Booking a Disney vacation takes a lot of preparation and hard work, from figuring out what resort you want to stay at to securing dining reservations. The time of year you plan to visit, your desired accommodations, and your dining preferences will all determine when you should book your Disney vacation. Overall, booking your Disney vacation as soon as reservations open for your desired dates is best. This helps you get the best rates and offers the most hotel availability. The earlier you book, the higher the chance you get the reservations you want. Below, we answer some of the most common questions about booking Disney vacations.
When are Disney Vacation Packages Released?
It's best to book your Disney vacation shortly after packages are released for the year you want to visit. Every vacation package includes theme park tickets and a hotel stay. Booking your vacation as a package offers the best rates versus booking theme park tickets and a hotel individually. Disney typically releases vacation packages at the beginning of the summer for the following year. For example, Disney released vacation packages for 2024 in May 2023. We expect 2025 vacation packages to be released in May or June 2024. We'll keep you updated about when vacation packages will open up throughout the year!
When Can I Book Disney Dining?
Advanced Dining Reservations (ADRs) can be made 60 days before your check-in date. If you stay at a Disney Resort, you can make dining reservations for the first ten days of your vacation at the 60-day mark. Guests staying at non-Disney hotels can only make their dining reservations one day at a time when the 60-day window opens. Reservations drop at 5 am CST. You'll want to book these dining reservations as soon as your window opens, as reservations for popular restaurants fill up quickly and are quite competitive. Dining reservations are highly recommended for all table service restaurants at Disney theme parks and resorts. Not a morning person? We'll book these dining reservations for you—so you can get the sleep you deserve. It's one of the perks of working with our Authorized Disney Vacation Planning agency!
When Do I Need to Have My Trip Paid in Full?
Final payment is due 30 days before your check-in date. Typically, you'll need a $200 initial deposit to secure your trip and dates. Then, you can make payments any time you desire before the 30-day deadline. When you use a travel agency like Just Add Magic Travel®, we'll process these payments to Disney on your behalf.
How Early Should I Reserve Disney Theme Park Tickets?
The best way to book your Disney vacation is with a vacation package, which includes theme park tickets and a hotel stay. However, you can purchase individual theme park tickets if you stay off-property or have other accommodations. You can refer to the calendar on the Disney Parks website to see how far in advance you can purchase Disney theme park tickets. As of November 2023, theme park tickets can be purchased through December 2024.
When Do I Need to Make Park Reservations?
To enter a Disney theme park in 2023, you need to purchase theme park tickets for the day you want to visit and make a theme park reservation. You can do this by checking the theme park reservation availability calendar on the Disney website before purchasing your tickets. If the park you want to visit is available, purchase your tickets immediately afterward. Then, go back and book your theme park reservations.
The theme park reservation system was implemented when the theme parks reopened after the pandemic shutdowns. Navigating this system has been a challenging part of planning Disney vacations for many guests over the past three years. Thankfully, we have great news: the theme park reservation system will be eliminated for standard, date-based theme park tickets on January 9, 2024. Starting on this date, you'll just need to purchase tickets for the day you want to visit (if it's not at capacity) and show up at the park that day.
When Can I Book Experiences like the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique and Dessert Parties?
Experiences like dessert parties and the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique are part of a collection Disney refers to as Enchanting Extras. These experiences range from carriage rides through Fort Wilderness to backstage tours. Enchanting Extras can be booked through the My Disney Experience app 60 days before your desired date. While dining reservations open at 5 am CST daily, Enchanting Extras open at midnight EST. This means your best chance of getting a reservation at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique is to sign on at midnight, 60 days before you want to go. Again, when you book with our agency, you don’t need to worry about setting an alarm to grab these extremely limited reservations.
When Can I Book Genie+ and Lightning Lane Passes?
Genie+ and Lightning Lane selections allow you to skip the stand-by line at many attractions, significantly lowering your wait times. Genie+ and Lightning Lane access must be purchased on the day you plan to use it. You can buy this through the My Disney Experience app beginning at midnight. You can make your first ride reservation at 7 am. Then, you'll need to wait until after you use your first experience OR two hours after park opening (whichever is sooner) to book your next attraction. This system will be updated in 2024 to include pre-trip planning. We don’t know when this change will occur or exactly how it will look. We will update you as soon as the information is available. Onsite guests of Disney resorts can purchase Individual Lightning Lanes starting at 7am, while day guests have access to these at park opening.
Take the Mystery Out of Booking a Disney Vacation with Just Add Magic Travel
Planning a Disney vacation takes a lot of time, but it's so worth it! At Just Add Magic Travel, we'll take out the stress and guesswork of planning your vacation—including getting up at 5 am to book advanced dining reservations for you. All you need to do is focus on your daily responsibilities and get ready to have a magical vacation. Get a quote for your trip today!
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Owner of Just Add Magic Travel