Though Walt Disney World has rolled back a majority of its pandemic-related policies, including capacity limits, social distancing, and of course mandatory masks, one change that was implemented during the COVID-19 reopening that is still around is the Disney Parks Pass system, which requires guests to reserve their spot at a theme park in advance before visiting them on a given day.
And though many guests may have been hoping that this system would be going away alongside the capacity limits at the resort, it looks like Disney will be keeping mandatory reservations for the long haul as it allows Disney to easily predict crowd levels, which is very valuable data for upper management.
Not only does seeing guest level data help Disney plan in advance for labor and supply needs, which can help cut costs, but it also allows Disney to maximize capacity across its theme parks, as guests can take up slots at less popular parks if their preferred park isn't immediately available, helping boost attendance at parks like Epcot and Disney's Animal Kingdom, which have been less popular since the resort's reopening last year.
The parks pass system also more tightly regulates the mix of different types of guests in the theme parks, as there is different availability for theme park ticket holders, resort guests, and annual passholders, allowing Disney to prioritize guests who are more likely to spend more, which has been a key tenet of CEO Bob Chapek's theme park strategy.
The Disney Parks Pass system has not exactly been popular with guests. However, for Disney upper management, the benefits of continuing to use this system can not be ignored. And while we could be surprised in the future, it seems reasonably safe to assume that park passes will be sticking around long term, not only just for Walt Disney World, but Disneyland as well.
How do you feel about the Disney Parks Pass system? Do you like being able to reserve your spot at theme parks in advance, or were you more comfortable being able to decide on the fly which Disney theme parks to visit?