Please check my WDW planning timeline

This may end up in the book. I think I’ve got everything, but let me know what I’ve missed. Thanks!

  • 9 to 12 months before your trip starts Establish a budget (see page XREF) and begin researching resorts (see page XREF) and best times of year to visit (see page XREF).

Check for a list of regular discounts, when they’re usually announced, and the travel dates they cover.

Create an account at You’ll need this to make hotel or dining reservations.

Make preliminary resort reservation (you can change or cancel it without penalty for several months while you continue researching

Research whether trip insurance makes sense for your situation. If you’re traveling to Disney World during peak hurricane season, it might be more worthwhile. Third-party policies are usually cheaper than Disney’s trip insurance, and often more comprehensive. See XREF for more details.

  • 7 to 9 months out Check the best days to visit each park using our crowd calendar (see page XREF) and pick which parks you’ll visit on each day of your trip.

Research sit-down restaurants (see Part 10 and online menus at to see which might interest you. If you’re planning to stay at a Disney hotel, also review the Disney Dining Plan (see page XREF) to see if it’ll save you money on the restaurants you’ve identified.

With these two steps you’re ready to make dining reservations at the 180-day mark.

- 180 days before your trip starts Make sit-down dining reservations beginning at 6 AM Eastern (online) or 7 AM (phone).

Check back on the economics of the Disney Dining Plan after you’ve made dining reservations (see page XREF) to verify it’s still saving you money. If not, drop it from your package.

Make recreation reservations, spa reservations (see page XREF), Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, Dessert Party (XREF).

- 120 to 180 days before your trip starts Make a list of “must see“ attractions in each park.

Begin a preliminary touring plan once you’ve got a list of attractions, using the dates you chose at the 7-month mark to visit each park.

By starting your touring plan now, you’ll be able to see which attractions would benefit from Fastpass+ reservations, which you can make 60 or 30 days before your trip. You’ll also see whether you’ll need the “park hopper” option on your theme park tickets, which you’ll purchase later.

- 120 days If you haven’t already done so, purchase park admission (see page XREF) at least this far in advance and link your tickets to your MyDisneyExperience account (so you can make Fastpasses at the 30 or 60 day mark).

- 90 days Make recreation reservations such as fireworks cruises

- 60 days Disney resort guests can make Fastpass+ reservations beginning at midnight Eastern, then finish the first draft of your touring plans.

Start a walking regimen so that you’re ready for the 7-to-10 miles per day you may be walking in Walt Disney World.

You have 2 more weeks to cancel most Disney vacation packages without penalty; room-only reservations can be cancelled without penalty until 5 days before arrival (6 if booked online)

You can start your online check-in at Disney resorts 60 days before your arrival.

- 45 days Final payment due for Disney vacation packages. Final payment for room-only reservations is due at check-in.

Customize and order your Magic Bands (if you’re staying on-site).

Make Magical Express reservations (if you’re flying) or other transportation arrangements.

If you want to switch resorts, check for any availability from people who cancelled at the 45 day mark.

- 30 days Off-site guests can make Fastpass+ reservations beginning at midnight Eastern.

Confirm park hours and finish preliminary touring plans.

Download Lines to your iOS or Android phone, so you can follow your touring plan and get updates while you’re in the parks.

- 27 days Check for Be Our Guest Fastpass+ reservations at (This might be changing)

- 14 days Book online grocery delivery services (see page XREF)

- 6 days Last date to cancel Disney room-only reservations booked online without a penalty.

- 5 days Fax your room request to Disney. We can do this for you automatically – see page XREF
Last day to cancel Disney room-only reservations booked by phone or travel agent, without a penalty

Check the weather forecast for Orlando

- 4 days Purchase Disney’s Memory Maker photo package at least 3 days in advance to ensure all photos are linked as soon as you arrive (see XREF)

- 24 hours Check in to your airline online
Finish Disney resort online check-in, if you’ve not already done so.
Cancel any unneeded dining or babysitting reservations
Do one last check of park hours and weather

1 Like

This is great! Maybe add the date for online resort check-in? (Unless it’s already in there and I’m just not seeing it.)

I think it may help to decide if you are going to buy tickets from Disney ( a package) or somewhere else ( room only). Also dining plan yes or no ( makes it a package as well). The reason I say this is that if you go from a RO to a package/ or package to RO, you need to cancel and then re-book. This is a complication when you apply discounts that may not be a problem, but could at times limit you from applying the discount ( you may lose the resort or room type).

Thanks! Put it in the 60-day mark, with a reminder at the 24-hour mark.

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Awesome I’ll add “Research the Disney Dining Plan” as a step. Thanks!

I would research the dining plan before making the dining reservations. We found that not all restaurants participate in the dining plan and this affected our choice of restaurants to make reservations at.

I still think you need to have an idea before discounts are announced if you can stay with a room only ( definitely not getting dining plan or tickets through Disney), or if you want to add the DP. Once discounts come out if you are changing/canceling that RO they can claim there are no rooms available for the re-book. At the very least you have a new deposit to pay and a wait for a refund.

Edited to add: of course I say this because I booked a bounce back/ split stay and then realized for the first time in my life the dining plans plus my TiW would save me money. That meant I changed to a package. Of course I then applied an AP discount two weeks later. Changing from the RO to a package was painful ( dealing with Disney).

This is a good point. I’ll suggest a before-and-after so that people can get prepared and then re-evaluate based on what they got. Thanks!

Timeline updated.

My timeline also includes ‘Book grocery delivery’ at 2 weeks out. Otherwise, looks great!


I added a couple of items for last-minute checks of park hours and weather too.

I can’t believe you forgot “Create a account and get online to ask questions of knowledgeable, friendly people on the forums or chat to help you plan” at 12 months out. :smiley:

Not really kidding, as liners are a great resource.

The rest looks great


maybe add in look at flights/pricing if air travel? Not sure what the timing is there but international flights come out about 11 months before, I think domestic 8 months?
cost of flights will affect overall budget for other things.


All is good, but you need to specify that this date is for Disney resort guests, the 30 day mark fpp was marked correctly.

Is the Tommorrow Land Desert party 180 days?

I’m terrible at selling. :slight_smile:

Yes, Dessert Party is now 180 in theory ( lots of people currently annoyed since dates have not been loaded past July 4th).

Any chance one of the smart folks on your staff could build a newer calculator to help people decide on this? It’s a question that comes up over and over and I feel like a lot of people just assume it’s the better deal and end up losing money over it. I know the one Joe and Ashley made get’s referenced a lot but it’s out of date. I think it would make an excellent tool in the TP bag of tips and tricks.


I know that there are different cancellation policies for “room-only” reservations & “vacation packages”.
These deadlines (while noting they could change at any time) should probably be noted in the time line?
(I know, this is so debbie-downer, but did you mention travel/trip insurance?)


Just added the different cancellation policies. Let me read up on the travel insurance deadlines. Thanks!

ETA: I’ve added a placeholder at the top for starting trip insurance research.

It might be useful to note that the 45 day mark is a good time to check for ADRs and FPPs that you wanted but were unable to get, as they may be freed up when people cancel their vacation packages.

Also, you might want to mention the 11-month and 7-month windows for DVC.