With a Walt Disney World vacation on your horizon, keeping track of important booking windows, reservations and customization deadlines may at times feel like a full-time job. Here at Disney Addicts we want the lead-in to your vacation to go as smoothly as possible. With that in mind, here’s our list of important Disney dates. So have your calendars handy and happy planning!
499 Days Before Your Trip- Start Booking: This is how far in advance you are able to book your Walt Disney World vacation. Walt Disney World vacation packages are currently available through until the end of 2018. However, those looking specifically to book one of Disney’s Villa properties should note that these are often released a bit closer to your travel dates and may not be available this far out.
180 Days Before Your Trip- Make Dining Reservations: On-site guests with or without the Disney Dining Plan are able to make their dining reservations 180 days before arrival. This can be done through My Disney Experience staring at 6am EST or by calling 407-WDW-DINE at 7am EST. On-site guests can enjoy the perk of being able to book dining for their entire vacation in one go. However, for those guests on extended stays, Disney will only allow you to make reservations for the first 10 days of your package. Then you will have to wait 10 days before booking in the rest of your reservations which you will need to do one day at a time. Similarly, off-site guests can make reservations at 180 days however it needs to be done day-by-day. This means that if you arrive on a Monday you can make dining reservations 180 days from that Monday but only for that Monday. On the Tuesday you would need to wake up and make your reservations only for that Tuesday etc. Since many popular restaurants fill up fast it is strongly recommended that both on and off-site guests make their reservations well in advance.
Guests should also know that 180 days would be the optimum time to book an add-ons or tours including: Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, The Pirates League, Keys to the Kingdom Tour, dessert parties and cruises. These magical extras can book up quickly so if any of them are a must-do, book them the same day you do your dining.
60 Days Before Your Trip – On-site Guests Make Fastpass Reservations: Exactly 2 months before the start of your Walt Disney World vacation, on-site guests are able to log-in to your My Disney Experience account and make Fastpass reservations for your entire vacation. In the past, Fastpasses would open up at My Disney Experience starting at 12am 60 days out. However, to keep you from having to burn the midnight oil, Disney changed this in May, 2016. Now Fastpasses open up around 7am EST. Annual Passholders may also make their reservation at the 60 day mark but are only able to book up t0 7 days worth of Fastpass tickets at one time.
60 Days Before Your Trip – Online Resort Check- In: On the same date the Fastpasses open up, on-site guests also have the option of checking in online at your Walt Disney World Resort. There are several reasons why online check-in is a nice on-site perk. The first is that when you check in online Disney allows you to make room requests. Though you can’t pick specific room numbers, you have the ability (at select resorts) to choose what themed section you’d like to be in, whether your want an upper or lower floor, whether you’d like to be close to elevators and also whether you’d like courtyard or landscape views. Online check-in also gives you the option to select an arrival time. Though Disney resorts will say that check-in is not available until 3pm, sometimes by putting in an earlier arrival time, you may find your room is ready for you well before 3pm. And if you supply Disney with your email or cell phone number they will send you a message with your room number and let you know that your room is ready. When you arrive at your resort, you can also bypass the often busy check-in line and go through the express online check-in line, meaning you can get to your room a lot quicker.
30 Days Before Your Trip- Fastpass Booking for Off-Site Guests: The Fastpass process is similar whether you are staying on-site or off. However, those guests not staying at a Walt Disney World resort will need to wait until 30 days before departure to make Fastpass reservations. Again this is done through My Disney Experience starting at 7am EST.
30 Days Before Your Trip – Final Payment Due: Those booking a Walt Disney World vacation package are required to pay the balance on their holiday no later than 30 days before arrival. Those failing to pay by this day may risk their package being cancelled.
30- 10 Days Before Your Trip – Last Chance to Customize MagicBands: It is the first thing many of us do when logging on to My Disney Experience. Getting those bands customized by your Final Payment deadline means that they’ll be shipped to your house so you can bring them with you on your vacation. But for those a little bit late to the game, 10 days before departure is the day by which guests must customize their MagicBands and have them sent to your Walt Disney World Resort. Visitors have the option of picking from a range of colors and even having your name engraved on the inside of the bands. Those failing to customize their bands will be issued standard grey ones upon check-in.
3 Days Before Your Trip – Last Chance to Book Memory Maker and Save: Memory Maker is a fantastic add-on allowing visitors to Walt Disney World to pre-pay for a photo package that will include any shots taken by PhotoPass photographers as well as ride photos, Magic Shots, Character Meet and Greets and the occasional ride video. Advanced purchase for unlimited photos that can be downloaded to your computer is $169.00 if purchased within three days of travel. Purchase after this or at the parks and Disney will tack on an extra $30 bringing your total cost to $199.00.
Have you found the information in this article helpful? Then why not consider booking with an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner? As an agent with MickeyTravels I can keep track of important dates so that you don’t have to worry about deadlines passing you by. My concierge-level service also means that I’ll be on hand to find your perfect package, help you land hard to get dining and Fastpass reservations and can even apply discounts to your reservations (even after you’ve booked) so that you are always getting the best deals out there. Best of all my services are absolutely FREE. You’d pay the same as if you were to book directly with Disney. Get in touch at 1-800-801-4025 at firstname.lastname@example.org or following along on Facebook for more details.
Image copyright Disney
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