|9 to 12 months before your trip starts
||You probably already have a general idea of when you want to visit Disney World. What the trip will cost you, however, may be a surprise. Take a couple of evenings to plan out a budget, an approximate time of year, and narrow down your hotel choices.
- Establish a budget. This blog article shows how much Disney vacation you can get for $500, $1000, $1500, and $2000, for various family sizes.
- Begin researching resorts and best times of year to visit to avoid crowds.
- There are some discounts that Disney puts out about the same time every year. Check Mousesavers.com for a list of these regular discounts, when they’re usually announced, and the travel dates they cover.
- Create an account at MyDisneyExperience.com. You’ll need this to make hotel, dining, and ride reservations later.
- Make a preliminary resort reservation. It’ll typically require a deposit equal to one night’s stay, and it guarantees you a room. You can change or cancel it without penalty for several months while you continue researching, too.
- Research whether trip insurance makes sense for your situation. If you’re traveling to Disney World during peak hurricane season, it might be more worthwhile. Third-party policies, such as those from InsureMyTrip, are usually cheaper than Disney’s trip insurance, and often more comprehensive.
- Disney Vacation Club members can make reservations at their home resorts starting 11 months prior to their trip.
- If you’re not a U.S. citizen, make sure your family’s passports and visas are sorted. Passports typically need to be valid for 6 months beyond your travel dates. An electronic U.S. visa is typically good for 2 years from the date of issue, if you need one. See travel.state.gov/content/visas/english.html for details.
| 7 to 9 months before your trip starts
||Learn all about Disney World restaurants in this part of your trip planning. When Disney’s dining system opens to you (at your 180-day mark), you’ll be ready to make reservations.
- Research sit-down restaurants to see which might interest you. We have a complete set of reviews, menus, and prices for every Disney World restaurant, all searchable.
- If you’re planning to stay at a Disney hotel, also review the Disney Dining Plan to see if it’ll save you money on the restaurants you’ve identified. With these two steps you’re ready to make dining reservations at the 180-day mark.
- Check the best days to visit each park using our Disney World crowd calendar and pick which parks you’ll visit on each day of your trip.
- Disney Vacation Club members can make reservations outside their home resorts starting 7 months before their trip.
|| You can make advance dining, recreation and other reservations up to 180 days before your trip begins.
- Make sit-down dining reservations beginning at 6 a.m. Eastern online or 7 a.m. by phone: (407) WDW-DINE.
- Check back on the economics of the Disney Dining Plan after you’ve made dining reservations to verify it’s still saving you money. If not, drop it from your package.
- Make reservations for:
| 4 to 6 months
||Now you’ll become familiar with the rides, shows, and attractions at Disney World’s four theme parks, and start planning what you’ll see each day. Doing this now will help identify any potential bottlenecks, which you can address using Disney’s FastPass+ ride reservation system (and our touring plans!). You’ll be able to make FastPass+ reservations in a few weeks.
- Review the attractions and shows available in the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
- Make a list of must see attractions in each park. If your children are unsure about experiencing a particular attraction, try previewing it for them via YouTube videos.
- Begin a preliminary touring plan for each park once you’ve got a list of attractions, using the dates you chose previously to visit each park.By starting your touring plan now, you’ll be able to see which attractions would benefit from FastPass+ reservations, which you can make 60 or 30 days before your trip.You’ll also see whether you’ll need the “park hopper” option on your theme park tickets, which you’ll purchase later.
||Theme for this week is “The 3 F’s”: FastPass, fitness, and refunds. (Put an emphasis on the ‘f’ in refunds if you need to.)
- Disney resort guests can make FastPass+ reservations beginning at midnight Eastern. Once you know your FastPass+ reservations, update your touring plans and we’ll make sure you get to those attractions on time.
- Start a walking regimen so that you’re ready for the 7-to-10 miles per day you may be walking in Walt Disney World.
- You have 2 weeks to cancel most Disney vacation packages without penalty; room-only reservations can be cancelled without penalty until 5 days before arrival (6 if booked online).
- You can start your online check-in at Disney resorts 60 days before your arrival.
- Final payment is due for Disney vacation packages. Final payment for room-only reservations is due at check-in.
- Customize and order your Magic Bands (if you’re staying on-site).
- Make Magical Express reservations (if you’re flying) or other transportation arrangements.
- If you want to switch resorts or make dining reservations, check for any availability from people who cancelled their vacations at the 45 day mark.
- Off-site guests can make Fastpass+ reservations beginning at midnight Eastern.
- Confirm park hours with our crowd calendar and finish preliminary touring plans.
- Download Lines to your Apple or Android phone, so you can follow your touring plan and get updates while you’re in the parks.
- Order your groceries to be delivered to your resort. We recommend GardenGrocer.
- If you’re flying to the U.S. from another country, complete the APIS (Advance Passenger Information and Secure Flight) process at least 72 hours prior to your flight. You should be able to do this through your airline’s website, or make sure your travel agent has your information. You’ll need the address where you will be staying in the US, so be certain to have your hotel’s address handy when completing this form.
- Last chance to cancel Disney room-only reservations booked online without a penalty. Call (407) WDI-SNEY to do so.
- Purchase Disney’s Memory Maker photo package at least 3 days in advance to ensure all photos are linked as soon as you arrive. You’ll also get a $30 discount by purchasing in advance.
|1 day before leaving
- Check in to your airline online
- Finish Disney resort online check-in, if you’ve not already done so.
- Cancel any unneeded dining or babysitting reservations
- Do one last check of park hours and weather