As you begin the planning of your Disney World vacation there are several important dates that you need to be aware of. We recommend booking your resort package or room only reservation as far in advance as you can. Having a reservation on the books will give you a way to make dining reservations in advance of the general public, which can be a big advantage with those hard to get reservations. Also, it is important to remember just because you are booked into a certain package does not mean you cannot get a discount if one is released. If a package discount or room only discount is released after you have booked your trip you just need to call Disney or your travel agent and the discount can be applied, which means the price of your trip will go down! Awesome! Now, once you have the initial reservation made here are a few important dates you need to be aware of moving forward.
- 180 Days in Advance – Dining reservations open 180 days prior to a certain date, and since the Dining plan came about many years ago it is important to make most of these reservations as many of them fill up and the times you want may not be available if you wait until later. Now, for the big perk of already having a reservation. You should have your reservation linked on your Disney account and when your 180 day mark comes about you should be able to book dining reservations not just for the first day of your trip, but for the next 10 days, so really you can book up to 190 days, which gives you a jump on when off-site guests can book. This can be a huge advantage, especially for those hard to get reservations like Be Our Guest, Cinderella’s Royal Table, or many of the character meals. Now, if you are staying off-site you will have to book your reservations for each day, 180 days in advance. So it does involve getting up early to get online or on the phone to make those reservations. This is a great reason to use a travel agent, because most Disney travel agents should help make dining reservations for you, at no cost, and you can keep sleeping. Of course our sponsor, Big Dreams Travel, is one of those agencies. Online dining reservations change to the next day at 6 AM EST, every morning, while the phone lines open at 7 AM EST (407-WDW-DINE). It is also important to note that many other things, such as the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique and other services like that open at 180 days as well. You can also make recreation reservations 180 days in advance for things such as watercraft, evening fireworks cruises, fishing trips, or other things. Call 407-WDW-PLAY for recreation reservations.
- 60 Days in Advance – If you are staying on-site the 60 day mark is important for two reasons. First, you need to be prepared by this day to make your FP+ reservations. Online FP+ reservations open at midnight EST 60 days in advance of your trip. Again, most Disney travel agents will help you make these plans and reservations. You should also have a rough set of touring plans ready to go for each day and have ideal FP+ times ready to book. Keep in mind you must have park tickets and a valid resort reservation linked to your Disney account to make these reservations at the 60 day mark. The second thing you can do on this day if you are a resort guest is check in online for your resort. You can view our post on 5 Things to Know About Checking In and Out to get more information on this process.
- 30 Days in Advance – There are two important things happening at this stage of trip planning. First, if you are staying on side and have a vacation package reservation (hotel and park tickets) your final payment will be due at this time. So make sure you get this paid or have made arrangements with your travel agent. The other main thing to do on this date is if you are staying off-site this is your FP+ reservation date. Remember, you must have park tickets linked to your Disney account. Online FP+ reservations open at midnight EST 30 days in advance of your trip.
- 90 Days in Advance – Disney golf courses open their reservations for tee times 90 days in advance. Call 407-WDW-PLAY for reservations. You can also visit the website at www.golfwdw.com.
- 365 Days in Advance – We did want to mention one thing that opens to book one year in advance and that is golf cart rentals if you are staying at Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground. Call the bike barn at 407-824-2742 for reservations.
Let us know if you have any question in the comments section below.