Last week I talked about the Top 10 Walt Disney World Vacation Questions I am asked. If you haven’t been to Walt Disney World, there are some things you may not even know you need to ask. So this week I am going to cover some questions that you SHOULD be asking about your Disneyworld vacation.
1. Do I need travel insurance for my Disneyworld vacation?
YES! I always recommend travel insurance to my clients. It can be very costly to delay or cancel your Disneyworld vacation at the last minute, and you never know what can happen. What if a snow storm hits the day you leave? What if you lose your job? What if you have a medical emergency or other major life impacting event that causes you to not be able to travel? Don’t risk it! You will feel much better knowing that your vacation is protected and you can deal with what is going on in your life at that moment.
2. How can I make the most of my dining plan?
Disney offers 3 different dining plans, the Quick Service Dining Plan, Disney Dining Plan, Deluxe Dining Plan. Always ask for an explanation of the plans so you can pick the best one for your family. You also need to ask how to make the most of the one that you choose. We will always explain the plans to you and are happy to answer any questions you have. Want to try a dolewhip? Want to know how to get the most value for your money? Want to know how to stretch your dining plan? Just ask! We have lots of tips for you.
3. Can we swim at another resort?
No. You can only swim at the resort you are staying at. Disney does not allow pool hopping. There are a couple exceptions. Guests of Port Orleans Riverside or French Quarter can swim at both pools. Guests of All Star Sports, Music or Movies can swim at all 3 pools. If the pool at your resort is closed for refurbishment, the CMs at your resort will tell you which pool you can use. You can visit other resorts you just cannot swim at them.
4. Am I guaranteed to get a discount for my Disneyworld vacation?
No. Discounts are never guaranteed. Even if a discount is released for your dates of travel, you are still not guaranteed to get it. Here is why:
When Disney releases a discount, they allot a set number of rooms and even room types/views for the discount at each resort. Even if you have already booked your vacation, we still have to modify your reservation and apply the discount. For example, say you are staying at Animal Kingdom Lodge in a standard view room, and Disney releases a discount and allots 50 standard view rooms and 100 savanna for the discount. The first 50 reservations for standard view rooms that are processed will receive the discount. After that, you would have to upgrade to a savanna view room to receive the discount and be one of the first 100 to be processed. This is why we ask our clients for a first and second choice, so if we cannot get your first choice for you we can automatically try for your second choice without having to take time to contact you. So, you can imagine why discount release days are chaos for us!
5. What happens if we skip a dining reservation?
A credit card guarantee is required in order to make dining reservations at Disneyworld. Disney also has a cancellation policy for all table service meals. If you want to cancel or change a dining reservation, you must do it 24 hours before the reservation or you will be charged $10 per person on the card used to guarantee the reservation. The Fantasmic Dining Package, Hoop-Dee-Doo Review, Mickey’s Backyard BBQ and Spirit of Aloha all require 48 hours notice to cancel or you will be charged the full amount on the card used to guarantee the reservation. This is to decrease the number of no shows and double booking at some of the most popular restaurants, many of which fill up months in advance.
6. Can I eat in a park without using a ticket day?
No. Any time you enter a park, even if it is just for a dining reservation, you will use a park day. Also, if you have a base park ticket (allows you to visit one park per day) and you want to eat at a restaurant located in another park, you will have to upgrade to park hopper or purchase a ticket for the other park you want to enter to eat. When we plan your itinerary, we will plan your meals in the park you are visiting that day or at a nearby resort to avoid this problem.
7. How does Disney transportation work?
I have had clients tell me that on previous visits they drove to all of the parks because they didn’t know Disney provided transportation. I’m shocked every time I hear this! Disney provides transportation all around the Walt Disney World Resort.
Guests of all value and moderate resorts will take the bus to and from the theme parks.
Guests of the Magic Kingdom Resort monorail resorts (Contemporary Resort, Polynesian Village Resort, and Grand Floridian Resort) can take the monorail or boat to Magic Kingdom. Guests of the Contemporary may also walk to Magic Kingdom. Guests of Wilderness Lodge will take the boat or bus to Magic Kingdom. Guests of the resort monorail may also take the monorail to the Ticket & Transportation Center and switch to the other monorail to Epcot. All of these guests will take a bus to all other theme parks.
Guests of Boardwalk and Beach & Yacht Club will either walk to Epcot or take a boat to Epcot and Hollywood Studios. They will take a bus to all other resorts. All other deluxe resort guests will take a bus to all theme parks.
Travelling between resorts is a little tricky. The easiest way is to go to the nearest park and transfer to the bus/monorail/boat for the resort you are visiting. Travelling between parks isn’t too bad. Magic Kingdom and Epcot are connected by a monorail. Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios are connected by bus. Hollywood Studios and Epcot are connected by boat. You can take a bus from Animal Kingdom to all 3 other parks.
Guests of all resorts can take a bus to Disney Springs. Port Orleans Riverside & French Quarter also offer a boat to Disney Springs. Guests of Saratoga Springs Resort can walk to Disney Springs.
Guests of all resorts will take a bus to Disney Springs to get to Typhoon Lagoon Water Park. Before 1pm, guests stay on the same bus. After 1pm, guests will have to switch buses. To get to Blizzard Beach Water Park, guests of all resorts will take a bus to Animal Kingdom then transfer to the Blizzard Beach Bus.
8. Who should I tip? How much should I tip?
My advice regarding tipping is, for the most part, to tip the same on your Disneyworld vacation as you would at home.
Luggage: I usually tip $2 per bag anytime someone helps with my luggage for Magical Express Cast Members and Bell Services Cast Members.
Dining: Its common to tip 18% to 20% at table service locations. If you have a party of 6 or more, 18% gratuity will be automatically added to your bill. Cinderella’s Royal Table and all dinner shows include the tip.
Mousekeeping: I usually tip $2 per day per person staying in the room. Be sure to leave the tip every day and not once at the end of your stay because you could have a different person cleaning your room every day.
I advise making tip envelopes before you ever leave for your Disneyworld vacation. You can search the internet and find a lot of cute options for making tip envelopes or you can just keep it simple. Take a plain white envelope for each table service location and write the name of each restaurant on the envelopes. Take a plain white envelope for each day of your trip and write Mousekeeping on each one. You can search online and fine the prices for the restaurants at Disneyworld or ask your agent to help you find the prices. Estimate your tip off of those prices. Put the cash in the envelopes for all restaurants and Mousekeeping and you’re done! Just grab the envelopes for your day before you leave your room!
9. What is rider switch and how does it work?
Rider switch allows adult guests to take turns waiting with little ones or with guests who don’t wish to ride or are unable to ride certain attractions. If Guests in your party can’t or don’t want to board an attraction, you don’t have to miss out!
If a child does not meet the height requirement or a guest does not wish to board a particular attraction, no problem! With Rider Switch, one adult can wait with the non-rider while the rest of the party enjoys the ride. When the other adult returns, they can stay with the non-riding guest, and the waiting adult can board the attraction without having to wait in the regular line again!
Rider Switch is available at the following attractions:
Magic Kingdom: Big Thunder Mountain, Splash Mountain, Barnstormer, Space Mountain, Tomorrowland Speedway.
Epcot: Mission Space, Soarin, Test Track.
Hollywood Studios: Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Tower or Terror, Star Tours.
Animal Kingdom: Dinosaur, Expedition Everest, Kali River Rapids, Primeval Whirl.
To use Rider Switch, follow these steps:
1. Verify with a Cast member that Rider Switch is offered at the attraction.
2. Once at the attraction, approach the greeting Cast Member with your entire party. At least one adult member of your party and the Guests who are not riding will be given a Ride Switch pass and asked to wait in a designated area (usually outside of the attraction). This group is “Party 2.”
3. The other party members (“Party 1”) ride the attraction.
4. After riding the attraction, Party 1 locates Party 2 and gives the Rider Switch pass to the adult member who will be riding. Party 1 stays with the non-riding children or Guests.
5. Party 2 enters and boards the attraction without having to wait in the regular queue a second time. The Rider Switch Pass must be presented to a Cast Member at this time.
If the person in Party 2 waited alone with the child, he or she may bring one other Guest back to ride the attraction with him or her. Please note that only 2 Guests are allowed per Rider Switch Pass.
10. How do I use the My Disney Experience app in the parks?
I recommend downloading the app before you leave home and playing around with it. You will log in to the app with the same user name and password you use logging in on a computer. When you are on your Disneyworld vacation and want to change a dining reservation or Fastpass+ selection, you can use the app. It gets a little tricky sometimes, so it is best to practice a few times at home and ask if you need help. We are happy to walk you thru it. Its much easier to try it out before you leave home than trying to do it standing in the middle of a park!