My family and I just got back from a trip to Walt Disney World. There have been a ton of changes since the last time I was there and I thought I’d give you some tips based on our experience along with some links to things that might come in handy for you when you visit.
Stay on Property or off?
This trip we stayed off property for the first time in a while and there are pluses and minuses to both.
Now that the Magical Express is no longer part of the package if you stay on property and Fast Passes are a thing of the past, staying off property might look a little more attractive.
- If you fly in a hire a car or pay mears to get you to your hotel you have no parking fees at your resort or at the parks. Parking at the resorts ranges from $15 to $25 per night depending on your resort. Parking at the parks is $25 per day for standard parking or preferred is $50 for a little closer spot. So staying on property without a car can save you a ton of money in parking fees alone.
- If you stay off property and decide to do it without a rental car the cost of an uber to get you to the parks will be between $9 and $15 depending on the car size so you will be paying about teh same as the parking fee without having the rental costs so that’s definitely and option if you don;t need a car for anything else.
- If you stay on property you can book your dining reservations a full 30 days earlier than people who are staying off property. This can make a big difference if there are particular restaurants you are trying to get a table for. This is especially an important thing to think of if you are planning your trip for a busier time of year.
- Every person will need a park reservation. Make sure to check park availability before you make your plans especially if you are planning a trip soon. I would recommend that as soon as you buy your tickets you reserve park spaces for your and your group. You aren’t locked into your choices and can change your plans as long as there is an opening for your park.
- Park Hopper tickets are a great option for people who love to go from open until close each day. Park Hopping becomes available after 2pm every day and no reservation is necessary. You can take a bus from one park to another but you must have the park hopper option and show it to the driver of the bus you are taking. You can also drive your car to the next park. Your paid parking is good for the full day at all of the parks.
Genie Plus Lightning Lane
This can be super confusing but here’s the deal; most of the rides can be reserved through Genie Plus for a one time fee of $15. You choose your first ride and go to that ride in the window of availability. As soon as you check into that ride you can reserve your next ride. The problem with it is that the most popular rides have all of their spots fill up quickly so to ride something like Seven Dwarves Mine Train, if you don’t reserve your spce immediatley in the morning you might be looking at the first availability being after dinner which means you can’t enter the Lightning Lane for any other ride until after that. It was so disappointing during our trip that we chose not to use Genie Plus for this trip as most of the rides had wait time for under 60 minutes and most were less than 30 minutes.
There are also options for Individual Lightning Lane passes where you pay for one single ride and most cost between $11 and $15. We also didn’t take advantage of this option because we aren’t a family who loves the really fast thrill rides which many of the individual rides are.
Photo Pass Memory Maker
Character Experiences are coming back and the streets are filled again with photgraphers. You can add Photo Pass memory Maker to your package for $169 which might sound expensive but we have invested in this service in the past and the ability to have family photos done by a professional photographer is worth the investment. You get access to all of thise fun ride photos too. All of the photos can be downloaded to your computer or phone or wherever you store your photos and then they are yours.
All of the great information now available through the Walt Disney World App is amazing and super helpful. You can see everything from wait times for rides to dining reservations. You can see your schedule for the day as well as tips for shows and parades and activities you might like. There is so much more on that app than ever before. This leads to a lot more time on your phone.
My phone was needing a charge by between 2 and 4PM every day and I was so happy i brought along my best battery charger. The one I have is good for at least 2 full phone charges. I found this great deal for 2 chargers in case you don’t have any.
I always have a fan in my bag. And by fan I mean one of the folding fans that look gorgeous with my outfit. You might be a little more modern and want a battery operated option. It will definitley save you a little money if you bring one along with you – although they always have them for sale on main street if you want a Disney themed version. I often get my folding fans at Epcot in either Japan or China but I did see some great ones with princesses in Germany and also in the crystal shop on main street. let me know if you want better directions.
That’s all for now.
Oh! One more thing. Don’t forget at least 2 pairs of comfy shoes too! We walk between 6 and 9 miles every day in the parks.