Mickey and Minnie, Walt Disney World

Long gone are the days when you could buy a ticket for Walt Disney World and simply turn up to the Park of your choice and have a great day.

Ever since Walt Disney World reopened in July 2020 after nearly three months of closures due to COVID-19, each guest has not only needed a valid ticket but also a reservation using the Disney Park Pass Reservation System. Disney put this system in place to manage capacity when strict caps had to be enforced due to COVID-19. Capacity increases have taken place recently but the system seems here to stay for the near future at least.

The last few weeks has seen mask rules change dramatically at the Walt Disney World resort with masks now only required by all on enclosed Disney transportation, including Disney buses, monorails, and the Disney Skyliner. 

Face coverings are now optional for fully vaccinated Guests in most areas of the theme parks and resorts including in shops, restaurants, and on rides. Proof of vaccination is not required and Disney states that they expect guests who are not fully vaccinated to continue wearing face coverings in all indoor locations, as well as when entering and throughout all attractions and transportation.

Image: Disney

So, the mandatory mask ruling at Walt Disney World has no doubt changed a lot which has left guests wondering about the future of the Walt Disney World Disney Park Pass Reservation System?

In this week's Big Debate we asked you, Should Walt Disney World Disney Park Pass Reservation System Go Or Stay? Here are the results...


Magic Kingdom, Castle
Image: Theme Park Tourist

We always try to keep the choices to our debates as simple as possible but I felt it was necessary to add a couple of extra options in this case:

  • Get rid for everyone - 65%
  • Stay for everyone - 13%
  • Get rid for Hotel guests, stay for everyone else - 19%
  • Makes No Difference To Me Either Way - 2%

It is certainly clear from the break down of results that the 'get rid' option heavily outweighs the stay option. Having said that, 13% of those who voted obviously think that it makes sense for the Walt Disney World Disney Park Pass Reservation System to continue.

Image: Disney

It is interesting that almost a fifth of voters (19%) said that it should go for hotel guests and stay for everyone else with only 2% saying it makes no difference to them either way. I must admit I think I have to agree that hotel guests should surely be guaranteed entry to the parks if they have chosen to spend the money to stay at a Walt Disney World Resort.

This is certainly an issue that Disney fans have strong views on and you can read a selection of the comments that have been left on our website and Facebook page below...

Your Thoughts and Comments

Walt Disney World
Image: Disney

"As someone who has gone well over a dozen times since approximately 2001, the advance planning now required has gotten ridiculous and has started to give negative perceptions of the parks. You can see it in the comments sections on many different pages and groups.
While I understand the need during the pandemic, the pandemic is coming to an end and so should the park reservation system. The park pass reservation system just places another stressful level of planning rigidity to what has already become an unenjoyable inflexible process.
It also removes the ability to change plans “day of” due to any number of circumstances such as weather, park hours, wanting to sleep in, wanting to go to the pool instead for a few hours, changing food preferences, changing park preferences .... etc etc"

"I say get rid of it and bring back fastpasses. With fastpasses you were pretty much locked into a park anyways so why make it so much more restrictive."

"A big reason why Park Pass could stay until COVID-19 is no longer a daily discussion topic is because Park Pass is how Disney ensures guests on existing tickets have agreed to the COVID-19 liability waiver, which can be read at https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/park-pass-terms."

"Don’t care about the park passes but would like to see the fast passes come back and more like Universal Studios. Unlimited."

"It should stay for regular park guests and regular guests who booked a hotel reservation. For annual pass holders, it shouldn’t apply."

"Go - So annoying. As an annual passholder who lives close I hate not being able to go last minute for a few hours a day if I want."

"It’s the main reason we haven’t gotten our aps back…I won’t buy an ap and never be able to use it…we used to go to the parks every Monday and haven’t been since October if ‘19…"

"If it is not going away, they should up the amount of reservations we can have. It used to be 7 in 30 days - 60 days for hotel guests. Now the calendar for Disney is wide open yet we can only reserve 3 days total."

"Go. It's a horrible experience for guests, local or otherwise. I get Disney wanting to make money, but this is starting to cross the line of what should be allowed."

"Disney trips should be about the experience, nor having to spend hours prebooking and pre-planning every minute of the stay. Put the phones and apps away and just return to normal que lines."

Image: Disney

"I understand why it was in place to start. However, with restrictions lifting, capacity rising, masks optional, etc. it’s time to do away with this, and bring back the “normal” experiences. All shows, fireworks, fastpasses."

"Stay if it can control crowd levels and decrease wait times. The Disney experience is more important than packing people in. The magic is what brings families back again."

"Reservations just add more stress to a vacation. I would like at least a little bit of flexibility to account for things like bad weather."

"Pandemic plans were created so we could still enjoy our lives.
Things are back to normal for the most part, so go back to the way things were. Park hopping, no reservations, etc.
EVERYTHING worked fine until the pandemic rules came out. It’s just that simple."

"Reservations suck for us with annual passes. We used to be able to go to EPCOT for diner when we had a free night. Hate having to plan it months in advance."

Epcot main entrance, Disney
Image: Disney

"I really don’t mind the park pass reservations as someone that only goes once a year I know what parks I want to go to anyway. I understand why annual pass holders may have issues with the system."

"Yeah it stinks on certain levels. On numerous occasions we would hit 3 to 4 parks in the same day, hitting our favorites or something different. A bit hard now."

We have had a whole range of comments to this week's Big Debate. What seems to appear a lot is the affect the Walt Disney World Disney Parks Pass Reservation System has on Annual Passholders. It completely obliterates the ability to decide on the day to go to one of the parks for a couple of hours or to Epcot for the evening. One reader suggested that if the system has to stay the amount of reservations that Annual Passholders can hold should increase. 

Many readers commented that it adds yet another level of planning to your trip or vacation. Disney confirmed that the Disney Park Pass System will continue to be in place for now and into the future but they had previously confirmed that masks would be in place until the end of 2021 and that has changed so there appears to be hope for all those that think the Disney Park Pass Reservation System should go.

Magic Kingdom, Disney
Image: Disney

If you haven't had your say on whether the Walt Disney World Disney Parks and Pass Reservation System should go or stay, leave us a comment below or on our Facebook page. Look out for our this week's Big Debate which will be coming soon to Theme Park Tourist.



The Disneyworld theme park online reservation system is simply a nightmare to navigate. It seems to have been designed by a cabal of sadists. I had previously bought two tickets for two days, and had discovered that I couldn't go on those days. I just wanted to cancel a reservations (no refunds are given, but I thought that canceling would be the right thing to do to open up the spaces for others) and I could not find a way to cancel a park reservation online after searching and searching. I finally gave up. I tried calling, but was put on hold for over 30 minutes and gave up that route as well. Come on Disney, you surely have the money to hire some web designers who are less interested in graphics and more interested in functionality.

I am from out of state but we have been to Walt Disneyworld at least 10 times in the past 6 years. We have the ability to stay at many places in the area for near nothing through another timeshare but always stay at a Disney resort to be inside the magic. We enjoyed the EMH and inside transportation as well as the dining plan and fast pass. Disney is expensive regardless where you are staying or whether you are a local or from elsewhere. It is time to bring back the magic. We are by no means rich and hope the joys of Disneyworld come back. There are many theme parks closer and cheaper and if Disney continues to make it more stressful to plan for a vacation of fun they will become o better than your average theme park. I hope they listen to their many loyal customers and bring the fast pass, park hopping at any time, and dining plan back and do away with park reservations. Anyone there to spend the money at a resort as well as the parks will spend plenty of money on the extras without virtual ques and making you stay at one park.

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