Friday, August 16, 2013

Trip Planning - How Far Out Should I Plan?

Planning a Disney Trip can be incredibly overwhelming.  Life can always get in the way and it can be very hard to settle on a time frame.

How Far in Advance Can I plan?

You can plan now for a trip in 20 years if you would like, but in all reality, you can only book 499 days in advance - and to do so, you must call the reservation line (or use your friendly travel agent).

Room rates will not be released, so you will not know your total price.

A booking can be saved by a deposit of one night at the current room rate.  Though you can pay for room and dining yet, you can buy your park tickets as far out as you can - prices will always go up, so buying in advance could save you some money in the future.  However, if a deal such as free dining requires you to buy park tickets as a part of your package to earn the free dining plan.  But, as your tickets won't expire until after they have been used, you can always store the ones you've purchased and save them for a later trip!

How Much Time Do I Need?

Not into long-term planning?  No problem.   But, realistically, if you want have the best chances to get all the ADR's you want, you need to book more than 180 days out.  Restaurants such as Be Our Guest (for dinner - lunch is a counter service which doesn't require an ADR), Cinderella's Royal Table, and experiences like the Bibbity Bobbity Boutique really do book up more than 180 days out.
Try the Grey Stuff, it's delicious!

If You Don't Want Big Name Restaurants

I've planned trips with as little as 3 weeks notice.  Even with low-middle crowd levels, with 3 weeks out, we were able to get a few dining reservations - my favorite - Kouzzina by Cat Cora - has always been an easy ADR to get (good - more for me!) as are most (but not all) resort restaurant.  

Some resorts may be booked as well, but if you are not as particular and simply want to go visit your happy place, it is possible to wing it. 

For the best possible experience

Research where you would like to eat or which experiences you would like to try to know if you need that available time.  You can absolutely have the trip of your dreams and not miss out on anything with enough planning!  I would say 180 days from travel is cutting it close if you want the most popular reservation!

How far out do you plan?  Do you count down until your 180 mark?


  1. I definitely plan way far ahead of schedule. Currently I'm in the throws of planning out 2015 family reunion cruise (most likely aboard the Disney Dream) but those sail dates aren't even released until (most likely) this October. So that makes two years in advance.

  2. That definitely is far out! I have some ideas of when I want to do a cruise, but it's 4 years away, so which ship/where/when hasn't really come on board yet!