Walt Disney World Resort has made some exceptional additions in the past couple of years. Disney security has become mostly contactless making the process to enter the Disney Parks a breeze. New attractions such as EPCOT’s Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind are incredible. And let’s not forget about the return of fan-favorite experiences such as character hugs and autographs! But, with the good comes the bad. Here are the headaches we wish Disney would get rid of.
Disney Park Pass System
Want to go to a Walt Disney World Resort Park? Before setting foot in Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, or Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Guests MUST make a Park Pass reservation for the day of entry. Spontaneous Disney trips are completely gone as Park Passes fill quickly for Disney Parks.
If you’re looking for a spontaneous visit, you may get lucky to snag a Park Pass the day of a visit but in general, this is when a visit to Disney Springs is almost easier. We truly wish the Park Pass headache would go away, but Disney seems to be enjoying the new reservation system.
Disney Genie 3-Piece Puzzle
A puzzle is really the best way to describe it. First, the Disney Genie is the complementary addition in the My Disney Experience app meant to help Disney Park-goers optimize their Park day. Second, is the Disney Genie+ which is basically the former complimentary FastPass System but is now an upcharge service at $15 per person, per day. Disney has made it very clear even they know the system isn’t flawless. Third, individual Lightning Lane attractions allow Guests to pay a la carte (usually between $8 – $18 per attraction) to skip the line on the most popular attractions.
The confusion of Lightning Lane entrances, questioning if it’s financially worth it, the hard-hitting budget totals that add up quickly, and the benefit of having excess money over other Park Guests need to go.
Numerous Times to be Aware Of
When visiting Walt Disney World, the list of alarms on our phones is getting rather ridiculous.
- 12:00 am: At midnight, Guests can purchase Disney Genie+ for the day of use.
- 6:00 am: Dining reservations open online 60-days in advance.
- 7:00 am: Virtual queues open for Disney Park Guests.
- Also at 7:00 am: Lightning Lane purchases open for Disney Resort Guests.
- 7:12 am: Virtual queue refreshes!
- Park Opening Time: Lightning Lane purchases are open for non-Disney Resort Guests.
- 1:00 pm: Missed the first virtual queue chance? You can try again at 1:00 pm.
- 6:00 pm: Staying at a Disney Deluxe Resort with a Park that offers Extended Evening Hours? You can try for a virtual queue.
Now, try explaining all of this to Disney first-time travelers and watching their faces as they experience mass confusion.
The Constant Use of Phones
We get it, we’re in a technology-filled world and our phones go everywhere with us. When visiting a Disney Park, it would be incredible to detach even for a little bit, but that simply isn’t possible. Instead, Guests should have the My Disney Experience app updated, Mobile Order food, pay for merchandise and check out via the phone, try the Play Disney Parks app, look for PhotoPass photos, try to navigate the Disney Genie craziness we mentioned above, snag virtual queues and Lightning Lanes, and more.
If you forget your phone in the room, you can count on your day at Disney being a tough one to navigate. Keep those phones charged and plan to be immersed in it much of the day.
Upcharges for Resort Guests
Yes, as an Annual Passholder and Disney Vacation Club Members, oh how we wish these upcharges would just go away. Disney now charges Resort Guests for MagicBands (previously complimentary). Disney Resort Guests also pay for parking now, unless staying with DVC points. And gone are the days of complimentary transportation to and from the airport with Disney’s Magical Express. You’ll need to pay for your own ride.
The perks of staying at a Disney Resort? Guests get Early Theme Park Entry each day at any of the Disney Parks 30-minutes before non-Disney Resort Guests. If staying at a Deluxe Resort, Guests can take advantage of Extended Evening Hours on select nights at select Parks.
Park Hopping Restrictions
Annual Passholder or Park Hopper ticket to Walt Disney World Resort? The old four-Park challenge has gotten tricky as Disney still has restrictions on Park hopping. Guests are only permitted to Park hop after 2:00 pm.
It would be amazing for Disney to drop the Park hopping restrictions once again, allowing Guests to choose how and when to Park hop to the different Disney Parks.
Annual Pass Ticket Sale Hold
Want to become an Annual Passholder to the most magical place on earth? Well, sorry! Unless you are a current Passholder, Walt Disney World Resort’s current Passholder sales are on hold.
If you’re a current Passholder, Disney is still allowing Guests to renew their Annual Passes. Unfortunately for many, this Passholder hold has put a pause on future Disney trips until Disney returns the Passholder ticket sales.
60-Day Dining Window
This one is a headache for some but an ok change for others. Pre-COVID, Guests could make dining reservations for the many Disney table-service restaurants 180-days in advance. Personally, we LOVED this option as we are planners and enjoyed having our Disney vacation organized early.
Now, Disney offers a 60-day window for Advanced Dining Reservations (ADRs). While some like this 2-month window change, we miss the 180-day ADRs.
Did your Disney headache make our list? As Walt Disney World continues to navigate these times of phased reopenings, we’ll be sure to share updates as hopefully some of these Disney headaches get scratched off the list.