June 22, 2024

2025 Disney World Vacation Package Booking Date & Details (FREE Water Park Day!)


Walt Disney World has announced 2025 vacation packages and resort reservations info, including some of the add-ons that what will and won't be offered next year. This post offers dates and details about hotels, tickets,

Walt Disney World has announced 2025 vacation packages and resort reservations info, including some of the add-ons that what will and won’t be offered next year. This post offers dates and details about hotels, tickets, and more. Plus, commentary on all of the changes, booking next year’s packages, and more.

In addition to the details of 2025 Walt Disney World vacation packages, the company has made its “pitch” for staying on-site, with a new water park perk for next year. This follows in the footsteps of last year’s “5 updates to make your visit easier” except is something all-new instead of restoring something that’s been missing in the post-reopening era.

The commonality is that this new perk also probably is in response to guest feedback and complaints, and Walt Disney World trying to find ways to address that. Personally, I wish that the powers that be would’ve pulled from our List of “Big Little” Things Walt Disney World Needs to Bring Back. I appreciate the effort, but the 2025 changes (so far) don’t really move the needle for me.

Before we delve into the good news, let’s just get the big “not back” things out of the way at the outset. First up, and this should come as zero surprise to anyone who is paying attention, but Walt Disney World is not bringing back free FastPass. Given how well Genie+ sold over spring break despite hitting its highest price ever–over double the cost at the same time a year ago–it’s safe to assume Lightning Lanes are here to stay for at least the next couple of years.

Despite a lot of wishful thinking from fans, Walt Disney World indicated zero intention of creating a competitor to Mears Connect or restoring their partnership with that airport shuttle service. There’s no reason to believe Disney’s Magical Express will return in 2025…or ever. Although, never say never. Enough of an economic downturn or Universal siphoning off attendance could change the equation. Just not until after Epic Universe opens in Summer 2025.

Now, let’s turn to what has been confirmed for 2025. First up, Walt Disney World confirmed in the announcement that Early Theme Park Entry and Extended Evening Hours will stick around through 2025. It’s our expectation that these are offerings are the permanent replacement for Extra Magic Hours.

These have their own pros & cons, from being only available to on-site guests to requiring people to get up early or stay late. If you’re unfamiliar with the ins and outs of each, learn more in our Guide to Early Entry at Walt Disney World and Guide to Extended Evening Hours at Walt Disney World. Additionally, we have about a dozen or so “Extra Hours” Photo Reports, with more coming for Spring Break.

In a throwaway line that was easy to miss, Walt Disney World also confirmed that the Discount MagicBand Pre-Arrival Program will continue. To our disappointment, that has basically turned into the MagicBand+ pre-arrival discount, as virtually no new MagicBands (non-plussed) have been released in the last year.

From our perspective, that’s unfortunate–we’d rather just stick to the OG bands. Not only because we don’t need the plussified features, but because the OG MBs were so much cheaper. What started as a “free” MagicBand with a hotel stay turned into a slight ($5) upcharge and now is a minimum $25 outlay per person, as there are no “discount” MagicBand+ options that are any cheaper.

Nevertheless, the lack of change here is worth proactively addressing since Walt Disney World did retire complimentary MagicBands for guests booking hotel reservations with one recent release of vacation packages. At least as of right now, there’s no indication that they’re retiring the discount program–or scrapping MagicBands completely–so that’s a silver lining, of sorts!

Finally and most importantly, Walt Disney World Resort hotel guests arriving in 2025 can enjoy admission to one of the water parks, Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park or Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park, on their check-in day. This is a new perk that’s included in stays. Notably, room-only reservations, vacation packages and Disney Vacation Club stays on points will all be eligible–but all guests must be on the reservation.

Walt Disney World’s water parks have something for everyone: big thrills, lazy rivers, wave pools, interactive play areas for younger kids and even water slides the whole family can enjoy together. The fun can start on day one at a Disney water park when you stay in one of the on-site Walt Disney World hotels.

Although tangential to the topic at hand, we assume this means that, at the absolute latest, both Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach water parks will once again operate simultaneously by Spring Break 2025. We’re still holding out a sliver of hope that they’ll both operate at the same time in Summer 2024, but there may not be enough demand (or staffing shortages might persist).

With Walt Disney World offering this new “free” water park perk in 2025, they’ll pretty much need to have both Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon operational by next spring to accommodate the added demand.

Some of you might be wondering how to utilize a free day in the water parks, and my advice would be arriving late. That much is sort of a given since it’s arrival day and you probably won’t be landing in Orlando at 6 a.m. unless you’re coming from the West Coast and take the red eye. But my point is more that you should not roll up at like noon or 1 p.m., which is the peak of the day at the water parks.

Instead, aim to arrive around 3 hours or so before the water parks close. This is when people start getting their fill of fun in the sun and head for the exits. The water parks have a very similar dynamic to Animal Kingdom (too bad they’re not offering free arrival day tickets there!), which has a mass exodus in mid-afternoon. That leaves the end of the day as a great time to visit, right as the sun is starting to get lower in the sky (seasonally-dependent).

The water parks have changing areas, so you can arrive in street clothes and change into swimwear. Critically, you can also change back into normal attire prior to leaving. From Blizzard Beach, consider a visit to nearby Animal Kingdom Lodge or Coronado Springs Resort for dinner. Sanaa, Jiko, Boma, Three Bridges, and Toledo are all excellent restaurants that are frequently overlooked. If you’re doing Typhoon Lagoon, head to Disney Springs for dinner and dessert. Sounds like a solid arrival afternoon and evening to me!

We’re looking forward to this free water park day mostly because we know it’s going to introduce a ton of lifelong Walt Disney World fans (and even casual guests–but we’re more interested in the lifers) for the very first time. And in so doing, it’s going to create a ton of instant fans for Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach.

I’ve gushed about it over the years, imploring Walt Disney World fans to give the water parks a chance, as they’re criminally underrated. Blizzard Beach is a master class in thematic juxtapositions, mixing water park with ski resort to great effect. It works insanely well, and is a thematic exemplar–one of the best at Walt Disney World.

On the surface, Typhoon Lagoon seems like a pretty “safe” concept for a water park. It’s tropical, laid back and is conducive to sitting on the beach, swimming, and other water activities. But once you get beyond the beach vibe, there is rich theming throughout Typhoon Lagoon, and the Imagineered tropical environment has the added elements of a tropical resort and the huge storm that decimated it layered on top.

These themes are all well conveyed through the details of each water park, and both coalesce really well. Everything about Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon is exceptional, from the atmosphere to the details to its underutilized mascots, Lagoona Gator and Ice Gator. As a result, Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach both have great senses of place, and it’s great to just be there.

This is far and away the biggest reason why I think the water parks are a must-do for Walt Disney World fans. They offer cohesive design and are the only two parks at Walt Disney World that maintain full thematic integrity so long after opening. While I love both, I give the edge to Typhoon Lagoon. It actually is what so many fans wanted World Celebration at EPCOT to be (or still pretend that it is). Don’t let the fact that these are water parks discourage you—even if you don’t care about water slides or anything else, Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach is a great place to waste a morning…or an arrival afternoon…at Walt Disney World!

Turning back to things not mentioned, a surprising one is that there’s (still!) radio silence about pre-arrival Lightning Lane ride reservations coming to Walt Disney World. This was originally announced last year when 2024 packages were unveiled, and some fans mistakenly believed it would begin January 9th along with all of the other big changes.

Honestly, I think it’s kind of absurd that Walt Disney World is now announcing 2025 packages and isn’t even mentioning Lightning Lane advance booking. Even if the specifics aren’t ironed out or ready to be shared, at least say something. A simple “this is still coming, stay tuned for more details by Summer 2024” would suffice. Another update is long overdue.

From what we’ve heard, Walt Disney World made the decision to announce advance booking of Lightning Lanes before figuring out the logistics, and there’s no reason to believe it’ll be ready in the next couple of months at this point. Given how little is still known, it wouldn’t be surprising if the new system doesn’t launch until just before the start of Summer 2024. We discuss the ‘why’ of that in When Will Pre-Arrival Lightning Lanes Start at Walt Disney World?

Pretty much everything else is also unknown about advance booking of Lightning Lanes, including how many days prior to arrival guests will be able to make ride reservations. Our guess is that it’ll be a much shorter timeframe than the old FastPass+ system, but far enough in advance that people with weeklong trips can book Lightning Lanes for the duration of their trips ahead of traveling. It’s also unknown what the reservation limits will be, but our guess is 3 to start, and likely with a tier system for some of the parks. In all likelihood, this is going to look a lot like FastPass+ but paid.

Whenever it does change, it’s likely that advance booking of Lightning Lanes will (again) radically overhaul the entire line-skipping system. We also wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if Walt Disney World overhauls DAS again, as it sure seems like the DAS Abuse Crackdown from late last year was simply an opening salvo.

With all of that out of the way, here’s what we know about 2025 Walt Disney World vacation packages and room reservations: bookings will be available for theme park tickets, resort hotel stays, and 2025 WDW packages beginning February 27, 2024. Available travel dates at that time will be January through October 2025.

Normal terms and conditions for final payments, cancellations, and change fees will apply for all 2025 Walt Disney World vacation package bookings. Essentially, all of the standard rules apply.

With that said, there’s one change to Walt Disney World’s cancellation policy: For 2025 arrivals, room only reservations can be canceled without penalty until 8 days prior to arrival.

Next, a word of warning(ish) for those already itching to book a 2025 Walt Disney World vacation package bright and early on February 26 when bookings go live. As with most Walt Disney World “drop days,” the phone lines might be jammed and the online system will likely slow to a crawl at peak times, with Stitch eating the occasional page here and there.

Unless you want a very limited room category or specialty suite (e.g. Nantucket or Steeplechase Suite), it’s probably not necessary to fight the rush and call or book right away. No regular room categories are going to sell out–not even for popular dates–the first few days that reservations are available. You can call or browse the website in the afternoon on February 27 or even March 1 and won’t run into issues or be stuck waiting on hold for as long. You’ll save yourself some headache and frustration.

With that said, the DisneyWorld.com website and phone lines haven’t really had issues with overwhelming demand for recent discount releases. I was actually surprised by how well the drop day for Free Dining went, and that’s the most popular discount of the year. So perhaps tomorrow morning won’t be bad–but I won’t be online at the crack of dawn to find out.

Alternatively, it’s always a good idea to use a travel agent. We recommend requesting a quote from Be Our Guest Vacations, a no-fee Authorized Disney Vacation Planner, before the booking window opens so they can do the work for you. The agents there will book your vacation and help take the stress out of planning.

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 2025 Walt Disney World vacation package ASAP, as special offers likely won’t be available for next year’s travel dates until late September or October (and that’ll only be for the beginning of the year–discounts are released on a rolling basis).

Using an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner is the win-win option if you’re overwhelmed by the complexities of Walt Disney World, don’t want to do all of the “homework” yourself, or want someone to monitor your reservation so you save money.

We also wouldn’t read anything into what hasn’t been announced yet. With the 2025 vacation package release, it’s as if Walt Disney World’s reservations center wanted to drum up business and start accepting new bookings. Given that they’re being released in February as opposed to the normal summer months (2-3 months earlier than normal!), there’s a lot less that’s currently set in stone for 2025.

Some significant changes will require careful consideration and deliberation by various teams of people. It’s possible that has not happened yet, or there isn’t consensus on timelines or specifics. In any case, there’s a degree to which the release of 2025 Walt Disney World vacation packages are a forward-looking sneak peek of the year to come, and a degree to which they’re a snapshot in time.

We mention this because it’s precisely what has happened for the last several years. Resorts that had not yet reopened, ticket options that hadn’t yet returned, and water parks were all treated similarly with previous vacation package releases. All of those things were restored gradually, and became available to book following official announcements of their return.

There’s an initial flurry of news with the announcement of Walt Disney World vacation packages, and then a slow trickle of additional news and updates in the weeks and months that follow, with all details typically released by late September or early October–around the start of the new fiscal year. Last year, the same day that prices increased, Walt Disney World announced other positive changes, such as the return of all-day Park Hopping.

We’d expect nothing different for 2025 Walt Disney World vacation packages. In short, don’t treat any of these vacation package details as conclusive of the totality of what will and will not be available for the duration of 2025 at Walt Disney World. Heck, it’s not even indicative of what’s on the horizon for the remainder of 2024. Basically, the only thing they offer is a preview of what’ll be bookable tomorrow.

One final thing that I find interesting about this announcement is the timing, which is once again happening earlier than historical precedent. As we’ve discussed elsewhere, Walt Disney World already has already released over a dozen different discounts for 2024, which is more than were available for the entirety of last year.

Almost all of these discounts have also been released earlier than normal by historical standards, and offer better savings than their counterparts from the last two years. At this point, about the only thing that Walt Disney World has not released early is dates and tickets for the Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.

Disney doesn’t offer discounts out of generosity, and the timing of the releases is not coincidental–it’s purposeful. Just like we’re seeing more deals (like the return of Free Dining!) because bookings are soft, the same is also probably true with the release of the 2025 Walt Disney World vacation packages.

Releasing these sooner rather than later captures vacation reservations for 2025 and secures a commitment of future revenue. (It’s not a guarantee, but it’s better than nothing.) It’s a savvy move amidst or ahead of an anticipated travel slowdown, as it’d be a way to lock-in bookings before consumers start reducing their budgets and scaling back plans.

That’s pretty much all of the commentary we have about the announcement of 2025 Walt Disney World vacation packages. Even with all of the above said, our advice is to book Walt Disney World vacation packages when they go on sale to lock-in ticket and component pricing as a safeguard against the inevitable price increases. That’s especially true if there’s a certain hotel or room type that’s a must-have for your trip.

While we remain of the belief that prices will drop thanks to the release of discounts, that’s not a sure thing. If there’s one thing we’ve learned over the course of the last two years, it’s to expect the unexpected. From a financial perspective, it never hurts–only helps–to get something locked in now. Plus, there’s the excitement and optimism of having something to help build anticipation!

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!


Will you be booking a 2025 Walt Disney World vacation package when they’re released on February 27, 2024? Notice anything interesting about hotel room or package prices? Anything surprise you? Happy to have a free day at Blizzard Beach or Typhoon Lagoon, or are you not a water park person? Will you be booking soon, 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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