Thank you to this board, but our upcoming group trip will be one and done!

scard192

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jun 11, 2009
It’s been 180 days as long as I can remember at least since 2013, probably before that
went in September 2009. There was a short time when ADR's migrated from telephone only to on line that you could make them at 90 days. We only booked about 100 days before our trip so that "window" of time for 90 days was quite nice. We had FD (DDP) and this enabled us to get a lot of character meal ADRs for my then 3 year old DGD.
 

maxiesmom

The Mean Squinty Eye Works
Joined
Jul 6, 2004
went in September 2009. There was a short time when ADR's migrated from telephone only to on line that you could make them at 90 days. We only booked about 100 days before our trip so that "window" of time for 90 days was quite nice. We had FD (DDP) and this enabled us to get a lot of character meal ADRs for my then 3 year old DGD.
Disney did a 90 day test for a while. Apparently they didn't like the results, as they haven't gone back to the 90 day booking window.
 

CoffeeKitten

Mouseketeer
Joined
May 17, 2019
It's 180 days to my understanding because it used to be less time but guests wanted more lead time. I believe from what other posters have said it was 90 days before and less (I don't remember how many days it's been at other times) in the past. Even with DLR they had 14 days for Oga's but people still complained on the Boards asking when reservations would open up...now Oga's is 60 days and so is Savi's at least (60 days is DLR norm). 60 days wouldn't have worked for me personally because I planned our September DLR trip weeks in advanced because I wasn't positive if we could go or not. But it is what it is and there are def. people who are so happy to have the ability to plan more in advance. It was causing people stress over on the DLR side to not be able to plan more than 14 days out for Oga's AND that's with having no pre-planning FP.
I'm not sure when it changed, but Oga's, Savi's and Droid Depot can now be reserved at 180 days. I about had a heart attack when I realized I had to schedule my SWGE things. I figured "stores" would be a walk-in type thing. I can totally understand the frustration of having to plan out everything so far in advance.
 
  • Joined
    Oct 23, 2015
    I'm not sure when it changed, but Oga's, Savi's and Droid Depot can now be reserved at 180 days. I about had a heart attack when I realized I had to schedule my SWGE things. I figured "stores" would be a walk-in type thing. I can totally understand the frustration of having to plan out everything so far in advance.
    At WDW it's 180 days but DLR was 14 days and then they announced they would move to 60 days for those experiences. It's 60 days for DLR which is how far out their normal dining reservation process is while WDW is 180 days.

    But I agree with your other comment about planning far out.
     

    sharona

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 7, 2008
    I just wanted to thank everyone on this board! I am in charge of a 6 day, 12 person trip in April 2020 (the week before Easter...) and these boards have been immensely helpful.

    I haven't been in almost 10 years, so I have put in the time, I have learned what to do and more importantly, what not to do.

    I woke up a 3am PST last week to secure all of our dining reservations. I will wake up early in February to secure what I can for our fastpasses.

    However, after this trip, I CANNOT see us doing this again. Disneyworld's system of "our way or the highway" sucks! It's not just the money. It's the time. The time to plan. Then the time to make sure we follow the plan. It's ridiculous.

    Please understand these are MY opinions. Those of you that go multiple times per year (where you can afford to miss a ride or two) or during the off-season most likely feel differently.

    Here's why I won't be doing this again.

    1. Dining reservations 180 days out (before park hours are finalized. You don't know which parks will be opening early / staying late longer. You have an idea, but Disney can change however they want).

    2. Having to choose FPs 60 days out. I've been following the dibb and I've basically come to terms that during our week, we won't be able to get any of the headliners for the first 3/4 days. No SDMT, no FOP, no SDD.
    a. I moved our HS / AK days to the end of our trip to help account for this.

    3. Not being able to book multiple parks for the first 3 in advance, if you have park hoppers. Why is this even a thing?! I paid more to be able to "hop". I should be able to schedule FP at whatever park I want, as long as my ticket will get me in. I do understand tiers would still apply. But tiers are also another reason the system isn't friendly.

    4. If all you can get are later in the day FPs, you'll spend the first part of the day in standby lines.

    5. We have 2 kids, one of which won't be able to ride anything over 42 inches. No problem, we'll just use rider swap. But now I'm seeing everyone has to have a FP, even group 2. What's the point of this? If me, my wife and taller kid have to have a FP for FOP, what do we get my smaller son during that time? A FP he can't use?

    6. We looked into VIP, but we have 12, so we'd need two guides. Our week will be approx. $600 plus per hour x 2. $1200 per hour and you still have to use the FP line! So a 30 minute wait in a FP line will cost $600...

    7. We looked into getting club level rooms. We are staying at CTR for the location (My family rented DVC points for BLT 1 BR based on advice from here). But the club rooms were almost DOUBLE the price for that week. So, for a 6 day stay, it would have been an extra $3600 for each family PLUS the $50 per person, per day for 3 extra FP. Club rooms are a waste if you are trying to maximize park time, so our extra 3 FPs (plus 90 day window) for a family of 4 over 6 days would have been an extra $4800. If you are keeping score at home, that's $67 per FP!

    8. All of this leads to an incredibly rigid "vacation" schedule. What if your kids want to go back to a certain park? Too bad, unless you want to abandon all the pre-scheduled FPs and wait in line all day. What if you don't feel like a certain meal that day? Too bad, unless you want to roll the dice on what is left.

    I know the rebuttals, but I'm not looking for an argument. To each their own.

    1. "You should go at a different, less busy time." I could, but coordinating 3 families with kid's school schedules doesn't allow for that.
    2. "You could use "refresh" to help with FP." I will do that, but staring at my phone all day is not my idea of a good time. I want to spend time with my family.

    I will play by the rules, because I know if we don't, it will be a nightmare. I have spent the first part of planning trying to convince the other people in my group that "yes, all this planning is necessary". I believe they are on board, but I have a feeling if they knew all of this before plans were made, Disneyworld would have lost the vote.

    We also scheduled one day over at Universal Florida. I used advice here to book a "throwaway room" (was able to use Chase UR points at 1.5 cent value) at one of the properties that includes Express Pass. And that's it, planning done! We'll be able to hit both parks and do pretty much all the rides we want in that one day (and in any order we want!). I am so looking forward to that day!

    This is not the typical rant that is after the fact, where the person didn't plan and is mad at all the people who did. I WILL plan. I'm just saying the planning is the reason we will vacation elsewhere next time.

    Thanks for letting me vent and again thank you to everyone who posts here.
    This is all very on point OP - I’ve been in your shoes planning for a group and it’s overwhelmingly complicated and stressful. We defected to Universal for quite a few trips the last few years because of how easy and stress free it is. We’re heading back to WDW in December and our one day at Universal with express pass was the least stressful thing to plan.

    I didn’t read the whole thread but I don’t have to because I’m sure the Disney apologists were in fine form. I hope your planning pays off and your group enjoys their trip.
     

    JakeAZ

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Sep 25, 2018
    We’re heading back to WDW in December and our one day at Universal with express pass was the least stressful thing to plan.
    Just wanted to follow up. Was it was you expected? Was the Universal day more enjoyable with the Express Passes? Even during a busy time like December? We are going during Spring Break, so I'm sure we'll face a similar situation to yours. Thanks
     


  • LadyntheTramp

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jan 15, 2008
    I didn't read every thing...and I do mostly agree with your points and that WDW vacation is not for everyone. I personally like it, but I am the girl who just put together a spread sheet with my family's vacation plans from 2020 - 2026...lol, so clearly the planning is fun for me.

    I think if you manage your expectations you will be fine. I have also found that sometimes you can be more flexible once you are there. We have skipped fastpasses because we didn't want to go or a line was short for something else. We don't go every year but I go personally for the feeling I get when I am there. The rides are great the I like the shows and the Disney bubble just as much. We also don't use child swap so I have not advice on that because even though we travel with kids our group is big enough that there is at least one person who doesn't want to ride a headliner.

    I wanted to add that I have planned for over 8 people and needed multiple reservations and have never been split up...just make sure everyone is there at the same time. Obviously, some places don't have a table that seats 12 but we were right beside each other.
     
    Last edited:

    Disneyfan754321

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 19, 2019
    I didn't read every thing...and I do mostly agree with your points and that WDW vacation is not for everyone. I personally like it, but I am the girl who just put together a spread sheet with my family's vacation plans from 2020 - 2026...lol, so clearly the planning is fun for me.

    I think if you manage your expectations you will be fine. I have also found that sometimes you can be more flexible once you are there. We have skipped fastpasses because we didn't want to go or a line was short for something else. We don't go every year but I go personally for the feeling I get when I am there. The rides are great the I like the shows and the Disney bubble just as much. We also don't use child swap so I have not advice on that because even though we travel with kids our group is big enough that there is at least one person who doesn't want to ride a headliner.

    I wanted to add that I have planned for over 8 people and needed multiple reservations and have never been split up...just make sure everyone is there at the same time. Obviously, some places don't have a table that seats 12 but we were right beside each other.
    The hardest thing for us is i planned 180 days out for a party of 9. I was able to get everything. Now it closer (50days) i really need to change things its nearly impossible to move a party of 9.
     

    Tink_83

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 29, 2017
    The hardest thing for us is i planned 180 days out for a party of 9. I was able to get everything. Now it closer (50days) i really need to change things its nearly impossible to move a party of 9.
    I have had great luck with reservation finders in the past. Touring Plans has a reservation finder for free: https://touringplans.com/walt-disney-world/reservation-finder You have to have an account but they are clear you do not need to pay to access this feature. I would recommend doing that and seeing what comes up.
     

    JakeAZ

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Sep 25, 2018
    The hardest thing for us is i planned 180 days out for a party of 9. I was able to get everything. Now it closer (50days) i really need to change things its nearly impossible to move a party of 9.
    Oh ya that train left the station a long time ago for us too. I was able to get everything we wanted (at the time) for our party of 12, but now there is nothing (we would want) to change to, if we had / wanted to. My brother found out a friend of his will be coming down to meet him one day and wanted to see if she could join us for dinner. Nope...
     
  • Lilsia

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 17, 2018
    The hardest thing for us is i planned 180 days out for a party of 9. I was able to get everything. Now it closer (50days) i really need to change things its nearly impossible to move a party of 9.
    I think that WDW is not the place to go with a big group. I would keep big family vacations to something that is less involved, like maybe renting a house on the beach. Hubby and I started going before we had kids and then we took our 2 kids every year. I also travel solo every year. Never would I go with any kind of extended family, not even a grandparent. A WDW vacation needs to have 1 person in charge calling the shots so you don't waste half of your time asking others "what do you want to do next? Where do you want to eat?" etc. The more people, the less you get done. That is not really Disney's fault, it is just not the place to take a huge group if they want to stay together. IMO
     

    alopez926

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Sep 22, 2009
    OP, I felt exactly the same way you do when I planned a group trip for my family a few years ago, 5 of whom were first timers. It was November and the parks were 8-10 crowd levels every day (so could not change anything once I had our plans in place) and my mom needed a scooter due to a recent knee replacement. So stressful! I won't ever do it again. It's way easier to plan and enjoy when it's just two of us.

    We did manage to have a good time on that trip and as the planner, I was way more uptight about the possibility of them missing out on things than they were. Once I realized that, I relaxed and everything became much more enjoyable.

    I hope you and your family/friends enjoy the fruits of your hard labor to make this a memorable trip. Wishing you much pixie dust!
     

    JakeAZ

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Sep 25, 2018
    OP, I felt exactly the same way you do when I planned a group trip for my family a few years ago, 5 of whom were first timers. It was November and the parks were 8-10 crowd levels every day (so could not change anything once I had our plans in place) and my mom needed a scooter due to a recent knee replacement. So stressful! I won't ever do it again. It's way easier to plan and enjoy when it's just two of us.

    We did manage to have a good time on that trip and as the planner, I was way more uptight about the possibility of them missing out on things than they were. Once I realized that, I relaxed and everything became much more enjoyable.

    I hope you and your family/friends enjoy the fruits of your hard labor to make this a memorable trip. Wishing you much pixie dust!
    Thank you

    I do realize I am stressing about the trip way more than the people going with me, but I'm trying to break them out of their "fantasyland" haha. Every time I hear "why can't we just show up and do whatever? That's what we did 12 years ago." I get sick to my stomach!

    Some of them appear to be coming around though, now that it's getting closer and almost "go time" on Fast passes. Fingers crossed.
     

    LSUmiss

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 8, 2014
    The hardest thing for us is i planned 180 days out for a party of 9. I was able to get everything. Now it closer (50days) i really need to change things its nearly impossible to move a party of 9.
    That was my experience too. It was only a group of 6 for us, but one of them was my 15 mon old (at the time). As we got closer to the trip I realized I needed to tweak things based on his schedule, it was nearly impossible. It resulted in me trying to push through (which mostly didn’t work for my 15 min old & just caused everyone more stress) or me skipping it cancelling something. Very disappointing.
     

    CastAStone

    Model Citizen. Math and business nerd.
    Joined
    Jun 25, 2019
    This thread should be pinned to the top of the Theme Parks Attractions and Strategies board with the title “why people with large parties, small children, or go-with-the-flow folks should really, really, really consider going to Disneyland instead.”

    Or something like that.
     

    JakeAZ

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Sep 25, 2018
    This thread should be pinned to the top of the Theme Parks Attractions and Strategies board with the title “why people with large parties, small children, or go-with-the-flow folks should really, really, really consider going to Disneyland instead.”

    Or something like that.
    How sad (but kinda true) is that...

    Disney World...perfect for those small families, with big kids who thrive on their vacation being run with military precision...
     

    isabellea

    Combining beach and Disney!
    Joined
    Jan 22, 2014
    I can see your point. In fact, even though I love going to WDW and I love the planning, my next trip in 2022 will probably be our last fir a long time. We now prefer Disneyland exactly because there’s a lot more spontaneity and I want to visit the other parks. None of them require any intensive planning like WDW imo.
     

    sharona

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 7, 2008
    Just wanted to follow up. Was it was you expected? Was the Universal day more enjoyable with the Express Passes? Even during a busy time like December? We are going during Spring Break, so I'm sure we'll face a similar situation to yours. Thanks
    Yes. Our day at USO was so great! It was the best day of our trip. Enjoyed WDW as well but doubt we'll be back - partially due to the planning and wait times but also due to the kids being older.
     







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