when walt disney (DIS) – Get The Walt Disney Company Report Disney World is reopening differently after a brief pandemic-related shutdown.
There are obvious epidemic-related situations, such as temperature checks, mask wearing, and social distancing.
Because people need to be six feet apart, waiting in long lines at the park is never quite right.
Disney actors held up signs wearing masks, and the rides either had plexiglass barriers or empty seats between passengers.
Disney has also done that, with nearly all food ordered through its app, and cash is all but useless once in the park.
The biggest changes, however, aren’t these things, many of which are gone. Instead, limited capacity has forced Disney into a reservation system, where in addition to tickets, customers are required to book specific parks they plan to visit.
Now, Comcast’s (CMCSA) – Get a Comcast Corporation Class A Report Universal Studios will do the same.
Check out Disney’s reservation system
Disney has a reservation system that runs on its website and app. In order to make a reservation, guests must have a valid flight or annual pass attached to their account.
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Once done, potential visitors can see which parks have vacancies on the dates their party plans to visit.
It’s a little more complicated than making dinner reservations because Disney has different availability for different types of admission. For example, there is a pool reserved for pass holders and another pool reserved for those who live on the property.
Disney has never explained a breakdown of which reservations it offers which groups, but you can assume the company doesn’t want people staying at its hotels to be locked out of its parks.
It’s a potentially (and still) frustrating system. You might want to go to Hollywood Studios and only Epcot has reservations.
It is sometimes possible to book reservations at parks that have no vacancies by constantly refreshing the reservation page, possibly because someone else has canceled.
The system is needed due to capacity constraints, but it makes planning a Disney vacation a bit difficult for people coming from out of town. It also makes it more difficult, if not impossible, for local permit holders to spontaneously visit the park.
Universal considers booking
Universal has quietly (as quietly as possible a survey sent to thousands of people) sent a survey to annual pass holders about issues with the booking system. That doesn’t guarantee it’ll add one: the feedback may have been overwhelmingly negative, but it suggests that at least the idea is being considered.
“With Covid-19 measures waning, and as we look to a ‘live with Covid’ world, it may seem like an odd time to consider adding a park reservation system at the Universal Orlando Resort.
The absence of a park reservation system has been a huge boon for Universal Orlando Resort since reopening and has drawn many guests to the resort,” wrote Theme Park Travel, which first reported news of the investigation.
Universal did have long lines to enter its parks at various times during the worst days of the pandemic (except when the parks were closed), requiring people to leave to get in more. If this is a recurring problem in (sort of) a post-pandemic world, a reservation system might make sense, even if guests (and pass holders, of course) don’t like the idea.