By the co-author of The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2017, from the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook series ever. Paperback available on Amazon here. Kindle version available on Amazon here. PDF version available on Gumroad here.—Disney World Instructions for the First-Time Visitor

Instructions for Your First Visit to Walt Disney World

By Dave Shute



Follow the instructions below for your first family visit to Walt Disney World to save thousands of dollars, and avoid dozens of hours waiting in line, while seeing all the best of Walt Disney World!

Want a second opinion?  Then buy the book! you make great Disney World plans quickly!!1. When to Go to Walt Disney World:

If you can, arrive at Walt Disney World one of the first three Saturdays after Thanksgiving.      More…    Next best dates to go…

2. How Long to Stay:

You can have a wonderful trip spending as few as 5 days. However, if you can, be in Orlando for 9 days–a Saturday through a Sunday.    More…    Going for a shorter trip…

3. How Old/Tall Your Children Should be:

Kids of any age can have a wonderful time at Disney World. However, if this may be your kids’ only childhood visit, consider going when your youngest child is at least 8 or 9, and your shortest child at least 48 inches tall.      More…    Planning for going with younger/shorter kids…

4. Where to Stay at Walt Disney World:

Stay at Disney’s Polynesian Resort if you can afford it, or at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort if you can’t.   More…    Next best resort options…

5. How Much to Budget:

You can have a wonderful first visit for $3,000 or less. However, to see all the best of Walt Disney World, budget if you can $8,400 if you are staying at the Polynesian, or $5,300 if at Art of Animation.    More…    Developing a much lower or a different budget…

6. When Your Plans Need to be Firm:

Your plans should be firm at least 181 days before your arrival date.      More…    Planning if it’s already later than that…

7. How to Eat at Walt Disney World:

Sign up for the “Magic Your Way Plus Dining” package. More…    Planning if you can’t do this package…

8. Where to Eat:

The Basic Itinerary tells you exactly where to eat (as do the Other Itineraries).      More…    Next best dining choices…

9. How to Spend Your Time at Walt Disney World:

The Basic Itinerary tells you exactly how to spend your time in Orlando (as do the Other Itineraries).      More…    Other Itineraries…

10. What to do When:

See the To-Do List for an exact list of what to do when to prepare for your trip.       More…    To-Do Lists for Other Itineraries…

11. Families with Special Circumstances

Large families, families with difficult travel challenges, families on tight budgets, and military families can find their concerns addressed here.

12. More Resources

This site is designed so that everything you need is here. That said, if you want even more, for recommended books see this, and for recommended websites see this.
The 2017 easy Guide

Kelly B Can Help You Book Your Trip

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1 Carolyn { 06.02.08 at 10:02 am }

What a great site. Love all the information you have here. We are looking to take our first trip in November and this is a terrific find.


2 Dave { 06.02.08 at 10:17 am }

Carolyn, thanks for the kind words!

3 Melinda { 11.23.09 at 10:56 am }

What a wonderful site!

I’ve spent so much time browsing through all the information.

4 geld gewinnen { 08.16.10 at 6:40 pm }

useful information. It’s the best

5 Steve { 01.01.11 at 11:26 am }

We just replanned our entire trip thanks to this site. I lived in Fl for many years just never went to Disney because I just cannot stand the crowds. After moving up to NH was the first time I ever went, been going back every year since. I thought I had a pretty good plan, but this site lays it all out for you. I can now take a larger portion of my family (instead of just my wife and 2 kids) and still spend about the same amount. And…. LESS CROWD! Thanks Dave!

6 Dave { 01.01.11 at 2:32 pm }

Thanks Steve!! And PS my wife would love it if we moved to NH!!

7 Spiros { 01.05.11 at 8:46 pm }

Great site, great information. Thank you and congratulations!

8 klmall { 01.23.11 at 9:30 pm }

I am truly impressed by the advice given on this site. Every page I read seems to print from the experience I gained from my 10+ trips. This is a must-go, must-read site especially for newbies, or anyone planning a trip on their own.

One thing I would add is that we went twice during the last full week before Thanksgiving (Choice #9 on the Recommended List) and found it to be practically walk-on, especially Sunday through Thursday so I would rank it higher than #9.

Thanks for all your effort!

9 Dave { 01.24.11 at 8:36 am }

Thanks for the kind words! And I agree with you that week 9 is a great week. There’s different ways to sort weeks 4-9, and some ways would certainly rank 9 higher! See this for the logic I used…

10 Chuck { 02.11.11 at 1:53 pm }

I just saw that the Princess 1.5 Marathon is the weekend we are suppose to go to Disney (Wed-Sun). I saw that the race route actually goes through the park. Any advice on if I should change my dates? will any attractions be affected by the race route? Any info you can provide would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

11 Dave { 02.11.11 at 2:05 pm }

Hi Chuck! The main effect is a little difficulty getting around–no attractions are closed.

To miss these effects completely, avoid Epcot the 26th, and avoid both Epcot and the Magic Kingdom the 27th.

For more, see this post on

12 Chuck { 02.11.11 at 2:48 pm }

Oustanding!!! thanks Dave!!

13 Karena { 03.05.11 at 11:12 pm }

How can I plan ahead when I don’t know when the parades, fireworks etc. are going to happen. I will be going early October and will be going to “Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party” which we can’t make reservations for until late April. But in order to make reservations for restaurants and shows I need to know all the scedules so I don’t double book our schedule. What do you advise?

14 Dave { 03.06.11 at 9:40 am }

Hi Karena!

The October schedules wil be out by early April, so I’d just wait til then.

15 Doug { 04.08.11 at 8:43 am }

Each year we try to plan on going for the food and wine festival. The extra events such
as Champagne in France and Saturday nights schedule come out to late. Why don’t
they give out there schedule earlier and the first date you can call for reservations.

16 Dave { 04.08.11 at 10:51 am }

Hi Doug!

I agree–you run into the same problem with the Halloween and Christmas parties…very frustrating!

17 Allison { 04.25.11 at 1:42 pm }

Could you give me some suggestions on an itinerary? We arrive in Orlando on Dec 17. Last week Disney posted that the last MVMCP would be Dec. 18th but have since taken the dates off the site. We will leave Dec. 23rd and will not go to a park that day. We want to go to Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios and Universal. We also want to eat at Chef Mickeys. We definitely want to attend Magic Kingdom on multiple days.

18 Dave { 04.25.11 at 7:00 pm }

Hi Allison!

MVMCP dates won’t be official for a while. has on its crowd calendar forecasts for when they might be. I’ll be publishing an opinion on December MVMCP dates (and updated December itineraries) in late May.

In the meantime, see as a starting point, and then and for more

19 goldfishka { 05.05.11 at 8:19 pm }


20 Allison { 05.07.11 at 4:25 pm }

We are planning to stay at a Disney resort. We have family in the Florida area that are planning to meet us at the parks. Will Disney allow our family to ride the bus with us to the resort to take a break mid day?

21 Dave { 05.07.11 at 4:50 pm }

Yes Allison, they can. Officially the WDW buses are only for hotel guests, but this is never enforced, as pretty much everyone riding one has a good reason to do so.

22 SANDRA E. BESHEARS { 06.18.11 at 12:17 am }

I signed up on “request a quote” and was redirected to the site? What’s up with that? Please don’t call me! And if you have a instant chat person. Bring them on. Otherwise, it may be next year before I chack my e-mail again!

23 Dave { 06.18.11 at 6:41 am }

? Sandra I am not following you…

24 Grandmaoftyler { 06.18.11 at 9:33 pm }

Two senior grandmas planning disney world w/o the kids. who can help plan for grandma to enjoy what old folks like to do with relax built in w/budget???

Christian non drinkers

Can you help???

25 Dave { 06.19.11 at 7:43 am }

Hi–my niche is first time young families, so this site won’t be perfect for you. A lot of the guidance is the same, but your hotel and attraction choices might be different.

Suggest you check out

Hope this helps! Dave

26 Kristin { 06.27.11 at 12:04 pm }

Anyone looking for another fun Orlando adventure should visit Medieval Times Castle – minutes away from WDW and Universal! Medieval Times is offering FREE knight training for kids 5- 12 – fun for the entire family! More info is here

27 Dave { 06.27.11 at 1:44 pm }

Thanks Kristin–looks like fun!

28 jessica { 07.09.11 at 9:35 am }

Hi Dave,
Kind of bummed now because I picked week Dec 3-10 which I know is a highly recommended week, but then after booking all the events, found comments on here that that week is almost never discounted in December. You should put an asterisk next to that week for that reason in your picks. Just a suggestion. I am not sure now if I can change it because I booked several events like Hoop Dee Do and A Very Merry Xmas Party that required full payment. Have you ever seen any discounts for this week?

29 Dave { 07.09.11 at 10:29 am }

Hi Jessica–if I had it to do over I’d rank that week 3 partly for the reason you note. It’s still a great week, though, whether 1 or 3!. The dining reservations you’ve made a re fully refundable (so long as you don’t wait to change them til the last minute!) Recent discount patterns have not included that week–though it is already during one of the lowest priced times of the year.

30 Vic { 07.12.11 at 2:22 pm }

I use a travel agency Mickey’s Travel and they have a dicount for the week of Xmas. We’re toying around with going but the latest arrival date they can offer is 12/22 so we’d have to take our son out of school a day early. We always wanted to go and spend Xmas at Disney but it is expensive but the rates they have are great. Very tempting but I know it’s going to be super crowded.

31 Dave { 07.12.11 at 3:38 pm }

Hi Vic!

You probably already know this–but I wanted to make sure…all the special christmas stuff is fully in place by the Friday after Thanksgiving, so you can get everything except the day itself during much less crowded weeks…

32 Melissa { 07.14.11 at 11:27 am }

Hi Dave,
You have a great site!
Your comments are very helpful.
I work in the Board of Ed as a teacher and i can only go to orlando christmas break.
I have two children (a 6 yr old and 4 yr old) who are dying to go.
My husband and i managed to save enough money to go.
Do you feel i should just cancel the whole idea?
or is there any way around it?
I read a bit on fastpasses etc.
also what bracelet is there that we can get so we can go on rides and switch off with my older daughter (being that my younger daughter wont be allowed on everything)

33 Dave { 07.14.11 at 11:34 am }

Hi Melissa, and thanks!

Give me the exact dates in December you could go, and also the beginning and ending of your 2012 summer break (if you know them–if you omly know the beignning of your summer 2012 break, but can give a guess at the end based on past practice that helps too), and based on those I’ll advise you!

34 Eileen { 07.15.11 at 12:37 am }

Because of our school district’s calendar, we are looking to go to Disney World January 18-23, Wednesday thru Monday. We visited 5 years ago and enjoyed Coronado Springs and were glad we purchased the dining plan. We may stay at Coronado again, or if there is a really good deal my favorite would be, Wilderness Lodge. Our girls will be 11 and 7. Do you think there may be a dining plan deal in January, and if so, how do we find about it? Should we make make reservations now or wait? Any other suggestions? Thanks for all your research and sharing!

35 Dave { 07.15.11 at 7:50 am }

Hi Eileen!

No way to guess if there will be a deal or not. If one is announced, I’ll have the details up within a few days here:

You can often convert a booking to a deal if a deal gets announced after you book. This is easiest to do if you book with a travel agent and tell them that’s your goal–they can set you up then in resorts more likely to be eligible, with the right package that makes changes easier.

If you do so thru the form on the lower right side of this site, that travel agent will share with me a bit of the pixie dust Disney sends them which helps compensate for the time I put into this site!

36 Melissa { 07.17.11 at 12:01 pm }

Hi Dave,
I am responding to your response 🙂
we wanted to leave on Saturday Dec.24 and leave Dec.31
summer will be way to hot for us to go
but im off at the end of june till the end of august!!
What is your advice??

37 Dave { 07.17.11 at 1:06 pm }

Melissa it’s hard to describe how crowded it will be 12/24-12/31…the bathroom lines then will be longer than most ride lines will be at the end of August! I would go as late in August as you can, in a heartbeat,,,

38 Robin { 07.20.11 at 8:52 am }

I am really torn on when to take my family for the first time to WDW. I have a 2 1/2 year old and a 6 year old. Should we go in early/mid-November (? Or should I wait until early May 2012? What is Jersey week in November and why is it busy then? Thanks for all your insights and help.

39 Dave { 07.20.11 at 9:10 am }

Hi Robin!

If you can fit between Jersey Week and Thanksgiving, that aprt of November is a great time to go. See this for more on Jersey Week:

Early May/late April 2012 is a little more expensvie, and a little more crowded, but has more reliably warm weather.

40 Chris { 07.29.11 at 2:12 pm }

We are planning to take our 10 and 8 year old children to Disney 4/2/12 to 4/9/12… this a bad time to go. The kids are on Spring Break and we are trying to avoid having to take them out of school to go. We would liek to go with less crowds and cooler weather but school is an issue.


41 Dave { 07.30.11 at 3:34 pm }

Hi Chris!

That week, the week before Easter, is one of the two or three busiest and most expensive weeks at WDW. I consider it a very bad time to go. For more, see

See this for my recommended weeks:

42 Joyce, see this { 07.31.11 at 6:54 pm }
43 Michelle Frickenstein { 08.05.11 at 1:11 pm }

I was wondering why you think the week of 2/12/12 is low on the list for best weeks? Can you give me a little more info. Thanks.

44 Dave { 08.05.11 at 1:51 pm }

Hi Michelle!

It’s because of ride closures…see the para near the top of the page that begins “For visitors on a return trip…”

45 Rob { 08.12.11 at 3:19 pm }

Hi Dave,

Love the site, good articles and info everywhere! We are planning a week at Disney December 10th through the 16th…looks like your charts and info says that is a great time to visit…what are your thoughts on the best Disney resort hotel to stay at that could accomodate three adult couples and two kids aged 2 and 5?



46 Tami gallagher { 08.12.11 at 5:08 pm }

Hi I have never been to disney… I have a large family… 4 adults and 4 children ages… 12, 11, 9, and 3. I ahev planned a trip many years in a row only to have something happen and had to cancel… I have never got past putting the down payment down .. ugh ! So I really need help… Is it better to book during a disney free dining special..or go when rates are lower for a room. and pay for dining?? I have to watch what I am spending money is tight.. but this has been my dream for years now… before my kids leave and get married I want to spend a week with them in disney… By the way 2 of the adults in my party are my older Please help… tell me where to stay and how to do this cheaply…
Thanks Tami

47 Dave { 08.13.11 at 10:32 am }

Hi Rob, and thanks!

Key for you guys will be deciding if you want three private spaces or not, and the trade-off between living space and coveninece/kid appeal.

See in general the material for large families that starts here:

If two private spaces and one shared sleeping space will work, then I’d recommend a two-bedroom villa at Old Key West, or one of the Treehouses:

There’s negatives to both, but they fit large groups best of the options.

48 Dave { 08.13.11 at 10:37 am }

Hi Tami!

Regarding free dining vs low prices—you don’t have to choose! There’s several weeks in Jan and Feb 2012 that offer both! See All the Jan and Feb weeks that are eligible for free dining are also at the lowest prices of the year!

There’s no Disney accomodation that will sleep 8 that’s also inexpensive. The least expensive way to get space for 8 is to reserve two rooms at a value resort. They may be far apart, however. For more, see this: and also this:

Hope this helps and have a great trip!! Dave

49 Mary mul { 08.14.11 at 5:12 am }

Hi Dave!! loooove the site!
we are planning on going to WDW 26 nov- 3 des 2012 . kids 7, 9.
i have seen the temperature readings, but want to know, will it be so cold that we won’t be able to swim? we also want to go on a carribean cruise afterwords. but don’t want to waste money if it is cold.
and finally, please give advice on the whole ticket thing, what option is best….park hopper basic?..wich one is it even possible to see 2 parks in one day?
thank you. this is our first and probaly last visit to WDW (we are from south africa) so i really enjoy all the tips on your site!

50 Dave { 08.14.11 at 9:03 am }

Hi Mary, and thanks for the love!

It’s the park hopper ticket that allows you to go to two different parks in a day. My advice is to skip it for now, and then add it at WDW if you discover you need it–doing it this way costs no more, but defers the cost until it’s proven that you need it.

Weather at that time of year is all over the place.

There’s a 20% chance the high will be below 70F, and a 20% chance it will be over 80F.

Personally, I would not plan a trip at this time of the year around either swimming or cruising…it may well work out, but with so much variability its a crap shoot… for mor eon temps variability see this

51 Karla { 08.15.11 at 9:48 pm }

We have two small kids we are thinking of taking May 2012. They will be 3 and 5 years old then. We plan on taking them again when they are older. Would there be much for them to see and do at this age? We would like to go when the crowds are small so if there are only a few things for them to do, they could do multiple times w/o having to wait too long in line. Are there shows, activities, etc for little ones? We don’t want to go when it’s too hot or during hurricane season. My daughter, who will be 5, just wants “to go and see the princessess” and ride “the teacups”. 🙂

52 Dave { 08.15.11 at 9:53 pm }

Karla, what a sweet idea. There’s tona little one can do–see the vertical side of this page:

53 Vivian { 08.16.11 at 7:12 pm }

Any way I can see what special events are happening during our possible trip – either April 15-21 or April 22-28 (both 2012, of course)

54 Vivian { 08.16.11 at 7:12 pm }

And do you think 6 1/2 and 4 almost 5 are good ages to take to Disney?

55 Dave { 08.16.11 at 8:06 pm }

The main special event is the Epcot Flower and Garden show–see this: It begins in March and goes into May.

As the dates get closer, will have anything else that’s going on then on its WDW Resort Update page, which comes out weekly, usually on Mondays

56 Dave { 08.16.11 at 8:07 pm }

If this will be their ONLY trip I’d say they are too young; if it’s their FIRST trip, those are great ages!

57 Mary mul { 08.17.11 at 9:12 am }

Hi Dave! Great site!
We are coming for a once- in-a- lifetime trip to WDW all the way from south africa.
Just a few quistions.. we are planning on coming on the 29 Nov 2012 staying for 10 days. I know summer season is over, bit will we see fireworks? And then will it be hot enough for us to swim, and lastley, the park-hopper thing… is it worth it? is it even possible to see and do all in one park a day? Or will it sometimes be neccisary to hop from one park to the next?

58 Dave { 08.17.11 at 10:22 am }

Hi Mary, and what a great adventure you have planned!

Fireworks will happen, but not every night at the Magic Kingdom or at the Hollywood Studios. They will happen every night at Epcot.

Once Disney releases its December 2012 calendars (typically 6ish months before) you’ll want to check them for Wishes (MK) and Fantasmic (HS) dates and times. See this for more on the calendares:

It may be hot enuf to swim, but may not. Temps are all over the place at this time of the year.

For the distribution of historic high temps see this: and for a more complicated view see this:

MK is worth two full days, Epcot a day and half, and each of the other parks a full day.

However, the hopper is a convenience at this time of year as it lets you start your day at a lower-crowd park but end your day at one of the fireworks shows. You can buy it on site for the same price as you would pay now, so I’d advise waiting to buy until you are sure it’s worth the money!

Hope this helps and have a great trip!!

59 Karena { 08.29.11 at 2:22 pm }

Thank you so much for the notice about the shift in the dates for the Free Dining this fall. I called and saved $200.00! I saw the old offer a few weeks ago and it wouldn’t work for when we’re going. But because of your website I saw the changes and saved.

60 Dave { 08.29.11 at 6:59 pm }

Karena, that’s great! Glad the site helped! Dave

61 Aaron { 08.31.11 at 12:45 pm }

Great site! I’m a Disney World veteran, but was poking around looking at different crowd calendars when trying to decide when to visit next year. I simply love your “ranked week” crowd calendar. So easy to understand at a glance, and it’s really made me look hard at middle October as opposed to early September like we were originally planning. Keep up the great work!

62 Dave { 08.31.11 at 1:35 pm }

Thanks Aaron! Also see the week picker–that can be even more help for Disney veterans. See this: ANd if you do, let me know what you think! Dave

63 Ellen { 08.31.11 at 4:25 pm }

Our first visit to WDW we stayed off site. For the next visit I REALLY want to stay on site but need 2 rooms to accomodate us. Suites are too expensive. Would you recommend 2 rooms at Pop Century or paying more to be in 2 rooms at Port Orleans-Riverside. We have kids (7 & 13) but do not necessarily like to be around a lot of other children.

64 Dave { 08.31.11 at 4:44 pm }

Hi Ellen!

Not knowing your family/group size and relationships, it’s hard for me to be specific.

See this page at the links on it: If they don’t help, comment back and note your family/group size and relationships!

65 Ellen { 09.01.11 at 11:26 am }

Sorry. There are just 4 of us, but my husband needs a separate room because of his medical equipment. That is why I am thinking 2 rooms and not the more expensive suites.

66 Dave { 09.01.11 at 11:34 am }

Would an inexpensive family suite at All-Star Music or the (new, opening next summer) Art of Animation Resort work?

They have a private space for 2, and a shared space for 4, and are just a tad more expensive than two room at Pop, and much less expensive than two rooms at a moderate…

For All-Star Music family suites (including floor plans), see this:

For my guess at the Art of Animation resort floor plan, see this:

67 Robin Cropper { 09.05.11 at 9:39 am }

We have been to disney several times and stayed a various resorts. We are planning a trip WAY ahead and plan on staying at Animal Kingdom this time with tickets and dining. How far ahead can we plan, can we put it on a layaway plan , are there any discounts, and will it have an expiration date. Thanks.

68 Dave { 09.05.11 at 9:47 am }

Hi Robin!

You can book a hotel up to 500 days ahead. See this:

Hotel bookings require at least a night’s deposit, with the rest due either a few monbths in advance or at check out, depending on the reservation type.

Discounts are much more short term (usually) as they are focused on reacting to booking levels and filling beds that aren’t selling.

69 Kim { 09.05.11 at 10:56 pm }

Have you ever evaluated the Disney Vacation Club? I would love to know what you have to say…

70 Dave { 09.06.11 at 7:11 am }

Hi Kim! If you mean whether one should become a DVC member or not–no, I haven’t. Since in theory this site is for first time visitors, it hasn’t raised itself high on my topic list yet! But I go off theory all the time so I may someday!

71 youku786 { 09.06.11 at 10:48 pm }

Terrific guide. I will bookmark your internet site and be positive to test back again often.

72 jane { 09.07.11 at 12:23 pm }

Thanks for all the brilliant info on your site. We are planning to visit from the 9th April 2012 until the 23rd. Being British this whole Spring Break thing is a bit of a mystery to us. I was hoping that the dates we had chosen would mean that most Spring breaks had finished (mainly in March and early April?) and that Easter would also be over and done with. Am I reading it completely wrong? Is it going to be absolutely horrendous during our first week? My 8 and 5 year old will be wanting to hit the parks on our first day, the 10th, should we plan to do other quieter things for a few days instead? thanks for your advice

73 Dave { 09.07.11 at 1:17 pm }

Thanks Jane!

I’m expecting the week after Easter 2012 to be quite crowded, but easy crowds beginning the 15th.

If I’m wrong–and it happens!–things will improve not the 15th but earlier, beginning April 11 or 12.

For more on why I make these predictions:

You can manage the busier days by arriving at the parks well before they open, using FASTPASSES, and not expecting much in terms of low lines after around 11a. Focus the busy day afternoons/evenings on naps, swimming, and on returning to parks for such things as evening fireworks, parades, and such…you can then return for what you missed on ther quieter days following the 15th.

Hope this helps and have a great trip!

74 Emily { 09.08.11 at 8:37 pm }

Hi There,
My brother in-law contacted you before their visit to Disney World and highly recommended your site. Problem is, I’m headed to Disney Land, not World…any tips on the place that makes your dream come true in CA?

75 Dave { 09.09.11 at 7:38 am }
76 Joanne { 09.09.11 at 2:46 pm }

Hello Dave and thanks for the great site. I really like the itineraries and good/bad times to visit ranking. My family (Husband, MIL, FIL, 7 yo & 5 yo) are thinking of going to WDW in Sept 2012 but have not finalized anything yet. Oct & Nov are hunting season in the upstate NY area so they wouldn’t work. I would consider early Dec and from your recommedations it ranks higher since Sept is hurricane season. I worry Dec is busier due to having the Holiday decor up. Please help me weigh my options.

77 Dave { 09.10.11 at 2:55 pm }

Hi Joanne and thanks!

See this page:

Early December is low crowd. Septemebr is even lower, but is in the peak of the hurricane season–see

September also has among the lowest prices of the year, and often sees an additional free dining discount offer. See

If you don’t care about the holiday stuff or the hurricane risk, September is a terrific time to go…

78 Emily { 09.14.11 at 2:40 pm }

This is an INSANE site. I have found all I need. I just spent so many hours that I should have been doing housework, hitting every link possible and trying to absorb as much info as I could. You are going to be the key reason why my family will have the most memorable and enjoyable first visit to Disney. I’m a seasoned veteran (born and raised in O-town) but I am so confident now having found you! THANK YOU!!!

79 Dave { 09.14.11 at 3:35 pm }

Hi Emily! It’s comments like yours that help me get through all the work this site takes! Thank you! Dave

80 snow white sanctum { 09.17.11 at 12:16 pm }

A very informative and helpful blog. Well done. As you mentioned at the top of this post, visiting right after Thanksgiving is a perfect time to go. Our first several trips many years ago was during the first or second weeks of December. Low crowds but already felt like Christmas.

81 Dave { 09.17.11 at 2:44 pm }


82 Alicia { 10.04.11 at 3:54 am }

We’re going to Florida in april 2012, how do i buy a name plaque set in the sidewalk outside the entrance to the Magic Kingdom? I would love to get one for my family to commemorate our holiday. Have looked on all the official websites and through guide books, but found nothing. Are Disney still doing them?

83 Dave { 10.04.11 at 5:10 am }

Hi Alicia, they stopped doing them a while ago, I’m sorry to say.

84 Alicia { 10.05.11 at 4:22 am }

Thanks for the prompt reply, you’ve saved me hours trawling for information. Your site is brilliant, particularly the crowd prediction table. I know you specialise in first trips, but I’ve used you for the last three years to plan our holiday. You’ve become part of the process, nothing happens until i’ve checked out your site. Thank you!

85 Dave { 10.05.11 at 6:23 am }

Alicia, thanks, what a kind comment! I’m glad the stuff helps!

86 Per Moe { 10.21.11 at 7:03 am }

I have a question about President Day. You have predicted a level 10 attendance in week 8. My question is: do you think attendance will be on this level the whole week or will it drop to a lower level later in that week? And what about the weekend after President day?
This is the first – and probably last – time we go to WDW, so we really want to get the most out of our trip.

87 Dave { 10.21.11 at 7:57 am }

Hi Per Moe–it will be quite crowded through the Saturday after President’s Day. This is because a lot of NE schools take the whole week off…while crowds Tuesday and later will be better than those over the three day weekend, they will still be horrible…

88 Per Moe { 10.21.11 at 10:28 am }

Thanks a lot! Your site is most helpful


89 Dave { 10.21.11 at 11:31 am }

Glad it helped!!

90 Johnie Racki { 10.22.11 at 5:21 am }

I was recommended this blog by my cousin. I’m not sure whether this post is written by him as nobody else know such detailed about my trouble. You are amazing! Thanks!

91 Dave { 10.22.11 at 7:43 am }

Thanks Johnie!

92 Alfred Ford { 11.02.11 at 3:46 pm }

After years of having to postpone a visit to WDW, I hope to take the family next year. We are shooting for sometime between Thanksgiving & Christmas. We have two teenagers (15 & 16), one girl & one boy. I don’t believe they will want to share a bed & we can not budget two separate rooms, so we are thinking of one of the Wilderness Lodge rooms with bunk beds. Do you have any other suggestions for our family?

93 Dave { 11.03.11 at 7:48 am }
94 Linda { 11.04.11 at 6:45 am }

I am booking a holiday to Disneyworld with my 2 grandsons (aged 10 and 15 on departure). I aim to go 5th May 2012 to 19th May 2012. I have also been considering spending 2-3 nights at Univesal Studios during this time but this would have to be at the beginning or end of my holiday. Do you have any idea which dates would be the best time to go there? Also, is the beginning of May a good time to go to Disneyworld?

Thank you

95 Dave { 11.04.11 at 6:53 am }

Hi Linda, yes early May is a great time to visit. Your 10 yearl old may be a little young for Universal. The best times to go to Universal are Sundays, Mondays, and Saturdays.

96 Amy { 11.12.11 at 11:00 pm }

we are going to be in Florida over Christmas break have a 5 year old and an almost 3 year old who loves mickey. Do you think it is a waste to go with them the busiest time of the year and only for a day- we would spend all day and spend the night, but my husband doesn’t want to pay for two days! Cafe Mickey is already booked because I thought of doing that the second day.

97 Dave { 11.13.11 at 10:45 am }

Hi Amy! You know, it’s a hard call. My guess is that you can have fun just looking around for a a while, but that it won’t be worth cost of the tix and parking…I’d save the $300 for another, longer trip at a better time…

98 melissa { 11.16.11 at 1:03 pm }

coming with whole family over xmas – want to avoid the parks on xmas day but looking for a nice place to eat ( with 3 under 6 children) on xmas day and suggestions of what to do that wont be too busy. Staying at the marriot world center – any suggestions / recommendations appreciated!

99 Dave { 11.16.11 at 4:52 pm }

Hi Melissa!

This is one of the two busiest days of the year in all of Orlando. Not sure I can think of anything that won’t be mobbed…or any fun restaurants that won’t already be fully booked.

If I were you, I’d just stay in the hotel, hope for a nice day at the pool, and eat there too…

If that won’t work, you can check Disney’s website for reservations at hotels outside of the theme parks and relate it to the restaurant ratings here:

100 Reina { 11.16.11 at 11:50 pm }

Nice post. Its realy good information for me. Thanks a lot!

101 Oren Schouweiler { 11.18.11 at 6:50 am }

Hi everybody! Nice resource! Does anyone know more blogs on this topic?

102 Molly { 11.28.11 at 2:14 pm }

Hi Dave! I scheduled out trip for December 15th through the morning of the 23rd. I’m mad at myself for not picking the previous week instead! Do you think the crowds will be terrible? This is our first time and I don’t want to spend the whole week standing

103 Dave { 11.28.11 at 2:29 pm }

Hi Molly! You will be fine the 15th thru the 17th. Things will be very bad the 22nd and 23rd. Opinions on the 18th-21st differ. I think they’ll be OK, but others think it will be pretty bad those days too. Push your must-sees into the 15h ,16th and 17th…

104 Deb { 12.05.11 at 12:08 pm }

Hi Dave,
Love your site! AS a visitor to Disney I remember years ago staying at the Grand Floridian a couple of weeks before Christmas. While there my family and I happened to be coming back from Hollywood and when we got back to the GF we were treated with hot chestnuts from a cm. Do they do anything like that @the Poly? My husband and will be there on the 14th thru the 17th of December. Thank you for offering this incredible site!!

105 Dave { 12.05.11 at 6:04 pm }

Hi Deb and thanks! I hadn’t heard about the hot chestnut thing–at either GF or the Poly…I did a search and it seems GF is still doing it, but I can’t find any evidence that the Poly is. That said…GF is a short walk from the Poly if the chestnut and cider need strikes hard… 🙂

106 Pam { 12.08.11 at 4:21 am }

Hi Dave,
We have just come back from a week in Florida (chose the date based on your site) and had a fabulous time – the queues were non existent and it was worth the cooler weather for that! Thanks 🙂
(and I have recommended your site to others)

107 Dave { 12.08.11 at 7:03 am }

Hi Pam, I’m glad the site helped, and thanks a million for recommending it!

108 Kathy { 12.11.11 at 1:44 pm }

Hi Dave!

Question- When you schedule a special snack for Beaches and Cream or Sci-Fi, do you make reservations at these places or just walk up? We are leaving in a few days!

Thank you.

109 Dave { 12.11.11 at 1:52 pm }

Hi Kathy! Just show up. Beaches and Cream does not take any reservations… Sci-Fi does not make reservations except for full meals…and if very busy, they may not let you in…

110 Kathy { 12.12.11 at 1:47 am }

Thank you for the response Dave! This will be our third trip to WDW. I wish I had seen your site previously. It is just awesome. And I’m saying this after also subscribing to a couple of well known tour sites. Blessings.

111 Dave { 12.12.11 at 8:15 am }

Thanks Kathy, you’re the best!

112 Katie { 12.13.11 at 8:17 am }

Dave, this site is TERRIFIC! Our family returned two days ago from WDW. It was our sons (ages 9 & 11) First Time though my husband and I had been a few times before. However, this trip was lightyears better than our previous trips because of your wonderful advice!

Unlike prior trips (which were all short 2-3 days), this time we 1. stayed on-site, 2. stayed for 8 days, 3. bought the dining plan, 4. knew about and attended special events (like Hoop and Candlelight), 5. visited during the right season/week for us (December 3, 2011) and boy, did those changes make a HUGE difference in the quality of our experience. During prior trips, we always felt a little lost, like we were missing events or strategies that would make our day better, and the crowds were a huge bummer. Now, using your recommendations, we had much smoother days, experienced far less crowds and had a much more enjoyable time. Even my husband, a veteran traveler for work who hates to be scheduled and balked at your itinerary, by the end of the trip, he was singing your praises. We did modify the itinerary to meet our needs, the weather, etc but it all still worked. Our vacation was so Magical that we booked our return trip already for next December! Thank you so very much Dave! I’m recommending your site to everyone I know.

113 Dave { 12.13.11 at 8:56 am }

Katie, I’m so glad the site helped with your trip! And thanks for the kind words and recommendations!!

114 tinacotts { 12.19.11 at 2:18 am }

hello iv just registered ,, tinas

115 Dave { 12.19.11 at 9:25 am }

Hiya Tina!

116 Kevin { 12.21.11 at 10:49 am }

The “request a quote” is only allowing for 2011 dates

117 Dave { 12.21.11 at 1:51 pm }

Kevin thanks for pointing this out!! It’s fixed now!

118 Marie S. { 12.28.11 at 2:32 pm }

We are planning a trip to Disney this year and because of sporting commitments we won’t be able to go until after Thansgiving. We are going for two weeks and I wasn’t sure what two weeks would be better, weeks beginning 11/24/12 & 12/1/12 or weeks beginning 12/1/12 & 12/8/12? Any input you could provide would be greatly appreciated. I know about the Pop Warner Football and Cheer competition going on the week of 12/8 – we went in February and there were cheer nationals going on – it wasn’t too crowded but the hotel was a nightmare. We plan on visiting the parks Mon – Thurs only each week and staying away from the parks Fri – Sun. Thanks.

119 Dave { 12.28.11 at 5:18 pm }

Hi Marie! I have a slight preference for the later dates, but either period will be great—see this:

120 Sharon { 12.30.11 at 2:28 pm }

Hi Dave.
I emailed you last night about the trip were taking with our9 year old son in feb. I stated we will be there 10 days, since we go to CA Disneyland so much could we see everything In 7 days without rushing? Also I forgot to mention. My son will have his birthday while we are there any suggestions? Any imput would be greatly appreciated.

121 Dave { 12.30.11 at 3:06 pm }
122 Ted { 01.06.12 at 12:52 pm }

I loved your site, and what a pleasure it was to gain valuable insight for free right on the web. I realize now that a Disney trip is very difficult to plan properly, even if you are one of those @#$%&@ with younger kids (4,5&8). That being said, I would rather not donate, but I am willing to use the travel agent as you suggest (since you get some dust). Well done, and thank you again! I’m a business analyst and this site quenched my thirst for details/options.

123 Dave { 01.06.12 at 1:06 pm }

Thanks Ted! Can you tell I’m a strategy consultant in my real job?

124 Ted { 01.06.12 at 1:21 pm }

No need to post this, but if you have a specific recommendation on a travel agent who understands the details to make a Disney trip excellent please let me know! Thanks in advance, Ted.

125 Dave { 01.06.12 at 2:43 pm }

No specific person–just that firm. If you have any issues, let me know!

126 Jessica { 01.09.12 at 5:50 pm }

Hi Dave~
I am just starting to plan our visit to WDW for late fall of 2012. I have read in your comments to others to look for the box at the lower right corner of your site for a travel agency recommendation. I’m not seeing it–help! What is the firm? I feel like maybe I’m looking right at it but not seeing it.

Thank you!

127 Dave { 01.09.12 at 7:25 pm }

Hi Jessica and thanks for asking! I’ve moved this around, and used links, an image, and a form, so I’ve probably confused EVERYONE….

What you are looking for on the right side is a form outlined in double blue lines, with a title that begins “Request a Disney or Universal…”

Where it shows up will vary a little based on your screen size and resolution, but if you go to the home page and scroll dpwn through the instructions in the center, it’ll be to the right starting around “Where to Eat…”

128 Lisa { 01.09.12 at 10:52 pm }

We are first time visitors to WDW!!! Our family of 5 is spending 9 days in Orlando @ POR Disney property – not a recommended moderate, but our options were limited due to size (I hope we made the right lodging choice). Our plan “was” to split the 9 days up between these parks: WDW 5 days, Universal 2 days, and Discovery Cove / Aquatica 2 days. Now… after some heavy thought, I’m reconsidering this jam-packed schedule. By adding extra days to our hopper at WDW we’d get to enjoy WDW more.. while spending a whole lot less $ (around $700 less if we cut universal). Considering this is our only trip to FL for the next 5 years, do you think we are cheating ourselves by omitting Universal? Our kids (10, 10, and 8) aren’t huge thrill seekers… well one is, and some of the recent reviews haven’t been so favorable towards Universal and children. What are your thoughts?
Also, I should have found your site 6 months ago. It would have told me to make dining reservations early. Even thought I got a late start, I’ve been pretty lucky so far: 1900 Park Fare, Boma, Teppan Edo, O’hanna, and maybe Hoopdee doo, (I’m happy, except Chef Mickey is full). My second question is: Why is the Tusker House listed so far down your list of Character dining meals? I was kind of figuring they are ALL the same(?).
Thanks again for all the useful information. Great site!!!!

129 Dave { 01.10.12 at 8:16 am }

Hi Lisa and thanks! Universal delivers the best value for money to families who love thrill rides. And a more rleaxed schedule may help keep you sane! Tusker House is fine, there’s just nothing special about it. These meals cost time and money, and if you are going so far down the list to get to it, it may be better to skip and enjoy the rides with that time instead, eating from counter service…

130 Angela { 01.11.12 at 6:46 pm }

Someone told me that Disney World would allow you to bring in a small ice chest is this true?

131 Dave { 01.12.12 at 9:57 am }

Hi Angela, it varies a bit by park. See this for specifics:

132 Angela { 01.12.12 at 6:24 pm }

Thanks, We are planning our visit April 21-26, 2012 and I have looked at the port orleans french quarter resort and the pop century resort. What would you suggest? The deluxe resorts are not a option for us.

133 Dave { 01.13.12 at 8:09 am }

Angela, if you can afford POFQ, then I’d suggest something a little different–a split stay, wiht three nights at Pop, then three nights at the WIlderness Lodge. See this:

134 Leslie { 01.13.12 at 3:43 pm }

I am planning a trip to WDW in early June but I can’t decide which dining plan I need for a family of 4. I was looking at the deluxe but unsure if it is really worth the price. Thanks

135 Dave { 01.13.12 at 4:04 pm }

Hi Leslie. The deluxe dining plan is hard to get value out of–you have to eat more table-service meals than most families are willing to commit to (rides are more fun, and naps more valuable!) and so you end up with unused credits. The “regular” dining plan–with one table service credit a day–is the best choice for most.

136 Kim { 01.15.12 at 10:22 am }

We are coming on our first trip to WDW arriving sunday at 10am on 3-24 and leaving on thursday evening the 28th. kids ages are 2,10,15. Any tips on how to handle scheduling the parks to get the best out of our short trip?

137 Dave { 01.15.12 at 10:49 am }
138 Jerry Malnar { 01.17.12 at 3:11 pm }

Great post!

139 Dave { 01.17.12 at 5:19 pm }

Thanks, Jerry!

140 Glenn { 01.18.12 at 2:07 pm }

My wife is a big NY Giants fan (but I love her anyway!). The NFC Championship game is this Sunday night and we will be at Disney with our 11 yearold daughter. Other than ESPN Club (which will be crowded and won’t take reservations for dinner) is there anywhere we can watch the game and eat, and have our daughter not completely bored?

141 Dave { 01.18.12 at 5:17 pm }

Glenn, I can’t think of anything on property that will work…sorry…leave your wife in the room to watch and you and your daughter have Dad’s night out in the parks?

142 Keith { 01.18.12 at 11:37 pm }

I spent a vacation at Disney World from 11.30-12.5 (2011) and could not have asked for a better time (great weather, no crowds, loved staying at POR). I was worried about the Pop Warner scenario, but after we got home, turns out we worried for no reason at all! We avoided MK for the taping of the parade and plan to do so this trip as well. Looking to go back around the same time this year, expanding to a full week (wanted to build in some relaxing time to do nothing as we went nonstop on our initial trip). After looking at your chart, I was thinking of either going from 11.26 to 12.3 OR 11.28 to 12.5, staying again @ POR. Which set of dates would you suggest?


143 Dave { 01.19.12 at 7:51 am }

Hi Keith! I’d go for 11-26 to 12-3…not much difference between the two, but crowds should be a bit lighter…

144 Jill { 01.19.12 at 5:10 pm }

We are heading to Disney from 2/12-2/17 for the first time with our 5 year old daughter! We should arrive at our resort around 10:30am that Sunday and wanted to know your recommendation for the best park to go visit that 1/2 day. Thank you!

145 Dave { 01.19.12 at 5:28 pm }
146 Nicole { 01.20.12 at 12:14 pm }

Our family (two young girls) are heading to Disney March 26 th – April 1. When would be the best time to attend….Magic Kingdom? Busch Gardens? Sea World?

147 Dave { 01.20.12 at 12:22 pm }

Hi Nicole, you are going at a pretty rough time of the year so far as crowds go. I don’t have a point of view on Busch Gardens or Sea World, but for MK try the 27th or 28th…

148 Deb { 01.20.12 at 12:52 pm }

Hi Dave,
I was wondering if you have any comments about crowds when the expansion opens up? Did you take that into consideration when you did your weeks for 2013? Just curious, I am going to skip that year because of the opening and probably go 2014, we are going in April 2012.

149 Dave { 01.20.12 at 1:35 pm }

Hi Deb! I’m not expecting the 2012 fantasyland expansion to have a big crowd impact. While it remains to be seen how Disney will market it, once the dates are set, it’s basically not much. See this:

150 ian { 01.20.12 at 1:40 pm }

Hi Dave
We are a family of 4 with 2 kids aged 8 and 5 and coming from the UK
Having used your when to go guide we have decided to come to Disney on the 25th feb and return on the 10th March.
This will be our first visit and we want to get the best out of Disney whilst still having some downtime. At the moment we are considering booking the Pop Century resort for the first week and the Hard Rock resort in Universal for the second week. The reason for this is that we probably wont use the hotel too much for the first week and want to get the best value for our money. The second week we will probably take a few days out and relax more around the pool. Maybe a few trips to Seaworld and Discovery cove etc. Then go to the the 2 Universal studios resorts at the end of the week. I feel this way we will get the best out of the extra hrs at both WDW and Universal as well.
Do you think this is a good idea or should we spend maybe 10 days at Pop century and only 4 days at the Hardrock. Also what tickets would be best.
Finally would you recommend the dining plan?


151 Dave { 01.20.12 at 3:07 pm }

HI Ian, first your plan sounds fine. Second, there are often special ticket and dining deals available to UK visitors that I don’t know about…I would check with a Uk based travel agent or for guidance on these!

152 Tony Noctor { 01.24.12 at 4:54 pm }

dave just found your site, cant take in all information , Im taking my family 25 in total to orlando 26th june till 10th july, we want to visit wdw and universal with fast passes
magic kingdom,epcot,movie studio,and a water park for disney,and 2 universal what ticket option would be best in your opinion, no hopper needed
also any ideas on how to keep a large crowd together at rides would be appricated

153 Dave { 01.25.12 at 9:06 am }

Hi Tony! First, that’s a really lousy time to go–very crowded hot and humid. I’m guessing, though, with a party of 25 you don’t have much flexibility with your dates.

Second, with a group that size I strongly suggest working with a travel agent. Travel agents are free to you (they are paid a commission by Disney etc) get prices as low as you could get yourself, and save some problems. Destinations in Florida is the agency I partner with, and its boss would welcome your contact. She’s Allison Jones at

If you’d rather not, get back to me with your questions!!

154 Glenn { 01.25.12 at 12:31 pm }

Hi Dave, Great info for large families. We are planning to stay at the cabins at Fort Wilderness as we have years earlier. We would also like to get a tent site nearby. Any recommendations on cabin locations and tentsite loops that are convenient to one another? Thanks for your guidance.

155 Dave { 01.25.12 at 12:38 pm }
156 Karen { 01.25.12 at 9:40 pm }

Great site! Am a little concerned about the dates of 11/18/12 – 11/23/12 Thanksgiving week that we are going to be at WDW. I know there will be crowds, but it was either this week or spring break. We have two teachers going. Is the first of the week less crowded than after mid week (Wednesday)? Should we visit Magic Kingdom maybe on Monday or will it be just as crowded all week? We’re staying at POR in the new Royal Guest Rooms. This is my grandkids first trip. They are 7 and 8.
Thanks for any suggestions.

157 Dave { 01.26.12 at 6:44 am }

Hi Karen, and thanks!

Thanksgiving week is better than spring break–but better for teachers than either is early June or late August, depending on which fits their academic calendar.

The first part of Thanksgiving week is a little less crowded than Wednesday and after, but not much. Since people arriving over the weekend tend to go to MK first, Monday will be very busy at MK. I’d target Tuesday for MK instead…

Hope this helps and have a great trip!

158 Mary Beth Taylor { 02.01.12 at 4:42 pm }

Previous inquiry Sunday but I have “lost it”–it was too long anyway and now I have specifically made sure I know where I am so I know where to watch for reply(home of the site). Answered some of my previous questions w more maneuvering thru the site. 11/21/12-late arrival, 11/22, 11/23, and 11/24 staying at Grand Floridian(yuck for kids but good for wallet since work paying for conference and the reduced rate of 255/night). After it is over, based on your recs, will not stay offsite but will promptly move to Pop century. Expecting terrible crowds thru midday Sun but don’t want to write these days off. Class over at noon 11/22-11/24–can you make recs as to what to do these 3 days as far as scheduled events/reservations{ie when to do la nouba, supper reservations,parades, fireworks, etc? } Then as crowds thin 11/25(evening)thru 11/29(2nd best week to go 2012), I am trying to focus on the 5 day itinerary as far as parks and actually seeing attractions, but do not know how to adjust it based on what we might get out of the way the first 3-4 days. Thanks so much-Mary Beth

159 Dave { 02.01.12 at 5:32 pm }

Hi Mary Beth, here’s some thoughts to start.

On the 21-24th, focus on afternoon and evening events for which there are not lines–these include the afternoon parades at HS, MK, and AK, the evening parade at MK, and the evening fireworks at Epcot, MK, and HS. This also means that on the less busy days you can skip these, and ride rides during them instead.

For return all day visits, spend the 25th at Epcot, the 26th at HS, the 27th and 28th at MK, and the 29th at AK.

Does this help?

160 Mary Beth Taylor { 02.01.12 at 9:00 pm }

Thanks for your reply. I am so Disney ignorant, I cannot imagine how we would have botched this up w/o this site and your help. I am getting so lost in links…..I could send 20 more inquiries but gonna work on it a bit more with the above recs first and try to send you questions after I am more informed. Time is on my side…..but goes by quickly!!!!

161 Dave { 02.02.12 at 8:02 am }

Hi Mary Beth, glad to help, and feel free to send more questions…

162 Ally { 02.06.12 at 6:55 am }

Hi Dave, just wanted to say what a fantastic site and tons of info, but I wanted your opinion on where to stay. Myself and the husband have been to Disney years ago before the kids came along and now we will be in the States for a wedding so thought we could spend 10 days in Orlando and bring our two boys ( 5 and 6) to see Disney and Seaworld. I researched lots of places to stay and am inclined to stay at a Disney property because of the extra hours, however I do not like the look of the value hotels and the delux are out of our budget. What would you recommend in the mid-range option and also could you get a day ticket to Seaworld as I think Disney park tickets would give us enough to do while we are there and don’t want to spend money on other parks we won’t get a chance to see. Thanks!

163 Dave { 02.06.12 at 8:47 am }

Hi Ally and thanks!

For rankings of the moderately priced options, see this:

And yes, you can get a one day Sea World ticket.

Hope this helps, and have a great trip…

164 Reagan Garno { 02.08.12 at 8:08 pm }

This really answered my problem, thank you!

165 Dave { 02.09.12 at 6:11 am }

Your’re welcome, Reagan!

166 Allison { 02.10.12 at 10:08 am }

Using your site to plan our 2nd trip to Disney, April 28-May 5th, 2012 with our three children, 11, 8, 4(1st visit) and my parents(67). I was wondering if you could tell me which day of the week is the best day to visit which park. We are staying at a Disney resort, but have read that Magic Hour days actually mean longer lines. Dread waiting on long lines with the 4 year old, especially at MK. Thanks so much for any input you can offer. By the way, love your sight!!!

167 Dave { 02.10.12 at 12:37 pm }

Hi Allison and thanks!

First, have you seen this–it’s a close fit to your dates:

Otherwise, the lowest crowd days your week at MK will be Tuesday and Weds, at Epcot Weds and Thurs, at AK Thurs, and at HS Tues, Weds and Thurs…

168 Allison { 02.10.12 at 7:43 pm }

Thank you, will check out the link as well.

169 Dave { 02.11.12 at 8:33 am }

Ok, have a great trip!

170 Debra { 02.12.12 at 6:01 pm }

I go to WDW about once a year. I just discovered this website, and even though I know the parks like the back of my hand and have a system for planning our trips, I think there is a LOT of useful info on here, even for me. AWESOME site! Thanks!

171 Dave { 02.12.12 at 6:05 pm }

Thanks, Debra, you’re the best! Dave

172 Debra { 02.12.12 at 6:22 pm }

We usually go in January or early February for two important reasons; we get away from the NH cold, and the crowds are small. It is usually just my husband and I, although next year we are planning on taking his oldest daughter, my oldest son (both in their late twenties) and my grandson, who will be six. I was wondering why those weeks are not ranked higher, given the low crowds.

I have been unemployed for three months (found out the day before our trip this year that I would be would be starting new job this week), but when my income starts anew, I plan on donating to your site. What a huge amount of work you have done! I will be recommending this site to anyone I know who is going.

173 Dave { 02.12.12 at 6:48 pm }

Thanks Debra, especially for recommending the site! And congratulations on the new job, that must be a load off your mind…

My rankings are for first time visitors who may never return. Since ride closures are common in Jan and early Feb, that’s why these times get the low ranking–I’d hate for anyone’s only trip to predictably miss some great stuff.

I have another tool for returning guests that helps them pick weeks without me getting in the way on things like ride closures– give it a spin, it’s here: If you follow the low crowds/low prices path you’ll find Jan and early Feb!

174 Jodi { 02.13.12 at 10:46 pm }

This site is invaluable!! I’m a thorough researcher (and WDW veteran as a child) and have to credit your site as a very important tool in making my 6 yr old daughter’s first trip an absolutely wonderful experience….thanks! And kudos for the tip on the in-room fridge (adults count, too!) Will be coming back soon to plan the my daughter’s 8 yr old birthday trip!

175 Dave { 02.14.12 at 6:30 am }

Thanks, Jodi, and have a great trip! Dave

176 Mary Beth Taylor { 02.22.12 at 7:04 pm }

Hi Dave,
Still too many factors for me to handle this on my own so tried to go through your site- right margin –to get to Travel Destinations in Florida. Tried from desktop and IPad but “unable to access database” or “web page cannot be displayed” I want you to get your dust….. If I contact them through their website and mention you, will you still get it or do you want me to try to go through this website after you check it out?
Mary Beth Taylor

177 Dave { 02.23.12 at 12:41 pm }

Hi Mary Beth, thanks for the kind thought and the heads up that the form isn’t working! I’ll let them know, but in the meantime, this link should work:

178 Allison Jones { 02.23.12 at 1:03 pm }

Hi Mary Beth,

I do apologize for the inconvenience. We did have a server issue last night and we were down temporary. The quote page is up and running again. You are also welcome to email me directly at and I am happy to help!

Thank you for letting us know about the update.


179 Morton Sevick { 02.23.12 at 7:47 pm }

Very well put together post with many good tips. I want to say, very well done and all the best moving forward

180 Dave { 02.24.12 at 7:08 am }


181 Lisa { 02.25.12 at 10:42 am }

Hi again Dave

Thanks very much for answering my post about visiting from the UK. We’ve finally booked and will be leaving the UK on 5th May 2012 for 2 weeks with our kids aged 3 and 7. So that we don’t waste a minute, we were going to sit down and do an itinerary … however, we haven’t been since 2004 and I’m guessing things have changed a bit! I’d really appreciate a bit of help with the planning if you can spare the time. We have bought 14 day Disney Ultimate passes and also the Orlando Flex ticket and would like to visit absolutely everything if we can, because we don’t know when we will be able to come back again. We’d also like a few days of downtime as well, so that we can recuperate.

Thanks so much for any help and advice you can give – it’s really appreciated. If you ever come to the East Midlands, let me know and I’ll reciprocate!!

Best Wishes

182 Lisa { 02.25.12 at 10:44 am }

Oh, by the way, we are staying at the Enclave Suites near International Drive and will have a car. 🙂

183 Dave { 02.25.12 at 12:31 pm }

Hi Lisa, and thanks for the offer of East Midlands help! 🙂 It’s been a while since I’ve been to the UK…too long! A long time ago, while my dad was in the US Navy, we lived for 3 years near London–in Ruislip…and I think my family was from the Midlands before they came to the US.

ANyway, I’m behind on other work, and your request is tricky, so I’ll get you more specific thoughts later. In the meantime, plan 6 days for WDW and 1 day each for for Universal and Sea World. (Given the age of your kids, there’s little at Universal for them.)

See the second example on this page for how something like that might lay out in two weeks:

184 Dave { 02.25.12 at 12:31 pm }

Got it. Also, there’s not much for a 3 year old at WDW, and next to nothing at Universal, so I’ll be thinking about the 7 year old when I think about this…

185 Lisa { 02.27.12 at 11:47 am }

Thanks very much – I really appreciate any help that you can give. Don’t forget to email me if you come back to the UK!! In the meantime, I’m recommending your site to everyone who’s thinking of visiting Orlando!

Best Wishes
Lisa 🙂

186 Dave { 02.28.12 at 6:49 am }

Thanks Lisa!

Here’s my thoughts on your itinerary.

First, WDW is typically busiest Sat-Mon, which means that those are usually the best days for Sea World and Universal.

Second, For WDW, I’m gonna give you days to avoid by park:

MK: Avoid 5/6, 10, 13, 17 and 20
HS: Avoid May 5, 7, 12, 14 and 16
AK: Avoid May 7, 9, 14, and 19
Epcot: Avoid May 8, 11, 15 and 18

Hope this helps, thanks for telling your friends about the site, and have a great trip! Dave

187 Lisa { 03.01.12 at 3:58 pm }

You’re a star! Thanks so much and we’ll let you know how we get on.

188 Jim L { 03.01.12 at 4:33 pm }

Hi, your site is spot on for digesting massive amounts of options.
You provide great “bang for your buck” information.
It took only one day at WDW for me to figure out that time is money, spend both wisely.
My question is about; when can you get access to parks?
I have booked 12-16-12 to 12-21-12 at the GF.
I have an eight day PH for the parks. I am driving, so I plan to stay off site 12-14 and 12-15. How do I go about getting access to parks a day earlier than my reservation?
Does the “one magic key” that you get, work before you take up residence on campus?

189 Dave { 03.01.12 at 8:42 pm }


190 Dave { 03.01.12 at 8:47 pm }

Jim, thanks, and great question. Your tickets are in theory unrelated to any dates. My guess is that you can just show up at GF and explain your circumstances at the concierge desk, and they will fix you up with your tix. If you are unwilling to settle for a guess–many reasonable people would be unwilling!–I can check with one of my travel agent buddies…

191 Travis { 03.02.12 at 9:53 am }


We’re needing tickets for Oct 15th time frame; we’re going with my parents and my father is retired military. The military deal I see expires two weeks before we go (at the end of Sept. ’12). Do you think they’ll do another military discount of some sort pretty soon?

192 Dave { 03.02.12 at 10:08 am }

Hi Travis…there’s no guarantee there will be another one, and based on the last couple of years, if there is another one, it could be announced either well before the end of this one…or after it ends! So I wouldn’t count on another one, but would hold buyng tickets til the last minute just in case…

193 Jim L { 03.02.12 at 8:13 pm }

Hi Again
RE: Tickets prior to check in
FYI – Direct from the Mouse’s Mouth (Concierge Itinerary Planning Office)
“You would have to go to the Guest Service building at one of the Disney parks – in order to obtain the tickets prior to check-in at the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa.
Have a GRAND day! “
Your suggestion, which I was thinking about, fits more of the “Service to guests”.
I think I will try your suggestion first and see what happens.
Look for note next year.

194 Dave { 03.03.12 at 8:11 am }

Hey Jim, thanks for letting me know what they said! If GF doesn’t work…guest services is just a monorail stop away. Let me know what happens…Dave

195 Snacks { 03.04.12 at 1:12 am }

What effect will the opening of the A of A resort have upon Pop Century, especially related to bus capacity/availability? looking at weeks immed. after thxgiving.

196 Dave { 03.04.12 at 12:38 pm }

Hi Snacks. My guess is that some buses will be shared with Art of Animation, but that it won’t make much difference…

197 Eric Houger { 03.07.12 at 3:20 pm }

Found your site, and I can tell already, this will be my main source for great information. Very nicely done indeed. Question – planning on a December visit. Your thoughts on the water parks?

Thanks in advance!

198 Dave { 03.07.12 at 4:44 pm }

Thanks Eric! See the chart on this page: The takeway is don’t bet on water parks in December…

199 Susan S { 03.08.12 at 11:39 am }

I am so impressed by your site and info. We have been to Disney over 25 times
But last year decided to buy access to a website to check on crowd levels. You have the same info for free. Thank you, your info is great & extremely helpful.

200 Dave { 03.08.12 at 12:06 pm }

Hi Susan, and thanks!!

201 Steve { 03.10.12 at 6:39 pm }

I am kind of new to this but have a tentative vacation scheduled for the dates of May 22-28. We are planning to stay at Disney’s Pop Century Resort. Was wondering if there was a specific place on this site where I could find an itinerary for just the dates of May 23-26? I was also wondering if you had some type of list that would help choose the best parks and rides for young children (my son is 4).

202 Dave { 03.11.12 at 9:18 am }

Hi Steve! My itineraries are mostly for my recommended trip lengths and arrival dates (that is 8 nights, Saturday arrivals), as otherwise the combinations would overwhelm me. You can interpolate an itnerary from what I offer, or check out the itineraries on–see this

I also don’t have stuff for kids quite that young, but what’s on this page comes close:

203 Snacks { 03.13.12 at 2:02 pm }

Hi Dave. How crowded is Memorial Day weekend? Will Big Thunder Mountain re-open as scheduled? What effect will the refurb have on crowds/wait times? Thanks!

204 Dave { 03.14.12 at 6:43 am }

Hi Snacks. That’s a pretty crowded weekend–one I’d avoid. Rides usually open on time, but someitmes not. The re-opening ought to reduce crowds at the other rides compared to what they’d be without it, since it will increase capacity. I don’t expect the re-opening as such to draw crowds, since it’s just a rehab, not a redo…

205 John { 03.15.12 at 9:49 pm }

Looking at their historical stats, those dates were inflated last year by some events, so hopefully it’s just an aberration. Thanks for your help!

206 Dave { 03.16.12 at 6:29 am }

Hey John, that’s my thought as well!

207 Tammi { 03.18.12 at 9:03 am }

I cannot believe you answer EVERY comment…you are awsome. I have always gone to Disney the last week of January and the first week of September, so I have NEVER been there with the crowds. My daughter is now in school, and I refuse to take her out of school for a vacation. I got a new job this year and my vacation time is very limited. I had to take off when schools were closed and I really want to go to Disney. (I’m pretty sure you know where I’m going with this!). I know it’s going to be crowded the week after Easter, and I expect there to be more people and I know with Magic Kingdom 1/2 shut down, it will seem even more packed. But just how bad is it? Are the lines that bad? My daughter is 6 and does not go on the big rides – Space Mountain, Face Track, Tower or Terror, Aerosmith, etc. Is it insanely crowded and just what is considered crowded. For an example….how long will the wait be for Small World or Dumbo be without a fast pass? Will I get a fast pass for Soarin’ if this the first place I go when I get to Epcot? The longest we have EVER waited for anything was 45 minutes for the Fairies. I’m really confused because we always stay at Pop, and there have been times that I’ve gone and they were sold out (during free dining time), but when I check now, they say there is no problems with getting a room. Since I want to go in less than 3 weeks, I need to make my decision very quickly. I’m going to drive down from Jersey (Lord help me!) and was planning to be in Disney April 8th (Easter) – April 13th (no park day on the 13th). Everyone says it’s crowded…..what exactly does that mean – is it wall-to-wall people? Do they really shut down parks due to capacity? Please help….I really want to go, but I don’t want it to be an overwhelming/frustrating trip.

208 Dave { 03.18.12 at 10:01 am }

Hi Tammi, yup, more than 4000 comments served!

If you’ve only been Sept and Jan, it’s hard to imagine the difference you’ll see. Not just wait times, but people everywhere…everywhere…three times as many people in the parks as you are used to, 20 minute lines for the rest rooms…Closures are not common your week except maybe Easter at MK, and things may–may–slow down a lil starting Thursday.

The best choice for people tied to a school calendar is either the beginning of June or the end of August, depending on when your academic calendar leaves you open.

If you do go, the first 3-5 hours can be fine if you arrive well before the parks open, ride the rides you most care about in the first hour, and then start using FASTPASS. FASTPASSES will be available much of the morning, except for Toy Story Mania where it might book out by 10a… then back to your hotel for a nap and swim, and return after the afternoon parades…park hoppers help this week as you can do am EMH and hop in the evening. There’s also a way to throw money at the problem–see this

209 Tammi { 03.18.12 at 10:18 am }

Thank you!!!! I’m still not sure what to do….This is the only vacation I can take this year. I am DISNEY, DISNEY, DISNEY…but in your honest opinion….is it worth it to go, or will it be frustrating for an impatient 6 year old? I don’t want to go if we are only going to be able to get on 5 rides a day. Last year…..we rode the people mover over and over and over and it was empty – we always had our own car. We waited 15 minutes for small world and 20 for the race cars. Am I delusional to think this will be a relaxing vacation?

210 Dave { 03.18.12 at 12:59 pm }

Frankly, Tammi, I think it will drive you mad…

211 JJ { 03.29.12 at 10:41 am }

We want to visit Walt Disney World towards the end of June. We will only be there one day and need 5 adult, 2 children, basic tickets, one day only. Does anyone know how to get a discount?

212 Dave { 03.29.12 at 12:49 pm }

Hi JJ you might check

Sometimes you’ll find links there to places where you can save 5% or so.

Avoid any really big discounts you see, ebay, craigslist, etc,. as those are far too likely to be fraudulent.

213 JJ { 03.31.12 at 9:11 am }

Dave, Thanks.

214 Dave { 03.31.12 at 9:19 am }

You bet, and good luck…

215 Lee { 03.31.12 at 12:01 pm }

I want to compare crowd levels in 2011 versus 2012. We went nov 10, 2011. What was the crowd level factor -e.g. 5,6,7? We want to compare it to the week of December 15, 2012.


216 Dave { 03.31.12 at 12:38 pm }

Hi Lee, I changed my models for 2012 vs 2011 so can’t do a direct comparison. By any standard, the week of 11/10/11 would be low crowd–I rate the equivalent 2012 week a “2” on a scale of 1-11, high numbers worse.

I’m worried about the week of the 15th–and thus have it rated as a “6”–moderate.

The first part of the week I expect to be around a “3,” but am concerned that the Christmas crowd will start building on Thursday or so. I may well be wrong on this–I’ll have better info this summer when more 2012-2013 school calendars are out, and the later part of the week may be better through Friday the 21st than I’m now thinking. The 22nd and following will be a zoo…

217 blue { 03.31.12 at 5:38 pm }

I am really considering the week of Sept. 29th and I am not super clear on the reason for its rank. Is it the combo of heat and hurricane season?

218 Dave { 03.31.12 at 6:17 pm }

Hey, the main reason it gets dinged is the hurricane season. It’s also slighty more expensive at the deluxe and moderate resorts than some of the other hurricane season weeks. It’s still reasonably priced, though, and has low crowds!

219 Lee { 03.31.12 at 8:03 pm }

Thanks Dave. We were originally planning on the 14th to 19th but then figured we woul just add the last 2 days. If you think the first part of the week will be light it still makes sense for us. We cadeal with the last 2 days if it gets busy.

Thanks again. Great site! I use it every year when we plan on going on our vacation club.

220 Dave { 04.01.12 at 9:03 am }

Sounds good, Lee and thanks for the kind words.

221 Danielle { 04.01.12 at 12:03 pm }

Hi Dave, I wrote you a couple weeks ago asking about lines for September 16-21, we have had to move to dates of our vacation up due to an Air Show at our base, and we’re thinking about going September 9-14 is that a good time to go? And is it still in the hurricane season? I want to make my friends time there memorable but not ruined by the rain. What exactly is September like? I’ve been in Feb and that was amazing due to the lines being so short, are the lines like that in Sept? And what kind of clothes should we bring? Does it get cold at night or what? I have never been in Sept and want to be well prepared. Thank you for anything you can tell me about Walt Disney World in Sept. It would be greatly appreciated. One last thing, what can I do to make the trip not seem so far away?!

222 Dave { 04.01.12 at 1:39 pm }

Hi Danielle! That’s a low crowd and low price time, but still in the peak of the hurricane season. September is very hot–see this: And as for what to do between nw and then…well keep coming back here and checking out the most recent stuff 🙂

223 Joseph { 04.04.12 at 11:34 am }

This has beena great way to find more about ways to save

224 Dev { 04.05.12 at 9:40 am }

Hi what parks do you recommend on which days for 4/23/12-4/27/12??? Thanks!

225 Dave { 04.05.12 at 10:43 am }

Hi Dev! The 23rd, I’d avoid HS and AK, and Epcot is the best choice. The 24th I’d avoid Epcot, and avoid AK the 25th. Both of these are good MK days and good HS days. The 25th is a good AK day. The 26th avoid MK, and avoid HS the 27th.

226 Dev { 04.05.12 at 12:01 pm }

Thank you so much. Love your website. It has helped us plan our upcoming trip so much! I hear different opinions on crowd level in general for the week of 4/23-27. What’s your opinion? Thanks again!

227 Dave { 04.05.12 at 12:19 pm }

Thanks Dev! Hardly any kids are out of school that week, so I’m seeing it as a good one…I rank it eighth best of the year here:

228 Dev { 04.05.12 at 3:27 pm }

Thank you again !!!!!!!

229 Dave { 04.05.12 at 4:31 pm }

Dev, have a great trip, and let me know how it goes!

230 Jean { 04.05.12 at 6:58 pm }

would AAA be a good place to go to plan the trip if I do no want to do it all on my own?

231 Jean { 04.05.12 at 6:59 pm }

Would AAA be a good place to go for helpp in planning the trip if I am not up to doing it on my own?

232 Christine { 04.05.12 at 7:20 pm }

My husband doesn’t get a lot of vacation time, therefore he thought we could go to WDW in July. I don’t want to spend a fortune and be miserable from walking uIn the heat and waiting in line. In addition, it would be our first real family vacation. Our son is 12 and it would be his and my first time at WDW, so I really want us to be able have a great time and not go so soon out of sheer desperation. Please advise.

233 Dave { 04.06.12 at 7:10 am }

Jean, I can’t speak specifically about AAA, but travel agents who are trained and authorized by Disney can be a big help. You will still have a lot of decisions to make!

234 Dave { 04.06.12 at 7:11 am }

Hi Christine! You should definitely go at a different time if you can. If you must go during the summer, the first week of June or last week of August is best.

235 Ann { 04.06.12 at 10:40 am }

Hi Dave…LOVE your site!!! Most comprehensive information I have seen since started planning our trip. Now, to my question: We have one daughter who is turning 5 on Oct 2, and we really want to do the princess thing right for her: mainly doing most of our time at MK. We initially thought of going from Sept. 29th through Oct. 4th so we could celebrate her b-day there. However, after seeing some of your suggestions around best times to go and lowest rates, I’m not opposed to adjusting that timeframe by a bit…still sticking to sometime in October but maybe a little later. What would you suggest?

236 Ann { 04.06.12 at 10:41 am }

Oh, me again…is there a specific travel agency that you would recommend?

237 Dave { 04.06.12 at 11:41 am }

Hi Ann and thanks! See weeks 4 and 5 on this page: While a little more expensive and crowded than earlier weeks, they avoid the peal of the hurricane season…

238 Dave { 04.06.12 at 11:41 am }

Yup–see the form on the right side of the page…

239 Ann { 04.06.12 at 1:35 pm }

Thanks Dave! I’m leaning to the week of 10/20 – not too far away from the b-day and everything you mention is exactly the kind of pricing, weather and low crowd activity we need. Very helpful!

240 Dave { 04.06.12 at 2:02 pm }

Great, Ann!

241 Michelle { 04.07.12 at 8:23 am }

I just wanted to say thanks for your great site! We are arriving April 19th and our trip was (almost) completely put together from information on your site (including which days to go). This is my 7 year old twins first trip and I just wanted to thank you again!

My question is what is the best way to get a room request. We are staying in the Garden Wing at the Contemporary (for total convienence) and would love to stay in the first building on the first floor (by the pool)…are there any tricks to a request?


242 Dave { 04.07.12 at 12:45 pm }

Hi Michelle, thanks, and let me know how the trip goes.

Call the front desk a few days before and also the day before you check in. Make your instructions such that they can be understood so that if they can’t give you the exact request they know what the next best choice is–e.g. “First floor, as near the Tower as possible” or “First Floor, near the pool” etc…

243 jwilkins { 04.09.12 at 1:46 pm }

Hello. My Family is going to Disney world this summer. My MIL(who is also going) is going to purchase us some of the 4Day hopper Salute to the Military tickets. My FIL, who is deceased, was retired Army. From what I read, she should be eligible to purchase these tickets. They have them available at the Army base near her home. My question is, what type of identification does she need in order to get these tickets. Thanks!!

244 Dave { 04.09.12 at 2:09 pm }

Hi, she needs a military ID card that identifies her status…

245 DIStherapy { 04.10.12 at 12:25 pm }

A Magical Blogorail pal stopping by to say “Happy Anniversary”, and to applaud your boiled-down Disney-dos. Perfect!!

246 Peggy { 04.11.12 at 11:50 pm }

Thanks for all your hard work! We’re planning our first and likely only trip (2 adults, one 9-year old and one 7-year old), and are thinking of the 3rd or 4th week in Sept (for the free dining and low crowds). Also thinking of Wilderness Lodge for the bunk beds, if we can afford it. Is there a chance to see fireworks from WL? Do we need Park Hopper tickets, or can we skip and save a couple hundred bucks? Finally, are we crazy to be looking at Sept, given the heat and hurriances, even with the free dining? Are there likely to be any deals for Oct-Nov?

247 Dave { 04.12.12 at 12:31 pm }

Hi Peggy!

No, you can’t see the fireworks from WL. And yes, you don’t need hoppers.

If this may be your only WDW trip, I’d go in the second half of October. There may or may not be a deal, but prices are still OK, and weather is MUCH better…

248 Susan { 04.12.12 at 2:06 pm }


This is a phenomenal site, and I have spent way too many hours perusing it!

I’m trying to finalize our itinerary for 6/2 – 6/8 four our family of four (kiddos, 6 & 8). We’re staying in the Contemporary and have 6 day park hoppers, but will spend one day, probably Sunday, at Legoland. (That’s subject to change, though if you advise.) Any thoughts on which days to go to which parks? I have a Cindy’s reservation for lunch on Wed the 6th, but it looks like that’s the WORST day to go to MK of our week. We may just go for lunch from a different park. Also, we’re probably a swim/nap in the afternoon type family, so we’re happy to switch parks during the day. We’re probably only up for one or two late nights, though. On two nights (4th and 6th), we have sitters coming so adults can go to dinner, so we’d need to be back to hotel by 7:15, and we have Hoop ressies for 7:15 on the 7th (our last night). Any of your extremely helpful guidance would be SOOO appreciated.

249 Dave { 04.12.12 at 3:35 pm }

Hi Susan and thanks!

First, I disagree that the 6th is a bad day for MK–the bad days that week will be the 3rd, 7th and 8th…

Second, I’d reserve Legoland for your LAST day–as you may find it very hard to justify time there rather than at WDW…and by putting it last at least you’ll have full knowledge of what you’ll be missing if you go there rather than WDW…

Finally, your schedule is tight so I can be more helpful if you tell me the dates and time of your arrivals and departures…

250 Susan { 04.12.12 at 7:12 pm }


Thank you so! much for answering my question! Let’s see, we arrive on Saturday, June 2nd at 5:19pm and depart on June 8th at 6:15 pm. A friend (with similar aged kiddos) went to Legoland in January and highly recommended it, which is why we’ve considered using a day there. Son is a BIG Lego fan. Also, am concerned about having it be the LAST day, since its even farther from the airport.

We are renting a car for the whole week in case that matters.

It was touring that suggested June 6th would be one of the worst days of the week for MK — the 4th and 7th being better. Interested to hear why you/your model thinks 7th would be bad.

Would love to hear more! Also, I’ve only purchased a 6 day PH pass; would they let us add a day while we’re there? I know its not much more.

Thanks again!

251 Susan { 04.12.12 at 7:14 pm }

Oh, one more thing you should know… our kiddos are up at the crack of dawn always, so we’ll probably be inclined to try to use the Morning EMH, even though you don’t recommend that.

252 Dave { 04.13.12 at 7:15 am }

Hi Susan…in no particular order…

…You can add days so long as you do so before the day of last use ends
…The part of TP I’m least keen on is its best and worst parks recommendations. In a week when operating hours and evening shows are about the same (as yours is) what drives crowds at WDW is 1. weekends/Mondays, and 2. Extra Magic Hours. EMH days for MK your week are the 3rd, 7th and 8th. Tues and Weds are typically the best days at MK….
…Surrendering on the Legoland point–but get back to me and let me know if it was better than another day at a WDW theme park, or entirely off–here’s my thoughts:

6/2 If you can, go to Epcot for the evening fireworks Illuminations at 9p–this may not work given your arrival time
6/3 Animal Kingdom, but in the evening go to Hollywood Studios for Fantasmic
6/4 Legoland/adult dinner
6/5 MK, including evening fireworks and evening parade
6/6 MK/Cindy/Adult dinner
6/7 Hollywood Studios then Hoop
6/8 morning: return to your favorite park

Good to know your kids are early risers as the key to avoiding lines is arriving before the park opens

This itin fits your 6 day hopper unless your 6/4 dinner is inside a park (which it doesn’t have to be–lotsa great non-park dining options) It’s purposely thin on Epcot given the ages of your kids. (The Epcot rides have little appeal for younger kids.)

Hope this helps and have a great trip!!

253 Susan { 04.13.12 at 11:59 am }

Thanks much Dave! I will let you know how it goes!

254 Maria { 04.17.12 at 8:02 pm }

We will have 4 days (not hopping) April 26-29 not staying on site. What parks do you recommend for these days? Thanks for all the great info!

255 Dave { 04.18.12 at 6:23 am }

Hi Maria! The 26th, avoid MK; the 27th, avoid HS; the 28th, avoid Epcot, and the 29th, avoid MK. Hope this helps and have a great trip!

256 Susie { 04.18.12 at 7:56 am }

Hi Dave —- Our family is celebrating a graduation with Disney.. Most haven’t been since they were toddlers—–now all 20somethings—–including dad and I. We are arriving on the afternoon of 5/11 for 4 days. Where should we go late Friday afternoon and can you suggest quick healthier food stops during our park hopping? What should we NOT miss? Departure 3p 5/15. Thanks

257 Dave { 04.18.12 at 3:35 pm }

Hi Susie–for “don’t miss,” see the right side of the image on this page–especially the underlined stuff:

There’s actually a pretty good distribution of healthier foods at WDW–not so true just a few years ago. A particular recommendation: Epcot–Sunshine Seasons in the Land Pavilion.

Late afternoons are rough because crowds are high and lines long then…I’d suggest Epcot the 15th, because the crowds matter less in its World Showcase section…

258 JULIE { 04.22.12 at 10:04 pm }

We are going To WDW Oct-12-Oct22. We will arrive on a Fri about 1pm at Sanford airport. We are renting a car for the whole trip. We are staying at the Windor palms townhouses. My question is we are planning on spending 7 days at WDW. We would like to do Mickeys not so scary halloween party one of those nights. At least one of those days we want to go to a beach to see the Ocean. My kids will be 7(girl) and 13(boy) at the time of our trip. Any suggestions on what days to do what? Also Do you suggest any Disney dinner shows, I have heard that the Hoop De Hoop reveiw will be closed during our visit. any advice would be great!

259 Dave { 04.23.12 at 10:09 am }

Julie: start with your dates on the list on this page You’ll find a link there to an itinerary but also some required changes to it. It also includes recommended dining venues, and has a day off (Thursday) you can use for the ocean!

260 Jen { 04.23.12 at 12:47 pm }

Hi Dave, I am probably a gluten for punishment but I have planned a trip for one of the most busiest times at WDW…Star Wars weekend. SW fans! I have dining reservations set however on Friday and Sunday what times do the parades begin? i just want to make sure I do not have a dining conflict. Where can I find the itinerary for the SW weekend?

261 Dave { 04.23.12 at 1:32 pm }

Hi Jen! The parade is at 3p. I don’t think the details of the weekends are out yet, but there’s a little material here and in one of its links:

262 Jen { 04.26.12 at 10:07 am }

because the parade is at 3pm, we should be safe to have a dining reservation on Friday for either 11am or 12:30pm and not miss anything exciting??? which time would you choose on that day? On Sunday I have the choice of dining at the Sci fi for either 3pm or 4:30pm which one? if we make it to the parade on Friday would we want to see it again?? Our kids ages are 3, 6, 8. What is your recommendation? Thanks so much!!

263 Dave { 04.26.12 at 10:13 am }

Jen, I don’t focus on Star Wars so my opinions aren’t worth a lot…but your Friday timing is fine for the parade and I’d pick the 12.30. One parade per weekend is likely fine! However, if you do Sci-Fi Sunday at 4.30 you’ll have the option of seeing the parade again if you wish…

264 Jen { 04.26.12 at 12:25 pm }

Thanks!! Even though you don’t focus on SW weekend, you still know more than me!

265 Dana { 04.28.12 at 8:59 pm }

We had to move our trip, but I still want to fit it in, e are thinking last minute May 23-27, what would you say is must see for a 4 yr old and best times to visit, last year we came and did WDW and she loved the princesses, it was a huge hit. Also, we are thinking of staying off prop. if we stay within walking distance to downtown disney cant we just walk there and use the WDW shuttles to the other parks? just a thought, not adverse to stayin on prop either. Thank you in advance, I have been looking and looking and just wanted to see your thoughts

266 Danielle { 04.29.12 at 8:13 am }

Hello Dave, are there any princess character dinings that are not so expensive?

267 Dave { 04.29.12 at 9:33 am }

Hi Dana, for rides your daughter, see this:

There are no buses to the theme parks at DTD, only to the hotels. But many of the DTD hotels share in their own bus service to the parks.

For a 4 year old there’s not much outside the Magic Kingdom, especially at Epcot.

Your date should be fine through the 25th. The 26th and 27th will be crowded from Memorial Day.

The 23rd, avoid Hollywood Studios
The 24th, avoid MK
The 25th, avoid Epcot
The 26th, avoid AK
The 27th, avoid MK

268 Dave { 04.29.12 at 9:47 am }

Danielle, the least expensive princess character dining is at the Grand Floridian’s 1900 Park Fare. See this

269 Dana { 04.29.12 at 7:32 pm }

Thank you so much, I was trying to remember,that is so helpful!

270 Dave { 04.30.12 at 7:42 am }

Glad it helped, Dana

271 Karen { 05.05.12 at 9:50 pm }

will be at WDW Thanksgiving week. (I know, bad week) Planning on being at HS on Wed the 21st. There are 9 of us and we want to do the dining Fantasmic package. Problem is I think there is only one show at 6:30. My question is, can you eat lunch and get the voucher for the show, or does it have to be dinner? Thanks, Karen

272 Dave { 05.06.12 at 8:58 am }

Hi Karen–the short answer is yes, see this:

But I also expect Disney to add a Fantasmic show that night at 8 or so…it commonly under-promises in its calendars, and then adds stuff a month (or even closer) before.

273 Laura { 05.07.12 at 10:17 am }

Just came across your site! Down to the wire. My husband and I are bringing our five boys 7,8,9,12,14 and my mother in law to WDW MAy 9th, 2012 to May 13th. We are staying at the Grand Floridan and have the meal plan. I have made dinner reservations for all nights, times are roughly 6:30 t0 7:30. We arrive at Orlando airport at 10 AM and will take Magical Express.
ANy suggestions what to do that first day? Epcot? We am planning MK for THursday and Saturday. Friday still undecided. We will have to leave a park out.
Goal arrive at parks upon opening, tour to midafternoon, back to hotel, dinner then evening fireworks or parade.
Thanks, awesome site! I wish I found it earlier

274 Dave { 05.07.12 at 10:30 am }

Hi Laura and thanks!

Given the ages of your kids, and the closure of one of its main rides, test track, I’d skip Epcot. Suggest that you get to the Hollywood Studios on your arrival day instead–try to be there a little before 3, so you can see the afternoon parade, see Fantasmic that evening, and do some rides and shows in between.

Friday either return to HS if you loved it or go to the Animal Kingdom…

275 Lisa { 05.12.12 at 8:36 am }

Hi Dave. Well we are here and having a wonderful time and following your fab advice – so thanks very much. We’ve just discovered that it’s Mothers Day here tomorrow and are trying to decide where to go. Can you recommend a park to visit or do you think they will all be very crowded? Thanks very much.

276 Dave { 05.12.12 at 8:55 am }

Hi Lisa, glad you are having fun! Mothers Day has little effect on crowds…the park to avoid tomorrow is MK, but because it has Extra Magic Hours, not moms…the other three should be fine!

277 Lori { 05.12.12 at 10:40 pm }

Hey Dave! I am debating about going between 10/12 to 10/19 -OR- 10/27 to 11/3.
Any comments on which would be better… specifically in terms of weather and crowds.

With Columbus day on the 8th, do you think that would impact crowds for the first week?

Also, for either week, which day would you suggest doing the Mickey’s Halloween party?

Thanks so much!

278 Dave { 05.13.12 at 8:40 am }

Hi Lori! They are both great week, but I like the earlier one just a little better. See and also

For the Halloween party, the mid-week dates tend to be less popular so less crowded (this is more true earlier in the month than close to Halloween). But Disney limits how many tix it will sell to any of them, so none are much worse compared to others…

279 lisa { 05.13.12 at 10:40 am }

Thanks Dave – I think we’re going to have a hop around Disney to see how busy the parks are and take it from there. Thanks for the advice. Have a great day.

280 Lori { 05.13.12 at 12:17 pm }

Thanks, Dave! So with the 12th of October, you think we are pretty safe in terms of the hurricanes and the Columbus Day crowds?

281 Dave { 05.13.12 at 3:10 pm }

Hi Lori–the peak of the hurricane season is over then, and after Monday the Columbus day crowds are gone…

282 Brenda { 05.14.12 at 3:15 pm }

We are scheduled to go to Disney The week of Oct 13th. Your guide ranked it #4 to go to Disney. Just found out wine festival will be going on then. Will it be really crowed then because of that. Should we try to go a different time? There will be ten of us going. Taking our four grandchildren , two daughters and son in laws.

283 Nikki { 05.14.12 at 3:24 pm }

Hi Dave, So much great info here. Thanks! I know that you reccomend Destination In Florida as the travel agent to use. I am trying to find a way to verify that they are indeed an authorized agency. I can’t find any such list. Your guidance would be appreciated.

284 Lori { 05.14.12 at 3:51 pm }

Hi again, Dave!

My son will be 4 and 1/2 when we go. I was thinking of doing Magic Kingdom, MGM and Animal Kingdom. Might skip EPCOT, haven’t decided yet. For the week of October 12th… are there any parks I should avoid on certain days? Thanks!

285 Dave { 05.14.12 at 4:14 pm }

Hi Brenda, the short answer is no, it won’t. The food and wine festival happens then in an attempt to draw people during a very slow time. It results in some crowding in Epcot’s world showcase on weekend evenings, but that’s about it…

286 Dave { 05.14.12 at 4:15 pm }

Nikki, they are, as the top right of their website indicates ( ), but I don’t know of any actual official list of authorized Disney agencies…let me see what I can find out…

287 Dave { 05.14.12 at 4:15 pm }

Hi Lori! Give me your arrival and departure dates…

288 Allison Jones { 05.14.12 at 4:32 pm }

Hi Nikki!

That is a great question. We were actually one of the very first travel agencies asked to be the “test group” of Earmark Agencies. We have been an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner ever since. We were even a Disney Destinations Top Sales Performer of all travel agencies (including Authorized Disney Vacation Planners). That was pretty exciting!

On our home page at you will see our Authorized Disney Vacation Planner logo on the top right. Only agencies that are Earmark Agencies can post this on their website. Disney is very particular about this designation and only agencies that are Authorized Disney Vacation Planners can post this on their website and only their main website. Disney is extremely strict about this designation.

Disney does not have a “list” of Earmark (Authorized Disney Vacation Planner) agencies. However, if you do have concerns, please email me at and I will have our Disney Sales Manager contact you to verify we are an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner. We want to make sure you are comfortable booking with us, so please let me know if you would like this additional confirmation.

Thank you for thinking of us for your Disney World vacation!


289 Ben { 05.15.12 at 11:55 pm }

Hi Dave!
I LOVE your site. I wish they had this kind of thing for every vacation I take.
Can you please take a look at our itinerary. I’ve tried to combine the autumn-winter-spring with the 6/7 day itineraries. Any changes you would recommend. It will be my wife, 10 year old, and myself with my parents joining us Sat-Sun. Thanks!

8/27/12 – 9/03/12
Monday Travel, Hollywood Studios by 5:45 pm
Tuesday Animal Kingdom (Lunch Flame Tree Barbecue, Downtown Disney 6pm)
Wednesday Magic Kingdom (Lunch Cinderella’s Table 1:15, Dinner Hoop Dee Doo –Fort Wilderness – 7:15)
Thursday Hollywood Studios (3pm parade, Fantasmic, Lunch Backlot Express, Dinner 50s Prime Time Café 4:20)
Friday Epcot (8pm or 9pm Illuminations, Dinner San Angel Inn 5:30)
Saturday Magic Kingdom (Evening parade, Wishes)
Sunday Epcot (Dinner Coral Reef 5:20)
Monday Travel

290 Dave { 05.16.12 at 9:51 am }

Hey Ben, thanks! And nice job on the itinerary…a couple of comments:

1. It looks like you may not have built in enough time off. I would target the morning and afternoon of the Friday/Epcot day as being off (you may already be thinking this) (Note that Illuminations is at 9)

2. Try to see Fantasmic on your arrival night. That will make your Thursday visit to the Studios simpler…

291 Lori { 05.16.12 at 8:49 pm }

Hey Dave!

Trip is booked for 10/12 – 10/19. As of right now, I am thinking of doing SeaWorld on Saturday for the Halloween Event. After that, I am all about Disney. 🙂 And like I mentioned earlier, we do want to do the Halloween Event there also. Thanks so much!

292 VANITY { 05.17.12 at 12:48 am }

Hi Dave,
Amazing website…such valuable information THANK YOU! I’m sad I hadn’t run into it earlier. My daughter is 2 years old and we have already booked for May 18-22 we are traveling friday night and check in really late midnight. We are florida residents and have been to Disney several times but have gone with the flow and I feel like everytime i’ve gone we have missed out sooo much. Because it is my daughters first time I am super excited and want it to be extra special. I was thinking of doing Magic Kingdom, MGM and Animal Kingdom skipping EPCOT. Any suggestions on a which parks to do on any particular days and which character breakfast to definitely attend?

Thank you!

293 Dave { 05.17.12 at 9:20 am }

Hi Lori, first, given his age, I’d focus on MK…there’s about half a day at most of stuff for him at each HS and AK…and as you noted, skip EPcot.

These are bad parks by day:
10/12: AK
10/13 (your SeaWorld day): HS
10/14: HS
10/15: MK, AK
10/16: Epcot
10/17: Epcot
10/18: MK
10/19 AK

Tuesday and Wednesday are the best MK days, and Tuesday night the best night for the party…

294 Dave { 05.17.12 at 9:29 am }

Hi Vanity! I’m sorry, but I don’t really have a lot of useful advice for 2 yos…For one approach to what to do (aimed at much older kids and a longer trip) see this and its links You could circle items on it that you haven’t experienced before…

Also take a look at this:

I’m not keen on character breakfasts, as they occur during the least crowded part of the day and lead to unneeded waiting later, or make you get out of bed too early! But the most fun are Chef Mickey’s and The Crystal Palace. See this:

295 VANITY { 05.17.12 at 3:57 pm }


Thank you!! Any advice as far as which parks to go or not on any particular days or any order? I was thinking Sat MK, Sun HS, Mon AK…What do you think?


296 Dave { 05.18.12 at 5:41 am }

Vanity, here’s the most crowded parks by day:
5/19: AK
5/20: MK
5/21: HS, AK
5/22 Epcot

So your general approach looks OK…

297 Dave { 05.18.12 at 3:22 pm }

What are you hearing about when the Test Track will re-open?

298 Nikki { 05.18.12 at 3:43 pm }

Dave, Your advise is amazing! Thanks in advance! We are planning our 1st trip w/ a 5 yo and (almost) 4 yr, Sept 23-29 (taking advantage of free meals). If deal extends into Oct we would consider switching dates. Deal too good to pass up. Just keeping fingers crossed for no hurricane! We will have 5 day basic tix, no hopper. This will leave us with one day to have fun by the pool. Staying at Polynesian, garden view. Do any of these rooms have balconies?
Suggestions on itinerary? We’ll arrive early on Sunday, leave early on Saturday. Want to leave Thursday evening open for Backyard BBQ in case we can get tix / filled up right now. 🙁
It would be nice to do one of the princess meals but don;t really want to spend the $. Is there a roaming character meal that includes princesses that you’d suggest?
Since we have 5 day tx this is what I am thinking:
(2) MK (Wishes, Buzz, Princesses)
(1) HS (Fantasmic, Toy Story, Beauty/Beast, Star Wars)
(1) Epcot (Turtle/Crush)
(1) AK (Lion King)
Do you think there is enough to do with young kids at Epcot or would you skip?
What other restaurants might you suggest we reserve?
We want to hit as much as we can while balancing down time. Kids will nap and we will definitley swim in pool too!
I am feeling pressure to get our meals reserved…since the only one I have tried so far is booked. Any suggestion on how to keepo tabs on this in case anything opens? I’m told it only takes place on Th/Sat in Sept. Th booked, we aren’t there for a Sat. Do they keep a waiting list?
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

299 Nikki { 05.18.12 at 3:46 pm }

Couple other questions:
Anything good with Cars/Lightening McQueen?
When will Marvel characters be in Disney?

300 Dave { 05.19.12 at 8:29 am }

Dave, it’s on the calendar as closed through November 30. I’ve heard rumors that it will be closed even longer, but also rumors that WDW will do everything in its power to get it open a couple weeks before Thanksgiving…

301 Dave { 05.19.12 at 8:34 am }

Hi Nikki, and thanks!

Most of the Polynesian buildings have one floor with balconies, one with patios, and one with neither–see this:

Yes I’d skip Epcot and take the day off instead

They don’t keep dining waiting lists, so your only option is re-checking

The least expensive princess meal is at 1900 Park Fare at the Grand Floridian

For restaurants, see this:

Hope this helps and have a great trip!

302 Dave { 05.19.12 at 8:38 am }

Hi again Nikki! At the Hollywood Studios, Lightning is in Lights Motors Action–see

Universal by previous contract owns most of the Marvel rights for Florida, so it’ll be a while befroe they get into WDW…

303 Erin { 05.27.12 at 12:38 am }

Great site! Taking my 6 yr old for 1st time in a few days. Checking in 5/30 and leaving 6/4. Plan was to visit downtown Disney first day there and do afternoon tea at grand Floridian then do a different park each day. 5/31 magic kingdom (scheduled crystal palace breakfast, bibbidy bobbidy boutique, and CRT dinner) 6/1 Epcot with breakfast at cape may 6/2 with dinner at rainforest cafe and 6/3 Hollywood studios. Thought I had everything figured out but would love your opinion on my itinerary. Thanks!

304 Dave { 05.27.12 at 11:14 am }

Hi Erin and thanks!

I’m thinking you meant AK on 6/2?

Honestly, with a 6 year old I’d do things a little differently. I’d skip Epcot and make that a second Magic Kingdom day…there’s not much at Epcot for a 6 year old, the breakfast at Cape May is lame, and MK could easily absorb 3 of your days, not one…see this:

Second, most of the days you’ve set are am extra magic hour days–the 31st at MK, 1st at Epcot, 2nd at AK. If you are staying at a WDW hotel, and arrive at the turnstiles 30 minutes before the EMH starts, the first hour or two of the day is great on EMH days, but the rest of the day is more crowded than non-EMH days.

This may not be possible because of all the great dining you’ve landed, but I’d go with HS the 31st, AK the 1st, and MK the 2nd and 3rd, skipping Epcot…

305 Erin { 05.28.12 at 12:34 pm }

Thanks. Taking your advice and skipping Epcot/cape May. I told my SIL cape may was better than chef Mickey and she canceled her reservations so I’m sure she wants to kill me. Was able to get 2 separate dinner reservations 2 hours apart on our first night which is better than nothing at the last minute like this. Any other nice Mickey character dining besides those 2? Also she wanted to do an afternoon tea with our girls at the grand Floridian. Is it worth it or do you recommend anything else that’s similar? Their princess tea sounds adorable but no way we can afford it. Thanks again for your help!

306 Dave { 05.29.12 at 6:30 am }

Hi Erin, glad the thoughts helped! There’s nothing else like the princess tea…too me, it’s not worth it, but then I have sons and not daughters so you have to take that with a grain of salt. You can meet the princesses for free in the Magic Kingdom…another character meal with Mickey that’s OK is at Tusker House in AK–see this:

307 Shameeka { 05.29.12 at 11:41 am }

Hi, I am playing to stay at the Carribean Beach WDW resort 7/11/12-7/18/12. It is a family of four with a 1year old and a 4year old. Help ! I am overwhelmed and need help with planning dining from the dining plan, choosing parks, show and fun things to do etc. Please guide me ! lol

308 Dave { 05.29.12 at 1:31 pm }

Hi Shammeka!

Most of what’s on this site is aimed at older kids…there’s not much outside the Magic Kingdom for 4 year olds…see this:

For dining, see this:

For a basic approach–it does not fit your days, and is aimed at older kids–see this

Finally, see this:

Hope this helps a little bit…

309 Shirley { 06.05.12 at 6:32 pm }

planning a trip to Disney early Feb 2013 Want to avoid cheerleading . What resorts to avoid?

310 Dave { 06.06.12 at 7:41 am }
311 Maria { 06.06.12 at 11:49 am }

Hi Dave,

Super excited to be heading to Disney next week (June 10-17). We have a 5yr.old and a 3yr old and have a 4 day pass for Disney. Only thing set in stone is MK on the 12th as we have a dinner at Cinderella’s castle. My thoughts were 2 days at MK, 1 day at Epcot and 1 day at HS. In terms of crowds, what do you recommend for lowest crowd levels given our dates, # of passes and our hopes for which parks to visit. Any and all insight is 100% appreciated!

312 Dave { 06.07.12 at 6:58 am }

Hi Maria! First I’d skip Epcot. Not much there for kids that little. AK and HS are the next best choices after the two days at MK. For more, see this:

Here’s bad parks by day

June 10: MK, HS
June 11: MK, HS and AK
June 12: Epcot
June 13: AK
June 14: MK
June 15: MK, Epcot
June 16: HS
June 17: MK

Note that June crowds have already taken off–this week–even with the rain–has caught everyone by surprise as to how crowded it is, even Disney, which had to extend hours…

313 Nancu { 06.08.12 at 4:22 pm }

Hi Dave!
We did our annual Disney trip in March of 2012 and loved it…low crowds and perfect weather. Fir 2013, March is not rated high due to Easter. Would you then recommend end of Feb. or April? Looking for low crowds and not horrible heat. We also had the free dining in March 2012…you think there’s a chance Disney will do that again for Spring 2013? Thanks for your help! You are great!

314 Dave { 06.09.12 at 8:40 am }

Hi Nancy, and thanks! Either of your periods would be great. The end of Feb will be less crowded and less likely to be hot, so I’d go with that.

315 Gramma Kaye { 06.10.12 at 12:30 pm }

Hi Dave. I have just recently discovered your site, and think you should re-name it “(notjustfor)”.

I am a frequent visitor to the “happiest place on earth”, and have become very knowledgable about planning, visiting, eating, avoiding crowds and lines, how to use EMHs to our advantage, etc, and know the parks like my own neighborhood.

Never the less, I am finding so much information that is helpful even to a seasoned guest like myself, especially the detailed info regarding best and worst weeks to visit. LOVE your rankings, all the great advice, and the links to extra info.

I can’t imagine how time consuming maintaining this site must be. I truly appreciate your dedication, and intend to return often for valuable tips and insight. Thanks Dave!

PS – I was there this past Tues – Fri., and experienced the heaviest crowds I had ever seen in the parks, despite the (almost constant) rain. Some said it was probably because it was the last Star Wars Weekend, which I must say has grown in popularity tremendously over the past five years. On Friday afternoon it was impossible to walk past Star Tours. Crowd was at a complete standstill, shoulder to shoulder!

316 Dave { 06.10.12 at 2:02 pm }

Hi, thanks so much, what a wonderful set of things to say!

I was there the same time you were–including HS Friday!–and had the same reaction, what a mob for such a rainy early June week!

When I revamp my week rankings for 2013 I’m gonna need to ding early June more than I have so far…

317 Gramma Kaye { 06.10.12 at 3:53 pm }

Hi Dave – don’t know why I came up anonymous. Guess I forgot to fill in name & email (sorry). Hope you didn’t get too wet last week. Thank goodness most people used ponchos instead of umbrellas – saved a lot of eyes lol!

318 Stephen { 06.10.12 at 4:09 pm }

Hi Dave,
Great site! Thanks for all the info! Quick question on transportation……we are flying into Orlando and are staying off site at HGVC Sea World but intend to visit the Disney parks for at least 5 of our days. Do we really need to rent a car or can we wing it on shuttles, taxis, buses, monorail, etc?

319 Dave { 06.10.12 at 5:20 pm }

I went in and added your name to the prior comment!

I have to confess that unless the rain is driving I’ve become one of THOSE umbrella people on high humidity days (like last week)…I sweat so much in a poncho!

320 Dave { 06.10.12 at 6:02 pm }

Hi Stephen and thanks!

It depends on how good the hotel shuttle is, how early it can get you to the parks (you want to be at the turnstiles before they open) and how frequent its service is. Taxis will likely cost you more than a rental car…once you are on site, WDW transportation can get you around…it’s just a question of getting there. See also

321 Gramma Kaye { 06.11.12 at 2:09 am }

Teehee, me too. Ponchos make me feel like I’m wrapped in Saran – ugh!

322 Dave { 06.11.12 at 4:22 am }


323 Matt { 06.11.12 at 3:03 pm }


Even though I’m not a first time visitor, I’m following your advice and have a trip booked for Dec. 8-16 (just made dining reservations today). We’d, of course, love to stay at the Poly but I’m finding the price tag hard to justify without discounts.

In that regard, I’m curious to hear your opinion about what kind of discounts we might expect for the early to mid-December time frame, particularly with respect to the Poly. My limited experience researching Poly discounts suggests that the advertised discount is often lower than it is for other deluxe resorts and, in any event, is often riddled with unadvertised exceptions (e.g., no discount is available for certain nights and/or room categories). So, even assuming advertised Poly room discounts are relatively modest (say 20%), how realistic is it to expect to get that discount for every night of, say, a garden view room stay from Dec. 8-16? And if the advertised discount rate is better (say at least 30%), does that substantially affect its availability (such that it would almost certainly be unrealistic to expect to get it for an entire week)?


324 Dave { 06.11.12 at 5:58 pm }

Matt, it all depends on how bookings are going for Disney–which is a function of both how the economy is doing and how people fell about it. In the recent past, that has been a discounted date, with deluxe discounts of anywhere from 20-40%–but as you note, not all dates, not all room types, not all hotels. And nothing is certain…

If I had to bet, I’d bet on an average of 20% off at the Ploy for your dates. But if you have to plan on the theory that there may be no discount, take a look at these two pages: and

In both cases the nums are a little out of date, but the proportions hold true.

For exact (but pre-tax, and before any discount) 2012 prices see this:

325 Bill L { 06.13.12 at 9:52 am }

Hi Dave!

Great site! I did a ton of research on a Disney trip for my family (My Wife, 3 year old daughter and I), and your site helped me a great deal. We are looking into going down on January 2nd – January 9th 2013 (value season). my question is, historically, has there been any deals for that week (even though its value season) for like free dining or gift cards etc….trying to make the trip a bit cheaper….thanks for all the good work!

326 Dave { 06.13.12 at 11:47 am }

Hi Bill–first, that may not be value season. I project it will be, but may be wrong–it may start a few days later. Ea Disney will release prices for 2013 soon–perhaps very soon–and that’s how you’ll know for sure. (I’ll update everything once the price seasons are out!)

Second additional deals and discounts for early January arrival dates are common–but the arrival date will be within the value season–so back to the point above–and may be quite restricted–e.g. only Sunday-Thursday arrival dates. There’s no guarantee–Disney only discounts when it has to.

SO my advice is to hold on setting your dates until the 2013 prices come out!

327 Bill L. { 06.14.12 at 10:08 am }

thanks for the advice Dave, I will hold off for a bit. I was trying to avoid the marathon and MLK holiday this year, so thats why i chose that week (a week/s before it). Also looking forward to making restaurant reservations 180 days ahead of time.

thanks again kind sir!

328 Robinlee { 06.20.12 at 9:56 am }

Hi Dave,
LOVE~LOVE~LOVE this site you have created! Thank you for all the hard work and time you put into this! We are planning a Disney trip…….but may need to go in August, as its all based around the kids’ vacations. We are looking to go this summer, I know, crazy, huh……but there is a great deal for us at the Art of Animation, so my husband wants to do it. I am concerned about the heat and humidity, but people are telling me to just not worry about it, go and have fun. Our flight would get into Orlando at night, like around 9sih. Do you advise looking for a better time to fly into Orlando? The dates we are looking at are the first full, or second week of August. Maybe 8/8/12 getting into Orlando and staying till 8/16/12. Do you have any thoughts on this?

329 Dave { 06.20.12 at 10:13 am }

Thanks, Robinlee! Re August, you can see most of my thoughts here: The key to summer visits in my opinion is to start early and take the afternoons off–for pools and naps–so you aren’t in the crowds and lines in the miserable middle of the day…

330 mommyof2 { 06.20.12 at 7:01 pm }

Hi! Hubby & I are taking our 8 yr old son & 5 yr old daughter to WDW in October or November (deciding between your recommended weeks)…
Grand Floridian or Polynesian?
Stayed at Contemporary last visit & loved it.

331 mommyof2 { 06.21.12 at 1:08 am }

Sorry, my last question was vague. I have gaththered more info from your site (many thanks), and know you highly recommend the Polynesian… However, we will not be utilizing the pools and like the idea of great meal choices in our hotel. Also, the maps indicate most rooms in seperate buildings at both the Poly & GF. Ugh. Seems like a big hassle & even more walking to me. Should I consider the Contemporary again for this trip, or try something new?

332 Dave { 06.21.12 at 7:08 am }

Hi Mommyof2! The Poly has more kid appeal and better convenience; GF has better adult dining. See reviews linked to from here:

333 Dave { 06.21.12 at 7:20 am }

I get you on the compactness of the Contemporary…all the other WDW resorts sprawl, some through multiple buildings, some through just really long hallways.

Here’s my advice–give either the Poly (for the theming and convenience) or GF (for the food) a shot. That way you’ll know for future visits how much you really care about things being spread out. If you end up not caring much, then you can book places other than the Contemporary in the future; if it bugs you, then the Contemporary will become your home!

334 ChiTown { 06.22.12 at 11:38 am }

Hi Dave,

We’re planning a trip potentially for the 13th-18th of October and are looking to stay at Animal Kingdom. for our kindergartner and pre-schooler. Wondering about 2 things:
1. Is this typically a time when discounts are in place?
2. Is the love bug invasion typically over at that time?


335 Dave { 06.22.12 at 2:58 pm }

Hi ChiTown–I went to college in ChiTown so I like you!

October discounts are all over the place, so I wouldn’t count on them. For an example from 2011, see this:

On the love bugs, I think a. they don’t matter (unless you have your own car with you) and b. are more of a September issue–see this:

336 Mr and Mrs Elias { 06.24.12 at 1:12 am }

What a great service you offer, we however are planning a trip to California Disneyland is there something like this for Disneyland 2013? Sure would be helpful!
Thank you D and K Elias

337 Dave { 06.24.12 at 10:04 am }

Hi! I have a bit on Disneyland here–but it’s getting out of date: Otherwise I don’t know of anything like this site for DL…

338 Mike { 06.26.12 at 12:30 pm }

Retired from Disney after 30 years. I love that you are VERY honest in your evaluations. Two comments to visitors. 1. The chance of a hurricane is quite small even though the season runs thru Nov. , 2. DO NOT bring small children in the summer and expect them to do anything but suffer in the heat. If you must do the summer, do a morning visit , 4 hours back at your room or pool, followed by an evening visit. I have seen children suffering from sunburn being dragged by parents getting their money’s worth. And to all visitors. Sunscreen on at least 30 minutes before exposure. Especially my friends from Britain.

339 Dave { 06.26.12 at 12:35 pm }

Thanks Mike! Both are great points…

340 Lindsay { 06.28.12 at 11:34 pm }

Hi! Love the site! I am taking my 10 yr old and twin girl 2 year olds to WDW in Dec 2013 for 8 days, along with my parents, so 3 adults, 1 paying child, and 2 free children. My MIL and FIL and their grandchild are also going but separately, it is our first time (hopefully not our only time) but I am really struggling with where to stay, we have a bigger group and have considered renting DVC but also really want convenience for traveling with toddlers, I am planning on taking afternoons off and if we don’t see everything hopefully we will get to go back, we have considered splitting stay between SOG and Poly ( FIL is retired military) but wonder about hassle of switching, have also considered new art of animation resort suite, like idea of separate bedroom for napping children, is it possible to fit in HP world without being overwhelmed and too much, one last thing, do you know how strict they are with ages in childcare programs ? Our attentive dates are Dec 2 nd through 10th, and they turn 3 on the 18 th, if they are potty trained do you think they will be allowed in?

341 Lindsay { 06.28.12 at 11:35 pm }

My 10 year old will be 12 when we travel, thank you

342 Dave { 06.29.12 at 7:08 am }

Hi Lindsay and thanks!

Because 1 kid under three in a crib doesn’t count against room capacity limits, Disney would count you as a group of 5 for its capacity limits. That size would allow you to fit in any of the convenient monorail resorts. (Two each in two queens, one in a day bed, one in a crib.) See

A one-bedroom villa at BLT–right next to the Contemporary and within walking distance of MK–would fit you better but be more expensive–see

Beyond that, maybe less expensive, but also less convenient are either of the family suite options or (and this would be crowded) a 5-person room at Port Orleans Riverside’s Alligator Bayou section–see this:

I switch hotels in the middle of a stay all the time (lets me do two reviews on one plane fare) but it is a pain with little kids, as you will be homeless between checkout time (typically 11a) and check in time (typically 3 or 4 p).

You can add Harry Potter to the Disney parks, but it will make a busy visit even busier….

I don;t know about the strictness of the child care… suggest you post a question about that on

343 Misty { 07.05.12 at 2:49 pm }

Hi Dave. I am going to WDW with my 4 yr old daughter the week of 9/23 and we are staying at POR and have the deluxe dining plan (not renting a car). It is our first trip and I plan to go back every three years with her (and hopefully dad next time). At her age, and since it is just me and her, I am planning less time on ride attractions and more time with character greetings, shows, and princess makeovers for the Not-So-Scary party. I have all of our reservations made and we are ready to go…. or so I think. Your site has been very helpful although I couldn’t find a page with the “do not forget” items. I am always parnoid that I will show up and forget something. I see poncho’s is a biggie. Should I plan to: Carry cash or no cash, bring a back pack (not really a fanny pack person), sun tan lotion in September/October…etc. Do you have a list of Must-Have’s? Thanks for your advice!

344 Dave { 07.05.12 at 4:44 pm }

Misty, glad the site helped, but I don’t have a page of must-haves! Maybe I should write one…but I did find a link here on a site I trust:

345 Paul { 07.10.12 at 10:22 am }

Wow! What a great website!

We’re planning on visiting WDW and Universal for 9 days with our 2 college age children. We’ll be staying offsite at a timeshare for a week and then staying onsite at Universal for a night to take advantage of Universal’s Express Pass. We’re planning on spending 2 days at Universal parks and 6-7 days at WDW parks (maybe taking one day off from the parks somewhere in the middle to rest).

So, what scenario would be best to minimize crowds at WDW?

A. 12/15-12/21 @ WDW; 12/22-12/23 @ Universal
B. 12/15-12/16 @ Universal; 12/17-12/23 WDW
C. 12/28-1/3 @ WDW; 1/4-1/5 @ Universal
D. 12/28 – 12/29 @ Universal; 12/30 – 1/5 @ WDW

346 Dave { 07.10.12 at 12:02 pm }
347 Angie { 07.11.12 at 2:46 pm }

We are heading back to Disney the week of November 10th. Historically, Disney offers a discount on rooms this time of year but don’t release them until late in the year. If I go ahead and book can the discount be added to my reservation later or am I stuck paying full price? I am afraid if I wait to book the resort we like staying in will be booked (the cabin’s). Thanks for any help you can give!

348 The Biggers { 07.12.12 at 6:01 am }

Fantastic site! Am currently struggling through planning next years vacation and this has confirmed to me that Wilderness Lodge is a good choice, but Easter week is a bad choice .. maybe the week after 😉

Also, you recommend the Polynesian, but this is disappearing next year isn’t it? At least for refurbishment.

349 Dave { 07.12.12 at 7:41 am }

Hey, the week after Easter is a bad choice as well…and while I’ve seen rumors about a re-build of the Poly, I haven’t seen anything definite, especially for 2013…

350 Lori { 07.13.12 at 3:43 pm }

Love your site! What is the advantage of park hopping?

351 Dave { 07.14.12 at 7:00 am }

Thanks Lori–great question. I’ll do a full post with the answer next week! So come back and check

352 Paul { 07.14.12 at 9:24 pm }

You gave such great advice on a previous question…. so I’m back for more.

Our family will be visiting the week of Dec 15. I’m trying to decide what the best 2 or 3 days would be to visit the Magic Kingdom that week. We’re NOT planning on attending Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas party and we’re not staying on-site. Is it (a) better to go to MK on a day of the party with limited hours (leave by 7pm) or (b) go the following day with longer hours but also possibly contend with larger crowds because of Magic Hours for on-site guests.

353 Dave { 07.15.12 at 9:13 am }

Hi Paul! As much as possible you want to go o n the 7p close days. This limits the crowds. However, that means that you won’t see the fireworks/evening parade etc. So pick also one evening they are on and go that evening too. See this for more:

354 Bob u { 07.16.12 at 5:02 pm }

Hi Dave,

We want to visit WDW and other parks (Sea World & Universal) and want to make sure we are able to enjoy all the Christmas festivities, Christmas lights, Christmas parades etc and wondered if we arrive on the 30th December for 2 weeks would we miss out on a lot of the Christmas celebrations? Alternatively if this was the case could consider coming out the first 2 weeks in December, what’s your thoughts on our dilemma !!!
kind Regards ~ Bob

Ps just found your website and have got to say its brilliant !

355 Dave { 07.16.12 at 6:35 pm }

Hi Bob–yes you will miss some–not all–but more to the point, through the 6th it will be unbelievably crowded. I strongly urge the earlier weeks, which are incomparably less crowded, and also less expensive–see this:

And thanks for the kind words about the site!

356 mary hendon { 07.25.12 at 4:57 pm }

we are booked for nov. 15 to the 19th. is the mvmcp worth the money? i am a little worried about crowding at parades. do we really need to purchase the fantasmic dinner package to be able to decently see the parade?

357 Dave { 07.25.12 at 5:30 pm }

Mary MVMCP lets you see the MK evening parades and fireworks and catch a lot of rides without the crowds you’ll see on the 17th and 18th. I think you’ll find it worth it…but it’s not my money! See this for more:

Fantasmic is not a parade–it’s a fireworks show with its own special seating area–see this . If you see it the 15th or 16th you can skip the dinner package.

358 Maureen { 07.26.12 at 3:30 pm }

Hi Dave! Hope this question is not a duplicate, but I couldnt find my question that I thought I posted yesterday. Anyhow, what would you suggest we budget/estimate for tips when dining assuming we are following your 9 day itinerary? We are getting the Dining Plan for 2 adults adn 1 small child. Or maybe if its easier, what should we estimate per person? Thankks!!

359 julie { 08.01.12 at 1:54 pm }

Have you heard anything about the military 4 day pass being extended for 2013???? We want to come in Oct.

360 Dave { 08.02.12 at 7:00 am }
361 julie { 08.05.12 at 9:22 am }

thanks for the info-I will keep my eye open

362 Dave { 08.05.12 at 10:29 am }
363 mary { 08.05.12 at 10:33 am }

we are going to wdw from nov. 15th to 19th and are doing mk the 16th and 17th. we have regular park tickets for mk on the 16th and 17th. i also purchased tickets for mvmcp on the 16th. we have reservations for crystal palace breakfast at 920am on the 17th. we have a 7 and 12 year old. this is our first and maybe only visit for a while. is this a good plan?. thinking we would get at mk on rope drop the 16th, be in park most of day, ride favorite rides and using some fastpasses. maybe take a small break and go back to room at pop century and let kids rest and gear up for mvmcp party that night. we plan to stay to closing at 12 and ride popular rides, with less wait time. we get to mk at rope drop at 9am on 17th, take pictures in main street, eat breakfast at crystal palace at 920am, then head back into park. i’m guessing around 1030 or 1045. i thought we might try to explore the rides and attractions that are the least popular as to take in all of mk and just make it a less stressful day trying to fight the long lines for the most popular rides. i am guessing there will be long lines by the time we get out from breakfast for the most popular rides by then. . i am trying to make sure the kids don’t get to wore out and and still not miss anything. thinking trying for a 8am breakfast, if one becomes available, maybe too hard on kids, with us being out late on 16th. is this a good plan?

364 Maria { 08.05.12 at 7:05 pm }

What an amazing site. I’ve been exploring it for hours now but I am having troubles fitting our travel with your itineraries.

We arrive the 24th at 6:09pm in Orlando and we’re staying in the French Quarter (the one with the dragon slide). I’m guessing this day is nothing?! but I know the kids will be wanting to do something (I have 2 girls – 3 & 6… of course little girl LOVES princesses, older one HATES them + 6 year old tall enough to ride some bigger rides, younger one isn’t).

Our musts: breakfast or lunch with a princess, Epcot, AK and MK. Then there’s this extra MK Halloween thing on the 25 & 26th which costs extra but you say to “build” the vacation towards MK but that would make us do it early – ugh.

Would LOVE to hear your suggestions.

365 Dave { 08.06.12 at 9:49 am }

Mary, overall your plan looks great. My only thought is that if you are gonna miss rides from 9-10.30 or so the 17th anyway, why not shoot for a later Crystal Palace bkfst–or even lunch? That way you’ll have even more recovery time…

366 Dave { 08.06.12 at 9:57 am }

Hi Maria, and thanks for the kind words about the site!

But I can’t quite tell what month you are arriving, or how long you can stay–let me know and I’ll get back to you!

367 Maria { 08.06.12 at 11:16 am }

Oops. We arrive Oct. 24th and depart the 28th at 8:40PM

368 Dave { 08.06.12 at 1:38 pm }

Hi Maria. I don’t have any itineraries for kids as young as yours on a trip as short as yours, but here’s some thoughts:

Epcot will be by far least interesting, some I would skip it. For more on what makes sense for kids that age, see this page:

You could spend your entire trip at Magic Kingdom–2 or 3 mornings, one afternoon (for the parade) and one evening (for the evening parade and fireworks.)

Seeing the evening parade and fireworks at MK on your arrival night would be a good us of time…

Think this stuff over, and take a look at that page, and let me know what you think!

369 Missy { 08.14.12 at 12:43 pm }


I love your site!! We are visiting Disney from February 10 through the 14th in 2013. My kids are three and five years old. Is this a good week considering the ride closures based on their age? We like to do a princess meal and mickey breakfast and would love your suggestions on places that are a must see for first-time visitors. We are considering the Polynesian resort, is it worth the extra money to stay at this resort? And do you think there will be discounts on dining or the resort for that time of year? Thank you so much for your help!!

370 Dave { 08.14.12 at 4:45 pm }

Hi Missy, and thanks!

If this won’t be your only visit, I’d not worry about either ride closures or the Poly–at those ages, neither will matter much, and you can stay at a more kid-appealing resort, and see what you missed, later when they are older…

For must sees, see this:

For Mickey and the Princesses, see this:

I think there’s a good chance you’ll find a discount then…but no guarantees!

371 Jordan { 08.15.12 at 12:51 am }

Hi, Your website is so helpful! Here is our scenario. My wife and I are taking our 10, 8 and 5 year old to WDW from September 28th to October 5th to celebrate our 13th wedding anniversary. After much debate (and considering the Grand Floridian) we have decided to stay at the Polynesian in a garden view room. I requested Tahiti, Rapa Nui or the Tokelau building because I read somewhere they are the newest. We have the free Magic Your Way Plus Dining package and I plan on upgrading to the Deluxe Dining Plan because of the number of breakfast and dinner reservations we have booked. We are now debating whether to upgrade our room to the concierge level or upgrade our view to Lagoon. I’m thinking that if I am already paying for the additional cost of the Deluxe Meal Plan there in no need for the concierge food conveniences. I’m also thinking that we might be upgraded with a better view if we ask when we arrive at the hotel. What are your thoughts on my choice of buildings, paying extra for a concierge floor and paying ahead of time for a better view? Thank you.

372 Dave { 08.15.12 at 11:32 am }

Hi Jordan–yes, those are the best buildings. See this for more on why, and also for my thoughts on concierge floors at the Poly:

I wouldn’t count on an upgrade,e and wouldn’t bother with a lagoon view. A theme park view is worth it, however, if you can afford it!

373 Cindy { 08.15.12 at 3:29 pm }

Dave, great site for new and experienced WDW explorers. I have sent your link to many friends. We will be staying at Pop Century in Sept 2012 for 19 days. (This is our 11th trip to WDW from Seattle over 20 years staying 10+ days during all times of the year.) We have found annual passes the most economical option.
Question: Does Pop Century have the mini-fridge and free internet available during our stay this time? Thanks.

374 Dave { 08.15.12 at 4:54 pm }

Hi CIndy, and thanks!!!

Yes, Pop now has free internet and free fridges.

But…have you stayed there (or at another value) before? The rooms really are teeny, and if your kids are big (as I’m guessing they are if you’ve been 11 times!!) 19 days is gonna make it feel pretty cramped…

375 Patti Persia - { 08.16.12 at 12:24 pm }

H Maria,
My girls were the same age as yours when we went. I would be glad to help with ideas of fun things for them to do while there! I am actually a vacation planner with Destinations in Florida and I can be reached at

376 Dave { 08.16.12 at 1:37 pm }

Thanks, Patti!

377 Cindy { 08.16.12 at 5:44 pm }

Hey Dave, thanks for the update on Pop Century equipment. We visited WDW at Christmas the first two times with teenagers staying at Old Key West and Disney Institutes. Since 1997, we have been visiting as a couple. We learned from sites like yours how to travel to WDW and have different experiences each time i.e. resort hopping over our longer stays of 18+ days at Animal Kingdom Lodge, Beach Club, etc. We figured out that when we stay at Pop Century as annual passholders, we can afford to stay longer, relax, and enjoy the disconnect through the magical surroundings. We have stayed during all seasons and crowds. Our montra is “Enjoy and Relax”. We use the annual passes for two vacations in a year. Then skip a year to travel elsewhere. By the time we fly using companion passes, annual passes, Pop Century’s value, and graze eating, rental car, and KSC, our vacations (two per annual pass year), for the 2 of us, we are averaging about $3000 for a 18 days. It is people like you, Dave, that make it possible for me to collect the data to make the choices needed to experience the magic on a budget. By the way, we do start some mornings at Blizzard Beach when we visit during the warm months. Thanks again Dave. 15 more days until the Magic begins again.

378 Dave { 08.17.12 at 7:44 am }

Hi Cindy, what a kind and gracious response. I’m so glad you know what you are getting in to, and Pop will be just fine for the two of you–but you know why I had to ask! Your approach to Disney is just perfect

379 Juan Pablo { 08.20.12 at 10:05 pm }

Hello Dave, thank you for your information in your web page, but would like to ask you if it is possible to book 5 days with the dinning plan and then upgrade for another 3 days to the dining deluxe plan? thank you Jp

380 Dave { 08.21.12 at 4:44 am }

Hi Juan, the short answer is I don’t think so, but you can work around this.

I think you can only have one plan per reservation.

However, you can get two different hotel reservations, one for the first 5 days with the regular plan, then another separate one for the next 3 days for the deluxe plan. You may have to move rooms because of this, and may also be homeless for the time you change rooms between check -in and check-out.

381 Bruce E. Garland { 08.21.12 at 1:42 pm }

AARP and/or AAA discounts?
Both I & my female companion (I’m 59, she is 81 {stop laughing now…she is more “youthful” than me!}) are AAA members but I am the only AARP member. But is the fact that she is no doubt a “senior citizen” & I may not be (& what is, if any the “cut-off” age for a possible “senior citizen” eligibility discount?) applicable? Thank-You..she’s calling me from the “boudoir”!

382 Patricia { 08.21.12 at 2:02 pm }

I wish I had found your sight last January. It would have saved me so much time. You really are the best. You had the Military updates for 2013 days and days ahead of everyone. Many still do not have the details on line or by phone. My question for you is … My family of 5 – 4 adults and 1 child will be going to WDW for a 6 night 7 day stay. We would like a 6 day park hopper pass for everyone. We of course would like to take advantage of any Military Discount available. The problem is the first day of our visit is the last day of the Military fiscal year. The prices for everything we have tried to book has fallen into this “dead zone”. We will arrive by 10 am on Sunday September 30, 2012, and depart on October 06, 2012. The Park Hopper Special which is available now for purchase by the 27th of September, is only available for 1 day of our stay, the 30th of September. The tickets available on the 1st of October would then be good for the 1st through the 5th of October, and we would need to purchase tickets for the final day, the 6th of October. Do you know an optimal savings way to plan this purchase??? You are one smart guy. Ever think of running for president??

383 Dave { 08.21.12 at 2:46 pm }

Bruce, you are cracking me up…there’s definitely AAA stuff out there–see this:

AARP is a little unclear–I’m not seeing any direct evidence that WDW hotels offer them, but off-site hotels do, according to this:

384 Dave { 08.21.12 at 3:09 pm }

Ok Patricia you win in the kind words department! You wanna be my press agent?

Tickets first: a regular 6 day park hopper WDW ticket (that is, not a military salute ticket) costs, pretax ~$333 (you can get them pre-tax if you buy on base or at shades), and a military ticket plus a regular two day hopper ticket will cost pre-tax ~388, and a military ticket plus a two day non hopper ticket will cost ~$331.

So for 6 days of tix, you are better off or about a wash just buying the straight Disney tix pre-tax…see this for the details (though everything on it is after tax, so you have to multiple by .935 to get comparable nums) :

And if you just buy 6 day regular WDW tix, you can “bank” the four day military tix for 2013…

On hotels, the party of 5 with four adults is not easy to house except in the Alligator Bayou section of POR, a deluxe, or Shades of Green. So I’d advise staying at Shades your first night, and using a military discount rate for either POR or a deluxe after…see also this:

You could also just stay the whole time at Shades, which I’m not keen on–see this:

Hope this helps! Dave

385 Steve from { 08.21.12 at 8:32 pm }

Hi Patricia,

Dave asked me to tag in on your question.

I do have one question though, you said you needed a 6-day ticket, but talked about using it on 7 days, 30 Sept – 6 Oct. (You mentioned using the 4-day Armed Forces Salute Tickets for the 5 days 1-5 Sept).

So for 6 park days an adult 2-day hopper from Shades of Green is $239 total plus the Armed Forces Salute Ticket at $156 would be $395. Whereas a 6-day hopper from Shades is $326. for the child, 2-day $227 plus $156 is $383 vs the 6-day hopper at $309. Base ITT/ITR Offices have very similar prices on the non AFS ticktes.

For 7 days it’s adult 3-day hopper $291 + $156 = $447 vs $336 for a 7-day hopper, and child 3-day hopper $276 + $156 = $432 vs $319 for a 7-day hopper.

So as Dave said you will be better off saving your Armed Forces Salute tickets for another trip before 28 Sept 2013.

One other ticket option to consider it the Stars and Stripes Pass from Shades of Green. This ticket can only be purchased by those staying at Shades or a Disney Resort (no off property hotels etc). The Stars and Stripes is a length of stay pass which includes both the hopper option AND the Water Park and More option. It is a great value compared to the military discounted Magic Your Way tickets we’ve talked about so far.

The prices for the Stars and Stripes Passes are

6-day: Adult $329/Child $313
7-day: Adult $338/Child $322

So very comparable prices to the MYW but many more options.

As far as the hotel, Shades is certainly an option. Their rooms sleep 5 comfortably with 2 queens and a fold out couch. pictures of the couch bottom of this page:

But I prefer Disney resorts for the themeing and with the Armed Forces Salute Discount, 35% at moderates and 40% at deluxe resorts it’s hard to say no.

Even though you are “bridging” two different Armed Forces Salute offers the military rates will be in effect for your whole stay (based upon availability) so I’d say just do a Disney resort.

Other options for where to stay would be the Fort Wilderness Cabins at 35% off and the All Star/Art of Animation family suites at 30% off with the AFS discount.

Hope this helps!


By the way I’d like to hire you as my press agent too!

You said Dave had the Military updates for 2013 days and days ahead of EVERYONE, I can’t wait to hear what you say about me. 😉

Had to stick that in Dave…

386 Dave { 08.22.12 at 7:37 am }

Patricia–I asked Steve to weigh in as he’s the acknowledged expert on the web for Disney and military stuff ( he writes at ) And if I am ever earlier or better on military stuff than most, it’s because Steve is earliest and best, but gives me a heads up!

387 Candice { 08.22.12 at 12:37 pm }

Hello Again Dave…..any word on room discounts for October 2012? Still patiently waiting…..haha!!!

388 Patricia { 08.22.12 at 12:41 pm }

Many thanks Dave and STEVE, – Sorry Steve, Dave gave you credit, but alas, I did not.
Appreciate the quick response from both of you. I will do the math again. We will be able to do the Parks on our check-in day (30th) but not on check-out day (6th). Our flight is too early. I had considered a purchase of 2 sets of Armed Forces Salute – 4 day passes. That would cover 8 days – and even though I would only be able to use 6 days, it may work out slightly cheaper. I really appreciate you help. I am headed straight to Steve’s sight when I sign off here. I plan to study both sights to make “sense” on this trip. This will be my 4th trip…. ’72, ’83, ’99, and they have all been too rushed and a little crazy . This will be the first time I have stayed more than 3 days and as I expect this to be my last visit I plan to make the most of it. Your sights will help me do that.. We will be staying on property this time. You have helped me decide on Dining options and Shows already, and which days are likely the best for each park. I love you guys… I’ll check back in when I get back to let you know how it went.

389 Dave { 08.22.12 at 12:49 pm }

Hi Candice, no word yet! I was kinda expecting one on Monday…I’m still thinking “soon”…

390 Dave { 08.22.12 at 12:50 pm }

Hey Patricia, and thanks again! You can’t do back to back Military tix–there has to be at least 7 days between activation…

391 Shelley { 09.04.12 at 12:17 pm }

Hi Dave, love this site! I have a few questions for you. We are planning to take our oldest two children (girls, will be 9 and 4.5 yrs old at the time of our planned visit) sometime in Feb/March 2013 or possibly April 2013. This will be the 4.5 yr old’s first visit. We are not a fan of crowds or heat; but ESPECIALLY crowds! Our last visit in 2008, we stayed offsite and we want to stay onsite with the dining plan this time but we aren’t sure where to stay or what dining plan to do. Last time we drove; this time we plan to fly down and take the shuttle to the hotel and just do Disney with no plans to go offsite or rent a car.

My questions are: When would be the best time to go? We have been looking at Feb 26 to March 3. I wish we could stay longer but we will be pulling my oldest daughter out of school for four days (I am that serious about avoiding crowds!!!). So we will have 4 full days for the parks. Also, any suggestions for hotels and dining plans? What about doing an itinerary? Everything is so confusing and we want to experience as much as possible but not kill ourselves.

We plan on going back to Disney when our twin boys are older (they are 3 years old right now and would make the trip miserable for everybody!).

Thanks for your help and sorry for all of the questions!!!

392 Dave { 09.04.12 at 12:47 pm }

Hi Shelley!

There’s good weeks at the end of Feb, including the one you’ve targeted, and in later April, but not in March. See this:

For where to stay, see this:

I don’t have four day itineraries, and all my itineraries are pitched at kids 8 and older, but take a look at this: Note that it too is for kids 8 and older–at the ages of yours, skip Epcot entirely and think of 2 days at MK and one each at HS and AK

The regular dining plan may make sense, but one sit-down meal a day may be too much for a short trip with young kids…see

393 Shelley { 09.04.12 at 3:35 pm }

Thanks for your response, Dave! Thank you for taking the time to help the clueless navigate WDW!

394 Dave { 09.04.12 at 5:01 pm }

You bet, Shelley!

395 Earthsage { 09.09.12 at 12:34 pm }

Hi Dave,
My family of 5 is arriving at Disney on Sept.28,2012 (2 adults / 3 kids 12,10,8 – birthday girl). We are driving and plan on getting there early in the morning before the parks open. We are staying at the Disney Port New Orleans Riverside with a checkout date on Oct.6th. Our First day is at MK. My daughter has Bibbidi Boutique reservations at 2PM and we have dinner reservations at Cindy’s Royal table at 4:10 PM. We have purchased our tickets for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. We do not have park hoppers and are also visiting the MK on October 3 rd to see the parades and fireworks and do whatever else we weren’t able to accomplish on the 28th, or would like to repeat. Do you have a recommendation for a plan of attack that would include us doing the Halloween Party at night, and perhaps for round 2 at MK? I am thinking that it might be better to save some things for the evening that might otherwise be a good idea to do during the day if we weren’t going to the party. Maybe some of the lines might be shorter for some of the popular attactions during the party? Since we are going another day to the MK, I am also thinking that may give us more of a chance to enjoy our experience and less rushing to squeeze eveything in on one day. I really appreciate the information you have provided thus far and would love any other suggestions you may have to help this vacation to be a great success. Our last family vacation to Disney was in 2008 and I didn’t do such a great job at planning and we missed a lot of events and attractions. This year I plan on doing it differently thanks to your website. Thanks!

396 Dave { 09.10.12 at 7:13 am }

Hi Earthsage, and I’m glad the site is helping!

I don’t have a specific plan for MK in context of the Halloween party, but in general MK is a two-day park, and the Halloween party is a great time to get on some rides with lower waits than you’ll see except first thing in the morning. I would watch its parade and fireworks, and during the “regular” parade and fireworks on your later date, go on rides while they are on–lines drop because of people watching these…

See also the MK days in this, which is framed around the Xmas party, for a general plan of attack:

397 Lily from Destinations in Florida { 09.11.12 at 9:36 am }

I agree with Dave, parade times are the best times to enjoy rides. We walked in to Splash Mountain during a parade the wait earlier was 100 minutes!

398 STEFANIE { 09.13.12 at 12:08 pm }

I’m trying to plan & pay for a vacation of all adults. My first choice would be Old Key West (2 bedroom villa). But I don’t think I can afford it. I am thinking maybe 1 value resort suite plus one extra value resort room. I would like some time of Kitchen. Would this be the best option? and which resort would appeal more to adults. (By the way I loved this site)

399 Dave { 09.13.12 at 6:49 pm }

Hi Stefanie and thanks! It’s hard to advise not knowing how many adults you have and how they split up (e.g. 3 couples, each of which wants their own space…), but to make OKW more affordable see this And get back to me with numbers and who goes with whom and I’ll see if I have more to offer…

400 Shelley { 09.13.12 at 10:12 pm }

Hi Dave; I’m the “Shelley” from the Sept 4 question. We finally booked our dates…arriving Tuesday afternoon, Feb 26 2013 and leaving Sunday late morning, March 3 2013. Yeah!! We are taking a 9 yr old girl and a 4.5 yr old girl. We will basically have one day for each park (no hoppers) with an extra park on the day we arrive (Tuesday–)thinking MK. What days do you suggest we do the parks? And do you have character dining, etc. suggestions? We are trying to get the reservations for dining or shows set soon but we aren’t sure what day is best for what park. The girls love princesses so Cindrella’s Castle is a must and I would like to do Chef Mickey as well. Thanks for your help!

401 Dave { 09.14.12 at 3:01 pm }

Hi Shelley! With kids that age, and that short a visit, skip Epcot entirely, and do at least 2 days at MK.

The are parks to avoid by day:

2/26 Epcot
2/27 AK
2/28 MK
3/1 Epcot
3/2 HS
3/3 MK

My dining recommendations are all in my itineraries–see for example this:

402 Shelley { 09.14.12 at 4:14 pm }

Thanks, Dave! Can’t wait to get everything planned!

403 STEFANIE { 09.14.12 at 5:00 pm }

4 couples. My husband & self, my sister & husband, nephew, niece and their significant others. My nephew & niece don’t get along so I can’t put them together. I was thinking of putting my sister and her son together in one room. I want a bedroom to myself (since I paying for the trip) and my niece can go on the sofa bed. The tight wads guide was extremely helpful. Thanks!!!

404 Dave { 09.15.12 at 8:28 am }

Hi Stefanie! That’ll work and I can’t think of a better option than OKW that’ll be as comfortable…and I’m glad the tightwad page helped!

405 Freddie { 09.16.12 at 8:31 pm }

I am trying to find a great deal on disney ticket packs for disney parks only no park hopping. My wife and i want to spend five days doing disney, four parks and then one day to return to the one we liked the best. As we are going with three kids over 9 who need adult tickets and two adults trying to get best deal possible. The best deal i have found is $270 per adult, do you know of any websites that offer a better deal?

406 Dave { 09.17.12 at 5:27 am }

Freddie, deals on WDW tix are few and far between unless you are US Military. See this, including its warnings:

407 STEFANIE { 09.17.12 at 2:02 pm }

Someone told me only Florida residents can get an annual pass to the parks, Is that true?

408 Dave { 09.17.12 at 2:10 pm }


409 Marion { 09.27.12 at 2:03 pm }

I am in my 60’s and would like to take my sisters in law to Epcot for the 2013 flower festival. Which hotel is closest to Epcot (easy walking) and will hold 3 comfortably. Thanks

410 Dave { 09.27.12 at 3:16 pm }

Hi Marion–for Epcot either the BoardWalk or Beach Club would be best. See For holding three comfortably… depends on what you mean by comfortably. You can get rooms at both that have two queens and a daybed that fits one more…

See the image for the daybed, which I measured at 6′ inside. (The photo is from the Beach Club’s sister resort the Yacht Club, which is more of a walk, but what you’ll find at the BoardWalk and Beach Club is pretty much the same.)

411 Dee { 10.10.12 at 4:34 am }

Is there a free touring plan for kids ages 3.5, 5, 6, 7 for 2 days a MK in mid oct and 1 day AK? Less walking is best & staying on site. Thanks

412 Dee { 10.10.12 at 4:35 am }

Dates 10/11 to 10/16

413 Dave { 10.10.12 at 9:43 am }

Hi Dee, all my itineraries are aimed at older kids. Check out–they have a mix of free and paid plans there…

414 STEFANIE { 10.11.12 at 5:11 pm }

I’m wondering about renting DVC points, I am looking at your points calculator. 188 points for 2 bedroom OKW. Is there a minimum/maximum amount of days you can stay?

415 Dave { 10.11.12 at 5:46 pm }

Stefanie, this would be a private transaction between you and a point holder (or a broker) so it’s up the the two parties of the negotiation to decide if there’s a minimum or maximum amount of points you can rent–and its the points you have that shape how long you can stay…

416 Mary hendon { 10.13.12 at 9:03 am }

We are headed down to disneyworld nov 15 through 20. Doing ak the 15th, Mk the 16 and 17. Had planned on ep on 18 and hs on 19th. Crowd factor is 8 both of these last two days and hs has extended evening hours. We are staying at pop century. Are we ok are should we go the 18 to hs and 19 to ep. We aren’t doing park hoppers. This is our first visit and have two kids 7 and 12 . Love you site

417 Dave { 10.13.12 at 1:09 pm }

Hi Mary, and thanks for the love! You are hitting beginning the 18th the Thanksgiving Week crowds. HS will be particularly crowded the 19th, so I would flip as you suggest and do HS the 18th and Epcot the 19th…

418 Amy { 10.23.12 at 2:05 pm }

Dave ,
My husband and I are taking our 9yo son and 5 yo daughter 11/25-12/2. Our son has been twice before but our daughters first time. Our plans are very similar to yours except that we have wed and Thursday night open. We are staying at the poly and thought to have a low key night there and eat at ohana/watch fireworks/erc from the beach. But just realized that the hoop de doo is not closed and wondered if we should do that on wed night or something else! Have plans to do candlight/fantasmic/mvmcp already- so just wondering? Never been to hoop or cirque before? Thanks

419 Dave { 10.23.12 at 3:56 pm }
420 STEFANIE { 10.25.12 at 3:58 pm }

Since you are the Yoda of Disney, what is the advantage of buy a timeshare directly through Disney instead of a resales market. 🙂

421 Dave { 10.26.12 at 9:43 am }

Stefanie, asking you are about buying in for the next 4 decades? Or wondering you are about renting points, a single trip to use them for?

422 Mike { 10.26.12 at 10:58 am }

Stefanie, if you are looking at truly buying DVC instead of renting points, the biggest factors you’ll run across are that buying resale will save you a lot of money vs. buying direct from Disney. However, buying resale now means that you are more limited in what you get. If you buy direct from Disney you’ll be able to use your points for DVC resorts, Disney resorts, Disney Cruises, Adventures by Disney, and even exchange points with RCI for using some of their locations. However, if you buy resale, I think you’ll be limited to just DVC resorts, although I might be slightly off on that. We bought direct from Disney. Good luck!

423 Joanna { 10.26.12 at 11:06 am }

Hi Dave

Thanks for all your information, it has been great in trying to get an extended family vacation off the ground.

I have been looking at all the options, and it seems that Disney likes all the family to stay AND play together. As in there are 2 queen beds for a family of 4. We are taking our nephews to WDW next Easter (from Australia so we are restricted in travel times) and it seems that we either have to pay for 2 rooms or bunk in with them. While we love them dearly, their early bed time and just a need for a bit more space means that we would prefer a separate room.

Is there any option other than Art of Animation? We were hoping to stay at the Polynesian as we stayed offsite last time we visited (as a footloose and fancy free couple) and vowed if we ever went back we would stay somewhere with the transport at the hotel. But at $500 odd for a second room at the Polynesian, with no guarantee of adjoining rooms, it is just out of the question.

Thanks in advance.


424 Dave { 10.26.12 at 1:02 pm }

Hi Joanna, there’s several ways to get two sleeping spaces without two Poly rooms–see this:

425 Loraine { 10.31.12 at 5:55 am }

Thanks so much for all your work on this site. My family and I live in Orlando and we use your helpful information to get the most from our annual passes. Great Job!!

426 Dave { 10.31.12 at 12:01 pm }

Thank you, Loraine!!! What a sweet comment…

427 Troy { 11.01.12 at 8:25 am }


Here’s an odd question: do you think that the aftereffects of Hurricane Sandy will affect the crowd levels over the next few weeks? I know there was no damage or anything around there, but that might have affected people’s upcoming vacations. Is there any “data” regarding that in previous weather events? We’re going the last week of this month, and I’m wondering if we might get slightly smaller crowds than originally expected.

Just curious…

428 Dave { 11.01.12 at 11:34 am }

Troy–I’m just guessing here–I have no comparable data. A lot of people from the Sandy-affected part of the country go to WDW. Based on the traffic origin stats for this site–all I have to go on–NY, NJ, PA and CT alone account for ~15%+ of WDW visitors–even more next week because of Jersey week.

I’d imagine a lot of plans to visit WDW soon from the affected areas will be deeply disrupted, from the unexpected time and cash costs of getting thru the next few weeks. But some families will shift their plans to later, and others who can afford it will “reward” themselves with a visit to WDW as a way of taking a break from the floods etc. The next easy time to take their kids out of school is Thanksgiving and the Xmas holidays, but Thanksgiving may be too close for people to re-plan around.

So my guess is that the next week will be lower than typical, and that slightly lower than typical for the period will go probably into mid-December, but that there will be even more people than usual over the already horrible weeks of Xmas and New Years…

429 Melissa { 11.01.12 at 1:45 pm }

Hi Dave. My husband and 2 young boys are coming the week of Easter. We are there for 5 nights. I was planning to spend the first night at Downtown Disney and then get a 4 day ticket with NO park hopper. Are we able to get a 5 day ticket and use the remaining ticket to hop to a different park on one of our 4 days? It seems it would be cheaper that way.

430 Dave { 11.01.12 at 2:03 pm }

Hi Melissa! You can’t do that. The only way you can go to more than one single park in a day is via a hopper…

431 John { 11.01.12 at 9:10 pm }

My girl friend and I are planning on arriving at DW early afternoon Dec. 3rd and leaving
Friday morning Dec 7th. All our kids are out of the house and this is our first time at Disney. We would appreciate any help or suggestions on an itinerary

432 kristen { 11.01.12 at 9:22 pm }

Dave we are so lost can you PLEASE help!!We are going to Disney on 11/21-11/25 what are good days to visit what parks this is our first trip in a while.We have to change our plans we were gonna stay at AOA cars suite but gonna change so we can have more room .How do you like Port Orleans French Quarters?

433 Dave { 11.02.12 at 6:29 am }

Hi John! All my stuff is for longer trips. Take a look at this:

434 Dave { 11.02.12 at 6:33 am }

Kristen…you will have MUCH more room in a family suite at AOA Cars than in a room in POFQ…unless you are thinking two POFQ rooms? SO I’m not sure what you are saying here. For my resort hotel rankings, see this: Thanksgiving week is one of the busiest times of the year at WDW, so I don’t have any great suggestions–there are no good days!

435 Sarah { 11.02.12 at 10:47 pm }

Coming with 6 adults end of January, staying at Caribbean beach resort. Does Disney haveayany programs with discounts for cancer patients? And GDP you know how much it is to rent a motorized chair at the parks?

436 Dave { 11.03.12 at 7:26 am }

Hi Sarah!

I’m not aware of any Disney program for cancer specifically, but it provides a lot of support in general for people with special needs. See this: PassPorter’s Open Mouse for Walt Disney World and the Disney Cruise Line: Easy Access Vacations for Travelers with Extra Challenges

For motorized chairs at the park, the short answer is $50/day, but see this:

However, CB can involve a LOT of walking (see this: ) so if mobility is an issue you may want to rent a scooter for the whole visit–for 24/7 access to the scooter….

437 Tricia { 11.03.12 at 9:47 pm }

Hi Dave, great site! We are looking at going in January 2013 but we haven’t booked yet (wish I had found your site and known the 180 day recommendation 180 days ago but thankfully character meals and shows appear to still be available). Anyway, I’d like to go the week of 1/13 but I’m concerned about the marathon and it’s impact to crowds. Do you have anything here about how the marathon would Impact our travel? Thx!!!!

438 Dave { 11.04.12 at 8:24 am }

Hi Tricia, the Marathon will crowd and complicate the weekend of the 12th, and MLK day will crowd the weekend of the 19th, but the weekdays in between should be terrific!

439 Tricia { 11.04.12 at 8:27 pm }

Thanks Dave! Maybe we’ll try to hit Animal Kingdom or something first and do MK midweek when it’s not complicated. Appreciate it! 🙂

440 Dave { 11.05.12 at 7:42 am }

Hey Tricia, Epcot is also a good weekend choice as crowds don’t matter much in its World Showcase section. Marathon or not, the best days at MK tend to be Tuesday and Weds!

441 Joan { 11.05.12 at 9:00 am }

Dave, what is your advice on early registration vs. day of check in in terms of getting the type of room desired? We have a royal room river view reserved for POR but we want to be in a certain building and floor. If we pre register, are we stuck with whatever room is assigned to us online? So is it better to register in person if we have specific room requests? Thanks? P.S. when are you going together to royal rooms??!

442 Joan { 11.05.12 at 9:02 am }

Oops, meant when are you going to get to review the royal rooms…!

443 Dave { 11.05.12 at 12:00 pm }

Hi Joan! By early registration I assume you mean on-line check in. I’d just Mae sure to call first before doing on-line check in, and to do the on-line check in as late as your travel plans permit…

444 Dave { 11.05.12 at 12:00 pm }

I was kinda wondering! I dunno, early 2013 probably!

445 Suzie { 11.08.12 at 2:47 pm }

Hi Dave, I stayed up way too late last night, and posted a question…but I don’t know what page I put it on! It was about WDW lodging choices. Have you seen it? 🙂 Thanks!

446 Dave { 11.08.12 at 3:30 pm }
447 Catherine { 11.09.12 at 8:53 pm }

hi there
We are coming from Australia to the USA in December 2012, January 2013 (the only time we could come due to work commitments) and as part of a whistle-stop tour we have ended up with the Disneyworld/Orlando section of the trip being from 30th December to 3rd January, which seems to be almost the worst time we could possibly be coming! (thank you for the great website , even though the news does not seem to be good for us, either for length of stay or timing, your information is great). We are two families with 5 boys aged from 10 to 17. Are there any parks/rides in particular that we should try to get to/avoid? Do we need to book anything for NYE? Should we get up early and do a couple of rides and then head to a Water Park for the afternoon or are they just as crowded? Will we be able to eat anywhere without an advanced booking? We are staying at PO Riverside French Quarter so not too far from Downtown I think from the maps. aagh, it seems hard! We are all pretty relaxed (except perhaps for me!) though, and have nothing that we absolutely have to see, we will be enjoying soaking up the atmosphere.
Given the time of year and the crowds are we best to stick to WDW and not try and get to Universal/Legoland? Apologies for all the questions, you can just pick a couple and answer them, any information would be fantastic. Thank you!

448 Dave { 11.10.12 at 2:05 pm }

Catherine, everything everywhere will be crowded. Given the ages of the boys, I’d try for at least one day at Universal. The only things you can book on NYE are meals, and I’m sure most everything special will be booked by now. You are indeed not far from Downtown Disney, but it would be a waste of time on such a short trip. And finally, for the must-see rides, see this:

449 Alecia { 11.12.12 at 9:23 am }

We are thinking about bringing my nephews 1/3/2013 to 1/8/2013 based on their school schedule. I am confused on the crowd levels based on an updated comment that you made. I know this covers 2 different “weeks” so what kind of crowds are you thinking now. Are crowds generally lower after the new year or do they linger , will the marathon crowd be an issue? (It’s scheduled from Jan 10-13)

450 Alecia { 11.12.12 at 9:34 am }

sorry for the typo: do they linger on after new years day

451 Dave { 11.12.12 at 9:39 am }

Hi Alecia! Crowds will be heavy through 1/5, then fine the rest of your dates. You would be leaving too early to be affected by the marathon. See this:

452 Dave { 11.12.12 at 9:40 am }


453 Selma { 11.15.12 at 1:08 pm }

Hello Dave,
I just stumbled onto your site…it’s so useful..thanks!
My family of 3 (me, hubby and almost 5 yr old daughter) will be going to Orlando for our first time, arriving Jan. 27 and staying at the Hilton Seaworld. So far, we only booked the hotel, we are only in Orlando for a week before we go to San Destin. We are planning to do Disney World 2 days, Universal 1 day (we want to go to Harry Potter), and SeaWorld 1 day. My daughter will 5 in Feb. 2013 so this is her bday trip. What do you suggest we do in Disney World in 2 days? I know it’s not a lot of days, should we just explore Magic Kingdom?
Thanks in advance for your suggestions!

454 Dave { 11.15.12 at 3:14 pm }

Hi Selma, yes, I think that’s a great idea. For a kid that age, MK is by far the most enchanting park, and can easily absorb two days. I’d suggest two mornings, a late afternoon (for the 3p parade) and an evening for the evening parade and fireworks.

455 mr bruce lamond { 11.17.12 at 5:13 am }

Hi Dave, great site for us here in the UK – I am a travel agent and the info you have we just cannot get from Disney themselves!
Looking for advice for friends -4 wishing to go to the MK on New Years Eve – as us Scots love Hogmanay as we do here in Scotland! Rather than go at 0900, wld staying in the Grand Floridian for the 1 night give them any advantage to seeing the fireworks frm public areas of the hotel? If staying here wld they still have to go to the park 1st thing to guarantee entry even being a resident. if they went back to the hotel to break up the day is there any possibility of getting back into park ..or would it just be better to queue at 0900 and spend all day there until midnight?
Any advice would be greatly appreciated..

thanks in advance,


456 Dave { 11.17.12 at 6:57 am }
457 jason { 11.17.12 at 3:58 pm }

Hi, love your site!, We will be in disneyworld from Dec, 14th to Dec 23 2012, I was curious what you thought the beginning of that week will be like, since that is when we plan on going to the Disney Parks..

458 Dave { 11.19.12 at 6:53 am }

Hi Jason, and thanks! The weekend will be moderately busy, but then the 17-19th will be fine. Crowds begin to build the 20th, and become horrible the 22nd. See this:

459 Debin Hammond { 11.30.12 at 10:54 am }

I’m planning our first ever Disney trip for early 2013. My daughter is 6 and is about 42 inches tall. What’s the best week to visit? Any tips for a first timer are appreciated as well! 🙂 Thanks so much!

460 Dave { 11.30.12 at 12:04 pm }

Hi Debin–it depends a little on what you mean by “early” 2013…but see this: For other tips…well, that’s what this whole site is about! Start with the home page you are on and work through its topics!

461 Debin { 11.30.12 at 7:57 pm }

Hi Dave, Sorry I meant to say we’re planning to visit in February.

462 Dave { 12.01.12 at 11:09 am }

OK, Debin, in February, by far the best week is that beginning 2/23, as it’s after the ride closure season, and the worst is that beginning 2/16, because of Presidents Day which creates crowds all week.

Earlier in the month risks ride closures, but if you have to go then, the earlier, the better.

463 Mitch { 12.02.12 at 6:50 pm }


The best site on Disney, period. For 2 adults wanting to spend 12/30 – 12/31 at Disney, what is your top 3 choices for place to stay ?

464 Dave { 12.02.12 at 7:18 pm }

Thanks, Mitch!! I dunno if there’s any rooms left, but for two adults those dates hands-down you want any of the Epcot resorts–see These put you in walking distance of both Epcot and Hollywood Studios, the two most fun parks (for adults) on NYE (see )

465 Erik from VA { 12.02.12 at 9:15 pm }

Just got back yesterday (last week of November for 7 days) and using this website was a perfect base for our entire trip. Low attandance weeks are highly recomended. Opened and closed each park using magic hours. Got throught half of MK well before noon one day. Main St was packed the night of MVMCP considering thats where all of the action was. After 7pm, the wrist band police are out! Your ininerary makes you run back and forth across the parks but again we incorporated it into our plans with the revised show times worked out great. I was ready to come home by the last day. The trip was very entertaining and enjoyed new memories withthe kids but it was not restful. Make sure you have 1 or 2 down days when you get home. Plus dining was PLENTY of food! Thank You for the site. Erik from VA

466 Janetta { 12.03.12 at 3:44 am }

Hi Dave,
At your recommendation, we are doing the 10 day trip to Disney from this coming Saturday 8 Dec. Just one question – my son went in April and he strongly recommends that I get Front of Line Passes fr us. Do you think this is necessary?

467 Dave { 12.03.12 at 8:54 am }

Thanks for the report, Erik!! And i’m so glad the site helped!

468 Dave { 12.03.12 at 8:55 am }

Hi Janetta, there are no front of the line passes for Disney World. Your son may be thinking of Universal Orlando–which does have them–or he may have the wrong name for Disney’s FASTPASS system, whihc comes free with your ticket and is built into all this site’s itineraries…

469 Janetta { 12.03.12 at 9:27 am }

Hi again Dave. Thanks for clearing that up for me. Can you please explain what the FASTPASS system is? I see you say we must fastpass certain things in your daily programs.

470 Dave { 12.03.12 at 11:08 am }
471 Janetta { 12.04.12 at 1:06 am }

Thanks again Dave, you are such a great help! Sorry if I sound blonde, but I didn’t know Universal and Disney are two separate things. I read on blogs that Universal is more for older children and adults (which is our family) Do you recommend that we go to Universal on the last Monday of our visit to Disney? You see, we come from South Africa, so we will not be going to Orlando again. I suppose we would then have to get the Front of Line Passes…… Is it worth the cost or are there similar thrilling rides in Disney?

472 Dave { 12.04.12 at 6:37 am }

Hi Janetta! The Universal rides are much wilder than those at WDW, so it’s definitely worth a shot! An alternative to front of the line passes is to double book a Universal hotel–this gives you even better access to Universal stuff–especially Harry Potter–and for the three of you may be less expensive than front of the line passes. See this:

473 Janetta { 12.04.12 at 9:57 am }

Hi again Dave, I haven’t bought the tickets for MVMCP yet and would like to know if one can only go into The Magic Kingdom on Tuesday night if you have tickets for the parade?

474 Dave { 12.04.12 at 10:02 am }

Janetta, yup, on Tuesday, if you don’t have MVMCP tix, you’ll be asked to leave at 7p, and will miss the party including the fireworks and parade.

Meanwhile, what time is it in South Africa 🙂

475 Janetta { 12.04.12 at 10:09 am }

It is now 5.10pm. Would you recommend the parade for a teenage girl of 14?

476 Dave { 12.04.12 at 10:15 am }

Good, I was afraid you were up in the middle of the night! You get three things from the party: low waits, particularly after the fireworks; special fireworks; special parade. The parade is very skippable for a 14yo–which means (since everyone else will be watching it, especially its first showing (it shows twice)) that wait lines will be even shorter while it is on…and the fireworks will knock your socks off…

477 Heather { 12.04.12 at 10:35 am }

Do you have any advice or know of a website that does for families that have a special needs child? We have 1 son with Asperger’s/high functioning autism who is 4 & I am trying to figure out how to plan the lowest crowds/season while satisfying my 2 princess crazy girls ( 6 and 3) who deperately want to attend all of the high volume princess events their cousins did. Thanks in advance for any advice

478 Janetta { 12.04.12 at 10:45 am }

By the way, Dave, What is this new Fantasyland that opens on 6 Dec? Will my Disney Hopper allow access to it, or do we have to buy separate entrance tickets?

479 Dave { 12.04.12 at 10:48 am }

It’s part of the Magic Kingdom, so you don’t need a special ticket! It includes a new ride, and some other stuff perhaps not so interesting to a 14yo girl…like meeting Belle, and a Beauty and the Beast themed restaurant…

480 Janetta { 12.04.12 at 10:49 am }

Ok, thanks. I am off to buy my MVMCP!

481 Dave { 12.04.12 at 11:40 am }

Heather–take a look at the stuff that starts here, from my friend Tricia:

482 Melissa { 12.12.12 at 12:47 pm }

Hi Dave. Any advice on a reputable company to rent strollers from? I need a double stroller for a 4 and 5 year old. I have heard that renting them at the parks is not ideal. We are planning a trip late March/early April. Thanks!

483 Dave { 12.13.12 at 8:45 am }

Hi Melissa, I focus on older kids so don’t have a recommendation. I’m gonna ask some of my friends to chime in. BTW–the dates you are aiming at (if you mean late March/early April literally) will be wildly crowded…do you have any other options?

484 Heidi { 12.13.12 at 8:50 am }

I have had great success with Kingdom Strollers. They are very efficient and easy to work with and their strollers are of excellent quality. I posted about my experience here:

485 Dave { 12.13.12 at 8:54 am }

Thanks, Heidi!!

486 Amy { 12.13.12 at 9:05 am }

I highly recommend Kingdom Strollers as well. If you weren’t convinced by Heidi, here’s another review for you. I haven’t tried the double stroller, but I have no doubt they are great!

487 Melissa { 12.13.12 at 1:14 pm }

Thanks Heidi, Dave and Amy I will check out Kingdom Strollers for sure! Dave unfortunately my husband is a teacher so his spring break dates are our only option. I figured I’d take the crowds versus the summer temperatures : )

488 Stacey Lewis { 12.13.12 at 2:57 pm }

Hi Dave

In a earlier comment from you, you gave me two links on where I can purchase some food supplies for our room while staying at AOA I can not find that post, would you mind just re sending the links for me
Thanks Stacey

489 Dave { 12.14.12 at 9:48 am }

OK Melissa…!

490 Dave { 12.14.12 at 9:53 am }
491 Patricia { 12.14.12 at 11:31 pm }

I have a question about picking travel days.
We will be meeting a group of people in early June 2013. My husband, 4 year old daughter, and I plan to spend 6 nights (4 days) there. I can’t decide if we should a) go Tuesday thru Sunday or b) instead push back a day and go Wednesday through Monday.
The first option gives more weekdays for park visits, since we would travel home on Sunday. But is Sunday a crazy day at the airport and for ground transportation there? Would that make the 2nd option better since we would fly on Monday and avoid that? There is a small difference in flight costs, but not enough to make the decision.
Thanks for any advice you have!

492 Dave { 12.15.12 at 2:52 pm }

Hi Patricia! In the summer every day is crazy at the airports, so while Sunday is in fact worse, I wouldn’t pick based on that. Tues-Fri are the best days at WDW, so pick based on having those days in your schedule!

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493 Patricia { 12.16.12 at 1:27 pm }

Thanks Dave!

494 Dave { 12.16.12 at 1:42 pm }

You bet, Patricia, and have a great trip!

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495 Jill { 12.20.12 at 12:21 am }

We are contemplating between many dates currently. The dates of April 3rd through the 10th work best, but I am scared that the crowds will still be crazy those first few days from Easter. Am I right in that thought and would you highly recommend not going then if we want to avoid crowds? The other times we are looking at is Feb 23 or Jan 26th. This is our first trip with for my husband and I and our 11 and 9 year old. My kids are huge Harry Potter fans and I worry that the ride or something will be closed down if we go in January.

496 Dave { 12.20.12 at 8:47 am }

Hi Jill! I expect it to be wildly crowded through April 6, but fine after that. I would highly reccomend avoiding the firts week of April…Your February date is the best choice. See

497 IllinoisGal { 12.31.12 at 4:21 pm }

Hello there,
A couple of days ago (Sat Dec 29) I posted a question on one of the pages about Wilderness Lodge & staying there in June. I cannot locate the page to see what your answer was, can you help me please??? This is our 2nd trip, we are on limited budget but due to Disney card promo can save 20% plus we have over $400 in points on our Disney card, thus reducing the cost even further.

498 Dave { 01.01.13 at 8:00 am }

Happy New Year, IllinoisGal! Your comment and my reply are here:

499 Vagner Formario { 01.02.13 at 9:56 am }

Hi Dave,
You have a wonderfull site, and your hints are very helpful.
I’m from Brazil, and made a trip to Orlando with my Kid last Dec, 8. It was the best date choice, and I would like to THANK YOU SO MUCH for your Support.


500 Tom { 01.02.13 at 11:33 am }

Happy new year Dave! Looking forward to my early February trip!!!

501 Dave { 01.02.13 at 5:32 pm }

Vagner, I’m so glad this site helped you, and thank you so much for letting me know! All the best, Dave

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502 Dave { 01.02.13 at 5:43 pm }

Tom, thanks, and happy new year to you too!!

503 Heather { 01.06.13 at 7:14 am }

Hi Dave! Quick question. I am reading tons of mixed reviews about Chef Mickey’s. Some say it’s a great place to go, with both good food and fun for kids. Others say it is overwhelmingly busy, the food is awful and it’s not worth it. What are your thoughts? We are going mid-May with our 3 year old son. Thanks!

504 Dave { 01.06.13 at 10:24 am }

Hiya Heather, it’s a bit of both: a great place to go, wildly popular with the kids, hence crowded and noisy, with food that’s fine for kids but will strike parents as average…

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505 Troy { 01.06.13 at 10:44 am }


Just thought I’d drop my $0.02, as I just went less than a month ago. We went in the morning, and we really enjoyed it. Was it the best breakfast buffet we’ve ever had? No, but let’s be honest: I don’t think that’s the predominant reason to go. It is indeed pricey, but you get one-on-one attention with all of the top 5 characters – Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy and Pluto – individually coming right to your table to take pictures. No lines to wait in like at the parks, and considering who the characters are, we thought it was well-worth it.

506 Anita { 01.06.13 at 7:56 pm }

Hi Dave! I know you mostly deal with Disney World theme parks but I was wondering what you know about Sea World in January when they have the kids concerts on Saturdays. Would it be crazy busy to go on a Saturday when they are open an extra hour and have a kids program on? We are flexible about which day we go. We are thinking we’d either go Wednesday the 23rd or Saturday the 26th. My daughter would like the concert but if it’s busy I’d rather go when it’s a little calmer. If you can’t answer this, do you know where I could go to ask this question?

Thanks so much!
Love love love this site!

507 Dave { 01.07.13 at 6:41 am }

Thanks Troy!

508 Dave { 01.07.13 at 6:59 am }

Hi Anita and thanks for the love! As you guessed, I don’t know, but try

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509 Leah { 01.07.13 at 4:46 pm }

Hi! How old do you think kids need to be before going to character meals? i have twin three year olds and don’t want them to be too scared. Thanks!

510 Dave { 01.07.13 at 6:13 pm }

Hi Leah! That’s hard to say as kids that age are so different. One thing you might do is put your character meals late in the trip, do some in-park character meetings well before them, and then keep or cancel your reservations depending on how the kids react…

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511 Dave { 01.07.13 at 6:37 pm }

Leah, I also posed your question on the Facebook page and got this quick response from Kristen: “We just took a 3 year old to a character meal in August and it was great. He loved it. It was very interactive for him. I’d say its a great age!!!”

512 Dave { 01.07.13 at 6:47 pm }

Leah, another comment from facebook, from Lynne: “Well I have been to 1900 with twin one year olds and a 2 year old and they loved it. The kids were great and the characters were great with the little ones.”

513 Erin { 01.07.13 at 6:53 pm }

Leah, try one of the princess meals first. My three year old was less afraid of the princesses since they are able to talk and interact with the kids a little more than the other characters.

514 Nicole { 01.07.13 at 7:51 pm }

We just went a month ago (daughter was 27 months old) she really enjoyed Minnie & Mickey mouse. Chef mickeys is great. Can’t imagine anyone saying the food is bad. They have anything u want.. And 1900 park fare food was better but didn’t enjoy the characters like chef mickeys.

515 Dave { 01.08.13 at 6:55 am }

Thanks, Erin and Nicole! Leah, there’s also 5 or 6 other comments on the facebook page.

516 Debbie { 01.09.13 at 9:36 am }

My dates are now etched in stone ( for now ha ha) we are going to the World 10/18/13 to 10/27/2013 ….. are there any discounts typically this time of year

517 Dave { 01.09.13 at 12:02 pm }

Hey Debbie! In the past your period has commonly been discounted, with some blackout dates–for the 2012 specifics, see and

But Disney by policy is cutting back on deals, so there’s no guarantee, and I wouldn’t count on anything! That way any surprise will be a positive one…

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518 Selma { 01.09.13 at 12:40 pm }

Hi, I was wondering which restaurants are the best to view the 3pm & 7pm parade? We will be in DW Jan. 28 & 29. We wanted to eat lunch/dinner while watching the parade. Thanks!! Selma

519 Dave { 01.09.13 at 1:31 pm }

Hi Selma, I don’t think that will work. While a couple of restaurants are on the parade route and have windows, they aren’t designed to have the parades viewed from them, and there’s no way to be sure you’d get one of those few tables by those small windows…

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520 Jamie { 01.09.13 at 4:01 pm }

Hi, we are planning a trip to disney either the first week in December or the second. I know both are in your best time to vist, but would you lean more towards one over the other? I see a lot of confusion as to when pop Werner week will be this year. Traditionally it’s the first week of December, but I’ve seen some online sites predicting it will be the second week this year due to thanksgiving being so late. Do you have any insight on when it will be? Also, would you consider it a deal breaker, or are the crowds not that much worse during pop Werner week?


521 Dave { 01.09.13 at 5:31 pm }

Hi Jamie!

For my thoughts on when Pop will be, see this: I have a slight preference for whichever week it is not happening, but frankly, it’s just not that big a deal–see this

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522 Jim { 01.09.13 at 8:10 pm }

Wanted to know if the touring subscription is worth it (12 bucks) in order to see wait times at all parks. I have an iphone and saw that my family can view wait times at each park through this app. Is this a good app for the money or is the free Disney app just as good.

523 Selma { 01.10.13 at 12:40 am }

Hi again Dave,
Thanks for replying so quickly! How much advance should we sit and wait by the route before the parade? We are there Jan. 28 and 29.

524 Dave { 01.10.13 at 7:37 am }

Hi Jim–I haven’t done a head to head comparison for quite a while, so can’t give you a current sense of which is better. TP is definitely worth it if you use more than one of their offerings, but I can’t say whether Lines alone is worth it or not these days…

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525 Dave { 01.10.13 at 7:50 am }

Selma, 30 minutes should be fine those dates–those will be very un-crowded days…

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526 mary { 01.10.13 at 5:01 pm }

We are taking the family to Disney Dec. 15 to Dec. 22. There are 2 adults with 2 kids aged 8 and 5 ; 2 adults with a 2 year old and 2 adults with a 12 year old. Which rooms would you recommend between All Star Movies, Art of Animation or Port Orleans riverside . The rooms (260 sq. ft.) look so small. Would we be comfortable there ? Is there a site we can actually see the rooms at All Star Movies Resort ? Thanks.

527 Dave { 01.11.13 at 12:08 pm }

Hi Mary, you can see photos of ASM from the links here: My resort rankings are here:

The tradeoff between the values like AofA and ASM and the moderates like POR is that the values are a more fun and welcoming environment for kids, but are much smaller. The price difference and kid appeal difference makes me recommend Art of Animation, especially considering that many visitors spend little time in their rooms…but you may never stay in a smaller room!

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528 mary { 01.11.13 at 4:11 pm }

We will probably be staying in Art of Animation (mermaid rooms)and were wondering how long it would take to get to Magic Kingdom one day, Futureworld another and hollywood studios another ? Being a distance away from MK, would the early entrance time be spent getting there ? Also would it be just bus service or would boats and monorails come into the picture ?

529 Dave { 01.12.13 at 9:31 am }

Hi Mary, just buses, but they start early enough that you’ll not miss any early entrance time. Rolling time is about 15 minutes to Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom, less to Hollywood Studios and Epcot

530 mary { 01.12.13 at 4:55 pm }

This may sound like a silly question but is there a coffee maker in the mermaid rooms ?

531 Joy { 01.13.13 at 9:58 am }

My husband and I are taking our two kids, (boy 5 and girl 8) to Disney and were wondering if the standard Mermaid rooms would be too crowded for the four of us. We will be out of the room most of the time but don’t want to be overly crowded when there. Also, would the room be too girly for our 5 year old boy and is there a coffee maker in the room. (with two kids in a small room we will need one !) thank you.

532 Dave { 01.13.13 at 10:37 am }

Mary, it’s not silly! There is no coffee maker in the Little Mermaid rooms.

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533 Dave { 01.13.13 at 10:48 am }

Hi Joy! No coffee maker, and on the question of crowding…that’s an individual decision as you are trading it off against price. They will be likely the smallest 4 person rooms you will ever have stayed in…The rooms are not too girly for a boy. See this and its links…

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534 Mary { 01.14.13 at 11:03 pm }

We have decided to book two Lion King family suites at Art of Animation for five nights with four day base tickets. There are 7 adults and 4 kids. If we book now and a deal comes up later for the same resort and or tickets, do we automatically get the new price ? How long should we wait to book as we want to be sure we get two suites together but would also like a better price. I am really enjoying your site by the way ! Very helpful and informative !!

535 Mary { 01.14.13 at 11:57 pm }

Quick question. My grandaughters are talking about dressing up as princesses at MK. Apparently they saw something on TV about this. Can you shed any light on this for me ? I don’t know anything about it. They are ages 8 and 11. Thanks.

536 Dave { 01.15.13 at 7:11 am }

Hi Mary and thanks! First, there’s no way at all to be sure your two suites will be near each other–Disney will try, but won’t guarantee it. Second, if a deal comes out and your dates are eligible, you have to call Disney to get your reservation changed to the deal–there’s noting at all automatic!

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537 Dave { 01.15.13 at 7:23 am }

Hi Mary–here’s the scoop. Girls pick their favorite Disney princess, then you get them an outfit with the signature dress of that princess. Some then after that go to the on-site (at the Magic Kingdom and in Downtown Disney) salon for hair and makeup to suit. All this together can cost an arm and a leg, but you can get the princess outfits over the web at much less than you’d pay at WDW itself. For more on the salons (which book up fast) see this:

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538 Jennifer G { 01.15.13 at 12:46 pm }

Can you please tell me if the “get a Disney quote” form is legit? I have been talking with a rep who responded after I filled it out and want to make sure everything is on the up and up and it’s not that I responded to some random ad on this site 😉 Thanks!

539 Dave { 01.15.13 at 3:40 pm }

Hi Jennifer, it’s real! It’s my buds from Destinations in Florida. If you aren’t getting what you need in any way, reach out to me and I’ll put you in touch with the boss!

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540 Jennifer G { 01.15.13 at 4:38 pm }

Oh gosh, no! She’s been WONDERFUL!! Almost too good to be true-that’s why I was asking 😉 Super quick responses by Veronica and very friendly and helpful 😀 Thank you for getting back with me, Dave!

541 Heidi { 01.15.13 at 7:24 pm }

Is there a return policy if someone gets sick or something happens and we can’t go?? I’ve looked but couldn’t find their cancellation policy.

I posted this same question somewhere else but couldn’t find it. Sorry

542 Mary { 01.16.13 at 8:18 am }

I can’t seem to find any pictures on the Lion King suites and Finding Nemo suites to compare. Help ?? Thanks.

543 Dave { 01.16.13 at 8:29 am }

You bet, Jennifer!

544 Dave { 01.16.13 at 11:53 am }

Hi Mary, pix form my visit to the Finding Nemo suites are here: I haven’t stayed yet at Lion King, but for pix, see this:

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545 Ginette { 01.16.13 at 9:11 pm }

Hi Dave:
I note on the Disney World calendar that there are 2 fantasmic shows on February 23. One at 7 PM and the other at 8:30 PM. It indicates that the park closes at 7 PM. Does this make sense?

546 Denise { 01.17.13 at 12:19 am }

Hi Dave, thanks for this great site! Since we saw your 2013 crowd chart, we were planning to go to WDW from Jan 31st until Feb 5th; but our hotel is almost booked! Do you think we should better try to go in September, since the weather will be warmer and some attractions in Feb will be closed? Maybe less crowds in Sept? Thanks!!

547 Dave { 01.17.13 at 7:24 am }

Hi Denise–Disney’s hotels being full has nothing to do with park crowds. They are near full all the time, and then book up a little more because of deals, things going on at Wide World of Sports, conventions, etc. So you can’t use them being full as an indication of crowds in the parks…and you will be fine!

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548 Dave { 01.17.13 at 7:31 am }
549 Mary { 01.17.13 at 10:04 am }

No question this time Dave. Just a *** BIG THANK YOU *** for all the great information and quick response to questions. I am hooked to your site and ANYTIME I have a question I go straight to you ! I am getting soooo excited about our trip to WDW even though it is 11 months away yet. Thank you again for all your help !!

550 Sally { 01.17.13 at 10:14 am }

Good morning,
I booked an 8 night Disney cruise with a one day stop at Disney World scheduled for Tuesday, April 30. This will be our second Disney cruise but first visit to Disney World for my husband and I and two boys, ages 4 and 8. We will be taken to the park by bus and can arrive for extra magic hours, if we get ourselves around in time. We can stay all day and be back on the bus by 11:00 pm. I’d like to make the most of this one day. The tickets provided are park hopper (no food is provided) so we have no limitations but I’d like to concentrate on the best attractions, rides and restaurants for our family. Could you help us plan one special day at Disney? Thanks so much. Sally

551 Dave { 01.17.13 at 12:56 pm }

Mary, you are so sweet! And keep the questions coming!

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552 Dave { 01.17.13 at 1:00 pm }

Hi Sally, you want to spend the day at Magic Kingdom–there’s no point in hopping, as a. it will cost you scarce time, and b. it takes twoish days to see all of the Magic Kingdom anyway, so there’s no reaosn to leave, and c. it’s by far the best park for kids that age.

I don’t have any one day itineraries, but you can find them here: Cross check what you find there with this:

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553 Sally { 01.17.13 at 4:58 pm }

Thank you!

554 Allison { 01.20.13 at 8:15 am }

Do you know when Disney typically announces the dates for the Very Merry Christmas Party? Will be in Disney December 8-12, 2013 and have been thinking about possible itineraries/dining plans, etc. Thanks so much for this helpful site!

555 Dave { 01.20.13 at 8:46 am }

Hey Allison, the formal announcement can be as late as late summer or early fall, but you can basically figure it out as soon as Disney releases its December calendar–typically late May or early June.

The nights it shows with a 7p close will with a better than 90% chance be MVMCP nights. The most common nights for MVMCP are Sunday, Tuesday, and Friday.

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556 Kim { 01.21.13 at 12:56 am }

Do have any idea when the seven dwarfs mine ride is suppose to open? We are planing a trip the week after Thanksgiving and that would be great if it is! Also do you think the free meal plan will be offered at that time, we have visited the past two years during that time and it was offered but I have heard there are changes this year.

557 Dave { 01.21.13 at 9:37 am }

Hi Kim, there’s no formal announcement, and all the recent hints have been “early 2014.” And it does seem that DIsney is cutting way back on the free dining offers, though it’s still possible…

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558 Denise { 01.22.13 at 2:06 am }

Hi again, Dave! I was question 546! Thanks for your quick response; we will keep our dates, then. We will continue looking for tips and advices in your great site!

559 Julie { 01.22.13 at 10:40 pm }

Hi Dave: Still learning so much from your site and eagerly awaiting your responses on a few previous questions. We are going to Disney World arriving 1/30/01 departing monday 2/04/13. My sons birthday is on the Thurs 01/31/13 and we are staying at the polynesian. My question is what parks would you advise on which days for us. We have a 4 year old girl and the birthday boy will be turning 8. I know some parks are better on some days than others. Im thinking Magic Kingdom two of the days and not sure which other parks should be a priority and which park to see on what day. We may want one of the five days to not rush around anywhere and maybe go to the volcano pool if its warm enough or just explore some of the other resorts. In other words, I dont want to make this an exhausting vacation. Please let me know what you think. we have been to disney before but my daughter has not and my son was too young to remember. We also have never stayed at the Polynesian. Thank you and thank you for your website! It rocks!

560 Dave { 01.23.13 at 8:14 am }

Hi Julie! I put my responses to a couple of your question yesterday here:

Here’s parks to avoid by day:

1/30: Avoid Ak
1/31: Avoid MK
2/1: Avoid Epcot
2/2: Avoid HS
2/3: Avoid Mk
2/4: Avoid HS, AK

Givne the ages of your kids, I’d target as you note 2 days at MK, skip Epcot, and spend a day at each of HS and AK…

561 Julie { 01.23.13 at 10:17 am }

Hi Dave: Thank you so much for responding to my questions. I called the Polynesian directly and asked about the larger standard rooms and she told me that all the standard rooms are exactly the same at 404 sq feet . I told her the buildings I had learned had bigger rooms and she told me that wasnt the case. Additonally she also told me that ALL the rooms have either a patio or balcony even though i told her i was pretty sure the second floor in some of the buildings did not so she said she would make that a request on my res. Didnt give me much confidence as to her knowledge of the resort.

Do you think that the parkhopper is worht it with such young kids? We are getting the amazine florida residents rate for four day passes, i think its around $`150.00 for al four days per person.

Thank you again!

562 Dave { 01.23.13 at 5:39 pm }

Hi again Julie. I’m appalled at the conversation you had…and no, I don’t think the park hopper is needed…

563 Selma { 01.25.13 at 2:45 pm }

Hello again Dave!
I have some last minute questions before arriving in Orlando this weekend. We are sooo excited! We are doing MK for 2 days and have Chef Mickey’s breakfast Monday at 11.20am. Should we park at MK parking lot and then ferry or monorail there? Or park at Epcot and Monorail over? My friends are giving different advice and I’m more comfortable with your advice. Do we need to arrive at the park around 9 to make it to the breakfast on time? And last question which app do you recommend for wait times for the lines? I’m hoping the low crowds (and rain in the forecast) means less people at the park. Thanks so much again for easying my mind!

564 annie { 01.25.13 at 5:36 pm }

Hi Dave! We are thinking about tent camping at Ft.Wilderness this October. I know they offered the free dining plan on some days last October, and I have read that campers are given the same benefits as others at the resorts. So will they let campers have the free dining plan if it is offered?

565 Dave { 01.26.13 at 8:15 am }

Hi Selma, I’m here at Disney World too–through Feb 4! Umm, whoever told you to park at Epcot is …umm… nuts to put it kindly. (Don’t tell em I said that.) If you park at Epcot, you then have to take the Epcot monorail to TTC, and then a second monorail, or ferry, to MK. If you park at MK, you are at the TTC, so get right on the the monorail or ferry, skipping the whole Epcot monorail step.

Arrive at the MK parking lot by 8.15a. This will put you near the front of the line when the turnstile open, and will save you waiting time.

I haven’t tested the wait time apps for a while so don’t have a recommendation. But much more important is a plan–see some of the popular rides as soon as the park opens, then start using FASTPASSSES

566 Dave { 01.26.13 at 8:19 am }

Annie, while Fort Wilderness campers have all the benefits of any other WDW resort guests, that is not the same as sharing in discounts. Specific resorts and room types are excluded from discounts all the time. Fort Wilderness tent and RV campers are pretty much ALWAYS excluded from free dining…

567 Selma { 01.26.13 at 12:52 pm }

Thanks so much for your advice Dave!!!! Have fun at WDW too! We might bump into you and not know it.

568 Dave { 01.26.13 at 6:18 pm }

Selma, have fun and let me know how it goes!

569 Mary { 01.28.13 at 8:46 pm }

I have a question about wait times to get into the parks in the mornings if we are staying outside of WDW. Our second week, we are renting a house and were wondering what time we should be at the park entrance and how long it will take to get in once we are there. We will already have our tickets. How early should we be there and do we park first and then get in line or do we stay in our cars in line to park and then have to also get in line to get into the park after we park the car ? Confusing ?? To me too !! thanks.

570 Dave { 01.29.13 at 6:43 am }

Hiya Mary, there’s two cases.

AT Epcot, AK, and HS, you pay for parking, for which early in the mornings there’s not usually much of a line, park, and either walk to the park, or wait for and take the parking lot tram to take you to the park. Depending on where you are directed to park and how many trams are operating, it can take 15-30 mins to make it from the parking pay area to the turnstiles.

At MK there’s an additional step. There you make your way (on foot or by tram) to the TTC, and form the TTC take either the monorail or the ferry to MK. So you’d add another 15 minutes to the range to make it 30-45 minutes from the parking pay lane…

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571 Melissa { 01.30.13 at 1:44 pm }

Hi Dave. I have some questions on parking too. We are staying off site and renting a car the week of March 30th. Is it worth it to purchase a AAA diamond parking pass that gets us to the front of the lots? Also on Easter Sunday we were thinking of parking at the Contemporary since we have dinner reservations at Chef Mickeys there the first night. Would we be able to park there and take the tram to Magic Kingdom for the day? Or our last option would be to take a cab from the hotel instead of using our rental car but I am not sure how costly that would be. From what I have seen online it looks like parking at the Magic Kingdom may be a bit of a hassle? I am not too concerned about Animal Kingdom or Hollywood Studios parking as those seem more convenient.

572 Jonathan { 01.30.13 at 9:36 pm }

Looking to head to Orlando and Disney World Feb 9-16. You predict low crowds but every resort hotel is booked. Is that typical? Is there a special event? Thanks for any insight.

573 Dave { 01.31.13 at 7:07 am }

Hi Melissa!

I’ve never used a diamond pass, so can’t advise you on its worth. At that wildly crowded time of the year, the only approach is to arrive at the parking lots well before the parks open–which, other than on days when the parks open first to WDW resort hotel guests for morning extra magic hours, means you’ll be at the front of the lot anyway. The problem will be MK, whihc has morning EMH every day that week–so your diamond pass will be more valuable there.

At these wildly busy times of the year, Disney is pretty strict about parking at the Contemporary, so they may not let you park there in the morning for an evening reservation at Chef Mickey…if they don’t let you park, you can just roll back around to the MK parking lot…

And FYI you can walk from MK to the Contemporary or take the monorail, but there’s no “tram” at the Contemporary…

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574 Dave { 01.31.13 at 7:25 am }

Hey Jonathan, see this response to an almost identical question:

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575 Karen { 01.31.13 at 9:53 pm }

Is there a site like this for Disneyland? I want to plan my first trip there and I have no idea where to start.

576 Dave { 02.01.13 at 7:42 am }

Hi Karen, not that I’m aware of. I have some (out of date) thoughts here:

However, since I wrote them, DCA has greatly expanded, so you’ll want to add half a day to my thoughts on how long to stay, and also supplement then with a guidebook–e.g. The Unofficial Guide to Disneyland 2013

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577 Mary { 02.01.13 at 9:41 pm }

Hi Dave. Just wondering about Pop Warner week ?? We are arriving at WDW on Dec. 16/13 and were wondering if that crowd would be there at that time or would that be over by then. Thanks.

578 Dave { 02.02.13 at 7:31 am }

Mary, Pop crowds are tiny to start with, and won’t affect you on your dates. You will see the holiday crowds start to arrive the 19th and 20th, however, although they won’t really be mobbing the parks until that weekend…

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579 Penaz Virji { 02.03.13 at 2:21 am }

Hi Dave,
This is a great and informative site. We are planning our trip Aug this year and are a group of 8 (including 2 kids of 12 & 8 years). We have finalized on the Art of Animation resort and after reading all the reviews we are concerned about booking the Mermaid Standard rooms as they are the furtherest from the transfer points to the parks. We also wanted to check that even if we go for the Building 7 options of the mermaid rooms as suggested by you and they arent comfortable can we upgrade to a Family Suite. What would be the charges for an upgrade in this case? Would it be cheaper than booking a Suite in the first place? Also does Disney offer any free upgrades incase we are celebrating an occasion? Looking forward to hearing from your end. Regards, Penaz

580 Dave { 02.03.13 at 7:08 am }

Hi Penaz, and thanks!

You will only be able to upgrade your room to a family suite if one is available, and it will cost the same as if you booked it now. Every now and then a free upgrade happens when Disney has oversold the Little Mermaid rooms, but nothing to count on. And they won’t upgrade you because of a celebration…

If walking distance is really a problem for you, then book a preferred room at Pop Century…

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581 Deb Wright { 02.05.13 at 3:12 pm }

Hi Dave! Incredible job you’re doing here. Question: My husband and I will be attending the Food & Wine Fest in October. We’ve been to WDW at least 10 times. We’ve stayed at several of the resorts. We want to be at the Fest during the time Mickey Thomas and Star ship are playing at Eat to the Beat.Any chance of finding out when he’ll be there so we can book as soon as possible? Also, any sites for attending the fest – besides the obvious ones. Thank you so very much for your time, talents and service!

582 Dave { 02.05.13 at 5:13 pm }

Hi Deb, I’m sorry but I don’t track food and wine closely…maybe check with AJ here

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583 Deb Wright { 02.06.13 at 9:35 pm }

Thanks, Dave! Will do.

584 Alisha { 02.07.13 at 2:04 pm }

My family (two adults, four children 8, 4, 3, 6 mo) will be arriving at the Polynesian Tuesday 2/12 and departing Friday 2/15. We are dedicating all of our visit to MK. I would like to know: what route do you recommend concerning visiting each “land”?

585 Dave { 02.07.13 at 2:18 pm }
586 Jennifer M { 02.07.13 at 3:56 pm }

Hi Dave! I was wondering if you could reccomend something similar to the BBB for a 6 yo boy. I will definitly be doing the BBB for my daughter who will be 8 at the time we are planning on going. I would like to know more about things similar for my son, as he will be wanting to do something like that.

587 Dave { 02.07.13 at 4:05 pm }

Hey Jennifer! For him, check out the Pirate’s League:

588 Jennifer M { 02.07.13 at 4:17 pm }

Thanks a bunch Dave! I will definitly be booking that for him. He loves Pirates.

589 Dave { 02.07.13 at 5:23 pm }

Great, Jennifer!

590 Jennifer M { 02.07.13 at 6:39 pm }

One more question. Is there anything for adults only to do? We may have a spare evening and a babysitter while we are there, so we thought there was something fun to do for adults only.

591 Dave { 02.08.13 at 7:04 am }

Hi Jennifer there’s not much at WDW that’s truly adults only. The closest would be Jellyrolls, the piano bar on the Boardwalk, which does not let kids in at all, and is usually a hoot. See this:

592 Catríona { 02.08.13 at 7:17 am }

Hi Dave, i love your insight and knowledge into the world of Disney and all it entails. Myself, my husband and two girls { 13 years and 8 years} youngest has been reacently diagnoised with ADHD, are heading over to Orlando on April 10th through 27th 2013 ,from Ireland, and i see from your site this is a great time to visit Disneyland.We have planned a Orlando FlexTicket. Not to include (WDW). We are staying in a villa in Davenport and have car hire for the duration. We may head down to Miami for an overnight or take in some sights.We are full of questions like Is it advisable to arrive early to the parks and what about parking? Our daughter’s adhd is of great consern to us as we’re new to all of this and the worry is hugh, we have a letter of her diagnois. HELP! any tips for an easy stress free vacation with itenary would be welcome and very much appreacheted. We plan to visit Harry Potter, Wet N Wild Universal, Bush Gardens, not too sure about the rest.Thanks Catríona.x

593 Dave { 02.08.13 at 7:31 am }

Hi Catriona, I don’t have a lot to say about the non Disney parks, and in particular don’t know how they deal with special needs kids. But this stuff has gotta be on their websites and on fan sites–e.g. I just Googled “SeaWorld and ADHD” and got this:

It’s always the right move to show up at the turnstiles before the park opens, anywhere in the world!

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594 Stephen Freeze { 02.10.13 at 3:51 pm }

My wife and I are planning a Disney World trip in 2014 and are looking for some help. We are hoping to spend less than $4000 for 6 nights, including airfare from Charlotte. We have a daughter who will be four at the time. We would need a meal plan with one sit down per night and park pass. Our daughter is big into the princesses and would be interested in some of the Princess meals. What should we do?

595 Dave { 02.11.13 at 7:53 am }

Stephen, I think you can get pretty close if you go at a less expensvie time of the year and stay in a standard value resort room. See this: It’s designed for a 4 person family wit the second kid older than ten, so you’d be less expensive than what it models…

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596 Melissa { 02.12.13 at 12:30 pm }

Hi Dave. A couple of questoins: (1) Any info as to whether “The Pirates League” is good or not? It’s the attraction where you make an appointment and they outfit your kids like little Pirates? I was thinking of booking it for my 3 and 5 year old boys. (2) When is Fastpass + going to be available? We are going the first week in April and it would be nice if we could schedule a few fast passes in advance. (3) Can we bring bottled water into the park? Our stroller rental company sells it by the case with the stroller but I dont want to buy it if they don’t allow bringing it into parks. Thanks!

597 Dave { 02.12.13 at 1:02 pm }

Hi again Melissa!

1–I don’t have any personal experience with the Pirates League, but it seems pretty well-loved. See for example this:

2–No word on when Fastpass+ will be available–but the rumor is that it’ll be usable 60 days after it’s announced to be open, so that puts it after your dates. Moreover, they’ll open it after the massive crowds of Easter. They’ll open it during a slow period, not a crowded one…it may even not be until the fall–see this:

3. Sure you can!

598 Melissa { 02.12.13 at 3:46 pm }

Thanks again Dave. Your site has been so extremely helpful in planning our trip. Much appreciated.

599 Julie { 02.17.13 at 1:07 am }

Hi Dave,
I apologize if you have already answered my question on another page….I can’t remember which page I left it on and can’t find it! Anyway, heading to DW April 6-13 with kids (age 6,9,10) Debating between Villa at Beach Club (like the convenience and heard the pool is great) or AKL – Jamba 1 BR suite or Kidani 2BR Villa. A little nervous about the bus rides from AKL as I have heard they can get long depending on crowds…but the kids are excited about the animals. If we do AKL would you recommend Jamba or Kidani as best experience for kids? How far are they from each other if we stayed at Kidani but wanted to hang out at Jamba? Are there good restaurants at Kidani as well? Can’t decide what to do!

600 Dave { 02.17.13 at 9:40 am }

Julie, see this for my response to your earlier question :

Between the AKL options I strongly recommend Jambo for families like yours–see this:

Kidani is a real hike from Jambo–as much as a mile, depending on your room location, and has only one sit-down restaurant–no counter service…

601 Julie { 02.17.13 at 5:09 pm }

Thanks Dave….unfortunately no Jambo house VILLAS available, just 1 BR Suite I was told by the agent that the suite is in AKL not Jambo house….I thought they were one in the same, are they not? Would you still recommend the AKL Suite vs the Kidani 2 BR villa? Looked into Wilderness Lodge Villas, unfortuately those are not available either 🙁

602 Dave { 02.18.13 at 6:47 am }

Julie, yes all the AKL suites are in Jambo House. They renamed AKL as Jambo House when Kidani opened…but some didn’t get the memo!.

There’s profound differences between suites and villas, that may sway you one way or another. See this: but the basics are that suites have no full kitchen, but do offer concierge lounges and such.

A 2BR at Kidani is still a fine choice…just not as good as some of the options that are sold out. The suite vs 2 bedroom villa at Kidani, though is a call you’ll have to make on your own, trading off the extras of being in Jambo House and concierge service with the loss of the full kitchen (typically suites have a fridge and microwave, but no stove or oven…)

603 julie { 02.18.13 at 10:04 am }

Thanks so much for your help Dave…went with the 1 BR suite in Jambo with savannah view and club level / concierge lounge. Other than the all day snacks and drinks in the concierge lounge what are the benefits of “club level”?

604 Julie { 02.18.13 at 12:52 pm }

just found out there is a Deluxe Room Club Level available at Wilderness lodge ( 2 Q, pull out queen sofa). How does this compare to 1 BR suite in Jambo as far as size? of the two which would you recommend as an overall best experience for kids (6,9,10)? I have until Wednesday to make a change at no charge!

605 Dave { 02.19.13 at 8:26 am }

Hi Julie. See this from my friend Steve at for details on the club experience: It’s about the Poly, but the basics are similar.

606 Dave { 02.19.13 at 8:27 am }

Julie, here’s the scoop and my review of these deluxe rooms: I should have though of these before as an option!

607 Leigh { 02.20.13 at 10:56 am }

Hi Dave – would you mind reviewing my intinerary? We are taking our girls for the first time in April. We arrive on Sat, 4/20 and leave on Fri, 4/26. My girls are 5 years and 21 months.

4/20 – Arrive – MK Parade/fireworks (maybe!)

4/21 – 8:30 Chef Mickey’s – MK

4/22 – Epcot – early dinner at 4:15 Coral Reef

4/23 – MK, break at lunch at hotel – 5:30 pm Cinderella’s castle

4/24 – AK

4/25 – Hollywood Studios – 5:20 pm Ohana

4/26 – departure 🙁

We plan to work in some down time each day, so my youngest can nap and the oldest can do some swimming. We are staying at AoA and can not wait! Thanks for any advice/feedback.


608 Julie { 02.20.13 at 2:06 pm }

Hi Dave,
Trying to book at Chef Mickey’s and our only options are 7am breakfast or 8:20pm dinner…..thinking the dinner time would allow us to see the fireworks, is that right? Or is it more beneficial to get to MK early and be one of the first in the park? Can’t find the extended park hours for Resort guests…do you have that?
Thanks again,

609 Dave { 02.21.13 at 7:47 am }

Hi Leigh!

My overall comment is that you are often at parks on extra magic hour days. In general, this is not the best thing to do unless you have a park hopper and plan to hop away, as these parks are more crowded overall on their EMH days–especially morning EMH–than they are on non EMH days. You could fix this by swapping the 21st and 22nd, and the 4th and 25th.

Second, 8.30a at Chef Mickeys means you’ll miss rope drop. The parks are at their best–especially with kids as young as yours–in the hour or so after opening. I’d aim for much later that morning–10.30 or so.

Finally, there’s not a lot at Epcot for kids the ages of yours…you may just wanna take a day off instead–or get a babysitter and have the two of you go there in the evening for dinner and Illuminations. See this:

Hope this helps!

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610 Dave { 02.21.13 at 7:59 am }

Hi Julie, it is by far better to be one of the first people in the park. Fireworks your dates are at 10p…you can see them from some spots in the Contemporary, but not from Chef Mickey’s and they are infinitely better from within the park itself…

Disney’s calendar is a mess to figure out because of a lousy new website, but you can get the basics on April here–note that this will be revised: The Extra Magic Hours are at the bottom of each page.

611 Julie { 02.21.13 at 10:44 am }

Thanks Dave! We are coming from Wilderness Lodge…does the bus or boat leave early enough to get to a 7am breakfast at Chef Mickeys? Can you walk from Chef Mickeys to MK or would you take the monorail? Also, can’t get into Cinderalla’s table, what would be the next best Princess breakfast/dinner experience?

612 Dave { 02.21.13 at 1:12 pm }

Julie, WL will work with you to get you to Chef Mickey’s.

What you do is talk to the concierge–either the lobby concierge or the Club conceirge (if, as I’m guessing, you went with the deluxe room!) the day before.

They will let you know how transport to Chef Mickey’s will work–it’ll be either by a special bus that or, if they are working that early, the boat that goes between WL and the Contemporary. From Chef Mickey’s it’s then an easy walk to MK.

After Cindy, the next best princess meal is Akershus at Epcot, and then 1900 Park Fare at the Grand Floridian. BTW, all three have their champions–Cindy for the setting, Akershus for a more interesting menu, Park Fare for more interesting character interactions…

613 Kathy Glinowiecki { 02.21.13 at 8:34 pm }

We are staying at the Beach Club from June 11-21st. We want to spend two days in Universal and were thinking either Mon/ Tues(June 17-18) or Tues/Wed(18-19). Do you think those are good choices? Thanks for your advice!

614 Dave { 02.22.13 at 9:47 am }

Hi Kathy, Universal is typically best Sat-Mon,worst Thursday, and the remaining days are “average.” See this:

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615 Julie { 02.22.13 at 12:27 pm }

Hi Dave….first of all thanks for all the great advice so far, you have been very helpful! We are staying in a deluxe club level room at WL so sounds like we can get to chef mickeys by 7! Now trying to plan which days for which parks….we arrive 4/6. Leave 4/13….are there certain days of the week that are better as far as crowds?…….want to get to all of them. Thanks!

616 Dave { 02.22.13 at 1:25 pm }

Julie, in general it’s best to avoid days with Extra Magic Hours–especially morning extra magic hours.

The 6th will be yucky everywhere, but best at Epcot and HS
The 7th, avoid MK
The 8th avoid AK and HS. MK is so-so.
Avoid Epcot the 9th, and AK the 10th. Mk will be best the 9th and 10th.
The 11th avoid MK
The 12th, Epcot is iffy–unless you want to see Illuminations on a pm EMH night–which means you don’t have to leave the park with 25,000 other people right when it ends…
The 13th, avoid HS.

617 Alexis { 02.22.13 at 5:21 pm }

Thanks for all this information — still have questions — i want to take my 4 and 3 year old boys to disney soon… my husband is a teacher, and so our options are really limited to summer – so june 25 til the end of august – or the typical school breaks/holidays – thanksgiving, christmas, easter, etc… i’d be happy to take them out of school, but i can’t take my husband out of school! so looking through your site, seems like the best options are late august? will it wind up raining us out? my husband and i can handle the heat – kids, we’ll have to keep’em hydrated and get to the parks as early as possible. i personally hate crowds… so i know i’m done for. out of summer, or other typical school breaks, costs not withstanding – what’s the best option for least crowds?

618 Dave { 02.22.13 at 5:33 pm }

Hi Alexis! Can’t he call in sick?

The best bet for teachers is the last week of August, or the first week or two of June–whichever fits the academic calendar. The June weeks are more crowded, but the August week is in the peak of the hurricane season. The odds of hurricane actually affecting you are low, though–see this:

Now I’m gonna be a bit of a nag–make sure you’ve seen this, if you haven’t already:

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619 alexis { 02.23.13 at 8:56 am }

thanks, dave! yeah, he’s one of those teachers who refuses to take time off during the academic year! stickler! i know the boys are a little young, short, for the trip – but we will return — it’s sort of a birthday gift to myself, i’m turning…40 in august and am into this – don’t wait on things in life mantra – so i figure, let’s do a trip – not an all out one – probably three days at the parks, staying in a marriott on points, and not doing lots of extras… it’s also the first time our boys will be on a plane!! wish me luck… oh and on that note – do you have any advice on any marriotts to stay in nearish to the parks?

620 Dave { 02.23.13 at 12:45 pm }

Ok Alexis, framed that way it’s a great trip! And sorry, though I’ve stayed in many, I don’t track the off-site hotels…I can barely keep up with the on-site ones!

621 Amanda Smith { 02.24.13 at 10:08 pm }

Love the site! I’ve been to Disney several times with my parents but am currently planning my first visit on my own. My friend and I wanted to do something really fun over spring break which eventually turned into WDW. I have a couple of questions though. The last time I went with family was for Christmas in 2008. We definitely had fun but my goodness it was overwhelming! It definitely stands out as more busy than the other trips we’ve taken- many over spring break in March. My question- we’ll be there March 11th through the 14th. It shouldn’t be as bad as Christmas was, right? I really hope not. I mean it will be better than work regardless but I’ve heard that Christmas is the worst time. My second question deals with which day to go to the parks. Right now I have us set for the following:
Monday- Epcot
Tuesday- Hollywood Studios
Wednesday- Magic Kingdom
Thursday- Animal Kingdom
Does that make sense? We’re staying off site (at the newly renovated Avanti Resort- got a really great deal) so the extra magic hours aren’t helpful.

Thanks again for the great site!

622 Dave { 02.25.13 at 6:42 am }

Hiya Amanda and thanks for the kind words about the site!

Your week won’t be as bad as Xmas week…but it’ll still be pretty bad. The basic marker of a bad week is multiple 8a openings (9a is the norm) and you see those at MK 3/10 through 3/14, and at AK 3/9 through 3/15…with possibly more to be added

You’ve done a great job on the which park which day question and I like all your choices! Just be sure to arrive at the turnstiles well before the park opens!

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623 julie { 02.25.13 at 10:56 am }

Hi Dave,
Some dining questions….can’t get into Chef Mickey, can you suggest another place that has Mickey and Friends as the characters? Also, really want to go to Be Our Guest for lunch one day, it looks like this is a quick svc option and no reservations are needed, do you know if we can still eat in the castle for quick svc? Is there usually much of a wait for quick svc? Lastly do you recommend doing the dinner package for Fantasmic? Does it really mean you don’t have to wait in line as long and the seat is better? As Always, THANKS!

624 Dave { 02.25.13 at 12:11 pm }

Hi Julie, for Mickey dining, try the Garden Grill at Epcot, Ohana breakfast at the Polynesian, and Tusker House at the Animal Kingdom.

Lunch at BOG is indeed quick service, and in the same space as dinner. Waits have been 30-60 minutes–just to get inside to order–recently.

I don’t particularly recommend the Fantasmic dinner package. You still have to show up 30 minutes early, the seats at Fantasmic are so-so, and the restaurants available–other then the Brown Derby–are a bit lame compared to alternatives…

625 Julie { 02.26.13 at 11:08 am }

Thanks Dave. Another random question….we are staying in a Deluxe Club Room at the Wilderness lodge, are there certain deluxe rooms that are better than others as far as location within the lodge? Are all the deluxe rooms on a different floor than the club level?

626 Dave { 02.26.13 at 11:19 am }

Hi Julie, none are on the 7th floor Club level, and only one is on the 6th floor. I would think the higher the better, for both views and to lessen any noise from outside.

627 Teresa { 02.27.13 at 11:31 pm }

This site is full of so much information I think my head might explode(in a good way). My husband and I have adopted 7 children and are planning our first whole family vacation with 8 children. We have not been to DW before and I am overwhelmed by the amount of planning that needs to go in to our trip. I wanted to just go and let the kids pick what they wanted to do but after researching on your site I see that that is not the best plan. One of our kids is turning 18 this summer and wants us to go the last week of May instead of waiting until late Nov or early Dec. Are we crazy to take our first trip to DW the last week of May with 8 children ranging from 5 to 17?? Is a travel agent our best bet or should we use the concierge service if we choose a club level room? Thanks for your help.

628 Dave { 02.28.13 at 7:07 am }

Teresa, for sure I’d avoid Memorial Day week! The basic difference is peak one hour vs 2 hour+ waits. So over Memorial Day week you see less and wait more!

A travel agent can take care of the details for you, but can’t find any deals you can’t find yourself, and you still have to make the basic decisions yourself.

While others disagree, the only real value I see to the club level rooms is the free food and drinks–and I don’t see that as making it worth the extra cost. But then I’m cheap…

The biggest challenge you’ll face is lodging. IF one of the little monsters will be younger than three at the time of check in, then there’s a couple of 9-person (excluding the one child under 3) options. But otherwise you’ll need two spaces, a wildly expensive Grand Villa, or to stay off-site.

Lemme know if anyone will be under three and I’ll get you some lodging suggestions…or you could just look here:

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629 Vernon { 02.28.13 at 10:17 am }

Morning Dave… thanks in advance, I wrote before, but now cant find out where I wrote it to see your response. So please bare with me and I will track this one. Can you help me with my iternary ..3/14 thru 3/20. Coming in on Thurdsay landing at 1pm.
Family of four, kids 5 and 11.
We have 4 Magic your way basic tickets. We have Dinner with the Princess on Tues. nigth at MK.
Can you please make me a schedule of the my days, thats best of us and which parks. Since I only have fours, I read I need 2 at MK (1 tuesday ), that leave me with 2 going to AK & HS. Free days i wll either stay at pool or dwnown disney.. Thanks ago.

630 Teresa { 02.28.13 at 10:22 am }

Thanks for the heads up about Memorial day week. We are going to look at the week before that now. The kids ages range from 5 to 17 so we will most likely be booking two rooms. Right now I am getting pricing at the Polynesian but that is turning out to be around $20,000. We wanted to stay around $15000. MIght decide to leave the 3 littles one home this time because of the large age range. your thoughts??

631 Dave { 02.28.13 at 11:55 am }

Hi Vernon, your earlier question is here and my answer is right after!

632 Dave { 02.28.13 at 12:08 pm }

Hi Teresa, first I think it very wise to leave the littlest at home–see this:

Couple of thoughts on the money question.

First, in case you didn’t know, there’s a discount out now for those dates–see this:

Second, a two-bedroom villa at Old Key West, sleeping 9, is 75% or so the cost of two Poly rooms (depending on which Poly room type you are looking at.) OKW has its issues, but is the least expensive way to get up to 9 older than 3 into a deluxe resort.

633 Jill { 02.28.13 at 8:37 pm }

Hello, We are going to Disney, arriving Friday 4/19, through Thursday 4/25, and am trying to maximize my time, and simultaneously plan my meals. If you could let me know which are the best days to visit the different parks, I can plan accordingly from there. Thanks so much. Jill

634 Dave { 03.01.13 at 7:00 am }

Jill, how old are your kids, and will you be staying in a WDW resort? The answers will shape my response…

635 Jill { 03.01.13 at 11:00 am }

Good questions, sorry! Yes, we are staying at the Wilderness lodge, and my kids are 9 & 11. Thanks, Jill

636 Christi { 03.01.13 at 5:20 pm }

I am SO glad I came across this site! Me, my husband & our children will be visiting WDW for the first time in May. I am sooo excited & can not wait to our visit. I am stressed alittle though. I want our trip to be memorable & I want to plan well so our time is used wisely. We will fly in the evening of Wednesday, May 1st….staying 6 nights @ All Star Sports. That gives us 5 full days to enjoy what we can. I have looked at a gazillion sites, watched videos, etc. trying to figure out best days for which park….which days we may get some rest time to swim….which shows we need to catch & then trying to figure out our table service meals has been overwhelming. Not ever personally being there, it is just hard to plan on my own. I do know that I would like to Magic Kingdom for 2 of our days there. I really think we will enjoy Animal Kingdom (especially me & the husband), and I know our 16 yr old son will love Hollywood Studios. I was alittle “iffy” regarding Epcot because of our 6 yr old daughter…but I do believe we would enjoy it, especially my son & husband. I was thinking about the Epcot day…that we could enjoy our resort for majority of day & go late afternoon/night. I heard the night laser show is awesome. I also want to visit Downtown Disney and thought that maybe the day we visit Animal Kingdom that we could visit Downtown that evening. Am I on the right path on planning? With our kids being 10 yrs apart in age we have to plan for both. I do want our table eating experiences to be memorable, whether w/ characters or just a neat experience. But my children are very, VERY picky eaters so after viewing alot of the menus, it knocked some restaurants right out 🙂
My son is your typical guy…carnivore, a real meat lover. So American food is our ticket. I am thinking 1900 Park Fare (a dinner where my daughter can see Cinderella)…TRex at Downtown looks like a neat place to eat at….I’m also leaning toward Ohanas one evening (the menu looks right up our families alley)….I’ve been told to eat at Hollywood & Vine @ Hollywood for the Fantasmic package….& still unsure of an Epcot place. I was thinking Coral Reef (something different) or Garden Grill (to see Mickey).
I would appreciate any insight to helping me plan our trip. Anything from what days for which park….which shows are must see’s…tips on times to eat…..ride…..restaurants to visit….ANYTHING will help. Thanks so much!

637 Christi { 03.01.13 at 5:24 pm }

Sorry…forgot to say, we got 5 day base tickets (NO hopper passes, etc…trying to stay as cheap as possible).

638 Dave { 03.03.13 at 5:20 am }

OK Jill, at those ages they can do and see everything!

Here’s parks to avoid:
4/19: Epcot
4/20: HS
4/21: MK
4/22: HS, AK
4/23: Epcot
4/24: HS
4/25: MK

Given this, and leaving out your arrival and departure days for the moment, I’d do AK 4/20, HS 4/21, Epcot 4/22, and MK 4/23 and 4/24.

If you can do something the evening of 4/19, try getting to HS for Fantasmic or MK for the evening parade and fireworks (you can do these on the indicated days later in the week as well–it’ll just make those days shorter if you can do these the 19th). And if the morning of the 25th is available, just use it to return to your favorite!

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639 Dave { 03.03.13 at 5:37 am }

Hiya Christi!

First, on the parks…here’s parks to avoid by day:
May 2: MK
May 3: Epcot
May 4: HS
May 5: MK
May 6: HS and AK

Given this, I’d do AK 5/2, MK 5/3 and 5/4, HS 5/5, and Epcot 5/6.

For what to do at each park, read through one of my itineraries (e.g. ) filtering it for the shorter trip you have planned compared to them based on this:

Most of your dining choices look fine, though few are at the top of my suggestions (which are all in the itinerary). You could also take a look at this:

Honestly, I’d skip DTD. You trip is already short, and you’ll need the time to rest…

Hope this helps!!

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640 Jennifer { 03.05.13 at 10:28 pm }

We are looking at booking Nov. 2-9, 2013. I have been doing some research and saw that “Jersey Week” starts that week. Also, there are several marathons on Nov. 9th which is the day we are leaving. We are traveling with a 10 and 4 year old. Will these things impact the crowds too much during that week? Do you know of any discounts that are normally that week? Any advice would be helpful. We were trying to plan during a “downtime” and the weather would be cooler.

641 Dave { 03.06.13 at 7:25 am }

Hi Jennifer, here’s the scoop on Jersey week: Corwds do increase during the week, and it is never discounted… For better weeks around that time see this:

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642 Joanna { 03.07.13 at 1:38 am }

Hi Dave and thanks again for such an awsome site.

We have now booked for 19-29 April. We arrive late and leave early, so the travel days are just that. Looking at your comments, I am a bit confused as to which parks to avoid on which days. We have an 8 and 10 year old boy in tow and previously you have mentioned to avoid HK and AK on 4/23, Epcot on 4/24, AK on 4/25, MK on 4/26 and HS on 4/27. But I notice above that you have recommended to Jill on 3/3 to avoid different parks on different days? Is this a deliberate ploy so all your loyal followers don’t cram in the same parks on the same day?!!!!!!!!! Or more likely is it that I am confused.

Thanks in advance,


643 Dave { 03.07.13 at 8:04 am }

Hi Joanna! I can’t find where I recommended to you to avoid those days in 2013…but I’m sorry, wherever it was, as I was mis-reading the calendar. The “parks to avoid” I gave Jill are correct.

If it’s too late to change–e.g. you have a bunch of ADRs–give me your ADR schedule and remind me of kid ages, whether or not you have hoppers, where you are staying, etc, and I’ll come up with something for the bets visit at the least change!

644 heather { 03.07.13 at 3:15 pm }

do you know the best transportation from orlando-sanford airport to disney?

645 Dave { 03.08.13 at 7:59 am }

Heather, I don’t know the best. I did a little searching, and came up with this: I’m not saying its the best, just that it’s what I found!

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646 JoAnn J { 03.08.13 at 6:45 pm }

Dave, my 5 year old grand child is tall- 40 in. I am thinking of renting a stroller for our 8 day trip to WDW in June. Do you reccomend Baby Wheels Stroller Rentals? If not whom do you reccomend.We are staying at Pop Century and because you recommended it we are during the meal plan with 1 sit down meal per day. 3 adults and 1 child.

647 Dave { 03.09.13 at 7:45 am }

Hi JoAnn! I’m sorry but I don’t have a stroller company to recommend…

648 Gretchen { 03.11.13 at 2:19 pm }

Hi Dave,
I don’t know if Joanne J still needs a stroller company suggestion but we used Magic Strollers on our trip last year and we were very happy with the price and quality of the stroller.
I have two dining questions for you.First, were you able to eat at Be Our Guest this winter as you had hoped? I looked for a review but did not see one and wondered what you thought about the options for kids. Also, we are going back to Disney World later this year and staying at AKL. We will have a rental car. We want to go over to the Polynesian for Tonga Toast at Captain Cooks one morning and then go over to Magic Kingdom for a bit. We will be there in a non peak time of year so I was hoping we could just park our car at the Polynesian and then take the boat to MK. Would we be allowed to do this or will they only allow us to park at the Polynesian if we are dining at a restaurant that requires reservations? Can we leave our car there or would we need to “re-park” it in the MK parking lot? Thank you for your help!

649 Dave { 03.12.13 at 8:14 am }

Hiya again Gretchen! Thanks for the stroller recommendation!

Good timing on Be Our Guest–I just published a review this morning–see this:

The honest answer on parking at the Poly is that it depends. Usually it works just fine, but if for any reason the lots are tight they may send you away…Once you are in, you will be fine…

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650 Gretchen { 03.12.13 at 9:18 am }

Thank you! You really have been so helpful. This upcoming trip will be our third as a family (however, our first trip was a short three day one at the Polynesian that also involved our son’s accident so we kind of look at this as our “second” trip). Yet I still feel very much a novice when it comes to all the ends and outs. I think you could probably have another career as a travel agent if you needed a third career…(: Thank you again and thank you for the review of Be Our Guest.

651 Dave { 03.12.13 at 12:56 pm }

Thanks for the kind words, Gretchen!

652 Jennifer M { 03.12.13 at 1:12 pm }

Hello Dave! I was wondering if you knew how soon to be at the Magical Express Bus to Depart for home? We live in Canada, and I was thinking about a 7am flight home so we could drive to our home which is 2.5 hours from the nearest airport. I know we need to be at the Airport two hours ahead of our departure time, but how soon should we be at the Magical Express bus?

653 Dave { 03.12.13 at 2:16 pm }

Hi Jennifer! They will let you know at your resort when to meet the Magical Express bus. Typically it’s around 3 hours before the scheduled departure…

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654 Kim C { 03.14.13 at 10:41 am }

Hi Dave. First of all, great site with loads of helpful information. Three adults and first visit for 2 girls, (8 and 5) are flying down on June 3rd. We arrive around 7pm. We’ll be staying 5 nights at the Yacht Club, have 5-day park hopper passes, and are on the Dining Plan. So far we have an ADR for Cinderella’s Castle Friday, June 7th at 9:15, but I’m not too keen on spending 2 dining credits there. We are planning on breakfast one morning at Cape May and maybe switching to the princess breakfast at Norway one morning. Here’s what I’m thinking for an itineray:

June 3rd (evening)…hang out at hotel or venture over to HS for extended hours.
June 4th – MK (possible Cape May breakfast), ADR at La Haceinda de San Angel for 6:15
June 5th – HS in the AM, afternoon at hotel, dinner at HS with Fantasmic package
June 6th – Epcot in the AM, AK in the afternoon/evening
June 7th – MK (ADR at Cinderella’s Castle???, not sure about this one)

We are staying in Orlando Saturday and Sunday evening so we can come back to the parks in the evening and do things we missed.

Let me know if you have other suggestions. Thanks.

655 Dave { 03.15.13 at 9:01 am }

Hi Kim and thanks!

You’ve targeted a lot of days with EMH. EMH makes a park overall more crowded (because people without hoppers stay there all day).

Hopping away from morning EMH works great; hopping to evening EMH not so good–you are going to a packed park. I’m in general a fan of pm EMH on Fantasmic and Illuminations nights (so you don’t have to leave with everyone else, as you do on nights when these shows close the parks), but since you are at the Beach Club–and can thus walk back to your hotel after each show–you don’t need.

So if I were you I would avoid the evening at HS the 3rd, Epcot the 4th, and at MK the 7th…

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656 Tricia { 03.17.13 at 2:19 pm }

If I book a trip now thru Disney (without using a discount) and later one becomes available, can I use that discount without having to cancel and rebook everything including all dining reservations? Will there be a penalty for cancelling and rebooking?

657 Anthony { 03.17.13 at 2:28 pm }

Hi Dave,
Love this site!!! The family (me,wife and 8 yr old daughter) will flying in Oct 15 and leaving Oct 20. How will he crowds Thanks!

658 Anthony { 03.17.13 at 2:30 pm }

Love this site!!! The family (me,wife and 8 yr old daughter) will flying in Oct 15 and leaving Oct 20. How will the crowds be and what days do you recommend for MK, EP and HS? Thanks!

659 Dave { 03.18.13 at 7:29 am }

Hi Tricia, the short answer is no, but it’s a little complicated. First, it’s easiest to rebook if you buy a “package” rather than room-only. Second, if your package includes tix, and tix prices go up, you’ll need to pay the new price for tix. Finally, you have to beat the 45 day cancellation date…

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660 Dave { 03.18.13 at 7:33 am }

Hi Anthony, and thanks!

Crowds will be a little higher that week than the weeks before and after because of the Columbus Day holiday, which some schools frame a fall break around. I’ve got them predicted at “moderate-minus,”–not a big deal.

That time of year, it also matters a lot which day you go to which park–see this:

Hope this helps! And if so…

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661 Julie { 03.18.13 at 11:29 am }

Hi Dave,
Thinking of trying to do one of the water parks. Do you have a recommendation for one over the other(Typhoon Lagoon or BB)….my kids are 6, 9 & 10.

662 Marie S. { 03.19.13 at 1:00 pm }

Hello Dave,
Love the site and have used it for our past Disney visit in 2011. We are heading down to Disney in just over two weeks (April 6 – April 20). I am looking for some suggestions on what days to avoid certain parks or if you know what days are best to visist certain parks. We have 7 days of Disney base tickets and we can’t wait 🙂 Thanks for any input!

663 Dave { 03.19.13 at 5:13 pm }

Hi Marie and thanks!! Even though this page is not about your dates, it explains the basic principles for picking and avoiding days:

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664 Jenn { 03.19.13 at 5:35 pm }

Hi Dave! Thanks for responding to my earlier query regarding the Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party in October! I love your site – so informative and exactly what a visitor needs to make their visit spectacular! I was hoping you could answer another question I have regarding the 180-day rule to make reservations for dining and special activities (ie. Bibbidy Bobbidy Boutique). I’ve already looked at all your recommendations for crowd levels etc. to determine which days we’d like to attend certain parks and as such, which days I’d ideally like to book in for character breakfasts, dining, and bibbidy app’ts. However, I’m a little confused about the 180-day We have made the decision to stay off-site at a rental house (due to size of our party, the age of my kids, etc.) So does that mean I have to call/go online 180-days exactly before the days that I want the appointment (i.e. I have to call every day for a week if I want to book something every day for the week we are there)? Or, can I call/go online 180-days before the start of the week when we arrive and book everything all at once. Just a little confused and hoping you can shed some light! Thanks for such a great site and all your help!!

665 Dave { 03.20.13 at 6:28 am }

Hi Jenn, and thanks for the kind words. Yes, if you are staying off-site, you can only book 180 days out–which does mean calling back (or going on-line, which can be easier) day after day to make your reservations as the calendar unfolds…

666 Dave { 03.20.13 at 6:55 am }

Hi Julie, I’m sorry but I don’t. Each has strong fans…

667 Michael H { 03.26.13 at 11:58 am }

Hi Dave,

I suppose the ultimate problem is this: Booking a vacation before the 180 day mark AND expecting to get some sort of Disney discount since those will occur closer to the date of arrival. We can’t have the best of both worlds.

Do we know if T.L. or B.B. is the open waterpark during the Oct-Dec period this year?

It’s a pleasure to read this site.


668 Kim C { 03.26.13 at 1:10 pm }

Hi Dave,

Thanks for information on EMH. You’re insight has me thinking of changing up our schedule and doing the parks on the following days.
June 3rd – arrive at Disney around 7:00pm
June 4th – HS in the morning and evening. Evening Fantasmic show with dinner.
June 5th – MK
June 6th – Epcot and breakfast with princesses in Norway.
June 7th – Animal Kingdom
June 8th – any park we didn’t get to or want to visit

Is there any evening you would recommend going to MK? We have park hopper tickets and could venture there if done early at Epcot or AK.


669 Dave { 03.26.13 at 5:02 pm }

Hi Michael and thanks! I don’t know the water park refurb plans, and recent his troy doesn’t guide to a pattern. …and yup on the deal vs 180 days conundrum! My vote is always to book a trip you can afford without a deal, then re-book into the deal if one comes out…

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670 Dave { 03.26.13 at 5:11 pm }

Hey Kim, this looks great.

If your only goal for the evening at MK is to see the fireworks/parades then any night will do.

Epcot’s fireworks are great too, so on your Epcot day, if you finish early, I’d tend more towards heading to the hotel for the afternoon and then returning than hopping to MK that night.

On your AK day, MK has evening extra magic hours, which means it will be mobbed–but that matters little unless you were planning rides in addition to the evening shows…

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671 Michael H { 03.26.13 at 5:49 pm }

Hi Dave,

I notice some people are arriving later in the day on their first day. I am hesistant to even start my Disney trip on the day I arrive at 3PM… I think to get the most out of my money I would arrive first thing in morning the first day. Any suggestions on this – I suppose it is spending the Disney money for the first night of hotel versus the hassle of taking bags to another hotel for a single night. Just typing it out I am almost inclined now to go to Disney at 3PM and be able to stay late and get in earlier since I will already be officially “checked in.” Thoughts?

I think we can do all of Disneyworld in 3.5 days during November down time. We don’t have kids and did Disneyland in 1 day, but it was crazy mainly because of the back & forth for express pass (you will know what I am talking about if you’ve been) and I want a more relaxed experience in Florida. But the waterpark won’t be high on our list, we don’t like sitting down watching shows, we will watch a parade and fireworks, and everyone says Epcot shouldn’t take very long. 3.5 days – am I crazy?

672 Dave { 03.27.13 at 7:45 am }

Hi Michael!

I’m not entirely following your first point. But it’s worth noting that the cost per person per day of Disney World tickets is about $15 after three days, and $13 after 4. So the marginal cost of arriving in the late afternoon is quite low, so long as you were gonna buy at least a three day ticket anyway. See

I honestly can’t equate “relaxed” with doing the parks in 3.5 days. Relaxed, and seeing all the best, gets me to 9 or 10 days! See this:

You are right that DL has much more than MK, so if you were satisfied with your 1 day at DL then I get the rest of your thinking.

But what complicates the issue is MK’s November operating calendar. Because of the Christmas Party, MK closes many nights at 7 with no parade or fireworks for the general public. So those day, while wonderfully uncrowded, limit the completeness of your visit both by operating hours and by offerings. The other days that offer the evening parade and fireworks are wildly crowded, not because the resort overall is crowded–it isn’t–but because people so preferentially seek out those days at MK for the evening events and longer hours. As a result, you don’t see as much as you might think those days either….

For more on the general issue of party nights and crowds see this:

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673 Patricia { 03.28.13 at 4:07 pm }

Hi Dave,
We are going to take our kids on their first trip to Disney World in the first week of December (on the recommendation of your website). When do you think deals for December will be announced? I am trying to figure out how long to wait to book. I figure I should book before June so I can book our meal reservations at the 180 days.
Another quick question – do you think the Club rooms are worth the extra value?

Thanks for making such an informative website!

674 Dave { 03.29.13 at 7:10 am }

Hi Patricia, and thanks!!

Deals for then–if any–may not come out til August or even later. Suggest you book a package now, and if a deal comes out for which your hotel and dates are eligible, call Disney to re-book into it.

I’m pretty skeptical about the value of club rooms for first time visitors…you just won’t be in your hotel enough during waking hours for them to be much help.

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675 Joanna { 04.01.13 at 10:29 pm }

Hi Dave

We are getting very close now, so last minute questions have popped up! Do you know if closed toe shoes are required for any rides. My nephews live in thongs (I think you call them “flip flops” in America) in summer, so would normally just wear those. But I don’t want them to miss out on some rides if they do.

Also, we have 10 night’s accommodation at Disney, but have only purchased 8 days of passes as we will also be doing a day at Universal Studios and Cape Canaveral. Can we purchase additional days if we want to eat at a park on those days? Are they at the daily rate or the discounted rate as we have already paid for the previous days?

Thanks again in advance, you have really made this so much easier!

676 Dave { 04.02.13 at 7:04 am }

Hi Joanna! I can’t think of any rides that require closed-toed shoes. Flip flops are quite common! And yes, you can purchase additional days at the lower rates so long as you buy them befroe the last day of use of your basic ticket.

Have a ball, and let me know how it goes…

677 Mary { 04.02.13 at 10:47 am }

Hi Dave. I was wondering the average time it takes to get into Disneyworld in the morning if you are coming from outside of the resort. Eg. Shuttle bus from hotel. Not including time from hotel to Disney, just from when bus drops you off until you get through turnstiles and into parks. Any advantage to having your tickets in advance as far as park admittance time goes ?? thanks so much.

678 Julie { 04.02.13 at 12:24 pm }

Hi Dave,
What is the best strategy if a FastPass time does not work for us (ie…dining reservations)…should we wait until the next time slot comes up or move on to another ride/fastpass option?

679 Dave { 04.02.13 at 12:49 pm }

Sorry, Mary, I don’t track that, as there’s hundreds of off-site hotels and I can barely keep up with the on site ones!. There’s a page or two in the Unofficial Guide that has info like that on a bunch–but not all–off site hotels. See The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World 2013

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680 Dave { 04.02.13 at 12:56 pm }

Julie, there’s no hard and fast answer to that–it’ll depend on return time windows at alternative FP rides…

681 Jeanne { 04.03.13 at 1:16 pm }

I am 65, and I will be traveling with a very active 11 year old girl for our one and only trip to DisneyWorld. I have arthritic knees and some limitations. What is the best lodging choice for us? We will be at WDW for 6 days and hope to see and do just about everything on our personal lists—big rides, a few good meals, super shows and the water park, etc. The Polynesian has not been ranked at the top of any of the WDW guidebooks I have reviewed, with comments about it being loud, aand spread out. In addition some reviewers commented that there were so very many little children that it would be best for families with very young children. The resort had originally been my first choice, but since our trip has been postponed from 2007, I am rethinking the choice for a couple of reasons. Perhaps 11 year olds would not be spending as much time in the Magic Kingdom. I was considering the Beach and Yacht Club–I am not sure I have the name exactly right, but it has been rated highly in the guidebooks and it has a super pool. What are your thoughts considering my age and limitations and the child’s very high energy level. I have been to Disney and stayed at the Floridian a long time ago. I do not want that experience for us. Any tips you may have would be appreciated. I Just printed out your best weeks list, and I really liked the questions you had to narrow down the list. Thanks for all your good work.

682 Dave { 04.03.13 at 4:46 pm }

Jeanne I wouldn’t pay much heed to any criticism of the Poly of the types you are seeing. It is spread out, but not much more than many alternatives–the Yacht and Beach Club are almost as spread out. Kids are everywhere at all the WDW hotels–but you may see fewer at the Yacht Club (not though at the Beach Club–they’ll be everywhere there). And honestly, I think an 11 year old will love MK–you oughta think of 2+ days there, 2- days at Epcot, and a day each at the other two parks, Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios.

Getting to Epcot in the morning is actually more of a hike from the Yacht and Beach Club than from the Poly. This is because they use different entrances. The monorail from the Poly uses the more convenient front entrance; the back entrance that the Epcot resorts use is much less convenient in the morning.

I think any of these three could be a fine choice, and I’d also add the BoardWalk Inn to the mix on the Epcot resorts side. I think much more important for you than which of these to pick is getting a motorized scooter. There is miles of walking ahead of you, and you can get a scooter delivered to your hotel…

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683 Julie { 04.04.13 at 10:21 am }

Hi Dave,
Leaving Saturday….so excited and thanks for all your help! One last question…..looks like we are only able to do illuminations on a “non-EMH” day…are there any good strategies to get out of the park and back to wilderness lodge without being completely miserable (3 kids in tow, 6,9,10). I was thinking if the buses are jammed does it make sense to do the monorail to Polynesian and then bus to WL? If not what is a typical wait for buses after the show? Are there any better areas to watch the show that get you out ahead of people?

684 Dave { 04.04.13 at 12:47 pm }

Julie, all the Epcot exit transport options will be jammed–including the monorail.

Given that, there’s there’s three ways play it.

One is to watch Illuminations from the point where the World Showcase and Future World intersect–that’s closest to the bus stops. But lotsa people know that, so it tends to fill early… requiring you to wait there for a long time.

Another is to plan your souvenir shopping for after Illuminations. The stores will be open for long enough fr the bus lines to settle down…this lets you watch from anywhere…

Third won’t save you much time but, if MK is open late that night, may feel better–like you are making progress. Watch Illuminations from near the World Showcase Epcot resorts entrance (between the UK and France), leave via that entrance, walk to the BoardWalk Inn, go through it to its bus stop, take a bus to MK, and the boat from MK to WL…

If you do any of these, write back and tell me how it worked and how it felt!

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685 Ted { 04.07.13 at 1:56 pm }

Hi, we are coming to disneyworld with another family may 27- June 3. That is gay pride week at Disney . Will it be a problem for us or is it business as usual.

686 Dave { 04.08.13 at 6:34 am }

Ted it’s usually not an issue. That’s a crowded week anyway because of the holiday, and the small number of celebrants for gay days do add a bit to their targeted parks crowds, but not much compared to the base level crowds…

Gay Days are May 30 at AK, May 31 at HS (mobbed already from Star Wars Weekends), June 1 at MK, and June 2 at Epcot…

687 Stacy { 04.08.13 at 9:33 am }

Hi Dave,
Thank you for this wonderful website! I have been to Disney several times and love, love , love the whole planning process. Sounds crazy, I know, but it is true :). My husband and I ususally visit in October due to crowd controls and we love the Halloween decorations. Last year, we visited the Saturday after Thanksgiving and that was a treat as well!! Alas, in 2014 we will be traveling with my friend who is a teacher. She can only go during school vacations. Our dates of travel would either be 2.22.14 – 3.1.14 or 4.19.14 – 4.26.14. I am leaning towards Feb vacation. Would that be your choice as well? Also, you mentioned that a split stay is a wonderful option. Due to budget constaints, we are unable to stay in a deluxe for an entire week. Based on the pricing structure of the magic your way, is it much more costly to do a split stay if one wants to include dining? For example, if we stayed at a value for 5 nights and then stayed at Polynesian or Wilderness Lodge for 3 nights or would we be better staying at a moderate for the entire week?

I am a little nervous because I am planning this trip with another family in mind. Some background: my husband and I have taken our children several times and it is very likely that we will be going again in the future. My friend has never taken her children (ages 8 & 13) and there is a possibility this could be their only trip. Based on that information, do you have any resort suggestions?

Thank You so much for your time!!
New Hampshire

688 Dave { 04.08.13 at 12:05 pm }

Hi Stacy… and if you are a planner I think you are gonna like this site!

The Feb week is by far the preferable week—see #6 here, and then click the image to see how lousy the April week is:

You New Hampshire folk are lucky that it’s the week after President’s Day week that you have off, as hardly anyone else is on break that week and thus crowds are low…

No worries on the split stay and dining. There’s no price change to the dining plan based on how many nights you stay, and your total nights will be the same, so you’ll have the same number of credits. You’d just book a separate dining plan with each hotel reservation.

Tix may work differently, and I’m gonna double check with an expert on how they fit in…so come back in a day or so here…

Two questions before I recommend a room–how many kids do you have, and is your teacher friend bringing another adult as well or just herself and her two kids?

689 Mary { 04.10.13 at 7:55 am }

Hi Dave. Please give us insight as to what highlights are happening Dec. 17 to 20 2013. We have 6 adults and 5 kids ranging ages 3 to 12 and are staying outside WDW. Any special fireworks, parades (not needing extra tickets), etc. Also, are there any ride shutdowns planned for this time ? We plan to spend most of our time at MK and possibly one day at Epcot. Thanks. Mary

690 Dave { 04.10.13 at 3:12 pm }

Hi Mary, nothing has been announced yet for December 2013, but see this for what’s typical: No shutdowns have been announced for that period.

691 Eddie { 04.14.13 at 8:56 pm }

Hi Dave, thanks for all the insight.
should I avoid or take advantage of the parks with Extra Magic Hours on a certain day?

692 Dave { 04.15.13 at 7:51 am }

Eddie, for families without park hoppers, I generally suggest avoiding parks on days they have morning EMH. While the first couple of hours are great, the rest of the day lines are longer than on non-EMH days.

Evening EMH are more complicated because while they draw crowds too, at Epcot especially and often at Hollywood Studios, they let you productively stay in the park after the ends of Illuminations and Fantasmic. This means you aren’t leaving with 10,000-20,000 other people at once…

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693 Julie { 04.18.13 at 11:24 am }

Hi Dave,
Just returned from our week in Disney and it was wonderful…thanks so much for all your help. Just wanted to follow up on our Epcot Illuminations exit strategy, we ended up watching the show from the Future World end and then headed right out after. No problems at all, we were on the bus by 9:25 and it sat there another 10 min waiting to fill up (And it still wasn’t full when we left!). Not sure if we got lucky because of where we were staying (WL buses seemed empty most of the time we were on them) but it was fine. Also wanted to thank you for your review on BOG…although the line was across the bridge and we were told it would be 45 min to get in we stuck it out and ended up inside and eating within 20 min (and everyone, including my fussy eaters loved it….by far our favorite quick svc stop), had I not read your review we probably would not have waited. We also took your recommendation of getting to the parks right when they opened and getting right on the busy rides…we barely had to fastpass anything and I think our longest wait was 20 min at Ariel Under the Sea in MK. Overall a great week to be in the parks! Thanks again!

694 Dave { 04.19.13 at 7:32 am }

Hi Julie, I’m so glad the site helped–and thanks for both the general report and the Illuminations location update!! I’m curious how early you staked out your Illuminations spot…

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695 Julie { 04.19.13 at 9:46 pm }

Hi Dave,
We got there about 15 min before the show….we were right in showcase plaza in front of a gift shop. We were about 5 people deep from the fence but could still see great.

696 Roxanne Parsons { 04.19.13 at 10:55 pm }

Thank you for such an amazing site!! We are planning our first trip to Disneyworld Feb 22nd-March 1st week 2014 with our 4 year old daughter. Question I had was do the rooms book fast for Pop Century? We plan on reserving and paying a chunck down in June for the magic your way package and dining plan in June and hope that will still be soon enough. We do plan on going on in August as soon as possible to book all the dining reservations. My other question is does the whole package have to be paid for before you can book dining reservations? This might be a silly question but I just was not sure. Thanks! Also is the Feb 22nd date a good date for taking a 4 year old? Thanks!

697 Dave { 04.20.13 at 7:10 am }

Thanks, Julie…sounds like it worked out perfectly!

698 Dave { 04.20.13 at 7:13 am }

Hi Roxanne, and thanks!

For Pop, booking 6 months before your arrival date is plenty of time. You can make dining at 180 days whether or not you’ve booked, and you don’t have to pay in full until 45 days out. And that is a great time to be in WDW!

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699 Jennifer M { 04.23.13 at 11:38 am }

Hello Dave! I have a quick question. What are all the uses of your Key to the World? Can we use it to make all of our purchases at the parks so we don’t have to carry cash? By purchases I mean (if we don’t get the dining plan) snacks, lunch, supper, toys, souveniers, etc. Just trying to decide on a fanny pack size for the kids, so they can have their autograph books at the ready.

700 Dave { 04.23.13 at 4:50 pm }

Jennifer, so long as you have it set up for charging privileges, you can buy almost anything with it, including everything you listed. I say “almost” because a few snack carts here and there in the parks aren’t connected to the system and thus can’t take charges…

701 Sally { 04.24.13 at 9:59 am }

Hi Dave,
I’m looking for a one day Magic Kingdom itinerary on the site. Could you point me in the right direction? Thanks very much!

702 Dave { 04.25.13 at 7:34 am }
703 Brian { 04.28.13 at 12:34 am }

We are staying @ a friends D V C they are not going with us. I want to get the dinning plan for oct 9 thru 16th but I may want to stay 2 more extra days at another Disney resort with park tix is this possable without adding dinning for the last 2 days

704 Dave { 04.28.13 at 11:37 am }

Hey Brian, yes you can always stay without the dining plan. One suggestion though is to not add another set of tickets to your second stay, but rather make the tickets for the DVC stay two days longer than you’ll need for the DVC part of the visit. This will be much cheaper…See this for why:

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705 Stephanie { 04.29.13 at 2:57 pm }

We are looking to go to DW Nov 10-16/2013 – what are the crowd levels during this time? Also, will the christmas decorations be out as well as the osborne light show? Thanks!!

706 Dave { 04.30.13 at 8:01 am }

Hi Stephanie, see this: Christmas decoration will be fully in place at the Magic Kingdom, and mostly up at the other parks. I don;t have a sharp forecast for the Osborne lights, but expect them be showing during at least part of your trip!

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707 Kimberley { 05.02.13 at 9:36 pm }

Hi Dave!

First let me say OMG! LOVE your site. I have been going to Disney since I was 9, and I even did the Disney College Program and thought I knew Disney, but I have learned SO much from your site! I am planning a trip with my best friend and her 5yr old. This will be the first time for both of them. What is your advice for booking now for a week in Nov. when I know there are sure to be specials that come out for the Fall. We want to stay at AoA so I want to get a room booked. Should I book a package or just a room and wait to see what specials will be offered in the fall? Thanks!

708 Dave { 05.03.13 at 7:34 am }

Hi Kimberley and thanks!!!

What I’d do is book a package now, and then if a deal comes out, re-book into it. If a deal comes out, it’ll be here:

November has great, not-so-great, and terrible weeks–see this:

Hope this helps!!

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709 Joanna { 05.06.13 at 12:26 am }

Hi Dave

Just home from a fabulous trip, and I did promise to let you know how it all went. Firstly, thank you, thank you, thank you! Everything was exactly as you promised, so we were really well prepared.

I cannot emphasise how good AofA was. The kids (10 and 8) loved it so much it made their “Top 5” things about the trip. It certainly wasn’t the best hotel I have ever stayed in, but for the kid “wow” factor, it was certainly there. Also, having 2 bathrooms proved a godsend. Not only did I not have to face “boy mess” every morning, but when the kids were a little slow in getting going, one of them could shower in our bathroom which gave us probably an extra 20-30 minutes when we were late. I just hadn’t factored that bonus in.

We ended up taking the Dining Plus package, and while it worked out cheaper for us, it really was a struggle to find Table Service restaurants to use and we left about 12 meals on it. We didn’t book many before we left as we really didn’t know how the kids would react to the parks and whether we would need to have less time there and more at the hotel, or vice versa. As it turns out, it was a stuggle to get them to leave the parks! But this meant that we had to have really late meals in order to get seated, or just give up and get a quick service one, which is what we ended up doing. We thought we would use Downtown Disney, but the restaurants there were all heavily booked until late in the night, and the boys were not good that late.

Finally, crowds were really low. Like 15 a minute wait for Space Mountain (on a weekday admittedly) low. We had some longer wait times for a couple of rides on the weekend, and we did had to avoid the Toy Story ride at Hollywood Studios one day because the wait time had blown out to 60 minutes. But that was on a Sunday and we went back and Fast Passed it the next day, so all was not lost. I am not sure if we were just lucky with the ride we had chosen at that point as there seemed to be a lot of people around, but I thought I would let you know as it wasn’t one of your preferred weeks, and the World Championship Cheerleading competition was on while we were there, so I was dreading the queues.

Again, thanks for a great site and I will be sending anyone who is even thinking about heading to DisneyWorld to your site as often as I can!



710 Dave { 05.06.13 at 12:49 pm }

Hi Joanna, and thanks so much for the detailed trip report!

I’m not sure exactly what your dates were, but the weeks beginning 4/20 and 4/27/13 were on my “Recommended Weeks” this year–with rankings of #7 and #8 best weeks of the year–see this:

Wait (and FASTPASS return times) go wild at TSM very early in the morning…

On the dining plan–not sure the one you used–the one with one table service a day? Or the one wiht three a day??

All in it sounds like you had a wonderful trip, and I’m so glad the site helped!!!

711 Danny { 05.08.13 at 12:11 am }

Hi Dave

I love this site a lot, and it has been avery good one to me, since I first entered it, and keeps getting better to me, because I am a planner. You can actually probably tell this from many posts I made here:

So I don’t mean to screw up your itineraries or anything, I just want to let you know, when I pointed out to you the epcot problem, you noticed. Again I really hate to screw up your itineraries, but I am afraid I have to say that I see quite a lot of other examples like that, because as what you showed me of Epcot, you did it all on touring and I don’t know how often you use touring plans, but I am afraid you are overestimating the accuracy of it, like the showtimes, compared to the actual disney world website are different. So do you want me to point these out out to you?

Again Thanks for this site, it is a really good site, and I really like the way how you made your itineraries with breaks, and how you based them out to fit 8 nights, its really impressive.

712 Danny { 05.08.13 at 12:14 am }

Hey Dave, also what does this: Your comment is awaiting moderation. mean? I just never seen this before on your site.

713 Danny { 05.08.13 at 1:00 am }

Hi Dave

I tried to post something like this before, but I don’t think it worked. So as you probably know from many posts I made, on the seven night summer itinerary, I love love love this website, and it has been a great planner to my upcoming disney trip next year. As before I told you about the problem in the morning at epcot, I see some other stuff like this to. I don’t mean at all to screw up your itineraries, but I thought you would like to hear that I see other stuff that probably won’t work very well either. I actually don’t know how often you use touring plans, but I am a little afraid you are overestimating the accuracy of touring plans. Like the showtimes on touring plans, and disney world website are different. So I am just wondering, do you want me to point these things I see out to you? And also I love how you base the itineraries, to fit 8 nights. I am really amazed that you do this whole website, its awesome. Have you ever looked at the crowd calendars from . So do you want me to point out these things I see?

714 Dave { 05.08.13 at 9:39 am }

Thanks Danny, and I’d love it if you pointed out anything you wanted to! It can only make the site better.

Coupla minor points–the only time I ever used the TP planner was after you’d noted the results you got from it–all the itineraries are based on my personal testing and timing in 2007 and 2008, and then updates since. That doesn’t mean they are right! Just that the errors come from me, not TP! Second, I’m actually gonna be at WDW next week, and will be testing, revising, and then re-testing the Epcot itinerary–thanks to your posting!!

715 Dave { 05.08.13 at 9:42 am }

Danny I get on average 20 real comments and between five hundred and (all time record) 28,622 “spam” comments a day. So I have various automated tools to test and reject comments, and if they aren’t sure, they “pend” it so I can personally inspect it. So that’s where your other comment was, I “approved” it, and answered it!

716 Dave { 05.08.13 at 9:42 am }

Hi Danny answered mostly already, but I LOVE the crowd calendars on easywdw!

717 Danny { 05.08.13 at 10:59 am }

Dave, ok then. To make it more clear, you will find my posts under the actual things, in different itineraries.

718 Danny { 05.08.13 at 11:34 am }

Hey Dave

I am just wondering, which itinerary will you use next week? I am guessing the 8 night autumn winter spring one.

719 Danny { 05.11.13 at 6:00 am }

Hi Dave

I am also wondering, how much time do you estimate for Counter Service, and Table Service Restaurants? I would estimate 60 min for CS, and 90 min for TS.

720 Dave { 05.11.13 at 8:28 am }

Heya Danny, I understand that depending on the venue Disney allocates 60 mins to 75 for table service (towards the lower end for e.g. for buffets with no show, longer for venues with a show e.g. characters.) Guests are overstaying the allocation at Be Our Guest dinner so there’s some thought it may need to go to 90 minutes there–it may have already done so. Counter service is just fast food with a longer wait in line, with rarely a reason to linger (again, BOG lunch an exception) so 30 minutes is right for less crowded times or outside of the peak dining hours, 45 for others..

721 Brian { 05.12.13 at 11:42 am }

Dave, Great site going to wdw in oct I hear that Disney may be tying something called fast pass plus. Can you tell me how it’s going to work and how I can get them

722 Dave { 05.13.13 at 7:56 am }

Brian, it’s not announced yet, and the details are sketchy. I’ll publish a ton when it is out….

723 Becky Briggs { 05.13.13 at 11:21 am }

I have loved reading you site! so much to learn! We will be staying with family Sunday night September 15 and have a 5 night stay starting september 16th at the fort wilderness cabins (I know you are not a fan 🙂 of course, wanting to be at the park the minute it opens, how early on Monday morning can we pick up our park passes, parking pass, dining meal cards ect.? Thanks

724 Dave { 05.14.13 at 7:27 am }

Hiya Becky and thanks!!

I love the cabins!! Just stayed in them earlier this year–see this for the updated review that came from that: I just don’t think they are a great choice for first timers is all…

The front desk at the Reception Outpost is staffed 24/7. When you do online check in, just indicate what time you plan to show–e.g. 7a–show up then, and grab all your stuff. Your cabin is unlikely to be ready then, but you can get all your room key then which will have your tix and dining credits on it!

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725 Becky { 05.15.13 at 9:14 am }

Thanks for the response. I am having so much fun planning this trip! I cant stop myself! this week alone, I have read a 600 page book on Disney and spent hours looking at blogs and online menus for our dinner reservations. Yesterday I was reading past questions on your blog and noticed you are not a fan of being at the park on days with extended hours. We are planning a 5 day trip, spending two days at the MK and one day at the other parks. Of course, I planned all of my days around extended hours and made dining reservations from your dining suggestions. So my next question to you is, should I scrap my dinner plans, and see what is left over, if there is any decent dining hours left at all? Or do you think that in Septmeber (16-21) the lines will be ok in the parks with extended hours? This may be our only trip with our kids and I just want them to love it! Thank again. Becky

726 Dave { 05.16.13 at 8:00 am }

Hiya again Becky! Your dates I’d avoid parks with morning EMH–evening EMH matters less–and MK the 19th looks particularly bad. See this for more on both:

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727 Roxanne { 05.29.13 at 10:32 am }

Hi Dave! We have finally narrowed our week down that we will be going to Disney March 1-8 2014, I just called and booked this. But i just saw that Mardi Gras is Tuesday March 4 2014, does Mardi Gras have any significance at Disney and would this make for a busier week then usual? Have you ever heard of this?
Thanks for your help and any suggestions!

728 Dave { 05.30.13 at 7:02 am }

Hey Roxanne, a few southern states have time off at Mardi Gras, but not enough kids are off for it to make much of a difference!

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729 Danny { 05.31.13 at 6:51 am }

Hi Dave

I have a little more questions, to ask before I book my Disney vacation. I will be staying for 8 nights. I would like to know if its better to stay at Polynesian resort, and go in the summer, or stay at pop century and go in early December. The reason why I can’t stay at Polynesian in December is because I have to make an extra flight to Florida, but I will already be in Florida in the summer. The other thing is that you said its hard to plan for Epcot unless I use 2 days there, but since the kids in my family are 11, and 14, do you have a little modified itinerary for us. Because the kids in our family are all over 10, I think you might have the itinerary modified a little because I read on another post you answered someone else, that the reason why not a lot of time at Epcot is because it isn’t much of a kids park.

730 Dave { 05.31.13 at 7:59 am }

Danny early December is a better choice on all dimensions that matter!

I don’t have a two day Epcot itinerary (and I really mean by that two mornings, and afternoon and an evening) and, even after I rewrite Epcot, will likely still have a day and a half, with a lot of optional stuff.

But the approach to a two-day would be to focus on the west side of Future World (Soarin, Turtle Talk, then everything else) one morning, and the east side (Test Track, The SUm of All thrills, then everything else) another morning…

731 barb ann pimentel { 05.31.13 at 1:19 pm }

Your website is a Godsend! Full of so much valuable information & practical feedback.
My husband & I will have 8 nights June 11-18 at a condo next to WDW. We have 4 consecutive day military discount tickets with park hopper allowing us to go from 1 of 4 parks to others any time. (Have to visit at a hot, hectic time as part of trip to Key West for a wedding.)
I hear conflicting advice about the weekend being good/bad days for crowds, would deeply appreciate your input on which 4-day period to see WDW during June 13-18 & which days to go to specific parks. Arriving late on the 11th, we will probably need June 12 to get our bearings. We are most excited about the Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, & Epcot (seen on our visit 20-some years ago). Can’t imagine not setting foot in the Magic Kingdom, but it’s not a primary destination.
In Animal Kingdom the Kilimanjaro Safari & Discovery Trail & the Dinosaur & Expedition Everest rides are appealing. Don’t know about Hollywood Studios highlights. Any tips about setting our priorities & timing? Suggestions for day time musical shows at these 2 parks? Love your idea to be at parks for opening, return to our condo mid-afternoon, & then return to WDW.
Other major question: Can we dine at Boma Restaurant on a day we don’t have WDW tickets?
Would prefer to do that on our non-Disney day if it is accessible.

We really appreciate your generosity of time & talents to provide this forum.
Sincere thanks, Barb Ann

732 barb ann pimentel { 05.31.13 at 2:29 pm }

OOOPS! Discovered an error in e-mail I sent an hour ago. (“Yes, dear” from husband hearing without listening!) Our 4 day military discount tickets with park hopper to 4 WDW parks DO NOT have to be used on consecutive days but rather used within 14 days of being activated.
So kindly comment on best days to see Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, & Epcot from June 13-18 & which to “take off.” We can go to multiple parks on same day.
Thanks so much again, Barb Ann

733 Dave { 06.02.13 at 8:05 am }

Hi Barb–first, yes, Boma is not in a park, so yes, you can eat there without having to use a park ticket day!

For what to prioritize at each park, see this: and review one of my itineraries to see how to flow a day:

There’s not a huge difference in day to day crowding in the summer–everything is packed every day–but here’s some mild pointers:

June 13: Avoid MK
June 14: Avoid Epcot
June 15: Avoid HS
June 16: Avoid MK
June 17: Avoid HS and AK
June 18: Avoid Epcot

Hope this helps!!

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734 Krista { 06.02.13 at 7:35 pm }

I am visiting WDW with another family next year for the first time and we are very excited! We are staying from April 5-15th in Kissimme. The kids will be 4, 7, 8 and 9. I am not sure if I picked the best time of year to avoid large crowds. Any park suggestions/advise would greatly be appreciated!

735 Dave { 06.03.13 at 7:49 am }

Krista, the weeks before and after Easter are among the most horrible of the year, but most of your visit–up until the 12th–will be just fine! All my basic advice begins on the page you are on–just start at the top (whihc you’ve already set) and then work your way down. I won’t have itineraries for then til Disney releases its calendars for April, which won’t be for another 3-4 months…

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736 Ava Simone { 06.11.13 at 10:14 am }

First off, LOVE YOUR SITE! It is more helpful than any others out there and is honest, which I do appreciate. Upon inquiring with my son’s school, we’re unable to pull him out for vacation- in 1st grade! That being said, we’re limited to Spring Break, which is 4/18-4/27. I’m sure the parks will be swamped, but any chance they would be lower than a 9 given how late Easter is this year? I started researching some schools in our area (NJ) and all are on spring break early April. My son’s in catholic school, therefore spring break is always the week of Easter. Also, I’m reading your advice on hotels, but am torn between CB or POR. I know they are not what’s recommended, but we plan to return to Disney for many more trips. Any advice? There seems to be a lot more to do at POR and Caribean seems large and crowded. I’m interested in the Royal Rooms for my little prince (6 yrs old) and princess (4 years old). Thanks for your help.

737 Beth { 06.11.13 at 11:23 am }

Thank you for this site! I’m planning our first visit to WDW with our girls (4 and 9 yrs) and you’ve answered SO many questions already. We’ve decided on Dec. 1-7 as our dates (flexible by a couple of days before and after if necessary). I plan to get tickets for MVMCP for Dec. 1 right away before they sell out. My AAA travel agent is pushing me to make reservations for hotel/tickets/dining before June 15th when the ticket prices go up. That makes sense. She said that the room rates (Disney resorts) won’t go down again for that week and that they’re currently as low as they’ll go because Disney sets the rates for the entire year ahead of time. That’s the part that I’m questioning. From what I’ve read, that’s one of the lower priced weeks traditionally, but they seem to be more in the middle right now. Is this really as low as they’ll go for that week? If I book now and then they go down, can I get them adjusted? I would hate to book everything now and have prices go down in the next month or so. Thank you!

738 Dave { 06.12.13 at 7:33 am }

Hi Ava and thanks!

Sadly I do think that’ll be a horrible week. Because of the late Easter, the very end of it will be a little better than in recent years with earlier Easters (which is why I have at 9, not 11)–but on the other hand, I expect the new mine train ride at MK to open by then, which will be a real draw…

POR is just as large and crowded as CB. POR has slightly better transportation than CB–neither is great, but POR is better. And if you are fixed on a Royal Room, then do it! See also this:

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739 Dave { 06.12.13 at 7:40 am }

Hi Beth!

First, ticket prices have already gone up–on June 2. See this:

Room prices, once set (as they have been for your dates), don’t change. So they won’t go down for then. A deal may come out later–but you can re-book into the deal if one is announced.

Several years ago Disney changed the pricing of early December, inventing a new “Fall” season to put it into. Prices are still relatively low then, but not as low as they had been year ago. See this:

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740 Eddie { 06.12.13 at 8:08 pm }

Hey Dave, any rumors on offers for October?

741 Dave { 06.13.13 at 12:49 pm }

Eddie, I’m almost certain we’ll see some room rate deals for October–they’ll likely come out in early-mid August.

Beyond that, there’s some speculation around that free dining may come out for some arrival dates in the second half of the month. I have come around to being able to see the business logic of this (not where I was even two weeks ago), but don’t have enough compelling evidence to even post it as a rumor…

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742 Jennifer Geeo { 06.23.13 at 1:47 am }

Hello, this is such a helpful site. My husband and I will be taking our boys (4,9,&15) to Disney World the week of Nov. 16 this year. This is our first trip. We will be staying at a near by travel lodge to save a little money. We will also be visiting Harry Potter and Universal Studios plus a day at the beach. I know, let’s cram it all in a week. Haha. Can you tell me the best days to visit the parks? Oh, while we are there our youngest will have a birthday (19th), is there anything at any of the parks to make his day that much better? We would like to have a few character lunches too. Thanks for all the awesome info!

743 Dave { 06.23.13 at 12:36 pm }

Hi Jennifer and thanks!

That week at Disney World,
11/16: Avoid Hollywood Studios (HS)
11/17 Avoid HS
11/18 Avoid Animal Kingdom (AK) and MK
11/19 Avoid Epcot
11/20 Avoid AK
11/21 Avoid MK
11/22 Avoid Epcot
11/23 Avoid HS
11/24–avoid everything, as the Thanksgiving crowds will be here.

Universal is best Saturdays-Mondays. See this:

For birthdays, see the second half of this:

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744 Madison { 06.23.13 at 1:40 pm }

Hi Dave,
You have a great site!
Your comments are very helpful.
I work in the Board of Ed as a teacher and i can only go to orlando summer break.
I have two children (a 6 yr old and 4 yr old) who are dying to go.
My husband and i managed to save enough money to go.
Do you feel i should just cancel the whole idea?
or is there any way around it?
I read a bit on fastpasses etc.
also what bracelet is there that we can get so we can go on rides and switch off with my older daughter (being that my younger daughter wont be allowed on everything)
Thanks! madison

745 Jennifer { 06.24.13 at 2:47 am }

Hi Dave.
Upon reading you web site we have just rescheduled our trip to Nov. 30th to Dec. 8th. As mentioned previously, three boys (5,9,15), staying at a non-disney hotel and going to universal two days and the beach one day ( that leaves only four days for disney ). What are the days to avoid each park? You are a God send! I have learned soo much from this site! Bless you for all you do

746 Dave { 06.24.13 at 7:24 am }

Hi Madison and thanks!!

First…just to double check–will this be your only visit? If so, you should wait til the kids are older. See this:

Second, many–but not all–teachers are off either at the very beginning of June, or the very end of August. If this describes your district, then that’s when you should go…also, if your spring break is not framed around Easter, that may be a good time…

Finally, there’s no bracelet for child swaps–see this for how to do it:

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747 Dave { 06.24.13 at 7:42 am }

Thanks Jennifer!!!

With just four disney days, I’d advise two days at MK, and one day each at 2 of the 3 other Disney parks. The 5 year old will be least interested in Epcot, so that’s the one I’d skip.

The tricky park here is the Magic Kingdom. Your week, its best days will be those without the evening parade and fireworks–but everyone should see those, so I will suggest both a good day and a not-so-good-but-with-the-evening-shows day.

So I’d do AK 12/5, HS 12/6 and MK 12/3 and 12/4. (With 12/3 being the lower crowd MK day, and 12/4 the MK evening show day.)

Do Universal the 1st and 2nd, and the beach the 7th…

Hope this helps!!

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748 Joe { 06.25.13 at 11:30 am }

Reading the Disney rider swap information from the link you posted in response to Madison, I noticed that Disney says only 2 people can utilize the rider swap pass, i.e. the holder + 1 guest. It was my understanding and experience you could bring back 3 or 4 guests + the holder. The Unofficial Guide supports this understanding as well. Has this changed in practice? Has the policy always read the way it reads now and it’s just a matter of how it’s been enforced? Do you have any experience with how Disney is enforcing this policy in the status quo?
Thanks as always,

749 Dave { 06.26.13 at 7:00 am }

Hi Joe, since I focus on much older kids, I can’t tell you if this lingo is new or not. But the theory of this has always been that everyone but one rides during the first time through, and then the person managing the child rides the second time through…what will actually happen will be up to the cast members on duty…

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750 kj { 06.26.13 at 12:21 pm }

Hello Dave, Thanks for the great site. We are arriving at Coronado Springs late on November 11th and departing at noon on November 17th. Three kids Really like Hollywoood and Magic and we planned to hit each park twice with Epcot once (Sorry Animal Kingdom), also joining the Magic Christmas Party one night. Can you suggest which parks to visit on certain dates ? Getting an early start on Christmas, any suggestions to get in the Holiday mood ? Also, we included the Dining plan, would you suggest Plaza/ Tony’s/ or Liberty Tree in Magic Kingdom (with three eight yr old boys)? Thanks.

751 Dave { 06.26.13 at 4:27 pm }

Hey KJ, and thanks! On your last point first–those are the three weakest table service restaurants at MK, but among them I’d go with Liberty Tree.

Leaving out AK (which I don’t agree with…) and focusing on parks to avoid to give you more flexibility, here’s the scoop:

11/12: avoid MK and Epcot
11/13: all are OK
11/14: avoid MK
11/15: avoid Epcot
11/16: avoid MK and HS
11/17: avoid HS

You have two Xmas party options your dates–the 14th and 15th. I’d suggest the 15th.

The parks will be well into their Christmas decorations, so the only thing beyond the party to keep your eye out for is the Osborne lights at HS–there’s a ceremony at 6, and then they are on the rest of the evening….

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752 James { 06.29.13 at 7:31 pm }

Hi Dave. We are planning our 2nd trip April 7th 2014. Our boys are 6 and 4. Our first trip we stayed off site. This time I’d like to stay on site. I just can’t see spending 4k 6 nights at the Polynesian though. I am not a fan of value hotels though too. Of the moderates which would be the best choices? Any idea if discount to will be offered that week? Last trip we were there over Easter and it was packed as you predicted. I am hoping this time since its two weeks prior it won’t be so bad?

753 Dave { 06.30.13 at 11:58 am }

Hi James!

First, yes I do think that’ll be a much better week than Easter! See this:

I doubt there will be discounts, as I expect the new mine ride in the Magic Kingdom to be open then and driving enough demand for there to be no need for Disney to offer discounts.

Instead of a moderate, can I suggest Wilderness Lodge? Your boys will love it, and it’ll likely be $150-$200 less a night than the Poly. See this:

On the moderates I have two answers.

My formal ranking is here:

But I lose sleep over this more than on any other topic, so I have a different ranking at the end of this page:

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754 Kristen { 07.01.13 at 7:31 pm }

Hi Dave!
I love your site and use it to plan every visit. This year, we are taking your advice and going the week after Thanksgiving (planning to arrive Sun. Dec. 1st). I am getting REALLY nervous, though, as dining reservations are already extremely hard to come by. I know reservations for that week have already been open for a month, but I’ve never had a problem before and I usually don’t book anywhere near this far ahead. Everything is just booked up solid already. Is there something I’m missing? Is this going to be a far more crowded week than normal for some reason??

755 Dave { 07.02.13 at 8:43 am }

Kristen, the short answer is that booked restaurants are NOT a crowd calendar. There’s so little table service dining capacity compared to daily visitors that you can’t read too much into bookings if there’s a good reason for them to be booked.

There’s two reasons why bookings are high–and neither has anything to do with crowds. One is that this week is a highly popular week with seasoned Disney travelers, because it is a lower crowd, lower price, christmas-decorated week. And they know about the 180 day booking window. (Seasoned travelers don’t cause crowds, they avoid them, so don’t worry that it’s popular with them.)

Second, this week has been on offer for free dining through pin codes for more than a month now. (See ) The pin codes are largely going to prior visitors, who also know about the 180 day factor, and know that there’s little value to free dining if you can’t book table service, so they are all booking too. But free dining has very little impact on crowds–see this for why (about different dates, but the math is the same):

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756 Kristen { 07.02.13 at 9:50 am }

Thanks so much, Dave! I received a pin a few months ago myself (we stay off-site, though!) but never connected it to the rush for reservations and actually had forgotten about it. Thanks so much for your spot-on advice. Keep up the good work!

757 Dave { 07.03.13 at 7:41 am }

You bet, Kristen!

758 Nannette Alline { 07.03.13 at 5:43 pm }

My fiance and I are going on our honeymoon to WDW in a couple of years (maybe later depending on how soon i can graduate school). What resort would you recommend? This is our first time going as a couple. I have been twice 20 years ago and he went as a child. Price is not a factor and I want to get the most for my money, please help. tks

759 Dave { 07.04.13 at 10:56 am }

Hi Nannette! The combination of “price is not a factor” with “most for my money” makes me think of the Wilderness Lodge, whihc is both the most stunning of the deluxe resorts and also the least expensive among them. See the stuff that starts here:

760 JoAnn { 07.04.13 at 9:01 pm }

Hi again Dave. Thank you for all you do! I hope you are able to answer me quickly… You recommended I touch base with you now (back in February). I have just booked a stay in the Polynesian Jan 2-9 of 2014. We have the delux dining plan. I want to do 2d MK, 2d E, one each HS and AK. I want to make sure we see all three firework shows, and the family spectacle of lights, on the days we’ll be in the appropriate parks. I also want to do the Aloha dinner show, a Mickey breakfast, a nemo lunch, the rainforest cafe for either lunch or dinner, and my hubbie wants to go to the steak/seafood restaurant (at beach club?). I need to make the bulk of these dinner reservations in 2 days!!!!! I need help with my itenarary. I have tried using your fall/winter/spring but am having difficulty coordinating park days with firework shows with restaurants. Please help! So far I have one MK visit on Sat, another on Tues……..then AK on Sunday………HS on Monday. I figure we’ll do E Friday and the following Wed…….but I can’t decide which days to make the reservations for? Also I prefer not to buy park hopper passes, but on your current itenarary you leave AK on Sunday afternoon and go to HS for fantasmic. ?? Again, help!? Thanks!!!

761 Ava { 07.05.13 at 9:18 pm }

Hello! Our trip is booked for next April and I’m already working on our itinerary. Planning on MK two days, AK one day, one day of rest, and am torn between either HS or Epcot. My son will be 6 and my daughter, 4. Thoughts on which would be better? I’ve asked so many people and everyone is split! Thanks for your help!

762 Dave { 07.06.13 at 8:58 am }

Hi JoAnn! As you note, my itinerary doesn’t really fit your travel days. Moreover, the 2nd and third will be wildy crowded, and the 4th not a whole lot better.

First let’s focus on the good days the 5th-9th.
Any park but MK will do the 5th, but AK or HS is best. You don’t have to do the hop if you pick AK.
The 6th has unusual EMH. HS will be best this day–suggesting AK on the 5th.
The 7th will be good at all parks but Epcot–which makes it MK for you
On the 8th, do MK
If you have morning time the 9th, return to you favorite park–noting that MK has morning EMH.
So in these lower crowd days, you’ve got all your parks hit but Epcot, so focus on Epcot on the higher crowd days. Just make sure you arrive well befroe the turnstiles open!

The 3rd will be wildly crowded at EPcot, but because of evening EMH, it’s a good day to see Illuminations. So think of spending a couple of hours first thing following the first two hours of my “Friday” itinerary, but checking out World Showcase when it opens at 11a, and then heading back to the hotel mid-afternoon, returning for dinner and Illuminations.
On the 4th, head back to EPcot for another early morning, and see whatever you missed Friday.

Hope this helps!!

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763 Dave { 07.06.13 at 9:01 am }

Hi Ava! At those ages, I’d do three days at MK, (three mornings, an evening, and and a late afternoon), a day off, and one day at either HS or AK, skipping Epcot. If the kids are brave and like fireworks I’d pick HS so they can see the evening fireworks show Fantasmic. If they are more into animals I’d go with AK.

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764 dwayane { 07.09.13 at 1:38 am }

Hey Dave. i am planning a Christmas vacation for my family this december. Is this a good time to go to wdw, if not im going july 2014. i have 3 girls. by Christmas they will be 16, 13, 10. I saved $3000. Whats your suggestion on hotel, parks and dinner?

765 Dave { 07.09.13 at 7:31 am }

Hi Dwayne! In 2013, December up until the 20th is a great time to go to Disney World. After the 20th it’s just plain horrible there. See this:

For 5 people, $3,000 is light. You will spend more than half of that on tickets (see ) and at least $1,000 on food. There are no hotels on property that affordably sleep 5 of those ages.

See this for planning a WDW budget:

My guess is that you should save for another year, target around $5k excluding transport–and aim at a good time to visit! See this:

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766 Goofy Wannabe { 07.09.13 at 9:22 am }

I love your site. I visit it everyday. Thank you so much for all the work you do and all the information you give out. It has been extremely valuable in our Disney World planning!! One minor question…could you put time/date stamps on your posts? Maybe you already do and I am just missing them. But if you don’t, I think it would really be beneficial especially when looking at older posts. Just a thought. Thank you again!

767 Lilly { 07.09.13 at 9:17 pm }

Great Site, thanks so much! We just returned from our first family trip to Walt Disney World. Took all the advice from staying at the Polynesian to which parks to go to on the days we were there (and which to avoid!). Visited from July 2nd to July 7th and still had a Wonderful time. It is rare to find a place where the 45+ year olds and the not quite 6 year old can both have such fun. Thanks again

768 Dave { 07.10.13 at 8:31 am }

Hiya Goofy and I’m glad you love the site!

On the time/date stamp question…this site is designed to have mostly enduring content (e.g. Best and Worst times to Visit (written in 2009 and not much changed since then) but also news and ephemera (like rumors about discounts). I use blogging software to write it, becasue I’m too much of an idiot to use “real” website tools, but mean it to be more like a “site” than a “blog.” (So that makes it either a “slog” or a “blight”! 🙂 So a long time ago I took off the date stamps so that people didn’t think that just cause something is old it’s not helpful…

For most of the posts (but not all for reasons that are too long to explain!), you can tell the date of publication from the url displayed in most browsers at the tippy top left of the page–the date is right after the first bit “”. For example, my Bay Lake Tower review is here: and you can see that it was published Septemebr 9, 2009…

So that’s my story. It may make no sense to anyone but me!! But let me know your reaction…

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769 Dave { 07.10.13 at 8:56 am }

Lilly, I’m so glad you had such a great visit, and that the site helped! So tell your 1,000 closest friends about it, OK? 🙂

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770 Goofy Wannabe { 07.11.13 at 3:23 pm }

That makes sense (regarding the date stamps). I did not realize that some of the dates are in the URL. That helps a lot! Thank you for your response!

771 Dave { 07.12.13 at 8:49 am }

You bet, Goofy!

772 Daniel { 07.12.13 at 1:59 pm }


We are going to Disney on 12/22 thru 12/28 and want to know what are the Must See’s and Do’s for this time of year?

I have already reserved the Christmas Candlelight Dinner for Christmas Eve. I am looking forward to that. What else do I need to get on the books?



773 Dave { 07.13.13 at 11:10 am }

Daniel, that’s a really horrible time to go. It’s the most crowded and most expensive week of the year. Three hour waits for the best rides, and park closures, are not uncommon. See this:

My recommendd itinerary for then is this (ignore that it’s called summer!) but note that the mornings will be off–8a instead of 9a openings will be common…

For some ideas from last year on how to cope with the mobs, see this: The specifics are wrong, but the general themes are valid.

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774 Thomas Madden { 07.14.13 at 9:01 am }

Hi Dave,
First of all love your site.I are checking in on Feb 26st & checking out on March 8th for 11 days 12 nights @ the All Star Sports. I know you told me earlier in the year that you needed to see more school schedules but that it would not be a bad time to visit. Week 1 the week of Feb. 22 is rated as 6 on your calender, March 1st which is my birthday is ranked 11 & march 8th is
ranked 41. Not to concerned about the last week because march 8th will be our last full day @ Disney & we usually spend that playing golf & disney quest no parks. But overall can we expect low to medium crowds. Also the weeks on your calender such as Feb.22 a saturday is rated a 6 is that when the week starts or ends.
Thanks again
Thomas Madden

775 Jennifer { 07.14.13 at 9:16 pm }

Hi Dave, your Awesome. We will be visiting disney with our three boys(5,9,15) staying at a cheaper hotel in kissamee. My first question is are we allowed to visit disney resorts (to eat) if we are not staying at one of them? What about the monorail? Last, do you think the following dates are good?

Nov 29- arrival and dinner at chef Mickey at 8:50
Nov 30- bfast at ohanas (7:55) -Epcot – candlelight dinner package at garden grill (5:30)
Dec 1- animal kingdom -lunch at Tusker house (1:35)
Dec 2- Hollywood studios- didn’t find time slots open for food
Dec 3- Gatorland. Lol- 9yr olds pick
Dec 4- mk crystal palace at 11:50
Dec 5- day off (for hubby, we may go back to mk
Dec 6- universal Island- 3 broomsticks for lunch, can’t reserve though??
Dec 7- universal studio
Dec 8- Clearwater beach
Dec9- home

Is there anything else I can squeeze in?? Thanks in avance for the info, you rock!

776 Jennifer { 07.14.13 at 9:18 pm }

Oh, no hopper passes sry. We do have five day basic pass though

777 Dave { 07.15.13 at 8:06 am }

Hi Thomas! First the crowd rankings are for “week beginning.” Second I’ve not updated the crowd calendar or week rankings yet–I expect to have that done by the end of this month. I do expect to be bumping up the crowd ranking of the week of the 22nd and 1st a bit, as there’s a HUGE convention in Orlando that ends Feb 27–HIMSS, with around 35,000 attendees…But both these should still be good weeks!

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778 Dave { 07.15.13 at 8:12 am }

Hi Jennifer and thanks!

I can’t comment on gatorland 🙂 but this looks largely OK otherwise. MK will be packed on the 4th and the 5th won’t be a great day there either. Good days at MK your week will be the 1st, 3rd and 6th. Doing MK the 1st and AK the 5th–with the 4th being your day off–would work better. Also, your Ohana breakfast means you will miss rope drop at Epcot, which I can’t vote for–I’d move Ohana to your “off” day!

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779 Bryant { 07.22.13 at 9:03 am }

Dave, we’ve used your site to pick dates for previous WDW trips in April and February with much success. Our son is entering Kindergarten, so we’re planning our next trip around his school schedule. We’re looking at a 3-day trip over MLK weekend (Fri, Sat and Sun). My question is, how crowded will it be over the weekend? I’m guessing Friday (at MK) will be OK. However, I’m worried about Sat and Sun. We’ll probably do AK on Saturday and MK again on Sunday. I know the crowds will be bigger than the rest of the month, but how big is big? I read some reports from last year that said the park was jam packed over the weekend, which got me worried. I know last year was an extra long weekend in the Washington DC area with the Inauguration, so maybe that contributed? Anyway, would appreciate any advice to help put things into perspective. I think we’ve gotten spoiled visiting in the off season!

780 Dave { 07.22.13 at 2:21 pm }

Hi Bryant, frankly I’m seeing WDW as rough Friday through Monday.

Besides all the three day weekends including Monday, a lot of kids have a four day weekend that either begins on Friday or extends to Tuesday–a lot of Florida kids in particular have a four day weekend beginning Friday (as do a ton of other kids, especially from South Carolina)

If your targets are AK and MK, Friday will be the best MK day, and Sunday the worst. AK should be about the same all three days, so my vote would be Friday and Saturday at MK, and AK on Sunday.

Since you know the parks and the tricks–e.g. arriving well before open–you should be OK! But you have, indeed, been spoiled a bit!

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781 Bryant { 07.22.13 at 3:28 pm }

Appreciate the feedback on MLK weekend. How do you feel about April 25-26th (tail end of Easter/Spring Break holiday)? We also considered doing a mid-week Disney cruise and tacking on a few days in MK at the end (Fri and Sat). Will the spring break crowds be mostly gone by Fri/Sat?

782 Nicole { 07.22.13 at 4:21 pm }

HI Dave! Great site!
I have a question I hope you can help me with. I am in the baby stages of planning…. I’m hoping to plan a trip with my husband and our 2 girls for May 4-10th 2014 and stay at AKL.
My parents are thinking of coming but only for part of the trip and if they do come they will be renting a condo off property, with a car for the week. Would they be able to park at the resort and babysit our kids if my husband and I want to get a night out? They will most likely go at their own pace and meet us at the parks in the morning so as far as parking goes there how much is that and is there a parking pass they could get for the week? Or is there a fee they could pay to park at the resort?
Thanks so much for your time!

783 Dave { 07.22.13 at 6:43 pm }

Bryant, it’s a bit of a crapshoot. If those are your only choices, I’d go with MLK weekend…but spring break crowds will be gone by April 27, and severely–but perhaps not enough–down the 25th and 26th.

784 Dave { 07.22.13 at 6:50 pm }

Yes, Nicole, this should not be an issue. They would simply explain to the gate guard why they are their and who they are visiting…

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785 Corene { 07.23.13 at 11:08 am }

Planning a trip with 3 adults and 3 kids (13,9,6) booked adjoining rooms at the All Star Sports. Planning on arriving January 4, 2014 and hitting the park on the 5th. My question is, will the marathon cause problems for us on the 7th, 8th or 9th? We will be heading home on the 10th. I’ve read on your site to stay away from certain parks during the marathon, so I am very curious as to what will happen. I’ve been to Disney World numerous times but the family I am traveling with are first timers. I don’t want to worry them just yet with all of the “stuff” that we may or may not have to avoid. Thanks in advance.

786 Lindsey { 07.23.13 at 8:48 pm }

On the website under my account. Can someone tell me what it means when it says I have one card and I manage 2 cards?

787 Dave { 07.24.13 at 6:41 am }

Hi Corene, no worries! The marathon events don’t really begin until the 10th, with the 10k at Epcot…so your dates will be fine!

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788 Dave { 07.24.13 at 7:04 am }

Lindsey, I’m guessing that you have three names attached to your visit, with tickets for each. The “cards” are then the combined rooms keys and tickets. One is yours, and as the lead name on the account, you “manage” the other two. See this:

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789 Lindsey Kimbrel { 07.25.13 at 5:37 pm }

Dave, There are actually on two of us going. We went in February and are going again in December. Thanks so much for the information though!!

790 Leah { 07.25.13 at 8:40 pm }

Hi Dave! Thank you so much for this site it is a God send. I am late in planning as I just found this site. I am planning a trip for my nephews (10 and 11) August 9-13. It does not appear that I have sufficient time as I would like to visit Universal as well. But I am trying to make it work as there is no other time that we all are able to make the trip. Would you share your wisdom on which days to visit which parks? In addition, I have booked an off site hotel with shuttle service to the parks. My thoughts were that this would be less expensive but based on your feedback this does not seem to be the case. How can I make this work and not feel overrun? Thanks for your help. Trying not to panic.

791 Dave { 07.26.13 at 7:46 am }

Curious, Lindsey…do you unexpired days on any tix from February?

792 Dave { 07.26.13 at 7:58 am }

Hi Leah! Here’s parks to avoid by day:

8/9: Avoid Epcot
8/10 Avoid Hollywood Studios
8/11 Avoid Magic Kingdom
8/12 Avoid Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom
8/13: Avoid Epcot

At Universal, the best days tend to be Sat-Mon–see this:

The key to avoiding crowds is always to arrive at the parks well before opening. That can be very hard with an off site hotel shuttle which usually don’t start early enuf…Off-site hotels usually are less expensive compared to the equivalent Disney rooms…but transport is almost always an issue…

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793 Mary { 07.28.13 at 6:47 pm }

Hi Dave. Our family will be staying in a villa outside of Disney fromDec. 21 to Dec. 28. This will be our second week at Disney and will have only two days of tickets left. (not park hoppers). On the 21st, we are leaving a resort and going to the villa for the next week and will be leaving the villa early morning on the 28th, so neither of these days would work for Disney. Kids range from 3 to 12. What would be the best two days to visit Disney again. We are only interested in Magic Kingdom and Futureland in Epcot. Thanks. Mary

794 Dave { 07.29.13 at 6:43 am }

Mary, that’s the worst week of the year.

Every day the Magic Kingdom will open an hour early for on site hotel guests, so it will already be crowded when you arrive. There’s no day I can recommend more than another.

At Epcot, crowds will still be astonishing, but the 23rd and 27th might be a little better than the rest.

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795 Kevin { 07.30.13 at 9:45 am }

Hello Dave,
Our family will be visiting Disney in November, staying at Coronda Springs.
We have a six day park ticket without park hopper.
I wondered if I may purchase a park hopper for one day only of the six.
And if so, is it worth the added expense.

796 Dave { 07.30.13 at 10:08 am }

Hi Kevin, a hopper applies to the length of your ticket, so you can’t buy it for just one day of a six day ticket.

Most families can easily manage without one if their stay is long enough. You should be able to also. See this:

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797 Paul { 07.30.13 at 5:08 pm }

Amazing website! We have just booked to be at WDW arriving evening of Oct 12 until morning of Oct 19th with group of 7 – two parents, two active grandparents, two tall 7 and 4 year-old boys (52” & 44”) and an 11-month old. Adults have visited before (~10-15 years ago), first visit for kids and all will likely return. Staying at WDW Swan on Starwood points with minivan. No ADRs yet but will start looking as soon as parks are set. Recognizing that we have already ignored a few of your suggestions what do you think of these parks/days? Avoiding morning EMH especially since kids are coming from Mountain Time zone. EasyWDW and UC Tourist seem to disagree on which parks, especially on days around Columbus Day. Oct 13 HS, Oct 14 MK, Oct 15 AK (parkhop to Epcot after?), Oct 16 HS (parkhop to MK in evening for ELP/Wishes?), Oct 17 Epcot, Oct 18 MK. Wife is reluctant to pay the $60pp for park hopper but will need to go to MK a different day to see evening shows without it.

798 Dave { 07.31.13 at 8:10 am }

Hi Paul and thanks! This looks terrific to me. One thought on the hopper–you likely won’t need two days at HS, and will know that after the 13th. If so, then you can just take the morning and afternoon of the 16th off, and head to MK for the pm events as your only park that day.

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799 Paul { 07.31.13 at 5:06 pm }

Just one day at HS and going back to MK later on 16th is a great suggestion. That will also leave Oct 18 open for whatever park we want more of. I have just booked the Hoop-De-Do review for 4pm on Wed 18th since it seems best to take the boat to/from there from MK rather than bus from another park or the Swan on another day. Should leave time to get back for pm events that night.

800 Dave { 08.01.13 at 8:01 am }

Sounds great, Paul!!

801 Steven { 08.01.13 at 3:01 pm }

Hi Dave,

I asked you a question the other day about sorting out the itinary and I can’t find it!! There’s too much on here lol. Can you help me put please 🙂


802 Dave { 08.01.13 at 3:40 pm }
803 Kelley { 08.02.13 at 10:21 am }

Hi Dave, Any advice… We are going to Disney April 16 (arrive in the evening)- April 19. One boy 7 yo and one girl 5 yo. Any suggestions as to where to go and where to book reservations?
I purchased the Disney Magic Your Way Package Plus Dining Plan and two days base tickets. ?I have no idea what I am doing?

804 Dave { 08.03.13 at 11:36 am }

Hi Kelley! All my advice on where to stay, what to eat, etc. is on this page or linked through it–just go to the top and work your way down.

You’ve already made the most important decisions–when to go. The week before Easter is the 2nd or third worst week of the year, with massive crowds, three-hour lines, and very high prices. I;d strongly advise you to go a very different time–taking kids that age out of school is not an issue.

See this for dozens of better choices in 2014:

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805 Joy { 08.07.13 at 11:27 am }

I’m planning a trip 1st week of February 2015. 10 days total, but 2 days of that would be for travel. So, I will be in the park for 8 days. I will be traveling with my 2 girls (7 & 9). When should I book my package? I would like to stay at the Art of Animation, Little Mermaid room, but I don’t think I want to stay there the whole time as I understand it is a long walk to the main hall or bus pick up. Would you recommend to split my stay? I also wanted to take advantage of the free dining plan that Disney usually offers during off-peak season. Should I book my full reservation at AoA and wait until the offer comes out and split it? Also, would you recommend to add the water park option during February? I feel like I won’t really have time to go to the water parks or will I? How will my 8 day hopper work if I decide to split stay? This will be our first and probably our only visit to DW, so I would like to see as much and include as much character dining. Advice?

806 Dave { 08.08.13 at 7:10 am }

Joy–before I write a long answer–just double-checking: 2015?

807 Joy { 08.08.13 at 10:44 am }

Yes Dave, Jan 30 – Feb 8 2015. Is it too early to plan? Is that a great time?

808 Kevin { 08.08.13 at 1:42 pm }

Hi Dave,
Reserved at Coronado for November 11 through 17, 2013 with Pin code free dining.
Just learned that free dining is offered to general public for the same time we are there. Do you expect a large jump in crowds with general public free dining ?
Just hoping that our week won’t be overwhelmed with crowds. Thanks.

809 Cody { 08.08.13 at 2:00 pm }

Hey Dave planning my first trip to Disney World late next year either mid October 2014 or the first week of December 2014. Haven’t got it set in stone yet, but I’ve already read through most of the site and comments and will definitely be using this site as a guide lines here in a couple months when I get down to some hardcore planning. Anyways my questions for today was it will be just me and my girlfriends first time going and we are both in our late twenties doesn’t have to be romantic we are just looking to go for somewhere around 8 nights 9 days. My questions was if we were to stay at Pop Century or Art of Animation just to save a bit of cash I’ve heard they are somewhat childish to stay at if you don’t have any children in your party? Would you say this is true and that we should consider one of the moderates or would you think we will be just fine in one of those two? Thanks in advance and again love the site sir and I’m sure I’ll have more questions once I get down to business.

810 Dave { 08.09.13 at 11:06 am }

Joy, you can’t book anything until 500 days before, and then you can only book a room, and its prices will change (that is, go up) later (see ) which would be about mid-September, so all you can really do now is pick some of your targets–like dates, whihc you have set, and other than ride closures should be terrific, hotels, dining, etc. My itineraries can be a rough guide to that thinking, but changes at WDW may lead to changes in them. I post revised itineraries six months befroe, when Disney’s calendars come out.

It is, sadly, not true that free dining is routine in that period. It’s happened only twice–in 2012 and 2011–not, you’ll note, in 2013. If a deal does come out, being already booked will neither hurt you nor help you–you’ll have to jump on it either way, as the number of rooms available will be limited. And not all resorts will be in the deal–for examples of exclusions, see Disney’s pages on its current deals linked to from here:

Hope this helps clarify things a bit…

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811 Dave { 08.09.13 at 11:17 am }

Kevin, absolutely not. There aren’t enough hotel rooms at WDW for extra occupancy in them to make a material difference in wait times on the rides.

Think of it this way: say Disney adds 33 points of occupancy because of free dining–which it won’t even come close to, but that makes the math easier… that’s 10,000 more rooms, or about 30,000 more people. Divide those across 4 Disney theme parks, two water parks, Universal, off days, and it just can’t make that much difference…

What drives waits at WDW is not deals, but rather school vacation calendars. Hardly any kids are out of school then…so no unusaul crowds…

What you will see is crowded hotels, and fully-booked restaurants in the parks…

However, at this time of year, you can indeed run into massive lines at MK if you go there the wrong days. See this for how to avoid that

Hope this helps reassure you…

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812 Dave { 08.09.13 at 11:28 am }

Hey Cody, thanks for the kind words about the site…and keep the questions coming!

For a couple in their 20s, I’d recommend All-Star Music, and among the moderates POFQ. All the values are garish, but Music is the least so and most lovely among them. See this for more:

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813 Chera { 08.09.13 at 11:51 am }

Dave I was planning on getting a quick serve dining plan for my family of 5 during my ocotber visit. My husband, Myself, 7yo daughter, 4yo twin boys. After looking at the kid menus at most of the quick serve locations within MK and HS ( where I think we will spend most of our time) I wasn’t thrilled with the choices offered. I have been told by some that most place will let the kids order from the regular menu and not be stuck to the kids menu choices. Do feel this is true? My daughter would prefer a hamburger over chicken nuggets but most places didn’t offer burgers on the kids menu. B/C our kids are small and don’t eat large portions of food. Would it be bad idea to not get a dining plan at all and allow the kids to share a regular meal?

814 Dave { 08.09.13 at 11:57 am }

Chera, policy is that you have to order off the kids menu if one is offered. Cast members often abandon this, but you can’t count on it. So it’s a tough call-especially since the quick service dining plan for the young ones is pretty inexpensive…

My guess is that overall you will be less annoyed by abandoning the dining plan and paying cash…

815 Chera { 08.09.13 at 2:58 pm }

Thanks is a tough choice. I am trying to get the free dining offer. The dates we are going are Oct 20-Oct26 2013 staying at PORiverside and I am being told that the free dining option is sold out as of now but told to continue calling and checking as someone could cancel. If the dining option is free, the annoyance of poor food choices for kids wouldn’t be a big deal. Keeping my fingers crossed 🙂 Your website has been most helpful in planning our first trip to Disney on a budget. Thank you!

816 Dave { 08.10.13 at 8:02 am }

Good luck, Chera!

817 Joy { 08.10.13 at 10:01 pm }

Thanks Dave! Your site is the BEST!!!! After going through your site, I think I want to change my dates to November/December 2014 instead of February 2015. If Im going to do this once, I might as well go when the Christmas decorations are up. When do they start putting up holiday decorations? holiday entertainment? When is the best week to go? I’m thinking of flying in on a Saturday and flying out Sunday (7 days in the park total) Do you think they’ll have free dining around that time? Would you recommend to add the waterpark option? What about the split reservation that I originally asked, do you think that’s a hassle (comment 805)?

818 Dave { 08.11.13 at 8:10 am }

Thanks Joy!

The Christmas decorations will be fully up in the Magic Kingdom by November 10, 2014 or so, and the full Christmas program will be in operation everywhere on the Friday after Thanksgiving–November 28, 2014.

The rankings of these various weeks are here:

Free dining in various weeks around then is quite possible–but not the week of 12/6–but it’s hard to put a stronger forecast on it now. See this for some of the forecasting issues:

I would skip the waterpark option, for two reasons: 1. for a one day visit, it’s cheaper to pay cash than to add it to your base ticket, and 2. weather is highly variable then. See this:

I have mixed feelings about splitting your stay. The walk is not that bad, and I’m not certain that the hassle of the pack/check in/move is worth it.

819 Joy { 08.11.13 at 11:33 am }

THANKS Dave!!! After careful planning and research, I’m going with your #1 recommended week-11/29 -12/7. I will book it for AoA, Little Mermaid. As per the split stay, I will probably do it only if free dining is offered for my time period as they probably won’t offer free dining for AoA, right?

820 Dave { 08.12.13 at 8:39 am }

Hi Joy, that’s great! And given how few Lil Mermaid rooms there are, I expect it to be out of the big deals for a while…

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821 Emma { 08.12.13 at 2:43 pm }

Hi Dave,
Your site is really useful, so thanks!
We are staying at the beach club resort and wonder if you know whether we woudl be permitted to use the other resort pools, or are theu restricted to own hotel guests?

822 Dave { 08.13.13 at 6:53 am }

Hi Emma, and thanks!!

You can only used the shared pools at the Yacht and Beach Club…you can’t use other pools at other resorts…

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823 Rhonda { 08.14.13 at 11:04 am }

Hey Dave – I’m back 🙂 Now that I got my room discount and adr reserved I’m planning my days in the parks….We are going to MK on 12/7/2013 we have early a.m. (before the park opens) adr and we are not park hopping. I read that the televised christmas parade is happening on this day in MK – WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR everything? Park crowds, ride time waits, etc. We are going to MK another full day w/out adr’s and we are also doing a different day the mvmcp – so I need to know how to split the park up most effectively with a 4 year old and a 42 yr old going on 8 🙂 THANKS SO MUCH FOR ALL OF YOUR HELP!!!!

824 Dave { 08.15.13 at 7:33 am }

Rhonda, all it means is that Main Street will be a mess. The rest of the park–including ride waits–is unaffected…

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825 Kelly { 08.16.13 at 1:38 pm }

Hello again, Dave! I’ve been waiting on Disney’s site for park hours for Feb.8-16 which were finally available today, however, I’m seeing that there are no fireworks or Main St. Electrical parade at MK that entire week? Is that true as far as you know? I know refurb. are in full swing still in Feb., but is this one of them? So sad!

826 Kelly { 08.16.13 at 7:13 pm }

Forgive my haste…apparently I need to be more patient. 🙂 The fireworks/parade info is updated now, it just didn’t make sense they would post it without it complete…sorry!

827 Dave { 08.17.13 at 9:03 am }

No worries, Kelly!!

828 Pat { 08.19.13 at 9:51 am }

Heading to Port Orleans Riverside for stay between 9/9 and 9/17…7 of us, 4 adults, 3 kids 7, 10 and 13….any tips or things to avoid? we have the dining plan and reservations at Be My Guest, Le Cellier, Hollywood Studios…what’s the best day of our trip to head to Harry Potter at Universal? Keeping our fingers crossed for excellent weather.

829 Chad { 08.20.13 at 12:51 am }

Hi Dave,
We are starting to plan our next trip and thinking about arriving on Sunday April 20th and leaving on Sunday April 28th. Do you think the crowds will be huge and how will they compare to the last two weeks of June? I am a school teacher so my options are basically April and June. We have a seven year old and a three year old and we plan to stay at Port Orleans Riverside in a room with the extra trundle bed. Thanks for your help.

830 Dave { 08.20.13 at 7:16 am }

Hi Pat! Couple of things. First consider singing up for Fastpass+ if you haven’t already–see this:

Second check out this itinerary as modified by this –it doesn’t fit your dates, but does give a sense of how to allocate your time…

Third, Harry Potter is best Saturday-Monday.

Hope this helps!!

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831 Dave { 08.20.13 at 7:50 am }

Hey Chad! The crowds will be huge both dates, but because of the late Easter, I think the April week–particularly the second half of it–will be a little better. See this:

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832 Linda Stevens Jones { 08.22.13 at 9:29 am }

Great site — not just for “first-timers” either. We’ve been 11 times, and I still find great tips here that I didn’t know! Thanks, Dave!

833 Dave { 08.22.13 at 10:44 am }

Thanks so much Linda!!!

834 Deb @ Focused on the Magic { 08.22.13 at 11:29 am }

Dave the information your site provides readers is fantastic! You have saved us not only money but precious time on our vacations. Thanks so much! Keep up the great work!!

835 Robert { 08.22.13 at 12:09 pm }

Happy Birthday! I love the crowd calendars. I used it to book my next WDW vacation even though I have been over 10 times.

836 Mona { 08.22.13 at 12:32 pm }

Enjoy the site, in preparation for my upcoming visit

837 Mindy { 08.22.13 at 12:47 pm }

Love this site!

838 Mouse Fan Diane { 08.22.13 at 12:54 pm }

Dave – your sight is amazing – you have a ton of very helpful info.

Thanks 🙂

839 Laurie Neely { 08.22.13 at 5:52 pm }

Awesome site! 34 days left in my countdown!!

840 Anonymous { 08.22.13 at 6:59 pm }

LOVE LOVE LOVE This site. I have sent qestions to Dave and each time he answers VERY promptly. Planning a family trip for 13 and use this site for all my questions. Disney has a great person here giving all kinds of insight!! Not sure if he receives any compensation from them but they sure should.

841 Dave { 08.23.13 at 8:00 am }

Thanks everyone for the birthdays wishes and presents! And no, I don’t get a dime from Disney!

842 Jamie Ford { 08.23.13 at 9:37 am }

Hi Dave,
We are going to Disney September 6th for 8 nights and are attending MNSSHP for the 1st time. Would you recomend Tuesday Sept. 10th or Friday September 13th for the least crowds? I know the Villians Party is also the 13th at the Studios.
Thank you

843 Sally { 08.23.13 at 10:25 pm }

Love all the details that you share! Even when we ask the same questions over and over you patiently answer us.
Traveling on Dec. 18 – 21. We purchased the Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party tickets for the 19th. Have Candlelight Processional dinner tickets at Epcot at 5:00 p.m. on the 21st.
Could you recommend the best parks to visit? We do have park hopper tickets. 5 adults in our party. Thanks in advance for your help!

844 Dave { 08.24.13 at 9:03 am }

Hi Jamie! Either will be fine, but the 13th may well be better for just the reason you note!

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845 Dave { 08.24.13 at 9:45 am }

Hi Sally and thanks! I offer parks to avoid, as that gives more flexibility in planning. So…

December 18: Avoid AK
December 19: Avoid MK
December 20: avoid Epcot
December 21: the Christmas mobs will have begin to arrive, so all parks will be rough.

846 Mary Hendon { 08.24.13 at 10:40 pm }

We are coming to Disney nov 21 to 25, with free quick serve dining plan at all stars. They informed us foodcourt is down. Should we opt to try to stay at all stars movies instead due to foodcourt being down. Is the free meal plan a perk for the unconvince of the foodcourt being down? We do like to save money on dining

847 Dave { 08.25.13 at 8:43 am }

Mary, the free meal plan is not a perk in response to the rehab–it’s just part of a bigger deal program.

I recommend Movies more highly than Sports (see this: ) but not at the cost of missing free dining. Most of your dining should be in the parks, anyway, and I didn’t have a ton of trouble eating when I was at Sports earlier this month (see )

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848 Julie { 09.02.13 at 2:02 pm }

Thanks for all the great advice! Wondering which mobile app u recommend… The one through touring plans (Lines) or the one through the Disney website. I’ve heard the Disney one isn’t very accurate…thx again!!

849 Dave { 09.03.13 at 7:06 am }

Julie I don’t track the apps closely–there’s too many, and some are too painful. Your combination–lines and MDE–should be just fine. See this

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850 Michael Angelo { 09.03.13 at 1:33 pm }

Hi Dave….Just emailed you this morning about making a trip to Disney this month. I have you saved in my favorites as; Your first I sent you a question on that site. I tried to Google and saw “another” site you have – but after The heading of ‘Your First Visit’, below was; “weeks ranked in order”. I noticed there were a different set of questions and answers by you. Just wondering why there are two sites under Your first visit?

851 Dave { 09.03.13 at 2:08 pm }

Michael–I just emailed you with the following:

I have just the one site lol but there’s three reasons I can think of for what you saw

1. Sometimes when you go from “favorites” you are returned to a cached version of exactly the page you bookmarked–refreshing your browser should fix this

2. Mozilla/firefox, for some incomprehensible reason, does not always show the latest pages–it shows sometimes old cashed versions. This makes it seem faster. This does not fix with a browser refresh–you need to use another browser…

3. This morning I finally got Google+ to ID me as the author of the site. I did a few test searches myself and the click thru went fine but it was showing some odd text in the search results. Google may be re-indexing in a new way the site…

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852 michael angelo { 09.03.13 at 8:18 pm }

Thanks Dave. I answered back through email.

853 mary { 09.04.13 at 2:25 pm }

We are doing Disney four days straight. Dec. 17, 18, 19 and 20. four kids ages 3 , 5, 8, and 12. Six adults. No park hoppers. We wondered which days would be best for MK and Epcot. I understand futureland is in epcot. We thought two days for each but which days would you recommend for each considering the crowds and special happenings. Thanks so much. Your site is invaluable.

854 mary { 09.04.13 at 2:35 pm }

In addition to my previous email, I should tell you we are staying off site. We will be arriving each day from our resort by shuttle to Epcot. We will then be going back the next week for two days either the 22, 23, 25 or 26. Same parks. And again, which days would you suggest for which parks. This time we will be driving ourselves. Please direct us to parking info too. Thanks again. You are a godsend.

855 Dave { 09.05.13 at 7:11 am }

Hi Mary! Your dates MK will be least crowded the 17th and 20th, but each of those days the park closes early (at 7) so you’ll miss the fireworks and parade. So I’d pick one of those two, and also the 18th–bigger crowds but you cna see the evening stuff then.

Epcot will be worst the 17th and 20th, so that suggests the 19th for Epcot.

I’m not sure Epcot will be worth two days, especially for the two younger kids, so putting it all together I’d do this

17 MK
18 MK
19: Epcot
20th–return to your favorite of these tow, or head to another park. Decide the night before…

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856 Dave { 09.05.13 at 7:15 am }

Mary you aren’t shuttling to Epcot on your Magic Kingdom days, are you? And frankly, the 22-26th will be a zoo. That’s the busiest week of the year, and I can’t recommend any park. Above all avoid parks that have morning extra magic hours. The schedule for that will change, but likely MK and AK will have morning extra magic hours every day the 22-26…

857 Mary { 09.06.13 at 9:49 am }

Thanks so much for your suggestions. And YES, we are shuttling to Epcot on the MK days. That is where the resort shuttle goes. Since we have so many in our party, the resort is having a shuttle just for us so maybe I’ll try to get the shuttle to drop us of at MK instead. If that isn’t possible, what would you suggest ? Is there any way we could take Disney transport from Epcot to MK without using our pass. Thanks again.

858 Danny { 09.06.13 at 3:10 pm }

Hi Dave

I have seen a lot of links to on this site. I am wondering, do you have a account? I want to know because I do, and I posted a lot of disney plans, and I am curious if you could use your opinion on those plans I posted.

859 Jennifer M { 09.06.13 at 5:00 pm }

Hi Dave,
I was wondering if you or someone else could give me an opinion. I’m taking my daughter to the BBB (she will be 8) and I was wondering if I should consider taking my son (he will be 6) and have the knight package at BBB or take him to the Pirate’s League? So, my question is which would be a better option?

860 Dave { 09.07.13 at 10:33 am }

Mary, you can take Disney transport from Epcot to MK without entering the park. You just hop on the monorail, which will take you to the “Ticketing and Transportation Center” (TTC), from which you either take the ferry or a different monorail to MK. It will be much faster, however, for your driver to just drop you off at TTC…

861 Dave { 09.07.13 at 10:39 am }

Jennifer M I don’t have a strong feeling on this. My guess is that the Pirates League will be the better choice…

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862 Dave { 09.07.13 at 10:54 am }

Hey Danny, I’m not much on disboards–I love it, but don’t often have time for both it and this site. I’m on disboards as davidhobart.

863 m { 09.07.13 at 4:28 pm }


864 Akta { 09.13.13 at 2:17 pm }

Love your site. Want your expert opinion for our upcoming WDW visit. First time at WDW.
Traveling Dates: Nov 12 to Nov 18.
Four adults, four kids (three girls age 8, 6 and 3 and my lovely 3 year old boy)
Will arrive around noon on 12th and have to leave by 2:00 pm on 18th.
Staying at Disney’s Coronado Spring Resort, have dining plan, 6 day park tickets with park hopper option for MK, AK, Epcot and Hollywood. Park hopper is really needed? IF not, shall I cancel and ask for refund? How should we plan our days? Please recommend what is age appropriate must do attraction for girls/boy.
Also, made dining reservations for 8:00 pm dinner at Akershus Banquet Hall on 11/16 (mostly for girls) and Lunch with Donald Safari in Tuskerhouse on 11/13 at 2:00 pm. Do you recommend any other character dining? All of us are vegetarian, so any suggestion on Veggie friendly restaurants?
I bought a package for air tickets/hotels/dining/park tickets/insurance/photopass and think have already spent fortune to have all these. I know there will be Mickey’s Christmas party around that time but still thinking if it is worth it to attend with two small kids? What is the best thing about the party? Do you think we would have enough time to cover parks, character dining and Christmas party. If yes, do you recommend advance reservations or tickets can be easily purchase on same day of the party.
Any other recommendations for the trip?

865 Dave { 09.14.13 at 10:29 am }

Hi Atka and thanks for the kind words about the site!

My you have lotsa questions–and frankly some of them are well outside my focus…

First you can easily do without hoppers. I’m also personally not keen on trip insurance, but that’s widely controversial and related to your own appetite for risk. All I can say is to read the fine print carefully.

An optimal Disney World trip for an 8 year old is wildly different than an optimal one for a three year old, and 5-6 year olds live somewhere in between. If this won’t be your only visit, design the trip for the 8 year old. If it will be your only visit, it’s a lot harder to give all a great experience. See this for some thoughts

My itineraries are designed for 8 year olds and up on a longer trip, but they do give an idea of how to allocate your time overall and how to sequence a day in a park. See this as qualified by this The itinerary incorporates my dining recommendations.

Vegetarian dining is generally easy–you just have to let WDW know before, in most table service cases. See the links here:

On the Xmas party, that’s a great–but expensive–way to see the parade and fireworks and get on some rides without as big crowds as you’ll find on your dates on non-party evenings at MK. If you will be returning, hold on it til the three year olds are five or so… See also this:

I’m probably raising more questions than I’m answering–so get back with your thoughts in response!

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866 Akta { 09.16.13 at 10:09 pm }


Thanks for very detailed response and giving me a hard exercise to do. I would definitely knock on your door to get some more advise.

We are planning to return to WDW after few years , therefore currently I thinking to focus on 3/6 years old kids bcoz this is their time to enjoy characters and simple rides and when they grow up they could do other stuff. Any comments? Any suggestions?

Do you recommend to avoid specific park on any particular day from my itinerary?

867 Dave { 09.17.13 at 1:52 pm }

Akta–I’d do it the other way around. Disney is at the peak of magic for an 8 year old. The younger kids can grow into that peak for a later visit, whereas this is the only chance for that perfect match for the older kid.

Here’s parks to avoid by day:
11/12: Avoid MK, Epcot–unless you are just going for the evening fireworks
11/13: Avoid MK, AK
11/14: Avoid MK
11/15: Avoid Epcot
11/16: Avoid HS

868 mary { 09.17.13 at 2:16 pm }

Hope you can answer this question for me. I just happened to find our tickets from Disneyworld from Jan 1993. We have four tickets and each one has one day left on each of them. These are called the *super pass* tickets. (old parkhoppers) Question…can we still use them ? It would be the same people using them now as were using them then. Thanks Dave.

869 Dave { 09.17.13 at 5:39 pm }

Sorry, Mary–only Disney Guest Services can answer that, and only with the physical tickets in front of then…

870 Jason { 09.23.13 at 5:15 pm }


I would first like to thank you so much for all the information that your site provides that has been a great help with my trip planning so far. I have always dreamed of taking my wife and children Girl 12, boy 6 to Disney world! Through many years of saving and praying, my dream come true is coming in a couple weeks…..

We are staying at the Art of Animation Arriving Thur. October 10-Friday Oct. 18th. We are arriving late on thur, so we will be in the parks on Friday morning.

I have a few questions for advice from you cause I believe your site to be amazing.

*My daughter is turning 13 on Sat Oct. 12th….. Are there any secrets that you are aware of, of any parks or places that do anything extra special for birthdays at very little to no charge, just nice surprises?

*We are attending the Mickeys not so scary Halloween parade on that Monday. Is there any helpful hints or great secrets you can fill me in on for this.

*We selected the Quick Service meal plan. Was wondering if there were any quick service restaurants that you recommend way above others. Would just be great to know…..

*My wife and I are also celebrating our When we met Anniversay down there that Thursday. Any advice on anything at the resort, where I could have flowers or wine or something to those regards delivered?

And last, just any information of awesome things at the Art of Animation itself you could tell us or any secrets of anything going on the week that we are there? Since there are so many questions I asked, please feel free to email me with the attached address.

I thank you so much for any help or information!!!!! This trip is honest to god the biggest dream come true of my life that I have worked so many years hoping there would come a day. I am asking your EXPERT advice so I can hopefully make this more perfect than imaginable! Or as they say at Disney, Magical!!!!! 🙂


Sheffield, Pennsylvania

871 Dave { 09.24.13 at 7:21 am }

Hi Jason and I bet you’ll have a blast!

On your questions:

For birthdays, see the second half of this:

For the Halloween Party, see this, especially the part on “Strategy” at the end:

The quick service restaurants I recommend are in my itineraries–see for example this:

The Disney World florist can have flowers delivered to your room, but not wine–if I were you, I;d skip the price of that and spend it instead on a nice dinner with just the two of you. There’s no inexpensive way to do this…Suggest Artist Point at the Wilderness Lodge or Jiko at the Animal Kingdom Lodge

Finally on the Art of Animation Resort check out my reviews starting here (for 4 person rooms) or here for the six person rooms

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872 Ava { 09.25.13 at 10:26 pm }

Hi Dave,
We’re arriving at WDW on 4/19 and leaving 4/25. We plan on visiting MK two days, HS one day and AK another day with one day off to relax at our resort. I know this week will be extremely crowded given the fact that it’s spring break, but do you have any recommendations as to which parks we should visit on which days? The day we arrive and leave, we’re not planning any park visits. Almost 180 days out and looking forward to finalizing our plans! Thanks for your help!

873 Jason { 09.26.13 at 8:47 am }

Everything you provided was very useful! Thanks so much Dave!

874 Dave { 09.26.13 at 11:15 am }

Ava, though not good, everything will be better later in your visit than earlier.

Skipping Epcot, here’s parks to avoid by day:

4/20: Avoid MK
4/21: Avoid Ak
4/22: Nothing stands out as worse than others
4/23: Avoid AK and HS
4/24: Avoid MK
4/25: Avoid HS

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875 Mary { 09.29.13 at 11:04 pm }

Dave, just so you know, I did get in touch with Disney about our old tickets (1992) and was pleased to find they are still good !! Apparently all tickets prior to 2005 with no expiry date can still be used but have to be traded for an updated electronic ticket. (no extra cost) I do have a question though. We have already purchased tickets for December but because we are staying off Disney property, we have to pick them up at the ticket counters at Disney. Can that be done in any park ? Also, can one or two from our group of eleven go and get all the tickets or do we all have to wait in line. There are five kids ages 1 to 12, so you can understand why I would rather we not all have to wait for tickets. Thanks for your help Dave.


876 Dave { 09.30.13 at 7:07 am }

Mary, thanks for the update! Yes, you can go to any park. I’m not certain if just a couple of you can do it for everyone or not.

877 Lisa { 10.01.13 at 12:31 am }

Hi Dave,
We are in fastpass+ test at all star sports. We checked in online and got our magic bands..Do we need to check in at sports still for any reason, or can we go straight to epcot right off magic express?

878 Dave { 10.01.13 at 7:08 am }

Lisa, here’s the word–which another of my readers confirmed with Disney: you should be able to go to straight to the parks, but because its a test, there’s a chance your MagicBands might be messed up.

So I’d go to the resort first.

Among other things you’ll get your “Key to the World” card there, which serves as a backup to the MagicBand

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879 Kathy { 10.13.13 at 1:17 pm }

I love this site. We are traveling with 15 people. 4 generations and meeting 4 other family members who live in Orlando. My parents are 73 we plan on renting scooters for them. (Can you recommend a company?) There are 5 of us in our early 50’s our children are late 20’s and the great grand children are 6, 5 they live there and will only be joining a couple days. We have a 3 year old and a 5 month old. You can see by our itinerary that we have a full schedule would you recommend getting park hopper passes? Also would you recommend go to the Christmas party at magic kingdom? We are traveling with the younger children because this would be my parents last time to Disney as a family. I plan on returning again when my 3 year old granddaughter is older. As you can see we have booked dining reservations that can’t be changed due to having 18 people we are staying at carribean beach resort and took advantage of the free dining. My main question is is it worth the extra 65 per ticket to get the park hopper and should we spend the extra money for the Christmas party?
Saturday December 14th Downtown Disney
Planet Hollywood 5:30
Sunday December 15th
Hollywood Studio extra hours 9 am- 10 pm
Hollywood and Vine 3:50 confirmed special seating starting at 6:00 for
Fantasmic at 6:30
Monday December 16th
Magic Kingdom extra magic hours late 9 am- 11 pm
Light parade at 8, wishes at 9
Confirmed Crystal Palace at 5:00 for 18 people
Tuesday December
Illuminations at 9:30 pm
Chef Mickeys at Contemporary Resort at 6:25 for 19 people
Wednesday December 18th
Animal Kingdom
Rainforest Cafe at 4:30 at Animal Kingdom for 18
Thursday December 19th
Magic Kingdom
Ohana at 5:05 for 19 people
Friday December 20th
Epcot open
Lunch at Coral Reef 12:30

Thanks for any advice you can give us.

880 Dave { 10.14.13 at 6:14 am }

Kathy, I actually answered you similar question here yseterday:

On your itinerary…see this for what I’d recommend that week–it’s not an exact fit, but it is close:

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881 Stefanie { 10.14.13 at 8:53 am }

Hello Dave,
Thank you so much for answering my question under another topic so quickly 🙂 I do have another question though. I don’t remember where, I must confess, I’ve looked at a lot of sites, but I read somewhere that Disney was changing their
policy on handicapped people and the lines because of abuse.i was wondering if you’ve heard anything more on this subject?

882 Kathy { 10.14.13 at 10:38 pm }

Sorry about the double question. I forgot which section I was in to ask my questions.
Thanks again,

883 Dave { 10.15.13 at 7:10 am }
884 Dave { 10.15.13 at 7:21 am }

No worries, Kathy, it happens all the time 🙂

885 Christie { 10.18.13 at 11:15 am }

Okay Dave! We are all booked and ready…Resort check, dining reservations check. Now, for my question…We will be there for my birthday and would like to do an “adult” dinner (we have reservations at the California Grill). However, I can’t find alot of reviews on the kids clubs on the Disney properties. I can find all the choices, what ages, how much, what they do, but I can’t find alot of reviews from people that have actually used them.

Any recommendations from you? Or do you know of another site that does?

886 Dave { 10.19.13 at 8:19 am }

Christie, have a great trip! I don’t know of such a page that I can recommend. I found this, but it’s thin:

I’ll check with some buddies to see if they have recommendations…

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887 Mary @Capturing Magical Memories { 10.19.13 at 2:23 pm }

Christie, Here is some information I have posted on them:

We have used the Kids Club in the past for an older child. They were fun for the kids and I would not hesitate in leaving them there. They are served a light dinner and they will not be bored.

Another option if the kids are younger is Kids Night Out. They actually come to your room and bring a suitcase of fun. They are the ONLY in room sitter service recommended by Disney. We have taken to do this lately and LOVE them. They kids actually complain when the sitter has to leave.

If you have any questions feel free to contact me at my site.

888 Dave { 10.20.13 at 6:54 am }

Thanks, Mary!!

889 Jeanne { 10.25.13 at 2:25 pm }

bout taking photos all over the place, but the price is high. I also wonder bout the quality of the Disney Please comment. Hopefully I will find the answer since it is the first place on the site.

890 Jeanne { 10.25.13 at 2:30 pm }

I see that part of the question was deleted, and I thought it was simply too much for the box, and was hidden behind. My question: Is the $149 cd photo pkg. from Disney something to consider? It is expensive, but is appealing in that I would not have to be setting up photo ops all the time. I was also wondering about the quality of the photos. Please advise.

891 Chad { 10.25.13 at 10:29 pm }

Great site Dave. We are finishing up our first visit and your site was extremely helpful, unbelievably thorough, and very accurate. Now that we’re winding the trip up, my question is this… What is the best route to take if we plan to visit every year?

892 Dave { 10.26.13 at 7:54 am }

Jeanne, I have mixed feeling s about value for money here. If you would buy ride/meet n greet photos anyway–see for example the three photos in the middle of this: then it’s a good deal. Otherwise I’d just go with your own cameras… the photographers will take shots of you with your camera, so you can get everybody…

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893 Dave { 10.26.13 at 7:59 am }

Chad, thanks for the kind words!! The best route to take–well some take 95, others swear by 75, and others the Florida Turnpike.

Ha ha, I’m funny.

Tell me a little more about what you are wondering about…how to minimize ticket costs? Hotel costs? And what hotel type (values, deluxe etc)…and what else you are thinking…

894 Anonymous { 10.27.13 at 9:45 pm }

I am looking to save some money mostly. We stayed at the Polynesian and thought it was great. We did 8 days with 7 days of park visits, with the Dining Plan. I have twin 5 year olds (will be 6 in Dec.) and a 3 year old. I would like to do an 8 or 9 day visit every year or two. I’m wondering if you think Vacation Club is a good option, or if there is another route to take?

895 Jodi { 11.02.13 at 7:22 pm }

It’s that time again, thanks to your wisdom-to book trip 3 since 2011. Seriously could not make this happen without your insight. You’ve provided enough info to let us book at the 181 day mark this time (had PIN’s the previous trips, we can make it happen this time with all your $$ saving tips, though still hoping for a pin is attached before we leave!) So that being said, I am just about set to do my ADR’s in a few days so I checked the park schedules (taking week ranked #5 2014 ). I get the Magic Hours to assist in my ADR’s, however all schedules for MK Wishes and HS Fantasmic are only list one show (10 pm Wishes, 9 pm Fantasmic) per night. Have they scaled back Fantasmic to one performance per night and Wishes to a later time for good or is 6 months too early for the correct show schedule? As always – much thanks!!

896 Dave { 11.03.13 at 9:44 am }

Jodi, thanks for the kind words, and I’m so glad the site is helping!

Two answers:

1. the Wishes time is normal–it shifts over the course of the year with the later sunset, stabilizing at 10p as the latest time…there’s pretty much always only one per night, with 4th of July and New Years Eve being exceptions

2. Ditto on Fantasmic, which can be as early as 6.30p and a slate as 10.30p. One show per night most nights is typical during the less crowded periods of the year. Sometimes a second show is added–usually about the middle of the prior month (e.g. around April 15) but sometime even the week before.

See this for the final 2013 schedule for the equivalent week;

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897 Karen Venable { 11.04.13 at 10:19 am }

Hi Dave. We are from Louisiana and I am a school teacher. The vacation is for myself, my husband, daughter 16 and son 12. I am trying to plan a trip to WDW either during our Mardi Gras holiday 3/5/14-3/9/14 or sometime during Easter. Mardi Gras day is 3/4/14, but my daughter is at the age where it is a sin to miss Mardi Gras Day! We are off for Easter 4/18/14-4/27/14. Again, I am a school teacher so we are on a budget. Do you have any suggestions on better times for prices and crowds? Where could we get the full experience hotel wise? Thanks so much,

898 Dave { 11.05.13 at 7:28 am }

Karen, I do think that Mardi Gras week will be less crowded than the week after Easter–though crowds will go down quite a bit starting around 4/22. Prices vary both periods–see this

For my recommended hotels in order by price, see this:

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899 DB { 11.07.13 at 9:46 pm }

Hi Dave:
Heading to WDW 11/18-24. Need to finalize park days on 11/19, 21 & 22…which of those days should we go to MK, AK and HS for lowest crowds?

900 Dave { 11.08.13 at 7:41 am }

DB, of those three days, MK will have lowest crowds the 22nd–partly because it has an early close of 7p. Next best is the 21st (also an early close) and most crowded–though not bad– will be the 19th.

Ak will be fine those days, tho i like the 19th best.

HS will also not see much difference…

901 Jeanne { 11.08.13 at 4:37 pm }

Should I avoid EPCOT on days when it has late evening Magic hours? I planned to be there all day since it is our last day and we have luncheon reservations for the Biergarten as part of our pkg. I do not think we will be able to alter the reservation since everything is booked up. Should we worry about the crowds for the whole day? Should we go as planned and stay there all day from early morning or should we go elsewhere in the morning and arrive only at our luncheon time?

902 Dave { 11.09.13 at 9:22 am }

Jeanne I actually like Epcot on evening EMH days, becasue you don’t have to leave right after Illuminations. Yes it’s more crowded than other days, but arrive before it opens and it’ll be fine!

903 Jeanne { 11.14.13 at 4:29 pm }

I was just reading through your December recommendations for the Polynesian lodging, and I see that you are recommending Tahiti and Rapa Nui for their convenience which is a super high priority for me. Is that for next year because I thought you wrote that for December it would be best to go with Tokelau, and I know that is not as close to the Ticket Center and I guess that is also an express monorail to MK. Am I even close with that thought? I will be there the first week in December and I will be confirming everything with the travel agent on Saturday. So, what’s the call for December this year? It is our first visit and convenience has a high priortiy for me—I figure we will do enough walking at the parks. Thanks for the Epcot info.

904 Dave { 11.15.13 at 7:33 am }

Jeanne, go with Tokelau. It’s the only one of the three that was renovated this year, and the convenience difference is pretty small…

905 Cathy Perry { 12.01.13 at 10:18 pm }

Dave, I have learned so much from your site. One thing that I learned is that we are not spending enough days. My family, that includes a pregnant daughter and a 5 year old grandson, is going for one of the ideal December weeks, arriving on a Sunday and leaving the following Saturday. We have already purchased 4 days of tickets. Do you think it would be better to try to include Sea World on the fifth day or extend our WDW tickets to five days?

906 Dave { 12.02.13 at 7:00 am }

Hi Kathy! I’m so glad the site is helping! At that age…I think I’d just wait and see. You can add a fifth day on the fourth day of use, and it’ll be a lot cheaper than a SW ticket. Or you may find that you just need a day off…

907 alice { 12.06.13 at 3:25 am }

good post

908 Dave { 12.07.13 at 3:09 pm }

Thanks, Alice!

909 Daniel (from Brazil) { 12.10.13 at 7:49 am }

Fantastic site! thank you!
I’m planning to go with my family (wife and 3 kids, aged 17, 11, 4), but my options are July (expensive air tickets and high crowds), right after Christmas (highest crowds), or January (rides under maintenance). It will be a first-time and possibly the only visit, and I’m considering to stay at the Polynesian. Could you share your thoughts regarding my best option of when to go? other possibility would be a reduced trip from March 1st to March 5th. thanks a lot!

910 Dave { 12.11.13 at 8:28 am }

Hi Daniel! I’m not keen on your choices. Rule out after Christmas (too crowded, and expensive) and March (too short). Then you are left with July–hot, crowded, but most rides will be open vs January–cold, uncrowded, a few rides unavailable. I have a slight preference for July but it’s not strong…

911 Maria D { 12.12.13 at 11:04 am }

Hello – Yes… I am going to Disney the week after Christmas 2013. I arrive late on Fri. 12/27 and will be checking out 1 week later on Fri. 1/3 and we are staying in a time share about 5 minutes from the magic kingdom. We were thinking about getting a 4 day single park pass, thinking it would be too much to hop and just too crowded. I have 2 children 5 and 7. I know it is going to be crowded but was looking for some tips. This is their first visit to Disney world but they have been to Disneyland 2 times. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

912 Dave { 12.13.13 at 8:55 am }

Hi Maria, I don’t really have any tips that will help much, other than to delay your park visits to the end of your dates (except skip the 31st entirely). The parks will still be crowded then, but will be much better than they will the 28th-1st…

913 Jodi { 12.14.13 at 11:47 pm }

Hi Dave -Been fortunate enough to have 2 prior trips (1 gift & 1 last minute – we can do this) and have always used your site for help. Well this year was the planned trip – our perfect weather time & crowd time falls just around our daughter ‘s birthday – and probably the last year I can take her out of school!! Thanks to everything on your site, things are working out great!! Had our reservation set prior to 180 days. Got on ADR site at 6 am at 180 days and got all reservations I wanted – even Be Our Guest for dinner – going on your info I went for the last night of our stay, first and no problem. Was hoping for Fast Pass +, however this will be our third time at Wilderness Lodge (perfect for a family of 3!) so I didn’t know if that would happen. I was so thrilled when I got a package from WDW today in the mail for My Magic +! I will be ordering our bands and scheduling attractions shortly!! Happy Holidays and as always,
thanks for your help!! I’m sure I’ll be back for guidance!! Best!

914 Dave { 12.15.13 at 10:36 am }

Oh Jodi, how sweet of you to write, and I am so glad the site is helping!!!

915 leandro sollaci { 12.25.13 at 3:18 pm }

Hi. I am from Brazil and I intend to go to disney on 12/30/2014 to see the new year eve. I´d like to know if the best view to watch firework is the Tomorrowland Terrace or in front of the castle ? Could you give me this clue ? I think to watch it in front of the castle I need to spend more than 4 hours waiting there that´s why I am concerned about it. Tks.

916 Dave { 12.26.13 at 10:15 am }

Leandro, there’s many other good spots to see the fireworks from that won’t require so long a wait…I don’t know if 4 hour is right, but that viewing location isn’t worth 4 hours. See this

917 Gregory Wallace { 12.27.13 at 10:17 am }

I am planning a trip in August and I am arriving mid week. Since I am arriving mid week will it be hard to get reservations for the “Be our guest Restaurant” for that first weekend?

918 Dave { 12.28.13 at 10:35 am }

Gregory, all arrival dates have had a rough time getting BOG reservations. See this:

919 Katt { 12.30.13 at 10:53 pm }

Nice interactive blog. It’s 12/31 and we are going to risk arriving at Epcot mid-day tomorrow. We are staying close enough to be turned away without too much disappointment and no children in tow. I will say that years past we ventured into the MK mid-day on NYE and I would not subject myself to that kind of mass humanity en masse again, ever. Thanks for the information. I will let you know how it goes so you can pass it on.

920 Dave { 12.31.13 at 7:09 am }

Good luck Katt!!!

921 Anna { 01.01.14 at 10:50 am }

Hi Dave,
Your site is spectacular! I’ve been using it to plan our April 2014 trip. One question for you – are there any activities/restaurants you specifically recommend for boys? We will be traveling with 2 girls and 2 boys, all age 6 and younger. There are so many activities and restaurants geared toward girls and princess themed, but the boys are “all boy” if you know what I mean. Character dining with Pooh or Mary Poppins will probably not be up their alley. I have made reservations at the Pirates League, but is there anything else you would recommend? Thanks in advance and Happy New Year!

922 Dave { 01.02.14 at 8:03 am }

Hi Anna, and thanks!!!

For the boys, besides the Pirates League, also consider Jedi Training at Hollywood Studios. See this:

923 Veronica { 01.02.14 at 8:53 pm }

Hello Dave,

I love your site. I’d like to pick your brain and expertise. I’m planning a trip for 10/25/2014 – 10/30/2014 for me, my husband and our 7 yr. old daughter. We live in Louisiana and are not sure if we should fly out of New Orleans or just drive . Where should we stay that would be easy on our budget. I’m so nervous about planning this trip. Please help me so we get the most out of our 1st trip to WDW.


924 Dave { 01.03.14 at 8:34 am }

Hi Veronica and thanks!

On the drive, that’s a tough call. It’ll be 10+ hours each way, but likely will save hundreds compared to flying the three of you–plus you’ll have a car at WDW which, while not required, is handy…

There’s no good place to stay that’s also easy on the budget! The lowest cost place that your daughter will also love is likely the Little Mermaid rooms at Art of Animation–see this:

These rooms book fast so I’d check now to see if any are available…

925 Melissa { 01.05.14 at 4:58 pm }

Hi Dave. When is the seven dwarfs ride expected to open?

926 Joanna { 01.05.14 at 8:56 pm }

Can you tell me if you have a favorite decade to stay at in the Pop Century? Where is it the quietest? Is there a best location?

927 Dave { 01.06.14 at 8:10 am }

Melissa, the best I have on this–which isn’t much–is here:

928 Dave { 01.06.14 at 8:29 am }
929 fred porter { 01.06.14 at 10:32 am }

I have reservations for June 2014 during time that new discounts have just been offered. Do you know if I will be entitled to those discounts? And if yes how do I go about getting them?

Thank you!!

930 Dave { 01.06.14 at 10:37 am }

Fred, the scoop on the deal is here: Just go online or call Disney and try to get into it, and if successful, cancel your other reservation. There’s a link to Disney’s page on the deal at the end, and the phone number is on that Disney page…

931 Jennifer M { 01.06.14 at 11:28 am }

Hi Dave, is it better to do the online check in? Or can we wait and just check in when we arrive at the hotel? Also, if we do online check in, can we change any info once we get to the hotel? Like the credit card we set up for magic Band purchases?

932 shaz { 01.06.14 at 7:01 pm }

hi thinking of booking up for 2 weeks from 30th march 2014 to 14th april , the spring break and anticipated easter crowd is putting me off a bit , I know easter is late dis year so was wondering wat effect that will have on the week prior to easter and how long into april will the spring break crowds last for, finally isit sunbathing weather in early april thanx

933 Natasha { 01.06.14 at 9:42 pm }

Hello Dave,
I have to tell you, I think you are quite the hero when it comes to assisting all of us first timers to plan our trips. I still find the planning process overwhelming but I cant imagine what I’d do or where I’d be without your site.
Heres a brief rundown of our situation: 8 travellers, myself, husband, my parents and our three children ages 22 (plus her boyfriend) and 8 year old girl and 6 year old boy. We are planning on staying on resort probably in 1 family suite and one standard room in Art of Animation. We are from Canada (Ontario, specifically) but are planning on flying Monday to Monday from Buffalo simply because of the cost savings. We are going to try our best to follow the Autumn-Spring-Summer Itinerary but will not be going to Cirque (sadly but at $100/person it’s just not financially feasible). We will also not be getting Park Hoppers passes. Just wondering if you could advise me on how to modify for monday to monday. Also, I get a little confused when I try to figure out the parks and coordinate the meals and parades, do you have them already organized for the non-park hopper passes? We are happy to enjoy extra down time as we are hoping not to return home more tired then when we left…lol
Thanks for your time and for everything you do on this site! It never ceases to amaze me!

934 Natasha { 01.06.14 at 9:58 pm }

Oops, probably helpful to know we plan to travel April 28th to May 5th and my middle daughter will celebrate her 9th birthday while we are there on the 2nd, if you have any special advice on how best to spend her big day….
Also, I just saw on the bottom of your site the dedication to you mother (I believe) and I wanted to pass on our condolences.
Thanks again,

935 Dave { 01.07.14 at 8:14 am }

Jennifer, I can’t think of any reason to delay on-line check in, or to not do it. And yes, you can change your credit card at the desk!

936 Dave { 01.07.14 at 8:24 am }
937 Dave { 01.07.14 at 8:28 am }

Natasha you are so kind! Thanks! I can help–but I need to know your dates…

938 Dave { 01.07.14 at 8:36 am }

OK got it.

First start with this–it’s a seven night version

In it, do what it says as
First Sunday on Monday
Monday on Thursday
Thursday on second Sunday
Seocnd Sunday on second Monday.
To avoid the need for hoppers, do the AK part of Saturday on Tuesday–keeping Hoop on Tuesday, and spend Saturday am at MK.

You will need to supplement this with FastPass+ . See this:

On the birthday, see this:

939 Natasha { 01.07.14 at 9:34 pm }

Thanks so much Dave, I am well on my way to filling in a blank itinerary with all you tips so I don’t get confused… :-). Just a couple of other questions: #1 – Do you think staying at the Art of Animation is a good choice? #2 – It looks like we will be spending Monday evening of our arrival and Friday (the birthday day) at Epcot..should I try to book the Akershus Banquet Dinner for the birthday? #3 – Do you think that spending Friday at Epcot is the best choice on her birthday?
Thanks again for all you time and assistance.

940 Dave { 01.08.14 at 10:04 am }

Yes Art of Animation is my highest-ranked value. Epcot is good on Fridays because it has extra hours after Illuminations, meaning you won’t face massive crowds at park close. And yes Akershus is a great idea for Friday!

941 connie { 01.08.14 at 9:17 pm }

HI dave,

my family of 4 (2 adults and a 7yo and 4&1/2 yo) are arriving Feb 21/14 and leaving Feb 28. I’ve only booked the princess boutique experience for my daughter at Downtown Disney late morning on the Saturday. and have loosely planned Epcot for the 21st. Any other suggestions? The height restrictions may apply to my daughter (40-some inches tall and can be frightened). I probably need to book a sit down supper or two soon. I’d appreciate restaurant suggestions too. At some point, I think we’ll do AK and Hollywood studios and of course MK (maybe split that between 2 days). thanks in advance,


942 Dave { 01.09.14 at 5:23 am }

Connie, I don’t have anything that’s a tight fit to your visit–my material is for older kids. But take a look at this: It includes restaurants…

943 Beth { 01.09.14 at 9:45 am }

Hi Dave,
Just want to start by saying used your site to plan our first trip last April and it was spot on. Really super helpful. My question to you is that we are planning a trip this time with grandparents this coming Oct. BC my parents can’t get around quite as quickly as us, we thought perhaps a moderate hotel would be more comfortable and faster to parks. However seems like while quieter and more comfy, the moderates don’t have that feeling of being immersed in Disney culture for the little ones like AoA or Pop for our 6 year old. Thoughts?

944 Dave { 01.10.14 at 6:57 am }

Hi Beth, and I’m so glad the site helped!!!

The mods are definitely Disney, but not quite so recognizable as such to the little ones. More to the point, they are a pain to get around unless you stay at POFQ, or buy a “preferred” room at one of the others.

Have you considered a family suite at Art of Animation? The Nemo section is convenient, and it sleeps 6 in two spaces… See

945 Sarah { 01.10.14 at 1:33 pm }

Hi Dave
Probably choose the worst two weeks to come to Disney we land on 20th Dec 14 and it’s my sons 11th birthday on 21st. We are staying off site at the doubletree at sea world – got a great deal for booking early here in the UK. We have been before many years ago and have no idea what to do and where to go first. What would your suggestions be for a birthday meal on the 21st and a planner for all parks. Unfortunately a we can’t get the disney dining plan but have heard you can get discount eating cards are these worth getting? Would really love to fit it all in , we leave on 3rd Jan 15. Oops and another thing what to do on New Year’s Eve ? Can we pre-book a restaurant and how far in advance? Where would you suggest. Sorry to bombard you with questions but I only have a year to go!!!, lol thx. Sarah

946 Dave { 01.11.14 at 8:54 am }

Sarah, if I were you I’d just cancel and book a more civilized date…

I won’t have any specific suggestions for those dates until Disney’s operating calendar for then comes out, which it will (for December) in late May. You can’t get discount eating cards for WDW unless you also buy an annual pass. If you buy an AP, you can then get the discount card (called Tables in Wonderland) , which costs another $100 but saves you 20% at most WDW table service. You can book restaurants at WDW beginning 180 days before the finding date.

While all your days will be horrible, they will be better before the 25th and after the 1st. New years Eve is a mess–waits exceed 4 hours in 2013 at some rides. Me, I’d stay in my hotel on NYE… or go to the Animal Kingdom park, which because it has no special celebration, isn’t packed.

947 Nickey { 01.16.14 at 11:10 pm }


Our big trip is in 6 weeks and we are trying to decide whether or not to fly and utilize Magical Express. Mousesavers suggests that getting your luggage can be a hassle once at your Disney resort. What other complaints have you experienced or heard about? Are there big advantages? Thoughts?…

948 Dave { 01.17.14 at 6:44 am }

Nickey, waiting for the Magical Express bus, riding the bus, then waiting some more as it makes a couple of other stops, and then being in a long line at check-in with everyone else who rode the bus, are also points of frustration for some. All in, grabbing your own bags and renting a car or taking a cab is much faster and more reliable–but of course you’ll pay $150 round trip for a cab…

949 Nick { 01.20.14 at 7:03 am }

Hi Dave
This site has helped me find sanity in a sea of chaos. I’m planning my first family trip to Disneyworld for my family of 3 for next year (the last 2 weeks of october) from the UK. We’re looking to stay onsite and i just wondered who you think would be the best option for travel for someone from overseas. The best deluxe price i can find (my wife fell in love with Wilderness Lodge) is £6300 (thats a price for 2014) on the Disney site itself.

Many thanks in advance, i hope you realise how much people like me appreciate everything you done by setting up this site.

950 Paul { 01.20.14 at 8:23 am }

Hi Dave
I have booked our first trip arriving early evening on the 27th November (thanksgiving) staying at the Grand Floridian for 10 nights. We have a 4 year old child. Would you advise any changes to the following Itinerary? I am concerned about the first weekend being really busy!

28th Nov – Magic Kingdom all day
29th Nov – Magic Kingdom afternoon and evening fireworks
30th Nov – Animal Kingdom all day
1st Dec – Animal Kingdom afternoon followed by Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue
2nd Dec – Hollywood Studios all day
3rd Dec – Hollywood Studios afternoon followed by Fantasmic
4th Dec – Seaworld all day
5th Dec – Epcot afternoon followed by Candle Light Proc and Illuminations
6th Dec – Blizzard Beach or Typhoon Lagoon (subject to weather)
7th Dec – Gospel Brunch then fly home

Thanks in advance. Great website!

951 Dave { 01.21.14 at 7:45 am }

Nick, thanks so much for the kind words! You’ve made my day.

Sadly, in response I can’t help much on your specific questions. From the UK you will see both different prices and different deals than I can see–in particular, I believe, via Virgin. Suggest you check out a UK based Disney discussion board the dibb–see

952 Dave { 01.21.14 at 7:49 am }

Paul, I won’t be able to comment on the specific dates until Disney releases it calendar for December, which won’t do for more than 3 months.

However, I can tell you now that you are wildly over-scheduled for a 4yo. What you’ve laid out would be tough for an older kid. Moreover, there’s not enough for your child to do on all these days.

I’d suggest at MK 2-3 mornings, an afternoon, and an evening, and a morning each at the other three Disney parks. I don’t know enuf about Sea World to know if there’s enuf content there for a four year old, but I still doubt the stamina exists for a full day. I’d skip, at that age, the gospel brunch, and probably hoop dee doo too…

953 Nick { 01.21.14 at 8:29 am }

Thanks for the reply Dave.

I believe that closer to the time i’ll call around to find the best price i can but at the moment sourcing the holiday from Disney ( themselves seems the cheapest option by far, but i will contact as many agents as i can to get the best deal around the beginning of 2015 to fly out mid-october.
My current plan will be 2 weeks at Wilderness lodge, with the 14 day disney park ticket and standard dining plan (1 waiter, 1 quick serve, 1 snack, and refillable drink). Though i’ll end up paying for the dining plan i believe that if Disney do release any offers after i’ve paid for the time i’m leaving they will apply the discount / refund after the fact (unless you can shed any light on this)?
1 final question, as this may be our only trip, i would like to take my family (myself, wife and 7 year old son to Universal Studios / IoA. We’ve been waiting for him to meet the height requirement for Universal as well (he’s quite tall for his age). As we’re staying onsite at disney we won’t be renting a car, but rely on their shuttle bus etc. I did find details of a company (dreams unlimited travel) who offer a park ticket and roundtrip offer for US / IoA and wondered if you had any knowledge on these company? I believe they’re run by Mears?

Many thanks again!

954 Veronica { 01.21.14 at 10:37 pm }

Hi Dave,

Thanks for helping with travel and hotel recommendations. I’d like to see if you could also help the itinerary. We are planning on arriving around noon on Sat. 10/25/14 and leaving Thursday, 10/30/14 at noon. We are getting 5 park tickets for 3 (2 adults/1 -7 yr old grl). We are planning MK on Sat, AK on Sun, HS on Mon., Epcot on Tues., and MK on Wed., Or would it be better to switch Epcot and MK? Also do you recommend on getting the park hoppers? Do you think it would be worth it? I was thinking of buying the park tickets off of undercover tourist and then adding dining option on arrival. Do you think this is wise or should I just add everything as a package? Please let me know if there is anything I’ve missed or if I should change anything. Your expertise is highly valued.

Thank you so much,

955 Dave { 01.22.14 at 7:28 am }

Hi Nick a couple of responses

–Mears is the principal Orlando shuttle company, so you should be OK with that. But frankly you should consider a night at a Universal hotel—the perks are amazing and will make your days there go much better. See this Not listed on it is Universal’s hotle that opening this year, Cabana Bay. It is cheaper, but isn’t expected to have all the perks of its more expensive siblings

–Disney does not “apply the discount.” If they offer one, you have to contact them to try to book it. You’ll be competing with the rest of the world for the inventory of the discount, so stay close to such offers. You’ll find the major worldwide deals here as they show up: but I don’t track UK-only deals…

Hope this helps!!

956 Dave { 01.22.14 at 8:00 am }

Veronica, I won’t have park recommendations for October until Disney publishes its calendar for then, which it will do in about two months.

I’m almost certain that you can’t add the dining option in arrival. Not only do you need to book it ahead of time, but also you need to make a minimum ticket buy to be eligible for it as well. I personally would skip the dining plan and go with UT. The dining plan used to save a ton of money; now, not so much.

With a seven year old and such a short trip the hopper may be helpful. But I’d skip it for now, and add it to your tix on site if you decide you really want it then…

957 Luisa { 01.22.14 at 3:24 pm }

Hi Dave,
Going to Disney Orlando for the first time March 3-6th with my two boys ages 3.5 and 8. I know I have limited time and we will be staying at the Wilderness Lodge. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated and I know I cant do the park nor my kids for a full day. At first this was may plan (but i keep changing it!) First day we arrive 12:30 at MCO airport. Was thinking to hit Hollywood studios or Epcot around 5. tuesday MK early and afternoons at resort and third day either Epcot or Hollywood studios. But now Im thinking that its going to be very stressful. So arrival day do downtown disney (anything special/interesting we shouldnt miss?) with a dinner and day two MK and day 3 either HS or Epcot. We leave thursday at 2:30 so I think we can stay in the resort. Not sure of anything though anymore. To much to see, too much to do in so little time and I know I cant keep myself out all day and my kids as well. Also any nice themed restaurants that they would enjoy? Thank you so much!

958 Dave { 01.23.14 at 7:27 am }

Luisa, just to simplify things–it can easily take 2+ days just to see MK, and MK is the easiest park to get to form the Wilderness Lodge. Given how short your trip is, and the ages of your kids, I’d focus on that.

Skip DTD–it’s a pain to get to, and uninteresting for kids.

For where to eat, see this–but book soon, as the best-loved restaurants begin to fill as far as 6 months ahead of time:

959 Pam { 01.23.14 at 5:21 pm }

Going on first trip to DW in November 2014. What week would be the best. We would like to go to Mickey Christmas Party. Children will be 16 and 17. Any info will be helpful

960 Dave { 01.24.14 at 2:04 pm }

Pam, see the weeks ranked #1, 4, and 9 here: All will have the Party!

961 Jennifer M { 01.27.14 at 5:51 pm }

Hey Dave, I have a question for you. I’ve been looking around on google earth and I found a building across from the Downtown Disney main entrance. It has a fountain out front that says “Heigh Ho, Heigh Ho, its off to work we go”. On the back side of this building it has Baby Cakes NY and Goofy’s Candy Co. Can you tell me the name of this building and if its open to the public? If it helps, it is south and a bit west of the main entrance to DTD. To access it you would turn the opposite way from entering DTD.

962 Dave { 01.28.14 at 9:24 am }

OMG Jennifer, I dunno! If it’s the building in the image–that’s Casting and not open to the public Casting

963 Jennifer M { 01.28.14 at 10:55 am }

Yes! Thats the building!!! Well, thanks for solving that mystery. No wonder why there aren’t many pics on Google Earth of it. Thanks Dave!

964 Dave { 01.29.14 at 7:27 am }


965 Lisa { 02.01.14 at 10:31 pm }

finally narrowed down our dates for our trip to DW we will be there from March 27th to April 9th. I believe if my memory serves me correctly these dates are not bad for crowds especially into April. We have 10 day passes, can you suggest what days to attend which parks? Can you recommend a trip agenda? We also are thinking of renting a car and taking in Universal, or should we just use shuttle service? Should we allow 1 or two days for that, and out of this week which dates would you recommend for Universal, also we will be staying at Port Orleans and better room locations here?

966 Tammy { 02.02.14 at 5:04 am }

Hi, Dave! You MUST write a guidebook and make a little MORE pixie dust. We would ALL buy it. We are in MONDAY (2/24) – TUESDAY (3/4) to take full advantage of the Spring special. That is the one schedule option you don’t already have in downloadable form. My hubby and 4 year old son will have great fun at Hollywood Studios. We have 8 day base tickets. We wish to work in Kennedy Space Center and were aiming for the Thursday off to do Kennedy. Do you have an Autumn/Spring schedule with Monday arrival to suggest?

967 Tammy { 02.02.14 at 6:11 am }

Hi, Dave! Me, again! I forgot to mention that we are staying at POP. We chose the dates based on the recommended 8 night/9 day stay AND the spring special on-site. We aren’t 100% sold on the Dining Plan, but have reservations for the room, tickets, and dining plan thus far. Any help you could provide would be most appreciated. (The build your own itinerary is frightening, at best, and you are clearly the Obi-Wan on all things Disney!)

968 Dave { 02.02.14 at 8:38 am }

Lisa, I don’t have an itinerary that fits, but start with this as modified for FastPass+ by this Note that on it “Monday” means Monday, not “Day 3.” Take a lok and give me your reactions.

I have suggested room locations in both of the Port Orleans resorts in their reviews–see this for links to them

In general, Universal is best Saturday to Monday. How much time to spend there depends on the ages of your kids. If they are teenagers, it could be 2-3 days. If they are younger than 8, then just a morning. Renting a car is always the easiest path. See this

Your dates crowds will be moderate until April 5, and fine after then.

969 Dave { 02.02.14 at 8:45 am }

Tammy, you are too sweet!

But sadly, I don’t–and moreover what I do have is all aimed at kids 8 and older! With a 4 year old, I’d spend 2-3 days at MK, and a morning at the other parks. See this I don’t know enough about Kennedy to be able to be helpful on when to go there…

So I guess you won’t be buying my book after all….

970 Tammy { 02.03.14 at 3:13 am }

A million thanks, Dave! I have decided to use your Autumn/Winter/Spring schedule as is using your Animal Kingdom Sunday/Hollywood Studios for Fantasmic template followed by the full day at Hollywood Studios the Monday before we depart. All still works perfectly with this in mind…and we are free to go to Kennedy Space Center Thursday. (Would you believe they pick up on site at Disne and return to same when the tour us over?! ) One last question: Does the So/HsAnimal Kingdom/Hollywood transition Sunday require a Park Hopper ticket?

971 Tammy { 02.03.14 at 3:17 am }

And, this book publicist still thinks you should do a book! 😉

972 Dave { 02.03.14 at 7:18 am }

Hi Tammy, yes you need a hopper to do that.

973 Dave { 02.03.14 at 7:22 am }

OK I may get back to you on that, Tammy…send me your email at 🙂

974 Lisa { 02.04.14 at 1:55 am }

Thanks for all the tips… I am struggling with making an itinery, our first full day will be on a Thursday and we will be there for two weeks basically leaving the following Wednesday night. We have 10 day park passes and will use the other 4 days for Universal and other traveling about.. We really aren’t morning people but are night owls, should we take advantage of the evening magic hours for our second week which will be quieter on the dates we have chosen or avoid magic hour dates completely? I have two teen boys how do you think we should split up our 10 days at the different parks and where should we put our trip to Universal in and away from the parks… I feel overwhelmed 🙂

975 Dave { 02.04.14 at 9:28 am }

Lisa, it’s always best to arrive before park open. You can alleyways then nap and return in the evenings if you wish.

In your shoes, I’d hit each of the 6 parks ( four Disney, two Universal) your first 6 or seven days, and then decide which you might want to return to at the end of your first visits based on your first experiences. It’s hard to tell what teens will glom on to…

976 Stu { 02.05.14 at 11:30 pm }

Wow! I am very overwhelmed to begin planning. I feel behind already. We are going the first week of June. Arriving Sat the 31st and departing Sat the 7th. Our twins are 7 years old and at least 48 inches each…What should we plan for each day Sunday to Friday? Thanks for any guidance, Stu in Denver.

977 Dave { 02.06.14 at 7:18 am }
978 James { 02.09.14 at 10:38 pm }

I just found this site & wish I would’ve found it sooner. Anyway we are going to WDW arriving the night of Tuesday April 22 staying at SOG and checking out Sunday April 27. Taking 2 11 year old girls, a senior citizen, my wife and me. We are using the 4 day hopper. Do you have an itinerary for this time frame? What parks are best for these days? What rides/area should we avoid? Thanks

979 Dave { 02.10.14 at 6:38 am }

Hi James and thanks! I don’t have itineraries for visits that short, but but see this:

980 Lisa { 02.11.14 at 2:03 am }

Hey Dave

The holiday plans are coming together, hemmed and hawed over taking the Disney Dining plan, after much consideration I am thinking to go with the basic plan with the counter service because, we just don’t normally eat that much food in a day, and my husband and one son are pretty picky /non adventuresome eaters, having said that we would still like to take in about 3-4 table service meals in 9 days and pay out of pocket for them. Can you suggest good table service restaurants that offer a variety of food choices..especially with American cuisine. Also would they allow a picky child over 12 to eat off the children’s menu? I hope I am making the right choice forgoing the table service dining plan.Thoughts, comments and feedback all welcome on this one!

981 Dave { 02.11.14 at 8:03 am }

Lisa, first, why do they dining plan at all? Second, buffets tend to have the widest selection–for American cuisine, Crystal Palace and Chef Mickeys come to mind. Finally, you can always order off the kid’s menu!

982 Lisa { 02.11.14 at 6:31 pm }

So.. Dave are you saying there are no or limited benefits to the dining plan? Our travel agent was yes you absolutely HAVE to get the dining plan you will be unhappy if you decide against it” …I thought maybe I was really missing out on something by not taking it..all seems a little complex and involves more planning and more structure. we are light eaters for the most part, and as said hubby and one child are super picky and not adventuresome..also we rarely if ever eat desert. We would be happy with a light breakfast in our room, followed by a buffet or one big meal during the day and a snack or too…maybe we should consider no plan… I dunno what to do lol! Advice on if a dining\ plan would be useful to us based on the above?

983 Dave { 02.12.14 at 8:13 am }

Your travel agent is wrong…

984 Danny { 02.13.14 at 12:58 pm }

Hi Dave, I don’t really know where else to contact you about this, I hope I am doing this in an okay place. If it doesn’t go here, then just remove it, but I’d like to share with you that I am doing a disney ride competition where you can vote for ride vs ride


Round 1 is almost done, so if you don’t see it soon, you might miss that, but you could vote in round 2 and rounds after that. If you are interested you can vote here. Just want to let you know so if you want to you can vote.

985 Melissa { 02.18.14 at 12:31 pm }

Hi – I can’t find my original post so I am going to try again on this page. We are planning a second trip to Disney World in 2014. My daughter really wants to go to Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach this time. I would like for the temperature to be in the 80s if we are going to the water parks. I would also like a low crowd and low cost week if possible. What weeks do you suggest? Thanks for your help!

986 Dave { 02.18.14 at 4:17 pm }
987 Gregory Wallace { 02.20.14 at 8:06 am }

Is er to spend the extra for cat 1 hoop de do if you have the dining plan or is cat 2 seating fine?

988 Dave { 02.20.14 at 10:38 am }

Gregory, Cat 2 is just fine. I prefer cat 1, but it is more expensive… See this:

989 charlotte { 02.20.14 at 3:18 pm }

Hi Dave, I love your site! we are going to WDW Feb,24th to March3rd. I am so upset the forcast is showing rain everyday we are there! Any advice for how to deal with the rain? I’m so sad as I thought it was more the dry season! Can we still have fun?

990 Bert { 02.20.14 at 3:28 pm }

We have two days to spend in the Magic Kingdom, we were thinking of splitting the park up kind of in half and doing one half one day and one the next, how. might be the best way to split the park to see as much as we can in each? One day has magic hours and the other one does not.

991 Cathy { 02.20.14 at 3:39 pm }

Hi Dave, I am traveling with 2 other families to Disney (14 total) for the first time arriving late afternoon on August 10, 2014 and Leaving August 17, 2014 early morning. We are staying offsite at a timeshare resort and renting cars. We are all going to visit 2 parks during our week stay and stay at the resort the remainder of the time. We will spend one entire day at each park. We all agree we want to visit Animal Kindgdom and are up in the air as to Magic Kingdom or Hollywood Studios. The age group is 7 years to 14 years all girls. So my questions are as follows: 1. Should we rent our vehicles at the airport (there will be 7 people to a car)? 2. What park would you recommend according to the age groups (note the 3 younger still love the princesses)? 3. What days would be best for Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios or Magic Kingdom? 4. What is the best buy when purchasing tickets w/out the hopper option if you are buying 2 days for each person (note there will be 14 family members in all)? 5. Can you make and bring your own food? 6. What would be the best places to eat lunch & dinner if we were to eat onsite at AK, HS or MK ? 7. What are the must/see and must/do for Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios? 8. Can you book a lunch with princesses if your not staying onsite and if you don’t go to Magic Kingdom? Are there any fast pass tickets for people coming to Disney and staying offsite?
Any other advice would be helpful.

992 Dave { 02.21.14 at 7:26 am }

Charlotte, rain matters little. It just keeps the crowds down a bit.

993 Dave { 02.21.14 at 7:28 am }

Bert, see Josh’s Magic Kingdom cheat sheets here:

994 Dave { 02.21.14 at 7:47 am }

Cathy, responses are in bold:
1. Should we rent our vehicles at the airport (there will be 7 people to a car)? What’s your other option? How else would you get to your time-share, or from your time share to the parks?
2. What park would you recommend according to the age groups (note the 3 younger still love the princesses)? 99 people out of 100 would say Magic Kingdom
3. What days would be best for Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios or Magic Kingdom? MK 12 or 13th. AK 12th or 14th. HS: any day the 12th through 15th.
4. What is the best buy when purchasing tickets w/out the hopper option if you are buying 2 days for each person (note there will be 14 family members in all)? See
5. Can you make and bring your own food? Yes
6. What would be the best places to eat lunch & dinner if we were to eat onsite at AK, HS or MK ? See the dining indicated on my itineraries e.g.
7. What are the must/see and must/do for Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios? See
8. Can you book a lunch with princesses if your not staying onsite Yes and if you don’t go to Magic Kingdom? Yes—there’s one at Epcot, but of course you need to have a park ticket to get into Epcot
Are there any fast pass tickets for people coming to Disney and staying offsite? Yes see

995 Gregory Wallace { 02.21.14 at 11:44 am }

Can disney dollars be used to pay for fireworks cruises?

996 Dave { 02.22.14 at 8:22 am }

I don’t know see why not, Gregory—see this:

997 Andrea { 02.23.14 at 10:04 pm }

I have 2 boys 6 and 11. This will be our first Disney trip We just bought 5 day passes through a current discount deal.I live in the greater Atlanta area. Most of us are off the week of April 5 for spring break, however, this is listed as one of the best weeks for the lowest crowds. When during the week does the crowd get bigger? Is it better to wait for the weekend of October 5th or 12th when the kids are out of school again. We prefer not to do Disney during the summer.

998 Dave { 02.24.14 at 7:44 am }

Andrea, other than around you there’s not a ton of people on break then–midweek is least busy, the weekends are worse. But the earlier October week–the latter one will have Columbus Day crowds–is a great choice, and I’d go with that just in case…

999 Laurie { 02.25.14 at 8:04 pm }

Thank you so much for this site! It is a wealth of information! I had a quick question for you regarding free dining in September 2014. I was looking at the cost of a room at Pop Century now (for a September visit without dining) and was wondering if you knew how much a Pop Century room would be once you applied a free dining offer. Doesn’t the room rate go up from what you would normally pay without the free dining incentive? Thank you!

1000 Dave { 02.26.14 at 7:26 am }

Hi Laurie and thanks! The room rate will be the same as what is currently posted for September–unless they do a general price increase before then.

1001 Patricia { 02.27.14 at 8:53 pm }

Dave, been following your website and love all the information. I’m planning a trip to Disney December 13-21, 2014. It will just be myself and daughter who will be 7 at the time. We are staying at AoA in a Little Mermaid room. I was thinking a 5 day hopper pass. I’m also thinking of doing the MVMCP. Do you think I will need 5 days plus that or would a 4 day pass plus the party be enough? Do you think we will need a hopper pass? We are doing the dinning plan that includes one table dinner per day. Do you know when the MVMCP tickets go on sale, and which day would you try to go to it? And when do they post the hours for each day. I’m going to do as much pre-planning ahead as possible to get dinner reservations in (have to do princess and character meals). Planning on doing the BBB, any other suggestions for the little princess? Thanks!

1002 Dave { 02.28.14 at 7:17 am }

Hi Patricia, for recommended ticket days see this: If you are sticking to as short a trip as 4 or 5 days, then a hopper will help.

Operating hours come out about 6.5 months ahead, but are then updated and revised especially about 3 months before.

MVMCP dates will be out in the summer…

1003 Brian H. { 03.03.14 at 4:48 pm }

First of all, I love your site. It is a wealth of information and used for a lot of planning on last years trip. My family of 5 is trying to plan a trip the first week of October with an arrival Date of October 1 and then would come home on the 11th. My question is how do you plan dining when the parks haven’t release schedules for fireworks and EMHs, and other shows? We avoided getting a park hopper last year and would like to avoid it again this year but have considered getting it this year to make the planning a bit easier. Any tips would be appreciated.

1004 Dave { 03.04.14 at 7:55 am }

Brian, the schedule for October will be out in a couple of weeks…

1005 Brian H. { 03.04.14 at 1:50 pm }

Yeah, I was trying to figure out when it would be released but it seems that it will be 180 days out. I was hoping to have my park schedule planned out so that I knew what days and what meals I wanted to make reservations for.

1006 charlotte { 03.04.14 at 6:25 pm }

hi dave, we just back fron a wonderful trip. feb. 24th – feb 28th were wonderful days very doable crowds then on march 1st and march 2nd our last 2 days the place exploded! we could not walk at animal kingdom any insight on what happened? even the cast members were commenting on it!

1007 Dave { 03.05.14 at 7:39 am }

Yeah, you’ll only have a few days to finalize your plans. This might help a bit: Disney is often pretty consistent from year to year

1008 Dave { 03.05.14 at 7:41 am }

Charlotte, there were two huge conventions (35,000 attendees each) in Orlando last week. I suspect that what with the northern winter and all a lot of hotel rooms that normally would be occupied by just a single convention-goer had the spouse and kids as well, and they all went to the parks over the weekend…

1009 Laurie { 03.05.14 at 11:45 am }

Thanks for the answer! One more question for you if possible: I noticed the free dining began on 9/2 last fall. Our arrival would be 8/31/14 through 9/7/14. Would you happen to know if we could get the free dining for the night of 8/31 and 9/1 if the free dining offer is released? Thank you again!

1010 Dave { 03.06.14 at 8:22 am }

Laurie, if your arrive is before the dates, you’d have to break into two reservations–one starting the eligible dates, the other covering the earlier nights. This tends to mess your tix up, as you need at least two ticket days on the free dining reservation…

1011 Kelly { 03.10.14 at 6:45 am }

Hi Dave! We are planning our 3rd trip to WDW this May and I wanted to run our itinerary by you. We are driving, so will have our own vehicle and are also the type of family to stay at the parks all day. We have 3 girls, ages 8,6 1/2 and 4 1/2 at time of trip. Also, we haven’t eaten at any of the restaurants I have listed, so if there’s any red flags, please let me know. I am nervous about the new FP+ and how it all works, so any feedback would be greatly appreciated! Thanks so much for your very informative site! Arrive 5/17 with ADR’s at Whispering Canyon Cafe at 6:45. 5/18 Epcot (just in time for last day of Flower & Garden), with ADR’s at Akershus at 2:45. 5/19 MK with hopes of scoring a FP+ for BOG for lunch service, or arrive at 10:00 for a 10:30 seating. 5/20 HS with ADR’s at Sci-Fi at 4 pm. 5/21 MK with quick service meals (try again at BOG if unsuccessful the first time). 5/22 AK with ADR’s at Rainforest at 6:45. 5/23 we are letting the kids choose which park we go to, but will avoid MK because of the 24 hour day there, assuming it will be crowded. We do have ADR’s for Chef Mickey’s at 7:20 to start our day, though. 5/24 last day of trip at MK (it’s our fave, can you tell?) with ADR’s at Tony’s at 5:50…hoping that will be good timing to then walk out front and get a good viewing of Wishes and Parade. Thanks for any feedback!!!

1012 Dave { 03.10.14 at 7:55 am }

Hi Kelly!

Overall you’ve picked good days. I don’t like MK on 5/19, but the only good alternative is Epcot, and you have good reasons for 5/18 there, and plenty of overall time at MK, so don’t worry about it.

Your restaurants look fine except Tony’s which is kinda lame–I’d suggest Crystal Palace instead. Your Tony’s reservation won’t help much with the parade which will start two hours after you are done–a better choice–given how many MK days you have–is to use one of your FP+ that night for the parade, then stay in the FP+ spot for the castle show, then move back towards Main Street a bit for Wishes.

1013 Kelly { 03.10.14 at 11:58 am }

Thank you so much, Dave! Tony’s was the one I was worried about, actually! I already had an ADR for Crystal Palace, but then cancelled it because of Chef Mickey’s…I was worried that was too much as far as character dining…but I’d really rather end our trip with something special, so if Tony’s is lame, I’ll change it. Didn’t know you could get FP for parades and such, so that’s an awesome tip! Thank you so much! And yes, I had seen that about 5/19 but figured we’d just do what we can on that day. We aren’t staying on property, will I be able to reserve our FP’s 60 days out, or will I have to wait until the day before? Thanks again so much!

1014 Dave { 03.11.14 at 7:41 am }
1015 Lisa { 03.17.14 at 10:45 am }

I have a question. I just saw that the castle is having a hub expansion? They said online it is going to take a year to complete this. Well i am going in September and i am wonder if that is going to be a major problem for the Mickey not so scary party? How is everyone going to be up there watching the villian dance if that is all torn up? Please let me know what your thoughts are on this>>? Thank you!!

1016 Dave { 03.17.14 at 4:34 pm }

I don’t expect it will much matter, Lisa…

1017 Jennifer M. { 03.18.14 at 4:16 pm }

Hey Dave! You’re site is fantastic! Quick question…I’m planning a big first time trip to Disney World for myself, husband, and 2 kiddos (ages then will be 6 and 3) for Nov. 29-Dec 8th. Found out I am pregnant last month and am due at the end of Sept-beg of Oct. My question is if I go ahead and reserve a hotel (which I really want to do now) would that money be refundable if for some reason we are unable to go? I’m basing this trip off of how my other pregnancies went but we all know things can change, and am just not familiar with Disney policies on that. Beginning of June would be our 180 day out for DD reservations…could those be canceled too? How late can we purchase park tickets… Thanks again for all your wonderful information!!

1018 Shena Dumas { 03.18.14 at 8:43 pm }

Hello Dave, we are planning a first time disney trip for a 3 and 5 year old, both girls. With Easter being late, we have a few dates in mind. April 12-16, Apr. 18-22 or Apr. 21-25th. Do you suspect high crowds during any of those dates? I’m not sure when Spring break will be for the school districts there. We are coming from Louisiana and those dates are more convenient for us out if the three. Which do you suggest if we needed to make the best choice as is this is the first visit for the girls. And which parks do you recommend. I’m sure Magic Kind, but not sure about the others. Also are there lots of parades or live stage plays going on then? Thank you in advance for your feedback. Greatly appreciated.

1019 Dave { 03.19.14 at 7:20 am }

Jennifer, first congrats! Second, honestly in your shoes I’d talk to a travel agent. The intersection of cancellation policies and trip insurance can get a little arcane, with varied fine print, and in your spot I’d be more comfortable if you talked to a pro…

1020 Dave { 03.19.14 at 7:21 am }

Shena, the highest crowds of the spring break seaosn are the week before Easter through the Monday after, and the week after Easter is pretty rough as well. I can’t recommend any of these dates…

1021 Katie { 03.20.14 at 8:09 pm }

Hi Dave,
We decided to take a quick trip to Florida for Star Wars since they added a 5th weekend this year. We were just at Disney in September for a week so we plan to be in Florida June 14,15,16,17th. We want to do HS one day, Epcot a day, visit the beach and family the other two days. My question is this…is Saturday or Sunday(14/15th) better to do the Studios for Star Wars and Monday or Tuesday(16/17th) better to do Epcot? Or is it all just going to stink since it will be so hot and crowded and it really doesn’t matter??
Thanks for your input!!

1022 Dave { 03.21.14 at 8:31 am }

Katie, except Memorial Day weekend, Sundays are the best days to see Star Wars. Monday the 16th will be much better at Epcot than the 17th.

1023 Melissa { 03.24.14 at 7:28 pm }

Thank you so much! Your website and all the info has really helped my family (husband, 10yr girl, 7yr boy & 5yr girl). The only down fall I did not know how quickly reservations for princess makeovers, and some character dinning booked so quickly. We are going April 27-may 4. Which I hope is a great time. And we are staying off site. My only concerns are about fastpass+. Again THANK YOU!

1024 Lara Gordon { 03.25.14 at 12:46 am }

Whoops sorry Dave, I wrote my comment under the Military Discounts comments by mistake. Sorry my comment is not related to that topic at all. Hopefully you get it and can give me the okay or let me know where I can improve on our itinerary!
Thanks so so very much!

1025 Dave { 03.25.14 at 6:52 am }

Melissa, I’m so glad the site has helped! And for FP+–make sure you’ve created a MyDisneyExperience account and linked your tix and dining reservations. See this:

1026 Dave { 03.25.14 at 7:02 am }

No worries, Lara…there’s about 20,000 questions and answers on this site, with maybe 19 on the “right” page!

1027 Melissa { 04.01.14 at 12:30 pm }

Hi Dave. My family has a trip all planned for the week of April 6th. Thanks for all the great tips on your site. Two questions for you. If it rains do most of the attractions at the parks remain open? If not do you have any rainy day suggestions? And lastly, any updates on the Seven Dwarfs ride being open that week? Thanks!!

1028 Dave { 04.02.14 at 8:14 am }

Melissa, yes, pretty much everything stays open in the rain. Rain reduces crowds–especially from locals and people on long visits–so rainy days are best spent in the parks.

1029 Dave { 04.02.14 at 8:33 am }

Melissa–on the Mine Train, I’m not seeing any well-sourced rumors. My current bet is a soft opening late April.

1030 Lara Gordon { 04.02.14 at 11:10 pm }

Hi Dave,
Managed to get some dinner reservations last night but when trying to book Fantasmic Dining Package for dinner on the 180th day found that Mama Melrose all gone. Had to take Hollywood and Vine. In our group of 14 there will be 7 kids (two preschoolers and two five year olds, 7 yr old and 9 yr old). Shall we stick with going to Hollywood Vine or should we flag the Fantasmic Dining Package and just eat at the 50s Prime Time Cafe? (Have not been able to fit the 50s Prime Time Cafe into our itinerary and if its one of your must dos maybe we should do it then?)

Booked all your recommended restaurants otherwise and got into all of them so feeling very excited!!! Just House of Blues Gospel Brunch now to book. We are coming from a Seaworld hotel to check in at Wilderness Lodge on our first Sunday and were going to do the Gospel Brunch then and at 5.45pm that night we have our Fantasmic Dining Package booking. My question is should we do the 10.30 am or the 1pm? We will have had three big days (Seaworld, Discovery Cove and Legoland) so keen to not have to get up really early to get to Wilderness Lodge to then catch a bus to Downtown Disney for 10.30am? However, if we do the 1pm HOB which I believe will finish at 2.30pm will this give us enough time to get back to WL before then going onto HS for Fantasmic booking at 5.45pm? Or should we just taxi from Seaworld hotel to HOB for 10.30am and then go back to Seaworld hotel to get our bags and go to WL after HOB around midday to check in?
And Gospel Brunch tickets – there are lots of great seats left so just wondering where best to sit? If we are the front row tables in front of stage will it be too loud for us? Should we stay in pit area but be second row back?
Thanks Dave for all your advice so far – its all coming together thanks to you!

1031 Dave { 04.03.14 at 7:31 am }

Hey Lara! For HOB, with all those little kids it might be good to be a little further back. Moreover, I’m not keen on the Fantasmic package dining options…though you do get great seats out of them. I’m also a little concerned that most of the kids may be too young for Fantasmic–see this Honestly, your day will be much simpler if you just punt on Fantasmic and HS that evening…

1032 Lara Gordon { 04.03.14 at 3:40 pm }

Hey Dave, thanks for your great advice again! My kids are 5, 7 and 9 so will be fine at Fantasmic but will pass your info onto my sister who has all the young kids. However, she never likes to miss out on anything so I would say she will still do Fantasmic. Are you not keen on the package dining because of the particular restaurants involved? Would we be best to Fast pass Fantasmic since we will be getting there early evening anyway however there seems to be conflicting comments on whether or not you get great seats with Fast pass or not?

And just re timing of things if we did do the 1pm HOB is it likely we should then head straight to HS given timing of buses etc to get back to Wilderness Lodge and then on to HS might take us a long time? So, should I try and get a reservation at 50s Prime Time Cafe that night for dinner then and Fastpass Fantasmic or do you think the little ones in the group would enjoy Hollywood Vine more?
Thanks Dave. I hope your book comes out before our trip as can’t wait to buy it!

1033 Dave { 04.04.14 at 2:09 pm }

Lara, first of all on the important issue, you can buy the book even after the trip!! It would make a lovely souvenir…

The Dinner package gives GREAT seats. FastPass+ only guarantees you access. With FP+ if you arrive late you may get lousy seats. However, there’s nothing special at dinner at H&V–the characters are there only at lunch and breakfast…

Buses don’t go from DTD to the parks. They only go to the hotels. (This is by policy, to keep people from getting free parking at DTD rather than having to spend the $17 parking at the parks…) Your back-up plan–should you feel pressed for time–would be to take a cab…

1034 Stephanie { 04.08.14 at 2:03 pm }

Hi Dave,

What a great time I am having pouring through your amazing website! I cannot believe the amount of hours of energy you put into helping others out here…

I am planning a trip for my family for this coming November. I was completely sold on your #4 week of November 8th….but then I visited another website (shame on me) and they indicated that the week of the 8th (particularly at the beginning) might be more crowded due to the Wine and Dine Half Marathon on the 8th. They seem to say that the following week will be less crowded. Of course, I know that the later I get the more chance I have for cooler weather…but still. I hate to be so uncouth as to question you after you have provided such great information, but I want to get this one right for my family.


1035 Dave { 04.08.14 at 4:28 pm }

Oh you can always question me, Stephanie!

There are multiple factors that may lead to above average crowds over the weekend of the 8th, but the rest of that week should be just great! My crowd rankings average the 9 days from Saturday to Sunday (becasue that’s how long my itineraries cover) so there’s often a discrepancy between individual days and the 9 days overall.

The key will be picking the right parks each day–can’t help with that til the November calendar comes out, which it will in a week or so…

1036 Stephanie { 04.08.14 at 6:28 pm }

Thanks for the speedy response!

So, just so I understand…you think that the week of the 8th will have lighter crowds on the whole than the following week?

Also, some of the stuff I have been reading indicates that it might fall during the “free dining” promotion eventually. We are a family of 5, it seems like it would be a good deal given our size. Do you agree? If so, how does one go about getting one of these seemingly coveted slots? (Or do you prefer not to wade into such matters?)

I’ll look forward to those calendars coming out then! I so appreciate the guidance….

1037 Dave { 04.09.14 at 10:05 am }

Stephanie, overall the week of the 15th will be better, up until the 22nd. On free dining–I doubt it will happen, but if it does (and of course I hope I am wrong!), you would just call Disney to try to convert your reservation to it, or create a new reservation with it online and then call to cancel your old one…

1038 Jennifer { 04.11.14 at 7:20 pm }

Hello Dave,

I’m planning a trip this July 11-19. I know it will be very hot and very crowded! We have 5 children between us 3 have been there 2 have not. This is the only week we get my husbands children so we have to go then. So my question is are the weekends more crowded then the week? Do you have any idea which day would be best for the parks? We will be spending 5 days at Disney and I think we are going to do the hopper passes. We are not staying at the hotels at Disney to expensive for all 7 of us. Do you think a hopper passes are worth it for us? We did talk about splitting up part of the time since our kids age range from 14 to 7.

1039 Dave { 04.12.14 at 9:16 am }

Hi Jennifer! Weekends are more crowded than weekdays, but during the peak summer vacation seaosn much less so than many other time of the year.

With the ages of your crew, I;d spend a day at each park, and then the 5th day in a return to the favorite. For the younger kids that’ll likely be the Magic Kingdom, and the older ones will vary.

You don’t need hoppers. Those dates, the key is to avoid parks on days they have extra magic hours–especially morning extra magic hours, arrive before they open, and use FastPass+ wisely. For the schedules, see this For what to do each day, see the one-day plans here:

1040 Jennifer { 04.12.14 at 12:25 pm }

Dave thanks for the info!

You web site has helped a lot! I hope you don’t mind I have a few more questions. I’m a little confused on the fastpass. Can you plan ahead and schedule them ahead or just on the day you arrive at the park? What is the best way to use them on rides oe events?

I have booked a character breakfast at akershus and a lunch at the castle. I’m trying to decide if the castle is worth it. I have heard it can take around 3 hours and you can meet more princesses at Akershus is that true? I also have a reservation at 50’s prime time diner at HS for lunch. Would it be better to get a dinner package for fantasmic or use a fastpass. Do you have any other suggestion on restaurants at MK?We would like to sit down and relax a bit and get out of the heat for a little while so a sit down place would be best.

One more for you! The night parade and fireworks at magic kingdom which I believe it’s called Wishes. On the Disney website it has two different firework shows are they the same if they are different which one would you recommend?
Thank you for helping us plan our vacation!

1041 Dave { 04.13.14 at 11:57 am }

Jennifer, you can–and should–book FastPass+ beginning 30 days ahead. See this For which to focus on, see the second part of this:

The Fantasmic dining package has less fun meals than 50’s prime time, but great seats. It’s a tough call–you can usually find fine seats just by showing up 30 mins or more before the show–but don’t use a FastPass+ for Fantasmic on a trip as short as yours. You only get one great FP+ a day at HS, and should spend that on Toy Story Mania.

Tell me what time your Akershus reservation is. Late morning is fine, 8.10 ok, but in between no no. You lose too much valuable low-crowd time. In general, the only plus of Cindy over Akershus is setting. See this:

There’s three evening thingies at MK–the evening Main Street Electrical Parade, the castle show Celebrate the Magic, and the fireworks show Wishes. The last two are don’t miss.

1042 Jennifer { 04.13.14 at 3:43 pm }

Hey Dave! We are having breakfast at 9:15 at akershus so it looks like I’m going to try and move it. Lunch at the castle is at noon I’m going to keep the reservation for now. It’s really tough to decide between them cause your right its all about the castle!

I booked a late lunch at 50’s dinner in hopes that maybe it will be less crowed during dinner time to ride some of the more popular attractions at HS. I’m trying to maximize our time there! If you have any other ideas please let me no. For fantasmic I’m going to cross my fingers we get good seats. I have read you should give yourself about 90 min. Before it starts.

Thank you again for all your advise I do appreciate it!! Don’t be surprised if I send you another message in the next month or so.

1043 Dave { 04.14.14 at 7:37 am }

Jennifer, 90 mins is too much for Fantasmic! 45 is plenty. One way to handle it is to plan to eat form the array of quick service right near the entrance. Get there, get your food, and if the line seems to be building eat it from the line…

1044 Melissa { 04.18.14 at 3:08 pm }

I am so happy I found this sight. Thank you for all the work you do!
I am part of a group of 10 (6 adults, one 14 yr. old boy, two 9 yr. old girls and a 3 yr. old girl with special needs). We are going to Disney World Nov. 6 -16. The first day we get in too late to do anything but eat and the last day we leave too early to go anywhere. Please provide us with any useful information on when and where we should be. We are trying to plan our days, but we are so lost because every site has different information on where to be when. We have 3 different reservation numbers so we are also nervous about messing up ADR and fastpass options. PLEASE HELP ANYWAY POSSIBLE!!! Thanks.

1045 Dave { 04.19.14 at 8:30 am }
1046 Kenneth { 04.21.14 at 1:04 pm }

With the cold weather and school closings this year. Do you feel the first two weeks of June 2014 should be lighter than normal due to school districts throughout the country extendeding the school year ?

1047 Dave { 04.21.14 at 1:58 pm }

Kenneth, the response to the extra calamity days has varied so much that it’s hard for me to be firm about this…but I don’t see how it can do anything but help!

1048 Monique { 04.23.14 at 10:33 am }

Hi Dave,

I just booked a trip to disney world from Dec. 7 to Dec.12. Do you have any idea when the dates will become available or Mickeys Very Merry Christmas?

1049 Dave { 04.23.14 at 1:52 pm }

Hi Monique!! Word is the official dates will come out in early May. I have forecasts here:

1050 Scott { 04.23.14 at 11:35 pm }

We are going to Disney 5/24 thru 5/31. There are 2 adults, (1) 20yr old, (1) 12 yr old boy, and (1) 9 yr old girl for a total of 5. This is the kids 1st trip to Disney and I haven’t been for 20yrs. We are arriving by noon on the 24th and are staying at the Port Orleans Riverside. We have 5 day tickets without hopper and are willing to add a 6th if necessary but were looking for a “slower”/”down” day in Orlando while we are there. We would also like to do 1 character meal. Can you help us please? Thank you very much in advance for your help.

1051 Dave { 04.24.14 at 8:41 am }

Scott, suggest you spend two days at MK and one each at the other three parks. Those dates go to Animal Kingdom 5/25, Epcot 5/26, hit MK 5/27 and 5/28, go to HS 5/29, and either take the 30th off or return to a favorite park. I don’t have any five day itineraries, but for help with what to do each day, see this:

I can help with the character meal–but did you have particular characters in mind?

1052 Melissa { 04.27.14 at 5:06 pm }

We are planning our next trip to Disney World for Wednesday, October 1 through Wednesday, October 8 (mainly because of the cheaper airfare). Do you think this is a good idea? Are weekends in WDW super crowded? Which days do you suggest we visit Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon? I would like to have a day set aside for each of the water parks as well as the four main parks. That will give us 6 full days and 2 travel days. I would love to have your guidance on which days we should visit certain parks. Thank you!

1053 Destiney { 04.27.14 at 9:32 pm }

This may be somewhere on your site, but I am unable to locate it. On your 2015 calendar the start dates are on Saturdays, why is that?

Thank you

1054 Dave { 04.28.14 at 8:06 am }

Melissa, that’s a fine time to go other than it still being in the peak of the hurricane season!

I don’t track the waterparks closely enough to know the best days to go to them. The theme parks are so much better than the waterparks that I’d target your second waterpark for the end of your trip…so that you can skip it and return to a theme park instead if you wish…

Weekends are more crowded than weekdays–your dates especially Epcot, as the Food and Wine Festival packs them in Friday evening through Sunday.

10/1 avoid Epcot–and this will be the best day your trip to see the evening events at MK. (You are going during party seaosn, where there’s lots of 7p MK closes. These are low-crowd days at MK, but you miss the evening parade and fireworks. You can see them 10/1 and 10/8 without the bad crowds you’ll face other days MK has later closes)
10/2 avoid MK
10/3 Great MK day, avoid Epcot
10/4 Avoid Epcot, HS, MK
10/5 Avoid Epcot, HS. Great MK day
10/6 Avoid AK, MK. Great Epcot day
10/7 Avoid MK, Epcot.
10/8 Avoid Epcot.

1055 Dave { 04.28.14 at 8:16 am }

Destiney…it’s because all my recommended itineraries begin on a Saturday. See for example this:

1056 Olivia { 04.29.14 at 12:58 am }

Dave, thanks so much for this site. It helps me understand a lot, but we have special circumstances. My husband is a wounded warrior and we just found out an organization is going to provide us a free 6 night stay at a off-site luxury resort (3 bdrm 2 ba cond0 at Bahama Bay!), free passes to Universal, Sea World, Wet N Wild, and Legoland, and possibly also airfare! We are so excited! But the organization said we could feel free to visit Disney or anything we want, and we don’t have to use all the passes to the other places, they’re just available to us if we want them and Disney is basically the only place they couldn’t get passes for, and Disney is my dream destination, esp for the kids. So thinking we might use the armed forces salute discount to get 4 day park hopper tickets to Disney (because I think with the salute you can only get 4 day right?), and try to do 1 or 2 of the other places if we can during our time in Orlando. We are scheduled to check in at our resort after 4 Pm on Aug 9 and check out before 10 AM on Aug 15. So we will have 5 full days and 2 partial days to work with (not sure on flight times yet). Our whole group will be 4 adults and 4 kids ages 8, 7, 2, and another turning 3 on Aug 10th(the day after we arrive). Our family is 5 of them (2 adults and 3 kids) and the rest are another family we’re friends with who are coming too. Do you know if their daughter who is turning 3 during the trip will have to have a ticket for the days after she’s 3? Or will Disney go by the age she is the first day we’re there for the whole trip? The 2 youngest kids in our group are little girls so I’d love to be able to do Cinderella’s Royal Table for a lunch or something, even if not our whole group but just us 2 moms and the 2 little girls (in fact, I think it might HAVE to be just us girls because I can find tables for 4 but not 8 at any time during our stay for Cinderella). But would want to do at least 1 other character meal for all 8 of us so the boys can experience that too if possible. Can you suggest or point me in a good direction for planning an itinerary appropriate for us and so that we can try to hit up some of the other non-Disney places as well that the organization is so generously providing us passes for? (seeing the beach/ocean would be amazing too…tho I know, I know, we can’t do everything..) Should we do the 4 day hopper AF Salute tickets, or do less days and forgo the AF Salute? Obviously we won’t be on a dining plan or able to do extra magic hours etc so any tips/advise for us as off-site guests is also so appreciated! Sorry if all this is confusing…I am overwhelmed with excitement and the logistics of all this…

1057 Dave { 04.29.14 at 8:30 am }

Hi Olivia! First, for the military salute tix, yes they are 4 days only and you can buy 6 of them.

The child who turns three will not need tix–only the age on the first day of ticket use matters.

There’s no itinerary that bridges 3 year olds and 7/8 year olds. See this:

I don’t have itineraries for such short trips, but see Josh’s cheat sheets here:

The best balance of parks, given the ages, is two days at the Magic Kingdom, and one day each at Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios. So get the 4 day salute and use it!

Those dates, avoid MK the 10th, AK and MK the 11th, HS and Epcot the 12th, AK the 13th, and MK the 14th.

It’s really hard to book anything for 8. If it continues to not work, try two sets of 4, and then when you get to the restaurant beg for them to be close…For dining suggestions, see this:

The kids are really too young for Universal–unless the older ones are wild Harry Potter fans. All the age groups will like Sea World, the youngest will like LegoLand…

Hope this helps, and thanks for all your family has given us…

1058 Olivia { 04.29.14 at 6:01 pm }

Thanks Dave for the reply, helps a lot! Quick question about the Salute tix..can we buy those for ourselves and also the friends coming with and they would just pay us back so they too only have to pay the $169/person? Would they be able to use them even though they are not military and not related to us as long as my husband is present upon activation to show military ID? If so, then the limit of 6 works just fine because we wouldn’t need any tix for the 2 youngest anyway.

I totally agree with all your advice on this site about children’s ages and length of trip, we would go for longer and when the youngest are older, but it would be very unlikely for us to be able to afford this out of pocket, even with the military discounts, so this most expense paid trip is probably our only chance and I know it will be wonderful regardless! I was thinking that about Universal..we will probably skip it. Thanks for the dates to avoid certain parks and the tip about trying for 2 4-seaters..hadn’t thought of that! Thanks again for all your help!

1059 Leah { 04.29.14 at 10:42 pm }

Have the opportunity to extend a conference and take the family to WDW; looks most readily done 6/26-30 conference at Dolphin/Swan; then rent DVC for 30th to 7/4th. It’ll be our 2nd trip to WDW, first in mid Dec 2010 w/ kids 5 & almost 3-lovely low crowds but cold; kids now 9 & 6. I see high crowds, hot weather. Budget an issue, but hankering to return. Is this a huge mistake? How best to plan itinerary for 2nd trip w/ busy crowds? I know re: avoid EMH parks. Other advice? Other good bang for the buck advice? Many thanks-visiting your site gets us very excited for a return trip!

1060 Dave { 04.30.14 at 7:47 am }

Olivia, yes, so long as the eligible member is present to activate them in person–and uses one him or herself–the other tix can be distributed as you see fit! I hope you have the best trip ever!!!

1061 Dave { 04.30.14 at 8:18 am }

Leah, you can make it work–return visits are MUCH easier, as you know what to avoid, what your priorities are, and how to make it all work. The basics remain the same: as you note, avoid EMH; arrive 45 mins before posted opening; use FastPass+ judiciously scheduling it for late morning/early afternoon…

1062 Daniel { 05.01.14 at 6:21 am }

Hello Dave, thanks for the fantastic site!
I´m planning to go to Disney with my family next January, and maybe to run the marathon. Have you ever compared the prices of the marathon package to the offers that are typically offered for January? What should be more interesting if I want to stay at Polynesian? Thank you!

1063 Dave { 05.02.14 at 6:50 am }

Hey Daniel, I’ve never compared the marathon package, so don’t have much help there. Re the Poly, do see this:

1064 Kelli { 05.03.14 at 10:52 am }

I have a reservation at a resort not participating in the FD. I want to make a new reservation at a FD resort for the exact same dates and then cancel my “old” reservation. I’m being told the system will not let me double book, that I have to cancel my current reservation first. Is this correct?

1065 Dave { 05.04.14 at 11:22 am }

Kelli, double booking has gotten much harder since about a year ago when new systems were put in. The easiest way to do it is to create a whole new MDE account in the name of your spouse–or someone else on the trip with a drivers license. It can still be on the original credit card…

1066 Paul { 05.05.14 at 3:22 pm }

Just FYI, but I just did this same thing last week. I had one reservation and wanted to change to another one at the same time, but only if I could get the new one and not risk losing both. The system essentially cancelled the old one and let me book the new one simultaneously. It asked me to confirm the cancellation of the old first, and once I clicked cancel it took me to the next screen where I confirmed the new one. There was not really a time period in between where I risked losing both, if that is what Kelli is concerned about.


1067 Dave { 05.05.14 at 5:35 pm }

Thanks, Paul!

1068 Scott { 05.05.14 at 8:55 pm }

See post 1050 with your response at 1051. We are arriving in Orlando at 9:30 on the 5/24. We can do something that day and would prefer our “off” day to be on Tuesday or Wednesday. My wife and I will need it by then. Oh yeah my daughter would prefer a princess character meal(breakfast) but, Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Pluto or Donald would be ok. Can you help/modify what you posted. Thanks you for all your help.

1069 Dave { 05.06.14 at 7:10 am }

OK Scott, go to MK 5/24, and take the 27th off. Suggest you target lunch at Tusker House on your AK day or 1900 Park Fare at GF for a pre-MK breakfast or post MK dinner. There are more fun character meals–but most will have booked months ago!

1070 Leanne { 05.07.14 at 9:23 am }

HI Dave,
I was just wondering if DW offer stroller type push alongs for toddlers? like cars or something as i don’t think my little one would cope with all the walking.

1071 Dave { 05.07.14 at 12:38 pm }

Hi Leanne!! At the parks, you can rent strollers for use in them. You can also rent strollers for your entire visit (i.e. including the hotels) from various third-party companies.

1072 kevin { 05.08.14 at 1:51 pm }

Hi Dave, Thanks for your time and insight. Family of five arriving at Disney on the night of November 12 and departing at noon on November 18. Could you please suggest which parks to visit ? Our kids love Hollywood and Magic Kingdom most. Thank you.

1073 Dave { 05.09.14 at 7:44 am }

Kevin, what ages are they?

1074 kevin jollie { 05.09.14 at 9:04 am }

Three boys, ages 8, 10 & 10.

1075 Dave { 05.10.14 at 7:35 am }

OK Kevin, here’s parks to avoid by day:
11/13: avoid MK
11/14: Avoid Epcot
11/15 Avoid HS
11/16 avoid HS
11/17: avoid AK
11/18 avoid MK, Epcot

1076 Jessica Daly { 05.21.14 at 7:54 pm }

I have been a huge Disney World fan for over 6 years. We have been 6 times in that time loving it more each time. During our last trip in April of this year, we experienced a very negative and frustrating time while trying to obtain a Disability Assistance Card for my husband who has suffered from heart failure for 8 years and is fully disabled. We have reported our experience but to date have not heard back from Disney. I want you to please share with your viewers that it is not as simple and easy to gain as the Disney World website explains. I would hate for a first time visitor to have a similar experience for it would have been our last. I continue to love Disney World even now but do not want this to happen to another disabled individual.

1077 Dave { 05.22.14 at 10:05 am }

Thanks, Jessica. Disney’s new disability program is causing consternation for many…so sorry it happened to you too

1078 Destiney { 05.24.14 at 1:24 pm }


I have a question concerning your crowd chart for 2015. On the week April 11 2015, you have listed it as a crowd rank 4. I am just concerned and worried that it won’t be that, due to at least the state of Virginia having their spring break at that time. Do you think it is going to still be the number? Do you think it may change since Easter is early and some schools are out? Thank you in advance for your time on my questions.


1079 Dave { 05.25.14 at 8:37 am }

Destiney, different states have wildly different breaks. Most are the week befroe Easter. The next biggest group is the week after Easter. Mos tof the rest are off the Easter schedule, and either the least three weeks of March or first week of April. In other words, you will be fine!!

1080 Amy { 06.01.14 at 8:54 am }

I am really struggling on where to fit in some of our must dos during our trip. I would love your advice on which days to pick. We have two kids ages 8 & 9. Dates are Thurs, Nov 13 (travel late) – Sunday, Nov 23, 2014 (travel really early) staying at BWV with DxDP.

I need some help with which days to do the following must dos:
MVMCP (1st night Fri 11/14, Sun 11/16 or Thurs 11/19)
HDDR at 8:30 (Fri 11/14 or Thurs 11/19)
2 MK Evenings – Sat 11/15, Tues, 11/18 for EMH, or Wed 11/19
Fantasmic! Dinner Package (Sat, 11/15, Sun, 11/16 or Sat, 11/22)
Illuminations – Open to any day

1081 Dave { 06.01.14 at 9:48 am }

Amy, MVMCP is best when it’s a school night that’s not Sunday, as that cuts back the number of locals, and because more people are at WDW on weekends then weekdays. So aim for 11/19

MK evenings during the party season can be mobbed, so you want the second of a sequence of two late closes (because the first draws all the people who have avoided MK due to the 7p closes). That means the 19th.

Hoop doesn’t matter. Just fit it in when your evening is free–e.g. on an off day or AK day.

Fantasmic–just avoid the more busy HS days. All three HS dates you’ve targeted, unfortunately, will be busy at HS, but the 16th and 22nd will be the worst. So of them the 15th is the best option.

Illuminations: avoid Epcot the 18th and 21st.

1082 Amy { 06.01.14 at 10:10 am }

Thanks for the advice Dave, you are amazing! So, one more quick question. MK closes at 7pm on Sun 11/16 (MVMCP) and Mon 11/17 (non-MVMCP). Will one be less crowded than the other? I know Mondays are typicaly more crowded, however, I thought it might be less crowded than Sunday as there will not be an influx of party guests between 4pm – 7pm. Or, will it not matter?

1083 Dave { 06.02.14 at 7:01 am }

Amy, most people don’t know that party guests can enter early, so I don’t see a lot of difference from that

1084 Maggie { 06.03.14 at 1:27 pm }

Hi Dave,
I love your site. I’ve learned a lot by reading other people’s questions also. I have a couple of questions. My husband and I have a trip booked Nov. 3 – 12. Our main goal is to attend the food and wine festival but I am also hoping to see the Osborne lights. Do you have any idea when they will start? Any tips about seeing them would also be appreciated. Also, we want to plan a 2015 winter/spring trip. We would like to get away from the cold here in Kentucky and would really like to have a few days during the flower and garden festival. I know it is suppose to start March 4. We will probably book for 10 days. Was wondering what dates you think would be the best. I know March gets into the spring breaks and we would like to avoid that. One last question and you may think this one is a little strange. Do you know about how much a cab would cost from the Boardwalk Villas to Hess’s gas station? We like to make a quick run there to pick up a few things for the room. We have previously walked from Downtown Disney and taken a bus back to our resort. This is time consuming and we have a late check-in this time. I know there is a Hess very near the Boardwalk but not really walking friendly. Thanks for any information you can give us.

1085 Dave { 06.04.14 at 8:38 am }

Hi Maggie! The Osborne lights are expected to begin 11/7, although that’s not official yet. There’s typically a lighting ceremony at 6–arrive 10 or 15 minutes early–or see them anytime after. They remain on after official park close (for 30 or 60 more minutes, I forget which), so you can go then too

For my 2015 spring suggestions, see this:

And the Hess is quite walkable from the BoardWalk–I’ve done it a million times. See this:

1086 Maggie { 06.04.14 at 7:54 pm }

Thanks for the information. I hope you are right about the Osborne Lights – I really want to see them. Looks like we should plan our trip from Feb. 26 and stay until about the 8th of March and have low crowds for most of the time and time to enjoy the Flower & Garden Festival too! One more quick question – I am thinking we would be better off buying annual passes for these trips since each one will probably be ten days. And we will probably plan another trip for Oct. 2015. Do you agree with my thinking? Is it better to call and get these or can I just do it online? Thanks!!

1087 Dave { 06.05.14 at 9:19 am }

Maggie, APs will likely save you a ton if you make three trips in 365 days. Moreover, they will make you eligible to buy Tables in Wonderland, which can save a lot (10-20%) on dining.

1088 Natasha { 06.12.14 at 2:10 pm }

We are going on our First Disney Trip with our Daughter which is 4 and both sets of parents. We are going February 21st-28th 2015. Is that a good week to go? I heard President day week is really busy, but didn’t know if the week after was better… Please help!!

1089 Natasha { 06.12.14 at 2:13 pm }

Also what do you think about staying at Pop Century? We were looking at staying there.

1090 Dave { 06.13.14 at 7:10 am }
1091 Dave { 06.13.14 at 7:11 am }

Natasha, Pop is the top value resort choice for some, and Art of Animation for others. See this

1092 Shawn { 06.19.14 at 10:11 pm }

Your site is amazing! I’m a Florida resident with young children and I’m planning a long weekend trip (we’ll come back for a longer trip later). I see that presidents day/ mardis gras week is horrid, but does that apply to the end of the week? Should I avoid Thursday-Saturday 2/19-2/21 due to high crowds or prices or any other factor?

1093 Dave { 06.20.14 at 8:01 am }

Shawn–short answer is yes, avoid it. Many families have, or take, the whole week off. In addition there's a race that weekend.

1094 Kim { 06.23.14 at 6:43 pm }

My husband and I thought we might plan a trip to Disney World for his 65th birthday in early December 2014. We have been before (20 years ago!) and it will just be the two of us. We are intrigued by the Jambo House/Kidani Village. We are thinking a Deluxe Studio at the Club level. What other suggestions to you have, including perhpas looking at a different Disney resort. Thank you.

1095 Dave { 06.24.14 at 4:08 pm }

Kim, what a sweet idea! There are very few club level studios at Jambo (none at Kidani) and they tend to get scarfed up by DVC members. A club level regular room should be available though. You would lose the microwave and couch, so if those are important, then aim for a non-club studio. Jambo studios are for almost all a better choice than Kidani studios.

My resort reviews are here:

1096 Sue { 06.26.14 at 3:32 pm }

We’re going October 15-21, 2014. Free Dining is not offered at that time. What is the reason they block certain dates in October and not offer the Free Dining on those dates. Will they throw those dates in perhaps in the next month or so? Any idea?

1097 Dave { 06.27.14 at 12:20 pm }

Sue they block dates based on their forecasts that they will get enough volume in their rooms at standard rates that they don’t need to offer free dining to attract more. And no, I don’t expect them to add dates…

1098 Meagan { 06.29.14 at 11:52 am }

I have been working on planning a trip for weeks now. I had no idea it would take me so long just to decide on a hotel!!! There are so many options!!! We have 2 boys (5 and 3) and have decided to stay at Art of Animation in November 2014. Which suite do you like best…Cars or Finding Nemo? Also, we are pretty flexible with travel dates and want to stay a week. Which dates would you suggest going to avoid crowds…11/8-11/15, 11/9-11/16, or 11/10-11/17? I’m sure that Veteran’s Day will be busier than normal day at the parks. Thanks for all of your help!

1099 Peter Madden { 06.29.14 at 4:39 pm }

west will be traveling by Amtrak and need a car for 5 adults and 2 infant seats either a caddy or lincoln

1100 Dave { 06.30.14 at 7:20 am }

Hi Meagan! Your later dates will be better, as you suspect. Most Nemo rooms are more convenient than most Cars rooms…

1101 Julie { 07.02.14 at 5:09 pm }

Hi Dave,
I am planning a trip for my family (husband and 16 year old son), my brother (who is blind) and 11 year old nephew. We all want to be able to celebrate and enjoy ourselves after my nephew’s very hard battle with cancer. I am considering November 20 – 26 2014 or January 17-24 2015. We have so much to be thankful for and would enjoy the Christmas decorations if we go in November. On the other hand, January may have lower crowd levels. I love your site and would value your opinion on what time might be best. Thanks!

1102 Dave { 07.03.14 at 9:43 am }

Julie, Disney World is very busy for Thanksgiving beginning the 22nd in 2014, so I can’t recommend a visit with so many dates that week. Your January dates will be very crowded thru the 19th, and then wonderful.

If you have some flex in your schedule I highly recommend the three weeks after Thanksgiving–see this:

1103 Kent { 07.06.14 at 3:29 am }

We are in the early planning stages of a family trip to DW in April 2015. We will have two grand parents, four adult parents and four kids ages 4.5 thru 8. Where would you suggest we stay? Will the Polynesian be okay construction wise by then?

1104 Dave { 07.06.14 at 10:00 am }

Kent, the Poly should be back to normal by then.

1105 Gregory Wallace { 07.14.14 at 6:59 pm }

When signing up for the Jedi Training, are you permitted to select what time you want or are you only allowed to take the first available time?

1106 Dave { 07.15.14 at 7:44 am }

Gregory, it depends on the cast member. If they insist you take the first one available, then just back off and let other families sign up until your preferred time is also the first available.

1107 Kim P { 07.16.14 at 11:34 pm }

Dave – A follow-up e-mail, by calling the Disneyland Resort line was able to get a Jambo House Studio villa at the club level which was not available on the web site. I got great customer service by calling as well as some great tips! I highly recommend calling and talking with someone. And coupled with all the great information on this website am sure to have a vacation of a lifetime! Thanks Dave!

1108 allison { 07.17.14 at 7:34 am }

FYI I was just informed by Disney that the 2015 dates will be available to book on the disney website on July 30th

1109 Dave { 07.17.14 at 7:42 am }

Wow, Kim, cool!! Be sure to come back here later and lemme know what you think of it!

1110 Dave { 07.17.14 at 7:48 am }

Thanks Allison! That news came out yesterday and I haven’t posted about it yet, so thanks!!

1111 allison { 07.17.14 at 9:47 am }

Dave, in relation to all of the parks which resort would be the best proximity wise..Animation or caribbean beach? Any thoughts on either hotel? its for 3 adults and 2 children.

1112 Dave { 07.18.14 at 7:05 am }

Allison, those two are right next to each other–AofA is just south of CB. However, unless one of your kids will be under three at the time of check in, you won’t be able to book 5 in CB (refurbs will expand the capacity to 5 at some point this year) and at AofA you will only fit a family suite…

1113 Shonna { 07.20.14 at 11:37 am }

I was wondering what you would suggest for a first time visit with a 16 year old daughter and 20 year old son for week of 11-8-14 through 11-15-14. We have Hoop reservations for the 10th. Would you suggest replacing that with the Christmas Party? If its not too late to get tickets. Also, do you think there will be any possibility that the frozen princesses my be at Akershus for early breakfast????

Thanks so much for all the wonderful info!

1114 Dave { 07.21.14 at 8:35 am }

Hi Shonna, I answered your Hoop vs Xmas question here: And no, I don’t think the Anna and Elsa will be added to Akershus

1115 Maggie { 07.22.14 at 11:58 am }

Hi Dave,
We took your advice and purchased annual passes. We received the exchange certificates in the mail. I see we have to go to a ticket sales location to receive our passes. We are staying at the Boardwalk and our only options to get to Epcot (which would be the closest) is to walk or by boat to the International Gateway. From what I have read there is no bus from Boardwalk to Epcot or Hollywood Studios. Is that correct? Is there a ticket sales location at the International Gateway entrance?

1116 Dave { 07.22.14 at 5:34 pm }

Maggie, the International Gateway entrance is just 5 or ten minutes from the BoardWalk via either walking or the boat, and does have a ticket sales space!

1117 Marci { 07.24.14 at 2:25 pm }

We are only able to go for a short stay – November 9th-November 13th and we did get the Hopper Pass. Kids are 15, 12 and 9. Do you recommend spending more time at one park than the others based on their ages?

1118 Dave { 07.26.14 at 8:57 am }

Marci, not particularly. Once kids cross 8 or so pretty much everything in all the parks makes sense to them… Two days in MK and a day in each of the other three parks is the minimum…

1119 Marie { 07.26.14 at 9:52 am }

Hi Dave,
So grateful for your site! My husband and I are taking our 5 year old daughter to Disney this year for the first time (11/8 – 11/15). I booked an experience for her at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique and we are going to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. I have been trying for weeks to get a reservation at Cinderella’s Royal Table and have had no luck. I’ve heard this is the best way to see all the Princesses at once. Any suggestions on other ways to make sure we get the whole Princess experience? I don’t want to spend a lot of time waiting in lines to see each Princess!
Thanks in advance!

1120 Dave { 07.27.14 at 8:59 am }

Hi Marie and thanks!!

Akershus at Epcot is an alternative. See this:

1121 Lara { 07.27.14 at 9:45 pm }

Hi Dave,
Not sure how to plan our HS days with FP+ as kids want to do jedi training and then have a lunch booked one of those days.
We have two early morning starts at HS so we can sign them up as they want to do the experience twice. First day at HS we are planning to leave after lunch for a swim before getting to MK for our dinner at Crystal Palace at 6pm followed by nighttime shows.
What times am I best to book FP+ times for as no idea what time we will be allocated a Jedi show? Were just going to do lunch at Pizza Planet that day but will need to allow some time for lunch.
And on second visit to HS we have a lunch booked at 50s Prime Time cafe at 12.30pm so will need to fit FP+ times around Jedis again and lunch? This day we plan on leaving around 3pm.

And with MK FP+ given meeting Anna and Elsa so hard to get FP+ for am I best to flick straight to the day we want to see them which is on day 6 after our check in date to select them first to guarantee we get a spot? Then go back to day 1 to start choosing selections.

1122 Lara { 07.27.14 at 10:08 pm }

Sorry Dave and do I need to fit HS times around shows too?? Maybe our second day at HS will need to be more of a full day till say 5pm to fit everything in?

1123 Lara { 07.28.14 at 7:19 am }

Hi Dave,
Sorry for all the questions only a couple of days to go to book FP+.
My sister tried to email you from my computer but I don’t think it worked as she put her email address in?
Anyway, her and my questions are:
Should you book FP+ back to back or should you allow some time for lunch (does it take about 30 mins for a counter service lunch?) We want to leave most days by mid afternoon.
If you have a FP+ time of 1-2pm can you arrive at 2pm or do you need to have done ride by then?
If you have FP+ for long one like Anna and Elsa are we likely to be waiting a long time still in the FP+ line ( in October)?
Is it true you can get a 4th FP+ now after you have used the first three so earlier times would be better for that or maybe not much availability for the 4th FP selection at the kiosk?
Thanks so much!!!

1124 Dave { 07.28.14 at 8:27 am }

Lara, most HS shows don’t start til late morning, so they will be hard to fit in…

Don’t worry about quick service lunch and FP+–just go ahead and book at something like 11a/12 noon/1p and fit in lunch and Jedi around them. On yuor TS day do 9/10/11 for FP+. You have a window of 5 minutes before and 15 minutes after, so your total FP+ window is actually 80 minutes, and you can enter the FP+ return line anytime in that window. You can also move them around even on the day (subject to availability and yes, after you’ve used your 3, you can book more! I expect Anna and Elsa demand to be high for a while. Disney is testing giving return times rather than making non-FP+ holder wait forever, so hopefully that’ll still be in place by your visit, as many are having no luck getting FP+…

1125 Dave { 07.28.14 at 8:32 am }

Lara, is your sister Emma??

1126 Cathy { 07.28.14 at 11:02 am }

This will be our first time at Disney. I am staying at a resort off-site from August 10-August 17, 2014. We are planning 2 days at Disney. One at AK and the other at MK. There will be 14 people in the group with children ages 7 years to 14 years old (Grampa is handicapped and will be on a scooter). My daughter is all about Anna and Elsa, Little Mermaid and then the remainder of the princesses. Her Autograph book is ready to go. I wonder if you could assist with some questions.
What time should we arrive at the parks?
Best days to travel the parks during this week?
How do I go about any assistance with lines (FP+ or kisok) so we don’t have to wait in line for all the rides?
Best way to see Anna & Elsa or any other princesses in the two parks?
Should we pack our own lunches /water bottles?
Do the parks allow food/drink to be brought into the parks?
If not, best places for lunch/dinner based on our large group setting?
Any other suggestions regarding seeing the princesses / shows would be great.

1127 Lara { 07.29.14 at 7:54 am }

Thanks Dave, yes Emma is my sister so it obviously came through.
Big day tomorrow booking FP+ for us!!!
Just one last question: I notice you FP+ Illuminations. Is it a good idea to do that rather than pick Test Track for example. We have 1 1/2 days at Epcot. Our full day there is on 29 Sept where we are arriving early and going straight to Test Track then doing FP+ 11am Mission Space Orange, (have Akershus dining at 12pm) , 1pm Maelstrom and 2pm Soarin.
Then our next half day is Fri, 10 October which is not a recommended day but the plan was just to do 6pm dining at Biergarten followed by Illuminations. However, maybe we should throw in some FP+s such as 3pm Turtle Talk, 4pm Spaceship Earth and 5pm Test Track or should I instead of Test Track again as we have already done it (just wanted to do it two times) be doing FP+ for Illuminations?
And one more thing if a park is open late e.g. we are at Fantasmic on 28 Sept when park is open late can we do a FP+ for say 8.20pm or does it not go that late for FP+ selections?
Thanks for all your help!!! My sister and I owe you big time!!!

1128 Dave { 07.29.14 at 8:35 am }

Hi Kathy! There are no princesses at AK. At MK you need to book your FastPass+ now for the princess meets. Anna and Elsa will be long gone, but if you arrive at the turnstiles more than 45 minutes before opening and at open head straight there, DIsney will give you a pass with a return time. (You should also arrive at AK 45 minutes before open). I don’t have character-centric itineraries on this site (as it’s aimed at older kids) but you can find them in my book The Easy Guide to Your First Walt Disney World Visit

During your dates the best MK dates will be the 12th, 13th and 15th, and the best AK dates the 11th and 12th. By the way most on such a short visit enjoy more two days at MK than one day at MK and one at another park… You won’t be able to reserve any sit-down dining this late. Both parks have lots of fast-food like settings–just pick them based on what’s convenient at lunchtime. You can also pack your own stuff, but it is a pain to carry in the heat with all the walking…

1129 Dave { 07.29.14 at 8:46 am }

Lara I do like the idea of throwing in some more Epcot FP+. I like Illuminations as a FP+ for families with more than a day at Epcot because 1. Illuminations was designed to be seen from the vantage point where the FP+ location is and 2. it’s the closest vantage point to the exit and the buses/monorail. Since 20,000 people leave at once after Illuminations, this matters. You can see TT a seocnd time via the single-rider line.

FP+ are available only during regular operating hours, not during Extra Magic Hours.

1130 Lara { 07.30.14 at 4:21 am }

Thanks so much Dave. Have just booked all my FP+ selections – such a big mission!!! Couldn’t have done it without you. Can’t thank you enough!

1131 Dave { 07.30.14 at 7:03 am }

🙂 Lara! Be sure to come back and tell me how it went–and to tell your 1,000 closest friends about this site and our book!

1132 Lara { 07.30.14 at 9:50 pm }

Absolutely, I am spreading the word – I tell everyone about you!!!
Hey, just so you know I couldn’t get a FP+ for Maelstrom beginning of October it is not listed on the WDW FP+ list. I asked Disney and they said that was strange and wondering whether it may be going into refurb then??

1133 Allison { 07.31.14 at 7:46 am }

Hi again Dave! So we just booked for October 3-9. Any ideas for which parks on which days? I know its so far away but were all so excited! Thanks for any help you can offer!

1134 Dave { 07.31.14 at 1:45 pm }

Could be, Lara–there have been a ton of rumors that it’ll be converted into a frozen ride, beginning about then! Thanks for spreading the word–hugs to you and Emma!!

1135 Dave { 07.31.14 at 1:54 pm }

Allison it’s not far away at all! For example a lot of the most popular dining will have booked months ago…those dates

On 10/3 avoid Epcot and AK
On 10/4 avoid all but AK
On 10/5 avoid HS
On 10/6 avoid MK anbd AK
On 10/7 avoid Epcot
On 10/8 avoid Epcot
On 10/9 avoid MK

1136 Lara { 07.31.14 at 8:20 pm }

And I hope you saw the great review I posted on Amazon about your book. You are simply the best ever!

1137 Dave { 08.01.14 at 7:41 am }

I did, Lara, thanks so much!!!

1138 Allison { 08.04.14 at 9:43 am }

Thanks so much Dave! How do people book the dining so early?? It wont let me book any reservations for our trip more than 180 days in advance. I keep trying everyday!

1139 Dave { 08.05.14 at 9:06 am }

Yeyah, dining for then opened in late March for WDW resort guests, and early April for everyone else.

1140 Maggie { 08.10.14 at 5:09 pm }

I’m back again needing more help. We are booked at Boardwalk Villas for Nov. 3-12. We are two adults with no children this time. We want to spend a lot of time at the Food and Wine Festival but want to go to all the parks and spend time in Downtown Disney. We arrive late on the 3rd and leave early on the 12th so I’m not concerned about those two days. I know what we want to do but am having trouble deciding which parks on which days. The only day I know for sure is Tues. (11/4) we will be in Epcot because I have booked the lunch/concert for that day. We also want to be sure to see the Osborne lights – was thinking about Sat. 11/8. I would appreciate any advice you can give me.
Also, did I read here that once you have used your 3 fast pass +, that you can get more for the same day? Would this have to be done at a kiosk in the park? Could we say use 3 at MK in the morning and then go to Epcot and do 3 more? I hope I really read this here and I wasn’t just dreaming about how nice that would be.
Thanks so much for your help!!

1141 Dave { 08.11.14 at 8:52 am }

Hi Maggie, here’s parks to avoid by day on your visit:

11/4: Avoid Epcot (yes I know…)
11/5 Avoid Epcot
11/6 Avoid MK
11/7 Avoid AK
11/8 Avoid all but AK
11/9 Avoid AK
11/10 Avoid HS
11/11 Avoid Epcot, MK
11/12 Avoid AK

On FP+, yup, once you have used your initial 3, you can get more, one at a time, at a kiosk in the park in which you plan to use them

1142 Maggie { 08.11.14 at 10:27 am }

Thanks so much Dave. You’re the best! Now I can finalize our plans. I figured Epcot would be crowded with Boyz II Men there but wanted to see them. We have plenty of time on this trip to visit Epcot even if we only go there on that day for lunch and then the concert.
That’s great about the FP+. Was thinking about a FP+ one evening for Illuminations. Do you think it would be possible to still get a FP+ for it late in the afternoon? If not, we might just book it on the same day that we go to Downtown Disney. Thanks again.

1143 Dave { 08.12.14 at 7:51 am }

Maggie, FP+ for Illuminations aren’t wildly popular, but there aren’t a lot of them so my guess is that they and the other Tier Ones except Living with the Land will be gone by the time you work thru your first three.

1144 MO { 08.13.14 at 11:22 pm }

Hi Dave ,
We are planning to go for the first time from 12/01-12/09, 2 adults and 2 children ages 7 and 11. We are very excited but nervous at the same time. Any suggestions of what is a must to see and do? I want it to be an unforgettable experience but at same time not too stressful that we don’t get to enjoy the stay.

1145 Dave { 08.14.14 at 5:04 pm }

MO see this and its links It’s not a tight fight to your dates (in it, days are days, so Saturday means Saturday, not “Day One”) but it will give you a great start!!

1146 Kelly B - Agent with Destinations in Florida { 08.15.14 at 3:18 pm }

So many great vacations coming up. Be sure to follow Dave’s advice. He’s shared so much wonderful information.

1147 Al { 08.17.14 at 3:28 pm }

Vacationing Mon., Jan 26 to Thurs., Jan 29 and doing one park on each day. Which parks do you rec for each day?

Also, do you rec scheduling our fastpasses for the afternoon or early am that way we can get more later in the day?

1148 Dave { 08.18.14 at 12:47 pm }

Al, the 26th I’d avoid MK and HS, the 27th avoid Epcot and HS, the 28th avoid AK, and the 29th avoid MK.

You will see the most great rides with the lowest wait if you arrive before park open, go first thing on rides that soon build high waits, and reserve your FP+ to start 10.30a or later. Add FP+ later as you can, but don;t start them too early or you will waste them on rides you could have walked on to…

1149 Eric { 08.18.14 at 9:12 pm }

Dave, it was really nice meeting you yesterday. I still can’t believe you live right around the corner from me (722 Elmwood). I can’t resist asking if you would like to meet up sometime. It would be fun to chat. Thank you again for the book. My kids love having their own copy now!

1150 Dave { 08.20.14 at 6:41 am }

Small world, Eric, and I’d love to!! BTW I am at the SW corner of Frazier and Oak. Email is From my home office on the second floor on the Oak side (over the Oak entrance) you can see mouse ears on my desk!!

1151 Allison { 08.30.14 at 9:06 am }

Hey again Dave. What is the best place to have a character meal with Mickey. We were thinking the tusker house in AK, but the focus is mainly on Donald Duck for that. Thanks!

1152 Kay { 08.30.14 at 10:55 am }

I went to purchase your book. We are planning a 2015 trip. Noticed the book cover says 2014. Will you be updating the book for the 2015 season? Your site it wonderful. Thank you.

1153 Dave { 08.30.14 at 6:35 pm }

Chef Mickey’s at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Allison.

1154 Dave { 08.30.14 at 6:43 pm }

Hi Kay, don’t tell anyone, but yes we are!

1155 Jane { 08.30.14 at 9:41 pm }

Hi Dave, Thanks for all the great advice! I found your website and now have the Easy guide as well. My question is, could you please tell me if I’ve made the wisest decision re: which parks on which days? We are there Thanksgiving week and are traveling with 3 small kids. Our plan is to avoid extra magic hours, and to take Thurs (Tgiving day) off as the down day, with only a character breakfast and a Thanksgiving dinner, both at resorts. Our park days are: M Epcot, Tues MK, Wed Hollywood, F Animal K. We were originally going to do MK on Mon but switched b/c we were able to get Cinderella and Be Our Guest reservations. However, these are only for parts of our party at a time, so if I ever get better res I will switch park days (or park hop). Thanks for any advice!

1156 Dave { 09.03.14 at 7:44 am }

Hi Jane and thanks! And yes I do like your park days…

1157 Joseph { 09.17.14 at 11:05 pm }

What a methodical and phenomenal site! A few questions about FastPass+: 1) Despite being on our computer today at 6 am EST (5 am for us) 60 days before our visit, we missed out on a lot of our fast pass choices, particularly Meet Anna/Elsa and Dwarf Mine Train, even after trying for days we were not planning to spend at MK. Is there any remedy to this deplorable shortcoming of parenting? 2) Would our odds have improved if we were to have used a travel agent, i.e. do agents get first dibs?; and 3) Do fastpasses to shows, e.g. Lion King or Nemo, allow for better seating, or just guarantee that you get in to the show?

1158 Dave { 09.18.14 at 6:49 am }

Joseph, what happens is that when 60 days rolls around, people can book FP+ for the length of their ticket–eg their day 61, 62, 63 etc. So since A&E and 7DMT are so popular, they get grabbed at other peoples eg Day 65, befroe your FP+ even open. The only useful advice is to have an MK day at the end of your trip, and aim for these on that day, as the first FP+ you do (so you are booking e.g. Day 65 first as soon as your day 60 makes you eligible. Also FP+ open between MN and 1a eastern… There’s no special access for TAs, although if you had worked with one they may have done the combo of a midnight session aimed at a last MK day and gotten you in…

One possible save–tho expensive. MVMCP (see this: ) is on some of your dates. A&E and 7DMT are both available at it, with lower waits than standby waits on non-party schedules…

In general show FP+ just get you in. This is not true of parade/fireworks FP+–these have special areas..

1159 JJ Croswell { 10.04.14 at 9:18 pm }

We just returned fromWDW last Saturday and can’t wait to go back. This was our third trip with our children; my husband and I went for our 15th anniversary in Dec. of 2012. My sister and her family joined us for their 1st visit (but not their last) and a dear single friend who didn’t want to travel alone – it was also her first visit. The crowds were more than what we’ve experienced in the past, but we did not wait more than 30 minutes for any ride. We rode our favs at least twice and my son rode Everest once on a fast pass then twice more in a row with only a 5 minute wait – same thing at Kali River Rapids. We bought the dining plan our first visit, did not stay on Disney property our 2nd visit (won’t be doing that again), and received free dining the other two visits. In 2005, we decied we would make our first visit in 2008 so we opened a Chase Disney Visa thinking we would close it after the trip. We quickly realized that we loved Disney and would be coming back repeatedly. On our most recent trip, we had $1200 in cash for the trip from the card and between paying for the trip and going, we accumulated another $200 that we put on a gift card for spending money.
Anyway, I have 2 questions. 1) I am the senior class sponsor at the school where I teach. My seniors are considering Disney for the senior trip in May. We would be there May 14-21 and our dates are not flexible. What kind of crowds will we be facing if those are the dates. I do already have a contact at group sales for Disney that I am working with.
2). We are considering Disney Vacation Clubs. Do you have any advice or opinions on that decision?
Thanks in advance for any help you can give!

1160 Dave { 10.05.14 at 12:56 pm }

Hi JJ that’s a pretty good week. It can be hot and wet–the rainy season starts in late May but may be early. Crowds are OK–see this:

By considering DVC–you mean to buy, or as a location for the seniors? If the former, I odn;t have an opinion, but there’s a good discussion here

For the seniors, are you also talking to Disney’s YES program? Huge ticket savings are possible from that–see this if you haven’t already|G|4130023.SL.SM.01.03&keyword_id=spkAt1uSg_dc|disney%20y.e.s.%20program|24139176272|p|1540hvi14032

1161 Preeya { 10.06.14 at 12:24 am }

Hi! We are taking my daughter and niece to MK for the first time and their shared birthday on january 5, 2015. They want to see princesses and i see that Cinderella table will be closed. What is the best place to eat with princesses and characters that will also make their 3 birthday special?

1162 Dave { 10.06.14 at 8:38 am }

Hi Preeya, this late the other options may well be booked up too, but Akershus or dinner at 1900 Park Fare are the next best choices.

1163 Kevin { 10.06.14 at 4:06 pm }

I do not have dinner reservations for Sci-Fi in Hollywood Studios, but I was hoping to
purchase a milkshake at Sci-Fi. Do you know Sc-Fi has a walkup sales area or am I out of luck ?

1164 Dave { 10.07.14 at 6:45 am }

Kevin, not that I can see…

1165 Michelle { 10.07.14 at 12:51 pm }

Hi Dave, I am finding your information quite helpful. I booked late and tried grabbing what I could for character dining so I am now trying to plan park visits around them. My daughter are there for 8 days from Oct 11 – 18. What parks/days should we avoid?

1166 Dave { 10.08.14 at 4:30 pm }

Hey Michelle!

The 11th avoid all parks but AK
The 12th avoid AK
The 13th avoid HS
The 14th avoid MK and Epcot
the 15th avoid Epcot
The 16th avoid MK
The 17th avoid AK and EPcot
The 18th avoid all parks but Epcot

1167 Maggie { 10.20.14 at 7:44 pm }

Hi Dave , This should be my last question before this trip because we are leaving in two weeks! I have everything planned (thanks to you) and feel good about it. We were planning on going to Hess gas station across from Boardwalk when we arrive on Nov. 3 for some things. I just heard that they were closing for refurbishment on Oct. 13. Do you know if they will be back open by then? If not, I guess we will have to go to the one near Downtown Disney. Thanks for all you help and wonderful info. Love your site.

1168 Dave { 10.21.14 at 9:30 am }

Maggie, I don’t know when it will re-open. I hope you have a great trip!! Come back and let me know how it went…

1169 JT { 10.21.14 at 10:13 am }

We just got back yesterday and the crowds were MUCH higher than we expected. We only spent an hour in Epcot because we literally couldn’t move. And a 60min wait for Haunted Mansion?! On your chart, this past week should have been lower crowds. We would like to plan another trip but cannot handle those types of waits again with a 3yr old and 2yr old. Any feedback would be helpful

1170 Dave { 10.21.14 at 12:04 pm }

Much at this time of year depends on which parks you go to which days, especially so during the week of COlumbus day–the busiest week of the fall until Thanksgiving week.

So, for example, if you were at Epcot Weds, Fri, Sat or Sun you will have faced larger crowds, especially in the evenings in World Showcase. Because of early closes from the Halloween Party, MK sees massive ebbs and flows day to day–e.g. last week, it would have been particularly crowded the 11th, 12th, 14th and 18th.

1171 CD { 10.21.14 at 3:43 pm }

I have read in earlier comments that your itinerary plan is mostly for ages eight and up. But I am traveling with children ranging in age from 3 to 13 and I was wondering if you had any specific plans to cater to children of all ages. We will be arriving late Saturday evening maybe around four to 5 o’clock and departing on the following Friday maybe right after lunch. Should I look at going to one of the parks Saturday evening or just chilling at the resort–we will be staying at the art of animation. Also, we are planning to skip animal Kingdom at this time to try to fit more days in at Magic Kingdom. Thank you

1172 CD { 10.21.14 at 3:44 pm }

I forgot to mention that we will be arriving on May 2

1173 Dave { 10.23.14 at 10:05 am }

Hi CD, for reasons explained here, there really isn’t an “all ages” approach:

On arrival evenings, a relaxed time at the resort and pool can be a great approach. The alternative that’s in most of my itineraries is dinner and the fireworks show IllumiNations at Epcot

1174 ScheppkeEn { 10.28.14 at 11:47 am }

wow, awesome article post.Much thanks again. Will read on…

1175 Jan Wilson { 11.06.14 at 8:43 am }

Hi Dave. I came across your website a couple of days ago and have spend a good few hours looking through it … brilliant! I’m from the UK, with my family pretty much off my hands (are they truly ever though?) and want to plan a holiday for one to WDW, Florida for next year. My husband died earlier in the year and this will be my first solo trip. I know it’s probably a big one to start with, but have been wanting to go back for so long (unfortunately, it wasn’t my husband’s cup of tea) that, frankly, I’ve no reasons for not going now. It’s been almost 10 years since my last visit and it looks like all sorts of changes have occurred. Okay, firstly, a solo trip to Disney? Do you recommend? I’m not confident enough to hire a car for myself, so will rely on Disney transport. Secondly, hotel. I quite like the idea of staying in the EPCOT (was my favourite park on my last visit) area as I can walk to two of the parks from there. What about the Beach Club? Would you recommend it for a solo traveller? I quite like the look of that one? Thirdly, I’m thinking of a studio room, do you think it’s worth it? I like the idea of having a little more indpendence, particularly in regard to eating by myself if it all gets a little much. And, lastly, conscierge rooms, what exactly do they offer? Do you think that might be a good option for a solo traveller? I’d so appreciate your feedback on all this. My children are lovely, full of well intentioned advice, but don’t seem to think I should go anywhere on my own. Oh, by the way, I’m early 50’s, so it’s not like I’m on my last knockings or anything!!! Hope to see something posted in the near future. All the very best. Jan Wilson.

1176 Dave { 11.06.14 at 11:05 am }

Hi Jan…everyone is so different that it’s hard to generalize.

I make 4-10 solo visits to WDW a year–because I can’t afford to bring the family on the number of visits that keeping up with the changes at WDW requires–and on my first solo visits years ago I felt quite odd–especially when dining alone. But I am also a severe and perhaps selfish introvert, so take a lot of peace from solitude, and the ability to act without considering the wishes of others.

In all honesty, given the expense implied, if you have not done so already I’d take a local weekend solo trip in the UK to test your comfort (I hear Ruislip, where I lived decades ago, is lovely in November…).

An Epcot resort is a wonderful idea. If the pool is a high priority, pick the Beach Club; if not, the BoardWalk Inn is lovelier (if you avoid a Boardwalk view), closer to nightlife, as close to Epcot and closer to HS. Be sure to get hopper passes so that you can go into Epcot to dine at a whim–counter service dining is tremendously weak across the Epcot resorts–best at the Beach Club, but still weak.

Studios are available in both, and for a solo traveler the microwave and couch can be quite welcome. You can’t get a studio that’s also concierge level at either. The value of the concierge space is free drinks and snacks–and perhaps some company–although you pay much more than the effective cost of the free stuff in the room upcharge. I haven’t done concierge at the BoardWalk Inn, but found the service at the Beach CLub adequate but small.

1177 Jan Wilson { 11.07.14 at 8:23 am }

Thanks for your advice Dave. Will take it on board. I’ve enjoyed reading through your website very much. All the very best. Jan.

1178 Maggie { 11.15.14 at 7:40 pm }

Hi Dave – We are back and had a wonderful trip. We avoided the parks that you told us to and it was perfect. Yes, we did do that Tuesday in Epcot because of our reservation for Eat to the Beat and it was packed. We found that almost every day in Epcot was pretty crowded especially out in the World Showcase. I know that was because it was the last week of the Food and Wine Festival. I highly recommend getting Eat to the Beat reservations if there is a special concert you want to see. We had seats on the third row right by the stage. We were told that people had started lining up to see Boyz II Men at 11:30 am for the 5:30pm show. It was well worth the little extra we paid. The Osborne lights were awesome. We arrived about 5:30, stood in a great place and got to see them when they first came on. The streets were packed by 6. It’s something everyone should see!! Everything worked out great thanks to your advice.
So now that we had such a wonderful time we are heading back Feb. 25 – March 6. I was wondering if you could tell us which parks to avoid again. That really helped sooooo much and you were right on the money!
Thanks again!!!

1179 Dave { 11.16.14 at 8:49 am }

Maggie I’m so glad to have helped!! Sounds like you had a great trip.

Your dates:
Feb 25: avoid AK
Feb 26: avoid MK
Feb 27: avoid Epcot
Feb 28: avoid MK and HS
Mar 1: Avoid MK and AK
Mar 2: Avoid MK and HS
Mar 3 Avoid Epcot
Mar 4 Avoid AK
Mar 5 avoid MK
Mar 6 Avoid Epcot

1180 Jane { 12.02.14 at 1:32 pm }

Hi Dave, I just wanted to say thank you again for all your great advice! Things went really well for our visit, with the exception of a huge downpour on one day–but we made the most of it b/c it was our MK day and, like you said, we were able to walk on to all the rides. I think we probably did twice as many attractions as we could have done on a nice day. We ate breakfast in the room and got to the parks much earlier than we would have otherwise. Honestly I don’t think we ever waited in a significant line the entire week, and it was Thanksgiving week (we took Thanksgiving day off as our down day and saw 3 resorts). Choosing which park to visit on which day based on your advice was very valuable. I can’t wait to go back! 🙂

1181 chantale { 12.03.14 at 5:55 am }

Hi Dave. If we are visiting Epcot this week (which appears to be a slow week so far), what would you say the best way to get from Epcot to Contemporary Resort would be. We want to visit Epcot first thing in the morning and then get to Contemporary Resort for an 11:20 a.m. reservation at Chef Mickey. I assume the monorail would be our best best. If so, what routes are you suggesting? Epcot to TTC and then Resort monorail to Contemporary? OR Express Monorail to Magic Kingdom and walk to Contemporary resort. How much time should we allow?
Also, we are staying off resort. Would you recommend parking at Epcot directly OR parking at TTC and taking monorail to Epcot?
thanks so much!

1182 Dave { 12.03.14 at 8:14 am }

Jane, so glad to help…and for the rain!!!

1183 Dave { 12.03.14 at 8:20 am }

Well, Chantale, the best way is to take a cab! After that the monorail is your only choice, and which you take depends on how much walking you want. Taking the express monorail then walking should mean a shorter overall trip. I would allow 45 minutes. Leave your car where you plan to end the day.

1184 chantale { 12.03.14 at 4:41 pm }

thanks Dave. we don’t mind the walking so we can walk to the contemporary resort from magic kingdom. Does the Express Monorail from Epcot go straight to Magic Kingdom?

1185 Dave { 12.04.14 at 3:41 pm }

Chantale, you take the Epcot monorail to TTC, then the express monorail from TTC to MK. It goes straight to the Magic Kingdom

1186 Jane { 12.10.14 at 9:04 am }

Hi Dave, not sure where to ask this, so I just put it here: the one thing (and I mean only thing, since your site and book prepared me so well!) that confused me during our trip was the Memory Maker / Photo Pass stuff. I thought we wouldn’t want to pay $150 for Memory Maker, but once I saw the nice 40 or so photos they took of us during our stay I wish I had. I also wish I had taken more advantage of the program. I noticed others with cards getting them scanned after every ride. When I asked at the Dinosaur ride at AK I was told we didn’t have to get our magic band scanned (other photographers who took our picture were doing that) they said we were already in their system. When I went to look at our photos after the trip I saw there is a great one of us in the Dinosaur ride, as well at the Tower of Terror, but no other rides–but it seemed like everywhere I looked I was seeing booths saying you could get your ride photo there. I asked Disney about the Haunted Mansion and Spaceship Earth and they said they don’t maintain photos for those rides. So, this time I’m going to buy the individual photos that we have that I want, but next time I want to get all the ride photos that they would make for us. How do I do that? It sounds like I get a Photo Pass card and beep it at everything we go to.

1187 Dave { 12.11.14 at 7:24 am }

Jane, that’s a great point. I have never posted about Memory Maker or photo pass as I am deeply skeptical about its value and find it hard to understand and keep up with. I promise to do better…

1188 Mario { 12.11.14 at 7:50 pm }

Hi Dave. Excellent website, i am learning a lot. I am leaving for Disney on Mon Dec 15th. Will the parks be busy during this week?

1189 Jane { 12.11.14 at 8:45 pm }

Hi Dave, no problem! Everything you said: skeptical of its value, hard to understand, etc. is exactly why I didn’t prepay for it. I tried a few times (after my visit) to call the Disney photo pass number but was on hold so long I gave up, so that’s why I asked you instead. Overall, I am very happy to have photos of our ride on Dinosaur and the Tower, which I would not have expected to have. They also took some good ones of us in front of Christmas trees, which we had to stop and ask them to take. They scanned our magic bands for those, so that is how they ended up on our account. Next time I will 1) call them ahead of time and ask all my questions 2) probably prepay for memory maker and 3) really take advantage of every photo op that I want so as to make the most out of memory maker. They also included a few videos of us on the Tower ride which you can only get from memory maker, but these aren’t that interesting so I think we will forego that and just buy individual jpgs of the pics we really want.

1190 Dave { 12.12.14 at 11:41 am }

Mario, not until the 20th. However, waits can be high at MK on the non-party nights of the 15th and 17th.

1191 Jane { 12.16.14 at 4:43 pm }

Hi Dave, to conclude the thread about the photo pass / memory maker: I got a response from Disney re: which rides will give you a photo, and it matches info I’ve seen on blogs since I started looking. This is cut and pasted from their email to me:
– Space Mountain
– Splash Mountain
– Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
– Test Track
– The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
– Rock ‘n Roller Coaster
– Expedition Everest
– Dinosaur
– Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (only available with MagicBand)
Now that I have the list, I see that all of the pics I was entitled to were automatically put onto my account since we used magic bands. They told me that if you have a magic band you don’t have to get the photo pass card. At rides they automatically attach the photo to your account through the band, and when you have a photo taken elsewhere they scan your bands (that was our experience). I ended up deciding to buy memory maker to get everything, and next time I’ll take more advantage of it. We really like the ride photos, and the little videos from the Tower of Terror.

1192 Dave { 12.17.14 at 9:13 am }

Thanks, Jane!!

1193 Marcy { 12.28.14 at 10:02 pm }

Dave, I’m so sorry but I left a comment in my delirium of reading your amazing site late last night and now I can’t find where I posted it (I opened about 10 of your pages). So I’m posting again here and hope you haven’t already replied to that one, and can just reply here (I bookmarked the page!).

I am going with my husband and 2-year old toddler to WDW March 22 – 27. Any tips about what order to do the parks in? She’s too young to care that much, but we were thinking 2 days MK, 1 day Epcot, 1 day AK, and then we also have two half days to fit in any extras. Also, we are torn between the Poly and Wilderness Lodge. We want to maximize for convenience although the lower price point at Wilderness and knowing how great the theming is is very tempting. I see you note the Poly renovations will be done by March, but our Disney agent suggested they may go later – any intel on that? Best regards and thanks again for this awesome resource.

1194 Dave { 12.30.14 at 9:49 am }

Hiya Marcy, my response was here: take a look Oreder will matter less, given how crowded it will be, than picking the right parks on the right days. Josh has great stuff for that here:

And your TA is right–I just hadn’t updated those pages. Fixed now!

1195 Marcy { 12.30.14 at 8:10 pm }

Thanks very much for that calendar link and link to your guide chapter! Given it will be so crowded then we will certainly take these recommendations on which parks to visit when. Luckily, we have no expectations for our visit (i.e., rides we have to go on, character meals we have to get to) so hopefully won’t be too disappointed by crowd-limiting factors. Sure I’ll be back with questions again soon but in the meantime, thank you.

1196 Allie { 01.06.15 at 10:59 am }

Hi Dave,

Im hoping for some advice! Me, my husband, my brother (fresh out of the army) and our children 3 and 1 are booked for WDW October 3-9 2015 staying at the caribbean beach. Which days do you recommend for which parks? Also, its been rumored the CB is going to finally be upgrading to queen beds…do you know of any truth behind this? Perhaps when it will take place and how to ensure we get a room with the queen beds? (were booked with a water/pool view)
We are also booked for the dining plan. Our son is a big character fan and wed love to take advantage of as many character dining experiences as we can..he loves mickey and chip and dale in particular. Any suggestions of which places to eat…does it matter the days or meals? Of course, any and all other advice is much appreciated!!
Thanks so much!

1197 Dave { 01.07.15 at 7:24 am }

Hi Allie! The CB refurb began in June, and will be complete except perhaps the pirate rooms by your visit. See this for more:

I won’t have recommended days until the October calendar comes out, which will be in about 2 months–so check back then!

See this for some thoughts on character meals: There’s more detail in my book, The easy Guide to Your First Walt Disney World Visit 2015

1198 Patty DeRanzo { 01.19.15 at 10:14 am }

hi, Dave. Love your site. I will be going to WDW first week in Dec., 2015 with my sister. We are two adults, staying at a value resort, with the dining plan, love food, no extreme rides. I would like your help in which days will be least crowded to go to each park? I have been many times over the years but my sister only twice. Any advice will be much appreciated.

1199 Chelli { 01.19.15 at 8:02 pm }

Hi! I saw a video online that there was a talking Mickey at the town square theater in M K. Is he still there?? Thanks!!

1200 Dave { 01.20.15 at 9:06 am }

Patty, I can help, but not until Disney publishes its operating calendar for then, which it will do in mid-May. Check back with me then?

1201 Dave { 01.20.15 at 9:08 am }

Chelli, yup!

1202 Maggie { 01.22.15 at 7:09 pm }

Hi Dave,
Back again for a couple of questions. Have been researching this but can’t seem to find any info. We are heading back Feb. 25 – March 6 and staying at Port Orleans Riverside. As big University of Kentucky fans, we want to watch two games while at Disney. There is one on Saturday at 4:00 and we are planning to watch it at the ESPN Club. The other game is the night we arrive at 7 pm. I had originally thought we could just watch it in the River Roost Bar. However, Yeehaw Bob (whom we love and plan on seeing one night) will be playing that night. Do you happen to know if the outside bar by the pool has televisions? That would be an option. I also thought about Scat Cat’s Club at the French Quarter but can’t tell if it has televisions. Is there any place in Downtown Disney that we might be able to go? Since it is our first night, we don’t want to go far. Usually make it an early night to get up early the next morning. Any ideas or thoughts would be appreciated.
Thanks again for the wonderful advice and information to have given to us and others. Couldn’t plan a trip without you.

1203 Dave { 01.23.15 at 1:21 pm }

Hi Maggie and thanks you are a sweetie!!!

The POR pool bar does have TVs–but if the evening is cool and not many are at the pool, it may be closed.

I can’t find in my photos evidence that Scat Cat has them–it may, I just can’t say for sure, and if they are there, they aren’t in obvious spot behind the bartender.

DTD, I honestly have not paid enough attention to know which places have TVs.

Since I have not been of much help, I’d suggest asking the DTD question in particular on the easyWDW forums here:

1204 Maggie Ryan { 01.23.15 at 8:01 pm }

Thanks Dave – I appreciate your help. I will try the forums. I’ll let you know if I find out anything. Other than this, I think (thanks to you) we are good to go in Feb. I will be checking with you later this spring to find out the parks to avoid for our trip in October. Haven’t set the dates but it looks like Oct. 18 – 28 would be a great time. Thanks again!!

1205 Meg { 01.24.15 at 10:31 pm }

Hey Dave!
Thank you for your awesome advice! I took my two daughters (20 & 24) to WDW January 3rd thru 9th. I read your book before we left, but other than planning which park to visit, didn’t really make a schedule. Big mistake. The first day, We pretty much wandered around and got cranky with each other. Fortunately, I brought the book with us. Each night we scheduled the next day. We followed your suggestions – crowds were light – it was an awesome time. The staff at Saratoga Springs couldn’t have been more accommodating. Thanks for all of your invaluable insights!

1206 Brian & Diana { 01.26.15 at 11:13 am }

Great website Dave! We used it extensively and exclusively to plan our 10-day First trip to Disney with our 3 kids back on the 1st week of December in 2013 (and a few days after Thanksgiving). Superb time to be at Disney when they just put out the Christmas decorations. Your website saved us time, money, and aggravation. Thanks so much.

Now we are planning to go back to FL to visit Universal theme parks – do you have a website for there? If not, can you create one real quick for us. 🙂 lol

1207 Dave { 01.26.15 at 11:48 am }

Thanks Meg! I so glad it worked out after the first day!! And write a review on Amazon if you can…

1208 Dave { 01.26.15 at 11:53 am }

Briana and Diana, I’m so glad the site helped! I have a little bit on Universal here, but it’s out of date. I plan to update it in Feb–but even then it’ll be focused on Harry Potter. Until then, try

1209 Daniel { 01.29.15 at 6:32 pm }

Dear Dave, we (myself, wife and 3 kids, 17, 11, 4) went to Disney from Jan 4th to 14th for the first time, we´re from Brazil. I´d like to thank you very much for all the planning we were able to do and all the savings of time and money (and lack of stress) that made possible. We stayed at the Polynesian and enjoyed a lot, crowds were low, we managed to get the free Dining Plan, we made reservations for character dinners in advance (we loved Hoop-Dee-Doo), the FastPasses worked very well, we included a 3-day Universal visit: it was an unforgetable vacation. Well, I can´t thank you enough and congratulate for your outstanding work. Best regards,

1210 Dave { 01.30.15 at 4:50 pm }

Daniel, thanks so much, and I’m so glad the site helped!!

1211 Nik { 02.09.15 at 12:18 pm }

Hi Dave,

I can’t remember where on your website I posted my original questions! But just wanted to ask if there are buggies for hire at the parks? Kids are 6 and 4 so I imagine they will get very tired walking around the whole day!

Any advice much appreciated.


1212 Dave { 02.10.15 at 7:26 am }

Nik, yes there are, at the entry to each park after the turnstiles!

1213 nicki french { 02.10.15 at 11:05 am }

Hi there! I’m not sure if my last post came through. Anyways I think this is a fantastic resource! You do a wonderful job 🙂
With that said we are going on our 1st disney world trip! We are celebrating our 18 year anniversary there! We will be there april 28th thru may 6th our anniversary is may 4 h I was hoping you could give us some suggestions on dinner for that night..and what are the best shows to see. Thanks so muchfor your time!:)

1214 rom { 02.10.15 at 12:31 pm }

Hi Dave,
What would be your week/pick for the month of November?
Trying to avoid all that Jersey week, Half Marathon and big convention crowd.
Or should we just pick another month say October?

1215 Nik { 02.10.15 at 2:54 pm }

Thank you Dave, last q is the wishes fireworks on every night at MK?

1216 Dave { 02.10.15 at 3:41 pm }
1217 Dave { 02.10.15 at 3:44 pm }
1218 Dave { 02.10.15 at 3:46 pm }

Nik, not from September to mid-December. A private event, then the holiday parties, means that it’s on about half the time in that window. But the rest of the year, yes.

1219 Fred { 02.19.15 at 4:46 pm }

Hello Dave, we are wanting to book a trip to Disney for Labor Day week 2016. Is there any way to book that far in advance?

1220 Dave { 02.19.15 at 5:15 pm }

Fred you can book over the phone 500 days ahead–see this 500 days from now is early July, so you still have a couple months to wait.

1221 mike { 02.27.15 at 9:15 am }

I have two questions. First off, I am going to Disney World in April with a large group. We are purchasing tickets separately, is it going to be an issue to fastpass things together?
My second question is we are staying off grounds this time, I was considering buying the year pass and coming back in September and staying on Disney grounds. Do you think that if I came back in September that the resort deals will be worth me buying a year pass now? Thanks in advance!

1222 Dave { 02.28.15 at 11:21 am }

Mike, someone needs to link up the tickets as “friends and family” to be able to do FP+ for all. Or if you do it on site, you can give all your tix to a cast member to link.

September deals available to all are usually as good or better than the deals you can get as a passholder. A pass still may make sense, as DIsney charges a ton for the first three days of a ticket.

1223 Karl { 03.02.15 at 10:03 am }

Hello, firstly excellent site. I am looking to book a family holiday arriving 12th April until 22nd or 23rd April next year. From what I can see, this should be a low crowd time. Coming from the UK, the cost is huge so I want to save where possible. Do the prices of Disney hotels vary throughout the year, by which I mean do the same travel dates cost more at some times than others? Maybe there are special offers on at particular times of the year e.g. dining plan free? This is something that we have come across when we have booked for Disneyland Paris, so just wondering if WDW do the same thing. Also, at that time of the year, will both waterparks be open or just one?

1224 Brett { 03.02.15 at 6:13 pm }

Greetings from New York. I was messing around on the Disney website and you can book an actual advance dining reservation for LUNCH! Not a FastPass+! I had no idea. Did I just find this or is this thing been around. Just wanted to let you know. Brett

1225 Dave { 03.03.15 at 8:49 am }

Karl, yes the costs vaqry quite a bit! My forecast for 2016 Disney World price seasons is here.

Special offers are common throughout the year, but UK folk get a different set than everybody else. See a UK based site like for more!

Typically, both waterparks are open after mid-March

1226 Dave { 03.03.15 at 8:52 am }

Brett it’s real, started at the end of February!!

1227 Allie { 03.05.15 at 7:47 am }

Hey Dave! We’ll be headed to Disney October 3-9. The 190 day ahead of travel is approaching for me to book our dining…can you suggest which parks to visit on which days so I can plan dining accordingly? We will definitely be doing breakfast at tusker, another breakfast at the castle.. How is the backyard BBQ? Any other suggestions for lunch/dinners? The more character encounters the better! We do have the dining plan. Thanks!!

1228 Dave { 03.05.15 at 10:02 am }

Sorry Allie, I won’t be able to until Disney October calendar comes out, which it will in a week or two. Your 180 day mark (it’s not 190) is in early April so just come back in a bit and ask me again!!

1229 allie { 03.05.15 at 10:08 am }

ok thanks! I will be sure to check back. I was under the impression for guests staying at a WDW resort we could book dining the extra 10 days ahead of everyone else making it 190 days from travel?

1230 Susi { 03.05.15 at 10:53 am }

This is such a wonderful site! Although my husband and I have visited DW in the past, this will be our first visit with our 3 kids, and our knowledge is really dated! So, I have a question that I can’t seem to find an answer to; hopefully you can help: We’ll be visiting DW in September and are looking for a larger accommodation (2 br) in one of the deluxe resorts (pref on the monorail), but am finding that most of those are showing as not available. Yet, last August, when trying to book for the same week last year, there was quite a bit of availability re: the larger units. Am I correct in thinking that those larger villas and suites are DVC properties, and are being ‘held’ at this point, and may very well ‘open up’ as we get closer to our date, if not booked by DVC members? We’ll probably go ahead and hold a 1-br (Bay Lake Tower) for now, but it would be great to know we might have a shot at getting a larger unit as we get closer. Again, thanks for providing such an awesome site!

1231 Debbie { 03.05.15 at 12:49 pm }
1232 Dave { 03.05.15 at 3:58 pm }

Allie the way it works is that you can start booking 180 days befroe your arrival date, and then–because you are a WDW resort guest–can book the next ten days too. So it isn’t 190, its 180+10.

1233 Dave { 03.05.15 at 4:02 pm }

Thanks Susi!!

There’s three DVCs on the monorail. The Poly has no real 2 bedrooms as normal people understand the phrase. The Grand Floridian has a tiny DVC footprint and is as a result often unavailable. BLT has a ton of two bedrooms–I just did a test booking mid-Sept and got a two bedroom offered.

It’s possible your dates are filled. It’s also possible that, since the 5 of you fit in a one bedroom, that that’s what you are being offered. Simplest is just to call..

1234 Dave { 03.05.15 at 4:02 pm }

Thanks Debbie! Bummed that completion is 2016.

1235 Maggie { 03.22.15 at 6:19 pm }

Hi Dave, Back from another wonderful Disney trip. It’s always so easy and relaxing with your help. Thanks. We went ahead and booked Boardwalk Inn for the Food and Wine Festival October 19 – 29 based on your suggestions of best times to visit. We normally don’t book Boardwalk Inn because of the cost, but we received 35% off for booking during our trip. It’s well worth that extra for us to stay within walking distance of Epcot. I normally don’t plan this far in advance but we want to have lunch at Be Our Guest so I know I will have to make reservations as soon as our window opens on April 22. I’m going to have to go ahead and decide which days in which parks. Soooo, I was wondering if you knew which parks to avoid on our days? You are always so “right on” when giving us that advice. It has worked perfectly for us. If the October calendar hasn’t come out yet, let me know and I’ll check back again with you. Thanks for all your help.

1236 Dave { 03.23.15 at 11:47 am }

Maggie, so glad to have helped!! Here you go:

10/19 avoid HS and Epcot
10/20 avoid AK and MK
10/21 avoid Mk and AK
10/22 avoid Epcot
10/23 avoid AK
10/24 avoid MK and HS
10/25 Avoid HS
10/26 avoid MK
10/27 avoid Epcot
10/28 avoid MK and HS
10/29 Avoid Epcot

1237 Maggie { 03.23.15 at 3:32 pm }

Thanks so much Dave. You make my planning so much easier. One more question – do you happen to know about when they will announce the line up for the Eat to the Beat Concert Series for 2015?

1238 Dave { 03.24.15 at 3:20 pm }

So glad to help Maggie! Last year it was May 9.

1239 Allie { 03.25.15 at 8:49 pm }

Hey Dave! Just checking back in to seek your advice for which parks to visit/avoid for travel October 3-9. Also, were looking to eat at chef mickeys and cinderellas castle so far in terms of character meals if you have any suggestions as to when to book these for. Lastly, we want to book MNSSHP…any idea when the tickets go on sale and which nights this event will take place?

1240 Dave { 03.26.15 at 4:55 pm }

Hiya Allie!

Those dates
10/3 avoid MK and HS
10/4 avoid HS
10/5 avoid MK
10/6 avoid Epcot
10/7 avoid MK and AK
10/8 avoid Epcot
10/9 avoid AK.

For the meals, a very late breakfast or lunch is best, on one of your MK days

MNSSHP tickets should go on sale later April/early May.

Dates are here.

1241 Karen { 03.27.15 at 8:02 pm }

One thing on my bucket list is to be at DW for New Year’s Eve and we will be there on December 31, 2015. Which park would be the best for my husband and me to celebrate that evening at? We have been there several times at other dates but just don’t know where to spend that evening. Any recommendation is appreciated. Thanks!

1242 JennyJ { 03.28.15 at 11:59 am }

Hi Dave, not sure if I submitted a few questions right the first time, so I’ll try again. I am planning my family’s first trip to WDW for Jan 30th, 2016 thru Feb 4th. I realize some rides or attractions may be closed during that time and I’m ok with that because there are SOOOO many other things we can do and see. No biggie. I’m more concerned about less crowds and shorter lines. The 30th will be a non-park day for sure, and we’re planning on 1 day at HS, 1 day at AK and 2 days at MK. Which days would you recommend going to each park? Thanks in advance!

1243 Dave { 03.29.15 at 9:22 am }

Karen, the mobs will be wild everywhere. HS will be least crowded–though you won’t be able to tell–Epcot has the most going on, and MK has no alcohol–a feature, or a bug, depending on your perspective.

1244 Dave { 03.29.15 at 9:23 am }
1245 Michele { 04.02.15 at 9:46 pm }

My husband and I are taking our 2 daughters (5 years old and almost 4 years old) from October 16-23 or 24th. I am having a hard time deciding which parks to do which days. Could you please help me? Thanks so much in advance!

1246 Dave { 04.03.15 at 8:13 am }

Hi Michele! At those ages you could focus entirely on MK. Here’s what to avoid by date

10/16 avoid AK, Epcot
10/17 avoid MK, Epcot, HS
10/18 avoid Epcot, HS
10/19 avoid MK
10/20 Avoid Epcot
10/21 avoid AK, MK
10/22 avoid HS, EPcot
10/23 avoid AK, Epcot
10/24 avoid MK, Epcot, HS

1247 Allie { 04.06.15 at 9:04 am }

Hey Dave! Thanks so much again for all of your wonderful tips and advice! We’re traveling to WDW in early October and I was able to book all of our character dining including cinderellas royal table this morning. Thanks so much for your 6am advice! We were able to get the day and time we wanted and the rest of that day was sold out by 7am!
I was wondering if you knew when they would reopen flame tree bbq? It says it’s closed as of now and it’s somewhere we planned on eating! Thanks

1248 Dave { 04.06.15 at 11:20 am }

Great, Allie! Flame Tree is supposed to re-open this month!!

1249 Michele { 04.08.15 at 5:17 pm }

Hi Dave,
Thank you SO much for your suggestion on dates/parks.
What is your recommendation on when to call about meals for the best chances in getting what I am hoping for?

1250 Dave { 04.08.15 at 5:30 pm }

Michele–really soon!

1251 Kelly B - Agent with Destinations in Florida { 04.09.15 at 9:38 am }

Michele- If your check in date is 10/16, you can begin making dining reservations starting 4/19. If you are staying on property you’ll be able to make reservations for your entire trip (180 + 10days). If you are staying off property, you’ll have to do one day at a time.

Creating a account is a great way to book your dining. You can see times, menus, search by location or food type. Always book hard to obtain reservations (like Ohana’s, Be Our Guest, Chef Mickey’s first. Then go back and do the other ones)

1252 Michele { 04.09.15 at 4:18 pm }

Thanks Kelly & Dave.
Yes, I know I can call April 19th…and I am very eagerly awaiting that day with tons of anxiety!!! What I should have asked is what time should I start calling? And what are my best chances of getting all of the meals I am hoping for??? Any tricks????

1253 Michele { 04.09.15 at 4:19 pm }

And is it best to call or go online to book meals?

1254 Dave { 04.10.15 at 8:51 am }

Michele, on-line reservations open at 6a eastern, and the phone at 7a eastern. The best chance of getting exactly what you want will come at online at 6a 180 days before your arrival. Make a few online practice reservations first now (for earlier dates–don’t complete the reservation, just see how the system works) so you get the system…

1255 Michele { 04.14.15 at 3:47 pm }

Thanks so much Dave!
Looks like I will be waking up extremely early Sunday morning to make some dining reservations!
Wish me luck!!!
Thanks so much for your advice!

1256 Dave { 04.15.15 at 9:22 am }

🙂 Michele

1257 Michele { 04.16.15 at 9:40 pm }

Hi Dave
Another issue I was just made aware of and wanted to ask your opinion. Is it worth going to Downtown Disney with all of the construction taking place? Friends of mine are going in a couple of weeks and said all she is reading are horrible reviews because of the traffic and construction. Thoughts?
Do you see it being bad come October?

1258 Dave { 04.17.15 at 8:33 am }

Michele, I took DTD off all my itineraries for just this reason. It’s OK on weekday afternoons, not so much on evenings/weekends.

1259 Michele { 04.17.15 at 4:38 pm }

Wow I am so disappointed????
Do you think it will be any better in October?

1260 Michelle { 04.19.15 at 7:18 am }

Hi Dave, Thanks for such a fantastic site! Heaps of information and links to the world of all Disney! I’m heading to Orlando in October 9 th till 25 th with my 5 year old and my mum. I know it’s a long stay but we are coming from Australia and don’t want to rush everything. I’ve been before in 2005. I was planning on a couple of days at MK and one day at each HS and AK. Could you please comment on my dates!!!
Sun 11th MK
Tue 13 th AK
Wed 14 th HS
Fri16 th MK

1261 Michele { 04.19.15 at 4:35 pm }

Hi Dave,
Do you know when the Fireworks/Parade Schedule will be released for October?
I need advice regarding Fantasmic. I planned on booking the Dinner package until I saw that you need to eat “dinner” at 4pm. I then booked a regular dinner reservation for 6pm, but now I am wondering if that will allow enough time to get to Fantasmic. However I cannot find any times for October.
Help please!

1262 Kelly B - Agent with Destinations in Florida { 04.20.15 at 10:23 am }
1263 Kelly B - Agent with Destinations in Florida { 04.20.15 at 10:33 am }

Michelle (from Australia)- I’ll let Dave comment on the actual dates but I really wanted to suggest adding some more days to your vacation. With your stay being so long you would have plenty of time to visit. Once you get to 5 days, to add each additional day is about $11 per person/per day. You could add 3 more park days to your tickets for less than $100. You would be able to include Epcot (I’m sure your mother would love it there).

1264 Michelle { 04.20.15 at 9:05 pm }

Thanks Kelly B, we are visiting universal, sea world, discovery cove, lego land, etc! It’s going to be busy with a few days off. I was wondering about the Disney tickets… Are you able to add extra days at the reduced rate after you have purchased a multiple day pass? If we feel like returning to a park are we able to add on days to our already purchased ticket?? Thanks

1265 Dave { 04.21.15 at 7:44 am }

Michele, yes it will be better then!

1266 Dave { 04.21.15 at 7:52 am }

Hi Michelle and thanks!! The 11th will be rough at MK–I’d switch the 11th to AK and the 13th to MK!

1267 Dave { 04.21.15 at 8:07 am }

Thanks Kelly for pitching in!! And Michelle you can add days at the low price to your Disney tix so long as you do so before your last day of use

1268 Michele { 04.21.15 at 4:13 pm }

Thanks so much Dave and Kelly B!

1269 Michelle { 04.22.15 at 6:48 pm }

Thanks Dave, I’ll go ahead now and book MK for the 13 th ????

1270 Michelle { 04.22.15 at 6:49 pm }

Was meant to be a smile face not question marks!

1271 Stephanie { 04.23.15 at 3:31 pm }

Hiya! Love your website (even though my first trip was when I was a kid in the 80s), and I have recommended it to many friends! My family is about to move to Florida, and I was wondering if there are any Disney touring blogs geared toward Florida residents? Thanks!

1272 Alan { 04.23.15 at 5:18 pm }

Hi Dave,

We are planning our trip for Nov 8 to 14. We want to be able to visit all four parks.
Can you recommend which parks to visit when. Thanks in advance.

1273 Dave { 04.24.15 at 8:06 am }

Thanks Stephanie!! Sorry, I don’t know of any such…

1274 Dave { 04.24.15 at 8:07 am }

Hi Alan!!

11/8 avoid HS and Epcot
11/9 avoid MK
11/10 avoid Epcot
11/11 avoid AK and MK
11/12 avoid Epcot
11/13 avoid AK and Epcot
11/14 avoid all but AK

1275 Kevin Green { 04.26.15 at 11:03 am }

Hi dave love your site whats your thoughts on free dining plan for 11/7/2015-11/14/2015

1276 Michele { 04.27.15 at 5:19 pm }

I’m so disappointed…I am unable to get my girls in to Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique on the days we are going to the Magic Kingdom. Any advice or tips to get them in?
It would be October 18th or 22nd.

1277 Dave { 04.28.15 at 7:55 am }

Kevin, did you see this?

1278 Dave { 04.28.15 at 8:04 am }

Sorry, Michele, I don’t have anything. These commonly book up right at 180 days ahead

1279 Karl { 05.13.15 at 12:13 pm }

Hello. I would like your opinion on the following offers regarding Disney Dining available through Disney’s UK site. For travel in mid April 2016, the offer is free breakfast if staying at a Value resort, free Quick Dining at a Moderate Resort + a $200 gift card and free Dining at a Deluxe Resort + a $200 gift card. As I don’t intend to spend much time in the hotel, this is purely about value for money with regards to the Dining Plans on offer. The cheapest Value is coming up at the equivalent of $978 for 8 nights. The cheapest Moderate is $464 more, once the $200 gift card is taken into account. This means that it is $58 per day more to stay in a Moderate hotel and since there are 4 of us that works out at $14.5 p