There have been a number of changes during the COVID-19 pandemic at Disney World. Many of those changes seem temporary, while others appear sure to disappear as positive case counts come down. Mask wearing and limited capacity seem destined to fade away by next year. Capacity restrictions at the parks also seemed like something that would disappear. Recent evidence points in a different direction.
Disney World Requiring Park Pass Reservations Into 2023
I was a bit surprised this morning to learn that Disney World is still planning to require park pass reservations into 2023.
— WDW News Today (@WDWNT) February 16, 2021
There’s certainly a possibility that Disney will sunset the reservation system sometime in 2022 as conditions change. But, their reservation system currently indicates something quite different.
Capacity Restrictions Only For Some Guests?
As soon as I saw this announcement, one thought popped right into my mind. It’s possible that Disney World will only use the park pass system to restrict annual passholders’ access. One of the notable conditions we’ve seen persist with the Disney World park pass reservations system is lack of access for annual passholders on key dates.
Disney World is on record stating that guests visiting on a regular ticket are more profitable for the parks right now. Maybe the extension of the the park pass reservation system is a further way to segment guests to get the most profitable ones through the gates on high-demand dates.
Wrapping Up The Magic
Is Disney trying to have its cake and eat it, too? Selling annual passes and then restricting access on certain dates would create uncertainty on the value of an annual pass for many folks. For regular park guests, the park pass reservation system represents another level of complications in planning. Prior to the pandemic, Disney World already had numerous planning steps if you wanted to experience everything the parks had to offer. Want a reservation at a popular restaurant? You might need to know when you want to eat six months ahead of time. The FastPass+ system required you to plan 30 or 60 days out which parks you wanted to be in on a given day. Now, if FastPass+ does return, the requirement for park reservations will further complicate this intricate dance of coordination.