Timetable of Planning at Walt Disney WorldThe first thing you need to do of course is settle on the dates you want to go, so that you know what to start comparing against as far as airline tickets and hotel prices. Plan out your start and end dates, and when you would like to be at which parks.
If you're going for a nice resort - or a special section of a nice resort - you honestly might need those reservations in six months ahead of time. I know that when we recently did a trip to Disney and I was calling 6 weeks ahead of time, some of the hotels were completely sold out. The more in advance you go, the better your chance of getting a great rate on a room you really want. Don't rush it though. Give yourself time to watch for specials and to see what the "normal" rates are for the time period you're interested in.
By now your hotel should be set, based on what research you've done in the past 3 months. You might have airline tickets if you think you nailed a great deal. I tend not to buy my airline tickets until 1 month ahead of time. I research diligently for the months up until then, and then by a month out you tend to see some great sales beginning, as the airlines want to really get those tickets sold. Right now you can start calling in your dining reservations. I realize it sounds strange to call those in 3 months in advance, but some restaurants fill up quickly. If you have your heart set on a given restaurant, it's better to be safe and get it reserved.
You should have the hotel, any special restaurants, and probably the airline tickets by now. You should also start looking into options on the actual daily tickets. You want to buy those in advance, and have time for them to mail to you.
At this point everything should be reserved and set. Organize a printout with all the key numbers on it. Print a copy for you, leave a copy at home with someone who can be called at any time. Remember, disasters ALWAYS happen. It's what they do. When your luggage gets lost, you should always be able to call someone and get the basic info so you can go ahead with the trip.
Your lists should all be ready, your packing routine should be set. You should have your shoes broken in, a hat to wear, your suntan lotion, mosquito repellent, all clothes you want to wear. Really - don't bring new clothes to break in!! Wear comfortable things. It doesn't matter how you look. It matters that you feel comfortable.
Keep all of your tickets and confirmation documents for your scrapbook. You can even get a shadowbox for some of the more interesting items!
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