When making Disney reservations, there are three things to always remember! It doesn’t matter what you are reserving – dining, room reservations, transportation, a unique tour. All of these things need to be reserved with three things in mind:
- Reserve As Soon As Possible
- Reserve in A Specific Order
- Decide Together Before You Reserve
Tip #1 – Reserve ASAP When Making Disney Reservations
When I say reserve as soon as possible…I mean if the ideal time to reserve is 180 day prior to arrival…then set your alarm, grab that coffee…and be at your computer at 6 am EST, 180 days in advance, ready to claim what you want. That isn’t crazy talk…that’s real talk. Ideal times to reserve certain accommodations can be found below:
Disney Experiences and Tours – 180 days prior to first day of arrival.
Fast Passes – 30 days prior to arrival. You can reserve fast passes 60 days prior to arrival if you are a DVC member or are staying at a Disney hotel. Find out how to stay onsite in a DVC Villa and get this perk as well as save up to 65% off Disney’s Rate!
Food Reservations – 180 days prior to first day of arrival. Yes – this means you can reserve for the rest of your trip days (even if it is more than 180 days out).
Magical Express – ideally when you book your room reservations.
Room Reservations – 7-11 months from your booking.
Pro Tip – Schedule out reminders in your calendar for when to reserve each of these things!
Tip #2 – Make Disney Reservations In A Specific Order
Now that you know the earliest available time to book each reservation, you can start a timeline of when to reserve. We recommend the timeline below – just work your way through each step at the appropriate time.
- Reserve Resort Accommodations – The best time to reserve Disney resorts is 7-11 months from when you want to visit. We actually recommend you start discussing with your family where you want to stay around 12 – 13 months from when your visit. You can find out more about each DVC (Disney Vacation Club) Resort in this blog: Each Walt Disney World DVC Resort in a Word. If you need information on how many people can fit in each room, or what a room layout looks like, this resort information link should help!
- Reserve Magical Express if you are flying into Orlando – You can do this as soon as you book at a hotel or resort on Disney property. You will need your flight information. If you haven’t booked your airline tickets, you will need to do this before you reserve Magical Express. If you have more questions on Magical Express, check out this FAQ page!
- Reserve A Dining Plan – we recommend doing this soon after you reserve your resort. Then, you can check it off your list. It will also help you determine how many sit down restaurants you will need to book. For more information on Disney Dining plans, check out this blog on How to Choose The Optimal Disney Dining Plan For Your Family.
- Reserve Park Tickets – By the time you’ve gotten your resort accommodations, flights, and dining plan figured out, you probably have a good idea of what you need for park tickets. You may want to buy tickets now, or you may want to wait until after you get your restaurant and tour reservations completed just so you are positive on what you need ticket-wise. You can buy park tickets directly through Disney, or there are some companies that offer tickets at discounted prices.
- Reserve Dining Experiences – This is different than the dining plan. The Disney Dining Plan is just that, a plan. You will still need to reserve sit-down restaurants at Disney World. Quick Serve Dining does not require reservations.
- Reserve Experiences & Tours – Although you can reserve food and tours/experiences at the same time (180 days out), we recommend reserving restaurants first as there is a higher demand for this.
- Reserve FastPass+ – Once you have started to structure your day (dining experiences or any tours/unique experiences), you can then look at the locations you will be at in Walt Disney World and what would be best for Fastpass+ times and how they fit into your schedule. For ideas on which Fastpass+ to reserve first at each Disney Theme Park, check out Guide to Fastpass+ At Disney World.
Tip #3 – Decide Together Before You Reserve
Hold a family meeting! Unless you want to run a dictatorship and hear complaining the entire trip… host a meeting for everyone in your party to have a voice about what they want to do at The Happiest Place on Earth! Keep it fun and ask the right questions! You may have to do this several times. But once you have a good picture of what everyone is looking forward to the most, then you can start to decide when you want to go, where you want to stay, where you want to eat, what you want to do…and you can start to make reservations for such things!
If this is your first time visiting Walt Disney World or you haven’t been in a few years, check out The Essential Disney World Prices You Should Know Before Booking Your Trip. We wish you the absolute best as you plan your Disney vacation and make Disney reservations! May your next trip be the most magical yet!