I see the massive threads about things like how to navigate genie + and lightning lane. I just…can’t. My 3 big trips I planned were 2014, 15 and 19. I can’t imagine going there now with everything so different. I’ve never been to DL so I don’t have the max pass to compare it to. It just seems like it would be so much harder without those preplanned FPP. Am I being silly? I’m getting a lot older and more tireder. I just finished a 2.5 day staycation in DC with my DD11 and it completely destroyed me. Thinking of WDW crowds and lines for rides etc. I just can’t even…but, I remember liking it a lot. My family mostly says if we went to Orlando we’d spend a lot of time at UOR and maybe a little bit at WDW. We only ever had 1.5 days at UOR so it’s kind of an unfair comparison though, to 3 weeks of WDW. We never had the chance yet to do much UOR. Kids are now DS16, DS14 and DD11.
Given everythingnl you say, I think you need to go when the crowds are low and the weather mild.
Low crowds go a long way to making Genie much easier to use. Now that you can modify your Genie, the whole.process is lower stakes - especially if you go in thinking of it like FPP where you assume you will get 3 or 4.
It is still magical - just different. The key is to find a way that your are comfortable with and look forward to!
Those are great ages for Universal.
I should have said this too: we are constrained by the kids’ school schedules and will be for many yrs. There are reasons why each kid can’t miss school. Every wdw trip was Thanksgiving week but in 2019 it was so much worse than the previous 2 times (crowds etc). And last I looked they blocked out that week from the military salute which was how we went to wdw. I think I’m one salute behind however.
I think people need to reevaluate for sure. Maybe don’t go as often. Of if you do go often maybe you don’t care about lines since you’ve done it all and will just do whatever you can. For us, we’re taking a 10 day trip and trying to do as much as we can so we’ll splurge. I don’t plan on going back for awhile. Honestly there are so many other places to see.
I’m planning a trip for (I think) next year. I don’t have children. I’m in my 50s and my mom is in her 70s. I’ve been to WDW many times over the years but the last was in August 2021 before Genie+.
There are some videos on youtube from some of the disney planning sites showing people doing parks without Genie+. For example yesterday allears.net posted one for Hollywood Studios.
I’m seriously considering not doing Genie+ at all. We’ll be at WDW for 7 or 8 days with parkhopping so it just doesn’t seem like we’ll need it. Obviously the situation is different for everybody but I’m on vacation and I refuse to be tied down to my phone managing ride and show reservations all day.
Your trip sounds really wonderful! I’d love to go with just adults and no kids. If I did that I wouldn’t worry much about rides at all b/c I’m not big into rides, and I’ve done most of the Disney rides I wanted before. I like mostly the theming and dining. But if I go with the kids I’d need to get them on the rides.
DH and I were at WDW five days in June 2022 with no Genie or LL or any of that. We didn’t have a lot of to do attractions. Maybe 5 and we missed 2 but oh well, we had a great time.
Staying with us but touring separately were two teens - also with no Genie or LL or any of that stuff. They rope dropped and packed in the attractions. Had a great time.
I think it’s possible to have a fun at WDW without the extras and wearing yourself out. Having sensible expectations and priorities are the keys.
The least planning I’ve ever done have been 2019, 2020 and 2022 trips. I use the basic tenets of arrive early and zig when others are zagging.
Good luck! And enjoy!
I plan on it!
My last trip had real life happen in the middle of it which made the trip not the best so this will be a great do-over with my mom along this time.
I don’t mind having basic plans (especially dining reservations and such) but with so much time and having been to the parks before I just want to have a more go with the flow kind of experience. Definitely helps being adults only!
I watch those videos about maximizing Genie+ and stacking and all of that and my eyes glaze over.
WDW is overwhelming right now, there’s no question about it. But I’ll say this: 99% of what we discuss in the Genie+ threads is NOT necessary to have a good time.
Just read the first post only in this thread and you’ll know the essentials. Admittedly, it’s still quite a bit, but it’s doable for someone who knows FPP - it’s essentially the same except paid and same-day booking only (instead of free and 3 pre booked passes).
I agree going during a low crowd time will be the best solution. Touring WDW requires a lot of patience and adapting your pace to what you can handle mentally, emotionally, physically, etc. It’s a vacation — it’s supposed to be fun! If it’s not, well … there are other ways to vacation.
Use BG1. It makes it easier. Or just go to Universal and do the Premier hotel with the Express Pass and ride what you want when you want (except Hagrids which you should either rope drop during early entry or hop in line during the last 5 or so minutes the park is open…this would be my preference if you’re only riding it once because it’s more magical at night and they lie about the wait time. Last time it said 75 min, it was 45min with it breaking down for 10-15 min). Or single rider since your kids are older but then you probably won’t get the bike and the bike is better.
We loved doing UOR with express pass and would definitely do it again. We didn’t even have time to go see the pools and they were part of why I had booked the Portofino.
I hear you. I’m constrained by kids schedules as well, but we get 5 unexcused absences a year and I always use them all.
If overwhelmed by G+, you might want to check out Standby Skipper, it’s an app that will book your lightning lanes for you.
5 unexcused absences a year? I get none officially. I did dare take one kid out for one day early in the year, luckily they didn’t say anything. But I will say that when we had a sudden death in the family of a grandmother who lived far away both schools were really great about just letting us go with no penalty, missing 1.5 weeks at the end of the year. We’re switching schools now to go back to public and I don’t know what the policies will be. It was Catholic schools that were so nice about the death in the family.
I just wanted to chime in and say I totally sympathize. Sort of in the same boat. We haven’t taken a WDW family trip since Aug. 2019. My twins – now 13 – want to go back, so we’ll give it a whirl this summer.
I too have felt a bit overwhelmed having to learn Genie+ and ILL (and BG1). But I’ve been following along regularly here, and by the time our August trip rolls around I’m sure I’ll be ready. Or ready enough. Just by the fact that you are posting on this forum makes me think you would be ready too.
If you’re not totally done with WDW yet, I do think you could get G+ figured out & it does help diminish the waiting in line that can add to a trip being more exhausting & allow you to have more downtime to fill in with some of the stuff you like to do (like the shows, sitting in atmosphere, etc).
In the time before our Spring break WDW trip this year, I had vaguely followed along the G+ threads (our last time in WDW was with FPP but only able to get 4th & beyond on the kiosks, not yet on MDE). And while I am familiar with DL, we only got the Maxpass there twice so wasn’t an expert in using it (but did read up on it to keep current). I had setup BG1 on my phone once it supported DLR. Before BG1, we had had many times been unsuccessful in getting Boarding Groups for Rise even doing it right at the drop on all the phones we had access to. I didn’t mind doing the virtual queue process for the newest rides at the specific times, but the stress of not knowing if we would get one was not fun so it was nice that BG1 could take away that stress. So before our WDW, I had some slight familiarity with it for getting Virtual Queue rides.
The most helpful advice I saw on the threads was to just focus on the ride priority in the lead entry & then use BG1 to help you get them & to help modify them if needed. BG1 was super easy to use. One of my favorite things about it was tell me the next time I could get a selection so you I didn’t need think about all the rules either, just go by what it said. My other favorite part of it was not having to weed through MDE’s horrible interface to get LL’s. MDE has really pretty graphics, but it’s really convoluted and hard to tell where you really need to go to do what you want to do for G+. BG1 was the opposite, clean, simple, intuitive & straightforward. The only thing you can’t use it for was purchasing $LLs and the 2 days we did that, I had a hard time figuring out where to go exactly in MDE to do that.
As for UOR, we just did our first time there with kids & I think your kids’ ages would love it. My older 2 kids LOVED it & my DS5 loved all that he was willing to do (he does not enjoy thrills/coasters or drops of any kind). So I do think you could do a few short days of WDW with G+ (using BG1) to help get through the highlights/must do’s & then spend more quality time in UOR for your kids to get time there they haven’t had before.
Only you can decide if it’s “worth it”. If you are able to handle the nuances of Genie+, it is well worth the money for shorter trips…and if it’s been years since you were there or will be years until you return. Disney isn’t cheap, nor is it easy. And that might be your point. And Genie+ isn’t the problem, it’s a coping mechanism for dealing with amusement parks that are probably twice as crowded as they should be, though nowhere near the maximum capacity where the fire marshal won’t allow anyone else in.
You have to do your research with Disney, if only to figure out what you really want to do, then work your way down the list. You’d have to spend three weeks there to do “everything”…and a lot of that “everything” are things that you probably don’t want to spend time/money on anyway.
As for the difference between UOR and Disney, it comes down to theming. Universal has better rides and with Express Pass, easier access. But not as many rides; you’ll be riding the same rides again by day 3 and 4. Which might not be a problem for your family. And some of the rides “look” tired. Ripshaw Falls, for example, has a better descent than Splash Mountain, but Splash was much more entertaining until you get to the final drop. And when it reemerges as Tiana’s Splash Mountain (it’s always going to be Splash Mountain), it’ll be even more enjoyable.