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5 Things A Travel Agent Wants You To Know About Disney World

Written by: Kathleen Hesketh, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 

Ahhh Disney World, that bastion of family fun and magic continues to attract travelers year after year, but planning a Disney World vacation can be complex, and for many, overwhelming. With so many options for accommodations, dining, attractions, and entertainment, it's easy to overlook important details.

photo of Disney land

5 things to know about Disney World


1. The Weather Isn’t Always Perfect

With an average 237 sunny days per year, they call it sunny Florida for a reason. However, that doesn’t mean you’ll always be warm. While heat and humidity dominate the summer months, winters can tell a different story. Extreme cold air masses to the north have a way of pressing southward, often plunging the northern portion of the state into winter’s chill. You’ll need a winter coat on some days and a light jacket on many others. Likewise, you can experience some less than ideal weather during summer as well. Florida is second only to Louisiana as the wettest state in the nation. You’ll want to carry a rain jacket for those sudden summer downpours.


2. You Need A Park Reservation

As Disney World reopened following COVID-19 closures, the powers that be implemented a park reservation system. To help control crowds and ensure compliance with health mandates in place at the time, guests were required to book a reservation for the park they planned to visit each day of their trip. Park reservations provided valuable crowd control information and allowed a park to be closed to new visitors when it reached health-related capacity. While the system was unpopular with many Disney guests, it hasn’t gone away. In fact, reservations are still required to attend Disney World theme parks.


Too often, visitors purchase tickets and show up at the gates without making reservations. While Disney cast members will do their best to help you if you make this mistake, it’s a dangerous gamble, since there are only so many open slots available each day.


3. FastPass+ Has Gone Away

If you visited Disney World during the last decade, then you’re probably familiar with a service called FastPass+. FastPass+ allowed you to book a one-hour ride window in advance of your trip and enjoy each of the attractions with little to no wait. Reservations could be made up to 60 days in advance of your vacation for up to 3 attractions. Once you used your early bookings, you could reserve additional FastPass+ ride windows.


FastPass+ was eliminated during the COVID-19 reopening and eventually replaced with a system called Genie+. Genie+ is part of a broader itinerary planning service known as Disney Genie. If that’s confusing then keep reading, because it takes most guests a while to understand the ins and outs of Genie+. The first thing to know is that Genie+ is similar to FastPass, only a much earlier version where guests were able to book one FastPass ride window at a time. Expedited entry is still provided to each reserved attraction, but FastPass lines have been replaced by the Lightning Lane. Essentially, it’s the same queue with a different name.


Now here is where it gets sticky. Unlike FastPass, Disney Genie+ is not included with the cost of your ticket. Genie+ starts at $14.99 per person per day and must be purchased each day of your trip. However, Genie+ does not include every ride in the park. In each park, the Lightning Lane for at least one headliner attraction requires a separate purchase. This policy has been implemented so that more people can experience some of Disney’s newest innovations, including Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind and Star Wars Rise of the Resistance.


While many people took offense to the new Genie+ pay-for-play system, it’s nothing new to the theme park experience. At nearby Universal Orlando, you could pay up to $379.99 per person for a similar line skipping privilege, with costs starting at $89.99 per day. In comparison, Disney’s Genie+ is a downright steal, but it can come as a budgetary shock to travelers not expecting the charge.


While Genie+ is a great way to avoid long lines on popular attractions, there is no reason to fret if the cost seems outside your budget. There are many great ways to avoid long lines, including taking advantage of Disney Early Theme Park Entry. With Early Theme Park Entry, guests of Disney Resorts can enter one park up to a half an hour ahead of published opening.


4. Disney World Isn’t Complete Without A Smart Phone

It’s nearly impossible to visit Disney parks in the modern age without a smart phone, unless you’re traveling with someone who has one. Today, nearly everything is accessible via the My Disney Experience app. This includes park reservations, Advanced Dining Reservations and even your hotel room key. You’ll also need a smart phone to make Genie+ reservations and view show and parade times to name a few of the app’s functionalities.


Since the app is filled with time-saving amenities, such as the ability to place a mobile order for counter service restaurants, you’ll have a drastically different experience inside the parks without a smart phone, than a guest who is dialed into the app.


5. You Can Afford A Disney Vacation

Even as prices rise globally for goods and services of all kinds, it is possible to afford a trip to Disney World. All it takes is a little planning and some advanced knowledge. The first key to making a Disney World vacation affordable is finding the right dates to travel. In general, you’ll find lower rates when there are fewer people visiting Mickey and Friends. Naturally, that means holidays and spring breaks will sport higher hotel and ticket prices than less popular times to visit.


You can also find Disney World discounts to whittle down the cost of your trip. This summer, for example, Disney World has revealed several offers all designed to attract vacationers to fill empty rooms. And that’s another little-known secret. Summer is the new winter at Disney World, since more travelers are choosing to visit over school breaks, or to skip classes altogether, rather than braving the Florida heat and humidity. It’s good news for budget travelers with a hearty constitution, because you could save a pretty penny over fall or winter standard rates.


Value rates can also be found at many Disney World hotels. Rack rates, the established cost for hotel rooms, are as low as $154, depending on the dates you decide to travel. Last, think about actions you can take to save money. There are several budget tips for shaving dollars off the cost of your trip, such as bringing breakfast items from home or skipping Starbucks and making your morning coffee in your room. None of these tips alone will create a big dent in the cost of your trip, but add up the impact, and you’ll see results.


You Need To Plan Ahead

A Disney vacation is full of magic, with the chance to make memories that will last a lifetime.

As you’ve probably guessed by reading the tips above, your best trip to Disney World will be built on careful planning and educating yourself on all of tools and travel insights now available to guests. While these 5 tips represent some of the most important tidbits of information you’ll need visit Disney World, there are many more.


To learn the insights you need for planning a trip to Disney World, visit my blog or reach out to a travel agent to plan your trip.


Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Youtube, or visit my website for more info!


 

Kathleen Hesketh, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Kathleen Hesketh is a top business and travel writer. With more than a decade of experience in writing and a passion for travel, Kathleen has the knowledge to craft compelling stories on explorations covering both popular and out-of-the-way destinations. She is the author of the popular travel blog, Seconds to Go, which she publishes with her daughter, Ali. Together, they explore the U.S. coast to coast and offer their perspective on unique travel adventures, as well as those tucked away, hard-to-find places. Since its inception, the blog has grown to provide travel inspiration covering some of the country’s most fascinating locations. With her unique perspective, passion for storytelling, and unusual insights.

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