Matthew Krul: Springtime Tips For Disney Trips

In this episode, I am excited to welcome Matthew Krul back to the show. Matt is the host of The Imagineer Podcast and he is a wealth of knowledge about all things Disney! We discuss all of his top tips and recommendations for planning the ultimate Disney experience, specifically if you are visiting during a peak time like during spring break.


Matthew provides some background on The Imagineer Podcast where they celebrate all things Disney. Matthew and I often get asked why we love Disney so much. It’s not just the Mickey Mouse shaped ice creams, it’s the vision that Walt Disney had and the magical world he created so that people of all ages could have fun. Matthew has lived there, worked there, and visited hundreds of times. While the experience is still so magical for him, it’s much different than the first time he visited. It’s a layered experience.


If you haven’t been in a while, Matt recommends reading up on what has changed during the pandemic. And as we all know, things can change rapidly. The best source of information is the Walt Disney website and planning is the key to having the best experience. We talk about the new park reservation system. If you’re going at a peak time, keep an eye on capacities and reservations. You’ll want to book tickets ahead of time. If there’s a possibility you will have to delay your trip, Disney will honor moving those reservations to a later date.


There have been new renovations and improvements within the parks that people are excited to see. Some things, like live shows, that we canceled earlier in the pandemic are starting to return now. We talk about the changes in handling capacity before covid vs. after. The theme park system really helps with reserving your spot in the park.


The My Disney Experience App is the hub for everything Disney. Matt likes to think of it as a useful tool. It provides the information you need to know about wait times, mobile ordering and directions. You can even ask the cast members questions through the app. It’s not necessary to have the app, but it is designed to make the experience easier and more convenient.


Matt stresses the importance of planning as early as possible, especially if you are visiting at a peak time of year. His biggest piece of advice is to temper your expectations during busy times. You will want to be mentally prepared to wait in lines, because there will be lines. He recommends having three goals for the day. For example, the top three attractions that you want to do that day and you can prioritize accordingly. There’s always more to do than you can ever do. That’s why it’s so important to prioritize.


While planning and prioritizing are important, Matt recommends taking time to just look up and take it all in. Don’t get too caught up in the checklist. Live in the moment with your family. Those moments are just as precious as all of the rides and attractions.


Mobile ordering is a must at Disney right now. Matt recommends going to a less-busy restaurant during a non-peak time. The waits are often long, so you should plan ahead, especially during spring break. Even if you’re not going to Disney for the dining experience, there is some planning that has to go into it so that you’re not getting hangry. You can even pack a bag of your own snacks to bring. If you have dietary restrictions especially, you’ll want to think ahead. Another tip of Matt’s is joining waitlists for restaurants earlier in the day, with plenty of time before you are actually going to sit down to eat. One of my favorite things to do is to enjoy the resort restaurants. The staff at Disney will go out of their way to make sure you are happy. So if you have a dietary request, just ask them and they will accommodate.


Another tip of Matt’s is to have a resort day to just relax. The resorts are often empty in the middle of the day. It’s always nice to relax at the pool or take part in the many activities that are available.


We dive into Disney Genie. Disney Genie is a new feature that was rolled out in late October 2021. If you want to save time in the park by not waiting in line, the Genie Plus feature may be helpful for you. It is a one-time fee of $15 per day. But it is not a necessity if you don’t want to use it. Genie Plus is most comparable to Max Pass at Disneyland. Genie Plus allows you to use the feature one time per day per attraction. After that, you can wait in standby if you want to ride the attraction more than once in a day. The free Genie components can help you to plan out your itinerary, it can make recommendations for you, and also predict wait times for different times of the day. It is all based on data, and the free service is included with park access. The old Fast Pass lane is now called Lighting Lane.


There’s an a la carte option of lightning lane which is capped at two attractions per park. This option is separate from Genie Plus. You can use the Lightning Lane A La Carte for the attractions that are most important to you and then do standby for everything else. This is all done through the app and it is only booked by the day.


I’m sure that we will hear that Disney just wants to make money off of these features. But I want to remind you that the Walt Disney Company is a BUSINESS. They were closed for a long time during the pandemic and are trying to recover just like other businesses. As a for profit business, it is okay for them to want to make money! They make magic and they do so much good in the world! Walt Disney World employs 80,000 people and they are a driver of the economy.


The point of these extra paid features is to help you manage and make the most of your time. When visiting Disney with your family, there are always choices with what you want to spend your time and money on. Matt talks about his experience with that growing up and I share mine as well. You can choose to go to signature dining every night or you can pack snacks and eat selective meals out. The same concept of choices apply to the paid features like Genie Plus.


I ask Matt what his favorite ride at Walt Disney World is. Matt doesn’t mind waiting in lines, especially for the rides he loves. It’s worth the time, especially when you are spending time with your family. It’s all about what’s going to create the most magical, memorable experience for you and your family.

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Thank you so much for listening to this episode!

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