Have Park Passes Made a Spontaneous Walt Disney World Trip Impossible?

Have you ever sat at your desk, looked at your calendar, thought to yourself, “I could totally go to Disney World this month,” and booked a spontaneous last-minute trip?

Welcome to Disney World!

While the prospect of a spontaneous trip to Disney World may seem thrilling, the implementation of the Park Pass Reservation System raises some valid questions as to whether or not it’s even possible to book a last-minute trip to Disney World. Hotel reservations are no longer the only bookings you need to worry about.

Have Disney Park Pass Reservations made spontaneous trips to Disney World impossible?

Reasons Park Reservations HAVE made spontaneous trips impossible

Before Disney World’s closures in 2020, you could more or less plan a spontaneous last minute trip to Disney World with ease and make it into the theme parks every day of your trip without a second thought. The one possible exception to this rule was the week of Christmas and New Years, where it isn’t entirely uncommon for the parks to reach capacity. Now, however, that isn’t a guarantee.

Welcome to the World’s Most Magical Celebration!

In addition to valid theme park admission, every guest must book a Park Pass Reservation for the days they wish to visit. Disney World Resort guests can make park reservations for dates during their stay for the number of days that they have valid theme park admission. Existing ticket holders can make park reservations for the number of days of valid theme park admission.

EPCOT

For Annual Passholders, the number of reservations you can hold at a time depends on which level pass you have. The Disney Incredi-Pass and Disney Sorcerer Pass allow for up to five (5) reservations at a time, the Disney Pirate Pass allow for up to four (4) reservations at a time, and the Disney Pixie Dust Pass allow for up to three (3) reservations at a time. (Learn more about Annual Passes here!)

New Annual Pass levels at Disney World © Disney

These days, Park Reservations are another necessary step to check off your “to do” list before you leave home, and depending on when you’re looking to visit the parks, that may be a hinderance for making it into a park in the first place. Park Pass Reservations DO fill up on certain days.

You may get ‘locked’ out of a park if reservations fill up!

If this happens, you will not be able to get into that park, even with valid theme park admission. The only exception would be if you have a Park Hopper; you can hop to any park after 2PM each day, given that you have already scanned into the first park for which you have a valid Park Pass Reservation. Park Hopping is technically subject to capacity limits, but the AllEars team has not encountered any issues with this policy thus far.

Reasons Park Reservations have NOT made spontaneous trips impossible

Despite the limitations Park Pass Reservations present travelers, there is still plenty of evidence to suggest that spontaneous trips are still possible. If you travel during a slower time of the year, you may find plentiful Park Pass Reservations. This was the case in late summer and early fall leading up to the 50th Anniversary Celebration.

Cinderella Castle

Even during busy times in the year, as long as you made your park reservations a few weeks in advance, you would usually be able to get your first park choice. Like we mentioned above, Park Hoppers can give you more flexibility and peace of mind. Even if a park is filled up and is out of reservations, you can always grab a park reservation for another park & then hop after 2PM (assuming the park hasn’t reached capacity).

The Monorail is a great way to hop between EPCOT and Magic Kingdom

Keep in mind that Park Pass Reservations are also replenished, often at the last minute. If your heart is set on a particular week and you don’t see Reservations available, keep checking — they may pop up!

Pandora

If you do you research before booking a trip, you’ll find that you can still do a spontaneous trip to Disney World with Park Passes, given that you keep an eye on the Park Pass calendar and you aim to go at a less busy time of year. The parks may be busier overall in the coming months with Disney World’s 50th Anniversary Celebration in full swing, so keep that in mind when you’re considering booking a last-minute trip!

Click here to read about the ways Disney World has changed for the BETTER over the years.

Have you ever made a spontaneous trip to Disney World? Share your experience in the comments!

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