Disney Planning isn’t What it Used to be and Here’s What you Need to Know

When I first started going to Disney in the 80s things were a lot different.  It was simple.  You walked in to the restaurants you wanted to eat at and you stood in lines.  If you wanted to get ahead of the crowds you woke up early!  (Something I still do to this day and it works!)  You had your printed park map and looked at the opening times on there.  There weren’t extra magic hours and you probably just carried cash or a card along with your hotel key in your fanny pack!  You might have done Disney in a couple of days but over the years the parks have grown and you need to plan for at least 5 days to almost see everything!    Let me tell you about the most important details you now need to think about when planning a trip to Walt Disney World. 

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Stay on Property

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Disney now has a lot of hotel options.  There are three different categories of hotels: value, moderate and deluxe.  This means there is something for every budget.  Staying on property also means no more rental car.  Disney’s Magical Express will pick you up from the airport and deliver you to the front door of your resort and your luggage directly to your room for no extra charge.  There is now a charge to park a vehicle at the resorts.  Plus the resort hotels have free transportation services to all of the Disney properties.  Take the monorail, a bus, watercraft or the new Skyliner gondola to get to and from your destination quickly.  Those staying on property will also have the advantage of extra magic hours.  These are extra hours the park is open only for resort guests. 

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Develop an Itinerary

You aren’t going to see as much if you have no plans for your days at the parks.  Park hours are posted months in advance on the My Disney Experience website and app for you to plan with.  If you are staying on property check which days offer extra magic hours and plan to visit that park on that day.  Also look at which attractions or experiences your family is interested in.  This will help plan your FastPass+ and Dining experiences. 

My Disney Experience

My Disney Experience can be used on the web as well as on an app.  The app is available on both the Apple Store and Google Play for Apple and Android devices.  The app gives you the flexibility to create plans on the go or in advance such as dining and FastPass+ reservations.  You can link your resort reservation so you can even open your hotel door with the app!  The app shows you wait times, bus transportation times, character meet and greet locations, show times and park hours and so much more.  Just don’t forget to connect to the Wi-Fi network that Disney now offer complimentary while in the theme parks to avoid using data on from your cell phone carrier. 


FastPass+ is the best way to experience the most in-demand rides with no wait time.  You will receive 3 FastPasses each day.  Once you have used your third for the day you can schedule a fourth on the My Disney Experience App.  Guests staying at a Walt Disney World resort hotels can make FastPass+ reservations up to 60 days in advance of check in for their entire length of stay.  Guests staying off-site at certain resorts can make reservations up to 30 days in advance of each day of their theme park visit.  Your best chance at getting rides like Flight of Passage or the Mine Train is being ready at your computer at 7am 60 days out from your vacation!  This is why you need a plan of which park you are going to on each day!

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Magic Bands

These are magical rubber bracelets that contain a radio frequency identification chip that is your key to the kingdom.  When you are wearing your band you can enjoy touch-and-go park entrances, redeem your FastPasses at designated FastPass entrances, have photographers take professional pictures of you all over the parks that are instantly linked to your My Disney Experience account and you can unlock your hotel door and access certain areas at your resort hotel.  All you need to do is tap the mickey head on the bracelet and the kingdom is yours!  Resort guests have the ability to associate a credit card with their band so they can also touch to pay for purchases after entering a pin number of their choice.  Non-resort guests who purchase a Magic Band for their trip cannot add a credit card.  Yet another reason to stay on property!  Recently Disney has added a new Magic Band option where you can personalize your band with different Disney graphics instead of just plain colors.  Your bands will arrive at your door before you travel and are already activated so you can start tapping your Mickey as soon as your arrive to board Disney’s Magical Express or walk in to your resort. 

Dining Reservations

Getting a walk in reservation at many Disney restaurants can be extremely difficult these days now that resort guests can make their reservations up to 180 days in advance of their travels.  Once again to get those highly sought after reservations like Cinderella’s Royal Table it is best to be up at 7am 180 days before with a plan to get that reservation.  Mydisneyexperience.com or the My Disney Experience App is the easiest way to check for reservations.  You can modify reservations up to 24 hours before the reserved time.  If you are looking to skip lines at Quick Service restaurants you can now use mobile ordering from the app!  All you have to do is select the restaurant and your order and the app will notify you when to return to the specific mobile ordering window to pick up your food.  Get off a ride in Adventureland, order food in Tomorrowland and pick it up right when you arrive! 

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Are you feeling overwhelmed yet?! It certainly isn’t the Disney you may have experienced when you went as a kid! If you know how to plan and love to research you can make your vacation flow smoothly with little time spent in lines. If you would rather let someone else do it, don’t fear because travel agencies like Mousing Around Travel are here to help! We are your Disney experts that have the years of experience and the insider tips. We’ll even be the ones at our computers at 7am doing the reservations for you for NO EXTRA COST. That’s right there is no extra fee to use us. We sprinkle the pixie dust on your vacation to make sure you have a magical experience and don’t get overwhelmed in the planning process!

To get a quote for your magical vacation, please visit Mousing Around Travel Sarah Ennis

My favorite thing to do is plan Disney vacations and it has been a dream of mine to help others plan their own magical experiences. As they say in Disney, “There’s a great big beautiful tomorrow,” and I want to help you see it all!

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About the The Pixie Dust Life:

At The Pixie Dust Life we believe wholesome traditional Disney values. We want to offer a safe place to keep you informed of everything Disney for all ages. From Shopping news to Travel news, we have you covered. Our mission is to bring the Pixie Dust home to you, wherever you are!

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