Disney World has good news for park guests planning to trek to Florida in 2024. According to a Disney blog post, the park will end its unpopular (often confusing) reservation requirement for select visitors. The fun doesn’t stop there; Disney will also bring back its family-friendly Disney dining plan. Now that’s a Happy New Year, indeed! Here’s everything we know about the end of Disney reservations and the return of pre-budgeted meal plans.
What is a Disney Theme Park Reservation?
The rule has been that when you purchase a one-day ticket for Disney parks, you must make a reservation at the park you planned to visit. For single-day guests, these Disney reservations are made automatically on your behalf when you purchase your ticket.
However, multi-day visitors need to make a reservation for each day of their visit. For example, if you purchase a ticket to visit Disney on a Monday, the reservation for your Monday trip will automatically be made. If you were planning to visit the House of Mouse for a whole week, Monday through Friday, you would need to make a reservation at the park for each day of your week-long trip.
To complicate the Disney reservation process, there have also been other instances where you’d need to make a reservation on your own, including when you purchase a park hopper ticket or vacation pass.
If the process sounds confusing to you, you’re not alone. Disney created a handy chart to determine when to make reservations and when the system would do it for you. Fortunately, beginning in January 2024, all of this will change.
What’s Happening With Disney Park Reservations?
Beginning January 9, 2024, there won’t be any Disney park reservation requirements for date-based tickets. That means single-day visitors and those who purchase tickets for a specific timeframe will no longer need to make a reservation. Those with annual passes or specific non-date-based tickets will still need to make reservations (you can verify whether you’ll need reservations by visiting the Disney World website here).
Managing the number of guests that walk through those magical gates daily helps Disney ensure an amazing experience for every visitor. By asking those with non-date-based tickets to make a reservation, they’ll know exactly how many people to expect and how to meet staffing needs.
What’s Happening With the Disney Dining Plan?
It’s baaaaaack. The extremely popular and cost-conscious Disney dining plan was once a guest favorite. Disney did away with this plan in March 2020 when it closed down due to lockdown restrictions, but it allowed visitors to prepay for meals and snacks throughout the park. Not only was this a significant time-saver (something essential when traveling with kids), but it also allowed busy families to budget for their food spending.
“Another big and exciting announcement was the long-awaited and highly-anticipated return of the Disney Dining Plan,” explains Disney enthusiasts Josh and Natalie Ferreira. “This can be a great value to groups who know they want to eat in the parks for the majority of their meals.”
What’s Included in the Disney Dining Plan for 2024?
The 2024 rollout of the new plan will include two packages: the Disney Quick-Service Dining Plan and the Disney Dining Plan.
The Quick-Service Plan is available for guests ages three and up. It includes two quick-service meals per night, one snack and non-alcoholic drink per night, and one resort-refillable drink mug (you can refill these at self-service beverage islands in any Disney Resort hotel location with a quick-service station). View it here.
The Disney Dining Plan is more robust and offers one quick-service meal per night, one table-service meal per night, one snack and non-alcoholic drink per night, and one resort-refillable mug. Those table-service restaurants are subject to availability and include fine or signature dining experiences, select Disney character dining, and dinner shows. View it here.
What Do Families Need To Know About These Changes?
Our Disney enthusiasts tell us the best way to get the most out of your stay is by researching before you go.
“Familiarize yourself with as much as you can so that when the time comes when maybe something doesn’t go exactly as planned, you have alternative options that don’t completely derail what’s supposed to be a magical day,” the Ferreiras say. “You don’t have to over-plan, but it never hurts to over-prepare.”
Those are words we’re going to heed. We can’t wait for Disney’s 2024 changes to drop!