Disney World’s Park Pass Reservations: We’re In Orbit!
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!
Has anyone successfully linked a Hilton Doubletree Disney Springs reservation to My Disney Experience? Or any of the other Hilton properties at Disney Springs? If so, dId you use the 8 digit Hilton confirmation number? Or did you have to get an alternate confirmation that works with the Disney system? And if so, how did you obtain it? The Hilton Disney Springs properties are closed and it is impossible to get any help. Any info is appreciated! I cannot make Park reservations until I link this reservation.
Corinne, I used the 8 digit Hilton number for my Waldorf Astoria reservation. It links and now shows in “my Disney experience” account.
Thank you Beth! How long did you have to wait between the time you made the reservation and the time you were able to link?
Corinne, did it a couple days before the 22nd reservation launch. It linked in an hour or so.
Hi, yes our 8 digit Hilton number worked to link the reservation to My Disney Ezperience! Of course due to the AP glitch I still could only make three days of park pass reservations… grr.
8am ET on 6/23 and still getting the Olaf error screen when I choose a park on any day. This is happening on multiple devices, and these dates are not showing up in my plans. Any idea for a workaround?
When I went into MyDisney Account, I also had the “wait forever“ issue, so I decided to wait. Sure enough, during the day a second email came in saying I could reserve park days (I had received the same message on Friday). I clicked on the link within the message, and I was able to reserve my park days in a matter of very few minutes. So, if you have received an email from Disney saying you can reserve your park days, there should be a link, but it is is bolded black, not a bright blue, so just try it. It should take you to the sign in page which will work more smoothly,
The link says DisneyWorld.com. This leads to a page describing the Park Pass Reservation info. Go down the page and the link into the Park Reservation page is there. It says “Make a Park Pass Reservation“. That link leads to the sign in page for your MyDisney Experience. When you sign in, you are immediately on the page to reserve park days. It worked yesterday, and this morning very smoothly.
I just tried the link in the email. Sign-in (on Chrome at least) is not a problem, but once I choose my party, date and park, I get the Olaf error, so I am not able to choose hours, and nothing shows up in my plans (as someone else has suggested). Last night I was able to reserve one date, but since then, nothing but Olaf.
It is Day 2 of the Disney Siege. Will we get a park reservation? It remains to be seen.
Day 1 Recap:
Attempted to get reservations from 7 AM EST until 11 PM with minimal breaks and only secured 1 day (3 different times based on tips). Ran 3 computers, 2 phones, and an iPad as well as 8 different browsers in various configurations based on feedback and advice from multiple people on this site and others. I still only get a grayed-out selection screen. I did manage to get on chat hold for 2 hours till they turned off the system at 11 PM.
Day 2 So Far:
Up before 7 AM EST. I called and got the message stating I was calling outside regular hours and to call back. I called back at 7 exactly to find that the phones are on fast busy, and chat appears to not be an option either. It seems that Disney is inside the bunker with all the doors and windows closed.
Any ideas? From my perspective, the people responsible for the system are leaving me out here to the mercies of fate.
SeanD, you are incredibly patient, wow! No real help here but some consolation…I’m experiencing the same problems and lack of sleep too due to being on West Coast time. This is really making me want to cancel our trips and go to the beach! We did finally get our first three days yesterday around 11 am EST. But as Premier APs with a Disney resort stay and a DVC stay was limited to three reservations by this statement “not so fast…note the park pass limit reached”. Since then, I’m getting “No reservations available“ for every park , every day I have reservations in early December and early March! PC incognito mode works best. iPhone incognito mode has been useless except for calling and getting the “call back later” message or the pink castle! Hang in there and good luck to everyone!
Sean & Beth, I am DVC with AP. I have two upcoming resort stays. It took 3.5 hours to reserve parks for first trip (5 days). Got the error message I was at limit when attempting to reserve parks for trip 2. The AP issue seems to be corrected as I was able to make park reservations for 4 days around 9:30 pm yesterday. I did encounter an issue with all 4 parks being grayed out as unavailable on 2 of the 4 days I needed. The availability calendar showed full availability. (As of 9:00 am 6/23, the only date/park combo unavailable is Hollywood Studios from July15-17). When the parks were grayed out, I refreshed the search by returning to the calendar and selected any random date other than the one I needed. Then I returned to the calendar again to select the date I needed. All parks were then available. This method worked for me for two of the four days I needed. Good luck to all. Enjoy your vacations!
I was finally able to get everything booked with the help of a chat tech (shout out to Eileen!!!). I had to wait in the chat lobby for 2 hours.
My problem was that I had some old, complimentary tickets that were still valid tied to my account that had to be removed. Once those were removed, things have worked fine since.
The system would only let me book the number of days that I had tickets for regardless of how many days I’m on property.
Thank you SOOO much for your incredibly helpful reviews and tips. This was great! I just made my park pass reservations and got every park I wanted, no issues, after reserving the Dolphin yesterday last minute for my daughter’s 8th birthday. Amazing, thank you!
I left it until 08:30 UK time today to let people who are going next month a chance.
Was quite surprised that Disney allowed me to book for my holiday all the way next April/May time, I thought a 60 day window would have been better.
Anyways got a booking for EPCOT for our wedding anniversary as the wife wants to go to Teppan-do that night.
I just hope that by the time we go that the system can be refined to allow some sort of park hopping if parks are not full during quiet times or that the system is not needed by next spring.
Hopefully we’ll get some clarity by Xmas and refinement of the system.
Thank you Tom for sharing all your shortcuts and tricks. It took me all day on the phone, but we finally got park reservations. If you are one of the unlucky few that still had the dining plan on you reservation, then you found out today that the system glitch would not let you make park reservations. Guest service sent me to Resort Reservations who sent me to IT who sent me back to Resort Reservations and finally back to IT. After about 7.5 hours IT solved the problem. They deleted my package reservations and recreated it. Then one short view of Space Mountain and victory! Oh what we do for our children.
Use a laptop or a desk top. After spending all day off and on trying to secure my reservations only to be constantly kicked out upon sign on ( although this morning I did manage a spot in a queue both via space ship and castle intermittently on different tries). Tonight, I got out my laptop- signed into MDX via the browser and voila! Able to book all six of my December park days. Not happy with Disney licking me into a set itinerary so far out but- it is what it is and maybe something will change by end of fall. Anyways- FYI the truck seems to be bypassing the smartphones!
I was able to reserve all four days I had a linked reservation. However I have another trip planned without a resort reservation. Does anyone know if AP holders will be allowed to reserve 3 additional days above those linked to reservation?
There is just so much out there it’s hard to read everything.
At this stage I don’t think so. Im a Gold AP in Tampa and decided to book 2 nights at the Dolphin – really cheap on Priceline right now – just to ensure my daughter could get to Disney for her bday next month. From what I have read, and this could possibly change once Disney has serviced all resort, pass holder and ticketed guests, we are allowed to book 3 days at any time without a Disney resort reservation. Hopefully this changes with time, but I see why, because everyone needs to get a chance to see the magic. <3 Good Luck 🙂
Update So after sitting on hold for 3 hours the girl tha answers was trying to get it to work but her computer kept freezing she put me back on hold to get her IT person not sure what she did when she was messing around but it fixed it I was able to book the remaining days of my stay when she came back and told me her IT person was tied up with someone else she sounded genuinely surprised that she had some how fixed the issue of me only being able to book 3 days
I have an August resort reservation, but I did not reserve park tickets before WDW stopped accepting new reservations. Will I be able to add park tickets to my resort reservation- I was not able to do so today.
At around 3:00 I got an email telling me to reserve my park selections. I was able to log right in at that time and make my reservations, no waiting.
I also got a $40.00 Disney gift card in my email this morning. Anyone else mysteriously get this?
I also got a gift card. Mine was for $60 and I figured it was for declining housekeeping for the 6 days we were staying, though I didn’t think we were getting that until check in. So, I’m not really sure, but I have no other idea.
Yes I got one too, there was a string about it this morning. I believe it’s for declining housekeeping.
Hello Tom (and Sarah!),
Thanks so much for this article. I enjoy reading many of your posts, but this struck me as one of the best. It is highly detailed and very insightful. Personally (I hope) I won’t need to use this (don’t see that we’ll be allowed leave Australia this year so will have to move my reservation to 2021) but it has given me some excellent ideas that might be applied to getting into other tricky areas of the Disney website in future.
Please keep posting so those of us who cannot get to the parks as we planned can live vicariously through you and Sarah.
Have a very Disney day!
Tried at 7:00 am but didn’t work until 10:30 am, was very frustrating, especially having to keep an eye on the laptop with the pink castle taunting me. I never received an email informing me of theme park reservations, someone actually told me so I’m lucky they did.
I was successful finally, in getting park reservations for my 10 day tickets. I also got my adjustments completed with regard to park hopper plus which will not be available in early August when we arrive and the cancelation of club level service too. What I haven’t been able to do is get dining to show me any restaurants outside of the ones at Disney Springs. Is there a reason for this? Thank you
I was able to get the Astro Orbiter countdown page (and finally into the site to book) by following the link in your original post about the park pass system (using chrome). THANK YOU for including that link! The incognito window I tried and the regular browser window I tried both never got past Cinderella Castle. But I was able to get a reservation for all four days of our October trip around 10 am!
Given that there are already sold out days, I am really not feeling good about the ability my (greatly limited) AP.
the ability to use, i meant to type.
My reservation is for November 1-13. 10 day park pass. At around 7pm on 6/22, I Was able with little or no problem get all 10 days of the park pass booked at the park I wanted. In addition, I decided to upgrade the resort from All Star Sports to Art of Animation because it looks like All Stars might be closed the rest of the year. I was able to change the reservation online with no problem other than the expected increase in price. Did not attempt any dining reservations at this point.
I found chrome to be best browser. I started at 6 and still had not gotten through at noon but then logged off then logged back in then I was able to get in after watching pink castle for about 10 minutes
I don’t know if I missed your description of the reservation window, but it looks like a reservation lasts for 10 hours and the times are staggered. Are other people seeing this too? I booked 6 days in April 2021 and my MK reservations are 9-7, EP is 11-9, HS is 10-8 and AK is 8-6. The late starts are not great for me (I have three kids under 6 who won’t be out past 8pm) but it seems there is no surefire way to swap out for an earlier time, should Disney release more park passes, because the time is not revealed until you cancel your current reservation. This coupled with no advance fastpass reservations will make this trip more difficult for us. I love the idea of a spontaneous trip with sleeping in, but then I remember I have three human alarm clocks permanently set at 6am who think a thirty minute wait is a form of torture. Oh well, it will be fun no matter what. And it is never too early (or too late) to practice rolling with the punches. I hope everyone gets the reservations they want (or something close to it). Good luck!
I got the same times. I wondered if Disney is altering open times at each park
Those aren’t staggered entrance times, those are park hours. The reservations basically make it where you can come in at any time throughout the day that the particular park is open. It’s likely park hours will change by next April, but they’re basing everything on what it is now.
Thanks for the info Lorena and Heather! Couldn’t wrap my head around an 11am park opening but that makes sense. And I’m sure you are right that everything will change by next year so no need to fret about it now.
Is anyone booking for March 2021 yet? Im nervous to book my hotel yet bc its non refundable but need to book to buy tickets
I found chrome to be the best browser and if you have other tickets that are not attachh hi Ed to your hotel reservation you need to reassign them.
Hi- I see our valid theme park tickets and our hotel but when I go to select a park it says make sure everyone in your party has the same eligibility. They’re all park hopper tickets that we were going to use in April, rescheduled to May, rescheduled to October. When I tried to link them again it wouldn’t let me bc it said they were already linked. Any suggestions? If I need to reassign them, how do I do that?