There have been a number of changes that have taken place at Walt Disney World in the last year. Just back from the kickoff of Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary Celebration (suitcase still isn’t completely unpacked), I wanted to share with you some tips and tricks from this latest adventure. Although much is still the same as this favorite family destination, there definitely are some tips you need to know to make the most out of your vacation.
Park Reservations are Still Required
In an effort to manage the capacity of each park, guests 3 years and older will need to have a park reservation in addition to a ticket. Capacity for each park is limited so it is important that you first check availability for each park prior to making your reservation. Be sure to secure your park reservation as soon as your vacation is booked. Just having a ticket does not guarantee you entry into any park, you must also have a Park Reservation. Disney is continuing using Park Reservations for 2022 tickets so this requirement may not be going away anytime soon.
Additional Park Hours for Resort Guests
Guests staying at a Disney resort can now take advantage of entering the parks 30 minutes prior to other guests. While this may not seem like much time, I will say it can definitely help you get a head start on a couple of the more popular attractions. Recently we had the opportunity to utilize Early Park Entry and we used this time to explore the expanded France Pavilion at EPCOT – home of the new Ratatouille: Remy’s Adventure. We used this time to enjoy seeing this new area prior to the crowds arriving (Ratatouille is not open during Early Park Entry) and even tried out the new La Creperie de Paris will little wait.
Deluxe Resort Guests will also receive Extended Evening Theme Park Hours. On select nights Deluxe Resort Guests have the opportunity to enjoy an extra two hours inside the parks! The schedule for this benefit does vary so always check Disney park hours when planning your trip (or book with me and I will do the checking for you!).
Masks and Mask Holders
Face masks are now optional in outdoor common areas. This means you can now walk around outside at the parks and resort areas without wearing a mask. Face coverings are required for all guests ages 2 years and older upon entering and throughout all attractions, theaters, and on transportation. This policy is strictly enforced and Cast Members will remind you if you forget to put one on or if the mask drops below your nose. Tip: Be sure to bring along a mask holder. With the constant going in and out of attractions, it is convenient to use a mask holder and be able to just drop the mask down once you come out of a building.
Currently, FastPasses have been retired. While Disney has announced plans for a similar program, Disney Genie+, an official launch date has not been announced. After multiple Walt Disney World visits in the last year, I have to admit I haven’t missed FastPasses (and I was a huge fan). Wait times at most of the attractions have been minimal. Even on our most recent visit for the 50th Anniversary Celebration, the longest we waited for an attraction was about 30 minutes. As a rule of thumb, popular attractions will have lower wait times first thing in the morning and shortly before closing so be sure to hit your favorite attractions during these times.
One of the changes that have taken place since the reopening is the timeframe that guests can book dining reservations prior to your trip. Now you can make reservations 60 days prior to your first vacation day beginning online at 6:00 am or calling (407) 939-3463 at 7:00 am. After this recent trip, I continue to be a firm believer in the benefit of having at least one dining reservation a day. During peak times the quick service locations can become packed and even those using Mobile Ordering can wait longer than anticipated if the crowd level is higher. (Pro Tip: Book your vacation through Castle and Cruise Adventures and I will make your reservations for you!)
The good news for all of us is that although there are plenty of changes at Disney, the magic is still alive and well! Need help navigating the plans for your Walt Disney World vacation and knowing what to expect? Reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or click here to request a no-obligation quote.