Answers For Your Theme Park Reservation Questionsby Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix, staff writer
When the Disneyland Resort opened its new Theme Park Reservation system this past Monday, several MousePlanet readers contacted us with questions about the best way to handle certain situations. Where we couldn't locate the answer ourselves, we turned to Disney directly to get clarification—and in doing so, even uncovered an actual issue in the reservation system.
We've shared the questions and answers below to help readers when new ticket sales and reservations open to all California residents tomorrow, April 15.
2020 Southern California resident ticket programming error
We had quite a number of questions from readers making reservations using the 2020 Southern California resident ticket, who were confused about the expiration date and fuse for this ticket.
Most multiday tickets have a 13-day "fuse," meaning that you must use all of the admission days within 13 days of your first entry. For example, if you visit on June 1, your ticket expires June 14—so that if you don't use up all of your remaining entries before June 14, or you lose them.
The exception to this fuse was supposed to be the 2020 Southern California resident ticket, which didn't have a fuse—even after Disney extended the expiration date of this ticket. For this reason, persons with that ticket should have been able to book their first admission for April 30, for example, and use their second admission on June 4. Such a strategy would have allowed individuals to schedule a park visit for the day Disneyland opened, then return to visit Disney California Adventure for the opening of The Avengers Campus.
However, a programming error in the Theme Park Reservation system incorrectly imposed a 13-day fuse on the ticket, forcing people to use up both admission days when they didn't need to. Disney is rolling out a fix, and on Thursday, anyone in that situation should be able to go in and either cancel or reschedule their second reservation.
Note: This ticket does have blockout dates of July 4 and November 20–27, 2021, and the ticket expires on December 16, 2021.
The Case of the Unrelated Adults
This question comes from a reader who is planning to visit Disneyland with a group of unrelated adults: Is it better to have one person buy all of the tickets and make all of the reservations at the same time, or should each adult buy their own ticket and make their own reservations?
Given what we expect to be an initial crush of people trying to snag reservations for April 30 and June 4, there is a definite upside to having one person handle all of the reservations at once for the most popular dates. However, in general, it's better for each household to purchase their own tickets and make their own reservations.
The person who purchases the ticket "owns" that ticket, and is the only one who can make or manage reservations for it. You can't purchase a ticket for someone else and then transfer it to them to manage through their own Disneyland.com account. It could get messy if one member of the group has to change plans, and the purchaser has to manage their future ticket use.
The Case of the Growing Baby
This question comes from reader Stacy R, who wrote, "Prior to COVID I had purchased military discount tickets for my husband and I to visit with our 2-year-old daughter. We didn't buy a ticket for her because she didn't need one at the time, but now she is 3 and needs one. Should we make our reservations now and hope we can get a ticket for her on Thursday, or should we wait to make all our reservations at the same time, or should we just pretend she's still 2?"
Because there is no penalty if you change a reservation, we told Stacy she should make the reservation for the adults, and then add the ticket for her daughter when ticket sales resume on the 15th. If you are in a similar situation, err on the side of caution and make whatever reservations you can now. You can always change them if you aren't able to get the additional reservations you want. Keep in mind that the expiration date of most existing tickets was extended until 2021 and even into 2022, so there's lots of time to visit.
The Case of the Interrupted Vacation
Reader Mark M. and his family were on vacation at the Disneyland Resort when it closed last March, and had only used two days of their five-day park-hopper ticket. Mark wanted to know if the 13-day fuse would reset on their ticket when they returned, or if they could spread their visits out.
The Disneyland website reads, "Guests with multi-day tickets who used their first visit between February 28, 2020 and March 13, 2020 but did not reach their ticket’s maximum number of uses, will have the 13-day expiration period of their ticket extended to December 16, 2021." We confirmed with Disney that the fuse will NOT reset on these tickets, so Mark and his family could use one day in April, one in June and one in November if they wanted.
The Case of the Park-Hopping Diners
In regards to restaurant reservations, the Disneyland website says "we recommend Guests book in-park dining and other experiences at the park where they have a theme park reservation," and goes on to say "Guests can make dining reservations or add their party to the walk-up list at select table-service restaurants via the Disneyland app after their Park Hopper ticket is used to enter the second park, subject to availability."
Since dining reservations don't open until April 22 and will require a theme park reservation, a reader asked if this meant visitors could ONLY make dining reservations at the park they reserved. Are visitors with park-hopper tickets allowed to make advance dinner reservations for their second park?
Disney says visitors with park-hopper tickets may make reservations at either park, but should only make reservations before 1:00 p.m. at the park they plan to start the morning at. Park hopping is permitted after 1:00 p.m., so you could switch parks for a late lunch or dinner, but that's subject to park capacity. If park hopping has been suspended due to capacity limits, your reservation won't work to get you in the gates.
Do you have any more unusual cases you'd like advice on? Drop us a note and we'll do our best to help you out!