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Disney World brings back dining plans, ends park reservations

Prompted by guest feedback, big changes are coming to the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida.
Walt Disney World Resort Reopening
Guests at Disney's Riviera Resort see Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck and Daisy Duck during breakfast at Topolino's Terrace Flavors of the Riviera, the resort's rooftop restaurant in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. Walt Disney World Resort via Getty Images

If you've been wishing on a star, hoping that Walt Disney World would reconsider some of the policies it put in place during the pandemic, your day is about to get a lot more magical.

In response to guest feedback, the theme park plans to roll out several changes to the visitor experience next year, including the comeback of two popular dining plans.

According to the official Disney Parks Blog, the Disney Quick Service Dining Plan and the Disney Dining Plan are making a long-awaited comeback on Jan. 9, 2024.

“We know our guests — and families in particular — have missed dining plans, which offer guests the convenience and peace of mind of pre-paying for their meals and snacks," the blog post reads.

Per WDW Magazine, the meal plans were phased out when the pandemic hit, and then, as Disney World parks and resorts began to reopen, the plans never returned.

Walt Disney World Resort Reopening
Families will soon have more flexibility as they plan meals during their Disney World trip.Walt Disney World Resort via Getty Images

When the dining plans are back next year, they’ll be available for travelers who book a vacation package with a Disney Resort hotel. Bookings will open on May 31, 2023, and guests can choose from packages that include one of the two meal plans.

"Both plans will be a great value for families with young children with access to many spectacular food and beverage offerings across Walt Disney World," the post reads.

The Disney Parks Blog also outlined four other updates that are coming next year:

  • Theme park reservation requirements for date-based tickets will soon be a thing of the past. As of Jan. 9, 2024, theme park guests who buy a date-based ticket will no longer need to make a park reservation. "For other admission types, including non-dated tickets, theme park reservations may be required to help us continue managing attendance and delivering a great experience for everyone," the blog reads.
  • Annual Passholders and Disney cast members can now take part in "good-to-go days." Next year, the theme park will select certain days where Annual Passholders and Disney cast members can visit the parks without a park reservation. "Once introduced, we will roll out these good-to-go days on an ongoing basis. This will be in addition to the recent update which offers Passholders the opportunity to visit the theme parks after 2 p.m. without needing a park reservation, except on Saturdays and Sundays at Magic Kingdom Park," the post reads.
  • Disney Resort hotel guests will still get extended park time. If you stay at a Disney Resort hotel, you'll still get early theme park entry all next year. Guests at Disney Deluxe Resorts and Deluxe Villas can also continue to take advantage of extended evening hours on certain dates at select parks for the entire year.
  • A simpler Genie+ experience is coming. If you're looking to beat those long lines and get on your favorite ride, Disney's Genie+ and individual Lightning Lane services are pretty handy. In 2024, the theme park plans to roll out ways for guests to plan our their selections before their park day. More details to come!