If you’re dreaming of or planning your next trip to Walt Disney World you need to keep in mind a few tips and tricks. The most magical place on earth has implemented quite a few changes in the past couple of years.
If you plan on visiting any of the Disney parks in Florida, please know that crowds have been consistently growing. Park reservations are a MUST, well in advance, and the same applies for dining at Disney’s most popular restaurants.
Currently you need to buy your ticket or vacation package and then book which park you will visit for each day of your stay. Park reservations cannot be modified, only canceled, so you need to plan your Disney vacation in advance. You can add the Park Hopper option for an extra fee so you can visit other parks after 2pm, something I highly recommend.
Since mask guidelines have been loosened up, maskless guests are the norm at the parks. It’s up to you to decide whether you are comfortable with that. Some guests and cast members are still wearing their masks indoors, and I do wear a mask in crowded settings like the buses.
Common Disney World Travel Questions
Do I still need a mask at Walt Disney World? No, guests do not need to wear a mask indoors. Since conditions can change, I highly recommend checking Disney’s updates. For the most current mask guidelines, always check their website.
Is there FastPass? I couldn’t find it! No, FastPass has still not been reinstated. It was replaced by the in-app Genie service. You can also stand in line or purchase the Disney Genie+ service ($15 per ticket plus tax) and choose the next available arrival window for Lightning Lane entrances at select attractions and entertainment. Another option is to individually purchase Lightning Lane entrance access for up to two attractions a day. Please keep in mind you need to purchase Lightning Lane access for each member of your party. Tip: Please know that until August 7, 2022, Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway, Frozen Ever After, Space Mountain and Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain will be included via Disney Genie+ service and will not be included as an individual Lightning Lane selection.
Can I go directly to the park if I have my ticket and Magic Band? Yes, you can but only if you made a reservation for that park. If you’re winging it, chances are that you will be turned away.
Do I need a reservation for park hopping? No. Currently he Park Hopper option allows you to visit parks after 2pm without a reservation.
Are character meet and greet experiences back? Yes, finally! You can once again hug and interact with your favorite characters, including Mickey and Minnie Mouse.
Top tips for your Disney World trip
- Before buying your tickets, check park availability. There is different availability for ticket holders, those staying at select Disney hotels and annual passholders.
- Make your park reservations as soon as you purchase your tickets. I cannot stress enough how important this is. Do not risk it. The park reservation process is very easy on the web or through the app.
- Download the free MyDisneyExperience app. It’s free and will make your vacation so much easier. You can book reservations, see your ride photos, order food and even unlock your room door if staying at a Disney Resort.
- Use the app’s mobile ordering for food. You will save so much time! It’s contactless, seamless, and honestly, so easy. You do need to associate a credit card with your account so you can pay. Totally worth it for the convenience!
- Check the Disney website or app for most current information before your trip. Mask mandates and experiences can change, so check on the Disney website for the latest updates.
- Bring hand sanitizer. Now that more people are vaccinated and that CDC guidelines have relaxed a bit, the hand washing stations have been removed but you will still find hand sanitizer dispensers around the parks. However, it is much more convenient to have your own sanitizer, especially if you will be eating snacks while walking around.
- Apply and reapply sunscreen frequently. The Florida sun can be brutal and long lines mean extended exposure. Pack on the SPF and reapply every 2 hours. Don’t forget ears, the back of your neck and your arms!
- Hydrate frequently. Take your own water bottle and drink up. It’s easy to become dehydrated! You can also ask for a free cup of water at any dining location.
- Get to the park early. Make sure to get to the park you reserved as early as possible. Then head to the top attraction you wish to visit for the shortest waiting time. Tip: I like to work my way from the back of the park to the front.
- Enjoy Disney Springs. Not only will you find an incredible selection of stores to get your shopping fix, but there are so many delicious restaurants. No entrance fee is required and parking is free. The Disney Store is huge and depending on current rules, you might need to wait in line to enter the store. We experienced long lines at the register but they moved quickly.
- Book a character meal. If traveling with little ones, a meal is the best way to ensure they see their favorite Disney characters. These are the toughest reservations to grab right now, even with all the restrictions. Characters do walk around the tables at locations such as Chef Mickey, Garden Grill and Topolino’s Terrace .
More Disney travel tips
- 10 Disney World tips for your family’s magical vacation
- 10 Tips When Traveling To Disney World With Grandparents
- Tips to plan your next Walt Disney World vacation
- Top Tips To Plan Your Next Disney Cruise
All photos: Jeannette Kaplun