Get your appetite ready, because the EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival returns to Walt Disney World Resort July 14th through Nov. 19th!
This is my favorite festival, and it's going to last a whopping 129 days this year!
In addition to the incredible food booths, the Eat to the Beat Concert Series returns this year with both internationally known artists and local bands on the America Gardens stage. The lineup of musicians will be released at a later date.
The family-friendly Remy's Ratatouille Hide & Squeak scavenger hung will return again. Emile's Fromage Montage will also return as a fun way to try delicious cheeses!
Stay tuned for more information about this popular festival as it's released!
The Food & Wine Festival is one of the most popular festivals that Walt Disney World offers every year. To be among the first to get information, join my newsletter! (Linked below!) To book your Walt Disney World vacation during this festival, click here.
Beginning March 16, face coverings will be optional for fully vaccinated guests on the Disney Skyliner!
Face coverings will also be optional for fully vaccinated Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser guests on the transport while traveling to and from the Halcyon starcruiser and Batuu.
At this time, face coverings remain required by all guests ages 2+ on monorails and Disney buses.
Updates to health and safety guidelines at Walt Disney World Resort have been very gradual and intentional. Please reach out with any questions and refer to Disney's reopening updates for the most current information.
My TOP Genie+ Tips
If you're traveling to Walt Disney World in 2022 and beyond, you've probably heard of Genie+. But what is it?
Genie+ is Walt Disney World's paid replacement of the old FastPass+ system. It arrived in late fall 2021 and completely changes everything when it comes to Disney travel. This system can feel overwhelming. Below, you'll find 10 tips for navigating Genie+ like a pro. This list is a labor of love between myself and many of my colleagues. (It's important to note that these tips are only for Genie+, and do not pertain to the paid Individual Lightning Lanes for headliner attractions.)
This post may contain affiliate links, which means that I may earn a small commission at no cost to you.
1) Call Me, Beep Me, Genie+ Me
You'll be on your phone all day long. I suggest planning some downtime activities to give yourself a break from the app. I offer my recommendations for easy "anytime" activities to my clients.
Regardless of how much you use your phone, you're going to need a portable phone charger. Amazon has tons of great portable phone chargers, including my personal favorite and an extra slim option. (Pro tip: keep your phone on battery save mode to help it charge faster and keep its charge longer.)
2) Practice Makes Perfect
Before you use Genie+ for the first time, go into the My Disney Experience app and get familiar. Like I mentioned above, you'll be on your phone a lot in the parks. Having a little experience with the Genie section will help the process feel less overwhelming.
When that early alarm goes off for your 7 am selection, the whole Lightning Lane process will seem much less intimidating and you can hit the ground running in the parks. (Pro tip: make sure you're using the most updated version of the My Disney Experience app.)
3) The limit does not exist.
There's no way of knowing how many folks will purchase Genie+ on any given day, because there's no limit to the number of guests who can add this feature. What does this mean for you? Book your top selections before they’re gone.
Genie+ won't sell out, but Lightning Lane queues can only physically hold a certain number of people for the day. If Slinky Dog Dash is your top must-do, choose that first before selecting something that won't fill up, like MuppetVision 3D. (Note: MuppetVision is a personal favorite, but it's not a good use of a Lightning Lane.)
4) If at first you don't succeed, refresh and refresh again.
If you don’t like the times that are offered for a particular ride, and you haven't made your selection yet, refresh that screen! Occasionally, you'll see options that were previously unavailable. DO NOT do this for top priority rides, as these can run out of return times. (See #3 and #9)
5) Watch the Clock
Booking a Lightning Lane "blocks" your account for 2 hours. The only way to "clear the block" is to wait 2 hours from when you made your last reservation OR use the last selection you booked, whichever comes first. After that, you can continue to reserve Lightning Lanes every 2 hours. Use your phone alarm to help keep track. Remember, the 2 hour clock starts at park opening time. (ex: park opens at 9, book your next selection at 11)
6) The Stacking Trick
Typically, you’ll have one Lightning Lane at a time. That's how the system is designed. But there IS a way to stack them and have your return times overlap. This happens when you schedule multiple return times for later in the afternoon/evening.
How does this work if you can only book every 2 hours? At 7 am, you can make your first selection, and let's say your return time is for 2:50-3:50. At 11 am, you can select another attraction, again at 1 pm, 3 pm, and so on. If you keep choosing later return times, they can overlap, meaning you can hop from attraction to attraction with no waits!
7) Park Hop 'til You Drop
You can reserve Lightning Lanes for parks that you're not physically in. That means that if you're at one park in the morning, but know you’ll hop to another park later, you can make selections before you hop.
Just make sure that your return time is late enough to accommodate the travel time between parks after hopping begins at 2 pm. This, of course, requires a park hopper ticket.
8) Head of the Party Planning Committee
If you have several parties traveling together, designate ONE person to handle Genie+ for everyone. Otherwise, with multiple people on the app making changes, things get messy quickly.
To make things easier for your designated Genie+ booker, make sure that everyone is linked via friends & family and that everyone has valid park admission and reservations.
9) Set in Stone
Once you book a Genie+ Lightning Lane, you cannot modify your return time. But you can cancel that Lightning Lane and rebook another. Please note that by doing this, you do risk that attraction booking up for the day. Lightning Lanes can, and do, fill quickly. Pro tip: If you do cancel and rebook, the 2 hour window restarts.
10) Time is Money
The time has come to head to your attraction! You have a 1 hour window to return. There is a grace period of 5 minutes before and 15 minutes after your hour-long window. That's it. If, for whatever reason, you'll miss your return time completely, don't panic!
First, try to cancel that Lightning Lane in the app. Easy peasy. Missed Lightning Lanes can result in you not being able to book more Lightning Lanes later. (It can cause issues with the system, essentially tying up your account.)
The best option is to find a Guest Services Cast Member (look for the blue umbrellas) and explain the situation. Usually, they'll simply remove the missed Lightning Lane from your account! (This should go without saying, but remember to be kind to all Cast Members!)
My clients all get a detailed Genie+ guide, as well as personalized park touring recommendations and tips. To learn more about my client package inclusions, click here.
Beginning March 11, 2022, Disney Cruise Line will begin to relax its face covering policy!
Following recently updated guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Disney Cruise Line has updated their face covering requirements for sailings originating from a U.S. port of departure. Beginning March 11, face coverings on Disney Cruise Line will become optional in most indoor locations throughout Disney ships.
Guests ages 2+, including those who are fully vaccinated, will still be required to wear face coverings in the Walt Disney Theatre. Guests under 5 years of age who are currently ineligible to be vaccinated will be required to wear face coverings in Youth Activities spaces and in the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique.
While not required, Disney Cruise Line continues to strongly recommend guests wear a face covering in all other indoor locations.
Face coverings may be required in ports of call based on local government requirements, including in some areas at Disney Castaway Cay. Masks should also be worn in the cruise terminal during the boarding and screening process, as well as during disembarkation.
For further questions, or for more information about taking a Disney cruise, contact me.