Disney World Planning Timeline: Important Dates For Your Disney Vacation

Disney World requires planning like no other vacation. Advanced dining reservations, touring plans, FastPass ride selection, extra ticketed events and tours... all of these things and more need to be planned far in advance of your trip.

Here I'll discuss when all aspects of your Disney vacation can be booked, so you don't miss out any the magic!

Dates to know

499 Days Out

At 499 days out, you can book Disney World resort hotel accommodations. While room reservations will be available, if you are looking to book this far in advance you will have to call directly at (407) 939-5277 or have a travel agent book for you. This might be something you are interested in if you know you want to travel on specific dates, or you know it's an incredibly busy time of year.

Online reservations for the next year will be available summer of the previous year. So for example, if you are looking to book a room for next year, you can expect online reservations to open up summer of this year.

Disney will offer various deals and discounts as it gets closer.  Usually you can expect see promotions released 3-6 months beforehand. To get an idea of when promotions are usually released, you can check Disney World's historical Resort discounts.

Over 180 Days Out

Before you hit the 6 month mark on your Disney World countdown, you'll want to plan a basic outline of your days. Have an idea of which park you want to be at on which day. At this point it doesn't have to be set in stone, but knowing what day you want to spend at each park will make the next step much easier. And that's booking dining reservations!

180 Days Out

Dining reservations open 180 days before your check in day. Phone lines open at 7am EST, online booking opens at 6am EST. If you are looking to book a harder to get reservation, a character meal, or a meal on a holiday, you'll want to be ready at that 180 day mark, preferably as online reservations open up.

Some of the harder to get restaurants include (but at not limited to):

  • Be Our Guest
  • Cinderella's Royal Table
  • O'hana
  • California Grill
  • Beaches and Cream
  • Storybook Dining at Artists Point

You will be able to book for your entire trip at the 180 day mark, so if your trip is 7 days, you'll be able to book 187 days out. That means if you are looking to grab a hard to get reservation, you might want to consider putting it towards the end of your trip.

I also suggest booking things in order of difficulty, rather in chronological order. This will help to ensure you get the reservations you want.

In addition to restaurant reservations, you can also book spa treatments, Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, tours, and other special events 180 days out.

*It is important to note that dining packages that offer a meal plus VIP seating to a show are often released at later dates. If you want to book one of these packages check at 180 days, but be prepared to check back for availability*

Over 60 Days Out

You will want to make sure you have your tickets purchased and in your My Disney Experience Account before your 60 day mark so that your account is ready for FastPass selection. You wont be able to select FastPass without valid park tickets linked to your account.

At 60 days before your trip, you can book all of your FastPass selections. For help deciding what rides to select for FastPass see my full article on FastPass.

60 Days Out (For Disney Resort Guests)

If you are staying at a Disney World Resort hotel, you can select your FastPass rides at 60 days before your arrival.  FastPass is Disney's way of helping guests to bypass a standby line, and essentially make reservations for rides ahead of time. For more information on how FastPass works, and what rides you should pick, see my full FastPass guide here. FastPass reservations open online on the My Disney Experience website or app at 7am EST.

Be sure to be familiar with touring plans at this point as well. In order to decide which rides to book and when, you'll want to have an idea of how you'll be spending your days at the parks. For touring plans, see my sample touring guides here.

30 Days Out (For Non-Disney Resort Guests)

If you aren't staying at a Disney World Resort hotel, you will still be able to use the FastPass system. You will be able to make FastPass reservations at 30 days before your check in. For more information on how FastPass works, and what rides you should pick, see my full FastPass guide here. FastPass reservations open online on the My Disney Experience website or app at 7am EST.

Be sure to be familiar with touring plans at this point as well. In order to decide which rides to book and when, you'll want to have an idea of how you'll be spending your days at the parks. For touring plans, see my sample touring guides here.

30 Days Out (For Disney Resort Guests)

If you booked a vacation package (meaning you booked a Disney Resort and extras like tickets or food), your final payment for your vacation is due 30 days before check in. You have up until this day to make any changes or cancel without any penalty.

For more information on booking rules (including payments, cancellations, changes, etc) see my full article here.

3 Days Out

If you are planning on purchasing Memory Maker, you'll want to do it before the 3 days prior to your trip. Memory Maker is an add on to your reservation that allows you digital access to all of your park and ride photos. For more information on what is included in Memory Maker you can see the full article on it here.

If you don't purchase Memory Maker before the 3 day mark, you can still purchase it at the park, but you will lose out on the pre-purchase discount. Buying ahead of time will cost $169, purchasing less than 3 days before your trip (or while you are at the parks) will cost you $199.

Ready to Start Your Own Vacation Countdown?

Get your free Disney World vacation quote here.

Still confused or need help?

I am happy to help! Contact me.

See you at the parks,
-Julie

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