On the heals of the news that in the last week 2 people have tried…
With Walt Disney World reopening, one of the biggest announcements recently has been the creation of a new Disney World Park Pass Reservation system. It’s going to change the way you visit theme parks and who can visit.
At least during the reopening period (July 11 through January 14, 2022), all visitors to The Walt Disney World theme parks will need to use the new Park Pass reservation system in order to secure a place in the parks. No reservation means you aren’t getting in.
NEWS 11/11/20 – Disney has just added more Park Pass reservations for guests which will free up dates in November and December. This is especially helpful with new dates available for Disney’s Hollywood Studios as it’s been almost impossible to get reservations for up to this point.
Disney has also extended the use of the Park Pass Reservation system into 2022. This goes along with recent comments by Chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, Josh D’Amaro, who said it is here to stay.
Read in the “NEWS” section for more on these latest updates.
The “Disney Park Pass System” is NOW ONLINE and reservations can be made!
In this post, we will explain everything we know so far about the new park reservation system coming to Disney World including why Disney is using it, and how it works.
We’ll also share with you who can make reservations to the Disney World parks, how to make reservations and how long Disney might continue using this system.
We’ll try to answer any questions you have about Disney World parks reservations in the post, but if we miss something you can ask a question down below and we’ll do our best to find out the answer for you.
Before we get started, we wanted to tell you we know how frustrating this whole process is, and how difficult it’s becoming to travel to Walt Disney World right now. There are so many changes happening, and more updates keep coming out almost on a daily basis.
Try to hang in there and be patient. Disney is still trying to figure out a lot of the details, and as the weeks go on and we get closer to the Disney World reopening, things will become clearer.
Besides just making these new reservations, here are some links to other articles that we think you will find helpful during this time while planning your trip:
- Disney World Reopening Guide – FAQs, Updates, Details
- All the New Safety Guidelines, Procedures & Changes in Disney World
- Face Masks at Disney World – The Complete Guide
- Is Disney World Safe to Visit Now?
If you want to get notified immediately when Disney makes changes to the new reservation system, don’t forget to sign up for our FREE Weekly E-Mail Newsletter here: Join our E-Mail Newsletter There we’ll make sure you’re up-to-date with all the changes!
(NEWS 11/11/20) – More Park Pass Reservations Added for All Groups in November and December
As has been the case since the launch of the Park Pass system, reservations are still selling out very quickly, with many days already filling up for November, and even into December and Early January for some of the Reservation Tiers.
This has been especially true for Annual Passholders which is usually the first group to sell out of reservations. We have noticed however that with the last few updates it looks like guests in the “Theme Park Tickets” and “Disney Resort Guests” groups are actually starting to sell out more quickly.
This latest park pass dump starts from November 29, which is after the Thanksgiving crowds go home, and continues up through the week before Christmas. This makes sense since there is always a lull in crowds between Thanksgiving and Christmas and Disney would like to fill that gap.
Thankfully, Disney has just added some additional availability for all distribution groups, including Annual Passholders for the holiday season, and with more availability for Disney’s Hollywood Studios!!
Hollywood Studios has been the hardest park to get reservations for since it’s the smallest park in Disney World and the extreme popularity of Rise of the Resistance. Whenever Disney adds more availability, it sells out almost immediately.
The update for Annual Passholders added inventory for all 4 parks from late November – early December and these changes go into effect immediately.
The earliest Annual Passholders can get a Park Pass Reservation as of this writing is:
- Magic Kingdom – November 12th
- EPCOT – November 12th
- Hollywood Studios – November 30th
- Animal Kingdom – November 12th
That is an improvement over what’s been available over the last few weeks as we see Disney continue to release more passes in waves, us
Here is what availability for Annual Passholders in November looks like now:
While this last round of new park passes gives more availability mostly in December, and only the last couple of days in November. Even in the short time that’s passed since Disney released these new park passes, some of the dates have already sold out for some of the parks.
None of the weekends have full availability in November at this point. EPCOT is the easiest park to get on the weekend in November still.
Weekdays are also getting filled all the parks, and if you want to go, we suggest booking a pass right away as they will fill quickly.
Hollywood Studios remains the hardest park to book all around, and there isn’t anything until November 30!
This latest addition doesn’t add THAT much in November, but it still helps since Disney World continues to rely more and more on local visitors in the coming months.
Let’s look ahead to December:
Surprisingly, there is a lot of park passes left for Annual Passholders in December still. The first couple of weekends are starting to fill, but all 4 parks remain available for the majority of the month.
This may seem strange with Christmas coming at the end of the month, but keep in mind that most Annual Passholders don’t book that far in advance. Once we get closer, we expect the other parks to start selling out for the holidays.
Again, any park other than Hollywood Studios is going to be pretty easy at this point for most days. Even after this last park pass release, we expect more annual passholder availability for December in the weeks to come.
Right now, ALL days in January are still open for all 4 theme parks, including Hollywood Studios. You still have plenty of time looking that far out.
Theme Park Tickets
Things are getting more and more difficult for “Theme Park Ticket” guests recently. Again, this is likely due to more non-APs coming to Disney World for the holiday season and making reservations further ahead of time.
In November, most days are still available for parks other than Hollywood Studios. As you get into Thanksgiving week, things get a bit dicier, with EPCOT being the easiest get.
The latest park pass drop really helped the first couple of weeks in December, again because that is the slowest part of the month and Disney is trying to fill those dates.
Christmas day and New Year’s Eve are starting to sell out quickly, but most of the other days during the holidays are open for parks other than Hollywood Studios.
January follows a similar pattern as December so far with the only days sold out being for Hollywood Studios on New Year’s Day and the 2nd. The rest of the month is wide open as we expect crowds to drop back to extremely low levels after the holidays.
Disney Resort Guests
The calendar is almost identical for Disney Resort Guests as it is for Theme Park Ticket Guests with all 3 of the parks available for most of November, and Hollywood Studios still the hardest get.
Thanksgiving week is starting to sell out, with the Magic Kingdom also not available for much of the week.
December is the same here as it is with “Theme Park Tickets.” Hollywood Studios not available during the holidays and all 4 parks wide open in the first 3 weeks of the month.
New Year’s Eve is the date that’s getting booked the quickest, and Animal Kingdom is the only one still left.
January is the same as December, and most of the month is open.
When Disney replenishes the Park Pass inventory, many people are wondering where the new dates are coming from? Disney had said a while back they were adding more dates, but not adding more capacity to the parks to do it.
The most likely reason right now is that Disney sometimes takes unused inventory away from Disney World Resort Guests and Theme Park Ticket Guests, giving them to Annual Passholders.
Since those comments from Disney, we’ve seen slow and steady growth in park attendance and September was notably higher all month with higher wait times across all 4 parks. We thought this was due to higher capacity in the parks, but Disney CEO Bob Chapek recently said they haven’t increased capacity and it’s still at 25%.
This is different than what Disney Cast Members have told me. They confirmed to us they have indeed increased capacity and according to this Cast Member, it could be as much as 50% already. What is the truth? Who knows at this point.
The remaining November dates have already started to sell out again even after this latest addition, and we expect the same for December soon. The good news is more passes should be on the way in the coming weeks.
Remember, Annual Passholders can only make 3 park reservations at this time, unless you are staying at a Disney World Resort.
Even though things are going better, be aware that there are still some bugs to work out with the system. We’ve seen some dates available in the calendar but then not actually available when going to book them. We urge you to have patience and keep at it until you find the dates you are looking for.
We’ll update you with more on the Park Pass system as soon as we have news. Follow the instructions below for details on how to make Park Pass reservations…
(NEWS 10/15/20) – Disney Park Pass Reservation System Extended Into 2022
Do you like the Disney Park Pass Reservation system? I hope so because has just extended Park Passes into 2022.
Looking on the Disney website, you can see Park Pass reservations are available in January 2022 for all three ticket groups:
Previously, Park Pass reservations were only available through September 2021, but since Disney released hotel bookings through December 2021 this morning, they also updated the Park Pass system to allow guests to make park reservations during their stay.
Officially there are park passes available through January 14, 2022 at this time. Since guests can now make reservations for the 50th anniversary, we expect those park passes to sell out very quickly, so don’t waste any time in booking them.
This move is in line with recent comments made by Chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, Josh D’Amaro, when he hinted at the system being “here to stay,” even after the current health crisis is finished.
In a recent interview with The Dow Report, Josh D’Amaro, Chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, gave some interesting insights into the technology that Disney has quickly implemented in the parks out of necessity, and how that technology is “here to stay.”
Here is a quick transcript on what what said in the interview:
ROGER DOW: I Know you’ve had to quickly act and bring technology to bear, what are the things that you’ve done, and how many of those things are here to stay?
JOSH D’AMARO: “We figured out a way to really push hard on technology, really accelerate some of the ideas we’ve had for a long time. So you think about things like reservation systems in the parks that we can manage capacity and therefore the guest experience a little better. It’s working exceptionally well for us.
Things like Mobile Order, Roger. So you can walk up to a restaurant, have your meal ready for you when you arrive.
Things like queue reservation systems that we’re executing in different ways. Or even how you might pay for merchandise, but without transacting with a credit card.
And this technology, it doesn’t only help us during a time of a pandemic, but I also think it actually leads to a better cast and guest experience. And so these are things that are helping us now, but I think they’re here to stay.”
While there were no follow up questions to D’Amaro’s comments and he didn’t give any other information about the Park Pass system specifically, it clear that the technologies mentioned are all candidates to stick around in the parks once things are back to normal.
Of course, we all thought that the Park Pass system would go away once the parks get back to normal operation, but from this interview, it looks like this was something Disney was planning on integrating anyway.
The Park Pass system helps Disney better manage Cast Members by knowing ahead of time how many people are going to each park ahead of time. There are some benefits to visiting guests, but this seems more beneficial on Disney’s side by helping them to save money in this cost-cutting economy.
If this is true and the Park Pass system stays long-term, that then brings up a load of other questions:
- Will Park Hopping ever come back to the parks?
- Will guests be able to make multiple park reservations per day?
- Will this apply to Annual Passholders, or will they be phased out altogether?
We don’t have the answers to those questions, but we certainly would be upset the little spontaneity that was left in a Disney Vacation is now completely taken away. Like so many others, we like to go to one park in the day and another for dinner and fireworks at night, and would be greatly disappointed if that choice is taken away forever.
Our guess is that Park Passes will stick around, but it will be much easier to get reservations when the current park capacity limits are no longer in place. There are very few days throughout the year when the parks actually reach “capacity.” So as long as you aren’t visiting in those few days, getting reservations shouldn’t be as complicated as it is now.
Of course, these are only comments and nothing has been written in stone at this point. D’Amaro was emphasizing the fact that these new technologies are working extremely well for Disney and that some of them are likely to stick around. It’s always possible that they decide to get rid of the Park Pass system when the crisis is over.
We’ll look out for more updates on this matter as it certainly would change the Disney World guest experience greatly if Park Passes stick around. Stay tuned…
How Does It Work?
The first question you are probably wondering is “What is this new Disney World reservation system anyway? How does it even work?”
With limited theme park capacity during the reopening phase, all guests are required to make reservations in advance to enter the parks. The Disney Park Pass Reservation System is how guests make those reservations and it is limited in number.
Only guests with an existing park ticket or Annual Pass can make park reservations and they are made Online at DisneyWorld.com.
In planning, it means guests will have to decide ahead of time which parks they want to visit each day and then stick to that schedule. There is no changing idea at the last minute. You can’t just decide that morning which park you want to go to, it all needs to be planned out ahead of time.
Things to Know
It’s important to note that a Disney Park reservation does not replace theme park admission, both are required. Disney has confirmed this: “To enter a park, both a park reservation and valid admission for the same park on the same date is required.”
Here are some other things you’ll need to do before you can get a Disney Park Pass:
- You’ll need a My Disney Experience account, as this is where your Walt Disney World Resort plans are stored and managed.
- Link your valid theme park ticket or Annual Pass to your My Disney Experience account.
- If you have a Disney Resort hotel reservation, you MUST link it to your My Disney Experience account before making reservations.
- All reservations must be acquired prior to going to the theme park. You can’t show up to the park entrance and get a reservation.
Why is Disney World Implementing a Theme Parks Reservation System?
So know that we know what it is, just why exactly is Disney World using a theme park reservation system anyway?
In order to allow guests to keep a safe distance from each other, the Walt Disney World Theme Parks are running at limited capacity with much lower attendance than usual.
The number of guests in the parks each day needs to be limited. Keeping a low capacity will help protect the safety of both guests and Cast Members.
The Park Pass Reservation System does just that.
Since the parks will be operating at a lower capacity, you run the risk of guests showing up and then being turned away at the gate if that park is already full for the day. The theme parks reservation system eliminates that problem since everyone knows ahead of time if they can get into a certain park on a given day.
How Much Do Reservations Cost?
The good news is that Disney Park Reservations are FREE of charge. These park reservations do not replace your theme park admission but go along with it. You need to have a valid park ticket first, and then you can book a reservation in the parks.
New Disney Planning Priority
With the Park Pass System, your priority when booking your Disney vacation changes quite a bit from what you are used to. Normally when planning a trip you book your airfare first, followed by your hotel package and tickets.
With the Park Reservation System, park availability becomes the first priority when making the decision to go or not.
Here is the recommend order when planning your Disney World trip:
- Check Availability for Reservations – If you plan on going to the theme parks you first need to make sure there is availability, otherwise, you’ll have to choose another date.
- Book Hotel Package + Tickets – Once you see park reservations are available, select your hotel package, including park tickets if you don’t already have them.
- Make Park Reservations – Once you have your hotel and tickets linked to your My Disney Experience account, make those park reservations ASAP!
- Book Airfare – What was usually the first priority has now become the least important booking of a Disney World vacation.
Checking Park Availability
Before you can even think about making park pass reservations, or buying tickets, you need to first check the dates you want to go and see if there is availability in that park.
Log in to My Disney Experience on DisneyWorld.com prior to purchasing your tickets. There you’ll have access to a calendar of available reservation dates for each theme park. Reservations are limited and availability can change up until the moment your reservation is confirmed.
Availability can be filtered by:
- Theme Park Tickets Guests
- Disney Resort Guests
- Annual Passholders
Here is the link to the Disney Park Pass Check Availability Page.
Each of the three groups above have a DIFFERENT inventory of park passes and they are not part of one big pool of passes. That means if you check a specific day and there are no more passes left for Annual Passholders for example, there might still be some left for theme park tickets guests or for resort guests.
Make sure you’re filtering by the right group otherwise you might not be getting an accurate reading of which parks are available. We’ve had multiple readers think the parks were all sold out when really they clicked the wrong group.
Here is an example of the same month of August, on the left it looks like a bunch of dates are already sold out.
In reality, there are a limited number of passes available, but only for Annual Passholders. Instead on the right side, you can see all 4 parks have availability still for resort guests.
What happens to the unused reservation inventory?
Since all three groups have a different ticket inventory, when you check a specific date some groups could be sold out of passes while others still have inventory left available to book. Right now as each date gets closer, Disney is park passes from groups with a lot of inventory left over to groups that are sold out.
Disney essentially combines inventory and make passes available to anyone. This has been done multiple times so far for Annual Passholders since they are the group selling out reservations the quickest. We’ll have see how Disney continues to adjust in the future when more Resort guests start showing up.
The Calendar Sometimes Lies
I’m sure it wouldn’t do that to you on purpose, but at times we’ve noticed that certain dates are unavailable on the calendar, but then when we actually go into the system and try to book a pass, there is availability left.
This doesn’t happen often, but with the way Disney moves inventory around it’s possible the system doesn’t update the calendar immediately. For that reason, if the park isn’t available on the calendar, ALWAYS double-check by trying to book the date as you might get lucky.
Make sure to read the Disney Park Pass System page on the Disney World website. Here you will find all the updates, availability, and any important information.
Who Can Make Reservations and When?
One of the most important details with the new reservation is who can make reservations. Not everyone who wants to go to the Disney World theme parks will be able to get a reservation, at least not right away.
Disney is separating guests into groups depending on if they are staying at a Disney World hotel and what kind of ticket they have. Each group will be given a specific date they start making park reservations.
Guests with existing Disney World hotel reservations, get priority over annual passholders and the regular public.
When Can I Make a Reservation?
All Walt Disney World Guests with a valid park admission can make a Park Pass reservation at this time.
What if I Don’t Have a Park Ticket Right Now?
That’s ok. Park tickets are now on sale. Once you buy a ticket, you can then make your reservation.
If you have a multi-day ticket, you will need a reservation for each day of your ticket.
How Far Out Can Park Reservations Be Booked?
Right now you can make a Disney park reservation for any date from Now to January 14, 2022. Of course, your park ticket dates must align with the dates you are trying to make a park reservation for.
What Ages Need a Park Pass Reservation?
All guests ages 3 years and up need a park reservation for entrance to the Disney World theme parks. Children 2 years old and young do not need a reservation.
2020 Disney World Resort Guests
Guests staying at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel in 2020 was the first group of guests to make park reservations and started doing so on June 22, 2020. This is a huge advantage over other guests and if you make reservations right away you should be able to get whatever dates you are looking for.
For a while, only DVC members could book a hotel for 2020 which has lead to a limited number of guests trying to get reservations so far. We expect reservations to start selling out quicker now that 2020 ticket sales and hotel bookings are possible and once travel restrictions ease up.
We’re glad Disney is giving the priority for the Park Pass System to Disney World Resort guests. Rightly so, if a guest is spending thousands of dollars to come to Walt Disney World, they should get priority over an Orlando local who has an Annual Pass.
- REMEMBER: You need a valid theme park admission along with your resort reservation to make a park reservation. Make sure everything is linked properly to your My Disney Experience account.
What if I Am Staying at a Disney World Resort AND Have an Annual Pass?
That is perfectly ok. The important thing is that you have a valid theme park admission. If so, you will be given priority over an Annual Passholder who isn’t staying at a Disney World Resort.
Who Counts as a “Disney World Resort Guest?”
Any guest staying in a Disney World-owned hotel including Disney World Hotels and DVC Resorts counts as a Disney World Resort guest and therefore can make park reservations starting June.
Besides the Disney-owned hotels, there are some other hotels in the Disney World area that will have access to the park reservation system including the Disney Springs-area hotels.
The following Non-Disney hotels are participating in the Disney Park Pass system:
- Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotel
- Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World
- B Resort & Spa
- Best Western
- DoubleTree Suites
- Hilton Buena Vista Palace
- Hilton Lake Buena Vista
- Holiday Inn
- Wyndham Garden
If you have a reservation for any of those resorts AND a valid Disney theme park admission, you are eligible to make Park Pass reservations now.
2021 Disney World Resort Guests
Again, sticking with their word, Disney is giving priority to 2021 Resort guests over any other type of ticket holder. The same rules apply to a guest staying at a Disney World Resort in 2021 as it does in 2020.
Many people that had their trip canceled in 2020 have moved it to 2021. You can now start booking park reservations.
I Have a Hotel Room-Only Reservation for 2021
To make park reservations you need to upgrade to a vacation package with park tickets. Call the Disney Reservation Center or call your travel agent to upgrade. Once upgraded, make your park reservations ASAP.
Disney World Annual Passholder can now start making Park Pass reservations, but since reservations are limited they are not guaranteed entrance to the parks.
While Disney allocates a certain amount of park passes for annual passholders, they are not the top priority on the list, unless you are also staying in a Disney World Resort hotel. For this reason, it can be very hard to get reservations on certain days.
Thankfully, Disney has slowly been releasing more park pass availability to annual passholders as a group when it’s clear that the remaining inventory for the other groups isn’t selling out.
The last group of people that will need the park reservation system is the general public. This would include guests who want to come to Disney World for the day, or people staying off-site in a non-Disney hotel (that already have a valid theme park admission).
Regular guests with an existing theme park admission can book a park reservation starting June 28.
What If I Don’t Currently Have Theme Park Admission?
As Disney promised, all of these groups will get a chance to make Park Pass reservations before Disney starts selling new tickets to the general public. If you are currently without theme park admission it is impossible to make a park pass reservation.
If you don’t have theme park admission, 2020 and 2021 hotel packages and ticket sales are now available.
What about More 2020 Hotel Packages or Tickets?
Starting July 9, 2020, Disney resumed sales of 2020 Disney World Hotel packages and park tickets. How many tickets they sell, however, depends on park capacity for the coming weeks and months.
It should start getting easier once Disney starts increasing the park capacity, but we don’t know when that will be. We suggest you keep an eye on the reservation system and wait for instructions.
How to Make Disney World Park Reservations
Now that you know the basic rules, it’s time to make your park reservations!
What Do I Use?
At this time, Disney Park Reservations can ONLY be made Online on The Walt Disney World website. They CANNOT be made in the My Disney Experience app.
Reservations open for booking each day at 7:00 am ET. We’ve found that sometimes reservations start even earlier.
Make sure that BEFORE you get started making park pass reservations you:
- Sign up for and set up a My Disney Experience account
- Link your park admission to your account
- Link any Disney World Resort reservations to your account.
- IMPORTANT: If you don’t have these set up first, you won’t be able to make park reservations.
Once you are ready to make your Disney park reservations follow these simple steps:
- Log in to the Disney World Website with your My Disney Experience account.
- Select the “My Disney Experience” drop-down menu.
- Click the “Disney Park Pass System” button.
- Create your travel party from other friends and family on your list.
- Select the date
- Select the theme park
- Select the arrival window
- Review your Park Reservation details, agree to terms and conditions, and Confirm your selection.
Making Disney Park Pass Reservations Tutorial
Those are the simple steps to make reservations. The steps below go into a bit more detail:
Making Disney Park Pass Reservations – Step-by-Step Guide
- Link Your Reservations
The very first step is to sign up for a My Disney Experience account online if you don’t have one already. You can’t do anything without that account as it holds all your reservation information.
Then make sure your park admission tickets are linked to all members of your party.
If you have a Disney World Resort reservation, make sure that it is linked to your accounts as well.
- Log in to the Disney World Website with your My Disney Experience account.
The Park Pass System works on a computer web browser ONLY at this time and not the My Disney Experience app. Make sure you are online and logged in before 7:00 am ET as reservations go online right away.
- Select the “My Disney Experience” drop-down menu.
- Click the “Disney Park Pass System” button.
This brings you to the landing page with more information about the Park Pass system. Click the blue button on the right side “Make a Disney Park Pass Reservation.” This brings you to a page where you can add all members of your party.
Click here for the shortcut there.
- Create Your Party
You should see your friends and family listed here. Select all the members of your Park Pass Reservation party.
If you don’t see someone, add them as a “Guest” for now.
You may need to make more than one reservation for your party depending on your admission types.
- Select the Date
Once you’ve selected all the members of your party, select the date you want a reservation for.
- Select the Theme Park
Choose between Disney’s Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Hollywood Studios or Animal Kingdom theme parks. Remember, you can only choose one park per day.
- Select the Arrival Window
These are the park hours. There are no set arrival times and guests can arrive at the park at ANY TIME during the operating hours.
- Review your Park Reservation Details, Agree to Terms and Conditions, and Confirm
Double-check to make sure your selection is correct. You then must agree to the terms and conditions in the liability waiver that explain the health risks of visiting Walt Disney World during this time.
If you accept the terms, click “Confirm” and you are finished.
- Make More Reservations
If you have a multi-day ticket, you can make as many reservations for your stay as you have days on your ticket.
Read the “When You Arrive” section which will what you need to do when you arrive at the parks. Don’t forget your MagicBand or your Key to the World card with your account info or your won’t be getting into the park.
Once finished, just click “Make Another Park Pass” to repeat the same process until you make reservations for each day. Or click “View My Plans” to see which reservations you have already.
From there, you’ll see a screen that explains how to use your reservation when you arrive at the parks. Make sure to bring your MagicBand or card that’s linked to your My Disney Experience account. Once you feel comfortable with the info, you can either “Make Another Park Pass” or exit to “View My Plans.”
Make Reservations Quickly – Your Park Pass Reservations are not secure until you FINISH the booking process. That means if you choose the dates but don’t complete the process quickly enough, you can still lose those dates.
Expect Difficulty – With the parks having limited capacity for the foreseeable future, expect park reservations to be hard to get. You’ll need to be online sharply at 7:00 am when the system opens in order to get reservations.
Expect Technical Issues – Disney is known to have technical issues with their reservation software from time to time (ok, often), and the Park Pass system is no exception. We found extremely long waits and many broken pages so be prepared and have patience for potential delays and other issues that might come up when booking your Park Pass reservations.
Can I Link Reservations With My Family & Friends?
Yes, Families and friends can link their tickets together and arrange theme park reservations at the same time. Make sure to have anyone you want to link to already linked to in your My Disney Experience account.
Does Everyone in My Party Need a Hotel Reservation?
It depends. If you are staying at a Disney World Resort with a tickets package, then everyone in your reservation party must have a hotel reservation. If they don’t, you will need to make separate Disney Park Pass reservations.
What If I Don’t See My Friends or Family in the List?
If there is someone you don’t see on your Family & Friends list, just add them as a “Guest” to the reservation. Disney says other adults may need to have a My Disney Experience account, so in our opinion, it’s better if they do that before trying to make reservations. No word yet if you can switch someone from Guest to a MDE account after the fact.
Can My Travel Agent Make Park Reservations For Me?
Guests have to make reservations for themselves and not travel agents due to the guidelines and liability waiver the guest must agree to upon making the reservations.
Adding a Guest
If you don’t find other members of your party when you get to the “Create Your Party” screen, you can add them as a Guest. There are three ways to add Guests:
1. Find through my connected contacts – You can search for friends through other friends you’re connected with if you haven’t added them as a friend.
2. Import through my connected Guests – If the person is listed on your hotel reservation you can import their info here.
3. Enter their name and age – If there is no record of them anywhere, the last option is to manually add them as a guest inserting their info.
Park Pass Reservation Rules
How Many Parks Can I Visit in One Day?
Guests will only be able to make one park reservation per day. That means at this time it will only be possible to visit one park per day and park hopping will not be available. Disney doesn’t know when it will be possible again, but the rule applies all the way through 2021 reservations.
Can I Get a Refund for My Park Hopper Ticket?
Guests with existing tickets that include the Park Hopper Option or Park Hopper Plus Option have options available to them for ticket modifications and cancellations and can visit DisneyWorld.com/Updates for more information.
Can I Exit and Re-Enter the Same Park on the Same Day?
Yes. If you have a reservation for a specific park, you can enter and exit that park as many times that day as you like.
What is the Maximum Number of Park Pass Reservations I Can Have at One Time?
The maximum number of park reservations is tied to the number of days you have on your theme park admission. If you have a 2-Day ticket, you can make 2 separate park reservations. If you have a 5-Day ticket, you can make 5.
How Many Passes Can an Annual Passholder Have at Once?
Annual Passholders are limited to 3 park passes at one time. It doesn’t matter if they are spread out over 3 days or 3 months, only 3 at any given time.
What if I’m an Annual Passholder Staying at a Disney World Hotel?
In that case, you are limited to 14 days at once. However, Annual Passholders are eligible to make theme park reservations for up to 3 days at a time on a rolling basis, BEYOND their Disney World Resort stay. That means if you are staying at a Dinsey Resort for 5 days, you can make 5 reservations for that trip, but you also have 3 additional days besides those.
What is the Maximum Number of Guests I Can Have in My Party?
The most guests you can make park reservations for at one time is 12.
The most disappointing of all the Park Pass System rules is not being able to park-hop. This is a big deal since many people love to spend the morning at one park and then head to another one in the afternoon and evening.
Unfortunately, park-hopping is not going to be possible, at least not for a while. Allowing guests to park-hop would make everything way too complicated with the new reservation system. If guests are going from one park to the next whenever they want, it would be impossible to control park capacity and would then lead to a lot of people getting left outside the parks.
Checking Your Existing Park Reservations
Anytime you want, you can check the status of your existing park reservations. We recommend you do this immediately after booking your Disney Park Passes to make sure everything is correct.
There it will show you the Date, the Park chosen, Arrival Time, and Members of your Reservation Group.
You can check the status of your Disney Park Reservations by either:
- Go Online to the Disney World Website and check under “My Plans” in the “My Disney Experience” Menu.
- Check “My Plans” in the My Disney Experience app on your mobile device.
Can I Modify My Park Reservations?
Yes and no. Disney has said that “no modifications will be allowed to existing park pass reservations.” We have not found that to be entirely true so far.
Guests are not allowed to modify the reservation, changing the park from one to another for example. If you book the Magic Kingdom and don’t want that park anymore, you have to cancel the reservation and start over selecting the park you want to visit. There is a risk though any time you cancel and you aren’t guaranteed to get the new date you are trying to book.
On the other hand, we have been able to add new friends and family to our existing reservations. You just need to make sure there is availability for that park on that date for this to work.
At some point, if you decide that you aren’t going to use the park reservations you made you need to cancel them. Not only will you put them back into the system to give others a chance, but you will be penalized if you keep a park reservation and don’t use it.
If you are a no-show for 3 Park Pass Reservations within a 90-day period, you will be blocked from making any new park reservations for 30 days. To avoid a penalty, cancellations must be made up to the end of the day prior to the date of your reservation.
To cancel a Disney Park Pass reservation, just go to “My Plans” on the Disney website and find the reservation you want to cancel.
Click “Cancel this Park Pass.”
Select the guests you want to cancel the reservation for and click “Confirm.”
Arriving at the Park
What Time Do I Have to Arrive at the Park?
Even though there is an “Arrival Time” listed in your reservation, that is essentially the park’s operating hours that day. There are no individual arrival times and you can show up to the park any time during the park’s operating hours.
What Do I Show to Get Into the Park?
When showing up to the entrance turnstiles you will need to scan your MagicBand or Key to the World Card to gain access to the park.
We know anytime Disney drops something new that needs to be booked with an online reservation system, it is never smooth sailing and there are always technical issues and huge delays. Sure enough, the Park Pass system didn’t disappoint…
So far with our experience in making reservations we’ve found that it takes forever to get to the actual page where you create your party. Most of the time you are stuck behind the pink castle, or the “Almost into Orbit” screen.
After much practice, we did find a workaround that might help you get into the reservation system more quickly.
- First, you need to open an incognito window in your browser. We were using Chrome, but we later tried it in Safari and it worked there too. The only problem with an incognito window is that the Disney World website will no longer have you automatically logged in.
- If you try clicking on the menu and going to the Disney Park Pass System link like normal, we often were stopped at the pink castle and never moved past it. Instead, what you need to do is go to another page on the Disney site that requires you to log in first.
- Pretending to make a fake dining reservation will work fine. Go to any restaurant and move forward in the dining reservation process until it makes you log in.
- Once you are logged in, click this link which will bring you directly to the “Create Your Party” page. If there is a wait you will be put in the queue with a countdown and you shouldn’t have any problems getting in. Try that and let us know if it works for you!
Here are a few of tips that we’ve found helpful:
- Use a desktop computer – We have found that a desktop computer works better than mobile, so try from your computer for the best results.
- Use the right browser – Google Chrome, Firefox and Microsoft Edge seem to get the best results for us. Safari and Internet Explorer have more problems loading the reservations.
- Go Incognito – You get get a long wait time when making Park Pass reservations, try using an Incognito window on your browser. If this doesn’t work, try clearing your cookies in your browser.
- Be Patient – If none of the above tips work, be patient and try again later. This is a new system with bugs in it so it will take a while for Disney IT to get them all resolved.
Annual Passholder Park Pass Rules
Here are the most important points to know for Annual Passholders:
- Reservations are now available for Annual Passholders.
- Annual Passholders have a separate pool of Park Pass reservations to pull from and may sell out before the other groups.
- Annual Passholders are not guaranteed entrance to the parks on certain days during the reopening period due to the limited park capacity.
- Annual Passholders are limited to a maximum of 3 reservations at one time on a rolling basis, beyond any additional days during a Disney World Resort Hotel stay.
- Some types of Annual Passes will have blockout dates during the reopening. Check your pass before booking.
- Some pass benefits and features will not be available during periods of limited capacity.
If you are an Annual Passholders reading this now, you already have had a chance to make park reservations. While Disney is giving Annual Passholders a chance to book them, they aren’t at the top of the list. Disney is still giving first priority to Resort hotel guests.
Secondly, so far there has been a big demand from passholders and it is difficult to get reservations on some days. This of course will be harder in the beginning when we expect the parks to be at their lowest capacity, but it should improve as the months go on after reopening.
How Many Park Pass Reservations Can an Annual Passholder Have?
It’s important to note that Annual Passholders have a limited number of reservations they can make at one time. Right now the maximum is 3. That means you can’t just make a reservation every day for a whole week, there will be a cap on it.
This also brings up some interesting strategy for APs because park reservations are going fast. Annual Passholders might have to wait long periods of time in between park visits it some weeks are sold out. You’ll ahve to choose the dates you REALLY want to go to the parks to make sure you get those days.
What about Annual Passholders Staying in a Disney Resort?
The only exception to the 3 pass limit is if an Annual Passholder is staying at a Disney World Resort hotel. In that case, they can make park reservations for the duration of their stay, up to 14 days.
Can I Get the Length of My Resort Stay, PLUS 3 More Days to Go When I Want?
One of the biggest questions we’ve got has been what if you are an Annual Passholder staying at a Disney Resort in July, do you still have your normal 3 reservations to use for other dates? The answer is YES.
If Annual Passholders are staying at a Walt Disney World Resort Hotel you can have park passes for the length of your stay AND have the original 3 days for other dates when they are not staying at a hotel.
Disney has a dedicated phone number for Annual Passholders and you can call V.I.PASSHOLDER Support at (407) 939-7277. Options to manage your annual pass continue to be available during the closure period.
Is Having an Annual Pass a Good Value Right Now?
This is a complicated question, and we’ll say it’s definitely less valuable than it was before the closure. Before, you could go to a Disney park any day you wanted to, with was convenient if you are a local. Now you aren’t guaranteed to get a reservation for the days you want, and in some cases you might have to wait weeks.
While the frustration is there, we think Disney has been trying to fix this by adding more availability for annual passholders and they should continue to do so. Out-of-state annual passholders have the biggest problem right now with the current travel restrictions, so in that case, it might not be worth it.
If you aren’t happy with the current system, Disney has made getting a refund possible for the remaining days on your pass which might be the right choice, especially if you live out of state.
What Is Park Capacity Right Now?
Disney has not commented on the exact capacity the theme parks will operate at during the reopening period. In past interviews Disney executives have talked about Disney World theme park capacity being in the 25-30% range, and Bob Chapek recently confirmed that’s what it is.
Whatever the capacity for the parks is, it needs to be enough to promote distancing between guests.
Bob Chapek has said that the number of people Disney allows into the park will be a function of the CDC’s 6-foot social distancing rule. So don’t expect the walkways to be jammed with people like usual.
Is It Difficult to Get Park Reservations?
From our experience with the Park Pass system, it was hard to get reservations for the first few days of the system being online, but it has gotten progressively easier. On the first day especially, the system was plagued with technical issues keeping some guest from getting reservations.
This was largely due to the extremely high number of guests all trying to log into the Park Pass system at once.
The hardest reservations to get are for Annual Passholders. Disney has three separate inventories for park reservations, with the priority going to Disney Resort guests. In fact, there are a bunch of days already sold out for Annual Passholders, but those same days are still open for resort guests.
As we had guessed, this is because Disney has separated the pools of available Park Pass reservations into three groups. The initial rush from Florida locals and Annual Passholders to return to Disney World as the parks reopen has been strong, or supply just hasn’t been enough. Since Disney hasn’t shared how many reservations are available to each group it’s hard to say.
For that reason, it has been very difficult for Annual Passholders to get Park Reservations for this Summer and Fall. Things are improving slowly with Disney opening up moving inventory between groups, and APs can also sometimes find last-minute park passes when there are cancellations.
Though it’s very difficult to get Park Pass reservations for Annual Passholders, if you are staying in a Disney Resort, it is much easier.
It will most likely continue this way for some time. Though the die-hard Disney fans are itching to get back, the average family who normally takes a vacation to Orlando will not be coming in the current climate.
There is just too much uncertainty right now with a Disney World vacation due to the health crisis, travel restrictions, health requirements, and the bad economy. The majority of people either won’t want to travel to Disney World or won’t have the means to.
Weekends and holidays are harder to get park reservations for and they have been filling up more quickly than weekdays (especially for annual passholders). When making reservations, always put the priority on those dates and try to secure them weeks or even months out if you can.
Disney Park Pass Forecast
What do we expect to see from Park Pass availability moving forward?
In general, the rest of 2020 should be the lowest crowds Disney World has ever seen and we don’t see big problems making reservations at any point for the rest of the year, except for the holidays in November and December.
You will see spikes if any new attractions open this year, but expect to find DVC members, Annual Passholders and Orlando locals making up 90% of attendance for the rest of the year.
The parks have been getting more crowded since the beginning of September, and we’ve seen Disney continue to drop new inventory into the Park Pass system on an almost weekly basis. This is partially due to Disney better-allocating park passes across the three groups since the initial opening. Because of this it’s been a lot easier to get passes, especially for annual passholders.
Here is is outlook for the coming months with the Park Pass System…
Forecast for October
October is quickly filling up for all three inventory groups, and as always, passes for annual passholders are selling out the quickest.
Weekends are filling up quickly in October as the weather starts to get more bearable, and more locals come out to the parks. EPCOT weekends will be especially hard to get with Food and Wine still going on, so we recommend going on a weekday if possible.
The Magic Kingdom is already sold out for Halloween and if you were hoping to go you need to keep checking for more inventory additions and jump on them immediately.
The Columbus Day holiday had more people than usual and it was difficult to get a reservation.
For the rest of the days in October, Disney should keep adding availability, so we don’t anticipate it being too difficult for most days.
Forecast for November
November should be slower in Disney World at the beginning of the month and reservations not too difficult to find. Just like in October, it will be harder to get reservations on the weekends, so book those right away.
What we are noticing however is that some of the cancellations from the Spring and Summer were rescheduled for the Fall, and that partially explains the uptick in guests in the parks right now. Just how long this will have an impact. We think that the crowds are temporary, and once the holidays pass, things will drop way down again.
Speaking of holidays, Thanksgiving Week should be the busiest Walt Disney World will be in 2020 (except for Christmas), so make your reservations early.
Christmas and New Year’s Weeks will be very crowded and we don’t know how much Disney will increase capacity yet. If the health situation improves, Disney will be able to increase the park capacity even further, opening up more park passes and allowing more people to go.
Keep checking in the coming weeks to see if this happens.
If you are going in 2021, I think it’s more critical to make your park reservations early as many guests put off their 2020 vacation to 2021. And with the 50th Anniversary in 2021, crowds should slowly start coming back. If Disney can increase the park capacity, park reservations will get easier and easier to get.
Which Parks Should You Prioritize?
Some theme parks are harder than others to get park pass reservations for, and you need to make those the priority when booking.
- Since launching the park reservation system, Disney’s Hollywood Studios has been by far the hardest to get a park pass for. This is due to the park’s smaller size and demand for Rise of the Resistance.
We would prioritize the parks in this order:
- Disney’s Hollywood Studios
- Disney’s Magic Kingdom
- Disney’s Animal Kingdom
- EPCOT (unless you’re going on the weekend)
Figure out which days you want to visit Disney’s Hollywood Studios on your trip, and then plan out your other days after that.
If for some reason you can’t get a Hollywood Studios reservation, don’t despair. Just stay on the lookout and hope that Disney makes more availability for that park at some point before your visit. This has already happened multiple times so there’s a good chance more will be available.
Other Reservation Changes for Reopening
Besides Disney World instituting a reservation system for the theme parks, there are also a bunch of other changes they’ve recently made that are important to know about during the reopening phase.
- Dining Reservations – Disney had canceled all existing dining reservations from May 28, 2020, through the first few months of the reopening. Guests can now re-book reservations for their vacation, but they have to start all over with the slate wiped clean. Read more in our Disney Advanced Dining Reservations Guide.
- FastPass+ – Disney has currently suspended the FastPass+ program for the Disney World reopening. There is no telling how long it will be down, or if it will come back at all. Read our guide to all the FastPass+ changes for more info.
- Disney Dining Plan – All upcoming Disney Dining Plans have been canceled.
Again, these changes were all tough decisions for Disney to make, but they had to be done in order to accommodate the new distancing guidelines and lower park/restaurant capacity.
Disney released this new video explaining what the Disney World experience is like:
What to Do If You Don’t Get a Reservation
If you can’t get a park reservation, it doesn’t mean all hope is lost. You have a few options.
Try Again – Just because today says there are no more reservations available, doesn’t mean more reservations won’t be released in the future. Keep trying. It’s possible that the day you tried for is full, but Disney World could increase the capacity for the parks between now and when you are trying to go.
Be patient and try again another day.
Choose a Less Busy Time – For sure, like any normal time visiting Disney World, holidays are going to be busier than non-holidays, and weekends busier than weekdays. Try going on a weekday when crowds are at their lowest.
Check out our Walt Disney World Crowd Calendar for more tips on visiting Disney when the crowds are low.
Get a Disney Resort – One thing that will definitely help you get a reservation is having a Disney World Resort hotel room since those guests have priority with the reservation system. If you really want to go to the park and don’t have any luck, book a hotel.
How Long Will Disney World Use a Reservation System?
Now that you know everything about the new parks reservation system in Disney World there is to know so far, the only question left is “How long will Disney use it for?”
We honestly have no idea how long Disney plans on using the Park Pass system for reservations, but it now looks like that might be longer than we originally hoped.
Originally it looked like the park pass system was created only due to the current health crisis, and that once that is over, Disney World would then go back to normal. However, Chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, Josh D’Amaro, recently made comments indicating park passes could be here to stay even after the current situation is over.
It looks like the Park Pass system was an idea that Disney was always hoping to bring to the parks, and that now was put on the fast track.
Frankly, the Park Pass Reservation System is a great advantage for Disney. They know ahead of time exactly how many guests will be visiting the parks each day and how many Cast members are needed. This will help them save money big-time, and we know that will be especially important in the coming years.
Does that mean there will be no more park hopping? Will it apply to Annual Passholders? It’s hard to say and we’ll have to see what develops with time.
For the guests, the park pass system offers zero benefits, however. It’s just one more thing in a long line of plans and reservations the guest has to make to visit Walt Disney World. That’s just what frustrated guests want to deal with.
We don’t think it’s a good idea to use park reservations long-term and wonder if something just can’t be worked into the date-based ticket system instead without needlessly complicating everyone’s lives.
Right now, officially, Disney has made Park Pass reservations available through January 14, 2022. Anything could happen and that doesn’t necessarily mean they will stay until January 2022, but Disney certainly is preparing in case it has to continue that long.
We think that if you are planning a trip in the coming year, you should be aware there is a very good chance you will still need reservations then.
With the time and money being spent on this system though, it’s not a short-term solution that will only be around for a month or two. We fully expect the guest reservations to stick around in Walt Disney World at least through early 2022 and perhaps beyond.
Due to lower capacity, Disney World now requires a reservation to enter the theme parks, and also your regular theme park admission.
Reservations to The Walt Disney World theme parks are free.
It can be difficult to get reservations, but it depends on which group you fit into. Reservations are easier for Resort Hotel guests and Theme Park Ticket Guests, while it’s been more difficult for Annual Passholders who don’t have a hotel reservation.
The number of park reservations a guest can have at once is limited to the number of days on their theme park admission ticket. A 5-day ticket gives you 5 park reservations. Annual Passholders can have a maximum of 3 reservations at once.
Anyone age 3 years and older needs a Park Pass reservation. Children 2 years and younger do not.
We know all this can be very confusing, and it will take some time to get used to this new guest theme parks reservation system. We’re sure it is going to have some bugs in it at first, but ultimately we think it’s the only fair way to let guests visit the Disney parks at this time since there is such low capactiy for them.
This is only the beginning, and you should expect more changes in the coming weeks. We don’t blame you if it all seems too complicated. Already a Walt Disney World vacation was extremely complicated to organize, and this just threw us all for a loop.
We will continue to update you to the best of our ability here as Disney makes more changes and give us more info on these park reservations. If you are contemplating going to Disney World this year or next, read our post on “Should I Visit Disney World in 2020 or 2021?” That will help you weigh the pros and cons to make the best decision.
Stay tuned for more soon!
I want to know what you think about the new Disney World parks reservation system…
- Are you looking forward to these reservations?
- What else can Disney do to improve it?
Let us know in the comments section below!
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