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Walt Disney World Vacation Planning Timeline

Walt Disney World Vacation Planning Timeline

The most magical place on earth can also cause some serious anxiety for those planning the trip. Pulling off a memorable Walt Disney World trip sadly isn’t as easy as hopping in the car and heading for Orlando.

The questions that we hear often is when should I plan things? We are glad that you asked! We’ve put together this timeline that we hope helps make your planning easier.

Walt Disney World Hotel Reservations

You can book your hotel room as far in advance as 499 days, so that gives you ample time to plan your trip and start saving those pennies. Our friend Leslie at Trips with Tykes wrote an extremely comprehensive review about the breakdown of the best resorts in each class, check it out here. Additionally, you can read about our stay at the Grand Floridian, The Beach Club and Animal Kingdom Lodge.

Disney Dining Reservations

If you and your family hope to dine with Mickey, Minnie and the rest of the gang, then you will need to make reservations. Reservations to restaurants at Walt Disney World can be secured up to 180 days in advance.

Not all restaurants require reservations, but the popular sit-down restaurants do, and it isn’t very often that folks luck out and find themselves able to walk up and sit down sans reservation.

For a complete list of the restaurants found at Walt Disney World, as well as a key telling you which restaurants need reservations and which do not, check out this post!

FastPass Selections

Walt Disney World Vacation Planning Timeline

Included with your park tickets, come the coveted FastPass. FastPass, are a wonderful perk, allowing you to schedule your ride time for your favorite ride. Once you arrive at the ride within your designated time slot, scan your magic band (or fast pass card), and enter the FastPass line. Something to keep in mind is that just because you are in the FastPass line doesn’t mean it will be free of waiting, but it is much shorter than the regular line.

Ticket holders get 3 FastPasses to schedule prior to entering the parks for the day. Once, all of the FastPasses have been used, then an additional selection may be made.

The initial 3 selections can be made up to 30 days in advance if you are staying off property and 60 days in advance if you are staying onsite at one of the Walt Disney World Resorts.

Order Groceries

Say what?! We are on vacation, why do we need groceries. My answer to this is simple, prices at Disney for food are crazy expensive, yeah I said it. So if you can get groceries that won’t take up precious luggage space if you are flying and won’t take up too much room in the car if you are driving, why not do it? There are a ton of different services that offer delivery to your hotel room, the most popular of which is Garden Grocer. Disney allows food inside the park, which means your snack bill doesn’t have to be out of control, except for a Mickey Bar or two.

Plan to place your order about a week out from the trip.

Make a Dollar Store run

Often, the Dollar Store has Disney items in the store that are fun to tuck away in your suitcase and surprise your kids with. I have found that if I pack these things ahead of time, the asks for in-park goodies go down. My big purchase at the Dollar Store is glow sticks, these are perfect to have for the fireworks and don’t cost you eleventy billion dollars.

I try to go about a week out, but I’ve been known to go hours before we leave.

Miscellaneous Planning

Once a Disney trip is on the books, I start purchasing Disney gift card with each grocery trip. The thinking behind this is that paying $20 or $30 a week for gift cards helps spread out the cost of the expenses during the trip. These gift cards are widely accepted in the park, just be sure to use them at Disney owned parks, so your venti latte at Starbucks will need to be cash from your pocket and not the gift card.

Will you be pin trading? If you plan to pin trade but don’t have a stock of pins already, hop on eBay and grab an inexpensive lot of pins It is a great way to ease into pin trading and it doesn’t have to be very expensive. If you haven’t gotten into the world of pin trading yet, here is a post about that.

You can download our printable to stick on your fridge as a reminder, click here!

Walt Disney World Vacation Planning Timeline


We hope that this post comes in handy and that you have a great time planning your Disney trip!

Planning in advance will make your Walt Disney World Vacation easier. Check out these things to do before your Disney Vacation including a planning timeline, dining advice, FastPass+ tips, and more! #familytravel #disney #waltdisneyworld

What you need to know about Animal Kingdom Lodge | Family Vacations US

Monday 5th of October 2020

[…] In addition to staying at the Grand Floridian, we’ve also stayed at and loved The Beach Club Resort.   Not sure when to start planning your Disney Stay? Take a look at our Walt Disney World Planning Timeline.  […]