For many of us, the planning part of the Walt Disney World experience is just as awesome, satisfying (and important) as the actual vacation itself! The planning typically starts months in advance, all perfectly orchestrated with specific deadlines and dates for each critical piece of the puzzle. And for any of us planner, there wouldn’t be any other way to do it! But there may come a time when we don’t have the luxury of 6 months or more to plan the perfect vacation. We may only have a few weeks, or even a few days. Then what?!
It may seem overwhelming because there isn’t a lot of time to pull things together, but what many don’t realize is sometimes the last-minute, unplanned trips to Walt Disney World turn out to be even better than if you planned for months! You know why? Because there aren’t as many expectations – the number one goal is to have fun and do as much as you possibly can in the short amount of time you have. So let’s discuss my top 5 tips for planning your “unplanned” trip to the most Magical Place on Earth!
(1) HAVE A PLAN
Ok, so I know I said the best trips are the “unplanned” ones, but go with me here. You may not have to plan every FP+ or dining reservation down to every minute of your day, but you should have a general idea of what you want to see and do in the amount of time you have.
Check to see what parks have Extra Magic Hours and take advantage of those. Since you may not have FP+s reserved or have limited time in the parks, so make the most of the extra hours and maximize your time. I suggest making a list of the attractions or shows you want to see and do, so you don’t forget anything.
Check out all of the dining options ahead of time using the My Disney Experience app. Look at menus and decide what looks good to you. This way, when you get hungry in the parks, you know what options you have. Since it’s last minute, you may not have any luck scoring a hard-to-get table service reservation, but there are plenty of quick service options in the parks that serve really good food (dare I say, some even better than table service!).
(2) BE PERSISTENT
As with booking anything, being persistent is key if you are looking for something in particular. Whether it’s the hotel, FP+s, or dining reservations, if there is something you want, don’t give up trying!
When booking your hotel, if you don’t see the hotel options you are looking for on the website, I would suggest calling. Sometimes the Cast Members can see availabilities that you can’t see on the website and they’ll be able to book it for you. It’s always worth a shot if you don’t see what you want on the website.
When making dining and FP+s reservations, here’s the key, keep refreshing the My Disney Experience app! People cancel ALL THE TIME! So, something is bound to come up! It may not be the exact time you want, but it will probably be close enough! 95% of the time, you will end up getting what you want (or close) if you become a little bit obsessive about it!
(3) BE FLEXIBLE
There are times you may not get everything you want, or are looking for, despite your persistence! You need to remain flexible. Remember, this is a last-minute trip you are booking, so the options are fewer in some cases, no matter how you spin it. Having a “go with the flow” attitude is essential.
It’s OK to stay at a Value Resort, and it’s OK to eat at a quick service – even if you had your heart set on a Deluxe Resort and table service.
After all, you are at WALT DISNEY WORLD! So, it’s all good! It’s all about your state of mind, remain positive and don’t stress over the little things.
(4) BE REALISTIC
I started out this top 5 by saying you should have a plan or at least an idea of what you’d like to do while at Walt Disney World, for the limited time you are there. But remember, I also mentioned because it’s late in the game, it may be hard to snag those ever-popular FP+ reservations for that ever-popular attraction. That means you will be waiting standby, which may mean extra-long lines. Which ultimately means taking up more time in your day.
Now, if that is what you want to do, by all means, go for it! But if you have a laundry list of things you want to see and do, you may need to be realistic depending on how much time you have. Prioritize the list, use the My Disney Experience app to check wait times, adjust as you go. Don’t be upset if you have to cut something off the list. If it’s a busy time of year at the parks, it may be difficult to do everything on the list.
(5) HAVE FUN!
Last, but certainly not least, and what I think is most important…HAVE FUN!!! You are in Walt Disney World, at the Most Magical Place on Earth! Life doesn’t get any better, so enjoy and soak in every moment! Don’t sweat the small stuff. Everything will work itself out, and where Disney can step in and help make some magic, they will!
Your quickly planned trip may not be perfect, or as well polished as a trip you planned for 8 months, but it’s the perfect trip for this moment in time! Every trip has its own special memories, and this one will be no different!
For more tips and tricks for planning your magical vacation, visit adisneystateofmind.com!