Got plans to visit Disney World this year? Maybe you’re looking to join in on all the Halloween fun?
Or, perhaps you’re looking forward to some Christmastime entertainment. Well, if you’re planning to visit the Most Magical Place on Earth this year, there’s one BIG thing that could derail your whole trip.
Before the park closures, if you were planning a trip to Disney World, you mostly just needed to make sure that you had a valid park ticket for the park (or parks) you wanted to visit on a particular day.
So, if you wanted to stop by Magic Kingdom for some corn dog nuggets, and then head out to EPCOT to eat your way around the world, you just needed to make sure you had a valid ticket that would allow you to enter Magic Kingdom and EPCOT on that particular day.
When Disney World reopened, however, it introduced a Park Pass reservation system as part of its new safety measures to limit guest capacity in order to promote physical distancing. With it, guests are limited to visiting only one park per day.
So, now, to enter a Disney World theme park — you must have a valid park ticket for that day, as well as a park pass reservation for the specific park you want to visit for the day. Park Pass availability can differ between those guests who are Annual Passholders, Disney Resort and other select hotel Guests, and guests who have regular theme park tickets.
Park Pass Availability Could Be A Problem!
So you may be thinking — okay, no problem, I’ll just get my Park Pass as it gets closer to my trip and we’ve decided what parks we want to go to each day. And right after the parks reopened, that was often a very doable approach.
But now, it’s not that simple. Park passes are getting harder to secure as the parks get more crowded, approaching the capacity limits. As pandemic numbers go down, crowds are increasing. And with the holidays coming — historically the MOST crowded time in Disney World — we’re already seeing signs that parks will indeed reach capacity limits.
Park Pass availability has varied quite a bit over the last few months, and sometimes Park Passes have entirely sold out. Especially if you’re looking to go during a big holiday weekend, getting a Park Pass reservation can be a challenge!
So far, we’ve seen Park Passes sell out or become extremely limited (at least at certain points) for weekends and holidays like Labor Day weekend. Currently, Park Passes are unavailable for Annual Passholders for Hollywood Studios or Magic Kingdom on Halloween. Availability in October, in general, is also becoming more limited.
Some dates in November are filling up as well, especially for the days around Thanksgiving. Park Passes for some parks are unavailable for select guests during certain dates in November. Already, the calendar is showing that Disney Resort Guests cannot make reservations to visit Disney’s Hollywood Studios on November 27th.
Of course, this availability is always subject to change. Sometimes that can work in your favor. We’ve seen availability open up at certain parks for some guests even after the calendar showed that Park Passes were unavailable.
We’ve also noticed that certain parks may still be available for reservations, even if the calendar shows they are full — so, it may be worth it to try and see what the system shows you when you actually go into your account to make the reservation.
So, what do we recommend you do so you can (hopefully) prevent a lack of Park Pass availability from derailing your trip? A few main things:
1. Book Your Park Pass Reservations ASAP!
We highly recommend you book your Park Pass reservations as soon as possible so you can hopefully secure your ability to visit the parks you want on the days you want. If you change your mind later, you can try to change your Park Pass through the system, so that’s an option if needed.
It’s better to at least have something in place, rather than wait until later and run the risk that several of the parks become entirely unavailable.
2. Try to Actually Make a Reservation (Rather Than Just Go By the Availability Calendar)
Like we said, we’ve sometimes been able to make a reservation at a park that the availability calendar shows is full — so, it’s worth it to try and see what the system shows you when you actually go into your account to make the reservation.
3. Keep Checking!
If you couldn’t get a Park Pass reservation for the park you wanted on a particular day, keep checking for more availability! Availability has changed a LOT over the past few months, so be sure to check the reservation system to see if more availability has opened up for your trip.
We’re constantly checking the Park Pass availability calendar for major updates, so be sure to come back for all the latest. And, if you’re trying to make a Park Pass for a SUPER popular holiday weekend…may the Force be with you!
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Have you ever had an issue getting a Park Pass for the park you wanted to visit? Tell us about your experience in the comments.