There are many changes to Walt Disney World since they reopened after their closure for the pandemic. Walt Disney World resort guests are experiencing many of these changes, but we still see many benefits to staying on property.
First of all, what has been removed or reduced:
- As of January 1, 2022, Magical Express no longer exists. This was complimentary transportation from the Orlando International Airport to your Walt Disney World resort. Guests will now need to use ride share, book a rental or utilize one of the many shuttle services. MEARS (which was contracted through Disney and ran Magical Express) is offering MEARS Connect which will continue this same service for a fee.
- Extra magic hours no longer exist. In the past, a select park each day would close late or open early for resort guests only. See below for a new benefit in play though.
- Guests no longer need to make dining reservations 180 days in advance. Dining reservations used to open 6 months in advance of a Disney trip which made it hard to have flexibility. We are glad to see this has shifted to 60 days in advance. Most dining locations also offer a walk up wait list and you can often secure some top dining reservations on the day before or the same day of dining if you continue to check your app.
- Complimentary Magic Bands have been removed. Previously, Walt Disney World resort guests would receive standard magic bands at no charge. Guests can still order magic bands ahead of their WDW resort stay and have it connected to their reservation. They receive a discount on these bands when they purchase through their reservation in their MyDisney Experience account. Bands start at $5.
- Fastpasses no longer exist at Disney. Disney has a new system called Disney Genie and what most people think of as Fastpasses are now a paid service called Disney Genie+. You can check out our blog post about Disney Genie here: https://goofygetaways.com/2021/10/08/disney-genie-arrives-october-19-at-walt-disney-world/
- Reduce mousekeeping. With continued staffing shortages, Walt Disney World does not offer daily mousekeeping (housekeeping services) and you can actually select to skip it during your stay.
- Waiting for the dining plan and full dining to return. Walt Disney World has announced that they plan to bring back the dining plan but no word yet as to when this will be. This is likely due to continued staffing issues and the fact that many of the popular character meals and a number of dining locations still have yet to resume service. While more options continue to reopen, most of the character meals that are in place are still very limited and distanced and do not offer the normal character greetings (Example- Cinderella’s Royal Table used to offer multiple princess sightings while now guests can wave at Cinderella only from a distance).
With all these changes, you may be wondering, why should I stay on property now?
- On site transportation. Staying on site gives you easy access Disney’s many forms of transportation including ferries, buses, monorails and the Skyliner. Once you arrive at your Walt Disney World resort, you do not need to worry about transportation from your resort to any of the parks or to Disney Springs.
- Early Park Entry. Walt Disney World resort guests are able to enter any of the 4 theme parks 30 minutes prior to official park opening time. This allows those guests to access many of the most popular attractions with lower crowds and lower wait times. Guests will be required to scan their magic band or show proof of their current reservation to enter the parks early.
- Extended evening hours for Deluxe resort guests. Guests staying at Deluxe Walt Disney World resorts have access to either Magic Kingdom or EPCOT on select nights after the park closes. Guests will be required to scan their magic band or show proof of their current reservation to access attractions in the park after hours.
- Booking dining for the full length of your stay. All guests can book dining 60 days in advance, but guests staying on property at Walt Disney World can book for the full length of their stay (up to 10 days). This allows resort guests access to many of the most popular dining options before they open for everyone to try to reserve.
- Stay in the Magic. Disney has touches of magic every where. The value resorts offer exciting and colorful theming, moderate resorts offer more space and quiet while still offering fun theming and deluxe resorts have subtle and classic theming with upscale options available. Disney prides themselves on quality customer service and do their best to help guests have a magical vacation. If anything goes wrong during your trip, talk to a cast member, just remember to be kind and patient with them.
Overall, we still feel that the benefits outweigh the changes. Walt Disney World will always change and make updates (just like any other company). Our Travel Planners can help you find the best place to stay for your Walt Disney World vacation.
Want to know more about staying at Walt Disney World resorts or want a free, no obligation quote? Contact us to today.