Today Walt Disney World announced some big changes coming for 2024, bringing some more normalcy to the vacation destination.
The major announcements today (8 May 2013) are outlined below followed by my comments on how each affects the military community, if it does. There were a couple of other announcement s that don’t really matter when planning your vacation, so I won’t mention those here.
Removing theme park reservation requirements for date-based tickets
Starting with park visits on Jan. 9, 2024, theme park reservations will no longer be required for date-based tickets. You heard that right! When getting a ticket, simply select a start date for Jan. 9, 2024 or later, complete the purchase and you will be all set! For reference, date-based tickets are the standard ticket option Disney offers guests. For other admission types, including non-dated tickets, theme park reservations may be required to help us continue managing attendance and delivering a great experience for everyone. Guests can check which admission types require park reservations by visiting DisneyWorld.com/ThemeParkReservations.
All military discounted tickets, either Disney Armed Forces Salute or Regular Military Discounted Magic Your Way Tickets are Non-date based. You’ll note in the paragraph above from Disney that they say non-dated tickets may have a theme park reservation. How this plays out is of course unknown at this time. They could start out the year having the military community continue to make reservations and do away with the requirement as they see how things go, or more likely require the military community to make theme park reservations only during the higher to highest attendance periods.
Introducing ‘good-to-go days’ for Annual Passholders
In 2024, we plan to offer select days on which our Annual Passholders may visit Walt Disney World theme parks without needing a park reservation. Once introduced, we will roll out these “good-to-go” days on an ongoing basis. This will be in addition to the recent update which offers Passholders the opportunity to visit the theme parks after 2 p.m. without needing a park reservation, except on Saturdays and Sundays at Magic Kingdom Park. “Good-to-go” days may vary by park, and pass block out dates and capacity limitations continue to apply like they do today. Please stay tuned for more details on “good-to-go” days.
While not applicable to military tickets, this one gives an indication of what could happen for non-dated tickets.
Bringing back the fan-favorite Disney dining plans
Time to eat! Disney dining plans will be coming back as an option for those staying at Disney Resort hotels who purchase a vacation package with Disney World starting with stays beginning Jan. 9, 2024, which will also open for bookings on May 31. Disney knows their guests – and families in particular – have missed dining plans, which are pre-paid and offer added convenience and peace of mind. Guests will be able to choose from two popular options: Packages that include either the Disney Quick Service Dining Plan or the Disney Dining Plan – both will be a great value for families with young children with access to many spectacular food and beverage offerings across Walt Disney World.
Wow, we haven’t addressed the Disney Dining Plan (DDP) here at MDT in a long time… Not since 2019. As a reminder and for those who are new here is a refresher on how the DDP works with military tickets.
The Disney Dining Plan can only be purchased by guests staying at a Walt Disney World owned/operated hotel. This does not include guests staying at the non-Disney-owned resorts like Shades of Green.
You may add any paid dining plan that you’d like to your Armed Forces Salute room only reservation. Be aware that adding any dining plan to your room only reservation makes it a package. Packages come with more restrictions, including full pre-payment and earlier cancellation rules.
Also, there are no military discounts on dining plans or food! If you are told you are getting a military discount on a room – dining plan package, it is not correct. The military discount is only on the room.
See these related posts:
- 11 Reasons Why I Don’t Recommend the Disney Dining Plan
- Can I add the Disney Dining Plan to My Disney Armed Forces Salute Room Reservation?
- Can I Use the Disney Dining Plan at Shades of Green?
Continuing to provide extended park time to Disney Resort hotel guests
For those planning to stay at a Disney Resort hotel, we will continue to offer the popular early theme park entry for visits through 2024. This great benefit gives Guests a jump start on their day. For those staying at Disney Deluxe Resorts and Deluxe Villas, we’ll also be continuing to offer extended evening hours on select dates at select parks through 2024. Early theme park entry and extended evening hours require valid theme park admission and a Resort ID.
These benefits are extended to Shades of Green guests.
Simplifying the Disney Genie+ experience
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 while we don’t have specifics to share yet, we want you to know we are working on ways guests may do this for visits in 2024. We want to give guests the opportunity to spend less time planning in the park and more time enjoying their visit with friends and family. We look forward to sharing more details at a later date.
hallelujah! The Genie+ system had been a huge negative hanging over Disney’s parks along with a multitude of other things for a long time. It is about time that they try to slightly improve this paid system that replaced the much more capable and free predecessor, FastPass+.
Over to you
What do you think about these changes? Be sure to let everyone know in the comment section below!
This MDT Post By: Steve Bell
Steve is the the Military Disney Tips Founder. He a retired U.S. Military Member who's been touring the Disney Parks since 1971! Steve's mission is to help military families with their Disney vacations in every way. Check out Steve's Bio.
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Planning a Disney Trip? Want to get the best military discounts that are available? Feeling a little confused? See Our Great Disney Discount and Planning Info:
- Disney Veteran & Military Discount Eligibility Guide
- The Military Family’s Walt Disney World Comprehensive Vacation Planning and Preparation Guide
- Military Disney Tips Disney Packing Checklist
- Disney Military Tickets – Your Start to Finish Guide
- Resorts/Hotel Overview Page
- Dining Overview Page
- Transportation Overview Page
- Technology Overview Page
- Shades of Green, WDW’s Military Only Resort
Military Disney Tips' Recommended Disney Travel Agent
Ears of Experience Disney Only Travel Agency. Military family owned and operated! They know all the ins and outs of Disney military discounts!
So, we military still have to get a park reservation, what a bummer!