How Best to Experience Disney If You Haven't Planned Ahead

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Have you just booked a last minute trip, or perhaps didn’t realize the level of planning that can go into a Disney trip?  Not to worry. You can still have an absolutely magical vacation, and we’re going to tell you how to do it! True, last minute planning takes many of our regular recommendations out of the equation.  Making dining reservations at 180 days in advance and scheduling Fast Passes 30 or 60 days before your trip- not happening. Planning park touring days and itineraries around those reservations- nope!  Here are some tips that will help you maximize your enjoyment of Walt Disney World, even if you haven’t been planning for months.

Before we get into the tips, a word for the anti-planners:   if you didn’t plan because you just don’t love the idea of planning being such a big part of a “relaxing” vacation, then by all means, just go with the flow and do whatever you feel like!  We emphasize planning and maximizing your time in the parks, but totally respect a carefree attitude. Everyone vacations differently, and if you haven’t been planning for months then you probably aren’t even aware of what you might miss out on- and that’s a really admirable way to just soak it all in and relax!  

1.  First things first: Book your accommodations

If you’re hoping to stay on-site at Walt Disney World, you’ll want to book as far in advance as possible.  Resorts do sell out. Your best bet is to call Disney directly or check in with a Certified Disney Travel Planner like Mickey Travels and see what’s available, especially as you get closer to your preferred trip dates.  f there are no on-site accomodations available, or you prefer to save some money, take a look at Disney’s approved “Good Neighbor” hotels, which are sometimes afforded perks such as Extra Magic Hours and 60-day fastpass booking windows.  There are many good choices located near Disney Springs!

2.  Download the My Disney Experience app

Even if you’ve done zero planning, be sure to download the My Disney Experience app on your flight to Florida or when you stop for a driving break.  The app will let you make some last minute reservations and Fast Passes (see below) and will provide you with park maps, times guides, and attraction wait times.  All of this information is very useful in helping you plan as you go. Get familiar with the app before you enter the parks.

3.  Book Fast Passes in the My Disney Experience app

You don’t have to secure Fast Passes months in advance; you can still enjoy many attractions with day-of Fast Passes.   That being said, make Fast Passes ASAP, whether you’re traveling in 2 weeks or 20 minutes. Yes, getting Fast Passes is worth it no matter what, even if that means securing a few in the morning from your mobile device while your family gets ready.  The FastPass + system helps you enjoy more attractions in less time, and there’s no prize for doing the parks without FastPasses! Some rides won’t be available this late in the game- the newest headliners in each park, like Flights of Passage, Slinky Dog Dash, and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train  are going to be tough to come by even 30 or 60 days in advance, but it’s not unheard of to refresh your app and see one pop up.

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BONUS TIP: Consider planning and booking your next Disney trip with an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner you can trust like Mickey Travels. They’ll help you get the best Disney travel deal, share expert advice and their services are totally FREE! It’s genius!