Last Minute Planning: Disney World - PassPorter.com
PassPorter.com
Award-winning travel guidebooks
Home Florida - Walt Disney World Caribbean - Disney Cruise Line California - Disneyland Resort Anywhere and Everywhere! Travelers Store Message Boards PassPorter's Club Help!
  About Us  |  Customs Office   |   Register Your Book   |   Book Updates   |  Newsletter  |  Articles  |  Photos  |   Follow Us on
       LINKS
       ARTICLES
WDW Planning Articles
A Treat for the Senses
A Year at Walt Disney World
Arrival Day at Walt Disney World
Baby Steps
Budget Disney World Lodging
Budget Disney World Souvenirs
Budget Disney World Tickets
Budget Disney World Transportation
Budget Your Disney Trip
Counting Down to Disney (Part 1)
Counting Down to Disney (Part 2)
Disney + Disabilities = Magic!
Disney Dreaming
Disney Dreaming With Kids
Disney Tech Primer - Part 1
Disney World 101 Quiz - Part 1
Disney World 101 Quiz - Part 2
Dreaming of Disney World
Emergencies While at Walt Disney World
Enjoying the Peace at Disney
Finding Answers
Finding Relaxation at Walt Disney World
Five Tips for a Trouble Free Trip
Getting There is Half the Fun
Greener Walt Disney World
Helping Plan A First Trip to Disney
How to Catch a Deal at Disney
Last Minute Planning
Lessons Learned
Making the Most of Walt Disney World
Mickey Mouse as Motivation
Mickey Mouse's Masterpieces
My Disney Mistakes - Part 3
Packing for Winter Weather at Walt Disney World
Planning Makes the Magic Happen
Planning Your First Trip to a New Park
Planning Your Walt Disney World Vacation
Pregnant At The Mouse House
Pregnant at Walt Disney World
Preparing Your Child For a Walt Disney World Vacation
Pros and Cons of the Magic Your Way Premium Plan
Safe Disney Travels with Kids
Saving Money for Disney
Season Survival Guide
Taking a Toddler To Walt Disney World
Taking a Toddler To Walt Disney World
Taking Kids Out of School For a Disney Trip
Taking the Grandkids
Taking Toddlers to Walt Disney World
Taming the Beast
The Art of Packing
The Disney Rumor Round-Up
The FASTPASS System
The Kids Are In Charge
The Magic of Slowing Down
The More, The Mickey-er
The Never Land Club
The Reluctant Mouseketeer
There's an App For That - Part 1
Tips for a Disney 'Newbie'
Tips for Traveling
Toddlers to Teenagers
Using Technology to Plan Your Disney Trips
Walt Disney World for Veteran Visitors
Walt Disney World With Teens? Absolutely!
What - No Parks?
What Keeps Us Coming Back to Disney?

WDW Traveling Articles

WDW Lodging Articles

WDW Touring Articles

WDW Dining Articles

WDW Making Magic Articles

WDW General Travel Articles

View all PassPorter articles
PassPorter's
Article Tools
Print Article
Download PDF
View Photos
Visit Forum

Last Minute Planning: Disney World

Walt Disney World photo
by Mary Albright, PassPorter Guest Contributor
Last modified 5/8/2008
  

Cool Tip: Click here to get a FREE PDF version of this article, fully formatted to print and put into your PassPorter Deluxe Binder!


Filed in Articles > Walt Disney World > Planning  

You probably read the title of this article and said to yourself, "No, you can't!" Like so many of you, I am a serious, Type-A, obsessed vacation planner when it comes to visiting Walt Disney World. I don't plan last minute trips. I usually plan at least a year out. I like being in control of everything.


I went to Walt Disney World in early December 2007 for a week. Usually, I'm good for a while after a trip. I have a little withdrawal that I can hold in check. But this winter was driving me crazy and I felt like I needed to get the heck out of Dodge! Then they announced that Mickey's Pirate and Princess Party was back for 2008. Argh!

I've always wanted to make it to one of these parties. But they have usually happened right after the New Year, after our usual December pilgrimage, and in August, which are just not times we usually travel to Florida.

So, after having mooned over the fact that the Pirate and Princess Parties ended in early March and that I'd not have a chance to go, what does Disney do? They extend into June! More importantly, they extend through the first week of April, which happens to be Spring Break for my kids. My biggest obstacles in the past were that it was too hard to sneak down for even a weekend because 1) I just went in December and would feel guilty spending money to go back so soon; 2) These parties just weren't coinciding with the days my kids did have off; 3) When they occured when my kids had school off, it was a high priced travel time, like over Daytona 500 weekend.

Now remember who you are talking to; I normally plan my trips AT LEAST one year in advance. I'm slightly obsessive-compulsive, more than slightly Type A. Planning is part and parcel of who I am. Last minute trips like this ... six weeks away ... are totally last minute to me. What was I going to do?

Accommodations: Thank goodness for Disney Vacation Club (DVC). No stress about laying out the cash for a hotel room when you have points around. I called up Member Services on February 14. I thought perhaps that with April still being a busier time, I might be out of luck, but was crossing my fingers that since it was past Easter and past the prime Spring Break times, I'd get lucky. And I did! I scored a one-bedroom villa at Saratoga Springs Resort (SSR) right away. I also chose to be waitlisted for the Beach Club Villas (BCV) and Animal Kingdom Villas (AKV), but had no illusions about either one coming through.

Getting there: I'm in Minnesota. Anyone who can, flees the state over Spring Break. I expected that maybe flights would be full or overpriced and keep me from going. Wrong again. I got flights on Northwest Airlines that met my time requirements, and at what I thought was a reasonable price considering I was looking only six weeks out over a busy travel period. I got airfare for $303 per person and I had a few vouchers from bumps I took on a business trip earlier this year. Essentially, I had next-to-free airfare.



Aerial view of Saratoga Springs Resort photo
Aerial view of Saratoga Springs Resort

Aerial view of Saratoga Springs Resort from Downtown Disney, taken from the helium balloon - photo by alisonhinsley

Dining: Since we were only going to be there for 3 nights/4 days, I wasn't going to make a ton of dining reservations. We planned on doing counter service or eating in the villa most of the time, but I wanted to try for one dinner. Originally, I was hoping to get into 'Ohana, but when I called on February 16, the earliest dining time available for my party size was 8:30 pm, too late for us. We all do better when we eat on a normal schedule and it makes vacation more enjoyable for everyone. However, I was able to get a reservation for Boma - one of my personal favorites - for 5:45 pm on April 2.

On February 19, I was thinking it might be nice to sit down to eat at the park before the party gets started, as the crowds are leaving. I didn't think I'd have any luck getting into Crystal Palace or Liberty Tree Tavern, given that this was less than six weeks out. Imagine my surprise when both places had availability that night. Liberty Tree had one opening at 6:30 pm. Crystal Palace had an opening just before 4:00 pm and at 6:25 pm. for my party size. I took the Crystal Palace because we've wanted to try dinner there for a long time.

Tickets: I ordered Pirate and Princess Party Tickets for April 1 from DVC Member Services over the phone on February 16. I had to pick them up at Magic Kingdom's Will Call window the night of the party. I ended up getting them at Epcot's Guest Services window earlier and found out that had I brought my Will Call Number with me, I could have also gotten the tickets at my resort concierge. Transportation from Orlando International Airport: Remember, I'm Type-A. I can't do Magical Express. I have to be in control of my own transportation. So renting a car is mandatory. I'm an Emerald Aisle Member with National Car Rental so I usually rent from them. When I first checked rental car rates, I knew I was going to have trouble getting a good rate. I wasn't staying over a weekend and I wasn't staying five or more days; so the weekly rates were out. I was coming Monday-Thursday; the kiss of death in getting a good deal on a rental car. My first check came back with $176 for an intermediate. Blech. I looked around online a little more and found a great contract ID that saved me a ton of money. My reservation was $115.21 and was made on February 18.

No word all through March on my waitlist with DVC. On March 26, while multitasking in my home office, I thought I'd call DVC and see if anything was available at Beach Club Villas. The waitlists are generally dropped 7 days out, so I knew that if any last minute cancellations came in, I'd have to call and ask. So I get a representative, and start my speech: "Hi, I have a reservation checking in on March 31. I know its last minute and there's probably no availability, but could you check and see if I could get into the Beach Club Villas for my dates?" The representative says, "You are at the Beach Club Villas!" I was like, "Huh?" She says, "Yes. Your waitlist matched on March 24." So, fellow DVC-ers, the waitlist does work!

We went to Disney World with less than two months for me to plan it. Did it work out? Absolutely! We enjoyed the party immensely, had a wonderful stay at the Beach Club Villas and even decided to take in the Flower and Garden Festival at Epcot, which we had never done before.

So, the answer is, "Yes! You can plan a last minute trip," and have it be just as enjoyable as if you planned it a year in advance. Will that stop me from planning a year in advance? Uh...no. You can't cure this gal with one last minute trip, but I'm a little more open to it in the future.



About the Author:
Mary Albright is a previous PassPorter News Guest Contributor. Married with two children, she lives in Minnesota and works as a director for a direct sales company. She has visited Walt Disney World 13 times since 2000. Her next trip is October 2008.

Related Links:
Disney + Disabilities = Magic! - Enjoying Disney World with Disabilities last updated 11/07/2008
Saving Money for Disney - Tips and Tricks last updated 2/25/2011
Baby Steps - Six Sanity Savers For Baby's First Trip to Walt Disney World last updated 3/7/2011
Disney Dreaming - Book Excerpt from PassPorter's Walt Disney World last updated 1/16/2009
Walt Disney World for Veteran Visitors - Finding New Things To Do last updated 1/16/2009




Reader Comments:


So what do you think? Click here to share your comments, feedback, and experiences on this article and topic!

(Note: You must be a member of our PassPorter Message Board Community to leave comments. Join today for free!)




Updated 5/8/2008 - Article #161 



Read additional articles from PassPorter.com

Subscribe to our free e-mail newsletter, PassPorter News, published for more than 58,000 opt-in subscribers worldwide. As an added bonus for subscribing, you will receive a 20% discount coupon for the PassPorter Store -- no catch!

E-mail Address:

First Name:

E-mail Format:
-Text/Don't Know  

-HTML

 
 

We respect your privacy and never sell or rent our subscriber list. Subscribing will not result in more spam! We guarantee it.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Copyright 1999-2014
by PassPorter Travel Press, an imprint of MediaMarx, Inc.

       SEARCH
       LEARN MORE
Learn More With Our Award-Winning Guidebooks


 

RSS General PassPorter Community - Boards & Forums on Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, and General Travel - 13,14,15,16,17,18
PassPorter Community - Boards & Forums on Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disn...
Discussion forums about Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, and General Travel provided by PassPorter Travel Press, the ultimate Disney travel guide and book series.


Anyone else having trouble with WALTDISNEYWORLD.COM?
by Ariel&Alice
21 Aug 2014 at 12:17am
Waltdisneyworld.com is saying that my disney experiece doesnt exist! all my ressies, including resorts that are booked and food, are all missing. on...
(click title above to view replies)

payment deadline [will Disney grant extension]?
by exp626
19 Aug 2014 at 2:13pm
I am booked and almost paid off for our vacation, howevr r, I need an extra 2 weeks to finish paying .I am booked through Disney, does anyone know...
(click title above to view replies)

Disney Visa Points Question [possible to "use" Visa for dining discount but p...
by SuHuBu
16 Aug 2014 at 5:44pm
I have a Disney Visa card, and will be redeeming points/dollars I've earned with it for my trip in October. We have a lunch reservation for Animal...
(click title above to view replies)




Total Visits: 10224


PassPorter ~ 1998-2014 ~ 16 Years of Making Dreams Come True!
Publishers of bestselling travel guidebooks and proud recipients of 13 national book awards
About PassPorter
About Us
Site Map
Press
Privacy Policy
Images & Artwork
Guidebooks
About
Previews
Buy
Reviews
Updates
Features
News & Updates
Articles
Podcasts
Photos
Message Boards
Newsletter
Concierge Desk
Desktop
Trips
Books & E-Books
Tips
Settings
Customs Office
Register Books
Book Updates
Contests
Checklists
Help & Info
Finding Answers to Questions
Help Desk
Using Your PassPorter Forum
Store Customer Service
E-Mail Us
Follow Us
PassPorter.com Front Page (Updated Daily!)
PassPorter Newsletter (weekly and free)
Latest Posts
Facebook
Pinterest
YouTube Channel
Questions? Check our Site Map and visit our Help Desk to learn how to contact us online, by e-mail, and by phone.
Please feel free to link to this page so that other vacationers can find it.