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The return of all-day park hopping and the other major changes coming to Disney World in 2024

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Like so many other things, visiting Walt Disney World was made more complicated by the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to purchasing a ticket, guests of the Central Florida resort were required to make a reservation for the theme park they wished to visit each day. If you had a ticket with Park Hopper privileges, you could only visit a second park after 2 p.m.

These were necessary measures when they were introduced to control crowds and anticipate staffing needs, but three-and-a-half years later, guests are reportedly pining for the days when their Disney World visits required a little less planning.

That day has finally arrived. Beginning Jan. 9, 2024, your Disney World visits are going to look a lot more like they did a few years ago.

“We are constantly adding new, innovative attractions and entertainment to our parks and, with our broad array of pricing options, the value of a theme park visit is reflected in the unique experiences that only Disney can offer,” a Disney spokesperson shared with TPG.

Several things at Disney will now be more expensive, as well. Here’s what you can expect from your next Disney World vacation.

The end of theme park reservations for most guests

Guests at WDW Genie
You will no longer need to make a reservation to enter a Disney World theme park. OLGA DIAZ/DISNEY

As of Jan. 9, 2024, theme park reservations will officially be a thing of the past for guests with date-based tickets. You will still purchase variably priced, date-based tickets for the days you plan to visit Disney World, but you will no longer be required to make a theme park reservation for the park you wish to visit on a given day.


When the change goes into effect, you don’t have to decide ahead of time which park you want to visit. You can wake up and decide on a whim whether you are in the mood for a ride on the Kilimanjaro Safaris at Disney’s Animal Kingdom or a spin on the Mad Tea Party teacups at Magic Kingdom.

This change applies to most ticket types, with the exclusion of annual passes and certain promotional tickets. These guests will still be required to make a theme park reservation to enter a Disney World park.

The return of all-day park hopping

Guests enjoying Journey of Water – Inspired by Moana at Epcot AMY SMITH/DISNEY

Since reopening in July 2020 after its temporary coronavirus-related closure, Disney World has required guests with Park Hopper tickets to wait until 2 p.m. before they could visit a second (or this, or fourth) park. If you wanted to “hop” to another park for lunch or to try for an early afternoon virtual queue spot for popular rides, you were out of luck.

Related: 5 ways using an authorized Disney vacation planner will improve your trip

Beginning Jan. 9, 2024, however, guests with Park Hopper tickets or annual passes can visit another park at any time of day. Because Jan. 9 also marks the end of theme park reservations for most ticket types, this means guests can come and go from Disney’s four theme parks as they wish. This means you can visit Magic Kingdom for a few early morning rides and head straight over to Epcot well before the virtual queue for Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind opens at 1 p.m.

On days when theme park reservations are required for annual pass holders and promotional ticket types, those guests will be able to visit another park anytime after they visit their first park of the day.

The return of Disney Dining Plans

Donald greets guests at Topolino’s Terrace restaurant at Disney’s Riviera Resort. SUMMER HULL/THE POINTS GUY

Disney shared earlier this year that the Disney Dining Plan would be returning in 2024, but it bears repeating here because when combined with the above changes, you can see just how much is changing at Disney beginning on Jan. 9, 2024.

The Disney Dining Plan allows you to essentially prepay for meals and snacks as part of your vacation package. You can redeem meals and snacks in the form of dining credits at any point during your stay. How many credits you receive is based on the number of nights in your package.

There’s no question that this popular add-on makes Disney vacations more convenient, but whether or not it can save you money depends on how you use it.

There are two versions of the dining plan to choose from: the Quick Service Dining Plan and the Disney Dining Plan.

The Quick Service Dining Plan costs $57 for adults ($24 for children ages 3 to 9) and includes:

  • Two quick-service meals per night stayed.
  • A snack or nonalcoholic drink per night stayed.
  • One refillable drink mug with unlimited refills at your resort.

The Disney Dining Plan costs $94 for adults ($30 for children ages 3 to 9) and includes:

  • One table-service meal per night stayed.
  • One quick-service meal per night stayed.
  • A snack or nonalcoholic drink per night stayed.
  • One refillable drink mug with unlimited refills at your resort.

These plans are bookable now with Disney World room and ticket packages and beginning Nov. 14, 2023, guests can save up to 50% on kids’ theme park tickets and dining plans at select Disney World hotels on most nights between March 3 and June 30, 2024.

Parking price increase

When you take a Minnie Van to the parks, there are no parking fees. TARAH CHIEFFI/THE POINTS GUY

Beginning today, the cost of standard parking at all of Disney’s four theme parks is increasing from $25 to $30. Accepting price increases is always hard, but this increase puts Disney in alignment with parking prices at other Orlando-area theme parks. Parking at Universal Orlando starts at $27 and at SeaWorld Orlando at $30.

Guests at any Disney Resort hotel still receive complimentary parking both at their hotel and at Disney’s theme parks. If you aren’t staying on-site, you only have to pay for parking once per day. Just hang on to your parking receipt and show it at the toll plaza of any other park you visit that day and you will not be required to pay for parking a second time.

Annual pass price increase and perks

magic kingdom
Walt Disney World annual pass prices are increasing. MELISSA ANN PHOTOGRAPHY/THE POINTS GUY

Disney World annual pass holders will now have to pony up a bit more each year for the privilege of unlimited annual theme park visits. Beginning today, the pricing for all four annual pass tiers is increasing for new sales and renewals.

Pricing for new annual pass sales will increase as follows:

  • Disney Incredi-Pass will increase from $1,399 to $1,499
  • Disney Sorcerer Pass will increase from $969 to $999
  • Disney Pirate Pass will increase from $749 to $799
  • Disney Pixie Dust Pass will increase from $399 to $439

Pricing for annual pass renewals will also be increasing

  • Disney Incredi-Pass will increase to $1,229
  • Disney Sorcerer Pass will increase to $849
  • Disney Pirate Pass will increase to $679
  • Disney Pixie Dust Pass will increase to $369

Even before these increases, it was important to do the math and determine if purchasing a Disney World annual pass was worth it for you. With the most expensive Incredi-Pass, for example, you need to visit about ten or more days each year to cover the cost of the pass. Of course, that is before any pass holder discounts on hotels, dining and merchandise, which can offer significant savings.

In addition to discounts, annual pass holders receive a variety of benefits throughout the year. Currently, pass holders can visit Disney World’s theme parks after 2 p.m. without needing a theme park reservation, except on Saturdays and Sundays at Magic Kingdom

And, beginning sometime in January 2024, annual pass holders can take advantage of “good-to-go days. On “good-to-go days” annual pass holders can visit on select days without needing a theme park reservation. The theme park reservation calendar will be updated periodically with these special days when annual pass holders can embrace spontaneity and visit any park they like without a reservation.

Bottom line

For the most part, the changes coming to Disney World are welcome ones. It’s clear that Disney has been listening to guests’ wishes and doing their best part to play fairy godmother and make those wishes come true. In lieu of a magic wand to wave away price increases, we can at least offer you these tips for saving money at Disney World to help keep your vacation costs in check.

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