Disney World opened the gates to the magical kingdom back in 1971. In the 50 years that followed, it has transformed and expanded greatly, and those changes came with new procedures for visitors to follow. Some vacationers have tried to secure spots on the vast property only to have to cancel their plans entirely.
It comes down to a mixed bag of logistics, capacity, and requirements for enjoying the different venues available. In particular, the Disney Park Pass system has left park-goers at a dead end. These Park Passes are needed to enter the premises. This is opposed to the old system of arriving at Disney, obtaining a ticket there, and going from theme park to theme park. Reservations have become increasingly important and it has derailed visitors’ plans.
The need for Park Passes has thrown Disney visitors off
In the past, guests could expect to purchase a ticket and going to the particular park of their choice. Now, Disney is leaning into the park Pass reservation system. At the same time, Disney is reported to be operating at a reduced capacity; Inside the Magic is investigating an exact amount, but estimates it at at least 35% based on crowd size.
The outlet also covered an occasion where a group of eight wanted to visit the park only to realize they could not get Park Passes for everyone in the group. Once school let out, these tickets also sold out quickly as students rushed to secure a chance to visit the park. If those run out and the park is at its maximum capacity, plans can end up derailed. Currently, potential visitors can generate Park Passes into 2024.
What is the history of Park Passes?
Annual passes have been around since the ’80s. But the Park Pass reservation system is more young. Disney began shutting down stepwise around the world with the COVID-19 pandemic. Universal Orlando led by example in the U.S. on March 12, 2020 and Walt Disney World followed suit soon after. Then, just in time for summer, it opened again – this time with safety measures at play. In mid-June, the Disney Parks blog posted an announcement revealing “To manage attendance during this reopening period we are introducing the new Disney Park Pass system. During this time, all guests with a ticket or Annual Pass will be required to make a reservation in advance for each park entry, using this new online tool on DisneyWorld.com.”
Jump ahead two years, and testimonies indicate the Park Pass system is still throwing visitors off-kilter, sometimes resulting in outright cancelations. In the example of the group of eight, with “total spending $10k” to enjoy the park for a week, when they could not secure enough of the required passes – or ride and restaurant reservations – the plan changed to “Going to cancel.” There have been some solutions presented in cases like these, though, like reading the Disney World website thoroughly to best understand the park’s expectations and requirements. This system has been in place for two years, along with many other bundles, packages, and offers Disney puts forth for its giant property, so an information-gathering session could make a future plan go smoothly and hopefully be the source of fun it’s meant to be.
Have you been to Walt Disney World recently? How was it? Have you had trouble getting there?