PlanningThe ParksTips

Make Your Disney Trip Easier With These Tips

Planning a vacation to Walt Disney World lately can feel extremely difficult.  Trying to keep up with all the new procedures and policies can be a lot.

If you are planning a trip to Walt Disney World this year, we have a few tips to help make your trip easier as you prepare for the magic.

These are big picture items that by being aware of them and how they work in Walt Disney World before your trip can allow you to be ahead of the game when you arrive and thus make your trip easier.

Pop Century Resort
Photo Credit: Disney

Book Early

We are noticing now more than ever that Walt Disney World Resort hotels are booking up quickly.  We aren’t sure if it is because so many of us haven’t traveled in the last few years so we are getting those trips in or if the hotels themselves are still not at full capacity.  Either way you will want to book that Disney Resort hotel early.

If you know which Resort you want to stay at during your Disney vacation, you can start booking a whole year ahead of time.  Although you don’t need to book this year, with Disney’s great and easy cancellation policy, we often say why not book early.

By booking the Resort early you are able to have a better chance at getting the Resort of your choice as well as the room style of your choice.

Now if you are looking to take a last minute trip down to Walt Disney World don’t panic.  You will still be able to find rooms, but you might need to be flexible in where you stay.  Look into new Resort options or check out a Good Neighbor Resort for Disney perks with a lower price point.

You can make your Disney vacation easier by booking that Disney Resort hotel early on so you can feel comfortable with where you will be resting your head at night.

Animal Kingdom
Animal Kingdom

Park Pass Reservations

Since reopening in 2020, Walt Disney World has required all Disney Guests to book Park Passes to the four Disney Theme Parks (Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, EPCOT and Disney’s Animal Kingdom) they aren’t needed at the water parks (Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon) when opened.

After purchasing a valid Theme Park ticket, Guests then need to go into their My Disney Experience account and select which of the four Theme Parks they are planning on visiting each day.

If you want to make your planning easier, do this as soon as you have tickets purchased.  Disney is still limited capacity and Theme Park availability can book up meaning if you wait to make your reservations you might not get into the Park of your choice.

Oftentimes you are able to adjust your reservations if plans change, but always check the availability before canceling your current reservation.

Don’t wait to make these but instead make them as soon as possible to check it off your Disney planning list.

Chef Mickey's
Credit: Disney

Advance Dining Reservations

Guests wanting to experience some of Disney’s table-service restaurants can make dining reservations starting at 60 days prior to check-in.  If you are wanting some of the top dining locations such as Space 220 in EPCOT, Steakhouse 71 at Disney’s Contemporary Resort or O’hana at Disney’s Polynesian Resort you will want to set the alarm and be ready.

Many of these highly popular meals book up quickly so you will want to be up and ready to book at the 60 day mark.  If you don’t get your top choice, be flexible.   Look at different times or even other dining locations as there are some hidden gems throughout the Disney Parks and Disney Resorts.

If you still can’t find what you are looking for, don’t give up.  Keep looking as cancellations happen all the time.  Even when you are in Disney, keep looking as many Guests cancel within 24 hours to avoid the no show fee.

You can also check with the restaurant itself when you are in Disney to see if they have any walk-up options.  This is also a new feature in the My Disney Experience app as well.

Make your Disney trip easier by having a dining plan and being ready at the 60 day mark.

mobile order
Credit: Disney

Mobile Order

If you don’t want to make dining reservations, you still need to have a food plan for your Disney vacation.  For quick service options in the Theme Parks and Disney Resorts, Disney is using mobile order through the My Disney Experience app.

Guests log into the app, choose a dining location like Woody’s Lunch Box in Toy Story Land, pick an available time and order food.  Once their window is opened, Guests can choose the “prepare my order” and Disney Cast Members will begin preparing their order.

The reason you need to plan ahead when it comes to mobile ordering is because popular dining times like 12 to 1 and 6 to 7 fill up quickly.  If you know when and where you want to dine, we highly recommend booking your mobile order early on in the day.  This will ensure your pick up time.

If you are wanting to avoid long waits for your order, we also recommend choosing some off times.  Each an early lunch or supper to avoid long pick up times once you select the “prepare my order” button.

No matter what dining experience you want to have, you will want to have a plan so you aren’t trying to figure out what to do at the last minute.

credit: Disney

Disney Genie, Genie+ and Individual Attraction Selection

Back in October, Disney added a new feature to My Disney Experience in Disney Genie.  This free planning tool helps Guests plan their day as they travel through the Disney Parks by giving tips and suggestions.

As part of the Disney Genie feature, Guests can choose to purchase both Genie+ and Individual Attraction Selections.  We have more information on these features HERE as well as what rides we recommend using these on HERE if you need more information.

To make your Disney vacation easier, we recommend doing a little research (like the posts we linked above) so you know how these new features work and if they are useful for your family.

Although we think that Genie+ is a big bonus for Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Hollywood Studios, you might not feel the same way.  Take some time to look into all these features to determine what works the best for your family.

Even if you decide not to use these features, knowing what they are will make your trip easier.

These are some of the big topics that knowing about before your Walt Disney World trip will make your trip so much easier when you arrive.  From having your park passes booked and dining plans figured out, you will be one step ahead of the crowds when you arrive.

We hope that you have a wonderful vacation and if you need more tips and tricks, check out our Disney advice post HERE as well as what you don’t want to forget when packing HERE.

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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