This is the second part of our Disney planning series.
All brought to you by Crystal, a Disney travel expert. I’m not kidding, she has visited the magical place, like 70 bzillion times!
Part 2 — Traveling to “The World”
Here’s What To Do 7 Months Prior
By Crystal Seaton
Well, you called your travel agent, picked out your dates, decided how long to stay several months back. But now you are only seven months from your trip. What needs to be done?
1. Book That Trip
If you haven’t booked your trip yet, don’t wait another minute. Unless you are going at the very beginning of the year, pricing should be out for your dates. Go ahead and call your Travel Agent and get booked.
2. Planning DVD
Go to the Disney Website and order a Planning DVD from Walt Disney World. It is tons of fun to watch!
3. Check Details
If you booked previously, now is the time to check everything over. Are you dates still correct? Do the park tickets you have make sense for your family? Do you have the best dining plan possible?
You probably went over this with your travel agent several months ago, but it doesn’t hurt to check it over again before you start the serious planning.
Have you been making payments on your trip? Do you want to make payments on your trip? Now is the time to nail down those details.
Disney requires a $200 deposit per package and the balance is due at 45 days prior to arrival. What and how you pay between those dates are totally up to you.
5. Park Days
Now is the time to get with your Travel Agent and decide which park to visit on each day. Did you know that certain parks are more crowded than others on each day?
And wouldn’t you rather be at Magic Kingdom when the crowds are at Hollywood Studios? I know I certainly would. There are crowd prediction calendars and various other tips that you can use to avoid the most crowded park.
One insider tip is to avoid Extra Magic Hours (EMH) unless you plan to park hop. What, you say? EMH is on of the reasons I am staying onsite. That may be true, but they tend to make parks more crowded.
So if you are going to use EMH, you probably want to have park hoppers.
Now is the time to figure out where and when you want to eat for all of those Table Service Meals. At this point, it doesn’t matter if you have a meal plan and are paying with credits or if you opted to not use a meal plan and are paying out of pocket for your meals, you will still need reservations.
Dining reservations at Walt Disney World open at 180 days before the day you plan to dine. If you are staying onsite, you can actual book at 180 days from the first day of your trip up until the last day of your trip (as long as you are staying 10 days or less). This is commonly referred to as 180 +10.
I know you are saying, “I don’t know where I want to go or eat in 7 months.” Believe or not, some restaurants at Walt Disney World book up almost immediately and they are very hard to get into past this 180 day “mark”. That means you really do have to make some of these decisions now.
You want to plan meals to be convenient to the park you plan to visit each day or have a plan for hopping. My family loves to dine in Epcot, so we hop there many evenings of our trip. But if you don’t plan to park hop, then know that you have to have admission to a park to dine there and need to plan accordingly. Of course there are lots of great dining options that are not in parks but still in the resort area.
If you have a meal plan, then check it to make sure you know how many table service meals to plan. Of course your travel agent can and will help you with this. You can change them later if there is availability but it is best to get them booked as soon as your window opens.
7. Special Events
What extras might you want to add to your Disney trip? Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique for the little Princess in your family?
Pirates League for the Mermaid or Pirate in your family? Wishes cruises? Illuminations cruises? Wishes Dessert Party?
Richard Petty Driving Experience? Bass Fishing? Golf? What will make your vacation even more magical?
Time to figure it out and talk to your Travel Agent about the best time to book it!
Go ahead and recheck that budget you made several months ago now. Are you still on target? Don’t wait until the last minute to figure out that you can upgrade to a much nicer trip or that you need to cut back a bit.
Start thinking about special ways your family might want to count down to their Disney trip!
As each day gets closer, the excitement will continue to build. Remember that everyone has a way to do Disney that works perfectly for them. But this trip is for you and your family!
You want it to be magical and perfect for you! I’ll be back in a few weeks to talk about what to do at 180 days prior to your Disney trip!
If I can help you in the meantime, feel free to contact me.
Also, check out:
Disney World Trip Planning – One Year Before Your Trip
Crystal Seaton is a wife, a mom, and a travel agent. She travels to Walt Disney World multiple times per year and also cruises and visits Disneyland as often as possible. She is the owner of Magical Vacations By Crystal and affiliated with Custom Travel Professionals, an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner. Crystal also blogs at WDW Divas along with a few of her fabulous colleagues.