There are several steps to planning a Walt Disney World vacation, and one step that is often loathed by Guests is the Park Pass Reservation System which ensures “limited” capacity to provide the best possible experience in each Park.
That’s what the executives say it does, anyway. Disney fans, on the other hand, have grown extremely tired of the reservation system as many feel that it takes away some of the flexibility that used to be attainable during a trip to “The Most Magical Place on Earth.”
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While capacity has been increased since Disney World reopened in 2020, it has not been increased to the point where the reservation system could be removed. And it seems rather than make this change, the company is opting to extend Park hours, giving Guests more time to enjoy the Parks after making a reservation or Park Hopping, rather than the opportunity for spontaneous visits.
The reservation system does allow the company to have an idea of how many Guests are planning to come to the Parks on a given day, which in turn can help determine how much staffing is needed to operate the Park. On top of this, it can indicate when capacity should be increased, whether through more reservation availability (or the end of the system), or extended hours.
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According to Disney’s official website and the My Disney Experience app, hours have increased across multiple theme parks for the remainder of February, several dates in March, and even into April 2023.
Spring break is coming up quickly and is likely a significant component in the extended hours, especially for the Magic Kingdom. Disney World’s original theme park is now set to stay open one hour later, making the Park’s hours 9:00 a.m.-11:00 p.m. on February 26, February 28-March 1, March 3-5, 7-12, 15, 17-19, 21-26, and 28-April 1. The Disney Park will open earlier, at 8:00 a.m. (rather than 9:00 a.m.) on February 27, and March 2, 6, 13, 14, 16, 20, and 27.
Park hours at EPCOT have not changed as of this writing, so we recommend checking the My Disney Experience app if you have a Disney vacation coming up to see if anything has been updated after your initial plans are made.
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Both Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom have increased hours slightly, however. At Hollywood Studios, the Park’s previously scheduled 9:00 p.m. closure has been moved to 9:30 for all dates February 26-April 1, 2023. On days when the Park’s hours have been extended, Disney has also added a second showing of Fantasmic! As such, you could further extend your visit to Hollywood Studios by seeing the 10:00 p.m. Fantasmic! as it begins after the rest of the Park has closed.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom is both opening one hour earlier and closing one hour later, with adjusted Park hours of 8:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m. on February 26 and March 2-April 1, 2023. Additionally, the Park will open earlier at 8:00 a.m. February 27-March 1, 2023. Note: Select attractions at Animal Kingdom close prior to the official Park closing time. We always recommend confirming hours for specific experiences in the My Disney Experience app.
Park reservations could fill up, but many of these changes to the operating schedule of Disney Parks in the coming weeks can help if you Park Hop, or were able to make reservations. As always, we’ll be back with more updates from Walt Disney World as we have them here on Disney Tips.