Rookie Notes about Planning a Disney Trip
So, you’re thinking about a Walt Disney World vacation? Terrific! I’m confident that you’ll have an unforgettable trip!
Of course, you should know a few things about your visit, as you have much to consider.
Here are a few rookie notes about a Disney trip.
When You Visit Matters
Let’s start with the basics because this mistake represents the one that people make the most.
Disney’s annual calendar hides plenty of secrets that only Disney pros know.
For example, we know when to visit and, more importantly, when NOT to visit.
Disney crowds work a lot like other tourist destinations. Only Walt Disney World has its only unique twists.
On all major holidays, guests flock to the parks, leading to larger than usual crowds.
Similarly, Spring Break varies by the school system. However, the time from early March to mid-April tends to be more crowded overall due to Spring Break.
So, if possible, pick a spot on the calendar that seems less likely to draw a crowd. January, early May, and September are outstanding options.
You Should Always Stay on Site
You receive exclusive amenities when you stay at an official Disney resort. And they’re worth their weight in gold.
The most significant of them is Early Theme Park Entry, which is only available to guests staying at Disney properties.
This amenity entitles your traveling party to enter a Disney theme park 30 minutes before it opens to the public.
When you utilize this option wisely, you can check off an attraction that would otherwise require a wait of 60 minutes or more.
When things break right, you could even stand in line for a second attraction before the park technically opens to all guests!
Bam! Your Disney park visit is already off to a spectacular start!
You Must Figure Out Airport Transportation on Your Own
When you fly into Orlando International Airport, you must plan your own transportation.
Technically, if you visit through New Year’s Eve of this year, that’s not true. Disney operates a service known as Magical Express, but it ends in 2022.
So, you must figure the situation out on your own. MickeyBlog recently evaluated all the options.
Realistically, the easiest thing to do is order a ride-share from the airport, which should cost about $35-$50.
However, I’ll add that our experiences with ride-sharing at Walt Disney World have varied mightily depending on the driver.
When you get a driver who knows what they’re doing, you’re in business. However, if it’s someone who doesn’t handle stress well, Orlando traffic can cause them to panic.
As such, the new Mears Connect service seems like a viable choice as well. It’s basically Magical Express without the Disney branding.
You MUST Book a Park Pass
Here’s something else that’s recently new. When Walt Disney World reopened in 2020, the pandemic was at full strength.
Park officials needed to control crowds to maintain social distancing. For this reason, Disney introduced a new requirement.
Guests needed Park Passes along with admission tickets. By taking this approach, park officials could take a headcount of expected park capacity.
Interestingly, the process proved so effective that Disney kept it even after vaccination became prevalent.
Whenever you’re vacationing at Walt Disney World, you’ll need a Park Pass to enter any park.
That’s true even when you Park Hop. Disney has restored this option for 2021 and beyond.
However, you cannot Park Hop unless you have a Park Pass for that day as well.
Different Theme Parks Have Different Operating Hours
Here’s one that confuses many guests. All four Disney theme parks work under different schedules.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom often opens earlier than the other three parks. The residents here, the animals, keep an earlier schedule.
Park officials cannot do much about that. So, it leans into the fact that animals awaken at dawn by opening Animal Kingdom as early as 7 a.m.
As I type this, Animal Kingdom allows regular guests at 8 a.m., which drives home the point that operating hours fluctuate everywhere.
Disney will increase hours during peak season, circling back to the previous discussion about when you visit mattering.
Meanwhile, Disney shrinks operating hours when fewer guests are expected, which is fine, too. You’ll still get to do more during the off-season due to the lack of crowds.
To drive this point home, EPCOT currently opens at 11 a.m. So you can be three hours into your Animal Kingdom visit and ready for lunch by then!
As such, you should always know the park hours for the place where you hold a Park Pass for that date.
Otherwise, you may get surprised, which can ruin your entire day.
Park Transportation Matters
Here’s another way that you can screw up your day if you don’t plan well.
You’ll utilize Disney transportation to move from park to resort and back again. You’ll also catch a ride from park to park at times.
The types of transportation at Walt Disney World vary in quality and reliability.
To wit, guests have lamented the mercurial nature of the bus system for as long as I’ve been visiting Disney.
Sometimes, you’ll reach the bus depot, and your chariot awaits you! On other occasions, you’re exhausted, your feet hurt, and you just want to sit down.
Sadly, these instances represent the times when you’re least likely to find a bus waiting for you. When things go wrong, you could wait 30 minutes or longer.
A pro tip here is to be proactive if a bus doesn’t arrive promptly. Contact Disney customer service via My Disney Experience. I’ve seen that work.
Boats represent a slightly better option as they theoretically operate on a set schedule. Obviously, Disney cannot control everything, though.
Sometimes, an accident involves a guest that requires some clean-up, the boat malfunctions, or whatever.
So, boats are more reliable than buses, but they’re still not the best bet.
That honor belongs to monorails or the Disney Skyliner, depending on your perspective.
Both these transportation systems work on a fixed schedule, although the monorail experiences the occasional age-related hiccup.
With either service, you’ll receive direct transport to a location near the entrance to a theme park.
As such, when you can ride on the monorail or Disney Skyliner, you should. It’ll save you plenty of walking!
Disney Genie Is Your New Best Friend
Do you feel a bit overwhelmed by how much you have to consider?
I’ve got two pieces of good news for you. The first involves the new virtual assistant Disney Genie.
This product will debut later this year, and it’ll flatten the learning curve between Disney rookies and grizzled veterans.
The app will know all the things about a park visit that you don’t. However, that only helps you once you’re in the park.
When you’re planning your trip, you’ll still feel a bit clueless. That’s where MickeyTravels comes into play!
These authorized Disney vacation planners can set up your dream vacation, thereby saving you all the aggravation that comes from rookie mistakes.
Better yet, their services are free to you! They receive a commission from Disney.
So, you don’t even need to pay a dime to set up the best possible Disney vacation! The experts at MickeyTravels will take care of all your needs!