Admittedly, it is a bit early to start planning our 2016 trip; however:
a) it is important to know what we are doing so we can figure out how much we need to save
b) you can begin making reservations for Disney incredibly early. For example, if you stay on site, you can book your dining reservations 180 days (6 months) in advance. In fact, if you want to go to any of the “hot” restaurants (such as Be Our Guest or Cinderella’s Royal Table) you HAVE to book 180 days in advance (or pray for a cancellation),
c) (most importantly) it’s fun
Because we are so far in advance, though, I am doing some non-critical planning. This is also known as playing with spreadsheets. I’m currently using this book to make a spreadsheet with every restaurant categorized by park and price range.
While I prefer the Unofficial Guide for most of my needs, I like the organization and classification of restaurants better in the Official Guide (it’s also prettier to look at). Since I’m just looking for a general ballpark this will do.
My plan for this spreadsheet is to check off the ones we’ve already been to, and then choose our next set of restaurants, from the ones we haven’t been to, based on cost. We plan to check off mostly cheaper ones (again) with the idea that in the future we’ll have more to spend on vacations. We are using the same idea for our resort selection.
Once I have our places (with backups!) selected I can estimate our cost, and therefore estimate what we will need to save for our dining budget.