Walt Disney World News January 2024

epcot fireworks in the night sky

It’s 2024 already! Disney World news January 2024 brings a new year of fun, runDisney marathon weekend and more. 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 January 2024 info. Whether you’re planning your next vacation or hoping to be inspired to book one, we hope this Walt Disney World news and updates roundup helps to keep you in the know. Here on the blog, we aim to keep DVC Members and Disney fans up to date with information that can enhance their next Disney World vacation. If you’re planning one, have a magical trip!

A special note for all Disney Vacation Club Members who have a June use year. This is your reminder to bank points by January 31st! For more information see What Does Disney Vacation Club Use Year Mean?

Disney World News January 2024 Dates to Remember

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

January 3 – 7 | Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend

January 9 | All day parking hopping returns

January 9 | Park reservations no longer needed for standard, date based tickets

January 9 | Disney Dining Plan returns

January 11 | First good-to-go days announced (days APs don’t need reservations)

January 12 – February 19 | Epcot International Festival of the Arts

January 16 – 27 | Disney Skyliner down for maintenance at Disney’s Riviera Resort

February 28 | EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival begins

Continued Reopenings at Walt Disney World Resort

We’ve been covering Disney World’s post reopening come back for quite a while now. 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.

What’s not back at Disney World?

  • 1900 Park Fare at the Grand Floridian is still closed and…
  • The tea room at the Grand Floridian is still closed 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 not open.
  • It’s A Wonderful Shop, Stage 1 Company Store, In Character and Disney Studio Store are still closed at Hollywood Studios.
  • Disney says DVC pool hopping is still suspended.
  • Saratoga Springs Senses Spa and Beach Club’s Ship Shape Massage Salon Fitness are still closed.
  • Services like having your purchases delivered to the front of the park or to your room are paused.
  • Disney Annual Passholders still need park reservations to visit parks for a full day.
  • Many shows have not reopened yet like: Voyage of the Little Mermaid (update below), 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 return.

Voyage of the Little Mermaid sign with tropical colors
New Little Mermaid show coming to Hollywood Studios.

Little Mermaid Show Reopening at Hollywood Studios

How exciting that we have a new The Little Mermaid show to look forward to at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in 2024! The theater for Voyage of the Little Mermaid has remained dark since the March 2020 closure, leaving a noticeable blank space in that corner of the park and on visitors’ itineraries. 

In late 2024, fall specifically, “The Little Mermaid – A Musical Adventure” will debut in a refreshed Animation Courtyard theater. This all new, reimagined show will feature “stunning new set pieces, cutting-edge effects, and a bold new design that captures Ariel’s imagination and emotions through her unique view of the world around her.” This Little Mermaid show is inspired by the animated classic and features popular songs “Part of Your World” and “Poor Unfortunate Souls,” the addition of “Kiss the Girl” and more.

The shop at the entrance has been closed as well. We can probably anticipate that and the shop next to it opening too. This section of the park has been a quiet zone for too long and it will be wonderful to have this back open.

Disney World News January 2024

runDisney Kicks Off at Disney World

January means marathon weekend for runDisney fans! runDisney kicks off 2024 with Marathon Weekend at Walt Disney World Resort, January 3rd through the 7th. Shortly after, the Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend takes place on the west coast from January 11th through the 14th. Shoutout to our coast to coast folks participating in both weekends!

The next big race weekend is the Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend. This royal event takes place at Walt Disney World Resort. See lots of frequently asked questions, tips for these events and what you can expect along with the full race lineup this year in our 2024 runDisney events overview.

A new Fireworks Show and Completed Construction at Epcot

As of December 5th, also Walt Disney’s birthday, Epcot started a new chapter. The new nighttime spectacular debuted in and over World Showcase Lagoon. Luminous The Symphony of Us uses fireworks, fountains and some original music to entertain guests each night. It has barges in the lagoon but they come in and out for the show each evening. You can expect to hear well known Disney songs and maybe to even feel emotional during the show. The score is moving and the creators set out to cover a range of feelings throughout Luminous. Fireworks at Epcot are included with your park ticket.

Luminous debuted with a 9:30 p.m. show time but it looks to be a 9:00 p.m. show now. Check the My Disney Experience app on the day of your visit for the most up to date information.

What’s Different at Epcot

The statue of Walt Disney at Epcot has also debuted near the front of the park!

Also in Epcot news, a whole new world has debuted. You may or may not remember the renaming of Epcot’s lands. This happened a few years ago but we haven’t gotten to fully experience the park with its new nomenclature. Until now, that is. We all know World Showcase. Disney decided to change the park to also include World Nature, World Discovery and now World Celebration. World Nature is the area with the Nemo attraction and Soarin’. World Discovery is the area opposite of that with attractions like Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind and Test Track. Right in the middle, near where you enter the park, is World Celebration.

sculpture at Epcot near Spaceship Earth
Entrance of Epcot

This central space has been under construction for many years. It’s an exciting time for Disney World fans as the walls have come down around the park. Spaceship Earth, Connections Eatery and Creations Shop are all in this land. Behind Spaceship Earth, guests can now enjoy a large space with seating and landscaping. At night, the ground lights up in unison with Spaceship Earth. The ground here before had a sort of fiber optic glow at night that fans loved. Disney adding in ground lighting elements and overhead lighting that also syncs with the show is the kind of great detail we can expect from the company.

Is the Epcot construction done?

With other recent openings like the Moana walk through attraction, Moana meet and greet, Figment meet and greet and more, Epcot truly does feel refreshed and ready for new adventures. While there were quite a few other things planned for this current park expansion and refresh, Bob Iger noted recently that this round of additions is considered finished at this time. That means the Spaceship Earth renovation, Mary Poppins attraction and play pavilion are up in the air indefinitely. Only time will tell.

Good-To-Go Days Calendar Coming January 11th 2024

Park pass reservations are no longer necessary for those using most Disney ticket types. Unfortunately, those who have a Disney annual pass still need to make a park reservation to visit in the morning or for the whole day. A while ago Disney announced “good-to-go” days for annual passholders. This replaces bonus reservation days and means you are good to go to the parks without a reservation.

Now we know the first good-to-go days will be online January 11th, 2024. On good-to-go days, annual passholders can enter their first park at any time without a reservation. You can find good to go days on the theme park reservation calendar, annual passholder admissions calendar and My Disney Experience app. More good to go days will be added at random possibly days or weeks in advance.

Passholders can enter another Walt Disney World theme park any time after checking into their first park where their reservation is. The after 2:00 p.m. rule still applies for passholders as well. Annual passholders do not need a Disney park reservation after 2:00 p.m. except for at Magic Kingdom on Saturday and Sunday. This is all in addition to your blockout dates. Whew!

Summer House on the Lake Now Open at Disney Springs

A new restaurant has opened on the West Side of Disney Springs. Summer House on the Lake sits near the AMC movie theater. This bright and open space is charming inside with a coastal feel. The menu aims to showcase garden-fresh foods and seasonal Florida ingredients. Think salads, sandwiches, pizzas and more. Summer House on the Lake is also home to a cookie bar. Visitors will find an assortment of oversized cookies to choose from. Summer House on the Lake also has a brunch menu on the weekends. This is all extra exciting for those who like to stay at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa which is right across the water from Disney Springs. 

Epcot International Festival of the Arts is Back

The 2024 Epcot International Festival of the Arts runs January 12th, 2024 through February 19th, 2024. We have entertainment, what there is to do and a colorful assortment of information about the event in our 2024 Festival of the Arts Guide.

Is it time to join DVC or add on points?

It’s a new year and time to plan your trips for the year if you haven’t started already. If you’re new to learning about Disney Vacation Club, we have lots of information to get you caught up. Last month we learned about the DVC maintenance fees 2024. We also have a DVC events post with recent and upcoming offerings. We also keep Members and everyone else up to date with our DVC resort refurbishment schedule.

white Grand Floridian DVC building and beach
Grand Floridian DVC building

Epcot Flower and Garden Opening Announced

As the new year kicks off, many are planning their visit for 2024. Sometimes trips depend on event dates. We now know that the EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival begins on February 28th, 2024.

Disney World Events 2024

Is it time to visit Walt Disney World Resort during a different time of year than you usually do? We have a whole post on Disney World events throughout the year. Each season brings an assortment of fun at the most magical place on earth. From the bright floral additions at Epcot in the spring to the glittery holiday decorations all around property, there’s something for everyone. Also, the food! The time you choose to visit Disney can change what your trip is like. The 2024 Disney World events dates have mostly been announced but some are still yet to be shared.

DVC Point Banking Deadlines 2024

For our friends new to DVC or needing a reminder, here are the DVC point banking deadlines for 2024. This is when you need to bank your points by so you don’t lose any. 

Use YearLast Day to Bank Points
FebruarySeptember 30
MarchOctober 31
AprilNovember 30
JuneJanuary 31
AugustMarch 31
SeptemberApril 30
OctoberMay 31
DecemberJuly 31

Ready to plan your next trip? Dig into the Disney Vacation Club point charts for 2024.

Train from Airport to Disney Back in Motion?

After some confusion the last few years it looks like taking the train from the Orlando International Airport to Disney Springs could be an option in the future. This was once proposed but then seemed to be cancelled at some point. Somewhere along the way, a stop for Universal was proposed. The line opened a stop at MCO this year. Where it goes beyond that on its way to Tampa is still up in the air. I supposed that’s how these things that involve major planning can go.

You may remember former Disney C.E.O. Bob Chapek referencing this additional transportation opportunity as a reason for removing Disney’s Magical Express. The thing is, if you fly into the Orlando airport and take the train to Disney Springs, you’re on Disney property but still need to get to your resort. Traveling with your bags around Disney Springs doesn’t really sound appealing. You can, of course, take a bus from Disney Springs to your resort. 

This option is more appealing for those staying at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa. This is the only resort that’s a quick walk from Disney Springs. You can also take a boat here and to another DVC resort, Disney’s Old Key West Resort

Read more about the proposed rail line from the airport to Disney Springs.

H2O Products Staying at Disney

This random update will be very exciting for many long time Disney fans. In the last few years, the supplier of Disney shampoo, soap and other bath products announced they were going out of business. It was sudden and the products were on clearance on Disney’s website. Disney continued to sell H2O in the gift shops and the products are still at Disney Destinations in rooms today. It was understood that Disney would continue to provide the products in rooms and such until they depleted their stock for guests. This was quite some time ago and we haven’t heard anything about it. H2O was expected to remain for a few months after the announcement of the brand going out of business. However, H2O has remained the bath product brand up until now even.

We got a fun update at the Disney Vacation Club condo association meeting in December. Alison Armor, Vice President of Resort Operations, announced Disney has acquired the rights to the H2O product formulas. The plan is for Disney to continue to supply these products but under new Disney branding.

In the past, not only were H2O products in hotel rooms and on the cruise ship but you could purchase them at resort and theme park gift shops and online. We’ll have to see how it all plays out but we’ll probably be able to use and buy our favorites again.

Disney Cruise Line Kids Club Age Changes

Just an hour from Disney World, there have been some changes at Port Canaveral. The Disney ships offer a wide range of entertainment for kids and families including clubs for different age groups. Disney Cruise Line has changed the age range for Disney’s Oceaneer Club and Disney’s Oceaneer Lab from 3-12 to 3-10. There is Edge for 11 and 12 years olds to visit. The age range for Edge is 11-14. Vibe continues to be for guests 14-17. This applies to all ships and is based on guest feedback.

Recent Disney World Updates to Know and Remember

Here we’re keeping track of recent updates we’ve already talked about that you’ll want to keep in mind for any upcoming trips.

The Bay Lake resort boat transport goes between Wilderness Lodge and the Contemporary again.

Blizzard Beach is open again after temporary closure.

TRON Lightcycle / Run is open at Magic Kingdom and uses virtual queue and Lightning Lane.

You can buy a Disney Annual Pass for Walt Disney World as they are still for sale.

Annual Passholders can enter the parks after 2:00 p.m. with no reservations, except for Magic Kingdom on the weekends.

Some Extended Evening Hours are now at Animal Kingdom. That means you can see Pandora at night!

Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana is open at Epcot.

The Moana meet and greet across from Journey of Water is now open.

The Mirabel meet and greet is open at Magic Kingdom.

The Figment meet and greet is open at Epcot.

DVC Resale Experts Can Help

Does this Disney World news January 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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