Are you in the middle of planning for your 2024 trip to Disney World? We’ve got your back!
We have years of experience in Disney World travel, and we’ve put together guides on the best hotels to stay at, how much you should realistically budget, and we’ve shared money-saving hacks for your next Disney vacation. But now, we’re taking you through 24 of the best Disney World planning tips for your 2024 vacation!
Ahead of Your Trip
1. Be Aware of Surge Pricing
Way back in November of 2022, Disney announced that 1-day 1-park tickets would have surge pricing depending on the park, and it’s been that way ever since. Animal Kingdom usually has the lowest starting price and Magic Kingdom has the highest starting price — if you are buying 1-day, 1-park tickets, be sure to watch the prices. If your schedule allows, you can pick the cheaper days listed for the park you want to visit.
Even if you have a multi-day park ticket, prices vary by day. When going to buy tickets, check the calendar for the cheapest days to visit Disney World and try to build your trip around that to save some cash! See the cheapest days to visit Disney World in 2024 here.
While it’s not always possible to move your trip around (for example, your kids are only available to go during spring break), paying attention to the price can end up saving you TONS.
2. Don’t Pay Full Price for Your Hotel
Disney World has different price categories for its hotels, but make sure NOT to pay full price for your hotel room! There are almost always hotel deals happening at Disney World — we’ll let you know about them, but make sure you check what deals Disney is running so you can get a discounted hotel room.
Also, don’t let the stress of finding the deals and planning your vacation by yourself get you down. You can use a travel agent instead! We recommend our friends over at Mouse Fan Travel and they can help you plan your trip for free.
3. Have a Plan for Dining Reservations
Remember that dining reservations in Disney World can be made 60 days in advance, and if you are staying at a Disney World hotel, you can make dining reservations for the length of your stay 60 days out from your first day. But you’ll want to have a plan in place before you make your reservations!
Dining reservations typically open around 5:45AM EST, and they can go VERY fast at popular spots like Topolino’s Terrace or California Grill. Make sure you’ve got your plan on lock for which dining reservations you want ahead of time so when that 5AM alarm goes off to make reservations, you are prepared.
Pro tip: If you have a multi-day trip at a Disney World hotel, start with the first day of your trip since everyone has access to those reservations. Then you can make them for the other days!
Also, don’t forget that the Disney Dining Plan returned in January 2024.
Now that the Dining Plan is back, you probably have a few questions. We did, too! Luckily, we did a TON of research and made a list of all the changes you need to know about in 2024.
4. Know Your Food Priorities
Speaking of food, know your priorities when it comes to food! It can be very tempting to want to eat everywhere, and you end up making too many reservations.
For example, if you are going to EPCOT during a festival and you know you want to try a bunch of festival eats, consider skipping a dining reservation at a table service restaurant in the park.
Keep in mind the changes to the dining reservations policy that allow more flexibility and last-minute cancelations, but knowing your priorities ahead of time will alleviate the stress of changing plans last minute.
5. Decide on Airport Transportation in Advance
It’s up to you to decide how you want to get to Disney World from the airport.
There are several options to choose from: You can rent a car and drive yourself to and from the hotel. You can also choose a bus transportation service like Mears Connect or call a rideshare service to take you.
Try to make this decision in advance, because the Orlando International Airport can be a bit trying, so having a plan in place will hopefully ease some of the stress.
6. Know the My Disney Experience App
The My Disney Experience app is a MUST when you’re visiting Disney World. Nowadays, it’s very hard to be in the parks without your phone and this app, so you should familiarize yourself with it before heading out on your trip.
The app has many different features including the ability to check wait times, the tip board when using Genie and Genie+, Mobile Order, virtual queues, and so much more.
7. Make Park Pass Reservations (Annual Passholders)
As of January 2024, Guests with date-based Disney World park tickets no longer need to make park pass reservations.
If your park tickets are not tied to a date, you will still need to make a park pass reservation. This includes Annual Passholders and a few other types of tickets.
Annual Passholders whave the opportunity to use “Good to Go” days. These are dates when WDW Annual Passholders are not be required to obtain a Park Pass Reservation and went into effect January 11th, 2024. Annual Passholders and Cast Members can see Good to Go dates in the online calendar!
8. Keep an Eye on the Events Happening at Disney World
Disney World crowds can be pretty predictable — the winter holidays and spring break are a time when we expect big crowds in Disney World. However, there are some dates you may not realize will have BIG crowds in the parks.
Disney World hosts many major events including runDisney weekends and cheer competitions, so before booking, check the dates and make sure there aren’t any major events happening at the resort that will cause major crowds!
9. Hold Off on Your Trip for the Newest Attractions
Tiana’s Bayou Adventure picks up after the end of The Princess and The Frog, where Tiana has successfully opened her restaurant, Tiana’s Palace.
New music, new and returning characters, and more are all scheduled to come to this reimagined ride in 2024!
Country Bear Jamboree closed in January to make way for an updated show.
The Country Bears will be learning some new songs and performing a new act. The new show takes inspiration from classic Nashville variety shows.
Disney even involved Nashville musicians to make the new arrangements for the songs.
Stay tuned for a re-opening date.
10. Make a List of Priorities
Since there are so many things to do at Disney World, you’ll need to make a list of your priorities in the park!
Are you a ride person? Make a list of must-do rides. Want to eat 20 snacks in one day? You may want to commit to fewer rides and shows so you can eat all of the snacks you want. It all depends on priorities but it’s also important to be realistic about what you can do in a day.
11. Watch AllEars Videos
The AllEars team is full of Disney experts, and we post videos daily on our YouTube channel! These range from challenges to crowd updates to special events — you can learn just about everything you need to know just by watching our videos!
During Your Trip
12. Don’t Forget About Freebies
Now we know this sounds completely made up, but did you know you can get some things for free at Disney World? Yes, it’s true! This includes cups of ice water at quick service locations, birthday or celebration buttons, and soda samples at Club Cool.
There are several other things you can still get for free in the parks — check out a full list here!
13. Know How to Use a Virtual Queue
Remember how we said to know the My Disney Experience app? This is where it comes in handy! You’ll also want to know how to use a virtual queue when in Disney World!
Currently, both Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind in EPCOT and TRON Lightcycle Run in Magic Kingdom use a virtual queue. See everything you need to know about the TRON Lightcycle Run virtual queue here.
14. Save Time with Mobile Order
If you want to make the most of your day in Disney World, you have to save time where you can. A big way to save time is using Mobile Order at quick service spots!
On the My Disney Experience app, you can choose a time window and order everything on your phone. You’ll click a button on the app when you arrive at the restaurant and then you’ll get a notification to come grab your food. It’s super convenient and can save you time standing in line!
15. Only Use Genie+ When You Need It
When it’s crowded in Disney World, you may feel the need to buy Genie+ for every park and every day of the trip — but that’s not necessarily the case.
This goes hand in hand with your priorities. If rides are the priority, you may want to buy Genie+. However, in parks with fewer rides (like Animal Kingdom), you should be able to do every ride WITHOUT Genie+ in one day.
It all depends on your wants on your trip, so read up on Genie+ to make an informed decision.
16. Use Single Rider Lines
If you don’t mind splitting up your group, pop into the single rider line when you can! Several popular rides including Expedition Everest in Animal Kingdom and Test Track in EPCOT have single rider lines that can move much faster than the regular queue.
You still get to wait with your group in line — you just have to split up when it comes to filling the empty seat as a single rider. This can also be a huge time saver. Bear in mind that sometimes the single rider lines are closed off. Keep an eye on it on your next visit!
17. Get Up Early or Stay Later (or Both)
If you want to skip the crowds without using Genie+, we recommend rope dropping (arriving at the parks before it opens so that you are some of the first people in the park) or staying until close.
When looking at the wait times, the lines are lowest at the most popular rides first thing in the morning and in the last couple of hours when the parks are open. Remember, if you are staying at a Disney World hotel, you can get into each park 30 minutes early every day which can also save you some time.
Also, Extended Evening Hours, may not apply to your last day at Disney World (especially if you have a flight to catch), but it’s something to keep in mind as it could potentially give you a few more hours in the parks after they close. However, Extended Evening Hours are only available on specific dates for specific parks. So, consider getting to the parks early, staying until the park closes, or both!
18. Know Your Group & Their Needs
We’re not going to lie. It can be very tempting to stay in the parks ALL DAY. I mean, Disney World vacations can be pretty pricey, so it makes sense to make the most of it, right? It does make sense, but you should also keep in mind who is in your group and what their needs are.
If you have kiddos in the group, chances are you will need a midday break for a nap. If you get crowd burnout, build in some time at the pool. Know what you and your group need and adjust your priorities accordingly to have a successful trip!
19. Be Patient and Prepare for Plans to Change
You could spend years planning a Disney World vacation, but that doesn’t mean everything will go to plan. As you know, the Florida weather is temperamental, and we can’t predict technical difficulties that might occur with some of the rides. Just be flexible when unexpected issues pop up.
Be patient with yourself, Cast Members, and your group — it’s okay for plans to change the day of! Instead of letting the unexpected challenges ruin your day, focus on what you can do and let your plans adapt to your day.
20. Bring Rain Gear
Since we just talked about the weather, it’s probably a good time to bring up that you should pack for all kinds of weather in Florida! Rain happens all of the time and you could see some pretty severe weather during hurricane season.
We recommend packing your own ponchos instead of buying expensive ones at Disney World, and you’ll want to throw some extra socks in your park bag in case it rains (or in case you get soaked on Kali River Rapids!).
Also, remember that Florida does have its cold spells! Yes, it is warm most of the year, but it can get pretty chilly in the winter months. Check the weather when packing so that you are prepared for anything the Florida weather wants to throw at you.
21. Bring Activities for Long Lines
It’s inevitable — at some point, you’ll find yourself in a long line at Disney World (at Starbucks, Cosmic Rewind, the bathroom!). But if you prepare ahead of time, it doesn’t have to be boring or a waste of time!
We’ve put together a list of activities and things you can do while waiting in line at Disney World! Don’t let waiting in line be boring.
22. Pack the Right Shoes
One of the most important tips of all is to pack the right shoes! It may seem like a small thing, but it truly can make or break your trip.
You will walk miles and miles on your Disney World trip, so it’s important to have comfortable and supportive shoes! There’s nothing worse than getting a blister on the first day of your trip and having to walk on it for days.
23. Bring A Charger
If there was only ONE THING that you ABSOLUTELY NEED on your 2024 Disney World trip it would be a portable charger. A super easy option for never letting your devices run out of power while you’re roaming the parks are these Fuel Rod Portable Chargers!
All over the Disney World parks, you’ll find Fuel Rod Stations with portable chargers that go for $30 each. But get this!! You can get multiple for almost the same price on Amazon, (Also, these are the exact same brand, so they can be swapped out at the Fuel Rod locations within Disney World.)
24. Book A Bounceback Deal
We know that stays at Disney World can be pretty pricey, so if there’s a way to save some coin, you better believe we’re letting you know about it! In 2023, we shared that bounceback deals would be returning to Disney World’s hotels, and we just had to share a reminder about it so you wouldn’t forget!
What’s a bounceback deal? Good question! Essentially, these are promotional offers that are generally offered to guests at Disney World hotels if that guest books a future vacation within 7 days of their current hotel stay.
Discounts on future hotel stays may range from 25%-35% off.
If you want to take advantage of the deal, you’ll have to book the reservation over the phone, and it has to be booked within 7 days from the date of checkout. To book, dial extension 8844 from an in-room phone, call 407-934-7639, or contact a travel agent like MouseFan Travel to book a new reservation.
We’ll continue to keep you update you on any changes in the parks that could impact your 2024 Disney World trip. Happy planning!
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Do you have any questions about planning a 2024 Disney World trip? Ask away in the comments and we’ll do our best to answer them!