If it’s been a while since your last Walt Disney World vacation, there have been some big changes in the past few years you’ll want to familiarize yourself with! While the magic is still there, some of these new systems and rules are pretty significant, and look like they may be here to stay. Here are 6 big changes you’ll want to know before your next trip.
Park Pass Reservations/Park Hopping
Today’s Disney World vacations require a little more planning. To visit a Disney park, a valid ticket AND Park Pass reservation must be made. Park Pass reservations can be made on the My Disney Experience App and should be made as soon as possible, as parks can fill up and reach capacity. In order to park hop, the Hopper option must be added to the theme park tickets, and guests must make a reservation for the first park they will be visiting. After the guest has entered the first park, they may enter another starting at 2 pm. This makes it a bit more difficult to visit more than 2 parks per day, but it can still be done!
Genie + and Individual Lightning Lane
The old and beloved FastPass + system is unfortunately gone. Genie + service and Individual Lightning Lane access have replaced it. This is one of the largest changes Disney has made. Both of the new systems are paid services, unlike the free FastPass + system. Genie + is $15 per person per day and allows guests to choose one attraction at a time to skip the line. Individual Lightning Lane is only offered for the most popular rides in each park and is another additional charge. These costs can definitely add up for large families! You can read about the pros and cons of Genie + and Individual Lightning Lane here.
In the past, Disney Resort guests had access to Extra Magic Hours. While Extra Magic Hours are no more, Disney Resort guests now have early theme park entry and may enter any park 30 minutes earlier than guests staying off-property.
Extended Evening Hours
Another one of the changes Disney has made is adding Extended Evening Hours for Deluxe Disney Resort guests. Unlike early park entry, Extended Evening hours are on select nights in select parks, so it is important to check the schedule and plan accordingly.
Another one of the changes at Disney is that many quick-service locations at Disney World are now asking guests to mobile order meals and snacks instead of waiting in line to order. Some locations even require mobile ordering to be completed before they allow guests to even enter the restaurant (Docking Bay 7 in Hollywood Studios and Satu’li Canteen in Animal Kingdom for example). Mobile ordering can be done with the My Disney Experience App and is pretty easy to do.
One of the big changes we’ve seen at Disney over the last few years has been the implementation of virtual queues for new attractions. The popular Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance used the virtual queue for quite some time after opening, as did the new EPCOT attraction Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure. EPCOT’s new Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind roller coaster is using the same system. You can read all about how to obtain a virtual queue boarding group here.
While not everyone is a fan of some of these new changes, Disney is still very magical and these new systems certainly haven’t had an effect on crowd levels. Disney parks are busier than ever, and planning ahead is the key to the magic!
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