Planning in Advance

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Joined: 03/22/2014
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Planning in Advance

How do you all plan your trips so far in advance? Do you just plan "in theory" or do you actually start booking the trip?

We're talking about taking a trip in August and I'd like to consider booking now to get the best chance at a good room (maybe trying renting DVC points) but they often have summer deals on rooms, so I'm not sure how that all works. We might just end up waiting anyways, not knowing what the future has in store but I'm curious how you all go about it.

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Mrferret's picture
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Joined: 03/02/2013
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We book as soon as possible. So normally over a year in advance.

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Bletherskite's picture
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For our first trip last year we booked 6 weeks in advance which is great because you don't have long to wait but not so great because you don't have quite so much time to plan. This year we booked almost a year in advance so it is taking ages to countdown but we have plenty of planning time. Smile

I'm not sure which way I prefer.

crazycatperson's picture
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We usually book well in advance. We've booked timeshare exchanges into DVC properties as soon as something in our timeframe became available. This is necessary because DVC properties usually go FAST on RCI (the timeshare exchange company). When we book using DVC points, we'll do it right at the 11 or 7 month window, also to ensure we get what we want.

But we've also booked last minute and done just fine. If we'd waited until just a few weeks out to book our Saratoga Springs trip last September, we could've gotten a HUGE bargain on timeshare exchange points. Live and learn.

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If deals come up can you change your rate or are you booked in at that price?

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We usually book as soon as we have a set date. A lot of times we end up booking at rack rate. When the deals open up all you have to do is call and they will apply a credit to your reservation. You should call as soon as the deal is announced though as they do only reserve so many rooms for each deal.

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Ahhhh that's interesting! That makes sense! Thanks!!

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NikkiMouse's picture
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We always book as soon as we pick a date. I am just too excited to wait! I book at whatever rate is available. This year I added the DDP, but if free dining is not announced for that time period I will just remove it from the reservation. I am also looking into whether a room discount would be a better alternative for us over free dining if they are both offered for that time.

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Belinda's picture
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Joined: 08/09/2012
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I book as far in advance as I can. More time to prep and I LOVE having a countdown to keep me entertained!

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Allie's picture
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We usually book out as far as we can and add the discounts on later when they are released, however with our December trip we're waiting for the 7 month mark to put in a request for DVC points because most rental places are now charging a premium for the more in demand resorts if you want to book between 11 and 7 months out. It's really stressing me out not to have the room booked and in place, though!

That being said, we also have our "in theory" trips planned when they're still too far out to book. Case in point our 2016 and 2017 trips are planned, "in theory".

Kristen K.'s picture
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Honestly I always have a couple theoretical trips in the works for up to 3 years out.
Being a DVC member I usually book at 11 months out with out home resort, and then reevaluate at 7 months out if we want to try a different hotel. Before I was DVC, I still planned and booked things about a year in advance, however with so many years of practice under my belt I can pull together a decent trip on shorter notice if I have to.

PJsLife's picture
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Joined: 09/08/2014
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The least amount of planning time was for my upcoming trip 4 months

Nyxess's picture
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Joined: 09/09/2014
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I'm a big fan of spending time on my trip thinking about what I'll be able to do next time. So normally on the ME to the airport I'm already going on and on about when our next trip will be, what we'll be doing, where we'll be staying...

Some of my trip partners found it exhausting - some thought it was awesome. It's really all about your comfort level. If you think it's too much to start planning really far ahead (worried about missing deals closer to the date, or not wanting to over extend so soon after your last trip), then do what feels right. It should be a fun experience, since planning your trip can be just as exciting as taking it when done properly Laughing out loud

Or that could just be the planner in me...

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No trips planned currently... But we're hopeful something in 2017!!!

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I always initially feel so darn guilty about taking a vacation that I usually don't plan it until last minute. The down payment for Disney is sort of what scares me away from planning so far in advance. Then when I finally make the commitment I hover over the "book it" button feeling guilty. Once it's done, I feel better and move on happily with the planning. Smile

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JoAnn C's picture
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I book at the current rate and have any deals applied when they become available. As scrappy said, there are only a certain number of rooms available at the promotions. If your plans are flexible, you can change resorts.

When I went in October, I booked at All Star Movies and POFQ. I ended up staying at Sports and POR to take advantage of the room discounts.

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Elle's picture
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We live in Florida, so we look for the Florida Resident or Passholder deals on the Disney website. I also have the My Disney Experience app, so that makes planning super easy. We usually don't make our room reservations but a couple of months ahead of time, and I mark on the calender when I can get the Fastpasses. We plan our days around the fastpasses that are available.... if I can get better ones on one day than another, then we just match up the park to the fastpasses. From there, we plan meals, but not nearly as early. We aren't interested in character meals or signature dining, so that makes it easier. Only if we are going with other people do we do that. Our typical trip is usually 3 to 4 days and we hit the highlights. Since we are shelling out for the resort, we try to spend time at the pool and using those amenities. Our favorite resorts are Port Orleans Riverside and The Polynesian. mickey This is one of my photos that I took on a trip back in 2010. I just love the mirror image of the Alligator Bayou Bungalow in the Sassagoula River!

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..... I want so much more than they've got planned......

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Honestly, I don't like to plan too much. I like planning as very little as possible and winging it as much as possble. There's a lot of fun in not really knowing what you're going to do day to day at WDW. Visiting in low season certainly helps.

Nice photo Elle. POR can be a very tranquil place and your photo conveys that nicely. awesome

Elle's picture
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KenJ wrote:

Nice photo Elle. POR can be a very tranquil place and your photo conveys that nicely. awesome

Thanks!!!! Smile

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..... I want so much more than they've got planned......

figgy's picture
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My planning starts the minute I'm on I95 north even if I don't know when our next trip will be.

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August 2016 here we come!

DisneyMae's picture
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Bit late to the party, but thought I'd say I booked both my September trips (2014 & 2015) in January of each year. I put down the deposit and then spend the rest of the year saving.

I have a less expenses than most, as I live with my parents and don't own a car, so I've almost finished saving both the room/ticket money and spending money. Also, this year when I booked I got the deal where you get a night free. Getting a room at the Caribbean at just a tad more than I spent on my All Stars room last year Smile room deals are better than a free dining plan for me as I eat more snacks than real meals when in WDW!

disneydoc's picture
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figgy wrote:
My planning starts the minute I'm on I95 north even if I don't know when our next trip will be.

I am sort of planning my next trip while on a trip. It usually goes like "I'll do that next trip!"...... mickey

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jhugo's picture
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We booked our November trip in February. I always book as early as possible. It helps with budgeting money and I like to book my meals 180 days out. I am a planner that is half the fun for me!