Oh boy! You're going to Disney World. Now what? There is so much that goes into planning for a trip to Walt Disney World, but no need to stress! You've already taken that first step by doing your research to be a well-prepared vacationer. And we're hoppy to say that Disney World has made an all-in-one tool that makes things even easier.
That's right — as you begin your planning, you'll probably hear a lot about My Disney Experience. This tool will help you link park tickets, book dining reservations, see ride wait times, use the new Disney Genie system and more! We'll walk you through everything it's used for, and more importantly, how to use it so that you're an expert by the time you hit the parks. Whether you're a seasoned pro interested in learning more about new features or a total novice looking to learn the ropes, we've got all you need to know about My Disney Experience! Let's jump in!
What Is My Disney Experience? | How to Set Up Your My Disney Experience Account | How to Link Undercover Tourist Tickets and Hotels to My Disney Experience | My Disney Experience Features | At Disney Resort Hotels | When Dining | In the Theme Parks
What Is My Disney Experience?
My Disney Experience is an all-in-one vacation planning platform that Disney uses for just about everything. You can access My Disney Experience online at DisneyWorld.com, or on your smartphone by downloading the My Disney Experience (aka Disney World) app. (Your credentials for one will get you into the other, so you won't need to create separate accounts for both the web and app versions.) We highly recommend downloading the app prior to your visit — you'll want it handy while you're in the parks for its many in-park features!
With My Disney Experience, you can see all of your plans in one place, from park tickets, to hotel reservations, to Disney Park Passes. (And yes, it's compatible with theme park tickets and Disney Resort hotel reservations purchased through Undercover Tourist!) You can see all of your PhotoPass photos, use Mobile Ordering service or Mobile Check-In for restaurants. You can now access the new Disney Genie system, as well. Disney Resort hotel guests can use My Disney Experience as their room key. And you can even see real-time ride wait times or play interactive games based on the queue you're in while in the parks! If, like me, you find yourself a little technologically challenged, have no fear. While we're walking you through each step of the process in this guide, Disney has done a terrific job of making the platform intuitive and user-friendly (so easy a frog could do it!).
How to Set Up Your My Disney Experience Account
First thing's first: If you haven't already, you'll want to start by making your account at DisneyWorld.com. While you're thinking of it, it may be a good time to download the app too. From there, you'll then:
- Create your profile. This will include details such as your name and mailing address ... and also the Disney character you'd like to represent you in the app! (#Rapunzel). You'll also set up your username and password.
- Create your "Family & Friends" list. This is where you'll add in anyone you'll be traveling with and may want to share plans with, including spouses, children or friends. You can add them manually, or, for friends and family who may already have an account, you can request to connect by email.
How to Link Tickets and Hotel Reservations in My Disney Experience
If you've purchased Walt Disney World Resort tickets, you'll want to link them in My Disney Experience ASAP so that you can make a park reservation using Disney World's new system, Disney Park Pass. To enter a theme park, guests need both a ticket and a Disney Park Pass reservation for the same date ... and that Park Pass is made in My Disney Experience. We have a whole post walking you through how to do this to make things as stress-free as possible (because vacation planning should be fun!). In the meantime, here's how to link your tickets to your My Disney Experience account:
- To link your tickets in the My Disney Experience app on your smartphone, click the three horizontal lines in the bottom right-hand corner. You'll then see an option for "Tickets and Passes." Click the blue + in the upper right-hand corner, then "Link Tickets & Passes."
- To link your tickets in My Disney Experience in a browser, log in and hover over "My Disney Experience," and navigate to "My Plans." Hover over the ticket icon in the planning timeline, and then select "Link Tickets."
- No matter whether you've accessed My Disney Experience via browser or app, the process from here will be very similar. To link your Undercover Tourist tickets, start with either your email confirmation, E-ticket or mailed ticket. When you look at your Undercover Tourist E-tickets (either the ticket itself or your confirmation email), you’ll use the Reservation # to link in My Disney Experience. You can find this at the top of your ticket or on either of the barcodes. You can also scan the barcode straight into the app using your smartphone! Then, you'll be prompted to link a ticket to each member of your party (which you would have set up when you initially created your account in your My Family and Friends list).
There are a few numbers to have handy if you run into ticket issues. You can reach Undercover Tourist at any time for questions about your confirmation number at 1 (800) 846-1302 (or 1 -386-239-8624 worldwide). Disney Guest Relations can be reached at (407) 939-4357 (or 0800 16 90 749 from the UK) for My Disney Experience help.
- On the MDE app, head back to the three horizontal lines, then select "Resort Hotel."
- At this point, you'll be asked to provide the last name on the reservation and the confirmation number (Undercover Tourist customers can find this information in their confirmation email).
- We've found that linking hotel reservations is a little trickier than linking tickets. It can sometimes take a few days for your reservation to show up in My Disney Experience if you are staying at a partner hotel. And sometimes, there are room occupancy requirements in the system, which can take some backend organization to get your party situated (for example, because we have five guests and three rooms at Swan Dolphin for a recent stay, a cast member had to create a profile for "Guest A" for us so there were two guests per room). If this happens, cast members are hoppy to help! They can be reached at (407) 939-1936 (or 0800 16 90 749 from the UK).
Disney MagicMobile Service
Disney World has debuted an all-new service that allows guests to enter the Disney World theme parks using their Apple devices! Disney MagicMobile service can be accessed through My Disney Experience once you've linked your tickets in the app. The service creates a fun, customized pass that is then saved to your digital Wallet for quick and easy park access.
- In the My Disney Experience app, click the three horizontal lines to open the menu. Select "Disney MagicMobile." You may be prompted to re-enter your password.
- Select the plus sign to add a pass; eligible guests should automatically appear. If you don't see a guest you're looking for, give Guest Relations a call at (407) 939-4357.
- Now the fun part: customizing your pass! There are all kinds of toadally fun designs to choose from, including ear hats, attractions, park icons and snacks. They are all animated upon use, with special designs for Annual Passholders and DVC members. You can use and store multiple passes on a single device, so just repeat this process for each member of your party. You can always change the style later if you want to switch things up!
- Hold your device near an access point when you enter the park, just like you would with a MagicBand. You don't even need to wake your device or open the app! Keep in mind that you still need valid admission and a Disney Park Pass reservation to enter a theme park at this time. For family and friends, double-click the side or home button to open your Apple Wallet. Then, swipe to their pass to use it.
- Through the My Disney Experience app, you can select passes to share. Anyone who receives your shared pass will be able to add it to their Apple Wallet and use all of its linked entitlements.
- You can use a MagicBand and MagicMobile interchangeably. Keys to the World cards can be picked up at the front desk for Disney World Resort hotel guests for those who would prefer a non-digital method.
As of Oct. 2021, a new feature to My Disney Experience is Disney Genie. There are three components to the new planning system — the free Genie planning tool, the optional paid Genie+ service to make ride reservations and the individual Lightning Lane selections for rides not included in Genie+. Genie+ or pay-per-ride individual selections allow you to save time and enter attractions through the Lightning Lane (the old FastPass+ lines). At Disney World, Genie+ costs $15 per day per person and allows you to book arrival windows throughout the day to more than 46 attractions. Two rides per park are excluded from Genie+ and are additional costs per ride to access the Lightning Lane.
You can add Genie+ to your trip in two ways:
- Before Your Visit — You can purchase as an add-on to a ticket or vacation package. If you want to purchase in advance, buy a ticket with Genie+. Undercover Tourist is now selling multi-day tickets with Genie+.
- Same Day of Your Visit — Existing ticket holders and annual passholders may purchase through the My Disney Experience app starting at midnight. This is also the route you would take if you only want to use Genie+ for certain days but not your entire trip, or as a last-minute decision.
The Disney Genie system is fully integrated into the My Disney Experience app so all of your planning is in one place! In My Disney Experience, use the "+" button to expand the menu on the homepage and you'll see "View My Genie Day and Tipboard" — pressing that will rub the lamp and get your Genie experience started!
My Disney Experience Features
There are so many hopful features on My Disney Experience! You'll find that the tools included in the app are informative and can also help you save some time in the parks. It's a great resource to have on hand. Here's what you can do in My Disney Experience in each stage of planning your vacation.
Before You Arrive
Guests can now make Advance Dining Reservations up to 60 days in advance of their trip. Disney World Resort hotel guests can make reservations 60 days before check-in for the length of their trip. Those staying off-site will need to book 60 days in advance of each day of their trip. Reservation windows open at 6 a.m. EST (sorry, West Coast frogs! Get your caffeinated beverage of choice at the ready!).
To make an Advance Dining Reservation on the My Disney Experience app, press the "+" button in the bottom navigation bar. From there, you'll select that you'd like to check dining availability. On a browser, you'll visit the top navigation bar and hover over "Things to Do," and then select "Make Reservations."
On either platform, you'll then select a date, time and party size. You can also refine by park, resort or area (toward the top under "All Parks & Resorts"). There are some other filters available to play with, such as dining experience, price range, cuisine guest rating and whether or not dining plans are accepted (note that Disney Dining Plans are temporarily unavailable). All of these filtered details will also be available in more detail in the search results.
For table-service dining in the theme parks, don't froget that you'll need both valid admission and a Disney Park Pass reservation for that particular park on that particular day. If, for example, you're hoping to dine at Be Our Guest on a particular day, you'd need valid admission and a Disney Park Pass reservation for Magic Kingdom Park on the same day of your dining reservation. If you are park hopping, you are able to make dining reservations at the second park, but entry is still not guaranteed, especially if that park is nearing — or has already reached — capacity. So far, there has only been one day since reopening in July 2020 where park hopping was temporarily unavailable (Magic Kingdom on the first day of the 50th anniversary). This was an extreme case and has never occurred on a typical park day, but it's something to keep in mind while planning.
Prior to arriving, you can also start the check-in process if you'll be staying at a Disney World Resort hotel. You should see your resort hotel on the homepage, with a link to "My Resort;" click that and you will see the dates of your stay, your confirmation number and the type of room you'll have. To the right of this, you'll see a button that says "Start Check-In." From here, you can add information such as a PIN to be able to charge to your room, contact information, room location requests, what time you expect to arrive and the option to order and customize a MagicBand.
Disney World Resort hotel guests will no longer receive free MagicBands for their stay. My Disney Experience, however, will also have MagicBand's digital room key function for on-site guests; guests can still opt to purchase upgraded MagicBands for a minimal fee. Additionally, Disney will no longer be giving complimentary MagicBands to annual passholders. However, passholders may use MagicBands that they already have and will continue to receive discounts for ones purchased. MagicBand functionality will remain around property.
If you choose to customize a MagicBand, it will automatically be linked to your account. You can link an existing MagicBand or one that isn't already listed in My Disney Experience (for example, if you purchase one from ShopDisney or around property) in the app. To do so in the app, head to the three horizontal lines, then choose "My Profile," followed by "MagicBands and Cards." Then, select "Link a MagicBand or card." You'll then insert the ID code on the MagicBand and select which member of your party the MagicBand belongs to. You can set (or reset) a PIN for MagicBand purchases here, or in the steps below, if you are a Disney Resort hotel guest.
At this point, if you haven't already, it's a good idea to set up your preferred payment method, not only for incidentals but also for any mobile food ordering you'd like to do. You can set up your payment information in the same manner as you'd link a MagicBand: "My Profile," then "Payment Method." You can then use the blue "+" to either scan your credit card or manually key in the numbers. You can also remove old payment methods or edit your current payment method here if you've previously included it.
Just below your payment information, you can also set a PIN for your MagicBand purchases. A few tips regarding MagicBand charges:
- MagicBand charges are only available to Disney Resort hotel guests.
- Anyone using the same My Disney Experience account will use the same PIN, so make sure it's something you're willing to share.
- There are spending limits, as this is effectively just a way to charge back to your room. If you find that your band gets declined, contact the front desk to pay down the balance before you continue charging.
You can check your daily itinerary at any time in "My Genie Day" or "My Future Plans." This includes your tickets, hotel stay, Disney Park Pass reservations and dining reservations you have planned.
We highly recommend downloading the app so that you have easy access to use it while in the parks (and be sure to enable location services!). From here on out, you'll likely solely be using the app. With that in mind, we also recommend that you bring a portable charger with you to keep your phone fully juiced after a long park day.
Using My Disney Experience at Your Disney Resort Hotel
All of this information and prep work serves a purpose! On check-in day, you'll receive a text or notification notifying you that your room is ready — online check-in for the win! This allows guests to bypass the Front Desk unless they have specific questions or concerns. Once you have your room number, you can view a map of your resort for more specific directions on My Disney Experience if you aren't familiar with the grounds. This is where having the app downloaded and location services enabled will start to come in handy!
To view a map, open up the app and hit the location icon. If you have location services enabled, the app should pinpoint where you are and show you a map based on your current location. We generally navigate with our fingers from the main map; you can zoom in and out. Alternatively, in the drop-down menu, you can select "Resort Hotels" or even "Show List" to choose your hotel from the list. You can then zoom in on specific areas to see building names, the layout of the resort and more, or select "Get Directions" or even "Call" for more specific navigational assistance.
Once you've found your room, get ready for the magic! You can use the My Disney Experience app or your MagicBand as a digital key to unlock your door. (The tadpoles are definitely going to want to give it a try or 10!) Once you're in your room, you can use that same map feature to find nearby restaurants, view menus, find the pool (we hear you, Tad) and more.
Likewise, check-out is fully digital at this time, so no need to stop by the Front Desk. You'll be emailed your guest folio on check-out day, or you can view a copy at the Front Desk.
My Disney Experience is also your best source for news or updated policies, including Disney World's new health acknowledgment, park health and safety policies and property news. If you have questions at any time, there's also an online chat feature.
Using My Disney Experience When Dining
By this point, you've made your Advance Dining Reservations. But of course, there are times when an unplanned meal or snack pops up; your dining reservations likely don't account for all of your meals. My Disney Experience can help with food-time features such as Mobile Order service, mobile check-in for table-service restaurants, online menus, and of course, additional dining reservations. Recently, My Disney Experience added a feature to allow guests to "Check Dining Availability," and if you select "now" as your timeframe, the app will show you which restaurants are currently accepting walk-ups, starting with those closest to you.
If you're anything like us, we generally don't plan a dining reservation for our arrival day (there are just too many variables, and I always start sweating thinking about making it someplace on time). Instead, we take our time to arrive, get settled and then decide what we'd like to do as a family. Sometimes, that means a quick bite on our way to the pool; sometimes, that means a nicer sit-down option together before we catch that night's Movies Under the Stars. No matter your touring style, My Disney Experience has the functionality to get you fed!
Mobile Order service enables you to order ahead at your favorite quick-service restaurants. You'll order, customize and pay for your meal in the app, then pick it up in the designated window at the specified arrival time — easy as pie (so to speak ... or should we say Dole Whip)! In the app, select the "+" icon, then "Order Food." You'll then select an arrival window at the restaurant you're looking for. If you'd rather sort by what's around you, select the map pin icon to the bottom right of this list to see nearby options.
Once you've picked your arrival time, it's time to get to the good stuff — pick your fave! You can sort by category (including Kids Meals, Plant-based, Dessert, and, in parks that serve alcohol, Alcoholic Beverages). You'll then be prompted to make it your own, customizing and choosing sides, if applicable. Once that's done, click "Add." (If you find that the "Add" button isn't available, double-check that you've filled out all of the selections.)
You can continue this until your order is ready, then click on the shopping bag icon in the top right or the "View My Order" button at the bottom of the page. You'll see a summary of your order, where you can either go back and modify or review. Once you're ready to review, you then have the option to continue to check out (with a credit card) or pay with Apple Pay. The final step is to show up at the restaurant within your specified timeframe, select "I'm Here" and pick up your food! It sounds like a lot of instructions, but really, we've found that the app does a great job of walking you through each step. You'll be a pro in no time!
In My Disney Experience, you can also view menus digitally. Most table-service restaurants have switched to an online menu at this time and are also using mobile check-in (which is also done through My Disney Experience, similar to the "I'm Here" feature for Mobile Order). Remember that map you used to view your resort's details? You can do that all around property, and it's an easy way to see which restaurants offer Mobile Order. At the top of the map, press on "Wait Times" and select the "Dining" option. You'll see a map (based on where you are) and different icons; the icon that looks like a smartphone with a fork and knife represents a restaurant offering Mobile Order service, while the fork and knife icon is generally for table-service restaurants. You can select any icon for more information, including directions, hours, type of cuisine, price range and menu. You'll also have the option to Mobile Order (where applicable) and Make a Reservation (if offered).
Using My Disney Experience at the Theme Parks
The fun features continue once you're in the theme parks! Toward the bottom of your home screen, you'll find the daily park hours, park hopping hours and showtimes for the day for each park. You can even add showtimes to your itinerary!
Hop back to that map in the app. You can use that same filter you've used previously to find attractions, wait times, entertainment, PhotoPass stops (the icon is a toadally cute Mickey head), restrooms, Guest Services, shops and transportation (including bus stops and rideshare pick up/drop off areas). Not only can you see where these services and amenities are on the map, but you can also get directions to these locales based on where you're currently at. Note that the Guest Services icon actually includes much more than the locations where you can find the Guest Experience Team. The Guest Services filter also includes the locations of AEDs, service animal relief areas, hearing disability services, visual disability services, ATMs, package pickup, rider switch, portable phone charging system kiosks, coin press machines and more.
Now, let's introduce the new Disney Genie! The planning tool can be accessed from the top of the home page or by clicking the three lines in the bottom right corner and selecting "Tip Board." Once there, you can utilize the free planning portion by telling Genie your interests and the app will create a customized plan for your day. If you purchased Genie+ or individual Lightning Lane selections, you will be able to see and make your selections here. We go over more details on this new service in our full Disney Genie guide.
In addition to Lightning Lane and Genie+, if you are utilizing Disney Disability Access Service (DAS) or Rider Switch, you'll find information about your service's return times in the app, as well. Soon, guests will be able to reserve DAS return times straight from the app! The My Disney Experience app is also how you can join a virtual queue for certain attractions, such as Remy's Ratatouille Adventure in EPCOT. Check out our full virtual queues at Disney World guide for more information!
We frogs are all about taking lots of photos when at Disney World and the app makes it toadally easy to access all your PhotoPass photos (you can also purchase Memory Maker or a daily photo pass through My Disney Experience using the "+" icon on the home screen).
At PhotoPass stops, or after rides, you can scan your MagicBand or the app to have your photos automagically uploaded to your account (some rides don't even need you to scan afterward, truly magical!). From the homepage on the app, you can scroll down and click either "Link Photos" or "My Photos." "My Photos" is where you can head to view your photos; "Link Photos" is where you'll head if you need to add photos. This will enable you to scan to link a PhotoPass card you've received or to show your PhotoPass code to a photographer. While viewing a photo, you can also edit, save, share within the app, or purchase photo gifts such as frames, ornaments and mugs.
More Uses for My Disney Experience
In addition to these hopful in-park features, there's some fun built in too! While in the park, you can:
- Shop for merchandise – Check to see if a special park item is also available online on the ShopDisney website.
- Shop in Store – Disney is currently testing out a service where you can scan items and check out all on your phone! The service is only currently available at select stores.
- See where in-queue games are available using the Play Disney Parks app.
- Watch fun videos inspired by the parks, or access at-home crafts or activities.
- Connect to trivia games through the Play Disney Parks app.
- Connect to a Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge Datapad through Play Disney Parks app.
- See virtual guides for EPCOT's fabulous festivals.
OK, confession time. While we feel like we are My Disney Experience pros by now, there is one little technological trick that left Leap and me scratching our heads: QR codes. You'll find that digital menus and guides can be accessed by the app, or by scanning a QR code. But how exactly do you scan a QR code? All you have to do is open your smartphone's camera to scan the code and a notification should pop up for you to tap to access the information in My Disney Experience. (Thanks, Tad!)
Believe it or not, this is only scratching the surface of My Disney Experience's capabilities! What questions do you have about My Disney Experience? What tips or tricks do you have to share? Be sure to share with us in the comments below!