Disney has announced a series of updates coming to Walt Disney World, with old benefits returning and new changes that will make guest experiences smoother and more convenient. These major updates come in response to guest feedback, and Disney will be loosening up lockdown-era policies, re-introducing paused plans, and improving existing programs.
We’ll break down the details of these announcements below and how it will affect your next visit to Walt Disney World!
Dining Plans Return to Walt Disney World
The extremely popular Disney World dining plans have been a perk several guests have been missing! These dining plans allow guests staying at Walt Disney World Resorts who buy a vacation package to pre-plan and purchase meals and snacks.
Disney announced that the Dining Plans will be returning to Walt Disney World in 2024, with both the Disney Quick Service Dining Plan and the Disney Dining Plan offered. These will become available to book on May 31, 2023, with the purchase of a Disney Hotel Resort Package, or it can be added to an existing reservation on that date.
Now that most of Disney World’s dining and restaurants are back in operation, Disney is offering this guest-favorite perk once again. You can read about our thoughts on whether or not Disney World Dining Plans in 2024 are worth it and our full guide to dining at Walt Disney World for more information on making the most of your your dining experience at Disney World.
Disney World Changing Requirements for Theme Park Reservations
Another major change coming to Walt Disney World is the change to the theme park reservation requirement, which was frustrating to several guests. Right now, guests are required to make a reservation for the day they want to attend the park and buy their tickets. While the reservation has not caused significant problems for those planning their Disney World trips far in advance, it does present challenges for those who plan last-minute trips or want to shift trip days and run into limited park reservation availability.
Disney has announced that starting January 9, 2024, Disney World will be ending theme park reservation requirements for date-based tickets, which is the standard option offered to guests when buying tickets. For other admission types and date-based tickets, reservations will still be required.
Disney has also introduced “Good to Go” days that will be offered to Annual Passholders and Cast Members on an ongoing basis, allowing them to visit the Disney World parks without a reservation. These dates may vary per park. This is alongside a recent update that allows Passholders to visit after 2pm without a park reservation (excluding Magic Kingdom on Saturdays and Sundays).
Disney World Announces Advanced Lightning Lane Bookings
During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Disney introduced Genie+ as a replacement for the old FastPass system. With Disney World Genie+, guests are required to make any Lightning Lane reservations on the day that they are going to ride the attraction.
In response to guest feedback, Disney is currently working on a solution that will enable guests to pre-plan their Genie+ experience before the day of their visit, which may include the possibility of making Individual Lightning Lane selections ahead of time as well.
The goal of this change is to allow guests to enjoy their time at the park without needing to hover over their phones and stress about planning during their visit. While there is no set date for when Genie+ Advanced Booking will take effect, Disney has shared that this update will become available sometime in 2024.
Early Entry at Disney Hotels
Though this is not a new or major change to Walt Disney World, Disney has announced that they will continue offering Early Entry for 2024 Disney Resort Hotel guests. This will give guests staying at Disney Resorts early access to the park before regular park hours and extended evening hours for guests at Disney Deluxe Resorts and Deluxe Villas at select dates and parks.
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