If you are visiting Walt Disney World this spring, there are some changes to theme park hours, character interactions, making dining reservations, and more that you’ll want to be aware of as you plan your vacation.
The My Disney Experience mobile app is more important than ever. To download the app, go to the Apple or Google App Store.
The app gives you all of the current availability for theme park reservations which are currently required to enter any Disney park. You can also check theme park availability before park hopping Park hopping can only currently be done after 2:00 p.m.
You’ll also use the app for dining reservations for table service restaurants.
The app can also be used for Mobile Food Ordering which is preferred by Walt Disney World and will keep you out of the long lines at counter service restaurants. Just order the food ahead of time and when you get to your counter service restaurant go back into the app and click “Pick Up Order”. It’s that easy!
Theme Park Hours
Currently, theme park hours are extended about two weeks ahead of time. For example, if you look right now at the park hours for the first week of May, they will still be extremely limited and Magic Kingdom may only be open until 6 p.m. This has been changing, though, about two weeks out.
The park hours have been extended and currently, Magic Kingdom is closing on average at 11 p.m. When your trip is about two weeks away, keep checking the My Disney Experience mobile app for new, extended park hours which will be posted in the app.
Memory Maker and Theme Park Photos
Any photos that a Disney PhotoPass Photographer takes of you and your family can be found in the My Disney Experience mobile app under “Photos”. These include photos that you take in front of icons like Cinderella Castle or the Tree of Life, on-ride photos, and others. Basically, any photo that you do not take yourself.
Walt Disney World recently announced that they are relaxing the face mask policy, but only for photos where guests are stationary and not moving. All guests can remove masks for photos and then will need to put them back on once the photo is taken. This is a significant change because now the Memory Maker/PhotoPass photos will once again have guests without masks in photos, making the cost of Memory Maker ($169 in advance, $189 while on your vacation) make much, much more sense!
Character experiences have, for the most part, been closed or heavily modified since the theme parks reopened last summer. Many of the restaurants that offer character dining experiences are still closed. The ones that have reopened, including Chef Mickey’s at the Contemporary Resort, Hollywood & Vine in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Garden Grill at Epcot, and Topolino’s Terrace at the Riviera Resort, have modified their character dining experiences so that guests can still see and take photos with characters from a distance. Characters are not currently approaching tables or having any close interactions with guests including signing autographs.
In the theme parks, guests can see and interact with characters in a number of different ways including impromptu character cavalcades and socially distanced character appearances.