Summary of Current Walt Disney World Deals and Discounts



By Dave Shute

CURRENT DEALS AND DISCOUNTS AT WALT DISNEY WORLD

Deals, Discounts and Special Offers for Walt Disney World from yourfirstvisit.netThis page brings together links to key pages on this site about discounts and deals at Walt Disney World.

  • For the current Walt Disney World principal deals and discounts for the general public, see this
  • For current military deals and discounts,  see this
  • For many other ideas and resources for finding deals and discounts, see this
  • For thoughts on future Disney World discounts, click here.

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170 comments

1 Yvonne { 01.17.11 at 3:07 pm }

Hi, my husband and I have a four year old daughter that is wanting to come to Disney this year and we also have two other kids what is the best deal for us for a week stay; we are from McComb Mississippi, and this will be our very first time to ever vist Disney and I want this to be something that we all remember can you help?

2 Dave { 01.17.11 at 10:24 pm }

Yvonne: the place to start is the home page of this site, which addresses all the fundamental questions of a first visit to Walt Disney World: http://yourfirstvisit.net/

Follow the instructions there that you can, and for the ones you can’t, click the links on that page until you have built a Disney World vacation that works for you!

It it all seems to complicated, make the big decisions–when to go, how long to stay, and where to stay, or at least a target nightly hotel cost–and then reach out to a travel agent like my friends at http://www.destinationsinflorida.com/?affId=96837 and they’ll sort out the rest for free!

3 Jennifer { 04.26.11 at 4:06 pm }

We have a unique situation, and I wanted your take on it. We are a family of four with two sons, ages 2&3. We visit Disney annually, but have never stayed in a WDW resort. We have friends who are CM and they are kind enough to help us with free park entry. So, the whole resort/ticket/dining package deal doesn’t work for us. Would it be worth it for us to look into staying at a WDW resort even though we won’t be using the package deal? We usually find a better deal to stay off-site in a hotel or rent a house, but I was thinking the convenience of staying on-site with pre-schoolers would be possibly worth it. We are HIGHLY flexible with our travel dates but don’t have a TON of money….we would prefer lower crowds and lower cost. We are also likely to return to Disney often and live within driving distance. Thanks for any ideas!

4 Dave { 04.26.11 at 4:42 pm }

Hi Jennifer!

Here’s the issue. The REALLY convenient WDW resorts for lil kids–the monorail resorts and the WIlderness Lodge–are likely out of your price range. The others–the values and moderates–at least to me aren’t that convenient for strollers, because they tend to be huge and spread out, and the strollers can be a pain on the bus. The real value of the WDW resorts is the extension of the WDW experience, and your kids are likely too little to really appreciate it.

Since you go back every year, here’s my suggestion: treat this year as an experiment. That is, stay for 2-3 nights at a WDW resort, and the rest at your usual kinda place. You then will have the data to know whether or not the value of the WDW resort is sufficiient for you to try one for the whole trip next year, or whether you and your family should stick to off-site.

I rank the resorts in order by price class here: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2010/04/26/walt-disney-world-resort-hotel-reviews/

5 Sam { 06.04.11 at 4:26 pm }

When is the best time (or the time when I can get the cheapest package) to book a trip for 2 for the first or second week in December 2011? Will there be specials for that time of the year that haven’t been released yet?

6 Dave { 06.05.11 at 8:17 am }

Hi Sam!

Prices are already low in that period. If any discounts come out, they will likely exclude the week of 12/3-12/9, so your best bet from a possible discount point of view will be to shoot for a 12/10 arrival date.

7 Gioia { 06.07.11 at 8:44 pm }

Hi Dave, We are visiting Disney in mid-October for the first time with 3 kids ages 8, 5 and 2.5. We have a timeshare to use, so we aren’t staying at a WDW Resort. What do you recommend for itinerary and/or dining?

8 Dave { 06.08.11 at 6:51 am }

Hi Gioia!

To help I need your dates and how many nights you intend to stay–let me know and I’ll share some thoughts!

9 Donna { 06.22.11 at 6:05 pm }

Hi Dave, We are thinking about going to Disney the 1st or 2nd week in Dec. My husband is in a wheelchair, and we have 2 children coming along with us, ages 7 and 4. The 4 year old will be turning 5 in December. 1st, how accessible is Disney for getting around the parks? we are flying, it is an electric wheelchair. Hotels that are accessible? And is there a benefit for being there on our granddaughters birthday?
Thanks

10 Dave { 06.22.11 at 6:51 pm }

Hi Donna!

The short version is that it is wonderfully accessible. For more specifics, I recommend PassPorter’s Open Mouse for Walt Disney World and the Disney Cruise Line: Easy Access Vacations for Travelers with Extra Challenges

If you are there on her birthday, she’ll be given a big button to wear and many cast members will wish her a happy birthday…this is pretty fun…

11 Tina { 06.30.11 at 6:27 pm }

Dave,

I am visiting disney world in September with my 23 yr old daughter. We are looking at 9/18 and planning at least four days. Is it cheaper to do the all inclusive than to stay say at hotel right out side the resort that has a shuttle to the park?

12 Dave { 06.30.11 at 9:42 pm }

Hi Tina!

Hotels outside the park are generally a good bit cheaper than those inside. You’d have to price out the specific discount and hotel you are interested in in WDW vs outside to be sure which is a better deal. A travel agent can help with this (free to you). Check out the quote form on the lower right side of the site.

13 Chrissie { 07.02.11 at 7:59 pm }

is it better to buy Disney World ticket at home or are there deals when we arrive at the park or our hotel?

If anyone could let me know that would be great!!

14 Dave { 07.03.11 at 10:03 am }

Hi Chrissie! There really aren’t any deals on tickets so it doesn’t much matter where you buy them…

15 Lana { 07.14.11 at 2:18 pm }

Hi Dave,

We are going on a Disney cruise in October 15th-22nd and are planning to be in Florida for a few days before and after. We would like to go to Disney prior to the cruise for 2 days but can not find out much information on ticket prices for 2 days as well as resort deals that may help us out.
We are a family of four: 2 adults, one teen (16) and child (5), travelling with one set of grandparents. Do you have any suggestions or help you can give us? (we arrive in Florida on the Wednesday before our cruise at around 3pm, so we are looking for Thrusday and Friday – also hoping to catch the Mickey Mouse trick-or-treating event on Friday)

16 Dave { 07.14.11 at 3:42 pm }

Hi Lana!

For ticket prices, see this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2011/06/12/disney-world-2011-2012-admission-ticket-prices/

For the Halloween Party–which requires its own special ticket, not covered in the stuff in the link above–see this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2011/03/27/halloween-2011-at-walt-disney-world/

There are, right now, no deals or discounts for your period–if any are announced, you can find them here:
http://yourfirstvisit.net/2010/03/29/walt-disney-worlds-latest-spring-and-summer-deal/

It may be easiest for you to work with a travel agent–they can set you up so that if a deal later comes out and you are eligible for it, they can get you into the deal. If you use the travel agent via the form on the lower right of this site, they share a little of the commisson they get from Disney with me, which helps pay for the time I put into the site!

Hope this helps, Dave

17 Jenelle { 08.02.11 at 8:46 am }

Hi Dave,
My husband and I will be taking our three children (ages 7, 4, and 2 at the time of our trip) to Disney World for the first time. We are looking to book our trip for next fall (2012). I have heard about the promotions that Disney offers regarding free dining, etc. They seem to end at the end of September. So, my question is this. Is there a time in the fall that is typically better/cheaper to book? Do they usually offer deals for the month of October too? Thanks for any information you can provide! Your site is a great resource!

18 Dave { 08.02.11 at 12:34 pm }

Hi Jenelle, and thanks for the kind words!

For 2012 price seasons, see this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2010/05/26/walt-disney-world-2012-price-seasons/

See also http://yourfirstvisit.net/2010/10/20/2012-weeks-to-visit-walt-disney-world-ranked-in-order/

Note the Columbus day holiday bump-up!

In the recent economy Disney has been offereing free dining and other deals in October, but wth black-outs. There’s a rumor one will be announced tomorrow/soon for 2011. If it is, you can use its blackout dates as a guide to potential dates and blackout dates next year. There’s no guarantees of any deals of course…

Hope this helps!

19 Jeff { 08.10.11 at 12:17 pm }

Nice site, I wish I found it before our last trip. We went to Disney early March 2010. We are planing another trip for 2012. I was wondering if you had the charts from 2010 so that I could compare the crowds from when we were there to the 2012 charts. That way I have a really good idea what any give number really means.
Thanks,
Jeff

20 Dave { 08.10.11 at 2:43 pm }

Hi Jeff-I don;t have my old crowd calendars on this computer, but see this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/when-to-go/next-best-dates/2010-weeks-to-visit-ranked-in-order/

Also feel free to let me know the dates you are thinking off in 2012 and I cna compare them to early March, which–if you are talking about really early–is a great time to go…

21 Dee { 08.26.11 at 9:56 am }

Hi Dave,

My wife and I are going to Disneyworld on the 4th of September. We’re from the Philippines. Kinda on an impulse here. lol. No kids, just us two. First time for both of us and will be leaving Orlando on the 20th of september. So about 16 days to tour around the theme parks. Should we decide to stay at one of the Disney resorts, is it neccesary to rent a car as well? specially after we finish disney and decide to visit other parks outside of it? It would be my first time to drive around US but are there any other options? It seems like everybody is pushing for renting a car.

Any advice on this? Much appreciated.

Thanks,
Dee

22 Dave { 08.26.11 at 10:06 am }

Hi Dee!

You won’t need a car while visitng Disney parks if you stay at a Disney resort hotel, but if you don’t rent a car, you’ll need to either take cabs or hook up with shuttle services.

This page is on a specifc issue but addresses you concerns: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2011/01/10/getting-to-harry-potter-from-walt-disney-world/

Hope this helps and have a great trip!

23 Danielle { 09.07.11 at 4:31 pm }

Hi Dave,

My husband and my almost 4 year old are visiting Disney Sept 15-20, 2011. We leave in a week…YAY! My husband and I have visited WDW almost yearly for the past 14 years. I pretty much know all there is to know, but I have a question I cannot find any info on. Is there anyway to upgrade to a higher resort level with no cost to us? We’ve stayed at all level’s but have chosen to stay at Pop Century this trip…however, I’d like to stay at a moderate (or even a deluxe – but I doubt it) resort with no upgrade cost. Is this possible? We’ve never tried to upgrade for free, but I wonder how hard it would be seeing as we’re going at a non busy time.

If you have any info on this, I’d really appreciate it!

Thanks,
Danielle

24 Dave { 09.08.11 at 7:37 am }

Hi Danielle!

Great question, and one I’ve never seen addressed. My guess is that you can’t, as with few exceptions (POFQ and POR, the two bits to Fort Wilderness–cabins and campsites) the resorts aren’t managerially linked except at high levels, so the front desk staff can’t “do something for you” at another resort…

25 Stephanie { 09.15.11 at 2:16 pm }

As a family of 6, 4 adults, a 10-year-old, and a then 7-yr-old plan on visiting WDW in the spring. We were looking at last week in March, to take advantage of dining plan, or the ween beginning April 15th. We are staying 8 nights and going to WDW 5 days and Universal 2 days. Which is a better week to go and is staying on property worth it or would we be better off property? We are driving from PA down to Florida and plan on driving to the parks ourselves.

26 Dave { 09.15.11 at 3:11 pm }

Hi Stephanie!

I think the week of 4/15 is much better, as crowds will be much lower. You may not be able to get any deals, though. List hotel prices are lower on the April dates, but unless you are staying in an expensive hotel, your net costs with free dining will be lower in March. For more on crowds at this time of year, see this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2011/07/11/disney-world-crowds-in-2012-spring-break-2012/

Your family size is hard to affordably fit. See this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/special-circumstances/special-circumstances-large-families/

You can only get free dining if you stay in a Disney World hotel. Otherwise, off site hotels are cheaper, less fun, and less convenient. For more on off vs on-site, see this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2010/01/27/the-tightwads-guide-to-staying-off-site-at-walt-disney-world/

Hope this helps, and get back to me if they raise more questions than they answer!

27 Logan { 09.28.11 at 4:50 pm }

Hi Again,
2nd question from me and I’m only in the beginning planning stages..I promise I won’t hound you the whole time : ) I think we are settled on our dates Feb 12-15th and our resort Pop Century (thanks to your suggestions!) I read above in a previous question that a stroller can kind of be a pain at the value resorts and buses. We have a smaller umbrella stroller we’ll be using. I know Pop Century has its own bus line. Still a huge pain? Doable? Or do we rent one once we get to the park? Thanks so much!

28 Dave { 09.28.11 at 6:06 pm }

Hi Logan–I’d definitely bring your own stroller. This saves you time in the parks at the begining of the day (the least crowded, and thus most important time), and also saves you money. Moreover, there can be a fair amount of walking at Pop itself–it’s a big hotel!! Keep the questions coming!

29 Krissie { 10.05.11 at 9:41 pm }

As a last minute trip and an add on to a conference I’ll be attending in orlando, my husband, mother-in-law and 2 year old son will be visiting disney. we only have saturday, sunday and monday evening to visit the parks. any suggestions on which parks to visit and when? I was thinking magic kingdom on saturday, then sunday animal kingdom and the halloween parade sunday night. monday we may just visit downtown disney. does that sound doable? Also, do you need admission to magic kingdom AND the parade? Or can we just purchase a parade ticket?

30 Dave { 10.06.11 at 6:31 am }

Hi Krissie! What exact dates are you talking about–e.g. the Halloween Party is not happening this Sunday….(there’s no halloween parade except at the Halloween Party. See http://yourfirstvisit.net/2011/03/27/halloween-2011-at-walt-disney-world/ )

31 Will { 10.09.11 at 7:21 pm }

Hi Dave!
Me and My wife are going to disney Nov. 16-21 of 2012 and we are in the beginning stages of deciding where we want to stay and what we want to do. We want to do at least one day at Islands of adventure and the other 4 at the Walt Disney parks, I was wondering if you think it would be cheaper for us to do the WDW Resort/dining package/park tickets or do something outside WDW and pay for all meals and tickets individually?

32 Dave { 10.10.11 at 7:38 am }

Hi Will–It’s always cheaper to stay and dine outside WDW. But not as much fun…

33 aj { 10.11.11 at 2:40 pm }

We are going to Disney World Nov. 21-26, 2011! Any suggestions fora memorable Thanksgiving Dinner? We heard Sanaa might be fun! Also, any chance they will change dates and open the park that week for Mickey’s Magical Christmas?

34 Dave { 10.11.11 at 4:16 pm }

Hi AJ–the most memorable dinner would be at the California Grille. Regarding your other question, do you mean Mickey’s Very Merry Xmas Party? The Magic Kingdom is open that whole time, and it is open too late at night for them to add an Xmas Party….

35 Marcy { 10.24.11 at 2:54 pm }

Hi Dave,

We will be flying into Orlando on 11/23/11 and staying until 11/29/11. My husband and I are traveling with our 13 yr old and 7 yr old. Can you let me know the best day to go to WDW during the week? This will be the first visit to WDW for the kids. The last time, my husband and I were there was in 1995! I’m sure things have changed quite a bit, such as prices and attractions. Also, what would be the best attractions for a 13yr old? Thanks for your help.

36 Dave { 10.24.11 at 3:05 pm }

Hi Marcy, yup its changed!

You’ll face massive Thanksgiving crowds until Sunday the 27th, so I’d target the WDW days of you trip for the 27th and later.

If you want to spend more days than those, the key is getting to the parks well before they open and avoiding the parks with morning extra magic hours. Noodle over your dates and let me know your intentions, and I’ll see if I can guide you to which parks which days..

For rides for “older kids” (which I define as 8yo through 100+) see the right side of the image on this page: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2011/03/09/the-comprehensive-guide-to-walt-disney-world-rides-and-attractions/

37 Anonymous { 11.04.11 at 1:17 am }

Hi Dave My family and I are going to Disney April13 th- April 19 th 2012 any specials you see this week in April. Also how busy would the parks be this week since it is after Easter week thanks Ralph

38 Dave { 11.04.11 at 6:51 am }

Hi Ralph, I expect the 13th and 14th will be quite crowded as they are still in the Easter peak. The rest of your dates crowds should be great. There likely won’t be a deal for your arrival date for the same Easter week reason.

39 Eileen { 11.21.11 at 8:19 pm }

My husband and I are planning to visit in April 2012. Both of us are in our 60’s. I read the 4/21/12 is a good week to stay. I’m not sure which hotel would be the most convenient for us to stay at. I thought of the Carribean but is the Port Oleans French Quarter better than the Carribean? We are interested in Epcot, Blizzard Beach, Magic Kingdom. We plan to stay 7 to 9 days.

Aloha from Hawaii. . .Eileen

40 Dave { 11.22.11 at 7:50 am }

Hi Eileen!

For adults with no kids, POFQ is the better choice of these two for most–it’s lovelier, more compact, and more convenient.

For more, see http://yourfirstvisit.net/2009/10/23/review-disneys-port-orleans-french-quarter-resort/

41 Gina { 11.28.11 at 10:53 pm }

Hi Dave –

Great site. Thank you for posting.

We are a family of 5 looking to take our first DW trip in late April/early May (to avoid crowds). I am ready to book, but hesitant because I would hate to see a deal released for those dates just after I do.

In your opinion, am I better off to book or hold off a few weeks to watch for deals? We are flexible on dates, just want to catch the best price and lower crowds.

Thanks!
Gina

42 Dave { 11.29.11 at 6:02 am }

Hi Gina and thanks!

It depends on whether you have your heart set on a particular hotel–the more you do, the better to book early. Note that you can convert a regular trip to a discounted one, so long as your hotel and dates are in the deal. This is easiest to do through a travel agent–tell them your goals and they’ll set you up so the conversion is easiest and most likely. Try the form on the lower right side!

43 Eric H { 11.30.11 at 5:16 pm }

Dave,

Great site by the well as it is very helpful. We are planning a trip to Disney World from May 20-June 1, 2012. We already have the plane tickets and car rental booked. Now we need to book the disney part. We are looking for a resort that has a great pool(s), is very clean and easy to find food (i.e. food couts and restuarants), My question is should we wait to book the disney part until a deal comes out or book now and what places would you recommend we stay at with the above requirements. Also I have a son that has a foot issue and may get tired during the day so we may need to take breaks to let him rest. Please consider moderate resorts and higher.

Thanks

Eric

44 Dave { 11.30.11 at 8:23 pm }

Hi Eric! First, a discount for your dates came out today–see this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2011/11/30/new-walt-disney-world-discount-extending-into-june-2012/

Any of the monorail resorts would meet your criteria–see this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2011/11/08/the-monorail-resorts-at-walt-disney-world/

At the moderate level, POFQ is the most compact, but has limited food compared to the others. All the moderates (and all DIsney hotels) have bus or other transport service to and from the parks every 20 minutes or so. The best moderate pool is at POR, but any moderate but POFQ would meet your criteria. See this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2009/10/28/the-moderate-resorts-at-walt-disney-world/ (Ignore the cabins at Fort WIlderness- they are a special case and won’t work for your criteria.)

Hope this helps and have a great trip!

45 Eric H { 11.30.11 at 10:59 pm }

Dave,

Thanks…..Also a friend of mine said to book a value resort for 5 daya and the polynesian resort for the other 6 to lower costs. How do you feel about this and if you like the idea where would you suggest? Will check-in and check-out cause to much headache and how does that affect the dining plan?

Thanks

Eric H

46 Dave { 12.01.11 at 10:30 am }

Hi Eric. See the “Moderate Resorts” section of this page for what you are thinking about– http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/where-to-stay/next-best-resort-choices/where-not-to-stay/

I do split stays all the time as it lets me review two hotels in one trip. You’ll have to book the dining plan for each reservation, but if your total nights don’t change, it has no effect, as you get credits by the night.

Being without a hotel from 11a til 3 or 4p is the biggest pain, and getting your luggage over if you are not renting a car the second biggest–you need to cab over, and drop it off…when I can afford it I double book the changeover night…

For which hotels to stay at, see this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/where-to-stay/next-best-resort-choices/

47 Eric H { 12.06.11 at 3:13 pm }

Dave,

I need one last bit of help and ADVICE. We have booked everything but now I have a concern about the cost from my wife. Here is what we have booked: We are staying at the Polynesian resort from May 23 -May 28. Then we booked the garden suite at the Boardwalk Inn from May 28 – June 3. We have book the disney dining plan that gives you 1 table, 1 quick-service and one snack. We used the discount that you posted on this site and it did save some $$$. However my wife has done some more checking and found that we can book the entire stay at either Old Key West or Saratoga Springs in a 2 bedroom villa for $1,500 less. There are psoitve to both scenerios. We could also just book the entire stay at the Polynesian and save a little bit of money as well. Can you give the your thoughts on the positives and negatives of each scenerio and what you would recoomend.

I believe what we have booked now (Polynesian and Boardwalk Inn garden suite) gives us easy access to everything we want to do. The downside is the price. The Saratoga or Old Key West would give us much more room and a bed for everyone in the two room villa. Just booking at the Polynesian would give us a standard hotel style room for the entire trip.

Please give me yoru analysis and opinion.

Thanks

Eric

48 Dave { 12.06.11 at 4:26 pm }

Eric–OKW and Sara always play at a discount, as they are hard to fill.

Skip Saratoga Springs–rooms are too cramped and resort is too distant. OKW, while almost as distant. has huge, very livable rooms. What you lose is convenience (though less so than at Sara) and, compared to Poly, kid appeal…

See http://yourfirstvisit.net/2010/01/17/review-disneys-old-key-west-resort/

49 Ann { 12.08.11 at 11:12 am }

I am planning a trip with my parents both are 60 myself and my son 8 years old. was looking at taking advantage of the free dining plan offered in Feb 11-16 will it work with my family of four with 3 adults and one child? Or is it better to wait till April 21 for the better weather.

50 Dave { 12.08.11 at 9:56 pm }

Hi Ann! It depends a bit on where you intend to stay–the more expensive the hotel, the better off you are taking a room rate discount instead of free dining. All else equal I’d pick April 21 for the weather..

51 erin { 12.26.11 at 12:31 pm }

Hi Dave,
My family and I are on an everyother year plan for disney..The last two times we went the last week in September. We got free dining last time…n it was awesome. we are ready to book again. But we really wanna go for christmas time. When in dec. do you think the best week would be for 2012? And if we book now and a deal comes up can we still get the deal???

52 Dave { 12.26.11 at 1:04 pm }

Hi Erin

See the first three weeks on this page: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2010/10/20/2012-weeks-to-visit-walt-disney-world-ranked-in-order/

Note that the third week rarely has discounts offered.

If a deal comes out, and your hotel and dates are eligible, you can re-book into the deal. This can be easier if you set your initial booking up with a travel agent (see the form on the lower right) and tell them that you are hoping to re-book into a deal!

53 Bobby { 12.28.11 at 10:44 am }

My family of 3 (2 adults and a 17 year old) will be arriving at Disney on December 31, for one day. We have been many times but not at this time of year. What would you suggest we do to be able to enjoy the most of your New Years Eve Celebration? Thank you for your help!

54 Dave { 12.28.11 at 12:16 pm }
55 Gene { 01.05.12 at 12:11 pm }

Great site! Still trying to work my way through everything.
My questions are. I am going to WDW at the end of this month for a week
My daughter will be turning 4 and my other daughter will be 2. They are really excited about going. I read your guide to rides and wanted to know based on the kid’s ages, what rides/attractions for each park would be good for them. Based on your site I am trying to do our own itinerary.

56 Dave { 01.05.12 at 1:08 pm }

Hi Gene! The bottom row of the guide is where to start– http://yourfirstvisit.net/2011/03/09/the-comprehensive-guide-to-walt-disney-world-rides-and-attractions/ Some of these will be too much for a four year old, though…you might want to pick up a guidebook and use it to filter more–see the first and third items on this page: http://yourfirstvisit.net/about-2/recommended-books/

57 JKB { 01.06.12 at 6:48 pm }

First off, great website! We have a unique situation, and I am aware that it’s not nearly enough time but it’s all we have. We are going to Orlando on a Sunday in March. We are going to go to Harry Potter at Universal on Monday, Magic Kingdom on Tuesday and leave on Wednesday. I believe from your site we should stay at Universal on Sunday night and then head to Disney to stay on Monday and Tuesday night. In your opinon, is a meal plan worth it for such a short trip? I would love to hear any feedback (other than we need to stay longer)! :)

58 Dave { 01.06.12 at 6:55 pm }

Hi JKB, and thanks. Skip the meal plan, because you don’t want to dedicate that much time to sit-down meals on such a short trip! Grab and go…

59 Denise { 01.08.12 at 11:20 am }

Hey Dave! I just booked out 2012 Disney Vacation for May 11-20th! Very excited as I haven’t been to the world since 2003, and we are staying at Ft. Wilderness where I haven’t stayed since I was 9. Do you have any suggestions about the cabins, are there any locations better than others? Also, as there is such a distance from the cabins to the Disney Transportation system, would you suggest driving to the parks?

60 Dave { 01.08.12 at 2:05 pm }

Hiya Denise! For my review of the cabins, see this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2009/10/26/review-the-cabins-at-disneys-fort-wilderness-resort/ Personally, I would never stay at Fort Wilderness without a car, and would use it for all parks except MK. Going without a car will cost you an hour or two per park day of extra transport time…

61 Matt { 01.11.12 at 1:06 pm }

Hi Dave. Looks like you provide great info. We have a family of 6 and are planning our 3rd Disney trip in spring 2013. love low crowds and low prices, so I don’t mind taking the kids out of school for a better experience. Can you give recommendations on where we could stay if our kids will be ages 10, 7 and twin 2.5 yr olds who can sleep anywhere?? We’ve stayed at Riverside before but would like something closer but still not overly expensive. I imagine the twins could even sleep in pack-n-plays still at that age. Since they are under 3, do you even need to tell the Disney agents about them if they don’t cost to get into the parks??

62 Dave { 01.11.12 at 1:51 pm }

Matt, there’s not much that’s closer (to MK) but not more expensive. The Wilderness Lodge is closer, and the elast expensive of the deluxe resorts, but its roms are small–the bedroom space is even smaller than the bedrooms at Riverside. See http://yourfirstvisit.net/2010/08/25/review-disneys-wilderness-lodge/ but also http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/where-to-stay/next-best-resort-choices/walt-disney-world-resort-features-by-price-category/how-many-square-feet-in-a-square-foot/

Re the twins, DIsney says you can have one kid less than three in a room in addition to its normal capacity (which at WL is 4.) I don’t know how strictly this is enforced…especially if you choose not to mention it…

63 Elly { 02.18.12 at 12:29 am }

Hi, I am about to book to stay at the Art of Animation for 10 nights in September/October and I am not sure whether to book it now or wait until we get closer to wait for discounts that apply for that period. Do they normally have the same sales every year at that time of year? Thanks

64 Dave { 02.18.12 at 10:29 am }

Hi Elly!

While there’s no guarantees, September up until late in the month is a period when Disney in the past few years has offered free dining–see this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2009/12/21/the-tightwads-guide-to-when-to-go-to-walt-disney-world/

You can usually re-book a trip to take advantage of a discount, so long as it applies to your dates and your hotel.

This can be easier if you start with a travel agent and inform them that such is your intent–see the form on the right side. You can also just wait, but if you do, make your dining reservations 180 days out to make sure that you aren’t shut out. (Free dining means the good spots book up early…see this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/when-your-plans-need-to-be-firm/ )

There’s a chance that Art of Animation will be excluded from any deals, since because it’s brand new it may have enough demand without the deals…

65 Erika { 02.20.12 at 11:54 pm }

Hi. I am planning a trip to Disney April 27th-May2nd. I have a 11 year old and a 8 year old along with my husband and I. I really would love to stay at one of the value resorts, because of the additional benefits. But I really want to save money by staying outside of the park. Any suggestions? Thanks

66 Dave { 02.22.12 at 6:21 am }

Hi Erika–you can save a further 15% per night with this deal http://yourfirstvisit.net/2011/11/30/new-walt-disney-world-discount-extending-into-june-2012/ Note though that you have to book it by 2/28!

67 Danielle { 02.24.12 at 5:23 pm }

Hi,
We are starting to plan our first trip to disney with my 4 yr old and 2 yr old. We are planning to go the last week of August…is that a good idea? We thought the crowds would be low at that time. Any suggestions on where to stay? I have looked at staying at one of the value resort hotels ro should we stay off the park. We only plan on being at the park for 2 to 3 days since we thought the kids would get worn out. Any suggestions would be great! Thanks! Love your site!

68 Dave { 02.24.12 at 5:55 pm }

Hi Danielle!

On the crowds front, that is a good time to go. It is, however, in the peak of the hurricane season. For more, see this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2012/01/22/august-2012-at-walt-disney-world/

Here’s my suggestions, in order, for where to stay: http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/where-to-stay/next-best-resort-choices/

For thoughts on staying off-site, which I don’t recommend, see this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2010/01/27/the-tightwads-guide-to-staying-off-site-at-walt-disney-world/

69 Rebecca { 02.29.12 at 1:41 pm }

Great site. Still more questions. This is a different situation than the traditional family visit. It is myself and my significant other, both 25 years of age. We are FL Residents and have taken advantage of the discount on the room rates (Staying at the POR – Riverside May 1st – May 5th) and doing the FL Resident Wild for 3 Day Pass (Added 1 day for an extra $30.00 per ticket). We are not on the DDP and have $500.00 in Disney Gift Cards to use for dining. We eat 3 meals a day (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner). We are unsure about how much we should budget for food (as we do not know prices). We plan to do Quick Service, Casual Dining and at leats 2 sit-down dinners. We want to try to have as much $$ in Gift Cards (now) that will cover most of our meals, so that we do not have to spend tons of money during our visit there. Wondering if $500.00 sounds like a good amount, or if we should budget for more money on food. Thanks for your help :)

70 Dave { 02.29.12 at 6:23 pm }

Hi Rebecca! If you keep yourself to two sit-down dinners, you can easily do food (excluding alcohol) for an average of $50/person/day, so your gift card will work just fine!

71 Jack B { 03.01.12 at 6:03 am }

Dave,

First off I love your site and check it often. A little birdie told me that Free Dining would be back for late August and this deal should come available by 3/5/2012. Have you heard anything? We have been to DW over 10 times in the last 10 years and are absolutely hooked on the dining plan.

Thanks!

72 Dave { 03.01.12 at 7:50 am }

Hi Jack, and thanks!

I have not heard any rumors–but to be honest, I don’t track discount rumors closely, so don’t draw any conclusions from that!

Update: Jack…if I was slower, I would have had better info– for an apparent confirmation of the rumors, see this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2012/03/01/free-dining-for-august-and-september-reported-to-be-available-march-5/

73 Mabel { 03.07.12 at 11:23 am }

Hi! Dave,
I’m travelling to Orlando (Apri 7-11) staying at Lake Buena Vista Palace. We are two single mothers with a 5 yr old girl and a 7 yr old boy. Arriving on the 7th at 7 am and departing on the 11th at noon. Id the first time for the kids. What would be your recommendations for the itinerary? I was thinking in visiting MK, AK, Sea World. Can you gave us suggestions? Also, where to eat. THANK YOU!!!!

74 Dave { 03.07.12 at 12:44 pm }

Hi Mabel, you’ll be there during one of the busiest weeks of the year. There really aren’t good days for anything that week. I’d try Sea World over the weekend, and avoid AK the 7th and 11th, and see MK as late as you can as crowds may be a little less later–e.g. the 10th and 11th. For where to eat, see this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/where-to-eat/

75 Elizabeth D { 03.21.12 at 12:20 pm }

I’m trying to book a trip to WDW August 18-22nd. Becasue of my husband’s crazy work schedule, we cannot go the following 5 weeks when Disney offers free dining. We were going to stay at the Ritz, but realized that the summer time extra magic hours were too much to be missed (we have been asked to show room keys after hours when going on rides!!). That being said, I will probably get a royal room, although I’m pretty annoyed to pay $200 a night (same deal as the Ritz). Do you feel that there will be any room discounts? As it stands, we are paying rack rate for everything! I was thinking of booking a room-only reservation and waiting for a closer date to see if Disney will offer any discounts. We wont stay at the All Stars, but could be very content with an updated moderate room. We were also looking at the dolphin and coronado.
Thanks and awesome site!!!!!!

76 Elizabeth D { 03.21.12 at 12:25 pm }

oh yeah, and one more thing… should we be looking at renting a dvc villa? Another Dave seems to have a good reputation doing this and renting some places comes out to be the same as the royal room total price!
Thanks a lot again!!!

77 Dave { 03.21.12 at 12:48 pm }

Hi Elizabeth and thanks!

It’s possible! In the past it’s been common for Disney to offer both the same time. It’s trying to cut back on discounting, though, so no guarantees..

78 Dave { 03.21.12 at 12:50 pm }
79 Shanna { 04.19.12 at 9:08 pm }

Hi Dave!

I am wanting to take a family (2 adults, 2 juniors) trip to WDW in 2013…I would like to go when they have the free dining package, & would like to stay at the Art of Animation…we will be coming from Hawaii. How much do you think it will cost to stay? Do you know how much airfare will be around September? Basically, I’m wanting to know how much this trip will cost. Do you have any suggestions? Loving your suggestions…it will be our first trip there!

80 Dave { 04.20.12 at 7:23 am }

Hi Shanna! To figure out the non-airfare part of your trip, just use the WDW website to “almost” book a Sept 2012 trip, and then add 5% for price increases. See this page for more: http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/what-to-budget/estimating-budgets/

Art of Animation has two room types, regular small rooms and double-size family suites….for more specifics on pricing by room (again 2012, so you’ll have to bump for 2013) see this: http://www.mousesavers.com/artanimation2012.html

Airfare is trickier as fuel costs and supply/demand will make it more volatile. You could do the same thing–go to Kayak or Expedia and price a Sept 2012 trip, and add 5% or so… See this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2010/03/29/air-travel-201-the-tightwadss-guide-to-cheap-flights-to-walt-disney-world/

81 Brian { 04.27.12 at 5:10 pm }

I’ve seen that Disney has extended the Free Dining offer the last 2 years to include most dates through March. Is it likely that it will be done again in 2013? Do you have any insight on this. I’m planning a family trip and shooting for last week of Jan / first week of Feb to minimize our cost, figuring that we’d stay at a moderate and save about $1000+ because of free dining. Btw, fabulous site for us Tightwads! ha.

82 Dave { 04.28.12 at 7:26 am }

Brian there’s no way to say. By policy, Disney is cutting back on discounts as the economy improves. What it will actually do will be governed by the level of advance bookings its getting vs. what it wants…that is, it’s the economy…

83 Amy { 05.18.12 at 9:22 am }

We are planning a trip for the week of Nov 26th. We’re going to wait another 2-3 months before making reservations in hopes that a free dining plan will be offered. We will be staying in a 2 bedroom villa, hopefully at Animal Kingdom.
Are there only a certain number of rooms that are available with the free dining plan?
I know the current free dining plan deal ends today, so for fun, last night I tried to pull up a 2 bedroom villa for 7 people with the free dining plan for the end of September. It said no rooms were available, however, when I tried to reserve the same room without the free dining plan, the room was available. Why is that?

84 Dave { 05.19.12 at 8:23 am }

Hi Amy! Yes, they limit the number of rooms available on a discount, and sometimes even the hotels available. They do this simply so that they limit the revenue loss that comes from people using the discount…

85 Amy { 05.19.12 at 3:56 pm }

Thank you! I guess this opens up a new dilema. I’m still going to wait til around the 1st of August to book the vacation in hopes that a free dining plan will be offered then hope that a 2 bedroom villa at Animal Kingdom will be available with the offer. My dilema will be if they do offer the free dining plan but that room is not offered with the deal. The savings to then stay at Key West villa with the free dining plan will be over $2,500. That’s ALOT of money. My worry is that Key West villa wont have much kid appeal. I guess for now I’ll just hope and pray it works out with Animal Kingdom

86 Dave { 05.19.12 at 7:36 pm }

Amy, Key West is thin on kid appeal…but you know, your kids won’t know that unless you show them other hotels with more! And for $2,500, it does have a lot going for it…see this http://yourfirstvisit.net/2010/10/17/personal-favorites-the-disney-vacation-club-resorts/

87 Amy { 05.20.12 at 2:16 am }

Thank you!! That was very helpful and makes me feel a lot better about possibly staying there. This will be our first trip to Disney, but definitely won’t be our only trip. This time we are treating my parents and my little sister to a trip with us, which is why we’re needing the bigger room this time. Next time, when it’s just the 4 of us, we’ll try to take your advice and stay at the Polynesian!!

88 Dave { 05.20.12 at 8:57 am }

Glad to help!

89 Elisa Cantu { 05.21.12 at 6:52 pm }

Hello Dave,
I wish I’d have found your site earlier this month. We just booked our hotel (the buena vista palace) n flight (late june to first day of july). We are taking for the first time our 4 yr old n almost 2 yo daughter to WDW. We are from Texas n I worked at WDW 12 yrs ago. I know their ages are not great to go but my son is dying to go meet the mouse. Where we need your help is n giving us tips on where to eat enough n on a budget. We are also renting a car so we acn drive around. Also, do you recommend us taking our kiddos to Daytona beach? Thanks a lot!

90 Dave { 05.21.12 at 9:01 pm }

Hi Elisa, and thanks!!

Honestly, I think iot’ll be too hot then for the beach. Your hotel pool–and easy access to air conditioning–is probably a better bet…

Re budget dining, a couple of thoughts. On Disney property, aim for buffets at lunch. Lunch prices tend to be lower, and you can fill yourselves up and thus spend less on breakfast and dinner. Also, see this: http://blog.touringplans.com/2012/05/04/great-disney-world-dining-budget/

91 Paul { 07.10.12 at 2:31 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

92 Dave { 07.10.12 at 6:50 am }

Hi Paul, and thanks!

There’s an unambiguous answer: A.

The latter two options will both be horrible because of the massive holiday crowds. Since these crowds will start building the 21st, I would pick Plan A. Your Universal hotel key will protect you from these crowds the 22nd and 23rd, and there’s no equivalent protection at WDW, so send yourselves there in the much less crowded earlier period.

93 Paul { 07.10.12 at 10:14 pm }

Thanks Dave!

A. It is!

I may have been responsible for the strange behavior in the comments. I submitted my question late last night. And then I resubmitted it a 2nd time in the morning thinking I didn’t hit ‘Submit’.

My apologizes for any confusion or disruption in the comments.

94 Dave { 07.11.12 at 7:36 am }

Hi Paul–it was the site, not you. I had replied to your first comment before you put up your dupe…but my reply was not showing for some reason…I hit some buttons and things seem to be working now…sorry you had to post twice!!

95 rich { 07.11.12 at 12:32 pm }

Is there a chance during Jersey week (first week in Nov), that WDW will at least discount the hotels?

96 Dave { 07.11.12 at 2:50 pm }

Rich, my bet is no, because of Jersey week they’ll have enough projected occupancy to not have to give away revenue through discounts…

97 Lenita { 07.30.12 at 12:39 pm }

Hi Dave,
Family of 4 (2adults, 2kids (age 10), May 5/20-5/24 (flexible dates), 1st Disney trip…I would like to know which is better for 1st timers on/off grounds and should we choose a dinner plan/wing it?…

98 Dave { 07.30.12 at 1:28 pm }

Hi Lenita, my advice would vary a bit depending on whether or not you would be able to return later in a year or so. If so it doesn’t much matter; if not, I’d both stay on site and try the dining plan. See this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/where-to-stay/ and also this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/how-to-eat/

99 Lily { 08.01.12 at 2:03 pm }

Dining plan in the long run will save you money and allow you to try restaurants that you probably won’t if you are paying out of pocket.

100 Andy { 08.11.12 at 12:14 pm }

Hey Dave,
I am taking my wife and two kids to Disneyworld from January 30 – February 9th. In the past we have gotten a free dining package, but have never stayed for this long. On the site, it says that dining packages are good for 7 day/6 night stays. Does this mean at least 6 nights or only 6 nights? If a dining package is offered, we are hoping to get it for our whole stay.

101 Dave { 08.12.12 at 7:51 am }

Hi Andy, there’s minimum stays associated with the deals, but so long as your arrival dates fits, you can stay as long as you wish and not only can get the deal for the full length of your stay, but are required to! They put up the 7/6 stuff to encourage people to longer stays, not because it’s the only length you can buy!

102 Andy { 08.13.12 at 11:06 pm }

Great, thanks!!! You are very helpful and I appreciate the tips and fast responses!

103 Carl { 08.13.12 at 11:35 pm }

Will be taking family (two U10 kids) in Spring 2013. Will be staying off-property 4/24-4/28 to do some other area attractions first, then transferring to a WDW Resort 4/29-5/5. Am looking at Beach Club or BC-Villas (stormalong for kids & Epcot area convenience key drivers). Renting DVC points to get 1-bed villa is about the same price as standard BC room, however believe Disney might come out with discounts later this year for this time given past history. Will have a car while staying off property initially, but plan on losing it & using resort transportation while on property. Have been to parks a couple years ago, and will likely return in a couple more years. Did not go to TL or BB last time – would these even be needed if Stormalong is available to the kids?
Should I book the 1-bed villa now to guarantee, or play chicken with potential discounts? Would love to hold out and grab discounted club level at BC or free dining plan. Any thoughts (or alternate ideas) on any portion of this greatly appreciated

104 Dave { 08.14.12 at 7:40 am }

Andy, you’re welcome, glad to help!

105 Dave { 08.14.12 at 7:43 am }

Carl, that’s a tough call…the 1 bed is so much more comfortable than a standard room–and BVC points so hard to rent–that if I were in your shoes I’d rent points for the villa.

Stormalong Bay is a great pool, but it’s not a substitute for a waterpark unless your kids have never been to one…

106 Carl { 08.14.12 at 1:36 pm }

Our preference would actually be the BC std room with a dining plan over the villa without the plan (at least for the same $$) – we don’t spend many (awake) hours in the room & dining plan beats groceries/cooking hands down for convenience. What are the odds of Disney offering discounts for this time period? From looking at your chart, they would not announce until Oct-Dec of this year anyway.

Thanks,
C

107 Dave { 08.14.12 at 4:49 pm }

Carl, odds are tough to quote–I think there’s been some discount or other for the equivalent week every year for several years now, but Disney by policy is cutting back on the number and scope of discounts it offers.

If I had to bet, I’d bet better than 50-50 that there will be a discount…

108 Jennifer { 08.22.12 at 12:24 pm }

Dave, do you think that there will be any discounts in the month of December 2012. My husband and I are going for our anniversery. I have only been one other time and we would like to stay on property this time. Any ideas? We have season passes and are Flordia residents.

109 Dave { 08.22.12 at 12:48 pm }

Hey Jennifer, there’s already one out–see this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2012/07/12/free-dining-plan-disney-world-fall-2012/ I’d expect to see another room rate discount out as well…perhaps announced soon!

110 Tina { 09.06.12 at 12:05 pm }

Dave,

First of I want to say I love your site. I’ve been to Disney multiple times but this is the first time I am going around Christmas and your site has helped tremendously. My soon-to-be husband and I are going for our Honeymoon :). We were planning on going from 12/6/12-12/16/12 because that seems to be the least crowded according to your calendars and recommendations. However, if we check in on 12/10 and stay until 12/20 we could get the free dining plan. I was just wondering what you think would be a better idea. Less crowds or the free dining plan. We looked into paying for the Dining plan the earlier week but think we’d spend less money in just purchasing food than we will on the Dining plan. Resort wise we are still between an All Star to save money or splurging a little and staying at the Caribbean Beach. Any input you have would be greatly appreciated :)

111 Dave { 09.07.12 at 6:45 am }

Hi Tina and thanks! I don’t see crowds really building until the 20th itself–see this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2012/07/17/disney-world-crowds-2013-christmasnew-years-crowds-20122013/ –so you should be fine moving your date!

If you do end up in a value resort, among the All-Stars shoot for Music, but I think you’ll likely find Pop or Art of Animation better than any of the All-Stars. For why Music, see this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2010/08/24/personal-favorites-the-value-resorts/ and this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2012/06/26/the-most-romantic-walt-disney-world-resorts/ For more on the value resorts in general, see this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2010/08/04/the-value-resorts-at-walt-disney-world/

112 Andy { 09.08.12 at 3:38 pm }

I have been waiting for 2013 deals to be released for the January/February timeframe but no word yet. I have been reading blogs saying they may not be offering deals early next year because they are usually released in August. Is there any truth to this?

113 Dave { 09.08.12 at 3:46 pm }

Hey Andy, there’s not really much “usually” when it comes to Disney.

For example, going back to 2008 announcement for Jan 2009, January deals have been announced in December, November, September, and August. You can see this here: http://www.mousesavers.com/historical-information-on-walt-disney-world-resort-discounts/#codetrends

That said, if I were Disney I’d delay January deals this year until I had a clear sense of the impact of the New Fantasyland on early 2013 bookings… which suggests they may not come out for a while….

114 Annette { 09.21.12 at 7:46 pm }

Hi Dave,
I am very happy to have stumbled upon your site. I have a couple of questions. My husband, daughter (7 yrs old) and I are heading to Disney World Nov.28-Dec.10. We are currently booked at the Holiday Inn Lake Buena Vista for the 12 days. I just found out that the Art of Animation Little Mermaid rooms have recently opened up. We stayed at the Holiday Inn for our last (first Disney trip) visit and enjoyed the hotel & staff. The hotel deal we got includes breakfast and the shuttle to the Disney parks. I understand that the Mermaid rooms only offer two double beds. My husband is 6’4 tall. Do you think he will he be able to fit on a double bed if I share the other bed with my daughter? How big are those rooms? My dilema is should we change our reservation to stay all 12 nights in the Mermaid room, split the nights between the two hotels or just leave us at the Holiday Inn. What is your feeling about the Mermaid rooms? Does the resort offer enough to keep my daughter happy? I think there are movies every night. My daughter is absolutely crazy about mermaids. It is all she talks about. She has never seen a Disney hotel–only the plain Holiday Inn. Do you think it is worth it to switch?
Thanks

115 Dave { 09.22.12 at 10:36 am }

Hi Annette! I’ll be publishing a review of these rooms tomorrow, but they are small–certainly smaller than those in the holiday inn. That said, they, and their general environment, are deeply themed–see this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2012/09/19/little-mermaid-rooms-art-animation-not-girly-not-far/

On the bed size question–sure he can. The beds are 6’3″ long, but the diagonal measure–if he puts his head in one corner and his feet in the other–is 7 feet, 8.5 inches!

I would switch just so you can test the Disney resort experience at a low cost!

116 Tanja { 09.26.12 at 4:37 pm }

Hi Dave, my son and his girlfriend (both21) are travelling to WDW next week. The holiday is a present and they are travelling from England but don’t want to drive in Florida as they are used to driving on the left side of the road. How easy and safe is it to call for taxis? I assume they can get the hotel reception desk to call cabs/taxis? They want to go to Universal and Seaworld, possibly some shopping and I am nervous that they haven’t got their own transport.

117 Dave { 09.26.12 at 5:41 pm }

Hi Tanja, cabs are easy to call. If they are staying at WDW hotels, each has a cab rank near the front!

118 Tanja { 09.30.12 at 6:19 pm }

Thanks Dave, we have stayed in the Saratoga and Key West before and somehow I can’t remember cab ranks there. But I might have been to excited to be here and didn’t pay attention!

119 Stacey Lewis { 10.02.12 at 4:51 am }

Hi Dave
Hoping you can help me, on the disney world website it has an ad saying stay and play package on one of the pictures that flash up at you. when you go into this it has a package called Room ticket and dining for 6 nights at $2771. could you please help in anyway as I have tryed to call disney and they no nothing about it. It falls in the dates that we are going but when I try and do the price on there website it gives me the same price I was looking at a couple of weeks ago. This is so frustrating that disney don’t even know what they have on there website they were not very helpful, so hoping you may know somthing. Thanks Love your website

120 Dave { 10.02.12 at 6:37 am }

Stacey, I’m not sure what’s going on, but one possibility is that the hotel you’ve picked has sold out for this deal for your dates. Rooms made available for deals are limited and do sell out. Disney’s website does not go way out of its way to tell you this–it just prices based on regular prices, not deal prices.

There’s only once current deal, and it’s here: http://bookwdw.reservations.disney.go.com/ibcwdw/en_US/specialOfferDetails?name=Promo&promotionCode=fy13q1room&market=fy13q1room

121 Ro { 10.03.12 at 9:35 pm }

Hi Dave,
My family is excited about planning our first trip to Disney…..son 6yrs old and daughter 4 yrs old. Excited but a bit overwhelmed. After reading your site I think we would like to stay at the Polynesian. We intend to visit Disney in May 2013, when do you think we should consider booking the trip? Also, my son has several food allergies do you have insight into which resorts are more accommodating for people with food allergies or does Disney overall try to accommodate no matter where you stay?

122 Dave { 10.04.12 at 6:56 am }

Hi Ro, Disney is probably the best vacation spot in the world regarding food allergies, both in the parks and at all its hotels… suggest you get a copy of this so you find out how to work with them ahead of time: PassPorter’s Open Mouse for Walt Disney World and the Disney Cruise Line: Easy Access Vacations for Travelers with Extra Challenges Regarding booking, the Poly is quite popular, so I’d book as soon as you can…

123 Louise E. Riggs { 11.18.12 at 4:52 pm }

We are coming to Disney World Feb. 10th-16th 2013. We are taking our grandchildren ages 4 girl and 6 boy, and their parents, so there will be 6 total. They have never been, and are counting down the days. We are on a fixed income and want this to be a memorable vacation. What would be a good value for us as a family. We would love to have a 3 bedroom condo. Thanks.

124 Dave { 11.19.12 at 7:10 am }


Hi Louise! On WDW property it’s very hard to find 3 bedroom space that is also affordable. The best match at lowest cost is the Treehouses at Saratoga Springs. See http://yourfirstvisit.net/2009/08/16/review-the-treehouses-at-disneys-saratoga-springs-resort-and-spa/ and the floor plan. Pretax rates for your period begin at $709/night but shoot up later.

All less expensive WDW options for six have only two sleeping spaces–see this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2010/12/15/lower-priced-options-for-large-families-at-walt-disney-world/

125 shelley { 12.04.12 at 4:09 pm }

Hi!! I am really really wanting to bring my family to disney. I am thinking may 26-31 2013, but i am not seeing any free dining plan for the art of animation or if i would have to stay at one of the others just to get the free dining. Would you happen to know if disney will have any kind of discounts or free dining for a tight budget. Thanks!!

126 Dave { 12.04.12 at 6:11 pm }

Hi Shelley–there are no discounts out now for dates beyond early March. More will likely come out in a month or so–and they may include free dining–but the current deal set does not, so I would not bet on it. Memorial Day week is also a crowded period…take a look at this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2009/12/21/the-tightwads-guide-to-when-to-go-to-walt-disney-world/

127 Terri { 12.27.12 at 5:57 pm }

Got an e-mail that there’s a new deal available for Disney Visa cardholders, that will be available to the general public starting Jan 3 2013. Its for up to 30% off WDW resort hotels, stays 2/18-3/23 and 4/2-6/14/2013.

128 Dave { 12.27.12 at 5:58 pm }

Thanks a million, Terri!!! I’ll post about that tomorrow–with a tip of the hat to you!

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129 Deb { 12.30.12 at 10:09 am }

Hi Dave,
Thank you so much for this site, it’s very helpful! I’d like your advice about where to stay for our upcoming trip 1/21-1/23. This will be our 2nd trip to disney – last time we did MK and Epcot, this time we want to see AK and perhaps MK for the updated Fantasyland (worth it?). Family is 2 adults and 3 kids (7,7,5). I see you recommend Poly – would that still be the case if we were doing a full day AK and a second day MK? I’ve looked at AKLodge, but for a family of 5 pricing seems very high for a quick visit…
Thanks!

130 Dave { 12.30.12 at 10:56 am }

Hi Deb!

Fantasyland is worth it, especially Enchanted Tales with Belle, whihc you should see first thing. See this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2012/12/26/review-enchanted-tales-belle/

There are no hotels near AK that can fit a family of five unless you want to pay a ton for a DVC one bedroom villa at AKL. Standard AKL rooms only fit 4.. The only room that fits five but doesn’t break the bank is the Alligator Bayou section of POR. See this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2012/11/19/review-port-orleans-riverside-alligator-bayou-rooms/ It’s not near either, but is half or less the price of deluxes like the Poly that fit 5…

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131 Julie Stone { 01.12.13 at 4:55 pm }

Does anyone know if free dining will be back for this fall/winter 2013. We are looking to coming Nov. 30th – December 8th. We are military and normally stay at Shades of Green but this year we are looking into more options for our family.

132 Kevin Patton { 01.12.13 at 7:20 pm }

I’m brining my girlfriend Monday jan 14 surprise her wi a trip to Disney land she has never been in life. We are driving 12 hours to get their. I need someone to help me out with best ticket deals and is their a way for me to get any free tickets are anything to help our trip out. I wanted this to be the best trip. It’s also our 3 years being together wanted celebrate it here.

133 Dave { 01.13.13 at 10:37 am }

Julie, no one knows except Disney. My guess is not…

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134 Dave { 01.13.13 at 10:42 am }

Hi Kevin, there’s very little in the way of deals, but take a look at this: http://www.mousesavers.com/walt-disney-world-vacation-discounts-and-deals/disney-world-ticket-pass-discounts/

135 Francyn { 01.23.13 at 4:30 pm }

We have enjoyed staying at the parks and off site. We have found that there are INCREDIBLE deals on VRBO.com to rent a villa very close to the parks. Just booked a 5 bedroom 4 bathroom 2200 ft2 villa with pool and game room for $110/night. And if you are looking for a 1 or 2 bedroom or an efficiency, they are really cheap. It’s a great affordable way to stay and save money on food too.

136 Dave { 01.23.13 at 5:49 pm }

Thanks, Francyn! See this, especially the second page: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2010/01/27/the-tightwads-guide-to-staying-off-site-at-walt-disney-world/

BTW, I edited out your further comment about parking, as that lot is often closed except to people on campground business if WDW, or the campground, is busy…

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137 Corinne { 01.26.13 at 9:24 pm }

We are considering taking our 8 year old son to DisneyWorld for his first trip the last week in May. We would like to stay on the property & can only afford a few days. Looking for any ticket, teacher, and or police-related discounts. Also any advice for must-see and must- do activities. It’s been a decade at least since I was last there. Thanks!

138 Dave { 01.27.13 at 5:42 am }

Hi Corrine, first that’s a pretty crowded week. Are there any other times you can go? See this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2012/10/16/may-2013-walt-disney-world/

There’s a general public discount out right now for those dates that will save on on-property rooms. See this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2013/01/03/new-walt-disney-world-discount-mid-february-through-mid-june-2013/ I’m not aware of any teacher or police discounts. For small savings on tickets, see this: http://www.mousesavers.com/walt-disney-world-vacation-discounts-and-deals/disney-world-ticket-pass-discounts/

Seeing everything at Disney World takes 6 hard days. And an 8 year old can enjoy pretty much everything…so you will need ot focus. I’d suggest at least two days at the Magic Kingdom, and then visits to the pother parks depending on how many more days you can afford. For the must-see rides and show, see this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2011/03/09/the-comprehensive-guide-to-walt-disney-world-rides-and-attractions/

Must-do activities are trickier as they cost more. See one of my itineraries for an example, e.g. this one: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2010/12/06/summer-itinerary-for-walt-disney-world-v2/

Hope this helps a bit!

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139 Tara { 03.09.13 at 9:57 pm }

My husband and I want to take our 3 and 1 year old sons to WDW in Sept 2013. Which week would you suggest? What activities/hotels would you advise? And are there any deals for that time? Many thanks in advance!

140 Dave { 03.10.13 at 8:19 am }

Hi Tara! There’s no deals out right now for after early June. If any come out, they’ll be here: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2010/03/29/walt-disney-worlds-latest-spring-and-summer-deal/

For my thoughts on September, see this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2013/02/25/september-2013-at-walt-disney-world/

I focus on much older kids, (see this for why: http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/how-oldtall-your-children-should-be/ so don’t have much help for kids that young. You can find some thoughts here however: http://touringplans.com/magic-kingdom/touring-plans?utm_campaign=referral&utm_medium=website&utm_source=yourfirstvisit&utm_content=r1&property_id=1

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141 eddie { 03.25.13 at 6:40 pm }

Do 55 years and older get a special price for daily passes at WDW in April 2013 and are these access restrictive?

142 Dave { 03.26.13 at 7:40 am }

Eddie, there’s no age-based special pricing except for kids under 10 and under 3.

143 cassie { 04.02.13 at 8:29 pm }

Hi dave we were going to plan for a september vacation but we are now waiting until next april to hopefully see fantasy land completed. My question is I have been doing research on here and the weeks of april that look good to me are the 13th the 20th and the 27th just wanted to make sure that weather isn’t too hot around that time we have a 5 and 4 year old and don’t want us all to sweat out during our stay.my next question is we were planning on staying at the nick hotel since wdw ones are a little pricey but the nice thing is that they include the dining plans and the nick hotel doesn’t. Do you think we will be spending the difference in price with the food spending anyway?

144 Dave { 04.03.13 at 8:06 am }

Cassie, because of the date of Easter next year, there’s some really horrible weeks in April 2014. So be very careful–sere this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2012/10/15/2014-weeks-visit-walt-disney-world-ranked-order/

The weather then–while it can be all over the place–is typically very nice. See this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/when-to-go/next-best-dates/weather-and-when-to-go/high-temperatures-year-round/

The Disney dining plan, these days, saves very little money, so I would not factor that much into your decisions about there to stay!!

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145 stephanie { 04.26.13 at 12:35 am }

We are looking to come the week of nov 11, 2013. How are crowds typically that week?

146 Dave { 04.26.13 at 1:09 pm }

Hi Stephanie! In 2013, crowds are great that week–see this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2011/09/12/disney-world-crowds-in-2013/

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147 Sonal { 04.29.13 at 8:49 am }

Hi dave,
Am planning to visit Disneyworld around 1st June, 2013, is that a good time?….What should be the ideal length of stay …I have 2 gals : 5 and 3.5……We are from India ….Will a 3-4 day itinerary make sense ?

148 Dave { 04.29.13 at 9:36 am }

Hi Sonal, that’s a pretty crowded week.

See this for when to go: http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/when-to-go/next-best-dates/best-and-worst-times-to-visit/

See this for how old and tall your kids should be if this will be their only visit: http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/how-oldtall-your-children-should-be/

How long to stay is a factor of age and whether or not this will be their only visit. Kids that age can focus just on the Magic Kingdom and have a great visit with three mornings, an afternoon, and an evening. If you have more time, add a morning each at the Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom.

Hope this helps!

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149 Lindsey { 07.02.13 at 10:23 pm }

I hope this doesn’t get posted 2 times. I can’t seemed to find my original post anywhere. Do you know when Disney typically releases dining discounts for December? We are headed down 12/9-12/14. Thanks!!!

150 Dave { 07.03.13 at 7:59 am }

Hi Lindsey! Your original question is here, with my response right after: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2012/12/02/2013-cheat-sheet-walt-disney-world/#comment-398387

151 harry { 07.27.13 at 9:25 am }

Hey Dave im from the not so sunny side of Manchester in the UK. me the wife and our two daughters who will be aged 7 and 3 will be coming to stay for two weeks and the fixed dates are 22/05/2014 to 05/05/2014. any suggestions and recommendations. i plan to stay on site at the Caribbean resort and have the dining plan included.

152 Dave { 07.27.13 at 3:15 pm }

Hi Harry, there’s not much I can add right now other than starting at the home page and working your way down as much as you can, as I don’t usually have much to say until Disney publishes its calendars–which for May, it won’t for about three months.

So check back in in 3 months?

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153 Kelli { 08.06.13 at 10:50 pm }

Great site Dave! So…I’m scared!! We are headed to Disney 12/27/13-1/3/14! It will be my husband, me and our three 8 year olds! And our first time bringing them…we are staying at a timeshare resort outside of Disney. I’m thinking we will do three days at parks and three hanging out at the resort and non-Disney fun. What days should we absolutely avoid MK? What other parks should we do? If we do MK on new years eve what should our game plan be? Thanks!

154 Dave { 08.07.13 at 8:06 am }

Kelli, given your dates and flexibility I’d do my best just to avoid 12/31 and earlier in the parks.

I have no useful suggestions for an off-site visitor on the 31st other than go to AK.

I’d go to MK the 1st, anywhere but MK the 2nd.

For why I have so little to suggest see this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2013/05/16/new-years-eve-20132014-at-walt-disney-world/ and also this (about 2012, but the principles apply to 2013 as well: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2012/12/04/coping-disney-world-holiday-crowds/

155 Carmen Bailey { 08.20.13 at 12:41 pm }

Hi Dave, I hope you can help with this. When will or will there be any discounts for spring 2014? We are planning on a trip spring break 03/09/14 thru 03/14/14. There are six of us traveling and will need a joining rooms. I know that most package deals are for 2 adults one junior and a child. What is the age breakdown on junior and child? We have 3 18 and over plus a 17, 5, and a 2 yr old at the time of the trip. Any help would be great.

156 Dave { 08.21.13 at 9:01 am }

Hi Carmen! My guess is that there will be a room rate deal that your dates might be eligible for. It may well look like this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2013/07/17/disney-world-room-rate-deal-for-2014/

Any family structure is eligible for deals. The only reason you see the “two adults one junior…” stuff is so that Disney can price it in its marketing.

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157 Kathy { 09.23.13 at 7:58 pm }

We have three families planning our trip to Wdw in 2015 which I know is a little time away. We are hoping to do ordinate some of the trip with our Australian school holidays so have been considering march/April. We have two weeks set aside. Easter will be 5th April that year and do I was wondering given spring break, what would be the best time??? Thanjs

158 Dave { 09.24.13 at 7:34 am }

Kathy, in March and April 2015, the best time to visit will be the second half of April–the 12th and later.

Was this even remotely helpful?

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159 Marianne { 11.10.13 at 11:22 am }

Hi myself and two other adults are visiting Florida next March (7th -21st is when flights are booked) however it seems a lot of offers dont cover this period? Is this a peak holiday for Florida area? I’m not too sure how the US holidays work so im pretty confused!

what do you suggest for 3 adults who want to visit during those dates?

160 Dave { 11.11.13 at 8:19 am }

Marianne, yes that’s a peak period for spring break visits. See this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2013/08/14/disney-world-crowds-spring-break-2014/

161 Mary { 11.24.13 at 10:01 pm }

hi, i want to go to magic kingdom for new year 2014, i have to buy a special ticket?? i have to buy now or can i buy there in that day?

162 Dave { 11.25.13 at 6:37 am }

Mary, it’s the same ticket as for any other day. I would not buy in person, as the lines for doing so may be really long, since it is such a wildly crowded day. So buy ahead of time!

163 Kate { 12.26.13 at 6:46 pm }

Hi Dave!
I am planning a honeymoon trip to WDW in mid to late August 2014. I was wondering – do you know of any added perks that may come our way due to it being our honeymoon? And how would I go about “getting” these perks? :-) I hope I don’t come off as greedy – I just really want it to be a special trip. My husband and I have been saving for a long time, and with our hope to purchase a home in the next year, it hasn’t been and won’t be easy to go! It has been our goal to visit WDW together since we met! Thanks!

164 Dave { 12.27.13 at 8:23 am }

Hi Kate! Honeymoons are a big business for Disney, so there’s not much in the way of free perks. Smiles and congratulations are about the extent of it. See this for more: http://forums.wdwmagic.com/threads/disneymoon-perks.873055/

165 Kelly { 01.28.14 at 10:11 am }

Hey dave,
I love your site it has been so much help. We are planning a trip. Sept/ Oct of 2014. We are very flexible with our dates but are looking to save as much as we can. Our family consists of myself ,my husband our 3(at the time of travel) daughter and my 27 year old brother with Downsyndrome. We want to make sure everyone gets to enjoy themselfs as much as possible. We do plan on comming back in a few years when our daughter can get a little more out of it so this isn’t going to be our only trip. Do you have any advice or suggestions for to save??? Since I’m really hoping to take advantage of the possible free dining around that time frame , how do you suggest being able to make reservations to get into at least a few character dinning experiences and being able to take advantage of the deals that dont usually get released until the summer?? I appreciate any help you could give me

166 Dave { 01.29.14 at 7:27 am }

Hi Kelly and thanks!!

You can go ahead and book your meals at 180 days from when you plan to dine, and then cancel them if free dining does not come out, or if you aren’t able to get the deal. The most likely free dining dates are September.

See also this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2010/10/03/introduction-to-the-tightwads-guide-to-walt-disney-world/

167 Brandi { 03.05.14 at 9:58 pm }

Hi Dave!
I saw the dates posted for the memory maker deal are. Aug 15- sept. We are staying August 10-16 do you think we would qualify for this deal if part of our
Stay is during these dates?? Thanks so much for your help ;)

168 Dave { 03.06.14 at 8:33 am }

No, Brandi, sorry.

169 Kristy { 08.06.14 at 3:09 pm }

Hi, we are planning a trip to Disney for Feb 24th-March 2nd of 2015. I notice the prices just came out online. I’m wondering if there are any deals out right now for that time period that I could opt into or should I wait. We want to stay at the Animal Kingdom Lodge, regular savannah view room. We plan on getting the dining plan also but should I wait on that in case an upgrade deal comes out? If I buy the dining plan now and a deal comes out afterward am I still eligible to get it or am I out of luck? Should I just book the rooms and wait on the rest or is it better to book everything at the same time? We plan on getting a 4 day park pass but I know I can get those at anytime. I do see a deal out right now that if I book tickets before Aug 17th that I get a day free. Would that be eligible for us or do we not meet the requirements for the free day? I didn’t see any travel date restrictions on it. Lastly can I call and book reservations for dinner anytime or do I have to book the rooms first?

170 Dave { 08.07.14 at 6:57 am }

Hi Kristy!

There are no deals out for then, and likely won’t be for a while. It does not hurt at all to book now. If a deal comes out, you can try to get it, and you are neither advantaged nor disadvantaged by already having a reservation.

On dining you can make reservations anytime starting 180 days before arrival. If you have a room booked, you can make them for the 10 days following your arrival date–critical for high-demand meals like dinner at Be Our Guest.

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