Hannah’s Walt Disney World Tips for Disney Resort Hotel Guests

So your Disney Vacation is almost here… YAY! You’ve come to the right place. I have included everything you need to know regarding your upcoming vacation. (updated February 14, 2022)

Pro Tips: 

  • Keep an eye on park hours. Disney might extend the hours and or even change them on a daily basis.
  • Take advantage of Mobile Ordering at Quick-Service locations! Try to avoid peak rush hours (11:00AM-1:00PM and 5:00PM-7:00PM). Try to eat before or after those times! Mobile order early to reserve your slot. This can always be modified.
  • Most Table-Service restaurants allow you to check in for your reservation on the My Disney Experience (MDE) app. This will alert the host that you are there and ready to be seated.
  • If the line for Disney transportation looks longer than you want to wait, consider Uber/Lyft.
  • Food delivery services do deliver to Disney Resort hotels. 
  • You are going to be waiting in line for SOMETHING so it’s a good idea to have a plan for how to pass the time like:
    • Play Disney Parks app 
    • Heads Up or other mobile based games
    • Activities or toys for children 
    • Speak to other humans
  • Make a list of your must do’s in the parks and make a plan based on those.
  • Plan to rope drop to maximize your park time.
  • Do long air-conditioned theater shows in the afternoon to avoid heat and rain during the summer.
  • Always pack your rain gear.
  • Consider taking a break in the middle of the day when lines are at their peak! It will leave you feeling refreshed and able to take advantage of shorter lines later into the evening.
  • Choose your fireworks spot early.
  • If the park doesn’t close right after fireworks – stay and squeeze in another ride or two to avoid long transportation lines. 
  • Get to the park early regardless of whether you’ve purchased Genie+ or not. 
  • Get in line for popular rides last thing at night. As long as you are in line one minute before the park closes, you can still ride no matter how long the line is. 
  • If you don’t want to wait in the long Starbucks line, mobile order Joffrey’s coffee from select locations! 
  • Wait times are fairly accurate; however, it is an approximate wait time so there is always the chance of times swinging in either direction.
  • Take advantage of Early Theme Park Entry. If you are staying in a Deluxe Resort, take advantage of Extended Evening Hours.

Park Specific Tips

  • Magic Kingdom: The best way to have a great Magic Kingdom experience, whether you purchase Disney Genie+ or not, is to go in with a plan.
  • Animal Kingdom: As the day goes on, Avatar Flight of Passage and Kilimanjaro Safaris can get very long waits, so getting them done early will usually save you time. Even if you are purchasing Genie+, the animals are generally more active in the morning hours and it can make for a better experience to ride Kilimanjaro Safaris when you first arrive at the park. Do Kilimanjaro Safaris twice because it’s awesome. 

Disney Terminology:

  • Early Theme Park Entry = a perk of staying in a Disney Resort hotel – allows you early access to the parks and select attractions. 
  • Rope Drop = arriving at a Disney park prior to the official park opening for the day.
  • Disney Genie = a free service in the My Disney Experience app offering things like the Tip Board and customizable itineraries.
  • Disney Genie+ = the paid version of FastPass+. It costs $15/ticket/day and allows you to skip the line at 40+ attractions across all four parks.
  • Individual Attraction Selections = two rides in each park that are not included in Disney Genie+ that are an additional fee. 
  • Single rider = a separate entrance at select attractions. Your party WILL be split up as you fill in with odd-numbered groups. It’s usually faster than standby, but possibly not during peak season.
  • Mobile Order = order and prepay using the My Disney Experience app. Select “+,” then choose “Order Food.” Pick an available restaurant, select your arrival time, make selections. Then skip the line!

Other things you should know about Walt Disney World:

  • Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance and Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure are no longer using a virtual queue. You can experience the attraction using a traditional standby queue or by purchasing access to the Individual Lightning Lane.
  • Fireworks have returned to Magic Kingdom and Epcot. Hollywood Studios has two projection shows at night.
  • In order to enter a park, you must have valid ticket admission AND a Park Pass reservation.
  • Character meet and greets are now called “Character Sightings” and are available in Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, and Epcot. This allows you to have one on one time with a character from a distance.
  • The Epcot International Festival of the Arts is running January 14 through February 21 and is included with your ticket.
  • If you have little ones, take advantage of the Rider Switch Service. Rider Switch allows an adult Guest to wait with a child unable to ride an attraction and then board the attraction without waiting in line again.
  • Enhanced cleaning and housekeeping modifications are still in place.
  • Hand sanitizer stations will continue to be available.
  • If you are celebrating something special, be sure to stop by the front desk of your Disney Resort hotel to pick up your free celebration buttons.
  • If you do plan to drive, there is a per night parking fee at the resort. It is $15/night for Value Resorts, $20/night for Moderate Resorts and $25/night for Deluxe Resorts. You can still park for free during the day at the parks which is a great perk when staying on site if you plan to drive to the parks.
  • Parking lot booths at the theme parks open about 45 minutes before the park officially opens. I recommend arriving about an hour before the park opens. If you arrive any earlier than that, they will turn you around.
  • Face coverings are optional in outdoor common areas, outdoor attractions, outdoor queues, and outdoor theaters. Face coverings are still required while indoors and on enclosed transportation, regardless of vaccination status. 

Quick-Service Recommendations:

Magic Kingdom:

  • Sleepy Hollow
  • Columbia Harbour House
  • Casey’s Corner

Hollywood Studios:

  • Baseline Taphouse
  • ABC Commissary
  • Woody’s Lunch Box

Epcot (I recommend eating at the festival booths, but have included quick-service options, as well):

  • Boulangerie Pattiserie les Halles
  • Sunshine Seasons
  • Regal Eagle Smokehouse

Animal Kingdom:

  • Satu’li Canteen (best quick-service in all of WDW)
  • Nomad Lounge
  • Flame Tree BBQ

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