Did you know there are AAA travel advisors who specialize in Disney vacations? We call them our “Magic Makers.” They have all the tips, tools and know-how to make your Disney trip as magical as you imagined, including helping you navigate some of the exciting new Walt Disney World changes coming in 2024.
What’s changing at Walt Disney World?
- Starting Jan. 9, 2024, Disney will no longer require park reservations for date-based tickets (the standard Disney ticket).
- Also starting on Jan. 9, the Disney Dining Plan and the Disney Quick Service Dining Plan will return.
- The Disney Genie+ park planning system will be updated and simplified.
- Annual passholders will be able to enter the parks without a reservation on select “good-to-go” days.
- Parks will continue to offer extended morning and evening hours for hotel guests.
- Deluxe resort room categories will be listed as resort view, water view or theme park view.
Bookings for next year open on May 31! We spoke to some of our Disney experts to help you learn about how these changes could make your next trip even more magical.
What do the changes to park reservations mean?
After Jan. 9, most Walt Disney World guests will no longer have to make reservations at a park before entry.
Cindylou Chevalier was enthusiastic about the update. “Previously, the steps required you to check availability, select a ticket, enter your dates of travel, purchase and then go back to the reservation screen to secure your park reservation,” she said. “Simplifying the process now allows so many people the ability to feel more confident in bringing their families into the park for a day of fun!”
“I think this is going to be great for families who would rather go with the flow than plan all of their days ahead of time,” Cady DeBlois said. “This will also help when making dining reservations. You won’t have to worry about changing your park reservations to match the restaurant.”
Is the returning Disney Dining Plan a good deal?
The Disney Dining Plan has been a favorite of park-goers and travel advisors for years. But is the deal good enough to eat?
“The Disney Dining Plan is the best way to save money and get the full Disney experience,” Bianca Rheaume said. “You can pay in advance, so you will know the total cost of your vacation and can plan properly for it. This also allows guests to be able to do all of the character dining experiences that they want with a set rate!”
What are your hopes for the Genie+ update?
Genie+ is the system that allows guests to schedule Lightning Lanes (previously known as FastPass) for rides and attractions. You can access Genie+ through the My Disney Experience app, where you can purchase Lightning Lane access. At time of writing, guests have to sign up for Genie+ on the day of their park visit. We don’t know the exact details of the future update, but Disney seems to be hinting at a way to purchase Genie+ further in advance.
“The Genie+ experience is very stressful for many who do not want to be on their phone in the park and want to be enjoying the time with their friends and family,” Rheaume said. “Making it available prior to being in the park will help so many members spend more time doing what they enjoy with their families in the parks.”
How will these changes affect the Walt Disney World experience?
Albert Chace encouraged Disney fans with words many have been hoping to hear. “Get excited for the ‘old’ Disney to return. The simple Disney. A day when people can go enjoy a day at a theme park without thinking about it.”
What are some of your top Disney vacation tips?
“I always recommend taking midday breaks or including a non-park day,” DeBlois said. “A few of my favorite things to do on a non-park day include visiting Disney Springs, hanging out by the pool, visiting other resorts and sleeping in before a late breakfast reservation.”
“Take advantage of rope drop (the moment the parks open for the day) when staying at a Disney resort,” Chevalier recommended. “It’s a great way to ensure you get a chance to ride one of your top choice rides.”
“This one might be a little biased, but utilize a travel advisor!” Victoria Barros said. “There are so many aspects to a magical Walt Disney World Vacation that can be overwhelming to the average traveler. Let us handle the hard stuff so you can just sit back and relax.”
Have a question for our travel advisors? Ask away!
What do you think of the changes coming to Walt Disney World? Let us know in the comments below.