I enjoy all aspects of planning a trip to Disney World, This can involve researching, making reservations and actually going on holiday. As soon as I book our trip, I start our Walt Disney World Countdown which only adds to the excitement in our house.
The countdown to Disney World can seem to take ages, especially if you book it over a year in advance like we often do. This helps us stay on track with our budgeting and saving for our Disney holiday, but also it means that we are in the best position to make the most of our planning.
This works if you enjoy a visible Disney World planning checklist, but may not work if you’re more spontaneous and last minute.
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More Than A Year In Advance
Your Disney World planning timeline can often begin more than a year in advance. There’s not a huge amount of planning you can do at this stage, but don’t despair. Once booked you can link your booking to your My Disney Experience account. From here, you will see your Disney countdown for your holiday.
You will also be able to select your magic band colour if you’re staying in a Disney resort. Standard colours include grey, pink, purple, green, yellow, orange, red and blue. If you don’t select your colour you will be issued with a grey band.
If you are planning on travelling from the Orlando International Airport to a Disney resort via the Magical Express, you can book this with Disney now.
Check your passport is in date if you need it to travel.
Six Months To Disney World
At 180 days, or six months before you are due to start your holiday, you can book any advanced dining reservations, also known as ADR’s.
Some of the more popular restaurants such as Be Our Guest, Cinderella’s Royal Table, Storybook Dining and others do get booked up well in advanced so it’s worth booking if you know you want the reservation.
Planning and booking our ADR’s is a lot of fun for me. It’s the start of our holiday plan. We have always taken advantage of the Disney dining plan, and now we find the middle dining plan works best for us.
This includes one table service meal per day so booking our restaurants is a big deal for us at 180 days. It’s a very cost effective way of enjoying character meals.
Also at this stage in the planning, you can use your time to make sure you have your travel insurance sorted, if you are an international traveller, you will need your ESTA to gain entry to the country.
Do you need an overnight stay at the airport before an early flight? This is a good time to be looking around for some good deals.
You can also use this time to select your seats on the plane if that’s something that’s important to you. Flights are released eleven months in advance, so by now you should have booked your plane ticket.
60 Days Until Disney World
Update Aug 2021 – Disney World have announced that Fastpass+ will be retired and replaced with Disney Genie – you can read more information about Disney Genie here.
If you are staying in a Disney resort, then 60 days or two months in advance is the time you can book your Fastpasses. This is such an exciting time for me, and I look forward to the day for ages. A top tip I have learned is to book the more difficult ones first.
I spend the time after booking our ADR’s to start thinking about what parks we’ll be visiting and then in turn what Fastpasses I would like to secure. From this I make a list with Fastpass, time I would prefer, morning, afternoon or evening, and then the attraction and date.
This list starts with the most difficult to secure, for example Slinky Dog Dash in Hollywood Studios, and Flight of Passage in Animal Kingdom.
Often the times aren’t exactly how I would like them, but another top tip I have learned is to book if the time is approximately where you would like it. You have the opportunity to tweak the time later.
30 Days Until Disney World
If you’re not staying in a Disney resort, then at 30 days you will be able to book your Fastpasses. I do hear success stories of people gaining those difficult Fastpasses at 30 days in advance so don’t despair.
You can only book a day at a time though if you’re not staying in a Disney Resort, so your list will have to be different to above.
Why not check out these FREE Disney planning printables to plan your holiday.
There’s not a lot else to do now in your Walt Disney World countdown but wait for your holiday to start.
How soon do you start packing? I generally get the cases out a week or so before and start to think about the outfits I am taking with me. The final pack is usually done a day or so before we travel.