Earlier in 2022 I brought my toddler to Disney World for the first time and documented all you needed to know for a successful trip to Disney with the babies. I thought it would be quite a while until we would visit again, specifically because it is so expensive and can be a new level of exhaustion. It would also help to give time for my daughter to grow taller, as there were quite a bit of fun attractions she couldn’t ride. Last year there were still covid restrictions in place which prohibited us from experiencing Bibbity Bobbity Boutique and the ability to hug characters, (especially Elsa and Anna, the superheroes in our household) which was disappointing – but all of a reason to plan a trip in the future.
Fast forward to New Year’s Day of 2023, after visiting my in-laws, we made a stop at my parent’s house. During dinner, I learned my mom, dad, and little sister were all going to Disney World for the weekend. I couldn’t help but tease them, especially my little sister, who once worked at Disney, and is known to go to Disney “for the weekend,” multiple times a year. To my surprise, I was invited to tag along with them. Hotels were already booked and I had a flight refund from a previously scheduled and canceled family trip, so all I needed to worry about was purchasing tickets.
This was crazy. Right? Who goes to Disney World on such short notice? But the more I started to think about it, the more alluring it became. We would only go for a few days, which meant that while probably exhausting, it was better than being there for an entire week. We could go experience the things we weren’t able to last year – plus how fun would a spontaneous trip be? As the kids say, YOLO? I still needed to sleep on it. It still was percolating in my brain when I woke up the next morning. I asked for vacation time at work and it was approved. Guess I was going to Disney.
And it was just as magical as I thought it would be.
So, yes, I am here to tell you that it is entirely possible to go to Disney World on a short day’s notice and still have an epic time. Due to my short window of opportunity for planning (a Type A’s worst nightmare), there were a couple of things I picked up along the way that can aid any family planning far out or just as spontaneous as me.
I can’t believe I only just started to use this for this particular trip. This would have been a lifesaver for last year’s visit! MouseWatcher watches reservations that you want on particular days and immediately notifies you when a reservation becomes available. Future guests are constantly rearranging their itineraries and reservations, which can help you snag a reservation you couldn’t book to begin with. This is how I was able to book a Bibbity Bobbity Boutique reservation in 3 days!
Bibbity Bobbity Boutique
I thought this would be a simple visit, where we would walk in and my daughter would plop on a hairdresser’s chair and get her hair done. No. This was an EXPERIENCE. Starting with my toddler “shopping” for her favorite princess dress, having a visit from Cinderella’s Fairy God Mother in the dressing room, to being escorted to a special room in Cinderella’s Castle to finally meeting her fairy godmother who would transform her into a princess with nails, make-up, hair, and face jewels. It was unlike anything I could imagine! They also offer prince makeovers as well. If this sounds like anything your children would enjoy, do not hesitate to book! BBB was a little pricey but was worth every penny.
Go with the Flow
There’s only one way to experience Disney on this short timeline: Be ready to pivot and adapt at any moment’s notice. For instance, after we arrived at the airport in Orlando, my family and I realized we didn’t have a plan for traveling with my child to the hotel with a car seat. Whoops! We made sure to book Tiffany’s Towncar on our departure day, which did include a car seat after that hiccup. Also since we booked last minute, it happened to be a marathon weekend at Disney. This meant that when we arrived at Epcot, we had trouble getting to Norway, to meet the elusive Elsa and Anna. Instead, we took a moment to wait for the passage to clear and had a dance and bubble party. She had just as much fun in this intermission as she did on a ride. Bubble wands are a necessity!
Resort on the monorail=game changer
Thankfully the resort my family had made a reservation at was The Grand Floridian. The last time we were in Disney with the family, we had chosen family suites at Art of Animation, which were so fun and themed. But staying at the Grand Flo, which meant Magic Kingdom was only 5 minutes away, is a convenience that is priceless. At our other resort, we would have had to take the bus and it can be a much longer wait and trip. The ability to get to Magic so fast meant we were able to enjoy short lines and jump on as many rides as possible. It also meant that going back to the hotel to take an afternoon nap was incredibly easy too. If your budget allows, get on the monorail track! For those who may not know, that includes The Grand Floridian, The Polynesian, and The Contemporary.
But the biggest lesson I learned was –
The Magic Is Back!
We all know that the service industry suffered incredibly under the pandemic and Disney was no exception. From staff morale to customer interactions, there were multiple negative interactions with cast members and it was obvious to me last year that this wasn’t the same Disney pre-2020. However, there were so many times this trip (even just 2 days) when wonderful cast members went out of their way to ensure my daughter had such a special and memorable time. We won’t forget this mini-spontaneous visit and are so happy we jumped on board.