There’s a lot to plan as you work toward you first trip to Disney World with the grandkids. It can feel overwhelming at times, which is why we’ve created this simple timeline that lets you know exactly when you should be planning various elements of your trip.
As early as possible
You should choose a date as soon as possible – up to a year in advance. Decide which Orlando resort or vacation home you want to stay in and book as soon as you can. You can also purchase discount theme park tickets at this point. They don’t expire and you can get the cheapest prices now in case prices go up before your trip.
6 months in advance
Six months before your trip – or 180 days, as Disney puts it – you’ll be able to make dining reservations for the vast majority of restaurants in Disney theme parks and resorts. If you want to do character meals, or other popular options, you’ll need to make these reservations at 180 days or as soon as possible after that. Getting a table by walking up to the table is virtually impossible at many popular spots.
At six months you can also make reservations for special experiences like Cirque du Soleil and the Hoo-De-Doo Musical Review. It’s also a good time to start pricing rental cars, if you plan to rent one.
3 months in advance
If you want to take the grandkids on a specialty cruise, like the Pirates and Pal experience, you can make reservations now. Simply call 407-939-7529. You can also use this number to schedule a number of other excursions, including parasailing, fishing trips, surfing, and waterskiing. If you’d like to book a tee time, call 407-939-4653. At three months you can also get copies of the parade and fireworks schedules from the Disney website. You can then talk to your family to see which of these experiences they’re interested in trying.
If you’ve bought your tickets in advance you can also set up your FastPass+ reservations. This allows you to pick up to three rides per day to essentially make a reservation for. You’ll pick a one hour window and can then visit that ride during your window without waiting.
2 months in advance
Make your final airline reservations and decide how you’ll get form the airport to your resort or vacation home. You can then either reserve your shuttle or finalize your rental car plans.
1 month in advance
Make arrangements for housesitting, pet boarding, etc. If you’re planning to drive, schedule your tune-up and book hotels along the way. Make a packing list and start buying the things you need. Don’t forget ponchos and phone chargers!
1 week before you trip
This is the time to make sure you have the right documentation for you and the grandkids, including IDs and medical information. It’s also a good idea to confirm your reservations – and start packing, your trip awaits!