03/21/2014 09:32 am ET Updated May 21, 2014

Disney World Tips and Tricks (PHOTOS)

For decades, a Disney World vacation worked this way: you bought tickets with money and then you rode things. Simple. This year, though, the Orlando-area Disney resort has adorned the classic amusement formula with a new, high-concept accessory: MagicBands.

Embedded with sensors and linked to guests' personal information, this bracelet works like a wearable magic wand as visitors roam Walt Disney World Florida's four theme parks and two water parks. Wave it over sensors and it grants front-gate admittance, makes cashless purchases, opens locked hotel-room doors, and validates up to three reservations a day for the shorter FastPass+ lines at major attractions. Plans can now be changed on the fly as well using an app, My Disney Experience.

By bucking theme-park tradition, Disney's new technological wrinkles have created a rabbit hole of advance research requirements that not even Alice would enjoy. But we have some insider tips to help.

For everything else -- to trim waits, secure dining times, and enjoy a full dose of Disney's famous pixie dust -- just follow our streamlined planning advice, which goes a long way toward making a Disney visit as simple as it once was.

--Jason Cochran is the author of Frommer's Easy Guide to Walt Disney World & Orlando.

Disney World Tips and Tricks

See All the Disney World Tips and Tricks

More from Travel + Leisure:
Best Disney World Money-Saving Tips
Best Disney Restaurants
Coolest New Disney Vacations
Most Romantic Disney Vacations
Coolest Disney Rides

Sign up for our email.
Find out how much you really know about the state of the nation.