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By Soarin’ Diva

I’ve always heard that you can book a room only resort reservation at Walt Disney World 499 before the last day of your resort vacation. I’ve never needed to book that far in advance before, but for 2021, I found myself in need of booking far in advance to ensure a room reservation.  My husband and I had already decided that our February 2020 Walt Disney World vacation would be the last vacation for the year, long before the world shut down due to the pandemic.

Rise of the Resistance

Storm Troopers in Rise of the Resistance in Hollywood Studios

Rise of the Resistance

Rae hologram in Rise of the Resistance in Hollywood Studios

Galaxy's Edge

Galaxy’s Edge at Hollywood Studios

Why would we decide something so drastic? Because we wanted to plan two big trips for 2021 that would require a little extra time to save up the funds. We really want to take our family of four for a trip at the end of May 2021 to celebrate my youngest son’s high school graduation. We took my oldest and want the same opportunity for my youngest. Besides, neither son has had the incredible opportunity of exploring Galaxy’s Edge yet, so we really wanted them to have a blast immersing themselves in all things Star Wars..Disney style.

The other big trip we are planning is a bit more selfish, my husband and I want to take our very first two-week visit centered around Magic Kingdom’s 50th anniversary. We were able to go to the 45th anniversary, but only for a week that year. Two whole weeks at Walt Disney World is something we’ve never had a chance to experience before, and we are so excited about the chance to have enough time to everything we want to do without feeling like we have to rush to get it done. Two weeks will take a nice little chunk of change though, so it will take a little time to build up that vacation fund to pay for both of these trips.

I did a little bit of research before attempting to book that far in advance, and as I was researching, I found something out that I had never actually heard of before. Not only can you book a room-only reservation, but you can also book something called a Basic Package. Let’s begin by explaining what a Basic Package is. To put it simply, in reality, it is in most ways exactly like a room-only reservation, but with one major difference.  When actual packages are finally released for the next year and you were hoping to add park tickets and/or a Disney Dining Plan, you would actually have to rebook the room-only reservation you had previously made to put that reservation in the category of a package.

The Basic Package, however, is already in the “package” category, despite the fact that it’s only a room-only reservation. That means if you want to add tickets and/or the Disney Dining Plan, you can just add it onto your current reservation without having to cancel and rebook. You may not care about needing to cancel one reservation and adding another, but it does actually simplify things a little this way. We intend to add tickets and the dining plan to the graduation trip. On this graduation trip, my husband and I will upgrade our tickets to Annual Passes so we won’t have to add tickets to the two-week trip in the fall. We will add the Dining Plan to the fall trip though because we don’t want to have to worry about needing to pay out of pocket for meals while we are there, it’s just more convenient to have everything already paid for.

With the Basic Package, I can call when Disney finally opens up the purchase of tickets and allows guests to start purchasing Dining Plans again and just have these added to our package that’s already in the system. I won’t need to link up new reservations.  Another good thing about the basic package not having to be rebooked to add other options is that the resort price is now locked in. Even if resort prices go up before packages are released to book online, I won’t have to pay for that price increase now.  I also won’t need to worry about our favorite resort being booked up already (which is actually my biggest fear since it’s such a popular resort), because our room is already locked in with the Basic Package reservation, I’ll just get to add those items on, sit back & wait for my vacation.

Screen Shot of Basic Package Reservation

Walt Disney World allows you to book a Basic Package 499 before your vacation ends

Screen Shot of Basic Package Reservation

Walt Disney World offers a Basic Package

So how can you book that Basic Package?  It’s really easy.  First, you need to calculate what calendar day is exactly 499 before the LAST day of your vacation. Don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s the first day, because their system cannot book your trip until 499 days before the last day. When you have your ducks in a row, just call Walt Disney World Reservation at (407)939-7915 and tell the Cast Member you would like to book a Basic Package and give them the date you want to arrive and the day you will check out.  From there, your amazing Cast Member will take care of everything you need.

If you are like me and want to add tickets and a Dining Plan when actual packages are released for the next year, the packages would TYPICALLY be released in late June. Please understand, this year is an absolutely crazy year. At the moment, Disney is not taking any new reservations at all until everyone who has had a vacation already booked through September of 2020 has had their trips either rebooked, refunded, or taken care of in whatever way Disney decides to take care of it.

Never fear though, I have no doubt that as soon as Walt Disney World feels secure in the knowledge that they have taken care of any and all current reservations on the books, they will open up the system to go ahead and start taking those new Resort reservations. I can’t possibly predict when that will be though, we at Tips From the Disney Diva and Devos don’t dally in the business of rumors, only facts, and we just don’t know when bookings will open yet.  I do know that they will open as soon as they can though, so my advice would be to keep an eye on Tips From the Disney Diva and Disney Parks Blog for the most current information on this.

UPDATE: This article was written before Walt Disney World opened booking up for next year, after the Pandemic shut everything down. At this time, you don’t need to wait until 499 days before your trip, Walt Disney World will allow you to book a basic package all the way through December 31, 2022 online, you don’t even need to call the reservation line. This is great news, that you can go ahead and lock in your resort and tickets that far in advance. Hopefully, as more dining options reopen, we will see the addition of the Dining Plan come back so we can add that to our existing reservations, but at this time, the Dining Plan is still not an option.

So are you ready to book that Walt Disney World Basic Package?  Patricia at All for Dreams Travel can get you there!  Her services are FREE to you, so contact her today to make your Walt Disney World Resort reservations!

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