A Disney World vacation is a significant expense to say the least, and as such, first-timers and regulars alike want to make sure they have the best experience possible to ensure their money is well-spent. There are an overwhelming number of factors to consider during the planning process, but where to stay and especially when to go are primary among them. Is 2023 the year for you, or would your interests be better served with a 2024 trip? Keep reading for our breakdown of whether visiting Walt Disney World in 2023 or 2024 is better.
7 Reasons to Visit Disney World in 2024
Before you can focus your attention on the more exciting aspects of the Disney vacation you’ve been dreaming of, like where you want to eat and which attractions you don’t want to miss, deciding when you’ll go is an essential first step. Here are several reasons why you may want to hold off on visiting the Most Magical Place on Earth until next year and a few reasons to go in 2023.
2024—New “Good-to-Go” Days For Annual Passholders
Disney World annual passholders who have been lamenting the restrictions on their visitation privileges can take heart. In 2024, Disney plans to roll out new “good-to-go” days on an ongoing basis, allowing passholders and Cast Members to visit the parks without a reservation during certain times. Disney says more information regarding these opportunities is yet to come!
2024—New Restaurants To Enjoy
The lavishly decorated Cake Bake Shop by Gwendolyn Rogers is coming to the Boardwalk at Walt Disney World and will be serving brunch, lunch, dinner, and afternoon tea service in 2024. Sweet and savory menu items will be available for table service, and guests will even be able to grab quick confections to-go from the restaurant’s bakery case.
Summer House on the Lake is also opening at Disney Springs in late 2023, offering guests California-inspired cuisine in the form of salads, sandwiches, pizzas, pasta, wood-grilled dishes, and small plates. Its unique dessert-centered market, The Cookie Jar, will sell “fresh-baked cookies and house-made pastries,” including giant cookies.
2024—A Simplified Genie Plus Experience
One of the biggest guest complaints about Disney’s current line-skipping add-on (Genie+) is that it requires you to spend much of your time in the parks glued to your phone making ride selections. Guests who miss the days of being able to make Fastpass+ selections in advance during the vacation planning phase, rather than waiting until the day they’re in the park to snatch up Lightning Lanes as they go, might be relieved to know Disney is working to make this possible in 2024 with Genie+.
Disney has not yet released details of this change to Genie+, but Disney representatives have said the goal is to simplify the Genie+ experience by allowing guests “to spend less time planning in the park and more time enjoying your visit with friends and family.”
2024—More New Attractions Will Be Opening
Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana is an upcoming walk-through exploration trail at EPCOT featuring a massive, foliage-covered Te Fiti figure and interactive water play components, like fountains and waterfalls. It’s set to open in the fall of 2023, but considering Disney’s historical precedent when it comes to opening timelines, it’s likely to be late in the year before this attraction officially opens.
Due to Splash Mountain’s permanent closure at Magic Kingdom, Disney fans are left waiting in 2023 for construction on its re-theming to be complete. Tiana’s Bayou Adventure is scheduled to open in late 2024, so guests hoping to experience the updated version of this popular attraction may want to wait until next year to plan a Disney World vacation.
2024—No Construction Walls at EPCOT
The completion of Moana’s Journey of Water, along with the opening of EPCOT’s World Celebration area, should mean the seemingly never-ending construction in that park should be mostly wrapping up at the end of 2023, resulting in a more robust and scenic EPCOT experience in 2024.
EPCOT’s festivals will have a new home at CommuniCore Plaza, which will provide an outdoor space where guests will be able to relax and attend concerts and performances, and CommuniCore Hall, the first indoor structure to host festival programming. In addition, Dreamer’s Point will feature a new statue of Walt Disney for guests to admire as they exit Spaceship Earth.
2024—Park Reservations Will No Longer Be Required For Date-Based Tickets!
Ever since Disney World reopened after its pandemic closure in 2020, the parks have been operating on a reservation system, meaning guests have had to check a reservation calendar for availability and make park day decisions months before their travel dates to secure park passes for each day they wanted to spend in a specific park.
Starting January 9, 2024, guests with date-based tickets (the standard option offered to guests) will no longer be required to do this. For other admission types, including non-date based tickets, theme park reservations may still be required.
2024—The Disney Dining Plan Is Returning To Disney World
If you prefer the ease of combining your food expenses and your Disney resort hotel stay into one pre-purchased package, you might be excited to learn Disney World is bringing back its popular Dining Plan (CLICK to read if worth it), which has not been available since early 2020.
Two dining plan options are currently available: the Quick-Service Dining Plan and the Standard Dining Plan, both of which allow you to pre-pay for meals during your trip. When it comes time to eat at a participating dining location, you can simply scan your Magic Band/card to use one of your allotted meals or snacks.
You Could Consider Visiting In 2023 For These Reasons
You heard why you might want to wait until 2024 to visit Walt Disney World, but there are also great reasons to visit Walt Disney World in 2023. The next items are reasons to visit this year.
The Walt Disney Company is celebrating its 100 year anniversary in 2023, and EPCOT is hosting festivities at Disney World from September 22-December 31. Spaceship Earth will feature a new light show set to “When You Wish Upon A Star” and a new nighttime pyrotechnics spectacular will make its debut on World Showcase Lagoon.
Other special additions to the park include a platinum statue of Mickey Mouse, a new character mural, anniversary decorations in World Celebration, and opportunities to meet Mickey and Minnie in celebratory costumes at Imagination Pavilion. Of course, there will be plenty of limited-time merchandise available, as well.
2023—Lower Crowd Levels and Current Ticket Pricing
Disney World has seen a plummet in attendance and wait times over the course of the summer, and although the causes are difficult to pinpoint (some sources list extreme weather, waning post-pandemic travel, and an intense Florida political climate as possibilities), you may want to take advantage of this trend while it lasts.
Price increases are a given each year, so it’s reasonable to assume you’ll pay less for a 2023 Disney World vacation than a 2024 Disney World vacation.
2023—There’s No Time Like the Present!
There are plenty of opportunities for guests to take advantage of now, and none of us (or our children) are getting any younger, so why wait?
Many Disney World resorts have experienced recent refurbishments (Wilderness Lodge and All-Star Movies and Music), and renovations are nearing completion at others (Boardwalk Inn, Beach Club). Early Entry at the parks is available 30 minutes before park opening for all Disney Resort Hotel guests, and Extended Evening Hours are being offered to guests at Deluxe Hotels and Villas on select dates in select parks.
Character-meet and-greets are back, with character dining experiences like the Disney Princess Breakfast at Akershus and Garden Grill Breakfast with Chip and Dale finally returning to the parks. New character interactions are happening now (Moana) and coming soon (EPCOT’s Figment and Mirabel from Encanto).
New attractions like Tron: Lightcycle/Run, Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind, and Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure are hitting their stride, and hopefully soon all three will have stand-by lines available instead of the Virtual Queue the former two are still currently using.
Pandemic restrictions have been lifted, and shows, parades, and nighttime entertainment are back and going strong, despite some modifications and shorter run times. After Hours events are back, giving guests the option to pay a hard ticket price for 3 extra hours in the parks after closing time with lower wait times at popular attractions.
Disney World is constantly undergoing changes, and bigger and better things are always going to loom over the horizon, but waiting for the proverbial grass to be greener could cause you to miss the chance to experience the magic of what’s happening now.
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