Walt Disney World is a popular vacation destination and its one of the top choices for Disney Parks which makes planning in advance such an important step. But what happens if you decide to visit on the spur of the moment? Can you still easily navigate the parks when you plan a last minute Disney World trip? Yes, you can with some quick thinking and strategy you can have a magical vacation.
Right now many guests, especially those that may have had cancelled trips to the Disneyland Resort which is still currently closed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, might be thinking about a spur of the moment trip to Disney World. We've got you covered when it comes to navigating how to make a quick getaway to the Most Magical Place on Earth.
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1. Get Your Park Pass Reservation
In order to effectively limit capacity and create a safer environment for guests and cast members, Disney World is utilizing a system called Park Pass which requires guests to make theme park reservations for their Disney World trip. Park reservations are available through September 26th 2021 so you can assume this reservation system will be in place for some time.
Before you do anything else, you need to make sure you can secure a Park Pass reservation. Once you have your Walt Disney World tickets in hand (you will need these to make your reservation!) follow the steps below to create your Park Pass reservations.
How to Make a Reservation
- Link your park tickets/admission to your Disney account. You will need valid park admission to make a reservation.
- Create your party. Before you make a reservation, you'll be prompted to create a party from your Family & Friends list on your account. This ensures your group has the same reservations for your trip.
- Select a date and park. Choose the date and time you'd like to visit from the available reservations.
- Review and confirm your plans. You will also be prompted to agree to a COVID-19 liability waiver.
To help yourself prepare for making reservations you should make sure to:
- You’ll need a My Disney Experience account, as this is where your Walt Disney World Resort plans are stored and managed.
- You’ll also need a valid theme park ticket or Annual Pass that’s linked to your My Disney Experience account.
- If you have a Disney Resort hotel reservation, be sure to link it to your My Disney Experience account beforehand, as well.
Important Details for Making Reservations
Everything looks a bit different right now for visiting Disney World so it's important to be aware of these new policies for the reservation system and the state of the parks when they open.
- Reservations are limited and subject to availability and are not guaranteed until a reservation is finalized.
- At this time, Guests will be able to select one park per day; visiting more than one park per day will be temporarily unavailable upon the reopening of the theme parks due to attendance limitations.
- Guests with existing tickets that include the Park Hopper Option or Park Hopper Plus Option have options available to them for ticket modifications and cancellations.
- A park reservation must be made for each day of entry. If you have a multi-day ticket, you will be required to make a park reservation for each date of your visit.
- It is highly recommend that you make your park reservation as soon as you complete your ticket purchase, as availability can change until the reservation is finalized.
Once you have your Park Pass reservations in place, you can proceed to the next step of your planning knowing that your spot is secure!
2. Start Researching ASAP!
The instant you know you're going to be planning a last minute Disney World trip then you should start your research ASAP so you can start catching up on everything you need to know to prepare for your visit. The more you know, the better prepared you'll be in terms of dining, attractions, hotel, and more.
Here's are our most crucial guides to read when visiting Walt Disney World:
- Guide to Dining at Walt Disney World
- Walt Disney World Planning Guide
- Discount Walt Disney World Tickets
- Guide to Transportation at Walt Disney World
- Disney World Hotel Reviews
- Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge Guide
Read through those guides to get an idea of where you want to eat, what attractions you want to see, and how to navigate the finer details of a last minute Disney World trip.
New Safety Policy Measures at Disney World
You will also need to be prepared to comply with the new safety and health procedures at Walt Disney World. Disney World is doing an excellent job at prioritizing guest and cast member safety and this process needs your cooperation to be successful.
Here are some of the highlights of the new policies:
- modified character experiences to manage social distancing
- characters are still in the park in creative ways from Gaston riding a horse to surprise cavalcades of characters down Main Street
- face coverings required for ages two years and older.
- At this time, based on guidance from health authorities, neck gaiters and open-chin triangle bandannas are not acceptable face coverings nor face coverings containing vales, mesh, or holes of any kind.
- Disney World has many relaxation areas in air conditioned spaces where you can safely take your mask off to get a break, if you need it
- Face coverings need to be worn at all times except when dining. If you're eating in the park, you must be stationary to remove your mask to take a bite of food or drink of water.
- temperature screenings prior to entry
- social distancing markers and plexiglass in attraction queues
- plexiglass has also been installed on rides to protect guests such as the Jungle Cruise, Soarin', and Star Tours
- increased cleaning and sanitation procedures including ride vehicle cleaning with a peroxide sanitation solution every two hours
- limited capacity at restaurants, some experiences may not be available
- fireworks, parades, or nighttime spectaculars will return at a later date
You can read more about the operational changes at Walt Disney World right now in our reopening guide which covers everything you need to know including how safety is managed in attraction queues, what to expect at Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge, and tips for having a safe trip.
3. Get Those Dining Reservations
Contrary to popular belief, it's possible to get last minute dining reservations for Walt Disney World and even for some of the most highly desired restaurants!
There's a few strategies for this, first hop on the Walt Disney World dining website and start looking for what's available now and book it! Then start checking daily, hourly, you get the idea.
One great tip is to check right at the 24 hour mark before the desired time of your dining reservation. This is often when cancellations will pop back up and you can grab them! Since Disney World has a 24 hour cancellation policy before any charges kick in, you can often snag really popular reservations this way.
You can make dining reservations online or by calling (407) WDW-DINE or (407) 939-3463. Guests under 18 years of age must have parent or guardian permission to call. Disney World has temporarily changed their dining booking policy to 60 days out which also gives you improved success at getting your desired dining reservations.
4. Come Up With a Priority List
Often when you have months or years to research your trip to Walt Disney World you have a clear idea of what things are top priority for you to see on your visit. Now if you're going to do a last minute Disney World trip, you might be scrambling to think through what you need to focus on first!
Make a top priority of ‘must see' attractions and shows and then use that to help you decide how you're going to divide your time between each park, etc. This way you can make sure you don't miss something worth seeing and it will help calm the panic some folks feel when planning a trip at the last minute.
5. Take Advantage of Free Concierge Help
While most discounts are more difficult to get when you book a trip at the last minute, it's a good idea to still check! And if you book with some travel agencies, like our trusted travel partner, you receive free concierge assistance for your last minute Disney World trip!
Our travel partner, Get Away Today, is the best place to book your Walt Disney World Orlando vacation. They not only have a lowest price guarantee, but also offer incredible customer service. They strive to receive a 10/10 service rating from each of their guests and go further than any other travel company I have ever seen to offer incredible service.
For Walt Disney World specifically, Get Away Today offer concierge services for guests booking trips and staying at Disney on-property hotels. They have tasked one of their top Walt Disney World agents, Brooklyn, with supporting Mickey Visit readers.
Brooklyn is a Walt Disney World pro and has a special set of complimentary concierge services she provides to all our readers:
- Consultation call to understand the complexities of your trip and the preferences of everyone in the group
- Custom FastPass Plus reservations for you, so that you don't have the worry about the complexities of the system
- FastPass+ is currently not in use at Disney World but may return at a later date
- Walt Disney World dining recommendations and reservations based on your family
- Tailored advice for how your family can best experience Walt Disney World
- Frequent price checks to ensure that you are receiving the lowest prices possible on your tickets and hotel
- Dedicated support so that you can have the best trip possible!
These perks are an incredible help for any Walt Disney World vacation at no additional cost to you. Now is a great time to have helping planning a trip especially with how quickly things are changing at Disney World in these reopening stages.
Ready to to Book Your Walt Disney World Vacation?
Take advantage of our wealth of knowledge about Walt Disney World vacation planning! Subscribe to our FREE deals newsletter where you will receive helpful planning information, exclusive Disney deals, and access to the lowest priced Disney tickets anywhere. You can find more information on planning your vacation here:
- Disney World Planning Guide: Experience More, Save Money at Disney
- Value vs. Moderate Hotels at Walt Disney World – Which Should You Pick?
- Best on Property Walt Disney World Hotels for Large Families and Large Groups
- Camping at Walt Disney World – Everything You Need to Know
- When to Visit Disney World: Disney World Crowd Calendar