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Walt Disney World Park Reservations are NOT Gone! Understanding the New Reservation System

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Walt Disney World Park Reservations are NOT Gone! Understanding the New Reservation System
Walt Disney World Park Reservations are NOT Gone! Understanding the New Reservation System

Walt Disney World Park Reservations are NOT Gone! Understanding the New Reservation System. A lot of words have been written and headlines are shouting at you that you do not need a reservation to visit any one of the four Walt Disney World Parks. Unfortunately, these are just wrong. We are here to walk you through the changes to the reservation system.

What? Do you mean everyone else is wrong? Nope, I just think they are trying to get clicks by making the headline misleading. But Greg, what about Disney Parks Blog saying you don’t need a reservation anymore? That is a lot of fancy words to say, only 1 ticket type doesn’t need an actual reservation.

Furthermore, the other ticket that doesn’t “Need” a reservation, actually means the reservation is made at the time you buy the ticket, you technically are still making a reservation, but Disney does it at the time you buy it.

So let’s try to break it down and try to stop some misconceptions. Who needs to make a reservation vs who does not need one? What does a Single Day Date-Based Ticket mean and why do you say it still needs a reservation? So, Annual passholders don’t need a reservation, right, how do Good-to-Go days affect it? Seriously, why does Walt Disney World need a Reservation system? Let’s answer them all.

Walt Disney World Park Reservations are NOT Gone! Understanding the New Reservation System
Walt Disney World Park Reservations are NOT Gone! Understanding the New Reservation System

Related: All Day Park Hopping is Back

Who needs to make a reservation vs who does not need one?

This is the wording on the official Walt Disney World website:

Tickets that Require a Theme Park Reservation

Theme park reservations are no longer required for date-based tickets. A date-based ticket requires you to choose a start date when you purchase.

For other admission types, theme park reservations may be required.

No Theme Park Reservation Required

  • Date-based 1-day ticket
  • Date-based multi-day ticket
  • Vacation package with date-based tickets

Theme Park Reservation Required

  • Student group tickets
  • Sport and Convention ticket
  • Disney Military Salute Ticket
  • Annual Pass
  • All other ticket types not mentioned above

For admission types requiring theme park reservations, be sure to check reservation availability before purchase. Please note that theme park reservations are limited in number and subject to availability. Availability can change until the theme park reservation is finalized. 

What does a Date-Based Ticket mean and why do you say it still needs a reservation?

A Date-based ticket is exactly what it says, it is a ticket for a certain day of the month, for this experiment, we chose January 31st, 2024. Date-based furthermore means more than 1 day (Multi-Day) during a time frame. So again we can choose January 31st, 2024 until February 3rd, 2024.

Walt Disney World Park Reservations are NOT Gone! Understanding the New Reservation System
Walt Disney World Park Reservations are NOT Gone! Understanding the New Reservation System

For a 1-Day Ticket, you choose the Park you would like to visit, as you can see in the image below. Technically this is making the reservation for you. This is done for a couple of reasons. Each park is charging a different fee. So you cannot buy a ticket to Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and then go to the Magic Kingdom without paying the higher fee.

This is Disney making the reservation for you! Still a reservation. If you change parks, Disney will still make sure reservations are available for the Park you want to switch to. If no “reservations” are available, you will not be able to switch.

Walt Disney World Park Reservations are NOT Gone! Understanding the New Reservation System
Walt Disney World Park Reservations are NOT Gone! Understanding the New Reservation System

Technically, this means only 2 types of tickets do NOT need a reservation, and that would be Multi-Day Date-Based and Vacation Package, everything else is either Disney doing the reservation for you, or you selecting the reservation.

Walt Disney World Park Reservations are NOT Gone! Understanding the New Reservation System
Walt Disney World Park Reservations are NOT Gone! Understanding the New Reservation System

So, Annual passholders don’t need a reservation, right, how do Good-to-Go days affect it? and other answers.

As a Walt Disney World Annual Passholder ourselves, we can tell you with 100% accuracy, that we need to make reservations, if we would like to visit the parks before 2:00 PM. We do not need a reservation to visit any park after 2:00 PM. Except for one caveat, on Saturdays and Sundays, if we want to go to Disney’s Magic Kingdom. On Saturday and Sunday, we still need a reservation no matter what.

Guests with a ticket with Park Hopper benefits or an Annual Pass can visit another theme park at any time of day during park hours (subject to capacity limitations). Theme park reservations may be required for Annual Passholders and Guests with certain non-dated tickets to enter their first park. After they enter their first park, they will be able to visit other theme parks.

This takes into account the change today of all-day Park Hopping.

All that said, there is a huge change coming on January 11th, 2024. Good To Go Days.

In 2024, resolve to be more spontaneous with “good-to-go” days for Annual Passholders! As Passholders prepare for their visits next year, we wanted to share more about how good-to-go days will work:

  • On good-to-go days, Annual Passholders may enter the theme parks without needing a reservation (blackout dates will continue to apply like they do today).
  • The theme park reservation calendar, Annual Passholder admissions calendar, and My Disney Experience app will show days that are good to go. The first good-to-go days will be added to the calendars starting Jan. 11, 2024.
  • Good-to-go days will be added periodically and may be released days or weeks in advance.

Why does Walt Disney World Still need a Reservation System anyway?

Here’s the rationale behind the park reservation system when it was in place:

Crowds – Introduced in 2020 after the pandemic closure, the system aimed to manage daily attendance and prevent overcrowding, ensuring guest safety and a comfortable experience. Capping park capacity with reservations helped maintain optimal staffing levels, wait times for attractions, and crowd flow throughout the parks.

It Was Supposed to Enhanced Guest Experience: Reservations helped control park density, leading to shorter wait times and a more enjoyable experience for guests.

Walt Disney World Park Reservations are NOT Gone! Understanding the New Reservation System
Walt Disney World Park Reservations are NOT Gone! Understanding the New Reservation System

Let’s wrap this all up, somehow. The Reservation system still lives on with Annual Passholders, Military Tickets, Sport and Convention tickets, Student group tickets.

Technically, single-day date-based tickets are reserved, just by Disney on the day the ticket is purchased. You do not need to make a separate reservation.

Multi-Day Date Based tickets do not need a reservation.

I hope this clears it up for you. If you have any questions please feel free to ask, we will try and find the answer for you. If any of this information changes we will update accordingly.

Walt Disney World Park Reservations are NOT Gone! Understanding the New Reservation System

Greg Gatelyhttp://TheFUNaticsBlog.com
Greg "The Blue Hair" Blogger. If you are traveling around the Central Florida area you wont miss his Blue Head walking around, probably taking images. Co-Owner, Photographer, Podcaster, All Around Nice Guy, and curator of the most fantastical Disney Blog. You can listen to Greg on The Live Podcast show every week, along with seeing him live on Funatics Diary with Sam's Disney Diary. Once an Audio Engineer and Tour Manager with bands like Felix Cavaliere's Rascals, Collin Raye, Dispatch, just to name a few. Having retired from touring Greg spends all his time bringing the World of Disney to you. With over 3000 Articles written, and countless Images taken, Greg still enjoys living this amazing lifestyle. Thank You for reading!

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