With Walt Disney World reopening soon, 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 September 26, 2021), 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 – 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 launches 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 6/28/20) – Disney Park Pass System Online for All Guests with Tickets
As of this morning, the Disney Park Pass Reservations System is now online for all guests with park tickets including Disney World Resort Guests, Annual Passholders and Regular Ticket Holders.
Though the first few days of the Disney Park Pass reservation system were rough, things have smoothed out a bit and the system is online and working fine today without any major delays or technical problems.
If you are a ticket holder, you can make park reservations for every day that you have a ticket. So if you have a 5-day ticket, you can make 5 separate park reservations, one per day. Annual Passholders can make 3 park reservations at this time.
Make sure you have your hotel reservation and tickets linked to your My Disney Experience account before trying to make a reservation or it can mess things up.
Even though things are going better, be aware that there are still some bugs to work out with the system, plus the website is extremely busy right now. We urge you to have patience and keep at it until you get in. Try multiple browsers and devices until one of them works. That’s how we were able to get in.
(NEWS 6/23/20) – Some Park Reservations Being Held for Annual Passholders
You may have noticed that already some of the Park Pass reservations are selling out after only one day of being online. The good news however is that Disney is holding some reservations aside specifically for Annual Passholders.
The Park Pass reservation system has launched with multiple booking dates for Disney World Resort Guests, Theme Park Ticket Guests and Annual Passholders.
As of June 23, only Disney World Resort guests can make park reservations, and some days for Disney’s Hollywood Studios and the Animal Kingdom have already sold out. However, it looks like Disney is putting some reservations aside for each group of guests to give everyone a chance at park reservations.
If you are an Annual Passholder and didn’t have good luck yesterday when the reservations first went online, not all hope is lost. Disney has confirmed that additional reservations will be released on June 26 for Annual Passholders.
Disney hasn’t yet mentioned if more reservations will be available to regular Theme Park Ticket Guests on June 28, but it’s possible some have been set aside for them. Of course, if Disney decides to increase the park capacity down the line, some of the sold-out dates will get some additional spots.
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…
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 will be 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 going to be 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 will happen to the unused reservation inventory?
Since all three groups have a different ticket inventory, it’s possible to get close to a specific date and have some groups sold out of passes and still have inventory left over from another group. At that point, we still don’t know what Disney will do.
The likely scenario is to then combine inventory and make passes available to anyone. This would be helpful for Annual Passholders since they are the group selling out reservations the quickest. We’ll have to wait and see if this is what happens down the road with unused passes.
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 hotel reservations, valid park tickets, and annual passholders will all get priority over the regular public.
When Can I Make a Reservation?
Priority for the Disney Park Pass System is in this order:
- June 22 – 2020 Disney World Resort Guests with Valid Theme Park Admission
- June 24 – 2021 Disney World Resort Guests with Valid Theme Park Admission
- June 26 – Annual Passholders
- June 28 – Other Ticket Holders
What if I Don’t Have a Park Ticket Right Now?
That’s ok. Park tickets go on sale June 28. 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 July 11, 2020 to September 26, 2021. 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 will be the first group of guests to make park reservations and can do so starting 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.
Right now only DVC members can book a hotel for 2020, so it should be a limited number of guests trying to get reservations.
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 starting June 22.
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 start booking park reservations on June 24, 2020.
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 beginning on June 24 to upgrade. Once upgraded, make your park reservations ASAP.
Disney World Annual Passholder will have access to the park reservation system before the general public, but since reservations are limited they are not guaranteed entrance to the parks.
Annual Passholders however are not the top priority on the list, unless you are also staying in a Disney World Resort hotel. You can start making Park Pass reservations starting June 26, 2020.
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 will be very difficult to get entrance to the theme parks during the first weeks of reopening, if not impossible.
If you don’t have theme park admission now, 2021 hotel packages and ticket sales are available starting June 28.
What about More 2020 Hotel Packages or Tickets?
Later this Summer Disney will resume sales of 2020 Disney World Hotel packages and park tickets. This will depend on park availability at that time.
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. I’ll 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.
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.
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 available for Annual Passholders starting June 26, 2020 (unless you are staying at a Disney World Resort, then it’s June 22).
- Annual Passholders will have access to the park reservation system before new tickets are sold to regular guests with tickets but AFTER Disney World Resort guests.
- 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.
- 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 weeks 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? From the wording on Disney’s website, it doesn’t seem like you should be able to book 3 extra passes, but results have been mixed so far.
Some guests have reported being locked out from getting an additional 3 after making reservations during a resort stay. Others have been able to book 3 additional park passes. I currently have 2 upcoming Disney Resort visits that I have park reservations for, and I am only able to book 2 extra passes for other dates. We’ll continue to wait on clarification from Disney to how this is supposed to work.
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.
What Will Park Capacity Be?
Disney has not commented on the exact capacity the theme parks will operate at during the reopening period. In past interviews Disney executive have talked about numbers in the 25-30% range, but have not given specifics for Walt Disney World.
Whatever the capacity for the parks is, it will 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.
Disney World Soft Openings
Before Disney officially reopens the Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom, there will be Cast Member previews and soft opening events with a limited number of guests able to attend.
The first soft openings are going to be for Disney Cast Members, so unless you are one or one can get you in, those are out of the question. Disney has said however, there will be other soft openings in the days after that.
These events will allow Disney to prepare all the new guidelines and safety measures, so when the public returns, everything will be running smoothly.
Cast Member Soft Openings
- July 7 and 8 – Disney’s Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Animal Kingdom
- July 13 and 14 – Disney’s Hollywood Studios and EPCOT
Annual Passholder Soft Openings
Weekday Select, Theme Park Select, Silver, Gold, Platinum, Platinum Plus and Premier Passholders will have the opportunity to register for a special preview at Magic Kingdom park or Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
- July 9 and 10 – Disney’s Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Animal Kingdom
Reservations for these events are limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis. An active annual pass is required for registration. Disney will be sending email invitations with registration details will be sent out soon.
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 of the initial rush from Florida locals and Annual Passholders to return to Disney World right when the parks open. For that reason it is very difficult to get tickets for the opening days for the theme parks, July 11 and July 15, and the weeks following.
We anticipate it being very difficult to get Park Pass reservations for Annual Passholders, but if you are staying in a Disney Resort, it should be 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 going to be harder to get park reservations for and they have been filling up more quickly than weekdays. In general though, 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.
You will see spikes if any new attractions open this year, but expect to find DVC members, Annual Passholders and Orlando locals making up 95% of attendance for the rest of the year.
If the health situation improves, Disney will be able to increase the park capacity, at which point extra park passes should open up 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.
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 has 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 once the reservation system comes online and you can’t get a 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, trying to go to the parks on July 11 or July 15 when they open will be very difficult to do because of the large amount of fans that are chomping at the bit to go. Also like any normal time visiting Disney World, holidays are going to be busier than non-holidays, and weekends busier than weekdays.
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 a reservation system for the parks, and we don’t think they have any idea either. We can presume that once the current health situation ha passed we won’t need reservations anymore, but there is no telling how long that might be at this point.
Right now Disney is saying to expect Park Pass reservations through September 2021. That doesn’t necessarily mean it will stay until September 2021, but Disney certainly is preparing in case it has to continue that long. If you are planning, 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 the end of the year, if not into 2021.
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, more difficult for Annual Passholders, and very difficult for guests who don’t currently have park tickets or 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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