Congratulations on your upcoming Disney trip! On this page you’ll find all of my Disney related blog posts. We are also working on building a YouTube channel to compliment the site. Let us know what you would like to see more of by taking the poll below!
You may be months or even more than a year away from your Disney vacation, but it is never too early to start planning! From budgeting to reserving your FastPass+, there is a lot to do before you set foot in the parks or relax on that cruise. I’ll continue to add to (and update) this page to help make your travel planning a little more magical (and a lot less stressful)!
Wonder what the animals at Kilimanjaro Safaris are up to at night or looking for a good laugh? Check out the antics of AK’s giraffes in this video from our 2017 visit!
- Discounts: Whether you are traveling to Disney World or Disneyland, this is an expensive trip even with the use of discounts.
- Military Salute: I mention this program first because it is the best discount if you have access to it. Disney offers discounts for active duty military to Disneyland, Disney World, as well as their cruise line. Offers and discounts vary each year, so check their websites when planning your trip. Spouses may purchase tickets and travel without the active duty member (so yes, you can go while your husband/wife is deployed). Disney usually allows six tickets to be purchased each year (they have changed this in the past). If you are looking to stay on property, the discounts are tiered (i.e., you will get a larger discount when booking a deluxe resort versus booking a moderate or value resort).
- Disney Visa Card Members: Cardholders can check the website for year-round perks and limited-time offers on park admission and resorts. Year-round discounts include select park restaurants and store purchase over $50.
- AAA: I have never booked through AAA given that the Military Salute seems to offer the best discount for us, but my mom used them when booking our family trips. If you are a member of AAA and do not have access to any other discounts, I recommend giving them a call.
- Off-Season Travel: Disney will often release their own promotions for off-season dates (I’ve seen them offer free meal plans during these times). If you are willing to travel during this time you will enjoy smaller crowds as well as the opportunity to attend special events (e.g., Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party).
- Start Early: If you the are type to just wing your vacation plans or not have any plans at all, then you are probably not going to get to do much on your Disney vacation. If you are traveling with small children and are looking to eat at some of the popular character spots, like Cinderella’s Royal Table, then you to need to book your reservation in advance.
- Dining: These reservations can be booked 180 days in advanced. If you are looking to book a popular spot, like Cinderella’s Royal Table Character Breakfast, then I recommend calling or booking online 180 days out. Disney’s reservation system normally refreshes around 7 am E.S.T. (The site kept crashing at that time for me due to the high traffic. I ended up calling to get our Cinderella’s Royal Table breakfast reservation. Be prepared to be on hold for a bit if you are calling around 7 am to make dining reservations. You will at least be listening to songs from Disney and not your typical elevator music.)
- Resorts: According to Yourfirstvisit.net you can current book as far 499 days out. The earliest I booked a trip was a year out. Remember, if you are using a room discount like the Military Salute, Disney only allots so many rooms towards this program so it is best to call early and reserve a room. You can always cancel or modify the reservation later on as long as you are not too close to your travel date. In the past, I have been required to give a $200 deposit when booking my room.
- FastPass+ (Disney World): If you are staying at a Walt Disney World resort, you may book 3 FastPass+ experiences 60 days out or you can book 30 days out if you have tickets. I recommend researching the most in demand rides/character experiences. For example, when we last visited in October 2015, the Seven Dwarves Mine Train and visiting Anna and Elsa were two of the most in demand things on our list. Like the crazy, dedicated mom that I am, I stayed up till midnight when our trip countdown reached 60 days out to nab my son a pass to see Anna and Elsa. I managed to snag a time slot the last day of our trip, that is how popular those ladies were at the time. This also meant that for the entirety of our trip, we only had 2 FastPass slots that we could use.
Here is a collection of Edutaining’s articles related to Disney travel. You’ll find an ever-growing library of planning resources, reviews, and family activities to help you make your trip more magical!
Travel Planning Resources
Reviews and Tips
Disney Vacation Club
Family Activities and Crafts
Painting with Acrylics on Fabric (Includes Video) (Features My Disney Travel Backpack)
Check out all of our Disney travel and DIY videos at Edutaining’s YouTube channel.