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Do Disney Park Reservations Guarantee Reentry This New Year’s Eve?

Do Disney Park Reservations Guarantee Reentry This New Year's Eve? magic-kingdom-fantasy-in-the-sky

Updated to add the statement from Disney that was received by one of our DISboards members who reached out and asked for details.

Confused by the conflicting signals, I emailed Disney to ask about this a couple of weeks ago. Here’s their response:

You are welcome to exit our Theme Parks and return later in the same day to the same Theme Park at no additional charge. Admission to the Theme Parks is closely monitored and may need to be restricted or cut off when full capacity is reached. For this reason, we do not guarantee re-admittance to Guests who have exited the Park. – @Grasshopper2016

New Year’s Eve is only a few days away, and with Christmas and Hanukkah done and dusted, many are turning their attention to the celebrations of entering a new year, 2024! If you are in Disneyland or Walt Disney World, now is an exciting time to be visiting the parks. Though hectic and a little crowded, there is electricity in the air that keeps spirits high right through until the first week of January. However, there is one aspect of visiting Disney at this time that can often be overlooked and has caught out even the most seasoned travelers at times. If you are visiting the parks on December 31st, here is one topic that is proving to be a little controversial, and the lack of a straightforward answer is quite concerning.

We should also note that at the time of this posting, Disney Genie+ is sold out for Friday, December 29th both Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park for the second consecutive day.

You might be planning to start your day early to get the most out of the morning, then take a break in your resort before returning for the late-night countdown into 2024. Well, there may be a problem with this. Even with a park reservation, you might not be guaranteed re-entry after you leave, which makes this problematic if it comes to reentry time and the park is already at capacity. While planDisney has confirmed that park re-entry is not guaranteed, other sources suggest that with a park reservation, it is. Because of this, we went on a fact-finding mission to find the definitive answer, and sadly, not even cast members can say for sure. Because of this, we are airing on the side of caution so that all of the guests from our DIS community who are visiting the parks on the last day of this year can be prepared in the event that re-entry isn’t offered.

Here are three ways to approach this to make sure you are covered if leaving then returning to the park on the same day is part of your plan. The first is to forgo your rope drop morning and just have a sleep-in; not the end of the world, though it may feel unnatural to consider at Disney. By arriving later in the day and using your park reservation to enter, you will get hit with more people, though it will make it easier to enjoy the evening until park closing (if that is your goal) and make the most of New Year’s Eve. Your second option is to commit to the day in full. Pack all your supplies carefully with layers for all weather conditions, and take a solid stand to enjoy the full day and night in the parks. A tip for this option is to enjoy a table service meal or two for an added break and reset during that time. Lastly, if you do choose to play Disney roulette with your NYE plans, make sure you return early. When the park is at capacity, my spidey senses are telling me that re-entry will not be granted (don’t come for me; I am hoping to be wrong on this one!) Get in those few rides, leave, and then make it back before the evening crowds, giving yourselves the best chance of getting back in. This one is risky; let me just caution you with that.

Many a time, I’ve seen the crowds build up outside Disneyland or Magic Kingdom, full of hopeful guests looking to enjoy a special occasion in the parks and being told that they had to wait until crowds lowered before entering. It’s sad, and my heart always goes out to them, especially the ones who didn’t realize that their place in the park wasn’t guaranteed when they returned.

If re-entry with your park reservation goes ahead without a hitch, fantastic! However, we can’t help but think that with park hopping available after 2 pm, crowd capacity could cause re-entry to be more problematic. Make sure that you keep this possibility in mind this New Year’s Eve to avoid any disappointment!

Zoë Wood is a travel writer from Sydney, Australia. Since her first visit to Disneyland at the age of 6, she has spent her years frequently visiting Disney Parks and traveling around the world.

Join Zoë as she lets you in on all the tips, tricks, anecdotes, and embarrassments that arise from her family adventures.


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