An Obsessive Planner's Spontaneous Last Minute Trip to WDW - A June 2019 TR Update 8/1

Lifelong_Dreamer

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 10, 2007
Have you ever been sitting at home wishing you were at Walt Disney World instead? Have you ever wished that you could just run away to Disney for a few days? Well my friends, that is exactly what I did! Does this sound like insanity to you or just plain fun? Are you wondering how we could possibly have a good time booking such a last minute trip? What about the fastpasses?! What about the ADR's?! What about the long deliberated over touring plans?!

If you are curious how this spur of the moment impulse ended up then this report is for you!

Some of you may already know me from my previous trip reports here on the Disboards, my last one was finished a few months ago detailing our week and half stay at Animal Kingdom Lodge. Links to my previous reports can be found in my signature if you are interested. This trip was a very different creature. All my previous trips were planned out months in advance with the usual deliberations over fastpasses, ADR's and park schedules to make just the right itinerary. This trip was booked 1 1/2 days before we arrived so there was no prolonged debating and planning over trip details and itineraries. It was much more of a fly by the seat of your pants kind of a trip. We definitely found out if it was possible to still have a good time at WDW without all of the advanced planning that we are all so used to.

Introductions:

My name is Lessa and I am the main Disney trip planner in my family. We all love Disney but in my family I am definitely the most in love with the parks and all things Disney. I work as an RN and I love my job but I also love my vacation time whether it is at WDW or elsewhere. If I lived closer to WDW I would definitely be the proud holder of an AP. I am not usually a spontaneous person in any aspect of life but definitely not when travelling; I love researching and organizing trips well in advance. This trip was a real departure from the norm for me.



Favourite Park: Magic Kingdom/Animal Kingdom
Favourite Ride: Flight of Passage
Favourite Character: Belle
Favourite Resort: Animal Kingdom Lodge
Favourite Restaurant: Via Napoli

My partner in crime on this spontaneous trip was my mom, Beth. She is my usual Disney travel buddy and loves the parks almost as much as I do. She enjoys her Disney trips and the only thing that would make her happier on these trips is if my brothers also joined us. Alas, my brothers are not as keen on visiting WDW as often as we are. They still love Disney but they prefer to only go every few years to keep things fresh and so that there is more new stuff to experience on each visit.



Favourite Park: Animal Kingdom
Favourite Ride: PeopleMover
Favourite Character: Flynn Rider
Favourite Resort: Animal Kingdom Lodge
Favourite Restaurant: Via Napoli



Stay tuned to find out how exactly this crazy trip came about and how exactly we fared on our spontaneous last-minute trip to WDW!
 

paradesintherain

DIS Veteran
Joined
Apr 17, 2013
I am SO in, can't wait to read about this!

Does this sound like insanity to you or just plain fun?
Just plain fun! I mean, if the alternative is no Disney, then spontaneity all the way!!!

This trip was booked 1 1/2 days before we arrived so there was no prolonged debating and planning over trip details and itineraries.
WOW, that is so last minute! Were you able to find decent flights even? This is going to be a fun report!
 
  • Newsies

    Headlines don't sell papes.
    Joined
    Oct 25, 2013
    Hi, Lessa! I'm joining in! Love your ears. :tigger:

    Sounds like such an fun and exciting trip, I can't wait to read more!
     

    TanzUnited99

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 27, 2010
    Ooh can’t wait to hear how a last minute Disney trip plans out! popcorn::

    Also going to go read your trip report for your stay at AKL as I’m staying there in September 2020...got a long time to plan :laughing:
     
  • disneyAndi14

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 1, 2014
    Hi Lessa!

    This does not sound like you, 😅

    I have read all your reports and know what a planner you are, also as fellow RN, I know how organized you must be!!

    Excited to hear all about it!
     

    caylene44

    Aspiring Disney Travel Planner
    Joined
    Aug 19, 2015
    Following! This makes the type A+ in me cringe so I'm really curious to hear how it went/how you handled it also being an obsessive planner.
     

    ashw100

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 2, 2014
    Joining in, I can't wait to see how it all turns out. Spontaneity makes me anxious for myself, but I will enjoy hearing how you successfully pulled it off.
     
  • Lifelong_Dreamer

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 10, 2007
    Just plain fun! I mean, if the alternative is no Disney, then spontaneity all the way!!!
    Exactly! That's how I looked at it!

    WOW, that is so last minute! Were you able to find decent flights even? This is going to be a fun report!
    I know, crazy last minute. The flights are all part of the tale. ;)

    Sounds like a crazy fun ride!
    Crazy and fun are both adjectives I would use to describe this trip! :laughing:

    Hi, Lessa! I'm joining in! Love your ears. :tigger:
    Thank you! They are the Cherry Blossom ears from Tokyo Disney. I enjoyed having unique ears for a few days although I have heard the new Imagination Pink ears are very similar.

    I'm here and reading along on your spontaneous last minute trip!!! popcorn::
    Glad to have you here!
     

    Lifelong_Dreamer

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 10, 2007
    Following along!
    Glad to have you here!

    Also going to go read your trip report for your stay at AKL as I’m staying there in September 2020...got a long time to plan :laughing:
    AKL is fantastic! The planning and anticipation is a huge part of the fun!

    This does not sound like you, 😅
    I know! :laughing: My brother Alek could not believe it. He is so used to my ever changing plans over the months before a trip. He wondered how I would cope with so little time to get things organized.

    The few people I told about the trip were also dumbfounded but most of them said "YOLO, have fun!" :laughing:
    Can’t wait to see how it all works out !
    I am looking forward to sharing it with you all. :goodvibes
     

    Lifelong_Dreamer

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 10, 2007
    Following! This makes the type A+ in me cringe so I'm really curious to hear how it went/how you handled it also being an obsessive planner.
    It's funny because I have always felt the same way when somebody has told me they booked a short notice trip to Disney (under two months away) or that they didn't make their fastpasses exactly on the day they became available. I would always shake my head and think to myself that they were doomed for disaster. Yet, here I am about to write about doing something much more extreme! :laughing:

    Joining in, I can't wait to see how it all turns out. Spontaneity makes me anxious for myself, but I will enjoy hearing how you successfully pulled it off.
    Spontaneity also gives me anxiety and I am not going to lie and say that there was not some of that floating around in the whole day and a half lead up to the trip. :laughing:
     

    Lifelong_Dreamer

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 10, 2007
    So let's rewind a whole two weeks to when this trip came to be. :laughing: This will be a text heavy post but the rest of my updates will be littered with photos.

    As you will remember from the introduction I work as an RN. I am fortunate in that I am full-time so I have a regular and predictable schedule. I always work 12 hour shifts in a 2 day 2 night then five days off rotation. This makes planning fairly easy for me as I can predict my schedule far in advance and that five days off gives me a decent chunk of time off for various activities. Mom works a regular 9-5 Monday-Friday office job. However, Mom had requested vacation to align with my five days off in order to go visit our family in Ohio. So originally we were planning to drive down to Ohio on Friday (June 7) and drive back home on the Tuesday (June 11). Well, on Tuesday (June 4) my grandma called up my mom and asked that we not come down as planned as it wouldn't really be a good time for a visit for a variety of reasons I won't get into and would we mind rescheduling for maybe later in the summer. That left me with no plans for my five days off from work as I had been planning to be in Ohio and it left Mom having taken vacation days which would now result in her sitting around at home. Could we have found stuff to do at home or locally? Sure, but where is the fun in that?

    That Tuesday night (June 4) I was playing around on my computer and just for fun I decided to see what was available at WDW during our five days off. To my surprise there was actually a lot of availability at the resorts for our dates (June 7-11). Of course, most of the rooms were at rack rate. At Pop Century though we could get a summer meal deal (one quick service meal per person per night). Not the greatest deal out there but better than nothing. And depending on how we used the credits that could be a savings of $50 or so a night which is not too shabby for Pop Century. I then checked flights from Toronto to Orlando. There was a direct early morning flight on Westjet for $350 pp. Not bad. It was about 11pm at this point and I messaged mom and said "Do you want to go to WDW on Friday?". Her response was "what?". She was half asleep. She didn't think I was serious and was "wouldn't that be nice but no we can't do that". She then went back to sleep. Sadly, I let go of my dream laughing at myself for seriously contemplating such a last minute trip.

    The next day (Wednesday, June 5), my mom called me from work and said "were you serious about going to WDW?" I told her not to worry about it and that it was just a spur of the moment thought but she said "well, could we even get flights? I've got xxxx that I would be willing to spend on a trip". That got me interested again and I told her I would look back into it. She said she would come see me on her lunch break. Well, of course, the decent price for the Westjet flight from Toronto was gone and it was now $900 per person. No way, no how. That deflated my hopes and dreams again. If only we had booked the night before! Then I decided to look at Jetblue flights from Syracuse, New York. The flight down on Friday would be a bit rich but the flight back would only be $100 per person. I then went to expedia and did multiple searches for flights from Toronto and Syracuse to see what the options were. Almost all of them were super expensive as one would expect when trying to book only a day and a half away from departure! I did find one possibility though, flying Delta from Syracuse with a connection in NYC and then flying JetBlue back to Syracuse from Orlando. That landed us at around $300 Canadian per person. Very manageable! Especially as I just paid nearly $800 for my flight out to the West Coast in August to visit my Dad and brother. :sad2:

    I presented the flights to mom when she showed up at lunch and she said they were okay with her. The only problem - our flight home would not arrive until midnight and it is a two hour drive home from the Syracuse airport. We both had to work Wednesday morning. We decided to book it anyways, getting to go to WDW for a few days would be worth being a little tired at work for one day. Also, having a late evening flight meant that we had a day for each of the parks! We bit the bullet and booked our flights! Next step was booking the WDW stay. We booked a preferred room at Pop Century with the Summer Meal deal and regular park tickets. We also booked the Magical Express. I had read that for last minute trips like ours that all you had to do was show up at the Magical Express counter and tell them your reservation number and it would not be a problem getting on even without Magic Bands or the letter they send you a few weeks before the trip.

    Mom went back to work at that point and left me to sort out any fastpasses and ADR's that we could get. The first thing I checked for was fastpasses for "the big three" (Flight of Passage, Slinky Dog, Mine Train). As expected, there were none available. I didn't give up hope though as I have been able to score fastpasses for the major rides on the day of in the past. Instead I went ahead and booked fastpasses for :

    Animal Kingdom:
    Navi'i River Journey
    Kilimanjaro Safari
    Expedition Everest

    Magic Kingdom:
    Splash Mountain
    Big Thunder Mountain
    Buzz Lightyear

    Hollywood Studios:
    Alien Swirling Saucers
    Star Tours
    Frozen Sing-Along

    Epcot:
    Frozen Ever After
    Spaceship Earth
    Living with the Land

    I was satisfied with our fastpasses for the time being and knew that I would be obsessively checking the app to see if any of the big three opened up. I have also had good luck in the past with modifying fastpasses and getting those fourth, fifth, etc fastpasses.

    For our ADR's we weren't going to go too crazy and there were really only three that I wanted and I got them no problem: Trattoria al Forno for the character breakfast, Be Our Guest for lunch and Via Napoli. We had those quick service credits to use after all!

    Another reservation I managed to score was Early Morning Magic at the Magic Kingdom. This was great for us since we were on such a short trip and didn't have a Mine Train fastpass. With this event we could potentially knock out all of Fantasyland before the park opened and it includes breakfast.

    So what do you think? Didn't do too badly for a day and a half notice? :laughing:

    Since I was working night shifts up until we left I had to run around the house and start packing since I would not really have time between shifts as I would be sleeping. Luckily I tend to keep all my Disney Parks gear together so that wasn't too bad and then I dug a couple summer dresses out from the closet and threw them in a bag. I think I was packed aside from toiletries in about an hour. I then fell into bed and tried to sleep before heading in for my night shift but sleep was fairly elusive as you can imagine.

    At work that night I was able to get two of my co-workers to switch shifts with me so that gave me a little more time off when we got home from the trip so I wouldn't have to show up at work at 7am after arriving home at around 0230am. :laughing:

    I also checked out rental car prices and decided to book one as I got a decent rate of $150. Did we NEED a rental car? Nope, but we just prefer to have one. Especially after our nightmare bus trip from DHS to AKL after park close on our last trip.

    There you go friends! That is how the trip came to be! In the next post we arrive at WDW!
     
    Last edited:

    Connect

    Disney News and Updates

    Daily Updates and News




    Top