By Paul Bonnette
Walt Disney World. Just the name conjures up images of exciting rides, hilarious characters, delicious snacks, and fun with family and friends. If you haven’t been to Disney World in the past few years, and are looking to make a trip back to the “Most Magical Place on Earth,” it may be a bit different than you remember. Park Hopping, fast passes, and even reservations have all changed in the past few years after Covid forced many businesses including Disney to change their operating method. Before you gas up the car to head down to Orlando, here are a few things you should know about planning your Disney vacation.
My Disney Experience App is extremely important. Wait times, ride and park photos, reservations, and more are all managed on the app called “My Disney Experience.” Whether you want to mobile order from a quick service restaurant, check how long the wait time is for Pirates of the Caribbean, or even use it as a map, this app will help make sure you get the most from your vacation.
Park Reservations. Unfortunately, you will not be able to hop down there with a ticket and waltz through the gates to get in line for Haunted Mansion as you might be used to doing. Park reservations are required for each of the four parks such as Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom. The best way to make and manage your park reservation is through the My Disney Experience App.
Park Hopping. Although Park Hopping is still allowed, it’s changed somewhat over the past couple of years. If you want to visit more than one park in a day you need to make a plan. Park hopping is available starting after 2 p.m. and is only for those with a reservation and who have visited one of the other parks first. So, if you plan to rope drop at Epcot, make sure you have plenty to do until riding the monorail over to Magic Kingdom as you won’t be able to do this until the afternoon.
Genie+. The days of Fast Pass sadly have come to an end, however, that doesn’t mean you can’t skip the lines. Disney World has since introduced Genie+ as a replacement for the Fast Pass system. Unlike the free fast pass system, Genie Plus can range from $15 to $29 per person and can be purchased through the My Disney Experience app. Genie+ works similarly to the fast pass system allowing you to pick a time to come back and skip the standby line to go through the Lightning Lane. The majority of rides at Disney are available on Genie+ with the exception of some of the newer and more popular rides which require a separate lightning lane purchase to skip the lines.
While your Disney World vacation may be a little different than in years past, with some planning you can be sure to get the most magic out of your experience.