By Katie Penn
Since announcing its reopening plan following the Covid 19 shut down, there have been a number of changes to the way people attend the Walt Disney World parks. This includes safety measures such temperature checks and masks, but also changes to the way guests plan a WDW trip.
In the past, the main concerns for guests would be to get their dining reservations at 180 days and fastpasses at 60 or 30 days. In the current climate both of these features have been removed by Disney. This is to allow the management of the lower crowds with social distancing measures. Far more important, though, is the introduction of the Park Pass reservation system.
What is the Park Pass reservation system?
In order to manage the much lower capacity across all 4 parks, guests must now have a park reservation to enter a park, in addition to a valid ticket. At the time of writing there is no park hopping allowed. Guests must choose one park per day.
The reservation system is linked to My Disney Experience (but cannot currently be used to make bookings in the app) and it must be used in advance of attending the parks.
There is a separate link for accessing the reservation system. It is not like accessing Fastpasses or dining within My Disney Experience.
Here is the USA link: https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/experience-updates/park-reservations/
Here is the UK link: https://www.disneyworld.co.uk/experience-updates/park-reservations/
What do I need to make park reservations at Disney?
In order to be able to make a theme park reservation you need a valid theme park admission. This includes annual passes. You can make reservations for the amount of days on your ticket, but just having the ticket does not guarantee there will be passes available for the parks you want to visit on the day you want to visit. So you need to be prepared to be flexible. If booking last minute passes, it is possible that all passes will have been allocated and you will not be able to attend the parks.
Annual pass holders without a resort reservation are restricted to booking 3 passes at a time. The booking then works like Fastpasses used to, in that once you use day 1 you can book for day 4, giving you a rolling 3 day allocation.
Annual Passholders who have a reservation at a Disney or other eligible resort may book park passes for the length of their stay plus the 3 days they are permitted to book outside the stay.
Who needs to make a reservation?
Any guest who would need to buy a ticket to enter a park will need to make a reservation. Therefore children up to the age of 3 (so ages 0-2) will not need a pass as they do not require a ticket. A single guest can make reservations for their entire party in one go, assuming everyone in the party plans to attend the same park on the same day.
How do I make my Disney park reservation?
Initially there were glitches due to the demand on the system at the various launch times for pass booking. It involved long waits and virtual queuing systems. Now the system is available to anyone with a valid theme park admission to make a reservation, and the system works seamlessly.
Obviously the further away your trip dates, the more likely you are to be able to book the passes you want. Unlike fastpasses and Advance Dining Reservations, you do not need to wait until a specific time frame before your trip to book.
Step By Step
1) Go to the Park Pass reservations page. Under the website banner, to the right you will see ‘Make a Disney Park Pass Reservation’. Click on that.
2) Sign in with your My Disney Experience (MDE) details when prompted.
3) Create your party. You can select anyone on your friends and family list to join you in the parks – they must also have a valid ticket to complete the reservation.
4) Select date and park. Similar to the Fastpass booking, scroll through the calendar to select the first date you want to book. The 4 park buttons then appear underneath the calendar.
5) Select Park (if a park is already fully booked for the day you have chosen, you cannot make a reservation)
6) The Park hours will be displayed under the park banner. Click on the park hours to make a reservation (currently there are no arrival time restrictions like fastpass return times. You can arrive at any time between park opening and park closing).
7) The system will then show you which guests you are making the reservation for, and there is a tick box underneath. This tick box is to declare you have read and will abide by the terms of entry (usual rules plus new Covid 19 rules) and a disclaimer which removes any liability from Disney if you later contract Covid 19 as a result of visiting the park.
8) Click confirm.
9) A detailed message appears explaining what will happen when you arrive in the park shows.
10) You can then choose to ‘View My Plans’ or ‘Make Another Park Pass’. If you choose to make more passes, you need to repeat steps 3-8 for each pass which makes it a little long winded. If you have finished and choose ‘view my plans’ you will be able to see all your reservations in MDE as you used to be able to see fastpasses.
It is always a good idea to take a screenshot of your reservations so if they system has a glitch, you’ll still know what you booked.
Attending the Park
Once you have the reservations booked you can attend the park on the relevant days, following all the current guidelines for attendance. As the current situation is constantly changing, it is advisable to check that they haven’t changed before you arrive at the park to ensure you are prepared.
Can you cancel or charge park passes?
In MDE you can select a pass and this will show you the full details of the pass. In this screen there is a ‘Cancel’ X. There is no modify feature, so when cancelling a pass you would need to follow the new booking process to book a different park or date.
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