Disney World Resuming 2020 Ticket & Resort Sales
Walt Disney World has announced that 2020 theme park ticket sales and resort hotel bookings will both resume on July 9, 2020. In this post, we’ll share details of the announcement, offer resort recommendations, need-to-know info, and commentary about the booking process.
To quickly recap, Walt Disney World temporarily paused 2020 ticket sales and resort hotel bookings upon the announcement of the theme parks reopening. This was done in order to focus on helping existing ticket holders and Annual Passholders plan their visits with the new Disney Park Pass theme park reservation system.
Additionally, Walt Disney World cancelled all existing dining & FastPass+ reservations. This also included the Disney Dining Plan and Free Dining—we mention this because none of these things are returning for the remainder of 2020. Tomorrow you cannot buy the Disney Dining Plan (let alone get it for “free”) nor can you make FastPass+ reservations. If those things return at all, that won’t be until sometime in 2021…
These are just some of the ways that Walt Disney World will be gradually resuming operations in ‘modified’ form. Detailing all of the other changes is well beyond the scope of this post, but you should definitely check out our Walt Disney World Resort Hotel ‘Know Before You Go’ Info page, Dining Know Before You Go Info page, and Transportation Know Before You Go Info page.
Even those just scratch the surface. (We plan on releasing a brand new modified vacation planning guide next week.)
In the interim, here are a few quick recommendations.
For Value Resorts, our recommendation is Pop Century. For Moderate Resorts, Caribbean Beach. For Deluxe Resorts, anything in the Crescent Lake or Magic Kingdom-area is compelling for its own reasons. We’d personally avoid anything that isn’t within walking distance of at least one park, or connected via non-bus transportation (monorail, Skyliner, or boats). If you’d like more elaboration on any of this, leave a comment.
It’s important to note that Walt Disney World tickets and resort hotel bookings may be released at different times throughout the day tomorrow per Disney. In addition, virtual waiting rooms will be used as needed to manage the high volume of guests looking to plan their visits. This could mean everything drops quietly at ~5 am or there’s delay and nothing is up until 11:47 am. It’s Disney’s way of saying expect the unexpected!
All guests with valid admission are required to make a reservation in advance for each park entry, so be sure to check the real-time Disney Park Pass reservation availability calendar before purchasing any new tickets; once you’ve made your purchase, make Disney Park Pass reservations to lock-in your dates. Reservations are limited and subject to availability.
We know there are “many” of you who have been chomping at the bit to make new hotel reservations or purchase tickets for the remainder of 2020. As you might recall from our recent posts about Advance Dining Reservations, we encouraged patience, and repeatedly stressed the realities of (low) demand despite what you might read in the ‘bubble’ of Disney fan sites (hence the air quotes around many).
You might think that this is different, as Disney Park Pass “reservations are limited and subject to availability.” That’s certainly true. Per Walt Disney World, park capacity has been reduced to 20-30% of normal levels, so there is undoubtedly less “supply” than normal.
However, there’s also a lot less demand. We don’t want to beat a dead horse with this, but for on-site resort guests every single park is available for every single day for the rest of 2020 right now. This is even after the chaos and frustrations of the Disney Park Pass ‘drop day.’
That’s right. Even with those lengthy virtual queues and system errors on the initial morning, you could log-on right now and make the exact same Disney Park Pass reservations as someone who (hopefully only figuratively) pulled their hair out in frustration or waited hours on hold that first day.
The point here is that, save for limited circumstances, you can almost certainly exercise patience in booking your hotel or purchasing tickets.
Such “limited circumstances” would include a trip planned for July 2020 or early August 2020 (since a lot is already gone for those weeks), and maybe the weeks of Christmas and New Year’s Eve (since those are popular times that, against all odds, might be closer to filling up).
Even those travel dates are unlikely to fill up on the Disney Park Pass resort guest calendar; it’s fairly clear by now that Walt Disney World is heavily prioritizing on-site guests (which makes complete sense).
With all other dates–whether that be late August 2020 or early December 2020–you are almost certainly fine whether you book your Disney Park Pass reservations tomorrow or two weeks from now.
Our advice would be to log on to DisneyWorld.com tomorrow morning at 6 am if you get up that early. Maybe even set an alarm for 5 am to see what happens. If the system is working, awesome. Book your tickets or hotel. (Surprise early morning drops always make for the easiest access, since most people don’t get up at the crack of dawn.)
If it’s not working, check back an hour later. Repeat that process again every hour thereafter until 9 am. If it’s still not up…wait. Do nothing. We would not encourage calling to book over the phone. If past precedent is any indication, that’ll be a multi-hour wait.
Not being part of the opening morning ‘call center tidal wave’ (and inevitably treading water on hold for hours) does present some risk. If you hold off, there’s always the possibility you won’t get what you want.
However, we think that’s highly unlikely. If you’ve already spent an inordinate amount of time waiting on Walt Disney World’s phone lines, sitting this one out might be better for your sanity.
As for resorts booking up, that’s even more unlikely–even without every hotel being available.
Walt Disney World has given no indication that they are limiting capacity at the resorts, which is probably because they are not. (We can’t think of any reason they would.) What we’ve observed thus far is resorts operating at a fraction of their normal capacity due to a lack of demand, and we’d anticipate that trend will continue. There has been a veritable tidal wave of cancellations over the course of the last several months.
We feel like a broken record at this point, but organic demand is going to be low at Walt Disney World for the next couple years. This is the case for the parks, resorts, and restaurants. We would not expect the parks or restaurants to hit their reduced capacity on most days for the remainder of the year. Nor would we anticipate any non-Disney Vacation Club resort (DVC is a totally different beast) filling up, period.
Our prediction that overall demand will plummet is predicated upon a variety of factors, including but not limited to health & safety concerns, Florida’s growing case numbers, various state quarantine rules (read this before booking), mandatory mask opposition, unemployment levels, economic uncertainty, high heat & humidity, general travel trepidation, and Annual Pass cancellations. On top of that, many guests feel that the value proposition simply isn’t there with shorter park hours, reduced entertainment, and more.
Hopefully, tomorrow will be better than when Disney Park Pass went live. Walt Disney World reportedly scaled up its servers, and they undoubtedly learned from that fiasco. To Disney’s credit, both of the Advance Dining Reservation release days have gone incredibly smoothly. So tomorrow could likewise be painless.
However, Disney IT is still Disney IT. Drop day fiascos seem to be their specialty.
Ultimately, that’s our prediction and it could very well be wrong, but at least we’ve “shown our work” and offered a basis for it. On top of that, take a look at what has happened thus far at every other Florida theme park. After busy AP previews or opening days, all of those have been ghost towns during the week and moderately busier on weekends, but none have hit capacity. Walt Disney World could be the “rising tide that lifts all boats” attendance-wise by drawing tourists to Florida—or it could further dilute the local audience across more theme parks.
While we’re currently seeing a lot of fans stressing out about the reopening process and getting their various reservations, just think about the comments section on this blog and elsewhere in the last month or so from diehard Walt Disney World vacation planners and Annual Passholders.
Have you seen more “I’m out—we’re cancelling” comments or more enthusiastic “I can’t wait to book a trip” feedback? From the feedback we’ve observed, the cancellation comments outnumber the excited to go back ones by about 20 to 1. That’s among diehard Disney fans—the demographic most likely to visit, even if in the presence of obstacles—now imagine sentiment among the general public.
Ultimately, we shall see what happens, but our salient point with all of this is that you shouldn’t worry too much about scoring the reservations you’re after–whether that be booking tickets, securing a resort, or the Disney Park Pass. It likely won’t be nearly as bad/difficult/stressful as many of you are anticipating. If past precedent is any indication–and it absolutely should be since this same scenario has replayed itself in various forms many times over–accessing the various reservations systems tomorrow morning will be a Herculean task that pushes your sanity to the brink…but you could accomplish the exact same end results with zero frustrations by simply sitting back and waiting a few hours or a day.
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!
Will you be booking Walt Disney World tickets or hotel reservations tomorrow? Will you wait if there are issues, or do you plan on calling ASAP if the site isn’t working? Expect it to be a disaster, or do you think Disney IT has learned from the Park Pass drop day fiasco? Do you have plans to visit Walt Disney World this summer or fall, or have you cancelled? Do you agree or disagree with our assessment? Other thoughts or concerns? 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!
Tom~Do you have any insight, if club level will be reopening at gran Destino, in November?
Very relieved to finally buy park tickets and make park reservations for our September trip. A weight off my shoulders. As a bonus, the Taste of Epcot booths and menus were released today! We may end up having to cancel but I hope not.
Thanks Whitney! I did email today and when they replied they said they weren’t selling tickets yet. I’ll keep checking too!
Not sure if this was mentioned already or not, but the only issue I saw was you are only allowed to buy 7-day tickets. We were planning for 9 days in the parks. Maybe you have to call to get the extra tickets? I’m not planning to call as it sounds like that’s not fun right now. We are looking at December so plenty of park availability. Hopefully everyone is getting the bookings they want! Happy Disney-ing!!
What about those of us wanting Military tickets? We booked a Military discounted resort for Oct, but still can’t purchase the Military tickets on base. Only option right now is to purchase separate tickets, which are twice as much! I wish they would open these back up as well!
It looks like you can buy tickets through shades of green again. They have had a statement on their page stating that ticket sales are paused but that is gone when I checked today. I also have a resort reservation with a military discount but no tickets, so I have been keeping an eye on their website!
We have a trip from 10/15-10/20 planned at All Star Movies. I am hearing this probably won’t be open. Maybe none of the All Star resorts open? Should I take any action at this point? Is there a way to increase chances of an upgrade? Thanks!
I just purchased two theme park tickets for July 29-31 2020. When I received the confirmation is was for January 29-2021! I chose the correct dates. checked it multiple times before I purchased and still received the wrong dates on the tickets! I tried to change them and it says the days are not available until 2021.
I thought the sales of tickets had resumed but apparently I can’t purchase tickets for this year. We have a hotel reservation for the correct dates. Now I’m stuck with two them park tickets for January 2021. What do I do? I’ve been on hold for 45 minutes.
Just waiting on hold. I’m now on hold with my third call–over 6 hours into this process. First call, 3+ hours on hold and then got my tickets sorted… but then park passes weren’t working. Second call got dropped after 75 min. Now I’m on my third. They really need more call reps.
Amazingly simple to accomplish new Resort reservation via the website! Expected the usual crashes of recent weeks, but it was quick and simple.
Excited to do a week at Carribean Beach before our Yacht Club stay!
Also glad to see Annual Passholders can now book 3 days in addition to their resort stays. So grabbed a few extra days in February.
Wish there were more than 3 days but hopeful won’t have trouble adding more when we are in Orlando area in February.
Annual passholder summer and fall discounts are available. They’re pretty great. Might be time to hotel hop this summer and experience some of the resorts I haven’t stayed at before. I had no issues purchasing for guests later this year or making reservations!
Was able to purchase tickets and utilize park reservation system. It went down briefly, however success was had for our already booked accommodations. Just needed tickets for the rest of our party. Huge success. Noticed too that AP discounts now available for summer and fall (Sept) travel, so was able to adjust my reservation for the AP discount in September as well. Win, win….very excited.
Got up at the crack of dawn this morning to log into the website. Went to the ticket purchasing site and was greeted by the 7 Dwarfs. Kept refreshing the page (and I did use my vpn also) and could never get in. Then I had a brainstorm and downloaded the MyDisneyExperience app onto my phone, signed into my account and viola! I was able to purchase my tickets and make my park reservations with no problems. So glad I thought of it lol. If you’re experiencing issues with the online website, try the app, you might have better luck.
I had a resort reservation (rented DVC points) but no tickets. Used Tom’s private browser instruction and was able to secure tickets before 7AM. Minor glitches I ran into were my fault not Disney’s ie: didnt recognize the fraud alert on my credit card for the ticket price. Then I added my daughter twice as she is going to be 18 when we travel and Disney had her under 17 so she her resort reservation and ticket reservation was different. To fix it, I had to call Disney IT at 407-939-4357 (and wait on hold for approximately 1.5 hours). Disney fixed it, and I was immediately able to make all of our park reservations. I am only sharing this in case others experience my same issues.