You’ve decided to take a vacation to Walt Disney World! The countdown has begun and soon you’ll be taking photos in front of the castle and enjoying breakfast with Mickey. But first, you’ve got a lot of planning to do with important dates to remember. Dining reservations and FastPasses need to be booked. You’ll also need to make your Magical Express reservations and keep track of when final payment is due. There are so many important dates to keep track of when planning your Disney vacation. Below are the important dates you’ll need to be aware of to make the most of your vacation.
Magical Express Booking Period
If you’re staying at a Walt Disney World resort hotel, Disney’s Magical Express service is available to you at no additional charge. This service will take you and your luggage between Orlando International Airport and your hotel. Once you book your vacation, you can go ahead and give Disney your flight information to book your Magical Express rides. If you don’t have your flights booked just yet, don’t worry. You’ll have until 2 days prior to your check-in to book your Magical Express rides.
Advanced Dining Reservations
The date for booking Advanced Dining Reservations, ADRs, is one of the most important dates for your vacation. For some of the more popular restaurants, such as Be Our Guest Restaurant at Magic Kingdom, making reservations as soon as you can on this date is going to be your best chance at getting the ADR you want. There are a few table services restaurants at Disney you may be able to walk up to, but for the majority of them, you’re going to need an ADR to get in.
All guests are able to book ADRs 180 days ahead of time. Guests staying at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel are able to make ADRs for up to 10 days from their date of check-in at the 180 mark. This means if your vacation is 10 days long, you can book your hard to get reservation for the end of your trip at 190 days out. If you have your heart set on a Be Our Guest reservation, I recommend making it later in your trip to increase your chances of getting the reservation you want. On the day you are able to make your dining reservations, the booking window will open at 7 a.m. Eastern. Reservations can be made through My Disney Experience or by calling (407)WDW-DINE. A credit card is required to make ADRs, but you will not be charged
Disney offers a variety of special events including tours giving you an inside look behind the magic, fireworks cruises, and dessert parties to add extra magic to your vacation. Some of these special events do book up ahead of time, so it’s a good idea to make your reservations as soon as possible. Reservations for these special events can be made 180 days ahead of time. Payment for these special events will be due at the time of booking.
Ticketed holiday parties such as Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party are great ways to celebrate the season at Walt Disney World. These events take place in Magic Kingdom after the park closes to guests. Attendees of the Halloween party are encouraged to wear their Halloween costumes as they celebrate with Mickey and trick-or-treat throughout the Magic Kingdom. Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party brings the magic of Christmas to the park with snowfall on Main Street and decorations all around. Both parties include seasonal treats, a special holiday themed parade, and a holiday fireworks show. Dates for these parties are typically announced earlier in the year, along with the date tickets will go on sale. Once tickets go on sale, all guests are able to book their party date. Payment for the holiday parties will be due at the time of booking.
Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique & Pirate’s League
If you child has always dreamed of being a Disney prince or princess, you’ll want to check out Disney’s Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. With several different types of packages available your little prince or princess can get a pixie dusted make-over or a transformation into their favorite prince or princess, complete with a costume they’ll get to keep! Reservations for Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique are highly recommended and can be make 180 days ahead of time.
If your little buccaneer is more interested in pirates than princes and princesses, don’t worry! Located in Adventureland at Magic Kingdom is the Pirate’s League, where your child can become a pirate. Like Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, the Pirate’s League offers several different packages including one complete with a pirate costume. Reservations for Pirate’s League are also recommended and can be made 180 days ahead of time.
When you visit a Walt Disney World theme park, FastPasses are included in your admission. For each day you’ll be visiting the parks, you will be able to select up to 3 FastPasses ahead of time. Because FastPasses for many of the popular attractions can be hard to get, you’ll want to make your FastPass+ reservations as soon as you are able. On the day you are able to reserve FastPasses, booking will open at 7 a.m. Eastern.
Guests staying at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel are able to make FastPass+ reservations through My Disney Experience 60 days prior to their arrival. Guests staying at Disney Springs Resort Area hotels are also able to make their FastPass+ reservations 60 days prior to arrival. All other guests will be able to make FastPass+ reservations 30 days ahead of time.
Penalty Free Cancellation
Hopefully you won’t need to cancel your Walt Disney World vacation, but unfortunately sometimes things happen which require a vacation to be cancelled. If this does happen, you’ll want to cancel before 31 days prior to your check-in date to receive a full refund from Disney.
As your vacation date approaches, so does your final payment. The final payment for your Walt Disney World vacation package will be due 30 days prior to your check-in date.
Part of the fun of planning a Walt Disney World vacation is selecting your MagicBand in the My Disney Experience app. You’ll be able to select which color MagicBand you want for your vacation, as well as, choose the name you’ll want printed on the inside of your MagicBand. It doesn’t have to be your real name, so feel free to get creative if you want.
The deadline to customize your MagicBand to have it shipped to your house is 10 days prior to check-in. If you miss this date, don’t worry. As long as you customize your MagicBand 7 days prior to your arrival, you will receive your customized MagicBand when you check-in to your hotel. If you miss both of these deadlines, you will receive a grey MagicBand at check-in.
$200 Penalty Cancellation
If you must cancel your Walt Disney World vacation at the last minute, Disney does offer a refund until 2 days prior to check-in. Vacations cancelled at less than 30 days prior to arrival are subject to a $200 penalty cancellation fee.
Your Travel Agent Can Help
With so many dates to remember for your Walt Disney World vacation, it can be a bit overwhelming to keep track of them all. Let your travel agent handle the details of planning your vacation so you can relax and just enjoy your vacation! I recommend booking your vacation with Jonathan at Park World Travel. He will take care of all the details, including booking your ADRs and FastPasses as soon as they are available. All you have to do is let Jonathan know which reservations you’d like, and he will take care of the rest. Best of all, Park World Travel’s services are available to you at no additional charge.