Making dining reservations in advance is highly recommended, especially since you can start making reservations 180 days out from the start of your vacation. Many popular restaurants, such as Be Our Guest and Cinderella’s Royal Table, get booked up quickly, so it definitely makes a difference to book early. You can also check for cancellations closer to the day you want to dine as it does happen sometimes. I’ve gotten into Be Our Guest a few times just by checking a day or two beforehand! You can also make reservations for special dining, such as the Spirit of Aloha show at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort or any of the dessert parties for Magic Kingdom or Epcot.
This should go without saying, but you should definitely be booking your hotel well in advance! Whether you choose to stay on property or off property, booking far enough out will ensure you get the best deal. Often times, Disney will run deals for the summer and the fall for rooms and even include the free dining offer, so do some research and see what your budget will allow! However, if you can’t swing it, there are great hotels right near the parks that offer shuttle service, free breakfast and pretty comfortable beds!
With all of the changes in ticket prices, I would highly suggest getting your tickets before you visit Walt Disney World instead of waiting until you get to the park. Disney now does tier ticket pricing, meaning that based on the expected crowd levels you’ll either pay more or less. Buying your tickets in advance allows you to try and plan your trip when the tickets will be at their lowest, if at all possible. In addition, if you’re visiting during the fall/winter months, you’ll want to get tickets for the parties at Magic Kingdom before they sell out!