Top 8 Tips For Planning A Last Minute Disney World Trip
Hello ladies and gents! Today I want to talk about planning a last minute trip to Walt Disney World. I have mentioned before that a lot of people book Walt Disney World vacations months in advance. Dining can be booked 6 months early and FastPasses can be booked up to 2 months early. BUT, that does not mean that all is lost if you are not booking your trip 6 months or more out. There are plenty of tips that can make a last minute trip a great experience. Let’s take a look at my top tips below.
- Be Flexible – this is my number one tip for anyone that wants to plan a last minute trip. You may not be able to get the exact resort, fastpass, or dining reservation you want, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t going to be 100 other options that are just as fun for you and your party. If you keep that in mind it will avoid disappointment and you will have a great time!
- Booking FastPasses and Dining Reservations – Just because you are booking last minute does not mean there won’t be any fastpasses or dining reservations left. Check it out and book what you can. If you don’t get what you want, KEEP CHECKING! People tend to cancel or change their reservations up to the day before or day of. This is especially true with dining reservation because you get charged a fee if you don’t cancel within 24 hours of the reservation. If you keep checking you may be surprised at what you can snag. Also make sure you are booking Fastpasses for as early as possible. Once you have used all three of your original passes you can continue adding them throughout the day.
- Arrive to the Parks Early – Arriving when the park opens allows you to get to the most popular attractions before the lines form. This is a way to get on the rides you couldn’t get fastpasses for without waiting hours.
- Disney’s Magical Express – The Magical Express is a shuttle service to and from the airport and your resort. This is included when you stay at a Disney resort. A lot of people believe that if you do not book your trip a couple of months out than you cannot use this service. However, you can book last minute and still use Magical Express. You will have to bring your plane ticket and your baggage stubs to the check in counter for the Magical Express instead of receiving your luggage tags in the mail, but that is the only difference between booking early and booking later.
- MagicBands – Guests who stay on Disney Property also get a complimentary MagicBand which acts as your room key, park tickets, fastpasses, and even a payment method. Just because you book last minute does not mean you do not get your bands! You can customize your MagicBands through My Disney Experience up to 11 days prior to your trip and Disney will mail it to you. If you customize after 10 days it will be waiting for you at the resort upon check in. If you book under 5 days prior then you will be given a plain grey band at check in.
- Resorts – Disney has 31 different resort options on property (not including the non-disney owned resorts that are within the Disney gates). This gives you ample options for a last minute trip. Be flexible with where you are willing to stay. There should be plenty of rooms available within your budget, but it may not be your first choice. That being said, there are NO bad Disney resorts. They are all wonderful options and your party will be happy with any of them. Depending on time of year you may even be able to snag a discount, even for last minute trips!
- Go during a party or after hours event – To really maximize your time in the park, try hitting a party like Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, or an afterhours event. This can get you optimal park time with fewer crowds and less wait times. You can skip a regular park ticket that day and instead purchase the event ticket. These tickets usually let you in a few hours before the party and beforehand you can check out Disney Springs, or your resort pool.
- Use a travel agent – If the above seems like a lot of information, look into using a travel agent! They are generally no cost to you and they can give you the best options for your family within your budget. They can even book dining and fastpasses for you so all you need to do is show up.
These are my top tips for planning a last minute trip to WDW. Just remember to be flexible and have fun with what you can get to during your trip! What are your thoughts on last minute trips? Let me know in the comments.