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Comments for Disney Fans Are Ready to Scrap Disney Park Passes

park pass

Screenshot via My Disney Experience app

91 Comments

  1. Chris

    IMO this does two things: It lets them set staffing levels, food, and merch and it lets them create “false” demand. One is good, one is extremely bad. If people perceive that the parks are too exclusive, Disney customers are going to turn really fast.

    1. JustJessee

      Fair points. I wonder though, the past few years have seen crowd levels (and wait times) rising to miserable levels. People have complained about this a LOT. Prices kept going up, and you’d think demand would go down after being “priced out”…. But it didn’t. Isn’t the park pass system, essentially a more equitable lottery-ish setup (we’re not all FL/CA residents after all) , a better way to be able to control crowds than just continuing to raise prices?

      1. Lori

        Over and done with it…not getting an annual pass to be denied to get in…not worth a penny of it then ill go to universal

      2. pannud

        If the reservation system did allow for shorter wait times for rides then it would be good. But even with the park reservation in place you still have long wait queues. I went last year in Sept. I couldn’t snag a place for the Star Wars ride queue. They were all taken with in seconds. We still had long wait times for tower of terror, rock n rollercoaster, slinky dog and Mic and Min rides, even though compacity was being limited. Not sure what the reservation system was controlling.

      3. Luke

        I think it’s ridiculous to keep this post covid. I mean, if they said they were gonna keep it for a few months after things open up again, then I understand, but if this is going to be the new norm, it really sucks. I live in CA and have been a pass holder for many years. There have been many times that you are just down and spontaneously decided to go there after work for dinner or something in those lines. It is called the happiest place on Earth for a reason, but I guess the new model should be ” the happiest place on earth, so long as you plan for it months in advance” This wasn’t Walt Disney’s dream when he created this park, he wanted it open and available to anybody who wanted to come. There has never been this type of reservation system since the park opened, and Disney has made a ton of money from it. I don’t understand why whenever you get new management, they feel the need to change things entirely. They must not be as intelligent as everyone thinks because the most simple rule of “if it’s not broke then don’t fix it” is ignored.

    2. Victoria M

      I dont think they’re controlling crowds. Especially once ca opens. It won’t make crowds manageable it doesn’t benefit guests at all. When 15th hits and restrictions are voluntary and capacity climbs with staffers the reservation system in ca won’t make any difference except to tell disney whether a day will be full or not. And they already have a good idea about that. In FL this is about killing the pass system, wdw wasn’t closed long enough for that to happen there but chapel has ap

  2. Natasha

    I agree! Get rid of this stupid restrictive system holding our vacations hostage and these stupid muzzles do nothing fear devices outside at Disneyland! No more fling masks! I want to breath dammit!!😡

  3. ChipNDale

    #firechapek An evil demon with a single purpose of ruining the Disney magic for millions of people.

    1. Price

      #KILLChapek An evil Retard with a single purpose: ruining the Disney magic, and destroy the Walt Disney Company

  4. Marilyn

    Yesterday was our first time back in the parks in over a year. Snagged a reservation for Epcot and we were mightily disappointed. We renewed our APs last week. The construction barriers were everywhere and have actually been cemented into the ground, so who knows how many years before they come down!? The line for the just meh Frozen ride began in China and snaked all through there and Norway. It must have required hours of waiting in the blazing FL heat. The new set up for future fireworks destroys the beauty of the lagoon and we hope the future fountains that hide it will do a good job. Don’t think we’ll be visiting Epcot again for a long time. Hope we are not as disappointed with MK tomorrow. These two were all the reservations we could get until June. Definitely wish we had waited longer to renew our passes.

  5. Keith

    All annual pass holders should keep booking there 3 days and not show up

  6. Ligma

    The CEO is a complete tool. He has no idea who actually the returning customers are and chooses to pander to the wrong customer base.

  7. Kenneth

    That’s who we are now ..a bunch of adults who think we are entitled to all luxuries..it’s pathetic…

    1. Meltigger

      If you pay a premium price should you not get a premium product?

  8. Janelle

    I hate having to choose what park we will go to 6 months away. We like to decide that morning what park we will go to for the day and our last day we like to visit the one we had the most fun or missed some stuff we wanted to do. This reservation system takes away from that. However, I do understand this might be something good for the future during high capacity times like Christmas, but everyday, no.

  9. NotFloridaMan

    Nobody is more tone-deaf than Florida residents who think they should be catered to when the rest of the Earth wants to go to Disney. You hate having to plan a trip weeks in advance? Welcome to how the rest of the world has to do Disney. Next article will be a bunch of locals whining about Fast Pass ever returning because *gasp* non-Florida residents get to actually reserve a spot on a ride for their once-in-a-lifetime trip.

    1. Alsonotfromflorida

      My family does not plan every second of a vacation out. We might plan something for one day but the entire trip? Thats crazy. Part of the appeal of disney was you could go and pick what you wanted to do the day of. Now to go to Disney you need to schedule every minute months in advance and it feels so restrictive and not fun.

      1. Santa

        Having to plan everything has been Disney for YEARS. Between fast passes and sit down meals you had to know what you were doing.

        Skip table service and do fast passes on the fly you can be somewhat spontaneous, but you’re likely wasting a ton of time in lines.

    2. Patricia GROVENGER

      I never use fast pass, but yes I am a Florida pass holder and I would expect to be able to visit Disney when I want to. Not make a reservation months ahead. That IS a luxury I expected when I moved here and bought the Annual Pass.

    3. Sue

      Non Florida man. Then please don’t come down here. We don’t need people like you. We don’t want are Florida trashed with people like you. Stay out of here

      1. Doug Michel

        I hate to tell you, but if you want to exclude non residents from the state then you get to welcome income tax. Although you might be getting that soon enough as more blue state people move down there and continue to vote like they always have. They fail to connect their voting history to the reasons the chose to move.

  10. Michael Crandell

    In the past, I have been extremely critical many of your articles. But this one, you are 100% on the money. The Disney Parks reservation system is no longer a viable option for annual passholders. It has become an absolute nightmare and quite frankly, it has taking the fun out of going to a Disney park. The whole point of having an annual pass, and paying the premium price, was to have access at our leisure. I understand during a pandemic certain restrictions had to be put into place. But as things are loosening up in this state, and around the country, I think it’s time for this system to go the way of the dodo.

    1. Rlago62

      You are right, they loose our family until they make changes to this system. Paying for annual passes and having to look forever for an opportunity to use them is not what we are paying for. Going a few hours when we want to is what they sold us, not anymore. Not see you later Disney!

  11. Chris

    If the reservation system keeps the crowds down then I’m all for it. I don’t live my life for Disney as some people do so it doesn’t matter to me. I’ll reserve my visit and enjoy less crowds. ;^D

    1. What a buch of complaining whine ass people . If it wasn’t for out of state visitors you would all be paying state income tax and would have something to whine about

      1. Leo

        Thanks Wack, Love you too!

  12. What a buch of complaining whine ass people . If it wasn’t for out of state visitors you would all be paying state income tax and would have something to whine about

    1. CWK

      Now hold on there freckles, actually if it wasn’t for the tens of thousands of workers at Disney that do all the things necessary to make the place function, then you wouldn’t have a place like Disney to visit and you’d be visiting Nebraska instead.

  13. Leo

    Sounds like I will just wait for buying a new pass(whenever that is allowed to happen). I used to plan my trips out with fastpass, so using a reservation system would not be bad. But if the darn thing won’t let me into a park as it is full, Universal here I come!

  14. Andrew Seymour

    Complain all you want and say the CEO doesn’t know what he’s doing. The fact is people are still going and spend to do so. That sounds like a pretty smart CEO to me.

    1. Elysha

      My problem isn’t necessarily the reservation system but the fact that Disney keeps increasing their prices for everything when ALL pass holders are getting significantly less in return…I’m not sure how that makes sense. I understand it’s normal for companies to increase prices each year but not when they’re taking away half the perks you bought the passes for to begin with!!

  15. CWK

    People have to abide by schedules all year long. Why should I have to abide by a schedule while I am on vacation? And pay all that money to do it? What if we are too tired from the day before to go to a park today and wanna take a rest day that day? What if someone in the family got sick and we wanna stay at the hotel? What if it’s supposed to pour down rain all day and we don’t want to be in that and we want to just be lazy around the hotel?

    These are just examples of what many families do on a Disney vacation. We always stay about 9 days and we visit all 4 Disney theme parks and then we maybe do one water park or Sea World. But we need rest days in between. And we want the freedom to pick which days we are going to rest on. And we like to do that on the day of when we wake up. What do we feel like doing today? Ok, we will go to a park….. which park does everyone feel like visiting today? And we all decide together. That’s something I think most families like to have, a choice.

    The original Disney family members as well as the Disney employees who helped start these parks and hotels would be rolling over in their graves right now if they saw this kind of stuff happening. They are not thinking. They are putting the almighty dollar first and not the guests, their experiences are going to get ruined by things like this.

    I am not a fan at all of Bob Chapek for many reasons, but this is just one of them. He should be ousted and someone else put in place.

  16. Christie

    Let’s be honest. Disney is able to track every individual in the park at any given moment. One cannot go any length of time without using the app. So if Disney can see how many people are there, especially in afternoons during the “switch” (those with kids head back to hotel for naps). When people leave, consider their reservation complete and open that spot to someone who wants to park hop. Those with pass who leave have option to return if another guest leaves. Basically, tag your it. Those who used their reservation will be given opportunity to take it back first, keep it active after nap time, etc.
    Time to get creative…oops, I mean….Imagineering.

  17. Michael Carney

    Let’s see if I understand. Buy annual pass..check!
    Get on line for park pass at what seems require a very early effort. Get on line for lunch/dinner reservations. Getting tougher to find. Get on line for the coming new fast passes (at an extra charge(??). What’s next? How many hoops need to be jumped through. Oh yes, good by Magical Express! What am I missing, is this user friendly?? Itviscverybinteresting what is happening in the name of ” control” and how little is happening to enhance the experience. BUT Dusneys guest pool is so deep that even if huge numbers withdraw there are others to take their place and pay more and more. It is going to be interesting to say the least.

    1. Greg

      You keep complaining, but you keep giving Disney your money, time and effort. Those actions cancel each other out. So, quit complaining, OR quit giving them your time and money. It really is that simple.

    2. Vm

      I think chapek hates disney tbh. He’s ripping it apart. He needs to go

  18. Angry Princess

    I miss the old Disney where I could book a last minute trip and pick which park I wanted to go that morning and get a fast pass last minute and eat where I wanted to eat. I love Disney so much but the magic of a Disney vacation just keeps diminishing for me and my family. Prices keep increasing but for what? There is no joy is having to plan every detail so far in advance and having to fight to get into the parks and then having to fight to get onto rides. Then I can’t eat at my favorite restaurants cuz those were booked months ago and oh yeah they’re double in price now just like everything else at Disney and the food isn’t even that good. Disney used to be my happy place but not anymore. Disney needs to wake up and listen to their fans. Bring back the magic!!!

    1. Reynolds

      Go to Universal and stay at one of the Loews hotels so you get Unlimited Express included. Get an annual pass before booking and use it to get the lower rate. The discounts alone will make the trip cheaper overall than not using a UOAP.

      Or really, ANYTHING you do at Universal will feel way more like an actual vacation. We just went end of March and I haven’t been in over ten years… since having kids, and they couldn’t believe how much more relaxed the trip was. Everything about it was the way I remember WDW vacations being growing up in the 80’s and most of the 90’s. Just fun and chill… even with masks and distancing, people from all over the country and the world were way more cooperative than I imagined before going. Meanwhile, I see Disney videos where they’re still wearing the damn face shields with a mask and acting like fascist Mickey soldiers, screaming at people.

      At Universal, they treated us like adults and everyone was considerate and didn’t put up any fuss if asked to put a mask back on or maintain distancing… and here’s the the thing – I believe Universal employees were given some discretion on when to say something and when to not say something. It just made for a better overall experience.

      Man, now I wanna go back there…

  19. Mia

    My co worker and his brothers have annual passes. His brother passed recently so he called and asked about transferring or refunding Disney has refused. I told him he should take his brothers ashes and go everyday he can taking pictures with the ashes and the pass

    1. Vm

      Hmm it’s in the fine print that death is pretty much the only way out of an ap….

  20. Chris Hughes

    The thing that angers me is that I can’t visit all 4 parks on a trip to Disney with an annual psd because I can only book 3 days at a time on a trip with my AP. That’s insane to me. I don’t like this at all and the AP doesn’t have the same value it used to. I think they’re going to ditch them forever in the near future, which means we’re done with Disney in the near future.

    1. JD

      Are you staying off property or on property? If you’re staying on property you can get park passes for your whole stay

  21. Hc

    I think the pass holders need to get over it. 90% , maybe more, of visitors come from out of town and have to book their trip in advance. No big deal. If you are blessed enough to have annual passes then you need to play by the rules that go with them. ESPECIALLY with the learning curve of the pandemic. If you’re not happy with it cancel your pass until everything returns back to normal.

    1. Adrianne

      The whole point of this article is that chapek says it’s *not* going back, that allowing a ticket-purchaser staying off-site to book as many park reservations as they’ve got tickets but restricting a passholder staying off-site to three days is a system he likes and wants to keep.

  22. William Wells

    Even before covid Disney was actively making changes and canceling some perks that came with a Disney resort vacation. Magic bands are now an add on charge (they were once free with hotel reservations), parking at a resort is now up to $30 per night if you are staying at a resort hotel (it used to be free). I’m sure they will soon start charging for transportation and fast pass reservations. They are squeezing every nickel out of the guests and offering nothing new in return.

    1. Vm

      Yup chapek sucks

  23. L

    As a pass holder, I absolutely agree we are not getting our money’s worth due to the reservation system.
    I used to be able to go everyday if I wanted, THAT was getting my money’s worth (even though I never went that often) but now I’m lucky to get a reservation on the day I actually WANT once a month…Most of the time I have to change my plans to work around which day is available.
    I honestly don’t see how they’re justifying charging the same amount while not guaranteeing access. I personally haven’t been able to go as often as I’d like due to the reservation system.
    I’m the type of person who goes to the parks on a whim, I rarely used to plan going ahead of time.
    I understood the logic of it when social distancing was mandatory, but now that things are allowed to fill to capacity again, as much as I love Disney I will absolutely be reconsidering renewing my pass if this is how things stay.
    What’s preventing people from booking park reservations then not showing up for one reason or another?
    That’s preventing passholders from attending as frequently as they’d like…How are they making money by limiting availability?
    You’d think they’d want to financially recoup as fast as possible, but they’re certainly not doing that if people who want to frequently attend, can’t.

  24. George laverty

    My family are from Northern Ireland and we have been to Disney Florida 14 times we are planning to go August 2022 but the reservation passes would be impossible for us to use.

  25. Lsa

    We live 1200 miles away and have planned a Disney trip every other year since 2012. We are accustomed to planning our entire vacation out months in advance; as far in advance as they’ll allow. We’ve always done this to void dissappointment. The trend prior to the pandemic saw the parks so full, you literally couldn’t walk, and making plans to avoid the crowds and actually enjoy the magic was becoming more and more difficult. I’m totally okay with planning a vacation in advance and keeping crowds low.

    1. Vm

      There’s no way disney will continue to operate parks with limited capacity once they don’t have to. That’s money out the door for them. If so they would have simply lowered capacity pre-covid when they had to start getting people out of the park via cm exits because it was so packed the crowd could not move. They just stuffed people in like sardines filled with cash. Idk what their plan is in the future but there’s no way they will be capping off attendance in a day

  26. Kristina Sanders

    My family booked a 10 day trip in Sep/Oct. We have the park hopper attached to our tkts. We have our park reservations in place as one park one day. We usually have a plan in place like this on paper when we go to Disney Parks. Since I go to the parks frequently with my daughter we knew the ins and outs, but this is the 1st time the whole family is going and I want it to be a good experience. My concerns are as we get closer to time to go and start making dining plans usually thing start to shift when you can’t score Be Our Guest on the day we are in MK or Fantasmic pkg for HS., but can get them on different days. It was always easy to shift parks around to accomodate this, or we knew we could hop over somewhere else for dinner. Now the concern is if the dinner is in a different park will that park be available at 2pm on that day. We can’t count on that. Also, we would get tired and need to take a break and have a resort day. This time those tactics aren’t going to work. What if it’s the only day we have scheduled for AK. Im thinking, Is it really necessary to pay for a park hopper tkts? Should we postpone the trip? That’s another option.

  27. Rita Sherman

    I’ve been going to Disney World often for the past 12 years with my grandchildren , enjoying every moment! However, with the new park pass reservation system, the spontaneity is gone as well as the “magic”. Very discouraging is the fact that once all the reservations are locked in, and at the last minute another family member or friend would like to join the “party”, they cannot as that particular park/parks already filled to the limited capacity. This has happened to me & it is very upsetting. In addition, it’s so frustrating having to plan so far in advance on the number in our party & which park on which day. Please, please eliminate this park reservation system asap; it certainly takes the “magic” out of Disney and becomes a real challenge when planning a visit.

  28. As someone who comes to Disney for a holiday every 2 years, 4 years this time due to pandemic, alot of our holiday plans depend upon Florida weather, how tired we feel and just doing whatever we fancy. Really do not like the idea that after spending thousands of pounds and travelling 9 hours that all our holiday has to be completely planned out everyday in advance or despite paying for a 2 weeks pass the possibility of some days not being able to go to a Disney park. This is an unnecessary stress and hassle added to what should be a fantastic holiday, completely kills the magic, think Disney really needs to listen to its guests who are funding them

  29. J T

    As an annual passholder I am in agreement with what appears to be a majority of Passholders. By limiting admittance I feel Disney has broken their contract to APs. And this is not the first time. When WDW reopened and Disney finally reinstated the time remaining on my AP it was impossible to get a reservation. However if you purchased a day ticket there were openings. It is pretty clear Disney values their most loyal fans, Annual Passholders, with little regard.

  30. DEBRA ELLIOTT

    Planning a Disney vacation is a huge task. Adding having to make park reservations just adds one more thing to do. It almost becomes the straw that breaks the camel’s back. I do not need one more thing to have to plan in advance. I will think twice about going to Disney before I add one more thing to plan. This prevents any spontaneity. If I am traveling in Florida I won’t consider Disney because I have to chase a park pass.

  31. Patricia GROVENGER

    I, too, am a pass holder. I find it very hard to get into the parks unless I check a month or more ahead. We pay a lot for these passes and get nothing for them. There should be a large amount of reservations held each day open just for pass holders. WHERE ARE OUR PERKS?

  32. Jennifer

    I have gone to Disney twice already this year and have a third trip planned. I have no issue at all with the park reservation system. I like that there is a capacity limit because standing in line for an hour for every ride is not what I want to do. The only people this hurts is the local annual pass holders. Most people who have to fly in from out of town and get a hotel are already planning their trip months in advance and tickets are still widely available.

  33. Joe

    I agree with most of the comments… Let’s get back to the fun… Bring back fastpass.. get rid of reservations…

  34. Meltigger

    We have only been 3 times and looking at a forth in the next year. We always plan as much as possible. However, this system seems too ridged. It definitely makes the hopper pass something of the past. Why pay for something you cannot use? And up to $30/night for parking! After all the money to stay on property this is insane. It’s not covered, or climate controlled, they don’t come and wash my car.
    I also get the frustrations of pass holders. They should not have to pay such a high price to buy something that cannot be used as intended when put into place at first. Lower the price. What I don’t get is like what a ph said he couldn’t get in with pass but if had bought a day pass could get in. What? They aren’t thinking of the families with kids or disabilities. Things come up and there needs to be flexibility, especially on a high-priced luxury that the main demographic it is aimed at has to save and work quite a lot to make happen. At this pace and rate might be cheaper to do Universal or Atlantis.

  35. JS

    I feel like there’s a crucial piece of information that isn’t being mentioned. (Fellow FL resident) Disney isn’t even allowing NEW annual passes to be purchased. Only those who already had an annual pass prior to Covid shut down are able to “Renew” their annual passes at this time. So is it maybe possible they are trying to phase out that “let’s just pop in for a bit” mentality for guests? I personally love the reservation system and hope they do indeed keep it. You can actually ENJOY the park, no more 2+ hour wait times, no more elbow to elbow hordes of people. I have gone at least 4 times since they reopened almost a year ago and have had no issue booking a ticket and reservation online each time, week days tend to be even less crowded of course. You can pretty much do a park in a whole day now, believe me when I say that used to be laughingly impossible because the crowds were so bad. It’s probably about 1/3 the size now, which is awesome if you’re there to experience the full park 🙂

  36. Pamela

    I think it’s pretty smart actually. Yes, pass holders pay a lot for the tickets, but people who own a vacation are possibly staying on property, buying food, buying merch, paying for extras that APs won’t. I used to be a pass holder, and we would go for a few hours, then leave and get lunch somewhere else. We rarely bought snacks and souvenirs because we were there all the time. Disney is just going where the money is, which unfortunately, is nothing new. They are a business.

  37. Alayne

    If you don’t like it, stop going. Disney will never change as long as people keep going. Words without action accomplish nothing. Complaining and then renewing your annual pass has zero impact on Disney. My son and I are going to Orlando this summer, but we’re skipping WDW completely. Instead, we’re hitting up Universal, SeaWorld, Discovery Cove, and then heading to Busch Gardens. Bought the annual pass for Universal and a two week pass to SeaWorld and Busch Gardens. Bought ZERO tickets for WDW. Take your money (including your annual pass dollars) elsewhere.

    1. Don B

      Totally agree that “ not going “ is a logical approach. But we are long term , highly invested ( and therefore highly committed ) DVC members so “ not going “ makes our DVC membership illogical. We’ve spent a ton of money over the years to watch the reasons we bought into DVC slowly evaporate.

      1. Go to Universal if it’s easier. Stop spending your hard earned money at Disney. Stop buying annual passes. If enough people do it they’ll come around. No one’s holding a gun to your head. You’re making that choice to allow yourself to be inconvenienced. I love Disney but they’re are other choices.

  38. Don B

    Like many Disney fans , I initially understood the reason behind the “ park reservation “ system as it does control crowd levels. But as a highly invested DVC member who has watched the perks of our membership slowly erode , this now seems like part of the big plan designed to eliminate spontaneous vacations by eliminating any chance of a spur of the moment trip. One thing we loved about being DVC members was the opportunity it gave us to plan last minute long weekends. It appears Disney no longer wants that option for anyone. We may continue to come down and stay at our DVC resort but we’ll spend our theme park dollars elsewhere unless Disney decides to change back to the way it was -which was a huge part of our decision to purchase our DVC membership in the first place.

  39. Victoria M

    Chapek HATES the AP. He’s all but said it. He’s hearing from and listen to stock holding and throwing actual customers under the bus. Park passes and the upcoming “loyalty” program at dlr = more money for disney investors less for disney fans. Idk if it’s a desperate attempt to make back what was lost during covid or what. It just does not make sense to block fans from last minute day trips. Chapek is trash.

  40. Vic K

    We’ve always visited a Disney park when we’d drive from NY to Fla. And we would decide to go to one of them, or skip, last minute. With the reservation system, that would be all gone, and almost no reason to go to Fla anymore for our family vacations. The ability to just go when you want to is no longer an option.

  41. Vm

    It won’t. Disney will not keep capacity down that means less money. Watch June 15 suddenly 80k are squashed in to dl Park everyday this Christmas like every year. Rez system just makes it harder to have fun and chapek couldn’t give a tinkers darn about whether customers have fun

  42. Y

    That’s what they all get for still supporting Disney! I stopped supporting their woke agenda, I won’t support period! Therefore I don’t have to cry about their policies!

  43. Melissa

    Yup, park reservations are making annual passes passe, which is exactly what they’re intended to do. The simple truth is that Disney is out to make money by charging each guest as much as possible per day, and annual pass holders are paying the least. Certainly, that’s why people buy the things — they expect to be getting a better deal than they would if they regular daily admission like the rest of us. As a bargain shopper myself, I can commiserate with some of your disappointment at what kind of appears to be a bait and switch since, presumably, you didn’t expect reservations to be part of the deal when you bought your pass. But the sense of entitlement some seem to feel is honestly just funny. Disney isn’t some cute little local park. It’s an international destination. Why would it want coupon shoppers when it can instead cater to luxury buyers who will not only visit its parks, but stay in its hotels and stick around all day for all meals and shopping? It’s a MUCH better value now for regular guests who pay full price because the place isn’t swarming with hordes of AP holders.

  44. Go to Universal if it’s easier. Stop spending your hard earned money at Disney. Stop buying annual passes. If enough people do it they’ll come around. No one’s holding a gun to your head. You’re making that choice to allow yourself to be inconvenienced. I love Disney but they’re are other choices.

    1. Reynolds

      So my kids are 9 and 5, both girls… been to Disney World many times both before having kids and with the kids (I almost hate saying my 9 year old has been there 7 times).
      The last time we went was May 2019 and it was… pretty good. Only issue were the buses, stayed at the Boardwalk, and sometimes we just couldn’t seem to get on that many rides no matter how strategic we were with fastpasses or how many “special event” tickets we bought (like the Toy Story Land breakfast thing you get up at the butt crack of dawn for).

      For early April 2020, we booked a trip to Universal Orlando as the kids got really into Harry Potter… and then that trip was canceled cause of the pandemic.

      Flash forward a year later and we book the same trip with an extra day since it was so inexpensive and WOW… WHAT. A. DIFFERENCE.

      We stayed at the Royal Pacific and it was the first time I’d been to Orlando since the early 90’s with MY parents as a teenager that it felt like an actual vacation… where, ya know, you get to relax, savor food, switch things up last minute, or do nothing at all and still feel like you did something? Not to mention that RP is relatively cheap compared to even MID-TIER Disney hotels, and even cheaper (as I found out afterwards), if you have an annual pass. You also get Unlimited Express to all but one or two new rides (Hagrid’s Motorbikes in our case, but they gave us passes to get to the front of the line more than once on the last day since we never snagged a reservation!).

      I’m from New Jersey and after hearing about all the mask madness in so many places, I was hesitant but that trip to Universal sorta restored my faith in people. Everyone cooperated, the Universal workers never put up much of a fuss, and they treated everyone like adults and I think that goes a long way. It almost felt self-policing and they’d occasionally have to tell people and because of THE WAY they would approach things, people were chill and just did it. I swear, NOT ONCE did I feel like a person was intentionally invading the space of other people, ignoring distancing or being defiant just to be defiant. Anytime people forgot themselves (my family included!), they just apologized and a lot of times we’d wind up meeting and talking to people this way, especially waiting for the water taxis.

      My kids were over-the-moon about the trip. Even Diagon Alley would empty out like 45 minutes prior to park closing and they’d run around there like they had it to themselves with their robes and wands and just having a blast while we ate ice cream. The food choices are much better, the pizza is better especially, and when the food is great, they don’t overthink it the way Disney has been (I get trying to up their game, we did love the Snow White dinner at WL, fwiw), it’s just great food prepared well. The breakfast at the Royal Pacific was better than any breakfast I’ve ever had anywhere at Disney, period. Try the Pineapple pancakes, they were literally the first thing I thought of when I woke up on the last day so we went back for a third time.

      It’s hard to overstate just how much better that vacation was because it required almost no planning on our part for the simple fact of having Unlimited Express, a park hopper, and the ease of walking everywhere. Universal would also open up corridors between parks to make it even EASIER for periods of time, so you didn’t necessarily have to leave or get on the Hogwarts Express. Last trip to Disney, the bus system was terrible and we took a lot of those Minnie taxis, which were expensive but worth it… and now I’m hearing they got rid of those?

      I just keep hearing Disney is taking things away… Magical Express, fastpass, annual pass, now you don’t only have to reserve all the restaurants six months out, you may have to pick which park and which day with ZERO chance of flexibility down the road?

      I really think my family is done with WDW at this point… it was fun while it lasted, but –
      1) Disney feels more and more like a SHAMELESS SHAKEDOWN to me. Universal felt the way theme parks used to feel, imo… honestly, their perspective on value and giving you what you want and the level of chill in the employees there almost felt naive! It was like being in another era (I haven’t been to Universal since 2009, btw, when I felt like the experience was a lot more like Disney.) I said afterwards to family that I really don’t understand how they’re even in the same business because the contrast has become so stark.

      2) It’s just no longer fun. We switched our days up and what we’d be doing almost constantly at Universal and with zero issues. We had a reservation for one day at the Riverboat restaurant at Disney Springs and just the thought of going there and leaving the magnificent pool and poolside drinks and food service at the Royal Pacific was worth the cancellation fee. Meanwhile, we needed to change a reservation at Lombard’s Landing in Universal by making it an hour later and we did so in person the afternoon of with zero issues.

      3) Again, SHAMELESS. SHAKEDOWN. I’m also sick of being TOLD how groundbreaking and amazing and story-driven their new ride is in every piece of Disney behind-the-scenes info only to wind up somewhat disappointed either cause I had to get up at like 4am just to ride, didn’t get to ride at all, or they half-assed something somewhere and the behind-the-scenes stuff is constant overselling of whatever is new.

  45. Justin

    I don’t see how this is a problem. Disney has been teaching people they need to plan in advance for years now. If you wanna go to the parks plan for it. If you wanna go on a random spur of the moment trip and there are no reservations. Change your plans go to Disney springs or just do something else. Dont be mad people planned ahead of you. This thought of I want something so I want it now isn’t cute. And that kind of thinking should have been left behind in elementary school.

  46. Diana

    We had like 6 platimum annual passes for many years and dropped them all over how badly they have handled this (since Covid).

    They keep putting nails in the coffin for not going back too. Really all that interests me anymore is the food. And Disney Springs has that, so I don’t need a pass.

  47. 🤷‍♀️

    We buy an AP as out-of-state guests because it makes more sense financially. With 4 months left in my “year”, my pass has a value of $4500 compared to costing $1100. The reservation system hasn’t affected us at all, but we were planning, at the latest, 30 days out for a trip before covid.

  48. Roller

    The park reservation system needs to become a thing of the past along with the rest of the restrictions!

  49. John

    I have already let my annual pass of over 20 years lapse. Not only did Disney lose my wife and I but they also lost my 3 children, their spouses and 6 grandchildren because whenever they visited I would take them on spontaneous trips to Disney. Anytime I was in the area we would also stop in for an hour or two, walk around one of the parks and grab a bite to eat. None of this is possible anymore and I am taking everyone elsewhere with our entertainment dollars.

  50. Deborah Johnson

    I agree the park pass system is a pain. However, as capacity is increasing I’m far more concerned about lines. I would much rather see fast passes return. I’m also afraid that some things will not return as a cost cutting measure.

  51. Carol Stanley

    I bought the four day Florida resident pass and used two days but being we are senior citizens we can not do four days in a row, and this was two months ago.
    I have been trying to get in the other two parks and in the last six weeks and can not do it.
    I feel like I got ripped off, so don’t buy that supposedly Florida four day pass…..
    You’ll never get all four!!!

  52. Brian

    So, the reservation system is making everyone re-think renewing their annual passes? That is EXACTLY what Disney wants. They have hated annual passholders for sometime now. Disney believes that APs crowd the Parks, don’t buy enough merchandise or food and are generally a pain in the ass. Disney doesn’t want you to renew your Annual Pass. Like so many other big businesses, Disney wants to control every aspect of their business — including attendance each day at each Park. To Disney, passholders are too big a variable that they need to shut down.

    Chapek is all about profits & stockholders. He said as much in the Annual Stockholder Meeting: Disney’s new AP program is aimed to “get an adequate return to our shareholders for the type of experience that we do give to our guests.” Adequate return for our shareholders. Shareholders.

    PS I am not saying I agree with this. I believe that APs spend $$$$ on merchandise, food, etc. I don’t believe that a family on a one week trip to a Disney Theme Park, staying at a Disney hotel, will spend nearly as much on merch. But, they will stay at Disney hotels & buy food & expensive tickets. AND, they can be controlled. I also believe that “Disneyland Forward” has nothing to do with expanding the Parks. Disney HATES that local hotels take money from Disney. I believe that Disney Forward is a way to get fans behind Disney, then they will petition the City of Anaheim to build more hotels.

    Just my thoughts…

  53. Brenda Bowers

    I’ve been a pass holder for 23 years. My problem is the limit of 3 park passes for ap holders. I was able to get one for MK in October so now I’m down to the remaining allotment of 2! Yikes.

  54. Jenie

    WDW is not like DL where APs are valued and an important part of their daily admissions. It’s been blatantly clear for years that Disney does not value their APs here in FL and this is just one more instance.

    They make a lot more revenue from vacationers than locals, unlike DL. APs know the ways to save money like where to get a reasonably cheap snack, how to get free water and where to hang out and people watch, which is ENTERTAINMENT. APs like to pop in for only an hour or two and don’t make dining reservations or buy stuff. APs enjoy the atmosphere and want to soak up the feel of Disney energy (quantum physics at its best) without the stress of waiting in lines, paying too much or things not going to plan.

    As a laid off CM who loved her job and hopes she gets called back, I also know and love my APs. I had a princess at BBB who visited for every birthday, straight A report card and Disney gift card for every occasion she was given. I only was her FGIT
    three times and considering she told me in Aug 2019 it was her 29th visit, I had a high score. She asked for me first because I told her even when they tried to graduate me, I purposely failed classes to be held back because I never wanted to leave.

    So I KNOW the value of our Annual Passholders. I have seen it in my 14 years with the company (so close to my silver pass). Please don’t get rid of them.

  55. Patty

    I too am an annual Passholder and DVC member. We’ve had our passes for over 20 years now. In Sept. we will need to purchase a pass for our 3yr old nephew, and in that same month renew our three existing passes. We are seriously considering just letting them go. We live just mins away from Disney World and like many others have said enjoy just deciding on the spur of the moment to head over to Epcot for an evening stroll and some people watching. Our nephews are 2 & 7 and at Christmas time they love it out there. The luxury of being able to make a spur of the moment decision to go to the parks is why we pay the hefty price for the annual passes, but since there is no longer that luxury we’re having a hard time justifying keeping them. So we shall see what happens.

  56. Kim

    I too agree that AP holders spend a lot of money in the parks…I know many and see the crap they buy. I have plenty of friends that had weekly dinner dates there at Disneyland Resort. However, I do not think it’s a secret that Disney had been looking for a way to revamp the annual passes for a while. A global pandemic just gave them the opportunity to do that. Not sure about FL, but the AP situation was out of control in CA. They had to do something and I think the Flex pass was the first step. I do not know what they are planning for DLR annual passes moving forward but I had the Flex pass prior to Covid and the reservations actually made my experience better. I had been a passhole for years prior and in the last 10 years or so it didn’t matter when I went, the parks were packed every time. Rain or shine…and mind you, Californians do not do weather, but apparently passholes do. Now I love just being there for the ambiance so I can do days with no rides. But it became so consistently crowded that the magic was fading for me. Then the pass that required reservations came and it was way better. In normal non-capacity due to distancing or staffing days aka pre-Covid, I was able to make reservations the day before. I always had restrictions on my pass for certain days and times of year so the prospect of not having available reservations did not bother me as much. I do understand the frustration for those of you who do feel like the value is diminished with reservation limitations but I think once we are more removed from the Covid restrictions nightmare, the reservation system will not be as difficult or disappointing as it is now. At least that’s my hope.

  57. Gary Zimmerman

    I think it’s great! What they need to scrap is the season pass system, but they never will it’ll remain in some form. It’s not fair that locals that have a season pass block up all the reservations for the park as it is, and the people that go there on vacation have to miss out because it’s so clogged with locals. It’s so sad that the system has interrupted your daily visits to the park… I really feel for you ( Now where’s that dang sarcasm button). What they should do is limit the amount of season pass holders that can come to the park each day. Give other people a chance, maybe even some locals that can’t afford to season pass. And if you’re wondering why I’m so salty about this, I lived in the area of Six Flags Over Texas most of my life. Never had a season pass and when I did go there it was so crowded with people that did it was ridiculous running around with your little bracelets. Frankly I pretty much hate the mouse as it is but then all you little trenders start whining cuz you can only go to the park once a week I have absolutely no sympathy whatsoever for you.

  58. Chloe

    We gave up our annual passes. We are local and what is the point if we can’t just pop in for an hour, ride one ride or grab a meal at a favorite place. This is terrible. Chapek has ruined the Disney experience. Even if I wasn’t local, and was coming on vacation, how do I know months in advance which day it’s going to pour down radians I want to skip parks that day?!! This is ridiculous. Sorry Disney, you won’t be getting any of our money any longer.

  59. Out-of-towner

    “Waaah! I live near Disney World and can get a cheap annual pass for basically the regular price an out-of-towner pays for a Disney vacation; but I have to make a reservation in advance and am not able to go every day in a way that: crowds the park, elongated ride lines, and reduces the overall enjoyment and experience for the family who only gets to go to Disney once in their lives! Waaaah!!” Grow up. There are many reasons to attack the reservation system that are far less self-centered than your privileged annual pass b.s.

  60. Bianca McCollum

    I have a fix… keep a certain amount of availability until a week prior to each date, then open it up for those who like last minute planning… maybe 100-200 spots. But TBH I kind of feel like just dropping in for an hour or two seems like a lot of work.

  61. MamaHarley

    The only thing they could scrap is not letting aps go in whenever they want unless said park is booked…. sorry but you must book months in advanced but also only aloud 3 at a time is worse than fp+ and is 2 wrongs that never will make a right! Otherwise i like park pass it seems to encourage safety and knowing what % is let in esp w masks going away as more get vaxxed it helps me think something is still safe if #s are low.

  62. Not Impressed

    Chairman Bob Igur just sold half of his Disney shares before leaving company worth $100,000,000 because he likely sees the writing in the wall that Chapek is going to ruin the company with his focus on productizing Disney guests. Chapek made failed products before he became CEO (really big flops) and that is what he is doing now w Disney guests. Give it a few months and his failures will become self evident. Def short the stock bc it’s clearly going to tank from all the hate Chapek is causing. I sold all my shares to like Chairman Igur

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