First-timers should familiarize themselves with the following topics and lingo
used throughout Walt Disney World to maximize their experience at the parks.
My Disney Experience
The app includes features like Dining Reservations, FastPass selection, live attraction wait times, virtual Park maps, digital resort hotel room keys, Disney PhotoPass, and more. To access certain features like FastPass selection, valid theme park admission must be linked to your My Disney Experience account for all Guests in your party. You can link your Disney resort reservation to your account by providing your MDE email address at the time of resort booking, or by entering your resort reservation confirmation number at a later time.
Theme Park Admission
Admission can be purchased in advance of your stay and is priced variably. Prices depend on season, demand, and how far in advance admission is purchased.
For an additional fee, Guests can choose to add the Park Hopper option to each ticket, which allows entry into as many Parks that day as the Guest chooses. Non-Park Hopper tickets permit entry into only one, pre-specified Park per day. Guests may enter and leave the same Park as many times as they wish with either option.
Park admission can be linked to your My Disney Experience account and is required for certain services like FastPass. Wedding Guests can enjoy discounted admission, for which additional information is available here.
FastPasses are advance reservations to attractions of your choice in the theme parks. They are booked using the My Disney Experience app and allow Guests to avoid standby queues by gaining priority entrance to attractions during chosen one-hour windows.
There is no limit on the number of FastPasses that can be reserved per day per Guest, but only three FastPasses can be booked in advance for a single Park. Once the initial three FastPasses have been redeemed, additional FastPasses can be reserved and used, one at a time. Before you can reserve FastPasses, valid Park admission must be linked for all Guests in your party. FastPasses can be booked 30 or 60 days in advance for Guests staying off property or at a Disney resort hotel, respectively.
FastPasses are issued on a "first come, first served" basis and distribution is limited per day. Therefore, it is strongly recommended to book immediately and prioritize selection of popular attractions. FastPass service is entirely free – there are no fees to reserve, modify, or cancel FastPass reservations.
Dining around property is classified into one of two categories. Quick Service Restaurants (QSR's) are convenient grab-and-go options, and Table Service Restaurants (TSR's) offer personal table service in formal, seated environments.
QSR's are typically cheaper and more accessible when visiting the Parks. TSR's are available throughout the theme parks and at most resort hotels. Dining reservations are strongly recommended for TSR's and are available up to 180 days in advance. All TSR reservations require a credit card guarantee and are subject to a cancellation policy of $10/person if canceled within 24 hours of the reservation time.
Guests staying at a Disney resort hotel may purchase a Disney Dining Plan (or DDP), which is a credit-based meal payment option. Credits are redeemed as the form of payment at QSR & TSR locations, and each restaurant specifies the number of credits required to enjoy a snack or meal at their location. Packages are offered with different amounts of credits, allowing Guests to tailor their DDP to their party's needs and preferences. More information is available here. Note, Guests booking through the event room block are not eligible for the DDP.
This paid service allows Guests to have their memories captured at all theme parks using trained Disney photographers. PhotoPass photographers are stationed at all character Meet-and-Greet locations as well as at various photo opportunities throughout each Park; current locations can be found using the My Disney Experience app.
PhotoPass photos are linked by tapping your Park admission ticket or MagicBand on the photographer's device. Photos can be downloaded through the PhotoPass website or within the My Disney Experience app, or purchased as prints at any in-park PhotoPass location. Guests may purchase Memory Maker for unlimited PhotoPass downloads and additional premium services.
These customizable bracelets act as your key to the world, allowing you to tap into the Parks (with valid admission linked to your account), unlock your resort hotel room, charge purchases across property, link your Disney PhotoPass photos, and more. Disney resort Guests receive complimentary MagicBands for each member of their party and can customize their order online after booking their resort stay.
Budgeting Your Trip
Without proper planning and forethought, Disney vacations may become costly affairs, but there are a number of ways to manage your trip within your budget. Read the couple's tips for planning your spend ahead of time here.