Now that the federal mask mandate has been struck down pending an appeal, the traveling public can’t be more esthetic. Travelers can rightfully breathe a sigh of relief. Traveling is one giant step closer to normal. In Disney parks, however, a compelling is needed. Since Disney reopened its parks after being closed due to the pandemic, guests have been required to make park reservations. Whether they have the Park Hopper pass or the Annual Pass, park reservations must be made. Now with park capacity picking up and returning to pre-pandemic levels, Disney is STILL using a park reservation system? HUH? Guests are beginning to frown prior to their trip, instead of smiling. Disney needs to “Dig a little deeper”. A major fix is needed to answer to the unhappy vibes shown by guests and Disney fans alike. What type of fix? The perfect fix is a capacity cut-off time. It is the perfect fix with three reasons-three valid reasons which speak volumes.

Before getting to the three reasons for a capacity cut-off time, it’s important for everyone to be familiar with the five Disney standards. They are safety, courtesy, efficiency, show, and inclusion. Inclusion is the most recent standard added during the pandemic. It’s in concurrence with the changing times. Unfortunately, the park reservation system contradicts efficiency. The park reservation system has proven to be flagrantly inefficient. Guests have been stressed out just trying to plan out their stay; what to do when, what time to go to certain places, and how to get the most out of their stay under such time restrictions. Guests cannot endure that stress anymore. It’s time for Disney to return to basics, old fashioned-style. Now is the time for Disney to return to efficiency.

Getting back to the three reasons why the park reservation system needs to be jettisoned, and a capacity cut-off time in dire need of consideration, Disney parks are the happiest place to be. They’re not meant to be the place for guests and Disney fans alike to get hot underneath the collar. The worst scenario is seeing park guests with the look of displeasure on their faces. Disney guests, mostly families, pay a substantial amount of money to have themselves a memorable time in the parks. Seriously, why must a capacity cut-off time be considered?

1) Busy times of the year: The most busiest times of the year at Disney parks are Thanksgiving week, Christmas and New Year’s week, Easter week, and Spring Break. Spring Break is a broad stretch of time ranging from middle school to college age kids. The summer months can be brutal, with temperatures soaring. In Florida, the humidity becomes an obstacle. On the guests’ resort room TVs, park hours are posted. They’re also published in the park area guide maps. If park hours are published, a capacity cut-off time should be published, too. Instead of long lines developing, and guests growing impatient, a capacity cut-off time is the perfect solution to prevent this unsatisfactory experience from becoming a reality. Worst of all, long lines become are guests’ worst nightmare. During lesser traveled times, the capacity level is lower. During busier times, the capacity levels are higher. So, why not? There is no reason why Disney cannot implement a capacity cut-off time to effectively manage the crowd levels. It’s possible! Walt said “If we can dream it, we can do it!”.

2) Stand-by and Lightning Lane get a lift: With park capacity once again reaching their pre-pandemic levels, the Stand-by entrance and Lightning Lane get a huge lift. It’s more than just a huge lift. It’s a significant lift that will help maintain appropriate wait times on both the stand-by cue line and Lightning Lane. The Lightning Lane replaces the former Fast Pass entrance, which guests were able to minimize their wait time in line. With a published capacity cut-off time, guests can be informed of the best time frame to enter each park. This will eliminate the inconvenience of guests having to wait on excessively long stand-by lines and missing out on the Lightning Lane because all times were maxed out. With a capacity cut-off time, both cue lines at all attractions will be manageable for all guests. At best, cast members can witness the joyful sight of guests’ smiling faces instead of beastly looks.

3) Cast member and guest-friendly: The cast members are the life blood of Disney parks. Without them, nothing works. No magical moments are possible! Guests both young and old won’t be smiling. Without the cast members, there would be no magic to be made. Seriously, the magic wouldn’t be felt, nor experienced anywhere or any time. What makes Disney parks the happiest places on earth is the guests themselves. Without them, the cast members wouldn’t be applauded for the hours of dedication they put in to making families’ vacations experiences of a lifetime. Together, the cast members and the guests make Disney parks ultra special. There’s a sense of “synergy” or “synchronized energy” felt in the parks. A capacity cut-off time keeps that magic alive. Magic doesn’t happen with long lines and Lightning Lane times maxed out. Guests desire the opportunity to experience everything about Disney; the cast members; the story-like experience they immerse them in, and the world class guest service they render on a daily basis. Guest service is not just what cast members do. It’s also a product. Having a capacity cut-off time keeps the magic flowing peacefully. It keeps guest service-that priceless product, intact. A capacity cut-off time protects the parks’ integrity. Above all, a capacity cut-off time rekindles the synergy felt between all cast members and guests alike.

Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resort are once again reaching their pre-pandemic capacity levels. Before guests can pack their bags, they have to make “park reservations”? Step by step, the pandemic is fading into the distance. It’s time for Disney parks to reach that pre-pandemic level of happiness. Unfortunately, a park reservation system is the improper fit for this joyful time. Spring and summer, especially now, is a time of happiness-a time of unmatched joy after being cooped up indoors during the pandemic. Now with travelers and Disney fans alike returning to Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resort, the solution is clear to scrap the park reservation system. It has become tremendously inefficient and needs an effective replacement. A capacity cut-off time is not just the right solution; it’s the perfect solution. It’s acceptable, feasible, and above all-plausible. It is the solution that would enable Disney to achieve the level of synergy which all cast members and guests can exhibit together. “For the first time in forever”, let there be happiness in the parks again.

About Author

David Kriso has been a travel writer since August 2011. He is a contributing writer for both of his hometown's newspapers, The Gazette, and The Observer. His articles focus on cruise and railroad travel. David is also published online at ProwsEdge.com, a cruise magazine based in Vancouver, Canada and at Amtrak's story site, Whistlestop.Amtrak.com. David also writes for the publication Examiner.com. On Examiner.com, he writes about cruise and rail travel. David is a long-time train traveler, avid cruiser, and a Disney traveler since age 4.

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