Important Dates When Planning a Disney Vacation

Let’s be real, planning a Disney World vacation can be downright stressful. Yesterday we talked about why it can be helpful to use an Authorized Disney Travel Agent. But, whether you use an agent or book your own trip there are some important dates that you need to remember.

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499 days before arrival

You can actually make your resort reservations 499 days in advance. But, remember when you are this far out you cannot book your park tickets until the updated pricing is released for the year that you will be visiting. But, planning your dates out this far in advance will give you and your group plenty of time to start saving up money.

180 days before arrival

Advanced dining reservations (ADRs) can be made 180 days prior to the date you want the reservation. If you are staying at a Walt Disney World resort you can make all of your reservations for your entire length of stay once you are 180 days from your check-in date. That means that you can beat out others for the dining reservations you want if you arrive before them or if they aren’t staying at one of the resorts on property.

There are some restaurants, like Cinderella’s Royal Table, that book up fast. If you don’t make your reservation 180 days in advance and early you might not get the date and time that you want.

60 days before arrival

If you are staying at a Disney resort when you hit 60 days prior to your arrival you can make all of you Fastpass (FP) selections for your trip. This is important for the same reason that the dining reservations are. If you want the rides and times that are your first choice you are going to need to act early. This is also a real advantage if you are staying at Disney because everyone else has to wait until 30 days before the date they are going to use their park ticket.

Do your research and have a plan before your date arrives. You want to make sure that your FP picks don’t overlap with your dining reservations and that you give yourself plenty of time to get from one ride to the next, or from your hotel or restaurant to your ride. You don’t want to plan a trip that has you running back and forth across the park.

30 days before arrival

This is the day that your final payment is due on your vacation. There are two reasons that this is actually a good thing:

  1. You can make your reservations before you have all the money. All you need is $200 to make your reservation if you are planning in advance and not within 30 days of when you plan to arrive. This gives you time to make payments on your trip while still allowing you to make your ADRs and FP selections.
  2. When you show up to Disney you don’t have to worry about making the final payment. This is also why I love the dining plans. When we show up for our vacation and we use the dining plan all we have left to pay for is souvenirs, which removes a lot of stress for me. I can simply enjoy my vacation because it is paid for.

10 days before arrival

This is the date that your magic bands (if you are staying at Disney) will be shipped out to you. That means if you want to customize your magic bands you need to do so prior to this date or else your entire party will have gray bands.

Stick to these dates and you are on your way to planning a magical Disney World vacation!


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