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Disney World Guests Face Trouble at Park as Vacation-Saving Countdown Begins

Guests entering Disney's Hollywood Studios Theme Park at Walt Disney World Resort

Credit: Paul Hudson, Flickr

Disney World theme parks are some of the busiest entertainment destinations on planet Earth, and when they reopened post-pandemic closures, multiple new operations were put in place. Over the last couple of years, Guests have pushed back on one big element, and in just five months everything will change.

Guests in front of Cinderella Castle at night
Credit: Lee (myfrozenlife) via Flickr

Last week, The Walt Disney Company CEO, Bob Iger, revealed that Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Central Florida posted lower than anticipated revenue for the last quarter. This came after a string of reports that attendance was low at the leading Disney Park destination, claims which Iger refuted. Sure, the Fourth of July weekend was unusually quiet for the Parks, but the hot weather did play a part.

As a whole, The Walt Disney Company is on somewhat of a course correction. Across all facets of its business (Parks, TV, movies, streaming, etc.), Disney and its executives are navigating ever-changing waters, especially on the entertainment side of things. Iger is intensely focused on driving the streaming business, so much so that price increases have scaled up massively, and whispers of password-sharing have begun.

Bob Iger posing in front of several screens displaying various Disney owned properties
Credit: Disney

For Parks, though, many are still awaiting some of the big announcements from last year’s D23 Expo, including updates on the potential new lands at Magic Kingdom Park and Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park. Josh D’Amaro, as well as Jennifer Lee and Chris Beatty, revealed concept plans for the “blue sky” ideas, which included Coco (2017), Encanto (2021), and Villains-themed areas “Beyond Big Thunder Mountain” at Magic Kingdom, and locations themed to Moana (2016) and Zootopia (2016) in Animal Kingdom.

But while these ideas remain “blue sky” at this point, many changes the Parks made over the last two years are still very much in place.

Disney World IP expansion including 'Coco', 'Encanto', and Villains Land
Credit: Disney

Related: Disgruntled Guests Cause Disney to Make a Bold Statement

When the Disney World theme parks reopened following the pandemic closures, the company required Guests to pre-book their chosen Park using the Theme Park reservation system. There, Guests would select which Park they intend to visit first, with the option to head to another destination using the Park Hopper function at 2 p.m.

At one point, Disney celebrated the Park Pass system but seemingly went back on that when they announced they would be removing the Park Pass operation in January 2024, later calling it a “business highlight.”

Mickey at Disney World in front of Cinderella Castle
Credit: Disney

A big cause of frustration for Guests is the Park Hopping at 2 p.m. rule, especially when it came to certain Disney World theme parks. At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, for example, the Park Hopping rule can create issues when attractions and experiences become available, especially considering the low ride count at the Park.

In fact, Guests heading to Hollywood Studios today, August 14, faced trouble when two popular attractions were down at Park open. From WDW Stats (@wdwstats) on Twitter, it can be seen that both Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith and The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror were closed to Guests at rope drop this morning.

The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror has been temporarily interrupted. On average, an interruption takes 28 minutes. #HollywoodStudios #WDW #WaltDisneyWorld #DisneyWorld

Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith has been temporarily interrupted. On average, an interruption takes 32 minutes. #HollywoodStudios #WDW #WaltDisneyWorld #DisneyWorld

Tower of Terror was closed for 30 minutes, while Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster took 66 minutes to get running. Following the long closure of Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster in the a.m., the attraction went down once again later on, closing for another 51 minutes.

Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith has been temporarily interrupted. On average, an interruption takes 65 minutes. #HollywoodStudios #WDW #WaltDisneyWorld #DisneyWorld

Related: Disney World Declared “Capitalist Dystopian Nightmare” as Guest Struggles to Save Vacation

And it is not the first time complaints have been made about Hollywood Studios specifically. Guests once called the Park “absolute hell” after multiple attractions went down, leaving them essentially trapped while they awaited the 2 p.m. changeover window.

From January 9, 2024, all date-based tickets to the Disney World theme parks will not need a Park Pass reservation. For many, this change will be vacation-saving, and the countdown is on.

Are you looking forward to Park Passes vanishing? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments down below!

Walt Disney World Resort boasts four theme parks: Magic Kingdom Park, EPCOT Park, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios Theme Park. It also features two Disney water parks, Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park and Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park, and the retail and recreation area, Disney Springs. A valid ticket, as well as a Park Pass reservation (through January 8 for date-based tickets), is needed to enter each Park, and Park Hopper hours begin at 2 p.m. daily.


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