How Far in Advance You Should Plan a Disney World Trip

Planning a Disney World trip isn’t something that just happens.

How far in advance do YOU plan for your Disney World trips?

For many of us, it requires a lot of planning, including figuring out a budget, where to stay, and (most importantly) where to eat. But how long does it take to make all of those plans? Well, we asked YOU, our DFB readers, on Facebook and you told us!

A Year Or Longer

One DFB Reader, along with others, said a year in advance is needed to plan a trip: “I would say about a year. Gives you time to make payments while also saving for other expenses.”

Another reader agreed: “I like to plan at least a year out. It takes that long to save and get a good plan mapped out. Do whatever works for you and yours.”


Another reader also commented that a year is a good amount of time to plan: “I like to plan a year out. I want to make sure to have ample time for saving money. I do not scrimp on vacation. I don’t order groceries or bring snacks. I want to go all out, so a quick unplanned trip would definitely not be for me.”

Tree of Life in Animal Kingdom

One more reader said the same: “A year this way you can plan and get ready for reservations the minute you know your going and your going to stay in Disney make reservation for your vacation sometimes rooms are sold out and park reservations get them the same day too. We book everything January or Feb -March the latest.”

Six Months

Some of you think it only takes six months to really plan a trip for Disney World in advance. One reader answered, “6 months…. We don’t go as often as I’d like, so we like to plan to get our $$ worth. We had 8 in our party so everyone had to get approved time off work/school. Gives you time to get best flights. Planning is fun!”

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge

Another reader said the same, “6 months or so. You used to HAVE to plan a minimum of 180 days out to get the best dining reservations, but now I just recommend that timeline to make sure you get the resort, room, and dates you want. When we booked in January for a June trip, the standard rooms were already sold out!”

Fantasyland in Magic Kingdom

Another reader is currently using the 6-month rule: “We started 6 months ago after we got back from Disneyland..we’re going in December this year! The countdown is on 🙌

1-3 Months

Some of you think anywhere from a month to three months is plenty of time to plan a trip to Disney World. One reader said, “I’ve done as short as 3 months it depends on whether or not you have specific things you want to do or not. We are just go with the flow people so don’t have to plan much more than the hotel and the park reservations.”

Monorail at EPCOT

Another commented, “There are times we plan 60 days in advance if there is some place special we want to eat. There are other times when we look to see what park still has reservations available that day or just head over to Disney Springs for the day.”

Hollywood Studios

While another said, “I planned mine in 2 and half months. Had a fantastic time.”


Others of you like to live dangerously and have planned trips with weeks, and even HOURS, of when you want to arrive. One DFB reader said, “The best trip we ever had was planned in 12 hours. We rented points, got a great airfare, and I was able to get every restaurant we wanted. (Pre covid)”

Tomorrowland Bridge in Magic Kingdom

Another reader likes the spontaneity of waiting until the last minute: “My favorite is when my husband says, “You want to go to Disney today?” And I respond, “Let me see which parks have availability.” Then I take off work early and surprise the kids when they get out of school. The. Best.”

And one more reader agreed, “8 hours! One of the best trips I’ve had to Disney ever! (And yes, we did have to fly there) I usually plan a year in advance but something about the spontaneity made the trip so much more magical!”

Magic Kingdom entrance

Another reader said that waiting until later to plan is less stressful: “The best one I ever planned was about in about 3 weeks time. Less time to stress over it all. Just time to go and have fun!”

It Depends

The majority of you believe that it really depends on what your priorities are for the trip. One reader said, “It all depends on various factors. If you are firm on a resort and/or time of year, the earlier the better. If you are flexible with resorts, park days, restaurant reservations, and dates of travel, you can plan closer to dates time of travel.”

Germany Pavilion in EPCOT

Another reader said, “I think it depends on where you live. Out of state, where you will have more expenses included (flights) I would say maybe a year. If you are local, I’d say at least 6 months, just to save for the resort itself, food and anything extra you may want.”

And a reader agreed, “I think you can always take a last minute trip if you are flexible on where to stay and don’t care about restaurant reservations. If you do care about those things I say a 6 mos to a year if you want your choice of hotel or at least 4 months ahead of you want to make restaurant reservations with your plans. That way you have your choice of restaurants before they are all booked up.”

Tower of Terror in Hollywood Studios

Another reader said, “Depends on if this is a first trip or 10th. First timers need to start planning at least a year in advance and probably get assistance from either a Disney Travel agent of a really good friend that had gone multiple times. Personally, I’ve been so many times in the last 20 years that I could plan it in a couple days. However, I’d plan it 60-70 days out in order to take advantage of better dining options and such.”

We agree that it probably does depend on if you’re a first-timer or not and what your priorities for a trip are. However, if you do wait to plan your trip, you risk not getting your first choice of hotel. Also, keep in mind that advance dining reservations can be made as early as 60 days from the first day of your trip, so you’ll need that vacation booked in time to grab those hard-to-get spots.

Oga’s Cantina is often hard to get reservations for

Really planning a Disney World trip comes down to your and your wants and needs. If you want more time to save and budget, then you may want to plan further out. If you want a bit of spontaneity, then booking a trip a week or two before you’re going might be just what the doctor ordered. There are so many ways to do and conquer Disney World, so do what’s best for YOU. We aim to make sure that we cover all types of vacations, planning situations, and more on the blog. But if you ever have something you want to know more about, please let us know.

And if you are looking for an expert to help you book and plan your next trip, are friends at Small World Vacations here to help. Their services are free and can truly help take the stress out of planning a Disney World vacation!

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So book that trip now, then sit back and enjoy planning your Disney World Trip with a DFB-approved expert! Click here for a no obligation price quote today, and let them know DFB sent you 🙂


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How long do you plan a Disney World trip in advance? Let us know in the comments!

The post How Far in Advance You Should Plan a Disney World Trip first appeared on the disney food blog.