Important timelines to remember when booking a Disney vacation
With Toy Story Land opening this summer and Starwars Land in the works it's important to remember your "Disney timeline". If you are a seasoned pro, skip this blog post or comment below with your dates and tips. Keep in mind that Disney works in days, 6 months and 180 days could have you off a day or two.
Download the My Disney Experience app or any smartphone or tablet. This will make life easier and can be used to book your entire vacation. It also holds all your vacation details. Fast passes, park tickets, dining reservations and all the info about wait times and events. This app will be your best friend. You can link other members of your travelling party and keep all your plans in one place.
Year in advance. ( Sometimes more)
Book the room and view that you want at the hotel you want. Most people don't do Disney last minute, so PICK what resort you want way ahead of time. That way you won't be disappointed with a parking lot view when you wanted garden. Also keep in mind your booking options, and the different ways to book a trip. If you book on the Disney site you have to pay everything in full. If you "buy/rent" someone's DVC points (we did this last vacation) you owe a percentage when you book and the remainder a month before. Or at least that's how it was for us when we used Dave's Vacation Rentals. *highly recommend. This current trip we are using a Disney travel agent, Upon a Star, and had to put $200 down and can pay as we go as long as it's paid in full 30 days ahead of time.
180 Days before vacation
Book that sit down dining!!!!!
407-WDW-DINE is the number to call if doing it by phone, or you can use My Disney Experience app.
- If you are staying at a Disney Resort during your time in Orlando, you may call or use the app 180 days in advance of your arrival date plus make dining reservations for up to 10 days (be sure to have your Disney World Resort reservation number handy). So technically you can be booking 190 days in advance.
Its not uncommon for Be Our Guest or other popular places to be booked 180 days out, so I recommend you book the last day or your vacation to beginning. Don't set yourself up for failure. Especially if you want one of the many popular sit-down dining options. If character dining or hard to get restaurants aren't a big deal to you, you won't lose any sleep and should be able to grab a sit-down meal. This is one of the benefits of staying onsite, you can have early access to these reservations. 7 am eastern time is when the phone reservations or online reservations can begin. I suggest you have write down the days and restaurants you want, with your party number and have your credit card number available. You MUST cancel a reservation 24 hours ahead of time or you will be charged $10 per person in the party. I have never had to cancel a dining reservations so I'm not sure how strict this is. *If dining at Disney Springs you can make reservations using the Open Table dining app as well.
60 days (if staying on site) and 30 days if off site
Book your fast passes.
Keep in mind it will allow you to book 10 days out from your vacation start day. I recommend waking up early and getting on that app. I believe that is also 7am ET. I saw so many people booking their fast passes at the park kiosks and being very disappointed.
30 days before
For places like BOG you can go ahead and pre-order your food, if having lunch or breakfast there. Not only is a reservation needed, but there can be a huge line inside. The line inside is people ordering their quick service meal. Ordering ahead allows you to walk into the restaurant and simply be seated.
Good time to check again for those dining reservations if you couldn't get them before (24 hours ahead is also a good time for this) Also make sure your Magic Express tags are on all the luggage, if travelling that way.
24 hours before
24 hours before a dining reservations is when people might cancel their dining reservations in order to not be penalized. Keep checking that app. Also a good time to check those fast passes as well. People change plans the day before all the time. Also, check the weather for the next day. Sunny mornings doesn't mean sunny afternoons. Florida weather is nuts.
At the park
While in the parks use the order ahead option at many of the quick services. We even ordered while waiting in line with other family members, left and went to the mobile order line, and still beat them by about 15 minutes.
Did I forget something? I would love to hear any important days before a Disney trip that you make on your calendar. For a first time visitor it can be overwhelming. Set reminders in your phone and just have what you want to do written down. You can't do it all, but with planning you can do most.