Disney World Right Now: Step by Step Vacation Planning Guide

We get it, planning a Disney World trip under normal circumstances can be overwhelming but going to Disney World right now looks even more different than usual! The good news is that going to Disney World right now is easier than ever once you become familiar with all the new policies which allow for more last minute trip planning. Keep reading our article for easy, step by step instructions on how to tackle your vacation to Disney World right now.

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Step One: Pick Your Trip Dates

Your first step is to figure out what trip dates work the best for your family! Do you want to visit during the summer? The Halloween season? Christmas? Beat the crowds and come during January or February? Spring Break?

Peak travel times of the year (Christmas week, holiday weekends, Halloween, etc.) will always cost more not just for hotel and tickets but also in airfare so cost is one consideration. Another is these weeks will always be the most crowded.

Consult our Walt Disney World crowd calendar to help you make your decision on what best time of the year is the one to pick for your Walt Disney World trip!

Step Two: Make a Park Pass ReservationEpcot Spaceship Earth- Disney World Right Now

Once you've selected your dates for your Disney World vacation and have your tickets in hand you should make your Park Pass reservations. These are the reservations that ensure you get into the theme park of your choice for each day of your trip. This is essential for planning a Disney World trip right now!

Pro Tip: Weekends tend to be more popular than weekdays currently for Disney World, try to pick weekday visits if you can. Weekdays are also more quiet in Disney Springs so if you want to avoid crowds, visit on a weekday.

When you're picking your trip dates, be sure that you have your airline travel all figured out (if you're flying) so that way you know your dates all line up.

The most popular theme park at Disney World right now is Disney's Hollywood Studios since it holds not only Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge and Toy Story Land but the newer Mickey's Runaway Railway attraction. Since this is the park that ‘sells out of capacity' more than the others, it doesn't necessarily matter if you pick a weekday or weekend for your park pass for this one.

How to Make a Reservation 

  1. Link your park tickets/admission to your Disney account. You will need valid park admission to make a reservation.
  2. Create your party. Before you make a reservation, you'll be prompted to create a party from your Family & Friends list on your account. This ensures your group has the same reservations for your trip.
  3. Select a date and park. Choose the date and time you'd like to visit from the available reservations.
  4. Review and confirm your plans. You will also be prompted to agree to a COVID-19 liability waiver.

Pick your date and then pick the park you want to visit. We had no issues getting reservations.

To help yourself prepare for making reservations you should make sure to:

  • You’ll need a My Disney Experience account, as this is where your Walt Disney World Resort plans are stored and managed.
  • You’ll also need a valid theme park ticket or Annual Pass that’s linked to your My Disney Experience account.
  • If you have a Disney Resort hotel reservation, be sure to link it to your My Disney Experience account beforehand, as well.

Important Details for Making Reservations

  • Reservations are limited and subject to availability and are not guaranteed until a reservation is finalized.
  • Guests will be able to select one park per day; after 1PM guests with Park Hopper tickets can hop to another theme park.
  • A park reservation must be made for each day of entry. If you have a multi-day ticket, you will be required to make a park reservation for each date of your visit.
  • It is highly recommended that you make your park reservation as soon as you complete your ticket purchase, as availability can change until the reservation is finalized.

You can also change your Park Pass reservation, as long as there's availability to switch things around, once you arrive. Most guests, especially those staying on-site, have had good luck doing this if they change their mind at the last minute but it's never guarenteed!

Step Three: Pick Your HotelArt of Animation Pool- Disney World Right Now

Your next step should be picking your Disney World hotel although you would likely do this is conjunction with purchasing your park tickets.

I recommend you read through our Walt Disney World Hotel guide to get an idea of which hotel will be best for you. Keep in mind transportation is a big deal at Disney World right now and some of the hotels are on the route for the popular Disney Skyliner which is a great way to get around the resort.

Step Four: Make Dining ReservationsBe Our Guest Restaurant

One of the biggest changes to Walt Disney World has been to the dining policies at the theme parks and hotels. Dining reservations are now all made at 60 days in advance!

Pro tip: Read our guide to finding dining reservations at Walt Disney World right now to see how I always score the best dining reservations- even at the last minute.

Popular Theme Park Dining Options Right Now

To help get you an idea of which dining options are the most popular right now, here's a list of restaurants I witnessed having much lower availability when we booked our Disney World dining:

  • Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater at Hollywood Studios
    • This is a popular option on a typical day and even more so now that Hollywood Studios is the most popular park at the moment.
  • Hollywood & Vine at Hollywood Studios
    • Note: this is largely because this is one of the most popular character dining options in the parks.
  • Oga's Cantina at Hollywood Studios
    • Oga's is always a popular choice and with smaller quantity of seating it makes for a tricky reservation!
  • Be Our Guest at Magic Kingdom
    • The availability for this isn't too tough, if you can be flexible with your day you can usually find a reservation time. Weekends tend to be trickier for this restaurant.

If any of these restaurants are on your ‘must do' list- plan ahead to book your reservation right at the 60 day window when dining opens up to all guests.

Quick Service Availability

I recommend reading through the list of quick service restaurants on the Walt Disney World dining page to help you plan your dining itinerary for your park days. Especially if this is your first time making a Disney World trip, it's good to know ahead of time what quick service items you can find in the theme park. For instance, my son is obsessed with Mickey pretzels so I looked ahead of time for each theme park and made a note of where I could find them.

Step Five: Get to Know Your Disney World Transportation OptionsDisney World Skyliner Disney World Right Now

Transportation tends to be the more intimidating part of planning a Disney World trip for many folks visiting for the first time. Especially for those that normally go to Disneyland where the transportation is pretty simple in comparison. Remember that the Disney World resort is massive, hence why it's always referred to as the ‘Disney bubble' and with that comes the need for transportation to get around the resort.

Transportation Choices

You have a range of transportation choices at Disney World and making those decisions usually weighs cost vs. convenience.

  • Buses
    • All of the on-site Disney World hotels are bus service so this is a transportation option that most groups will experience at least once during their visit
    • If you are looking to get to the parks and be in line for when they open, I recommend being at your resort bus stop at least 90 minutes prior to park opening.
  • Skyliner
    • The skyliner connects Epcot and Hollywood Studios to these four Disney hotels: Art of Animation Resort, Pop Century Resort, Caribbean Beach Resort, and the Riviera Resort.
    • The skyliner lines at the resorts will always be longest in the mornings, especially going to Hollywood Studios, so plan on arriving at least 90 minutes or more before park opening.
  • Boats and Monorail
    • Disney's Grand Floridian Resort and Spa, Disney Contemporary Resort and Disney's Polynesian Resort have monorail access.
      • There are 2 different monorail routes. The first route makes stops at the following locations: Magic Kingdom park, Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Transportation and Ticket Center (adjacent to Magic Kingdom parking), Disney's Polynesian Village Resort, and Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa.
      • The second monorail route stops at 2 locations: Transportation and Ticket Center and Epcot.
    • Boat access is currently available to Magic Kingdom from Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground, Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, and Disney’s Wilderness Lodge. Other boat access is currently not in operation.
  • Uber/Lyft
    • Minnie's Van Service is temporarily unavailable with no known return date.
    • Uber/Lyft continue to be available throughout the resort. Keep in mind that Uber/Lyft are their own service separate from Disney.
    • If your goal is arriving to Hollywood Studios prior to park opening, many guests have had success getting dropped off at Disney's Boardwalk and walking to the park from there.
  • Driving
    • If you plan on renting a car, you can park for free at any of the Disney theme parks if you're on an on-site resort guest. You will have to pay for parking at your Disney resort hotel and at the theme parks if you're not staying on-site.
    • Access to parking limits before park opening is controlled by cast members and not all parking lots will open prior to park opening.

Pro Tip: Regardless of what transportation system you use, make a plan for what you will do to get around the resort before you arrive. This will help you

Plan Your Walt Disney World Vacation!

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About Lindsay Brookshier

Lindsay is a college English instructor and has years of writing experience through various nonprofits, charities, newspapers, and online magazines. As the editor of Mickey Visit, she oversees article content and leads our fantastic team of writers to meet guest vacation needs. You can still find her writing weekly content to help make your Disney Parks trip fantastic here on Mickey Visit and writing Disney culture pieces on DisneyDose.com- you can also view her recently featured posts on Disney Parks travel on Visit Anaheim, Nerd Wallet and SFGate. Lindsay comes from a dedicated Disney family and enjoys taking her son to the Disney parks as often as possible.

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