Disney World Annual Passholder Reservation Limits & Preview Days
Walt Disney World has released new updates for Annual Passholders regarding the reopening of the theme parks, and info about upcoming policies, including the advance online reservation system and AP previews. In this post, we’ll share details of the announcement and offer additional commentary. (Updated June 16, 2020.)
Here’s the message from Walt Disney World, via the Annual Passes: Know Before You Go page:
Our Annual Passholders are some of our most loyal and valued Guests. We truly can’t wait to welcome you back–and we will do it with great thought. With that in mind, when the parks reopen, park capacity will be significantly limited–and may continue to be for a period of time, based on guidance from health experts to promote physical distancing.
We understand how much excitement, thought and time goes into planning your Disney visits and realize some new changes may be disappointing. For example, during this unprecedented time, an annual pass will not guarantee park entry and Annual Passholders will be required to make an advance reservation to enter a park.
Here are the noteworthy policies:
- During the limited capacity period, it may be difficult for Annual Passholders to get park reservations to visit on certain dates. To help manage capacity, total reservation days held at one time will be limited. More details will be shared in the coming weeks.
- Some pass benefits and features will not be available during periods of limited capacity. Also, park experiences and offerings will be modified and subject to limited availability or even closure.
- Annual passes are subject to blockout dates. Guests should ensure their pass type is valid for park entry prior to making a park reservation.
As Walt Disney World prepares for the reopening of Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Epcot, and Hollywood Studios, they’re planning a special preview opportunity for Annual Passholders. Details about this will be shared soon.
If you have any questions, please contact V.I.PASSHOLDER Support at (407) 939-7277. Options to manage your Walt Disney World Annual Pass continue to be available during the closure period.
Not a ton of new information here, but there are takeaways we can glean from this. First, Annual Passholders will be limited in the number of reservations simultaneously held. Meaning that, like FastPass+ reservations in the past, you can’t hold an infinite number of simultaneous bookings.
This makes sense, and seems fair on its face. The question will be how this will work in tandem with on-site resort reservations. Our assumption is that, like in the past with FastPass+, Annual Passholders with on-site reservations won’t face these same limitations.
This is just a guess, but we anticipate guests staying on-site will always be given strong preferential treatment in making reservations to visit the parks.
Just as Walt Disney World prioritizes on-site guests during current phased closings (which occur from time to time between Christmas and New Year’s Eve), we’d expect the same going forward with WDW hotel guests and the park reservations. It seems unlikely that Disney will leave its on-site guests who have spent thousands of dollars on a vacation package without an option to enter the parks.
With that said, we also do not anticipate demand for park entry reservations exceeding supply after the first few days, or perhaps weeks. Even with a fraction of the normal park capacity, we’d be shocked if Walt Disney World is running out of registration availability on a regular basis.
Look no further than the chorus of cancellation comments, and then consider the current state of the economy, unemployment, travel restrictions, and more–all of which will further depress organic demand. Again, this is just speculation on our part, though. We’ve been wrong plenty of times in the past.
Walt Disney World also confirms that there will be Annual Passholder previews of the parks, but doesn’t set specific dates or a means of attending. This is not new, as a soft opening period for affinity groups (APs, Disney Vacation Club, Florida Residents, Club 33, Golden Oak, etc.) was previously mentioned.
We assume these dates will likewise require advance online registration, but we’re very curious as to when these will begin. Our “wishful thinking” date would be June 22, as that would give DVC members with resort reservations a chance to use the parks during their stay. However, that’s a very long soft opening period, and might be a bit far-fetched. We shall see.
June 16, 2020 Update: Annual Pass expiration dates are starting to be extended by 117 days in the My Disney Experience app, which means that the new dates are being based upon the reopening date of July 11, 2020. While Disney has not expressly addressed when the clock starts ticking again on Annual Passes, it would sure seem like that’s the date based upon the reopening date of Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom.
It’s worth noting that Shanghai Disneyland is not restarting the clock during its Advanced Reservation Period, which means any dates an AP visits during that period are essentially a bonus. Hong Kong Disneyland is starting the clock during the registration period, but they are adding a bonus 30 days and it’ll likely be very easy for HKDL Annual Passholders to book every day they want to visit as that park is not particularly popular.
Both the Shanghai and Hong Kong approaches make sense and seem fair given that registration is required and access is not guaranteed, nor is it unlimited or available per the original terms of the purchase.
The new policies are arguably a unilateral contract modification that goes beyond what’s contemplated by any reasonable change of terms provision or disclaimer. Accordingly, our expectation was that Walt Disney World would not restart the clock until after the reservation period has ended.
That’d be the legally prudent and guest-friendly course of action, but that does not appear to be what Walt Disney World is going to do. Of course, when this all started Disney also didn’t plan on offering refunds or pausing monthly payments. That changed pretty quickly thanks to significant guest backlash, the threat of lawsuits, and unfavorable media coverage. Perhaps Disney will change course here if there’s uproar or the possibility of litigation.
Ultimately, not a ton of new information today for Walt Disney World Annual Passholders, but with a lot of people anxiously awaiting each tidbit of news from Disney, we thought this was worth sharing. Again, we’ll stress patience with all of this. I know we sound like a broken record at this point, but it’s worth reiterating and is for your own sanity.
Walt Disney World is figuring this out on the fly (several details have already changed multiple times in under 24 hours since last night’s big cancellation announcement) and is doing so with a limited staff while many people are still on furlough. The info is going to be released in a slow trickle, and specific details are going to change and evolve with circumstances. If you don’t urgently need an answer, just relax, sit back, and wait for the info to come to you–potentially with changes as subsequent updates are made. This can be a frustrating process, but this is an unprecedented time and Walt Disney World is in uncharted waters.
Planning a Walt Disney World trip? Learn about hotels on our Walt Disney World Hotels Reviews page. For where to eat, read our Walt Disney World Restaurant Reviews. To save money on tickets or determine which type to buy, read our Tips for Saving Money on Walt Disney World Tickets post. Our What to Pack for Disney Trips post takes a unique look at clever items to take. For what to do and when to do it, our Walt Disney World Ride Guides will help. For comprehensive advice, the best place to start is our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide for everything you need to know!
Are you an Annual Passholder? Think these policies seem fair? Will you be attempting to visit Walt Disney World during the AP preview reopening period? Do you expect reservations to visit the parks being competitive or easy to score? A variety of viewpoints are welcomed here, but we will not tolerate insults, arguing, or politically-charged comments. Additionally, please do not debate the efficacy of health safety policies—all such comments (for, against, otherwise) will be deleted. Those arguments are played out and isn’t the appropriate forum for that. (Saying you will or will not visit in light of certain measures is fine.)
It is near impossible as an annual pass holder to get a park reservation. They prioritize resort and tickets, just like fast passes and dining reservations! It’s pointless to renew our passes. WDW is doing a poor job treating pass holders with passes that don’t work!
We let ours lapse and it was the right choice. Park hopping is the only reason to have a pass and really the only way to break even on a resident pass (local off season tickets are still about $45 dollars a day with the add on 5th day). I imagine with so many travel restrictions they will want the locals back. Discount tickets will only help those without passes though. So, if I can get a one day one park discount ticket dirt cheap, why on earth should you still have to pay for a pass with park hopping written into the contract?
I do hope if they plan to go through with this silly idea they face some litigation, or they could just refund all their passes and start fresh with really clear terms of service.
I’m holding out for some really impressive local discounted day tickets. I don’t think I’ll be moved by much else.
Looks like Disney will relegate annual placeholders without on site hotel reservations to good luck status ant V.I.P. status which probably there will be many AP cancellations, non renewals and a total disenchantment , not enchantment, with Disney for a while. Disappointing and surprising.
It is ridiculous to think that with annual passes we will not be able to park hop or go to a park whenever we want. Disney should wait until restrictions end to extend pass expiration dates.
It’s about time that Disney supports the people who support them.
Cancelling my the Platinum Plus APs. Been a Florida Resident APH for several years now. But it is just not worth it with all of the restrictions. But even more disappointing is Disney’s handling of APHs and not treating APHs here the same as they did China’s APHs. My family and I love Disney, but that is starting to appear as a one way deal. I wonder what Walt would have done?
We are canceling our 7 passes to a park we can’t ever get a reservation for! And WDW is doing nothing to make us whole! What about the water parks we bought?!!?
My husband and child and I all have Florida Resident Platinum Plus passes, which were originally due to expire in January 2021. When this first started, I could not imagine cancelling the passes, and we all were looking forward to returning. But if we cannot use the passes the way we used to, to go after school on a Friday afternoon, or to get up really early and hang out until noon in the parks, then I don’t know if it’s worth it. The thing that makes it fun is to be spontaneous and go on a whim. I have some time to think about it, but I am not thrilled about what this may be like.
Checked MDE today. My AP originally scheduled to expire 10/5/2020 now extended to 1/30/2021. Seems odd that would happen without a restart date. I agree with most the info coming from Disney is too sparse. A little more communication would be greatly appreciated.
Confirmed. My July expiration was extended to October. So now the clock is ticking on passes we effectively CANNOT USE under the terms and conditions under which we purchased them!!! I paid for unrestricted access, other than the rare closures when the park has exceeded capacity.
No luck scoring reservations means NO ADMITTANCE for what are supposed to be unrestricted passholders.
Disney appears to have REALLY screwed us here…..
I understand that pandemic conditions change what Disney can provide, but I also feel like I’m not getting what I paid for. I don’t expect them to do anything lavish, but I would like some acknowledgement that, like you, I can’t use my passes the way I have done–spontaneous trips, park hopping, etc. It’s not like a couple days closed for a hurricane; this is going to affect more than half of the time I have until expiration. I wish they’d tell me what to expect (can I park hop? can I get a reservation day of? what about a dinner ADR in the park, do I need a reservation for that?), and if I can expect any other remediation. I really don’t mean to be entitled, but our passes are pretty much our entertainment budget for the year and if we effectively can’t use them, I’d like to know.
Having to make reservations and not being able to park hops takes away the total point of having an annual pass.
“Accordingly, our expectation was that Walt Disney World will not restart the clock until after the reservation period has ended”. That is what should happen for WDW APs. How can you charge the full price of the AP with a severe reduction in the original terms of the AP? That is a non-starter.
This morning I now have an expiration date of 9/27/20 on my family’s annual passes. Original expiration date was 06/02/20.
Why isn’t Disney World handling this like Shanghai? My understanding is that Shanghai still has not set an expiration date on APs due to limited capacity, etc.
And they haven’t announced it yet but it seems like Park shopping will be no more. At least during the initial reopening.
The freedom of park hopping, and basically visiting any time we want was the main reason we went with annual passes. Why would Disney act this way? I received an email saying I was a “cherished” passholder. I’m calling B.S.
I’m with Jason… total BS. Park hopping IS one of the most important perks of being a passholder, and we do it a lot– not just for parks themselves– but for dining and transportation conveniences.
Spending a day in the MK, we’ll hop the monorail to EPCOT for lunch. Sometimes we’ll go to AK just to hit the Tusker House for breakfast.
On a summer trip last year, we went to AKL for dinner at Boma. Departing, the bus to MK park was delayed, with status showing 20 minutes till the next one. But the EPCOT bus was there, so we hopped it to EPCOT, went through the main gate and straight to the monorail station.
We usually stay at the Poly, and if going to HS, we walk to the TTC for the EPCOT monorail, then either walk to HS or take the boat.
Anything to avoid the buses, because riding through traffic “breaks the Disney bubble” for us.
My passes are still the original experation date.
Our passes set to expire nov 3 are now extended out to the end of February. We were also hoping to have them extended until after the restrictions are over like Shanghai. I feel like they are not being fair to their pass holders at all. Also I’m really bothered by the new park hours. They are opening late and closing early plus they are making you reserve a time to enter the park. If your only option is 3pm entry at MK then you only get 4 hours in the park. Even with a reservation you won’t just be able to rope drop. We live in Nevada so when we use out pass it’s for a week or two at a time and it’s not like a local who just shows up to eat dinner and ride a few rides
I am An AP Silver holder. I’ll have to go back and see if I got the 2 emails. I search everyday for the AP Preview. I am back at work (universal). I wold love enough notice to request off work for it. Plus its not anytime soon. I have a neighbor that has worked in Space Mountain for 10 years and has not heard of any recall yet. He suspects there will be a weeks worth training and equipment testing before any guests will be invited back, but again that’s just speculation. I know its not this week, he’s still at home lol
Ops Cast Members *should* be called back as of June 28.
I am a DVC member and annual pass holder. We have reservations the week of June 22 but we are not sure we want to go if we will not be able to take part in some kind of preview. It’s use not worth the 148 points and air fare to have limited dining and a pool…. maybe. We can watch TV and eat at home for free. I have called almost every day for information. It’s really bad to keep people hanging like this.
We are weekday passholders which has the summer blocked out. What are your thoughts on being able to go during the normal black out dates? Since these are likely to be freebies until the clock starts again on annual passes.
Are guests required to make a reservation to visit a specific park, or when you make a reservation are you able to visit all 4 parks that day? Essentially, I’m just wondering how park hopping will work or if park hopping will be able to happen at all during this period of reservations
Park hopping has been suspended for the rest of the year. You will reserve ONE park per day.
My daughter and I are passholders and have reservations at Port Orleans (first time!) from June 27-July 1. We hope to get lucky enough to be included in the soft opening, but will probably still go to hang out at the resort if they let us keep our reservations.
There are a lot of concerns. I am not going in what’s fair, because bottom line is: I pay for 3 passes, the expensive ones, and I want to go as I pleased. Period. Is that unfair? Disney does not give the priority they should to pass holders. Perhaps because they know 1.Disney lovers won’t drop thei passes. 2. Passholders don’t want to pay the down payment again if they drop now. With this said, is Disney offering the opportunities to cancel the payment for the remaining time left? Is Disney offering not to pay downpayments for passholders who drop during this time and want to retake them at a later point? What is Disney offering to compensate passholders for not being able to enjoy the parks whenever we want without being rejected by “capacity”? I guess there are many, many questions to answer. Disney should be a little better efficient when refering to passholders, since they receive milions of dollars from us every year (not only tickets, but food, merchandise, etc.)
If I could drop my pass now and not have to pay the downpayment when I reinstate them (because, I’m not even going to pretend I won’t when things have improved), I’d call that fair.
My wife and I never received the email that went out to passholders about the special preview. However, my mother (who lives with us) did receive the email. Only difference between our passes is that my wife and I currently have renewal certificates and my mother has an activated pass. We’ve been passholders for a few years and renewed months ago, but our May trip was impacted which is when we would have activated. Do you think maybe they are following same route with Galaxy’s Edge preview in requiring activated passes?
We didn’t get one either and we are active passholders
Check your spam folder, that’s where my email went. Do a search in your email for “Disney”.
My family and I have gold/silver annual passes, I’m curious about two things. The first being how will Disney handle the additional days added to AP when a large portion of the closure was during silver ap blackout days? Secondly, I have two onsite reservations..if unable to enter the parks for the length of stay I see no reason to keep the reservations.
I’m curious to see how this plays out. My kids are both Annual Passholders, but my wife and I are not (expired, kids were 2 for our first trip). They obviously don’t have their own accounts and can’t visit on their own. Wondering if we will get any sort of correspondence on their behalf as they are tied to my account (as a family member of course) and be able to go on any of the preview days with them. Or if they are just not invited to any previews.