Disney Breaks Annual "Tradition" Due to Loathed Reservation System - Inside the Magic

Comments for Disney Breaks Annual “Tradition” Due to Loathed Reservation System

Mickey mouse leading the "Magic Happens" parade at Disneyland Park

Credit: Disney

97 Comments

  1. Jeff

    The Reservation system is awful. Especially when I’m Florida.
    Part of the magic of staying in a Disney Resort Property is the ability to jump around, and choose which park you want to go to on the fly. Now you can’t do that.
    What’s worse, if you don’t want to go to a park you have reservations for, due to weather or other reasons, your day is wasted. An entire day of your stay. Because you can’t get a reservation same day. We had that happen this summer. We will NOT go back to WDW while the reservation system remains active.

    1. Kurt

      Ive been going to disney since my brother moved there in 03 eevery year maybe twice a yr. im all done,i havent gone in 2 yrs. Cant wait for the new Mega Universe to open in 25 thats where ill be spendibg my mobey.

    2. Amanda

      I have 0 issues getting a reservation and I live 20 mins from the parks. I’ve even gotten last min ones… I don’t know why ppl struggle so much with it.

      1. Nichelle Webster

        As a former employee, I can attest to the fact that it does happen to people… I myself would get the same day reservations with the system but then sometimes I would be blocked out even on my off days. Now that I visit, it’s because of family, but I’m the one who has to make the reservations, lol

        1. Shante

          I have no issues with the reservation system – we pay a lot of money to come to the park and with limited admission we can ride more rides instead of just 3

          1. Nancy

            I was so excited to take my family to Disneyland the week of Dec 11 but was so disappointed in the amount of people that were there. I had saved for years to take my grown kids and grandkids, it was so crowded that it just wasn’t fun. For being limited on reservation it didn’t look like it was limited.

      2. Suzanna

        Because not everyone lives 20 minutes away and have to plan months in advance

        1. Denice

          Yes I I’ve in Phoenix Az and we have to plan almost a year to go to Disneyland…hotel..tickets..reservations..etc.. it is nice not to walk in shoulder to shoulder crowds.. .you now have somewhat of breathing space..

      3. John

        Haha… do you pay someone in the inside? We quit our annual passes over similar issues … come on just be a little more honest at least! Thank you!

      4. Frances

        My family and I just got back last night from Christmas Disney vacation and we had no issues with reserving or park hopping even was able to reserve be our guest restaurant

      5. A.B. rivers

        Its easy for you Because your 20 min away you can do last minute..I live 7 hrs away there’s no way for last minute reservations on the day i want that I am able to go..it’s easy when your that close’ if you lived far away like other people on here that complain abiut the reservation system you would be complaining also and not have as easy as you di

    3. Matt

      I agree totally with this. The reservation system is the worst. So I have decided not yo go there to til they get rid of it.

      1. Boo

        If they gonna keep the reservation system, they should start selling new passes again. They limit how many keyholders can make reservations so why are they still not allowing people to buy new passes.

      2. Cassandra Jones

        Why not use the reservation system only during the holidays.

    4. Gary

      I totally agree our families went to Disney every year for the last 20 years but it’s just getting ridiculous and I like to go with the way I feel at that moment after our last trip in February we won’t be back

      1. Just get rid of reservations … it was so nice to just up and go anytime…. This reservation stuff maybe was good when the pandemic was in full force … but give us Disney back … it’s taken the fun out of going … NO MORE RESERVATIONS … Please

        1. D- totally agree with you 100%

      2. Robyn

        We go every year the first monday-wed. Of december, dispite my kicking and screaming haha. This year no matter the day we could not get reservations. I called and the ONLY way for us to secure reservations was to book a room at the disneyland hotel. Once I did that, a “different” calendar would open up for me. So i had to book a room and then we stayed at a neighboring hotel for the next night. Their cheapest hotel room was $485 for 1 night! Its just another way to make even more money! Disney disgusts me! The people (us) the consumers still hold the power, but we have to be willing to work together. If for 1 month everyone treated the parks and hotels like the plague…. you dont think we could see some real change?

    5. Dawn

      I have gotten same day reservations a number of times…. all you have to do is check the app every once in a while on the days leading up to the day you want to go and if you can’t get one prior to the day, check the morning of the day. More often than not, slots open up. You can still park-hop, you just have to wait until 1 in the afternoon…..

      1. Jade Gentile

        The reservation system is 109% the reason why I canceled our passes. Being a Florida resident, we had the opportunity to go at any time. Now we don’t and it’s a huge inconvenience when your spouses days off are sporadic and don’t always coincide with yours.

        1. M Ray

          The worst part of the reservation system for us is that you can’t “hop” until after 2:00 pm. Defeats the whole park hopper purpose!! My special needs daughter does not understand this because she knew the “old way” and it makes it very difficult! We would love to see this reservation system go away.

      2. Djurdjica

        HOWabout us people coming from accross the worlx for dream holiday only to be told to get a hopper ticket at ridiculous prices? Truly Magic is gone…

        1. ANN OCONNELL

          Have been snowbirds for 20 years. Used to buy annual passes, but they have outpaced us. Soo sad not to visit the parks…and we used to eat at park restaurants! Their loss..am sure they have lost many senior snowbirds

    6. Mary

      That’s our thoughts too. We have been a faithful Disney fan and gone to the parks 23 times at least. Won’t go back until normalicy comes back. Not spending my vacation staring at a cell phone and worrying about crap, that is no vacation!!!

    7. Krista

      Totally agree. We are DVC members and like to decide when to go based on weather… now you have no choice.

    8. Captain Jack's Revenge

      Almost makes you feel like cows being herded to the slaughter and the best part is you got to pay for the privilege.

      Moooo….

      1. Lee

        I agree, it was so fun to just buy a ticket and go where I pleased & ride what I wanted, I remember the first fast pass I seen at six flags, knew it was all downhill

    9. Jade Gentile

      The reservation system is 109% the reason why I canceled our passes. Being a Florida resident, we had the opportunity to go at any time. Now we don’t and it’s a huge inconvenience when your spouses days off are sporadic and don’t always coincide with yours.

    10. Vincent

      Even worse is when you add in the Genie Plus system and Lighting Lane , between that and April reservation system, it is absolutely horrible

      1. Beverly

        It has definitely gotten out of control, but I think they were just trying to come up with a solution to the problem people were having when they showed up and the lines for rides were too long to wait. So either way at this point is worth it, it’s just over crowded ! Maybe they should build and extra park bc every child love Disneyland and Disney World.

    11. Shirley A. Lilly

      I so agree! My daughter and husband flew there for their once every 10 year vacation. Half of their days were wasted with over full parks, losing out on half of their prepaid vacation. They will never return!

    12. Janice

      For out of towners from Texas planning to visit Disney and Universal, I my family that it was a great system. It rained a bit everyday, typical Florida weather. We were prepared. We had a great time and would do it again. We used to live in California and I understand being a local and visiting the parks without reservations…this too was a great time for us. Didn’t always have money to spend big, but when we found extra money the budget, we headed to Disney without planning ahead.

    13. Kathleen

      They have ruined Disney!

    14. Roger

      Bwaa haaa haaa
      I WILL NOT EVER GO AGAIN UNTIL THE PRICE OF ADMISSION IS REDUCED TO A RATE WALT DISNED SAID WAS AN AFFORDABLE FEE FOR EVERY FAMILY IN AMERICA!
      * * * * * *
      Walt Disney’s words not mine.

  2. Corrine

    My husband and I have not visited WDW in several years and we have reservations to stay within the resort this March. I have park reservations, and tbh, it’s a bit intimidating to me. I’m really hoping that they do away with the the system by then, however, I’m doubtful they will. Maybe if I Wish Upon A Star? 🤔❤️⭐

  3. Kathy

    We have gone with reservations. It was no problem. It keeps some of the local passholders from flooding the parks and making it miserable for those of us who can’t just come and go as we please if it’s too crowded that day. Keep it in place!

    1. You know that this statement SCREAMS of entitlement!!! People in Florida pay their money to go so who are you to say they are less deserving?

      1. Dan

        Ditto!

      2. Jane

        I don’t think you really read the statement. Visitors who are not passholders can’t just come back at another time if the park is too crowded. They have to go right then and their experience can be ruined. Passholders can choose another time like next week or the next week. They’re not less deserving. They just have more flexibility. Plus they didn’t have to pay airfare and hotel.

      3. Jen

        It’s whatever “policy” the company has for locals that has destroyed the magic and only fed said locals entitlement. Control the locals ‘ visits and some ” magic” may return.

      4. Steven

        Florida residents receive discounts not available to others. I was one of them. I can sympathize with people paying for airfare, hotel, and passes, and then don’t have control over their vacation.

      5. Michele

        Exactly!
        We were pass holders for many years until this ridiculous reservation system.
        Disney is not fully staffed, and that’s the biggest reason they’ve kept the reservation system.

    2. Us local passholders are the crowds that kept these parks open during the pandemic when messy rude tourists couldn’t travel here. And let’s just clarify who makes the parks miserable. The consensus is entitled high maintenance outsiders that aren’t respectful of the locals and the home turf we are proud and excited to share with others. Passholders pay a lot for the privilege of coming and going whenever they want. Maybe one day when you are able to do that you will look back at your comment and think about how off base you were.

    3. Amanda

      Hahaha. Us locals aren’t the ones clogging the lines not knowing how to scan our passes with our 8 family members though.

    4. oh you poor thing I feel so sorry for you. The reservation system sucks. Can’t wait until they get rid of it. Then we can go whenever we want.

    5. Michael

      We left one park after 2pm to go to another park. Turned the wheel chair in, packed all 6 of us in the car and drove to the other park. Only to be turned away. This ended up eating a huge chunk of our day. Felt ripped off. Told we could only go back to Epcot.

    6. Michele

      The crowds are a fraction of what they used to be before the pandemic & the ridiculous reservation system. You go to the parks now & parking lots are half full. Disney needs to lift the hiring freeze. Fully staff the parks and get things moving again.
      It used to be that the parkecwere pristine & the crowds, though heavy, moved through the rides in an efficient manner. That’s not the case anymore.

    7. Cary

      Even with a reservation it is crowded. The reservation system is pointless

  4. Dean Geyer

    The park only closes for a few hours and not every day. They do NOT close from Dec. 25 thru Jan. 1 as implied the story.

  5. Dean

    Disneyland only closes for a few hours at a time. They do NOT close from Dec. 25 thru Jan.1 as implied in this story.

    1. Deb

      Got you the first time!

  6. KSE

    The reservations system is nonsense. For those claiming it reduces crowds, that too is nonsense. At least at WDW. In the past year we’ve encountered larger crowds than ever. Even during non peak days or seasons. I’m convinced the system is used to figure how few Castmembers they can run with.

    1. Desiree

      That is a good way to look at it. Hire more people!! It is the only Disney endeavor making any money.

  7. It is what it is. Things change. I’m not thrilled with the new system but that’s life. For me DLR is an escape from the real world for a day. I go ride the rides. Watch shows. Snack on goodies have a nice lunch dinner and enjoy my day.

  8. Ann

    I don’t mind the park reservation system.
    But I don’t like the 7am part of Genie+

  9. I am a newly retired Cast Member and I hate the reservation system. I worked 20+ years hoping that when I retired I would be able to go to a park anytime I felt like going. NO! Not happening right now anyway. Takes the spontaneity out of it. Some days I would like to get out and just watch and enjoy other people while my wife is at work. I just hope and pray that the reservation system is abolished. It was good for COVID but that’s gone. Let’s get back to normal! Disney is the only park that still has the reservation system in effect.

    1. Liz

      AP holder and don’t mind the reservation system. Especially on Christmas Day and New Years eve when I don’t have to be there hours before they open to get in. Hope if they do get rid of it they keep it for Holidays I like sleeping in and arriving 8 or 9 pm

    2. Desiree

      Agree 100%

    3. I totally agree with you

  10. Dayvee Jan Carrothers

    What about the seniors who are not tech savy???? That leaves them out. I will not be visiting again as long as seniors are not accomadated— and I am a former employee!

    1. Desiree

      This is a comment I have made several times.

  11. lorraine

    I dont like the reservation system at all and we live about 20 minutes away also……..It takes the spontaneity out of going and yes many times especially in t he summer we were not able to get reservations we wanted Plus when we have company from out of state its hard during their vacation time to get ANY reservations let alone for all of us on t he same day at the same park………..I already have a couple reservations for July even though we dont know the weather or if we will have company then or not…..Its totally rediculous for passholders

    1. Dawn

      July? They are only allowing bookings for 90 days out….. I am looking at the reservation calendar right now and it only has to the end of March able to be booked.

    2. Desiree

      Exactly!! Hopefully Disney execs read these posts.

    3. exactly the last time I went I couldn’t get a reservation for magic kingdom had to make one for animal kingdom and I have a disability so there’s only just so much I could do at a park and then they make you stay in that park almost 2 o’clock before you come park hop ridiculous

  12. George Baker

    The reservation system although flawed at times is a good system. My wife and I are annual Passholders and we always get to go to a different park anytime we go all with 1 park reservation. We have started at MK and at 2pm we go to Epcot to eat lunch or dinner and then go back to MK or AK and get the most use of the passes. Plus the system keeps crowds from getting to large that as a handicap man can’t get through safely which makes the day even better.

    1. Desiree

      That is a crock. It doesn’t keep crowds down. As they add passes at different times. It makes so you are always on the app. That is not a way to relax on vacation. And what if plans chan

  13. Desiree

    I didn’t renew my annual pass – came up in April when still so much was still not operating & the cost rose with blackout dates. It was not worth the money. Besides, I don’t want to plan every moment of my vacation. Vacations are to relax, not spend entire time on Disney apps. I was at WDW during Thanksgiving week & 2nd week in Dec. As many other DVC members, I just did resort activities, never going to the parks. Some resorts have not brought back resort activities except pool activities. I have 2 more dates booked, but thinking to cancel if things don’t change. I could spend days going to different resorts & experience different activities, this is not the case now. Disney is not worth the money now.

  14. lawrence LaBrecque

    There is no point in being a annual passholder if you can not go when you want. Been a passholder since 2004 but no more. Cancel reservation system and bring back paper fast pass so everyone can enjoy the parks fairly. It was not broke….stop fixing it!

  15. Gene

    People will complain… lines are too long and so they complain that Disney goes to reservations to improve their experience. I personally would rather go with a reservation and not have to wait in long lines and navigate millions of people.

  16. Hen

    Hate the reservation system!

  17. Fred

    The reservation system works great if you only plan to do one park per day. When we went to DisneyLand this past Fourth of July weekend, the parks were crowded, but not packed, which I attribute to the reservation system.

  18. Louisa

    The reservation system is the worst. We visited 2 weeks ago in Florida and it was a mess and certainly didn’t seem to save time or energy. Please get rid of it.

  19. Tracy

    I live on the west coast and fly multiple times a year to go to wdw. I adore the reservation system. It’s a chore to learn how to use, but the benefits outweigh the negative. I have my whole trip planned months in advance and t0 days before I plan my dining. Then I get to the park and it’s all preplanned and I can relax.

  20. Jenn

    I’m in the minority that is all for the reservation system. ( For all of us out of state, everything we do is one big reservation anyway so what is the difference?) I get to Disney world once a year and I always stay on property. I’ve never been blocked out, then again I don’t go on Christmas Day or New Year’s Eve. The point is, I want to know I am guaranteed availability over some locals who want to just pop in-and I don’t want it wall-to-wall people. So if it cuts down on the crowding to any degree, I am for it.

  21. Susan

    Ridiculous prices, required reservations, destruction of Disney history and movies and catering to the woke agenda, everyone is the same, noo groups should get special day, week, or month long holidays except our veterans,

  22. Nick Ragucci

    In addition to the reservation system, the fact that you can’t purchase annual tickets right now unless you’ve renewed them is just awful. I’ve been a DVC member for almost 15 years now and one of the best things was being able to get an annual pass and go to Disney multiple times throughout the year, but now each time we go we need to buy new tickets for however many days plus, you’re capped off at I believe a 10 day pass, so if you wanted to get away for like 2 weeks, you’d need to buy a 10 day pass plus a 4 day which is well over the price of an annual pass. C’mon Iger, we love you man, make the magic start happening again!

  23. Donna Duplay

    Just took our daughter & grand-daughter (6) to WDW for Xmas. I organized the trip and found the reservation system VERY frustrating. We had very OLD WDW paper tickets with unused days on them – We wanted to use them this winter. Almost impossible as they want you to bring in the OLD tickets in person. Being from NE Ohio- Or spending an extra night in a Orlando at near $200 night. We could NOT sign up for reservations or special events MUST be made WITH NEW TICKETS. So we had to buy 5 more days to use in the parks. Using only 1 of our 3 remaining days on our OLD PAPER WDW PASSES. NOT HAPPY OR IMPRESSED!

  24. Donna Duplay

    Going to WDW on 12/23/22 hi temp. Of 68, 12/24 hi temp of 48 degrees! Brrrr

  25. Cary

    Was in the 8 hour online que for disneyland annual passes a few months ago and didn’t end up buying because will not deal with reservations.
    It is still packed and 1 hour + lines
    And the genie + I bought 2 for my husband and son while I stay with the baby and at 2pm was not letting the 2 passes pick the same ride together. My 6 year old can’t go on himself so at 2pm it was a waste of money $60 down the drain

  26. Tom

    Worst Day Ever

  27. Kevin

    The reservation is no different than fastpass+. You still need to plan far ahead and can’t use a different park until later in the day. I have yet to see anything wrong with reservations since you can still go to another park later in the day

    1. Isckra

      For large crowded performances, it would be way more efficient to bring a reservation assigned at the same time when you purchase your ticket. The same system that they use when buying theater or airplane tickets. Is really absurd and abusive practice from DWR to make people spend 3 hours waiting in a very boring line. Worst of all, when you want to use genie reservation app… sometimes is already sold out. Why do they sell an option you can’t use?

  28. Soul

    Speaking as a passholder –
    The reservation system is a joke. This is just a ploy to maximize revenue vs payroll and attractions that are open. This is definitely not in ANY customers’ best interests, and doesn’t usually result in lower wait times on crowded days…

    If the company wants to control passholder crowds, then just get rid of the top level passes with no blackouts. FL people shouldn’t really be trying to go so often on busy days/ holidays anyway. We could just buy a half- price ticket or etc. if we want to go. Also, the parks need to be fully staffed, with all rides, attractions, restaurants, etc. open. They can just use Genie+ to direct people to under-attended places to level out wait times.

    Bottom line, get rid of reservations, and open up parkhopping to anytime.

  29. Caleb C.

    This “article” lacks critical thinking, or really ANY thinking. “Annual tradition” to close the gates? Never happened. DLand has always paused admissions when the park reached capacity. It was never a “tradition” and never limited to Christmas to New Year’s. Of course they would not pause admissions now, since the reservation system allows them to control precisely the number of admissions. So this is no surprise. Genie + selling out is no surprise either, since Disney announced a few weeks ago that they would start limiting sales and that it would occasionally sell out. So, really, this article could say “Disneyland operates as expected during holidays.”

  30. Cheryl Hawkins

    Genie Plus and Lightening Lane was a very expensive waste of money for our family of 5 at Disney in California. We got a “whopping” 3 rides out if it over a 10 hour day there. It wouldn’t let us reserve a ride until we completed a ride first. It was a very stressful day for our family with 2 small boys ages 10 and 5. And grandma.

  31. Bob Davis

    I refuse to renew my recent passes because of the reservation restrictions, it’s totsl BS and discrimination. I had the VIP passes and the tourists were giving priority. Knotts is the place to go, no BS political fake covid drama, no reservations, no mandates and no crown restrictions. Disneyland promotes males dressing like females, nothing but racial drama for black people.

  32. Nope

    I have no problem with the reservation system. What am I missing. You reserve your spot and there’s less crowd. How is that bad? Are people mad because they don’t make reservations and just show up? No sympathy for maybe character syndrome if that’s the case. Now, if they’re making reservations and then the ticket vanishes then yes, the mad reaction makes sense. But, much like the housing crisis where everyone knowingly bought a house they couldn’t afford; the frustration with the reservation system is probably from people who knowingly don’t participate in doing the right thing and then complain.

  33. Susan

    I can live with the reservation but get rid of lighting lanes and genie +. They are horrible. Also bring back the Hollywood street players

  34. Denny

    Magic is gone, used to have a pass, now forget it. So sad that they have lost so much fun….

  35. Anne

    We have not gone to the park since the reservation system was implemented and yearly passes were closed. Historically we have always been big fans and visited the parks several times a year.

  36. Clare Escario

    I visited Disney World Florida in summer 2022 and absolutely loved the new park reservation system. It meant that crowds were controlled and made for a much better guest experience in park. You do have to be organised to reserve the park you want in advance however there is always space in one of the parks if there is no room in your first choice that day. I think the only people that seem to be annoyed about the system are people who were too late to reserve a spot, however the most important thing for me is the guest experience in park and getting more value for your ticket ie. Getting on more rides which is definitely the case with this new system

  37. Kerry

    There is no need for the system anymore. It has made so many people miserable and the prices just keep going up along with the genie plus having to pay additional money after the daily costs are so expensive and so many of our friends in the Florida area refuse to get annual passes now and those that want them cannot get them. Please make it right.
    Please reinstitute the fast pass system. I myself have profound health and mobility issues and had to check into one park in the pouring rain simply to hop to another. I even asked one manager and they said it was impossible to make an exception and I have the DAS Pass. There is no need. Please Bob, do the right thing. Thank you!

  38. Our issue wasn’t with the reservation system. Our visit to Animal Kingdom was messed up due to an early closure: someone (rich) had reserved the park for the evening. We had really looked forward to seeing Avatar after dark. No warning of the early closure until we tried to go back in at 7PM and were refused readmission. Kinda stunk.

  39. Isckra

    For large crowded performances, it would be way more efficient to bring a reservation assigned at the same time when you purchase your ticket. The same system that they use when buying theater or airplane tickets. Is really absurd and abusive practice from DWR to make people spend 3 hours waiting in a very boring line. Worst of all, when you want to use genie reservation app… sometimes is already sold out. Why do they sell an option you can’t use?

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