By Katie Penn
What is the Disney World Park Pass Reservation System?
First, let’s go over some recent Disney World change announcements, then we’ll go into detail about the Disney World Park Pass Reservation System, what it is, and how to use it. We’ll also answer commonly asked questions.
In essence, this system seems to be on a path to being diminished. This could be good because it makes for a greater ability to have more spontaneity when at Disney World. Here are the Disney announcements:
Disney Announcements about the Disney World Park Pass Reservation System:
“Starting with park visits on Jan. 9, 2024, theme park reservations will no longer be required for date-based tickets. When getting a ticket, simply select a start date for Jan. 9, 2024 or later, complete the purchase and you will be all set! For reference, date-based tickets are the standard ticket option we offer to guests. For other admission types, including non-dated tickets, theme park reservations may be required. Guests can check which admission types require park reservations by visiting DisneyWorld.com/ThemeParkReservations.”
Annual Passholders can now enter any park after 2 PM without a park reservation, except for Magic Kingdom on weekends. Blackout dates still apply. Check for annual pass blackout dates for your type of annual pass on Disney’s site.
‘Good to Go Days’ for Annual Passholders: In 2024 Disney will offer select days on which Annual Passholders can visit Walt Disney World theme parks without needing a park reservation. This will be in addition to the 2 PM rule above.
What exactly is the Disney World Park Pass Reservation System?
In order to manage the much lower capacity across all 4 parks, guests must have a park reservation to enter a park, in addition to a valid ticket. Guests must choose one park per day. If guests have Park Hopper tickets, they can make a reservation at their first park and hop to a second park of their choice after 2 PM (subject to availability).
The reservation system is linked to the My Disney Experience 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 the Advanced Dining Reservations system 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/
Do Annual Passholders need to make part reservations?
Currently, if you plan to visit a park before 2 PM or Magic Kingdom on the weekends at any time, you’ll need park reservations. If you plan to visit a park (except Magic Kingdom on weekends) after 2 PM, you do not need park reservations.
In 2024 Disney will offer ‘Good to Go Days’ for Annual Passholders. On these days, Annual Passholders will not need park reservations.
What do I need to do to make park reservations at Disney?
In order to be able to make a theme park reservation, you need a valid theme park admission. You can make reservations for the amount of days on your ticket. Or if you have an annual pass, you can make up to the number of reservations permitted by your pass. 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 the number of passes their annual pass allows. 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 number of days they are permitted to book for their annual pass, outside the stay. So let’s say someone who has a Pixie Dust annual pass has a 7-day Disney resort booked. They’re permitted to make 7 days worth of park reservations, plus 3 more days.
Can I check availability of park reservations without a ticket?
Yes, you can. Here’s how you do that:
- Go to the Disney theme Park Reservations page.
- Scroll down beyond “Make a Park Reservation” to “Don’t Have a Ticket Yet?” Choose either “Park Ticket Availability” if you plan to buy a park ticket, or “Annual Pass Availability” if that’s your plan.
- Check the calendar on that page for the dates you’re interested in to see park reservation availability.
Who needs to make a reservation?
Aside from the rules for Annual Passholders, 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.
Do I need a park reservation if I’m attending a special ticketed event?
No. If you’ve purchased a ticket to a special event such as Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, you do not need a park reservation. The only exception when you would need a park reservation is if you plan to visit that park before the event. Usually, guests who purchase special ticketed events are allowed into the park around 4 pm. However, if you plan to get there earlier, you’d need a separate ticket and a park reservation.
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 the Advance Dining Reservations, you do not need to wait until a specific time frame before your trip to book.
Step By Step
1) Use this link to go to the Disney Park Pass reservations page. Or you can find the link on the top menu, under the Parks & Tickets menu, and also under the My Disney Experience menu to the right. You’ll see ‘Theme Park Reservations’. Click on that.
2) Sign in with your My Disney Experience (MDE) details when prompted. If you don’t have an account, it’s time to create your account.
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. 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 Genie+ 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.
It is always a good idea to take a screenshot of your reservations so if the system has a glitch, you’ll still know what you booked.
HERE’S A BIG TIP! This comes from Disney World traveler Pete Prone:
“… screen shot those reservations. The system mixed ours up and lost our magic kingdom (reservation) and fortunately I had a screenshot of the Magic Kingdom one and was able to prove it.”
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 change park passes?
Yes. 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. Also, you are now able to modify your park reservations, if you would like, instead of having to cancel them before trying to book a different option.
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