If you ever planned a trip to Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida you know how difficult and overwhelming it can be. While it can be difficult, it is also a lot of fun. There is just something magical about planning your own WDW trip.
With so many things to know and understand about Disney World, it is not surprising that so many people use Disney Travel Agents (which are free). But for those of you who are like me and like to do things yourself, we are going to answer the most common Disney questions.
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When can I book my Disney World Hotel?
You can make room only reservations (not packages) up to 499 days out by calling (407) 939-1936. Most of the time you shouldn’t need to call. Around June of every year Disney releases the next year of packages. In June of 2019 they released all of 2020. So if you are planning a 2021 vacation you can wait until June 2020 or call the number once your date is 499 days away.
Do I have to pay my hotel off right away?
NO and YES. This depends on when you are going. If your check in is less than 30 days away you will have to pay it in full. Otherwise you would put down a $200 deposit and the rest has to be paid off when you are 30 days away.
What’s the difference between Value, Moderate and Deluxe?
The difference between the three are cost and amenities. Value resorts are the cheapest and will cost under $200 a night (except Art of Animation and All-Star Music Family Suites). I know not much of a value. The value resorts also have pools without slides and just a food court. The food courts tend to be very good at the 5 value resorts with Art of Animation’s considered to be one of the best on property. There are no table service locations offered at value resorts.
Moderate resorts tend to be a little more spread out than the value resorts. They have nicer pools with slides (a big hit with my daughter). They also have food courts with many different selections to choose from. Moderate resorts also have a table service location within the resort. The only moderate resort without a table service location is Port Orleans French Quarter.
The Deluxe resorts are the most expensive when talking about regular hotel rooms. We didn’t even go over the the Deluxe villas but you are better off renting DVC points for those rooms. Deluxe resorts have a food court like everywhere else but also usually have more than one Table service location. Chef Mickey’s in the Contemporary Resort or Cape May Cafe in Disney’s Beach Club Resort. The pools are also to die for. Most of the Deluxe resorts are within walking distance to their respected theme park or offer a fun mode of transportation like the monorail or boats. Deluxe resorts usually have a spa or fitness center as well.
What is the benefit of staying at a Disney Hotel?
Staying on Property has many benefits as compared to staying off property. One big one for many people is the Disney Magic. Some people just like staying in the Disney “Bubble”. Disney is also known for their world class hospitality. It’s hard to find elsewhere. Another HUGE benefit from staying at a Disney Resort is the ability to book your FastPass+ 60 days out. To find out more about booking FastPass+ click here. Extra Magic hours could really give your vacation that little bit of extra time. Extra Magic hours are only available to guests staying at Disney Resorts.
What are the benefits of staying off Disney Property?
The biggest benefit of staying off Disney property is the cost. According to Disney value resorts start at $99 per not. Usually the average price for one of the All Star resorts is closer to $150 and go up from there. If you do your homework you can find a nice place for $150 that will surpass anything that the Value resorts can offer. Just keep in mind you will have to pay for parking when visiting a Disney theme park. Of course you could also use the hotels shuttle to the theme parks. Most of the area hotels and resorts offer a free shuttle to Disney and Universal.
What is the best and worst times to go?
Depends if you are talking about crowd levels or weather. For weather it is hot from June through September (90+). March, April, May and October and November are warm with highs normally in the 80s. January, February and December are your “cooler” months with highs in the low to mid 70’s. Plan on a little rain everyday from June through September. From October through to March you may want to bring long pants and jacket for the evenings as some people say it is cooler. Being from the Northeast 50’s is short weather. Just check the average temps out for yourself to decide if weather is your major factor for when you go.
If you are talking about crowd levels for the best time to go just keep this in mind. When the kids are out of school the crowd levels will be higher. Summer break (June, July, August), Spring break (a week or two in March), Easter Break, Christmas and Thanksgiving Breaks. Long weekends will be busier too for holidays like Presidents and Martin Luther King Day. For lightish crowds look for September through to February just avoid the holidays I listed above. Late April and Early May are usually a good time to go as well. If you do find yourself going during a busy time check out this article here on how to avoid long lines at Walt Disney World.
WHAT DOES THIS STAND FOR?
FOP- Flight of Passage at Animal Kingdom (Ride)
7DMT– Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (Ride)
SSD– Slinky Dog Dash (Ride)
DDP– Disney Dining Plan
MNSSHP– Mickey’s not so scary Halloween Party
MVMCP– Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party
EMH- Extra Magic Hours
BBB– Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique
CRT– Cinderella Royal Table (Restaurant)
BOG-in Be our guest
QS– Quick Service (Dining)
TS– Table Service (Dining)
RP– Rope Drop
THEME PARK QUESTIONS
What is extra Magic hours?
Extra Magic Hours are an hour or two before official park opening or closing when resort guests can enter the theme parks and get a head start or late finish on the day. Crowds are usually lighter during EMH.
What is Rope Drop?
Rope drop is a termed used for when the park first opens. Cast Members stand by the different entrances to the lands and will “drop” the rope that allows guests to enter.
When do they allow you in the parks?
Each park is different but they generally allow you into the parks 30-60 before official park opening. You will not be able to get on any rides but you can line up near them and wait for rope drop. Many guests will arrive early and rope drop the most popular attractions like Slinky Dog Dash or Flight of Passage. Many of the shops in the front of the park are already open. You can grab a quick bite to eat or look for a new shirt while you wait for rope drop.
When will they release the park hours for when I go?
The park hours are usually released about 6 months out. Use the My Disney Experience app or the website to find the hours. I looked on July 23rd and was able to see all the hours listed till Jan 19th.
Are the buses to the theme park free?
Yes the buses from your resort to the theme parks are included in your stay.
Do I need to be staying at a Disney Resort to use FastPass+?
NO. You do not need to stay at a Disney Resort to use the FastPass+ reservation system. Any guest with a valid ticket or annual pass can book FastPass reservations 30 days from your theme park day. If you are staying on site you can book them 60 days out. For more about FastPass+ and how to book them check out this article with pictures on how to book FastPass+.
Do I need a theme park ticket to eat at Cinderella’s Royal Table?
Yes you do. If you are going to eat at any restaurant in Walt Disney World that is located in one of the theme parks you WILL need a ticket to enter the park.
How tall must I be to go on “x” ride?
Check out our ride guides for Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Epcot and Hollywood Studios. These links provide the height requirements for all the rides at that theme park along with a guide on what to use your FastPass on.
Do I need to be staying at “x” resort to eat at “x” restaurant?
You do not need to be staying at the resort that you booked dining reservations at. You don’t even have to be staying at a Disney owned resort to enjoy all the wonderful dining available at the Disney resorts. Just pull up to the check in gate at the resort you have a reservation at and tell the security guard you have a reservation. They will direct you where to park and let you know that you can park there for 3 hours.
I am staying off site can’t I just park at a resort for free and grab a bus to the park?
Nope. This is not allowed. Disney says if you are not staying at the resort and do not have a dining reservation that cars will be towed.
Can I park at Disney Springs and get a bus to the Parks?
This also is not allowed. Besides there are no buses running from Disney Springs to the Theme Parks. You would have to go to a Resort first than transfer from that resort to the theme park.
How long does it take to get my luggage if I take the Magical Express?
Plan on your luggage taking around 4 hours to arrive in your room from when your flight lands.
Does the Magical Express bus from MCO cost anything?
The Magical Express is free to Walt Disney World resort guest.
When will free dining be released?
There is no guarantee that free dining will be released. While for the past 10 plus years Disney has offered some form of free dining there is no set time when or if it will be released.
Is the dining plan worth it?
I have done countless hours trying to figure out this question. For me it is worth it right now till my daughter is 10. Once she is 10 she will be considered an adult at Disney and she doesn’t eat enough to cover the cost. For a complete breakdown on the three plans with a 2 day sample of what you may spend check out my article all about the Disney Dining Plan.
Is it true you have to pay to get into Disney Springs?
Disney Springs is a FREE shopping and dining area. You do not pay a fee or need a ticket to go here.
What time can I enter the park for MNSSHP or MVMCP?
During party days Magic Kingdom closes at 6pm. The party official starts at 7pm. However if you have a ticket for the party you can get in around 4pm.
Can I wear a costume at Disney World?
Costumes CAN NOT be worn by anyone 14 or older. If you are attending MNSSHP you CAN wear a costume. Just no mask or weapons (real or fake) are permitted.
Can I smoke at Disney World?
Smoking is no longer allowed in any of the theme parks. This includes vaping. There are areas outside of the main gates for guest to smoke. Disney World resorts are also smoke free. You cannot smoke in your rooms. There are smoking areas around the resorts.
Can I bring a stroller with me?
Strollers cannot be bigger than 31” wide or 52” long. Wagons are also not allowed.Summer Infant 3D Lite Convenience Stroller – Black
Can I bring a backpack with me?
You can bring in any bag that is not larger than 24”long by 15”wide by 18”high.
Can I bring food and drinks with me?
You can bring in your own food and drinks into Walt Disney World Theme Parks. They cannot require heating and no glass is allowed. Alcoholic beverages are also NOT allowed.
Can I bring in my own refillable water bottle?
Yes you can. Check out this refillable filtered water bottle by Brita. It is the one I use and love it. It takes away that Florida water taste.
What can I NOT bring into a Disney Theme Park?
Here you need to use your common sense. Things like drugs, alcohol, weapons are not allowed. Other things include selfie sticks, pepper spray, medical marijuana, fireworks, skate boards, drones, horns, folding chairs, flags. BALLOONS AND PLASTIC STRAWS are not allowed at Animal Kingdom Lodge, Animal Kingdom theme park and the water parks.
Can I bring my camera?
Yes you can bring in your camera. Point and shoots, DSLR, Mirror less are all allowed in the Theme parks.
Can I bring in my Tripod?
It depends. Tripods and monopods can come into Walt Disney World if that can fit inside a standard backpack and DO NOT extend past 6 feet.
What is Memory Maker and PhotoPass?
Memory Maker and PhotoPass go hand in hand. Memory Maker is the package your purchase before or during your trip (save money by buying it before). It allows you to download all of your PhotoPass and ride photos and videos. Memory Maker includes unlimited digital downloads of your photos. Magic Shots. Photos taken at selection character dining locations. It also includes photos and videos taken on selection rides around Walt Disney World (Seven Dwarfs mine train and Tower of Terror).
What are Magic Shots?
Magic shots are enhancements to your photos. Maybe you will have Tinker Bell flying over your head. Or see that a hitchhiker jumped into your photo. It’s just that special touch added to your photos.
So that’s our list so far. We will be added to it when more questions pop into our heads. Do you have any questions we didn’t list above? Let us know in the comments so we can make sure we add them. Remember to follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest at KozmoPhotos. It will help you stay up to date with all the latest posts and photos.