The Disney Dining Plan Will Return in Early 2024
The Walt Disney Company continues its recent focus on transparency and customer satisfaction with a series of announcements you’ll want to know. Friends, I’m happy to report that the Disney Dining Plan will return early next year!
Also, the return of that DVC favorite is just the tip of the iceberg for Disney updates today. Here’s what you need to know.
The Disney Dining Plan Returns on January 9th, 2024
Throughout the pandemic and late in the tenure of former Disney CEO Bob Chapek, fans lamented that Disney had removed many of our favorite amenities while introducing new hurdles to the vacation planning process.
As DVC members, we’ve felt these changes acutely and expressed our aggravation regularly. WhenBob Iger returned as CEO, he acknowledged that Disney had overcorrected here.
The returning Disney leader couldn’t do much for the 2023 vacation season, though. After all, his Disney comeback didn’t happen until late November 2022.
Still, Iger heard the complaints and offered a few makegoods for 2023, most notably the Disney Dining Promo Card and some changes to the Park Pass process for annual passholders. In 2024, Disney vacations will change for the better, and you’ll love everything I’m about to say.
For starters, the Disney Dining Plan will return, starting with vacations on January 9th, 2024. Disney announced that 2024 Disney vacation bookings will begin on May 31st for non-DVC tourists.
On that date, sales will begin anew for the Disney Dining Plan as well. So, at the end of this month, you can purchase a dining plan for any stay on/after January 9th, 2024!
Details are actually sparse at the moment. Disney hasn’t indicated what each dining plan will include, but we know there will be two tiers: the Disney Quick Service Dining Plan and the Disney Dining Plan.
By the time the new plan debuts, Disney fans will have gone nearly four calendar years without this offering. So, its return underscores how Disney is listening more to its customers now.
Park Pass Changes Are Also Coming in 2024
Remarkably, I’d describe the dining plan news as the tip of the iceberg. Disney will also change aspects of Disney Genie+ and the Park Pass program as well.
The Park Pass news will bring glee to annual passholders. Recently, Disney introduced a rule that annual passholders could visit any Walt Disney World theme park after 2 p.m. on weekdays. You don’t need a Park Pass to do so, either.
You also don’t need a Park Pass on the weekends at three of the four parks. Disney stillrequires a Park Pass on Saturday and Sunday at Magic Kingdom, though.
Starting in January 2024, Walt Disney World will introduce “good-to-go” days. On these days, annual passholders and cast members don’t need a Park Pass for admission. The current 2 p.m. admission rules will still apply as well.
So, Disney has dramatically reduced the number of Park Passes that annual passholders and cast members require. Disney still requires Park Passes on dates that aren’t listed as “good-to-go,” though. The “good-to-go” dates will vary by park, which hints that you’ll usually find at least one park where you’re “good-to-go” on all but the most crowded dates.
For DVC members who aren’t annual passholders, Disney has reduced your vacation stress, too. You won’t need a Park Pass per se in 2024, at least not if you purchase date-specific admission tickets.
Disney will know you’re staying at Walt Disney World on those dates. So, a Park Pass would prove redundant anyway. Importantly, date-specific admission tickets are standard purchases now, which means most guests won’t need a Park Pass in 2024.
Overall, I can’t quite say that Park Passes are no longer a thing at Walt Disney World. However, the combination of changes Disney announced today dramatically reduces the impact/frustration of Park Passes.
Other 2024 Park Changes
Disney has also confirmed that Early Theme Park Entry will continue through (at least) 2024. Similarly, DVC members will enjoy Extended Evening Theme Park Hours for the rest of 2023 and 2024 as well.
That benefit is available exclusively for guests at Disney Deluxe Resorts and Deluxe Villas, making it arguably the best overall DVC amenity. Once or twice a week, we gain the equivalent of a Disney After Hours event free with our DVC membership!
There’s one other update coming, although Disney didn’t confirm anything officially yet. However, the official Parks Blog suggested that changes are in the offing for Disney Genie+ and Lightning Lane for the 2024 season. Here’s the exact quote:
“We have heard from guests that they would like ways to plan with Disney Genie+ service and individual Lightning Lane selections before the day of their park visit, and we want you to know we are working on ways guests may do this for visits in 2024. Our goal is to give you the opportunity to spend less time planning in the park and more time enjoying your visit with friends and family.”
Since I wrote an article entitled “Hey Disney, Can You Help with Our Phone Problem” just last week, I feel heard. We all know that Disney has added far too much stress to a morning park visit.
Park guests currently face the 7 a.m. Disney Genie+/Lightning Lane booking requirement and constant reliance on phones. We all welcome any change that reduces that problem.
I’ll provide more details about the modifications as soon as Disney announces them. Overall, today’s news demonstrates that Disney management is listening to fan complaints and taking steps to address them all.