21 Big Changes to Disney World in 2024: Here’s What You Need to Know

21 Big Changes to Disney World in 2024: Here's What You Need to Know

A lot has changed in Disney World over the past five years, and even more changes are coming soon!

With hotel transformations, new rides, and all the logistics that go into planning a trip to Walt Disney World, it can be confusing to navigate it all. So, we’re laying out everything you need to know about the biggest changes coming to Disney World in 2024, plus a few must-dos that recently opened in 2023. Here’s what you need to know!

TRON Lightcycle / Run

Disney Dining Plan Returning

The Disney Dining Plan has long been loved by vacationers, but it hasn’t been available since 2020. However, that’s changing in 2024! Disney Dining Plans officially return on January 9th, 2024, giving guests the ability to pre-pay for their meals before they even step foot on Disney property when they add it to a vacation package.

For the time being, only two plans are available including the Standard Dining Plan and the Quick Service Dining Plan. Each provides you with an allotment of quick service, table service, and snack credits that can be used throughout the length of your stay, taking the guesswork of how much food will cost during your vacation.

Changes to Disney World Park Pass Reservations

Park Pass Reservations NOT Required For Date-Based Tickets

For years, Disney has required that all guests make a park pass reservation for the theme park that they plan to visit each day of their trip. But, this extra step in the planning process is going away for select guests in 2024.

Beginning January 9th, 2024, any guests who purchase date-based tickets will no longer need to make a park pass reservation. This means that you can wake up and head straight to Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, or Disney’s Animal Kingdom – you don’t even have to decide which one you’re going to before you open your eyes!

Keep in mind this does not apply to non-date-based tickets, Annual Passholders, or Cast Members.

Annual Passholder “Good-To-Go Days”

While Disney World Annual Passholders still need to make park pass reservations prior to their visit, Disney is introducing “good-to-go days” in 2024 for these guests. On “good-to-go days.” Annual Passholders (and Cast Members) will NOT need to have a park pass reservation, you can just head to the park!

Disney has not revealed which dates in 2024 will be “good-to-go days” and has specified that they may vary by park and that blockout dates and capacity limits for each park will still apply.

Disney World annual pass

Don’t forget that all Annual Passholders can currently visit any Disney World theme park without a park pass reservation after 2PM with the exception of Saturdays and Sundays at Magic Kingdom. So, these “good-to-go days” will only add more flexibility.

Disney Genie+ Changes

Disney Genie+ (the paid FastPass+ replacement) is continually evolving, and Disney is looking at making it easier for guests to skip lines for popular attractions in 2024. According to Disney, they are looking for ways to allow guests to “plan with Disney Genie+ service and individual Lightning Lane selections before the day of their park visit,” but they have not yet revealed any further details.

Keep an eye out for more details in the near future and be sure to do your research on Genie+ and pay-per-ride selections prior to your trip if you plan to utilize it during your stay. The system can be quite confusing, so the more knowledge you have the better!

Changes to Disney World Hotels

Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort

The Disney Vacation Club (DVC) is expanding and the new villas at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort are currently in progress and set to open sometime in 2024. The new DVC building is a massive expansion for the hotel and will include new rooms with waterfront views, new dining options, a swimming pool, and more.

The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort

New Disney Vacation Club rooms are also coming to Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort this year! More than 350 new private cabins are replacing the existing ones located across the 750 acres of woodlands at the resort. Once completed, they will feature updated furnishings, modern amenities, and – of course – convenient access to all the Disney World theme parks.

The first phase of the DVC cabins is set to open on July 1st, 2024, with others opening in later phases in 2024.

Disney Hotel Guest Perks Extended

Guests staying at Disney World Resort hotels have been enjoying extra time in the parks for a few years now, and the perk is set to continue throughout 2025! Disney has announced that both Early Theme Park Entry and Extended Evening Theme Park hours will continue throughout the next TWO years.

If you’re not familiar, Early Theme Park Entry allows guests staying at any Disney World hotel to enter any of the four theme parks 30 minutes prior to opening in the morning. On the other hand, Extended Evening Theme Park Hours is a perk that is exclusively available to guests staying at Disney World Deluxe Resorts and Villas, giving them an extra two hours at select parks on select nights.

New Disney World Rides

Tiana’s Bayou Adventure

Splash Mountain permanently closed in Magic Kingdom in 2023, but it will reopen as a brand new ride in Summer 2024! Tiana’s Bayou Adventure will take guests through the Lousiana Bayou as they help Tiana on her latest adventure – Tiana’s Food.

Changes to Disney World

The ride is a continuation of Disney’s The Princess and the Frog and will feature many of the existing characters from the movie along with some new ones. 

Reimagination of DinoLand U.S.A. at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

While Tiana’s Bayou Adventure is the only new ride that is confirmed to be opening in 2024, Disney did announce some major changes that could be coming to Disney’s Animal Kingdom in the near future at the Destination D23 expo.

Dinoland USA reimagination concept art

According to Disney, Imagineers are planning to reimagine Dinoland U.S.A. into a new land inspired by the “tropical Americas.” Disney hasn’t given too many details on what exactly this could mean (or when it might happen), but, according to the concept art, it may involve two attractions inspired by Encanto and Indiana Jones.

Attractions That Opened in 2023

If you haven’t been to Disney World recently, you’ll also want to check out all the new attractions opened throughout the theme parks over the last year. For example, Tron Lightcycle / Run is a brand-new thrilling roller coaster in Magic Kingdom. And, over at EPCOT, you can explore the newly opened World Celebration neighborhood and adventure through Journey of Water – Inspired By Moana which is an interactive water trail near the front of the park.

Changes to Disney World Rides

New Scenes Added To Star Tours

Star Tours is one of the longest-standing Star Wars rides in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and soon guests will be able to travel to even more galaxies! The attraction will feature new scenes beginning April 5th, 2024 with Ahsoka Tano, Cassian Andor, and Din Djarin and Grogu (a.k.a. The Mandalorian and Baby Yoda) appearing in the new adventures.

It’s Tough To Be a Bug Closing

Located below the Tree of Life at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, guests will soon say goodbye to the It’s Tough To Be a Bug attraction as Disney makes way for something new!

Zootopia attraction concept art

Zootopia characters are officially coming to Disney World with a new show that will take you to the “different biomes you only glimpse in the film, traveling along with Judy Hopps, Nick Wilde and other characters.” Disney has shared that Imagineers are still finalizing the concept, so more details (including when it might open) will be announced in the future.

Test Track Reimagination

Test Track is one of the most popular rides in EPCOT, and big changes are coming soon! Disney revealed that they are working on reimagining Test Track and are pulling inspiration from the original World of Motion attraction which was one of EPCOT’s opening day attractions back in 1982.

Changes to Disney World

The current version of Test Track will officially close for the changes on June 17th, 2024. Disney has not yet announced when the updates will be completed and the ride will reopen, so stay tuned!

New Show Coming To Country Bear Jamboree

The Grand Ole Opry is coming to Magic Kingdom in Summer 2024…well, kind of! Disney is currently creating a brand new show for the bears with music that reinterprets classic Disney songs in new styles like rockabilly, bluegrass, pop-country, and more.

Country Bear Musical Jamboree Poster

The new Country Bear Musical Jamboree show will keep its fun family-friendly tone and beloved characters, but it’ll be unlike anything you’ve seen before!

Hatbox Ghost at The Haunted Mansion

In 2023, a former resident of The Haunted Mansion finally returned home. Known as Hatbox Ghost, this (un)happy haunt can now be seen as you pass through the Endless Hallway.

Hatbox Ghost in Disney World

If you’re not familiar, the Hatbox Ghost was originally part of the attraction when it opened, but didn’t last long because the illusion didn’t quite work at the time. However, Disney now has the technology to make it appear as if the ghost’s head vanishes from its shoulders and reappears in the hatbox, even in close proximity.

Changes to Disney World Entertainment

Luminous: The Symphony Of Us

Be sure you caffeinate enough to stay late at EPCOT, because you don’t want to miss the brand new nighttime spectacular, Luminous: The Symphony Of Us. The show takes place on World Showcase Lagoon, so grab a spot anywhere around the water to see an amazing display of fireworks, moving fountains, lasers, lighting effects, and music.

New Character Meet and Greets

Disney welcomed quite a few new characters to the parks in 2023, and you can still meet them throughout 2024!

At Magic Kingdom, you can meet Mirabel from Encanto on the walkway between Cinderella Castle and Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe in Tomorrowland. And, over at EPCOT, you can now meet Moana near Journey of Water – Inspired By Moana, Figment in the Imagination Pavilion, and Mickey and Minnie in the new CommuniCore Plaza and CommuniCore Hall area.

New Disney World Restaurants

Summer House on the Lake

Located at Disney Springs, Summer House of the Lake is the newest restaurant with a huge menu of pizzas, sandwiches, salads, pasta, wood-grilled dishes, and more. You can stop by for lunch or dinner any day of the week, or head there for brunch on the weekends. And, don’t forget to finish your meal with a sweet treat from The Cookie Jar right next door!

Ice Cold Hydraulics

A new snack spot has popped up at Disney’s Hollywood Studios! Located in the Muppets Courtyard by the Muppet Vision 3D attraction, Ice Cold Hydraulics features a small menu of quick and tasty bites including things like churros, cinnamon rolls, and frozen slushies.

The Cake Bake Shop by Gwendolyn Rogers

The famous Cake Bake Shop by Gwendolyn Rogers is now in Disney World! Located on Disney’s BoardWalk, the new bakery and cafe is known for serving up some of the most decadent desserts. The restaurant has both a counter service and a sit-down option, so you’ll be able to grab a quick treat or stay for a full meal when it opens. Currently, an exact opening timeline has not been announced.

Pirates of the Caribbean-Themed Lounge

Coming later in 2024 or beyond, Disney has revealed that they are working on a new Pirates of the Caribbean-themed Lounge for Magic Kingdom. Most of the details are still unknown (including the opening timeline), but we do know that this will be a first-of-its-kind experience that will expand on the story inside the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction.


So, are you ready to start planning your 2024 vacation? What changes to Disney World are you most looking forward to? Let us know in the comments!

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