Walt Disney World Fort Wilderness

Disney World Planning Basics: A Planning Timeline

Planning a trip to Walt Disney World can be a daunting task, especially for a first timer. It’s almost like planning a wedding with all of the details and deadlines. Here is the basic timeline that I follow when planning my Disney World vacations.

  • As Soon As You Start Thinking About A Trip As soon as you start considering a trip to Walt Disney World the first thing to do is sign up for a My Disney Experience account. This is Walt Disney World’s official site where you will be able to book your room reservation, dining reservations, purchase and link your park admission tickets and book your Fastpass+ reservations.
  • 12 Months Or More In Advance Now is the time to research where you want to stay and to book your room reservation.
  • 10 Months In Advance If you are going to be flying to Disney World, now is the time to start checking for flights and once you find a great deal that works for you, book it.
  • 8 Months In Advance You should now start researching restaurants, tours and experiences that you would like to book and make a list of your most wanted reservations.
  • 6 1/2 Months In Advance This is the time to check the park hours for your trip, choose what days you would like to visit each park and start getting it all down on paper by creating a planning spreadsheet. At this point, it’s a good idea to take your list of most wanted reservations and match it up to what day you will be in each park.
  • 6 Months In Advance (180 Days Exactly) This is an important day! Today’s the day to book your dining, tour and experience reservations! Some things like dining with the princesses at Cinderella’s Royal Table book up within minutes of the reservation window opening. Grab your list of most wanted reservations and get busy booking them fast! Fill them in on your planning spreadsheet as you get them reserved.
  • 5 Months In Advance Next up is researching your different ticket options to figure out which one is best for you and your family.
  • 4 Months In Advance Now is the time to purchase the admission tickets that you researched and then link them to your My Disney Experience account as soon as they arrive. If you are going to be renting a car while in Disney World, this is a great time to book one.
  • 3 1/2 Months In Advance (100 Days) This is a perfect time to create a clever countdown to your vacation to get the whole family in on the anticipation and excitement. You might try a colorful paper chain, a cute Disney calendar to mark the days off of or just a simple countdown on the refrigerator!
  • 3 Months In Advance At this point, you can research what attractions you and your family would like to see at the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom. Because Walt Disney World is so large, it is very difficult to see everything during one trip, so be sure to get everyone’s top priorities. Add these attractions to your planning spreadsheet on the day that you will be visiting that particular park.
  • 2 Months In Advance (60 Days Exactly) Another important day! Today’s the day for guests staying on property to book Fastpass+ reservations! In case you aren’t familiar with it, Fastpass+ is Disney’s ride reservation system that allows you to book a reserved one hour window to enjoy an attraction. You can pre-book Fastpass+ reservations on three different attractions in one park per day. These are great to use for the very popular headliner attractions to help minimize your wait in line. This is also the day for on property guests to check in online for your Disney resort hotel room.
  • 1 Month In Advance (30 Days Exactly)This is the day for guests staying off property to book their Fastpass+ reservations. Also, now is the time to finalize your planning spreadsheet making sure it includes all of your dining, tour, experience and Fastpass+ reservations. You can even create more detailed daily plans at this time if you wish. This is also a perfect time to develop a packing list to make sure you remember to take everything you will need for your trip!
  • 1 Week In Advance It’s finally time to confirm all of your reservations, print your travel documents and pack.
  • Last but not least, have a great trip!

Hopefully, this timeline will give you a good starting point for planning your Disney World vacation. It has always been a big help for me! And don’t forget to check out all of the great links in this post for lots of information to help with your planning process. After all, the planning and anticipation are half of the fun!

6 comments on “Disney World Planning Basics: A Planning Timeline

  1. Disney World times are so much about Family time and using this advance planning approach will give us even more time for fun. Wish we would have had this years ago. Thanks

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