My Favorite Disney World Planning Tips

Have you started planning a Disney vacation? Are you overwhelmed? Today, I offer my top five Disney vacation-planning tips to help you create the Disney vacation of your dreams!


Last week, I wrote about my favorite Disney World touring tips.  This week, I'm going to offer my favorite Disney World planning tips.

A vacation to Disney World is a truly unique experience, and it can create lifelong memories that your whole family will cherish forever.  However, it is an investment, and like any investment, most people want to get the biggest return.  Fortunately, this "big return" is possible, provided that you devote time and energy to planning your trip.  To help you with this process, here are my top five Disney vacation-planning tips:

#5: Make a Timeline: If you are using a travel agent to help you plan your Disney trip, he or she will provide a timeline and keep track of all your deadlines for you.  If you are planning your Disney trip on your own, you will need to draft a timeline yourself.  Include deadlines for when you need to book your package, create your itinerary, secure your dining reservations, submit your final payment, design your touring plans, etc.  If you don't know where to start, no worries!  I'm going to share my own timeline next week!!

#4: Research: Research, research, research!!  If you are planning your Disney vacation without the help of a travel agent, it is imperative that you put in the time and effort that it takes to make your trip successful.  Find out as much as you can about your lodging and package options, your dining choices, and the theme parks.

#3: Get Your Kids Involved: If you have children and you’ve decided to tell them about your Disney vacation, get them involved!!  There are countless ways to do this.  For example, if you’ve purchased the Disney Dining Plan, let each child pick one restaurant at which they'd like to eat.  Make “wish-lists” of “must-do attractions” together.  Order a Disney planning DVD and watch it as a family.  There are even Disney vacation-planning books that are targeted just for kids!

#2: Make Your Dining Reservations Early: You can book your dining reservations 180 days before your trip either online or over the phone.  The online reservation system opens at 6:00am (Eastern Time) daily, and the telephone reservation system opens at 7:00am (Eastern Time) daily.  The most popular restaurants fill up within hours of the 180-day window, so if you have your heart set on a particular location, reserve your meal early.

#1: Book Your Disney Vacation Early: As soon as you’ve nailed down your dates and selected your resort, book your trip.  Book it even if your vacation is still a year away.  This will ensure that you get everything on your wish list: your preferred dates, your dream resort, and your desired room category.  You will be required to put down a small deposit at the time of booking (usually no more than $200), but it is refundable provided that you cancel your trip more than 45 days in advance.  In the event that a discount becomes available after you’ve booked, Disney will apply the discount retroactively. 

Above all else, remember to have fun while you are planning!  I know that this sounds cliche, but the anticipation of a Disney trip is an essential part of the entire experience, and you should enjoy yourself.  If you find yourself becoming overwhelmed, take a break or contact a Disney specialist to help you! 


Meredith McCutcheon

Disney Specialist, Ginger's Getaways

Personalized Disney Itineraries and Touring Plans

Find me on Facebook or on Drinking the Kool-Aid

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Amanda Kirksey February 01, 2013 at 06:14 PM
JR, That was actually pretty entertaining. Thanks for the read! (crossing my fingers we are going during "Gay Days")...
Joshua Raymond February 01, 2013 at 08:52 PM
I agree, James. But after a few months of bagpipe lessons and teaching the kids how to yodel in German, the neighbors begged me to use the money towards Disney instead. They implied that the kids might not have a future if we didn't.
Meredith McCutcheon February 01, 2013 at 09:58 PM
Joshua, Did you get the info I sent you on Facebook about the Astuter Computer review? Is that what you were thinking of?
Doug Melzer February 02, 2013 at 03:25 PM
Item #6: Ditch the kids inside the "It's a Small Small World" ride. Hop the monorail over to the Polynesian Village Hotel. Buy a 12-pack in the lobby store, and spend the next few hours at their lakeside beach getting gloriously plastered. Meet the kids a few hours later and enjoy the rest of your day.
Jason Smith September 30, 2013 at 05:25 PM
We found some great tips at www.budget4disney.com


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