PlanningThe ParksTips

Changes in Walt Disney World You HAVE TO KNOW

If you haven’t been to the Walt Disney World Resort in the last few years there are a lot of changes that you will need to be aware of before heading down for your Disney vacation.

Since reopening in 2020, Walt Disney World has made a variety of changes to help keep Guests and Cast Members safer as well as to make the trip smoother.

Take a look at the changes in Walt Disney World that you need to know about before your Disney vacation.

four parks
Credit: Disney

Park Passes Are Needed

A new step when it comes to planning a Walt Disney World vacation is making Park pass reservations.  After purchasing their Walt Disney World tickets, Guests need to also make Park Passes for one of the four Disney Parks (Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios).

Guests do this through the My Disney Experience app and it is important to do so as soon as possible.  We still see Park Passes become unavailable for some Parks during busy times.  You won’t want to wait to make these.

Make sure that you check the Park Pass availability prior to booking your trip or purchasing tickets as you don’t want your Theme Park of choice to be unavailable.

Although this does eliminate the ability to be spontaneous during your vacation, it also helps ensure that during busy times such as Halloween, Spring Break, and Christmas you will be able to get into the Park you have made a reservation for.

Don’t forget this step when it comes to planning your Walt Disney World vacation.

WaltDisneyWorld Bus
credit: Disney Tips

Park Hopper at 2 pm

Another big change that has been put into place during the last few years is the change to Park Hopping.

Guests are able to add a Park Hopper option to their Walt Disney World ticket.  This gives them the ability to hop between the four Disney Parks.

The change that was put into place is that Park Hopping isn’t allowed until after 2 pm.  Previously Guests were able to hop at any time making it easier to move between the four Disney Parks throughout the day.

Now Guests aren’t able to move to a new Park until 2:00 pm.  This allows Walt Disney World to control the crowds in the Parks during the morning hours; however, it does make it a little hard for Guests to move around the Walt Disney World.

If you normally purchase a Park Hopper, you might want to reevaluate if it will still work for your family.  Figuring out your touring plans might help you determine if a Park Hopper will be worth the investment.

Keep in mind, in order to hop, you have to have checked into the Disney Park where you made your initial Park Reservation previously.

Park Hopping can be a great way to visit more than one Disney Park in a day; however, with the new restrictions, it does take a little more planning.

mobile order
Credit: Disney

Mobile Ordering is Key

Mobile ordering is a huge part of a Walt Disney World vacation.  This feature is found within the My Disney Experience app.  At the quick service locations throughout the Walt Disney World Parks, Disney Springs, and Walt Disney World Resorts, Guests are able to order their food through the app.

Guests choose a dining location, select a return time, and place their order.  By doing this, Guests are reserving a time for their meal and will be able to bypass the long standby lines that build during key meal times.

When their return window comes up, Guests are able to click the “Prepare My Order” option and Cast Members will begin to prepare their food.  Guests then pick up their food once they receive the notification that it is ready at the pickup window.

This is a huge part of a Walt Disney World experience now and something that Guests will want to look into prior to their Disney vacation.  Since it will save a lot of time waiting for food, we highly recommend using mobile ordering while in Walt Disney World.

Disney Genie
Credit: Disney


A major change that you have to know about revolves around the discontinuation of fastpasses and the introduction of Disney Genie and all it includes.

Disney Genie is the new free planning tool found in My Disney Experience.  It helps Guests by providing tips for touring plans for the Disney Park that they are in for the day.

As part of Disney Genie, Guests can choose to add Genie+.  This is a paid feature that allows Guests to bypass the standby line for over 40 rides or attractions in the four Disney Parks.  This has replaced the free fastpass system that Guests might have been used to in the past.

credit: Inside the Magic

If purchasing Genie+ for $15/person/day, Guests can then start booking their Genie+ selections at 7 am.  There is a LOT that goes into Genie+ and we have a lot of posts on How To Disney about the best way to use Genie+ and other tips and tricks.  We highly recommend taking some time to invest Genie+ so if you choose to purchase this feature, you know how to get the most out of it.

These are some of the biggest changes in Walt Disney World that you need to know about before heading down on your next Disney vacation.  Being aware of these changes will help you be more prepared and more familiar with what these new systems are and how to use them to your benefit.

No matter what our opinions are on the changes, they are part of a Walt Disney World vacation now and something we need to plan for ahead of time.

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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