5 Things You Should Know Before Going to Walt Disney World this Year (2021)

Planning a Walt Disney World vacation can seem daunting at times, from what the weather is going to be, what to pack, and how the heck to get a boarding group for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance.

Things are always changing at the Disney theme parks but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a plan before taking your first step down Main Street U.S.A. at Magic Kingdom.

We’ve rounded up five of the top things you need to know before going to Walt Disney World this year so you can plan your vacation with ease and get the most out of your time in the parks.

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1. Beware the weather at Walt Disney World

No matter what time of year you go to Walt Disney World the weather can be unpredictable. In trips past we’ve thought the weather was going to be warm and sunny the entire trip, only to arrive at Walt Disney World to damp and dreary days.

Rain on the horizon over World Showcase Lagoon at Epcot 16

Don’t be discouraged though. Just pack a little of everything from shorts and t-shirts to jeans and sweatshirts and you’ll be set to go, especially in spring and fall.

And if it is raining just throw a few disposable ponchos into your backpack and off to the parks you can go.

Hipster Power Tip: You can buy a bulk of disposable ponchos from the Dollar Tree for only $1 each!

2. There is no FastPass at any of the parks

If you’re going to Walt Disney World thinking you’ll be able to get the prized FastPass reservations for the top tier attractions, think again.

Hollywood Studios FastPass Kiosk
Hollywood Studios FastPass Kiosk

For the time being Walt Disney World has stopped their FastPass program due to the ongoing global pandemic and their commitment to new health and safety measures.

On some attractions that means the former FastPass queue is being used as an extended queue so more people can be in line and still accommodate for social distancing.

We love that there’s no FastPass. The lines move faster, you are fully immersed in the story of the ride, and you can often do more attractions at the parks without FastPass than with it.

Ready to plan your theme park trip? Watch the best vacation planning tips on YouTube. Get started here!

3. Disney dining options are limited

All around Walt Disney World many restaurants and snack carts have not reopened including places like 1900 Park Fare at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa and The Yachtsman Steakhouse at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort.

You’ll want to look on Disney’s website to see if the restaurant you want to dine at is currently open and what their menu looks like.

Boathouse Orlando Disney Springs
The BOATHOUSE at Disney Springs

Since reopening in July, Walt Disney World has changed many restaurant menus to be smaller or to use more economical products that don’t end up costing the guest more money for meals.

If you are looking for something specific in quick service dining and can’t find it be sure to ask a Cast Member.

Ronto Wrap at Star Wars Land
Ronto Wrap

For example, after 3 p.m. Ronto Roasters inside Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge closes and you cannot get a meal there. But if you still want a tasty Ronto Wrap you’ll need to know they are sold inside at Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo for dinner.

4. Disney Park hopping is different than it was in the past

We love park hopping from park-to-park throughout our stay at Walt Disney World. Like many people we were excited when Disney announced that park hopping would return, but look a little different.

Magic Kingdom Cinderella Castle from the Back

You will still need to secure a park pass through Disney’s reservation system. After checking in to your first park in the morning or early afternoon, you can park hop to a second, third, or fourth park after 2 p.m.

There are no limits to how many parks you can go to or how many times you can swap parks after 2 p.m.

If you are going to try to get a boarding group for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, you will need to make a park pass for Disney’s Hollywood Studios since park hopping starts after the last time to get a boarding group for the day.

5. Hotels are being very strict about visiting for the day

One thing guests at Walt Disney World often love to do is resort hop to check out all of the resorts around the property with their different themes and restaurants.

Disney Art of Animation Resort

This is especially true during the holiday season when each of the resorts are decorated for Christmas with lights, trees, and gingerbread displays.

This year Disney is making it harder to resort hop by saying only Guests staying at the resort or with a confirmed dining reservation can park at a resort, and the security guards at each resort are taking this seriously.

If you still want to resort hop consider a few options:

Dolphin Hotel Resort with Lagoon

1 – Make a dining reservation then leave your car at that resort and use Disney transportation to check out nearby resorts.

This works best on the monorail loop where Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Disney’s Polynesian Village, and Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa are.

You can also add in Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort by getting off the monorail at Magic Kingdom and getting on the boat to Disney’s Wilderness Lodge.

2 – The other option for resort hopping is the Skyliner loop

This route will take you to Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club, Disney’s Boardwalk, Epcot, Disney’s Riviera Resort, Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, Disney’s Art of Animation Resort and Disney’s Pop Century Resort.

This is our favorite loop since there are so many places to get off and explore, have a snack or a drink and hang out for the day.

Should you go to Disney World with Cinderella Castle in Florida Sun
Save Image for Later on Pinterest!

Wrapping Up…

No matter when you choose to visit Walt Disney World this year, know that the magic of the parks is still there even if things look and operate differently than when you were there last.

For more theme park tips and tricks follow ThemeParkHipster on social media.

Until next time, Happy Park Hopping Hipsters!

About the Author

Megan DuBois Theme Park Writer

Megan is a theme park expert and frequent traveler to magical places. She covers all things Disney and Universal and runs marathons for fun.

She thinks you can tell a lot about someone by the name of their signature lipstick, and hers is NARS Dragon Girl.

You can follow her adventures on Instagram and Twitter.

Planning a trip soon? If so, read the Disney Vacation Planning Guide for your next dream trip!

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