Tips and Tricks for Using Walt Disney World’s Park Pass Reservation System

WDW Park Pass Featured

We are still a few weeks away from the reopening of Walt Disney World’s theme parks, but the Central Florida resort’s new Disney Park Pass reservation system is now available, and we’ve got all the tips and tricks you need to secure your admission into the Vacation Kingdom.

Bay Lake Tower Resort
Walt Disney World’s theme parks are preparing to reawaken, and we have the tips you’ll need to navigate the new Disney Park Pass reservation system before returning to the magic.

The post-quarantine revival of Walt Disney World’s theme parks is officially scheduled to begin on July 11 at the Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom, with Epcot and Hollywood Studios following on July 15. However, once those dates arrive, guests won’t simply be able to walk into the park of their choosing on any given day, even with a ticket in hand. Instead, since park attendance will be strictly limited to promote social distancing, all Walt Disney World visitors will be required to use the new Disney Park Pass system to reserve their park visits in advance of their arrival.

Walt Disney World’s new Disney Park Pass reservations opened up to guests with confirmed onsite resort hotel reservations on June 22, and although we were able to secure admission to the parks on their reopening days, the process was far from seamless. Annual Passholders will be eligible to make park pass reservations on June 26, and the system will open up to all other existing ticket holders on June 28. Since it isn’t unreasonable to assume the park pass system will suffer some of the same glitches on those dates, our experience will hopefully help you navigate the pitfalls when reserving your park visits.

To get started, view the the Disney Park Pass availability calendar to view your reservation options. Click the bubble corresponding to your category — resort hotel guest, annual passholder, or regular tickeholder — and select the month of your planned visit. Days when all four theme parks are available will be green, while days with only partial park availability will be yellow. If a day is completely sold-out or blocked for a certain guest category, it will be grayed out. Click on any particular calendar day for specific details about park availability.

Disney Park Pass reservation availability calendar

Ideally, you’ll want to consult the availability calendar before buying admission tickets or booking your hotel. Note that the Disney Park Pass reservation system is scheduled to be in use through September 26, 2021. Reservations are currently being distributed to eligible guests for all dates in the next 15 months, even though park operating hours are only published 6 months in advance.

As of 6/26, no dates have completely sold out to resort guests yet, but annual passholders have limited or no availability through July. Resort guests, annual passholders, and regular ticket holders will all draw from separate pools of reservations, so mark admission may be available to one category but not another.

In addition, make sure your My Disney Experience account is properly set up, and that you can use your log in and password to access the website. Ensure that all members of you traveling party are found in your Friends and Family list, and that you have valid admission tickets attached to each person.

If you are staying in an on-site resort hotel, be sure that your reservation confirmation number is linked in your account, and that all members of your party are properly attached to the reservation. You’ll see their full name and the character icon they have selected (instead of their last initial and a generic Mickey symbol) beneath the hotel reservation when it is correctly attached.

All of the above should be completed BEFORE attempting to book your Park Pass reservations, and can be accomplished through either Disney’s website, or the My Disney Experience mobile app for smartphones. However, the next steps can ONLY be performed through the My Disney Experience website, and NOT the mobile app. Moreover, you may encounter trouble using a mobile web browser — such as on the iPhone or iPad — or when using Microsoft or Safari browsers on a computer. For best results, we strongly suggest using Google Chrome to access the Disney Park Pass website.

To begin booking your theme park reservation, visit the Disney Park Pass website at disneyworld.disney.go.com/park-reservations and log in with your Disney website ID and password. You’ll then be taken to the “Create Your Party” page, where you can place check-marks next to all the people you want to visit the park with on a particular day.

If one of the guests you’ve selected for your party has a problem, such as a conflicting reservation or invalid admission, you be given a warning, and will have to fix the issue or remove them from the group before proceeding.

Next, pick the first date of your planned visit, and then click on the park you’d like to attend. Be aware that you can only select one park per day, as park hopping will not be available until further notice. You will be able to exit and return to the same park during the operating day, and you will not need to select a particular time at which to arrive.

If the park you picked is not available to you on that particular day, you’ll receive the following warning. This does not necessarily mean that the park is completely sold out for that day; reservations may still be available for other categories of guests.

Finally, once you successfully confirm your selection, you’ll be able to see your reservation in your Plans on the My Disney Experience website or app.

You can view the Reservation Details to confirm the park hours and cancel the Park Pass.

If you are visiting Walt Disney World for more than one day, you’ll have to repeat the preceding procedure for every date you plan on attending a park. On-site resort hotel guests can make reservations on every day of their stay, including check-in and check-out. Off-site regular ticket holders can reserve the number of days corresponding to the length of their ticket. Annual passholders without a hotel booking can hold up to 3 reservations at a time; at this time there are no penalties for reserving multiple park passes and failing to use or cancel them.

The Park Pass reservation process we’ve just described may sound intimidating enough, but that’s actually the best-case scenario. Many resort guests who tried to log into the system on the morning of June 22 reported receiving error messages, and seeing animated loading screens that looped endlessly for hours before even being allowed to log in.

While the system seemingly recovered from its initial issues, and is currently accessible without waiting, it wouldn’t be surprising if it suffers similar problems when Annual Passholders and existing ticket holders are allowed in on the mornings of June 26 and 28.

If you find yourself struggling to reach the My Disney Experience log in page, or are sent to a blank page after finally passing it, try a work-around which worked for us: log into the Disney Dining Reservations page and begin making a dining reservation for any date or venue. Cancel the reservation after selecting a time but before completing the credit card confirmation. You should then be able to jump to the Park Pass page.

Even if you do make it through to the Park Pass page, you make find yourself stymied by one of these commonly reported glitches:

  • Some members of your party are do not appear on your reservation, or are mismatched on the reservation with other names from your Friends & Family list.
  • Resort guests with multiple hotel reservations may be unable to hold more than 14 days of park passes.
  • Annual passholders with resort reservations may be unable to hold more than 3 days of park passes.

If you encounter one of these problems, or any others that you can’t resolve, your last resort is to call the My Disney Experience technical support team at (407) 939-4357. Be prepared to listen to a couple hours of Disney’s greatest hits while holding for a live person.

For all there is to see and do at Walt Disney World, check out The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World, or to plan your family’s trip to Orlando, check out The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World with Kids 2020

6 Comments

  1. Momaw Nadon July 10, 2020Reply

    What I would like to know is whether my unused park hopper ticket, which Disney extended to 9/26/21, is still subject to its usage window of 9 days or whatever it is. It was not clear to me whether I could use up the ticket on any days I wanted up to the extended date. Based on language in MDE, it appears that I can stretch the days out any way I like through 9/26/21, but Disney’s verbiage is not a model of clarity. If I go for a couple of days next month, for example, it’s still not clear to me whether the rest of my ticket would disappear a week later.

    • Seth Kubersky July 11, 2020Reply

      That’s an excellent question! Normally, multiday tickets have a “fuse” that starts burning the first day they are used. Disney says “Partially used multi-day theme park tickets with a usage window impacted by park closure, or date-specific theme park will automatically be extended to use any date through September 26, 2021.” However, I believe that only applies if you used your first ticket day less than 14 days before the closure. If your ticket is completely unused, you can use it any time until Sept 26 or “apply the value of a wholly unused ticket toward the purchase of a ticket for a future date” but the standard expiration should still apply. I’ll try to ask tomorrow at City Hall if the line isn’t too long, but to be certain you may want to try calling Disney’s ticket modification & cancellation departments (407) 934-7639 or (407) 566-4985.

  2. Momaw Nadon July 11, 2020Reply

    Thanks, I agree it would not be too surprising if they burn up my entire ticket next month even if I use, say only two of the six ticket days. I’ll give that phone number a try and see what their story is. Maybe I will purchase a separate two-day base ticket just to preserve the value of my current, unused ticket for future use.

    • Seth Kubersky July 11, 2020Reply

      Ok, I talked to Guest Relations at Magic Kingdom City Hall. They confirmed that ALL multiday tickets purchased BEFORE the shut down now have no fuse, and you can spread out their usage however you like between now and September 2021. Newly purchased tickets still do expire after their first use. However, since Mickey’s right glove often doesn’t know what the left one is doing, you may want to double-confirm for yourself before arriving at the park. Assuming this is correct, those old multiday tickets are worth their weight in Disney Dollars!
      PS I stood outside for 20 minutes in 100F heat index to get this info, so please feel free to subscribe to our YouTube and purchase our books! 😉

  3. Momaw Nadon July 12, 2020Reply

    Wow, that is above and beyond, I commend your dedication (to say nothing of your ability to remain conscious while wearing a mask in that weather). The GR account is consistent with language I saw in the My Tickets section on MDE. But, as you say, I will need to check again closer to trip dates in case Disney tries to pull a fast one. If park hopping comes back by 2021, then I will have lost out on only two days of hopping, not too bad in the current scheme of things.

    BTW, my travel library does include the UG Walt Disney World 2020, Universal Orlando 2020, and Disneyland 2019. The UG book teams do a great job and I have been reading your guides for years. I have to assume the 2021 editions will be among the most challenging in the series’ history, given how dynamic the park rules and procedures have become.

    • Seth Kubersky July 15, 2020Reply

      And you’ve gone above and beyond buying books!
      You’re correct about this year’s challenge. Right now the hardest thing is just waiting to learn when all the parks will finally open, and how long they will stay that way…

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