Maybe you’re the person with 10 pages of lists with everything you need to do before heading out on your Disney World vacation. Maybe you’ve got all your budget spreadsheets, dining reservation notes, and plans on your computer. Or, maybe you’re someone who has it all planned, it’s just not on paper yet. Whoever you are and however you do it, planning a Disney World vacation can be almost as fun as the trip itself!
But, did you know that there’s a way to keep track of all your reservations and be a leg ahead of everyone else visiting Disney World? Enter My Disney Experience — Disney World’s official app. In an age where it has become almost IMPOSSIBLE to visit the Disney Parks without a smartphone, the My Disney Experience app is like a trusty friend who will help you plan your trip without all the unsolicited (or BAD) advice . So, Here’s how you can use the app to unlock a new level of Disney vacation planning (we’ll let you have all the bragging rights, don’t worry).
Link EVERYTHING (and Everyone)!
You learn pretty quickly that My Disney Experience is going to be your one-stop-shop for ALL of your reservations during your trip. So, for a seamless experience, it’s important to make sure that you link EVERYTHING to your Disney account, including yours resort reservations (if you are staying on Disney World property) and everyone that you’re traveling with.
Disney World Resort guests get a lot of different perks that no one else does in the parks, and you’ll need to have your reservation linked to your account if you want to take advantage of any of those (or use the app to get into your resort room). Doing this links your reservation to your tickets so Cast Members will know that you can in fact get into the parks before everyone else with Early theme park entry.
You’ll also want to be sure that each of your family members has their own individual Disney account and then link them all together (unless you have little kiddos who don’t have emails or smartphones). We get asked a lot how larger parties can book things together (like Genie+ Lightning Lane return windows) and this is your answer! Linking your accounts will mean that one person can set up and modify your plans for the entire party making your day at Disney World WAY easier.
This will take several emails back and forth to confirm with Disney that each person in your party has a valid reservation, so don’t leave this step until the last minute!
And, if you aren’t using a physical ticket to get into the parks, you will also want to link your Magic Band (if you purchase one online prior to your trip) or set up your MagicMobile pass if you prefer to use Disney’s new band-less option. Each of these will make entering the park and your hotel room much easier when you arrive.
Click here to weigh the pros and cons of MagicBands vs. MagicMobile!
Purchase Tickets & Make Park Pass Reservations
You can also do some of the most basic Disney planning in the My Disney Experience app including purchasing your tickets and making (or changing) your park pass reservations. Since reopening, Disney has required that each guest have both a valid ticket AND a reservation for the park that they will be visiting before they arrive, and doing both through the app can really streamline your planning process.
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again — make sure you’re booking those Park Pass Reservations as soon as you purchase your tickets! The parks are still operating with a limited capacity, so certain dates DO still fill up in advance (especially holidays). Don’t get locked out of a park because you neglected to make your Park Pass Reservations! You can easily book them through the app.
And, if you change your mind and need to modify your park passes, this can easily be done in the app too!
So you can add additional options to your park tickets through My Disney Experience, like memory maker. This is a good thing to do if you plan to purchase all of your on-ride photos and PhotoPass pictures from around the parks — it’s actually CHEAPER if you add this on in advance!
Click here to read about what dates you’ll want to make sure you have Park Pass Reservations for ASAP!
Book Dining Reservations & Practice Mobile Order
If you’re anything like us, dining at Disney World is an attraction in itself so you’re going to be doing A LOT of it while you’re there! Well, the My Disney Experience app is a KEY tool for maximizing all the eating and drinking you do!
must Advance dining reservations can be booked directly through the My Disney Experience app which can be SUPER helpful when trying to secure a reservation at some of those hard-to-get Table Service restaurants. Instead of only being able to refresh the reservation page when you’re at a computer, you can pull up the app and refresh at ANY time (shh, we won’t tell your boss 😉).
Disney dining reservations can now only be made 60 days in advance, so you need to be on top of your game more than ever before to get a spot at all the restaurants you want.
When it comes to Quick Service restaurants in Disney World, you will likely need to use it Mobile orders at some point during your trip. And, while you can’t order food before your vacation, you can use My Disney Experience to walk through the process so you aren’t wasting valuable vacation time troubleshooting — become a Mobile Order per ahead of time!
You also might want to do some research on Mobile Order return times before your trip so that you have an idea of what to expect when you’re there. Open up the app around lunchtime over the next few weeks and see what the current return windows look like — you may realize that you need to place lunch orders around breakfast time so you get a reasonable return window (we’re looking at you Woody’s Lunchbox 👀)!
Click here to read about what Mobile Order is like right now at Disney World.
Familiarize Yourself With the Parks
You may think that park maps are only helpful when you’re actually walking around the park, but studying the maps before you visit Disney World can actually save you A LOT of time in the long run — especially if you have been to the parks in a while (or EVER)!
These maps are filled with TONS of valuable information, like current wait times restroom locationsthe current Walk Up waitlist status at various restaurants, and current Mobile order return windows. Knowing these data points will help you set expectations ahead of your trip.
So, the next time you’re eating lunch at home, open up My Disney Experience and see what the current wait time is at Space Mountain, or how long you would have to wait if you were to order lunch at Casey’s Corner. Familiarizing yourself with the current “rhythm” of the parks will put you miles ahead of everyone else when it comes time to actually tackle all four parks like a pro.
DON’T listen to THESE Disney World tips!
Learn the ins and outs of Disney Genie
Disney genius is a brand new (and FREE) planning tool that is now part of the My Disney Experience app. While there are some paid aspects in the feature that you can “upgrade” to, the free service is still REALLY valuable and a tool that many park-goers are missing out on.
It will create a personalized itinerary for you to make your day run smoother at Disney World. After you link your theme park tickets to Genie, you can tell it your preferences — like your favorite rides, restaurants, and characters that you absolutely want to hit during your day. Not sure which ones are your favorite? You can even just select general categories! Doing this allows Genie to give you better recommendations throughout the day. And, we definitely recommend doing this ahead of time so you can start your day off with good recommendations!
Also in the My Disney Experience app is Disney Genie+. This is the new PAID program that has replaced FastPass+ in Disney World and it allows you to make reservations to use the Lightning Lane (aka the old FastPass+ lane) for select rides across the parks, essentially letting you skip the standby line. It costs $15 per day, per person.
Unlike FastPass+, Genie+ can only be used on the day of your visit (although you CAN purchase it in advance), so you won’t be able to do too much in the app before you head to Disney World. But, you can at least familiarize yourself with the rather complicated process.
So, whether you’re using the free Disney Genie planning tool, or the Genie+ paid option to skip the lines at some of the attractions, this new tool will impact how you experience the parks. And, the more you know about it before you walk into the parks the better!
We’re breaking down EVERYTHING you need to know about Disney Genie HERE!
Review Your Plans & Research Park Information
Beyond the basics of knowing where the gift shops are located, My Disney Experience has a lot of important information that could have a major impact on your visit. For example, you can check the Latest parking hours (Disney often extends park hours and you could miss it!), take a look at refurbishment calendars, or see if a ride you’re planning to visit has any scheduled downtime during your trip.
Staying up-to-date on information like this can help set expectations ahead of time so no one is met with any unpleasant surprises upon arrival!
Click HERE to See Everything That Will Be CLOSED at Disney World in 2022!
Chat with Cast Members
Last, but certainly not least, if you have any remaining questions you need answered prior to your trip, you can skip the LONG wait times on the phone listening to “Yo Ho (A Pirate’s Life for Me)” and “it’s a small world” and opt to chat with a Cast Member in the My Disney Experience app!
You’ll find this new(ish) feature in the menu on the bottom right corner of the app and all you have to do is click “Chat With Us” and you can send your message in! Fair warning though — it may be a LONG time before you get a response depending on how many other people are contacting Disney at that time.
Click here to read some things that Disney World employees knew wish you!
We hope this list was helpful in getting you started on becoming a My Disney Experience pro! It’s incredible how helpful this app can be before your vacation, but it’s also extremely useful while you’re in Disney World, too! So update your app, and start bopping through the options and features.
Check Out The Secret Weapons That Disney World Pros Swear By HERE!
What are your best My Disney Experience tips and tricks? Let us know in the comments!