All Things Disney

Trip Planning for Disney

Booking Timeline

Photo Courtesy of Undercover Tourist

There is a lot more to planning a Disney vacation that many people think. There are the typical things you’d think of, booking a resort, purchasing tickets even maybe booking a few reservations for dinner but many people now forget that you can book your fastpasses online as well as purchase a Memory Maker photo pass.

  • 499 Days Out– Accommodations at Disney World Resorts open

Now here is the thing, if you know what hotel you wanna stay at and are planning on visiting at a busy season, I defiantly recommend booking your room asap to make sure you get what if you want (you can always change your mind or add a Stay, Play, Save deal on a later date), but if your flexible with dates and hotels you can typically find a deal closer to. In the past they will normally advertise Stay, Play, Save deal in the fall for the early winter months and will continue to go with a pattern similar to that for other times of the year.

Things to remember if you stay on property you get access to extra magic hours (extended park hours) and if you stay off property you aren’t able to access this perk.

  • 190 Days Out– Plan out your vacation and create a My Disney Experience account.

I LOVE my My Disney Experience account. It lets me plan online how I want to spend my time at the parks; which includes making restaurant reservations, booking fastpasses and even making a game plan for the day. Best part is that they have an interactive app making it so you can access it all as you walk around the parks, it even has a ride wait time section (no more finding a board or walking to the ride to find out!).

*The free wifi in the parks can be unreliable sometimes for those of you traveling from other countries with no data*

  • 180 Days Out-Advance Dining Reservations begins

Not going to lie the best part of Disney when you’re a foodie is trying out all fun themed restaurants around the parks. If you get a chance I defiantly recommend even just checking out one restaurant while there.

If this is your first time visiting Disney and have little ones who aren’t big fans of lines, character breakfasts are a great way to meet a select group of characters that come to your table while you eat to say hi vs you having to wait in like to meet them.

Other recommended restaurants:

50’s Prime Time Cafe – A blast from the past when you walk into this all-American eatery themed like Mom’s kitchen. They’re all about the home cooked comfort food from your childhood; meatloaf, pot roast, fried chicken, Sheppard pie. But don’t forget to use your p’s and q’s, don’t play with your food and mind your manners!

Be Our Guest –  This has to be one of my favourite quick service restaurants at Disney. Even though it does require a reservation due to popularity it’s worth it. They magically know what you’ve ordered and where you’re sitting even though its not assigned seating and you get to chose from three great themed rooms; the west wing, the ballroom and the dining room from the movie.  Don’t forget to try the grey stuff, it truly is delicious!

Check out the full review here

San Angel Inn Restaurante – Located in the Mexican Pavilion in Epcot, this is your chance to try authentic Mexican food and it’s amazing. Plus its typically a rather quiet restaurant. It’s located inside the pyramid in the pavilion and it overlooks the water and ride. What a great ambiance. 

Garden View Tea Room – Ok, I know that this may not be technically be a restaurant, but its a great place to relax and feel sophisticated while at the parks. I’ve now done this twice with friends and its always a blast. Its an excuse for us to bring heels and dress up as that’s not something you’ll typically wear to the parks, and for most people high tea isn’t in your normal daily routine. Located in the Grand Floridian the Garden View Tea Room over looks the pathways and have a nice view of the lagoon and has that fancy sort of feel that you expect when having high tea. With plenty of options for both the little ones and adults it’s a great way to spend the afternoon.

Don’t forget this step, you can’t book fastpasses ahead of time without them purchased and connected to your account.

  • 60 Days Out– Secure FastPass+ Reservations (for Disney World hotel guests only) 

The other reason why I love Disney Experience is that it allows you to connect your account to all your friends and family and allows you to book your fastpasses together so you’re not trying to coordinate times to find ones that are similar.

*Remember you only get 3 reservations to start with, and cannot add any additional fastpasses until you’ve used ALL of your pre-booked fastpasses. So pick your rides wisely and ones you know that are always popular with longer wait times

  • 30 Days Out– Secure FastPass+ Reservations (off property hotel guests)

This is for those of you who chose to stay off property.  Take advantage of this if you can. You can book fastpasses at the park but there are only three locations per park and the lines can get long quick.

This is completely option.

What this entails, for those of you who aren’t familiar with photo pass, is that throughout the parks there are Disney photographers who will take your photo (don’t worry they will use your camera as well if you ask nicely) at some of the more popular spot to photos taken, but they are also always present at character meet and greets. From there they will scan either your magicband or a card that will transfer all the photos taken to an account where you can access and purchase them. These photos can also include any ride photos you’ve had taken as well.

If you have purchased the Memory Maker pass you are able to download all of these photos taken, for those who haven’t purchased the pass you can still access and view the photos but you cannot download them without purchasing them individually.

Thanks to Undercover Tourist for the photo and the great outline for how to book a Disney Vacation.

 *** I always recommend to used a trusted Disney retailer or travel agency to purchase tickets if you’re not going to purchase right from Disney.


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