A little over a week ago, the Chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products (Josh D’Amaro) was interviewed by the editor of Theme Park Insider, Robert Niles. Throughout the interview, they discussed many topics regarding Disney Parks, and the dreaded Parks Reservation system came up. However, Josh D’Amaro seemingly confirmed that this system is here to stay at Walt Disney World and Disneyland.
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The Parks Reservation began as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In order to cut capacity, the Parks Reservation had to be implemented to manage crowd levels. However, as we get further and further away from the initial days of lockdown and COVID-era safety measures, Guests become increasingly dissatisfied with the system.
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That isn’t to say that Guests weren’t always dissatisfied with the Parks Reservation system; even when it was first implemented, Guests visiting Walt Disney World were understanding but uncomfortable with the new process. Many claim it made visiting Disney more stressful than it needed to be, although the cut capacity was noticed and appreciated.
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In the present day, crowds are at an all-time high. Everyone wants to visit the Disney Parks now that they’re able to, with no pandemic in the way. So, this leads Guests to ask: if crowds aren’t even being managed, what’s the point of an extra, stressful step in the process? Here’s Josh D’Amaro’s answer, according to Robert Niles and Theme Park Insider:
This all starts with guest experience, and having been in this business for as long as we have been, we know what constitutes a great guest experience. We know that there are certain attendance thresholds that can potentially deteriorate the experience. So the reservation system change that we’ve made is completely premised on wanting to deliver [you] the best experience I possibly can. And to do that, I’m asking my guests to make reservations, which is change. Change isn’t easy, particularly for Disney, where everybody watches every single move that we make, and if you change something that’s tradition, or the way that it’s always been, it’s hard.[…]
So anytime we step into one of these areas, we know that there’s going to be input, and we’re going to take that input and listen, and we’re going to react and adjust. But we will never sacrifice guest experience. I have these conversations with guests all the time in the theme parks – “Why do I have to make a reservation?” And the moment I sit down and talk to them about guest experience, and how we’re continually trying to make that easier and more flexible, they completely get it and understand it. So we’re going to keep pushing on that. If we’re going to be pioneers, we’re going to keep being pioneers to make that experience as great as it possibly can be.
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How do you feel about the Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products Chairman’s answers?