Below is a list of the most Frequently Asked Questions I’ve seen on the Disney chat group in which I participate most frequently (Lines). I have no idea if this will prove useful, but it’s worth a shot. If you have any suggestions for additions or corrections, please let me know.
- What is PhotoPass?
- PhotoPass is the service Disney offers in which their photographers take your family’s pictures, throughout the theme parks, water parks, and Downtown Disney.
The first PP photographer who takes your picture will give you a credit-card sized plastic card with a number and barcode. Hand that card to each photographer throughout your trip to store all your photos.
Any or all of your photos can be purchased either at WDW or after you get home, from http://www.disneyphotopass.com. One way to buy your photos is to order the PhotoCD, which gives you digital copies of all of your photos, along with a legal release granting permission to print or copy them.
- What is PhotoPass+?
- PP+ is a relatively new product that PhotoPass offers. It is similar to the PhotoCD in that it gives you digital copies of all of your pictures. However it also includes all on-ride photos and character meal photos.
- What’s the difference?
- PhotoPass CD includes only those photos taken by Photographers outside in the parks and DTD. PhotoPass+ includes everything PhotoCD includes, plus on-ride photos and character meal photos.
- What do they cost?
- The PhotoPass service is completely free. You pay if and only if you want to actually buy photos. The PhotoCD costs $169.95, or $119.95 if you pre-order. The PhotoPass+ package costs $199.95, or $149 if you pre-order. Individual prints start at $14.95.
- How do I pre-order?
- You can pre-order the PhotoPassCD by going to www.disneyphotopass.com/specialoffers/wdwphotocdlearnmore.htm, and the PhotoPass+ package by going to www.disneyphotopass.com/specialoffers/wdwppp.htm. Note that Disney’s site says to allow 14 days for shipment of the PhotoPass+ pre-order package, though there have been reports of people receiving it as soon as 2-3 days after ordering.
- What is Attractions+
- Attractions+ is a new service from Disney’s Photopass announced in the AllEars newsletter of November 13, 2012. According to this press release: “As of November 20, Disney’s PhotoPass will begin offering Disney Attractions+, a new product that allows you to purchase all of your digital attraction photos for one price. For $44.95, you will be able to log in to DisneyPhotoPass.com after your vacation to download all of your high resolution digital images images taken within a 14-day visit to either Walt Disney World or Disneyland Resort. Participating attractions at the Walt Disney World Resort: Splash Mountain, Space Mountain, Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, Rock ‘n Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith, Expedition Everest, DINOSAUR and Test Track. Participating attractions at Disneyland Resort: Splash Mountain, Space Mountain, California Screamin’, Radiator Springs Racers, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror.”
This product cannot be pre-ordered. It can only be purchased in the parks, at the photo center of one of the aforementioned attractions.
Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom
- What is Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom?
- Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom (SotMK) is an interactive game that debuted in WDW in early 2012. It is played throughout five of the six lands of the Magic Kingdom. The basic plot of the game is that Hades (the villain from Hercules) is trying to take over the Magic Kingdom, by stealing pieces of Merlin’s “Crystal of the Magic Kingdom”. While Hades recruits fellow Disney bad guys (him being the ruler of the underworld, he can offer them a return to life and power), Merlin recruits fellow mystical Disney good guys – and you the guest.
In order to help Merlin defeat Hades and associates, you become a Sorcerer in training, and are given a pack of 5 “spell cards”. You are sent to one of several “portals” throughout the park. You tap your key card (also given to you when you start the game) at a lock at the portal, and then a villain will appear. You hold up one or more of your spell cards to cause a spell to be delivered to the villain, hopefully defeating him.
- How much does it cost?
- SotMK is included with park admission. There is no additional required cost. On July 26, 2012, Disney announced that they would be selling “booster packs” of 7 cards, including one super-rare card (see below), both to help you complete your set, and to play the game at home. The price for these booster packs was originally $11.95, but was later raised to $13.95.
- How many spell cards can I get?
- Every park guest is entitled to five free spell cards per day. Note that you must have actually entered the park that day in order to get your cards (ie, you cannot have one family member take four people’s tickets into the MK and have that person pick up all 20 cards. They must have all entered the MK.). In addition, once you complete an entire game, defeating every villain up to and including Hades, you are entitled to return to the recruitment center and get a bonus pack of five cards.
Additionally, you can purchase the booster packs for $13.95 each. Each booster pack contains 7 cards, plus a game board and tokens for homeplay. They can be purchased at the Emporium on Main St, and Sir Mickeys in Fantasyland.
When the booster packs first came out, their release was very sporadic and demand FAR exceeded supply. Whenever they became available, they sold out in a matter of hours. Eventually (around January 2013) supply finally started to stabilize, and the packs are now available on a constant basis.
- Where can I get spell cards?
- Spell cards, maps, and key cards are distributed at two Sorcerer recruitment centers in the Magic Kingdom. The first is at the Firehouse on Main St, just to the right of the bathrooms next to City Hall. The second is behind the Christmas shops in Liberty Square, across from where Tiana and Naveen have their meet and greet. In general, lines are much shorter at the Liberty Square location. (When available, the booster packs have been sold at the Emporium on Main Street)
- How many spell cards are there?
- As of December 2013, there are a total of 74 official spell cards. When the game was first released into general testing, the first 70 cards were being distributed, apparently somewhat randomly. When the game went live a couple months later, cards 61-70 were held back, and Disney started distributing only cards 1-60. The “booster packs” that are sometimes available for purchase are now the only way to obtain cards 61-70, with exactly one of these cards included in each pack.
Cards 71-74 were released specifically for the hard-ticket events Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. The cards are numbered “01/p” (MNSSHP 2012), “02/p” (MVMCP 2012), “03/p” (MNSSHP 2013), and “04/p” (MVMCP 2013). These special cards are also free – but exclusive to the parties. You must have a party ticket to get the party spell card, in addition to your daily 5 spell cards.
- How long does it take?
- A single portal takes about 2-3 minutes, depending on which ‘scene’ in the current round you are viewing/playing. There are 4 or 5 portals per round, in which you are trying to defeat one particular villain (and his/her henchmen). There are a total of 8 villains to defeat, plus Hades himself. Each villain will take you about 20 minutes total. So you can really spend as little or as much time as you want playing this game. After you defeat each villain, the active portal will give you a message telling you that this round is over, “but if you’d like to continue…” it will give you a new portal to go to in order to face the next villain. If you choose to stop playing at any point, you can return later in the day, or on a completely different day and pick up where you left off.
- What cards are more rare than others?
- Cards’ rarity is denoted by a small symbol on the bottom left hand corner. Cards 1-22 have a star symbol, and are the most rare of the 60 cards that are distributed at the recruitment centers, with exactly one card out of each pack of five being a star card. Cards 23-40 have a crescent moon, and are more common than the star cards. Cards 41-60 have a planet, and are the most common. Cards 61-70 have a lightening bolt, and are the most rare. These lightening bolt cards are not distributed at the recruitment centers, and are available only as part of the 7-card booster packs sold for $13.95. The special “01/p” and “02/p” cards distributed during MNSSHP and MVMCP have a starburst symbol.
- Where can I see a list of all the cards?
- Many fan sites have posted lists. The best formatted page I have seen so far is AllEars.net’s SotMK page. It contains pictures of each card, its number, its description, its rarity, its spell type, and its action type.
- Are these cards tradeable? What are the rules?
- There is no official Disney-sponsored trading program like for the pins or Vinylmation. Many guests, however, have taken it upon themselves to trade cards. You can often find guests sitting in Tortuga Tavern with their cards displayed, inviting other guests to trade with them. And some guests simply ask others in line at the portals if they’d like to trade. There is no requirement to trade of any kind. If you don’t wish to when someone asks, simply politely tell them “No, thank you.” If you are looking to trade, my opinion is that it’s okay to politely ask another guest if they have any cards they’d like to trade. However, I feel strongly that no guest should ask this of a child – ask the child’s parents/guardians, but not the kids themselves.
- Do you personally trade? What cards do you have available?
- Yes, I do occasionally trade away my extra cards with other guests looking to complete their sets. If it helps me complete mine, so much the better. If I have a ridiculous number of extras of the same card (for example, I seem to always manage to have about 5 or 6 Thumpers in my collection), I am likely to simply find a family that looks to be playing for the first time, and give away those extras.
You can view my current collection to see what I have available. Usually I am willing to trade any card that I have at least 2 of. I would very much prefer to make trades only at the same level (ie, a star for a star, a lightening for a lightening), unless someone has a compelling reason for me to alter that preference. If you see something on that list you’d like to trade for, and will be in the parks sometime soon, feel free to contact me either by a comment on the blog or via email (see the Contact page for details) and perhaps we can arrange a trade.
- What time does _______ open/close on ______?
- Annoyingly, Disney’s official site is one of the least reliable resources for finding park hour information. The best resource, according to the general consensus on Lines, is Disney’s travel agent calendars. Each month has its own calendar. In general parks open at 9am. Epcot’s world showcase opens at 11am, and Epcot closes at 9pm. All other parks’ closing times are dependent on the season. Opening times are also adjusted an hour (or more) earlier during VERY busy times. Whenever in doubt, consult those travel agent calendars.
- What/When are Extra Magic Hours?
- Extra Magic Hours (EMH) are a perk for Disney’s resort guests. Each day, one park opens one hour early for Disney resort guests, and/or one park stays open 3 hours late (2 hours, starting January 2013) for Disney resort guests. During busy times of the year, it is not uncommon for there to be both morning EMH at one park and evening EMH at another. During VERY busy times of the year, one park may have both morning and evening EMH. There is no hard-set schedule for which parks have EMH on which days. For the latest current information on what park will be open early or late for Disney resort guests, please see the Travel Agent calendars mentioned earlier.
- Who is eligible for EMH?
- EMH is a perk of Disney resort guests. All guests staying at a Disney-owned resort are eligible for EMH every day of their reservation, including checkin and checkout day. In addition, guests of the Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin (owned by Westin), Shades of Green (owned by the US Military), and the Downtown Disney Hilton are also all eligible for EMH. Guests of other Downtown Disney-area hotels are NOT eligible.
- How do they check eligibility for EMH?
- For Morning EMH, all guests will be required to show their valid Key to the World (KttW) card (or their hotel id for guests of the Swan, Dolphin, Shades of Green, and Hilton) at the turnstiles. For Evening EMH, Cast Members are positioned throughout the park, asking guests to show their cards. Any guest without a card is directed to the park exit. In addition, during Evening EMH all guests entering an attraction’s queue line must show their KttW or hotel id prior to being admitted to the queue.
Advanced Dining Reservations
- What are ADRs?
- Advance Dining Reservations (ADRs) are Disney’s system of reservations for their table service restaurants. They were originally called “Priority Seatings”, and frankly they should still be. Unlike what the new name suggests, you do not have an actual reservation for an actual table. Instead, it is more like ‘checking in’ at a restaurant in advance. When your ADR time comes, you will be seated at the first table for your party size that comes available (after others with earlier ADRs are seated, of course). For that reason, it is not uncommon to have a 10-20 minute wait even after your “reserved” time.
- How and When can I make ADRs?
- All Disney guests (those staying onsite, those staying offsite, and locals) can make ADRs beginning 180 days before their desired date. You can make reservations one of two ways: by calling 1-407-WDW-DINE starting at 7am Eastern, or by going to http://www.disneyworld.com/dining starting at 6am Eastern. If you’d rather not count out 180 squares on your calendar, plug your date into the form at PS Calculator, and it will tell you when 180 days prior is.
- Do Disney resort guest get to make ADRs 10 days before offsite guests?
- No. This is a common misconception, stemming from the online fan community’s tendency to abbreviate an onsite perk as “making ADRs at 180 + 10”. This is misleading at best, flat out wrong at worst. The perk that guests of a Disney resort get is that they can make reservations for their entire vacation – up to 10 days – starting at 180 days before your checkin date. For example, two guests are going to WDW from July 1 through July 14. One guest is staying at a Disney resort, the other is staying offsite. They can both make ADRs for July 1 on January 4 (180 days before July 1). However, the resort guests can also make reservations for July 2 through July 10 on January 4. The offsite guest cannot make reservations for July 2 until January 5, July 3 on January 6, etc. The resort guest can make reservations for the 11th day of his trip (July 11) on January 5 (190 days before his 11th day), July 12 on January 6, etc. Hence, the resort guests gets no “head start” on his first day of reservations, a single day head start on his second day of reservations, a two day head start on his third day of reservations, etc.
- When can I book the Tomorrowland Terrace Dessert Party?
- The Tomorrowland Terrace Desert Party (TTDP) is a special dining event in the Magic Kingdom that includes a dessert buffet and preferred viewing of the Magic Kingdom Fireworks. Reservations for this event do not become available until about 30-45 days prior to the start of the month in which reservation is desired. For example, reservations for the month of July generally become available between May 15 and May 30. Unfortunately, the only way of determining whether reservations are available is to keep checking online or via phone (or follow threads on Lines, when someone posts that they’ve successfully booked).
- What restaurants require pre-payment? Which require a credit card guarantee?
- Certain ADRs require you to pre-pay for the entire meal at the time of booking. These are the aforementioned TTDP, Cinderella’s Royal Table, and the dinner shows: Hoop De Doo Musical Revue, Spirit of Aloha, and Mickey’s Backyard BBQ. Guests who cancel more than 48 hours before their scheduled reservation will receive a full refund.
Certain other restaurants require a credit-card guarantee. No money is charged at the time of booking, but your credit card will be required to secure the reservation. These are the “signature” restaurants and those restaurants that have characters at any of their meals. The full list is:
- 1900 Park Fare
- Akershus Royal Banquet Hall
- Artist Point
- California Grill
- Cape May Café
- Chef Mickey’s
- Crystal Palace
- Flying Fish Café
- Garden Grill
- Hollywood & Vine
- Hollywood Brown Derby
- Le Cellier
- Tusker House
- Victoria & Albert’s
- Yachtsman Steakhouse
(Thanks to MouseSavers.com for this list)
- What is the penalty for no-showing an ADR?
- The restaurants that require prepayment must be cancelled within 48 hours to receive a refund, otherwise no refund will be given. For the restaurants that require a credit card guarantee, you must cancel at least the day before the reservation. Any cancellations the day-of, or reservations that you simply do not show up to, will be assessed a fee of $10 per person on the reservation (I’ve seen at least one report that Victoria & Albert’s actually will charge $25 per person). Note that showing up to the reservation with less than the original number of people on the reservation does not count as a no-show; no cancellation fee will be charged in this circumstance.
Tickets and Upgrades
- How much do tickets cost?
- Walt Disney World Tickets have many options and come in quite a few different types. The most basic kind of ticket is the “Magic Your Way Base Ticket”. This ticket is valid from anywhere between 1 and 10 days (not necessarily consecutive). It allows entrance to ONE of Disney’s four theme parks on any given day. It does NOT allow you to go to more than one park in a day, even by using a second “day” off your ticket. Disney tickets are “front loaded”, meaning that the earlier days cost more than the later days. A 1-day base ticket for guests aged 10 and older, including tax, is $94.79. A 2-day ticket is $187.44 ($92.65 more than the 1-day). 3-day is $257.73 ($66.29 more than the 2-day). A 4-day ticket is $272.64 (only $14.91 higher than a 3-day). The 5-day ticket is $285.42 ($12.78 more than a 4-day). Days 6 through 10 cost about $10 (plus tax) each, so that a 10-day ticket is $338.67, $53.25 more than a 5-day ticket.
Note that this information was correct as of July 30, 2012. Disney raises their prices at least once per year. To ensure you have the most up-to-date information, please see AllEars.net’s ticket price page.
- What are the different ticket options, and what do they cost?
- Once you have decided to purchase the base ticket, you can decide to add any or all of three different “options” to your ticket:
- Park Hopper (PH) – This option allows you to go to more than one theme park on a single day. Without this option, you are limited to the first park you enter in a given day. If you go to Magic Kingdom on August 15, Magic Kingdom is the ONLY park your ticket will work in that day, your ticket will not be valid at any other park until the next operating day. With the Park Hopper option, you can “hop” to any of the other parks on a single day. To add Park Hopping to a 1-day MYW ticket is $37.28 (note this does NOT mean a ticket with only one day left, or to park hop for only one day of your ticket. This is the fee for adding PH to a ticket that was only ever valid for a single day). The cost to add PH to a 2-day through 10-day ticket is $60.71. This will enable your ticket to “hop” any or all of the days of your ticket’s length. There is no “pro-rated” cost for hopping only a certain number of days. It’s all or nothing at all.
- Water Park Fun & More (WPF&M) – This option enables your ticket for entry into the WDW “minor gates”. These are locations in WDW that require admission, other than the four theme parks. They include: Blizzard Beach, Typhoon Lagoon, ESPN Wide World of Sports, DisneyQuest, OakTrail 9-hole golf course (greens fees only), WinterSummerland mini-golf (before 4pm) and Fantasia Gardens mini-golf (before 4pm). When you add this option, you get a number of minor gate entries equal to the number of theme park days on your ticket. That is, if you have a 5-day ticket, and add WPF&M, you will add 5 minor gate entries to your ticket, in addition to your 5 theme park days. These minor gate entries can be used on the same or different days as your theme park days. If you go to more than one minor gate on a single day, however, that will use more than one of your WPF&M entries. If, for example, you go to Epcot in the morning, take an afternoon break to play mini-golf at Fantasia Gardens, and then go to DisneyQuest in the evening, you will have used one theme park day and two WPF&M entries. (If you leave and re-enter a single minor gate on the same day, you are not charged an additional entry.)
This option also cost $60.71. Note that if you buy both PH and WPF&M, you get a discount and will pay only $84.14 total for both options.
- No Expiration (NE) – This option removes the expiration date of your ticket. Without this option, all theme park days (and WPF&M entries, if any) will expire 14 days after the ticket is first used (whether its first use was at a theme park or minor gate). With this option, any remaining theme park days and minor gate entries will remain valid until they are completely used, meaning you can return for a second trip 5 or 10 years from now and use your left over days/entries then. This option’s cost depends on the number of theme park days on the ticket, ranging from $31.95 for a 2-day ticket up to $292.88 for a 10-day ticket.
There are only two circumstances in which it can make sense to get this option:
- The remaining days on your ticket will completely cover your next trip. Because Disney’s tickets are front loaded, if you have to purchase an additional day above what your original ticket has left, you will completely obliterate your “savings” by adding NE to your original ticket. For example, you buy a 6-day ticket, and only use 4 days. Your next trip is also 4 days. If you add NE to your 6 day ticket, your remaining 2 days are valid, but you must still buy another 2-day ticket. The cost of the 6-day NE option is $175.73, and the cost of the additional 2-day ticket is $187.44, for a total of $363.17. If, however, you had simply let those extra 2 days expire and instead bought a brand new 4-day ticket for your second trip, you’d pay only the cost of the 4-day ticket ($272.64), a savings of $90.53.
- You have added the WPF&M option, and will continue to use those options throughout your next several trips. Many guests only go to a water park or DisneyQuest once per trip. This option can be a form of long-term savings on those visits. For example, a single day water park ticket is $55.38. So (if costs never went up, which is a ridiculous assumption) ten single day water park tickets would cost $553.80. However, adding the No Expiration option to your 10-day MYW ticket is only $292.88. Indeed, even if you only originally had a 5-day ticket, both upgrading your ticket to 10-days and adding the NE option would still cost less than 10 single-day water park tickets.
Note that this information was correct as of July 30, 2012. Disney raises their prices at least once per year. To ensure you have the most up-to-date information, please see AllEars.net’s ticket price page.
- Can I use two days off my non-hopper ticket to go into more than one park in a day?
- No. No no no no. No. A 5-day ticket is just that. A ticket that is valid on FIVE SEPARATE DAYS. You cannot use a second “day” of your ticket to go to more than one park on the same calendar day. In order to visit more than one theme park on a single day, you MUST purchase the Park Hopper option.
- Where can I buy discounted tickets in advance?
- There are several authorized wholesellers that sell discounted WDW tickets. You should visit all of them to see who has the best prices for the exact tickets you want. Among the ones that I’ve either used personally and/or have heard good recommendations from people I trust are: Undercover Tourist, Orlando Fun Tickets, Maple Leaf Tickets, and Kississimme Guest Services. Be sure to take tax and shipping into account in your calculations. Some of the sites listed charge shipping, others don’t. Some include tax in their list price, others don’t.
Your own local AAA office can also be a good resource for advance tickets. Every AAA office is run semi-independently, so their ticket options and prices are not universal nationally. You will have to visit your own chapter’s site to determine what is available and at what cost.
At all costs, avoid purchasing tickets from auction sites like eBay and classified listings like Craigslist. There is simply no way of determining how many days or options are on a ticket, or whether that ticket is in any way valid just by looking at it. You will only know whether you’ve been sold a real ticket or a worthless piece of paper when you try to use it at the WDW turnstiles. In addition, those Orlando-area roadside stands should be avoided as well. They advertise that they buy tickets back from guests – Disney tickets are NOT transferable, and attempts to use them by someone other than the first person to use it will trigger the biometric scanner to not unlock the turnstile, preventing your entrance.
- Can my ticket be downgraded if I don’t need all the days or options?
- No. Tickets can never be downgraded. If you bought 6 days but only needed 4, Disney thanks you for your money, but they will not refund you. If you bought Park Hopper but later decide you have no need to go to more than one park in a day, again Disney will not refund your money.
- Can my ticket be upgraded if I want more days or options?
- Yes. If you get to WDW and decide that you want to spend an extra day or two there, or that you want to add Park Hopping, Water Park Fun & More, and/or No Expiration, you can do so. If your ticket has already been used, you will pay only the difference between the current gate price of the ticket you have and the ticket you want. If you bought your ticket in advance from a wholeseller, make sure you use it in a WDW turnstile before upgrading – if you don’t, you’ll be charged the difference between the current gate price of the ticket you want, and the cost that the wholeseller paid for the ticket. You can add any of the three options, and any number of days up to a total of 10. You cannot create a ticket that has more than 10 total days on it (used + unused); your only options in that situation are to buy a fresh ticket, or to upgrade your ticket to an Annual Pass.
- Where and When can I upgrade?
- You can upgrade your ticket at any Guest Relations location inside the parks and Downtown Disney or near the ticket-selling booths outside the theme park entrances. Success at upgrading tickets at your hotel concierge and the water parks is … intermittent at best. Your ticket is upgradeable within 14 days of first use (even if the ticket has No Expiration), with valid days or entries remaining. This means that if you have a 5 day ticket, you can upgrade your ticket any time before the end of the operating day on your fifth day of park entry. If your ticket is on some medium that has your name printed on it – a Disney hotel Key to the World card or a Florida Resident ticket – you may also be able to upgrade the ticket even if it has no valid days/entries left, as long as it’s still within 14 days of first use, provided you have photo id which matches the name on the ticket.
- How do I get from ______ to _____? How long does it take?
- Your one-stop-shop for all “How do I get from/to?” questions is Our Laughing Place’s Transportation Wizard. Plug in where you want to start and where you want to end up, and it will show you two or three suggested routes, along with estimates as to how long they’ll take.
For general answers to this question:
- From Magic Kingdom:
- To Contemporary, Poly, or Grand Floridian: Take the monorail or watercraft.
- To Wilderness Lodge or Fort Wilderness: Take the watercraft.
- To any other resort: Take the bus.
- To Epcot: Take the monorail or ferry to the TTC, switch monorails to Epcot
- To AK, DHS, water parks: either walk to the Contemporary and catch a bus, or take the monorail or ferry to TTC and catch a bus.
- To DTD: walk to the Contemporary and catch a bus.
- From Epcot:
- To DHS, Beach Club, Yacht Club, Boardwalk, Swan, or Dolphin: Walk out the back exit then walk or take a Friendship boat.
- To MK or the monorail hotels (Contemp, GF, Poly): take the monorail to TTC, switch monorails to the hotel.
- To AK or any other hotel: Take a bus.
- To water parks: Walk or boat to the Epcot-resorts, take a bus.
- From Disney’s Hollywood Studios:
- To Epcot, Beach Club, Yacht Club, Boardwalk, Swan, or Dolphin: walk or take a Friendship boat.
- To MK: take a bus to the TTC, monorail or ferry to the MK
- To AK or any other hotel: take a bus
- To water parks or DTD: walk or boat to one of the Epcot resorts, take a bus.
- From Animal Kingdom:
- To MK: Bus to the TTC, monorail or ferry to MK.
- To any other hotel or park: Bus.
- To DTD or Water parks: Bus to Animal Kingdom Lodge, switch buses.
- From Resorts to another resort: take the bus (or boat or monorail) to the park or DTD that is closest either to your hotel or to the hotel you want to go to, and switch buses there.
- From DTD:
- To Saratoga Springs or Port Orleans: Boat
- To any other hotel: Bus
- To MK: Bus to Contemporary, walk.
- To Epcot or DHS: Bus to one of the Epcot resorts, walk or friendship boat
- To AK: Bus to Animal Kingdom Lodge, switch buses.
- From Magic Kingdom:
- Can I park at Downtown Disney and take a bus to the parks?
- No. There is no bus service between the parks and DTD. You must transfer at a hotel. Frankly, if the $14/day parking fee at the parks is enough to make you consider both breaking “the rules” and eating up precious vacation time waiting on multiple buses, perhaps you should be rethinking taking a trip to WDW until your financial situation improves.
- What is Disney’s Magical Express? Who can use it? How much does it cost?
- Disney’s Magical Express (DME) is a service offered to all on-site Disney resort guests. When you arrive at Orlando International Airport (MCO), you check in at the DME desk, and are sent to one of several queues. Disney will then transport you, via “motor coach” (ie, bus) to your hotel, possibly making 1-3 other stops along the way. In addition, before your trip you will be sent luggage tags to put on your checked bags. If you do so, you do not need to go to baggage claim at MCO – Disney’s contractors will intercept your bags as they come off the plane, and transport them directly to your hotel room. Note that it may take up to 3-4 hours for your bags to arrive, so make sure you pack everything you need for the first day in your carryon bags.
At the end of your trip, Disney will hang a note on your door telling you what time your DME pickup is scheduled for, to take you back to MCO. It will generally be about 3 hours prior to your domestic flight, or 4 hours prior to an international flight.
DME is a perk offered to all guests staying at an onsite hotel that is owned and operated by Disney. This means that guests of the Swan, Dolphin, Shades of Green, and Downtown Disney-area hotels are not eligible. It does not matter if you are booking a package or a room-only reservation, or whether you booked yourself or a travel agent – if you’re staying on-site, you can use it.
In terms of raw dollars, DME is a free perk, or to be more cynical, it’s included in the cost of your hotel reservation. In terms of time, waiting for DME as opposed to renting a car could cost you upwards of an hour at MCO, 3-4 hours of time without your bags, and about an hour or so of time prior to your return flight. It is up to the individual guest to decide how much their vacation time is worth.
- Can DME take my bags even if I drive or take alternate transportation to WDW?
- No. “Luggage transfer only” reservations are not allowed. If you do not check in at the DME podium and get on the DME bus, Disney makes absolutely no guarantee your bags will be delivered to your room.
- What is Resort Airline Checkin? Who can use it?
- Resort Airline Checkin is another perk offered to most guests of Disney resorts. Using this service, you can check in for your flight, including getting your boarding pass and checking luggage, right at your Disney hotel. You can therefore completely bypass your airline’s ticket/baggage counter at MCO, and head straight for security. This service is available to all Disney resort guests who are flying one of the partner airlines: AirTran, Alaska, American, Delta, JetBlue, Southwest, United, US. If you are not flying one of these airlines, you must check in at the airport like normal.
- Do I have to use DME in order to use RACI (or vice-versa)?
- No. Despite their obvious thematic similarity in making the transition from airport to hotel and back easier, there is no requirement that anyone use both services. You can use DME and take your bags on the bus with you. You can check your bags and get your boarding pass and then drive your rental car back to the airport. The choice is yours.
- What will the environment be like at WDW on Gay Days? I need to know if I should change my dates.
- It will be horrible. The castle will be draped in a giant rainbow, there’ll be a phallus installed at every corner. Hardcore sex acts will happen throughout the day on Main St. Gay guys and Lesbians will run through Epcot buck naked. You should avoid it at all costs. Of course, the problem is that you never know when those sneaky Gays are going to invade Disney. It could happen any time at all, not just on Gay Days, because Disney refuses to prohibit them from entering. So really, you’d better just stay home and not go to Disney at all. Ever. In fact, because there might even be a few repugnant people who have the audacity to be gay even in your home town, it’s probably best if you just stay inside your house with the blinds drawn and never come outside. Ever again. I think we’ll all be much happier that way. I know I will.