Bob Chapek Claims Disney Park Pass Reservation System ‘Guarantees’ a Great Experience

During an interview today for WSJ Tech Live 2022, Disney CEO Bob Chapek spoke about the park pass reservation system and praised it once again.

Bob Chapek
Image source: Financial Times

Introduced when the parks reopened in summer 2020 amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the system requires guests to make reservations for a specific Walt Disney World or Disneyland Resort theme park. Guests must have valid theme park admission to make a reservation, which allows for planning ahead but also potentially limits guests who buy last-minute.

Chapek claims that the park passes “guarantee a great experience” for all guests. He referenced the past system where the parks would close for capacity on particularly busy days, such as Christmas Day. If a “family from Seattle” visited Disneyland for a two-three day visit and arrived at 10 a.m., they may have been turned away at the gate due to capacity limitations, he cited. Now, the pass system requires advance reservations that guarantee admission for the date of the reservation (with valid ticket media).

Disneyland No Reservations Available sign stock park pass

According to Chapek, this creates the same “magical” experience for a guest who visits on Thanksgiving and a guest who visits on the second Tuesday of September.

This system, he noted, is the same as other fixed-capacity businesses such as airlines, hotels, and cruise lines. It gives guests “confidence” that the parks won’t be “overcrowded.” He also mentioned that it has the added benefit of maximizing shareholder value.

Chapek and Parks Chairman Josh D’Amaro have continuously reiterated that the park pass system is here to stay. Other reasons given have cited the ability to plan staffing and supply needs based on the expected amount of guests per day.

The park pass reservations apply to the first theme park of the day that guests can visit. Guests with Park Hopper tickets or Annual Passes can move to another park after 2:00 p.m. without a reservation, though there have been rumors that secondary parks may require reservations in the future.

Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resort Annual Passholders are currently suing the company over the park pass system, alleging that it violates the “no blockout dates” benefit of the top-tier Annual Pass.

Do you feel the park pass system guarantees you a great experience? Tell us about your experiences in the comments.

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23 thoughts on “Bob Chapek Claims Disney Park Pass Reservation System ‘Guarantees’ a Great Experience”

  1. This system is utterly idiotic and complicated.
    One should be able to buy a ticket connected to a park reservation on a specific day.
    When there’s no availability anymore, just don’t sell tickets for that day anymore, like it used to be in the good ole days.
    Their goal here is only to sell more tickets, this is plain ridiculous and hell for families who miss the fact they needed a park reservation too.
    Worst system ever.
    Bring Bob Iger back.

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  2. His idea of a great experience and mine differ.Still very crowded need to plan months in advance and all those guests having behavioral issues not a great experience for all.

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  3. It is great bc it keeps capacity in line it sucks bc well all automated systems at wdw do that. Hence we were all better off before it all and just waiting in line like normal enjoying our days. No 3 hr waits for 10min lines no i cant get in bc no nothing but here we are! Its funny how managers elsewhere look to the other parks and go what wrks for them etc. Like we here in hershey just did for dark nights love to see wdw or uni try it! No we are #1 & will fight each other for it and not care about other stuff. Well thats not how it wrks!

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  4. Amazing that Chapak would compare Disney world to a hotel or a cruise line. If he had a family and went with them maybe he would see how his reservation system is flawed. It is a shame that families can no longer get that magical experience because they are too busy attempting to plan and negotiate the system. His comments prove only one thing that he is for the bottom line and not the experience of a family.

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  5. The reservation system is only for analytical data for tracking trends and customer preferences. This system actually takes away from the guest experience. In 40 years as a pass holder I had never not been able to get into a park, even on Christmas Day. Just listening to the interview the guy has no idea what a guest experience even means. Sadly, park reservations are going nowhere.

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  6. Bob, you are delusional. The park pass system is awful! I was at Disney this past July and had the worst experience that I have ever had in the past twenty five plus years that I have been visiting Disney.
    I have never had a problem gaining access to a park before Disney started this awful system. I won’t be back, but you don’t care about that because I visit regularly and you don’t think that I spend enough money there.

    Regulars are fed up with the “changes” you have made and the Board closes it’s eyes as long as you make money. Fewer people in the parks mean fewer castmembers, so lower overhead. There is less customer service. Castmembers and guests are on edge. Recently, the attendance at Universal outstripped the attendance at Disney. The coming financial crisis will further decrease attendance as Americans will make tough choices. Mend your ways, Bob or Disney will become a thing of the past.

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  7. How did we ever survive before this system was out in place!? I remember those days as an annual passholder before 2020, just showing up spontaneously whenever you wanted to and enjoying a day in the parks on a whim: chaotic, horrible times indeed! Having to plan way ahead and hope nothing gets in the way of those plans, and having to spend so much time on the Disney park app to boot, now that is just a total joy! Thanks Mr. Cheapek!

    (Maybe I’ll enjoy my time spending all my local money spontaneously at Universal Studios instead. No reservation system in place there. Hmmm?)

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  8. Oh good God. I wish he would just shut up. Does he thunk we’re really that stupid? The parks reached capacity maybe 3 or 4 days a year. They’re more crowded than ever. Wait times are ridiculous for rides and food. I seriously hate this guy. He’s just so full of crap.

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  9. Except the teir system allowed platinum Passholders and resort guests in the park when it was at capacity. A family from Seattle during peak holidays should be informed before choosing to stay off the resort. He just needs to say it. Disney hates it when there are too many passholders and prefer us disappear on high demand days.

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  10. Hi:
    We personally dislike the reservation system. We like to wake up and go “ I’m feeling EPCOT today instead of Magic Kingdom “If you know what I mean.
    Steve

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  11. I feel the park pass Reservation system is ridiculous. I have been to Disney about 35 times and have not yet visited with the new park reservation system. I have reservations for next summer and have already made my park reservations also. Having said that I always like the spontaneity of changing my mind in the morning about which park I want to go to. Disney does not need to control each move I make while I am visiting there for vacation. It’s bad enough we now have to make ride reservations for an extra fee. Let us go to the park we want to when we want to.

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  12. Baloney. There ZERO upside to the guest nor the guest experience. Only for Disney. In words of sleepy Joe, he’s a “dog-faced lyin’ pony soldier”

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  13. Bob Chapek is the dumbest person i have ever seen running a company and he should be fired. The longer he is in charge at Disney the more people he ticks off. He has ruined the park experience totally. I seriously cannot believe Disney allows this guy to stay. he should be on trash or toilet duty in the parks. Bob Chapek ahs made it impossible for the average person to enjoy the parks. You can no longer decide on the fly or make changes on the fly, and now everyone is walking around staring at their phones all the time like a bunch of zombies and totally missing out on what the imagineers have created.

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  14. The reservation system is a complete shambles! Who wants to plan their vacation weeks in advance to a specific park? This will become the downfall of Disney! They are already losing Annual Pass holders!

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  15. Just went to Disneyland this last weekend. Worst and most expensive Disney experience of this Socal girl (been over 50x). We used to go annually, but will not be back until policies change. Longer lines, less food options, and even staying at the overpriced Grand Californian didn’t improve the experience. Looking forward to a new CEO and new policies.

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  16. Bob Chapek is delusional. I have yet to meet any guest or cast member that is a fan of this system. Maybe good for shareholders who have not visited the park in the last 2 years but that is about it.

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  17. Absolute rubbish, no spontanaty, no fun having to book a park months ahead,I’m going in December and not doing any disney parks due to reservations needed.
    This would have been my 36th time to disney,sadly my last
    Thanks cheapec

    Reply
  18. When I plan a 2 week vacation entering around Disneyland and my annual pass only lets me have 4 reservations max no I do not like this. I plan on where I am going everyday and to change my schedule around every day because I might not get a reservation is not acceptable.

    Reply

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