After my last trip to Disney World in June 2010, I wasn’t sure when my next Disney trip would be. It’s not that I didn’t think it would happen; it was just a matter of when. I was about to start a new job, move, and my typically predictable calendar was all out of sorts. When things settled down in the fall, my first order of business was deciding when I was going to get back to Orlando! After several discussions with my family, we agreed that a big family trip (there will be 11 of us) during Thanksgiving of 2011 would be a blast.
At that point in time, the trip was over one year away. I immediately marked our travel dates on the calendar and started counting down the days until important milestones — making flight arrangements, booking the accommodations, etc. Before I knew it, my vacation didn’t seem as far away; I had plenty of points along the way to look forward to. So, what were they?
As a DVC member, I can book a stay at my home resort, Bay Lake Tower, 11 months in advance. Since Thanksgiving is one of the busiest times of the year in Walt Disney World, I knew that taking advantage of the 11 month window was crucial. I called exactly 11 months before my stay and had no trouble securing the rooms we wanted! Awesome accommodations? Check!
I also started looking into ticket options for family. We’ll all be coming in on different days, so we’re not all going to have the same kind of ticket.
The next five months have been a bit on the quiet side. I have been tracking airfare prices using Kayak’s flight alerts. Since members of our party are all traveling in at different times, I’ve been monitoring four different flights at once! In about two weeks, Southwest will have their rates available, and I hope to take advantage of their direct flights. Once I book my flight, I’ll sign us up for Disney’s Magical Express!
In just a few days, I will hit the 180-day mark! We all know what that means…food! Over the past several months I have been perusing restaurant menus, polling the group on their desired meals, and going back and forth on the dining plan. I’m all set to make my Advanced Dining Reservations!
Park hours will also be up soon, which will help a lot with the day-to-day planning.
At the 10-day mark, I plan to take advantage of Disney’s Online Check-In. I’ve done this twice in the past, and it’s been great both times. I highly recommend this option! Around this time I’ll confirm our reservations for the hotel and flight.
Woohoo! I am really looking forward to this day! One day before arrival, I’ll be checking us in for our flight and counting down the minutes until I’m on Disney property. Then I’ll ask for time to slow down!
What milestones do you look forward to while planning your trip?
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