Did Disney Confirm Park Pass System is Here to Stay?

Disney Park Pass Reservations

On the eve of its Annual Meeting of the Shareholders, Walt Disney Company CFO Christine McCarthy spoke on Theme Park capacity and appears to all-but-confirm that the Park Pass Reservation System currently in place at the Disneyland Resort and the Walt Disney World Resort will remain to manage the ongoing limited capacity.

While speaking at Morgan Stanley’s 2022 Technology, Media & Telecom Conference, she said that Disney is “managing things differently now” and that they do “not want to have the Parks bursting at the seams.” She also argued that the smaller crowds lead to a better Guest experience.

How does Disney saught to ensure attendance stays below capacity? By maintaining the Park Pass Reservation System.

As a part of the new post-pandemic Guest experience, along with Genie+ standard mobile ordering and Lightning Lane access, Disney CEO Bob Chapek appears to praise it and the other crowd control systems, saying at the shareholders’ meeting:

“We’re confident that the transformative changes that we made in our Parks during the pandemic will continue to propel the business forward in the years ahead.”

Bob Chapek

Credit: Disney

Could this mean that the hopes of many Guests will be dashed, and the Park Pass-controlled limited capacities are here to stay?

Disney Park Pass Reservation System

It was initiated at the reopening of Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom at Disney World, and then at Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park upon Disneyland Resort’s reopening. Disney’s Park Pass system was–or still is–a crowd control measure designed to monitor and ration Guest flow to each Theme Park while capacity limits and other pandemic-inspired restrictions remained in place.

Disney park Pass

Credit: Disney

Over the past two years, many of those restrictions faded away. Theme Park capacities have steadily increased. Face Masks are no longer mandatory in almost all areas. The Park Hopping option returned, and live entertainment like fireworks and the Festival of Fantasy parade has returned.

Yet, the Disney Park Pass remains a requirement for all Guests, and those passes are distributed into three different “buckets”: Theme Park Ticket Holders, Guests staying at Select Disney Resort Hotels, and Guests with an Annual Pass. Across the Pond, Disneyland Paris offered a less-expensive “dated” Theme Park Ticket for which the Guest would choose a specific date to visit the Park. Meanwhile, competitors like Universal Orlando, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, and Seaworld Orlando chose to manage a “first come, first serve” approach to their gradual reopenings over a Park pass system.

Disney World Park Hopping

Credit: Disney

Guests looking to take their next Disney Vacation will have to log into their My Disney Experience account, check Park Availability, and make a Theme Park Reservation, along with ensuring they have valid Theme Park admission on their chosen day.

Park Hopping is still an option. However, Guests must fulfill their Disney Park Pass Reservation by visiting their chosen Theme Park first before they Park Hop to another. For example, Guests with the Park Hopper option and a Park Reservation for EPCOT must visit EPCOT first before they Park Hop to Magic Kingdom or any other Park. Certain Resort areas like Disney Springs are not included in the reservation system.

Disney World 50th Anniversary

Credit: Disney

Whether it is capacity limits or travel demand increases, Disney Park Pass Reservations are becoming a scarce commodity. For example, we at Disney Fanatic have been reporting that Spring Break 2022 is almost completely booked up for non-Annual Passholders. We have also seen Disney start to take measures to ensure attendance numbers based on Park Reservations by punishing Disneyland Passholders who are don’t show up on their appointed day. Click below to read more about that.

Read More: Theme Park Reservation Update: Disney Park Penalizes ‘No Shows’

But there is a possible end in sight. According to the Disney World Park Pass Availability Calendar, the dates to secure a Park Pass do not go beyond January 18, 2024. We reported on this discovery several weeks ago. After checking today, March 10, we can confirm no further dates have been set. However, until we get official confirmation from Disney, all talk on the permanent status of the Park Pass Reservation System is purely speculation.

We at Disney Fanatic will continue to keep our ears to the ground on Disney’s Theme Park Reservation System, and we will update our readers as more developing news comes to light.

About T.K. Bosacki

Born and raised in Tampa, Florida, TK Bosacki is a professional writer, amateur adventurer, and lifelong Disney Fanatic. His Disney Park days include Space Mountain, Tower of Terror, Kilimanjaro Safaris, and Nomad Lounge. He believes in starting at the Canada pavilion (IYKYK), and the Monorail is superior to all Ferry Boats.

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