Guests have been struggling with Disney’s crowded Parks and confusing reservation systems.
It should come as no surprise that the Disney Parks have been different as of late. From missing rides and attractions to shows and live entertainment, ever since COVD-19 took over the world, the Disney Parks have all faced their own struggles and challenges.
On a more positive note, it seems like the Disney Parks and Resorts are slowly approaching more normal operating procedures and welcoming in loads of Guests.
While the Parks are definitely crowded, they are still surprisingly operating under a reduced capacity, if you can believe it. At the moment, Disney will not release what that number is, but it is likely in the higher range as shoulder-to-shoulder crowds are back. Guests must still collect and obtain a Disney Park Pass to enter a theme park, and as we noted, those do not seem to be going anywhere soon as you can currently make Park Passes through to 2024.
Disney CFO Christine McCarthy participated in a Q&A session at the Morgan Stanley’s 2022 Technology, Media & Telecom Conference. McCarthy noted a few things that piqued the interest of many Disney fans. Aside from stating that character meet and greets would be returning soon, she also stated that Park’s capacity would never return to normal. Never is a strong word, and we wouldn’t be surprised to see normal capacity return to the Disney Parks in the next few years.
In the past few months, Guests have struggled with the overwhelming crowds at the Park, despite each one running at a lowered capacity. Spring Break crowds absolutely swarmed the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, and at one point, thousands of Guest were trapped as Disney’s Monorail service broke down, leaving Guests stuck at Magic Kingdom’s entrance.
Wlat Disney World celebrating its 50th Anniversary also hasn’t helped keep crowds at bay, with passionate Disney Park fans and Guests like visiting in droves in order to experience all of the limited-time activities and goodies the Park is offering.
As we have previously covered, the last few months at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orland, Florida, seems to be a hot spot for vacationers, with all four Parks reaching capacity multiple times during President’s Day Weekend. Spring Break was the same, with huge crowds visiting every day.
As a result of the crowd levels filling the Parks, Disney World has extended the hours of its Park Operations for the rest of the month. Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom have all increased and have all extended their hours in an attempt to help alleviate the crowd situation. However, after seeing more and more photos pop up from Guests at the Resort, we are not sure how much extended Park hours will actually help.
These crowds have even pushed Disney fans to consider the possibility of Park tickets becoming more expensive as a way to limit the number of people who could get in. The Disney Parks are expensive; no one can deny that. We recently covered how prices for multi-day tickets have gone up at Walt Disney World.
We used a 4-day trip as the basis for our comparisons. Park Hopper Plus 4-day tickets used to range from $546.65 — to $708.57 and are now $559.53 — $708.57. It appears that, on average, multi-day tickets increased by around $20 or so. In general, the average cost of a Disney vacation continues to go up, while many feel the overall experience is going down.
One thing that is still causing frustration among Guests is Disney World’s reservation system, and in a post shared on Reddit, one Guest detailed their almost-heartbreaking experience of trying to visit the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida. See the full statement below:
I’ve been waiting for so long to be able to travel again. My wife and I got married and were long waiting for the pandemic situation to settle down a bit so we could finally have our honeymoon in US. We have tickets to fly to US from Europe (where we live). We have already some appointments in different places in US but I decided to surprise my wife so I changed our tickets to have a 2 days stop in Orlando to be able to visit the Hollywood studios (her dream).
Just last week I was able to change the tickets! Booked a hotel, all settle… just when I realized that the park has no availability! At this very moment I am sitting at the airport in Germany, ready to start our trip with all booked except the most important part, our dream tickets to Hollywood studios.
I’ve tried calling and chatting with support in the app, all I got is “there’s nothing we can do”.
This is far from the first time that Disney’s reservation system has caused confusion and left Guests with quite a dire situation. We have covered many stories like this one and have reported on multiple Guests facing issues regarding the Disney Park Pass reservation system. Guests have been crying out for a change for months, but as of now, it seems like the Park pass reservation system is sticking around.
One of the newer additions to the Walt Disney World Resort, after Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios reopened have, been that Disney Park Passes are now needed to enter a Park.
Pre-pandemic, Guests used to be able to buy a ticket for a specific date and get in with no problems. Now, Guests need to make sure the Parks have room for them and make a reservation for each Park you may be visiting. This has resulted in many headaches and confusion from Guests simply trying to have a magical vacation at the Resort.
Thankfully, there was a happy ending for this Guest’s story as they went back to their post to update readers. They informed us that the situation was eventually resolved, saying, “another person in the customer support took over my case. And she found some “pixie dust” and made it happen!!!! we are going to Hollywood studios! That’s the real Disney attitude and care that we always hear about!”
We are so glad that this situation was resolved and that these Guests were able to get reservations for Disney’s Hollywood Studios. This just goes to show you sometimes need some faith, luck, and pixie dust (and an understanding Cast Member). More on Disney’s Park pass reservation system:
To enter a theme park, you will need a park reservation and valid admission for that park—for each day you’d like to visit.
Before You Make a Purchase
Please check to see if your desired date and theme park is currently available before purchasing your ticket, Annual Pass or vacation package. Keep your reservation date preference in mind when selecting your ticket, Annual Pass or package. Different types of admission—such as tickets, Annual Passes or packages—may have different reservation date availability. See which hotels qualify as “Select Resort Hotels.”
After You Make a Purchase
Given the limited availability of park reservations, it is recommended that you make your theme park reservations immediately after purchasing your admission. At this time a park reservation is not required to visit a water park, however, reservation requirements are subject to change.
Unfortunately, this is not the case for every Guest, as Disney is fairly strict with its reservation system. We recently wrote about some international Guests who were turned away as a result of Disney’s reservation system.
Disney Park Guests are no longer allowed to walk up to the entrance gate and purchase tickets. Instead, tickets must be purchased in advance online or by phone, and Disney Park Reservations are required to enter, as well. These instructions are posted on the website, but these aren’t the first Guests to experience this issue.
As stated earlier, the Park Reservation system has been in place since the start of the pandemic, and, while most Guests have adjusted, there are still others who are just now making their first trips and discovering the changes that have been made. More on Disneyland’s Reservation system below:
The magic is ready and waiting for you at Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park.
All Guests (ages 3 and older) are required to have:
- Valid admission and park reservation, for the same date and same park, for each day of their visit
- An approved face covering for each Guest age 2 and older, as applicable. Please check current face covering requirements.
Theme park reservations can be made up to 120 days or more in advance, subject to availability. To accommodate as many types of ticket holders as possible, reservations for select dates may be made available on a rolling basis. Different types of admission may have different reservation date availability. Park reservations are limited and subject to availability, and availability can change until the park reservation is finalized. Check for updated availability.
Please note that the story outlined in this article is based on a personal Disney Parks Guest experience. No two Guest experiences are alike, and this article does not necessarily align with Inside the Magic’s personal views on Disney Parks operations.
Do you have a story similar to the one shared in the post?
At Disneyland, there is so much for Guests to enjoy! Now that the mask mandate has dropped for fully vaccinated Guests, Guests can enter buildings without a face covering if they so choose. Walking up to Sleeping Beauty Castle is always a dream, especially when you get to go inside and relive the story of Aurora and Maleficent. Riding classics like “it’s a small world,” Pirates of the Caribbean, Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, The Haunted Mansion, Matterhorn Bobsleds, Splash Mountain, and more will have you feeling the magic and craving a churro! Toontown is currently gearing up for a massive change which will be revealed in 2023 with the reopening of the land, and the debut of Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway. Plus, now at Disneyland, Guests can enjoy Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge for some blue milk, or green milk, and ride Rise of the Resistance and Smuggler’s Run. Now, Guests can also enjoy Disneyland Forever and the Main Street Electrical Parade!
Have you struggled with crowds at Disney recently?
Let the expert team at Academy Travel help you plan your next magical vacation to Disneyland Resort, including Disneyland Park, Disney California Adventure, and the Downtown Disney District. Or what about Walt Disney World Resort’s four theme parks — Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios — and the Disney Springs shopping and dining district!