You’ve saved for months. You’ve planned and dreamed and now it’s finally here! YOU’RE GOING TO DISNEY WORLD! This is a moment many look forward to for years. Planning a Walt Disney World vacation isn’t exactly simple though, and it’s gotten even more complicated post-Pandemic. There are so many things to remember that it’s easy for things to get forgotten. However, forgetting Disney’s newest requirement could ruin your entire vacation!
Since the parks reopened in 2020, after the Covid Shutdown, they require park reservations in addition to your park admission ticket. Without a reservation, you won’t be able to enter a park, even with a ticket. So what happens if you forget to make your park reservation? Is there anything you can do or is the whole trip just ruined?
Luckily, there is hope. No, crying at the gate won’t get you into the park. Neither will yelling and demanding a manager. Everyone else paid a lot of money to be there too, so Guest Services will be unmoved by your declaration that you’ve spent a lot of money. You can, however, employ some tricks if you know what to do.
The easiest (but most time consuming) way is to constantly check the app. Often reservations don’t fill up and you can easily just make a same day park reservation. Sometimes though reservations are full. Seeing no availability once doesn’t mean you should give up. Keep refreshing your app. Cancellations happen and you may just be able to score the reservation you need!
Park hopping is another great solution if you can’t find the reservation you need. To do this, you’ll need a Park Hopper ticket. If you have base tickets, go to Guest Services at Disney Springs or the front of any park, they can upgrade your ticket for the difference in price ($65/ticket for one day, $75/ticket for 2 and 3 days, $85/ticket for 4-10 days). Once you have your Park Hopper, simply make a reservation at any park with availability that day. Then at 2:00 pm you’ll be able to hop to the park you originally wanted at first ish your day there. Note that to park hop you must go to the park where your reservation is first. Without checking in at that park, you’ll be denied entry into other parks that day even after 2:00 pm.
If those tricks have failed you aren’t out of luck yet. Tickets are non-refundable but they are changeable. If you haven’t traveled yet you can consider moving the dates of your trip. If you have already gotten to Orlando, if it’s not possible to add any days to your trip, consider rearranging your itinerary. If you’ve got a rest day planned, try to find reservations for that day and use the unavailable day as a rest day. If you plan to visit other Orlando theme parks during your trip, consider going there first. Disney is the only destination requiring reservations currently and you may have luck later scoring the park passes later in your trip.
If all else fails you can try to plead your case at Guest Services. They may or may not be able to help but it’s certainly worth a try. Know that if the answer is no, it isn’t out of spite, it’s because they simply cannot. If a park is full, they can’t make exceptions, but it’s possible they may be able to see things we cannot, or know tricks not listed here. When trying this route remember the old adage, “you catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar”. Be polite, after all it’s not their fault.
There is no guarantee that any of the above tricks will work. Nothing is 100% but these tips haven’t failed us yet (and we are last minute park go-ers). The best way to ensure you get to go to your park of choice is to make reservations as soon as you buy your tickets. Accidents happen though and things sometimes get forgotten. If that happens to you, we hope these tips will help save the day (and your Disney vaycay)!