Planning for a Disney World vacation is not for the faint at heart. Reservations for popular restaurants get booked up 6 months in advance. FastPass+ reservations can be difficult to plan if everyone in your family wants to do different things. And finding the best deals can be like finding a needle in a haystack. If you’ve never done it before, it can be a fairly stressful event. But with an organized plan you can be well prepared and not caught off guard.
Today I have put together the “uber” planning itinerary to get you ready for your Disney World trip. Alot of this is common sense but I know it helps to have everything written down so I can mark it off as I go. Let me know down in the comments section if I forgot anything. Enjoy!
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Here is a link if you would like to download this in a document format to print out at home.
6 – 12 MONTHS
- Choose Your Travel Dates
- Possibly contact a Disney Travel Agent (I just so happen to know an awesome one 😉
- Register for a My Disney Experience Account
- Order your FREE Disney Vacation Planning DVD to start planning
- Book Your Resort Hotel – can be made up to 499 days in advance
- Purchase Park Tickets
- Decide if a Southwest Credit Card help you get free flights for your family
- Make a Daily Plan – Start figuring out which parks you want to go to on which day. This will help with your next step.
- Plan out your Dining Choices
- Decide if you want to try out any Character Meals
- Customize your magic bands on your My Disney Experience account. You will have up to 30 days before your arrival day to finalize these.
- Determine when your 180 Day out date is (i.e. when you can start booking dining reservations) with this online tool. This will be a very important morning for you hard core planners!
- Determine when your 60 Day out date is (i.e. when you can start booking your FastPass+ reservations) with this online tool. This will be another very important morning for you hard core planners!
- Start a Disney Fund Jar with spare change found along the way
- Start stocking up on discounted Disney Gift Cards to pay for your trip
- If Halloween will be happening before your trip then stock up on costumes you or your kiddos might wear at the parks. Trust me, you’ll be glad you went with Target after seeing those Disney World prices at Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique
180 days prior to the FIRST day of your Resort Reservation (for on-site guests) OR 180 days prior to EACH day of your vacation (for off-site guests)
- Make Your Dining Reservations
- Reserve special activities….
- Reserve recreational activities….
- Specialty Cruises
- A golfing tee time
- Fishing excursion
- Horse drawn carriage ride
- Behind the scenes tours
- Water activities such as parasailing or waterskiing
- Book flights
- Reserve rental car
- Check the refurbishment schedule for Disney World Attractions
- Order your FREE Disney customized Disney Park Maps
- Start training! You will be walking on average 10 miles a day. Your feet will thank you the more you prepare them
- Start a Family Countdown Calendar – check out the example ones I found on Pinterest!
- Purchase additional memory cards and batteries
- Start having family Disney movie night to get back up to speed!
60 DAYS (if staying on-site)
- Make FastPass+ reservations
- Check in online to Disney Resort
- Determine if a car seat or CARES device is needed for your flight
45 DAYS (for WDW packages)
- Final payment is due
- For room-only reservations the balance is due at check-in
- (if staying off-site) – make FastPass+ reservations
- (if staying on-site) – make sure Magical Express reservations are in order
- Order groceries for your hotel room
- Decide about strollers during your visit
- Pre-order Memory Maker
- Add a little magic to your trip
- Make arrangements for family pets while you’re gone
- Order child identification products
- Arrange transportation from your house to the airport
- Look into discounts with getting a Disney Rewards Card
- Buy or make an autograph book
- Take a look at everyone’s closets and see if any additional clothing needs to be purchased before the trip
- If you are a pin trader then stock up on some cheap (authentic) pins on Ebay
- Receive your WDW Travel Documents, including your Magical Express tickets
- Start putting together your packing list
- Refill and pickup prescription medication
- Put together games/activities for kids to do while traveling
- Purchase any snacks or water to keep in your resort room
- Ship any supplies to Disney lodging
- Download your favorite WDW wait time app for your phone
- Place hold on newspaper
A Few Days To Go
- Double check your travel papers and documents and put them in your carry-on bag. Print out your Dining Reservation confirmation numbers too. Put your Magic Bands in your carry-on bag too!
- Charge camera and portable DVD batteries
- Check the 10 day weather report to make sure you pack accordingly
- Complete online airline check-in
- Make sure you pack all medication and swimsuits in your carry on bag. If using Magical Express you won’t see your bags for up to 4 hours after you land.
- Make sure you have some spare cash for tipping any helpers you encounter on your travel day.
HAVE A MAGICAL VACATION!