We’re getting close to being 180 days out from our next trip to Walt Disney World. Many of you will be aware that 180 Days is a magic number in holiday planning. It is at this point that you’ll get to see Park Hours for your upcoming trip, and booking also opens, most notably for Restaurants. Hitting this 180 Day mark fills me with excitement! It means the planning of our holidays finer details have commenced, and we will soon be back in my favourite place. However, many people don’t understand why it’s necessary to look into booking things like restaurants just under 6 months in advance .
Everyone will plan and organise their holiday differently. However, I have always been ready to make our ADRs at 180 Days out. This is why I feel getting our reservations sorted the day they open is important to our holiday.
Let the Excitement Begin!
Most people from the UK & Ireland will have booked their holiday to Walt Disney World around a year in advance. It can be nice to to have bits and pieces of planning to do throughout the period between book and travelling. Generally, there is a ramp-up of holiday planning from 6 months out. This includes getting car hire, park tickets, ESTAs etc..organised. I love marking the beginning of these last 180 Days before we leave, and that comes in the form of booking our restaurants. It keeps the excitement of going to Walt Disney World constant, whilst giving you plenty to do and plan to ensure those last few months don’t drag in!
Pick of Restaurants & Times
Many Restaurants in Walt Disney World book up very quickly. In particular, there are a few very popular restaurants that can be very hard to get reservations for. Picking a few key reservations and sitting down to book them 180 Days in Advance can help ensure you get some of these hard-to-get reservations. In particular, ‘Ohana, Cinderella’s Table, Le Cellier and Chef Mickeys can all book up very quickly. If you are keen to eat in a restaurant which you know will be popular, it is very worth while getting them booked as early as possible.
Getting your Restaurant Reservations booked at 180 Days out will also allow you a better pick of times. While many people don’t mind what time they eat at, if you prefer an early (or later!) meal, these reservations for particular times will be easier to get if you book as soon as times are available. This is of particular importance to families travelling with young children who can’t eat later at night. Similarly, people with medical conditions who have to be careful of eating times will also need to factor this in.
Align Dining Times with Park Hours
With so much you’ll want to see and do, it is best to try and align your dining with Park Hours to ensure you make the fullest of your day. For example, if you plan on spending your day in Animal Kingdom and it closes at 5pm, you should book dinner elsewhere for after 6pm. This allows you the maximum time possible to enjoy Animal Kingdom before it closes. However, you really are only able to pick and choose your restaurants and times if you are ready to book them when reservations open 180 Days in advance. When I come to book our restaurants, I always do it with a copy of the Park Hours for our trip in front of me. Time here really is valuable so I try very hard to ensure none of ours is wasted!
Along similar lines, there are some restaurants which have fantastic views of Fireworks. You can get great views of the shows at either Magic Kingdom or Epcot. If you time reservations at these restaurants right, you’ll be in for a spectacular display during your meal. Most experienced Disney travellers are aware of these sittings, so they book up quickly. To be in with a chance of enjoying a dinner with a Fireworks view, being on the ball and booking early is essential!
Have Your Days Ready for FastPass+ Reservations
Another important reason why I have our dining reservations completed at 180 Days is that it allows me to know what our days are shaping up like before I have to make any FastPass+ Reservations. Walt Disney World Resorts Guests can begin making FastPass+ Reservations 60 Days prior to arrival. Similar to dining reservations, these slots book up quickly! Having all of our restaurant times sorted and organised (and aligned with Park Hours!) allows me to be able to go straight into booking essential FastPass+ rides the minute I’m able to do so.
Having a longer gap between booking our restaurants and then FastPasses is also very handy. This allows me to think about our schedule and tweak things before FastPass+ Reservations are made. There’s a very thin line between have too many reservations and being too scheduled and not having enough. Therefore it’s important to ‘sleep on it’ and tweak reservations as necessary.
180 Days Out Is Not Just For Restaurants
It’s not just restaurants that you can book 180 days in advance. Bookings for Pirate’s League, Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique and Private Cabanas are also available at this crucial date. Most of these experiences which require booking also come with a premium fee. Therefore it works well booking them 180 Days before your holiday as it allows you to better factor them into your finances.
For certain experiences, payment is required up-front. Paying 6 months in advance is really a blessing in disguise as at least you don’t need to worry about factoring it into your spending money. For others, however, you’ll need to pay for upon arrival. Again booking these 180 Days out is also helpful. It can help you better allocate and control your holiday finances. Consider having a look at all of these premium optional extras and deciding which ones you’d be interested in doing.This will allow you to book them as soon as reservations become available.
Not everyone will enjoy the process of getting their ADRs 180 Days before their trip. However, it can make a huge difference to your holiday. You’ll find you’ll be able to spend your time more wisely. Even if this advance planning is something you dread, it is still something that could be worthwhile doing. However, you can generally pick up restaurant reservations at any stage. You may not have your pick of venues and times, but you will certainly not go hungry!