PlanningThe ParksTips

Prepare Yourself For Disney With This Information

Walt Disney World is a magical vacation destination, but planning a trip to Walt Disney World might not feel so magical.

There is a lot to figure out when it comes to where to stay, what to eat, what Disney Parks to visit and everything in between.

To help you with the process, we have some tips to think about before you head down so hopefully you will be ready for the magic when you arrive at the Walt Disney World Resort.


Is Park Hopping For You?

Before you purchase your Walt Disney World Park Tickets, think about if park hopping is something that would benefit your family.

A park hopper allows Guests to hop/move between the four Disney Theme Parks after 2 pm.  This is a great way to see more of the Parks in a shorter amount of time, but it isn’t for everyone. You can start in Magic Kingdom and then after 2pm hit up EPCOT for the evening, but that means some planning.

Think about how your family will tour to make sure that Park Hopping will work. If you are heading to bed early, this might not be the best use of your money. Or if you are rope drop to Park close, you probably won’t need to hop.

Don’t feel like you have to have a Park Hopper to have a magical Disney vacation; instead, think if it works specifically for you when looking at your Walt Disney World tickets.

credit: Disney

All Things Disney Genie, Genie+ and Lightning Lanes

A new feature that we are learning more about is the new Disney Genie option found in My Disney Experience.

These features can be extremely helpful to your Walt Disney World vacation; however, you will want to look into them before heading down so you are behind when you arrive.

Disney Genie is a free service that can provide you with tips, tricks and suggestions for your day in a Disney Park and your Walt Disney World day.

Genie+ is a paid feature that Guests can choose to purchase for $15/day/person that gives them access to the Lightning Lanes for over 40 attractions in the Theme Parks.  This is designed to save Guests time and allow them to visit more while in the Theme Park.

Finally, Guests can also make Individual Attractions Selections which allow them to purchase Lightning Lane access to specific rides such as Rise of the Resistance or Avatar Flight of Passage.

You can use some or none of these features during your Walt Disney World vacation, but either way you will want to do some reach on them.

We have some information on Genie HERE as well as suggestions for Genie+ HERE.

credit: Disney Tips

Early Entry and Extending Evening Hours

If you are staying at a Walt Disney World Resort while visiting, make sure you check into the early entry and extend evening hours.

Guests staying at all Walt Disney World Resorts have the option to enter the Theme Parks 30 minutes prior to the listed opening time.  Although you might think that it is only 30 minutes, this can be a huge help to getting ahead of the crowd.

If you are staying at one of Disney’s Deluxe Resorts or Deluxe Villa Resorts, you have access to the extended evening hours.  These are only available at EPCOT and Magic Kingdom on specific days (typically Monday or Wednesday) and allow these Guests an additional two hours in the specific Theme Park after set Park closing.

These are two great features that Guests staying on Walt Disney World Property will want to take advantage of when visiting.  They can both allow Guests to experience the Parks with lower wait times allowing them to get more done in a shorter amount of time.

mobile order
Credit: Disney

Mobile Ordering

Another feature within the My Disney Experience is mobile ordering.  Guests can use mobile order throughout the four Theme Parks as well as the Walt Disney World Resorts.

Before heading down to Walt Disney World, make sure you know how to mobile order in the My Disney Experience App. This is essential for getting quick service meals while in the Theme Parks or the Resorts.

Guests are being asked to order their dining options through the app instead of ordering from a Cast Member. This is helping reduce contact; however, it can be overwhelming if you haven’t looked it over before heading to Disney World.

Also, keep in mind that you can order, and should order, before when you believe you will want to eat. This can help ensure that you get a pickup time that works for your travel party. You might not think you need to plan these quick-service meals, but it is something to prepare.


We were excited when Disney added the waitlist option to My Disney Experience.  If you didn’t snag that must have dining reservation at 60 days out, don’t give up hope.  Guests can now add their names to the waitlist via the MDE app to some of the top dining locations in the Theme Parks and Resorts.

If restaurants have tables available, you can add your name to the list and it will give you an approximate time when you will be seated.  This is good for Nomad Lounge in Disney’s Animal Kingdom as it fills up quickly.

Credit: WDW Cast and Community Facebook

Masks and More

Right now Walt Disney World is requiring all Guests two and older to wear masks when inside.  This means on the transportation systems, in the Disney Resorts and on rides and shows that are inside.

This might be different than what you are currently used to at home so make sure you have a plan.  Have extra masks for your visit so everyone is comfortable with them and has options.

Since you are going to be taking them on and off, consider a mask chain especially for little ones that might set them down and lose them.

Policies and procedures are being updated constantly to keep everyone safe, so make sure you stay on top of it and come prepared with masks no matter what.  We have seen the policy change overnight.


This might seem silly because you aren’t doing a runDisney race, but it is still something that is important to do.  Take time to train your body and your kids’ bodies for how much they will be walking.

Walt Disney World is huge and most of us don’t spend hours a day on our feet.  Make sure that you practice some walks and also make sure that everyone has shoes that are comfortable.

There is nothing worse than having sore feet on the first day of a Disney vacation.  Take time before you leave to double check those shoes and warm up those legs!

A trip to Walt Disney World is truly magical, but there are some things that if you think about beforehand can really help your trip go a little smoother.

We hope this list will help you feel more prepared and ready to go!

Looking for information on packing?  Check out our list HERE and see what we take into the Parks 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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