Editors note…. “While I was discussing some plans with one of my clients the other day, I was surprised at how little they knew about what to do after their trip was booked. It got me thinking that if this group of semi-experienced Disney travelers didn’t understand it, many others probably didn’t either. This is why I am putting these tips on my blog for all to read. I hope it helps you.”
Here we go………..
The excitement is building. You’ve just paid your deposit to your travel agent and received your confirmation number. What’s next? Lots of things depending on if you are new to Walt Disney World travel or if you’ve been recently!
But for beginners……… do the following.
- Make a “My Disney Experience” registration
- Order and Customize your Magic Bands
- Arrange Flight Reservations
- Give your travel agent flight information to make Magical Express Bus Reservations
- Make Dining Reservations
- Make Fast Pass Reservations
- Capture Photo Pass Pictures
- Enjoy the best family vacation ever
You need to go to the following link and register for your own “My Disney Experience” page where you can do all the things needed for your trip.
Important tip…….. if you have ANY Disney web logins, use the same email to register on “my Disney Experience”, as you’ve used for them.
Once you are registered you will be amazed at what you can do. One of the first things I do is to order the free Magic Bands. They are your key to everything.
You will use them to open the door to your room…. use them for your fast pass check-in…. use them to pay for your food and souvenirs….. use them for Photo Pass pictures. It sounds confusing but it is all very simple.
Disney does furnish these for free and they are available in several different colors.My favorite color changes almost every trip. One time I love Orange…. Red… or Blue. My wife likes Purple or Pink.
Order a different color for each member of your party or everyone can order the same color. Disney prints your name on the inside of every band so you can make sure to wear the right one.
Of course…… Disney will be glad to sell you some pretty custom designed Magic Bands, usually around $20.00 each, but why would you if they give them to you for free?
As your trip gets closer, you can begin making dining reservations 180 days from your trip using your “My Disney Experience”. You can also use it to make your Fast Pass reservations also 60 days before your trip.
Of course…… most travel agents would be happy to make these for you.I do it all the time for my clients. However it’s easy….. it’s fun….. and most of all….. it keeps you in control of how you want to spend your time while at Walt Disney World.
You can also do your dining reservations and fast passes with your Smart Phone and/or your tablet utilizing the free, “My Disney Experience” app. Just go to your respective app store on-line and download it. It is a valuable tool while in the parks when downloaded on your Smart Phone. I have it downloaded on both my phone and my tablet. I use my smart phone while in the park but I use my tablet before we leave and after we return to our room.
Now you can book your flight reservations. Your travel agent can arrange your airfare when booking your Disney vacation but the rates through Disney are pretty high. I’d rather see you use that money for something else while on vacation.
But which airlines should you pick? It’s your choice but…… I’d book my flights directly on one of the airlines that currently works with Magical Express. They are……..
- Alaska Airlines
- American Airlines
- Delta Airlines
- Jet Blue Airlines
- Southwest Airlines
- United Airlines.
When making flight arrangements there are a couple of things to consider, particularly flight times.
On the way to Walt Disney World, I like to fly early in the day arriving at the Orlando International Airport, aka: MCO, between 11:00am and 3:00pm. Why? Because I can extend my vacation by a day. If you do not live on the east coast, you will have to get up a little earlier than you’d like.
We typically arrive before noon go directly to the Magical Express Bus line, scan our Magic Bands and then get on the bus for the resort.
You do not have to hassle with picking up your luggage because Disney sends you a baggage tag for each member of your party which is coded. You put one on each suitcase before leaving from home.
When you check in for your flight, you leave your checked bag with your airline and the suitcase magically appears in your resort room, about three hours after your arrival in Orlando.
Important tip….. be sure to pack all essential items such as your Magic Bands, a change of clothes, needed medications even a bathing suit in your carry-on bag.
I like to travel with slip on style shoes and slacks for flying but change into my shorts and sneakers/walking shoes before going to the parks on arrival days.
For our return flights, I prefer leaving after 5:00pm so we can go to the Magic Kingdom to say our goodbyes and catch one last glimpse of Cinderella’s Castle.
Your Magical Express pickup at your resort will be three hours prior to your flight departure.
Important tip….. Whatever you do….. do NOT make a flight reservation to return home before 8:00am unless you have to. Those early morning flights are a killer after being at Walt Disney World on vacation. Remember the three-hour rule for pickup.
Be sure to let your travel agent know your flight arrangements as soon as you make them so they can arrange for your Magical Express transportation. Also let them know if your flights get changed along the way which happens more than I like.
I would also highly recommend doing the online check-in through Disney for your resort. I’ve done this for our last six or seven trips and it has worked perfectly.
When you do online check-in and leave your cell number as a contact number for Disney, you will receive a text when your room is ready… along with the room number and a handy map showing your room location.
I’ve been asked several times on how long after your arrival can I expect to be dropped off at my resort? My answer is always… allow two hours from the time the wheels touch down and your arrival at your resort. It often times far less…. but to be safe… two hours.
All of your dreams about traveling to Walt Disney World….. and having a magical vacation are very easy when using the experience of a good travel agent that specializes in Disney vacations. Why do it yourself?