Disney World is doing away with park reservations and bringing back the dining plan

May 9, 2023, 3:55 PM UTC
Disney World is doing away with park reservations.
Joseph Prezioso/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Some of the biggest headaches of going to Disney World are going away, while one of the most most popular features is getting an upgrade.

The theme park, which is locked in a legal battle with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, has announced it will do away with requiring guests to make a reservation at its theme parks in Orlando starting Jan. 9, 2024.

In addition, the popular Disney Dining plan for hotel guests is set to return on that same date and the company has vowed to simplify its Genie+ and Lightning Lane programs, which allow people to skip long wait times on certain rides for a price.

The moves reverse some pandemic-era changes, which helped the company control crowd levels, but required park visitors to both buy an admission ticket and make a separate reservation for the park they wanted to visit. Starting next January, they’ll only be required to buy a ticket.

That won’t extend to annual passholders. Those superfans will have to reserve a spot at the park they wish to go to on most days, but Disney also said it would introduce “good-to-go days,” where reservations aren’t required.

Dining plans, which many guests have been clamoring for since the parks reopened, will also return. That could boost attendance to the parks, as dining plans are often bundled with rooms by families.

And the Genie+ system, which has come under fire by some guests, as they can only access their itinerary the day of their visit, is in line for an update.

“We have heard from guests that they would like ways to plan with Disney Genie+ service and individual Lightning Lane selections before the day of their park visit, and we want you to know we are working on ways guests may do this for visits in 2024,” the parks said. “Our goal is to give you the opportunity to spend less time planning in the park and more time enjoying your visit with friends and family.”

Details about those changes will be unveiled at a later date.

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