Skip to Content

Chatting about recent announcements – PREP 363

Chatting about recent announcements – PREP 363

Shannon discusses recent announcements from Disney including 2024 packages, the Disney Dining Plan, changes to Genie+, and holiday offerings both new and returning. Check out the links below for more information.

2024 packages and crowds

A big (and exciting change) is that no more park pass reservations needed for date-based ticket holders. If you do not have an Annual Pass, most likely you have a date-based ticket.

Annual Passholders will still need to make park reservations. There will be good-to-go days for passholders and cast members where park pass reservations aren’t required.

Early Theme Park Entry and Extended Evening Theme Park Hours will continue. Early Theme Park Entry is for all on-site guests. Extended Evening Theme Park Hours are for Deluxe Resort guests.

Disney has released that they will be Simplifying Genie+ in 2024. We do not have more details about this but they are scheduled for later in 2023.

When the 2024 packages came out, we were able to update our 2024 crowd calendars. We use the ticket prices to help verify our crowd calendar.

According to our crowd calendar, here are some of the lowest crowd times to visit:

  • January 16-February 9 – we estimate light to moderate crowds and cool temperatures. This is our favorite time to visit due to the low crowds and cooler temperates.
  • May 6-23 – we guess that there will be light to moderate crowds. It will be warmer if you want to swim or do the water parks.
  • August 5-29 – Although it will be hot, these dates have some of the lowest crowds of the year.
  • September 3-19 – These dates have some of the lowest crowds of the year. This is also a great time to attend the Halloween Party and Food and Wine Festival.

Disney Dining Plan

The Disney Dining Plan will return on January 9. It will be very similar to the way it was before.

It can be added on to any package with tickets and a hotel room. You can also call or use a travel agent add it to a room-only reservation. You can also add it to a DVC reservation.

The dining package must be purchased for the entire length of your stay and the credits are based on the number of nights of your stay. You do not need to use the credits daily but they need to be used before midnight on your checkout day.

You can think of it like getting a bucket of credits calculated by the length of your trip. You can use the credits for the entirety of your stay.

Most people like it because it makes a trip feel all inclusive. Some people do it to save money if they maximize their credits. This is harder to do now than it used to be in the past.

There was a time when the dining plan was offered for free as a promotion. Promotions are run when crowds are lower.

There used to be more options but right now there are only 2 plans available: –

  • Quick Service Dining Plan ($57.01 for adults, $23.83 for kids) – This plan give you two quick service credit and one snack credit for each night of your trip plus a refillable mug.
  • Regular Dining Plan ($94.28 for adults, $26.69 for kids) – This plan gives you one table service credit, one quick service credit, and one snack credit per night of your trip plus a refillable mug.

There used to be a Deluxe Dining Plan offered that gave you three table service credits per night of your trip.

Some of the best value for your Table Service Credits are:

  • Chef Mickey’s for dinner
  • Crystal Palace for lunch and dinner
  • Hollywood and Vine for lunch and dinner
  • Tusker House for lunch and dinner
  • Ohana for dinner
  • Boma for dinner
  • Top QS values – Polite Pig lunch/dinner, Docking Bay 7 lunch/dinner, Siestas Cantina lunch/dinner, El Mercado de Coronado lunch/dinner, Satuli Canteen lunch/dinner
  • Too many snack credits to mention, but we will have festival related info as we go

Some of the best value for your Quick Service Credits are:

  • Polite Pig for lunch or dinner
  • Docking Bay 7 for lunch or dinner
  • Siestas Cantina for lunch or dinner
  • El Mercado de Coronado for lunch or dinner
  • Satuli Canteen for lunch or dinner

There are so many snacks that it is difficult to say what the best value is for snacks overall. We will be sharing the best snack credit options for the festivals at Epcot as many of the options are snack credits.

Genie+ changes

The changes of Genie+ are active now. The price will vary by day. This has been true for a while. However, now the price will also vary by park. Each theme park will be a different price.

Magic Kingdom will likely be the most expensive each day and Animal Kingdom will likely be the least expensive. If you want to go to multiple parks per day and have park hopper tickets, you will pay the highest price for multiple parks.

If Genie+ sells out for one park, the multiple park option goes away, even if you aren’t planning to go to the park that sells out. This means that purchasing it at midnight as soon as it is available might make more sense than ever before.

Holiday announcements

As we are halfway to Christmas, Disney made some announcements for the holidays. Some of these announcements were events we’ve seen in the past and some of it is new things for 2023.

A new Disney Jollywood Nights event is coming to Hollywood Studios

This is a brand new event at Hollywood Studios that will take place on 10 nights from 8:30pm-12:30am from November 11-December 20. It will feature exclusive character meets, treats, and PhotoPass opportunities.

Jingle Bell Jingle BAM returns for this event! This is an evening show that used to be available to all park guests but now will be exclusive for this ticketed event.

Also included is Access to popular rides, including Rise of the Resistance via a virtual queue. Tickets are $159-179/person depending on the night you plan to attend.

Tickets are available on June 29 for onsite guests and July 6 for everybody else.

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is back!

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party will be back this year. Parties will start November 9 and take place 25 nights through December 22.

Many hoped that the Dreamlights would be back on the castle, but they are not. However, there will be a new Frozen show to illuminate the castle.

Tickets will be $159-$199/person depending on your party date and available for purchase beginning June 29 for onsite guests and July 6 for everybody else.

If you have to choose between Jollywood Nights and the Very Merry Christmas Party, we suggest going to the Christmas party if you have never been. If you’ve been to the Christmas party before, check out Jollywood Nights! Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party also sounds like a more family-friendly event and Jollywood Nights sounds like it has more adult options.

4 new promos are now available

The holiday announcements also came with some promotional announcements. These apply to Disney+ subscribers, Annual Passholders, and Florida Residents.

Promotions are available between October 2 and December 25. However, just because they are available those dates, the promotions are subject to availability.

Favorite holiday things returning this year

  • Merry Menagerie (one of our favorites!) will be back at Animal Kingdom
  • Festival of the Holidays (including Candlelight Processional) will be at Epcot after Thanksgiving from November 24-December 30
  • The Christmas Tree stroll returns to Disney Springs again this year.
  • Santa will be in all 4 parks, at Disney Springs, and a water park
  • Holiday decor can be found at the resorts, including the gingerbread displays at some resorts


Leave me a message(including trip report submissions)

Please use the SpeakPipe link below to leave us a message with your first name, location, and trip info.

You can do that using your computer or phone at

Subscribe to get new episodes

There are a few ways to get new episodes of WDW Prep To Go (if you’re used to listening on the website, subscribe so you can take new episodes with you on your phone)

Follow on social media

Become a Patron

Get a quote request for a future trip from Small World Vacations

Visit the site

Check out the new WDW Prep Merch!

Things we recommend