There’s so much that goes in to planning a Walt Disney World vacation – from dining reservations to FastPasses to booking all of those special experiences that make your vacation practically perfect in every way. Along with the planning comes a very specific timeline that’s very important to follow. Not only will your travel planner help you with choosing a resort and making sure you have a well thought out itinerary, but we will also help to ensure you stay on the timeline and nothing is missed.

A Timeline for Your Walt Disney World Vacation

Below is a list of very important dates from the moment you book until the time you check in. Please note these dates are for Walt Disney World resort guests. A different timeline will apply if you are not staying onsite.

The day your trip is booked:

Your deposit of $200 is due towards the cost of your package

You may add on optional trip insurance through Disney. If added at this time the cost will be due along with your deposit. Please note the trip insurance is non-refundable after 14 days from the date it is added.

You may customize your complimentary MagicBands through your My Disney Experience account. MagicBands will be used to unlock your resort room, enter into theme parks and water parks, hold your dining credits (if using one of the Disney dining plans), charge purchases back to your room account, check in for your FastPasses, check in for Magical Express and more. While the bands will not ship out until about a month prior to departure you may customize the bands right away.


If you have made your flight arrangements, flight information can be provided to Magical Express for your complimentary airport transfers.

180 days prior to check in:

Dining reservations can be made. Making dining reservations on this date will ensure you have the best chances of getting everything on your wish list. Some restaurants book up very quickly and will have limited availability after this date.

Dining Reservations

Certain special experience reservations can be made such as Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, Pirates League, trail rides at Fort Wilderness, afternoon teas, fireworks dessert parties, Pirates and Pals fireworks cruise, parasailing, water skiing and fishing trips.

90 days prior to check in:

Tee times can be made at the four Walt Disney World golf courses.

60 days prior to check in:

FastPasses can be made on this date. FastPasses will reserve a return time for 3 attractions or shows per day of theme park tickets. Making FastPasses on this date will ensure you have the best available choice of return times.


Online check in can be completed. Visit your My Disney Experience account to begin the online check in process. This will allow you to enter your information prior to arrival to expedite your check in at the resort. I still highly recommend stopping by the online check in counter at your resort to ensure your MagicBands are set up properly.

31 days prior to check in:

This is the last day to cancel your package and receive a refund of your $200 deposit.

30 days prior to check in:

Your remaining balance is due on your vacation package

This is the last opportunity to add the trip insurance offered by Disney (cannot be added after the package is paid in full).

10 days prior to check in:

You must have your MagicBands customized by today if you want them shipped to you in the mail. If you don’t customize your bands they will be waiting for your at your resort hotel but are not guaranteed in your choice of color.

2 days prior to check in:

This is the last date to cancel to receive a refund of your package less the $200 penalty.

Flight information should be provided to Magical Express no later than this date.

Magical Express

Check in day:

Let the magic begin. You may enjoy your well planned and well organized Walt Disney World vacation.

That’s a lot to remember and one of the many reasons using a travel planner is so important. It’s our job to keep you informed of upcoming deadlines and to keep you on track.

My name is Susan Heidenrich and I am a travel planner with Travel with the Magic. I’ve visited Walt Disney World over 25 times and I love sharing my passion with my clients. My planning services are completely free when using me as your travel planner. Contact me at and follow along on facebook for tips, tricks and fun!