This fall, my fiancee and I found a discount for Chase Visa members on select Disney hotels in August. Then, we found roundtrip flights for around $100 a person. This is how we ended up (very excitedly!) booking a trip to Walt Disney World 3 weeks before our visit! It was stressful at first, but it was mostly enthusiasm and adrenaline – and definitely wouldn’t have been possible had I not been to the park dozens of times before. I’m here to tell you that planning a last-minute trip is not only possible but fun too!
Step 1: Plan time to plan.
The first thing we did after booking our trip was set aside a time within the following two days to map out every day of our vacation. The best thing to do is to get it all done in one go. Here’s a checklist of everything we knocked out at a coffee shop that night:
- Select and book dining reservations
- Reserve Fastpasses
- Personalize Magic Bands
- Create an Attraction Priority List (see step 2)
Step 2: Prioritize!
The best thing I’ve ever done for every trip I’ve taken to WDW is to create a priority list with the rest of my party. Ask questions to everyone else who’s going about what they care about and I really mean ask about everything!
I suggest placing every ride/show/streetmosphere experience into a category:
- Priority 1 – “we HAVE to do this”
- Priority 2 – “I’d like to do it, but there won’t be tears if we miss out”
- Priority 3 – “I’m okay if we skip this”
This sets expectations – not that you won’t ride something that’s Priority 3 – but it keeps people from leaving at the end of the day going, “Maaaaan, I REALLY wanted to be able to ride that!”
Creating this list was also immensely helpful as it had been my fiancee’s first trip in 15 years – it got her excited and helped me plan what she might enjoy the most! It’s also a tried and true strategy from visiting with my mom and sister – we discovered that we didn’t have a ton of “must-do’s” at Magic Kingdom during a one-day visit. This meant we worked in splitting parks with a park hopper and ended our evening in Epcot and made the most out of our day.
Step 3: Shop, shop, shop
Once I’d finished my lists and booked our fastpasses – I realized I had some packing planning to do! Typically I order custom buttons or shirts before taking a trip and I definitely wish I’d been on top of this for this trip, but I know for next time! The next question to ask yourself is “What do you need before you go?” If I had ordered shirts and buttons that day, my items definitely would have arrived in time to pack.
Also, consider what kind of travel items you need to stock up on from your previous trip – we only had two weekends to buy travel-size toiletries and make sure we were all set on theme park footwear – I’d highly recommend shopping prep be your next priority.
All in all, we had a wonderful time – and knocked out everything we planned! If my strategies still sound too stressful, never fear – you can book with Patricia from All for Dreams Travel, the OFFICIAL travel agent of Tips from the Disney Divas & Devos!