Walt Disney World News April 2024

Disney World entrance gate with Mickey on the right and Minnie on the left.

This is our longest, most information packed Disney World news update ever! Disney recently announced quite a few things to look forward to at Walt Disney World Resort this summer. There are some limited-time summer celebrations in 2024. With continued reopenings, regular refurbishments and new rides and restaurants, there’s much more to know. We’ve got it all for you here each month, including the tips in this Disney World News April 2024 update. Whether you’re planning your next vacation or hoping to book one, we hope this Walt Disney World news and updates roundup helps to keep you in the know. If you’re planning one, have a magical trip!

A reminder for DVC Members with a September Use Year to bank points by April 30th!

Disney World News April 2024 Dates to Remember

Here we have some dates related to Disney World news April 2024 and beyond.

February 28 – May 27 | 2024 EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival

April 5 | New adventures debut on Star Tours at Hollywood Studios

April 7 | Cast Member pin trading fully returns

April 10 | 1900 Park Fare Reopens

April 18 – 21 | runDisney Springtime Surprise Weekend

May 24 – September 2 | Dreams That Soar drone show at Disney Springs

June 10 – September 6 | ¡Celebración Encanto! show at Epcot

June 10 – September 6 | Animal Kingdom celebrates 30 years of The Lion King

June 14 | Inside Out 2 in theaters

A pond surrounded by pink and red flowers with a sparkling fountain in the middle.
The 2024 EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival runs through May 27th.

Continued Reopenings at Walt Disney World Resort

What’s not back at Disney World?

We’ve been covering Disney World’s post reopening come back for years. Disney World reopened in 2020 running a very lean operation. So many things have returned to the parks and resorts but many have not. There are still many temporarily unavailable closures. Some of which may greatly impact your trips. We want to help you set expectations and plan your trip based on what is available.

  • The tea room at the Grand Floridian is still not open but resort construction has reached the lobby.
  • The Pirates and Pals Fireworks Voyage has not returned to Disney’s Contemporary Resort.
  • The Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutiques at the Grand Floridian and Disney Springs are still not open.
  • It’s A Wonderful Shop, Stage 1 Company Store, In Character and Disney Studio Store are not yet open at Hollywood Studios.
  • Disney says DVC pool hopping is still unavailable.
  • Saratoga Springs Senses Spa and Beach Club’s Ship Shape Massage Salon Fitness are still not open.
  • Services like purchase delivery to the front of the park or to your room are on pause.
  • Disney Annual Passholders still need park reservations to visit parks for a full day.
  • Many shows have not reopened yet like: Citizens of Hollywood, Jedi Training, Citizens of Main Street, Main Street Trolley Show, Move It! Shake It! Street Party, Once Upon a Time, The Jeweled Dragon Acrobats, Serveur Amusant, Swotu Waya Pandora Drummers, Pandora Utility Suit Pilot and more.

We do our best to continue to share things as they come back. Disney World news April 2024 updates bring some fun returns.

Pin Trading Returns to Normal at Disney World

The list of what has not returned to Disney World is longer than we mention. There’s always something that pops up or changes back and reminds us of how things used to be. That happened recently in a few of Disney World’s theme parks.

Pin trading is a fun activity many guests enjoy. For health reasons, pin trading was on pause due to the pandemic. More than four years later, the final piece of this beloved guest tradition returns. You may have noticed other kinds of pin trading available again. Until this month, however, Cast Members were not officially pin trading with guests from their lanyards. As of April 7th, this kind of pin trading is back again.

Characters Continue to Return to Normal at Hollywood Studios

At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, the pandemic era change that kept some characters behind fences and away from guests still stood until just a few weeks ago. While some character meet and greets returned to normal, and new ones were introduced, some were stuck in pandemic times.

For example, Chip and Dale started having a regular picnic on the lawn in front of The Hollywood Brown Derby years ago. This was away from guests but something they could see from a distance. Now the chipmunks are back to meeting guests. We saw Chip and Dale meeting guests again in their Rescue Rangers attire for a limited time when the most recent Indiana Jones movie came out. This, in their regular look, seems like a more permanent offering in the Echo Lake area of the park.

Similarly, Daisy and Donald have been behind a short fence on Hollywood Blvd. Now they have also been back with guests in the Echo Lake area. 

In March of 2022, Disney announced character greetings would return to normal throughout the spring and summer of 2022. While we saw that happen quite a few places, two years later we are still waiting for some things to return to normal. Let’s hope there is more magic like this ahead.

Up Characters Return to Animal Kingdom Meet and Greet

Over at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Dug and Russell are back meeting guests in their meet and greet spot by It’s Tough to be a Bug! Dug and Russell’s Wilderness Explorer Clubhouse has been stroller parking while they were away. What a nice surprise to have them back in the park with guests and off of the boats that circle the park from a distance.

A scout character smiles with his hands behind his back as he waits to greet guests in a covered club house setting.
Dug & Russell have been spotted meeting guests again in the Wilderness Explorers Club House at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

1900 Park Fare Now Open

1900 Park Fare is finally open again at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa and with new characters. For both breakfast and dinner guests can meet Aladdin, Cinderella, Mirabel and Tiana at this Disney resort character meal

Characters Return to Conservation Station at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Rafiki and Timon are set to meet guests at Rafiki’s Planet Watch in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park starting June 10th. This marks the start of a celebration for the 30th anniversary of The Lion King film in the park that goes through September 6th. It’s unclear if the characters are permanently off of their floatilla and back in this setting to meet guests.

An African themed building with string lights out front and a sign that says Festival of The Lion King.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom will celebrate 30 years of The Lion King this summer from June 10th through September 6th.

Disney World News April 2024

New DVC Lounge Opening at Disney Springs

Disney Springs and Disney Vacation Club announced in an Instagram post that a new DVC venue is now open at the shopping and dining center. Gateway to Discovery – A Disney Vacation Club Welcome Home Center is in the Town Center neighborhood of Disney Springs. Inside guests are able to explore different destinations around the world they can visit thanks to DVC. You can find it next to Francesca’s not too far from the Disney Springs Welcome Center and D-Luxe Burger. Later this spring, the second floor will open as a space for Members and their guests.

Disney Springs West Side   store rooftops in front of a pastel sunset sky.
Disney Springs West Side store rooftops in front of a pastel sunset sky.

Disney Dreams That Soar Drone Show Coming to Disney Springs

It’s been years since Disney Springs had the first ever drone show at Disney World. The holiday display was quite exciting as many people experienced this type of entertainment for the first time. This summer, a new drone show will take over the sky at the outdoor shopping and dining complex. 

“Disney Dreams That Soar” will runs nightly from May 24th through September 2nd over the West Side of Disney Springs. The show will feature a musical score and movie quotes. 

It is free to park at and visit Disney Springs. The closest hotel to Disney Springs is Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa.

Disney Cruise Line’s Next Ship is Named Destiny

It’s an exciting time for fans of sailing on Disney Cruise Line. After the Wish and the Treasure comes the Disney Destiny. This is a third and final ship in this class. Disney Cruise Line doubled its fleet in just a few years. The Destiny will have a Heroes and Villains theme and will debut in 2025. Disney Cruise Line continues to share progress on the additional island destination debuting on itineraries this year as well. Check the DCL site to see where your favorite ship is now. With the new additions, ships have moved around to different home ports.

Joe Rohde Back at Imagineering to Teach

Long time Imagineer Joe Rohde left the company during the pandemic. There has been a lot of change at Disney over the last few years, especially in the Imagineering area. With the almost move to Florida, and then reversing of that decision, layoffs and such, many were concerned about institutional knowledge. Walt Disney Imagineering is such a special and unique field of work with so many different jobs within it. Well Joe Rohde is back to teach, sharing his expertise in master classes for current Imagineers. His attention to detail and authenticity have been missed and it’s great to hear he’s back specifically to guide the next generation.

Disney DeSantis Feud Settled

After two years of debating and pursuing legal action, The Walt Disney Company has settled with the state of Florida and DeSantis. Both sides have said words that make this look like a win. This started when a new bill was introduced by the governor that Disney disagreed with. Disney spoke out against it and the governor retaliated, taking away Disney’s self-governing status in their district. There was also recently a settlement in Florida regarding what many have deemed the “Don’t Say Gay” law that clarified some of the issues Disney had within it.

CommuniCore Hall, Mouse Meet and Greet and More Open June 10 at Epcot

After many delays, the final installment of Epcot’s current refurbishment will open this summer on June 10th. Near the front of the park, CommuniCore Hall is a multipurpose indoor, outdoor area. 

Here’s what you can expect:

  • the CommuniCore Plaza stage
  • this area will be home to festivals and celebrations
  • a new character greeting location with Mickey & Friends
  • an Epcot themed mural
  • an exterior with Spaceship Earth inspiration
  • more relaxing outdoor space at CommuniCore Plaza and Inspiration Gardens
  • Disney Parks Blog also teased more entertainment and food coming

New Encanto Show Debuts at Epcot on June 10th

¡Celebración Encanto! is a limited time Encanto sing along style show that will run from June 10th through September 6th at Epcot. This Encanto show will take place on the CommuniCore Plaza stage, in an area that opens on the same day. Mirabel and Bruno will be in ¡Celebración Encanto! This adds to the growing list of places you can find Encanto at Disney World.

Disney World Ticket Prices Going Up in 2025

With the release of Disney vacation packages for 2025, we’re able to see pricing further ahead. Prices are going up on tickets again next year. Disney has been using a surge pricing model for years now, causing prices to go up during what Disney deems as peak times. In 2025, the cheapest Disney World ticket will start at $119, up from $109.

runDisney Springtime Surprise

This month the runDisney Springtime Surprise Weekend takes over Walt Disney World Resort from April 18th through the 21st in 2024. runDisney events are as follows:

runDisney Springtime Surprise Yoga Thursday April 18
Neverland 5K Friday April 19
Adventure Is Out There 10K Saturday April 20
Hakuna Matata 10-Miler Sunday April 21
runDisney Springtime Surprise Splash Monday April 21

See more information about magical miles this year in our 2024 runDisney events overview.

My Disney Experience App Updates

The My Disney Experience app has had some improvements to the user experience. One of the updates includes the ability to search for a dining reservation over multiple days. This will be helpful if you’re flexible on when but know you want to eat somewhere in particular. Other updates include making the hamburger menu a little more helpful, putting options users need to get to in an easier place to find them.

Disney World News Updates: The Road to Dinoland?

We’ve been covering all of the different news about Disney adding new attractions and updating old ones over the last few years. We haven’t had any official moves forward. Until now. Permits were filed for Disney to add what looks like new Imagineering space backstage at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. While the home base for Walt Disney Imagineering is still located in California, Florida has smaller temporary structures around Disney World that seem to be project based.

Based on the permits, there are quite a few trailers for Walt Disney Imagineers and hundreds of parking spaces. It’s a complex where many people could work if that’s the intent. Could this be related to the potential additions and refurbishments at Animal Kingdom? Last we heard, Disney announced a possible reimagining of the Dinosaur attraction into an Indiana Jones ride, possibly similar to the west coast one. They have the same set up and ride vehicles already. There was also an image showing the Encanto house there in some form. We don’t know if this is an attraction, restaurant or other.

Either way, it’s exciting to see some kind of movement. With all that Imagineers have been through over the last few years, we can just hope great talent is being gathered to help bring the future of Disney Parks to life.

Kali River Rapids Reopens

As previously planned, the Animal Kingdom attraction Kali River Rapids has reopened after regularly scheduled maintenance. This is a water raft ride in the Asia area of the park. The attraction was down from January 8th through mid March. Plan for a soaking on this ride! It’s very possible a large wave of water will come over the side of the boat. Though it does provide fantastic views of the Expedition Everest mountain you can’t see anywhere else. 

We’ve shared before that the beginning of the year is a popular time for regular refurbishments. This is after the busy holiday season when crowds have slowed down. When planning, you can expect winter to bring closures like this every year. Kali River Rapids, a waterpark, or both depending on how cold it is, and a rotating lineup of pools close annually to keep Walt Disney World Resort up to date and working as intended.

Disney H2O Glow After Hours at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon are Back

If you enjoy making a splash at Disney After Hours events, Typhoon Lagoon dates have been announced for 2024.

Disney H2O Glow After Hours at Typhoon Lagoon is offered select nights starting May 25th through August 31st in 2024. This event runs from 8:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. but guests can enter as early as 6:00 p.m. with their event ticket. 

Like other After Hours events, complimentary treats are part of the fun. Expect ice cream, drinks and popcorn.

The parks being less crowded is always a part of the draw for these events. Disney H2O Glow After Hours at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon also has a dance party with a DJ and characters. Discounted prices for DVC Members and Annual Passholders start at $60 depending on the night. 

Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon water park just reopened for the season in mid March. It’s now tricky to get a visit to both Disney World water parks in on the same trip. Disney’s Blizzard Beach water park closed for refurbishment the day Typhoon Lagoon reopened. We haven’t seen both parks open at the same time for the last few years. The pandemic has changed a lot at Disney but this is an interesting one. When will we see both water parks open regularly again? We’ll have to wait and see. For now you can expect to visit Typhoon Lagoon in the spring and summer and Blizzard Beach in the fall and winter.

Discounted Disney Ticket Specials

We know many DVC Members have a Disney annual pass. Those who don’t may be interested in some of Disney’s upcoming tickets at special prices. Even though spring is a busy time at Disney with so many school vacations happening across the country, we still often see multi-day ticket sales during this time period. What to look for in these specials based on your needs:

  • If you need to be a Florida resident to qualify.
  • If you need a park reservation or not.
  • How long you have to use the tickets.

Disney has shared the following regarding different specially priced ticket types:

Special Florida Resident Discover Disney Tickets

Experience the theme parks with a 4-Day Discover Disney Ticket for just $59 per day, plus tax (total price: $235, plus tax)! Or, choose a 3-day ticket for just $73 per day, plus tax (total price: $219, plus tax).

Florida Resident Discover Disney Tickets are valid for use from April 2 to September 28, 2024, with an advance park reservation.

Tickets can be used on consecutive or non-consecutive days—so you can spread out the fun!

This ticket is valid for one theme park per day. You can also choose a Florida Resident Discover Disney Ticket that includes the Park Hopper option, Water Parks and Sports option or Park Hopper Plus option.

Special 3-Day, 3-Park Ticket to Hollywood Studios, EPCOT and Animal Kingdom Only

Enjoy fun adventures and thrilling moments with a specially priced 3-Day, 3- Park Ticket that’s valid for admission to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, EPCOT and Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park only—starting from $89 per day, plus tax (total price starting from $267, plus tax). Limit one admission per theme park, one theme park per day—for a total of 3 admissions, on 3 separate days. Not valid for admission to Magic Kingdom park.

This ticket does not require a theme park reservation to enter a park.

Date-based ticket with start dates from April 2 through September 24, 2024. Ticket must be used within 5 days of selected start date.

Ticket may not be used to enter the same theme park more than once.

4-Day, 4-Park Magic Ticket from $99 Per Day, Plus Tax (Total Price from $396, Plus Tax)

Experience 4 days of magic and thrills across the Walt Disney World theme parks when you purchase a specially priced 4-Park Magic Ticket starting from $99 per day, plus tax (total price starting from $396, plus tax). The 4-Park Magic Ticket includes one admission to each of the 4 Walt Disney World theme parks—Magic Kingdom park, Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park, EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios—for a total of 4 admissions, on 4 separate days. Limit one admission per theme park, one theme park per day.

This ticket does not require a theme park reservation to enter a park.

Date-based ticket with start dates from April 2 through September 22, 2024. Ticket must be used within 7 days of selected start date. Ticket may not be used to enter the same theme park more than once.

A construction wall surrounds The Cake Bake Shop building on the Disney BoardWalk.
The Cake Bake Shop is a new restaurant opening at Disney’s BoardWalk in 2024.

The Cake Bake Shop at Disney’s BoardWalk is Hiring

We’ve reached another milestone in the building of a new restaurant on Disney’s BoardWalk. The Cake Bake Shop is scheduled to open this year. It seems, after quite a bit of a delay, we’re getting closer to that. Hiring opportunities have been announced for this venue. When you visit Disney’s BoardWalk Inn, you can finally see some nice progress has been made on this building. The Cake Bake Shop is taking over the space of the former ESPN restaurant. 

Hollywood & Vine Seasonal Dining Updates

Enter Disney’s Hollywood Studios and go down Hollywood Boulevard. If you make your first left, you’ll run into the Echo Lake area and the popular character buffet restaurant Hollywood & Vine. For breakfast, Disney Junior Stars meet with diners. At lunch and dinner, Minnie and her friends meet in seasonal outfits.

Minnie’s outfits change based on the season. The Holiday Dine is from November 8th, 2023 to January 4th, 2024. The Silver Screen Dine features Hollywood glamour from January 5th, 2024 to March 15th, 2024. The Springtime Dine features outfits to match the season from March 16th, 2024 to June 19th, 2024. This year’s Summertime Dine starts June 20th, 2024.

Minnie wears a new outfit for the spring this year. The buffet meal also has a new Chicken and Doughnuts offering for breakfast. Lunch and dinner are around $63 per adult. Reservations are a must for this popular offering. 

New Star Tours Debut April 5th

It’s an exciting time over at Hollywood Studios. New Star Tours destinations and characters from Ahsoka, Andor, and The Mandalorian debut on the attraction on April 5th. 

Star Tours was updated in 2011 to include different sequences each ride. It was possible to have a different beginning, middle and end each time you went for a tour. We haven’t seen many changes to Star Tours over the years. With so much enthusiasm for Grogu, this should be a hit. In a past update, an added scene was shown in all of the Star Tours rides, no matter where else they went. It will be interesting to see how it works with this new update. 

Future Investments: Disney World News April 2024

Disney fans have been on quite the ride over the last few years. So much has changed with The Walt Disney Company since 2020. Pandemic closures, the CEO switches and behind the scenes business restructuring has certainly dictated where the parks are today. Disney is usually planning what’s next many years ahead and marketing while building. However, these days, there isn’t certainty with what additions or expansions we might have to look forward to.

There has been a lot of talk about the money Disney plans to invest in Disney Parks. That started years ago. Since then, new additions have been announced and then quietly cancelled with other announcements replacing them. We have some more information about how Disney plans to use that money as filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Over the next ten years, there is a planned $60 billion investment in the Experiences segment of the company. That includes parks, resorts, cruise ships, related technology and maintaining all of these.

In this filing, a breakdown shows the money is to be spent this way:

  • 50% at Disney Parks and Resorts
  • 30% on Technology and Maintenance
  • 20% Disney Cruise Line and Other

So how much of that will really end up at Walt Disney World Resort? Disney Parks and Resorts includes 12 theme parks, many resort hotels and more at the following destinations worldwide.

  • Disneyland Resort
  • Walt Disney World Resort
  • Tokyo Disney Resort
  • Disneyland Paris
  • Hong Kong Disneyland Resort
  • Shanghai Disney Resort

How far could $60 billion go for Disney?

While it seems like $60 billion overall is an astounding amount, let’s break it down further. With half of that going to Parks and Resorts, that brings it down to $30 billion. Disney owns, licenses and operates differently at its destinations around the world. We don’t know how that investment amount will be distributed. It’s unlikely that it would be evenly split between the six locations but if it were, that would be $5 billion per resort. 

The filing also states 70% of the plan is earmarked for capacity-expanding investments. A little math for fun shows that $3.5 billion is 70% of $5 billion. For reference, Pandora – The World of Avatar opened at Disney’s Animal Kingdom in 2017 and cost $500 million to build. This includes a fairly large footprint including two indoor attractions and an impressive display of world building with the floating rocks. Upon opening, the Avatar land also included entertainment but that was cut during the pandemic and hasn’t returned.

In this for fun equation, that means we could have the equivalent of more than six new Avatar lands on this budget if Disney wanted to. Things are different seven years later with inflation so it may be close to six or even five new multi-attraction lands in this very unserious, hypothetical playing with numbers scenario. Realistically, this will probably include some amount of new resorts as well. Disney Vacation Club is part of this segment of the company also.

We’ll keep you updated with all that is announced even if it gets replaced with some other idea in the same location or another concept in a different park entirely. For now, we have a short list of what’s coming to Disney in 2024 and beyond.

Joy from Inside Out Will Move This Summer

Joy has been meeting in the Imagination Pavilion at Epcot most recently. Starting June 10th, the Inside Out character will meet guests in Pixar Plaza over at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. This is the quiet space that used to be the entrance of Toy Story Mania before Toy Story Land opened. Inside Out 2 hits theaters June 14th. 

Tiana’s Bayou Adventure Testing Update

Flumes have been splashing down the big drop at Tiana’s Bayou Adventure. Now we’ve also spotted Imagineers riding the attraction! This is another exciting milestone for this ride. In just a few months we’ll be able to see the full transformation of this attraction in Frontierland.

Also, there are quite a few things starting on June 10th around Walt Disney World Resort. The Encanto show at Epcot, CommuniCore Hall opening in the same park and The Lion King celebration at Animal Kingdom to name a few. Based on this, it looks like Disney World summer offerings could officially run June 10th through early September this year. Disney has shared Tiana’s Bayou Adventure would be opening this summer. Could we see it open on June 10th as well? Hopefully we’ll find out soon. It would be great if we could get some DVC Member and passholder previews!

Stormalong Bay Refurbishment Expanded

Next year over at Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club resorts, a lengthy pool refurbishment is on the schedule. We see many pool, water ride and water park closures in the winter when it’s too cold to enjoy them. Stormalong Bay will be closing beyond winter next year and the length of the refurbishment seems to have been extended:

“From January 2025 through June 2025, Stormalong Bay and Shipwreck Pool at Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club Resorts will be closed for routine maintenance. Guests may see or hear construction work during daytime hours. During this time, Guests are welcome to swim at the Tidal, Admiral and Dunes Cove leisure pools.”

In addition to our Disney World news April 2024 roundup and other updates, we also have a regular DVC resort refurbishment schedule.

Pandora Coming to Disneyland?

Along with our Disney World news we have to mention this Disneyland update. In 2023, Bob Iger mentioned an Avatar experience was coming to Disneyland and more information would be shared soon. A year later, we’ve gotten an update. Iger said a whole land is coming to Disneyland but it’s not clear if that’s accurate or if he misspoke. If it’s true, that could draw some more visitors west.

Disney’s Very Beach Resort Character Dining News

Disney’s Vero Beach Resort has more magic ahead. On April 20th, the Wind & Waves Grill debuts a brand new menu for breakfast. Goofy and Pluto will also greet guests at this meal on Saturdays from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Reservations are now open. This restaurant uses OpenTable for booking. Disney’s Vero Beach Resort is located on the east coast of Florida about two hours from Walt Disney World Resort.

DVC Resale Experts Can Help, Disney World News April 2024 and Beyond

Does this Disney World news April 2024 edition leave you needing more Disney trips? DVC Resale Experts is a licensed real estate broker with a team that specializes in resale DVC. Whether you’re adding on points, buying or selling Disney Vacation Club, the Experts can help you find the right price to place a bid with or list your contract for. Our independent, licensed real estate agents are former Disney Vacation Club Guides. They have decades of pixie dusted experience selling DVC and delight in providing excellent service to their clients. The Experts have seen it all and are happy to answer your questions throughout the process.

DVC resale prices can pleasantly surprise Members interested in selling DVC. See our resale DVC listings for a look at real time availability and pricing. Ready to sell DVC? Get in touch for a complimentary valuation of your specific contract today. There may be someone waiting on our Buyer Wish List for a contract just like yours.

Disney Blogger Nicole and Disney CEO Bob Iger

Sparkly Nicole

Nicole is a native Floridian who attended the University of Central Florida and decided to call the land of theme parks home. She’s been sharing magical tips, tricks and Orlando travel and tourism favorites online for over a decade.

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