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2024: Key Things to Know about Disney

Looking Towards 2024
Credit: Disney

As 2023 wraps up and we head into 2024, many of us can look forward to saying, “I am going to Walt Disney World this year!”

If you are one of the lucky ones heading to the Walt Disney World Resort in 2024, there are some essential details you will want to know. Ensure you know about important information such as closures, openings, and policy changes. By learning about this before your trip, you can plan successfully.

For those still dreaming of a trip in 2024 to the Walt Disney World Resort, consider some of these essential details to choose the best time for your trip.

We can’t wait to see all of the magic coming in 2024 to the Disney Resort hotels, Disney Parks, and Disney Springs.

magic kingdom partners statue

Credit: Becky Burkett

Major Policy Changes

After years of wishing and hoping for the return of the dining plan and removing some restrictions, 2024 will be the year we see this happen.

Park Hopping Back In Full

Those who love hopping between the four Disney Parks are thrilled that in 2024, they will be able to do so whenever they want.

When park hopping returned to Walt Disney World in 2021, it was with some restrictions. Guests who purchased the park hopper feature on their theme park ticket could only hop after 2 p.m. Disney used this to help monitor park crowds.

Starting January 9, 2024, this restriction will be lifted. Guests will once again be able to park-hop anytime during the day. This will make the additional cost of the Park Hopper feature a lot more appealing. By being able to move between the parks freely, guests can experience more of all four parks in a shorter period if they choose to do so.

Calendar Park Reservation System

Credit: Walt Disney World 

No More Theme Park Reservations

Another significant policy change coming in 2024 will be the removal of Park Pass Reservations. Since Disney Parks opened after the closure in 2020, guests have been asked to make theme park reservations. This was used to help the Walt Disney Company manage crowd level and cast members.

Those purchasing a date-based park ticket (part of a Disney Resort hotel Package or a single-day ticket tied to a specific date range) will no longer need to make a theme park reservation. Starting January 9, 2024, guests will choose which theme park they want to visit on the go if they choose to do so.

Although most guests visiting Walt Disney World will still have a general plan for which Disney Park they hope to see each day, this will give guests more flexibility within those plans.

stressful Disney Genie, Disney Genie+, and Lightning Lane

Credit: Disney

Genie+ Changes

The details of this change are still unclear; however, Disney has stated that Genie+ will see some changes in 2024. As guests have communicated frustration with Disney Genie, including Genie+, and how complicated the system is, we hope changes will address some of these concerns.

In Disney’s statement, Disney referred to the idea that a guest might be able to plan before their theme park visit. As we spend much time on our phones throughout our trip, we want to see something like this being offered. We would also like to avoid having to set our alarm each morning of our trip.

These three policy changes will significantly impact those planning trips to Walt Disney World in 2024. We hope they will provide more flexibility when enjoying the magic in Disney Parks.

dining plan logo and stars

Credit: Disney Parks/Canva

Disney Dining Plan Returns

Those visiting Walt Disney World in 2024 can add one of two Disney Dining Plans. Disney fans are thrilled that this feature will again be available at Walt Disney World.

The Disney dining plan allows guests to pre-pay for their dining costs when booking a Disney vacation package.

Starting for those arriving on Janurary 9, 2024, two dining plans are available at Walt Disney World. The Quick Service Dining Plan offers guests two quick-service meals, one snack per stay night, and one refillable resort mug to use at their Disney Resort hotel.

Quick service meals include one entree or combo and a beverage of choice. Guests over 21 can purchase alcoholic drinks with their meal. The quick service meal costs $57.01 per adult and $23.83 per child ages 3 to 9.

Disney Dining Plan (the standard dining plan) gives guests one table service credit, one quick service credit, a snack credit, and a refillable mug. Table service credits are good for one table service entree, dessert, and drink at one of the many sit-down restaurants throughout Walt Disney World. The table service credit can also be used for a buffet at places such as Crystal Palace, Chef Mickey’s, or Tusker House.

This plan costs $94.28 per adult and $29.69 per child ages 3 to 9 per night of stay. This plan can be a fantastic deal for those traveling with kids who want to experience character meals.

The dining plans are an excellent option for those wanting to pre-pay for their dining. By purchasing the dining plan, guests won’t have to worry about the cost of food throughout the trip. They can enjoy their meals without stressing the price using their dining credits.

Reflections a Disney Lakeside Lodge

Credit: Disney

Resort Construction

When choosing which Disney Resort hotel you want to stay in during your 2024 trip, make sure you know these resorts that are seeing construction. The Walt Disney Company is constantly updating the Disney experience.

DVC Polynesian Village

Credit: Disney

Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort

The beautiful Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort is adding a new Disney Vacation Club tower. This new DVC area is set to open in 2024. Guests can experience new swimming options, dining, and recreation throughout the new area.

Although the construction is isolated to the tower area, those staying at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort might hear and see construction noises during their stay.

Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground

It was a surprise when Disney Vacation Club announced they would redesign the cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground. We recently saw artists rendering these new rooms, hoping to open them in 2024.

Cooper Creek Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

Over at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, the Cooper Creek Cabins (part of the DVC section) will be updated starting in April 2024.

Disney has limited the update to a handful of cabins at a time to allow guests to continue to book these accommodations during this time. However, remember that construction will be in the area even if it isn’t your specific cabin.

Beaches Pool Bar and Grill Exterior

Credit: Disney

Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

This iconic Disney Resort hotel is undergoing an extensive refurbishment. The outer buildings have been completed and feature a beautiful Mary Poppins (1964) theme throughout the resort.

The exterior of the resort and main lobby will see construction throughout 2024.

Guests swimming in Disney's Fuentes del Morro Pool

Credit: Disney

Resort Rebirbishments

The main construction at Walt Disney World is currently focused on the DVC areas of both the Polynesian Resort and Fort Wilderness Resort. Still, there are also some resorts to consider when booking in 2024.

handful of pools will be closed in 2024 at Walt Disney World. If swimming is important to you, make sure you skip these resorts.

RelatedBest Pools at Walt Disney World

The feature pool will be under construction at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort from early 2024 through late March 2024. Doubloon Lagoon at Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter will be closed from early 2024 through April 2024 for maintenance.

Luckily, both of these resorts offer other pools for guests to enjoy. At Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, guests can enjoy the quiet pools in each section. When staying at Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter, guests can enjoy a swim at Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside.

We love that Walt Disney World is invested in its resorts right now. They are spending a lot of effort updating the rooms, exteriors, and recreation areas to accommodate guests during their visits.

Even though we appreciate this, we know that these updates can cause interruptions to vacations. When booking a trip in 2024, be aware of these resorts that have scheduled construction.

Doing so can help limit its impact on your vacation experience.

Tiana's Bayou Adventure construction

Credit: Steven Wilk

New Experiences in 2024

Not only is Walt Disney World working hard on updating the resorts, but we are also seeing a lot of new adventures coming to the parks. A handful of new experiences are headed to Walt Disney World in 2024.

Tiana’s Bayou Adventure – Magic Kingdom

The most anticipated ride to Walt Disney World in 2024 is Tiana’s Bayou Adventure. This ride is replacing Splash Mountain in Frontierland following its closure in 2023. Coming to Magic Kingdom park in late 2024, we can’t wait to experience it.

The new water adventure is based on The Princess and the Frog (2009). The new experience is focused on Tiana and her friends planning a big celebration.

Guests will travel through the bayous of Louisiana as they help Tiana with her plans. The ride will include characters from the movie and even some new ones we haven’t seen before. This highly anticipated ride is scheduled to open in 2024.

Be prepared for the excitement and long lines we expect will arrive with it. Do we think a virtual queue will be used?

communicore hall concept art

Credit: Disney

CommuniCoreHall and Plaza – EPCOT

We have seen many changes come to EPCOT over the last few years. Although the walls are down and much of the park is open, there is still one area we are waiting on.

CommuniCore Hall and Plaza will be in EPCOT’s World Celebration. This area will host festival events throughout the year. This area will provide a central location for the event during the four festivals that EPCOT hosts.

An outdoor space will provide an additional area for guests to relax and experience all the food, drinks, and entertainment the festivals offer. We anticipate that this new area could host performances such as the Garden Rocks Concert Series or the Disney on Broadway Concert Series.

The CommuniCore Hall will focus on hosting experiences such as festival programs. We greatly miss the classes and tutorials that used to be part of the festivals. We hope that this new area will bring these back once again.

These are the significant updates that we currently know about heading into 2024. We look forward to what other surprises Disney might bring to the parks in the coming year.

Journey of Water

Credit: Disney

Not to Miss from 2023

If you haven’t been to Walt Disney World in a while, there are a lot of new, exciting experiences you might not have experienced yet. Even though these attractions opened in 2023, many of us won’t be able to enjoy them until the new year.

Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana – EPCOT

We have mentioned all the updates that EPCOT has seen over the last eighteen months. One of the big openings was the new walk-through attraction based on Moana (2016)

This attraction opened in October, and guests have enjoyed the interactive features found throughout. Guests can learn about the importance of water while having fun with the various water features found throughout.

EPCOT Luminous

Credit: Disney

Luminous The Symphony of Us – EPCOT

To wrap up 2023, EPCOT introduced an all-new nighttime show. Guests have been experiencing EPCOT Forever following the removal of Harmonious early in the year.

The new show takes place over World Showcase Lagoon. With all new music, fireworks, lasers, and fountains, this new show reminds everyone that we are on this journey together.

This show is a fantastic way to wrap up a wonderful day at EPCOT.

Exciting changes coming to EPCOT

Credit: Disney

Dreamers Point – EPCOT

Located at the front of the park as part of the World Celebration, Dreamers Point is full of magic and beauty.

Here, guests can visit the new statue of Walt Disney, surrounded by beautiful gardens. The statue and area remind us to dream big! Take time to slow down during your EPCOT day and visit this particular park area.

TRON Light Wall effect returns

Credit: Disney

TRON Lightcycle / Run – Magic Kingdom

When heading to Walt Disney World in 2024, make sure you experience this high-speed, thrilling coaster. TRON Lightcycle / Run opened at Walt Disney World in April 2023, but many still await the thrill.

As one of the fastest coaster at Walt Disney World, thrill seekers won’t want to miss out. This also goes for Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind in EPCOT.

country bear jamboree magic kingdom

Credit: Becky Burkett

Closures in 2024

As of right now, there aren’t a lot of big closures scheduled for 2024. This doesn’t mean that they won’t happen, but as of right now, Disney has not released it. There are only a couple to be aware of that could impact your experience.

Test Track Exterior

Credit: Disney

Test Track – EPCOT

Disney announced that the beloved Test Track attraction in EPCOT will receive a huge overhaul in the next few years.

Details haven’t been given about when and how long the ride might be closed but we look forward to seeing what Disney Imagineers have in store for Test Track moving forward.

Country Bear Jamboree – Magic Kingdom

Disney also announced that Country Bear Jamboree will be getting an update. The classic Frontierland show and the bears that call it home will look slightly different in 2024.

A new act, songs, and an overall refresh will come in 2024. Although we love the Country Bears, they are overdue for a slight update.

animal kingdom ride kali river rapids water ride hot Disney world

Credit: Disney

Kali River Rapids- Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Finally, don’t forget that Kali River Rapids at Disney’s Animal Kingdom shuts down during the winter months. This will start on Janurary 8, 2024, and now the reopening date is posted.

Typically, this ride opens up once the spring and warmer weather hits Walt Disney World. Most guests don’t wish to ride during winter as being cold and wet isn’t much fun.

Following two significant celebrations with Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary and The Walt Disney Company’s 100th Anniversary, 2024 might seem a little quieter. Although the last few years have seen a lot of excitement at Walt Disney World, we look forward to 2024 and all it has waiting for us.

We are thrilled that the beginning of the year will see some big changes to policies and the return of the dining plans. As we look toward the new year, we are thankful for all the magic we will experience throughout Walt Disney World in the coming year.

As we head into 2024, we hope you have a magical and safe year full of faith, trust, and pixie dust.

Related: Planning a Trip to Disney in 2024? Stay Away from These Dates

About Jennifer Retzlaff

My name is Jennifer Retzlaff and I became a lifelong Disney fan during my first trip to Walt Disney World in 6th grade. From that moment, Disney became a big part of my life. I live in Iowa with my husband and two kids who are growing up too quickly for my liking. I started introducing my love for Disney early to my family with a Disney honeymoon and then trips when our youngest of 18 months. Since then, our family has been to Walt Disney World over five times and we continue to plan and dream for the next trip. I love the magic that Disney brings to people through the theme parks, cruises, adventures and movies they create. As a teacher, I try to bring that magic into my classroom to help kids believe that “If You Can Dream It, You Can Do It.” I recently reached a dream of mine as I joined Magic Vacation Planner as a personal travel advisor. With this team, I can now help others plan magical vacations. As a passionate writer, I also have my own blog at magicalvacationsbyjen which is also where you can follow me on instagram for trip reviews along with tips and tricks for your next magical vacation.

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