Much has changed in the world in recent months, and Disney World is no exception. Here are a few of the biggest changes that you need to be aware of as you plan your next trip to the happiest place on earth.
Disney has offered airport-to-resort transportation to select guests since 2005. Beginning on January 1, 2022, this perk will be put away for good. Disney-branded buses, dubbed Disney’s Magical Express historically offered service to and from the Orlando International Airport. In the new year, the buses will no longer be in service and you will need to rent a car or grab a cab or rideshare once you arrive in Orlando and are ready to head to the resort.
Once you’re at the resort, however, transportation from park to park is still available via the complex’s network of monorails, buses, and boats. These options also, happily, remain cost-free.
Another big change that you’ll need to plan for before you set foot in the park is the way you access attractions. If you’ve visited Disney World recently, you’re likely well-acquainted with the FastPass method of obtaining access to the various attractions. FastPass is being replaced with an entirely new way of planning your day at Disney, called Genie+. In order to access new “Lightning Lanes” (previously FastPass lanes) at more than forty attractions, you’ll need to purchase Disney Genie+, which costs $15 per person, per day. Genie+, similar to FastPass, allows you to book ahead to ride an attraction. It doesn’t guarantee attraction access, so you’ll need to jump online the day of your visit and make your picks as quickly as possible.
Genie+ is part of the new Disney Genie offering, which is complimentary for all guests. This service is integrated as part of the My Disney Experience Mobile App and offers some cool perks like real-time information on wait times at nearby dining and attractions, plus personalized recommendations to make the most of your time at the parks. You can use Disney Genie before your trip to input your desired plans, and Genie will generate a recommended itinerary for you to use to lock in your plans.
The ability to park hop, that is, move from one park to another within the same day, has come and gone over the past several months. Park hopping was suspended for most of 2020 and has now returned with a few changes. If you want to park hop during your Disney vacation, you’ll need to purchase a ticket with Park Hopper benefits and schedule which park you will visit first. Then, after you enter your intended park, you are free to move to another park of your choice after 2 p.m. the same day. Park hopping is ever-evolving, so be sure to check the Disney website or app for the very latest before you arrive for your visit.
Luckily, lots of changes mean that each time you take a Disney vacation you are in for a whole new world of fun and adventure–no two trips to Disney are ever exactly the same! As you put together plans for your next Disney World vacation, be sure to book your lodging well in advance. Close to the resort, there are a number of great hotels, including the Crowne Plaza Lake Buena Vista and the Fairfield Inn Orlando Lake Buena Vista. A bit farther from the parks but close to shopping, dining, and entertainment on International Drive are Aloft Orlando International Drive, Comfort Inn International, Element Orlando International Drive, and Best Western International Drive. Other great options in the area include the Wyndham Orlando Resort & Conference Center/Celebration, Staybridge Suites Orlando Royale Parc, and Fairfield Inn Orlando Airport.