Disney World Park Pass Update: August & September 2020
We’re back with an update on Walt Disney World Park Pass availability for the months of August and September 2020 (plus October, to a lesser degree). This time, it’s good news as more Annual Passholder dates have been added. We’ll take a look at the changes and offer some additional commentary about all of that and other AP areas of interest.
We’ve been monitoring Disney Park Pass availability over the last couple of months, and things have not been looking good. There have been a couple of “availability dumps” to Annual Passholders, but after that inventory has been exhausted, it’s back to slim pickings aside from random cancellations.
As of earlier this morning, the earliest an Annual Passholder without a resort reservation could book a visit to Epcot was August 24, 2020. The earliest possible visit to Animal Kingdom was September 1, 2020. Magic Kingdom wasn’t available until September 3, 2020. The earliest visit to Disney’s Hollywood Studios wouldn’t have been an option until September 15, 2020, and even then, no weekends were available at DHS until October 18, 2020…
This dearth of options for APs continues despite no shortage of same-day Disney Park Pass availability for resort guests and theme park ticket holders for literally every single day between now and September 2021, with the exception of Labor Day weekend at Disney’s Hollywood Studios (September 5 and 6 will be the first true test of what “crowded” looks like at Walt Disney World during this era of temporary abnormal).
There’s also no shortage of “available space” in Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, and Epcot on weekdays and most weekends. Only Disney’s Hollywood Studios is coming close to hitting its reduced capacity cap. The parks are still ghost towns, with some weekends being maybe 2/10 in terms of crowds. Most weekdays are not even 1/10. The last two hours of the day, are particularly light.
As we’ve discussed a few times now, this paradoxical phenomenon has been occurring because there are three separate “buckets” for Disney Park Pass reservations: one for resort guests, one for theme park ticket holders (with single or multi-day tickets), and another for Annual Passholders.
Only the Annual Passholder bucket has had any degree of serious demand. Inventory is dynamic within each bucket, which means that a cancellation by an AP results in a space opening up. (Note: this is not reflected immediately on the availability calendar but is in the actual booking system–refreshing the actual booking page on the My Disney Experience site the night before or day-of can yield positive results, especially for EPCOT.)
The problem is that inventory is not regularly reallocated among the three buckets. Aside from a couple of one-off dumps of availability, capacity has not been shifted around. We’ve been bemoaning this for weeks now, and won’t continue to rehash those complaints here. Suffice to say, Walt Disney World is leaving money on the table in terms of merchandise plus food & beverage sales by not reallocating space to APs more regularly.
Good news on that front…
Walt Disney World just did another (its third of all time, I believe?) major inventory dump for Annual Passholders in the Disney Park Pass system. We are monitoring closely for Park Pass availability—if you want notification when the next inventory dump happens, sign up to receive our FREE Walt Disney World Email Newsletter.
Above is a look at the Annual Passholder availability calendar for the rest of the month. As you can see, it went from every park being unavailable for the rest of August to partial availability for the rest of the month.
Above is a look at September, where things get even better.
Animal Kingdom now has availability beginning August 14, 2020 (you have a couple hours to get there before closing!). EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios are both options starting August 24, 2020. Magic Kingdom is an option beginning September 1, 2020–as are all three of the other parks.
By contrast, it does not appear that any Disney Park Pass inventory was reallocated for October 2020.
In looking at that calendar, Disney’s Hollywood Studios is still unavailable most weekends, with Magic Kingdom ‘sold out’ for Halloween. While there won’t be an event on October 31 at Magic Kingdom, it’s the only park that “celebrates” (or gets decorated for) spook season, so that makes sense.
We would strongly recommend booking Disney Park Pass reservations ASAP if you’re an Annual Passholder. While Walt Disney World has not released a statement about this new availability, it’s most likely another one-time inventory reallocation from the other two buckets rather than the debut of something more dynamic. As such, it’s likely this new inventory will be mostly gone quickly.
Eventually, we still hope/think that Walt Disney World will figure things out and start reallocating surplus Disney Park Pass availability to the Annual Passholder bucket around 24-48 hours before the date in question on a rolling basis. However, given that the deadline to cancel APs already passed and new Annual Passes are not yet for sale, there’s really no strong incentive on Disney’s part to prioritize that.
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!
Have any luck scoring Disney Park Pass reservations with this new inventory dump? Are you still an Annual Passholder? What’s your take on the Park Pass fiasco? If you didn’t cancel your Annual Pass due to the lack of Park Pass availability, are you glad you stuck it out now? Do you agree or disagree with our commentary? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback–even when you disagree with us–is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!
AP park pass availability has been updated again, all of September to end of year open every day for all parks