This August at D23, Disney announced a brand new vacation planning app called Disney Genie. As the name implies, the expectation is that the new app will take all the hard work out of planning a Walt Disney World vacation. Walt Disney World trip planning is fun, but it’s daunting for those who only want to have a good time. The necessity to plan your Walt Disney World trip so extensively is relatively new. For first time visitors, that necessity may or may not be known. However, a good plan can make all the difference in whether or not you have a good Disney experience or a terrible one. So, it’s important to know how and when to make Walt Disney World reservations.
Disney Planning Apps
In 2012 the My Disney Experience app was launched, and it changed everything. The Fastpass+ reservation system reinvented the Disney vacation. The new scheduled Fastpass system marked a considerable shift in the accessibility of new and popular attractions. You either knew to plan in advance, or you risked missing out entirely on new experiences. Gone were the days of spontaneity and living in the moment. The transition to a more planned Disney experience caused a stir among Disney fans at first, but Disney’s stance was that with locked in appointments for top attractions, guests had more free time to be spontaneous with other ventures.
The Growing Need to Plan Your Disney Vacation
2012 also marked the beginning of a new era in Disney development. Imagineers pushed for higher levels of immersion into the fictional worlds Disney had built for its animated films. New Fantasyland opened along with Be Our Guest. It was a brand new dining experience, which would single-handedly catapult Walt Disney World’s dining scene. Now, the food at Walt Disney World has never been more popular. Instagramable snacks hit carts and counters on a seasonal basis, and signature restaurants bring more innovation and flavor to the table than ever before. It was never any secret that to get a reservation at the high profile restaurants you needed to book as early as six months in advance. Now, however, the list of must-do dining experiences is growing dramatically.
The My Disney Experience app is an indispensable tool in this age of preplanning all of our essential Walt Disney World experiences. The app manages your itinerary and holds onto Fastpasses, dining reservations, and park tickets. When Disney Genie awakens from its slumber in 2020, a whole new experience will again change how we do Disney. It will take a lot of the guesswork out of planning by making valid recommendations based on your interests. The app will make sure you do not overlook new opportunities and will even help maximize your schedule by suggesting optimal times for various attractions and activities.
With a new Disney planning app, plotting your vacation will be more relaxed and simultaneously more necessary than ever. Even frequent visitors who casually visit the parks will be able to take suggestions and recommendations from Disney Genie in real-time. That exciting feature nods to a bygone approach to Disney time management that was more whimsical and less structured. On the whole, though, the prevailing wisdom is to make all the arrangements that you can ahead of time. Those last-minute recommendations will only point you toward open opportunities and not the ones that routinely fill up.
Walt Disney World Reservations
What you need to reserve at Walt Disney World is a list that includes your hotel room, your top picks for Disney attractions, your restaurant reservations, dinner shows, tours, and other events. Booking your Walt Disney World hotel is the most natural step and sets everything else into motion. You can book your room through Walt Disney World’s official website. The dates you select will impact the rest of the reservations you make, not just in terms of availability, but in terms of when your window for reservations is open.
When you book your room, make sure you check the special offers page by clicking the link in the website’s footer. Even after booking, you should check for updates. If a promotional offer arises for the time you have booked, you can call (407) 939-5277. Ask to be rebooked using the promotion, and they will happily assist you. When you book your hotel stay, you should also note anything you are celebrating, so that they know to provide a little bit of extra magic for your special occasion.
Setting your dates starts the clock on your vacation planning. You can spend the next several months pouring over the maps and menus of Walt Disney World. Dining reservations are critical for most table service restaurants. Some of them are so popular that if you don’t immediately pounce on them, you can miss out. One thing you don’t want to do is search around a crowded park for available dining when you are hungry.
Reservation booking becomes available 180 days before your check-in date. You can begin making reservations at 7:00 am Eastern, so if you are on the Pacific Coast, you may want to set the alarm clock. Most restaurants will not fill up immediately, but you’d be surprised how quickly it can happen. Prioritize your best-known restaurants to make sure you can get a spot booked. If you have trouble booking online, try calling (407) 939-1947. A Disney cast member may be able to pull some strings for you, which an automated program would not be able to do.
You can also book tours and recreational activities through the Walt Disney World website or by calling (407) 939-1929.
Scheduling Fastpass reservations comes 60 days before your visit, or 30 Days if you stay at a non-Disney hotel. Sixty days is a nice advantage. You get three Fastpass reservations through Fastpass+ for every parking ticket you have. Select the date and park you want to visit on your My Disney Experience app and search for the attractions and available times. For recommendations on Fastpass selections read the Best Disney Fastpass Picks for Each Park!
You are not limited to these three Fastpasses. Once you use them in the park, you can reserve more of them on a case by case basis. When doing this, don’t be afraid to refresh your screen frequently if you want one important attraction to become available.
I have been visiting the parks annually since my parents first brought me at just a year old. Recently I was able to fulfill my life long dream of being a Florida local and moved from the wintery Northeast to the sunshine and fun of central Florida. Now I am hoping to share my Disney knowledge with you so you can have the best vacation possible!