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Author: Princess Diva

Photo credit: colouringdisney.blogspot.com

So, you’re thinking about a Disney vacation…Florida, California, Hawaii, a Disney Cruise, Adventures by Disney…the possibilities are endless! Disney can take you to almost any corner of the globe (how cool is that?)!

Once you get your destination narrowed down, the planning can begin!

When should I start planning my Disney Vacation?

Ummmm, RIGHT NOW!!!! Who cares if it is a year away or 2 months away…there are things that need to be done. Although I do tend to plan for really big trips (large groups or special occasions) about a year out, six months is a good rule of thumb for most vacations. To me, planning is almost as much fun as the trip itself!

I start getting input from my family, checking resorts, comparing prices, and compiling “color coded spread sheets”. Yes, I am THAT person…but nobody complains about it when they can’t remember what time our ADR (Advance Dining Reservation) is for the day.

What can I do to start the planning magic?

There are quite a few things that you can do to start the Disney Magic flowing even if your tips seems like a long way off.

1) Order your Free Disney Vacation Planning DVD. This shows all of the cool things that are going on in the parks. This is also a great way to introduce young kids to characters (it’s a little bit different than seeing your favorite mouse on The Mickey Mouse Clubhouse). If it has been a few years since your last visit, this is a great way to brush up on anything that is new. Netflix also has some great videos that you can watch on your computer or TV.

2) Read Tips from the Disney Diva! There is SO much great information here. It is going to take you a little while to get through it all, but give it a go starting here. You’re going to want to come back often because we always have something new to tell you about. There are some really great articles dedicated solely to planning your trip, what to pack for your trip, what to do with little ones on your trip, and reviews on where to go and what to do while on your trip! Try keeping a list of things that you and your family would like to see and do (there are some various lists you can print out here too).

3) No matter when you start planning, set a budget. Disney can get crazy expensive, so set a reasonable budget for your family and stick to it. Again, we here at Tips from the Disney Diva are here to help…we all like to save money too and there are articles that can show you how to do that!

Are there any benefits of planning early?

1) As much as I do love planning things, there are reasons that I do what I do. The most important reason is because I want my family to be able to do the things that they want to do while we are on our trip. Most activities, tours, and dining reservations can be made up to 180 days in advance of the preferred date (with the exception of golf…that is 90 days prior). If you are staying on Disney property, you can book an additional 10 days prior to arrival. That can mean 190 days before your trip! While it is not always necessary to be this on the ball, it IS recommended if you are looking at specific times, for example: breakfast in a park before it opens, trying to book large parties, special holiday events, or dining at Cinderella’s Royal Table.
2) There are usually some pretty good deals that you can find on the web when you plan in advance. Various times throughout the year, you can score free dining (going on right now for WDW), percentages off select rooms (at Disneyland and by booking your next Disney cruise while still on board), nights free, and onboard credit. Check back to the special offer page on the Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise, or Aulani websites for all of the up to date deals! Don’t forget that our travel planner, Megan Biller, can plan your Disney Vacation at no cost to you!
3) Be sure to keep checking airlines too. If you are traveling with a large group, some major airlines will sell a select number of tickets at a discount price.

What if I am more of the spontaneous type…can’t I just wing it?

You’re not a bird, so don’t wing it! I wouldn’t suggest going into any sort of Disney vacation without some sort of plan. Even if you feel that you are short on planning time, there is still some planning (and deals) that can be had. If you are flexible with your travel dates and have always wondered about Disney’s Vacation Cub, you can book a DVC rental without being a member! There is an awesome site called David’s Disney Vacation Club Rentals that lets non DVC members book rooms and villas at DVC properties! If you sign up for their newsletter, they will notify you when they have any last minute deals! You can end up booking a larger villa for close to the same price that you would a regular resort room.

What if I’m not THAT person…even with all of this info?
I understand, not everyone has the need to be as obsessive, I mean thorough, about planning their vacation as I do. If you want to give it a try, you have totally come to the right place! Almost everything that you need to put together a seriously awesome trip is right here in one place. But, if after all the Disney Diva tips and advice you are still not convinced you can plan your own trip, contact our travel agent, Patricia with All for Dreams Travel, to help with anything that you need.

Kristin is the founder and co-director of Tips from the Disney Diva & Devos. She started writing the blog when she realized there were many people going to Disney World and having a miserable time, and it was all from a lack of planning. She knew that she could help and has assembled the finest writing team she can find !