Most of my Disney World advice stems from booking well in advance of your arrival date. So what if that’s not possible or you just didn’t know? Well fear not, there are still some great opportunities to plan a last minute or soon-ish Disney World trip without too much difficulty. In the most ideal world, it would be in your best interest to book your vacation package a minimum of 60 days prior to your arrival. This will allow you to take full advantage of FastPass+ reservations! I completely understand that based on work related responsibilities, many guests don’t know their vacation dates until you are 30-60 days out Or thinking about this time of year, wanting to travel in spring but waiting for that tax return to come in to make payment!
Looking for rates. First check discounts. If no reasonable options are available, check the non-discounted costs. At times there are some moderate resorts that will save you more money than available discounted rooms. Sounds strange, but it’s true! At Caribbean Beach for example, you may only see a pirate themed room available under promotional offers (fun theme but double beds and an elevated price point – they aren’t for me!) Popping over to the rack or non-discounted rates a standard or water view room may be more cost effective!
First, are you more than 30 days from your arrival or less than 30 days from your arrival? The major difference between these two dates is whether you will be required to pay in full when you book your vacation or are able to make a smaller deposit while you gather up funds for your final payment.
Uh oh! I’m within 30 days but I don’t have $3000 to spend at this exact moment, is there anything you can do to help? Sure! There are a few different ways to get around this. First, Disney is willing to work with most guests who have daily credit card limits that they can’t get around. While the 30 day mark is a pretty set in stone date for booking, if it comes down to it, you’ll often get a grace period of a day or two. Disney understands that people lead busy lives so that grace is really in there in case a guest truly just forgot that their final payment date was coming up! You can also start with a smaller package and upgrade. Leave the dining plan off for temporary purposes or pick base tickets instead of park hoppers for the short term. That will lower your total package cost and you can always add thing to your package and Disney will waive the change fee (exception: if you are within 14 days of your arrival, Disney will require you to pay a $15 change fee no matter what).
Now for the overwhelming part! So you’ve booked your trip, there’s a lot to do in a very short period of time!
- Choose your theme parks each day. Check Disney’s web site for park hours and use the appropriate strategy
- Check for dining reservations. While most of the extremely popular options are likely gone, you’ll be able to find some fun choices and even some character meals! You may even get lucky as I mentally start to try and shore up guests final plans around the 30 day mark prior to arrival. So if they are thinking about dropping a dining reservation, I like to talk about it around that time frame. If you are persistent, you may even get those top choice reservations within a few days of your arrival with last minute changes to other guests plans!
- Book your FastPasses at 60 days out – if you’re within that time frame, book now! You can still get what you’re looking for even in the short time frame. There are some creative methods like splitting parties into overlapping FastPass times to get those morning FastPasses instead of waiting for evenings or taking what you can get now and hoping for the best later!
- Customize your MagicBands! Make sure you have them done 30 days prior to your arrival as that’s the ideal time to ship. If you are within 12 days of arrival, they will ship right to your resort so you don’t miss them in the customization and transit process!
Thankfully, you don’t have the long, painful wait until your trip. You can get excited, pack, and head for the happiest place in Florida (and the kids won’t drive you crazy asking if it’s time to go to Disney yet!)
Ready to get started planning your 2016 Disney World vacation? Please contact me at any time for a free quote. The benefits to using an authorized Disney vacation planner include saving time before and during your vacation with itinerary planning which can help save you hours of standing in line each day. Plus you won’t have to watch for available discounts, research resorts, wake up early for dining reservations, or stay up late for FastPasses. The best part about using a travel planner instead of planning yourself? It’s totally FREE! Plus I’ll take away some of the stress and confusion of planning a Disney vacation (especially if it’s your first one!)It’s also a worry free vacation opportunity. I’ll walk through through all of the steps to the process with a few little insider tips along the way! If you already have your vacation planned and are interested in transferring your vacation, ask me how!