A glimpse at what Disney World ticketing could be like, post COVID-19 closure

Shanghai Disneyland will be the first Disney theme park to reopen following the COVID-19 pandemic, giving us a glimpse at what admission may look like once Walt Disney World resumes operations.

“Everything is date specific, it’s capacity controlled, it’s advance reservation only,” said Robert Niles, Editor, ThemeParkInsider.com.

Shanghai Disneyland crowds will be limited to 30 percent capacity. Disney says it is ending day-of, walk-up tickets at the Shanghai park. Tickets will only available by advance reservation on a specific date.

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“The last thing the parks want to do is disappoint someone who shows up at the front gates and says ‘sorry you can’t get in,’” said Niles.

Annual passholders need not worry, at least in Shanghai, where tickets are being set aside for those guests.

“They want to make sure that people aren't disappointed at reopening, and they won’t be able to get in because of capacity controls,” said Niles.

How about discounts at reopening?

“I don’t know that they see that there is really going to be a need for discounting, for instance, as soon as Shanghai Disneyland put those opening day tickets up, they were sold out for the first day,” said Niles.

Niles also doesn’t believe prices will go up. One frequent Disney guest says prices should be reduced, initially.

“If they are going to open, without everything available then yeah, I do think they should offer some sort of discount, just because you’re not getting the full experience that you would,” he said.

But another guest says she understands Disney has to make money.

“Disney is taking a hit for this too! It’s still a business that has to operate, paying their bills, so yes, I agree about discounts," she said, "because you’re not having everything available, but there’s got to be some kind of recovery for them too.”

“It’s a trade-off, you don’t have the shows, you don’t have the parades, you don’t have the meet and greets but you have shorter cues for everything, i think people will say ‘okay, that’s a wash,’” said Niles.

Travel Agent Bob Cook isn’t worried about attendance.

“There’s a lot of pent-up desire, I don’t think we’ll have a problem getting people into the Park,” said Bob Cook, Director of Sales, GO Travel.

Experts say if attendance is down, perhaps that will lead to discounts.