Since the reopening of Walt Disney World, many of our vacation planning tips and tricks are no longer valid and never will be again.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 our Top 10 Walt Disney World Tips for 2023, updated in March 2023.
Why are previous Walt Disney World tips & tricks no longer valid?
We have spent several years at Modern Life is Good, writing a collection of planning guides to create the perfect Walt Disney World Vacation. Following the reopening of Walt Disney World, some significant changes meant many of our traditional Walt Disney World tips, hacks & tricks were no longer valid.
Over the last few years, some suspended services returned, but others have been canceled forever. In addition, many new services have been introduced, including Disney Genie+, Disney Park Pass, and Early Morning Magic.
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 very popular with many guests as they allowed more spontaneity in your vacation plans. However, as crowds have increased, Disney has introduced additional services, meaning detailed planning is essential again.
Walt Disney World planning has become a serious business again! In 2023 guests must consider DisneyGenie+, Individual Lightning Lanes, Virtual Queues, 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 to help create a perfect Walt Disney World Vacation Plan.
Book a Disney Park Pass
Remember the days when we had to make FastPass+ reservations?
Your Disney Park Pass is the critical booking you must obtain as soon as you get your theme park ticket. To access a park, you must pre-book a reservation online through the new Disney Park Pass System.
To access any park, guests must 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.
Remember, to dine in any theme park restaurant, you must also have a Disney Park Pass.
If you are planning to Park Hop, 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 can then 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.
Book dining reservations in advance
Most restaurants have reopened at Walt Disney World, but not all venues operate at full capacity or previous hours. This means many of the most popular dining venues get fully booked quickly.
A new 60-day Advanced Dining Reservation window applies, and you can book via My Disney Experience. Make sure your reservations are made as soon as possible. While standby lists can exist, there are no guarantees you will get a reservation on the day.
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. It would help if you planned to have a break during your day and possibly return to the park in the evening.
Our Guide to Orlando Weather has plenty of other tips to beat the heat.
Be ready for every type of weather.
Guests visiting Walt Disney World might need sunscreen, a hat & waterproof on any day. Have a rainy day plan for what to do if the weather turns.
We have created a Guide to the Orlando Weather with further information.
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.
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 a guide, which includes details of what we think you should fit in your Walt Disney World park bag.
Consider carefully whether to buy Disney Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lanes.
Disney Genie+ is the paid replacement for FastPass+, but it isn’t cheap, costing up to $29 a day per person. Purchasing Disney Genie+ allows you to book reservations for Lightning Lane at select attractions. The Lightning Lane will enable you to join a shorter line than the regular standby line.
If you are on a short vacation, you might wish to purchase it every day, but it probably isn’t necessary for more extended vacations. Many 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.
Once you have purchased Disney Genie+, you can book your first experience 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 to book a space for Slinky Dog.
Some of the most popular attractions are not available on Disney Genie+. An individual fee of up to $25 is required to access the lightning lane for these attractions. Individual Lightning Lane is available for all guests daily, including those who have not purchased Disney Genie+. You can buy up to 2 attractions every day, booked one at a 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.
The list of rides has changed several times since the introduction of Individual Lightning Lanes, but the current list is as follows:
- Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
- TRON Lightcycle Run
- Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind
- Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance
- Avatar Flight of Passage
However, all attractions also have a Standby or virtual line, and waits are not always long, especially close to park closing.
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 in 2021 and replaced Extra Magic Hours. All Walt Disney World Resort guests, and other select hotels, can gain 30-minute early entry to any theme park each day. However, you will need a Disney Park Pass.
Extended Evening Hours are only available for guests staying at Deluxe Resorts. Guests staying at one of these resorts can enjoy extended evening hours in select theme parks on select nights. A valid Disney Park Pass is also 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 has been visited earlier in the day.
Extended evening hours are typically held at Magic Kingdom park on Wednesdays and EPCOT on Mondays.
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 these periods.
Have access to the park’s WiFi.
Online access is essential at Walt Disney World; 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 to enable guests to plan their vacations. Through this free service, you can:
- Keep track of your plans & reservations, including those of your family & friends.
- Make Disney Genie, Dining & Ticket Reservations
- Order in advance food at select Quick Service Locations. Mobile Ordering is a great time saver.
- Access maps, wait times, showtimes, park hours, and essential information via the app.
- Check on all the latest resort changes, including any closed attractions.
Walt Disney World encourages all guests to have downloaded the latest version of My Disney Experience on their mobile devices before entering parks. Also, they recommend having location services and notifications enabled.
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.