Disney World is doing away with theme park reservations for regular tickets, starting from January 9. Date-based tickets, the most common type, will no longer require advanced bookings, while open-dated tickets, including annual passes and cast member passes, will still necessitate reservations.
This change is significant, particularly for those who have navigated the intricacies of Disney's reservation system. Originally introduced during the peak of the pandemic to control crowd levels, the system mandated that all Disney World theme park visitors reserve their visit dates in advance. Each park ticket was tied to a specific date, severely limiting flexibility during Orlando stays. The announcement of this change comes in response to visitor feedback, as it was clear that many guests disliked the reservation system.
Moreover, all-day park hopping is making a comeback for most visitors. Park hopping, where guests can visit multiple theme parks in a single day with a single ticket, has been a favorite way for Walt Disney World visitors to explore the resort fully. For the past few years, a rule restricted park-hopper ticket holders from changing parks until after 2 p.m. This rule will be lifted on January 9 for dated-ticket holders. However, annual pass holders will still need to wait until after 2 p.m. for the time being.
The Disney Dining Plan, missed by enthusiastic parkgoers since 2020, is set to return in 2024. This optional add-on enables guests to prepay for snacks, meals, and beverages before their vacation, helping them budget for one of the most significant expenses of a Disney trip. Additionally, it gives Walt Disney World a more all-inclusive resort atmosphere, as enrollees can use their dining plan credits at numerous locations across the property, including theme parks, water parks, Disney Springs, and hotels.
The Disney Dining Plan will be available in two levels, depending on dining preferences, and can be booked now for vacation packages with Disney World hotel reservations made directly through the Walt Disney Travel Co. for arrivals starting on January 9.
As a bonus, guests booking non-discounted five-night, four-day vacation packages with hotel stays and park tickets will receive free dining promo cards worth up to $1,000. These credits can be used at various top-tier Walt Disney World restaurants, such as the "Beauty and the Beast"-themed Be Our Guest and "Toy Story"-themed Woody's Lunch Box establishments.
This offer is applicable to many weekday arrivals between January 9 and March 5, with the highest-value gift cards provided to those staying at Disney Deluxe resorts like the Wilderness Lodge and Beach Club Resort. These gift cards are digital and can be conveniently used in person or for food orders via Disney's mobile system.