Disney Parks Planning 101 Vacation Planner Walt Disney World

How To Use The My Disney Experience App In Walt Disney World

October 9, 2022

What would a trip to Walt Disney World be without the My Disney Experience App? Well, it would be a lot simpler, that’s for sure.

By now, you’ve probably heard plenty about the App at Walt Disney World. But, when you’re new to Walt Disney World planning, it can be confusing and completely overwhelming.

There’s a lot going on in the My Disney Experience App. But, these are the things you should use be using My Disney Experience for – both in planning and while you’re on vacation.

What is My Disney Experience?

My Disney Experience is an all-in-one tool used by Walt Disney World. While Disneyland’s system is similar, they does not use this system.

Not only does it hold all of your vacation plans, you can use the app to pay for food and souvenirs, access photos, room charges, and more.

There are 2 ways that you can access My Disney Experience. You can download their free app from your phone’s App Store. But, you can also access the information at MyDisneyExperience.com.

If it looks familiar, it’s because it’s actually on Walt Disney World’s website.

Disney uses the same login for all of their sites, including shopDisney and Disney+. So, if you have an account on any of these sites, you already have access to My Disney Experience.

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Disney Parks Planning

Whether you booked on your own or you used a Travel Agent, the first thing you should do is to make sure everything is on your account and it linked up correctly.

Can you see the name of everyone in your traveling party? Is the right Resort showing up? Does everyone have the right tickets? These are things you should be looking at.

While it’s an easy fix, it does require a call to Disney. And without getting it fixed, it could affect your ability to continue your planning process.

Why does it matter if it’s on My Disney Experience?

Having all the details in your account is now essential to planning other parts of your vacation. Although you know that you have a Resort Reservation and/or Park Tickets, the App may not know that.

Linking everything as soon as possible means gaining access to all of the essential tools you’ll need to plan your vacation. And it’s one less thing you have to worry about later.

Family and Friends List

In order to make plans, and eventually book Lightning Lanes and/or Virtual Queue, you’ll need to make sure everyone is on your My Family and Friends list.

If they’re staying in your room, they should link automatically. But, if they’re not, you can follow the prompts under Add a Guest.

Park Reservations

Once you made sure your tickets are linked and everyone traveling with you is attached to your account, it’s time to book your Park Reservations. This is important!

Even if you have tickets, this is not enough to get you into the Parks. You need to have Park Reservations for that Park. This is why I always suggest you take a look at the Park Reservation Availability site before deciding to book.

While we don’t know how long they will be required, what we do know is that this is an important step that can not be skipped.

MagicBands in their original shipping box

MagicBands

The next step is to purchase your MagicBands (if you plan on using them).

If you’re not sure what they are, or you’re not sure if need one, you should read Everything You Need To Know About MagicBands before buying them.

If you’re staying at a Walt Disney World Resort, you do get a discount on MagicBands, through My Disney Experience. This includes the brand new MagicBand+.

And additional benefit of going through My Disney Experience is that they will already be linked to your account when you receive them in the mail. So, that’s one less thing to do.

If you’re staying off property, or you simply want a different design, you will need to link them yourself prior to going to the Parks. Simply type in the code on the back of your MagicBand (MagicBand 1 and 2) or hold your MagicBand+ up to your phone to sync.

Once completed, everything on your My Disney Experience account automatically connects to your MagicBand.

Lightsaber Experience at Savi's Workshop, in Hollywood Studios

60 Day Reservations

Once you hit your 60-day mark, it’s time to start booking your Reservations. This includes Dining, Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, Savi’s Workshop, Harmony Barber Shop, and more.

Booking Reservations require a credit card. But, they will not charge that card, unless it’s specifically mentioned at the time of booking.

Reservations are hard to come by in Walt Disney World. So, they want to make sure you show up. In the event you miss your Reservation, they will charge a no-show fee of $10 (per person) to that card.

You can make, change, and cancel Reservations right on your phone. The App even adds those Reservations to your Itinerary, so you’ll always know what you booked.

Online Check-In

You can also start the online check-in process starting 60 days prior to the day your arrive to your Resort. Don’t want to stand in line after getting off a hot plane? Can’t wait to go to the Parks? Online check-in allows you to completely skip the Front Desk and go straight to your room (or the Parks).

Once you answer all of their questions, you (should) receive an email and/or text when your room is ready on check-in day.

Just an FYI: This part can be a little hit or miss. Sometimes, it works perfectly and we get notified by text/email. Other times, we never get notified, despite our room being ready.

If that happens, simply check My Disney Experience. If your room is ready, the room number will be on your Itinerary.

Entryway to Remy's Ratatouille Adventure, in the France Pavilion in Epcot

At Walt Disney World

Yay! You finally made it to Walt Disney World! Despite what you may think, your work on the My Disney Experience App is just getting started.

Wait Times

One of the most used function of the App is Wait times. It’ll be the 2nd icon, on the bottom of your screen.

Most often, it’ll default to Magic Kingdom. But, by using the filter, you can see the wait times of the other Parks.

If you’d rather see a list, rather than a map, the Show List tab is on the top right hand side of your screen.

Since this is essentially a map of Walt Disney World, you can use this feature for more than finding out how long the lines are at attractions.

No matter how many times I go to Disney Springs, I always manage to lost. I can’t tell you why. I guess I’m just terrible with directions. But, to give the illusion that I know where I’m going, I filter to Disney Springs and use the map to find where I’m going.

Screenshot of Mobile Order on the My Disney Experience App

Mobile Order

Mobile Order is, hands down, one of my favorite additions to the app. Why wait in line to get food when order your food from your phone and pick it up as soon as you’re ready?

Seriously, if you’re not already using Mobile Order, you should!

The only caveat to Mobile Order is that some limited-time specialty treats are not going to be listed on the App. And if you have special dietary restrictions, you’re better off standing in line to speak to a Cast Member.

I have noticed improvement in this feature over the past few trips. But, it still has areas that can be improved.

Entrance to Remy's Ratatouille Adventure, in the France Pavilion in Epcot

Genie+

Oh boy…Genie+. Where do I even begin with this one.

First of all, if you don’t know what Disney Genie and Disney Genie+ are, please read Everything You Need To Know About The New Disney Genie before thinking of purchasing it.

You don’t want to pay $15 per person, if you have no intention of using the My Disney Experience App to book attractions. Despite what others say, I do see improvements being made to make sure it’s worth your money.

If you remember nothing else about this App, remember this. If you learn how to use Genie+ before you get to the Parks, it can absolutely be a timesaver. We bypassed a 95 minute line for Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, and even purchased an Individual Lightning Lane to walk onto Flight of Passage when the line was 2 hours long.

However, a downside to this is you’re going to be on your phone…a lot.

Virtual Queue

Even if you don’t purchase Genie+, you can still book a Virtual Queue through the unpaid portion of Disney Genie.

Because it’s free, it will fill up the fastest. So, I do recommend booking these before booking attractions on Genie+.

At the time of writing, the only attraction that currently uses a Virtual Queue is Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind, in Epcot.

There are only 2 ways to ride attractions with Virtual Queues. You can either get a free Reservation (AKA Virtual Queue), or you can pay for the Individual Lightning Lane. There is no standby line.

Get up before 7AM and book this one because you’re not going to want to miss this attraction. It’s truly amazing.

PhotoPass (Memory Maker)

Vacations at Walt Disney World is something I want to remember forever. So, of course, I want pictures. That’s why I purchase Memory maker for all of my trips.

There are PhotoPass photographers scattered throughout Disney Property. One they take your picture, they’ll scan your MagicBand or Magic Maker card.

And, of course, those pictures will show up on My Disney Experience.

Even if you didn’t purchase the Photo package, you will be able to see the pictures. However, you will have a watermark plastered across it, so you can’t download it.

If you want to save $30, purchase it ahead of time. Currently, Memory Maker is $169, or $199 if you purchase it after you get to Walt Disney World. And you get unlimited photos, including Magic Shots and on-ride photos.

If you only want a couple photos, you can purchase individual pictures. But, they’re pretty pricey at about $17 per photo. So, you may be better off purchasing the whole package.

Play Disney Achievements

Play Disney Parks

Even if you purchase Genie+, at some point, you’re going to be waiting for something. So, you may as well play some games to pass the time.

Along with trivia games, you can learn facts, listen to music, and earn achievements for going to different Attractions.

If you have MagicBand+, there’s a Batuu’s Bounty Hunters game, in Hollywood Studios’ Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, that interacts with your MagicBand+.

Bring a backup charger with you. You’re going to need it.

Endcap with Disney Merchandise

Shopping

If there’s anything more annoying than standing in line for food, it’s standing in a long line to pay for merch.

Before you tart questioning if you really need that souvenir, open the App and scan the price tag. It will add the item to your cart. You can use a Credit Card or a Gift Card to pay for your items.

If you’re like me and only use Gift Cards at Walt Disney World to stay on budget, I did notice that the system does not save Gift Cards to your account. Since I combine Gift Cards onto one Card, it would have been nice to not have to keep entering it at checkout.

But, other than that, the process is simple. You’ll be given a code, which you show a Cast Member near the door. They’ll scan your code and offer to give you a bag, if you need one.

At The Resorts

Disney Transportation arriving to pick up Guests

Bus Waits

When this addition was added to the My Disney Experience App, I was probably more happy than I should have been.

Waiting for the bus at a Resort can really test a person’s patience. Time doesn’t move any slower than it does when you’re ready to head to the Parks.

The system runs in real-time, so I always know when the next bus will be making its return trip.

 

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Unlock your Resort Door

This does not replace your Magic Band. But, it does work in addition to it.

It’s still much faster to just tap your MagicBand. But, if you forget your MagicBand in the room, you have another way to unlock your door.

Since most of us remembers to bring our phone with us, it’s great that there’s a backup. Simply open the app and press “unlock door” as you place your phone close to the sensor.

It really is that simple…

Check on Room Charges

Disney makes it way too easy to pay for things using your MagicBand. If you’re not careful, you can rack up a pretty hefty bill. Fortunately, you can check your room charges at any point.

While I do only use Gift Cards at Walt Disney World, I make it a point to check my room account, just in case my husband or kids decided to be sneaky and charge with their MagicBand (AKA a room charge).

We do use the same Pin for all of us. So, it wouldn’t be hard for them to charge the room. But, if you don’t want your kids to have access to this capability, you can change their Pin to something they don’t know.

Haven’t downloaded the App yet? Here’s where you can find it!

My Disney Experience for Apple

My Disney Experience for Android

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