Plans change, but changing Disney vacation plans isn’t always easy.
Both Florida’s Walt Disney World and California’s Disneyland began requiring park reservations on top of admission tickets during the pandemic, and the most popular parks can book up quickly around holidays, weekends and other school breaks.
Previously all guests who wanted to modify park reservations had to cancel and start over, a simple process, but one that posed the remote risk of losing a spot altogether for high-demand days.
That’s still the case for Disneyland, which runs on a different system, but Disney World guests can now modify park reservations without canceling, among other changes.
Here’s what travelers heading to either Disney park should know.
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How do I get reservations at Disney parks?
Step one is checking theme park availability, even before purchasing tickets.
Once Disney World guests purchase their tickets, they should immediately make a free park reservation and ensure that everyone in their travel party has reservations as well. As of Aug. 23, reservations can be made for up to 30 people at once, regardless of whether they have annual passes or regular tickets and are staying on or off resort property. Previously, annual passholders had to manage plans in a separate system.
Disneyland guests can make park reservations when purchasing park tickets, in the same transaction. They can also add on Genie + when purchasing tickets, unlike at Disney World where Genie + must be purchased separately on the days of park visits.
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Can you make Disneyland, Disney World reservations before buying tickets?
No. Guests can buy tickets without making park reservations, but not the other way around.
How far in advance do you have to reserve a Disney park?
The sooner park reservations are made, the better.
Disney World already allows them to be made into early 2024.
Disneyland reservations can be made 120 days or more in advance.
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Can you change park reservations?
Disney World guests can modify existing reservation dates, parks and party members without canceling reservations, as of Aug. 23.
Disneyland guests still have to cancel their existing reservations, then book new ones. It’s important to confirm availability before making any changes to avoid the odd chance of ending up with no reservations at all if discarded reservations get scooped up by others.
What happens if the park you want to visit is not available?
There are several options, which all involve some sacrifice.
- Guests can pick another park to go to that day.
- Guests can keep checking back to see if anyone cancels and availability opens up.
- Guests can pay to add the Park Hopper Option to their tickets, allowing them to change parks at 2 pm at Disney World or 1 pm at Disneyland.
- Guests can move their vacation to dates when there is park availability.
Will Disney World or Disneyland give refunds if park reservations aren’t available?
Tickets are nonrefundable at both resorts. However, guests may change the start dates for unused and unexpired tickets, pending park availability. Because prices vary by date, guests must pay the difference if prices for the new dates are higher.
While neither resorts’ tickets are transferable after partial use, Disney World allows guests to reassign unused and unexpired tickets to someone else on their Friends & Family List in their planning portal, My Disney Experience.
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What about Disney hotel reservations?
Disney World recently aligned its online and phone reservation systems so guests can only book hotel stays through whatever dates are available online. Previously, guests could call in to reserve dates even further out.
Disneyland hotel availability was already the same online and by phone.
Hotel reservations for both resorts are currently available through the end of 2023.