So, you’ve found yourself with a little extra time and a little extra cash, and the kids have a long weekend from school. Or maybe, your plans to visit Great Uncle Ferman fell through because he’s going on a seniors cruise. Whatever the reason, you’re thinking of a last-minute trip to the Walt Disney World® Resort.
I am asked all the time about the best way to plan a last-minute trip to the World. I’ll define a last minute trip as less than two months away. Two months?! How is that last minute? Well, FastPass+ reservations can be made by on-site resort guests 60 days before they check in, so any time after the 60-day mark, you are fighting for resources.
Okay, you’re committed, you’re going to take this trip. Can it be done?
Short answer: absolutely.
Longer answer: As long as you are flexible with location and budget. The framework Disney has in place for filling its hotels allots so many stays for each length of stay. For example, your preferred resort may have a 4-night stay available, but not a 3-night stay. And no, you can’t just book the 4-night and plan to change the dates after you reserve. Disney is on to you. That cancellation process takes special permission, and it is not granted to everyone.
If you are flexible in your location and budget, you will have more options. The Deluxe resorts are usually the last to fill up. So, when all the Value and Moderate resorts are sold out, Deluxe may be available. The other thing to consider is the time of year. Value season is much easier to plan a last-minute get away than peak season, and holiday times are usually sold out well in advance.
Dining is another consideration for your last-minute trip. A last-minute trip is not the time to have your heart set on eating at O’Hana and Cinderella’s Royal Table, any more than it is the time to say “we only like to stay at Port Orleans”. Highly sought after dining locations are often booked five or more months in advance, as guests can reserve their dining tables 180 days before check in. Does that mean you won’t find what you are looking for? Not at all. It simply means, as with lodging, you need to be flexible about where you will eat and the times. This is significantly harder if your party is large. Finding a table for 8, five weeks before your trip, is likely to prove difficult. Disney has many more tables for four available, and as such those reservations are easier to come by.
If you are considering a last-minute trip, I strongly suggest contacting a travel professional that specializes in Disney Destinations. They have resources that are not available to the general public, and they have the experience to help you navigate many months’ worth of decisions in a short period of time. So, forget about Great Uncle Ferman, be flexible on your choices, and go have a magical vacation!