Planning a Disney Vacation in Less than Six Months

Disney Countdown 2

Planning a Disney vacation in less than six months is doable with a little bit of advice.  For some reason, our family notoriously books Disney vacations with less than six months to plan.  We talk about it, and find ourselves using the phrase, “Next year when we go to Disney….”, but we don’t actually make a full commitment and book a rom until typically less than six months out.  For some people, that really puts a wreck in their touring plans…..and don’t even think about ADRs!  I mean, you have to be up at the crack of dawn on your 180 day mark to get any sort of good reservation….right?  Well, maybe so, but it’s not impossible to plan a Disney vacation when your arrival is less than six months away.  Today I want to share with you my tips for getting your vacation together, alleviating stress, and having a magical time.

1.  Look if there are any possible ADRs available for your time frame.  It is certainly preferable to book your dining 180 day s out from your trip.  But, there are often reservations still available.  I suggest looking to see what is available because that will help you decide if you want to take part in the Disney Dining Plan.  With this Dining Plan, you get one sit down meal per person in your party per day.  You don’t want to add this to your package, if you know there aren’t going to be any reservations avaialable.

2.  After you have taken a peek at dining options, book your resort.  Chances are, you’ve already been scouring the Disney website, or planning sites like Chip & Co to get resort recommendations.  Or, like us, we often put together a package or two and save it under our account on the Disney site.  Then, we already have something put together and tweak it as needed before putting down our deposit.  It’s a good idea to have a few resort options in mind-or possibly one at each tier so you can have options in case the resort you were hoping for is booked.

3.  As soon as you receive your confirmation number from Disney, schedule a few dining reservations if you need to.  Boom!  That’s two major things done on your “to do” list-resort and ADRs.  If you’re participating in the Quick Service Dining plan then you have nothing to worry about.  These dining locations don’t need reservations.

4.  Check the Disney calendars to see park hours and make a light plan of park days.  Make sure if you have purchased base tickets, that your dining reservations and park days match up with each other.  You cannot leave one park and go to another in the same day if you have Magic Your Way Base Tickets.

5.  Create a fun countdown for your family to participate in during days leading up to your trip.  In fact, it’s always fun to start a countdown around 45 days or so….and if you’ve booked in a short time frame, then you’ll be ready to start counting down those days!

6.  Driving or flying?  Decide how you’ll get to Disney, and make plans from there.  If you are driving, take a look at the routes and discuss departure time and stops.  If you are flying, keep an eye on airfare deals so you can get those tickets asap.

7.  Create a packing list.  I am always adding items to our packing list as they come to mind.  Then, as I see items in the stores I can grab them and put them aside.  Suddenly, I am almost all the way packed and I don’t even realize it.

8.  Start the magic asap.  Order your park maps and Vacation Planning DVD from Walt Disney World.  These will arrive in your mailbox in no time, and you’ll love watching them and planning with your family.

Planning for, booking, and carrying out a Disney vacation in less than six months is very manageable.  It’s those last few weeks and months of planning that are the most fun anyway!  How far in advance do you do major Disney vacation planning?


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Chip and Co Past Writers and Friends