If you have plans to visit Disney World, you’ll need to know all about the Park Pass reservation system.
To closely monitor their capacity and align with health and safety guidelines, Disney is currently requiring a Park Pass reservation in addition to a valid theme park ticket for each day of your visit. We’ve got a guide for you with ALL our tips on doing that. But if you’re trying to get into Disney’s Hollywood Studios, you may notice…it books up WAY faster than the other parks (typically!). And it turns out, there’s a very good reason why!
Okay, let’s start at the beginning. If you’re trying to book a Park Pass reservation for Disney’s Hollywood Studios, best of luck to ya! All of the reservations here tend to get snatched up quicker than the other Disney parks. Just recently, we reported that Park Passes for Hollywood Studios were booked out through mid-June! Yikes.
That’s all well and good, but WHY does Hollywood Studios book up so fast? Well, a couple of factors come into play that make scoring a reservation here a extra tricky. Luckily, we’re breaking them down for you!
We’re gonna start with the obvious — Hollywood Studios is popular! this used to be known as a half-day park but NOT anymore! Disney’s two newest attractions are here: Mickey and Minnie’s Railway and ALL of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. Not to mention, Toy Story Land (including the mega-fun Slinky Dog Dash) just opened a few years ago and many guests still haven’t had a chance to experience it, if they don’t visit regularly. A few NEW rides and 2 NEW lands?! Unsurprisingly, people want to give all this fun new stuff a try!
Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance quickly became an absolute must for most guests visiting Disney World. But you’ll need to reserve a boarding group to ride! And while you can currently Park Hop after 2PM, the last boarding group for Rise of the Resistance opens at 1PM…and you’ll need to have a Hollywood Studios Park Pass for the day to grab it. Womp, womp.
And because the park IS so popular, it’s kind of contributing to its own problem. If people really want to visit, they’re going to book it for the first park of the day because they see how fast capacity fills. They’re not going to wait and maybe visit on the off chance that it hasn’t reached capacity when the Park Hopping window opens at 2PM. Now, this probably isn’t a major factor, but it certainly doesn’t help.
If you dig a little deeper into it, you may realize…Disney’s Hollywood Studios is small. Now, Magic Kingdom is the smallest Disney World park from an acreage perspective, but Hollywood Studios’ capacity is much lower.
According to the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA), Magic Kingdom averaged over 57,000 guests per day in 2019. EPCOT averaged 34,000 guests per day, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom averaged 38,000 guests daily. By comparison, Disney’s Hollywood Studios averaged just over 31,000 guests each day. Now, these numbers are well below the max capacity for each park, as Disney rarely hit capacity pre-COVID, but they do provide some perspective of capacity limitations (as Disney does not make their actual capacity numbers public).
Due to limited park operations, capacity is currently lowered across all 4 Disney parks. Last November, Disney increased that capacity from 25% to 35%. And as of February, that percentage remained. Now, whether or not it’s STILL at 35%…Disney hasn’t said. But we’re gonna use that number for now, so hang tight.
Obviously, 35% is different for each of the 4 parks. For example, according to the TEA’s numbers, Magic Kingdom would be able to welcome significantly more guests than, say, Animal Kingdom. And since Hollywood Studios has a smaller normal capacity, that 35% limit is pretty small, too.
Now, it’s worth noting that Disney has been vague about its current capacity procedures. That is, we don’t know how many Park Passes they’re actually allotting and when. But we can assume, based on “normal” capacity, that Hollywood Studios is getting a smaller allotment. This means Hollywood Studios simply can’t offer as many Park Pass reservations as other parks.
Let’s throw ‘em both together: popular park + low capacity = Park Pass reservations that go fast! Okay, sure: now you understand why it’s so frustrating trying to book a day at Hollywood Studios. But that doesn’t really help ya out if you’re currently on the struggle bus, right?!
We’re gonna give you a little tip: don’t give up hope! We previously mentioned that Disney was vague about how their Park Pass reservations work. And it’s true! They’ll randomly drop MORE passes every once and a while, refilling the “bucket” of reservations available.
If you’re really hoping to get into the park, keep checking Disney’s official Park Pass Availability Calendar. Of course, we’ll keep ya posted here, too! And if it really comes down to it, there’s a chance that you’ll be able to Park Hop over on the day of your visit to Disney World. That means no Rise of the Resistance that day, but you can still ride and experience everything else in the park. Remember that we also recommend you book your Park Passes as SOON as you book your trip — hopefully, if a few months out at least, you’ll still have plenty time to snag a pass here.
Good luck if you’re trying to snag that Park Pass! We’ll keep ya posted with more Disney news (and plenty of tips!), so stay tuned to DFB.
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Are you planning a trip to Disney’s Hollywood Studios? Let us know in the comments!