You’ve Booked Your Walt Disney World Vacation…
MyMagic+ will take your Walt Disney World Vacation to an all-new level and unlock a new dimension of Disney magic to make it yours like never before. MyMagic+ gives you unprecedented control of your vacation, making it easier than ever to enjoy every moment with family & friends.
Online Planning – Once you’ve booked your trip, you can use an incredible family of online tools providing recommendations to help you personalize your experience both at home and on the go.
FastPass+ – For the first time ever, you’ll have the power to reserve access to must-do experiences with Disney FastPass+ service, including select attractions, shows, parades, Disney character meet and greets and more – before you even leave home. (Valid Theme Park admission required. FastPass+ attractions and entertainment experiences, the number of selections you can make and available arrival windows are limited)
MagicBands – And then while you’re at Walt Disney World Resort, you can use the amazing new MagicBand to connect to the choices you’ve made online. (MagicBands are available to guests staying at Disney Resort Hotels.)
To get started, simply visit StartYourDisneyExperience.com and complete the steps below:
Register or Sign In to StartYourDisneyExperience.com
This will take you to the My Disney Experience Website
Register or Sign In to StartYourDisneyExperience.com, enter your Resort confirmation number provided by your Travel Profesional. Please note: you will need to verify the names of everyone on this reservation. If you need to make any modifications, we recommend you contact your Travel Professional before you link your reservation.
Link Your Walt Disney World Ticket or Pass
Please note: if you have a room and ticket package for a select Walt Disney World Resort hotel, your tickets will be included when you link your Disney Resort reservation and you can skip Step 3.
To access Disney FastPass+ service, you’ll need to link a ticket or pass for each member of your travel party age three (3) or older.
Customize your MagicBands
Choose “Personalize MagicBands to select MagicBands for your travel party. Be sure to choose your MagicBands and confirm your address at least 11 days prior to your arrival.
Select your FastPass+ Experiences, Make Dining Reservations and Explore My Disney Experience, Including online check in at select Disney Resort hotels.
Disney Dining Reservations
Whether it’s character dining, or just regular table service restaurants, reservations are highly recommended for the parks and resorts. Certain dinner shows like the Hoop Dee Doo Dinner Revue can be made a year in advance, but regular dining reservations for character dining and table service restaurants can only be made 180 days in advance. If you are outside that time window, mark your calendar and call the first date you can. If you are inside that window of time, then don’t delay in making your reservations. Be sure to go online to www.wdwinfo.com and look at all the restaurants and menus and have your list ready of what/where/when, number in party, plus alternate date/times. For Dining reservations call 407 WDW-DINE or go to http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/reservations/dining/
Some restaurants will require full payment and have cancellation penalties, but most do not. If you’re on the dining plan you can make reservations that normally require full payment at time of booking, with just a credit card hold.
Some dinner shows and restaurants you can get 20% off with AE, AAA, Disney Visa, Disney annual passes and Disney tables at Wonderland club. If the restaurant is on WDW property you can make priority seating reservations. The character meals fill up very, very fast and you must have a reservation. If you’re unsure you want to go, you can always cancel. In most cases you’ll get a full refund. Be sure to just check cancellation and refund policy. Consider trying some of the resort restaurants, don’t restrict yourself to just theme park dining.
WDW Dining will meet all dietary needs such as vegetarian, diabetic, food allergies, and gluten-free diets. Just ask and they will either accommodate your request, or tell you which restaurants do. You can also get some forms to complete and fax so they have your information at the restaurants.
There are some great unofficial websites for travel tips, discounts, newsletters, and more. A great resource is www.allearsnet.com which gives pictures of the resorts, rooms, parks, and offer great information on restaurants and their menus. You can also subscribe to their free All Ears Newsletter to get updates and last minute changes and closures. You can also check out www.wdwinfo.com for schedules including parades, extra magical hours and more.
If you’re looking to buy WDW books or a book on Florida ALLEARSNET has a connection with a discount book site www.bookcloseouts.com. Be sure and connect through www.allearsnet.com to get their additional discount. Another option is going to a used bookstore and buying the Birnbaum’s Walt Disney World book from the previous year or 2 years. It’s usually less expensive that way and has just about everything you need to know about the resorts and the parks.
Groceries: If you are looking to save money in the parks, food is a great way to do that. You can get groceries delivered to your hotel for quick in room breakfasts or to take snacks or light lunches into the parks. There are a couple of websites that will shop for you and deliver them directly to your hotel room. Try www.wegoshop.com or www.gardengrocer.com
Strollers: Two seat strollers are available on a first come first served basis at $31.00/day. Single strollers are $15.00/day. You can purchase a length of stay double stroller for $27.00/day or a single stroller for $13.00/day. Be sure and keep your receipt, because a single day’s rental is good for ALL parks that day. You can also rent a stroller at Downtown Disney, but here they require a $100.00 credit card hold. Once you return the stroller they will refund your credit card the $100.00. Be sure and grab a towel from your hotel as the strollers can get hot too! If you’re going to rent a stroller for 3 or more days ask for the multi-day rental. You get a 10% discount and you don’t have to stand in line every time you get a stroller. Just walk up to the stroller area and hand the cast member your multi rental pass.
Cake Hotline: For guests who want to have a special or personalized cake for various celebrations at most table service dining locations, you can contact the Cake Hotline at 407-827-2253 with a 48 hour notice. Guests may also request a 6-inch cake (non-personalized) upon arrival at the podium of any table service restaurant for $21.00 + tax (no advance notice required).
Free Stuff: Be sure and pick up the Gazette at your resort hotel upon arrival. It’s usually in your room or check in packet. It tells you about activities throughout the WDW resorts. The main one is for your resort. You can go into any resort and ask for their Gazette. You can also ask guest relations (at the parks or resorts) what’s free and/or going on at the other resorts. A few examples:
- At WDW Fort Wilderness Campground they show a free movie each evening at 7pm with a camp fire sing-a-long featuring WDW Characters and a marshmallow roast. Guest relations at the hotel can tell you what movies shows what night and start times.
- On the Disney Boardwalk you can see lots of little street shows, a piano man on a bike, jugglers, magic and more for free. Around the Crescent Lake by Stormalong Bay they have a camp fire and sing along then a free movie, similar to the Fort Wilderness Check with guest relations for movie titles and show times.
- Also at Fort Wilderness Campground, across from the Hoop- Dee- Doo Revue, there’s a stable, a petting zoo and pony rides. Note: to ride a pony kids and adults must have closed toe shoes.
- The Electric Water Pageant starts at 9:00 p.m. each evening. It travels around the Magic Kingdom and the Seven Seas Lagoon Resorts. It appears at the Grand Floridian at 9:15pm, the Fort Wilderness at 9:45pm, the Contemporary at 9:30pm. These are small barges that carry a light and music display. The whole display is about 10 – 15 minutes. Just check the resorts around the lake for the arrival time, or ask at any guest relations.
- At the Port Orleans Resort, from Oct – Feb on Sundays and Thursdays at 6:30 – 8:00 pm you can hear Castmembers read stories about the resort, host a sing along, and give s’more kits to kids. Located behind the fishin’ hole at Ole’ Man island.
Shopping: There is great shopping at Downtown Disney. It has a large selection and is usually less expensive than the parks. They also offer Disney Visa and American Express card holders 10% off purchases over 50.00 The best find is Mickey’s Mart where everything is under $10.00. Kids can get grab bags that run from $7.00 – $10.00. The stuff in them is usually valued at more than the price paid. If you’re a resort guest, your packages can be sent to your resort for you to pick up. Same thing at the park shops too. If you shop at the parks and are checking out that day or next or you’re a non-resort guest, packages can be sent to a general pick up point at the front of the park. Before using this service be sure and check when it will be at the front of the park(s), as it is sometimes later than you want.
Pictures: The Disney Photo Pass is great. Be sure to get your PHOTOPASS when you check in or at the first park you visit. Each time you have a photo taken the cast member will swipe the card. They will also take a picture with your camera if asked. So whenever you see a photo person be sure and have them snap a pic. Also, on some attractions they take pictures of you and you can add that picture to your photo pass. Just hand the cast member your number and photo pass card. You can view your pictures at the Photo shop in each park or online. To get same-day online viewing, check with cast member for when the photo will be available to view. The same card can be used for your entire trip and future visits at all parks and some resorts. The photos stay online for 30-60 days at www.Disney.PhotoPass.com
Disney Memory Maker: Disney now has a new program called Memory Maker which allows you a digital copy of ALL the photos taken of your family throughout the parks. With Memory Maker can be added to your package at least 3 days prior to your first picture for a $50 discount. The normal price if purchased onsite is $199, but you can add it to your package for only $149 in advance. Ask your travel agent for more details.
Kid swap: On most restricted rides, you and your kids can all get in line even if one child is too small to ride. When you get to the head of the line, one adult can ride while the other waits with the younger ones and when their ride is over the other adult can ride with the same kid without waiting in line again. Disney also has single rider only lines. Worth taking a chance because sometimes you do actually ride with your group.
Long lines: Lines can be long, so a good way to distract kids is have them look everywhere for hidden Mickey’s. They’re in the walls, floor, ceilings, and shadows. These are just the classic shape of Mickey’s head with ears. A list of Hidden Mickey’s can be found at www.HiddenMickeys.org
Countdown Ideas and Things to Remember
- Create a “Countdown Calendar” for little ones. Make a calendar for 30 days before the trip. Have little Mickey stickers over the count down numbers for the kids to pull off each day. Write “surprise” under some of them and when those are pulled give the kids something you’ve bought for the trip. Ideas for surprises include an autograph book or a hat, trading pin, swim suit, their own disposable camera, etc. You can order great personalized autograph books with matching bags and pens online at ebay. Another clever idea is to use a cloth hat and cloth writing pen. Velcro the pen (non washable) to the hat. Then just let the characters sign the hat while on your child’s head. Neat souvenir. And one less thing (or 2 if counting the pen) to carry around.
- Other ways to build the magic before your trip is to send the kids a post card each month before the trip from Mickey saying something about see you soon or can’t wait to play with you. Buy generic postcards and decorate them with Disney stickers if you can’t find Disney postcards.
- Short rain showers are not uncommon in Orlando, so be sure to bring some inexpensive rain ponchos from Wal-Mart ($.88) or Walgreens, as Disney charges $6.00 for theirs. They do have a picture of Mickey on them and if they tear that day they will replace for free. Just keep your receipt and any park will replace them.
- Flag your car! If you are going to rent a car, remember so does everyone else and they all look the same too. Get some sort of bright unusual material to tie on your car antenna or side view mirror to help you identify your car in a busy parking lot. Some people use antenna balls too. Neon colors work great!
- Bring an extra large ziploc bag to take with you on the wet rides to put your shoes, socks, jackets or cameras inside to protect them.
- You can get your camera batteries recharged in any park camera shop for free. Takes 20 minutes.
- Tag it! Be sure to put your name on any valuables you will be carrying in the park, especially cameras. When traveling with children, have them wear a lanyard (great for pin collecting) with a name tag on it filled out with contact information for you in case they are lost.