We are moving to something a little more light-hearted today, this time jumping in to self-analyze your level of Disney expertise. You might have achieved Disney Pro Level last time we took this challenge back in 2020, though any experienced parkgoer would know that the playing field has completely changed just two and a half years later. So, I thought it was time to check with everyone again and see where we stand. Have you reached Disney Pro Level in 2022? We are about to find out.
You’ve Perfected the Art of Genie+
A Disney Pro has either perfected the art of using Genie+ or accepted they can enjoy the parks without it and learned how to avoid the peaks and troughs that the return-time option can create. If you’ve made peace with using it, a pro will know how to work the system to get the most out of the pass, way more than the 2 – 3 Lightning Lanes that Disney claims the average user can enjoy, with the proper selections and preferences, a Disney pro can get through double or even triple that many rides using the system.
You’ve Learned That The Best View of the Castle is Rarely Front On
As you trot down Main Street, U.S.A, it’s human nature to slow to a stroll as you stagger in awe around the front of Cinderella Castle. This is where everyone loiters, trying every angle possible to try and crop out as many of their fellow guests as possible. But a pro knows that the central front position rarely offers the best picture. There are so many other spots where you can get an uninhibited view without 763 other people, and most provide better lighting and more interesting surroundings than the dead center.
You Have Noted All The Perfect Weather Retreats
Florida weather can be dramatic. Hot and humid one minute, stormy and wet the next, it’s essential to have a hidey-hole or two up your sleeve in case you need to escape mother nature during the day. The Disney Pro knows where to seek refuge when things take an uncomfortable turn. Country Bear Jamboree can be the perfect length to get some relief from the sun, and Kilimanjaro Safari is always my go-to when it rains in Animal Kingdom; all the animals become much more active.
You’ve Got Your Water Ride Seating Memorized
How much splash we desire on any water ride can be significantly influenced by the weather and the time of day you will be riding. If it’s the morning on a warm, sunny day, I’m probably ok to get a little wetter than, say, after dark when I’m less likely to dry out. Or, if it’s right before home time, that could be the perfect opportunity to embrace those wild waterways and hope for a drenching that you can retire to your resort after.
A Disney Pro has their seating on water attractions memorized, knowing exactly where to be to achieve the desired amount of splash. It’s quite a mathematical conundrum as you also have to factor in the other people riding with you and how they will affect your splash outcome. Knowing precisely when to aim for the second last seat in your log and where to put your feet up so your shoes don’t fill up like pools can change the whole outcome of your day.
You’ve Managed Your Expectations
A real Disney pro doesn’t get too frazzled by the ebb and flow of public opinion. It’s ok to have feelings about where the parks are headed, but every time you visit, you know how to manage your expectations to get the most out of your experience. You’ve probably learned the hard way that directing every little moment of a trip won’t help your overall moral recovery if things aren’t up to scratch, and you prefer to take those minor disappointments in your stride.
You Add A Room Number Preference to Your Resort Reservation
Feeling comfortable away from home can be a complex travel skill to master, so once you find the perfect spot, it can be hard to give it up. A Disney Pro will often develop a favorite room when you frequently stay in the same resort. Maybe it has the right aspect or distance from the dining area; perhaps it is the furthest from the main building and, therefore, the quietest. If you add a room number preference to your reservation, it’s a sign that you’ve hit pro status.
You’ve Already Seen The New Fantasmic!
Maybe it’s just by chance that you were in the parks at the right time; however, for some die-hard Disney fans, the reopening of Fantasmic! was considered a high-priority, must-see viewing. If you are an AP and took time out of your week to see the new and improved version of Fantasmic! at Hollywood Studios, that would absolutely get you FastPass access directly to Disney Pro level.
You’ve Mastered Disney Hands-Free
This one is tricky and not always as easy as it sounds. Though some might think that the art of the perfect Disney backpack is a nod toward Disney mastery, and I would agree, however, so is the illusive skill of managing a trip to the parks hands-free. No bag, no fanny pack, just a pocket or two and your MagicBand.
It takes tremendous planning and prediction to successfully complete a full Disney day without a bag full of backup plans. No spare phone charger, no ponchos or pain killers. Just a light layer that can tie around your waist and whatever I can store in my bra strap. I’m only new to this level, but I have to tell you, it feels so good!
The Restaurant Manager Genuinely Welcomes You Back At Your Favorite Spot
Disney Pro status doesn’t come easy; it can take many years and visits to work up to this sort of extreme level. During that time, you might find that you frequent the same restaurant or two each time you stay. An easy way to score Pro Level bonus points is when the manager or front-of-house staff recognizes and welcomes you back. Here’s the kicker: if you can say ‘I’ll have the usual’ at any Disney location, and they know what you mean, proceed straight to Pro Level and collect $200! If you don’t get the Monopoly reference, you don’t actually get any money.
How many can you tick off from the list above? If you have any points you would like to add to this Disney Pro checklist, let me know below, and I’ll tell you if they make it onto the list!