July 24, 2024

Disney World Pauses 2024 Vacation Bookings Online & Over Phone

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Walt Disney World 2024 vacation packages, resort reservations, and tickets are now on sale as of May 31, 2023. Well, in theory. In a twist that I'm sure absolutely none of you saw coming, the

Walt Disney World 2024 vacation packages, resort reservations, and tickets are now on sale as of May 31, 2023. Well, in theory. In a twist that I’m sure absolutely none of you saw coming, the system crashed and has been down for over an hour. As a result, bookings were only briefly open before almost immediately closing online and via the phone.

Currently, if you attempt to access the booking engine on DisneyWorld.com, you’ll be greeted with the infamous We’re Almost in Orbit page along with a wait time of Recalculating and a message below from 7:38 AM Eastern that reads as follows: We have currently paused bookings online and over the phone. Bookings will resume as soon as possible. Reminder: to retain your place in the waiting room, please don’t refresh the page or select the back button.”

Classic Disney IT. 

Did anyone really expect anything different?

The same thing happened last month when Annual Pass sales resumed, and has occurred countless times in the past. To the best of my recollection, this is a first for the next year’s vacation packages going live, though. This is usually a moderately busy “drop day,” with phone lines jammed, the online system slowing to a crawl at peak times, and Stitch eating the occasional page here and there. But it’s also not usually this bad.

Usually, the ‘recalculating’ issue occurs because a backend system crashes and needs to be reset. That typically happens due to unanticipated high demand–tons of people all inundating the DisneyWorld.com website at the same time.

It’s possible–if not probable–that the same thing happened here, which is what caused the closure of bookings. If so, this will likely only get worse for the next few hours, as more people are waking up and getting on the website to price out 2024 Walt Disney World vacation packages. This is precisely why the company normally tries to start bookings between 5 am and 6 am Eastern to relieve some strain on the system. However, that didn’t happen today–at least, not to the normal degree. (Very few people got through when the virtual queue was open.)

It’s also possible that this has absolutely nothing to do with high demand, and that Walt Disney World had to pause new bookings because of some other issue with the system or…who knows what. Maybe Stitch literally got in there and started eating pages. Truly, your guess is as good as mine. I won’t pretend to understand how Disney IT works (or doesn’t) and why these problems so predictably keep happening.

 

Turning back to past precedent with the resumption of Annual Pass sales, there’s likely going to be a large backlog of purchases to process once the system does start working again. Everyone who go onto the DisneyWorld.com website on starting at 5 am or so, plus everyone who has joined the virtual queue since then.

We joined the virtual queue for Walt Disney World APs as soon as it went live, which was right around 6:40 am. In total, our wait time ended up being a little under 7 hours. During the afternoon and evening hours that first day, the wait time dropped off significantly. The wait time was under an hour for much of the evening. After 10 pm, the wait dropped to about 15 minutes. Like the parks shortly before closing, the line was pretty much a “walk-on” minutes before the queue cut-off.

The following day, the approximate wait time was 2 minutes according to the virtual queue page. In actuality, this is more like a prolonged load screen right now, taking us about 30 seconds before being redirected into the site.

Expect something similar with the sales of 2024 Walt Disney World vacation packages whenever the system does start working again. Our hope and expectation is that it’s not a 7 hour wait time, but it’ll probably be over an hour.

If you’re just looking to book a standard room at Pop Century or Coronado Springs, there’s no real reason to rush into a reservation. There’s enough supply for those rooms that–even with a ton of demand–zero 2024 dates will sell out during the entire month of June. When one person books a standard room at Pop Century, there are still (literally) over 2,000 more.

If you’re trying to book a rare room or some special suite that is one-of-a-kind, it’s a totally different story. When one person books that for specific dates, it’s gone. So, if you have great taste and thus want to treat yo self with a stay in the Yosemite Suite at Wilderness Lodge, then you should probably endure those long hold times on the phone.

However, that’s not going to be relevant to 99%+ of people reading this. (Not that you don’t have great taste–you definitely do if you’re booking any room at Wilderness Lodge, and might if you’re booking anywhere else.)

Not dealing with this long wait time and all of the headaches of Disney IT is one of the many reasons why we recommend using a travel agent. You can request a free quote from Be Our Guest Vacations, which is a no-fee Authorized Disney Vacation Planner. The agents there will book your vacation and help take the stress out of planning and deal with all of these delays for you.

Their services don’t cost extra, they’ll reserve your room, help you with dining reservations and itineraries, and apply the best discounts to your reservation once they’re released. That’s especially valuable if you’re booking a 2024 Walt Disney World vacation package this far in advance, as discounts won’t be available for next year’s travel dates until around October 2023. Even then, deals are released on a rolling basis, so that’ll only be for the beginning of the year.

Oh, and we still don’t know if there’s an end date for the release of 2024 vacation packages. Normally, reservations can be made for arrival dates up to 499 days in the future on a rolling basis. If this rule is in place for 2024 vacation packages, it would mean that you can only reserve through October 11, 2024 when packages go live. The following day, that would move forward to October 12 and so forth. November 2024 would be bookable by late June, and all of December 2024 will be available by late July.

However, Walt Disney World changed the 499 day rule last year, at least as it pertained to booking 2024 room-only reservations early. So that could mean the 499 day rule is gone for good…or not. Basically, if you have problems when trying to book for mid-October 2024 or later, that will be why–it’s not user error.

Ultimately, that covers the current “pause” of booking 2024 Walt Disney World vacation packages…and why you should simply save yourself the stress and try again tonight or tomorrow. Aside from special suites, nothing is going to sell out today, tomorrow, or in June.

With all of the above said, our advice is to book Walt Disney World vacation packages within a few weeks of when they go on sale to lock-in ticket and component pricing as a safeguard against the inevitable price increases. There’s really no downside to that approach, as discounts (also an inevitability) can be applied retroactively. If you’re already certain that you’ll be visiting Walt Disney World in 2024, booking between now and late September 2023 is our strong recommendation–and a smart hedge.

If you’re not certain, and are waiting to see if Walt Disney World gets its act together in any number of ways, improves the guest experience/satisfaction, brings ____ back, or stops/slows down the nickel & diming, you should probably wait. While we’re hopeful that the worst is behind us in that regard, you couldn’t be faulted for having skepticism.

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!

YOUR THOUGHTS

Have you had issues with Disney IT and being “Almost in Orbit” today or at any time in the past? Did you manage to get a 2024 Walt Disney World vacation package booked? Notice anything interesting about hotel room or package prices? Anything surprise you? Will you be booking ASAP, or taking a wait and see approach? 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!

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