Wondering where to start when planning your Disney World vacation? Don’t stress because we have the complete breakdown of the Disney World vacation planning timeline. It’s a step by step what you need to accomplish up to 12 months before your vacation.
12-9 Months Prior to Disney World Vacation
You may already know when you want to visit but it’s best to sit down and actually calculate out what your Disney vacation is going to cost you. When figuring out your budget it’s time to look at when you want to go and what hotel do you want to stay in. These two factors alone can have the biggest impact on your budget for your Disney World vacation.
In order to save the most money on your vacation browse over the various Disney World discounts that are running to see if it can help you save some extra money. While you are over on Disney’s website you will want to set up your My Disney Experience account if you don’t have one already. It’s completely free and later on, it’s going to allow you to get those Fastpasses as well as a bunch of other stuff.
If you are traveling to Disney World from another country this is also the perfect time to go get those passports in order. Typically your passport must be valid for six months after your planned travel.
9-7 Months Prior to Disney World Vacation
Now it’s time to start thinking about the good stuff, food! In order to do this, you will probably want to get a general idea of which parks you will be in on which days so you can book your dining accordingly. Use our FREE Disney vacation planner to help you map out every day of your vacation.
If you are planning on staying at a Disney World hotel and use the Disney Dining Plan you are going to also need to understand your limitations based on your plan. Not every restaurant takes the dining plan and Signature dining spots will require extra credits and probably won’t make sense to eat at. I also recommend reading How to Get the Most Out of the Disney Dining Plan.
180 Days Before your Disney World Vacation
Have your alarm set to 6 a.m. EST time for this important trip marker. At 180 days out Disney World lets you reserve your dining. You can reserve two different ways. The first is by going online to DisneyWorld.Disney.go.com/dining and booking those reservations as fast as you can. Some options are hard to get like Cinderella’s Royal Table, Victoria and Alberts and Chef Mickey even making them when they open doesn’t guarantee you will find a time. If the internet isn’t your thing at 7 a.m. EST you can call 407-WDW-DINE and also book your dining reservations.
If you wanted to do any tours, spa treatments, Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, or dessert parties we also recommend you book them 180 days out.
100 Days Before your Disney World Vacation
Now it’s time to make your plans concrete. This means getting your theme park tickets so you are prepared to book your Fastpass+ reservations either at the 60 or 30 day mark. Once you have your tickets be sure to link them to your My Disney Experience account.
If you need a stroller, wheelchair or ECV during your trip we recommend this is a good time to look into rental companies in the area. By going with a 3rd party company you can really save a ton of money.
60 Days Prior your Disney World Vacation
If you are a Disney World resort guest this is your time to jump into My Disney Experience and book those Fastpasses. We find that the next day opens up somewhere between 6 a.m and 7 a.m. EST. If you’re wondering which rides to book read our Best Disney Fastpass+ Picks for Each Park.
This is also when I start my Disney training! Disney World requires massive amounts of walking and if you’re not used to walking 5 or more miles a day it’s advised you get out for a stroll around the block after work each day leading up to the trip.
Lastly, if you are staying at a Disney World resort you can also start the online check-in in process during this time.
45 Days Before your Disney World Vacation
At last, it’s time to customize and order your Magicband, if you are in the country and staying on site. You can find out how to do this when you log into your My Disney Experience account.
If you are flying into Orlando International Airport and staying at a Disney hotel you should also schedule your Magical Express. Otherwise, this is a good time to book the rental car, shuttle or just plan on catching a Uber at the airport.
The Week of your Disney World Vacation
When it’s the week of your vacation this is a good time to solidify any loose strings. Check the weather forecast for Orlando, it should give you a good idea at this point. Then you can pack up your bags for the trip. We have a complete list of What to Buy Before your Disney Vacation as well as a FREE packing list. If you plan on ordering groceries now is the perfect time to put in the order. If you want to get Disney’s photo package, Memory Maker, we recommend ordering it prior to your trip so you can save some extra dough.
Lastly, it’s a good idea to review your itinerary and make any adjustments if necessary. Sometimes Disney can make some last-minute adjustments to their park hours so it’s best to double-check the week of. Now you are ready to head off on your vacation that you have worked so hard to prepare for.
I have been visiting the parks annually since my parents first brought me at just a year old. Recently I was able to fulfill my life long dream of being a Florida local and moved from the wintery Northeast to the sunshine and fun of central Florida. Now I am hoping to share my Disney knowledge with you so you can have the best vacation possible!