Disney World’s Park Pass Hokey Pokey

    With Disney World’s latest ticket offer, we’re swimming in the brackish water of what ticket types require a Disney Park Pass theme park reservation and which don’t. It’ll be a confusing rest of the year. Let’s take a look at what guests can expect as Disney World plays the Park Pass Hokey Pokey.

    We’ll start with a 30,000ft view. Executives are bracing for a slower summer at Walt Disney World. Cheap(er) hotel rooms, new ticket deals, and…gasp…Annual Passholder appreciation. While Passholders were considered an unfavorable guest mix during the good times of revenge travel and pent-up demand, they’re going to have to be Disney’s bread and butter if we enter a recession or a period of lower attendance. To that end, Disney World reopened Annual Pass sales in late April, and despite initial warnings from Disney World that passes were expected to sell out, that never happened and all pass types remain available to purchase. Beyond that Disney World has just announced Annual Passholder appreciation days.

    So, lower attendance means more deals and discounts to entice people to visit. Enter, the 4-Park Magic Ticket. This is one of the more interesting and maybe even innovative offerings that Disney has tried since the “Mid-Day Magic” ticket in summer 2019. The 4-Park Magic Ticket is the first multi-day ticket that doesn’t require a theme park reservation, but that’s not to say that it doesn’t come with limitations.

    Essentially, the 4-Park Magic Ticket functions as four single-day tickets good for entry into only one theme park. Let’s say you’re visiting Monday – Thursday. Here’s the plan:

    • Monday: Magic Kingdom
    • Tuesday: EPCOT
    • Wednesday: Disney’s Hollywood Studios
    • Thursday: Disney’s Animal Kingdom

    Let’s say you have such a great time at Disney’s Hollywood Studios on Wednesday that you want to go back on Thursday. Because you’ve already entered Disney’s Hollywood Studios on Wednesday, and the other Disney World theme parks before that, your only option left is to go to Animal Kingdom.

    Again, you don’t have to make a theme park reservation with the 4-Park Magic ticket, but you can see that Disney is perhaps exerting even more control over your vacation by forcing you to visit each theme park once. We’re not saying that’s necessarily a bad thing, because we enjoy all of the parks and think that they should all be part of a Disney World experience, but it is interesting how this ticket type, which breaks down to $99 per day, drops a theme park reservation requirement but still exerts control. One foot in and one foot out.

    Beyond that, Disney also introduced a Florida Resident summer ticket offer that lacks the control of the ticket forcing you into visiting a theme park but it retains the Park Pass reservation requirement. So even though we have our first multi-day ticket that drops theme park reservations, we have a new offer that keeps it. One foot in and one foot out.

    Fast forward to 2024. Disney World has announced that guests purchasing date-based tickets for a visit beyond January 9, 2024 will no longer need a Disney Park Pass theme park reservation. Right now, only guests who purchase a single-day ticket and the new 4-Day Magic ticket are exempt from Disney Park Pass reservations.

    Also happening sometime in 2024 is the introduction of the concept of “good-to-go days” for Annual Passholders. These “good-to-go days” will be days when Annual Passholders don’t have to make a Disney Park Pass reservation to visit a theme park or theme parks on a specific day. While Disney World acknowledges that Park Pass reservations are not popular (the title of the announcement about them going away was “Exciting Park Reservation Updates”), Disney will still keep park reservations around for Annual Passholders just in case Passholders become an “unfavorable guest mix” again.

    Instead of going with the original analogy of the COVID-era system being like a river with narrow restrictions, eventually leading to a 2024 ocean of almost no restrictions, and this summer representing the brackish waters, we’ll just stick with the Hokey Pokey. One foot in and one foot out as Disney navigates trying to (almost) sunset the Disney Park Pass reservation system.

    As always, keep checking back with us here at BlogMickey.com as we continue to bring you the latest news, photos, and info from around the Disney Parks!

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