Disney World has begun looking very different ever since it closed for a time during the pandemic. Among adjustments including dropping fastpasses in the parks, making changes to annual passes and introducing Genie+, Disney World also introduced a new park reservation system during this time period, at first to deal with capacity issues. That system has had its detractors, and now a new rumor indicates the park reservation system could add another restriction in the future. However, if true, that restriction could also potentially solve a problem with the reservations system.
How Does Disney World’s Park Reservation System Work?
Here’s the gist, when you and your family book a trip to Walt Disney World, you can either pay for single-park tickets or park hopper tickets. The latter entitles you and your family to use more than one park during a given day, making it theoretically possible to start your day at Magic Kingdom and end it with a reservation at Tiffins in Animal Kingdom, or whatever.
Since the pandemic reopening, however, a few restrictions have come into place with Disney World's park reservations system. First, families must make park reservations separately from ticket purchases when taking their trip. If you don’t make a reservation in a timely fashion and all of the reservations fill up, you may not be able to book the park you had hoped to enjoy on a particular given day. Secondly, if you do have the park hopper pass, you are unable to actually park hop until 2 p.m. So right now, gone are the days when you could kick off in the a.m. at Magic Kingdom and hit up Epcot’s Flower and Garden Festival in time for lunch.
This has obviously made those who have enjoyed park-hopping in the past less enthusiastic.
What The Rumor Mill Is Whispering About Another Reservations Change
Essentially, the latest rumor indicates that Disney World may be toying with the idea of asking people with park hopper tickets to choose which park they would like to hop to after their first park of the day. For Disney, this would give the parks even more understanding of the movements of its guests during the day and could help the parks staff accordingly. However, it would also lead to guests being given even less flexibility with their trip than they currently have.
To be completely clear, the source of this rumor Walt Disney World News Today doesn’t cite where the murmurings are coming from, and this certainly isn’t something that Disney Parks is specifically touting at this point. However, if it does move forward, there seemingly could be one silver lining to this whole thing: earlier park movement for park hoppers. (And this time you wouldn't even need a bunch of extra money to do it at Disney World.)
How Adding Another Restriction To Reservations Could Actually Solve One Problem
According to this rumor, if guests were to have to choose a second park ahead of time, it seems Disney might be willing to allow a little more freedom when it comes to the timeline. So, you remember earlier when I mentioned it's very annoying currently if you want to spend a morning in one park and then go to lunch at Epcot or elsewhere, but are restricted until 2 p.m. instead? According to the report, if this new reservation system does become a reality, then guest may be able to park hop even earlier. That's something I could honestly get on board for.
Yet, it does lead to more questions. For example, If you park hop to your second park at 11 a.m. and want to head somewhere else for the evening could you? Or would having to declare your second park in a given day mean a family could only go to two parks in one day with a park hopper pass? Could you return to the first park after going to the second park? So many questions...
I honestly don't mind declaring which park I'm going to first in a given day, but I do long for the flexibility of just sort of going where the day takes me in the parks afterward. I suppose we'll just have to wait and see if this is the path Disney World and its four parks -- Epcot, Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios -- take moving forward.
Amazing Race & Top Chef superfan with a pinch of Disney fairy dust thrown in. Theme park junkie. If you’ve created a rom-com I’ve probably watched it.
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