When should you book / pay in advance?

My December trip to WDW carried the twin disappointments of both of the MVMCPs I’d pre-booked and paid for being rained off. The second one was so heavily rained off that Guest Services refunded my ticket costs without argument or discussion.

This has made me wonder whether a better strategy is to book things much, much nearer the time, including the day-of.

What things can be treated in this way and what can’t?

Clearly some MVMCPs sell out, but not all. Ditto MNSSHPs.

Dessert parties (I consider the HEA one to be essential) sell out in advance. But what about things like the WAT (Wild Africa Trek). I’ve done that twice and the weather was great both times, but it would be a different experience if it was raining. And it’s not cheap.

Just how last-minute can you be? I’m not necessarily talking spontaneous. But planned last-minute, with the risk that you may not get the ticket weighing against the risk that you do, but the weather makes you wish you hadn’t.


With these, it depends how much you really want to go.

When DW and I went to MVMCP for our anniversary, there was no way I was taking a chance on it being sold out. We bought well in advance.

When I was considering taking DD4 to MNSSHP last October, I decided to wait until the day-of because I wasn’t sure how tired (and interested in certain attractions) she would be by that point in the trip. It was also a day that had not sold out the prior year. Day-of came and I decided to buy tix … but the event was sold out. I was slightly disappointed, but moved on quickly since I wasn’t set on going to the event anyway.


I know it’s a risk and one I would not recommend, but when we went in June 2018 we booked a second HEA party after attending the first one early in our trip; we easily reserved another one for the last night of the trip. When we went this past July, I was able to switch our HEA before party to the after party no problem.


It’s a good thing you didn’t go. :wink: :sob:

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IMHO - if it’s a dessert party / event taking place when I’m already planning to be in that specific park, I book in advance.

When it’s an EMM / MNSSHP / MVMCP / DAH that is happening during the time frame of my trip I will wait & see how I feel while I’m there. My family can’t go as hard as I can in the parks, so I try not to overbook them.

I have the same question though thinking about doing Wild Africa in March. The good thing about that event is they do it no matter the weather, unless it’s lightning. I’m still afraid to pull the trigger though, because as you mentioned - it’s not cheap. I need to call and speak with them to see if it’s refundable if they cancel it. As far as the dessert parties and after hours events, I might be inclined to take my chances because they are far less expensive. I booked MNSSHP pretty early last year because there was a cost difference to buy in advance. Not much, but still a savings. To answer your question,30 days seems like a good time frame. Not too late, but not too soon, and weather forecasts are slightly more accurate.

Yeah, I read your trip report and it sounds like my family would not have enjoyed it. We are going back this October and will likely skip it again … unless I get the urge same day and it’s not sold out.