Don't miss out on all the excitement, joy, and magic. Learn how to make the most of a Disney World trip with advanced bookings.
While a spontaneous trip may seem exciting, the only way to guarantee that you and your family enjoy all of the activities on your Walt Disney World to-do list is to book ahead. Many of Disney World's most popular events, attractions, and dining experiences fill up fast. Check out this list of advanced bookings you can't skip out on!
1. Travel Arrangements
Book your flights and Walt Disney World vacation packages as soon as you know the dates you'd like to visit. Disney area hotels can fill up quickly. Don't wait to make reservations, especially if you have a particular hotel or resort in mind. Make reservations for Disney hotels and resorts at least two months in advance, but book even sooner if you can. Once you have purchased your Walt Disney World theme park tickets, you should also make reservations for the parks you wish to visit. The reservation system helps control crowd sizes and is set to phase out in 2024. For now each visitor must have a pre-arranged reservation to be admitted to the park.
2. Virtual Queues and Lightning Lanes
Before your first day at the parks, download the My Disney Experience App. This handy app will help you plan and manage your vacation and allows you to sign up for virtual queues run by lottery systems for select attractions. There will be no in-person waiting available for experiences and attractions that use a virtual queue on the day you visit. So be sure to download the app to avoid the disappointment of missing out on popular attractions. Genie+ is an additional expense but will allow you to book into faster Lightning Lane lines for rides and attractions. Lightning Lanes can be reserved through the Genie+ system, but you may need to book some rides separately. Check ahead on the My Disney Experience app and the Disney website to find out which rides are available on which system.
3. Character Meet and Greets
When planning out your Disney World experience through the My Disney Experience app or online, be sure to check out where you can see your favorite Disney characters for meet and greets and photo opportunities. Each day you can find schedules for all the princesses and pals and add them to your family's itinerary so you don't miss out. Another exciting way to spend time with Cinderella, Mickey, and the other Disney characters is by booking special meals with them. There are plenty of options to choose from, including Cinderella's Royal Table inside the Magic Kingdom or Princess Storybook Dining at Epcot, to name a couple. Character dining books up fast, so reach out and reserve a table as soon as you have your Disney World vacation dates lined up.
4. Sit Down Dining
Reservations are available for more than just character dining experiences. Book in advance for sit-down dining restaurants all over the Disney World theme parks, resorts, and hotels. Plan to reserve dining experiences around two months in advance of your visit. Extremely popular restaurants like Victoria & Albert's at the Grand Floridian can book up minutes after reservations open.
5. Holiday Events
If your Disney World vacation falls around a major holiday, there may be special holiday events available you'll want to take advantage of. The holiday events at Disney can feature fireworks, costumes, themed treats, parades, concerts, and more. Around Halloween, you can join in on fun events like Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and attend Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party at Christmas time. Purchase tickets for these events separate from your daily park admission tickets and book early. It's recommended that you book for holidays at least three months ahead of time.
6. Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge Experiences
Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge offers its own out-of-this-world events and activities. Around two months before your visit, use the Disney app to book a spot at Oga’s Cantina for alien cocktails, at Droid Depot for robot creation, or to make your own lightsaber at Savi’s Workshop.
7. Royal Makeovers
The Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique provides royal treatments for princesses and knights in training. This experience includes hair and make-up styling by a Fairy Godmother-in-Training and can be booked well in advance, up to 180 days before your visit. For the littlest guests, Harmony Barber Shop offers first haircuts and mouse-ear caps that mark the occasion. Older guests can enjoy services here as well. This experience can also be scheduled ahead of time through the My Disney Experience app.
The perfect Disney World family vacation doesn't come together with a wave of a wand. To ensure you don't miss out on all the excitement, joy, and magic, book ahead for all the most popular attractions, rides, events, and dining.