During the phased reopening of Walt Disney World, Disney has publicly stated that it has been operating around 35% capacity. In the last month, with spring break crowds, the parks have been nearly full, and park reservations have been more and more difficult to come by. We have received many messages from guests who were unprepared and did not have park reservations for their upcoming vacation that was days away. It’s terribly disappointing, but it is avoidable with a little planning. Learn more about what’s happening at the parks and how you can be prepared for a summer 2021 trip below.
1 – Check Park Availability First and Check Often!
We cannot stress enough how important it is to make your park reservations as soon as possible (like immediately) after purchasing your tickets. As noted above, we’ve received messages from guests disappointed and upset that they couldn’t get park reservations for their upcoming vacation. Don’t let that happen to you. Before you purchase tickets, check park availability! (Click here to view). You may be surprised at the lack of park reservations for the days you are planning on visiting. For example…
You can make a park reservation under three different categories: Theme Park Tickets, Select Resort Hotels, and Annual Passes. As of writing this article, for both Theme Park Tickets and Select Resort Guests, the next day that park reservations are available for Magic Kingdom is June 19—just under two months away. The next time a Disney’s Hollywood Studios park reservation is July 3! That park has the most demand because of Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. Generally, Magic Kingdom, then Animal Kingdom fill up next, and usually, EPCOT is the easiest park to get a reservation.
Once you see what parks are available or not available, you can decide the dates you want to visit. Perhaps your dates are flexible. It’s easier to move your dates around if you have not booked a resort or purchased date-specific tickets. With park reservation availability in mind, you can then decide what kind of ticket you should purchase, which leads us to…
2 – Purchasing Tickets – Consider the Park Hopper Option
Under “normal” operations, a Park Hopper Option may not be the best purchase because it adds a lot to the overall cost of tickets. However, you should seriously consider paying for the Park Hopper Option during the phased reopening. That option will allow you to visit other parks after 2:00 pm that you may not be able to get a park reservation. If you can only get park reservations for EPCOT and Animal Kingdom, you could then at least plan to visit the other two parks after 2:00 pm, allowing you to visit all four parks. Do note that if you park hop over to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, you will not be able to join the Virtual Queue for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. Again, you’ll need to check the park availability calendar to see how limited park reservations are and decide if it is needed.
3 – Purchasing Tickets – Annual Passes Still Not Available
Disney has still not resumed sales for annual passes, although current passholders may renew their passes. Many people canceled their passes last August, so passholders have the best availability options for park reservations. Even during the busy holiday season last year, I was able to get same-day or next-day park reservations. The last month during spring break was a different story. Now, as a passholder, park reservations are full for multiple weekends and full for Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Magic Kingdom during the week. If you are an annual passholder, you, too, will need to plan ahead. Do note that passholders are still limited to only have three park reservations at a time, which makes it even more challenging to get those high-demand park reservations!
4 – Park Hours and Capacity
Recently, park hours and park reservation availability were expanded for the month of June. Rumors are swirling that Disney is about to raise capacity for the summer due to demand. We do expect that capacity will be increased soon as more and more people get vaccinated. When capacity limits are raised, more park reservations will be available. But demand is so high that those spots will fill quickly. When availability was added to June, new park reservation spots filled up within hours. You will need to check the park availability calendar regularly if you are looking for a reservation on a particular day for a specific park.
5 – What to Expect as 2021 Rolls On
Everyone is yearning to “get back to normal,” but of course, no one knows when that will be. As we noted, as more and more people get vaccinated, Disney may alter their modified operations. They recently allowed guests to remove facial coverings while stationary for photos. We noted that capacity limits will likely get raised. But many, many restaurants still remain closed, making dining a challenge, whether it’s getting a Mobile Order spot or a getting a table service reservation. As more people come, wait times have steadily increased, and FastPass+ is still temporarily suspended. Most resorts are still closed, and only four have been given reopening dates. There are a lot of unknowns but a lot to look forward to as well! The Festival of the Lion King is returning in May, the 50thAnniversary Celebration kicks off on October 1, 2021, and Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure will open also on October 1. Visiting during 2021 will still have its challenges, but it can still be magical if you plan ahead.
For a no obligation, FREE Quote on a Disney vacation package, please contact our travel partner Magical Vacation Planner at 407-442-0227 (407-442-0215 for Spanish). You can also request a FREE quote online by Clicking HERE.