Secrets to Getting Disney World Park Passes When They’re Sold Out

Imagine: You’ve planned the perfect Disney World trip and secured tickets for each day of your visit.

Mickey and Minnie

You think to yourself, “I’ve got plenty of time — I can worry about Park Pass Reservations later.” Then, “later” rolls around and you realize it’s too late! There are NO MORE park passes left for the park you want on a certain date during your trip. Don’t panic — we know it might seem like the end of the world, but all is not lost. Here are our secrets to getting Disney World park passes when they’re sold out!

Disney introduced the Park Pass Reservation System when the parks reopened in 2020, and park reservations (or park passes) are required for every day of your trip. Disney recently changed the rules for Annual Passholders, though, and after 2PM on weekdays, reservations will not be required soon (so you may not have to worry about any of these tips if that applies to you!).

Cinderella Castle

Another change that Disney made after park passes were first introduced is that when purchasing 1-day, 1-park tickets, your park pass reservation will be made for you automatically. This is because Disney introduced park-specific pricing, meaning the cost to enter each theme park may vary. For example, Animal Kingdom may be cheaper than EPCOT to visit on any particular day.

Main Street U.S.A.

But, what can you do if you DON’T get the reservation for the park you want?

Think Ahead

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: one of the most important things you can do before your Disney World vacation is to think ahead! That means planning as much as you can before you’ve even stepped off the plane. If you think you know which park you plan on visiting during each day of your trip, you should probably go ahead and make those reservations in advance.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

You can always modify your reservations later if you need to, but this way you know you’ll have a spot in at least ONE of the Disney parks (even if it might not be your top choice!). If you really want to maximize your time in Disney World, make your reservations as soon as you book your trip.

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge

Another tip worth mentioning before you make your park reservations is to consider purchasing a Park Hopper ticket. We’ll explain how Park Hopping can come in handy when a Disney park is sold out in a bit, but essentially it’s a different type of ticket that allows you to visit more than one Disney park in one day.

2023 Dates You Should Know If You’re a Disney World Fan

Keep Checking Availability

If you weren’t able to make park pass reservations in advance for whatever reason, there are still things you can do to try to get a spot in a sold-out park! Who visits Disney World? People. What do people do all the time? Change their minds! Just because someone has a park pass reservation booked doesn’t necessarily mean they’re going to keep it. Things come up and plans change, and when that happens you just might be able to reap the benefits.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Keep checking the park pass availability calendar on the Disney World website leading up to your trip. We mean months, weeks, and even days leading up to your trip. In some cases, you might have planned a last-minute Disney trip and weren’t able to get a Magic Kingdom reservation so you booked a Hollywood Studios one instead. But, right before your trip you noticed some availability in Magic Kingdom — you can modify your reservation and switch it to Magic Kingdom.

Magic Kingdom

Keep in mind, though, that this only applies to multi-day park tickets. Since 1-day, 1-park tickets are priced per park, you won’t have this luxury.


We’ve also seen Disney release more park passes on sold-out days in order to let more people into the parks (A.K.A. make more money). We recently saw this happen during the 2022 holiday season. Magic Kingdom was sold out throughout Christmas week, and then BAM! Disney released more park passes, allowing more guests to enjoy the parks.


Just keep checking that availability calendar to see if more passes pop up for the park you want!

What To Do If You Can’t Get the Disney World Hotel Reservation You Wanted

Park Hop

Remember how we mentioned Park Hopper tickets might come in handy here? Well, if the park you want to head to on a certain day is unavailable, you can take advantage of park hopping (assuming you have the right ticket to do so). You can make a reservation for another park that isn’t sold out, and then hop to your desired park after 2PM.

EPCOT entrance

There are a few things to remember if you plan on using the park hopping method, though. You still have to enter the park you have a reservation for before you can go to the park you actually want to visit — even if it’s after 2PM. For example, you have a reservation for EPCOT but want to hop to Magic Kingdom. You’ll still need to go to EPCOT first and scan your MagicBand or ticket before you can enter Magic Kingdom.

Mexico Pavilion

This plan isn’t totally infallible, either. There is a chance that on extremely busy days, park hopping can become unavailable. We saw this on Disney World’s 50th Anniversary when guests were unable to hop to Magic Kingdom. Disney has notified guests via the My Disney Experience app in the past, and there’s also a phone number you can call — (407) 560-5000 — to check if a park is full via automated message.

Tree of Life in Animal Kingdom

Park hopping can be a great way to visit a park without a reservation. And remember, Annual Passholders will no longer need reservations on weekdays after 2PM.

Everything You Need to Know About Park Hopping in Disney World

Make Other Plans

When all else fails — make other plans! We often stress how important it is to plan ahead, but it’s also incredibly important to be flexible on your Disney World vacation. If you can’t secure that pesky park pass, consider visiting other parks of the resort you might not have discovered or spent time at otherwise. Eat to your heart’s content and shop away at Disney Springs. You can even take in shows at the House of Blues or go bowling at Splitsville Luxury Lanes.

We love Disney Springs!

Don’t forget about the Disney water parks — Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon — either. Depending on when you’re heading to Disney World, the water parks may be closed for weather or refurbishment.

Blizzard Beach

Having a day to relax by your Disney World Resort hotel pool can give you the perfect amount of rest and recharging you need to take on the parks for another day! Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club feature a lazy river, and several Disney World hotels have water slides and splash pads.

Lazy River

There are plenty of other recreational activities you can enjoy at the hotels, too. Go fishing or horseback riding at Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground, or rent a Surrey Bike at Port Orleans. You can even rent boats from Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort!

Things You Can Do in Disney World Without a Park Ticket

When it comes to planning your Disney World vacation, thinking ahead is almost always the way to go. But, just in case you don’t have that luxury — make sure you keep these tips in your back pocket for when the Disney World park you want to go to is all booked up.

Cinderella Castle

Whew. We know that planning a Disney World trip is A LOT. And this Park Pass Reservation thing can be so confusing – which is why we bring you posts like this so often But we’ve also put together a complete guide in ebook format that gives you all of the info you need, all in one place! Use code WDW2023 for 25% off our DFB Guide to Dining at Walt Disney World. 

Stay tuned to DFB for the latest Disney news and more!

These Will Be the HARDEST Disney World Dining Reservations to Get in 2023

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What’s your secret to securing a Disney World park pass reservation? Let us know in the comments!

The post Secrets to Getting Disney World Park Passes When They’re Sold Out first appeared on the disney food blog.


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