I remember when we booked our first visit to Walt Disney World in 2013, not having a clue about anything. In hindsight I know we missed out on a lot by not having some of the answers to questions about Walt Disney World that I see asked frequently.
We did make use of some great books for our planning, however after spending the last four years of my life reading about Disney almost every day and planning three trips, I think my knowledge has grown somewhat.
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Reading forums, blogs and social media, I see these Walt Disney World questions pop up quite often from people booking their first holiday of a lifetime that I just know won’t be their last.
When Can You Book Fastpasses?
In Walt Disney World, you can book your Fastpasses 60 days in advance if you’re staying in a Disney Resort, or 30 days in advance if you’re staying outside of Disney property.
If you’re choosing to stay in a Disney resort, perhaps you’re looking at Caribbean Beach Resort, the resort we have stayed at twice now, you can book your Fastpasses when you reach 60 days before your holiday begins.
Staying off site then you can only book one day at a time starting 30 days before your holiday begins. We have always stayed on site however from reading forums, you can still get plenty of Fastpass options at 30 days. You can even get good options on the same day if you look for cancellations.
Fastpasses are booked via your My Disney Experience account that is available either by app or website. For Fastpasses both work equally as well as each other.
How Many Fastpasses Can You Book?
You are allowed three Fastpass choices per person each day to begin with. Your Fastpass options must be in the same park, so it’s a good idea to plan your holiday before you reach your Fastpass day.
Hollywood Studios, Epcot and Animal Kingdom each have different tiers of Fastpasses to make it fairer for everyone to get their first choices. The most popular rides are sectioned together in tier 1, allowing each guest to only choose one of the options from that tier.
As an example in Epcot, tier 1 contains Illuminations, Test Track, Soarin’ and Frozen Ever After. Test Track, Frozen Ever After and Soarin’ are the most popular ride options at Epcot currently, so you will have to choose which is deserving of your Fastpass choice.
Once you have used your three Fastpass choices for the day you can select another option from either the My Disney Experience app, or one of the Fastpass kiosks in the parks. You can now choose a different park if you wish. Your choices may become more limited at this time as you will be searching for options on the same day. However cancellations are made all the time and you can get lucky, so it’s always worth checking.
Another quick tip would be to book your Fastpasses early in the day to maximize your allowance for the day. If you choose to Fastpass Illuminations for example in your first set of three choices for the day, you won’t be able to select a fourth or fifth for the day as you have to wait until Illuminations is over before selecting another.
As Illuminations is last thing at night you will have depleted your options. Personally I don’t believe you need a Fastpass for any of the firework shows, there is plenty of space around the lagoon to watch Illuminations.
When Can You Book Dining Reservations?
All Walt Disney World dining reservations (ADR’s) can be booked 180 days in advance. Some restaurants are very popular and you will need to book this far in advance. An example of this is Be Our Guest restaurant in Magic Kingdom. The beast only appears during the dinner service, making it a popular character reservation choice. We ate at Be Our Guest in 2016 and we have another reservation for 2017.
It is entirely possible to get a reservation for a restaurant on the same day if you don’t like planning so far in advance, just be prepared to potentially not get a reservation for the more popular restaurants. A quick tip is that you can cancel any reservations 24 hours in advance without charge if you change your mind. This works well if you’re plans change or tiredness hits. It also works well for people looking for last-minute reservations.
What Age Is An Adult At Walt Disney World?
As a guest visiting Walt Disney World, when you reach the ripe old age of ten years old, you are classed as an adult in terms of ticket prices. This also means that any Disney dining plans you have included or have purchased will also be adult Disney dining plans. This year Miss A will be 10 when we visit, so she’s classed as an adult.
Obviously it’s meant we have had to pay more for her holiday package etc, but there are some advantages to the cost. She can order any meal she wants from the adult or child menus on the dining plan. We did find last year that when we were eating in some of the character restaurants, the children’s menu was somewhat limited. This time she can choose whichever she wants.
When Is The Best Time To Go?
The answer to this question is a little like answering how long is a piece of string. There are varying opinions to the this question, but if like us you are limited to school holidays for example then realistically you have the option of July, August, April or December.
Our first visit was in July and it was super hot and super busy. We noticed a lot of large groups of schools visiting, which didn’t take anything away from our enjoyment but stuck behind them in a queue for a ride wasn’t always quiet if that makes sense.
Our 2016 trip saw us visiting in April, however we battled with the Spring Break crowds. As American Spring Break spans over quite a few weeks, we thought we were at the tail end of it, but it was still very busy. The weather was a lot kinder to us, and we even needed a light cardigan in the evenings.
This year we are going in August, around the time when the crowd calendars tell us it’ll get quieter. It’ll be interesting to see how it compares to July, although we know it’s going to be super hot and to expect lots of rain, not that we mind rain at Disney.
Do You Need To Book The Magical Express?
The Magical Express is Disney’s bus transportation service that can take you from the airport to your hotel if staying in a Disney resort, and back again at the end of your holiday. You do need to book this service although it’s free of charge if you’re staying in a Disney resort.
The Magical Express is bookable by phone to the Walt Disney company, however I always just mention it when I’m calling for varying reasons and then I can forget about it.