I'm about 10 days away from our next Disney World vacation, so it's time to start getting the last minute details figured out. As you probably know, I do most of my initial planning about six months before our trip so I'm sure to get the Dining Reservations we want and on the right days for lowest crowds. But, there are a few things that should can/should wait until closer to the trip...so get your notebook ready!
If you haven't already done so, first look at the Crowd Calendar to see what the expected crowd levels are like on each day of your visit. I tend to pick the park they suggest as a Best Park since it generally has the lowest crowd levels for that day. The reason you should do this in the week or so leading up is because the numbers can change as things like extra Fantasmic! showings are added or park hours are extended. If you have Dining Reservations made, it may limit your ability to change parks on a day...but it might help you decide to switch parks at the half day point.
I first make a reservation a few weeks leading up to our trip, but it's really important to keep checking rates every few days up until the trip starts. I've seen rates move hundreds of dollars up and down in the weeks before a trip and even saw this trips amount go from $440 down to the $240 that I'm now booked at. That number could even drop as we get just a few days from our travel date. No charges are made for a reservation until you pick up the car, so book as many as you want leading up to the trip.
mousesavers.com rental car section since it keeps up to date on coupon codes and deals across all the major lenders. I tend to prefer National but found the best deal this time with Alamo so be flexible! Also, sign up for ALL of the frequent renter programs with the major companies since it costs you nothing and they often give special perks to their members. They also allow you to skip the line and walk straight to the car pick up area saving a ton of time :)
The next thing to start thinking about is FOOD! Hopefully you've already made any ADRs that you need for the trip, but it's also good to get an idea of where you'd like to eat your other meals and what snacks you might want to enjoy as you make our way around the park. Some snacks are only available in certain parks and maybe at one or two locations in that park so knowing where to go is crucial to saving time and getting that fix quick! Also, when following a touring plan, it means you'll be in a certain part of the park during lunch and dinner time so knowing what your near by food options are ahead of time helps a lot.
AJ from The Disney Food Blog has a series of E-Book guides that condenses all the great info from her site into easy an easy to use format that you can even have on your your phone during your trip. Everyone should download The DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining which covers all the parks and dining locations.
Be sure to also download the DFB Mini-Guide to Magic Kingdom Snacks so you'll know exactly where to head for all the amazing snacks the park has to offer. There are so many to choose from at Magic Kingdom and they can be difficult to find if you don't know where to look. I must have a Dole Whip on any trip and this time I'm also looking forward to trying the Sweet Cream Cheese Pretzel.
The last thing you might want to think about is how you're going to handle your spending on the trip. If you are staying at a resort on Disney property your room key is a Key To The World which can have your credit card linked to it. You can then use your key to get in your room, get in the parks and do any purchasing around Disney World property.
The convenience is great, but keep in mind that your credit card isn't being charged yet...your room is and there is a $500 limit on the purchases. Once you hit that limit...your Key To The World it gets denied (which happened to me). I had to call my resort and have them immediately charge my purchases to my credit card which then gave me another $500 available to spend in the parks. Not a huge deal, but something to keep in mind.
Hopefully this info helps you get those last minute details taken care of and makes your trip as stress free and cheap as possible :)