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TRIP PLANNING TIME?

yensid67

Well-Known Member
After many years on here, I have wondered how long it takes YOU to plan a WDW vacation!? From the very beginning to the very end. What steps do you take, when do you make reservations, etc. This could help newbies to the Disney 'world'of vacation planning...maybe a new segment in WDWMagic?
 

JIMINYCR

Well-Known Member
We actually think about our next trip details after the recent one finishes. It’s fresh in our minds what we wanted to do that didn’t get done. Or things we needed to book but never did. Pre planning just gets jotted down in notes and once we know the money for what we want is secure and time off is guaranteed, then we book the resort. We usually do this a year in advance. There have been trips we’ve booked around 6 months or less if the resort we want still is available. Once we book the trip then we seriously look at details like dining spots, tours, which days for which parks. We continue to plan thing in all along and decide how much expense we are going to incur and when to shut off the spending. I’ll keep tweaking my plans all along as I can to improve on our enjoyment. I like to plan and ensure my details so starting as early as I can isn’t burdensome to me. Reading through the trip reports on this site also gives me ideas of what others have done that made their trips great. I utilize lots of Disney sites and trip guides for up to date info. By the time we leave I’m pretty satisfied that my trip will be exactly what I want.
 
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eliza61nyc

Well-Known Member
Humm, I would say once we decide Disney is going to be the vacation spot that year. Usually 8-9 months, now It's not "constant" planning.
First challenge of course is where to stay. We only stay onsite so that narrows it down.
Next we start thinking of where we'd like to eat. After that it's flights and then the list trickles down
 
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Weather_Lady

Well-Known Member
Planning a Disney vacation (for us) takes a full year. We typically fly JetBlue, and JetBlue now releases flight schedules 11 months ahead (starting with the lowest fares: they go up as seats are booked), so a year or more is ideal.

11-12 months out: choose and book flights and hotel(s), make DVC points rental requests if applicable, and purchase travel insurance if needed to cover non-refundable costs (e.g., DVC points rental)
3-11 months out: decide on ticket type and length, buy and link tickets, rough out touring plans, make park reservations
60 days out: make TS dining reservations and ground transportation arrangements as needed
30 days out (or whenever eligible): complete online hotel check-in, if applicable, and order Magicbands, if doing so
1 week out: confirm travel, check for changes in park hours or events and rearrange park reservations if and as needed, tweak touring plans, check weather reports, finalize packing list, transfer Disney VISA rewards dollars to redemption card
 
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Stellajack

Lady Tremaine's School of Refinement drop-out
Premium Member
We usually plan about a year out starting with resort reservations. This goes immediately into MDE. This trip was tricky since POR was not scheduled to open until 2022. We booked Coronado Springs in Dec. 2020 for our Oct. 2021 trip, hoping to change if Riverside opened by late October.
The 180 day ADR's has really changed things, along with the park pass reservations and park hopping but this all went smoothly.
We also make our flight plans as early as possible rather than waiting until the last minute, and we always try to take an early nonstop flight from RDU.
Sadly, we will be taking our last Magical Express trip this year.
We also print out a touring plan. We are no longer "park commandos", but the touring plans definitely optimize our time in the parks.
 
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wendysue

Well-Known Member
Usually about 2 months, but have booked vacations 2 - 4 weeks out before. If the room and air fare are available...boom, booked. We don't care about table service meals (not worth the money). I order groceries from Garden Grocer and we just do quick service meals. Disney is making it harder to just wing it and be spontaneous, but we usually found a way. I want to get another trip in before the end of the year when the AP's expire since we won't renew. One thing we loved was dropping off the luggage with the SkyCap at O'hare and not dealing with it again until we got into our room. With work, school, life schedules so regimented, the last thing I want to do is be tied to a phone and plan out every minute of our vacation.
 
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Cowboy Steve

Premium Member
Since transitioning out of staying at the resorts to camping at Fort Wilderness the planning start date has been pushed to about 18 months out. 2 months ago I made our campground reservations for December 2022... and still almost didn't get a Premium campsite. I prefer the Premium sites because of the size of our future 5th wheel (we are renting a 5th wheel this year - 42 footer!). The camper we buy will probably be in that 36'-42' range. The premium sites accommodate the larger RVs so much better. This year's trip is currently in a Preferred site, but I check on upgrading a couple times a week. Since our stay in the campground is around 12-14 days we just automatically get the 10 day park ticket when I make the reservation.

Now, PREVIOUS to the pandemic, we would figure what days we would visit which park as soon as the park hours were posted - usually a couple weeks before the 180 day window for making dining reservations. Kinda need to know what park you will be in what day to make reservations! Post pandemic - pure pandemonium and madness as dining reservations only open 60 days before the start of your stay. Totally drives me nuts for the 120 days leading up to the 60 day mark 😁. All the planning we used to do over 180 days is now condensed to around 60. Boo!

This year's trip is going to be a new experience for us, at least from a planning perspective, as there are no longer FastPass reservations to plan around, and the new dining reservation process. I won't be making any definitive decisions on whether to use Genie+ until it is fully active and we get some feedback on it's use.
 
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Graham9

Well-Known Member
Trip planning used to begin when we leave the turnstiles for the last time at the end of our vacation, even if our next visit won't be for a year or two's time. We will draw up a list of stuff we really liked and what we did best and set about thinking how we can improve it next time. Shortly after, comes the consideration for the money situation then I have to schedule it around work. Once we have firm dates, it's time to start making reservations and trip planning really begins in earnest where we check to see what has changed since last time and if there is anything we really want to do over the top of our usual visit. About six months out, we will put together a draft daily timetable and then adjust it as we begin to make reservations etc. But things never usually go to plan and we end up making unexpected changes now and again.

HOWEVER - things have taken a turn for the worst. We had been planning to come for the last six years, but for one reason or another, we felt the time wasn't right and we have held off. When we started to give it serious thought, Covid struck and totally blew it all away. We began to plan to come this year, but couldn't due to ongoing Covid situation, but had began to seriously plan in November 2022. But that all changed a few weeks ago when we saw that nice little video with that nice person trying to tell me that taking all my money away is a "good thing" whilst using their wonderful Genie+ app, which totally scuppered everything. Currently, we are looking to come to Orlando at around the Nov '22 time, but it's looking doubtful we will be coming to WDW, much less staying at a Disney resort like we used to, as the price is astronomical and all the benefits of staying there have been stripped away. At the moment, we are not sure exactly how it's going to play out and are looking at other options.
 
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yensid67

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Trip planning used to begin when we leave the turnstiles for the last time at the end of our vacation, even if our next visit won't be for a year or two's time. We will draw up a list of stuff we really liked and what we did best and set about thinking how we can improve it next time. Shortly after, comes the consideration for the money situation then I have to schedule it around work. Once we have firm dates, it's time to start making reservations and trip planning really begins in earnest where we check to see what has changed since last time and if there is anything we really want to do over the top of our usual visit. About six months out, we will put together a draft daily timetable and then adjust it as we begin to make reservations etc. But things never usually go to plan and we end up making unexpected changes now and again.

HOWEVER - things have taken a turn for the worst. We had been planning to come for the last six years, but for one reason or another, we felt the time wasn't right and we have held off. When we started to give it serious thought, Covid struck and totally blew it all away. We began to plan to come this year, but couldn't due to ongoing Covid situation, but had began to seriously plan in November 2022. But that all changed a few weeks ago when we saw that nice little video with that nice person trying to tell me that taking all my money away is a "good thing" whilst using their wonderful Genie+ app, which totally scuppered everything. Currently, we are looking to come to Orlando at around the Nov '22 time, but it's looking doubtful we will be coming to WDW, much less staying at a Disney resort like we used to, as the price is astronomical and all the benefits of staying there have been stripped away. At the moment, we are not sure exactly how it's going to play out and are looking at other options.
I TRULY HOPE SOMEONE FROM DISNEY SEES THIS AND PASSES IT ON TO EXECUTIVES!!!
 
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pixarprincess

Active Member
I started to plan a May 2020 trip a year out. When the parks closed I started planning in April for October 21. Now I'm planning every day because things are changing so significantly. It's really demoralizing to feel like all of this planning isn't going to help because most of the changes will be happening in live time.
 
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Cowboy Steve

Premium Member
I started to plan a May 2020 trip a year out. When the parks closed I started planning in April for October 21. Now I'm planning every day because things are changing so significantly. It's really demoralizing to feel like all of this planning isn't going to help because most of the changes will be happening in live time.
Yeah that it a really good point... looks like (at least for this trip) plans will be fluid right up until we arrive... my hardwired brain is going to have a fit with this revolting development! Deep breaths... deep breaths... 😁
 
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