I woke up to a Cast Member’s worst nightmare the other day. The dreaded Facebook Message from a friend of a friend “hey, I heard you work for Disney”. I prepped myself as I read the preview and opened the message ready to say “so sorry I have no tickets to give”. And to my surprise, it was not a request for tickets just a request for knowledge! BLESS. Tickets are sacred, I don’t share them with just anyone. Knowledge may be more sacred but that I will share FREELY (hence the blog I guess). But this poor guy didn’t know what he was getting himself into when he asked me, a concierge, who it is literally my job to know all things Disney.
But anyway, as I was typing up my response to him I realized every once in a while I get this message. And the advice is generally the same. Sometimes they have specific questions-and this is not for that person- but usually the people messaging have no idea about Disney. They know there is more than 1 park but they consider Magic to be Disney. I honestly cannot tell you how often people respond “Disney” when asked what park are you going to. I realized that I should keep a “generic” note in my phone for those friends of friends who are not planners/researchers and don’t want to necessarily sit down with a cast member to ask all their questions. (Concierge cast really should be paid more considering we usually are still “selling” Disney when we are definitely off the clock.) The note below does include current (to Feb 4th 2020) information about Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge and fast passes. Fast passes will be changing in Hollywood Studios within the next couple weeks as Smugglers Run is added to the list of fast pass options.
So ladies and gentleman, cast members of all ages, without further ado here is my note that you can copy and save in your notes for the next time you wake up to one of these text messages!
Disney in a Note:
So! If you’re staying on property take advantage of the transportation offered at the resort (depending on your resort there could be buses, boats, skyliner, monorail) always give yourself an hour and a half to get to any kind of dining reservation though, you never know when a bus may be full or it may take a long time to get through bag check. If you’re not staying in a Disney resort you can still use the buses to help, Disney property is hard to get used to and GPS doesn’t always do well. The other option is uber, taxi, and Lyft. If you’re running late or just want some more time AND don’t mind paying for it you’re more than welcome to use these options. Just remember that these usually cannot take you as far as a Disney vehicle (I.e. if you are going to magic kingdom have them take you to the contemporary so you don’t have to get from the transportation and ticket center to magic kingdom) but the minnie vans (the Disney operates Lyft service with the cars actually “dressed” like Minnie Mouse) can go as close as the busses do. They’re more expensive but there is a perk there (also if there are small children they have the correct car seats for them.)
Speaking of dining reservations, if you couldn’t book the one you wanted keep checking the app. There is a 24hr cancellation policy for all dining reservations and people will drop them and you can snag them! I still would look for what you want at least a day in advance. Be wary of booking day of if you aren’t sure, as there is a $10 per person fee if you cancel same day or do not show.
Once you’re in the parks Fast passes help you cut down on some of lines you’ll wait in while you’re here. You can schedule 3 ahead of time, but keep in mind if you have park hopper passes you can only book them in 1 park. You can also book 1 FastPass in 1 park and after using it book another in a different park. Also after using all 3 of your FastPass selections opens up being able to book one at a time. it is recommended to have the Disney app (MyDisneyExperience) to fully enjoy the parks as you can book and change plans on the go (just make sure if other people in your party have accounts to send friend requests-AND ACCEPT THEM- in the app to be able to make plans together). If you have someone on your account on your friends that says “managed by me” and they also have an account the accounts are NOT friends, and only 1 account has a ticket and the availability to make plans.
Extra magic hours are also helpful if you’re staying in a Disney resort. This is a time you can be in the parks with less people because there are ONLY resort guests allowed to ride anything at this time. The park that has extra magic hours changes each day: every day there is an extra magic hour but not every park has them every day. (If you’re not staying in a Disney hotel this does not apply)
If your goal is for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, none of this applies as no fastpasses are available in this part of the park yet. Smugglers run is a standby line only and rise of the resistance is available through boarding groups. Boarding groups are joined by being in the park (with the entire party that wishes to partake in the ride) through the app. The big icon for Star Wars you see when you open the app is where you go to join the boarding group. These have been filling up EARLY so if your goal is to ride Rise of the Resistance, shoot to be there between 6-6:30 (which means the first bus leaving your resort if you stay on property). They make plenty of announcements on when the boarding groups open so don’t stress about missing it! Keep in mind the rest of Hollywood Studios operates under the other rules for FastPass. But that most fastpasses available are for tier 1 attractions of which you can only book ONE. So pick your favorite (or at least earliest option of FastPass)so you can ride and pick more after the shows open up (which are tier 2). So before your boarding group is called find the shortest wait time and go for that ride. Then when it is called (they send a notification through the app) you have 2 hours to return to ride. So you don’t need to be afraid that you’re building your droid or riding tower of terror and won’t have time to get there.
Must do’s really depend on your likes and who all you have with you.
But these are my favorites in each park.
I really recommend not just doing the big rides everyone knows, yes they are great but don’t forget the shows and little rides. Basically give yourself time to relax! There’s also tons of characters to meet if that’s your thing
-country bear jamboree
-pirates of the Caribbean
-buzz light year space-cruiser
-space ship earth
-living with the land
Hollywood (honestly I just LOVE this park)
-tower of terror
-frozen sing along (trust me it’s hysterical)
– beauty and the beast show
-slinky dog dash
-toy story mania
-lion king show
-dinosaur (be cautious if there a little ones because it’s a lil scary)
-flight of passage
I absolutely love the fireworks but I know they aren’t for some people, if they’re not your thing TOTALLY fine you can dash around to rides while everyone else is waiting on the shows. But I recommend fantasmic the most of the night time shows. If you do want to see the fireworks don’t line up too early 30-45 min early is plenty I know it will look crowded but people squish up when the show starts
Hope that helps!
and yes… this is the actual note in my phone…