If it has been awhile since you've visited the Happiest place on Earth, there have been many changes about visiting Disney World. Having been going to Disney since children, there has been transformations from individual ticket books for rides to the newest system with just buying a ticket to enter the park and then paying for upgraded options. Your Condor Tours & Travel women have just come back from a trip to share some exciting tips and highlights.
Pro-tip: The Disney APP (my Disney Experience) is a must have and a Magic Band is highly recommended as that makes the easiest to navigate everything from hotel key to photo pass and anything in between with the parks.
They offer multiday tickets as well as park hopper tickets. This part of your Disney experience hasn’t changed in many years. But what has is the systems to ride some of the more popular rides. You can now buy a Genie Pass for either just for one park or if you are park-hopping, a multi park pass per day. The pricing on this is around $20 +/- pp (again it varies depending on the season or day you go.) For reference, we paid $23 on a Friday in October and noticed that Sunday it was $29.
Buying the pass grants you access to use the lighting lane but there are still catches. It appeared that all rides offer the lighting lane. You can only do lightning lane one ride at a time so pick earlier times. Once you check into the ride you can immediately select the next ride, but it has to be available to book at a convenient time for your day. On the multi-park Genie pass you can even select a pass for a ride in the other park you plan to visit.
Some of the most popular rides have an added cost after you have secured your Genie Pass. For example, at Animal Kingdom, if you want to do Avatar Flight of Passage, you buy the Genie then you also buy a lighting line pass due to high demand. Keep in mind even these sell out so get on your phone app at 7:00 am to lock it in. Everything we selected was $14 or more dollars per person. Rides that have added cost are the top rides in each of the parks – Magic Kingdom -Tron, Hollywood Studios – rise of the Resistance, Epcot- Guardians of the Galaxy; Animal Kingdom- Avatar flight of Passage.
Pro-tip: Get a spot for the parade as early as you can if you enjoy the Parade, it gets PACKED!
There is also the virtual queue for some of the rides. Tron at Magic Kingdom and Guardians of the Galaxy at Epcot are virtual queues. That means you have to log with your APP to join the queue at 7:00AM exactly. Wake up on time and be quick as it sells out almost instantly. Warm up to fingers for typing fast on your phones! The virtual queue gives you a boarding group and you watch your app to see what number they are on, so you are prepared to go to the ride at our “window” of time. You don’t need the Genie for the Virtual queue. Make sure you go during your boarding group time!
If you don’t get the virtual queue you can try for lightning lane at an additional cost and those also sell out quickly as well, so make this your immediate back up plan.
Pro-tip: You CANNOT ride Tron or Guardians of the Galaxy without either the Lightning Lane pass or Virtual Queue.
If you don’t want to wait in long lines – buy the Genie – it is worth the extra cost. You don’t have to buy the Genie, but you likely will have long lines for the best rides.
Disney photo pass is another great add on to your trip for the extra money. With your magic band, any pictures a Disney employee or ride takes of you, just scan your band and they are all uploaded directly to the app (usually by the end of the night) for you review.
Other bits of helpful information. Staying at a Disney property hotel has its advantages for the parks. There are early entry times and late-night hours only for hotel guests. They are different each day so check your APP as that information is all there to help you decide which park to do which day. I also saw them posted in the hotel lobbies.
When you make your hotel booking and your tickets purchased, you can link them to the APP and your Magic Band. Definitely order the bands in advance so all is programmed. You can also check into your hotel room by never visiting the front desk. You can link all in your party together to have one person in charge. When selecting your Genie or virtual queue and checking into your hotel, that primary person can include all. It is an added convenience to you. Each on the link has the room key, Genie, Lightning Lane, and virtual queue confirmation details.
Another great suggestion is to buy a Disney gift card anywhere prior to your trip or when you get there and use that for your incidentals so you are not constantly pulling out of your credit card or cash. They offer a wrist band to have it at your finger tips for purchases.