Big Changes to Walt Disney World Park Reservations & Disney Dining in 2024

Big Changes to Walt Disney World Park Reservations & Disney Dining in 2024

Big announcements were made to the Disney experience that affects your reservations, your stay and potentially your dining experience. We will walk through these announcements and try to understand what is happening and what is not. We’re also going to try our hand on why all of this is about 2024 and not a day or month sooner. Are there additional changes we like to see that haven’t been announced? And does any of this have to do eventually with Disneyland? Maybe, maybe not. Join us as we discuss big changes to Walt Disney World Park Reservations & Disney Dining in 2024.

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Here is what Disney has shared:

Every guest who visits Walt Disney World has a completely unique experience. The magic of these experiences comes from the little moments, the ones we don’t quickly forget. Like the décor when you step into a Disney Resort hotel, the smell of your favorite Disney treat as you walk down Main Street, U.S.A., the cast member who went out of their way to help you, or feeling the thrill as you race across the Grid on TRON Lightcycle / Run presented by Enterprise at Magic Kingdom Park.     

Thousands of these unique moments happen every day, creating a deeper connection with Disney. We care about that and continue to listen to your feedback. That is why we recently rolled out updates to improve the guest experience, like bringing back complimentary overnight self-parking at our Disney Resort hotels, adding attraction photos taken in the park on the day of your visit to Disney Genie+ service and more.   

And today we’re thrilled to share some more exciting news just in time for the launch of 2024 bookings for theme park tickets, Disney Resort hotel stays and packages at Walt Disney World on May 31. These updates will make planning your future Walt Disney World visits simpler and easier, so you can further enjoy all we have to offer and make more memories:   

Removing theme park reservation requirements for date-based tickets

Starting with park visits on Jan. 9, 2024, theme park reservations will no longer be required for date-based tickets. You heard that right! When getting your ticket, you will simply select a start date for Jan. 9, 2024 or later, complete your purchase and then you will be all set! For reference, date-based tickets are the standard ticket option we offer to guests. For other admission types, including non-dated tickets, theme park reservations may be required to help us continue managing attendance and delivering a great experience for everyone. You can check which admission types require park reservations by visiting before you purchase.  

Opportunities & Issues:

  • This is simply similar to the Disneyland ticket. If the reservation isn’t available, you can’t buy the ticket. It simply didn’t require a two-step process.
  • What if you don’t understand date-based tickets and you show up thinking you needed a reservation?

Introducing “good-to-go days” for Annual Passholders* and cast members

In 2024, we plan to offer select days on which our Annual Passholders* and Disney cast members may visit Walt Disney World theme parks without needing a park reservation. Once introduced, we will roll out these good-to-go days on an ongoing basis. This will be in addition to the recent update which offers Passholders the opportunity to visit the theme parks after 2 p.m. without needing a park reservation, except on Saturdays and Sundays at Magic Kingdom Park. Good-to-go days may vary by park, and pass block out dates and capacity limitations continue to apply like they do today. Please stay tuned for more details on good-to-go days.

Opportunities & Issues:

  • Great to see more flexibility not just for Annual Passholders but Disney Cast Members as well.
  • In some ways this isn’t really different than the bonus day system.
  • Passholders still want park hop before 2 p.m., but the virtual queue system kind of blocks that.
  • It would be great to see this happen sooner than later.

Bringing back our fan-favorite Disney dining plans

Time to eat! Disney dining plans will be coming back as an option for those staying at Disney Resort hotels who purchase a vacation package with us starting with stays beginning Jan. 9, 2024, which will also open for bookings on May 31. We know our guests – and families in particular – have missed dining plans, which offer guests the convenience and peace of mind of pre-paying for their meals and snacks. Guests will be able to choose from two popular options: Packages that include either the Disney Quick Service Dining Plan or the Disney Dining Plan. Both plans will be a great value for families with young children with access to many spectacular food and beverage offerings across Walt Disney World.     

Opportunities & Issues:

  • This will get a lot of people to book.
  • Still doesn’t mean that it’s a value, just that you have the option to pay in advance and not worry about it.
  • If You’re an Annual Passholder, Dine Now In Your Bucket List Restaurants!

Continuing to provide extended park time to Disney Resort hotel guests

For those planning to stay at a Disney Resort hotel, we will continue to offer the popular early theme park entry for visits through 2024 – every day, across all four theme parks. This great benefit gives you a jump start on your day. For those staying at Disney Deluxe Resorts and Deluxe Villas, we’ll also be continuing to offer extended evening hours on select dates at select parks through 2024. Early theme park entry and extended evening hours require valid theme park admission and a Resort ID.   

Opportunities & Issues:

  • This really isn’t an announcement, but a reminder.
  • Still, this is a primary reason for staying on Disney Resort properties
  • This is one reason for why the price is higher?


Simplifying the Disney Genie+ experience 

We have heard from guests that they would like ways to plan with Disney Genie+ service and individual Lightning Lane selections before the day of their park visit, and we want you to know we are working on ways guests may do this for visits in 2024. Our goal is to give you the opportunity to spend less time planning in the park and more time enjoying your visit with friends and family. While we are not yet able to share specific details, we look forward to sharing more information at a later date.  

Whether you’re getting ready to experience the feelings of a Disney thrill or counting down the days until your Disney visit, we hope these updates make you feel as excited as we are. We look forward to welcoming you to Walt Disney World real soon! 

Opportunities & Issues:

  • Very ambiguous compared to all the announcements. Why?
  • Are we trading waking up early on the day of to waking up early weeks prior?
  • Does this get tiered based on resort stay, etc.?
  • Could this further hamper Annual Passholders and Cast Members attending day of?
  • A FastPass+ early reservation-style experience only makes it harder for guests showing up on the day of the visit.
  • Could they completely change to a per attraction price for all attractions like in other international parks?
  • What if you don’t like your selections and you want a refund? Will Genie+ grant that to you?

Why 2024?

  • Pent Up Demand is Slowing Down
  • The 50th is Going Away and the 100th Won’t Make a Difference
  • There is Little New Attraction Offerings in 2024 Besides Tiana’s Bayou Adventure
  • Supply and Demand and Food Pricing is Balancing Out
  • Cast Members are More Available
  • I Could See “Good to Go” Days Happening Sooner
  • More Time Needed to Communicate Changes–Particularly Around Genie+

What About California?

  • Disneyland Dining Plans “Dining in the Magic” Were Discontinued Long Ago
  • Disneyland Allows Guests to Jump Parks Earlier in the Day
  • Annual Passholders Would Love “Good to Go” Days
  • Early Entry Applies to Only Disneyland Hotels
  • Disneyland never did do FastPass in advance.

Ready to Visit the Disney Parks?

Hopefully this podcast has made you realize you need help and support in planning your next trip to Disney. David and Leah with Out the Door Travel know Disney in ways few do and they can make your next trip on land or sea an exciting one–or at least less stressful! Be sure to contact them as you explore your next vacation, whether it is a Disney theme park vacation, a cruise, or an Adventure by Disney. There is no charge to utilize their services, but it will save you enormous time getting all the details right, and with their insight you can be assured you’re going to experience the best trip possible. Contact them today!

David and Leah Zanolla
(309) 863-5469
Instagram: @otdwithdavid

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