If you’ve followed the Walt Disney World news roller coaster the last few days, you know Disney Park Pass debuted this morning, allowing guests with resort reservations and tickets to book theme park entry. Anyone familiar with Disney ‘drop days’ knew to expect the unexpected, and that has been doubly so here.
Walt Disney World has released no shortage of details, but it has felt very nebulous. Getting up this morning, even knowing the ins and outs of what’s been announced, I was anxious. It’s like we’ve been studying for the final exam about American History knowing it might cover some overlapping European History–but then it ends up being a test exclusively about the French Revolution.
Of course, that’s assuming we even are able to take the test. The test was scheduled to start at 7 am, but surprise! It could actually start at 4:36 am without you, and the door to the exam room might end up breaking at 6:55 am. Once the door is repaired at 8:48 am, you may or may not be able to take the test. Tough luck. That’s the story of Walt Disney World IT and drop days in nutshell, or tortured analogy, as the case may be.
To continue that tortured analogy, this morning it turned out that we didn’t even know where the exam was being held. Maybe it was behind the gates of a very pink castle. Perhaps it was in orbit with Space Mountain, in the mines where the Seven Dwarfs work, or even inside Stitch’s belly. WHO KNOWS?!
Any one of those could be the hidden entrance, you just need to know the secret knock to enter the testing location.
Also, the exam did not start early. It started at least an hour and a half late–and has not even started yet for some people!
In any case, here’s the story of our experience, plus the “secret knock” that worked to gain us access to the Disney Park Pass system so we could book reservations for Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, and Epcot…
Not trusting that the Disney Park Pass system would go live at 7 am (we are all too familiar with the surprise 4:37 am drops of Free Dining), we were up bright and early this morning at 5 am, checking off and on periodically.
Depending upon what we tried, we were greeted by a (very pink) Cinderella Castle with a “just a moment” message, Seven Dwarfs with “we’re working on it,” or the classic Stitch Ate the Page.
We had Advance Dining Reservations for the modified character dining experience at Topolino’s Terrace this morning at 7:30 am, so we continued this process while on the drive over to Disney’s Riviera Resort, and then in the parking lot while waiting for our ADR time.
At 7:10 am, we still had zero success–and it was becoming clear we were in for a ‘long haul’ with the process, so we updated our How to Make Park Pass Reservations for Disney World guide and headed up to the rooftop restaurant.
Throughout breakfast, we periodically checked our phones and social media to see how things were going and it was clear the consensus was “NOT GOOD, BOB.”
We finished breakfast at around 8:45 am, headed down to Voyageurs’ Lounge (where I’m still sitting as I type this), and began trying all of our best hacks to get the process to work.
I’ll spare you a full run-down of our failures, and instead go through what worked in case you’re still experiencing similar frustrations.
To start, use private browsing or incognito mode on your desktop browser. Instead of going directly to DisneyWorld.com, click here. This will, hopefully, take you to the DisneyWorld.com page for Frontera Cocina (and not Space Mountain).
If that works, go through the motions of searching for availability and click a time. You’re not actually booking anything, so the dates/party size don’t really matter. You’re just doing this to get the My Disney Experience login pop-up without a redirect to that page.
Think of Frontera Cocina (or any Disney Springs restaurant, for that matter) as the “secret entrance” to Magic Kingdom reservations.
Once you get logged in, open a new tab and check here.
This is the link for creating your party, which bypasses the first step (and another phase of waiting). You’ll probably have a wait at this screen, but it should work after the countdown finishes. Very strong emphasis on should.
For what it’s worth, we never had luck on anything loading after the pink castle screen–but have had success with the Space Mountain screen. If you’ve been stuck on the Cinderella Castle screen for more than a few minutes, you might want to try again–or try in another browser.
From there, the process should be pretty self-explanatory and smooth. Here are step by step screenshots of what you should see:
Additionally, we would strong recommend that you go into My Plans after completing this process and double-checking that all of your reservations appear there.
As always, taking screenshots is a good course of action, just in case My Disney Experience “poofs” any of your reservations. We’ve heard reports of that happening already, so it’s best to be safe. Even though Disney IT is a shining exemplar of reliability and beacon of–HAHAHAHA, sorry couldn’t finish that sentence.
Ultimately, that’s the process and how it worked for us. Right now, I’m feeling a bit like I’ve just completed Jedi Training Academy: Trials of the Temple, but for adult Walt Disney World vacation planners. (In other words, Jedi Training Academy: Trials of the Tourist!) Your mileage may vary and you might experience success (or many failures) via this route or others. Judging by the 575+ comments on our How to Book Disney Park Pass Reservations Guide, a lot of you have already had success. We’ll be back later today to report on more of our experiences being back at Walt Disney World!
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 you had success booking Disney Park Pass reservations? What worked/didn’t work for you? What do you think about the Disney Park Pass reservation system? Still having any troubles? Will you be attempting to visit Walt Disney World this summer or fall, or are you waiting until after September 2021 when this (presumably) goes away? Do you agree or disagree with our advice? 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!