Planning to visit the theme parks at the Walt Disney World resort in the near future?
You’re going to need a park reservation.
To help control capacity in all of the theme parks (Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Epcot, and Hollywood Studios), they’ve implemented a new system called the Disney Park Pass System.
Here’s how it works.
Before you can visit any park, all guests ages 3 and up must have a park reservation and a valid theme park ticket.
No reservation, no entry.
There are essentially 3 different “buckets” of available reservations:
Resort Guests (Including Resort Guests with Annual Passes)
Disney Resort as well as other select hotel Guests (basically anybody staying at resorts that used to offer the 60 day FastPass window) with valid theme park admission can make reservations for their length of stay.
This includes Annual Passholders – if they have a resort stay they can also make reservations for the length of their stay.
Annual Passholders Without Resort Reservations
If you are an Annual Passholder without a resort reservation, you can make up to 3 days worth of reservations at a time. Once you have used 1, you can add another to get you back up to 3.
There has been a lot of confusion about whether or not Annual Passholders that also have resort reservations being able to make an additional 3 days worth of park reservations outside of their resort stay.
It has been confirmed by several sources that it is supposed to be one or the other and if you have booked passes for a resort stay you should not be able to book 3 additional days that aren’t tied to an onsite resort stay.
However, we’ve seen many instances (ourselves included) where Guests were in fact able to do both.
We’d recommend giving it a try if that is your situation.
Ticket Holders Without An Onsite Reservation
Existing ticket holders not staying onsite can make reservations for the number of days of valid theme park admission.
Setting up your My Disney Experience Account
If you already have a My Disney Experience (MDE) account, you can skip this step. If you don’t … keep reading!
Before you can make Park Pass reservations, you must have your My Disney Experience account set up.
We find it is easiest to do this on a computer (so you can type faster) but you can also do it on your phone. There’s a My Disney Experience app that you can – and should – download, too.
Start here: Setting up My Disney Experience
Once you get your account set up, you’ll want to link your friends and family and then be sure to link your park tickets and resort reservations. You can do that all from the link up above.
Before you get started
Before you even go to make a reservation, there’s a couple things you need to do.
Confirm park availability
First, you need to confirm that the parks you want to visit are available.
Disney makes it relatively easy to check park reservation availability.
They have a handy Park Pass availability calendar that will show you exactly which parks are (or are not) available for every day between now and January 14, 2022:
Some important things to note about the calendar:
There are 3 different calendar view options:
- 1 for guests without resort reservations (basically people staying offsite)
- 1 for guests with resort reservations (including Annual Passholders with resort reservations)
- and 1 for Annual Passholders without resort reservations
Important note: Each group has their own bucket of available reservations. Make sure you are viewing the correct calendar so that you see an accurate view of what is available.
Get to the Right Place
Second – you need to understand where to make Disney Park Pass reservations.
Disney Park Pass reservations can only be made in a browser, and from early reports Chrome (not Safari) is probably your best option.
You can not make reservations inside of the My Disney Experience app. But, you can cancel Park Pass reservations inside of the app.
That can be a little bit confusing – but just know, when you’re ready to make Park Pass reservations you’ll need to do so via a web browser like Chrome and we highly recommend you use a computer so that you can easily see everything on the screen at once.
Step 1: Confirm everything is linked
Once you have your My Disney Experience account set up, you’ll want to confirm that everything is linked.
To do that, you’ll sign in to MDE and double check the following:
- Current address is on your profile.
- Tickets linked under “Tickets and Passes”
- And, if you have a resort reservation, that it is showing up under My Plans. If it isn’t, you’ll want to link that now.
Step 2: Create your Party
Once everything is linked it is time to create your party.
You’ll be shown a screen with people from your Friends & Family list.
Select the people you’d like to include and select “Continue” to move on.
Somebody missing? You can select “Add Guest” down in the lower left.
Now, this step seems rather straight forward BUT it is also where things have been a little glitchy for people.
Disney’s official stance is “You may need to make more than one Disney Park Pass reservation for your party depending on your admission type. Please make sure your party consists of Annual Passholders or theme park ticket holders.”
That means if you are a party where you have both Annual Passholders AND regular ticket holders, you’ll have to do your reservations in 2 steps, grouping the regular ticket people together and the Annual Passholder people together.
Yes, this is cumbersome and not user-friendly, but the way the reservation system works right now requires that it be done this way.
Step 3: Select a date and a park
The next screen you’ll encounter will have you selecting the day and park you wish to reserve.
First comes the day you wish to visit:
Then the park. Parks that are unavailable will be grayed out.
If everything is grayed out but you know those days are available, try going back or refreshing the page. It may take a time or 2; the system can be a
little lot glitchy.
And then finally, you’ll select the time. Right now you’ll have a single option which is just the park hours for that day. We may see that change in the future, though.
Step 4: Confirm
The final step is confirm your selection. If you need to make changes, there’s a back button you can select.
In addition to confirming your selection, this is also the screen where you’ll be agreeing to the COVID-19 liability waiver.
Once that is all done, you’ll have the option to view your selection in the My Plans section of My Disney Experience, or to go back and add another.
If you choose add another, you’ll start from the beginning by building your group.
Repeat for all travel days until you’re done!
FAQS & TIPS
Here’s some tips and answers for navigating some of the common questions people have:
Can I cancel or modify a reservation?
YES! You cancel your reservations inside of the My Disney Experience App. Once you have cancelled you can then re-book a new reservation by following the steps above.
This is kind of a bulky process since you can’t just modify an existing reservation and you have to switch between the app and the Park Pass reservation system above, but as of right now, this is the only way to switch your selection or cancel a Park Pass reservation.
Why Are All The Parks Grayed Out?
This could be 2 separate reasons:
- No parks are available. Confirm that everything is available via the park availability calendar at the top of this post.
- It’s a glitch. Try refreshing, going back and trying again, and if that doesn’t work, try logging out and back in. It may take a few tries.
It says my max was hit but I have a hotel reservation?
This was a common glitch in the beginning but it has seemed to be fixed for a lot of people. If you’re still getting this error, here’s some things to try:
- Make sure you’re not mixing ticket types when creating your parties. Book reservations for people with “regular” tickets separately from those with Annual Passes.
- Some guests with multiple tickets attached to their profile have run into problems. You can try assigning tickets you won’t be using on this trip to another person or dummy account. Only try this if you understand how that process works, though!
Nothing working? You may have to call.
If nothing seems to be working you may have to call Disney tech.
Keep in mind the phone lines have been slammed so this may take some patience and diligence on your part.
Disney tech support phone number: (407) 566-4985
Do I need a reservation for Blizzard Beach or Typhoon Lagoon?
At this time, an official reopening for the 2 water parks has not been announced.
However, Disney has announced that they would like to reopen at least one of the parks in March of 2021 pending government approval.
Check back for updates as we receive them.
Looking for more info on planning?
We’ve put together a complete guide to help you navigate all the changes at Walt Disney World.