We’re going back to Disney World. Let’s talk about how the planning process has changed.
We go to Disney multiple times a year. Over the last five years, we go an average of 5 times a year. We like to think that we have the Disney travel and planning process down to a science.
But, things are a little different right now.
We are going to talk about how the planning process has changed for us in planning our upcoming trip to Walt Disney World. Our first trip back to the Most Magical Place on Earth since March.
We will be heading to Walt Disney World for 7 days. October in Disney is typically hot and humid but we have traveled their multiple times during this time of year so we are prepared for the weather.
A few different things that are different about this trip:
- We are staying off property
- We are renting a car
- The theme park reservation
- Limited Park Hours
Staying off Property
If you have followed along with us for a while you know, we rarely stay off property. We are not opposed to it and have done it multiple times. There are some amazing resorts that are off property or even on property but not an official Disney World resort.
One reason we typically stay on property is to take advantage of the Disney conveniences. For example, transportation, service, proximity to parks.
For this trip, we are staying at the Wyndham Bonnet Creek. We have stayed at this resort several times in the past and we love it. It is technically, even on Disney property though it is not a Disney resort. You can actually use Minnie Vans (if they are available) if you are staying at this resort and several others because they are on Disney property and Disney had extended the service to include such resorts.
As we mentioned, one of the most convenient things about staying on Disney property or at one of the non-Disney resorts on property are the Minnie Vans. Much quicker (typically) than the busses, although it is an extra cost, we love Minnie Vans and for us, they are 100% worth the extra cost. However, for this trip, it doesn’t matter because there is currently no Minnie Van service available at Walt Disney World.
Renting a Car
Directly related to Minnie Vans not being available is our decision to rent a car. This is a huge break from the norm for us when traveling to Walt Disney World.
We typically don’t urge people to rent a car especially if they are staying on Disney property. Disney has so many convenient transportation options, renting a car is just not something we feel is necessary and is a big added expense.
BUT! Because transportation options are limited and because the park hours are also limited right now, we decided to do so for this trip. Renting a car, allows us to have more freedom for leaving Disney property going to other resorts and even getting to Disney Springs.
One tip we have is to rent a car wherever you are traveling from a company that has it right there in the terminal. There are some airports like LAX, where this is not an option. But, a little research can go a long way here, for convenience especially.
Another new thing for us was in terms of our planning. Due to the restricted park hours and no park hopping this drastically changes how we do Disney.
Typically when we go to the parks we park hop. We start at a one park, say Hollywood Studios, do what we want to get done there or get our Fast Passes done, then we will take the Skyliner over to Epcot then a Minnie Van back to the resort, pool for a few hours and then Magic Kingdom for the night.
Obviously that isn’t an option right now. We have our theme park reservations made for the first few days of our trip. Because we are staying off property, we are not able to make a theme park reservation for our entire trip but if you are staying on property you can. Once we use our first park pass we will be able to make another one for a day we don’t currently have one.
We will likely be spending a lot of time at Disney Springs and possibly even revisiting our favorite Cuban restaurant off Disney property. There are some other fun restaurants and areas we might be visiting because of the park hours and limited access to resorts and things on property.
When we go to Disney, we don’t leave property. It’s just not our thing. We go to Disney to be in Disney but we epect that to be quite different on this trip.
Dining reservations have been difficult to come by especially at the time frames we are wanting. Because of the limited park hours, we want to spend as much time as possible in the park we have a reservation in so our goal has been to make reservations after parks close.
One of the places we really wanted to prioritize for this trip was California Grill. I had originally booked a reservation at 9:50 pm. This was late, even for us so I adjusted it to 5:00. That was too early so I continued to get on the My Disney Experience App to try to modify and was finally, after a couple weeks, able to make a reservation for 9:00. Still late, but preferable for us so we can go to the park first.
Masks, sanitizer and sanitizing wipes
We are doing a full packing vlog with everything I am taking to Disney so if you are interested in that head over to our YouTube channel.
Whatever you do, don’t forget your masks. You will be required to wear one at all times on Disney property except the pools and when eating.
If you aren’t familiar with The My Disney Experience App we recommend you start making friends with it. It is your key to Disney more than ever. Many restaurants have their menus online, paper menus are not provided at restaurants. Dining reservations are all done on the app, you can check your park reservations, get up to date on park hours as they are all limited right now, and stay up to date on guidelines and of course ride wait times.
One major thing that is different when visiting the parks is that there is currently no Fast Pass. Because the parks are limiting guests, rides have much smaller wait times. We are excited to experience some of the queues for rides that we have never waited in stand-by for before.
Those are some of the things that have stood out to us about planning for this upcoming trip to Walt Disney World. We hope this helps you when planning your next trip. Stay tuned for more travel tips and tricks.