If you’re heading to Walt Disney World, things are about to get a bit more complicated than they’ve been in the past. The company has announced details of its new reservation system, which it has implemented in the era of COVID-19 in an effort to better control park attendance. Find out what you need to know about Disney World reservations below, and learn why this might be the beginning of the end for the park’s MagicBands.
All Disney World guests, either those with tickets or annual passholders, will need to make reservations before they enter any of the resort’s theme parks. Disney’s website has all of the nitty gritty details, but here are some of the big ones:
- You’ll need a My Disney Experience account, as this is where your Walt Disney World Resort plans are stored and managed.
- You’ll also need a valid theme park ticket or Annual Pass that’s linked to your My Disney Experience account.
- If you have a Disney Resort hotel reservation, be sure to link it to your My Disney Experience account beforehand, as well.
Once you set all of that up, you’ll be able to look at a calendar of available dates. Even multi-day ticket holders will be required to make reservations for every day of their trip – but take note: park hopping has been temporarily cancelled, so you can only visit one park per day. This new reservation system will give priority to folks staying at a resort over annual passholders and regular ticket holders.
Meanwhile, MagicBands might be on the way out. Previously, if you booked a stay at a Walt Disney World resort, you’d get a MagicBand for free, which would have your credit card information attached and be used as payment for restaurants and merchandise, as a key for your room, as entry into the park, and for access into Fast Pass rides. They came out in 2013, and Disney spent a boatload of money to develop the technology to make them. But today, Disney announced that MagicBands will no longer be free to Walt Disney World resort guests starting on January 1, 2021.
They aren’t being removed entirely…yet. Guests can still purchase them at a discount if they’re staying at a resort, and Disney will be “introducing even more colors and designs featuring favorite Disney characters in the future.” But while the reader technology will still be in place throughout the parks, the features of the MagicBand will be integrated into the My Disney Experience app starting next year. It seems as if the company is encouraging folks to transition to using their phones more. It’s worth noting that Disney never released MagicBands in Shanghai Disneyland, because they found that visitors to that park preferred to use their phones anyway. Maybe they’re finding the same is true of Walt Disney World visitors?
If all of this has been too overwhelming (it’s a lot), theme park reporter Carlye Wisel has a good breakdown here:
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🚨BREAKING🚨: Walt Disney World's Theme Park Reservation System will open: JUNE 22 for Disney Resort and other select hotel guests JUNE 26 for Annual Passholders JUNE 28 for ticket holders AND PARK HOPPING IS DEAD!!!! (for now!) ☠️ FREE MAGICBANDS ARE DEAD starting in 2021!!!! ☠️ 💫 WDW will be enhancing My Disney Experience app instead; MagicBands will remain available for pre-purchase. 💫 It appears you do NOT need a theme park reservation for kids under 3 👶🏻 🚨The new Disney Parks Pass system will be for theme park dates through September 26, 2021.🚨 ⚠️ What if I'm booking a new vacation? ⚠️ OK, here is where things get VERY CONFUSING: If you are traveling in 2020, you will be able to book hotels + tickets later this summer….MAYBE, depending on availability. If you are traveling in 2021, you will be able to book hotels + tickets *by next Sunday*. (stay tuned!) ⚠️ Have a room reservation but no tickets? ⚠️ If it's 2020….you're waiting until “the summer” 😳 (will work I’m getting you more details!!) If it’s 2021, call in starting June 24 to upgrade your package. ⚠️ Need tickets? ⚠️ 2020 tickets will go on sale again “later this summer” 2021 tickets will go on sale later this week (by Sunday!) ⚠️ What should I do now? ⚠️ Get your My Disney Experience account in order and link everything ASAP! 🚫 Disney ALSO just confirmed a bunch of tours, special events and and experiences to be canceled 🚫 No RunDisney news yet! 🚨NEW UPDATES!!!!!🚨 🚨Swan + Dolphin, Four Seasons *AND* Disney Springs Area hotels will have access to Parks bookings starting June 22 🚨 Disney Parks Pass booking system **MAY** operate like My Disney Experience's FastPass+ and open at 7am ET / 4am PT — ** MIGHT BE DELAYED** 🚨 Annual Passholders can book parks for the length of their hotel stays 🚨 APs will be limited to *THREE* reservations at a time without hotel. (More AP details in story/pink highlight!) ☄️ WORKING TO CONFIRM: ☄️ ☄️Disney Park Pass, the new booking system, will ONLY be via web browser, not mobile app I WILL BE UPDATING throughout the day! Drop questions below and I’ll get you answers ASAP! ✨ 🌟💫
The Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom parks re-open on July 11, while EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios will re-open on July 15, 2020.
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