We know planning for a Disney World vacation can raise a LOT of questions!
Do you ever hear people saying things like “Disney Dining Plan,” “Boarding Group,” or “Disney Vacation Club” and think “huh?” Or do you have planning questions you’re too afraid to bring up to your Disney-fanatic friends? It’s totally okay to not be an expert, that’s what we’re here for! We’re answering ALL of the questions you’re too afraid to ask!
1. What’s going on with FastPass+?
Right now, there is no FastPass+ program at Walt Disney World. And recently, Disney announced the upcoming release of Disney Genie and Disney Genie+ which will be the new system guests can use to expedite how they experience attractions and navigate the parks.
Disney will be introducing Disney Genie, a free, “virtual personal assistant” as part of My Disney Experience this fall. A secondary, paid service will be called Disney Genie+. This paid service will replace FastPass and MaxPass (in Disneyland). It will allow guests to bypass standby lines at select attractions by paying a base price of $15 per day per ticket at Disney World. Certain highly sought-after experiences, like Rise of the Resistance or Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, will be offered as an a la carte pay per guest/per ride offering. Guests will be able to purchase up to two of these per day, if desired. This is a new service, so don’t worry if you don’t understand it all — everyone is still learning how this will work, and how to make it work for them and their vacation priorities.
2. Is the Disney Dining Plan going to return?
Yes! Disney said a couple months ago that the dining plan will return in the future, but they did not tell us when that would be happening. The program was suspended when the parks reopened after the closures in 2020.
The Disney Dining Plan offered different ways to pre-pay for all of your meals during your visit. Some people love it and swear by it. Some just don’t care for it much at all. Depends on your family! You can check out the different plans that were offered before the closures here.
3. Is a Park Hopper worth it during crowded times?
It depends! On one hand, if the park you’re currently at has a tonnn of long lines, you would be able to hop somewhere else that has shorter lines to make the most out of your day. The same goes for crowded dining locations! On the other hand, it might not matter that much if ALL of the parks are really crowded.
But, we think it’s probably better to have the option! There’s usually at least one park that has a few rides with lower wait times than the others at some point during the day. Plus remember this opens up the option to change parks to enjoy.a sit down meal in a new location, which could be a relief from the hefty crowds for a bit. We think it would be worse not to have a Park Hopper and be stuck in a crowded park for the whole day. But as you decide, remember that traveling between the parks can sometimes take up to 90 minutes! So, we advise you to check the wait times at the park you plan to hop to before you head over there to make sure that the time you spend getting to the next park will be worth your while!
4. Are MagicBands worth it?
This is a personal preference! My Disney Experience now has MagicMobile, which basically does all the same things as a MagicBand, it’s just on your phone! And MagicBands are no longer complimentary when you stay at a Disney resort, while My Disney Experience is free.
BUT it might be easier for you to just tap your MagicBand around Disney World instead of getting your phone out. Plus, there are still some really fun MagicBand designs we’ve seen! And you can go back and forth between MagicMobile and MagicBands, so you can use both and not even have to choose one over the other!
5. Are any of the parks other than Magic Kingdom worth visiting?
Um, YEAH! There is SO MUCH to do at the other Disney World parks! In EPCOT you can eat and drink around the world, plus visit the food festivals like the EPCOT International Food and Wine Festival! You get to experience so many different cultures and cuisines! There’s also attractions like Frozen Ever After, Soarin’, and Test Track. Plus, EPCOT Forever is running right now, which will soon be taken over by Harmonious, which Disney is calling one of the biggest fireworks shows they’ve ever created!
In Hollywood Studios, you have Toy Story Land, Tower of Terror, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster ft. Aerosmith, and…oh yeah, ALL of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge! You can fly the Millennium Falcon and then go grab a cocktail from a galaxy far, far away at Oga’s Cantina. It’s a super unique land you can’t find anywhere outside of a Disney park!
And finally, there’s Animal Kingdom! You can go on an actual safari here and see lions, giraffes, rhinos, and more. It’s the closest thing to an African safari you can get in the U.S. Plus, there are other animals all around the parks that are worth checking out! As for attractions, Expedition Everest and Avatar: Flight of Passage are definitely worth your time. You gotta get over to Pandora to check out those awesome floating mountains! They basically built a whole alien WORLD right in the middle of a jungle in Florida. It’s SO worth seeing! Also, Animal Kingdom has some of the best food at places like Satu’li Canteen and Yak and Yeti.
Overall, the other 3 Disney World parks are for sure worth visiting. And if you drink alcohol, you can walk around with drinks at these 3 parks, which you cannot do at Magic Kingdom, where alcohol is only available in sit-down restaurants.
6. What are the best types of clothes to wear during the holidays?
The holiday season at Disney World is a beautiful time to visit and see all those decorations. As for the weather, it can still be pretty warm during the day, since you are in Florida, after all! But, the mornings and evenings can be cool.
We suggest layers! Layers are the best way to go about dressing for Disney World around the holidays, that way you can take something off if you get too hot or put something on if you get too cold. Toss a hoodie or jacket in your bag and you’ll have it when you need it. Some members of our team love oversized scarves as well. These are easy to pack away when not needed but super useful when they are!
7. How do you do the parks without rope dropping?
Listen, we get it — sometimes you just need to sleep in a little while you’re at Disney World. No problem! You can still take advantage of times with lower crowds without waking up at the crack of dawn.
Make sure to keep an eye on wait times on My Disney Experience so you can check which rides have the lowest waits. You might also see lower wait times around peak meal times like lunch and dinner. Skipping the fireworks to go on rides is also a good trick because many people will be watching the show in the evenings! If you have seen the fireworks or are otherwise less interested in them than rides, consider planning to knock some rides of your list at this time. And remember, you can always get in a line right before park close. As long as you’re in the queue by park closing time, they’ll let you ride! And if you have the extra money in your vacation budget, consider purchasing a ticket for an After Hours Event where you can stay in the park later with much lighter crowds and easy access to all the most popular rides!
8. How do I keep the weather from ruining my trip?
Be prepared! But also, temper those expectations. Make sure you pack things like rain gear or clothing that will help keep you cool in the heat. Definitely check the weather before your trip, and during, to know what to expect. But remember that Florida weather can be unpredictable, so it’s better to be overprepared than underprepared! Hats, umbrellas, ponchos, waterproof shoes — these are all your friends in Disney World!
Also, try and have an open mind when it comes to weather. Just because it rains doesn’t mean your whole day is ruined! In fact, rainy days in the parks can see really low wait times and lower crowds, so that’s a plus. And if you’re worried about heat, make sure to stay hydrated, take breaks in the air conditioning, and wear sunscreen! There’s a big chance the weather will throw you a curveball at some point. We’ve had weeklong trips totally rained out and still had the best time — it’s all about perspective!
9. How do I fill a whole day without going into a park if I have young kids?
There’s a lot you can do at Disney World without going into the parks! You could spend the day at your resort at the pool or sometimes resorts will have crafts set up for kids to do. We can say though, in our experience taking kids, the pool is possibly going to be the star of the trip. Disney themed pools are SO much fun — you’d be surprised how many kids remember the pools more than the “real” rides!
You can also go putt-putting in Disney World at one of the fun-themed courses around property! And at places like Fort Wilderness, you can rent bikes, canoes, go horseback riding and loads more. Another option is to visit Disney Springs! Take your kids to get ice cream, go see the latest movie, or shop around in World of Disney or the Lego Store!
10. Is it worth going while pregnant?
Been there, done that, and YES! There’s still a lot to do if you’re pregnant! You just can’t ride some of the rides. Keep in mind, Disney World does cater to families — that means. a lot of SMALL children. So more rides than you think are 100% preggers safe! You just might be holding off on whipping around on a roller coaster til those 9 months are up! But if you love the stores, theming, food, cavalcades, etc. then you should have a good time! Just make sure you have a plan and take time to rest throughout the day.
And you can still ride things like “it’s a small world,” Spaceship Earth, or Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway. Plus, being pregnant kind of forces you to slow down a bit (if you’re a “do it all” type person typically on Disney trips!) and enjoy parts of the park you might otherwise blow past. Enjoy a snack or two you’ve never had and check out all the parks has to offer. (And maybe plan fun things to do when you come back with a baby in tow!)
11. Where are the best places to get away from kids?
We get it — lots of people come to Disney World with their families, but that doesn’t mean everyone in the parks wants to be surrounded by little ones. If you’re trying to take a break from being around kids in the park, look to the bars or lounges! La Cava del Tequila (AKA the Tequila cave in EPCOT’s Mexico pavilion) usually isn’t a hot spot for little ones, as there’s not a lot of seating in there and not a lot of options for them to eat and drink. The same goes for Rose & Crown Pub in the U.K. pavilion.
Nomad Lounge in Animal Kingdom is a nice spot to sit and relax as well! It’s usually pretty quiet and again, there are mostly drinks and food that only appeal to adults. If you’re just looking for somewhere quiet, right now the back of the Morocco pavilion in EPCOT has been pretty deserted! The point is there ARE plenty of kid-free zones in Disney World, but most tend to cater more to adult food and drinks. We recommend you book a reservation for a nice restaurant in Disney Springs, at your resort hotel, and more.
12. How do I eat all of the food I want to try without getting full or breaking the bank?
Planning, my friend! Plan out what exactly you want to eat so you know how much it will cost. This also helps you not waste stomach space by panic eating a boring burger because you don’t know where the food you want to try is located!
You can also put the money you want to spend on a Disney gift card so that way you can’t go over your budget. Another great way to try a lot of different things is through the food festivals at EPCOT! The plates are small, so you don’t get full from just one or two things. You can also share with someone else so you don’t get as full but still get to try everything! Disney World is usually really great about allowing you to split meals at sit-down restaurants and most fast food meals are plenty big enough to share.
13. Who is the 3rd child in Carousel of Progress?
If you know, you know. There’s a little girl at the beginning of Carousel of Progress doing laundry that we never see again throughout the ride! No one knows who she is or where she went. Weird, right?
There’s not a definitive answer about who she is, but rumors range from a neighbor girl helping out to a daughter that died from whooping cough, which was prominent at the time. Our favorite theory is the family got a washing machine and didn’t really need her around anymore! 😉 One things for certain though, she’s not the other children, Patricia or James, so just who is this mysterious blond pigtailed girl?
14. If I’m scared of spiders, would It’s Tough to be a Bug be too scary for me?
Depending on how big your fear is, this is a maybe. We think it’s more startling than scary, so if you go in expecting to be startled, then you should be more prepared! Honestly, it’s best to just prepare to be started for the whole experience, not just the spiders! 😂
And you can always close your eyes when the spiders come like some of us do 🤗. This ride can be al little spooky at times (but it’s all lighthearted good fun).
15. Do you have a list of acronyms Disney fans use?
Why, yes, we do! We know, the Disney terminology can get a bit confusing if you’re not used to it! We have a big list of acronyms for Disney World right here, but here are a few of the basics:
- WDW – Walt Disney World
- MK – Magic Kingdom
- FP+ – FastPass+ (RIP!)
- CM – Cast Member
- DAK – Disney’s Animal Kingdom
- DHS – Disney’s Hollywood Studios
- MDE/MDX – My Disney Experience
- ADR – Advance Dining Reservation
- DDP – Disney Dining Plan
- DVC – Disney Vacation Club
- TTC – Transportation and Ticket Center
- ROTR – Rise of the Resistance
You’ll get them down in no time, don’t worry! When it starts to get tricky is when you work in hotel and ride names. “BRB, just gonna head out from PORS to get to DHS to make my boarding group for ROTR in SWGE!”
16. What time of year has the least amount of people at the parks?
This isn’t as easy to answer as it is times to AVOID. Those are major holidays, holiday long weekends, spring break, summer, or basically any time most people would have off for vacation.
The least crowded times are typically early and late January, early to mid-February, September after Labor Day, and early November! We’ve seen incredibly low wait times recently in the weeks of August once most schools start back up in the U.S. before Labor Day!
17. Should I do a solo trip even though Magical Express will be gone? Is it safe?
Magical Express will be ending on January 1st, 2022, so you can use it until then! After that, you can use Mears Connect (which is the same company that ran Magical Express) for a round trip fee starting at $32 or a one-way fee starting at $16!
Since you’re only one person, this is a pretty good deal where you can still be around other people on a bus instead of taking an Uber on your own if you’re uncomfortable. Plus, there are no surge charges on Mears Connect, so you don’t have to worry about prices going up because it’s a busy time! When in doubt, if you don’t mind the added cost and dealing with a rental, you can always opt to rent a car for the length of your stay as well.
18. Do all Dole Whips taste like pineapple? Are they all made from pineapple?
Nope! There are many different kinds of Dole Whip around Disney World, and the only one made with pineapple is the original pineapple Dole Whip.
19. Can you eat at the resort hotels without staying there?
Yep! You can make a reservation to eat at a Disney resort you’re not staying at.
So feel free to check out places like ‘Ohana at the Polynesian Village Resort, Toledo at Coronado Springs Resort, or Citricos at the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa! Just keep in mind that “resort hopping” (AKA visiting resorts you’re not staying at) is still not officially allowed without a reservation at a restaurant at the hotel. We’ve still had hit or miss success with Mobile Ordering at fast food locations in other hotels, so play this one by ear. But an ADR will certainly get you access!
20. How does Rider Switch work?
Rider Switch is a great way to still be able to go on rides that your kids aren’t tall enough (or not looking) to ride. First, make sure a ride offers Rider Switch. Then, tell a Cast Member you want to do Rider Switch. They will issue you a Rider Switch entitlement to your My Disney Experience account.
Then, one or more adults can wait with those not riding while the other parent goes on the ride. Once the ride is over, the parent that was on the ride will then wait with the kid(s) while the other parent goes on the ride without having to wait in the entire line again! It’s basically a FastPass so that the second person doesn’t need to RE-wait in the long line again.
21. Is it a good idea to wear Crocs to the parks?
If your feet are comfortable in Crocs and they won’t give you blisters or anything, then absolutely! Disney also makes some very fun Crocs you can wear around the parks.
Crocs are waterproof, which is great in case it starts raining, and they have straps, so they can keep your feet from sliding around if it does rain! We’ve tried rockin’ Crocs in the parks not too long ago and saw a few blisters (we weren’t super used to wearing them) but they held up pretty well! Our tried and true advice still applies — make sure you’ve worn your park shoes before and have them well broken in. Also, be sure to bring a second pair in case of blisters or a soggy shoe situation.
22. Why was Hollywood Studios called MGM when it first opened?
When Hollywood Studios first opened in 1989, it was called Disney-MGM Studios Park. This was because of a licensing contract between Disney and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film studio, according to History.com. This gave Disney the right to MGM’s name and logo for the studio-themed park.
Originally, Disney-MGM Studios was supposed to also be a full TV and movie production studio. Some very popular Disney animated movies were made there like Mulan and Lilo & Stitch! The partnership dissolved years later and Hollywood Studios emerged! (You will still find some older MGM fans still fervently refer to it solely as “MGM Studios” though! See if you can spot any old MGM branding still in the park!)
23. Can you get mocktail versions of alcoholic drinks at quick service restaurants?
It depends! If you’re at a spot that has a full bar, they should be able to make you a non-alcoholic version of a drink. However, at some places cocktails are pre-made in large batches, so they can’t be made non-alcoholic. There are usually some non-alcoholic drinks already on the menu, though!
For example, at Oga’s Cantina in Galaxy’s Edge, all of the cocktails are completely pre-made, so they can’t be customized. The exception to this is that you can sometimes ask them not to put the topping on a drink if you don’t want it, as that is added after the drink is poured. But, they do have non-alcoholic offerings! Just keep in mind they’re typically on the sugary sweet side. Many full service restaurants and bars are starting to offer inventive mocktails that are more adult-palate friendly too!
24. How does Disney decorate for the holidays so fast?
They have a HUGE team of people in the parks overnight to decorate! Cast Members start as soon as the last guest leaves and can take right up until just before the park open!
You can see exactly how Disney does this on Decorating Disney: Holiday Magic on Disney+! We’ll say that, for BIG holidays like Halloween and Christmas, the decor typically takes upwards of a week or two to fully show up on the scene, but that initial burst of decor that wasn’t there the night before is always fun to spot!
25. How do you pay for parking?
If you’re staying at a Disney World Resort, you can park at the theme parks for free! If not, you’ll pay at the entrance of the parking lots.
Each Disney World park has an entrance to the parking lots that look similar to toll booth stations. You will stop on your way in and pay for parking as you enter!
26. What do you do if your Rise of the Resistance boarding group gets called during a dining reservation?
We’ve actually had this exact thing happen to us! We ended up missing our boarding group and were so scared we wouldn’t be able to get on Rise of the Resistance!
Luckily, Cast Members were understanding about it since it was an Advance Dining Reservation and still let us get on the ride. Just make sure you have a way to prove that you actually did have a dining reservation! We recommend if you KNOW your group will be called while eating, swing by the ride beforehand and just note it with a Cast Member. Then at least you can go into your meal confident your spot in line is safe! However, this might not be a problem anymore because Disney World is SUSPENDING the virtual boarding groups for Rise of the Resistance and replacing them with a standby line instead!
Hopefully, this means we won’t have to worry about boarding groups anymore!
27. Can you pack food to bring to the parks to save money?
Absolutely! According to Disney “Guests are allowed to bring outside food and nonalcoholic beverage items into the park for self-consumption, provided they are not in glass containers and do not require heating, reheating, processing, refrigeration or temperature control and do not have pungent odors.”
So, just be mindful of how hot it will be outside, and don’t bring stuff that could spoil easily! And make sure you let a Security Cast Member know you have food with you when you enter the park. Also, an exception to that “no glass containers” rule is baby food, you can bring that into the parks!
- 28. Are pre-shows happening right now? Yes! Pre-shows at rides are back!
- 29. Do you have to show your ID for every alcoholic drink, regardless of age? You sure do! You need to have your ID with you to buy an alcoholic drink. When in doubt, don’t risk this one — just keep your ID handy.
- 30. Is the coffee in the Disney World hotel rooms free? Yep!! It’s single serve packets. And there should be free tea, too.
- 31. If I leave the park for lunch, can I get back in? Absolutely! You can leave the park you’re in and re-enter later in the day if you wish, even without a Park Hopper! (You just can’t go into a different park without that Park Hopper!)
- 32. What happened to all the stuff from the Great Movie Ride? We’re not sure about where everything is, but rumors circled that Cast Members and even celebs reached out to get mementos here and there.
- 33. What’s the fastest ride at Disney World? Test Track! It gets up to 65 miles per hour. (FASTER than that crazy launch on Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster in Hollywood Studios!)
- 34. Can we take face masks off inside for photos? Not right now! Masks need to be on at all times while indoors or in line for/on rides. The exception is if you’re sitting down inside and actively eating or drinking.
- 35. Do you have to use Mobile Order at every quick service? Nope! Some locations are only using mobile order, while others are doing both.
- 36. Do you buy park tickets separately if you’re renting Disney Vacation Club points to stay on property? Yep! Park tickets do not come with DVC points. In many cases though, DVC members get access to discounted rates for tickets and Annual Passes.
- 37. Is the front of the park souvenir pick-up available right now? No, souvenir pick-up and resort hotel delivery are still currently unavailable.
- 38. Where is the Cat in the Halloween scene on Carousel of Progress? About 12 minutes into the show, the cat is sitting on the bookshelf behind Grandma as she’s watching the fight! It’s not a real cat, though.
- 39. Is the Grey Stuff just colored mousse? No! It’s basically cookies and cream whipped mousse. It’s actually really yummy!
- 40. How many calories are in the Wookiee Cookie? Calories don’t count at Disney!! You’re walking so much, it’s okay to indulge. (For real though, Disney doesn’t disclose calorie counts!)
- 41. Why doesn’t Walt Disney World’s Haunted Mansion get a holiday overlay like in Disneyland? Um, yeah, great question! We are SO jealous of Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion Holiday overlay. Many think it’s due to Disney World being a possible “once in a lifetime” trip destination for many guests. If the Mansion was in Nightmare Before Christmas mode, those guys visiting at that time wouldn’t be able to experience the attraction in it’s original form. BUT…still, Haunted Mansion Holiday is really unique and fun too. (Please let us have one in Florida, Disney World!!)
- 42. Why does anyone want to eat Thanksgiving food at Liberty Tree Tavern for lunch in Florida? Hey, some of us like that comforting Thanksgiving food all year long, thank you very much! This is actually one of our favorite places for a meal in Magic Kingdom. The food is really tasty and well prepared. Plus, who doesn’t want all you can eat Thanksgiving goodies?!
- 43. Why do they still sell Turkey Legs? Honestly, some of us wonder that, too! But as of 2019, they were selling over 1.3 million Turkey Legs a year, according to AllEars. So obviously people still like them! This is a dividing food for many, but some guests’ trips aren’t complete without a big juicy turkey leg!
- 44. Why have they never made an Emperor’s New Groove ride? We ALSO want to know the answer to this!! Just think of how amazing “PULL THE LEVER, KRONK!” would fit into a ride? Ugh, maybe one day.
- 45. What age is too old to get hype about visiting Disney? You’re NEVER too old to get excited about Disney!!!
Well, there you have it! We hope we could give you some answers to questions you might’ve been too afraid to ask. As always, stay tuned to DFB for Disney tricks, tips, news, and updates.
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