Planning a Last-Minute Trip to WDW, Here are Some Tips

When planning a trip to Walt Disney World, I am a planner!  I just love the planning process.  However, for some, planning a last-minute trip is essential due to work, family commitments, or budgets. Does booking a last-minute trip mean you miss out on aspects of the long planning process? Let’s find out!

Though planning well in advance is a nice relaxing approach for a lot of first-time visitors, scheduling in that last-minute trip can be just as fulfilling and certainly doesn’t mean you’ll miss out on the whole planning process, but it does mean you’ll have to do things a bit differently.

Here are a few things you should know with planning a last-minute trip to Walt Disney World.

Planning a Last-Minute Trip to WDW, Here are Some Tips

Resort Choices –  Resort availability may be limited when booking a last-minute trip, especially if you book during a busy season.  When booking, guests must go into the process with an open mind and be flexible. Though many of the popular resorts will fill up months in advance, it is still a good idea to have a handful of resorts that you wouldn’t mind staying in, but again this may not be doable depending on the time of the year and you may end up with any resort that fits your dates in mind.  Speaking of dates, you may have to play with dates especially when it comes to last-minute availability.  Sometimes switching your check-in date from a Sunday to a Monday, for instance, might open up new resort options.

Search for Discounts – Now, I know what you are thinking, “I am booking a last-minute trip, there will be no discounts available.”  Popular Disney discounts, such as FREE dining might book up within days, Disney also runs other discounts with broader availability.

Planning a Last-Minute Trip to WDW, Here are Some Tips

Advanced Dining Reservations – One of my biggest concerns for booking last-minute packages to Walt Disney World is all of the good dining reservations will be gone! There is still usually a healthy selection of dining options across the parks and resorts to choose from even with only a few weeks to spare, in fact, reservations open up daily due to guests over planning.  Guests should frequently check the My Disney Experience app for availability if are looking for a particular reservation.  However, planning a last-minute trip also gives you ability to take any reservations available for the fun of it!  It is all up to you!

FastPasses – FastPasses can be scheduled 60 days before your vacation for guests staying on Walt Disney World property using the My Disney Experience App.  However, if you book a last-minute trip it doesn’t mean you are missing out.  Guests are making, altering, and dropping reservations all the time which means that new availability can open up. Extremely popular attractions like Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and the new Pandora-themed attractions may not offer availability initially, but you may be surprised at what opens up as you near your vacation. Guest booking last-minute should continue checking the app even while you are on vacation.

Planning a Last-Minute Trip to WDW, Here are Some Tips

Magicbands – The MagicBand system allows guests staying on property to customize the colors and names engraved.  These are used to serve as your park tickets and room key while you are at the most magical place on earth.  Many people planning last-minute vacations worry that they won’t have enough time to customize their bands and have them shipped out to them before they arrive at Disney.  MagicBand customizations can be pretty last-minute.  Here’s a breakdown.

  • MagicBands customized at least 11 days before you arrive at your Disney Resort hotel, it will be shipped to your home.
  • MagicBands customized between 10 days and 6 days before you arrive at your Disney Resort hotel, you will receive it when you arrive at your Disney Resort hotel.
  • MagicBands customized 5 days or less before your arrival will receive a non-customized MagicBand when you arrive at your Disney Resort hotel.

Magical Express – Guests using the Magical Express still have the option to use the service and have your luggage picked up if there is not enough time to send out luggage tags. Guests can visit the Magical Express check-in kiosk at Orlando International Airport without pre-booking and take advantage of this free service provided you show proof you are staying on-site.

We hope this was helpful for planning a last-minute trip to Walt Disney World.  Is there anything we missed? Tell us in the comments!

Planning a Last-Minute Trip to WDW, Here are Some Tips 1

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Jessica Jones