Last Updated on September 15, 2023 by Heather
You may have some Disney World questions if you are planning on heading back to the parks this year. So much has changed that you may be confused at first. Let me help you by answering some of the top 8 questions guests are asking.
If Disney’s Magical Express is gone how do I get to my Disney Resort from the airport?
Magical Express, a service in which guests staying at one of Disney’s Resorts could board a bus for free and be dropped off at their place of booking, is now a thing of the past. You do have other options available though. Mears is the company that owned and operated the Magical Express previously. Mears now offers a Mears Connect option for guests traveling from the airport to their Disney World destination. You can now book a reservation online and pay a fee for transportation to and from the airport and your resort. You can get more info and book your next trip online at Mears Connect’s website.
Can I still meet the characters with Covid precautions in place?
Yes. Currently as of the time of this article socially distanced character sightings are taking place at WDW. The use of the word “meet and greets” has been changed to “sightings” as guests are encouraged to keep a space between themselves and the characters and then allowed to interact and even take selfies or photos with the characters.
Recently Disney announced that traditional character meet and greets would be returning soon to Disney World Parks. This is based on the current drop in Covid cases in the region and can change at anytime so always be sure to check back before your trip.
Can I still get / use Fast Passes?
No. Fast Passes are a now thing of the past at Disney World. You do have the option to use a prepaid service called Lightening Lane that’s lets you bypass the normal line. Using the Genie Plus service on your My Disney Experience account you can pay a set price and get next availability access at Lightening Lane Attractions.
Individual Lightening Lane
You can also purchase up to 2 more rides in addition for a separate fee per ride. Pricing and availability varies by attraction.
TIP- Guests staying at Disney Resorts can make their first selections starting at 7 AM on the day of their visit. All non resort guests can make selections when the park opens.
What is this Genie thing I am hearing about?
Disney Genie Service
You never had a friend like Genie! Disney Parks recently rolled out a new service called the Disney Genie. Disney Genie is a free complimentary service for guests of Disney World Resorts that helps in the planning of your day. Dining, shopping, and parks information is right at your fingertips and makes getting the information you need easy and efficient
A personalized itinerary creator helps you plan out your best day ever offering up tips and suggestions. Helpful reminders about dining reservations and helpful recommendations based on what you told Genie you are most interested in. Even the seasoned Disney traveler will find this handy and helpful.
Genie Plus is available for an additional fee. It includes everything available in the free Genie service but also includes Lightening Lane service to bypass the lines as mentioned above.
Has smoking been banned inside the Disney theme parks?
Yes Smoking inside the Disney Theme Parks is no longer allowed. The only smoking allowed is from the Maleficent Dragon during the parade. This went into effect a few years ago but many guests are unaware of the changes. Disney Resorts still have designated smoking areas that you can inquire about when you check in. If you need a smoke break while inside the theme parks you will need to exit the parks first.
Do I need to wear a Mask at Disney?
At this time fully vaccinated guests do not need to wear a mask anywhere at Disney except while riding on enclosed transportation. You do not need to carry or show a vaccination card. This may change at anytime so be sure to always check with Disney for any updates changes to Covid safety rules. Disney is still recommending unvaccinated guests wear a mask indoors.
Can I still get the Disney Dining Plan?
This is one of the most asked Disney World questions. At this time the Disney Dining Plan has still not returned. Disney did release a statement saying that we can expect to see the Dining Plan to return in the very near future. We will be sure to update you as it does.
Can I still get / use a DAS pass?
Yes, you can still get and use a DAS pass however there are now 2 new options available to you. With the newly implemented Genie Service guests who require a DAS pass ( Disability Access Pass) may now pre-register via a live video call and use pre-arrival planning.
Secondly you may now use the Genie App on your phone to schedule your DAS return time. You will still need to go to guest services initially to set that up if you did not pre-register via the above video call method. Once registered your DAS is good for 60 days and any further planning can be done via the Genie App on your phone.
Do I have to make a park reservation to get into a Disney Theme Park?
Yes. If you do not have a valid reservation you will not be allowed access to the park. Disney has released statements stating that the reservation system is here to stay for the unforeseen future. You may however park hop after 2pm to another park of your choice if that park has not reached capacity.
So much has changed in the last year that’s its been a bit of a challenge for even the most seasoned Disney goers to adjust to. I hope these Disney World questions and answers helped you better prepare for your next trip. Getting familiar with the new systems in place will make your planning much easier. If you haven’t checked out the Disney Parks Genie App yet I urge you to give it a try. Make sure to check back at WDW Travels for any new updates. Also check out our other tips and hacks for planning your next Disney trip.