So, we know there have been a lot of changes at Walt Disney World particularly over the last 18 months. We know some of these changes have not been welcomed by Disney fans, so much so that 27% of those that voted in our last Big Debate have actually said they will NEVER return to Walt Disney World.
We have discussed Genie+ Lightning Lanes in a recent Big Debate but the change from Extra Magic Hours to the Early Theme Park Entry Program also seems to be a contentious one. The Early Theme Park Entry Program gives Resort guests the first chance to enjoy select attractions at every theme park, every day, 30 minutes before park opening each day. For those choosing to stay in a Deluxe Resort or Deluxe Villa Resort they will also have the opportunity to stay later in select parks after official closing times.
The loss of extra magic hours after park closure for all those moderate and value resort guests is a massive blow. This definitely creates a hierarchy rewarding the rich and penalizing those unable to fork out the cost of the Deluxe resorts and Deluxe Villas.
As the Disney Parks Pass reservation system will definitely still be in use this fall, guests will need to also ensure they have a valid ticket or pass as well as a theme park reservation for the same park on the same day to experience Early Theme Park Entry and (if applicable) the extended evening hours as well (if they do not have a ticket with a park hopper option). It seems to get complicated pretty quickly.
With Extra Magic Hours only allowing early entry for resort guests into select parks on certain days of the week not all of them every day as it now is for Early Entry, those guests that choose to stay off property now never have the opportunity to be at a park at rope drop with the same chance as everyone else to be able to jump on a couple of rides without massive queues. This opportunity would be even more important now thanks to the paid-for FastPass system Genie+ Lightning Lanes.
It is clear that Disney is doing everything it can to force guests onto property and to spend as much as possible at the Resort in order to have a chance of gaining the Disney experience they have grown used to in years gone by.
Although now all resort guests have the opportunity to get into any park 30 minutes earlier, what impact has the Early Theme Park Entry Program had on evening magic hours and the experience for non-resort guests. In this week's Big Debate we ask, Is The Walt Disney World Early Theme Park Entry Program Worse Than Extra Magic Hours?
CLICK HERE to vote and don't forget to share this with your friends and family. I am guessing it is going the vote is going to be heavily dependant on whether you stay on or off property, at a moderate or value or a Deluxe Resort?
Let us know what you think by leaving us a comment below or on our Facebook page. We will include a selection of these in our Results article which will be coming soon to Theme Park Tourist.