Since the reopening of Walt Disney World, many of our vacation planning tips and tricks are no longer valid and might never be again. Despite this, there are still many tips, tricks, and hacks that will get you ahead of the rest of the crowd. Here are 10 Walt Disney World Tips for 2021 that still matter and a couple of important new ones during the reopening period. We updated this guide during August 2021 with all of the latest information.
Why are previous Walt Disney World tips & tricks no longer valid?
We have spent several years here at Modern Life is Good writing a collection of planning guides to create the perfect Walt Disney World Vacation. During the reopening of Walt Disney World, some significant changes mean many of our traditional tips, hacks & tricks were no longer relevant. As 2021 has progressed, some of the restrictions have been removed.
Services including FastPass+ and the Disney Dining Plan remain suspended with no confirmation of when they may return. These suspensions mean there are some big changes to how you plan your Walt Disney World Vacation. However, some of our previous tips are still relevant, and these include:
Create a vacation plan
We all like to relax on vacation, taking each day as it comes, but Walt Disney World is one vacation you must plan!
The removal of FastPass+ does make some elements of the Walt Disney World planning a lot easier. However, it would help if you still planned where you want to eat, what parks you want to visit, and your must-do attractions. Failure to make a plan, and you might miss out!
One service that returned in January 2021 was Park Hopping. It would help if you considered the ability to Park Hop as you create your vacation plan. Plus, if you are staying in a Walt Disney World Resort from October, you might want to take advantage of Early Theme Park Entry, and those staying in a Deluxe Resort will want to plan for Extended Evening Hours.
Our Free Walt Disney World Planners are a great resource that can help create a perfect Walt Disney World Vacation Plan.
Have access to the park Wi-Fi.
Online access is essential at Walt Disney World, and we even previously said it was our Number 1 Walt Disney World Top. Wi-Fi is available throughout all parks and resorts at Walt Disney World.
Having access to WiFi allows you to access My Disney Experience. My Disney Experience is a free online guide to Walt Disney World that allows guests to plan their vacation. Through this free service, you can:
- Keep track of your plans & reservations, including those of your family & friends.
- Make FastPass+, Dining & Ticket Reservations
- Order in advance your food at Quick Service Locations
- Access maps, wait times, showtimes, park hours, and much more essential information via the app.
- Grab a spot in the virtual queue for Rise of the Resistance.
Walt Disney World encourages all guests to have downloaded the latest version of My Disney Experience on their mobile device before entering parks. Also, they recommend having location services, and notifications enabled.
Visit our guide to learn more about My Disney Experience.
Pace yourself & have breaks
You can’t do Walt Disney World in just 1 or 2 days. If you go charging around the World on your first day, trying to do all those big attractions, you will burn out. Dehydration and sunstroke are easy to acquire but easy to prevent. Carry water and drink regularly. There are plenty of free water points at all parks.
The Orlando heat can be heavy going, especially in the summer months. Plan to have a break during your day and return in the evening. Our Guide to Orlando Weather has plenty of other tips to beat the heat.
Make sure the kids are tall enough to ride
Make sure everyone who wants to is big enough to ride. Disney enforces height limits rigidly. If the kids are too small, it does not mean others have to miss out. Rider Switch allows guests with small children to take turns riding while another adult stays with the child.
Use Mobile Ordering
I used to think Mobile Ordering was pointless, but I was wrong! In fact, it is perhaps the greatest time-saver at Walt Disney World, order your food in advance at quick-service restaurants. Reservations are simple through the My Disney Experience app. Disney is encouraging all guests to use this during the reopening period.
Visit our guide to learn more about Mobile Ordering at Walt Disney World.
Book dining reservations in advance
The number of restaurants open at Walt Disney World has increased, but not all venues are still open or operating at full capacity. A new 60-day Advanced Dining Reservation window applies. Make sure you make your reservations as soon as possible. There are no guarantees you will get a reservation on the day.
Visit our guide to learn more about dining at Walt Disney World in 2021.
Consider skipping some attractions
The number of open attractions at Walt Disney World is increasing, and it is impossible to do everything in 1 day. If time is limited at Walt Disney World, you may need to skip the odd attraction. It is better to plan these than miss your must-do attractions.
Be ready for every type of weather
Guests might need sunscreen, a hat & waterproof all on any day. Have a plan for what to do if the weather turns.
We have created a Guide to the Orlando Weather, which has further information.
Consider hiring a stroller & an ECV
Sure they don’t need a stroller when you visit the local park, but for many small children they will walk a lot more than back at home. Be ready to hire a stroller for all under 5s and some older kids too. Hiring is available in all parks but isn’t cheap. If you have a stroller, bring it with you!
Many adults will also find walking at Walt Disney World difficult. The Orlando heat and humidity can contribute to difficulties. If you are older, have arthritis, or have medical issues, you may wish to hire an ECV for your vacation or just for certain days. Further details are available in our Guide to Disabilities at Walt Disney World.
Only pack essential in your park bag
What are the things you must take into the park?
Make a list of what you need, e.g., camera, autograph book, poncho. Pack your bag the night before and check it before you leave in the morning. However, there is a difference between being prepared and being too prepared. Remember, you will be carrying your bag all day.
We have created an updated guide to what we think you should include in your Walt Disney World park bag.
Here are a couple of essential new tips for your Walt Disney World Vacation in 2021:
Book a Disney Park Pass
Forget FastPass+; the key booking now you must obtain as soon as you get your ticket is your Disney Park Pass. You will need to prebook a reservation online through the new Disney Park Pass System to access a park. Remember, to dine in any theme park restaurant, you must also have a Disney Park Pass.
To access any park, guests will have to present both their park reservation and a valid park ticket. Guests who do not have either of these will be refused entry.
Disney Park Pass allows better park capacity management, and it appears that it will become a permanent addition to Walt Disney World.
Take advantage of Early Theme Park Entry and Extended Evening Hours
We never used to think Extra Magic Hours was a great benefit. However, due to the continued suspension of FastPass+, we think bothEarly Theme Park Entry and Extended Evening Hours could be a great benefit.
Early Theme Park Entry will start on the 1st of October. This new benefit, which replaces Extra Magic Hours, will be available for all Walt Disney World Resort guests and other select hotels. Guests will be able to gain 30-minute early entry to any theme park every day. However, you will need a Disney Park Pass.
Extended Evening Hours is a new service for guests staying at Deluxe Resorts. Guests staying at one of these resorts will be able to enjoy extended evening hours on select nights in select theme parks. A valid Disney Park Pass will also be essential for guests taking advantage of Extended Evening Hours. However, guests may visit with a Park Hopper option as long as the park where they made their reservation earlier in the day.
Check the latest information on Park Hopping
Park Hopping is available in 2021 but is operating slightly differently. For those readers unfamiliar with Park Hopping, Park Hopper tickets allow guests to visit more than 1 park at Walt Disney World each day. You can visit the Magic Kingdom in the morning, but then visit Epcot for an evening stroll and dinner.
Guests will still need to make a Disney Park Pass Reservation for their first park each day, and they must enter this park before trying to enter another. Guests will then be able to enter a second park during Park Hopper Hours. Park Hopping Hours are subject to change but have been operating from 2 pm to close at all parks. Park Hopping will be subject to park capacity, and Disney advises you to check My Disney Experience for the latest information.
Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance and Park Hopping
Are you planning to ride Rise of the Resistance? You must have a Disney Park pass for Hollywood Studios to join the virtual queue! Guests who are park Hopping are not able to book a reservation.
Don’t forget a face covering
Who would have anticipated in 2021 face masks would be essential to enter Walt Disney World?
Face masks for a short period had become unnecessary when visiting Walt Disney World, but the rules have recently changed again. This will likely change regularly during the coming months, and we suggest checking the latest guidance before you visit. At the time of writing, the following rules are in place:
Face coverings are required for all Guests (ages 2 and up) while indoors and in Disney buses, monorail and Disney Skyliner, regardless of vaccination status. This includes upon entering and throughout all attractions. Face coverings remain optional for all Guests in outdoor common areas.Walt Disney World Regulations
Don’t miss the new attractions coming in October
Walt Disney World is 50 on October 1st! To celebrate there are some big new attractions coming to the resort. Top of our list are:
- Disney Enchantment a new nighttime spectacular at the Magic Kingdom.
- Harmonious at Epcot which is billed as the biggest nighttime show Disney ahs ever produced.
- Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure will open in Epcot. It has been delayed by over one year but it is going to be a big crowd pleaser.
Visit our Guide to Walt Disney World’s 50th Birthday to learn more.
Keep checking My Disney Experience
It seems almost inevitable that changes will continue to happen throughout 2021. Make sure you don’t miss out if suddenly a show reopened or FastPass+ restarts. Keep checking My Disney Experience for all the latest information, including park hours.
Visit our Beginners Guide to Walt Disney World to learn more. Our guide includes all the latest information on the reopening of Walt Disney World.
This Guide is part of our “Road to 2021 at Walt Disney World” series. Check out the rest of the guides for the latest information.