How To Plan A Spontaneous Trip to Walt Disney World in 2021

Hollywood Studios
Credit: Matthew Cooper Photography (

With our routines changed so much after a year of the pandemic, it seems weird to think that you can plan a spontaneous trip to Disney, but you can!  While there is still a small amount of pre-planning that is required, visiting Disney right now is both safe and more adaptable to your specific touring plan than it is during times of FastPass+ and Advanced Dining Reservations.  Follow these quick tips and you can still have a spontaneous trip to Disney World!


1. Ticket In Advance

It is hard to be completely spontaneous with a Disney trip and guests will need to have tickets purchased in advanced and linked to their My Disney Experience account.  You’ll also need to take note of the type of ticket that you have and what type of guest Disney classifies you as — be sure to check current ticket sales — Florida Residents currently can get a ticket to one park a day for $50 a day — much better than single day tickets that were on sale previously.

Disney Park Tickets _ buying tickets

2. Make a Park Pass Reservation

Currently Disney classifies guests as either Annual Passholders, Resort Guests, and Day Guests.  Knowing your classification is important because Disney is requiring guests to have tickets in advance, as well as make a park pass reservation through My Disney Experience.  Guests are required to do this so Disney can monitor guest levels in accordance with their capacity and social distancing guidelines.  There is a calendar on-line which will let guests and passholders know which dates are available and what parks have capacity on which ones do not.  It can be frustrating, but keep checking as Disney does occasionally add space based on occupancy rates at their resorts.


3. Check Hotel Deals

If you are planning on spending the night and going to the park for a few days, Orlando currently has some fantastic hotel deals since tourism isn’t back to the same level as pre-pandemic, so guests can find great deals both on property, as well as off — currently, guests staying on property do receive slight preference for park pass reservations, but with no Extra Magic Hours, it may not be in your interest to stay at a Disney resort as opposed to stay slightly off property and driving to the parks.

art of animation
Photo Credit Disney


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4. Mobile Order Dining

We have loved the mobile ordering feature since it was introduced, but guests must rely on it more in visiting the parks.  While some table service restaurants are open and guests can get advanced dining reservations, we love the spontaneity and fun in mobile ordering.  Guests can place their order while waiting in line for their favorite attraction or just glance at their menu as they walk by.  On our recent trip, we questioned why we hadn’t eaten more often in DinoLand at Animal Kingdom and loved scheduling a quick snack at PizzeRizzo before getting in line for Rise of the Resistance.  Being able to order so quickly and easily through the app allows meal time to be spontaneous and even would allow members of groups to get different meals from different restaurants!

5. Try New Things/Rediscover Old Favorites

With FastPass+ not functional right now (with the exception of the virtual queue requirement for Rise of the Resistance), guests will have to wait in lines, but if the lines are long, take the time to do something new or do something that you haven’t done in a while — recently, we spent a good hour and a half, relaxing, enjoying some drinks and snacks outside at the Baseline Taphouse at Hollywood Studios and escaped the mid-day sun at Animal Kingdom in the shade at the Dawa Bar.  Without the strict degree of planning required of a traditional Disney trip, we are sure that you’ll discover something that you love!

BaseLine Tap House
Photo Credit: Disney

6. Park Hop?

Recently Disney has expanded the ability of guests to park hop to a second park (provided their ticket allows for it) after 2 PM based on availability.  While park hopping does require guests to go in through the app and make a reservation like before, it is enjoyable to be able to climb aboard the Skyliner or a bus and head off to a second park again.  And based on availability, guests are forced to spontaneous since we never know what parks may be available on a day we are trying to park hop!

Skyliner at Hollywood Studios

As with any trip to Disney, you’ll need to remain a little flexible, especially with operations being impacted by the pandemic, but even with the small amount of advanced planning, guests can still have a spontaneous (and amazingly fun) trip to Disney!  Have you been since the parks opened in July?  How spontaneous was your trip?

About Tyler

Tyler is a lawyer living in South Florida who visits Disney World at least once a month. He enjoys re-living classic Disney experiences and discovering new things about the parks when he visits. Friends and family always ask him to plan their trip for maximum Disney magic!

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