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You’ve booked your trip to Walt Disney World… now what?

Once you’ve paid the deposit on your Magical vacation, the real planning begins.

By Heather Malo

If this were a regular vacation, you’d sit back and wait until it’s time to pack up your suitcase.

But this is a Disney vacation.

And Disney vacations are not like other vacations.

Walt Disney World has become a complex machine. I seriously wonder how people who aren’t familiar with Disney procedures do it on their own. I mean, there’s a lot to figure out with four amusement parks, two water parks, and literally hundreds of dining and entertainment options.

Then there comes a time when you must pull the trigger, get up at 7:00 AM, ET and make reservations.

There’s a specific timeline for booking and reservations. First timers often find the process overwhelming; heck most repeat offenders find the procedure doesn’t get easier, simply for the fact that Walt Disney World keeps growing and changing.

Character meals get added, altered and removed. New Disney Dining Plans become available. (As a matter of fact, the new 2020 Disney Dining Plan Plus was just added a few weeks ago). Rides are added, others closed and fresh processes for getting on certain rides have become so complicated, that going with the flow and waiting in line isn’t an option anymore.

Consider this a sort of road map to what needs to happen once you’ve paid the deposit and booked your trip.

First up: Dining Reservations

All guests can make Advanced Dining Reservations (or ADR’s) at 7:00 AM, ET, 180 days before their arrival. Yeah, I know, that’s really far in advance. Most of us can’t decide what to cook for supper let alone plan a meal six months out. However, Character Dining and Signature Dining experiences fill up fast.

Before that 180-day mark, you’ll want to get a handle on what characters you would like to meet, where those characters appear and when, what dining experiences you’d like to have and how many table service meals you’ll want per day. Don’t be discouraged if you’re unable to get what you want on booking day. Plenty of guests’ over-book dining and release reservations closer to arrival time. If you’ve missed something you want to experience, keep an eye on your My Disney Experience (or MDE) app to see if something you’ve missed opens up.

Next, Book your Magical Extras.

Want to take your little princess to the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique? Take a behind the scenes tour? Magical Extras are how you turn a great vacation in to a Magical Vacation.

From unique access tours, limited events and nature experiences, there’s so much more to do than walk parks and hop on roller coasters. Many of these experiences come with limited availability, so you’ll want to plan carefully.

Reservations can be made 180 days prior to your first day of arrival at 7:00 AM, ET for guests staying on and off site. Also, some nature experiences and backstage tours have height and age requirements you’ll need to consider. Prices vary, which means there’s something for every budget… and every temperament.

Finally, FastPass+ (or FP+)

FP+ is your ticket to ride. And by ride, I mean, make an appointment to ride so you don’t have to wait in the stand-by line.

FP+ is included with your ticket purchase. You’ll book through the My Disney Experience app 60 days before your arrival (if staying on property) or 30 days prior to arrival (if staying off property) at 7:00AM, ET. You can acquire extra passes each day while in the park, after you’ve used up your original three Fast Passes.

©Disney ©Disney/Pixar ©POOF-Slinky, LLC.

Before your booking window arrives, you’ll want to be familiar with each parks’ attractions and their specific height requirements. Attractions in all parks but Magic Kingdom are grouped in tiers and you’ll only be allowed one tiered selection at a time. The exception to this rule is Star Wars, Rise of the Resistance. Currently, ROR is not available for FP+ and further requires a boarding group to even get on the ride.

Knowing what to do when is half the battle when it comes to Walt Disney World vacation planning. So, take a deep breath and dive in!

If you need help planning your Disney World vacation, contact me at . If you would like a free quote on a Disney World Vacation, please click here.

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