180 Days Out

We're planning for an 8-day trip to Walt Disney World in December and I'm having a blast getting ready! We're going with some friends of ours, so we're traveling as a party of 6 (husband, wife, and daughter for both families). I've told my husband many times that he can surprise me with a lot of things, but it is never ok to surprise me with a Disney trip because planning is almost as much fun as actually being in the World. We're about 160 days away from our trip, and I'm enjoying filling up my PassPorter's Guide to Walt Disney World with all of the plans I'm making. Here's what I've been working on since we hit the 180-day mark:

For this trip, we're staying off property at a condo so we can all stay together for as cheaply as possible. Our girls (who will be 9 and 10) are so excited to live together (it's like an 8 day slumber party!) and decided that matching Disney PJ's were a must. We're keeping our eyes out for Mickey PJ's that will fit our girls and grabbing them as they go on sale.

When we vacation with our friends, we typically tour together for a few hours, then separate and tour on our own, then get together again for a nice meal or a special event. We have several places we wanted to eat for this trip, so I made dining reservations last week. Most of our choices could accommodate us if we made reservations much closer to our trip, but I like to do it early so that I can pick any meal time I want instead of having to settle for what's available 30 days out. For this trip, we've reserved the Hollywood Brown Derby and Sanaa for lunch and Kona for breakfast. We've also made reservations for the Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show at the Polynesian. We want to have dinner at Be Our Guest, but even this far out there aren't any reservations available. I'm checking almost every day and have also signed up for WDW Tools (it's a Pick with Pixie Dust!), so hopefully we'll have that reservation soon.

We're going around Christmas time and just adore Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party. I read Brian McNichols' article on the Touring Plans blog about the least crowded MVMCP dates and we chose a date during our trip that appears high on that list. I bought our tickets 2 weeks ago and they came in the mail yesterday. Disney mail is the BEST mail!

I'm spending some time on Pinterest looking for a few ideas for matching shirts. For our last trip, we made iron-on Mickey head shirts like these and got lots of positive comments and had tons of fun with them. This time, we'd like to do some tie dye Mickey head shirts, so we're planning a playdate for this summer to tie dye shirts. I'm looking for a few more fun ideas.

My daughter, Monica, will turn 9 while we're down there, so I'm starting to look for a fun way to celebrate her birthday. We usually make our annual visit the week of her birthday, so celebrating her birthday down there is something she's done several times (spoiled much?) and I'm keeping my eyes out for a new and different way to celebrate. I just read this article and fell in love with the ideas!

Monica is young enough to still firmly believe in the magic of Disney so I'm gathering ideas for ways to sprinkle some extra Pixie dust on her vacation. I'm flat out stealing some of the ideas from this episode of Capturing Magic, especially the one about the basket of goodies at the resort/condo when we arrive. I always try to bring in as much magic as possible as cheaply as possible, so I'm starting to keep my eyes out for Disney stuff in the dollar sections or toys on clearance.

There are still many things to do to prepare for our trip (book airfare! Schedule Fast Pass+! Buy Memory Maker! Packing list!) but that kind of to-do list is something I like to savor and work on slowly as we count down the days. Planning for our annual trips brings so much joy into my everyday life and I'm so grateful to be married to a man who is as smitten with this magical place as I am! How far out do you start to plan for your Disney trips?