After a week of recovery and reflection, here are some thoughts and observations based on our WDW Trip from 2/24 - 3/1.
It really does pay to plan ahead, but if you’re staying off property it’s going to be a little harder to reserve exactly what you want.
As the posts above have noted, dining reservations can be booked way in advance for people staying at the resorts and it appears you can game the system. I think the trick with dining is just to keep trying and wait for something to open up.
BTW, people have also been gaming the FP system. What some people have done is book a stay at a Disney Resort to get them the 60 day window for FastPass reservations. They book their FPs and then cancel the resort reservation, yet can still keep their FPs. I guess Disney is now clamping down on this practice and cancelling your FPs if you cancel your resort reservation.
In the end, I think it pays not to worry too much about not getting the perfect set of FPs. You should definitely use them but Quaros advice up-thread is pretty sound. I found that a good strat is simply to get to the park early. Have maybe on early morning FP for a headliner attraction. Then for the next couple of hours you should be able to get on several rides with minimal wait while you continue to book additional FPs.
The My Disney Experience App is your best friend and your worst nightmare.
When it’s working is a great way to make, check, and adjust your plans. But it’s sluggish and crashes quite a bit. But, Mobile Food ordering saved our bacon more than once. There was a large line at Satuli Canteen, but only 3 people waiting for Mobile Ordering. So I opened the app, ordered our food and got it in less than 5 minutes. Then just before the nighttime show in the Magic Kingdom, my son was massively hangry (due to not eating enough during a very exciting day). All the food places were mobbed. Mobile Ordered a couple of Hotdogs from Casey’s Corner. It was about a 15 minute wait to get the food, but still way faster than waiting in the regular line. Pro Tip: Before ordering, check the size of the Mobile Order line. Some locations (like Aloha Isle) have to prepare your order when you show up to the window, so it’s still first come first serve regardless of when you actually ordered. If there’s a huge Mobile line, it might be better just to get in the regular line.
Leave in the Middle of the Day
Seriously. You can see and do a lot in the morning. Afternoons are when everything is mobbed and parents with small kids are getting cranky. Come back later if you want to do more stuff. We generally found the mornings to be the most fun.
There are way more scooters and wheelchairs than I remember
Not sure why, but man, they are swarming all around the parks.
There are so many families wearing those matching T-shirts
Again, I don’t remember it being so common, but it seems like every family had some flavor of cheap, off-brand Disney Family shirt.
Go to the Cool Club in Epcot
It’s sponsored by Coke and they’ve got a bunch of sodas from around the world to try. Be sure you sample some Beverly (from Italy).
The VOID at Disney Spring is pretty rad
My son and I loved the Star Wars thing. When I saw him in VR I got to say “Aren’t you a little short to be a Stormtrooper?”
Customer Service is King
I’m just amazed at how well Disney provides excellent customer service to such as massive number of guests every single day. And for the most part the Guests are fairly well behaved. I’d like to better understand the psychology behind how this works.