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Here I am, for the second time this year, planning some pretty last minute travel to Disneyland. In June I planned a trip barely two or three weeks in advance, and now I am planning one just over three weeks in advance. If you knew me in real life, you would know I am a super planner. And a lot of people in our Disneyland with Kids Facebook group are too. So planning a last minute trip to Disneyland is totally out of character for me. But I am kind of falling in love with it.
So what do you need to know before planning a trip to Disneyland on short notice? Well, I have 7 tips that will make your planning easier, help your budget, and get you packed and on your way.
Secret Tips For Planning A Last Minute Trip To Disneyland
Buckle down because I am going to try and throw a lot of information at you really quickly because…well, you have a last minute, magical vacation to plan. You don’t have a bunch of time to read all that fluff. So let’s get to it, shall we?
Pick your dates, check them twice
First things first, pick your dates. And check twice that this is when you want to go. Basically, pick dates, price it out, and then check some surrounding dates to see if you can save a little money. Last minute air travel is not really cheap, but guess what, if I was going solo this trip I found some flights for under $100 each way. Not a bad price. I found them simply by changing my dates a little here and there. Alas, my family decided to tag along on this trip, so we will be driving instead.
With those dates, also check your hotel prices. I have some tips on how to save money on lodging and tickets coming up, but remember when looking for those deals to adjust your dates slightly to see if it scores you a better deal.
Make dining reservations
As soon as you are settled on dates, make any dining reservations. Disneyland dining reservations open up 60 days in advance, and depending on the time of year, you might find that if you are booking even a month out it is slim pickings. So book all the reservations that are open that you might want, and then as you finalize plans, be sure to cancel those you won’t make at least 24 hours in advance.
Don’t let last minute travel break the budget
Last minute trips, even to Disneyland, do not have to break the budget. Yes, they will still be expensive because, that is just how Disneyland vacations are these days, but there are plenty of ways to save.
If you are on a time crunch and need an all-in-one purchase solution, I strongly suggest booking through Get Away Today. They have great deals, even on last minute vacations. Their ticket deals for Disneyland include Adults at Kids’ Prices and 5th day free options. They also often have free hotel nights, waived hotel parking fees, and more.
TIP: If you book a package of 2 or more nights and 2 or more park tickets, use code CrazyAdventure to save an extra $10 on your already great deal.
They also have discount dining vouchers for those character dining reservations you snagged.
If you have a little more free time to research, you can also check out Hotwire Hot Rates for last minute hotel deals. Try staying a little bit further away, like Buena Park for amazing hotel rates (and most of those hotels have free shuttles to Disneyland). When you book your hotel this way, I still suggest heading over to Get Away Today for their amazing discount Disneyland Ticket deals.
Get on the Disneyland App
Now it is time to start planning all the fun. Get on the Disneyland App. If you are planning a last minute trip to Disneyland, you will want to use the app to check for ride closures, park hours, and yes, dining information. It is one of the reasons that the Disneyland App is one of our favorite apps to use in Disneyland.
Find answers to your Disneyland questions
If it is your first time or your fiftieth, there may be some questions you have about your last minute trip. You can use the search bar on this site to search all my best Disneyland tips (I have 3 popular posts with over 20 tips in each), or be sure to join a group like Disneyland with Kids to ask your questions and get them answered quickly.
Check the weather and start packing
If you are within a few weeks of your vacation, start watching the weather and preparing to pack. You might be needing to bring out a hoodie or get out the summer clothing you already put away for the year. Keep an eye on the weather, including rain, so that you pack appropriately.
Try not to stress too much about doing everything “right.” Last minute travel is about being spontaneous, which is what a makes a last minute trip to Disneyland so fun. Maybe plan on a few must do rides or dining options, but leave yourself open to just go with the flow and explore.