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Walt Disney World will expand perks for certain visitors in 2018

December 22, 2017, 1:48 PM · Some Walt Disney World perks are getting easier to come by in 2018. Starting January 1, more non-Disney hotel guests will get access to Extra Magic Hours at the Walt Disney World Resort, and anyone will be able to make reservations at selected Disney World resort hotel restaurants via Open Table as well as directly through Disney.

Extended admission to the Walt Disney World theme parks via Extra Magic Hours will become available starting January 1 to guests of the seven non-Disney hotels in Disney Springs:

EMH currently is available only to guests staying at Disney's own on-site hotels as well as guests from the non-Disney Swan and Dolphin hotels. In addition, starting January 10, guests at the Disney Springs hotels will be able to book their Fastpass+ ride and show reservations 60 days in advance, if they have booked their stay through a vacation package sold by Disney's travel company. Currently, only people booked at a Disney hotel with a valid admission ticket can book Fastpasses that far in advance. For everyone else with a ticket, the reservation window opens 30 days in advance.

Disney also is opening up its restaurant reservations in 2018. Reservations in January and beyond for a handful of resort restaurants are now available through the online reservation service OpenTable.com in addition through Disney World's website and phone number (+1-407-WDW-DINE).

In addition to these locations, reservations continue to be available via Open Table for restaurants at the Swan and Dolphin and in Disney Springs. Open Table also offers dining reservations for the resort restaurants at Universal Orlando, as well.

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Replies (12)

December 23, 2017 at 9:21 AM · I wonder if the hotel guests will also get the 60 day FP+ option as well ?
Us non-hotel Disney visitors struggle as it is ... as many of us know !
Also for those who may not know .... Splash Mountain is going to be down again for about a month Jan thru Feb.
December 22, 2017 at 4:04 PM · Oops ... just read the article again and I see they do get the 60 days ...
Good job I’ve already got my 7DMT fastpass booked for a mid week day in Jan :)
December 23, 2017 at 7:07 AM · Option #1 ... worry about booking a FP 60 days out at midnight. then, have to be at a certain attraction at a certain park at a certain time on a certain day

Option #2 ... ride what you want, when you want at Universal, BG, SW, LEGOLAND, Fun Spot, etc.

FP+ single-handedly drove us away from Disney. Wish it weren't so ...

December 23, 2017 at 8:36 AM · Why is Disney giving these perks away? The only reason to stay at a value of moderate resort are these perks. The only perk left is the transportation, which in my opinion, has being going downhill for years. Maybe the gondola will make it worth it, but at this time it doesn't make a lot of sense. WDW enjoys a constant low to mid 90 percent occupancy rate, why risk losing customers? I mean I fully expect an up charge private bathroom to be added to all the other up charge they have tried. WDW in general seems to be making mistake after mistake, they reduced the promos in the Srpring only to bring them back with free dining for the summer. They have too many winter promos now WDW is experiencing 2 hour waits for haunted mansion and almost every other ride. Why give a perk that really cost Disney nothing, away for free? Or did they sell it to these Disney Springs hotels hoping to make more money then the people on site were paying? if they make Star Wars land an add on for the season ticket holders like the one proposed in California, I think they might finally have found the straw that breaks the camels back.
December 23, 2017 at 4:11 PM · Bad idea about extra magic hours no real incentive if you rent a car to stay on Disney property where is perks for property guests Janet Connecticut
December 23, 2017 at 5:53 PM · I was mad as hell when they got rid of the old fast pass system. I still prefer it, but we've made FP+ work for us. Especially since we rarely make it to rope drop.
December 23, 2017 at 9:16 PM · Sorry, I thought you could ride what you want, when you want at Disney World too. Did they change things recently, does park entry not allow you to go on attractions anymore?
December 23, 2017 at 11:54 PM · You can still ride what you want at Disney Parks as long as you're willing to wait in the regular line. Fastpass is a booking to go through the fast line at a certain ride on a certain day during a certain window of time. Disney gives out 3 per person per day with each theme park ticket that you can book online. Universal has a fast lane for attraction lines also but you have to buy an express pass on top of your park ticket if you want to use it and it's about $80 - 100 extra per person per day depending on the dates when you want to go.
December 24, 2017 at 12:01 AM · I like the fastpass system at disney parks. At least i know when booked in advance after months of planning and all the cost involved and travelling to get there we are going to have a chance to get on our favorites. The one and only time we made a trip out to Bush Gardens we hardly got on any rides because lines were ridiculously long. And to buy the express pass for a family of four at universal, although worked well & convenient, was quite pricey for one day.
December 24, 2017 at 9:12 AM · What?

Disney is not banning anybody from rides. They are just expanding some of the resort perks to other hotels.

The fine print says that the non Disney resort stay needs to be made through the Disney Travel Agency so there really isn't any "savings" given to these guests. These are not cheap hotels.

In all honesty, this is just a drop in the bucket. If you are pissed that you can't get a Fastpass+, blame the All Star, not the Best Western.

December 26, 2017 at 7:36 AM · I agree with Anthony. This is probably not a big deal, and it's very likely that the partner hotels had to pay to be given these extra privileges in addition to releasing some of their inventory to the Disney Travel Agency. Also, this program has been clearly marketed as only through 2018, so if it doesn't meet the goals Disney has set for it (whether through occupancy or park admissions), Disney can easily pull these perks back in 2019. Additionally, Disney has kept the slate clean for 2019 when Galaxy's Edge opens so they can either extend this program through the new land's opening, go back to the way things were before, or try something else new.

Honestly, I think this appears more like a data mine than anything else, and if Disney can generate revenue (markup of hotel bookings through partner properties) with little cost on their end, I wouldn't blame them one bit. This could also be a maneuver for Disney to allow properties to go through major renovations without Disney losing much in the way of occupancy. If All-Star needs to take a building down for a full gut and refinish, they could shift those rooms to partner hotels, and still give guests similar perks to staying at the on-site property. The resort maintains its capacity, which would prevent parks from losing admissions due to the loss of rooms during the renovation period.

The Open Table partnership is a bit strange, because participation is not free for the restaurant. Disney has a very robust and successful reservation system that accommodates both online and phone reservations. By partnering with Open Table, Disney is essentially duplicating their costs for reservation management while not providing any dramatic benefit to guests. I have not idea what Disney is trying to accomplish with this Open Table partnership.

December 27, 2017 at 11:20 PM · Any word on if the partner hotels will offer early or late transportation? This somehow ties in to getting more folks to visit Disney Springs.

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