j. To-Do List
By Dave Shute
Your To-Do list for the Walt Disney World basic December itinerary follows.
(For To-Do lists for other itineraries, see To-Do Lists: All Other Itineraries.)
A. MORE THAN 180 DAYS BEFORE YOUR PLANNED ARRIVAL DATE
(Note that a travel agent, such as Destinations Florida, can do almost all of this for you, for free. If you use Destinations Florida as you travel agent through a link for this site–like this one–then they share a bit of the pixie dust they get from Disney with me.)
1. Confirm your budget, planned dates, kids’ development paths and heights, and your transportation choice and its availability for your planned dates.
2. Make your plane reservations, if flying. Make any other needed transportation arrangements.
3. Set up your hotel and tickets. Call 407-939-7675 (preferred, because this allows you to tell the reservationist which building at your resort you wish to be in, which the new WDW website no longer allows you to do), or click here to use Disney’s online system. (Note: if your dates are beyond what the online system permits, see this.)
- When the page opens, click “Book Vacation Packages”
- Add your dates, party size and age of your kids
- Set up your basic package:
- Click “Advanced Search”
- Click “I know the Resort I want.”
- In the drop down menu that appears, click to open, and scroll to pick your hotel
- Click “Dining Plan”
- Click “Continue”
- Fix the options–a page will open that has selected several options for you, most of them wrong. You will need to fix in each section, and update the sections as you go.
- At the top of the page you will be put into the most expensive room. Click the button for the least expensive instead. (The views aren’t worth it for first time family visitors, except Animal Kingdom Lodge visitors should always pick a Savannah view)
- Click “Update” and wait
- Click, in the “Park Tickets and Options” section, the button in the upper right that says “Open.”
- Unclick the “Park Hopper” and “Water Parks and More” boxes
- Change the number of days in your tickets to 8
- Click “Update” and wait
- Click “Ground Transportation” and when it opens, click Disney’s Magical Express, and add your airline info
- Click “Continue” and wait
- Click “Select this Offer” at the bottom of the page and wait
- When the pricing pages shows up, unclick Trip Insurance (if offered)
- In the “Special Room Requests” section, click to open, then click “Refrigerator”
- If you are on the phone, tell the reservationist what room you want
- If a Polynesian guest, ask for a room on the third floor (quieter) in Rapa Nui or Tahiti. (These are 2 of the only 3 buildings with both the largest rooms and balconies on all floors, and are the 2 buildings closest to the Epcot monorail. You are in fact so close to TTC that you can take the express monorail home from the Magic Kingdom–much faster than the resort monorail.)
- If a Pop Century Guest, ask for a room on the 4th floor (quieter) in the 1970s area. (This is the only building group at Pop Century that does not surround a pool, so it will be quieter at night.)
- Complete the transaction with your credit card.
B. 181 DAYS BEFORE YOUR ARRIVAL DATE
Go to the online restaurant reservations page here, set up an account if you don’t already have one, and practice trying to reserve restaurants.
This may well drive you crazy, but the site works better than it used to…and is likely the only way you can get your Cindy reservations done! (as the site opens up a new reservable day at 6a, whereas the phone reservation line opens at 7a).
Collect your restaurant reservations together. You will want to do them online in order of hardest to reserve first. This is how they are listed below.
C. EXACTLY 6am EST, EXACTLY 180 DAYS BEFORE YOUR ARRIVAL DATE
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