Visiting Disney World Will Soon Be Even Easier (For These Guests)

Guests with Mickey and Minnie in front of Cinderella Castle
Credit: Disney

The Walt Disney World Resort has undergone several changes over the last couple of years due to the pandemic, and one of the most loathed of these updates has been the theme park reservation system. The system, which now operates at all domestic Disney Parks (except Disney’s Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon water parks) first launched when Disney World reopened in July 2020.

At the time, state and local governments restricted how many people could be in one place, and capacity limits were agreed upon for the theme parks to even open. As such, reservations made sense in summer 2020. As the industry has continued to recover from the effects of the pandemic, capacity restrictions have largely been lifted but the reservation system remains in place.

two guests outside big thunder mountain

Credit: Disney

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While Disney executives have continued to stand by the reservation system, asserting that it makes it easier for families who visit the Parks infrequently to ensure the best possible experience, most fans have long grown tired of it.

In the latest update from Disney World, however, the system is about to get more flexible for select Guests. Reservations will continue to be required, but if the latest update happens to apply to you, there is one way to work around the system that can help your time in the Parks be a little more flexible.

Cinderella Castle 50th Anniversary

Credit: Disney

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Beginning on April 18, 2023, Walt Disney World Annual Passholders will be able to visit Disney Parks without a reservation after 2:00 p.m. There are still some exceptions to this update, but in general, it should help to add some flexibility to trips to the Parks that Annual Passholders have been missing for years.

First, the change does not apply to the Magic Kingdom on weekends, so Annual Passholders planning to visit the Park on Saturdays and Sundays will either need to still make a reservation or Park Hop from another Park beginning at 2:00 p.m. (and based on availability). Additionally, blockout dates noted for specific types of Annual Passes will still apply.

annual pass

Credit: Inside the Magic

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Of course, these updates only apply if you either already have an Annual Pass to Walt Disney World, or are a Florida resident interested in (very limited options for) a new Annual Pass as sales of new passes have yet to resume since they were paused in 2020.

If you are an Annual Passholder, though, start thinking about your spring trips to Walt Disney World as the added flexibility that kicks off April 18 is sure to bring back some of the magic you might have been missing in recent years.

About Brittany DiCologero

Brittany is a New England-based writer focused on the history of the Walt Disney World Resort. She is the author of "Red, White, and Disney: The Myths and Reality of American History at the Walt Disney World Resort," and "Brittany Earns Her Ears."