New Rule Added for Certain Disney Guests, Park Entry Regulation Officially Changed

in Disney Parks, Walt Disney World

Disney World Annual Pass being held up in front of Cinderella Castle at Disney World

Credit: Inside the Magic

Things are starting to return to normal at Walt Disney World, and while regular ticketed guests no longer need to book park pass reservations to enter the theme parks, Annual Passholders have a much slower climb.

Disney World Annual Pass logo
Credit: Disney

When the pandemic took place, every business was affected, including Walt Disney World Resort. Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom shut down on March 15, for what was expected to be two weeks, at the time. As we know, things with the pandemic and COVID-19 were not so simple, and closures lasted much longer.

In an economic decision, Florida reopened many businesses much faster than the rest of the world, including Disney World. On July 11, 2020, the reopening phase would begin with Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom, followed by EPCOT and Hollywood Studios on July 15, 2020.

Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort
Credit: Inside The Magic

When the parks reopened, things were different. Masks were being worn, and social distancing was in effect. In order to maintain distancing in a place where distancing was typically very rare, Disney decided to limit capacity and to track that capacity; guests were required to add one more step to their ticket-purchasing routine. Now, guests would have to make a park pass reservation, basically reserve their spot in the park they want to visit, after buying the ticket.

Sometimes, you may not get your first choice if the park was already at capacity for the day you planned to visit, but overtime, capacity levels expanded, making a stressful event a little less anxiety-inducing for guests.

Mickey and Minnie at Magic Kingdom's train station with two dancers
Credit: Nicholas Fuentes via Unsplash

On January 9, 2024, we saw many changes at Walt Disney World, including the return of all-day park hopping, as opposed to the previous 2:00 p.m. rule, the return of the Disney Dining Plan, as well as date-based ticket holders no longer needing to make a park reservation when they buy a ticket. Annual Passholders, on the other hand, were given the option of good-to-go days.

Good-to-go days are found on the Annual Pass calendar and mark what days Annual Passholders can enter the parks without a reservation. As of today, the good-to-go days have been released for January and part of February, including only six days: January 16, 18, 23, 24, 28, and February
1.

Good-To-Go Annual Pass Calendar
Credit: Disney

This means that for the majority of the month, guests with an Annual Pass will have to continue making reservations. It should be remembered that after 2:00 p.m., Annual Passholders can enter any park without a reservation; however, Magic Kingdom does require them on weekends.

While this new rule does give back a small amount of flexibility to Annual Passholders, the idea of owning a pass that lets you into Disney whenever you want, but not being able to spontaneously go whenever you want, does detract from the experience. Annual Passholders will still have to think ahead when it comes to special events, like EPCOT’s Festival of the Arts beginning this Friday, as those days are likely not going to be good-to-go options, and will require a reservation that may very well be sold out if not thought of in advance.

What do you think of Disney’s new good-to-go days for Annual Passholders? Let us know below. 

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