Main entrance to Disney Yacht Club

The Top Five Last Minute Disney Vacation Planning Tips

Most people plan a Disney World vacation months, or even years, in advance. Planning a vacation like this allows for plenty of time to make dining and FastPass+ reservations and collect everything you need.

However, some vacationers don’t have that luxury.

Perhaps your schedule changes and a vacation that was supposed to be a couple months away has to be moved up a couple weeks. Maybe you find a really good deal on airline tickets and decide that you’re going to head to Disney World tomorrow.

Whatever the reasoning, it’s possible to plan a successful Disney vacation at the last minute with some good planning. Let’s look at the top five tips for planning a last minute Disney Vacation!

1. Be Flexible with Accommodations

Some Disney resort hotels will book up months in advance. If you’re having trouble finding a resort for the dates you want, consider changing your dates. Being flexible, or moving dates backwards or forwards a day in either direction, can be the key to getting in at your first choice resort.

If this doesn’t work, consider a split stay, when you stay at two or more resorts throughout your vacation. This can take some time because you can only book one resort at a time online. In this case, it might be easier to call and talk to a Disney Representative who can do this much more easily.

As a side note, if you decide to split your stay between resorts, let your hotel know; they offer complimentary luggage transfer within the resort.  This can actually be a fun part of your vacation.

Deluxe resorts are smaller and often book up faster; try splitting your stay between your deluxe resort of choice and a moderate or value resort with a larger capacity.
Deluxe resorts are smaller and often book up faster; try splitting your stay between your deluxe resort of choice and a moderate or value resort with a larger capacity.

2. Customize your MagicBands

If your vacation is 11 days or more away, you can choose your preferred color and nickname of MagicBand for everyone in your party. These MagicBands will be mailed to your home. A vacation six to ten days away will still allow for customization, but you’ll have to pick them up at the front desk of your hotel. It’s important to customize your MagicBands because you may receive some fun surprises throughout your vacation, potentially including coupons for specific activities.

A vacation less than five days away does not allow for any customization, and you’ll receive your MagicBand when you check in.

MagicBands provide access to your room, the parks, and your FastPass+ reservations. You can also pay for souvenirs and dining whether you’re paying cash or you’re on the Disney Dining Plan.

3. Send necessities to your hotel

So many people are hooked on Amazon Prime these days, and that two-day shipping just can’t be beat. Did you know that you can place an order on Amazon Prime (or any other online shopping location for that matter) and ship it to your Disney Resort Hotel? It’s true, and it’s a cool tip!

Instead of running out to the store, place an order for everything you need – from shampoo and diapers to snacks and a case of water – and ship the box to your hotel. Disney will charge you a per package fee, but it’s still a pretty good deal considering the shipping was free.  It’s convenient, and you will save money compared to buying items on Disney property.

If you do this, your delivery address field should include “guest” plus your reservation number and arrival date so Disney knows who the package belongs to.

4. Think about dining

Advanced Dining Reservations can be made 180 days in advance, but with a last minute vacation you will have fewer options.

Fortunately, thanks to MyDisneyExperience, you can view all open reservations and book them right from your smart phone regardless of how far away your vacation is.

If you can’t find the dining reservation you want, don’t give up. Guests often book more dining reservations than they’ll use so they have options. When trying to get in at a restaurant that’s full, check first thing in the morning and ask in person at the front desk for the most up-to-date availability.

Disney World has some delicious quick-service dining like this dish at Satu'li Canteen in Disney's Animal Kingdom.
Disney World has some delicious quick-service dining like this dish at Satu’li Canteen in Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

If all else fails, don’t forget about quick-service dining. Most of Disney’s counter-service restaurants are well above “fast-food” with themed dishes for each land and delicious options for those with dietary restrictions. Picky eaters can find familiar foods too.

If your vacation is really last minute and table-service dining is not an option, rest assured that you will have plenty of access to tasty, healthy food throughout your vacation.

5. Use MyDisneyExperience

The MyDisneyExperience app is great for anyone visiting Disney World, but it’s essential for those planning last minute. You can snag available FastPass+ attractions and check wait times for attractions you couldn’t get a FP+ for, and you can search for dining reservations right from your app. Keep checking – you just might be surprised what you will find!

What’s more, since you probably didn’t have time to review park and resort maps, MyDisneyExperience will help you find your way around wherever you are.

Have you taken a last minute vacation to Disney World?