How to start?

Ok - A friend has a conference in Orlando and is taking her daughter and invited me and my boys to come. It is the first week in March. I forget the resort but it was one of moderates. I will be buying tickets on my own. Not sure where to start - when I can do FFP? Dining Reservations? Thanks!!! Barbara

Dinner reservations can be made 180 days out resort guest or not.

Park tickets can be bought and linked at any time.

Fast Passes can be reserved 60 days in advance for resort guests, 30 days in advance for all others with a MDE linked ticket.

Do you and your friend have My Disney Experience accounts? I would start there and ask her to link you all together. Have you been to WDW before?

I will add that if you are a resort guest, you can book length-of-stay (up to 10 days) ADRs as soon as your 1st day hits 180. This "plus 10" window seems to be the only way to get a BOG dinner or pre-RD CRT ADR... Also, FPPs can booked for length of stay as well

I second what @BigPetesWife says. Start with My Disney Experience. Make an account for yourself and add a profile for your son. Ask your friend to do the same for herself and her daughter. Once your accounts are linked (you do this via email) and all 4 of your are visible, everything else will be much easier. You'll want all 4 of you on the room reservation, so you can choose and customize Magic Bands. When either of you makes an ADR for a restaurant, you'll be able to put all four names on the reservation. When you reach 60 days in advance one of you can make FastPass reservations for all 4 of you, or you can do individual ones if you plan to do stuff on your own. Just ask if anything is confusing. I've been setting up MDE for a group of 6 friends, all with different room reservations, so I've had lots of practice.

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If you are completely new to WDW planning, here is my recommended approach:

  1. Plan out which parks you plan on going to each day of your stay, and if you are going to have any "no-park/resort" days. Predicted crowd levels, EMH opportunities, and whether you will have park-hopper tickets will all factor into this step.

  2. Based on which parks you plan on visiting, make decisions about which Table Service (TS) meals you are interested in, bith in the parks and out. Some people (like me) eat TS meals twice a day, others may only have one or two for an entire trip; it really depends on how much you want to spend, both in money and time at meals.

  3. Step one and two should be completed prior to your 180 day mark (which for March, will be sometime in September). Also prior to your 180 mark, you should have your resort reservations made and linked to your MDE account (in order to take advantage of the 180+10 ADR booking perk).

  4. At your 180 day mark, make any ADRs that you want. These are not locked in stone, and can be changed up to 24 hours prior to the event, but it's best to have your basic set early.

  5. There is really nothing "urgent" to do between your 180 and your 60 day marks. This is a good time to research rides, shows, and tours and to work on some preliminary Touring Plans. During this process, you should decide which FPPs you will want for each day you plan on being in the parks.

  6. At your 60 day mark, make your FPP reservations. Remember, for some you might have to be flexible with regards to time, and even at 60 days, there is a chance that some may already be gone. Once you have your FPPs, you can enter them into your Touring Plan, re-optimize, and then you will have "final" TPs for each day.

  7. "Final" is a state of mind. Personally, once I have my ADRs made and my TPs done, I rarely change much during the last 60 days. Others adjust and "tweek" their plans right up until the day they leave. The only time I make changes is if there were ADRs or FPPs that I was not able to get initially, but was able to add/change later in the process.

I have used the above process for my last 5 or 6 trips and it has worked very well each time. That being said, last week I was in Orlando for a conference and found out a noon an afternoon session was cancelled. I got on MDE on my iPhone during lunch, made 3 FPPs, and was at the front entrance of Epcot by 4. In the five hours I was there, I did 6 attractions, got a walk-up dinner at Rose and Crown, and watched IllumiNations. I also got to do a bit of World Showcase browsing - so it IS possible to have a good "spontaneous: day.

Kind of a long post, but I hope it helps...