You have your resort hotel booked for the days that you want to go to Disney World, now what? Time to plan for that 180 day mark!
If you have never been to Disney World, or looked into planning a trip to Disney World, you are probably wondering what happens at the 180 day mark. It may sound a little absurd, but at 180 days out from your first vacation day you can start to make dining reservations. That’s not a typo, you read that right. You can make dining plans 6 months in advance. The dining plan has made it necessary for people to make reservations so early (to make sure they use their dining credits) and due to that, the rest of us (who don’t use the dining plan) need to plan in advance as well.
For some restaurants it’s necessary to secure your spot, like Be Our Guest and Cinderella’s Royal Table, but for others you can try for reservations when you get closer to your trip (or just walk up). Since you can make reservations so far in advance, some extra planning is necessary.
This is the point we are with our planning for the next trip. We have our 180 day mark coming up, so our traveling party decided to get together to plan. What we did was to look at some crowd calendars (not that they are 100%, but it’s helpful) and go from there. We looked at which park had the lowest number for each day and that helped us make some decisions.
So I would suggest making a list of the days that you are going to be in Disney World. Then you can look at the crowd calendars and assign a park (or day off) to each of the days. Once you have the parks assigned to days, then you can start assigning restaurants to the days, as well. I will put a step-by-step list at the end of this post for you, so you can see what we did.
Also, if you are planning on attending a special hard ticket event, like Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, the crowd calendars can help with that too. This way if you would like to eat at a certain restaurant for an early dinner, before the event, you will have an idea of which day you have a better chance of getting a reservation.
We still have to complete the list, but we have time. Since we are going with friends, we are going to try to have alternating date nights. Which is another reason we need to plan the restaurants, because we have to make sure we have the right date night restaurants down for each couple.
I love when the 180 day mark hits, because planning mode really kicks in. It’s great when you book your hotel, but once you start making dining reservations, you know the trip is getting closer. I’m a big planner when it comes to Disney trips, I guess that’s why being a vacation planner that specializes in Disney destinations is so perfect 🙂
If you know you are going to want to have some sit down meals in Disney, then I highly recommend putting a list together of the days that you will be there and following the steps listed below.
Planning for the 180 day mark:
- Step 1: Make a list of the days you are going (leave room for notes).
- Step 2: Check a crowd calendar to see crowd levels for each day of the trip.
- Step 3: Assign a park (or day off) to each day. Make sure the park that is assigned to each day has the lowest number of them all for crowd levels.
- Step 4: Decide which restaurants you want to reserve at 180 days and assign them to the different days. Make sure the restaurants work with the park assigned for that day. (Note: If you are traveling with a larger group and there will be reservations that do not include the whole group, make sure to note that on the list. This way, when it is time to make reservations you will know who is going to which restaurant.)
- Step 5: Put all this information into a spreadsheet and convert to a PDF. Now you have a nice, neat restaurant schedule for your trip!
I hope this helps you with your restaurant planning! To help with planning and see some dining tips, download the full version of the Countdown to Disney app.
Thanks for reading!