How to Save Time at Disney World Using Your Smartphone

Use the My Disney Experience app on your smartphone to save time at Disney World and make the most of your Disney vacation.

When you’re visiting Disney World, time is money. Fortunately, technology – in the form of your smartphone – can help you save time in the parks and at your resort, so you can make the most of your Disney vacation. Standing in lines isn’t fun, so follow these tips to speed up your visit. This post will cover how to use the My Disney Experience app to save time at Disney World.

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Great news: the MyDisneyExperience app is free (Android/iPhone). You’ll need it installed on your phone to make the most of these tips. I’d also highly recommend a portable power pack like this so you can use the app throughout the day and still have battery left to take pictures of the fireworks at the end of the night.

Time is money when you’re at Disney World and those park tickets aren’t cheap, though you can save a few bucks by buying through an official partner like Undercover Tourist. (Find out more of my tips for how to save money at Disney World here.) You’ll want to see and do as much as possible, and your phone with the MyDisneyExperience app is the key to making that happen.

Pandora at Animal Kingdom - save time by booking FastPasses on the My Disney Experience app

If you want to ride any of the rides in Pandora without spending hours in line, you’re going to need to book a FastPass 60 days in advance.

Book your FastPasses in advance

If you’re a Disney World resort guest or staying at one of the partner Disney Springs hotels, you can book your FastPass+ reservations 60 days ahead of the start of your trip. Everyone else can book 30 days out. Each guest is entitled to book three FastPasses per day in advance. The initial three reservations have to be at the same park. Watch out for the parks with tiers – only the Magic Kingdom doesn’t at this time – as the most popular attractions are grouped into a top tier from which you can only pick one FastPass+ so you’ll need to pick your second and third ones from the lower tier. The most popular attractions can have wait times of 2-3 hours, so showing up without FastPasses can cost you lots of time or cause you to miss out on the rides entirely.

Find out which FastPasses are the most important!

Make additional FastPass+ reservations on the fly

Once you’ve used the initial three FastPasses that you’re allowed to pre-book, you’re able to make additional FastPass+ reservations one at a time. When this system first debuted, you’d have to wait in long lines at designated kiosks, but these days, you can do it right from your app.

The best way to book your next FastPass is while you’re waiting to board the ride you just used your latest FastPass for. There’s typically a few minutes between when you scan your Magic Band or ticket and when you get on the ride, so why not use that time to make your next reservation? On busier days and later in the afternoon, desirable FastPasses start to become scarce, so by booking as soon as the system allows you to, you might be able to snag a better return time or a popular ride that runs out quickly.

Butterfly table at the Skipper Canteen - save time at Disney World by booking dining reservations using the My Disney Experience app

I found out later that the butterfly table at the Skipper Canteen is a coveted spot.

Book dining reservations on the mobile app

If you plan to eat at a table service restaurant, it’s a pretty good idea to book as far in advance as possible. Many of the table service restaurants in the parks and restaurants allow walk-ups, but you’ll likely be looking at a long wait, especially during busy seasons. You can begin booking 180 days from the beginning of your resort reservation or 180 days prior to the date if you don’t have a hotel booked. Rather than wait for a table for an hour, just book ahead of time and you’ll be seated after just a few minutes. You can book your Disney World dining reservations online or using the MyDisneyExperience app. You can also modify and cancel reservations on the fly using the app, though beware of the fact that restaurants charge a $10/person cancellation fee if you do it within 24 hours of your seating time.

Mac & cheese from Flame Tree Barbeque at Animal Kingdom - save time at Disney World with mobile ordering

We skipped a huge line for this delicious cheesy BBQ mess by using mobile ordering on my phone.

Mobile ordering for quick service restaurants at Disney World

This feature is amazing, especially on crowded days at peak dining times. Several of the quick service restaurants at Disney World now allow mobile ordering, which can save you loads of time. You can place your order ahead of time, and then when you’re ready to pick up the food, just indicate that you’ve arrived on the app and you can walk right up to the counter to grab your meal without waiting in the long lines. Go ahead and feel superior – you earned it, you savvy traveler you. One day when we were park-hopping from Hollywood Studios to Animal Kingdom, we placed our order on the bus and then picked it up from Flame Tree BBQ while dozens and dozens of people waited in a lengthy line. There was a Cast Member there trying to convince people to use the mobile ordering to speed up their wait time, but not a lot of takers for reasons I don’t understand.

In order to use mobile ordering, make sure you have the most recent version of the Disney World app – I had to download an update on the fly even though the version I had on my phone was only downloaded about a month and a half before my visit, so don’t make my mistake.

Room at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge - save time by skipping the front desk

We just went straight to our room without ever having to talk to the front desk.

Check in without visiting the front desk

If you’re staying on property at a Disney World hotel, you get free Magic Bands for your party. These bands serve as your room keys, meaning that you don’t have to pick anything up from the front desk when you arrive. Prior to leaving, you can fill in check in information on the Disney World website and your room will be assigned to you on the day of your arrival. You can check the MyDisneyExperience app for your room number, and can also opt in for a text message telling you where you’re staying. Once you get to the hotel, you can walk straight past the line of people waiting for assistance at the front desk and head directly to your room.

We got off of the Magical Express at almost midnight on my last trip and being able to just walk right through the lobby and over to our room felt amazing.

Maps with current wait times

The easiest way to check wait times for rides at Disney World is using the MyDisneyExperience app. Rather than walking all the way across the park to see what the line for Splash Mountain looks like, just pull out your phone and check the app. I’ve found the posted wait times to be fairly accurate, so you can use this knowledge to plan out your route and choose your next attractions.

Have an hour to kill before your dining reservation? Check the app and look for something with a wait time half an hour or less and head there. It’ll save you from wandering aimlessly and checking on rides with waits that are way too long.

Chip and Dale at Hollywood Studios - use the My Disney Experience app to find the best character meet and greets

You won’t want to miss moments like when Dale decided that he needed to rescue me from my boyfriend who was wearing a Star Wars shirt with Empire blueprints.
Photo by Walt Disney World PhotoPass

Find characters and PhotoPass photographers using the app

You can see all current character meet & greets on the MyDisneyExperience app so it’s easy to find when your favorite character is available for photographs and autographs. You can also locate where all of the active PhotoPass photographers in the park are so you can pick the perfect spot for that family photo you’ve been trying to snag without wandering aimlessly through the park. Once you have your pictures taken and scan your MagicBand, you should be able to view those photos within a half hour so you can take a look at them and make sure that they’re everything you expected.

Menus for all of the restaurants

Sometimes deciding where to eat can be a difficult task at Disney World, and having menus for every dining establishment in the parks and resorts at your fingertips can come in handy. It’d be a shame to walk all the way across the park to find out that Satu’li Canteen doesn’t have anything your picky eater is willing to try, so why not check the menu beforehand? Knowing that in advance will allow you to swing by Pizzafari on the way there or pick a different restaurant for everyone. It’s also a great time-saver to know what you want to order before you get to a restaurant and using the MyDisneyExperience app, everyone can pick their meals and drinks while they’re waiting in line for a ride or on the bus.

Magic Tea Cups mugs at Disney World - Use the Shop Disney Parks app to save time at Disney World

I’m kind of obsessed with these mugs designed like the Magic Kingdom’s tea cups ride.

Pick up and locate souvenirs without setting foot in a store

Using the Shop Disney Parks app (Android/iPhone), you can find out where specific items are located without having to search every souvenir store on property. Looking for that special spirit jersey in a size Medium? Scan its barcode and you can see exactly where it’s in stock using the app so you can head straight there to pick it up for yourself or place an order right from your phone. You can even choose to have your item delivered to your home (they deliver to all 50 US states) or to your resort hotel.

What are your favorite time-saving tips for Disney World?

See more great Disney World tips here:

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Save time at Disney World using your smartphone to make the most of your Disney vacation. This post includes all the tips you'll need to use the free MyDisneyExperience app to make the most of your Disney vacation. From booking FastPasses and dining to checking into your room to using the new mobile ordering feature, you'll definitely want to take advantage of these time-saving Disney World tips. #DisneyWorld #Disney #Epcot #MagicKingdom #DisneyTips #DisneyVacation #TravelTips #USA

 

Save time at Disney World using your smartphone to make the most of your Disney vacation. This post includes all the tips you'll need to use the free MyDisneyExperience app to make the most of your Disney vacation. From booking FastPasses and dining to checking into your room to using the new mobile ordering feature, you'll definitely want to take advantage of these time-saving Disney World tips. #DisneyWorld #Disney #Epcot #MagicKingdom #DisneyTips #DisneyVacation #TravelTips #USA Save time at Disney World using your smartphone to make the most of your Disney vacation. Order counter service food, shop souvenirs from anywhere, and book your FastPasses on the fly. This post includes all the tips you'll need to use the free MyDisneyExperience app to make the most of your Disney vacation. You'll definitely want to take advantage of these time-saving Disney World tips. #DisneyWorld #Disney #Epcot #MagicKingdom #DisneyTips #DisneyVacation #TravelTips #USA Breeze through lines and save time at Disney World with these tips for saving time on your Disney vacation. Your smartphone is the key to making the most of your vacation and you won't want to set foot in Disney World without downloading the free MyDisneyExperience app. #DisneyWorld #Disney #Epcot #MagicKingdom #DisneyTips #DisneyVacation #TravelTips #DisneyWorldTips #DisneyResorts #WDW #Vacation #VacationTips #USA Time is money at Disney World. Use your smartphone to make the most of your trip there. This post includes all the tips you'll need to use the free MyDisneyExperience app to make the most of your Disney vacation. From booking FastPasses and dining to checking into your room to using the new mobile ordering feature, you'll definitely want to take advantage of these time-saving Disney World tips. #DisneyWorld #Disney #Epcot #MagicKingdom #DisneyTips #DisneyVacation #TravelTips #USA Save time at Disney World using your smartphone to make the most of your Disney vacation. This post includes all the tips you'll need to use the free MyDisneyExperience app to make the most of your Disney vacation. From booking FastPasses and dining to checking into your room to using the new mobile ordering feature, you'll definitely want to take advantage of these time-saving Disney World tips. #DisneyWorld #Disney #Epcot #MagicKingdom #DisneyTips #DisneyVacation #TravelTips #USA
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About

Kris's suitcase never rests. She's either traveling the United States for business or exploring somewhere exciting and new for vacation. She's a former Disney World Cast Member and loves writing about Disney parks almost as much as visiting them.

16 Comments

  • Samara April 27, 2018 at 11:55 am Reply

    Great tips! The ‘looking at the menus ahead of time’ is a such a great tip that I don’t think a lot of people think about.

  • Ferne Arfin April 28, 2018 at 3:27 pm Reply

    Interesting pointers. But what happens when your smart phone runs out of juice.

    • Kris May 3, 2018 at 9:24 pm Reply

      That’s why I always recommend carrying a portable battery pack with you!

  • Louise April 28, 2018 at 4:25 pm Reply

    Super helpful tips! Thanks for sharing. Will save this for when we visit Disney World:)

  • Dorothyadele April 28, 2018 at 4:49 pm Reply

    Thanks for the great advice, I hate standing in lines and I like the idea of booking in advance and on 5e fly.

  • Dani April 28, 2018 at 10:37 pm Reply

    Great advice! We used all these tricks in Orlando but were super bummed to find they weren’t as good in Paris

  • Chloe from Chloe's Travelogue May 2, 2018 at 11:30 pm Reply

    This is by far the most helpful posting about Disney World. Pinning for my future visit to Disney. Thanks for sharing super useful tips. 🙂

  • Mayuri May 2, 2018 at 11:39 pm Reply

    Woah! I really didn’t know you can do so much from your smartphone. When I’m traveling I don’t use Roaming, I rely on free wifi. Hopefully they have free wifi and I totally agree with your power bank tip!

    • Kris May 3, 2018 at 9:25 pm Reply

      They have free wifi throughout the parks and resorts!

  • Lindsay Troncone May 3, 2018 at 12:07 am Reply

    We just got back from Disneyland last week and I was shocked by how easy they have made the fast passes! It was such a game changer for us to not have to run to the ride and get a fast pass manually…instead we just used the app while we were waiting in line for another ride! So simple!!

  • Amy Chung May 3, 2018 at 12:32 am Reply

    Hahaha! I thought I was the only one who was obsessed with those teacup like the ride! I think I have a personal love for them because that was my daughter’s very first ride in Disneyland and it was mine too when I was little. Great tips about using my phone to organize everything!

  • Anjali W May 3, 2018 at 2:57 am Reply

    This is a great informational post. I totally agree with you that how easy it is to access services online. Smartphones are really handy while travelling. Thanks for the tips 🙂

  • unaveronicavagante May 3, 2018 at 8:51 am Reply

    I had no idea that such app existed! It seems to be very useful – all the amusement parks should have one! Or at least the big ones. I can think of Gardaland, in Italy, for example.

  • Candy May 3, 2018 at 1:55 pm Reply

    Love a good Disney time saver article. I love Disney and am always trying to find ways to save time here. I’ll have to utilize the app to shop my souvenirs cuz those shops get so packed!

  • Mateja May 3, 2018 at 6:26 pm Reply

    Seems they developed a truly amazing app. Loved reading about all the shortcuts, especially the food ordering option is genius! All the amusement parks around the world need this.

  • Christina May 3, 2018 at 10:12 pm Reply

    This app sounds absolutely amazing. It is every time savers dream. Being able to order food on the fly and walk right up and pick it up is a huge time saver. The map with wait times is incredible. Then you can also find where the characters are too! This is a genius app.

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