PlanningThe ParksTips

The Hardest Parts of Planning a Disney Trip

Planning a trip to Walt Disney World takes a lot of time, research, and patience.  Lately, it seems like we need a lot more of all of those things in order to plan successfully for our Walt Disney World vacation.

We have always been planners when it came to our Walt Disney World vacations; however, it seems like planning is even harder now than ever.

Not only do we have to deal with all the normal decisions such as where to stay, what to eat, and how to tour the Disney Parks, but now there is, even more, to know about Disney Genie and My Disney Experience.

So what are the hardest parts of planning a Walt Disney World trip?  We have the top frustrations we run into when we are planning our Walt Disney World vacations and how to be better prepared.



The biggest struggle that we have when it comes to planning a Walt Disney World vacation revolves around Genie+.  If you aren’t familiar with this new feature found within My Disney Experience, let’s run down the basics.

Genie+ is a paid feature that Guests can add to their Walt Disney World tickets for $15/person/day.  When purchasing Genie+, Guests are given access to over 40 lightning lanes that allow them to bypass the standby lines for those rides and attractions.

During busy times, this can be a big-time savor; however, there are some major planning frustrations that come with Genie+.

In order to get the most out of Genie+, Guests need to be up and ready to book their first selection at 7:00 am.  This means that the alarm is going to be going off early each day of your vacation.  This can be super frustrating when you are wanting to sleep in after a long day at the Disney Parks.  Unfortunately, to truly get the best selections, it is needed.

Credit: Disney

Another frustration with Genie+ is that Guests aren’t able to choose their return time.  Unlike the old FastPass+ feature where Guests were able to choose their return times, Genie+ gives Guests the next available time.  This means that you aren’t able to select times that will work around your dining or rest times.

If you don’t see a time that works for you, know that you can often refresh (pull down from the top) and new times will see.  This is especially true at 7 am; however, don’t wait too long.

We are also seeing that the time Guests are given when they make their initial selection isn’t always the time that they end up with when it is all said and done.  Guests might choose Peter Pan’s Flight because there is a 10 am return time, but by the time they get through the booking process, they are now given a 2 pm return time.  It is extremely hard to plan and navigate the Parks when things are consistent.

Finally, many Guests are frustrated when it comes to being on their phones the whole time in the Parks.  Many like to visit Walt Disney World as it is a way to escape the real world.  This has become harder to do when we are glued to our phones.

Genie+ is a hard part of a Walt Disney World trip right now.  We are hopeful that as we get more familiar with it and Disney possibly makes adjustments, we will see an improvement with some of these struggles.

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Credit: Disney

Park Hopping

Park Hopping is now only allowed for Guests after 2:00 pm each day.  This can make it difficult to plan your day and your Genie+ reservations.

Many Guests who purchase a Park Hopper like to be able to move freely between the Parks, but with this new restriction that isn’t as easy.

When you might wrap up at Disney’s Animal Kingdom early in the day it leaves you with some awkward downtime before you can hop to another Park.  We would recommend enjoying some drinks at a lounge or visiting a Disney Resort, for those Park lovers this is hard.

Food and Wine
Credit: Disney

No Spontaneity

If you are one that likes to just go with the flow, a Walt Disney World vacation right now might not be for you.  There is a lot that goes into planning a Walt Disney World vacation now and just going with the flow doesn’t really work.

Guests need to make their Park Pass Reservations before they even arrive at Walt Disney World.  Without these valid Theme Park tickets, they won’t be able to get into the Parks.

There is no more waking up in the morning and determining which Disney Park you feel like.

With Genie+, you have a lot less ability to plan throughout the day as well.  Since you are given the next available time it means you are going to have to plan on your feet.  For many, this can feel stressful.

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Credit: Disney


There are a few other struggles when it comes to planning a Walt Disney World vacation right now.  Many are hoping that the Disney Dining Plan comes back as they like being able to prepay for their meals.

Others are anxiously awaiting shows like Fantasmic and Finding Nemo in Disney’s Animal Kingdom to return.

Even though a lot of Walt Disney World is back to normal, there are some things in the magic that are missing.  This can make it hard to plan and to know what to expect when you arrive.

Even though it might be hard to plan a Walt Disney World vacation right now, it is still worth it.  Take time to do some research and plan ahead of time.  Doing so will make you feel more prepared and ready for the magic.

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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