Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida is updating some of its park policies as the House of Mouse looks for ways to improve its guest experience.
One of the biggest changes, arguably, is the return of Disney’s dining plans, which were discontinued in January of 2021 as part of a wave of changes influenced by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dining plans were once very popular, and the option is now returning for those staying at a Disney Resort hotel starting Jan. 9, 2024. Bookings for the plan will open on May 31.
Starting in 2024, there be two different packages – the Disney Quick Service Dining Plan and the Disney Dining Plan. And both of these will be commissionable for travel advisors.
Removing park reservations
Also starting on Jan. 9, 2024, Disney will remove its theme park reservation requirements for date-based tickets.
This reverses a pandemic-era policy which required guests to plan visits before arriving at the parks by going through a two-step process, which included purchasing a ticket and then selecting a reservation date.
Guests, now, will only be required to purchase a ticket for a specific date.
Annual passholders will be required to make reservations for most visits. But Disney said it is planning “good-to-go days,” which won’t require reservations.
The change comes in addition to a new rule stating that passholders can visit any of Disney’s Orlando-based theme parks after 2 p.m. without a reservation. The only exclusion is admission to Magic Kingdom on Saturdays and Sundays.
Disney also announced that it is extending its early theme park entry for hotel guests through 2024.
The company on Monday hinted that more changes are coming, including tweaks to Genie and Genie+ itinerary programs, which were launched during the pandemic.
These digital offers were built to optimize guest experiences in the parks, allowing them to schedule their days more effectively, with access to estimated wait times and restaurant reservations.
And, with Lightning Lane, guests can also pay for a shorter wait for Disney’s most popular attractions.
Currently, guests can only access Genie and Genie+ itineraries on the day of their visit, but Disney says it is figuring out a way for guests to make selections before their visit so they can spend less time planning and more time enjoying.