More Disney World Tips & Tricks: Answers to frequently asked questions

Continuing the 2014 Tips & Tricks, today we’re going to talk about some more frequently asked questions from potential Disney guests. Disney World can be a confusing place. Talking to my husband who has been to Disney with me about dining reservations was enough to make his head spin.

About a week ago, I started some frequently asked questions with the basics:

  • When should I go to Disney?
  • Where should I stay?
  • Where can I meet characters?
  • And general questions regarding the Disney Dining Plan.

Well since that time, I’ve received more questions, so here are some great answers for you!

I’m flying down and am taking Disney’s Magical Express. Do I need to book service ahead of time?

Yes. While this service is free, each member of your party has to be registered to ride the Magical Express. Your MagicBands will have the confirmation attached to them, so put them in your carry-on luggage and it will be the first of many waves of your wrist during your vacation!

Is there a Magical Express bus for each Disney resort?

No. The Orlando airport is about 30 minutes away from Disney World property, so buses fill up as much as possible based on scheduled arrival times. There are several bus lines that service the various areas of Disney World: “Epcot area”, “Magic Kingdom Area” “Wide World of Sports Area” and “Animal Kingdom area”. It wouldn’t be surprising if you are staying at Animal Kingdom Lodge and make a few stops at Coronado Springs and the All Star resorts before your final destination. Same goes for your return to the airport (which is why your departure time is at least 3 hours before your outbound flight).

I’m arriving late at night, how early can I check into my resort?

The reservations roll over at 6 am every morning. If you arrive earlier than that, you will either have to pay for an additional night, or wait it out. If you plan on checking in early, I highly recommend completing online check-in as Disney will make every attempt to have a room ready for your arrival. If not, you can always check your luggage, go exploring, or hop and early bus to one of the parks.

Once I’m at Disney, are there scheduled bus times to the parks?

Nope. Buses run continuously, usually every 15-30 minutes depending on the time of day. At peak times: an hour before park opening through ~11 am they run more frequently as well as closer to park close and after evening shows. During the middle of the day, they will likely run a little less frequently. If you just miss a bus or it fills up, there’s usually one quickly behind it. Disney also has the ability to launch more buses if a driver relays long lines.

When will there be a discount for my travel dates?

Disney typically releases discounts 2-3 months before travel dates (sometimes 4 months if you’re lucky). Historically discounts have gone like this:

January – February: some sort of dining and/or ticket discount or room discount

March – early June: room discount (2014 offered a ticket discount as well) – this typically excludes the weekend of Easter

Mid June – August: room discount

September (after Labor Day) – early December: FREE DINING! (this excludes the week of Thanksgiving and typically the few days following).

No discounts have been given around Christmas and New Years as they are typically highest travel times. Remember, there is no guarantee that Disney will follow their previous pattern. You are always able to book your package and when the discount becomes available apply it. When changing a package, you will be required to pay another deposit. But don’t worry, you don’t lose your initial deposit. Everything gets applied toward your grand total.

I’m ready to book my package, now what?

It depends on what you want. If you are doing a room only reservation (no park tickets), you are required to pay one night’s room charge plus tax. The remaining balance is due upon arrival.

If you are booking a package (including park tickets and any extras including the Dining Plan), you are required to pay $200 at time of booking. The remaining balance is due 45 days prior to arrival. You are welcome to pay more than that $200 as well. Between the time you book and your final payment date, you are able to pay as much or as little as you want (a really nice way to budget for your vacation). Minimum payment through Disney’s system is $20.

If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask or search around my blog. There’s a wealth of information available!

You have a question that I didn’t cover here? Feel free to contact me any time!

Ready to get started planning your 2015 Disney World vacation? Please contact me at any time for a free quote. The benefits to using an authorized Disney vacation planner include saving time before and during your vacation with itinerary planning which can help save you hours of standing in line each day. Plus you won’t have to watch for available discounts, research resorts, wake up early for dining reservations, or stay up late for FastPasses. The best part about using a travel planner instead of planning yourself? It’s totally FREE! Plus I’ll take away some of the stress and confusion of planning a Disney vacation (especially if it’s your first one!)It’s also a worry free cruise opportunity. I’ll walk through through all of the steps to the process with a few little insider tips along the way! If you already have your vacation planned and are interested in transferring your vacation, ask me how!

Disney World Transportation: How to get from here to there

 

Disney World’s large property, there’s a lot of confusion on how to get form here to there. I recall many times sitting on the monorail overhearing a conversation from groups that have likely not been to Disney before. The conversation goes a little like this:

Him: “Do you know how many more stops until we get to Animal Kingdom”
Her: “Hmm, I’m not sure. I guess it won’t be too long”
Him: “I’ll keep my eyes open!”

Deep down, I want to stand up and intervene, but I don’t think it’s my place. Another part of me wonders how long those people have been going around in circles on the short monorail loop. This little guide, is meant to help get you around the World when you travel. This guide is BASIC! If you want more detailed information, feel free to send me an email! I’m happy to help get you around in the most efficient way possible. To break it down, it seems easiest to go by mode of transportation.

Monorail

Disney’s monorail is available in the Magic Kingdom area and has service to a handful of resorts in the area as well. From Magic Kingdom, the monorail stops at Contemporary, then the Ticket & Transportation Center (TTC), then Polynesian and finally Grand Floridian before getting back to Magic Kingdom. The TTC is a transfer point from the Magic Kingdom parking lot as well as to Epcot. Typically this is the easiest way to get from Magic Kingdom and Epcot. This second monorail loop just goes from the TTC to Epcot and back.

Boats

There are 4 different sets of boats at Disney:

  1. Ferry Boat. This boat takes Disney guests to and from Magic Kingdom to the TTC. This is a bottleneck and a slow mode of transportation when trying to get to Magic Kingdom!
  2. Friendship Boats. These books make a loop between Epcot and Hollywood Studios with stops at Boardwalk, Beach & Yacht Club, and Swan & Dolphin
  3. Magic Kingdom Boats. These boats run across Seven Seas Lagoon from Magic Kingdom to both Wilderness Lodge & Ft. Wilderness as well as the three monorail resorts (Contemporary, Polynesian, and Grand Floridian). Watch the color of the flags to see the boat’s destinations before you board. This is typically a faster way to get to Grand Floridian than the monorail as it’s the last stop.
  4. Downtown Disney Boats. These boats are available from Port Orleans Riverside & French Quarter, Old Key West, and Saratoga Springs to Downtown Disney. This is by far the fastest and most direct way to get to Downtown Disney via their transportation. The only faster ways are to pay for a cab or to drive yourself.

Bus

Disney buses go just about everywhere. The exception is when a different mode of transportation is available (for example, you can take the monorail from Polynesian, so no bus is available to Magic Kingdom. Similarly, Epcot is only accessible by boat (at the rear entrance) from Boardwalk.

For all value and moderate resorts, all of your service to Disney’s 4 theme parks is via bus. This is also true for Animal Kingdom Lodge.

What about walking?

Can you want to Disney theme parks from the resorts? For a select few, the answer is yes. First, there’s one resort you can walk to from Magic Kingdom: Contemporary. If you want to walk to Epcot, stay at Beach or Yacht Club or Boardwalk. While it’s a little farther walk, those same resorts are close enough to Hollywood Studios. There are currently no walking paths to Animal Kingdom from any Disney resort.

Getting from one resort to another

So you chose a dining option at one of the other Disney resorts, now how do you get there? It depends on where your resort is and your final destination is as well. It makes sense that if you are dining near Magic Kingdom, you’d take a bus there and then hop the monorail or a boat. But the same does not hold true for an ‘Epcot area resort’. While Epcot is the closest resort to these destinations, it’s far fewer steps to take a bus to Hollywood studios and then take the boat to your final destination (as you’d have to have valid park admission to get through Epcot to the boat dock and it’s a heck of a walk!) If you are heading to Animal Kingdom Lodge, hop the bus to Animal Kingdom and then transfer to the Lodge. Just make sure that Animal Kingdom is still open if you’re headed back. If not, you’ll have to go to another theme park.

Another school of thought is that you just hop the bus that comes first (less time waiting). The only problem with this plan is that Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom are at the far ends of the World, so make sure you choose wisely! While you may save time getting on the first bus, you may take more time getting to your final destination.

A word of caution: Do not use Downtown Disney has a transfer point. These are the slowest buses in all of Disney and often make multiple stops on the way to their final destination.

Need help getting to a specific location in Disney World? Feel free to contact me at any time using the form below!

Ready to get started planning your 2015 Disney World vacation? Please contact me at any time for a free quote. The benefits to using an authorized Disney vacation planner include saving time before and during your vacation with itinerary planning which can help save you hours of standing in line each day. Plus you won’t have to watch for available discounts, research resorts, wake up early for dining reservations, or stay up late for FastPasses. The best part about using a travel planner instead of planning yourself? It’s totally FREE! Plus I’ll take away some of the stress and confusion of planning a Disney vacation (especially if it’s your first one!)It’s also a worry free cruise opportunity. I’ll walk through through all of the steps to the process with a few little insider tips along the way! If you already have your vacation planned and are interested in transferring your vacation, ask me how!