Disney Park Ticket Rules Eliminated, Prices Skyrocket

in Disney Parks, Disneyland Resort, Walt Disney World

Crowds at Magic Kingdom "it's a small world"

Credit: shaggyhill / Flickr

If you are planning on visiting Walt Disney World Resort soon, get ready because there are some major changes coming your way.

Known as “The Most Magical Place on Earth,” Walt Disney World Resort is composed of four distinct theme parks: Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Crowds gathering around Cinderella Castle in Magic Kingdom at Disney World
Credit: Inside the Magic

These parks offer an array of beloved attractions that cater to every age and interest. At Magic Kingdom, guests are welcomed into a world of fantasy with iconic attractions like Cinderella Castle, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Space Mountain. EPCOT invites exploration of both technology and world cultures through attractions like Spaceship Earth and the World Showcase pavilions, as well as the all-new Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios brings the magic of movies to life with attractions like Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and Toy Story Land, while Disney’s Animal Kingdom immerses guests in nature and adventure with the thrilling Expedition Everest and the magical Pandora – The World of Avatar.

From classic rides to cutting-edge experiences, Walt Disney World’s attractions continue to captivate visitors in a realm of imagination and wonder.

After the parks reopened from the pandemic shutdown, things changed when it came to Disney tickets.

Disney’s Park Pass Reservation system is controversial, having originally started early after the park reopened following the pandemic closure. Its original intent was to control the number of guests in the park for safety reasons, but many guests now complain it’s unnecessary, annoying, and being used to keep cast member staffing at a minimum.

The Mickey and Walt statue in front of Cinderella's Castle inside Disney's Magic Kingdom
Credit: Disney

Previously, Disney announced that several measures would be taken to add more flexibility to guests’ trips. Free self-parking would return at Disney Resort hotels, those who purchase Genie+ would have their attraction photo downloads included, and finally, for Annual Passholders, park reservation requirements would be relaxed.

Then, as of April 18, Annual Passholders no longer need a reservation to visit a park after 2 p.m. The only exceptions to this rule are Saturdays and Sundays at Magic Kingdom Park, meaning it looks like Disney still anticipates those being the busiest days and park of the season.

Disney also noted that the reservation system “remains important to manage attendance in our parks, especially on busier days,” so it seems like Disney is making its best attempt to stay put in the reservation system for at least a little bit longer. However, eliminating the need for Annual Passholders to get a reservation could be a sign that Disney is testing the waters.

Spaceship Earth
Credit: Disney

It was then announced that theme park reservations are required to enter a theme park through January 8, 2024. Beginning January 9, 2024, theme park reservations will no longer be required for date-based tickets. For other admission types, theme park reservations may be required.

Today, new information has come! Disney is eliminating their 2:00 p.m. park hopping rule! 

Disney said, “Beginning Jan. 9, 2024, guests with a ticket with Park Hopper benefits or an Annual Pass will be able to once again visit another theme park at ANY TIME OF DAY during park hours (subject to capacity limitations). As a reminder, since returning in 2021, Park Hopper access has only been available after 2 p.m. each day. Now, there will be no more waiting – YOU can decide when it’s time to visit another park.”

Disney also noted what is now available to guests:

  • Complimentary self-parking is back for Disney Resort hotel stays
  • Annual Passholders may visit the parks after 2 p.m. without needing a theme park reservation, except on Saturdays and Sundays at Magic Kingdom
  • Digital downloads of select PhotoPass attraction photos taken in the park on the day of visit now included in the purchase of Disney Genie+ service
  • Parking trams returned to all four Disney World theme parks
Animation Courtyard at Disney's Hollywood Studios
Credit: Theme Park Tourist via Flickr

Here is what will be coming as of January 9, 2024:

  • Announced today: Bringing back all-day Park Hopper access during park hours
  • Theme park reservations no longer required for date-based tickets (our standard ticket option)
  • Disney dining plans available once again for Disney Resort hotel guests as part of a package

That being said, there are also price increases that guests may have to worry about.

Scott Gustin (@Scott Gustin) has been sharing all of the price increases, including the price hikes that Annual Passholders will see.

NEW: Walt Disney World Annual Pass prices have increased $30-$50 depending on the pass type. Here’s a breakdown (all prices plus tax):

Incredi-Pass: $1449 (was $1399)
Sorcerer: $999 (was $969)
Pirate: $799 (was $749)
Pixie Dust: $439 (was $399)

To learn more on prices for Annual Passholders, click here.

The price points for Annual Passes continue to increase each year, making it nearly impossible for some to afford their pass. We also are seeing an increase with Memory Maker.

Some other notable price increases at Walt Disney World:

Memory Maker:

Advance purchase: $185 (was $169)
Regular price (during and post-vacation): $210 (was $199)
One day: $75 (was $69)

Disneyland is also seeing price hikes across the board. Scott shared that the Magic Key prices have skyrocketed. These prices are more costly than what we see at Walt Disney World Resort.

NEW: Magic Key prices at the Disneyland Resort are increasing $50 to $150 depending on the pass type. New sales remain paused, but renewals are ongoing. Here’s a breakdown:

Inspire: $1649 (was $1599)
Believe: $1249 (was $1099)
Enchant: $849 (was $699)
Imagine: $499 (was $449)

On top of that, 1 day tickets and multi day tickets at Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure have also gone up in cost. Scott began by stating, “NEW: 1-day theme park ticket prices at Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure increased an average of 6-7% effective Wednesday. The cheapest 1-day ticket (Tier 0) remains $104 – but the most expensive (Tier 6) is now $194.”

He then continued, “Multi-day tickets at Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure increased an average of 11-12% effective Wednesday. A 5-day ticket saw the biggest increase, jumping from $415 to $480. The Park Hopper add-on now ranges $65-$75 depending on length of ticket.”

Unfortunately, Park Hopper hours will remain in effect at Disneyland Resort. No changes to that policy were announced today, and guests will still have to wait until 11:00 a.m. to bounce around to their next park. It should also be noted that Genie+ at Disneyland Resort will now be priced at $30/day for pre-arrival. Day-of purchases will start at $30/day, but can vary.

What do you think about all of these new changes? Let us know in the comments below! 

If you are looking to visit Walt Disney World Resort for a magical vacation, the Walt Disney World Website can be a great tool to begin planning your trip! You can begin exploring their theme parks: Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and EPCOT. You can also take a look at their water parks where you can splash around in the chill of Disney’s Blizzard Beach (alongside new Frozen characters, Anna, Elsa, Sven, and Kristoff), or hit the waves at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon. When you get hungry or want to go shopping, Disney Springs is the place to be, especially with World of Disney there ready to help you pick up some souvenirs! You can also begin looking for your Disney World Resort! If you are looking to stay at a Deluxe monorail Resort like Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa or a Value Resort where you can hop on the Skyliner like Disney’s Pop Century Resort, it is always fun to begin looking for a room that would best suit you and your party. Plus, it has all the information you need to know on Disney Genie+ so that you will be ready to go on your My Disney Experience app once you download it! Click here to check it out today.


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