Over the 50 years that it has been open, Disney World has made quite a few changes!
But change isn’t always a bad thing — today we’re discussing 10 times that Disney World changed for the better!
Since the reopening in 2020, Mobile Order has been a very helpful tool to keep restaurant capacities down and promote social distancing. It’s now the primary way that guests order “fast food” in the parks and it definitely helps spread out the crowds.
MagicBands and MagicMobile
MagicBands were a very useful addition to the parks, allowing guests to avoid carrying around (and potentially losing) a ticket card all day. With a MagicBand, you can scan into the park, use Lightning Lanes (and formerly FastPasses), open your hotel room door, and pay for purchases if you’re staying onsite.
However, last year Disney announced that MagicBands would no longer be free for resort guests, and Annual Passholders eventually lost that perk as well. Thankfully, they introduced the new MagicMobile in its place, and for those who carry their phones around constantly, it has been a great upgrade!
With MagicMobile in the My Disney Experience app and your phone’s wallet, you can do most of the same things a MagicBand was used for. It’ll even download your PhotoPass pictures directly!
Mobile Dine Walk-Up Waitlist
Want to eat at a Table Service restaurant right now, but you don’t have a reservation? No worries! You can now use the Mobile Dine Walk-Up Waitlist by checking for reservations in the My Disney Experience app and selecting “now” as your time.
On that page, the app will show you all the restaurants nearby with walk-up availability as well as their wait times. You simply add your name to the list, and voila, you’ll be texted when it’s time to return! No need to visit the restaurant’s podium! (Although you can often scan a QR code there to check for availability as well.)
Wow, a lot of these changes involve our phones! A few months back, Disney World also introduced the ability to check out from your phone at many gift shops around the parks.
No more waiting in long lines to get your merchandise at many of the popular stores! To use this new system, you simply find the signage, scan the QR code, and follow the instructions to pay for your item(s). Usually, there’s a Cast Member on standby to help you out.
Holiday Cavalcades During the Daytime
Last year, the holiday season was VERY different in Disney World due to the pandemic. Holiday parties were canceled and in their place, the parks got some bonus activities during the daytime, including the introduction of Christmas-y cavalcades!
Throughout both the Halloween and Christmas seasons, you could see characters decked out in their seasonal best strolling through the parks all day long! In Magic Kingdom, these cavalcades even represented small sections of their respective holiday parades. We’ve definitely been missing this bonus entertainment this year — you can only see the special cavalcades and characters if you visit Boo Bash or Very Merriest After Hours.
Merchandise Purchase Limit
Earlier this year, Disney FINALLY made a change that we’ve been hoping would come for quite a while…purchase limits! In the past, it wasn’t uncommon to see online resellers leaving the parks with bags of merchandise, but now, there’s a two-item per person purchase limit.
With this purchase limit, it’s much harder for people to enter the parks, buy the entire stock, and then resell it online for ridiculously high prices. Hopefully that means that you’ll be able to find the souvenir that you want!
Online Check-In for Resorts
These days, if you’re checking in to a Disney World Resort hotel, you won’t even have to stop at the check-in desk thanks to Online Check-In! Simply log into your My Disney Experience account up to 60 days before your vacation begins to fill out the online check-in information.
Then, once you arrive in Disney World, keep an eye on your phone notifications and email account for a “room ready” message. Once you receive that notification with your room number, you’ll be able to head directly to your door and unlock it using your phone or MagicBand!
One of Disney World’s most popular forms of transportation is also its newest — the Disney Skyliner! When the new system was built, it finally gave a bonus transportation option for guests staying at Pop Century, Art of Animation, and Caribbean Beach Resort, connecting all three hotels to the new Riviera Resort along with EPCOT and Hollywood Studios.
This relatively new option offers great views of the resort and faster travel times to and from the parks. Even though the Skyliner has had its fair share of problems, there’s still consistently a long line to board at the end of the day and a shortage of rooms at the resorts it connects! That sounds like success to us.
Over the years, Disney World has made several successful ride updates for old attractions. Most recently, Jungle Cruise was changed slightly to include a connected storyline and remove outdated cultural depictions.
A similar change was made to Pirates of the Caribbean a few years ago, updating the controversial auction scene and changing one of the female characters into a pirate named Redd. Both updates have been well-received by guests since their premiere.
And finally, let’s talk about some of the new lands that have been introduced in Disney World. Adding Pandora — The World of Avatar to Disney’s Animal Kingdom was a big upgrade from Camp Minnie-Mickey, adding two very popular rides and some stunning scenery.
And even though we miss some of the old offerings in Hollywood Studios (especially the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights!), adding Toy Story Land and Galaxy’s Edge to the park has been a big draw for countless guests the past few years.
There you have it — 10 times that change was a good thing in Disney World. So next time Disney announces something new, don’t worry, it may end up being one of your new favorites!
Stay tuned to AllEars for the latest Disney news and updates, plus all the details on the latest changes.
What change did you enjoy the most in Disney World? Let us know in the comments!
Join the AllEars.net Newsletter to stay on top of ALL the breaking Disney News! You'll also get access to AllEars tips, reviews, trivia, and MORE! Click here to Subscribe!