The executives in charge of Walt Disney World want park visitors to plan trips well ahead of time. It helps them project revenue and manage crowds. Sometimes, impulse takes over, though. You just suddenly decide that you need a trip to the Most Magical Place on Earth. Here are a few tips for planning a last-minute trip to Walt Disney World.

Transportation thoughts

Image: Alaska AirHow you travel to Walt Disney World is entirely up to you. Traveling by car or bus is usually cheaper, while flights are more convenient. The only aspect to consider about flying is that rates spike in the 14 days before departure. Try to book before then if at all possible.

You should sign up for airfare deals. Sometimes, one of these emails/texts might be the cause of your sudden Disney trip. You’ll find an Orlando/Tampa/Sanford deal that’s so good that you feel priced into a vacation. Just remember that when you land somewhere other than Orlando International Airport (MCO), you’ll have additional travel expenses for a taxi/ride-share, or car rental.

You can still use Magical Express

Image: DisneyHere’s a pro tip that you may not realize. When you book at an official Disney resort, you’ll receive an important amenity, Magical Express service. You can use it even when you don’t have the Magical Express tags.

The standard process is that you contact Disney and relay your flight information. They mail you a set of luggage tags for routing purposes. Once you arrive at the airport, you simply hand off your luggage, and it automatically gets processed with a Disney resort destination. It's a carefree luggage system.

You don’t need to do anything ahead of time, though. Once you arrive in Orlando, you will head to the Disney section of MCO. This area hosts the Magical Express station. Here, you can tell the cast member your reservation number or show them your Magic Band information. They’ll take care of your luggage from that point and allow you on the bus to your resort.

This strategy is not as convenient since you must take care of your own luggage until you reach MCO. But it’s better than not using Magical Express at all.

Finding a hotel

Image: DisneyHere’s the shocking part of planning a last-minute trip. Did you know that Disney offers cheap rooms through some discount travel websites? It’s absolutely true!

When you monitor websites like Travelocity, Kayak, and Priceline Express, you may find shockingly good deals. Priceline Express is the least conventional of the travel sites. You won’t actually know which Disney resort you’re getting when you book this way, but some of the deals are outrageously good.

I’d only advise this sort of booking for Disney fans that have done it all by now and don’t mind a bit of randomness during their vacation. Similarly, you can find many non-Disney resort deals and a fair share of Airbnb offerings at reasonable prices, too. The sacrifice is that you lose out on official Disney resort amenities, something my family’s unwilling to do.


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