Many of us have taken a trip to Walt Disney World that involved months or even years of careful planning and preparation. So what happens when a last-minute opportunity to visit comes up? Can you manage to plan a trip that is less than 10 days away? I truly believe that it can be done because I have done it and lived to tell about it! To make it happen, you will need a plan to, well, plan. Here are some easy steps to help you do that!
Step 1-Don’t panic!
So you have 10 days or less to plan your trip. No big deal. You can do this!
Make good use of all available planning resources such as the tips and tricks found here on The Mouse for Less site. The Walt Disney World website also holds a multitude of helpful information. If you have a friend that travels to Walt Disney World frequently, perhaps they will be willing to help you sort out all of your trip details. Take your planning one step at a time and before you know it, you will be all set!
Step 2-Prepare to be flexible
Guests have the option to reserve dining 180 days in advance. Those staying on Disney property have the option to book FastPasses 60 days in advance. Because of this, if you are planning a trip within the next week or two, you will probably find that your choices are more limited. This might sound frustrating at first, but don’t fret, you will still have many options! Don’t let that one hard-to-get dining reservation or FastPass stress you out.
Step 3-Choose a place to stay
First, you will need to decide if you want to search for on property or off property options. Maybe both! The Disney website will be very helpful in giving you an idea of which resorts still have availability. The Disney Springs area is also a convenient place to stay if the on-site hotel you were hoping for isn’t available. If you plan to stay off-site, there are many hotel search sites that can help you narrow down options.
Step 4-Plan your transportation
Will you be driving to Walt Disney World? Flying? Taking some other form of transportation? Make sure your plan is in place and you book any tickets that you will need for your family. If you are not driving to Walt Disney World, don’t forget to plan transportation from the airport to your hotel.
Step 5-Secure tickets if you have not done so already
Last minute trips are typically easier for Annual Passholders to plan because this step is already taken care of. If you aren’t a Passholder though, don’t worry, you can still make this work. Take a look and decide what type of tickets and how many days you will need for your family. You can purchase tickets online or call to speak with a Cast Member.
One key element to purchasing tickets is deciding which parks you plan to visit. How many days you plan to stay will also affect the cost of your tickets. For example: A one-day Magic Kingdom ticket varies in price from the other parks. The cost per day also tends to decrease on multi-day tickets. Consider these things prior to purchasing.
Step 6-Check dining options
Many restaurants may still have availability even this late in the game. To avoid a $10 charge per person, dining reservations must be cancelled at least 24 hours in advance. Use this knowledge to your advantage! Many guests change their dining plans 24-48 before their reservations. Check often in those days just before your trip and you may be able to snag a reservation someone has dropped.
Step 7-Book FastPasses
Even a few days prior to a trip, you will probably find that many FastPasses are still available. I have managed to get FastPasses for attractions like Frozen Ever After and the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train the day before or even the day of my trip by checking often or breaking my party into smaller groups and searching for overlapping FastPass times. After checking My Disney Experience diligently, I was even lucky enough to grab the most coveted of FastPasses, Animal Kingdom’s Flight of Passage, a few days before my trip. Keep checking.
Step 8-Take a deep breath!
OK, you’ve made it through the stressful parts. You’ve secured your lodging and tickets. You’ve booked dining and FastPasses. Take a moment to relax and pat yourself on the back for your quick and savvy planning.
Step 9-Pack and do last minute checks for FastPasses/dining
Make a list of what you need to bring so that you don’t forget the essentials. Sunscreen, ponchos or rain jackets, and comfortable shoes/clothing should always be on your packing list.
As you are making your list and checking it twice, take a break to look online or on the My Disney Experience app for any dining reservations you weren’t able to grab the first time around. Today just might be the day that a Be Our Guest reservation opens up!
Do you want to shuffle around some FastPasses? Here’s your chance. If you have a drive or flight ahead of you, you can always use that time for last minute checking as well (as long as you are not the driver, of course).
Step 10-Head out the door!
It should come as no surprise that those 10 days or less are going to fly by and you will be on your way to Walt Disney World before you know it. Do one last check over those suitcases and be on your way!
Bonus step: Relax, enjoy your vacation, and go with the flow
Planning on short notice can be hectic and stressful. Now that you have made it to Walt Disney World, don’t let that stress carry over into your vacation. Enjoy it! You’ve earned it!
Have you planned a last-minute vacation to Walt Disney World? Share your thoughts and tips for planning in the comments,or on Facebook or Twitter.
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I am a Florida native and a life-long Disney fan. I have visited Walt Disney World more times than I can count, but I always find myself looking forward to my next trip! I also enjoy reading, baking, and kayaking in my spare time. Follow me on Twitter-@tinkerbellteeny