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Park Passes Refilled for Disney World’s 50th & More!

Disney Park Pass reservations have once again been refilled, including for Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary on October 1, 2021 and the rest of that weekend.

Reservations have been added for Annual Passholders, on-site resort guests, and regular theme park ticket holders. We’ll take a look at the changes, offer quick commentary about attendance caps, and some additional advice.

We actively monitor Disney Park Pass availability, and the last couple of weeks have seen semi-regular replenishments. In fact, prior to today’s update, the remainder of July had been continually refilled to the point that we didn’t even bother with ‘heads up’ posts.

Let’s start with a look at the rest of July 2021 for Annual Passholders:

As you can see, the calendar is now totally green for the remainder of this month. Ditto August and September 2021.

I’m not entirely sure when this happened, but it was all or mostly green prior to today.

Above is a look at the calendar for resort guests and theme park ticket holders for the remainder of July 2021. As a reminder, these two buckets pull from the exact same inventory, and have for a while.

The current July 2021 calendar is actually showing less availability than it was yesterday and even this morning. I know this because we’ve spent all day in the parks precisely because the calendars were all green for the last few days through this morning. To my knowledge, that’s a first in a long time for Magic Kingdom (save for right when dates are refilled, or when Park Hopping hours begin).

As predicted in our July 2021 Crowd Calendar & Month Info post, Walt Disney World’s approach to refilling Park Pass reservations is having a massive impact on wait times and attendance levels.

It would seem Walt Disney World has gone the “open the floodgates” route (or close to it) for the rest of the month and is no longer artificially limiting attendance–at least, not to a significant degree. But we’ll save that unpleasant “conversation” for a crowd report post tomorrow.

Next, we have resort guests and theme park ticket holders availability for the month of October 2021.

It’s once again all green, including for October 1, 2021 and the Saturday and Sunday that follow. If I recall correctly, only Animal Kingdom was available for some (or maybe all) of these dates.

Same thing, but for Annual Passholders. As a reminder, that weekend is the kickoff of Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary Celebration. Our expectation is that there will be another refill for those dates, so if you’ve missed out, don’t worry quite yet.

When I first looked at this calendar a couple hours ago (speaking of which, thanks to @MichaelBonnett for the heads up!), Magic Kingdom was not available for October 2 or 3. Then, all dates became available. Now, Magic Kingdom is gone on October 1, 2021 again. The point is that you should continue checking over the course of this evening if you’re trying to score Magic Kingdom Park Passes.

Sometimes, it takes several hours for all availability to “load” into the system and show up on the availability calendar.

Other times, people cancel their existing reservations and rebook elsewhere, opening up new availability. Keep in mind that both Magic Kingdom and Epcot are highly desirable on October 1, so it’s theoretically possible some Annual Passholders will cancel Magic Kingdom and rebook at Epcot (some–probably not many).

When you’re trying this, be sure to check the actual reservation booking system in My Disney Experience (see above screenshot), not just the Theme Park Reservation Availability Calendar.

We’ve found that there’s often a lag between what’s shown on the calendar and what’s actually available in MDX. At the very least, the color-coded calendar is not updated in real-time. On several occasions, we’ve been able to book Park Passes when the calendar shows no availability.

With each Disney Park Pass refill, we’re nearing the point when reservations become a formality. With each park capacity increase, Walt Disney World gets closer to available reservations surpassing organic demand.

In fact, that’s more or less what we witnessed today (July 20, 2021) during our time in the parks. (Today is not the first day that has been very busy at Walt Disney World during the last two weeks, either.)

Finally, some quick strategy. As always, reserving multiple DHS days gives you more chances for success with the Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance virtual queue. Our comprehensive Ride Guide & FAQ for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance covers everything you need to know–including some “fast finger” strategy to increase your odds.

With the 7 am virtual queue time, it’s possible to attempt to score Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance boarding passes from outside the park before you start your day. If you fail, you could then switch to a different park if you so desire, so long as other parks are still available. With attendance increasing at Disney’s Hollywood Studios but ride capacity remaining static, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to score Rise of the Resistance boarding passes–and it was not exactly easy before!

We’d actually recommend reserving 2 days at DHS and 0 days at Epcot–and plan on sticking with those reservations. Morning at DHS and evening at Epcot is our preferred way to experience both parks, which also works well given normal operating hours. Typically, Disney’s Hollywood Studios operates from 9 am until 8 pm, whereas Epcot is open from 11 am to 10 pm.

Accordingly, starting your morning at DHS and ending at Epcot can extend your day by a couple of hours. (Additionally, rope dropping Epcot doesn’t offer much strategic advantage.) For this reason, we also highly recommend purchasing Park Hopper tickets. Read about what to expect and why in our 2021 Guide to Park Hopping at Walt Disney World.

Planning a Walt Disney World trip? Learn about hotels on our Walt Disney World Hotels Reviews page. For where to eat, read our Walt Disney World Restaurant Reviews. To save money on tickets or determine which type to buy, read our Tips for Saving Money on Walt Disney World Tickets post. Our What to Pack for Disney Trips post takes a unique look at clever items to take. For what to do and when to do it, our Walt Disney World Ride Guides will help. For comprehensive advice, the best place to start is our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide for everything you need to know!

YOUR THOUGHTS

Have any luck scoring Disney Park Pass reservations with this new refill for October 2021? Hyped to be able to experience the kickoff of Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary from Magic Kingdom or Epcot? Excited, disappointed, or indifferent to this capacity increase? If you’ve visited in the last week or so, what has your experience been with actual wait times and “feels like” crowds? Do you agree with our suggestions for Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Epcot? Do you agree or disagree with any of our other commentary? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback—even when you disagree with us—is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!


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