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Walt Disney World Pre-Travel Information

 

Thank you again for booking your Walt Disney World reservation with Journeys.  Here is some information that should be useful in preparing for your trip.  Please contact kim@journeystravelinc.com  with any questions.

 

My Disney Experience:

As a Walt Disney World resort guest, you receive the complimentary benefits of My Disney Experience & Magic Bands.  This will allow you to pre-order Fast Passes for rides and shows, order personalized Magic Bands for everyone in your party, plus other fun things!  You need to customize your travel party's Magic Bands at least 11 days prior to your arrival date to receive your Magic Bands at your preferred shipping address.

 

It's never been easier to manage your magical vacation:

  • Create your My Disney Experience account by registering at www.StartYourDisneyExperience.com.  The account name should match the first guest listed on your Disney reservation exactly.  This account is used to manage your entire Disney vacation.  You can create a personalized itinerary & share with those traveling with you.

  • Link your Disney package with your hotel reservation number.

  • Invite friends & family who will be vacationing with you.

  • Download the free app on your phones & tablets.

  • Customize your MagicBands & confirm shipment address.

  • Book dining reservations as long as you are within 180 days of arrival.

  • At 60 days prior to arrival, select your Fastpasses & complete your online check in.  In order to get popular ones like the Frozen Ever After or Seven Dwarf Mine Train, it is recommended to do this very early in the day on the 60th day prior to arrival. 

  • You may select up to three Fastpasses per day in one park in advance.  

  • It is recommended to select them in the late morning/early afternoon, so that you may obtain additional fastpasses.  To obtain additional fastpasses after you’ve used your existing passes, cancelled or the time has passed on all of the fastpasses you had previously scheduled for that day, you can just go on the app and book more.  You can do this as soon as you’ve scanned your band for the fastpass you’re using, so you can be in line for that one and work on scheduling another.  The new fastpasses can be in a different theme park, as well.

  • After each additional Fastpass is used, you may go back to the kiosk in the park and select one additional Fastpass for use in that park.  

 

Getting To The World:

 

Disney’s Magical Express: If you are arriving at the Orlando Airport (MCO), you may take advantage of complimentary transportation via a luxury motor coach and luggage handling to your resort at Walt Disney World.  Several weeks prior to your trip, yellow luggage stickers will be mailed to you to

place on the bags.  You should place them on your checked bags prior to arriving at the departing airport. Your luggage will be checked at your departing airport and you will not see it again until you arrive in your room. 

 

Upon arrival, please proceed to the Disney Welcome Center to board your bus to the resort. Make sure you have your MagicBands on when approaching the Welcome Center. Disney will pick up your luggage and deliver it to your room approximately three hours after your arrival.  It is recommended to carry the following items in a day bag:

 

  • Travel documents (airline boarding passes, driver’s license/passports, and/or photo IDs)

  • Reservation documents for hotel and transportation

  • Prescription medicines

  • Bathing suits if you are planning on swimming when you arrive at the resort

  • Cameras, video cameras & any valuables

  • Suntan Lotion (3oz. or less in a carry-on bag)

  • MagicBands

 

Once you arrive at your resort, you should check-in, so that you may begin your vacation.  Your MagicBand will have your park passes, dining plan (if applicable), room key and charging privileges electronically encoded in the band.  You do not have park passes or dining plan credits in your possession before departure, as they are electronically encoded upon arrival to the resort. Feel free to use any of the resort amenities including the pools or visit any of the theme parks immediately upon arrival.  You will be able to check into your resort, even if you arrive prior to check-in time, which is at 3pm (Villas-4pm). 

 

Figuring out the World:

 

Dining Plan:

The Disney Dining Plan can be added to most vacation packages at Walt Disney World.  It is calculated based on the number of nights you are staying at your resort.  Each member of your party over the age of three will receive one table service meal, one counter service meal, a snack for each night of the trip and a refillable coffee/soda mug for your resort.  Children who are two and under, will need to purchase food when ordering off the menu or share a meal, unless you are at an “all you can eat” restaurant, where they may take a plate free of charge.  Table service meals can be used for character dining experiences.  Some meals, such as Cinderella’s Royal Table, require the use of two table service credits.  This is called a Signature Dining experience.  Dinner shows also require the use of two table service credits.  Most Disney restaurants are included in the meal plan and reservations can be made up to 180 days in advance.  For changes and/or cancellations, please call 407-WDW-DINE or visit My Disney Experience.

 

Example:

Two adults, two children (above age 3) will be staying six nights:

4 people x 6 nights=24 table service credits, 24 counter service credits and 24 snack credits

Each meal will use four credits.  Table service meals include an entree, a dessert, a non-alcoholic beverage, and taxes for each person on the meal plan.  Gratuity is not included.  The counter service meals include an entree, dessert, drink, and taxes for each person on the meal plan.

 

Please verify that the correct amount was deducted each time you use the plan by reviewing the receipt at the restaurant.  If you have any issues with the meal plan or your dining credits, please contact the Lobby Concierge at your resort.

 

Note:  Children ages 3-9 must order off of the children’s menu, if one is available.  If you exceed your dining credits, you can always pay out of pocket for additional meals.

 

VIP Tour Guide Experience:

From the moment you arrive, your personal VIP guide is there to take care of everything—from escorting through the parks and assisting with getting on rides quickly, help navigate you through heavy crowds, obtaining the best seats in the house for live shows, parades and nighttime spectaculars. It's an extra level of service and convenience for a magical vacation you will never forget.  The cost is $400-$600 per hour, depending on the season.   There are also two other tours, one for families, the other for thrill-seekers, with the same level of service, just not as private.  They are $299 per person plus tax.

 

Smartphone Apps for Disney World:

If you are a smartphone user, it is recommended to use the Disney World app.  You will be able to manage your FastPass + and dining reservations through this app.

 

Refurbishments:

Occasionally Disney does have refurbishment on resorts and attractions, please refer to this link for info pertaining to your travel dates: http://allears.net/tp/rehabs.htm

 

Disney Resort Guest Benefits:

 

Extra Magic Hours:

Guests staying at Walt Disney World resorts and The Swan, Dolphin, Shades of Green and Hilton can enter the parks one hour earlier or stay two hours later on assigned days.  Only certain parks and attractions are open for Extra Magic Hour.  Please refer to www.disneyworld.com for the schedule during your visit. 

 

If you are going to take advantage of this benefit, it is helpful to arrive at the park a few minutes before it opens.  It might actually be to your advantage to avoid the Extra Magic Hours. Disney has over 25 resorts and if everyone goes to the same park on the same day, that will be the most crowded park. If you chose to do the extra magic hour in the morning, arrive approximately 20 minutes before the park opens, then it should be fairly empty for a little while, but it is recommended to leave that park around lunch in order to avoid the large crowds.

 

You may want to visit another park in the evening to avoid the crowds.  Evenings are an excellent time for a sit down meal and the parades & fireworks.  You don’t want to miss Fantasmic (Hollywood Studios), Illuminations (Epcot), and Wishes/Main Street Electrical Parade (Magic

Kingdom).  Focus on riding rides in the early morning when the crowds are lighter.  Valid theme parks passes and Resort I.D.s are required.

 

Complimentary Transportation:

You can enjoy complimentary transportation to all Disney resorts and theme parks via the monorail, bus or boats depending on your destination.  In addition, parking at all theme parks and resorts are included with a valid Disney resort MagicBand.  Typically you can’t take a bus from a hotel to another hotel, you must go via a theme park & then take a bus from there.  For ease of travel, taxis are available at all hotels.  Contact the Lobby Concierge for transportation assistance.

 

Package Delivery:

Packages can be delivered directly to your resort from selected Disney shops.  You can even have them shipped home for a nominal fee.

 

Other park advantages:

 

Child Swap:

Adults with children that are too small to ride an attraction may take turns riding instead of waiting in the line twice.  You must take the child with you to the ride entrance.  At that point, the cast member will hand you the rider swap pass while an adult stays with the small child and everyone else rides.  The adult, who didn’t ride, can then ride using the rider swap through the Fastpass line. Ask a cast member at the attraction for details.

 

Memory Maker:  You can purchase a discounted package for all of your Disney World photos prior to departure by accessing My Disney Experience two weeks prior to departure. While you’re at Walt Disney World, make sure you have the park photographers take lots of pictures.  If you didn’t purchase the Memory Maker in advance, you may still purchase it in the parks or online at the regular rate.  After your trip has started, you may purchase these in the parks or online at the regular rate. For more information, visit My Disney Experience. 

 

Need a break from the parks?

 

Disney Springs:  A shopping and entertainment district for all ages.  There are many shops and restaurants including the Rainforest Café, T-Rex or Fulton’s Crab House. It is a great place to visit in the evening if you need a break from the parks.  The largest Disney character merchandise store and a Lego Imagination Center are located at Disney Springs, among many other shops and restaurants. 

 

Cirque du Soleil:  A breathtaking mix of acrobatics, dance and whimsical clowns.  Tickets are required and should be purchased in advance.

 

Bibbidi Boppidi Boutique:  Located at The World of Disney store at Disney Springs or Cinderella’s Castle, your little princess will receive a magical makeover in the salon.  Hair, nail, and make-up packages start at $55 + tax and reservations are strongly recommended.  Please contact (407) WDW-STYLE for more information.

 

Pirate’s League:  Transform yourself into a Pirate and become part of the crew at the Pirate’s League in Magic Kingdom.  Prices start at $34.95 and reservations are strongly recommended.  Please contact 407-WDW-CREW for more information and reservations.

 

Boardwalk:  A themed waterfront area featuring The ESPN Club and several other restaurants.  At night you can enjoy jugglers and many other “boardwalk” activities.  You can walk to this area from either Epcot (exit located in World Showcase) or Hollywood Studios.  You don’t want to miss Beaches and Cream (Beach Club Resort), if you are in the mood for ice cream. 

 

Children’s Activities:

 

WDW offers a large variety of park tours and children’s activities including in-room childcare and children’s activity centers.  For a full listing, please visit:

http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/wdw/index

 

Stroller Information:

For an extended stay with a very young child or if you will be spending a lot of time away from the major parks, consider bringing your own stroller or renting one that will be with you the entire time. Having your own is also helpful for getting around the rest of WDW, for example at the resorts, walking from a parking lot, waiting for a bus or at the water parks. Your own stroller will also be a lot easier to find among the masses of them parked outside attractions.   If you are flying, take your stroller right up to the gate, receive a gate check ticket and then leave it at the door to the plane.

 

Recreation:

Spa:  Senses Spa at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort and Grand Floridian offer a variety of spa experiences.  Call 407-WDW-SPAS for information and reservations.

 

Golf:  Five championship golf courses to choose from at the Walt Disney World Resort.  For tee times and more information, call 407-WDW-GOLF up to 120 days in advance of arrival. Miniature golf is also available.

 

Tennis:  Ten hard courts and ten clay courts are available for day or night play.  Racquets can be rented.

Other types of recreation:

  • Watersports

  • Cruise aboard a luxury yacht

  • Bass fishing

  • Horseback riding

  • Fireworks Cruise

 

Notes:

  • All dining reservations are under your name, email and phone number.  To make changes you can call 407-WDW-DINE or go on My Disney Experience.  Please screen shot your dining reservations, so that you have them on your phone at all times.  You should arrive at the podium for each restaurant approximately 10 minutes before your scheduled time. 

  • Please allow ample travel time when traveling to resort restaurants.  It can take up to one hour to go from resort to resort.  If your dining reservation is scheduled prior to park opening, please inquire about transportation at Guest Services at your resort.  You will need your confirmation number to enter the parks prior to park opening.

  • All table service meals have a one-day cancellation policy or your credit card will be charged with the exception of the dining experiences, such as the Fantasmic Dining Experience, which has a two day cancellation.  Should you need to cancel, please call 407-WDW-DINE or visit My Disney Experience.   A photo ID is needed at check-in for Cinderella’s Royal Table matching the name on the reservation.

  • Bibbidi Boppidi Boutique and Pirate’s League have a 24-hour cancellation policy or your credit card will be charged.  Should you need to cancel, please call 407-WDW-DINE. Children should provide their own comb or brush and should be free of scalp conditions for 30 days.  Please arrive 15 minutes prior to your appointment and have the child’s hair brushed in advance.  Nails should be clean and bare at arrival.  One parent must remain at all times.

  • Don’t miss the evening parades and fireworks.  They are great!  Magic Kingdom-Wishes, Hollywood Studios-Fantasmic, and Epcot-Illuminations.  Arrive early for a good location.

 

Have a magical trip! Thanks again for booking with me!  

Kim Goldstein

Travel Consultant Specializing in Sandals, Beaches, & Disney Destinations

804-592-0188

kim@journeystravelinc.com