A couple weeks ago I had a coworker ask me for some Disney World vacation advice. After sitting down with her, it was determined that she wanted to visit by the end of April. Meaning she has a full year of planning ahead of her. We got this, right? Wrong. Turns out she wants to go in April 2016. Was this possible, she asked? There was still plenty of time to plan, arrange and snag things correct? The answer is yes. But you will have to do a couple of things in order to get just what you want while you are on vacation. Here are a couple of suggestions to get you started on planning a last minute trip to the most magical place on Earth:
Do your homework:
A last minute trip requires you to know what you want ahead of time in order to do the things you consider your “must do” list. There are several websites, from Disney World’s official site to planning sites that are there to help you. That way when you are fully ready to set things up, you will know exactly what you are looking at and what you want to do.
Rooms and timing:
While there is usually plenty of room on property, the closer you book to check-in time, the harder it is to find those rooms. Be prepared to reserve a room in a hotel that wasn’t at the top of your list or change hotels mid way through your stay. It is a great way to check out a resort you haven’t been to before, or wasn’t on your radar to begin with.
Be understanding and flexible:
With advanced dining reservations opening up at 180 days to go for those guests staying on property, by the time you hit under 60 days to go the chances that some of the restaurants you want to try are already taken. ‘Ohana, Be Our Guest Restaurant and Cinderella’s Royal Table are a couple that fill up fast, so be aware you may have a hard time getting exactly what you want. It is not impossible however to snag reservations but keep an open mind. Try another day, or have a late lunch/early dinner instead of going during peak dinner crowd times. Also, from time to time, places do have cancellations, in which they open that time back up. Make sure to keep checking back daily. A great way to do so is by checking the MyDisneyExperience app. You never know you just may find yourself in luck.
If you do a last minute trip at around 60 days you may find a little luck where the Fastpass+ is concerned. But if you plan it less than 60 days to go, the same rule applies, be flexible. Chances are you very well may have a lot of choices and selections to go with, but the times just may not be as readily available. Play around; see what you can come up with.
Be ready to pay:
If you decide to do a Disney vacation package keep in mind there is a $200 deposit within 3 days of reserving your package. However, if you are booking on DisneyWorld.com, the deposit is due at time of booking. The final payment is the entire remainder of your balance, which is due 30 days before check-in. If you book your vacation with less than 30 days to go, you will have to pay the entire balance right away.
If you do a room only option, you must pay for the first night within 3 days or if you are booking on Disneyworld.com, then it is due at time of booking. The remainder is due at check-in. Again; if you book through DisneyWorld.com with less than 30 days the entire payment is due when you book.
If you are a DVC member
If you are a DVC member, make sure to check out the last minute section on DVCMember.com. In which they have a list of available rooms in the next 60 days that you can book. It comes in quite handy if you are looking to book a last minute getaway.
Set up Magical Express
Flying? The moment you find out your information, make sure to set up the Magical Express. Most of the time you will be able to get things scheduled for your flights and will have the chance to get the packet from Disney that contains bus boarding passes and luggage tags that help your bags magically show up in your Disney hotel room after you land. However, if you are doing it with 10 days you may have to head to the Magical Express counter at the airport.
Planning within the 60 days to go window can be a lot of fun, and stressful at the same time. Remember the planning part is half the fun, and with a little bit of patience and flexibility you will do just fine.
What is the closest you have planned your Walt Disney World vacation to your actual check in date?