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.



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yourfirstvisit.net—Disney World Instructions for the First-Time Visitor







Walt Disney World in 2017



By Dave Shute

Walt Disney World in 2017 from yourfirstvisit.netHere are my thoughts on rides, hotels, crowds and such at Disney World in 2017.

NEW RIDES AT DISNEY WORLD IN 2017

After 2016’s opening of the evening show Rivers of Light at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, 2017 will see an even deeper transformation at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, as the new land Pandora opens early in the year.

Pandora–deeply themed to the moon of James Cameron’s Avatar–will include two new rides, one a spectacular banshee ride through the world of Pandora, the second a boat ride through bio-luminescent forests (Disney concept art below).

(c) DIsney

(c) Disney

While there’s not much to the movie Avatar itself, it does have gorgeous and stunningly creative settings.  I expect all elements of Disney World’s Pandora to lavishly recreate the experience of being there, and the rides to be well worth doing. Joe Rohde, the original lead designer for the Animal Kingdom, remains in that role for Pandora, and I expect a great performance from him and the team.

When combined with 2016’s opening of Rivers of Light, the overall attractiveness of the Animal Kingdom will be transformed.

Construction of the new Star Wars and Toy Story areas will continue at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in 2017. I don’t expect anything much of these areas to be open until 2018 at the earliest.

DISNEY SPRINGS AND THE DISNEY RESORTS IN 2017

I don’t expect much material change at Disney Springs in 2017, nor at the current Disney resorts.

DISNEY WORLD CROWDS IN 2017

Presidents Day, February 20 in 2017, is almost as late as it can be, meaning more good January and early February dates, and fewer good late February dates.  Crowds for this week actually begin the Thursday before.

Mardi Gras in 2017 is the week after–February 28th.  A few southern school districts have it off as a single or multi-day holiday. This will lead to the weekend of the 25th being a little busier than usual, but the part of the week following the 28th will be just fine.

Easter in 2017 is late, on April 16. As a result, March breaks and Easter breaks won’t overlap, so later March will be a little better than past few years, but there will be fewer good April weeks.

Summer crowds will continue to be rough in 2017, as South Americans take advantage of their winter breaks to come to Disney World and join the hordes of US families on summer breaks.

Thanksgiving, November 23, is almost as early as it can be in 2017, giving more good late November dates but fewer good early November ones.

Christmas is on a Monday in 2017.

  • Many, many school districts that take long holiday breaks will begin their breaks on Monday December 18, so holiday crowds at Disney World will begin to roll in on December 15th.
  • Districts that take shorter breaks will be off something like Friday the 22nd through Monday the 1st. This means that the week between Christmas and New Years Day—always the worst of the year at Walt Disney World—will be an especially crazy mess in 2017.

DISNEY WORLD PRICING IN 2017

I fully expect Disney World to implement variable ticket pricing in 2017–charging more for the more popular dates.

I also expect this to moderate crowds a bit the worst dates of the year, and increase them a bit the best dates of the year.  But the difference won’t be material, and the relative crowd rankings of the weeks of the year won’t change.

MORE ON 2017 AT WALT DISNEY WORLD

Disney World 2017 Crowd Calendar

Disney World 2017 Price Seasons

The 2017 easy Guide

Kelly B Can Help You Book Your Trip

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44 comments

1 Charles { 08.03.16 at 10:45 am }

So my wife and I are bringing our 3 year old to Disney in January for the marathon…we’re checking in on Saturday the 7th and checking out on Wednesday the 11th at Art of Animation and a 4 day park hopper. We’re doing Cinderella’s Royal Table for Breakfast and we’ve heard good things about Chef Mickey’s and Tusker House, and we’re trying to knock out all of the Clubhouse characters at breakfast but I’ve heard Daisy is hard to find. Thoughts?

2 Dave { 08.03.16 at 12:06 pm }
3 kristin { 09.07.16 at 7:59 am }

Hi. It may be too soon to ask this , but I’ll be in Disney from April 5th through 11th.Any insight into which parks which days? I know dining choices are coming up fairly soon. The only thought I have so far was Epcot on the 5th. Thanks so much!

4 Dave { 09.08.16 at 6:55 am }

Kristin, check back with me in a week or two, when April should be out.

5 Joan Gull { 11.02.16 at 4:10 pm }

Would like to know when you start decorating for halloween

6 Ashley { 11.03.16 at 12:57 am }

Park days 4/22/17 – 4/28/17…suggestion for which parks to go to or avoid on certain days? Parents + 10,8, (boys)and 7 y/o (girl). Thank you!

7 Dave { 11.03.16 at 7:30 am }

Hi Ashley!

4/22 avoid AK
4/23 avoid Epcot
4/24 avoid AK
4/25 avoid HS
4/26 avoid MK
4/27 avoid Epcot
4/28 avoid HS and MK

8 Dave { 11.03.16 at 8:06 am }

Joan, Magic Kingdom decorations go up in late August/early September.

9 Jean { 11.05.16 at 12:59 pm }

My family and I are traveling to Disney World Feb 4 to Feb 11, 2017. Any suggestions for park times during those days? Which parks to avoid on certain days? Magic parks hours?

10 Kelly B - Agent with Destinations in Florida { 11.05.16 at 3:32 pm }

Jean – If you log into your MyDisneyExperience.com account, you’ll be able to see the hours for each of the parks, for each day of your visit. You should have low to mid level crowds. I actually suggest that my clients avoid the parks with the EMH. Not knowing your traveling party my genera suggestion would be Ep 2/5, MK 2/6, HS 2/7. AK 2/8, MK 2/9.

11 Donna A. { 11.06.16 at 9:33 pm }

I am a public school teacher so no vaca flexibility. I am having a hard time deciding which week is the better option in regards to less crowds in 2017. Which week do you recommend i visit 2/18-2/25 OR 4/15-4/22? I would hopefully be staying at the Poly.

12 Dave { 11.07.16 at 12:39 pm }

Hi Jean
2/4 avoid MK and AK
2/5 avoid HS
2/6 avoid AK
2/7 avoid Epcot
2/8 avoid MK
2/9 avoid Epcot
2/10 avoid MK and HS
2/11 avoid MK and AK

13 Dave { 11.07.16 at 12:43 pm }

Donna, I would have a slight preference for 4/15, for three reasons: you have more time to make dining reservations (many of the most popular places/times will be already gone for Feb; the weather is better; I expect crowds to be a little better (but there’s enough chance I am wrong that I would not focus much on that).

14 Donna A. { 11.07.16 at 10:18 pm }

Thank you for the feedback on week of 4/15/17 over 2/18. This would be our 3rd visit in April and have stayed at Boardwalk and Yacht Club. We love the Epcot area because we loathe the buses and always walk to HS/Epcot or cut thru epcot to get on the monorail to MK (we park hop). If we can afford another deluxe resort i was going to choose the Poly this time. However, due to cost if i were to choose a moderate resort what would you suggest for a 3rd time trip? (2 adults, 3 teenagers 13,15, 17)?

15 Helping Hand { 11.08.16 at 11:43 am }

@Donna – Since Dave is taking some time off, I can offer you a similar experience. For your 15&17 yr olds, are they phased out of the major Disney theming? Even your 13yr old might be, too. Fair to say they will just be all about the (thrill) rides? Also given time of year, not a whole lot of hotel swimming. So maybe 75-90% of your woken time will be at the parks? If so, Port Orleans is a great option. Relatively limited bus stops to the parks. To me, CB is too spread out (but great if you want R&R at the hotel/pool) and CS is farthest away. My brother took their 3 teenage kids to PO-R and said it worked out great for a MK focused trip.

If you are truly focused on a parks-only agenda skewed toward more time at MK, you might get a good deal at WL since there’s still construction. Again, if you’re only there to sleep and catch a meal or two, construction shouldn’t be bothersome.

If Dave’s opinion is different, definitely go with his. I’m not quitting my day job :-)

16 Donna A. { 11.08.16 at 10:43 pm }

Thanks for the moderate recommendation. After looking online i now see the differences between a moderate vs a deluxe disney resort and am leaning back towards a deluxe. Thus my next question. When will disney post their spring room discount? In our 2 previous April stays we were able to get 25% off deluxe room rates. Any chance this will happen in 2017 amd if so when might i expect disney to announce this deal?

17 Dave { 11.12.16 at 9:00 am }

Donna, one other point in the moderate side–only certain rooms at Port Orleans Riverside and Caribbean Beach hold 5, and the fifth has to be able to fit on a short and narrow murphy bed.

In 2014–a year with an equally late Easter–deals for April after Easter came out in early January. When they do come out, I’ll post them here.

18 Donna A. { 11.18.16 at 6:26 pm }

1. Should I reserve now (for dates 4/15-/4/22) or take a risk & wait for Jan/Feb spring room rates discounts to hopefully be posted?

2. If I were to make a reservation now (November) and the spring room rate discount does get posted in Jan/Feb, will I be able to change my reservation & access the discount to save money OR am I stuck with the reservation I make in November?

19 Dave { 11.19.16 at 12:35 pm }

Donna, all deal reservations are “space available” and are unaffected by whether or not you already have a reservation. If you end up with two (deal, and regular) you can cancel your regular 30 days before (5 days if room only) at no penalty. So there’s no reason not to book now, especially as that will be a very popular week.

20 Jackie { 12.12.16 at 10:29 am }

Hi Dave,
I am preparing to book FP+ at the 30-day mark and I\’m struggling with final park selections for my dates: 1/17-1/22. Our party consists of my husband and myself (30\’s), my parents (age 60), and a 4-year-old and 7-year-old. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks so much, your site has helped me tremendously!

21 Dave { 12.12.16 at 6:34 pm }

Jackie are you asking how to divide your time among the parks and which FP+ to target?? If so, see this.

22 Jackie { 12.12.16 at 10:47 pm }

I’m asking which parks would be the least crowded and best to visit for each day of our trip. Thank you!

23 Kelly B - Agent with Destinations in Florida { 12.13.16 at 11:30 am }

Jackie – in addition to the info Dave gives you – when you have young ones traveling I always suggest going to Epcot at the beginning of your trip. It’s often not as “exciting” as the other parks for them. Once you have them in Magic Kingdom – they want that same level of rides and excitement. Doing Epcot first builds them up to for the other parks.

24 Dave { 12.14.16 at 12:00 pm }

Jackie

1/17 avoid Epcot
1/18 avoid Mk
1/19 avoid Epcot
1/20 avoid MK and HS
1/21 avoid AK
1/22 avoid HS

25 Jackie { 12.14.16 at 2:52 pm }

Thank you, Dave! Thank you, Kelly! I need to schedule Epcot and MK for 1/21 and 1/22 – which day would you choose for each of those? I don’t like having to either on a weekend but I’m not going to have any other options.

26 Dave { 12.14.16 at 3:32 pm }

Jackie, I’d do Sat at Epcot and Sunday at MK–although there will not be much difference.

27 Louise Collins { 12.28.16 at 3:41 pm }

Hi,

We’re hoping to travel from England to visit the parks this year. Not sure which month to visit though; we had thought of going in the Summer but then realised it’s hurricane season. We’re restricted to school term holiday dates unfortunately. Any advice greatly received.

Thank you.

28 Scarlett { 01.02.17 at 6:56 am }

Hi Dave,
Firstly, can I just say thank you so much for this site – we visited WDW last year and all of your advice and info really helped us and we had a great trip :) We’re planning to go to Disneyland California this summer and I just wondered whether you have another website about it? Or whether you could recommend any good websites similar to yours? We have never been before and I don’t really know where to start with the planning! I know this is a long shot but any advice would really be appreciated! Thanks so much.

29 Dave { 01.02.17 at 9:28 am }

Hi Scarlett and thanks! Can’t really strongly recommend anything, but the Disneyland section on touringplans.com is a good place to start.

30 Donna A. { 01.05.17 at 5:18 pm }

Any idea why there is no Fantasmic show being held on Friday, 4/14? Is this typical due to it being “Good Friday” of Easter weekend? Any chance they may add it or wishful thinking???

31 Dave { 01.06.17 at 8:42 am }

Hi Donna, an 8.30p show is on the Travel Agent Calendar, and I’d expect to see another show added, likely in March.

32 Donna A. { 01.08.17 at 3:58 pm }

I see a lot of media attention to Avatar and there are internet rumors it may open on 4/22 (Earth Day) instead of Summer 2017. I have also read it may have a “soft opening”. What exactly does that mean? Also, if I am there 4/14-4/19 do you think it will be open then?

33 Dave { 01.09.17 at 8:43 am }

Donna, no one knows when it will open. “Soft open” means not officially publicized as open, may or not be open at any specific time or day. Kinda like a combination of a preview, test, and staff training period.

34 Megan { 01.11.17 at 11:16 pm }

Hi! I’m looking at Thanksgiving 2017 plans already for all parks. Planning on staying 11-21 through 11-27. I definitely expect crowds, but what are your suggestions for the best parks to be in on each of those days? Thank you!

35 Dave { 01.12.17 at 11:04 am }

Hi Megan, I’ll be able to help, but only after Disney publishes its calendar for then, which won’t be for a while–in mid-April.

36 Donna A. { 01.12.17 at 3:57 pm }

At the Poly, where do you refill the rapid fill mug? Are there 2 locations at the Poly property? We are staying in a DVC Studio & wondering how far we will have to walk. Also, if you had to choose between Mama Melrose Fantasmic lunch deal or 50’s Prime Time Cafe for lunch on Saturday, 4/15 which would you choose food wise?

37 Dave { 01.12.17 at 5:01 pm }

Donna, in the Capt. Cook’s quick service in the main building, and during the earlier part of the day, at the Oasis pool bar in the Oasis pool, which will likely be closer to you.

On the lunch, it’s really nice to get the Fantasmic seats, but the food and theming is better at Prime Time.

38 Donna A. { 01.12.17 at 9:08 pm }

Ok so now that Disney announced the Star Wars Galactic Spectacular is happening 4/14 is this why there is no Fantasmic show scheduled? You sent a link showing it on the Travel Agent Calendar, but is there any chance it will now not happen due to the Star Wars thing? Can you tell I just want to see Fantasmic?!? Also, if I go to HS that evening will I be able to see the fireworks show or is only for those who bought the special Star Wars tickets? What time would it even be at???

39 Dave { 01.13.17 at 3:32 pm }

Donna, I think you are right, although the details aren’t really out yet. And it looks like the evening shows will be only for those who buy the special tix. I can’t tell if Fantasmic will show for them, but my guess is no.

40 Jennifer P { 01.14.17 at 11:10 am }

Have been reading various blogs and they suggest to avoid parks with EMH due to pulling in a lot more people. What are your thoughts?

41 Jennifer P { 01.14.17 at 11:13 am }

After reading in various venues many recommend to avoid parks with extra magic hours due to masses of people flocking to them. Just wondered your thoughts. Also do you have a travel agent calendar for the first week in May. We are going for the first time & staying at A of A with a total group of 16 (don’t intend to stay together all the time needless to say;-) Thanks for your input.

42 Dave { 01.15.17 at 8:22 am }

I think pretty much everyone thinks that, although it has become less material since FastPass+ was instituted, as people more are planning their parks ahead of time. it’s especially an issue in the party season By travel agent calendar do you mean this: https://media.disneywebcontent.com/StaticFiles/ParkHours/WDW_TAC_2017may.pdf ?

43 Donna A. { 01.18.17 at 8:02 pm }

Easter week at Poly, any idea what time Torch lighting will happen? I read it’s only Tues-Sat is this true? I am staying Sun-Wed so I do not want to miss out on this & will plan FastPass around it if need be…or is this ceremony no big deal?

44 Dave { 01.19.17 at 8:01 am }

Hey Donna, I don’t track that–suggest you ask on Steve Siefert’s Poly facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Tikimanpages/

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