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Monday, May 8, 2023

Disney World to Bring Back Dining Plan

 by Beth Keating



May 8, 2023


There’s HUGE news out of Disney World today! The long-absent and greatly missed Disney Dining Plan will be returning in 2024, but you won’t have to wait quite that long to put those packages on your vacation itinerary. The plans begin going on sale May 31 for trips next year. The return of the Dining Plan is just one of five updates shared by Disney for park guests, including changes to the park reservation system.

Disney dining plans will be an add-on option for guests staying at Disney Resort hotels with packages after January 9, 2024. If you’ve never used the Dining Plans before, essentially, the Dining Plans are a way of pre-paying for your meals during your stay.  For some guests, it’s a money saver, while for others it is simply a matter of convenience, knowing that your trip, including food, is paid for before you step on property. The plans give you a set number of prepaid meals and snacks to enjoy during your stay. (Perhaps you’ve noticed the little DDP logo on menu boards at dining locations throughout the park, with the DDP tag indicating that those options are included in the Dining Plan.)  Two of the Dining Packages will be returning: the Disney Quick Service Dining Plan, and the Disney Dining Plan, which includes more sit-down restaurant options. 


As for the other announcements:


Among the most hated of the COVID-era changes was the “theme park reservation requirement,” and Disney has announced that they will be removing that requirement for date-based tickets. Beginning with park visits on January 9, 2024, theme park reservations will no longer be required for date-based tickets. There are still a few exceptions to the rule (such as non-dated tickets) for which you will still need to make park reservations, and you can check out those exceptions on Disney’s website.

For Annual Passholders, following on the heels of the current policy of not needing a park reservation after 2 p.m. (unless it’s Magic Kingdom on a weekend, when you still need a reservation), Disney will be expanding to “Good-to-go days” for Annual Passholders and cast members in 2024.  While this sounds like it might be confusing things a bit at this point, Disney promises there will be more details released on “Good-to-go days” shortly. The basic premise is this: Disney plans to offer select days on which Annual Passholders and Disney cast members can visit Walt Disney World theme parks without needing a park reservation. According to Disney Parks Blog, “Good-to-go days” may vary by park.  (Like we said, this may be muddying the waters just when we thought we were making progress…we’ll wait and see… sounds like we’ll still be checking the blasted calendars! God bless the cast members who will be manning the tapstyles as we all try to make sure we’ve followed the plan.)


In addition, Early Theme Park Entry for Disney Resort hotel guests will continue through 2024 each day for all four theme parks. Disney Deluxe Resorts and Deluxe Villas will continue to be able to take advantage of extended evening hours on select dates at select parks through 2024.


And last, but not by any means the least, Disney shared that they are working on simplifying the Disney Genie+ experience, including figuring out the logistics of allowing guests to make Disney Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lane selections before the day of a park visit. They “look forward to sharing more information at a later date.”  



Beth Keating is a theme parks, restaurant and entertainment reporter for DisneyBizJournal.


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