As promised in my blog post last week, “My Favorite Disney Planning Tips”, I’m going to share my optimal timeline for planning a successful Disney vacation this week. Let me preface by clarifying that this is simply my idea of a desirable timeline; it is definitely possible to plan an amazing Disney vacation in a shorter timeframe. Nevertheless, this timeline will afford you the best opportunity to get everything you want on your “wish list”, from dining reservations to resort hotels.
10-12 Months Before Your Trip: Find a trustworthy, knowledgeable travel professional OR start conducting in-depth research for your vacation on your own. Focus on your resort and package options at this time.
8-10 Months Before Your Trip: Book your Disney vacation (either with your travel professional or on your own). Start discussing your itinerary with your travel agent OR design your itinerary on your own. Begin exploring dining choices.
6 Months Before Your Trip: Book your dining reservations exactly 180 days before your trip or have your travel agent do it for you. You can also book any “extras” at this time as well (Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique appointments, Pirates’ League reservations, fireworks cruises, etc.). Remember, the online reservation system opens daily at 6:00am Eastern Time; the telephone reservation system opens at 7:00am Eastern Time. Once you’ve made your dining reservations, finalize your itinerary.
3-4 Months Before Your Trip: Book your flights if you haven’t already. Start discussing your daily touring plans with your travel professional or begin designing them yourself.
0-3 Months Before Your Trip: Finalize your daily touring plans. Don’t forget to update them about a week before you leave home when schedules for character meets and showtimes are typically released (or at least highly predictable). Make your final payment if you booked a package (45 days before your trip). Then, start your countdown!!
Disney Specialist, Ginger's Getaways