If you ask me, there are few things that beat the excitement of preparing for your next Walt Disney World vacation. From deciding where to eat to making sure you get those most coveted FastPasses, there is a lot more to a Walt Disney World visit than just picking your dates. To be ready for important deadlines like dining reservations and FastPasses, it’s best to book your Walt Disney World stay as soon as you are ready. But you might be asking, exactly when can I make my vacation reservation? Well, the answer isn’t as cut and dry as it may seem, and you might actually be able to lock in part of your vacation package much sooner than you think.
The most convenient and inclusive way to visit Walt Disney World is by booking a vacation package. This is a combination of onsite hotel stay and park tickets with available add-on options like Dining Plans and recreational activities. Vacation packages are available to all visiting guests, no matter the party size or dates. Unless you are planning to stay in an offsite hotel during your visit, a package is usually the easiest way to track and keep all of your trip details together.
Packages are typically released for the upcoming year, in the summer beforehand. While there is no set date for the release, Disney has opened booking for the next year’s dates in either June or July of the previous year. In the last few years, that release date has fallen in mid/late June, but there’s really no way to tell if the June trend will continue. So if you’re chomping at the bit to grab that coveted Grand Floridian room and lock in your tickets, the rule of thumb is to be prepared for your booking by the beginning of summer.
An advantage of booking your package as soon as possible comes when Disney inevitably increases prices. If you’ve already got your vacation package booked before any price increases, your package is unaffected by those changes. Disney doesn’t always just raise prices though, and the resort offers many different promotional discounts for packages throughout the year. The good news is that if you’ve already booked a package that is eligible for a new discount, it can be applied when the promo is released.
Room Only Reservations
There is one workaround to allow you to book a portion of your package much earlier than the summer before. Disney allows guests to book “Room Only” reservations up to 499 days prior to arrival. This onsite hotel reservation can then be changed to a package when those are released to include tickets and other options. When booking a “Room Only” reservation, you’ll need to provide a deposit of at least one night of your stay.
This is a good option if you are planning to travel during busier times of the year, and want to secure a room early at a popular resort. You’ll still be able to make payments to your reservation, in amounts $20 or greater, which may help you spread the cost of your vacation out as well.
Our recommendation for maneuvering the ins and outs of package and room booking is to work with a Travel Advisor who specializes in Disney Destinations like our friends at Key to the World Travel®. It’s never too early to reach out to one of their knowledgeable agents to help you get started in your planning and handle all the important details. A Travel Advisor can not only take care of booking your package and add-ons, but they can also book your “Room Only” reservation and handle the conversion to a package after release. This is in addition to handling your dining and FastPass reservations for you and providing expert guidance allowing you to focus on the fun parts of preparing for a Walt Disney World visit!
If you need help planning your perfect vacation, contact our friends at Key to the World Travel® for a free, no-obligation quote for your next trip. Click here.