You’re ready to see the main Mouse, eat Mickey-shaped waffles, and ride all of the newest rides, but there’s just one thing — before you get to Disney World, you’ll have to PLAN your trip. That alone can feel like a marathon.
Between planning for dining reservations, transportation to and from the airport, and Park Passes — it can be a lot. So we took to Facebook to get your thoughts on the hardest part of planning a Disney World trip, and you all had a LOT of thoughts.
As we mentioned above, planning a trip to Disney World can require a LOT of effort. Now, don’t get us wrong, if you’re a “go-with-the-flow” type of person, you don’t care about eating at specific places and you aren’t worried about getting on particular rides, then you could totally “wing it” and likely have a great time.
If, on the other hand, you want to get on specific rides or a particular number of rides, want to eat at some particular spots, or have other set goals in mind, planning is in your future.
So what are some of the HARDEST parts of planning a trip to Disney World right now? We asked you all, our lovely readers, via Facebook and got over 1,000 responses! Here is just some of what you had to say.
One of the most common responses we saw had to do with Disney Genie+, the paid system that has replaced FastPass+. A number of readers shared their frustrations with Genie+ and how it impacted their trip planning process.
Oftentimes what was mentioned was the 7AM wake up call. One reader said, “Having to book Genie plus and LL every morning at 7 am versus ahead of time” was the worst for them. Another said, “Not being able to book fast passes in advance. Getting up before 7 am on vacation has been awful and starts every single day of our trip in such a stressful way.”
If you aren’t aware, with the old FastPass+ system, guests could select 3 FastPass+ return times for specific rides they wanted ahead of their trip. With Genie+ that is not a possibility. Instead, the first time guests can make a Genie+ selection is at 7AM on the morning of their trip. (7AM is also the time when Disney World Resort Hotel guests and guests at select other qualifying hotels can make their first Individual Attraction Selection or pay-per-ride pick. All other guests can make that first pay-per-ride selection when the park opens).
Waking up early isn’t everyone’s idea of fun on vacation, but getting up early can make a big difference in giving you the best chance to get the picks you want for really popular rides (like Slinky Dog Dash)!
Readers were also not excited about the way in which return times are handled through Genie+. For $15 per person, per day in Disney World, guests can use Genie+. This service allows you to pick 1 Genie+ selection at a time throughout the day. When you go to pick the selection, you’ll see the list of rides and the next available return time for each ride. The return times listed are the only ones you have to pick from when it comes to standard Genie+.
So, for example, if the next available return time for the “it’s a small world” Lightning Lane is 2PM, you can’t go in and select a 4PM return time. You can either select the 2PM return time or keep checking the app for when the 4PM return time pops up later on.
Guests shared that this wasn’t an ideal situation for their planning needs. One said that they’d “prefer to be able to pick times for a logical flow through the park so [they] don’t have to double back.” They specifically referenced a situation where one of their return times got changed (perhaps due to a temporary closure or something of that nature), which then forced them to adjust their path through the park.
Another shared that they too would like to pick times for the rides, rather than be stuck with what the system shows at the time. That reader said, “We had a couple days that we went later in the afternoon. I had to keep checking the app until [Lightning Lane return times] opened up for that time of the day.” But they shared that, despite it being a bit of a pain, it didn’t ruin their trip.
For others, simply having to use their phones all the time for Genie+ was the big concern. One shared, “I hate being on my phone in the parks. I like to entirely disconnect.”
Another shared that for them, being on the app all the time was the worst part of their planning. They said, “Being in the app ALL the time was the worse. You feel like you have to constantly check wait times.”
One reader, however, wasn’t as bothered by this. They noted that you still had to pick more FastPass+ selections with the old system (above the initial 3) 1 at a time throughout the day on your phone, so in that sense, Genie+ isn’t terribly different in requiring you to be on your phone.
We won’t deny it — if you’re really trying to maximize your time with Genie+, you likely will be on your phone a LOT. The big thing there is to be prepared — come with phone chargers, consider designating a phone-person for the day, become really familiar with the app, and just go into the trip knowing that your phone will be key.
For others, the changes that still exist with Park Hopping were a planning frustration. Right now, guests still need a Park Pass for the original park they want to go to, they must enter that first park, and then (only after entering the first park) they can hop to other parks starting at 2PM each day.
Not hopping until 2PM seemed to be the main concern. One reader said, “We arrived at AK at 7:00 and were done with what we wanted to do by noon. Would like to be able to hop whenever you want!”
The 2PM park hopping rule still exists and Disney has not announced any future changes at this time, so it’s something you’ll definitely want to keep in mind when planning out your park plans for the days you’ll be at the Most Magical Place on Earth.
A big thing that was brought up in the responses was the cost of a trip to Disney World and having to plan ahead for that.
There were PLENTY of responses on this topic — “saving enough money for the additional costs;” “Costs in general and planning for costs;” and “Affording it” were just some of the things people said were the hardest parts of planning for Disney.
Some even noted that the hardest part was “The second mortgage to be able to afford the experience.” 😄 We got quite a few “second mortgage” responses actually!
There’s no kidding around here — Disney World can be very expensive. Between price increases for food, tickets, and other things, you’ll likely find yourself spending THOUSANDS more on your 2022 trip than you ever did before.
But not all hope is lost — there are ways to save while at Disney World! There are special discounts and other things that fans can take advantage of to help save money where they can. Even a dollar or two can add up!
There were a number of other things readers shared as their big planning frustrations.
For some, it was the loss of the Disney Dining Plan or scheduling dining reservations in general. Others shared their desire for the 180 dining reservation planning window to return (currently dining reservations can only be made 60 days in advance).
For others, it was the uncertainties that surround trips at this moment, particularly due to COVID-19. One noted that they have had to cancel trips due to COVID in general or due to a family member testing positive for COVID.
Another reader shared that their uncertainties come from the changes being made in the parks. They shared that the hardest thing with planning for them is “Not knowing what exactly I’m planning for…Am I including the meal plan or will it not be back[?]” Things are constantly changing in Disney World so a small level of uncertainty is something to be prepared for.
Others shared that “getting to grips” with the greater use of technology was their biggest issue. Linking tickets and hotel reservations to the My Disney Experience app, making Park Pass reservations, reserving meals — all of it requires some use of technology. And while this reader managed to do it, they shared “Now I need a holiday to recover. 😄”
Planning woes went all the way down to park outfits! One reader shared that their toughest planning moment is deciding what lipstick to wear. Hey, planning a park outfit is no joke! Seriously — there’s a LOT to plan for when it comes to Disney World, which leads us to our next point… .
For many readers, the planning itself and the level of planning required is the biggest problem they face when getting ready for Disney World.
One shared, “I get overwhelmed by trying to plan it, then overwhelmed by researching how to better plan it, and then overwhelmed by the price when I finally get it planned and just give up.”
Others shared that their issue with planning a trip was that, at least in their opinion, spontaneous trips are now out of the question. One said that their biggest planning problem is that “Everything has to be planned. My life outside of vacation is scheduled I want a break from it.”
Another echoed that and said “Having to make reservations for absolutely EVERYTHING” is the hardest part. Another shared that they feel there’s “No spontaneity or flexibility allowed” particularly since Park Passes are required.
One reader said that the hardest part for them is the “over excessive planning [of] every minute of each day.” They shared, “I seem to be on my phone all day. Run, run and rush, then more planning…That is just so exhausting.”
Another said that they feel “Everything books so fast you have to plan it all out if you want to have a good time.”
For another, planning was the problem but in a different way. They shared that the biggest planning hurdle for them is “Resisting the urge to plan and micromanage your trip. Once you get past that obstacle, it is so much more fun and enjoyable. Go with the flow!”
For many, just the amount of planning that goes into a trip and the urge to over-plan is the biggest issue. Certainly, there can be a lot of planning required for a Disney World trip. But, as that last reader noted, over-planning can also turn into a curse, setting yourself up for disappointment when things (inevitably) don’t go perfectly to plan. It’s a fine balance!
Maybe Expectations Need to Change?
One reader brought up a really interesting point. To them, the hardest part of planning a Disney World trip is “changing your expectations.”
They noted that this is not the 1980s version of Disney or the 20teens version either. Disney is, undoubtedly, different now compared to how it was before. They shared that this new approach to vacation planning “perhaps requires something we have forgotten…patience [and] flexibility.” They also mentioned how families can turn long wait times into more fun times by playing games with their family members, talking with people in line, and enjoying interactive queues.
They shared how a recent trip, where they were more spontaneous, didn’t use Genie+, and hardly used the My Disney Experience app, ended up being one of their favorites because they went in with totally different expectations.
This advice can be taken a number of different ways. If you want to go in and “wing it,” then you will want to set your expectations appropriately. If you want to go in and tackle it ALL, then your expectations will be different. But knowing what you want out of your trip and what you’ll need to do to get there can really help you set expectations appropriately and that could change the entire feel of your trip.
And there you have it, a look at some of the responses from our fabulous readers about the hardest part about planning a Disney World trip right now. From Park Pass reservations to Genie+, there was a little bit of almost everything sprinkled in there. The truth is that the hardest part of planning a vacation will differ from person to person, but as that last reader mentioned, setting appropriate expectations could make all the difference.
What’s the hardest part of planning a Disney World vacation for you? Tell us in the comments! And stay tuned for more Disney news!
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What’s the hardest part of planning a Disney World vacation for you? Tell us in the comments!