“How early should I book my Walt Disney Vacation” is one of the most often asked questions I get as a Disney travel agent, especially by those who have never been to Disney, or have only been a few times. They often read on the internet half truths or complete falsities which confuse them. And while there is no perfect answer as to when you should book your Disney World vacation, there are some facts you should know and understand. If you have any questions, feel free to ask them in the comments below and I will answer:
Some facts about booking a Walt Disney World vacation:
- Walt Disney World will allow you to book a room only reservation up to 499 days in advance, nearly a year and a half.
- Walt Disney World releases their room rates and packages in one year chunks, usually sometime in July for the following year. For 2017 rates and packages, we should see them sometime later this Summer.
- If you book a room only reservation for a time when the rates have yet to be released, Disney will estimate a price for you. Once rates are released, Disney will then update the rate you booked at to the correct rate.
- You cannot book a package for a time when rates and packages are not yet made available. So, if you want to travel next January, even if we are within 499 days, your only option is to book a room only reservation, you will have to wait until July, or whenever Disney decides to release 2017 packages, to book a package.
- Room only reservations cannot be converted into packages. So, if you book a room only reservation way in advance, and think you will just convert it to a package when they become available, you cannot, you will have to cancel your initial reservation and start over.
- Any money you have paid on your Disney package reservation is fully refundable up until the final balance is due, which is currently 30 days before travel. For Disney World room only reservation, as long as you cancel more than 5 days before arrival you will receive your deposit back.
Some other facts about Walt Disney World that effect booking your vacation:
- For guests with an existing room only or package reservation, dining reservations can be made for your entire stay 180 days before your check-in date. You can see a handy date calculator here: Important Walt Disney World dates
- For guests with an existing package reservation, fast pass plus reservations can be made for your entire stay 60 days before check-in.
- Disney World typically releases discounts for their resorts well in advance of your stay. Many discounts are released 4 -5 months before arrival, some others are released a bit closer to your travel dates. Usually, discounts can be applied to existing reservations. At Mouseketrips, that is a free service we provide to our customers, we check every discount that is released to make sure you get the absolute best deal possible.
- Discounts are usually very strict when it comes to travel dates. They have a definite start and stop date, and those dates cannot be “fudged” to fit with your plans. Try to keep your travel schedule as flexible as possible until you know exactly what the discount dates are going to be for your travel time.
So, when should I book my Walt Disney World vacation?
I have always been a proponent of booking your Disney vacation as early as possible. I have only seen negative things happen to people who decide to wait. If possible, make sure you get your reservation booked at least 180 days out so you can get your dining reservations done as soon as they are made available. There isn’t really any benefit to booking too far in advance of the 180 day point, unless you know when you want to go and just want to get it done, then do it when you can. It is always nice to know your vacation planning has already started.
A recent scientific study proved that vacations adds to your overall happiness, but is also showed that the largest boost in happiness comes from the simple act of planning a vacation. Why wait until the last minute to get that super happiness boost?
There isn’t any reason to wait to see what discount is going to be released for your travel dates, as those discounts should be able to be applied to your reservation once released. If there are any problems with discounts or availability, your travel agent should be able to provide options for you. We have found that guests decide to wait for discounts often miss them by a few days or weeks, which means they then miss out on much of the availability of the discounted rooms.
If you are inside of 180 days, get booked ASAP to get that dining done now.
When do you typically book your Disney World vacation?