Major Changes Coming to How You Plan a Walt Disney World Trip

by  Christine Dayao | Updated on Jul 6, 2020
Spaceship Earth at Walt Disney World's Epcot
Spaceship Earth at Walt Disney World's Epcot / Christine Dayao

Walt Disney World is taking a number of precautions to protect guests in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, including the requirement of face masks, temperature checks, and lowering theme park capacity – resulting in the announcement of a new reservation system, meaning you’ll now have to reserve the day of your visit(s) in advance.

As Disney prepares for that new system to come online, it’s making a number of changes to the existing one, meaning the ways we once planned a Walt Disney World vacation are completely changing – and could impact your 2020 trip.

What's the Disney Park Pass System?

When Walt Disney World reopens in phases beginning on July 11, guests will have to make advance park reservations to gain admittance through the new Disney Park Pass System. To do so, you'll need to have a My Disney Experience account and valid theme park tickets or an annual pass that's linked to your online account. If you're staying on property, make sure your hotel reservation is associated with your account. Don't have tickets yet? Sales will resume for 2020 visits later in the summer, but 2021 tickets may be purchased here.

Note: For now, park hopping (visiting more than one park a day) is on hold, so you'll only be able to make reservations for one park per day of your visit.

When Can I Make Disney Dining Reservations?

Previously, guests were urged to make dining reservations 180 days in advance, but moving forward this will need to be done 60 days in advance. As of June 30, guests who had restaurant reservations for between May 28 and Sept. 2 that were cancelled can begin to make new reservations online for select eateries up to 60 days in advance. New reservations will be available to all guests at a later date. (Any dining plans that were purchased as part of 2020 vacation packages are also being cancelled and refunded as this add-on is temporarily not being offered.)

Can I Make FastPass+ Reservations?

For several years, Disney’s been giving visitors the opportunity to make three reservations per day of their visit for select attractions between 30 and 60 days before through its FastPass+ system. For the time being, FastPass+ will be suspended so that queues could be used to manage capacity and maintain social distancing among guests. Any FastPass+ selections that were made for the next couple of months have been cancelled.

Walt Disney World Extra Magic Hours

One of the perks of staying at a resort on property is the ability to get additional time in the parks with the Extra Magic Hours program. When the parks reopen, these hours will also be temporarily suspended. All of these changes come on the heels of an announcement that new ticket sales and hotel reservations are currently on pause – more details can be found here.

As more news of this new theme park reservation system is announced, we’ll continue to update this post.


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