TravelEnvy's Disneyworld Vacation Planning Guide
Jump on Disney plans early. If you delay booking your room, meals, and rides, your family will probably miss some things they wanted to do. Besides, Disney rarely offers last-minute discounts, so usually there's no financial upside to waiting if you'll stay on property. So how far in advance do you need to get the ball rolling? Follow our custom timeline to optimize and organize your trip. Game on!
9-12 Months Before You Leave
Kick Off the Planning-Contact TravelEnvy and book your trip!
With the staggering number of places to stay (26 Disney-owned resorts and Disney Vacation Club options, ten more resorts on Disney property, and hundreds of others in and around Orlando), more than 135 Disney restaurants, and 150-plus rides and experiences, you're going to need a couple of months just to wrap your mind around this trip. Make these tasks your priority:
Narrow Down Your Hotel Disney resorts are generally a little more expensive than comparable options outside the gates, but by staying at one you get a ride to and from the Orlando airport, access to "Extra Magic Hours," when parks are open only to resort guests, and first dibs at dining and ride reservations (more on that later). Another benefit: If you have kids who need to nap, the convenience of being able to more easily return to your room in the middle of the day is practically priceless. By staying inside the park, you can have downtime by the pool each afternoon, which helps the trip be more relaxing.
Determine How Long To Stay It's hard to know what will appeal most to your family until you get there, you may think the kids will be all into the characters and they might just want to ride, ride, ride, or spend part of every day at the hotel pool. On the other hand, you might be tempted to cram too much into every day on such a short trip. Plus, your airfare and ticket prices for four and seven days will be about the same. Your cost per day decreases the more you stay.
Sign into My Disney Experience Download the app (free for Apple and Android) or, on the computer, log on to MyDisneyExperience.com and set up a profile. When it comes time, use the service to link Disney hotel reservations, reserve meals, customize MagicBands, note flight times, and choose your FastPass+ experiences. Once you're in a park, you can use the app to check wait times, find characters, and see the start for parades and fireworks.
7-8 Months Before You Leave
Make Some of Your Key Decisions
In a couple of weeks you'll be able to book dining. If a reservation at the hot Be Our Guest Restaurant or a coveted table with a view at 'Ohana during the fireworks is on your must-do list, booking those dinner reservations early is a must and should be top priority.
Sketch Out Your Ideal Plan for the Parks Coordinate which restaurants and attractions fit best with your park schedule, rather than vice versa, although you may have to make some concessions if you want to eat at the most popular places, and spend time at the most popular attractions. Where to begin?
My Disney Experience shows which parks are open early or staying open later for resort guests when you're visiting. (All Disney-owned properties plus Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin and the Hilton in Downtown Disney are eligible.) Use this to your advantage.
180 Days Before You Leave
BOOK YOUR DINING RESERVATIONS
You can get a sense of what's going to be the most difficult by using My Disney Experience and searching for reservations on dates that are just slightly earlier than yours. Some other things to consider:
Prioritize a "Be Our Guest Restaurant" Reservation It's by far the hardest one to get. And most popular character themed dining venue at Disneyworld.
Settle For Any Party Size If you can't get your family of five into the restaurant you want the most, try for a table of four. As long as you're in the system, the restaurant will try to accommodate your change in party size on-site.
If You Book a Late Time, Show Up Early Most restaurants will try to seat you sooner if you arrive before your scheduled time. Fair warning: Arriving after a missed reservation doesn't work so smoothly!
Don't Overlook Resort Restaurants Ideal for breakfast or a late dinner, they're often less crowded than places to eat inside the parks.
30-60 Days Before You Leave
Time To Schedule Your Favorite Rides-Book your fastpass!
If you're staying at a Disney resort and have bought your tickets, you can book three Disney experiences a day, 60 days in advance so you don't have to wait in the full line. Otherwise, you can book them 30 days ahead of time.
3-4 Weeks Before You Leave
Tie Up Loose Ends
Your trip is just around the corner. Just a few more things to do!
Customize Your MagicBands-if you have not done so. Each member of your party will receive one of these personalized rubber bracelets if you're staying on Disney property. It serves as a room key, park ticket, FastPass+ holder, and more. Now's the time to finalize each band's color and add a name; they'll all be mailed to you. Go Over Your Travel Packet
Make sure you go over your travel packet that your travel agent gave you and think of any last minute questions you might have.
You're going to Disney World!