Walt Disney World Reveals Date for Park Reservation Changes

February 23, 2023, 10:22 AM · The Walt Disney World Resort is now putting some dates on the operational changes that Disney Parks Chairman Josh D'Amaro first told us about last month in our exclusive interview.

Starting April 18, Walt Disney World's annual passholders will be allowed to visit all four parks after 2pm on weekdays without having to make a reservation. And they will be allowed to visit three of the four parks on weekends after 2pm without reservations, too. Only the Magic Kingdom will continue to require reservations by annual passholders all day on Saturdays and Sundays.

This change does not apply to daily ticket holders, who will continue to need to make reservations to visit any of the four Walt Disney World theme parks.

On March 20, Walt Disney World will start including free Disney PhotoPass on-ride attraction photos with the purchase of its Disney Genie+ service. In addition on that date, Disney will offer access to Disney PhotoPass lenses and one complimentary Cinderella Castle Mural of Memories experience to its annual passholders.

Last month, Walt Disney World also dropped its overnight parking charges for on-site hotel guests, which was another of the changes that D'Amaro had announced.

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Replies (9)

February 23, 2023 at 10:39 AM

This is a bow-down to the entitled, constantly whinging minority of passholders who have no idea how to get their s**t together when it comes to park reservations.

Myself, and the majority of passholders, have no problems, even on day-of.

Fair do's on the ride photopass, especially as Genie+ is getting ever more expensive. Although, will those users have any clue how to retrieve the photos, once taken ??

February 23, 2023 at 10:46 AM

It’s baffling to me that the photos weren’t included with Genie+ to begin with.

February 23, 2023 at 11:00 AM

Mako, you may be right, but more to the point, it is a way that allows all AP holders into the parks on any day that is not blacked out on their AP tier and, fortunately for Disney, potentially fending off any current or future lawsuits.

February 23, 2023 at 11:08 AM

@Jacob - Photopass at WDW is far more valuable than in California, where the service used to be included with MaxPass. Considering how much Disney charges for Photopass by itself, I'm frankly pretty shocked that they're including it with Genie+., though the perk only includes on-ride photos (not character and other staged photographs). This seems like a pretty natural move, but I wonder if it's being used to draw more guests to Genie+ because revenue has wanes (potentially indicated by the recently increased prices), and what value the perk actually holds to guests who already plan to purchase a normal Photopass package. Will a guest who wasn't planning to buy Genie+, but is considering buying Photopass, buy the line skipping service now because it includes ride photos?

As far as the dropping reservation requirement for APs, I think Makorider provides the empirical data to support this decision. If it's relatively easy for APs to get a day-of (or otherwise short notice) reservation, what value is Disney getting from requiring the reservation? The reservation system is not only designed to manage crowds, but more importantly allows Disney to manage staffing levels more precisely. If APs are scooping up reservations at the last minute, it doesn't give Disney the ability to react and plan to that increased attendance, so it's probably better for them to assume APs are going to show up, and staff the parks with that assumption already in place.

February 23, 2023 at 11:27 AM

It'll be interesting to see if they let them in at 1:47 or 2pm .... LOL :)

Genie+ sold out this past weekend on both days, so it's as popular as ever.

It's been a crazy week .... with residue from President's day, and the upcoming Princess run weekend.

135mins for Navi river ride, and Rise got to 310 yesterday. Truly quite staggering, to be honest.

February 23, 2023 at 12:58 PM

"135mins for Navi river ride, and Rise got to 310 yesterday. Truly quite staggering, to be honest."

I think the word you're looking for is insulting. We all know Disney could manage the lines far better, just as they did for decades, and we all know Disney is CHOOSING to create these obnoxious lines so they can cash in on Genie+.

Effectively, pay more or you can't ride. Insulting.

February 23, 2023 at 1:15 PM

It's not like the lines are new thecolonel. It's just that guests can't circumvent them for free through FP+ anymore. While I still believe Genie+ is inferior to FP+, it's essentially an analog system that allows Disney to generate revenue from a service that used to be included with park admission. The service (nor the monetization of it) didn't create the lines, but given the fact that people are actually paying for shorter waits, it's even more important that they may the LLs move efficiently (something that wasn't as critical under FP+), which has perhaps slowed the flow of standby lines in certain instances.

I don't necessarily want to defend this tact from Disney because I think it's a slap in the face that they're charging for something that used to be free. However, the fact of the matter is that every theme park in the world has some sort of paid line avoidance/reduction system. While Disney used to offer this is part of the admission was a nice perk, but we all knew at some point Disney wouldn't be able to resist the temptation of all that revenue that competitors were getting.

February 23, 2023 at 2:01 PM

@thecolonel .... your obvious dislike for all things Disney, clouds you being able to see the point I was trying to make:

For a somewhat random midweek day in February, the wait times are truly staggering, because the parks are crazy busy.

You don't have to buy Genie+, I certainly don't. But for a lot of people it's a way to ride more attractions than would ever be possible, without it. Good luck to them, I say.

February 23, 2023 at 3:31 PM

I could be wrong about this, but it's my understanding that Photopass is currently included with Genie+ in California. I take your point on the relative value, but the way it's being tacked on in Florida now (on-ride photos only) indicates to me this is something they could have been doing from the beginning.

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