Disney’s Harsh “No-Show” Policy Is Pushing Guests Out

in Disneyland Resort

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Credit: ITM

There is no denying that the past few years at the Disney Parks have changed quite a bit. From limited capacity to higher prices, Guests have certainly felt the differences in spades.

Most of this is due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic which started in early 2020, forever changing the world as well as the Disney Parks.

Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance
Credit: ITM/Alex Lue

How It Works

In the past few years, we have seen claims of food quality declining, prices increasing, attractions being cut, and many more examples of the Disney Park experience changing.

The biggest change to the Disney Parks is arguably the introduction of Park Passes. This system allows Guests to make a Disney Park Pass Reservation after purchasing their ticket. If the Park they wanted to visit was not yet at capacity, they would be able to make the reservation and scan into their Park of choice.

At Walt Disney World, all Guests currently still have to do this. The only way around this is to own an Annual Pass or purchase a Hopper Pass, make a reservation for a different Park, and at 2:00 p.m., hop to the Park of your choosing. For how it works at Walt Disney World, check below:

Get Your Ticket. Make Your Park Reservation. Enjoy the Magic.

The magic is ready and waiting for you at Walt Disney World Resort!

There are a few important things you need to know before you visit:

Make a theme park reservation via the Disney Park Pass system. To enter a theme park, all Guests ages 3 and older must have a park reservation in addition to valid admission for the same park on the same date (limit one park per day). At this time a park reservation is not required to visit a water park, however, reservation requirements are subject to change.

Prior to purchasing tickets, be sure to view theme park reservation availability online.

Please note that park reservations are limited in number and subject to availability. Availability can change until the park reservation is finalized.

Purchase Tickets
Explore a variety of ticket options. Once you purchase your tickets, then you can make your park reservations.

If you have a room-only reservation at a Disney Resort or other select hotel, please call the Disney Reservation Center or call your travel professional to upgrade to a vacation package with tickets—and then make your theme park reservations.

Room-and-ticket packages may also be available. View current special offers.

Please review any advisories or restrictions in place for travel to Florida, and do not travel to or enter Walt Disney World Resort unless you are free of any COVID-19 symptoms and otherwise comply with the requirements of such advisories and restrictions.

Disneyland sign
Credit: Disney Parks and Resorts

One of the more criticized aspects of this Park pass system can be found at the Disney Resort in Southern California. Disneyland also uses a reservation system but it is slightly different.

At Disneyland, Magic Key Holders have a “No Show” policy in effect. The Magic Key Pass allows Guests to visit the Disneyland Resort multiple days a year and receive up to 15% off select dining and 20% off select merchandise (depending on your level of key). For how it works at Disneyland, look 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.

The State of California strongly recommends that all Guests be fully vaccinated or receive a negative COVID-19 test prior to entering the theme parks.

As always, our procedures may change as we continue to update our health and safety processes based on guidance from the state of California and local health officials. If planning to travel, please check and follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations and any State travel advisories. Do not travel to or enter the Disneyland Resort unless you are free of any COVID-19 symptoms and otherwise comply with the requirements of such advisories and restrictions.

4th of july fireworks at disneyland 2
Credit: Disney Parks Blog


There are four tiers to Disneyland’s Magic Key Pass: Dream Key, Believe Key, Enchant Key, and Imagine Key. If you are a Magic Key Holder and wish to enter a theme park, you must have a valid theme park reservation, in addition to a valid Magic Key pass. Recently, Disney enforced a policy that will block out Passholders for 30 days if they miss three reservations in a 90-day period.

According to the Disneyland website, it works like this:

*The ability of Magic Key holders to make and hold park reservations will be impacted by the “no show” policy. Magic Key holders who are a “no show” for 3 reservations in a 90-day window will be unable to make new park reservations for 30 days. Existing park reservations at that time will not be cancelled. The 30-day period begins the day after the third “no-show,” and will continue even if the pass is upgraded to another pass during that time. A Magic Key holder who enters the designated park any time before closing on the day of the reservation is not considered a “no-show.” If the reservation is for both parks, only one park needs to be entered to avoid being a “no-show.” Magic Key holders who timely cancel a reservation are also not considered a “no-show.” Cancellation of a reservation must be done by 11:59 PM PT on the day before the reserved date. Rules and policies are subject to change without notice.

"it's a small world" Disneyland
Credit: Disney

This system has caused widespread confusion and chaos, with Guests feeling like some of the magic has disappeared from the Resort because of it. Receiving a penalty for not visiting the Parks seems harsh and quite un-Disney. While the rules are all laid out before you visit, no one can blame someone for feeling confused by these complex new systems, especially when visiting Disney used to be a lot simpler.

The discussion surrounding this system has picked up yet again regarding the “no show” penalties, with Guests talking about it online.

See the post below shared by Attractions 360 (@SoCal360):

Disneyland is still enforcing Magic Key no-show policy. Our brother can’t make theme park reservation until June 23rd 

In response to this, several other users discussed the system and how frustrating it was. MouseInfo (@MouseInfo) said:

A member of the MouseInfo team had major in-patient surgery and forgot to cancel her theme park reservation. It was her first ding but when she called to ask if they could remove it they told her no.

Laura G(@LaurasMiscMovie) said:

I’m really uncomfortable with this Disney policy for something we have already paid for when we bought our pass. If I wake up and it’s raining or I’ve become ill overnight, I should be able to cancel that day without penalty.

8 Bit Theme Park (@8_theme) said:

How much money do you spend to be told you’re bad and you’re not allowed to come

This discussion comes just after Disneyland halted sales of all Annual Passes, a move that surprised many in the Disney Park community. A reason was not given as to why Disney stopped these sales but many are worried something new is coming to take the old system’s place.

The Resort did introduce specially-priced tickets for California residents but this offering may not be enough to appease the overwhelming amount of people who do not approve of this current system. DIsney has been quoted multiple times saying that they may never go back to a “normal” system as the reservation policy seems to, for the most part, be working. Guests have also not been too thrilled by Disney’s implementation of its Genie+ service as well, a system that seems to compound with the reservation system, creating an overwhelming learning curve when planning a Disney trip for the first time.

genie disney phone mobile
Credit: Disney

Disney Genie+, the paid aspect of the system, allows Guests to use the Lightning Lane when their return time strikes — which has replaced the previously free FastPass lane. Then both theme park resorts have separate options where Guests can pay varying costs per ride, per person to ride the attraction.

Disney Genie+ costs $15.00 per person per day for Disney World Guests and $20.00 per person per day at Disneyland. The cost for Disney Genie+ is slightly more expensive at Disneyland, and so are the a la carte options. Hopefully, as time goes on, Guests grow more accustomed to how the Disney Park experience works and a smoother process can be developed.

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!

How do you feel about Disneyland’s no-show policy?

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