How Far in Advance Can You Book a Walt Disney World Vacation?



By Dave Shute

BOOKING WALT DISNEY WORLD FOR 2016

I can tell from my search traffic that people are already starting to plan their 2016 Walt Disney World vacations.

The Walt Disney World website currently only allows bookings through 2015…so how do you book for later dates? Do you have to wait?

The short answer is that you can book a Disney World resort room 500 days ahead…but it’s a little complicated…

I asked my friend Allison, a travel agent at Destinations in Florida, to explain, and here’s what she said!

BOOKING YOUR WALT DISNEY WORLD TRIP IN 2016 AND BEYOND

You can book rooms at Walt Disney World for 2016 up to 500 days in advance right now.  But there’s a couple of tricks and complexities.

  • You can’t do it on the Disney World website.  You can only do it by calling Disney directly, or through a travel agent like Destinations in Florida.
  • For dates beyond what are available on the Disney World website, you can only book roomsnot packages with tickets, the dining plan, and such. (You can add these to your reservation later.)
  • The prices you’ll be quoted will be 2015 prices.  These will be wrong.  The prices for the next year are usually announced in the summer of the prior year–so 2016 prices likely will come out in summer 2015.  This is also when the website is opened to 2016 reservations.
  • You will have to pay a deposit to hold your reservation.  This deposit will increase when the final prices for 2016 come available, next summer. 
  • When final prices come out, your travel agent will help you fix your deposits…and if any discounts come out, your travel agent can also help you take advantage of those!  You can also add tickets and other parts of a package later, when final prices come out.

USING A TRAVEL AGENT FOR YOUR DISNEY WORLD TRIP

Thanks, Allison!

Since this site suggests you book your Walt Disney World trip at least 180 days in advance of your arrival date, and the Disney website likely won’t allow that for 2016 dates until summer 2015 the earliest, knowing that there are ways to book out to 500 days ahead is really helpful!

Many people don’t even consider using travel agents.  But for a complex trip to a place where discounts come and go, there’s a lot to be said for using someone like Destinations in Florida.

Travel agents are free to you to use—they are compensated by Disney, not by you—and the prices you end up paying are as good or even better as those you can book yourself!

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57 comments

1 Kathy { 09.24.11 at 11:49 am }

Hi Dave! Great site… Do you know if you can you make special needs requests 500 days out? Examples: roll in shower, 1st floor, quiet location. etc. Thanks!

2 Dave { 09.24.11 at 2:09 pm }

Hi Kathy and thanks! You know, I’m not sure, but you can always come back to your reservation later and add requests…

3 Dave { 12.18.11 at 9:39 am }

Hi Mindy, and thanks for weighing in!

4 Krista { 04.20.12 at 3:04 pm }

Hello! I have been wanting to take our kids to Disney for a while and trying to convince my husband how worth it it will be!! I think we have finally agreed to go next year (week of April 14, 2013 to be exact)!! Our boys will be 11, 7 and 5 next year at this time. Since it’s been tough to get the “ok” to go, I am eager to start planning. I am also hesitant on staying in a hotel room with all 5 of us but a suite on Disney property does not sound even remotely affordable! Do you have any suggestions? Should I start speaking with a travel agent now? Thanks!

5 Dave { 04.20.12 at 6:20 pm }

Hiya Krista. Options less expensive than a suite, but biggest than a single room, that hold five (6, actually) include the Family Suites at All-Star Music and the Art of Animation, and the Cabins at Fort Wilderness.

Of these, if your boys are campers–e.g. scouts–I’d go with Fort Wilderness. Compared to the other options you get one less bath but a full kitchen. Plus a cool campground…

Art of Animation looks to be a little more livable than All-Star Music (I’m being wishy-washy because it hasn’t opened yet.)

For the cabins, see this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2009/10/26/review-the-cabins-at-disneys-fort-wilderness-resort/

Page down on this page to see the floor plans for All-Star Music Family Suites: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2010/07/27/review-disneys-all-star-music-resort/

For Art of Animation, see this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2011/08/21/family-suite-floor-plans-for-disneys-art-of-animation-resort/

6 Krista { 04.20.12 at 8:49 pm }

Thanks Dave! One more question. The week of 4/14 is our kids “spring break” but we are pretty flexible on dates to travel that week. Would you recommend a Saturday to Friday stay or do you think different days would be better (i.e. Monday to Sunday or Tuesday to Monday). I’m ok with taking the kids out of school for a few days. Another thing to consider is flights. I am not sure the best days to fly. Do you know what days are most affordable? We are flying from CT and airline tickets for 5 are not cheap either!!!

7 Dave { 04.21.12 at 9:42 am }

Hi Krista! The busiest days at WDW are Sat, Sun and Mon, so arrival and departure days that minimize how many of those you have is a good idea. Airline tix tend to be cheapest on Sat, Tues and Weds, but there’s a LOT of variability around that…

8 Stephanie { 05.02.12 at 4:40 pm }

Hello. I am trying to plan a trip for Jan 2013 around the 20th. I have called Disney and spoken with some helpful and then not so helpful folks. We have 4 kiddos and want to stay at the Art of Animation resort in the family suite. We are military also and want to take advantage of their great discounts. (ticket and room discounts). Im getting conflicting answers however and not really sure where to turn. While I understand I can’t book the Dining plan or tickets until Aug, I want to go ahead and start getting things in order. I hate waiting (kind of ironic being that I’m an Army wife with now 4 deployments under my belt and approaching #5) and am really anxious to get the ball rolling. I called yesterday to ask if I could go ahead and set things up and was flat out told, ” No. You have to wait until Aug.” That was the end of the discussion. I was taken back. The lady was rude and not friendly at all. Any tips? Should I just call again and hope to get someone a little more personable??

9 Dave { 05.03.12 at 6:43 am }

Hi Stephanie…sadly a lot of people run into this issue. Most people don’t know booking ahead of the webiste is even possible…and that includes many Disney reservationists! go figure…

The simplest way to deal with it is to hand it off to a travel agent–eg my partners who you can access thru the form on the right.

Note that there are no military room or ticket discounts out past Sept 2012. I’m betting another deal will be announced…but no guarantees…

Your point about hating waiting vs 4 deployments is cracking me up…My mom moved us so many times when I was a kid, though my dad (Navy) didn’t have to go overseas much and was there to “help”…

10 Barbara { 05.09.12 at 7:58 pm }

Hi,
This is a terrific site with alot of information that I was not aware of. So here is my question. My friend and I are planning on returning to Disney in 2013. When is the best time of year to go? We are both in our mid-50s and would like to avoid the crowds (if you know what I mean). Any help you can offer would be great. Thanks!

11 Dave { 05.10.12 at 7:39 am }

Hi Barbara–take a look at this, and come back to me with any questions it raises: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2011/09/19/2013-weeks-to-visit-walt-disney-world-ranked-in-order/

12 scott { 05.17.12 at 5:44 pm }

I’m curious about the temperture there. I have seen averages and in may it says 88 as highs and in august the high average is 91, so pretty close to same, so this shouldn’t be a big factor in deciding when to go, correct?

13 Dave { 05.18.12 at 5:45 am }
14 Duane { 06.11.12 at 12:06 pm }

Planning on visiting during the week of Feb. 10 thru 16. Is this a good time? Mardi Gras holiday for us (Louisiana)

15 Dave { 06.11.12 at 12:29 pm }

Duane, since hardly anyone else gets MG off, and it’s right before President’s week, I think that will be a good week in terms of prices and crowds. See this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2011/09/19/2013-weeks-to-visit-walt-disney-world-ranked-in-order/

However, you may face some ride closures–see this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2010/05/12/winter-ride-closures-at-walt-disney-world/

16 Richard Curia { 06.14.12 at 7:13 am }

Hi there
Our family, 2 x adults and 2x kids aged 12 and 15 are planning a trip to orlando in Jan 2013. We will be coming from Perth, Australia. Im looking at doing the 4 day Dream cruise from the 6th to the 10th Jan and then say 5 or 6 nights at one of the resorts there, more than likey Disney’s
animation, given they have larger suites.
I guess my question is wheher i have the structure correct etc! I.e first the cruise and then disney world? Just weary of going there when its really busy, given we are traveling from Oz. so looking at being at DW at or around 10 Jan to 16 Jan. i have a month in America and return to Oz around the 26th Jan so am able to play around with the dates as nothing else has been finalised as yet.

Regards

Richard

17 Dave { 06.14.12 at 8:13 am }

Hey Richard! You’ll find people arguing it both ways. I like the approach you are taking, and like your dates.

18 Kelly { 06.18.12 at 8:45 am }

Hi Dave,
If I book a WDW vacation now, for January of 2013, and a discount becomes avaliable later can it be applied to my existing reservation?

19 Dave { 06.18.12 at 10:09 am }

Hi Kelly! See this answer to a similar question: http://yourfirstvisit.net/donate/#comment-41746

20 jeffrey creel { 06.22.12 at 7:54 pm }

I was told by a travel agent that you cant book rooms right now, I was planning on taking my family of 5 in april 2013. Every where I look it says you can book 500 days in advance.. I was asking about the Art of Animation Resort but she said rooms where not avaliable for reserving yet. Any thoughts?

21 Dave { 06.22.12 at 8:04 pm }

Jeffrey, you are right–see this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2011/02/21/how-far-in-advance-can-you-book-a-walt-disney-world-vacation/ But not everyone who should know it does know it…I’m seeing if I can get some more help on this, check back here

22 Tom { 06.26.12 at 2:56 pm }

Hi! I tried today, after reading this tip, to book a hotel only for February 2013 and Disney’s website won’t allow it. No reservations whatsoever after Dec-31

23 Dave { 06.26.12 at 3:08 pm }

Tom, see the second para in italics: “You can’t do it on the Disney World website. You can only do it by calling Disney directly, or through a travel agent like Destinations in Florida.”

24 chris { 06.28.12 at 6:32 pm }

You can book room only reservations for 2013 but only if you pay the first nights deposit and tax and that can be very expensive instead of waiting for the packages to come out where you only pay a small deposit.

25 Dave { 06.29.12 at 6:40 am }

Thanks, Chris!

26 Terri { 07.03.12 at 12:49 pm }

Just noticed this on the Disney website: Reservations for 2013 will be available online on July 11, 2012.

27 Dave { 07.03.12 at 5:28 pm }

Thanks Terri!–and see this for more appreciation: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2012/07/03/2013-disney-world-resort-hotel-prices/

28 Julia { 07.05.12 at 3:40 pm }

Hi , Dave
We are a group of 11 persons including kids and we want to go to Disney next years around July and we want to know if there a way we can get packages and pay monthly. I appreciate your information… Thank you

29 Dave { 07.05.12 at 4:50 pm }

Julia, I’m not aware of any monthly plan. However, no Disney plan requires paying in full in advance–you pay a deposit when you book, with the rest due either at arrival or 45 days before, depending on what you book (see this: http://www.dreamsunlimitedtravel.com/room_package_terms.htm ) So you could book, put down the deposit, and save the rest monthly until it is finally due.

30 Patty { 07.09.12 at 12:26 am }

Do you have a problem with bed bugs at Pop Century Resort? I’ve heard comments on other sites that guests had this problem.

31 Dave { 07.09.12 at 4:57 am }

Personally, no, nor have I heard directly from anyone who has…

32 Patty { 07.09.12 at 9:14 am }

Thank you Dave

33 Nina { 07.16.12 at 10:47 pm }

Hi. I have booked the room accommodation by online and skipping the park tickets and dining plan later on. before booking I have called Disney customer service if I could book the magic your way with dining later on and she said yes as long 3 days before our arrival. Now, I was ready to book the ticket and dining, I couldn’t do it online so i called talked to two representatives and indicating I cannot add it with my current reservation but to cancel that reservation and do the package all over again…have anyone experience this..

34 Amanda Starr { 08.13.12 at 3:39 am }

I am an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner and certified travel agent. One of the biggest things I do is help budget for clients. Currently, I run a Friday piece on my blog called Frugal Fridays – Ways to go to Disney under $2,000. I’d love to help you or any of our reads plan a Disney trip or just share tips and savings tricks if they would like! I believe everyone should experience the magic!

35 Dave { 08.13.12 at 7:23 am }

Hi Amanda, and thanks for posting!

Take a look at this page and its links, and let me know what you think! http://yourfirstvisit.net/2010/10/03/introduction-to-the-tightwads-guide-to-walt-disney-world/

Thanks, Dave

36 Neil { 12.29.12 at 8:04 am }

Hello there, I am just wondering as off today’s date 29/12/12 when is the earliest I could book a holiday to Disneyworld for 2014, I appreciate you get asked this question all the time lol.
Also what sort of deposit would be required I have two children aged 8 and 5 at time of travel, I know that I would need to book flights nearer the time.

Many thanks in this matter and look forward to your reply.

37 Dave { 12.29.12 at 9:46 am }

Hi Neil, you can book a hotel 500 days ahead, but it’s both complicated and not widely understood, even by the Disney staff. See this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2011/02/21/how-far-in-advance-can-you-book-a-walt-disney-world-vacation/

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38 Carrie { 04.17.13 at 12:15 am }

Yes, you sure can “cheat” 500 days in advanced, the best way to get the best deals with Disney is book early! that’s the key for making your vacation as affordable as possible.

39 Dave { 04.17.13 at 7:56 am }

Carrie, I don’t understand “cheat,” and don’t see how you save much–other than on tickets–by booking early? Can you expand your thoughts??

40 Audrey { 04.28.13 at 11:28 am }

We are.starting to plan a trip to Disney World flying in March 9th, 2014 for 5 days. We have a large party of 7 adults and 3 children ages 4, 3 and 5 months and we would like to stay in the park to take advantage of all they offer. What and where do you suggest? Thanks!

41 Dave { 04.28.13 at 11:52 am }

Hi Audrey! There’s no hotels at Disney World in any of the parks, but a lot of good choices near the parks for 9–which is how Disney will count your party. See this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/special-circumstances/special-circumstances-large-families/

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42 Jason { 05.11.13 at 10:41 am }

I have already booked my flight and hotel for Disney World. We are arriving on 12/2/13 and departing on 12/7/13. I have not purchased my tickets to the theme parks yet. My question is, can I purchase tickets now and they still be valid in December. I read that park ticket prices may increase in the late summer. Will my tickets be viod if that happens, will i need to pay an additional fee, or will I be OK.

43 Dave { 05.13.13 at 7:10 am }

Jason, you can purchase now and use in December at no penalty or risk. This likely will save you 3-5% or so–and you might even get a few points more savings from Undercover Tourist–see this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2013/04/30/affiliation-with-undercover-tourist/

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44 Jason { 05.22.13 at 12:52 pm }

Hi, I’m planning a trip for March 2014. My three kids are 7, 5 and my littlest just turned 3. I’ve seen that with these ages that I can’t book a 2 double or 2 queen room. I don’t need more, the littlest sleeps with us anyway. Do you have experience with this boarderline age?

45 Dave { 05.23.13 at 7:15 am }

Jason, the simplest answer (without paying for a 5 person deluxe) is to book a 5 person Alligator Bayou room at Port Orleans Riverside. See this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2012/11/19/review-port-orleans-riverside-alligator-bayou-rooms/

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46 Shannon { 10.22.13 at 11:50 am }

We are planning a trip to Disney World for November 2014, 2 adults 2 kids (ages 7&4), my kids first time…we are so excited! How far in advance should we plan to book a standard Little Mermaid room at the Art of Animation? We are trying to save so we can book everything at once and should be able to do so by March 2014, meaning we would be booking 7 months in advance, will we still be able to book a room by then? Or should we just book the room now and buy the tickets and flights in March? Also, how is the Christmas celebration held at Disney? Worth the extra money to attend with the kids? Thank you so much for your time!

47 Dave { 10.23.13 at 7:11 am }

Hey Shannon! Little Mermaid rooms are selling like hotcakes, so I’d book them as soon as you can. The full Disney xmas program is not in place until the Friday after Thanksgiving, but parts of it emerge over November, and Mickey’s Very Merry Xmas Party typically starts around November 10 +/- a couple of days. I recommend it, but it is very expensive. See this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2013/04/15/mickeys-very-merry-christmas-party-mvmcp-in-2013/

Was this even remotely helpful?

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48 Tiffany { 11.02.13 at 11:57 pm }

Hi, planning a trip beginning December 28, 2013. Is this a good day to begin our week-long trip? When is the earliest I can book a room?

49 Dave { 11.03.13 at 9:57 am }
50 Simone { 01.05.14 at 9:04 am }

Hi Dave,

This is a fantastic piece, but I do have a couple of questions.
Firstly Iive in Australia and I saw you mentioned that Disney compensates agents not tourists (not exactly in those words but the general gist), does that apply to travel agents only in America or Australia too?
I’m looking into my boyfriend and I to go. At the moment I’d love to go around Dec 5th 2015, where it’s not too busy, everything is a tad cheaper and the Christmas activities are open. That way all the characters all all nice and festive.
That’s what I’ve gotten from these articles does that sound about right?
Also in YOUR opinion, would you book now, this far in advance or would you wait for Disney to bring more information out about its 2015 packages? I’d hate to put a deposit down now, wait for the packages to come out, not like it, then loose some of a deposit. So regarding a holiday that is still nearly 20- something months away, would YOU book?

TA!
Simone x

51 Cathy Azzone { 01.06.14 at 10:38 pm }

I’m trying to book January 2, 2015- January 6, 2015 and no site will let me. There are 10 adults all women, we would like two, 2 bedroom villas. I’m I doing something wrong?

52 Dave { 01.07.14 at 8:39 am }

Yup, Cathy, you can only book post 2014 dates over the phone.

53 Jess { 04.14.14 at 1:44 pm }

Historically, does anyone know when the next years prices and reservations open up, besides just ‘summer’? We want to compare a few weeks to know which would be most cost effective to go, and we’re also wanting a couple character meals that it is recommended to purchase on day 180!! How Can I book the character meals when I won’t be able to book our hotels yet? That doesn’t make sense to me?
I just called customer service at disney. Cast member told me to call back in September or October for January 2015!! That would be ridiculous that I couldn’t book a trip until three months prior to?

54 Michelle { 04.14.14 at 6:59 pm }

someone on the other board i post on said June.

55 Jess { 04.15.14 at 8:36 am }

Michelle—thanks!!! I hope so!!! I’m nervous to make sure I get everything booked okay but plus I’m just so stinking excited I just want it all booked so I can stop looking at that part!!! Lol

56 Dave { 04.15.14 at 8:47 am }

Jess, regardless of when prices come out you can book 500 days ahead. See this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2011/02/21/how-far-in-advance-can-you-book-a-walt-disney-world-vacation/

57 Dave { 04.15.14 at 8:51 am }

Recently it’s been June, before that August was much more common…

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