Saturday, July 2, 2022

How To Book For Disney World

The Best Moderate Disney World Resorts

How to Book Walt Disney World

For midlevel budgets, we like the Cabins at Fort Wilderness Resort.

If you are okay at a resort without a major dose of Disney theming, we also enjoy the new Gran Destino Tower, which is the only Disney Moderate resort with a club lounge option.

And while we dont love everything about Disneys Caribbean Beach Resort, its a good example of what is available at a sprawling Disney Moderate resort.

The Moderate-level hotels usually set you back $200 to $300 per night during peak season.

Add Disney Special Events

Youve nailed down your dining reservations which will determine which park youre in on which day. Now for those special extras that will make your Disney vacation special. Which Disney Parades are the best? Should I watch every fireworks show? What about Character Meet and Greets? If you get to the point where you want to plan your days to the minute and need some good suggestions on what to see, do, and eat check out these posts. These are by no means completely comprehensive, but we promise they have a lot of good stuff you wont want to miss.

Book Your Dining Reservations

Now that you have set up the framework for your Walt Disney World vacation by booking your Park Pass reservations, its time to figure out where you want to eat! As far as we are concerned, is even more important than figuring out what you want to ride!

Walt Disney World has two main types of restaurants quick service and table service. When you think of quick service think of somewhere like Panera Bread or Five Guys. You go to a counter, order your food, collect it on a tray, then find somewhere to sit. In most cases, no reservation is needed for quick service restaurants.

When you think of table service, think of a typical restaurant where you check in at a host/ess stand, someone guides you to a table, and then you either choose food from a buffet, or a server takes your order and brings you the food.

Of course, this being Walt Disney World, some table service meals include character interactions! Character meals can be a great way to see some of your familys favorite Disney friends.

Dining reservations are booked online 60 days in advance using the My Disney Experience app or website.

The check in desk at Sanaa

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Fun Disney Extras To Know If You Stay On

  • Resort Window Decorating: Did you know that you can, and are encouraged to, decorate your resort window? Whether its cling graphics, paper art, or a full-blown window display with twinkle lights this is a super fun side project for the kids to work on while youre doing important vacation planning stuff and helps build that sense of pride as a true Disney vacationer at your resort.
  • Smores night: Smores are offered as part of the evening campfire fun at the Beach Club Resort on the Boardwalk and Great Wilderness Lodge. You can, however, just hop over to Beach Club at the end of your day at Epcot to join in on the fun, even if youre not staying there.
  • 18 dollars per person, bikes are available from these resorts and allow you to meander at your own pace.

A Simple Rider Switch Example

Disneys Millennium Year Book 2000 (Disney

If you have a guest who cant ride a ride , you can use rider switch so your entire party doesnt have to wait in line separately .

For example, in our case, to use rider switch at Flight of Passage, Emily, Zoe, and I will find a Cast Member with an iPad near the ride entrance. Theyll scan my Magic Band, and Ill go do something else with Zoe, like play in the Boneyard. Emily waits in the regular standby line for Flight of Passage.

When Emilys done with the ride, she comes and hangs out with Zoe, and Im able to use rider switch to access the Lightning Lane, so I dont have to wait in the standby lane.

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Is It Difficult To Get Park Reservations

From our experience with the Park Pass system, it was hard to get reservations for the first few days of the system being online, but it has gotten progressively easier. On the first day especially, the system was plagued with technical issues keeping some guests from getting reservations.

This was largely due to the extremely high number of guests all trying to log into the Park Pass system at once.

The hardest reservations to get are for Annual Passholders. Disney has three separate inventories for park reservations, with the priority going to Disney Resort guests. In fact, passes for Annual Passholders are often the first ones to sell out.

Though it can be difficult to get Park Pass reservations for Annual Passholders, if you are staying in a Disney Resort, it is much easier.

Disney likes to keep a large amount of inventory available for Disney World Resort guests, so even if they decide to book a trip not too far in advance, they still have a chance at reservations.

For that reason, it has been difficult for Annual Passholders to get Park Reservations at times. Things have improved greatly, however, with Disney better-allocating park passes across the three groups since the initial opening and by moving inventory between groups.

APs can also sometimes find last-minute park passes when there are cancellations.

Dont Forget Dining Splurges

This may surprise you if you havent been before, but Disney World has some world-class dining.

But before we get into our favorites, know that dining at Disney is a little different right now. While many Disney restaurants have reopened, some are still closed. The character meals are also operating in a different manner than before. So, while well talk about our all-time favorites below, do a little research directly with Disney to determine which restaurants will be open during your visit.

In the mood for some of the best sushi in America in a quaint, quiet dining space away from all the crowds? Yes, Disney World has that. Takumi-Tei, relatively new to the Disney World dining scene, made our list of the best eats at Disney World. Its not cheap, but youre guaranteed to be blown away. Just not right now. Most likely due to the relatively small size and quaint nature of the space, Takumi-Tei has yet to reopen. We absolutely, positively promise it will be worth the wait.

If you dont have young children in tow , Victoria & Alberts has some of the best food at Disney World. Expect to bring a dress or a dinner jacket and a few hundred extra dollars if you want to enjoy a meal at this Grand Floridian mainstay. Like Takumi-Tei, there is no scheduled reopening date for Victoria & Alberts. It does seem that it will be open in time for the 50th anniversary celebration in October, but we dont expect it to reopen before then.

Related: Best restaurants at Disney World

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Ship Items To Your Disney Hotel

Did you know you can ship items to your Walt Disney World resort? You can send everything from toiletries to snacks to your hotel and it will be ready to pick up when you arrive. Many Disney World regulars use Amazon to keep costs low and ship everything they need to their hotel.

Theres no need to pack everything for your trip. Itll all be waiting for you in Orlando, FL!

Dont Buy Bottles Of Water

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After spending eight or more hours walking between restaurants and rides, exploring Disney may seem like a marathon. And it is. You will get thirsty, and with all that Florida sun, it is even more important to stay hydrated. Quick-service restaurants provide water and ice to guests free of charge, even if youre not purchasing food. Bringing an empty water bottle will save you $5 for every bottle you would have boughtnot to mention is better for the environment.

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The Best Credit Cards To Use At Disney World

Disney World is a pretty expensive family vacation, but there are ways to use credit card points and bonuses to make the trip more affordable. The best credit cards to use for a Disney vacation may surprise you.

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is a popular way to earn and use flexible points for a Disney World vacation. The card comes with 60,000 bonus miles when you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.

The Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card program allows highest-tier members to earn 2.65 cents per point on all purchases and use those rewards as cash to cover the cost of virtually anything, including Disney World vacations.

Using Chase Ultimate Rewards points used to be one pathway toward Disney World Resort stays and tickets, but sadly that is no longer the case. However, using your Chase Sapphire Reserve, Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or Citi Premier® Card to pay for your Disney World vacation will still earn bonus points for the travel charges.

Citi ThankYou points can also be used to book Disney World Resort stays and even theme park tickets, making it one of the best rewards programs for Disney World at the moment.

Its entirely possible to knock up to $1,000 in expenses off your Disney trip with the right credit card .

Related: How to use points for your Disney vacation

Basic Rules Of Genie+

Theres a lot of confusion about the Genie+ rules, but the underlying system is really not so complex.

You purchase Genie+ in advance of your trip or at the start of the day. If you purchase in advance, youll need to buy Genie+ for the entire duration of your ticket. Alternatively, you can buy it any time after midnight for the day. Typically, I buy day-of at about 6:45AM. Genie+ is good for the calendar day only. It isnt good for 24 hours. If you buy it at 6PM on Tuesday, your access will end when the parks close Tuesday night.

Everyone who plans to use Genie+ Lightning Lanes needs Genie+. If there are four people in your group, all four need Genie+ in order to use the Genie+ Lightning Lanes. Usually, itll make sense to have one person making bookings for all four of you at the same time every time, but you also could all make your own individual bookings.

You can make your first Genie+ Lightning Lane booking for the day at 7AM. It doesnt matter if youre a guest of a Disney hotel or not, all guests can make their first booking at 7AM.

You can make Genie+ Lightning Lane bookings through the Genie Tip Board in the Disney World app. There are different ways to get to the booking screen, but my preference is just to find the ride I want on the Tip Board in Disney Genie and tap into it there.

Now, weve saved the big confusing question for last

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Booking A Genie+ Lightning Lane

After youve purchased Genie+, you can book a Genie+ Lightning Lane. Regardless of whether you purchase it in advance of your trip or you buy it on the day of your trip, you cant book your first Lightning Lane until 7AM.

When youre ready, you can head to the Tip Board section.

There, youll see a Tip Board showing available selections for the parks. You can tap change park to see the park youll be heading to. Starting at 7AM, youll want to refresh the screen so you can see what Genie+ Lightning Lanes are available.

When youve found the Lightning Lane you want to book, youll select where it says Book Experience.

Then, youll confirm the party that you want to book for the Lightning Lane and thats it!

You can then continue to make Genie+ Lightning Lane selections 1 at a time throughout the day but see below for a bit more about the 120 minutes rule.

Try Booking Online Before Phone


Online reservations for select restaurants open up at 5:45 a.m. Eastern Standard Time, while the phone lines open up at 7 a.m. Always try the website earlier but keep the phone number handy if there are issues on the website or you need to speak to a Cast Member 407-WDW-DINE.

Reservations for special dining events and things like dessert parties open up at 7:00 a.m. Eastern Standard Time.

Note: make sure you have your credit card handy. All reservations now require a credit card guarantee, so youll need to enter the number when you make your reservation.

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Consider An Annual Pass

If you are planning a longer Disney World trip, or think you will have two trips within 12 months, it can make sense to seriously consider a Disney World annual pass at least for one member of the family. An annual pass can not only cover the cost of admission for the passholder, but also unlock discounts on dining, purchases, resort stays and more for the whole family.

Disney World recently revamped the annual pass offerings. If you dont live in Florida or arent a Disney Vacation Club member, the choice is easy. Theres only one option, the Incredi-Pass, which will set you back $1,299 plus tax. That might seem like a lot of cash, but keep in mind that covers more than your park tickets. Youll also get free parking at all of the parks and up to a 20% discount on food and beverage, as well as merchandise, for your entire party . For a $99 add-on you get unlimited photo downloads for everyone in your group.

Multiply a 10% or 20% discount across a family of four, or even a larger group, and the savings really add up. Plus, if you schedule a second trip 11 months from your first one, youll get unlimited access to the parks and all those discounts again. Or, you can be crazy like us and head to visit your favorite mouse once a month.

Request Free Ice And Water

Disney World is well aware of the temperatures in Orlando and adding masks to the equation certainly doesnt make it any cooler. The restaurants at Disney World are always happy to hand out complimentary cups of water and ice. Youll even find restaurants serving ice water outside on the hottest days of the summer.

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Considering A Walt Disney World Airbnb

One thing budget travelers will need to consider is renting an Airbnb near Walt Disney World. Airbnb is a service that allows people to rent out their apartment like a hotel room. But near Walt Disney World, its more common to see apartments, condos, or vacation homes that are rented out exclusively to vacationers.

Airbnb rentals tend to have good price, and youll have the space of an apartment, usually including a full kitchen. This makes an Airbnb a great savings option if youre willing to cook some meals or pack lunches.

The biggest downside of an Airbnb is transportation. Youll need to either drive or rely on Uber to get to Walt Disney World. As Disney hotels now charge for parking, drivers may find great value in Airbnb rentals that include parking. Those who rely on Uber can find rentals that are a $10 Uber ride from the parks, which means youll spend an extra $20-$25 per day on transportation.

How To Reduce Your Time In Line At Disney

How to Book Your Disney World Vacation

Standing in line is just about the least fun thing you can do in a place as great as Disney World, even in a non-pandemic world.

Disney does a good job of providing themed elements while you wait in line, even if theyre not the best at protecting you from the hot Florida sun on some attractions. Standing in line is a fact of life when it comes to theme parks , but some strategies can reduce your wait. As Disney World has evolved and added items like virtual queues , the optimal strategy has also evolved.

But, keep in mind that things are different right now.

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Avoid Added Costs And Upsells

Walt Disney World Resort goes above and beyond to make sure guests have a magical time during their vacation. With this in mind, there are several add-ons you can include in your vacation such as a Photo Pass, extra celebrations, and more.

While these are super magical experiences, you can probably live without themespecially if youre planning a trip to Disney World on a budget. If youre trying to be super frugal, skip all of the upsells and focus on your transportation, tickets, hotel, and food expenses

A Few More Considerations Disney World Planning Timeline

For those of you who are early birds, Walt Disney World room-only reservations may be booked up to 499 days in advance. Booking this far in advance is not generally necessary for most reservations, but it may ensure that you get a particular room that is in high demand.

One caveat is that you wont know the exact pricing on park tickets and dining plan packages this far in advance. In addition, you can only book room-only reservations this far in advance by calling Disney reservations or a Disney travel agent. Recent history suggests that room/dining plan/ticket packages will be available around late June for the following year, but this is always subject to change.

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If Necessary You Can Edit Your Party At This Time

You can either add or deselect guests. Once finished, select confirm party.

Important: Not only do you need to make sure your travel party members are in your Family & Friends list, but they must have valid theme park admission and the same theme park reservation. Otherwise, their names wont show up or they wont be able to be added to your individual Lightning Lane selections.

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