Disney Dining Plan, Disney Hotels, Disney Travel Agent, Fastpasses, Vacation Planning, Vacation Tips and Tricks, Walt Disney World

WDW Planning Timelines

My clients frequently ask me when to start planning a Walt Disney World vacation. I thought it might be helpful to share some general timeline tips! I’m always available for questions, too!

How Early is Too Early To Book Your Vacation?

Once you decide WHEN to vacation, booking as early as possible is your best bet. This gives you the best hotel/room type availability. It also allows us to spread out payments over time to make your dream vacation more affordable. Another perk is that any discounts your vacation qualifies for can be added later so you aren’t missing out on any future offers by booking your vacation in advance.
With that said, Disney will not bookings more than 499 days in advance. Also, vacation packages for the next year generally come out in June or July, so a late Winter vacation will have to wait until pricing becomes available.

Advanced Dining Reservations – 180 Days

When I tell people I recommend booking at least 7 months in advance, I get some funny reactions.  I add that it’s to make sure I get reservations at the restaurants my clients want and get even stranger looks. I get a lot of “I don’t know what I’m eating tonight, let alone what I’ll want in 7 months!” While I can totally commiserate with the what’s-for-dinner discussion, Disney dining is a completely different beast (click here for a full explanation). 

Dining at Disney is a big part of vacation for my husband and I. Our favorite restaurants tend to be pretty popular and book up quickly. While not impossible to get dining reservations less than 180 days out, it usually requires flexibility, like eating dinner at 10:00 pm, and perseverance. For my clients, I like to have as much opportunity as possible to get them reservations at the specific restaurant and day/time they want. Booking your reservation before 180 days maximizes the chance of getting everything you want on the first try!

FastPass+ Selection – 60 Days

In the past few years, Disney has introduced FastPass+. Through the My Disney Experience portal, guests can make FastPass selections in advance, rather than having to physically get the paper tickets previously issued. Each guest may select 3 FastPasses for one park each day, even if your tickets have the Park Hopper option. On-site guests may make their selections for their whole trip at 7:00am ET online, 60 days prior to arrival. Off-site guests may do so one day at a time beginning 30 days prior to arrival. These selections are then linked to each guests’ MagicBand (more details here) or Disney-issued ticket card.

Getting Ready for Vacation – <30 Days

Your vacation balance will be due 30 days prior to arrival. If you are planning to use Disney gift cards, make sure they say Disney Parks or Walt Disney World on the back – there are some gift cards that are just for the Disney Store and will not work to make a payment on your vacation.

At least a week before your vacation (or more if that’s your preference), start gathering up everything you’ll need for your trip. Important things to remember include:

  • Sunscreen 
  • Aloe Vera
  • Prescription Medications
  • Over-the-Counter Medications
  • Phone and Chargers
  • Camera and Extra Memory Cards
  • Good Walking Shoes
  • Comfortable Clothes
  • A Nice Outfit or Two, Depending on Your Dining Reservations
  • Your Magic Bands (keep them handy because you’ll need them as soon as you arrive)
  • And Any Special Items You Purchased for the Trip

If all of this seems overwhelming, that’s where I can help! Click the banner below to request more information about all the services I provide to make your Disney planning experience stress-free!

Never Grow Up!


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