Women at Hawaii Marketplace at Epcot

There are some distinct advantages to being a Florida local or a Disney Vacation Club passholder—chief of which is the option to take a last-minute Disney day.

Before our family moved to Florida, the concept of off-the-cuff Disney visits was the stuff of dreams (literally). It wasn’t until we moved to Central Florida that it occurred to us one day that we were less than two hours from the Most Magical Place on Earth. Whether you’re Orlando-based, visiting Orlando for other reasons, or even plan to drive from the far corners of Florida or southern Georgia, Disney daycations are a sweet perk to life in or near the Sunshine State. Want to make your last-minute Disney days shine? Here are some of our best hacks to make those days all the more magical.

1. Try to go to bed early 2-3 nights before

March of the First Order

Image: Disney

This is less of an issue for those commuting from Orlando, but for the rest of us, there is a distinct temptation as Passholders to break a golden rule of Disney trip planning by not arriving at opening gate. Particularly if you are not an early bird and have a multi-hour drive to get to Walt Disney World, arriving at the parks before the gates open can feel like an impossible order.

To help get the most out of your Disney day, try to go to bed early and wake up early a few nights before. That way you will have an easier time waking up the morning of your trip. This will not only give you more time to enjoy your day, but depending on the time of year you visit, you will also be able to enjoy more rides with less crowds. This hack can prove essential if you are trying to visit the still-insanely-busy Pandora attractions at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

2. Have a Disney kit always ready to go

Disney survival kit

Image: Jett Farrell-Vega

No one wants to face the bummer of arriving at Walt Disney World only to find out that you forgot something important. You will lose valuable time on your Disney day searching shops for sunscreen, digging through your car for sunglasses, or—heaven forbid—arriving at opening gate without your MagicBand. Even forgetting basics like a refillable water bottle can cost you unnecessary time and money, especially if heat exhaustion sneaks up and sends you scrambling for First Aid.

To prevent this, always have your Disney survival kit ready to go, or at least have a list ready to go so you can put your kit together the night before. Disney-specific items like pin lanyards, Magic Bands, and annual passes can always be kept together in a single bag. Need some ideas for other essentials? Check out our detailed article for putting together your own Walt Disney World survival kit to know which stuff to always bring and which items there’s no need to lug around.



Do you know what "hacks" are? Not expecting NY Times quality here, but the quality of content here has really suffered lately.

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