While a Disney Vacation can be magical and memorable…planning it can be overwhelming. Disney has its own vocabulary, timing, and planning process. You don’t have to Google much about it before you get lost in abbreviations and advice that may or may not be current.
For the new-to-Mickey crowd, what are some of the basics you need to know about planning a Disney vacation? As professional Disney planners, we are experts in helping break down the Disney process so that you can have magic bursting out of every vacation moment.
Disney is not your average theme park. At most theme parks, you show up and go ride rides as you feel like it. You might have some rough idea of a plan on what you’d like to ride that day. But mostly you plan on wandering around and doing what is fun. Disney is not this. At. All. Ideal Disney World Vacation planning starts seven months in advance. This is because Disney dining and magic extra reservations become available 180 days in advance. For any restaurant, including character meals, where you would be seated and have a waiter, you need a reservation at Disney. Many of the more popular restaurants have all their reservations taken very close to the 180 day-before mark. The same is true for popular magical experiences like Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique salon inside Magic Kingdom Park. For people who have specific dreams about their Disney vacation, starting early is a big deal.
What if you are already within that time frame? Then it is even more important that you have an expert planner on your side. Contact us today to have an expert start working on your reservations to get that magic set up.
Getting started early on Disney doesn’t mean you have to pay for your entire vacation seven months in advance (whew!). Even though you have to start early, Disney makes it as easy as possible to set up a reservation so you can do all your planning. A Disney package with tickets and the onsite hotel has a $200 deposit to lock in your room and pricing. Your deposit is refundable until 30 days in advance of your trip, which is also when the final payment is due. This means that you don’t have much to lose by booking early and locking in your desired package.
Before that 30 day mark, you can make all kinds of changes to your package. You can adjust your dates, resort, ticket type, days of tickets, and add or subtract the dining plan. For changes inside of 30 days, it is best to talk to one of our travel experts about your specific situation.
But what if a sale comes out later and I might get a better deal? Disney lets you apply any applicable future sales to your deposited package. This means you never have to “wait” to try to get the best deal. You can book early knowing that you will get the best price AND can have all the planning opportunities you need.
Pro tip: Many of Disney’s early pricing is less than its later sale prices. Book early for the best price options. Packages for the following year get released in late June. We always have a list going of our clients who need to have reservations made when they become available. Need on that list? Contact us today.
Most people are not used to needing a plan for a day at a theme park. For some people, a plan actually sounds a bit scary and maybe too rigid to be a fun vacation. However, a flexible plan at Disney can actually make your trip MORE enjoyable and make sure you do the rides and experiences that will matter most to you. A good plan keeps you out of long lines and maximizes your time without putting pressure on you to over-do. This is especially true of large families groups doing Disney together. Our expert travel advisors can help you with a flexible plan that also allows for spontaneous discovery… but keeps you from missing out on the magic.
The best two hours of the day to ride rides at Disney World are the first two hours of the day. These are when crowds are lowest. It’s also the coolest part of the day if you are traveling during warm times. You can ride 30-50% more rides during this time than the rest of the day after the lines build up. To take advantage of this, we suggest being at your chosen park 30 minutes before rope drop (a Disney term for park opening). This also means that your mornings will start early. Getting an early start is one reason we really recommend staying onsite at Disney. Not only will you be able to get to parks quickly and not have to make additional time to drive and park, but you can also take a break in the middle of the day if need be to rest after several early mornings. This is also why we recommend at least one rest day mid-trip. It allows everyone time to catch up on sleep and energy before doing more park days.
Disney has so many experiences, rides, restaurants, and characters that there seems to always be too much to put into one trip. It’s one of the things that makes it fun to keep coming back to Disney year after year. However, this also tempts people to cram way more into their trip than is comfortable or reasonable. We highly recommend picking the experiences that fit the group the best, specifically geared toward the age of any kids. By doing that, everyone has a better time, and no one is too tired from trying to do “just one more thing.” Our expert travel advisors can also help you sort through the piles of fun things to pick the BEST rides, restaurants, attractions, and activities for your family.