Taking a trip to Walt Disney World always sounds like a great idea, but what if you decide two weeks or a month before you travel. Wow, speaking of stress. One of my facebook friends sent me a note asking for suggestions about a last minute visit during Easter. Hey, last minute is bad enough, but during a School Break period like Easter, Oy Vey. However, I had a few ideas, contacted my Magical Blogorail buddies for suggestions, and searched the web for more experience to draw upon. The result is today's post.
Personally, I start planning my next trip the day after I return from my last one. My Excel program is always close by, and researching new things at WDW is an ongoing activity. Once we select a date, at 7:00 am 180 days prior to our visit, I'm making ADRs and booking back stage tours or other special events.
First, I would contact an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner. You will find many of these graduates of The College of Disney Knowledge on the web. My experience is you will get great service and the best deals using these experienced and Disney trained travel agents. I think these folks will give you more options, and will save you money, as opposed to booking directly with Disney.
Among the most expensive cost factors of a last minute and holiday season trip is airfare. Driving costs will always be the same, but to book a plane seat when everyone else is doing the same, be prepared. And last minute trips are true profit areas for the airlines, so don't expect any sympathy. However, this shouldn't deter you from checking out the biggest travel sources, like Travelocity, Expedia or others since they do have last-minute deals.
For a last minute trip during a light or moderate season, the crowd levels won't create too many long longs at the bus stops so a rental car may not be your first choice without having ADRs at resorts as well as the parks. But for the busy season, getting from one resort to another can be very frustrating and not very timely; and we like to eat at the different hotels. In a bus, it could take an hour from point A to point B; with a car, it's half that time or less. And except for the Magic Kingdom, a rental car during crowded days will let you sleep later and take a convenient mid-day break without wasting too much of your valuable park time.
Restaurants and Food
During the slowest times of the year, making ADRs at your first choice restaurants will be very possible, even on a last-minute visit. Get online and try to make reservations at the places you want to dine, and then book them BEFORE you make that decision on buying into a Disney Meal Plan.
For last-minute or busy season trips, there may be table service restaurants where it is very possible to get ADRs or even walk-in tables. In the new e-book edition of The DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining , AJ Wolfe of the Disney Food Blog offers some recommendations of Theme Park, Resorts Hotels and Downtown Disney Restaurants where last minute or even busy season travellers could arrange for a sit-down dinner. Of course, the best time to go will be before traditional dinner times, and I would recommend skipping lunch and getting to dinner between 4:00 and 5:30 pm.
AJ’s recommendations include 12 in the Parks, 16 in the Resorts and 9 in Downtown Disney. Some on the list include: Biergarten, Garden Grill and La Hacienda de San Angel in Epcot and Tusker House and Yak & Yeti in Animal Kingdom; also Boatwright’s at Port Orleans and Flying Fish Café on the Boardwalk. You might also check out T-Rex Café, one my favorites Wolfgang Puck Café or even Planet Hollywood in Downtown Disney.
During the busiest seasons like during the Easter, July, Thanksgiving, and Christmas holidays, if you booked 180 days in advance, you may have already succeeded in getting your selections, so the meal plan could be the right choice for you. However, if you are travelling into the busy season or even booking within a month or less of your visit, forget the meal plan since you will most likely never get all the places you want to try. This is where a rental car works wonders, since you can make many more reservations at great restaurants off-site and pay half the amount you would on property.
The crowds at Walt Disney World are growing; it’s one of the reasons that the discounts are getting leaner. As a result it is always recommended to plan your trip as far in advance as possible. Your choices are better, your prices are lower and your vacation will be much more satisfying for everyone.
A World View - Enjoying Walt Disney World
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