Once everything as far as flights, accommodation, car and tickets were taken care of we initially thought that was the majority of the planning complete…how wrong we were! Now, the level of planning is definitely down to personal choice but with 2 little girls who were all about the characters we knew that we wanted to check out a lot of the character dining experiences and from the research we’d done we knew that a lot can get booked up pretty quickly even 6 months out!
We did a lot of research into the options, the locations, which characters were where and in the lead up to our 180 day mark we had drafted and re-drafted a rough itinerary with one table service meal per day throughout the first part of our stay at the Disney World resort. In preparation we had also set up our “My Disney Experience” accounts, registered a credit card for reservations and had a play around with how the process worked…we were ready! I was actually kind of nervous on the day, so much had gone into planning where we wanted to eat and when that the fear of it all going wrong made me very on edge! As it turned out, there was no need to worry, we got reservations at every place we wanted to go with a couple of day swaps to accommodate availability; overall it was a huge success and the holiday of our dreams was seeming closer than ever!
I found the My Disney Experience app and desktop site easy to use and navigate; when I’d been trying it out there were a couple of ‘blips’ but when it came to making the real reservations I had no issues at all.
As we were going to celebrate the girls birthdays we also wanted to make a reservation at the “Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique” in Magic Kingdom before having dinner at Cinderella’s Royal Table and this required just a quick call to get this scheduled in which we also did at the 180 day mark.
Through the desktop site we also ordered and personalised our Magic Bands; as we live outside the US we wouldn’t have these sent out to us but we’d get them upon arrival at our resort. We were so excited to use these; having had paper tickets in Paris and a totally different fast pass system these amazing wristbands that were keys and tickets and so much more seemed like such a great idea (and they really are!)
Once all of the dining reservations were made we had more of a fixed itinerary so the next plans to decide on were which fast passes we wanted to get booked; we had to wait until 60 days out before we could book these which gave us plenty of time to figure out the system and the best rides and experiences to use them on. We also wanted to understand more about the Parent Swap service to see how we could use that on the more grown up rides (mostly Flight of Passage as there was no way either of us wanted to miss out on that!)
With so much planning and researching the time from 180 days to 60 days actually went pretty quickly. Some might say that so much planning might take away the magic or the elements of surprise and in a way I suppose that is true but with Disney, everything is so magical and the reality of being in the parks is so much more than you could imagine just by reading or seeing pictures. I think the peace of mind of ensuring you get the reservations and fast passes you want and therefore avoiding a lot of potential disappointment/ unnecessary wait time far outweighs any negatives that so much planning could bring.
As this was our first trip the time we spent researching was invaluable and for future trips we already have a better idea of how things works, where we might like to go etc so all of the information and knowledge we gained this time around isn’t wasted at all. I would definitely recommend doing as much research as you can and using as many of the resources that are available as possible as I really believe this made our trip as magical as it could have been.