Disney World’s new park pass reservation system now open to all

Jun 28, 2020

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So you want to go to Disney World sometime in 2020 or up until Sept. 26, 2021? Yeah, I know, coronavirus, mask requirements for those ages 2 and up, no FastPass+ and changes within the parks and resorts galore. But, that’s a tale for another day.

If you’ve decided you want to go to Disney World, you’re going to need something you never needed in the past — a reservation to get into the theme parks. No, not a ticket to get into the park (though you need that, too). But you’ll also need an actual reservation to get into the park using Disney’s new Park Pass Reservation System.

The day the system launched, I spent about four hours trying to make a reservation to go to the Magic Kingdom. After seeing more error screens and countdown clocks than I care to remember, it eventually worked. In the days following the launch, the system has largely seemed to work better on the whole and is now open to all guests who have tickets in 2020 and all guests who want to plan new trips for 2021. Here’s what I learned about how to make a Disney World Park Pass reservation.

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(Photo by Melissa Ann Photography)
(Photo by Melissa Ann Photography)

For 2020 You need a ticket — and maybe a hotel booking, too

First things first, at least for now, if you want to visit a Disney theme park in 2020, you’ll need an existing Disney World theme park ticket or annual pass to make a park pass reservation. This makes things tricky as Disney is not selling new theme park tickets or annual passes for use in 2020 at this time, though it has said it may open ticket sales up again “later this summer, pending availability.”

There are actually three different Disney World park pass reservation calendars — one for those with both theme park ticket or annual passes and a Disney resort hotel booking, those with an annual pass but no Disney hotel reservation and those only with existing individual theme park tickets. You’ll notice that availability for each bucket of guests is actually different with some categories of guests having access to more inventory than others at the moment.

For 2020, Disney is not currently selling tickets or annual passes or permitting new direct hotel bookings.

There’s no good way around the ticket sale dilemma for 2020 unless you find someone who doesn’t want their unused Disney World tickets, but there is a way around the no new hotel bookings status. You can rent Disney Vacation Club points and use those to make a booking at a DVC Disney resort, as those are reopened as of June 22.

Alternatively, if you can find one of the Bonnet Creek or Disney Springs hotels that are accepting bookings and traditionally offer Disney benefits (such as 60 day FastPass+ and Extra Magic Hours) and link that to your My Disney Experience account, they should also serve as your necessary Disney resort booking to book now.

Related: Everything you need to know about visiting Walt Disney World

(Photo by Melissa Ann Photography)
(Photo by Melissa Ann Photography)

When you can make a Park Pass reservation:

  • Beginning June 22, 2020, Disney Resort and other select hotel guests with a valid theme park admission can make reservations.
  • Beginning June 26, 2020, Annual passholders without a resort stay can make reservations.
  • Beginning June 28, 2020, existing ticket holders can make reservations.
Screenshot courtesy of Walt Disney World
Screenshot courtesy of Walt Disney World

Those who want to purchase new Disney resort hotel packages and theme park tickets for arrivals starting in 2021, can also now do that. You’ll be able to view park reservation availability online before purchasing 2021 tickets.

How to book your Disney Park Pass reservation

Assuming you have a My Disney Experience account set up, and you have your theme park tickets and any relevant hotel reservations linked, you’ll then log-in and select “Disney Park Pass reservation” from the drop-down menu.

Screenshot courtesy of Disney

Once on this screen, you’ll select “Make a Disney Park Pass Reservation” in blue on the upper right-hand side.

Alternatively, you can go straight to this link to start the process.

You’ll then need to select your party that you wish to enter the park with on a given date. Remember, everyone you select is going to need a valid park ticket or annual pass attached to their name.

From there, you’ll select the date and park you wish to visit of the four Walt Disney World theme parks. For now, you can only select one park per day. You can also only make a maximum of three park day bookings at a time if you have an annual pass but don’t have a Disney resort stay attached to your account. We’ve noticed that Disney’s Hollywood Studios is the park selling out the quickest for popular days, which is no shock since it has the new Mickey and Minnie Runaway Railway attraction and Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.

Screenshot courtesy of Disney

Once you select your park, you’ll see a screen that asks you to select your entry time. Perhaps in the future, this will be used to select a specific time to enter the park, but for now, the only options we see are for the full day.

Once you’ve selected your time, that’s it — you should see a congratulations screen!

Now, it is likely that demand will level out over time but at times right now, the new booking system is overloaded at times. You may go through a variety of waiting room and error screens before you can make your reservation to enter the theme park. It took four hours for me to complete the process when it first launched this morning.

And while this tip didn’t work for me, some have reported success getting into the park reservations system faster by starting at the dining reservations page.

Assuming everything worked as intended, you should see the reservation under the “My Plans” part of your My Disney Experience account.

Bottom line

Going to Disney World in a world in which coronavirus is a reality, even on Main Street U.S.A., will be a very different experience than before the world changed. However, it is now possible to make a reservation to again enter the gates of Disney World or purchase new 2021 Disney packages, if that’s where your heart desires to travel.

Featured image by Summer Hull/The Points Guy

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