“When will 2024 Walt Disney World vacation packages or resort reservations be released and available to book?” is the #1 reader question we’re receiving now that Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party tickets are on sale. We’ll try to answer based on historical precedent, while also offering predictions about what will be brought back, added, or eliminated for next year.
It should go without saying, but Walt Disney World has not followed a totally predictable schedule in the last 3 years. Special event ticket sales have been delayed, and other add-ons have been slow to return. One of the few things that has happened on schedule is price increases. Disney does those like clockwork. (As of late last year, the release of special offers also joins that list.)
This is to say that what you read here relates to when 2024 Walt Disney World vacation packages would be released based on past precedent, and there’s always the chance that this year will defy that for whatever reason. We aren’t expecting that to be the case for the reasons explained below, but it’s always a possibility. If you don’t want to deal with speculation, you can subscribe to our free email newsletter for instant alerts for the official announcement and/or release of vacation packages, discounts, and everything else. For now, here’s everything you need to know about when 2024 Walt Disney World vacation packages might be released.
Last year, Walt Disney World made the announcement on May 18 that guests would be able to begin making travel plans for next year as Walt Disney World Resort would open bookings for theme park tickets, resort hotel stays and packages for visits in 2023 on June 8, 2022.
This was the first normal year since 2020, with every resort operational and bookable for the first time in three years. Some experiences were unavailable, but by and large, the release and booking of 2023 Walt Disney World vacation packages was consistent with 2019 and earlier.
You might not recall this news, and that’s because it was entirely overshadowed by the elimination of the Genie+ ticket add-on. The more notable aspect of the announcement was that also starting June 8 of last year, Genie+ would only be offered for purchase through the My Disney Experience app on the day of your visit.
Also contained in that press release was confirmation that the Early Theme Park Entry benefit for Walt Disney World Resort hotel guests would continue beyond the 50th Anniversary for visits throughout all of this year. (Extended Evening Hours was confirmed at a later date.)
The release of 2022 Walt Disney World vacation packages is not particularly insightful given the circumstances at the time. That occurred in mid-February 2021 for arrivals running through July 1, 2022. It also excluded 6 resorts that were closed at the time and didn’t yet have “firm” reopening dates.
The balance of the year was released in mid-June. There were also changes announced with that, such as the resumption of normal terms and conditions for final payments, cancellations, and change fees returning, after being suspended during the phased reopening when there were more travel trepidations.
Going back another year brings us to when Walt Disney World’s theme parks were closed. Despite this–and despite the fact that 2020 packages had been temporarily suspended at that time–Walt Disney World released 2021 vacation packages on June 24, 2020.
Impressive as it was that Disney stuck to schedule, this release came with a ton of asterisks and bad news buried in the announcement, including an extension of park reservations and the elimination of complimentary MagicBand distribution to hotel guests–just to name a couple of things. A variety of add-ons were unavailable, resorts that wouldn’t end up reopening on time were bookable, and more.
Honestly, if the closure didn’t happen, we’d probably consider 2019 nonprecedential in many regards (discounts, crowds, price increases, etc.). This was when hype was building about Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, there was still excitement about the prospect of Free Dining, and hotel availability was first becoming an issue.
Everything that happened in late 2019 and early 2020 is a blur now, but Walt Disney World was starting to see or at least anticipate the sky-high demand that we’ve now come to call “pent-up.” (Suffice to say, that dynamic would’ve existed to some degree in 2020-2021 regardless. The closure just exacerbated the demand, and pushed it into 2021-2022.)
In any case, 2020 Walt Disney World vacation packages were released on June 18, 2019. Everything ended up being normal about that, save for the price increases. (Especially at the Skyliner resorts, which was to be expected in part.)
The story is similar for every year before 2019 in this blog’s recorded history. In years prior to that, my records are spotty–but packages went live for booking around the 3rd or 4th week of June every single year. It probably happened at some point, I can’t find any instances of packages being released before mid-June or after early July between 2013 and 2017.
From that, it should be easy to make a credible prediction about when vacation packages will be released. However, there are a couple of monkey wrenches thrown into things by last year’s announcement and, arguably, Walt Disney World’s release of special offers thus far for 2023.
The change for last year was the staggered announcement and release of vacation packages, with the news released on May 18 that they’d become available for booking exactly 3 weeks later. It’s possible that this had happened at some point in the past (my records only cover release dates, not announcement dates), but most of our announcements from prior years indicate little lag between announcement and booking.
This change is consistent with what Walt Disney World has done with Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, Very Merry Christmas Party, After Hours, and other events. A delay between the reveal and when booking is actually possible is a less chaotic approach, and one that allows the company to get on the same page with its internal and external communications. (It may not seem significant from a guest-facing perspective, but it is a behind-the-scenes improvement for all involved.)
As such, our expectation would be that this practice continues with the announcement and release of 2024 Walt Disney World vacation packages. The likelihood of this happening is extremely high–probably 75% or greater. We’d be more surprised if the staggered approach is not used.
The second possible monkey wrench that could impact timing is far less certain. As we’ve discussed elsewhere, Walt Disney World already has already released over a dozen different discounts for 2023, which is more than were available for the entirety of last year. Additionally, most of these discounts have been released earlier than normal by historical standards, and offer better savings than their counterparts from the last two years.
Disney doesn’t offer discounts out of generosity, and the timing of the releases is not coincidental–it’s purposeful. If weak discounting and late releases were a sign that pent-up demand had still been running strong in 2022, the increased discounting is almost certainly a sign that the opposite is no longer be true.
It appears increasingly likely that bookings are soft, and releasing vacation packages sooner rather than later captures vacation reservations for 2024 and secures a commitment of future revenue. (It’s not a guarantee, but it’s better than nothing.) This would be a savvy move amidst a travel slowdown, as it’d be a way to lock-in bookings before consumers start reducing their budgets and scaling back plans.
In our view, both of these factors increase the likelihood of an announcement within the next week or two and with bookings opening by early June 2023. This is probably more like the baseline scenario rather than the best or worst case. Personally, I am not expecting dates that are later than last year–but earlier is a possibility.
The announcement occurring in the next couple of weeks and the ‘drop date’ following a few weeks after that feels all but inevitable. What’s perhaps more interesting is what accompanies the announcement. As mentioned above, Walt Disney World has used the vacation package releases (or announcements that they’re coming soon) as vehicles for dropping other news.
It makes sense from a practical perspective, as a new year is a clean break and offers the opportunity for policy changes. Strategically, it’s also a way to bury bad news. Although, as we’ve seen, the bad usually gets more traction than the basics about vacation packages themselves.
Expect the announcement of 2024 Walt Disney World vacation packages to be no different. We have zero insight into what the possibilities could be, but could include changes to Genie+ and Lightning Lanes, water park operations (both open simultaneously), changes to or elimination of Extended Evening Hours or Early Entry in 2024, price increases, changes to or elimination of Disney Park Pass for resort hotels or regular ticket holders in 2024, return of Disney’s Magical Express, or the introduction of other on-site perks. As always, the elephant in the room is the Disney Dining Plan, the potential return of which we speculated about earlier this week.
In terms of predictions, I’m going to be an optimist. While I absolutely do not expect Disney’s Magical Express to return, I think we’ll get good news about on-site perks, as a whole. This announcement early this year about the return of free self-parking at resorts, relaxed reservation rules, and on-ride photos coming to Genie+ also suggested that more improvements to address guest feedback were on the way. Independently, we’ve heard that Walt Disney World wants to address some of the biggest common complaints.
This would be the ideal opportunity to do exactly that. If Walt Disney World wants to excite fans and quickly capture reservations for 2024, there’s no better way than with a positive announcement that hypes up people. Perhaps I’m being overly optimistic, but I think that’s precisely what we’ll get (and why).
My one fear is that there’s negative news with regard to Early Entry and/or Extended Evening Hours, as I could see Walt Disney World wanting to shift towards more upcharge offerings now in the morning and evening now that staffing allows. (Also, just because good or bad news isn’t announced alongside vacation packages doesn’t mean it won’t come later. It’s possible, if not probable, that Walt Disney World hasn’t hammered out all of the specifics for 2024 just yet. More updates will likely trickle out between now and September 2023.)
Finally, if you’re really impatient and not willing to wait another week or two for the news and another month or so for bookings to open, you can potentially book now. Although the online booking tool on Disneyworld.com doesn’t offer this option, Walt Disney World resort hotel reservations can be made up to 499 days in advance.
This can be done only by calling (407) 939-1936 or via an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner. In order to book this room-only reservation, you’ll pay a deposit of one night’s rack rate with the balance due upon check-in. By contrast, Walt Disney World vacation packages require a $200 deposit with the remaining balance of the package due 30 days prior to arrival.
This can be a good option for those who want a room-only reservation, as you can potentially lock-in a rate that’s lower than 2024 Walt Disney World resort rack rates. If you’re going to purchase discounted tickets from an authorized third party and don’t care about the Disney Dining Plan (assuming it returns for 2024), consider doing this.
You’ll still have the option of applying discounts retroactively, assuming your reservation qualifies (e.g. dates, resort, room category, etc. are among what’s offered in the discount). Or, the special offer might end up being not so special, in which case you can simply stick with what you’ve booked. No harm, no foul.
Those planning on booking an actual vacation package with tickets and other elements should not book a room-only reservation now. Like all things Disney and technology, the backend system for doing this is archaic and complicated–it’s not simply a matter of the call center Cast Members checking a modify box on your existing reservation to add tickets or whatever else.
What we’ve been told is supposed to happen, especially with “rare” room types (e.g. special suites) is that a new package reservation is created and then the room from your existing reservation is moved over to that. (I don’t know the mechanics of how this works, so my description might not be 100% accurate. Regardless, that’s the idea.) In actuality, it doesn’t always work this cleanly and we’ve heard of some people having problems converting reservations. As with so many things, your mileage may vary.
Frankly, this seems like a waste of time to me no matter what the type of reservation. It was one thing when Walt Disney World wasn’t offering discounts, not every resort had reopened, and pent-up demand was going strong. For those couple of years, hotel inventory was limited and it made sense to reserve early. That’s no longer the case as of 2023, and it’s hard to imagine things reversing course in 2024. It just seems like a waste of time and jumping through unnecessary hoops at this point, but to each their own.
Ultimately, that’s just our perspective on whether it makes sense to book a room now versus waiting until packages are released. It also probably depends on your own peace of mind, excitement of having a trip “officially on the books,” and willingness to hassle with the call center.
Of course, your mileage may vary. As someone with zero tolerance for talking on the phone and being very laid back with trip planning, I’m probably not the ideal person to offer advice to people already asking the titular question. Also, my time is very valuable, and is better spent on highly important tasks, such as watching reruns of The Office on TBS for like the 6th time. 😉
Regardless, hopefully this is useful history on what’s happen in the past that provides the basis for when 2024 Walt Disney World vacation packages might be released and what other announcements the company might make alongside that news. We’ll keep you posted and give you a heads up when Walt Disney World releases 2024 details and when vacation packages are bookable!
Planning a Walt Disney World trip? Learn about hotels on our Walt Disney World Hotels Reviews page. For where to eat, read our Walt Disney World Restaurant Reviews. To save money on tickets or determine which type to buy, read our Tips for Saving Money on Walt Disney World Tickets post. Our What to Pack for Disney Trips post takes a unique look at clever items to take. For what to do and when to do it, our Walt Disney World Ride Guides will help. For comprehensive advice, the best place to start is our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide for everything you need to know!
Have you booked a 2024 Walt Disney World room-only reservation? Do you typically book a room and “convert” that to a package, or wait? Predictions of your own about when 2024 Walt Disney World vacation packages will be released? Think the Disney Dining Plan will be bookable when they’re released? Expecting any other changes, such as an end to park reservations, extra hours, return of Disney’s Magical Express or anything else? Do you agree or disagree with our assessments here? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback–even when you disagree with us–is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!