Since the reopening of Walt Disney World, many of our vacation planning tips and tricks are no longer valid and never will be again. FastPass+ may have gone, but there is new essential knowledge you need to master to get ahead of the crowd. Here are 10 Walt Disney World Tips for 2022 that still matter and a couple of important new ones. We updated this guide during December 2021 with all of the latest information for 2022.
Why are previous Walt Disney World tips & tricks no longer valid?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 initial reopening of Walt Disney World, some significant changes meant many of our traditional tips, hacks & tricks were no longer valid. As 2021 progressed, some suspended services returned, but others have been canceled forever. In addition, a whole host of new services have been introduced, including Disney Genie+, Disney Park Pass, and Early Morning Magic.
These changes mean significant 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! When Walt Disney World reopened, the removal of FastPass+ and Park Hopping meant little planning needed to be done. These changes were popular with many guests as they allowed more spontaneity in your vacation plans. However, as crowds have increased, Disney has introduced additional services that mean detailed planning is essential again.
Walt Disney World planning has become serious business again! In 2022 guests will have to consider DisneyGenie+, Lightning Lane “a la carte,” Early Theme Park Entry, Extended Evening Hours, and Disney Park Pass. While systems have changed, not planning or planning too late will mean you miss out.
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. WiFi 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.
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 most fantastic 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 available 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.
Consider skipping some attractions
Nearly all attractions are now open at Walt Disney World, 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 with 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 challenging. 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 specific 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 leaving 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 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 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 is here to stay.
Consider carefully whether to buy Disney Genie+
Disney Genie+ is the paid replacement for FastPass+ but isn’t cheap. Purchasing allows you access to book reservations for Lightning Lane at select attractions. The Lightning lane will enable you to join a shorter line than the regular stand-by line.
You might wish to purchase it every day if you are on a short vacation, but it probably isn’t necessary for more extended vacations. Many of the attractions included with Disney Genie+ do not have long waits, and Lightning Lane isn’t required. Consider, in your plan, which days you want to purchase Disney Genie+ in advance.
Guests can either purchase Disney Genie+ in advance for their whole vacation or individual days from midnight on their visit. If you decide to purchase Disney Genie+ for every day of your vacation, some tickets give a small discount on advance purchase.
Once you have purchased Disney Genie+, you can book your first experience beginning at 7:00 am on the day of your visit. The most popular attractions run out of slots; make sure you are ready for 7:00 am if you want to book a space for Slinky Dog.
Consider Lightning Lane purchases carefully
Some of the most popular attractions are not available on Disney Genie+. An individual fee is required to access the lightning lane for these attractions. Lightning Lane “á la carte” is available for all guests each day, including those who have not purchased Disney Genie+. You can buy up to 2 attractions each day, booked one at a time.
Currently, the attractions which attract this fee are:
- Seven Dwarfs Mine Train – Magic Kingdom
- Space Mountain – Magic Kingdom
- Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure – EPCOT
- Frozen Ever After – EPCOT
- Avatar Flight of Passage – Animal Kingdom
- Expedition Everest – Animal Kingdom
- Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance – Hollywood Studios
- Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway – Hollywood Studios
However, all attractions also have a Stand-By line, and waits are not always long. These purchases will soon add up, at up to $15 a person per ride. However, for Rise of the Resistance and Flight of Passage it will inevitably save time.
Disney Resort hotel Guests and Guests of Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotels and Shades of Green can make their first purchase starting at 7:00 am on the day of their visit. All other guests can make their first purchase when the park opens.
There is a cap on the number of Lightning Lane passes sold each day, and they do run out. Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance is regularly fully booked when the park opens, with Disney World Resort guests taking advantage of their 7:00 am window. If you are planning to purchase, you should book at the earliest opportunity; leaving it until later in the day could mean you miss out.
Take advantage of Early Theme Park Entry and Extended Evening Hours
We never used to think Extra Magic Hours was a great benefit. However, we believe bothEarly Theme Park Entry and Extended Evening Hours are a great benefit and the main reason to stay on-site.
Early Theme Park Entry started on October 1st, 2021. This new benefit, which replaced Extra Magic Hours, is 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.
These extended hours are a fantastic benefit for guests staying at Disney Resorts. Off-site guests often find large crowds already in the park when they enter later in the day. Try and complete some of the resort’s most popular attractions during this period.
Check the latest information on Park Hopping
Park Hopping restarted in 2021 but is operating slightly differently. For those readers unfamiliar with Park Hopping, Park Hopper tickets allow guests to visit more than one park at Walt Disney World each day. You can visit the Magic Kingdom in the morning, but 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.
Don’t forget a face covering
Who would have anticipated 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 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 to Walt Disney World
Walt Disney World was 50 on October 1st, 2021! To celebrate some big new attractions opened. Top of our list was:
- Disney Enchantment a new nighttime spectacular at the Magic Kingdom.
- Harmonious at Epcot is billed as the biggest nighttime show Disney has ever produced.
- Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure has opened in EPCOT. It had been delayed by over one year but is a big crowd pleaser.
Visit our Guide to Walt Disney World’s 50th Birthday to learn more.
New attractions will also be opening in 2022. Top of our list is Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind. This unique coaster will be opening at EPCOT during Summer 2022. Visit our guide to all the new attractions coming to Walt Disney World in 2022.
Keep checking My Disney Experience
It seems almost inevitable that changes will continue to happen throughout 2022. Don’t miss out if suddenly a show reopens or a new attraction is opened. 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 post is part of our “Road to 2022 at Walt Disney World” series. Check out the rest of the guides for the latest information.