Welcome to 2024! It’s going to be a year full of Disney fun, I’m sure, with lots of exciting things happening on both coasts, in the movie theaters, on the cruises, and around the world. My first Disney trip will be at the end of February for Princess race weekend… I’m also planning a few days in Disney World and a cruise on the Disney Fantasy in October, so there’s lots to look forward to! Are you planning any trips this year? What are you looking forward to the most?
- A new restaurant, Summer House on the Lake, has opened in Disney Springs. I actually had lunch there a few weeks ago and it was pretty good. There are some things on the menu I would love to go back and try!
- Disney has released some deals and discounts for 2024 bookings, including the popular free dining discount. Only select dates, resorts, and room types qualify and there are some things, to know – this post does a great job covering a lot of the questions and answers about the dining discount.
- Epcot’s Flower and Garden Festival will have an opening date of February 28th this year.
- Dick Nunis, the former chairman of Walt Disney World attractions, passed away on December 13th, 2023. He was a huge contributor to the success of the parks and keeping in line with Walt’s vision.
- Some Pixar films will be coming to theaters for the first time this year – those that were released directly to Disney+ will be hitting the big screens. Head to your local theater to see Soul (starting January 12th), Turning Red (February 9th), and Luca (March 22nd).
- Hollywood Studios will be getting a new Little Mermaid stage show. Previously home to “Voyage of the Little Mermaid,” it will now be “The Little Mermaid – A Musical Adventure,” which they are calling a fully reimagined production based on the classic movie.
- Now that park pass reservations are no longer in use (starting January 9th), Disney has released some updates to how their virtual queue system will work. Starting January 9, Guests will be able to join one attraction virtual queue at any theme park where they have valid admission. Guests may hold one attraction virtual queue at a time. Guests do not need to be inside a theme park to request to join the virtual queue at 7:00 AM (but they do for the 1:00PM drop).
- Festival of the Arts starts in Epcot on January 12, and Disney has released a look at the full food booth menus!
- Star Wars fans can now book a private, 20 minute photo shoot in Galaxy’s Edge as part of Disney’s Capture your Moment packages.
- Disneyland will resume Magic Key sales (their annual pass system) this month, as it was previously on hiatus.
- Disney Cruise Line has made some changes to their loyalty program, the Castaway Club. Castaway Club members will now have to cruise or at least have a booking every 5 years in order to keep their status (silver, gold, platinum, or pearl).
- Rock n Roller Coaster in Hollywood Studios will be undergoing a major refurbishment this year, starting on January 8th and staying closed until sometime in “Summer 2024.”
Epcot // While Disney announced the opening date for Flower and Garden Festival, an interesting thing to note is that they did not announce when it will end. That most likely means they will be doing something different this year – either ending it much earlier or much later. One prediction that intrigues me is the idea that Disney may be introducing a new summer festival. As a result, Flower and Garden would end early June, there would be a June/July/August festival, and then Food and Wine would start perhaps late August or early September. I’m curious what the theme around a new festival might be!
Hollywood Studios // Rock n Roller Coaster has long had rumors about a re-themeing, and its major refurbishment (again) is adding to these rumors. They are trying to reduce the downtime of the ride, which clearly didn’t work during the 3-month refurb they did last year. Rumor has it that they are really intent on making sure the ride rarely goes down because they are planning a new theme and anticipate a lot more crowds. Time will tell!
Other Disney blogs
I loved learning about some of these lesser-known Animal Kingdom facts from Heather over at WDW Prep School. Did you learn anything new? (I know I did!)
Tom at Disney Tourist Blog brings us his Top 10 underrated rides NOT to skip at Disney World. How many do you agree with?
Ever wonder the details about doing a split stay (staying at two different Disney resorts during one trip)? The blog Mouse Hacking brings you their complete guide.
Over on Polka Dots and Pixie Dust, Melanie brings us her rankings of the Disney Cruise Line ships from worst to best. While my order might be a little different, I’m excited to see her put the Fantasy at #1 – it’s the only one I haven’t been on, and the one I’m sailing this October!
What Disney news are you most looking forward to this month?