The New and Infuriating Disneyland Reservation System
Shanghai Disneyland was the testing ground; but soon it’s your turn America
Tonight was the night I’d spent a week waiting for, but Disney ruined it.
Let me provide some context.
As you may know, Shanghai Disneyland re-opened a couple of weeks ago with strict new health and safety precautions. I attended the opening day, took lots of photos, and wrote an article about my experience.
I didn’t go to Disney that day with the intention of having a fun casual day, the goal was 100% to work hard and get those sweet royalties.
My goal was to be observant and take notes so that my article covering the opening could be as thorough as possible. I was fine with the idea of spending a whole day at Disney taking notes and being critical because I have an annual pass, so I knew I could just go back anytime.
That was what I’d figured, but my casual optimism was soon ruined by the online booking system.
Do you have a reservation?
Even if you have an annual pass, all guests need to go online and make a reservation to enter the park.
This is because while coronavirus is still a threat, Disneyland has cut down park capacity to a fraction of what it normally is.
To ensure park capacity stays low, the physical box office is closed. All tickets must be purchased ahead of time, and your entry reserved online.
I’d already been to the park by myself, but I wanted to go back with my partner. Unfortunately, the only days my partner is available to spend the whole day at Disney is Sundays.
What makes it even more unfortunate is that it seems Sundays are the most popular day to attend by far.
For those of you who are in China and want to go online and make your reservation, click here to be linked to the reservation website.
A lot of people have been asking me for that link because they don’t know where I even found it.
It’s on the Disney website, but it’s buried in a pop-up and not on the main ticket booking page for some insane reason.
Making the Reservation
Originally, reservations were only able to be booked 5 days ahead of time, so I planned on staying awake until 12:00am Tuesday morning to make my reservations for Sunday.
Last week I tried (like an idiot) to book them at 8am and missed out.
This week I wasn’t planning on making the same mistake, so I laid out some munchies, drank some coffee, and got ready to wait it out.
I had made it all the way to 9pm when I decided to log in, just to be ready for when midnight came around; and that’s when I saw what had happened.
Tickets are now available 6 days ahead of time, not 5. So once again I’ve missed out.
Thanks Disney, now I have to wait yet another week.
On one hand I’m beyond furious, but on the other hand, annual pass dates are still moving back.
This means that the countdown for my pass expiring still hasn’t resumed even though I’ve used it; which takes away the time pressure to squeeze as much value out of the pass as possible.
In case you were curious, here is what the booking website looks like.
You have to book your ticket before going onto the reservation page because the ticket ID number is needed.
Along with your ticket or pass ID, you’ll also need the ID number that you used to book the ticket.
Chinese citizens use their national ID, the rest of us use our passport number.
On this page, you can choose the day you’d like to visit the park. Days that have a grey dot beneath them have sold out.
You’ll notice that Saturday is available, and that’s because the cheaper annual pass doesn’t allow visitors to enter on Saturdays. This makes Saturday an especially pleasant day at Disney.
Choose your day (from all those many options) then your entry time depending on what’s still available.
There’s no exit time, so you can leave the park whenever you want.
On the next page you confirm, then finally you’d receive a QR code page, followed by a confirmation page that you could theoretically print if anyone still owned printers. Please screenshot this page and bring it with you.
Strangely, there’s no button on the page or any other official way of saving it to your ticket, phone, or anything else. Yet you still need to show your confirmation page at one of the security checkpoints to gain access to the park.
So you literally need to screenshot it, send the screenshot to your phone, save the image, then show the image to the security guy at the park.
It’s insanely stupid, and I’m sure that lots of people aren’t doing it.
When the ticket checker inputs my passport number into the computer, he can see my annual pass connected to my passport. This is not the case with the reservation.
Watch out America.
This website is in English, it does the job, and it works. What this means (from past experience) is that it’s going to be shipped to your parks when they inevitably open, bugs and all.
Disney World got shipped the old discarded floats from Tokyo Disney’s Jubilation parade, which then got reworked into Festival of Fantasy. So I’m 100% sure they’ll do the same with the website.
If you’ve got time, check it out now and get to know it well; because soon it’ll be you staying up until midnight to then be disappointed because everyone else is smarter and faster than you.
Then, if you ever do secure a reservation, screenshot the damn confirmation page and bring it with you, or you’ll regret it.