How a Disney Visit Has Already Changed in 2024

We’re only a few weeks into 2024, but it feels like 2019 all over again. And I mean that in the best possible way. 

During the early days of the pandemic, Disney park officials faced some difficult decisions about tourism policies. They implemented some unpopular changes that frustrated many longtime guests. 

Lately, Disney has reset the rules and rolled back many policies to the pre-pandemic era. Here’s how a Disney theme park visit has already changed in 2024. 

Park Passes Are Mostly Not Needed

Let’s start with the most challenging part of this conversation. Perhaps no theme park requirement infuriated guests like the sudden need for Park Passes.

As a reminder, before June 2020, guests only needed some form of valid admission to enter Disney theme parks. When Disney needed daily headcounts to ensure social distancing, this policy changed. 

During the pandemic, Disney required a Park Pass in addition to valid admission. Suddenly, even if you owned an annual pass, you couldn’t enter the park unless you booked a Park Pass, too. 

Technically, that requirement still exists today. However, as of January 2024, Disney introduced alternative solutions that effectively eliminate the need for Park Passes.

Now, as long as you own a date-based admission ticket, you don’t need a Park Pass. Since date-based admission tickets are standard, the overwhelming majority of guests won’t use Park Passes any longer.

Of course, we’ve got a second group to mention as well. Annual passholders don’t purchase standard park tickets. Instead, we own a different kind of park admission that isn’t covered under this policy change.

Thankfully, Disney has thought of everything. Now, the parks offer something called Good-to-Go days. On these dates, passholders don’t need a Park Pass. Instead, your annual pass provides you with park access.

Please keep in mind that blockout dates still apply. Also, Good-to-Go dates aren’t as plentiful as we might like. So far, more than half the dates aren’t available via Good-to-Go. 

Still, Disney has reduced the number of days when annual passholders must book Park Passes. That’s forward progress!

Park Hopping Goes Back to the Old Way

One of the most welcome changes for DVC members is the return of old-school Park Hopping. Until recently, Disney wouldn’t allow guests to change theme parks before 2 p.m. EST. 

Obviously, you could leave your current park. The trick is that you couldn’t switch parks until the Park Hopping window officially opened at 2. Nobody liked this rule, but it was a way for Disney to avoid overcrowding during a health crisis. 

Then, in early January 2024, Disney restored the old version of Park Hopping. Once again, guests with multi-park admission can go wherever they want whenever they want. 

The one caveat here concerns annual passholders on dates that still require Park Passes. On those days, you must book a Park Pass. Then, you must enter the park where you possess the Park Pass. Until you do that, you cannot Park Hop. 

Here’s Disney’s official description: “Theme park reservations may be required for Annual Passholders and Guests with certain non-dated tickets to enter their first park. After they enter their first park, they will be able to visit another theme park.”

Still, in the overwhelming majority of instances, Park Hopping has returned to the good ole days!

The Disney Dining Plan Returns

Perhaps the best news for some DVC members is the recent return of the Disney Dining Plan. Again, this change occurred in January, when Disney brought back two different versions of the dining plan after this program’s four-year absence.

The 2024 version of the dining plan will satisfy Quick-Service and Table Service fans alike. The cheaper option, the Quick-Service Dining Plan, includes the following:

  • 2 Quick-Service meals per person per night
  • 1 Snack per person per night
  • 1 Resort Refillable Mug per person per stay

With the Table Service version, which is simply called the Disney Dining Plan, you swap one of the Quick-Service daily entitlements for a Table Service dining experience. So, this package includes:

  • 1 Quick-Service meal per person per night
  • 1 Table Service meal per person per night
  • 1 Snack per person per night
  • 1 Resort Refillable Mug per person per stay

The old rules still apply. You must purchase the dining plan for each person listed on your hotel reservation for each night of your stay. 

For the Quick-Service Dining Plan, adults will pay $57.01 plus tax per person per day, while children aged three to nine cost $23.83. Meanwhile, the Disney Dining Plan charges $94.28 plus tax per person per day for adults and $29.69 plus tax per child aged three to nine. 

Disney has also cleaned up some of the previous sticking points with the dining plans. You can pay for Mobile Orders with this package now, which wasn’t always the case. 

To a larger point, that’s really the story here. When Bob Iger returned as Disney CEO, he faced an onslaught of angry theme park fans. Iger has methodically introduced park enhancements in 2024 that return Disney to the way we’ve always adored. 

Access all available Disney Vacation Club resale listings, or learn more about buying and selling with DVC Resale Market.


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