Disney World adding early park entry for hotel guests

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Disney entrance Orlando [Credit: VIAVAL TOURS/Shutterstock.com]
Disney World's early theme park entry will be available later this year to guests staying at Disney resorts. Photo Credit: VIAVAL TOURS/Shutterstock.com

The Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando on Monday unveiled a benefit for hotel guests starting later this year that will give them early entry to the theme parks. The resort also announced the sunsetting of its Disney Magical Express service for bookings effective Jan. 1, 2022.

The changes reflect evolving consumer preferences, Disney said.

"As consumer needs and preferences change, we will no longer offer Disney's Magical Express service starting with arrivals in 2022," a Disney spokesperson said. "At the same time, we're also introducing new ways for guests to enjoy their visits, including early theme park entry for Disney Resort hotel guests."

Disney's Magical Express, a free bus service from Orlando Airport to guests' Disney hotels, was introduced in 2005. Since then, rideshare services have come online, and guests have shown preferences for more flexibility. The Magical Express will continue to operate for new and existing reservations made throughout 2021.

Other complimentary modes of transportation throughout the resort, like monorails, buses and the Skyliner, will continue to be available.

Early theme park entry will kick in later this year, part of the resort's celebration of its 50th anniversary.

Guests at Disney Resorts and select other hotels will be able to enter any theme park 30 minutes before all other guests, every day. In order to take advantage of the perk, guests will need to make a reservation via the new Disney Park Pass System. The system will help the resort better spread guests across its four theme parks.

At the same time, Disney announced it is permanently ending its Extra Magic Hours benefit, which was suspended last summer. That program granted resort guests early or late access to certain parks, depending on the day.

Disney also recently announced a special vacation offer: Guests can add two extra days to their tickets when they purchase a four-night, three-day stay and ticket package at select resort hotels for arrivals most nights Jan. 8 through Sept. 2.

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