If you’re planning a trip to Walt Disney World, there is a LOT to think about right now. As a result of the global health crisis, we’re seeing some big changes to the way we do Disney World. We’re talking updates to the dining reservation system, an all-new Disney Park Pass theme park reservation system, and no more Park Hopping, to name a few.
If you’ve been hard at work planning or rescheduling an upcoming Disney vacation, you may have wrapped your mind around some of the big changes. But, there are still quite a few things that most people booking a Disney trip right now DON’T know.
Many of the changes Disney has implemented — and the corresponding uncertainty about what comes next — could be longer lasting than you might think and they may affect vacations more than a year from now! Here’s how.
Park reservations may be required through September of next year.
Did you know theme park reservations may be necessary through September of next year or beyond? Currently, guests visiting Disney World will only be able to enter the theme parks with a Disney Park Pass reservation. Park Passes are available through September 26, 2021, so if you’re planning on heading to Disney World any time between now and then, you’ll need Park Passes to visit the theme parks.
Here’s what you’ll need to do to get Park Passes for your upcoming trip. First, check out Disney Park Pass availability before you book. Right now, Annual Passholders are the ticket type with the least availability for Park Passes. For Disney resort guests and ticket holders, the first two weeks of Park Passes are the only times that have shown any reduced availability to date — leaving vacations planned far enough in advance in an OK spot. Still, keep an eye on it and get those reservations booked ASAP to make sure you don’t run into any availability issues.
Pro tip! If you find you’re not able to get the Disney Park Pass reservation you need, keep trying. Sometimes more become available as other people cancel their passes and there’s always a chance Disney could add more availability along the way.
It’s also important to remember that September 2021 is a long way off. If the Disney Park Pass system remains in place, things could still change. After all, this system is entirely new and Disney might make updates or improvements along the way. We’ve already seen a number of Park Pass system glitches swiftly resolved. Beyond that, the parks’ capacities could be expanded if there is an improvement in the global health crisis, leading to more Park Pass availability.
Disney has also said that they hope to bring Park Hopping back soon and it’s currently possible to book the Park Hopper add-on with 2021 tickets. If Park Hopping returns while the Park Pass reservation system is still in place, then we might see another system change that would allow guests to make reservations for multiple parks per day.
You won’t get your 50th-anniversary trip booked right now.
There might be further implications to that September, 26, 2021 date, too. It’s not just Park Pass reservation bookings that currently end then — tickets aren’t on sale past that date either. Chances are, this has something to do with the fact that Disney World has a very big milestone on the horizon.
Disney World’s 50th anniversary is next October. The 50th anniversary has long been expected to be a high-demand time for travel to Disney World. But, with so much up in the air with health concerns, new protocols, and the current need to curb capacity to support physical distancing, it’s possible Disney doesn’t want to open the sales floodgates for the 50th anniversary period just yet. Keep in mind that it’s very possible that some of these measures (like Disney Park Pass) could continue into October 2021 and beyond and affect your 50th anniversary trip.
Some Disney World hotels do not yet have a reopening date.
There are some Disney World hotels that still do not have reopening dates and aren’t currently an option for 2021 vacation packages. We’re not sure when these hotels will open, and if you’re planning to book a 2021 trip, this could have an impact on where you stay.
The following hotels are currently unavailable for 2021 reservations:
- Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort
- Disney’s All-Star Music Resort
- Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort
- Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter
- Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside
- Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge (Note that Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas – Kidani Village and Animal Kingdom Villas – Jambo House are available for booking.)
- Disney’s Wilderness Lodge (Note that Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge and Copper Creek Villas & Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge are available for booking.)
Of course, this list is always subject to change and Disney could announce more hotel reopenings at any time, but for now, you’ll need to book your 2021 vacation elsewhere.
As we’re continuing to see, the ongoing global health crisis and resulting changes to the way Disney World operates could have an even longer-term effect on the way we plan and experience a trip to Disney World. As always, stay tuned to Disney Food Blog for all of the latest updates and tips for returning to Disney World!
Are you planning to book a trip for Walt Disney World’s 50th anniversary? Tell us in the comments!