In the pre-pandemic era, you could just show up at the Disney World theme parks, buy your tickets at the window, and walk in. However, in the wake of the unprecedented COVID-19 crisis, Disney has put new safety measures in place, including a cap on theme park attendance. So, can you get into Disney without a reservation?
At the current time, no. Before you visit a Disney World theme park, you not only require a valid admission ticket but also a park reservation made via the Disney Park Pass system.
Continue reading to learn everything there is to know about the Disney Park Pass reservation system. Find out why this is the most important reservation you will make before your Disney vacation. And pick up some tips on how to secure a Disney Park Pass reservation.
Can I just show up at Disney?
You cannot just show up at Disney while Covid-19 restrictions are ongoing. To maintain social distancing, Disney World is limiting attendance. Park capacity at each of the Disney theme parks has been capped at 35% when last checked. Disney CEO Bob Chapek had indicated they would gradually increase the capacity as public vaccination rates went up.
What happens if you don’t have a reservation at Disney?
You cannot enter any of the Disney World theme parks without having a park reservation made through the Disney Park Pass system. You will be denied entry without a reservation, even if you have a valid admission ticket.
As noted, the reservation system has been implemented to keep attendance at Disney theme parks to around one-third of the park capacity, while the coronavirus is still a threat.
What is the Disney Park Pass system?
Here’s how the Disney Park Pass reservation system works. You first need to check availability, i.e., whether there is park capacity available on your desired date. You must do this before you purchase your admission ticket, Disney vacation package, or Annual Pass. Different types of admissions (day tickets, annual passes, and packages) have varying availability. So, don’t be surprised if you find reservations for Annual Passholders are sold out while reservations for day ticket holders are still available on a particular date. Also keep in mind that park availability can change until the capacity has been finalized.
Once you’ve confirmed there’s availability at a specific theme park on your preferred date, you can go ahead and purchase your park admission tickets. If you already have valid theme park admission tickets, then you’re ready to make your park reservations.
The third and final step after checking availability and purchasing your tickets is making a park reservation for your desired date. Remember, before you can visit any Disney World theme park, you need both a valid admission ticket AND a park reservation made via the Disney Park Pass system.
How do I make a Disney Park Pass reservation?
First, sign in to your Disney account (or create one if you don’t already have one). Once you’re signed in to your Disney account, link your valid theme park admission ticket to your account. Make sure all guests in your party have valid admission tickets. If you’re staying onsite on a Disney property, link your hotel reservation to your Disney account as well.
Now you’re ready to make your park reservation. You can create your party by selecting the family and friends you want to include. Use the “Add a Guest” button to include someone who is not visible in your travel party. If some members of your party are Annual Passholders and others are going to use day tickets, you will need to make separate reservations to include all the members of your party.
From the available dates on the calendar, choose the date and the theme park you want to visit. The calendar also displays the theme park hours.
Finally, review and confirm your plans – ensure you’ve included everyone and it’s the correct date and theme park. If you need to make changes, use the “Back” button. Once you confirm your Disney Park Pass reservation, it will appear under “My Plans” both online and in the My Disney Experience app.
That’s it. You’re all set to experience the magic.
What if there’s a change of plans?
Simply log in to your Disney account or the My Disney Experience app and choose Reservation Details. You cannot modify an existing Park Pass reservations, but you can cancel a reservation and book a new one. This means there is an element of risk involved. You will have to drop an existing reservation before you can even try for another one.
How many Disney Park Pass reservations can I hold at a time?
The number of Disney Park Pass reservations you can hold at one time depends on the type of admission. If you have day tickets for admission to the theme parks, you can make reservations for the number of valid days on your ticket. So, if you have a 5-day ticket, you can hold 5 Disney Park Pass reservations. Remember, if you have a multi-day ticket, you need a Park Pass reservation for each day of entry.
Guests staying at Disney Resort hotels can make reservations for the length of their stay.
Annual Passholders can make up to 3 Disney Park Pass reservations at a time or for the length of their stay if they’re staying at a Disney Resort.
How far in advance can I make Disney Park Pass reservations?
Disney recommends making your Disney Park Pass reservation as soon as you purchase your tickets because capacity is limited. Already, Disney has opened up Park Pass days up to January 2023, so it looks like the reservation system is here to stay for the foreseeable future.
Can I get a last-minute Disney Park Pass reservation?
As long as the park is not at capacity, you can make last-minute Disney Park Pass reservations. If you are Park Hopping, you can make a Disney Park Pass reservation for the second park as long as it has availability after 2:00 pm.
Which is the easiest and most difficult Disney Park Pass reservation to get?
Trends suggest that Disney’s Hollywood Studios is the most difficult Park Pass reservation to secure. It could be because the theme park features some of the newest attractions at Disney World, or it could be because it has the most limited capacity.
Not surprisingly, weekends are the most difficult park reservations days to get. This is especially true if you are an Annual Passholder, because locals tend to visit Disney World on the weekends. Also, the “bucket” for Annual Passholders is reportedly the one that fills up fastest. Given the restrictions of the Disney Park Pass reservation system, Disney has given Annual Passholders the option to cancel their passes.
Disney Resort guests may also find it somewhat difficult to secure reservations, so early booking is advised. Regular ticket holders are contributing the least to crowds at Disney World. Your best chances of securing a Park Pass reservation are in this admission bucket.
Tips for the Disney Park Pass reservation system
A couple of tips. If you don’t have luck with the date you want, try refreshing the page or checking back later. While the calendar is mostly accurate, availability does change. Second, book the weekends and Disney’s Hollywood Studios first as these are the most in-demand dates and theme park on the Disney Park Pass reservation system. When we last checked, Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, and Epcot were showing availability for most days.