Walt Disney World has revealed changes to the Park Pass reservation system aimed at improving and streamlining the reservation process for all tickets, with new rules taking effect August 23, 2022. This article reviews details of the updates. update and share feedback on their practice impact.
According to today’s announcement, Walt Disney World will update the user interface to make Disney Park Pass reservations for all ticket types. This means that everyone – theme park ticket holders, on-site resort guests, and annual pass holders – will all be using the same booking system and flow going forward.
Currently, multi-day ticket holders and Walt Disney World PAs each use a different system. This means that these Park Pass reservations must be booked separately and drawn from different “buckets” of reservations. In the future, customers will be able to make reservations for all ticket and AP types in a single transaction.
In this one-time transaction, the upper limit of tickets that can have Disney Parks Passes in a single transaction will increase to 30, a significant increase from the current 12. This likely won’t impact many of you, but it will certainly be useful for family reunions and other group bookings, such as youth sports teams.
Note that if you have already made reservations for after August 23, your reservations will not be cancelled. Existing Disney Park Passes will migrate to the new reservation system without any customer action.
This is just the beginning of the changes. Another big issue is the changes to the Disney Park Pass, which didn’t exist before. In the past, you had to cancel and rebook, hoping that the availability you saw on the Park Pass calendar was actually there in the system.
Going forward, customers will now have the ability to change their Disney Park Pass reservations. This new feature will be available to some or all members of your party.
Concretely, let’s say that Sarah and I have booked for Magic Kingdom, which is now full. She still wants to go, but I feel compelled to visit Hollywood Studios to see if Olaf is wearing a seasonal scarf and potentially cover this hard-hitting news. Starting August 23, we will be able to change the Disney Park Pass to redirect me to DHS without her losing the Magic Kingdom reservation.
(Important note: Olaf is not wearing a seasonal scarf. Stupid snowman who hates Halloween.)
Additionally, Disney Park Passes will be linked to a specific ticket and not to guest profiles in My Disney Experience.
This has some implications. First, customers can have multiple admission types for any reason and choose which ticket they want to assign the park reservation to. It’s probably very specialized, but it should theoretically eliminate some of the “ticket priority issues” that some people have encountered. (If you don’t know what that means, it almost certainly doesn’t apply to you.)
Second, customers can change the email associated with the Disney Park Pass reservation. This means guests can choose a different email than their My Disney Experience account.
I’m not quite sure what it offers, but it sounds like how things work at Disneyland. The downside, at least from my perspective, is that Disneyland sends an email for every reservation. (I guess one of the benefits could be that some people want this and the reservation appears in their primary email, who might not be affiliated with MDX?)
Finally, disconnecting reservations from guest and ticket profiles means that switching from standalone tickets to vacation packages results in an “immediate cancellation” of all Disney Park Pass reservations made on the previously booked ticket. New Park Pass reservations will be required as the confirmation number changes with the upgrade process.
It will be interesting to see how or if this actually happens. Personally, I hope it’s not really automatic. If a changed confirmation number triggers an instant cancellation, I might see this happening unintentionally. I have no basis for this fear – it’s not really a “fear”, it’s a slight exaggeration. Still, with how glitchy Disney’s systems can be, I’d rather err on the side of the system having excess “zombie” bookings than purge the active ones. Perhaps there is a good basis for this change, however.
With the changes and “improvements” (some real, some worth the hiatus) out of the way, let’s get to what remains the same.
First, though reservations will be disconnected from My Disney Experience in more ways than one. You will still need to create Disney Parks passes through DisneyWorld.com. The button will (presumably) continue to exist in the app, but it will continue to send you to the website to make reservations.
Second and most importantly, there will always be separate booking groups for annual pass holders and everyone else.
Currently, three categories are displayed on the Disney Park Pass schedule: Theme Park Tickets, Selected Resort Guests, and Annual Passholders. Technically, the first two have already been combined internally and the availability of access points is then broken down by level.
This will all remain the same, which means reservation availability could be better or worse for regular ticket holders than for APs. It’s the treat which is streamlined, not availability.
There has been speculation that this will change/change due to the Magic Key lawsuit. That might be true eventually, but it’s not happening now. (Personally, I strongly doubt Disney will do this voluntarily – it undermines what they’ve wanted to accomplish with AP reservations since even before the shutdown. If Disney is successful, reservations for annual passholders are here to stay.)
To my knowledge, that’s all. Some details are still not entirely clear from the announcement and conflicting clarification information (specifically, what happens when tickets are upgraded to vacation packages), but we should know for sure. how it will all work tomorrow.
Some of these changes are iterative improvements that will improve the Disney Park Pass system for some people. Others are relatively insignificant or pose their own potential problems. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out in practice. We will monitor and let you know if/when any issues arise!
Planning a trip to Walt Disney World? Learn more about the hotels on our Walt Disney World Hotel Reviews page. To find out where to eat, read our Walt Disney World restaurant reviews. To save money on tickets or figure out which type to buy, read our tips for saving money on Walt Disney World tickets. Our What to Pack for Disney Trips article takes a unique look at smart items to pack. To know what to do and when to do it, our Walt Disney World Ride guides will help you. For comprehensive advice, the best place to start is our Walt Disney World Travel Planning Guide for everything you need to know!
What do you think of these changes and improvements to the Disney Park Pass reservation policies and protocol at Walt Disney World? Happy or unhappy with any of these updates in particular? Do you think the biggest “upgrade” of all would be to remove Park Pass altogether, or are you a fan of the certainty the system presents? Do you agree or disagree with our assessment? Questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback, even when you disagree with us, is both interesting for us and helpful for other readers, so share your thoughts below in the comments!