Walt Disney World and that is the implementation of Disney Genie.  This new planning tool is found within the My Disney Experience app and is designed to help Guests as they tour the Disney Parks.

Disney Genie offers suggestions and tips as Guests navigate the Disney Parks.  Guests can find suggested dining options, show experiences, and rides that Disney Genie thinks they would enjoy.

As part of Disney Genie, Guests can choose to purchase Genie+ (see how to do this HERE).  Genie+ costs $15/person/day and gives Guests access to Lightning Lanes.  These are the paths/queues that bypass the standby lines for a ride or show.

Guests that purchase Genie+ can expect, according to Disney, to bypass the lines for around 2 to 3 main rides each day.  This can be a huge time saver for those wanting to experience the most the Disney Park has to offer.

Another new feature that was added along with Disney Genie and Genie+ was Individual Lightning Lanes or Individual Attraction Selections.  These are individual rides that are not included with the purchase of Genie+.   For Guests wanting to use the Lightning Lane for these rides (currently: Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, and Avatar Flight of Passage) they will need to purchase it separately.

The price for these rides ranges from $7 to $15 depending on the time of the year and crowd levels.  As these are the most popular rides in the Disney Parks, the use of this service can save Guests hours in line.

Disney Genie, Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lanes are a BIG change since your last vacation.

Magical Express
Magical Express

2.  No Magical Express

For many of us who enjoy traveling to Walt Disney World, we have always relied on Disney’s Magical Express.  This free service took us from Orlando International Airport to our Walt Disney World Resort hotel.

As of January 2022, Disney discontinued this service leaving Guests to determine how they are going to get to the magic on their own.

Although there are numerous options, from shuttles to private transfers to ride shares, it is an additional step and an additional cost that Guests traveling to Walt Disney World now need to plan for.

If you are looking for ideas on how to get to your Walt Disney World Resort hotel, our friends over at DisneyTips have some suggestions HERE.  Since this is a big change when it comes to Disney planning, make sure you think about this a few months prior to your Disney vacation to ensure you will find availability.

credit Disney

3.  My Disney Experience is Key

If you have been to Walt Disney World before, you have probably used My Disney Experience.  What has changed in Walt Disney World is how essential this app is to a successful Disney vacation.

We already mentioned that you will find Disney Genie, Genie+, and Individual Lightning Lanes within the app, but there is so much more there as well.

Guests will use the app throughout their vacation to not only navigate the Disney Parks but also their Walt Disney World Resort.

It is on the My Disney Experience app that Guests will find wait times, showtimes as well as other entertainment information such as cavalcades and parade times.

Mobile ordering, mobile check-in, and walk-up waitlist are all located in the app and are extremely important when it comes to getting your favorite food or eating at your favorite location.

Because it is so important during a Walt Disney World vacation, we highly recommend taking some time prior to arrival to navigate the app.  This will make it a lot less stressful when you arrive.

crowds DT
Credit: Disney Tips

4.  It is Busy

A lot of us have been anxiously awaiting for Walt Disney World to return to “normal”.  We have waited for characters to return, then meet and greets to come back, for masks to be optional and of course, for those magical firework shows to light up the sky once again.

As we have gotten each of this one by one, we feel like the Disney experience is starting to get back to normal.

Just a word of warning, however, with things returning more to normal, we are also seeing the crowds return as well.  If you haven’t been to Disney since 2020, you might be surprised at how busy the Parks are each and every day.

Although this is a sign of things returning to normal, you will want to be prepared for the crowds.  We have some greats posts on How to Disney about How to Avoid Crowds and Places to Escape the Crowds.

Take some time to figure out how to avoid the crowds or be in front of the crowds so you can still have a magical time.

Those are four big changes that have occurred in Walt Disney World since your last vacation.  We hope bringing them to your attention will allow you to be more prepared and ready for a magical trip.

Jennifer Retzlaff

Jennifer became a lifelong Disney fan during her first trip to Walt Disney World in 6th grade. From that moment, Disney became a big part of her life. She quickly started to introduce her love of Disney to her family with a Disney honeymoon and then family trips when her youngest was 18 months old. She loves the magic that Disney brings to people through theme parks, cruises, and adventures. As a teacher, she tries to bring Disney magic into her classroom to help kids believe that “If You Can Dream It, You Can Do It.” She is also part of the Magic Vacation Planner team as a personal travel advisor. With this team, she can now help others plan magical vacations. She loves bringing her love to Disney to readers with How to Disney.

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