By now, you either know from experience, or have heard from others, about the countless options for family fun, entertainment and heart-pounding rides and attractions at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. Add those to the many different Disney Resort hotels and restaurants in and around the parks, and you’ve got a lot of choices to make and planning to do when you’re getting ready for a trip to Disney World. Years ago, as you made your Disney plans, you had to be sure to take copious notes about your dates, reservations and more. And everyone remembers standing in line to use the FastPass+ kiosks! But thankfully in 2012, Disney World released the My Disney Experience app that made Disney trip planning much easier. The app has been expanded and updated over the years so that today it is more comprehensive and useful than ever. If you’ve never used it, download the app before you begin planning your next Disney trip. Just look at the things you can do with the app.
10. Browse restaurant menus and make dining reservations
The My Disney Experience app is your go-to guide for everything related to dining at Walt Disney World. Use the app to browse through menus at Disney World restaurants so you get a feel for the cuisine and atmosphere of the restaurants you’d like to enjoy. Book your dining reservations via the My Disney Experience app up to 180 days before you’ll be in the parks. Should your plans change in the future, you can even use the app to change the dates of your reservations, as well as the arrival time or number of Guests in your dining party. If you must cancel your reservation, you can do so with the app as well, so long as it is more than 24 hours before the reservation time.
9. Manage your tickets and MagicBands
The My Disney Experience app allows you to link tickets and annual passes for each member of your family or traveling party to your My Disney Experience account. Simply tap the icon for your name at the bottom of the first screen when you open the app on your tablet or smartphone. On the next screen, tap “My Tickets.” You’ll be directed to a screen with the heading “Tickets & Passes.” Tap the plus sign (+) on the upper right-hand corner of the screen. You will see a drop-down menu on which you’ll tap “Link Tickets & Passes.” Enter the ID code from the back of the ticket or inside the MagicBand you want to link (or scan the QR code on the ticket). Tap “submit” at the bottom of the screen, and thanks to Disney magic, that ticket will be linked to your My Disney Experience account. You will need to do this for each member of your family or traveling party so that you are able to make FastPass+ selections for everyone.
8. Select or modify FastPass+ selections
The My Disney Experience app is the most convenient way to reserve FastPass+ times for the days you’ll be visiting the parks. Once you’ve linked tickets or MagicBands to your My Disney Experience account for everyone in your traveling party, you’ll be set to make your FastPass+ selections 60 days in advance of your trip if you’re staying on Disney property and 30 days in advance if you’re staying off property. You can also use the app to make changes to your existing FastPass+ selections. Should you decide to choose different attractions for which you’d like to select FastPass+ times, you can do so with the app.
7. Share itineraries with friends and family
Another very useful benefit to using the My Disney Experience app is that it enables you to share your Disney World plans with friends and family with whom you’re traveling. You can invite them to set up a My Disney Experience account and download the app. Once they accept your invitation (it is delivered via e-mail), you’ll be able to join your families together on the app so that when a FastPass+ selection is made, it can be done for each member of your party at once. You are also able to choose which plans you want to share with others and which ones you won’t share. You can tailor-make this feature to fit the needs of your traveling party.
6. Check wait times
Before you race across Magic Kingdom from Tomorrowland to Adventureland, in hopes of enjoying the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction, use the My Disney Experience app to see how long the wait time is for the ride. This ensures that you aren’t wasting time rushing to an attraction or ride, only to get there and find that the line is over an hour long. And yes, the wait times shown in the app are very accurate.
5. Get information on available character encounters
Are you hoping to see Snow White in Germany at EPCOT? Have you been looking forward to asking Aladdin and Jasmine for their autographs when you meet them in Adventureland at Magic Kingdom? If so, you’ll want to use the My Disney Experience app to see where to meet characters and when they’ll be available for photos and autographs. The app gives locations and appearance times for characters in each of the four theme parks, so you aren’t walking all over the parks in search of beloved Disney characters, unsure of where to meet them.
4. Preview PhotoPass pictures during your trip
Each time you pose for pictures with a Disney World PhotoPass Photographer, be sure to tap your MagicBand to the photographer’s device afterward (or your ticket). This immediately links your photos to your My Disney Experience account. Shortly thereafter, you will be able to open your app and view those photographs. If you purchased Memory Maker and linked it to your My Disney Experience account, any ride photos of you and your family will be linked to your My Disney Experience account and accessible to preview via the app as well. (Note that some rides like Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin at Magic Kingdom require you to tap your MagicBand to the green glowing Mickey heads that correspond to the pictures of you and your family before they are linked. Attractions such as Pirates of the Caribbean automatically link your ride photo to your MagicBand, and those photos will also be available for preview via the app.)
3. Place a mobile order at a quick-service restaurant
If you’ve ever visited Disney World during peak season—especially around Christmastime and during the summer—you know that attractions aren’t the only things with long lines. Quick-service restaurants in the parks can have lines out the doors sometimes. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could walk up to the counter at a quick-service restaurant and pick up your food in a matter of minutes? Thanks to the magic of the My Disney Experience app, you can! Open your app and tap “Order Food” under the “My Plans” heading. Then choose from the list of quick-service restaurants. Select the items your family wants to enjoy and pay for your order. Once you arrive at the restaurant, simply tap “I’m here, prepare my food.” Then head to the counter under the sign that reads “Mobile order pick-up.” No fuss, no wait. Sounds like magic to me!
2. Explore around you with the GPS-enabled map
This handy feature makes exploring the parks fun and easy. The My Disney Experience app includes a GPS-enabled map that will show you your location in the park, and you can move the map to see what is near you and which direction you need to walk to hit that next attraction or show. No need to waste time looking for rides and attractions—even if it’s your first time in the parks! With the app, you’ve always got directions and a map at your fingertips. Use this feature to find restrooms, as well as the locations of PhotoPass Photographers, ATMs, Baby Care Centers, coin press machines, FastPass+ kiosks, First Aid, locker rentals, mobile charging stations, stroller rentals, wheelchair rentals and more.
1. Blockout dates, park hours and more at your fingertips
Another perk of the My Disney Experience app—one of the most helpful and important—is the plethora of information it makes accessible to you at a glance. Use the app to get information about today’s park hours and performance times of shows and nighttime spectaculars at each park. You can also view your tickets and any available entitlements on them (which means days remaining on your ticket). If you are an Annual Passholder, you can view blockout dates based on the type of annual pass you have as well.
How did we ever plan Disney World vacations or explore the parks before the My Disney Experience app was created? Thanks to the magic of Disney, we don’t have to anymore! Don’t leave any part of your Disney trip to chance—download the app today and start planning your next trip to the most magical place on earth with the most magical app on earth!