Disney World Is Making Four Major Changes
The theme park has been rolling back Covid-era restrictions and bringing back super popular perks.
Mickey Mouse fans rejoice! Walt Disney World is making some major changes to enhance the visitor experience, making it easier for vacationers to plan their trips to the most magical place on earth. The theme park is revamping its reservation system, bringing back dining plans, and a few more programs in the works are set to begin Jan. 9, 2024.
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No more theme park reservations for date-based tickets.
Pandemic measures currently require guests to purchase a park ticket and book a reservation in order to enter, as outlined on the theme park's website. As a result, visiting Disney World isn't as easy as rolling up to Cinderella's castle. Guests need to reserve spots for the exact park they want to visit on a specific day, with limits on park hopping (visiting multiple theme parks in one day), as well.
Starting next year, guests will have more flexibility to purchase their entry tickets, which will only require them to reserve passes for the time period that coincides with their trip. Wherever they choose to explore across Disney's 43-mile resort during that time is open to them. They will only need to tap their tickets at the entrance gate and they are set.
Good-to-Go days for annual pass holders.
Disney World annual pass holders are in for a new change as well, with the company's "good-to-go" days coming into effect next year. Under this provision, annual pass holders (including Disney cast members) can visit Disney World theme parks without needing any kind of park reservation, according to information found on the official Disney Parks Blog.
Currently, annual pass holders need to make a reservation for the parks like everyone else, but they can enter the theme parks after 2:00 p.m. without needing a reservation, per the company's annual pass website. The current provision does not apply to the Magic Kingdom theme park on Saturdays and Sundays, the busiest days of the week for this particular location.
The Points Guy notes that no official launch date has been set, but that the change is expected to "roll out on an ongoing basis."
Being able to prepay for meals, drinks, and even snacks was put on hold during the pandemic. The program was quite popular for guests who booked hotel stays at Disney World properties, according to The Points Guy. The Disney dining plan website states that a few packages will return as of Jan. 9, 2024.
Guests staying onsite can take advantage of two options, a Quick Service Dining Plan that includes two quick-service meals, a snack or nonalcoholic drink, and a refillable drink mug with unlimited refills, per night stayed per guest, or the Disney Dining Plan which includes table-service meals, quick-service meals, snacks and nonalcoholic drinks based on the nights stayed, as well.
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There will also be changes to the Disney Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lanes programs, which are ways guests can reduce time spent waiting in line at certain attractions. The programs are an additional fee, but most customer complaints center around being unable to choose or plan which rides and attractions guests can take advantage of, according to The Points Guy.
Disney is working on simplifying the Disney Genie+ experience, making it easier for guests to plan their visit ahead of time. The hope is that visitors will be able to pre-schedule their Lightning Lane options prior to their visit, though the specific information hasn't been revealed yet, according to the Disney Food Blog.
Best Life reached out to Disney World for comment on these changes, but has yet to hear back.