New Year, New (and Returning) Beginnings

Posted:  News Parks Tips

A new year means new beginnings, and at Disney, there are many new (and returning) beginnings! There are so many things I am excited about in 2024 that will be coming to Walt Disney World.

Tony's Town Square Restaurant is being held behind a cocktail.

 First, several things are returning to Disney World in January 2024. The first is Dining Plans! For any reservations checking in on January 9, 2024, or after, guests can add the Disney Dining Plan or the Quick Service Dining Plan to their reservation. We have already had tons of guests add a Dining Plan to their reservations. It is a super easy process, and we are always eager to help.

Sice of Pizza on a plate being held in the air with the landscape of the Boardwalk blurred in the background.

Plate of Breakfast food sitting on a table.

 The second thing also returning on January 9, 2024, is all-day park hopping! No more waiting until 2 pm to head to your next park. I am so excited to be able to head to Magic Kingdom to grab a waffle from Sleepy Hollow for breakfast and then head over to EPCOT to ride Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind. This will help maximize time in the parks, especially for shorter trips.

Sleepy Hollow Fruit Waffle sitting beside a coffee cup.

Spaceship outside Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind with a plaque explaining the ship in front.

And lastly, on January 9, 2024, Disney will be getting rid of theme park reservations for date-based tickets. If you’re like me, that last part of the sentence left you a little confused. What is a date-based ticket? Is this different from the tickets I already bought for 2024? What if I have an annual pass? Do I need to change something? No need to fret! I have done the research, so you don’t have to.

Large Guitar Statue outside the Rock'n Rollercoaster at Hollywood Studios.

A date-based ticket is another name for a park ticket purchased directly through Disney. When you purchase the tickets online, you select the day you want to be able to start using your tickets. This is where “date-based” comes into play. These can be one park per day tickets, water park and more, or park hopper tickets, as long as they are only valid for a certain number of days.

Te Fiti Statue sitting in front of a pond at Journey of Water in Epcot.

If you have an annual pass, this is not a date-based ticket, and you may still have to make park reservations. Now, you’re probably thinking, “May? How will I know when I need to make a park reservation for my annual pass?”. With the removal of park reservations for date-based tickets, Disney will also be introducing “Good to Go” days for annual pass holders and Cast Members. Good to Go days will vary based on the park, pass block-out dates, and capacity limitations, so it will always be best to check with Disney if you need to make reservations before entering your park of choice. As well, annual pass holders will still be able to enter any park after 2 pm without a reservation, excluding Magic Kingdom on Saturday and Sunday.

Tron Lightcycle Run Hub with Space Mountain in the Background.

Exterior of Disney's Riviera Resort next to a small body of Water.

Disney has stated that Extended Magic Hours will continue in 2024, which means guests staying at a Disney Resort will be able to enter all four parks 30 minutes prior to the park opening, and guests staying in Deluxe Resorts and Deluxe Villa Resorts will have access to Extended Evening Hours at select parks on select nights. For more information about what nights will be included in Extended Evening Hours, please see the link below:

Inside the Studio at Disney's Beach Club Villas. Two queen-sized beds sit next to each other in the middle of the room.

 And don’t worry if you’re not staying at Walt Disney Resort and still want to head to the parks after hours. Disney is also continuing with the After Hours Events in 2024! These will be an additional cost; however, unlimited complimentary snacks will be included in the price of your ticket. You will also have the chance to meet some beloved characters and ride some rides with lower wait times.

Fireworks shooting off above Cinderella Castle at night. The castle has gears projected on it.

 While there has yet to be an exact launch date, Disney has released that they are working on making Genie+ a more simplified and user-friendly experience. We can’t wait to hear more details about the changes, and our team is eager to be able to try it out in 2024.

 Now for the two things I am most excited about in 2024: Tiana’s Bayou Adventure and Country Bear Musical Jamboree.

A sign that reads "Tiana's Foods Coming Soon" sits on a brown Construction Wall with a couple of other signs blurred in the background.

On my last few trips, I have been peaking between the construction walls and riding the train along the Walt Disney World Railroad to see all the progress at Tiana’s Bayou Adventure. I can’t wait to see Tiana, Louis, Mama Odie, Prince Naveen, and all their friends on their new adventure through the bayou. I know the music will have me singing along the whole time, except when we get to that 50-foot drop. But what’s an adventure through the bayou without getting a little wet?

A Water Tower that reads "Tiana's Foods" stands next to large construction walls.

 As for the Country Bear Musical Jamboree, I am very excited to hear the new tunes the Bears have come up with. I’ve heard they got some help from some of country music’s biggest writers and performers, so I know whatever songs they come up with will have me tapping my foot the entire time. I’m also eager to hear some of our favorite Disney classics with a country twist, such as the Bare Necessities.

Stage at the Country Bear Jamboree with all of the red curtains closed.

Now, where will I be staying when I finally get to see all these changes and additions up close? Hopefully at the new Villas at Disney’s Polynesian Villas and Bungalows or the new DVC Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness. If not, I will definitely be stopping by to see these new additions to the resorts. I have gotten to see the progression of the new tower at the Polynesian, and I can’t wait to see what it looks like all put together.

Walt Disney World Transportation Sign hanging in the lobby of Disney's Wilderness Lodge.

As for the Cabins at Fort Wilderness, this is definitely high on my list for a stay. I was lucky to stay in the newly renovated villas at Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge in September and thought this would be the closest I would ever get to the outdoors, especially while at Disney. However, the artist-rendered drawings that I have seen definitely caught my attention and made me want to be more adventurous (especially since there is indoor plumbing).

Waterfall with Disney's Wilderness Lodge in the background.

Walt Disney once said, “Disneyland will never be completed as long as there is imagination left in the world.” This is true not only at Disneyland but through each of the parks around the world. We are seeing so much change and progression as each year goes by. I can’t wait to see what new additions and changes are made in the years to come.

 I know my focus has been on Disney World. However, what is the one change you are most excited to see in 2024 in any of the Disney Parks?




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