Is Planning a Disney World Trip too Complicated?
Disney made some changes to visiting the theme parks after the pandemic closure and now some guests feel planning a Disney World trip is too complicated. While there are more steps required in order to enter the theme parks, planning doesn’t have to be complicated. Let me help with some of the common issues guests have.
Park Entry Requirements
Guests now need to have park pass reservations along with valid park tickets in order to enter a theme park. Many guests don’t love that they have to choose which park to visit each day in advance since that leaves little flexibility. However, it’s not all that different from when guests could reserve FastPass+ attractions months in advance. That required guests to basically choose which park they would visit each day. Park reservations don’t have to be made months in advance unless you will be visiting during a very busy time of year. Disney has also made it easier to modify park pass reservations!
If you are wanting to have more flexibility on your Disney World trip, I recommend purchasing a Park Hopper ticket. You will still need to make a park pass reservation for the first park you plan to visit. After you enter the first park, you can park hop starting at 2 pm to any of the theme parks so long as they aren’t at capacity.
Genie, Genie+, Lightning Lane, Individual Lightning Lane, & Virtual Queue
FastPass and FastPass+ is no more! Guests are a little more than confused by the new Genie, Genie+, Lightning Lane, Individual Lightning Lane, and Virtual Queue lingo. Let’s break it down.
Genie: Disney Genie is a complimentary service in the My Disney Experience App. Guests can enter their preferred rides and dining and the Genie will create a personalized itinerary for them. It can even remind you when you’re eligible to make dining and activities reservations.
Genie+: Disney Genie+ is a service in the My Disney Experience app you can purchase. Pricing changes based on the date. You can purchase Genie+ at midnight on the day you want to use it. The service allows you to reserve Lightning Lane for select attractions which works similarly to the previous FastPass system. This service helps you save time by not waiting in line. You can make your first attraction selection at 7 am the day you are using Genie+.
Lightning Lane: Lightning Lane is basically the new phrase for FastPass. Guests with Genie+ are able to reserve the Lightning Lane for select rides. They will receive a time to return to the ride and get to bypass most of the standby line by going through the “Lightning Lane”. Not every ride offers Lightning Lane but a lot do. The first selection can be made at 7 am the day you have Genie+. Only one can be reserved at a time and you can make another one either after the first is redeemed, or 2 hours have passed. Guests can use Lightning Lane only once per attraction per day. (ie. You can only use Lightning Lane for Big Thunder Mountain once on the day you have Genie+)
Individual Lightning Lane: Select rides in each park offer Lightning Lane but are not included in the price of Genie+. These rides offer “Individual Lightning Lane” (ILL) which is a separate cost. You do not need to purchase Genie+ in order to purchase an Individual Lightning Lane. For example, if you would like to skip the standby line at Seven Dwarfs Mine Train in Magic Kingdom and use Lightning Lane, you’ll need to purchase the Individual Lightning Lane but you don’t need to purchase Genie+ as well. The price for ILL varies by attraction and park. You can only purchase ILL for 2 rides per day.
Virtual Queue: There are a couple of rides that offer Virtual Queue. Those rides are Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind in Epcot and now TRON Lightcycle Run in Magic Kingdom. Neither ride has a standby line. The only options to ride the attractions are to get in the Virtual Queue or purchase Individual Lightning Lane. Virtual Queue is free while Individual Lightning Lane is not. There are two opportunities to enter the queue: 7 am and 1 pm. If you are able to enter the queue, you’ll be given a boarding group and an estimated wait time. You can only enter the virtual queue once per day during regular park hours.
All five of those services require the use of the My Disney Experience app. You’ll need to make sure it is installed on your smartphone and you have an account.
Advance Dining Reservations
Disney World is well known for offering better than regular theme park food. There are so many wonderful restaurants throughout the resort! There are a handful of dining locations that are extremely popular and have been turned into “must-have” locations. With dining reservations opening up 60 days in advance, the restaurants fill up fast. This is causing some stress for guests wanting to have the BEST possible Disney World trip. My suggestion for guests who miss out on those must-have reservations, try another spot! There are awesome places to eat at the resort. Or, keep trying to get that dining reservation up until your trip. Guests have until 2 hours before their reservation to cancel without a fee so don’t give up hope!
All of those aspects of planning a Disney World trip can be overwhelming and confusing. Using a knowledgeable travel agent to help with the planning is a must! As a travel agent that specializes in Disney, I know all about the new features, offerings, services, and requirements for a Disney World trip. I can walk you through everything you need to know, help with making reservations, and share my best tips for having the most magical vacation.
If planning your Disney World trip is getting overwhelming, contact me today! I am a travel agent with Destinations to Travel, my services are free, and I’d love to put your mind at ease and help you plan a magical vacation.
Let our friends at Destinations to Travel help you book your next Disney Vacation. They are the preferred Travel Agency of Chip and Company and Disney Addicts, and who we use ourselves.
Get started Now for your FREE No Obligation Quote.