Thursday, March 6, 2014

My Walt Disney World Planning Schedule

I'm in the middle of planning our fall Walt Disney World vacation.  I don't think I could be any more excited than I am right now!  Even though we are over 200 days away from our vacation, I'm still in planning mode!  We made our hotel reservations and have purchased tickets with the dining plan.  We know we will be driving so we don't need to worry about airline tickets.  We received a packet from Disney last week with info on our Magic Bands and important dates to book meals and FastPass+.  Other than that, I'm at a stand still with Disney until I can start making reservations.

So, what do you do 200+ days out to plan for your Disney trip?

  1. Start using the Disney Rewards Visa to pay for things... then pay it off that afternoon.  For every $100 spent on the card, you get $1 in Disney Dollars.  
  2. Go on the Disney web site and order a planning DVD, customized maps and choose your Magic Band colors!  You can also create a customized video highlighting the parks and attractions you will visit.
  3. Start looking at the different dining options and make a list of those must do restaurants.  
  4. Visit sites like yourfirstvisit, easy wdw and touringplans to get an idea of daily crowds at each park.  This will help you decide which park to visit each day of your trip.
When it is 180 days before your trip, you need to do these things!
  1. Book your dining reservations!  Be especially mindful of this date (180 days prior to your trip) if you want to dine with princesses or in Beast's Castle!  Look at the crowd calendars to figure out which park you plan to visit each day so you'll book dining at those parks.
  2. Make reservations for The Pirate's League, Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique and Richard Petty's Driving Experience.
When you have 4-5 months until your trip, consider doing these things:
  1. Book any rental cars if needed.
  2. Make reservations for stroller rental if you aren't bringing your own or renting one from Disney.
  3. Start making a mental note of things you will need on the trip.  When you see it on sale, grab it!  I also start looking for fun Disney themed trinkets to keep the boys occupied in the car ride, in line for attractions and to decorate our room.
It's now 2-3 months prior to your vacation.  Start doing the following:
  1. Revisit your dining reservations and see if you need to make any changes.
  2. Start planning your day- if you are a planner!  Make a list of attractions you want to visit, shows you want to see, times and locations of parades, when dining reservations are, etc.
ONE month out!  What to do?
  1. Start your Disney countdown!  Make a construction paper chain, mark off days on a calendar, or uncover pictures.  There are so many creative ways to mark off the days!
  2. Make your packing list and make sure clothes fit and you have everything you'll need.  Start making any purchases you may need. 
  3. Download apps for your phone to help you on your vacation.  Start becoming familiar with them now!
2-3 weeks prior to your vacation...
  1. Make a list of all your confirmation numbers and keep them handy during your trip.  
  2. Make any changes to reservations if needed.
  3. Have all prescriptions filled and ready for the trip.  Don't wait until the last minute and realize you only have 3 pills left!
When you only have ONE week left...
  1. Start packing for everyone in the family.  
  2. If you want snacks and groceries in your room, place your oder with Garden Grocer.  They will have your order ready for you at the resort!
  3. Get all important documents together.
  4. Keep your house safe while you're away.
The day before you leave, you need to...
  1. Have all suitcases ready to go.  This means carryon bags, backpacks, fanny packs, etc.  
  2. Have all your documents, tickets, IDs, credit cards, reservation/ confirmation numbers, etc. in one place.
  3. Make sure phones and cameras are charged and the chargers are packed!
  4. Watch a Disney movie as a family, get a good nights sleep (yeah, right... you'll be too excited to sleep!) and get ready to GO!!!
What did you write about this week?


  1. Awesome reference for planning your trip. And day 1 when you return, start planning the next trip :)

  2. This a fantastic post for first timers and veterans to WDW. It's a fantastic tool for everyone to pass along to future Disney guests. Thank you Beth!

  3. PERFECT tutorial Beth- all in one place!!

  4. Excellent post! You didn't miss a single thing!!!

  5. You forgot fast pass reservations: 60 days if your staying on property & 30 if your staying off property.

  6. You are exactly right, Anonymous! This post was written in 2014 prior to the scheduled FastPass system. I need to update, thanks! :)