Do More ‘Good-to-Go’ Days Mean Lower Crowds in Winter 2024 at Disney World?

Walt Disney World has added several more ‘Good-to-Go’ Days in Winter 2024, offering a strong signal that the company is forecasting an attendance slowdown (albeit brief!) in the coming weeks. This takes a look at the latest look at the park reservation calendar and discusses what that could mean for crowd levels for the rest of this month and February.

As background, Walt Disney World introduced “good-to-go days” for Annual Passholders and Cast Members earlier this month. On these “good-to-go days,” Annual Passholders and Cast Members may visit theme parks without needing a park reservation. Although the company is calling them good-to-go days in AP and CM communications, they’re listed as “reservations not required” days on the actual calendar.

Good-to-go days take the place of bonus reservations, and like bonus reservations, are added periodically and may be released days or weeks in advance. If an Annual Passholder has an upcoming park reservation that becomes a good-to-go day, the reservation will be removed and no longer count against their maximum reservation hold, but they will still be able to view their previous reservation in the My Plans section in My Disney Experience.

There was a bit of a backlash and disappointment when Walt Disney World released the first batch of good-to-go days and it only included 6 dates over the course of two months. Those dates were January 16, 18, 23-24, 28; February 1, 2024. Many Annual Passholders had a “why bother?” reaction, and felt that Walt Disney World had (again) overpromised and undelivered.

For our part, we predicted a lot of good-to-go dates for Annual Passholders…eventually. Our expectation was that Walt Disney World would start slowly and scale up, adding a handful of winter off-season dates on January 11, 2024 and seeing how that goes. If the parks are not inundated and overwhelmed by reservationless APs (and they won’t be), they will add more and more good-to-go dates to the calendar.

We’d be willing to bet that by the time late April 2024 rolls around, at least half the dates in early summer will be good-to-go for Annual Passholders. It wouldn’t be the least bit surprising if every single day is good-to-go for Animal Kingdom and EPCOT, and reservations are only necessary for Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. By late summer/early fall, it wouldn’t be surprising if between 75% and all dates are good-to-go for all parks.

During the second half of the year, it’ll probably be easier to list the dates that are not good-to-go rather than the ones that are. For that, our preliminary prediction would be that reservations will be required for only (roughly) the ‘worst’ dates in our list of the 10 Best and 10 Worst Weeks to Visit Walt Disney World in 2024 & 2025.

Those were our predictions back prior to the release of the first good-to-go days earlier this month, and we essentially stand by all of that. Admittedly, what we did not expect was the elevated crowd levels that we’ve encountered in mid-to-late January 2024 (see Winter (Still) Is Not Off-Season at Disney World).

That’s why this latest batch of good-to-go days is slightly surprised, and could be a positive sign. To that point, here’s a look at the newly-added good-to-go days:

It should probably go without saying, but Walt Disney World is going to add good-to-go days when their internal projections suggest that there will be excess capacity–meaning lower attendance. Disney uses a variety of data for this, from date-based ticket sales to resort reservations. I would also assume they share with third parties–MCO volume projections, Mears reservations, third party hotel bookings, etc. (Even if this isn’t shared, Disney certainly has the resources to reverse-engineer it.)

This is an imperfect science, and Disney gets it wrong on occasion–and is sometimes slow to correct things or entice people to visit at times that are less busy. For example, we first noted that Saturdays and Sundays were becoming the least busy days of the week last year around this time. That trend really solidified by March and was patently obvious after Easter.

And yet, Walt Disney World kept blocking out weekends on subsequent resident ticket deals and retained elevated resort prices for Friday and Saturday nights with the release of 2024 rates (resort pricing arguably wasn’t a mistake given that the majority of guests come from off-site and there’s a growing disconnect between resort occupancy and attendance).

In any case, this is one of several examples of Disney being reactionary to shifting attendance patterns or simply missing them. So something like that could be happening here, too. I suspect it’s not, and that the next couple of weeks are going to see a bit of a slowdown from the moderate to high crowd levels observed at Walt Disney World for much of the year-to-date.

That’s good news for tourists who planned to visit during one of our 10 favorite weeks of the year: January 28 to February 3, 2024. Or those who read the commentary to that entry, which also indicated that the first full week of February should also be in the “conversation” when debating which of these great dates to choose.

We are expecting the next couple of weeks to be better than the last few, but also have to admit that they’ll still probably be slightly worse than anticipated when making that list of dates. As discussed in the most recent crowd report, our expectation was that pent-up demand would continue to exhaust itself fairly consistently with last year’s trend line, meaning another year-over-year drop (especially for winter, since revenge travel didn’t really start to burn off until after Easter). That has not happened thus far, and probably won’t this winter to the degree forecast.

Nevertheless, we’ve heard from some worried readers wondering if they’ve picked dates that will now be bad. Walt Disney World’s new release of these as good-to-go days sends a strong signal that the internal forecast is lower–so that should be reassuring.

Honestly, even in the absence of this, we’d stand by the recommendation of late January or early February 2024 as a great time to visit Walt Disney World. Our list of best weeks is both quantitative and qualitative, meaning it’s not just on the basis of crowds. While those weeks should be pretty favorable on balance, they’re also recommended for great weather, EPCOT’s Festival of the Arts, good park hours (no party-shortened days), and just an overall great time to experience the parks.

As we’ve said before, anyone singularly focused on crowd levels should simply visit from mid-August through mid to late September. If the list were entirely data-driven, like 5 of the best weeks would be wrong that timeframe. Those weeks are consistently the slowest of the year, and the “easiest” to forecast because (unlike other stretches) that has never really changed.

But anyone who visits then might be disabused of the notion that crowds are the only thing that matters after their first day of triple-digit ‘feels like’ temperatures lasting until 9pm. (If you’re on the fence about this tradeoff, see Is It Still Worth Visiting During the Early Fall Offseason at Walt Disney World? for a greater discussion of weather vs. crowds.)

Suffice to say, now is still a subjectively great time to visit Walt Disney World. If there are new trends that are going to result in elevated crowd levels in 2024 as compared to 2023, they’re probably not going to be confined to the months of January or February anyway. Expectations might need to be adjusted upwards for much of the year, meaning that the winter wait times could end up being ‘good’ relative to the weeks and months to come. Or what we’re seeing now could be a blip, with more good-to-go days signaling an end to that very soon.

Regardless of all that, do not expect any good-to-go days in the second half of February 2024. This latest batch is probably the last until early March (or perhaps the last few days of Feb). Once Mardi Gras, Presidents’ Day, and Princess Half Marathon Weekend roll around, crowds will pick up pretty significantly. (See Avoid Ski Week Crowds at Disney for more–or simply refer to the ‘worst’ side of that 10 best & worst weeks list.)

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!


What do you think about Walt Disney World adding ‘good-to-go’ days for Annual Passholders in late January and early February 2024? Think this means that, internally, the company is forecasting lower attendance for those weeks? Are you looking forward to enjoying the nicer weather, better park hours, EPCOT Festival of the Arts, and (hopefully!) low-to-moderate crowd levels at Walt Disney World in Winter 2024? 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!

8 Responses to “Do More ‘Good-to-Go’ Days Mean Lower Crowds in Winter 2024 at Disney World?”
  1. Katie January 31, 2024
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  3. Christina R January 29, 2024
  4. Jack January 29, 2024
  5. Rhea98 January 27, 2024
  6. Linda January 27, 2024
  7. James January 27, 2024
    • Tom Bricker January 29, 2024

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