Deciding when to begin planning your Disney vacation can be just as important as the actual vacation planning itself. Waiting until the last minute to plan a vacation is the best way to get a good deal, right? While true with some vacations, waiting to book a Walt Disney World vacation is almost never a good idea. So when is the best time to begin planning your Walt Disney World vacation?
Booking early allows you to ensure you’ll be able to get a reservation at the resort you wanted. It also gives you a better chance of getting those coveted dining reservations at Be Our Guest. You’ll also have better chances at snagging FastPass+ reservations for Slinky Dog Dash and Flight of Passage.
When Are Packages Available?
Booking your Walt Disney World vacation a few years in advance is not actually possible. Disney allows Room-Only reservations to be made up to 499 days in advance. These types of reservations do not include any park tickets or dining plan. Room-Only reservations are often available before vacation packages for the same dates are available; however, they’re not going to sell out of the packages so fast that you need to book a room-only reservation and then change it to a package once those are released. In fact, the process of changing a room-only reservation into a vacation package involves cancelling and refunding the original reservation. So there’s really no advantage to booking room-only ahead of time, unless you really want room-only for your vacation.
Walt Disney World vacation packages for the upcoming year typically release in June. Booking is available up to 499 days ahead of time. Vacation packages often include hotel, park tickets, and dining plan. Booking your vacation package as soon as it’s released isn’t usually necessary. Packages generally don’t sell out the day they are released.
Do WDW Packages Sell Out?
While you don’t need to book your vacation when it’s first available, it is important to book ahead of time. Walt Disney World vacation packages do sell out. Booking early is especially important if you’ll be visiting during busy times such as summertime and holidays. Even if you will be visiting during a slower time, you’ll want to book your vacation ahead of time. This allows you to take advantage of booking the other details of your vacation as soon as you’re able.
Advanced Dining Reservations
Dining reservations are a huge reason to book your vacation ahead of time. Many of the more popular dining locations and attractions book up quickly. Advanced Dining Reservations are available 180 days prior to your resort check-in. For reservations at popular restaurants such as Be Our Guest, I recommend booking this ADR as soon as possible. Even at 180 days prior, some reservations will be very difficult to get. If you have a Walt Disney World hotel reservation, you can book a dining reservation for the end of your trip at the 180 day mark. This means you can make your hard-to-get dining reservation 190 days ahead of time. You’ll be able to make your reservations sooner than guests staying off-property.
Guests staying at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel can make FastPass+ reservations 60 days prior to check-in. With the exception of certain Disney Springs hotels, guests staying off-property cannot book FastPass+ reservations until 30 days ahead of time. FastPass+ availability is limited to ensure minimal wait times for guests; therefore, FastPasses for popular rides do disappear quickly. Booking your vacation over 60 days ahead of time allows you to take advantage of the earlier FastPass+ booking window. This will give you a better chance at those hard-to-get FastPass+ reservations.
What About Promotions?
Disney sometimes announces special offers such as free dining and other various promotions for room-only and vacation packages. It is not necessary to create a new booking to take advantage of these special offers. Travel agents, such as our travel partner Park World Travel, can apply new promotion to your existing reservation.
When Is The Best Time To Start Planning ?
To quote the Carousel of Progress, “Now is the time, now is the best time” to plan your vacation. Unless your vacation is more than 499 days away, booking your vacation now will give you an advantage over waiting. Even if you’re not sure on your vacation dates, go ahead and book. Disney has a wonderful cancellation policy, allowing reservation modifications or cancellations with no penalties up to 30 days prior. The advantages to booking your Walt Disney World vacation package early far outweigh any possible benefits to booking last minute.
When do you begin planning your next Walt Disney World vacation? Perhaps you’ve already planned the next vacation before you leave the parks? Do you wait until a new promotion is announced? Let us know your thoughts on the best time to begin planning your next vacation in the comments below.
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Let our travel partner, Park World Travel, handle the details of planning your Disney vacation. When you book with Park World Travel, they will take care of all the details. Their expertise and personalized recommendations will help you make the most of your vacation. When you book a Disney vacation with Park World Travel, all of their services are available to you for free. Request your free no-obligation Disney vacation quote here.