Theme Park of the Day: Universal Studios Singapore

Fans Swarm Walt Disney World's New Reservation System

June 22, 2020, 6:11 PM · Disney's new advance reservation system for theme park visits debuted for Walt Disney World hotel guests this morning.

Many guests reported problems signing in and getting available dates shortly after the Disney Park Pass system went online at 7am Eastern, as countless fans initially overwhelmed the system. Reports of trouble seemed to ease as the day went on, though some fans remained frustrated by long waits to connect.

You must be signed into your Disney account on the Walt Disney World website or My Disney Experience app and you must have a Disney World hotel reservation and valid theme park tickets connected to your account in order to reserve a date to visit the parks. Annual passholders without hotel reservations may start using the system on Friday. Everyone else gets in on Sunday, June 28.

Hotel guests by early evening had booked all their available spots for Disney's Hollywood Studios first three days: July 15-17. Beyond that, all parks are shown as available for all dates through the end of September 2021, which is how far in advance the system now goes.

You can check the current availability of dates on Disney's website. Note that no dates are listed as available now for annual passholders or daily ticket holders because the system is not open to them yet.

Disney is using this reservation system to enforce limited capacity at its theme parks as it looks to support safe physical distancing during the ongoing pandemic. Walt Disney World also has announced that it will not be allowing Park Hopping during its initial reopening period, so you'll be spending the whole day at whichever park you reserve for a specific date.

Disney's Hollywood Studios is home to the resort's most recent major attractions: Star Wars: Ride of the Resistance and Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway. Disney is no longer using the virtual queue that it had used for Rise of the Resistance - or any Fastpass+ ride reservations - so it's old-school, first-come-first-served queuing inside the parks when they reopen. That made DHS a top choice for the most eager Disney fans, as they looked to hit up these popular new attractions as soon as they returned.

Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom and Disney's Animal Kingdom reopen July 11, while DHS and Epcot return on July 15. All visitors will have to pass a temperature check and wear masks while visiting.

Replies (6)

June 23, 2020 at 1:13 AM

DHS not only is home to the newest attractions but with all of their show attractions closed, I believe their capacity is lower than any of the other parks. Just check out the list of available attractions and DHS has the fewest plus physically is the smallest park, by far it seems. Anyway it seems people got their reservations so it should hold steady until the next wave on friday. I forecast DHS selling out even more days then no doubt.

Hopefully Disney works out the technical kinks, especially by Sunday.

June 23, 2020 at 12:45 AM

The news is reporting tonight that thousands of Disney employees have signed a petition asking Disney to delay the opening. Who can blame them?

June 23, 2020 at 5:59 AM

Interesting that Disney has abandoned the virtual queue system during COVID, while Universal has expanded theirs. Although Universal Express does allow you to bypass the virtual queue, so there's that. I was never a fan of virtual queues. I found them to be largely pointless, causing way more frustration than convenience.

I personally still think attending a theme park is an unnecessary risk right now. But to each their own. One thing that I think has become abundantly clear in the last few weeks is that it will be difficult to predict exactly how this virus will behave. But, the virus didn't go away. And it didn't stop transmitting in the heat, humidity and sunshine. Those were all wishful thoughts and happy talk from the beginning. Anyone that steps up and declares anything definitive in terms of the virus should be considered a charlatan. The truth is we just don't know much. And I think that is what has given many a Disney employee pause for thought about returning to what could be a dangerous situation. Not absolutely will be or absolutely will not be a dangerous work environment, but could be. It seems as though many of the "no big deal, nothing to see here" folks might feel a bit differently if they were potentially going to get thrown into the meat grinder and were about to begin interacting with thousands of people per day. Some that will be coming from areas with active infection spread.

June 23, 2020 at 10:06 AM

I wonder if some of the issues were because all of the bloggers and curious onlookers were overloading the system with no intentions of booking reservations. That can happen a lot to Disney's systems because there are so many bloggers and WDW lookyloos just going through the motions without actually booking so they can report on it and/or practice for a future trip.

I'm not surprised that DHS is selling out because of the limited attractions available and smaller footprint of the park (as well as more narrow pathways throughout that probably further reduce the allowable capacity). Hopefully all of this effort is not for naught, because based on what's been going on in Florida, it might not be possible for WDW to open 3 weeks from now, especially if the NBA and/or MLS have to postpone or cancel their "bubble" events at WWoS. If leagues filled with some of the best athletes in the world are not comfortable playing in a pure bubble at WDW, how in the world can Disney have co-mingling guests in their parks and keep a straight face?

June 23, 2020 at 12:50 PM

Jeremy, you hit the nail on the head. There are far more unknowns than knows with the virus right now, and those traveling are rolling the dice to be sure. I am one of the people now back working with the general public (not for Disney -- in a more enclosed space), and sadly neither our state nor our business owner want to require guests to wear masks (though employees are mandated to wear them by the state). And less than 1% of our guests are wearing them.

So I would say that Disney theme parks, with restrictions, are probably safer than my workplace. But "safer" doesn't necessarily mean "safe."

Robert Niles had a great post comparing the risks of different places during the pandemic back in early May titled "How Risky Is It to Visit Walt Disney World?" (/flume/202005/7438/), and it was a very educational read.

And that post is one of the reasons I have begged both our governor and the business owner to require guests to be wearing masks. The owner said no, the governor didn't respond (both predictable outcomes), and our curve is on a massive upward swing since my type of business was allowed to reopen on June 4th (hint: I'm in Nevada, and it's the type of business that you think of first when you think of Nevada -- no, not the brothels; the other one people think of).

The only thing I would add to your post is that when you say "Some that will be coming from areas with active infection spread," you should add "other people will be going TO areas with active infection spread, and then take the virus home with them and start a new spread."

I honestly think Disney would be okay. I'm not personally visiting any theme park yet -- I am taking enough of a chance just going to work. I don't need to push my luck (or risk being asymptomatic and bringing the virus to a happy place and spreading it there).

June 23, 2020 at 4:06 PM

I don't know what people who are complaining about this' expectations are. Of course there is not going to be enough inventory for everyone who wants to go, that's the whole reason there is a reservation system, and Disney flat out offered refunds to everyone (and still is) and isn't even selling tickets. There's really nothing else they can do.

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