Disney opened in June of 2020 and we have visited a few times since then. We had a great time on our trips, but we definitely needed to use a different strategy than before. Here are the top 3 things you need to know.
A Disney trip relies on Disney technology more than ever. You begin planning your trip as soon as you book with the My Disney Experience app. You must select a park reservation for each day of your ticket. You can even order discounted MagicBands. Online check-in is very important and can save you time upon your arrival.
Once on vacation, you need to use the app as well. Almost all quick-service locations at both the parks and resorts use the mobile order feature in the app. You can even check-in for your table service dining reservation in the app. If you don’t have a reservation, you can use the Walk Up feature to join the waitlist if available.
If you want to ride Rise of the Resistance, you will have to get a mobile boarding pass in the My Disney Experience app. Throughout your stay, you can also check attraction wait times and view your PhotoPass pictures.
New Park Strategy
Without the use of FastPasses, a new park strategy is in order. Getting to the park early is more important than ever. Plan on allowing extra time to get to the parks and try to get there as early as possible. Once you arrive, be sure to head to the rides with the longest wait times first. These may be the ones you previously got FastPasses for. Plan a path that takes you through those rides first. Then go back and hit the other attractions you missed. Keep an eye on the app for wait times.
Also keep in mind that park hopping begins at 2 p.m. That may mean people are moving into your park or out of your park at that time. Watch the ride wait times throughout the day during the week before your trip to see how attraction wait times are changing throughout the day.
Note: FastPasses are not available at this time, but you will see people in the FastPass line. That line queue is used for several reasons such as rider swap, guest assistance passes, tours, and a few other things.
Take another look at your dining strategy. Without a dining plan, you may find it better to share a meal or order off the children’s menu. Keep in mind the park hours. If they are opening later or closing earlier, you may want to eat outside the park so you don’t use park time for a sit-down meal even if you don’t normally eat a big breakfast. If the park opens at 10 a.m. or 11 a.m., it may make sense to have a nice meal before you head into the parks.
The normal pace of a Disney vacation is go, go, go. With new measures in place, you need to take a deep breath and slow down. Even if you have been to the parks a lot, you will find some things can take a little longer and you need to just slow down. You are not rushing for FastPasses, dining reservations, getting parade spots, etc. Stop and look around. You may see a surprise cavalcade and stop to get some photos. Spacing in ride queues and dining locations may make some lines appear super long, but you will be moving through more quickly as each travel party is farther apart.
The flow is a little different and some locations may have one way in and one way out (which is different from what you are used to) so you will have to pay attention for those changes.
Quick-service dining can take a little longer, but with the mobile order option you can order ahead, so take advantage of that and order your meal while you are waiting in line so you can notify the restaurant when you are nearby to start preparing your food. It may take a little longer to order in the app until you get used to it so be patient.
Your days may not be as long with the shortened park hours, but that can be a great thing. It can allow time for pools and other resort fun you normally don’t do.
Before your next trip, be sure to become familiar with the Disney technology, take a look at your park strategy, and be prepared to shake it up a little and slow the pace down. You can have a magical vacation with lots of magical memories as long as you are prepared.