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Walt Disney World introduces new reservation system ahead of theme park’s opening

First Disney World parks will reopen in early July

All is quiet at the parking plaza entrance to the Magic Kingdom as Walt Disney World enters its second week of being shut down in response to the coronavirus pandemic,Tuesday, March 24, 2020. (Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel via AP)
All is quiet at the parking plaza entrance to the Magic Kingdom as Walt Disney World enters its second week of being shut down in response to the coronavirus pandemic,Tuesday, March 24, 2020. (Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel via AP) (Orlando Sentinel)

ORLANDO, Fla. – If you’re tired of the same old quarantine routine, then you’re in luck because Walt Disney World is less than a month away from opening its gates to the Magic Kingdom.

In Central Florida, families can expect to visit the happiest place on earth in mid-July.

The Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Animal Kingdom parks will open first on July 11, with Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios reopening July 15.

When the park opens its gates, it will be an entirely new experience for cast members and guests alike. For starters, in order to enter a park, you’ll need both a park reservation and valid admission for the same park. Even those who have an annual pass to the parks will be required to have a reservation.

Face coverings are required for all guests ages 2 and up, and temperature screenings will be required in some locations.

Disney’s slogan, “If you haven’t been here lately, you just haven’t been” will resonate stronger now then before as the theme parks that we’re used to are replaced with socially distant experiences that are safe during a pandemic. That iconic picture with Mickey Mouse won’t be the same when you’re standing 6 feet away.

“It may be different from the last time you visited. But together, we can find new ways to create magical moments—and memories to treasure,” Disney said on its website.

So how do you make a reservation? We’ll answer that question next.

Park Pass System (Tom Metevia)
Park Pass System (Tom Metevia)

In order to manage attendance during its reopening Disney is introducing the new Disney Park Pass system.

“During this time, all guests with a ticket or Annual Pass will be required to make a reservation in advance for each park entry, using this new online tool,” Avery Maehrer, Manager of Communications at Walt Disney World Resort said.

The new tool can be found online at DisneyWorld.com.

Below are a few important details you’ll want to know before making a reservation:

  • You’ll need a My Disney Experience account, as this is where your Walt Disney World Resort plans are stored and managed.
  • You’ll also need a valid theme park ticket or Annual Pass that’s linked to your My Disney Experience account.
  • If you have a Disney Resort hotel reservation, be sure to link it to your My Disney Experience account beforehand, as well.

The Disney Park Pass system isn’t available yet, but will be available soon to select Guests, Disney officials said.

  • Beginning June 22, 2020, Disney Resort and other select hotel Guests with valid theme park admission can make reservations.
  • Beginning June 26, 2020, Annual Passholders without a Resort stay can make reservations.
  • Beginning June 28, 2020, existing ticket holders can make reservations.

“Park reservations will be available through September 26, 2021, based on your Resort stay and ticket eligibility or ticket eligibility window,” Disney said on its website.

Passholders (Tom Metevia)
Passholders (Tom Metevia)

Being a Walt Disney World passholder comes with its perks. Free parking at the parks, a plethora of magnets for your car, or fridge, and discounts on merchandise and food inside the park.

However, your annual pass alone won’t get you inside the park, as passholders will also be required to obtain a reservation before entering any park.

“Beginning this week, we will reach out to existing ticket holders and Annual Passholders with more information on when they will be able to check availability to make their park reservations,” Disney said. “We will open the Disney Park Pass system to these guests in phases, beginning with those with future Disney Resort and other select hotel stays.”

[READ NEXT: Disney parks around the world reopen. What does that mean for us in Central Florida?]

Along with changes inside the park, Disney is also making changes inside its resorts before guests begin to check-in.

Disney announced Friday that it will no longer be offering complimentary MagicBands for resort guests.

“In 2021, we plan to unveil an innovative new offering as part of the My Disney Experience app that will bring features of a MagicBand to your smart devices, building on the app’s existing digital key feature,” Disney said. “With this new offering on the horizon, we will be retiring our complimentary MagicBand distribution to Disney Resort hotel guests for new reservations with arrivals beginning Jan. 1, 2021.”

If you’re not ready to say goodbye to the wearable souvenir, Disney said guests will still be able to purchase and use MagicBands throughout the Walt Disney World Resort. Guests staying at a Disney Resort hotel will even be able to purchase MagicBands at a discounted price.

As we can all imagine, visiting a Disney theme park when it reopens will be a new experience for all -- no matter how many times you’ve visited the parks.

So we want to hear from you.


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