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.



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



Category — a. When to Go to Walt Disney World

End of Summer 2017 Crowds at Walt Disney World

This site’s Disney World crowd calendars always show crowds dropping off in later August.

For example, in 2017, crowd rankings go from 8/high-minus at the end of July/beginning of August down to 2/lower in early September.

This page both explain how that comes about and also reviews how the site’s crowd calendars are built.

END OF SUMMER 2017 CROWDS AT WALT DISNEY WORLD

The highest-crowd periods at Walt Disney World all have one thing in common: they are convenient times for parents to take their kids to Orlando. That is, they are times that kids are out of school and that parents traditionally can take off of work.

What’s not so clear until you do the numbers is that actual school vacation dates are much more varied than you’d think.  And there’s no good source you can go to that explains what all these varied dates are.

So usually every year about this time one of my nieces goes to more hundreds of school district websites and captures all the key vacation dates for the upcoming academic year. This year all of my nieces are distracted by babies, so I did half this data collection myself.

(This time of year because you’d be surprised many districts don’t put their calendars up for the upcoming year until June, even late June–looking at you, Michigan.)

This year I collected data on 280 school districts with 15.3 million kids–about a third of the US school-age population. These include the 100 largest school districts in the U.S., plus 180 more of the next largest school districts mostly in the more highly-populated states east of the Mississippi–that is, the states from which in particular Walt Disney World draws its visitors.

I then create a database that shows based on district enrollment every kid who is off on every date, and weight each district based on that district’s state’s proportion of total US visits to this website (because Disney won’t tell me actual visitation by state!). See the image above for a screenshot example.

Finally, I calculate percentage of total weighted kids on break by date and use that to inform the crowd calendars.

Above are the results of this for when kids go back to school in 2017.

So you can see that

  • Kids don’t start going back to school in real numbers until Tuesday 8/8
  • More than a third are back in school by 8/17
  • About half  are back in school by Friday 8/25 and
  • Almost 70% are back in school before Labor Day (noted in red)

In 2017, pretty much all kids are back in school by the Friday after Labor Day.

Moreover, vacation patterns typically don’t have people returning from their vacation the night before school begins, so the effect of these back-to-school dates is offset into earlier August by around a week.

Thus, in the 2017 crowd calendar, the week of 7/29 is rated 8/high-minus crowds, the week of 8/5 7/moderate-plus crowds, the week of 8/12 6/moderate crowds, the week of 8/19 4/low-plus crowds, and the week of 8/26 3/low crowds.
The 2017 easy Guide

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July 9, 2017   No Comments

Disney World Resort Price Changes for 2018

Disney World’s 2018 resort hotel prices were released on June 20.

You can book them by contacting Kelly B at KellyB@DestinationsInFlorida.com or 980-429-4499.

The prices that came out June 20 were a bit of a mess, particularly for January 2018, and have changed several times since–see the Art of Animation example (click it to enlarge it):

They seem to have stabilized, however, so I’ve been analyzing a sample of resorts, and the upshot is that compared to the quite restrained price increases we saw in 2017, prices are up substantially in most–though not all–resorts in 2018.

Only Caribbean Beach and Grand Floridian see very small price increases for 2018. 2018 Value resort prices are up 6-9%; 2018 moderate resort prices (except Caribbean Beach) are up 5-7%; and 2018 deluxe prices (except for Grand Floridian) are up 5-7%.

(Reviews of all Disney World resort hotels mentioned in this pricing round-up are linked to from here–I’ve stayed in more than 140 different Disney World hotel rooms, and my reviews are based on these stays.)

The other thing that’s new for 2018 is more distinctions among day prices in the same price seasons.  For many (but not all) major seasons, you’ll see new Thursday prices, and in the moderates and values some new Sunday prices as well.

Analyzing Disney resort price changes is difficult—there’s more than 20 hotels, many differently-priced room and view types within them, seven to nine different major price seasons over the course of the year, additional weekend and holiday upcharges, and more. As a result, unless you have a LOT of time on your hands you need to sample, and that’s what I’ve done.

In general, I gather daily price data on the lowest and next-highest priced rooms at all of the resorts (and from more room/price combos if a resort looks odd, as Caribbean Beach and Grand Floridian do in 2018), and then analyze:

  • Season price increases across all the major Disney World price seasons—e.g. “Regular” season prices for 2018 compared to 2017
  • Changes in the dates covered by price seasons that have an impact on price levels—only a bit of that happened for 2018
  • Changes in the relative price levels of hotels in a single price class—2018 saw little change here.

For 2018 I sampled 40 room types across the seven major price seasons at the values and moderates and the nine major price seasons at the deluxes.  This yielded more than 500 points of comparison between 2018 and 2017 prices.

In what follows, when I talk about price changes for the entire year I mean seasonally-weighted price changes (that is, weighted based on the percentage of 2018 days in each major price season–there’s seven major seasons at the values and moderates, and nine at the deluxes), and when I talk about a specific price season increase I am comparing average Sunday night to Saturday night prices across the two years, to account for the different prices on different days problem.  So yes, it is some spooky genius math shit.

The detailed results follow.

DISNEY WORLD VALUE RESORTS PRICING IN 2018

Price season structure changes

2018 largely maintains the recent 2017 seasonal structure at the values, although with the day changes noted below. One minor twist is the addition of a few days of Regular season in February (beginning 2/11/18) that were Value season in 2017. (This is a reversion to a pattern we first saw in 2016.)

For those who were not paying attention, several years ago Disney introduced the “Fall” price season, which replaced what used to be Value season dates in late November and early December. In 2016, Disney implemented more seasonal changes at the values and moderates, in effect raising prices by moving various dates from lower to higher-priced seasons. Value 2 dates in later August and early September shifted to Fall, and Fall in later September to almost the end of October was shifted to Regular.

Up until 2018, rooms typically had one or two prices during a season. If two, there was one price for Sunday-Thursday and another for Friday and Saturday.

2018 sees more variety in daily prices during the Value, Regular, Fall and Peak seasons. The typical pattern is now Price A Sunday, Price B Monday-Wednesday, Price A again Thursday, and Price C on Fridays and Saturdays.

Here’s an example from Art of Animation during the 2018 Value season:

The effect of this is to make long weekend stays more expensive, and Monday-Wednesday stays less expensive, than would otherwise be the case. This is a somewhat mechanical start (mechanical because at the values, the difference between Price A and Price B is typically a flat $10 across resorts and seasons) to a set of prices that more fully reflect differences in demand by night.

Finally, the much earlier Easter in 2018 means that many more days in March-April will be regular season, and that many less Peak or Easter seasons, than in 2017.  The difference is about two weeks more worth of Regular season prices, mostly in April.

Price level changes

The basic pattern among value resort standard rooms of Art of Animation Little Mermaid rooms being most expensive and the All-Stars being least expensive continues in 2018.

Pop Century rooms see the highest increases for 2018, bringing them a bit closer to the Little Mermaid rooms, but prices in the other value resorts go up quite a bit as well. Little Mermaid rooms remain shockingly close to standard moderate room prices some dates (especially in the Summer season in 2018, where a week in a Little Mermaid room averages $223 a night and a week in Caribbean Beach, which sees no material 2018 price increases until its Fall season, $234 a night).

On average across 2018, Little Mermaid rooms are ~$30 more expensive per night than Pop Century and ~$45 more per night than the All-Stars. These differences are shown for standard rooms across the prices seasons in the chart.

Family Suite options at the values also continue their basic price structure.  The suites at All-Star Music are the least expensive, The Cars and Lion King suites at Art of Animation are at a much higher level–averaging $100 more a night than those at Music—and the Finding Nemo suites at Art of Animation remain the highest-priced suites, at around $25 dollars on average more per night than Cars or Lion King–and $125 more a night than All-Star Music.

Season price increases

For 2018, average year-round prices in standard rooms in the All-Star Resorts are up around 7.5%, with the lowest increases of ~1.5% in the Easter and Holiday seasons and large increases of 6-9% the rest of the year, especially in the Fall season. Preferred rooms show similar patterns but at lower levels, averaging a 6% increase. Moreover, more rooms seem to be priced as preferred than before, such as Jazz at Music and Touchdown at Sports, itself in effect a price increase. Family Suites at Music are up 6.2% and show the same seasonal patterns, including the highest increase of 7% in the Fall season.

Pop Century standard rooms showed the highest increases for 2018 among the values, up year-round at 8% in both standard and preferred rooms. The largest standard room increases are in the Value (9.3%), Regular (9.1%) and Fall (8.1%) price seasons, and the lowest (but still >5%) are in the Easter and Holiday seasons. Preferred rooms at Pop also went up an average of 8% and show similar seasonal patterns, but here the biggest increase is for the Regular season at 9.7%. The price increases are likely related to the new queen beds and coffeemakers that are beginning to show up at Pop Century.

Little Mermaid rooms at Art of Animation followed up their 9% increase in 2017 with more moderated 6.4% increases for 2018.  Increases are highest in the Regular (9.1%) Value (8.2%) and Fall (6.7%) seasons, and lowest in the Peak, Summer and Holiday seasons.

Art of Animation Family Suites at Cars and Lion King are up an average of 6% for 2018. Increases are pretty tightly grouped across the year, but are highest in the Fall season (7.1%) and lowest in the Easter and Holiday seasons (both 4.6%). Finding Nemo 2018 increases are similar.

DISNEY WORLD MODERATE RESORTS PRICING IN 2018

Price season structure

The moderates saw for 2018 the same insertion of Regular season nights into early February, and the same new Sunday and Thursday pricing in some price seasons, that the values did.  See the discussion above for details.

Disney's Port Orleans Riverside Resort from yourfirstvisit.net (3)

Price level changes

Until 2016, Caribbean Beach, Port Orleans French Quarter, and Port Orleans Riverside standard rooms had the same prices, while Coronado Springs tracked them some nights and other nights was $3-5 more.

In a major change, in 2016 Riverside and French Quarter became the most expensive moderates. This gap widened substantially in 2017, and widens a bit more in 2018.

In 2018, standard rooms at the Port Orleans resorts average $23 a night more than Coronado Springs, and most of the year $32/night more than Caribbean Beach. (Caribbean Beach largely returns to prices comparable to Coronado Springs in late 2018.)

Season price increases

Coronado Springs standard rooms show average price increases for 2018 of 5.7%, with the biggest increases in the Value (8.4%) and Fall (7.2%) seasons. Preferred rooms at Coronado Springs are up 4.6% with a range across seasons of 4-5%, except the Easter season, up only 2.8%.

Caribbean Beach prices for 2018 show a fascinating pattern, with almost no increases in any room type (I checked out 5 types) during any of the seasons that launch in the first half of the year, but 4-6% increases in the two seasons that first appear in the second half of the year–the Fall and Holiday seasons. I imagine this pattern is from the refurb/construction that’s happening there, and the pattern–the Fall season opens in late August–gives a suggestion as to when this work will be done.

Prices for Port Orleans French Quarter and Port Orleans Riverside standard rooms, after rocketing up 7-9% across all the major seasons in 2017, see an average increase of 6.4% in 2018, with prices across all major seasons going up 5.5 to 7%. This is higher than the 2018 increases at either Coronado Springs or Caribbean Beach, and thus widens the price differential of the Port Orleans resorts with the other two traditional moderates that we first saw in 2016.

Preferred rooms at Riverside and River View rooms at French Quarter show similar increases.

DISNEY WORLD DELUXE RESORTS PRICING IN 2018

Price season structure

The deluxe resorts run to a different price season calendar than the values and moderates, especially from early July through mid-November.

Their 2018 price season calendar is similar to that of 2017, with the main change being the addition of a few more days of Peak season pricing the week after the Easter season.

The deluxes also see in 2018 the added complexity in day-by-day prices as the values and moderates, but not so much–only for three seasons (Value, Peak, Regular), not four, and typically only for Thursday nights, not the Sundays and Thursdays of the other resort classes.

Price level changes

There’s a bewildering plethora of price points at the deluxes—many view options, with “Club” service options as well. I sampled the full set of price changes in eighteen deluxe room types, and based on that saw no material changes among the overall resort price standings.

The Grand Floridian is still the most expensive, and standard rooms at the Wilderness Lodge are still largely the least expensive (some seasons, standard view rooms at Animal Kingdom Lodge are cheaper).

In general, there’s three price groupings among standard deluxe rooms.  The three monorail resorts–the Grand Floridian, Polynesian and Contemporary–have the most expensive standard deluxe rooms, the Epcot resorts the Yacht Club, Beach Club, and BoardWalk Inn the next most expensive, and standard rooms at the Animal Kingdom and Wilderness Lodges the least expensive. Price differences vary across the year, but as you can see in the chart above, are on the order of $100/night for each group.

Season price increases

After restrained price increases in 2017, most deluxe rooms are up 5-7% for 2018, with the exception being the Grand Floridian, which for the second year in a row has seen next to no increases.

Polynesian Village standard view room prices were essentially unchanged in 2017, and have gone up 5.1% for 2018. Prices increases are tightly grouped in all principal 2018 seasons except the Regular 2 season, when they go up only 2.6%. Poly lagoon view prices are up 4.2% for 2018, tightly grouped all major seasons except for the Fall season, when they go up just 2.6%.

Contemporary Resort Tower Bay Lake view rooms were unchanged in 2017 in most seasons, and have increased by 5% for 2018.  Increases are tightly grouped around 5% except for the Regular 2 season, up 7.1%. Theme Park view Tower rooms here saw 3.4% increases in 2017, and are up 7.4% for 2018.  Peak, value and regular season prices all went up more than 8%. Other seasons see increases of 5-7%.

Grand Floridian standard view rooms had an average increase of 1.3% in 2017, and in 2018 have no increase.  Two other view types I checked also had no increase for 2018.

Wilderness Lodge standard rooms, after an average 5.4% increase in 2017, are up another 5.9% for 2018. Season increases are tightly in the 5-7% range. Courtyard view rooms here average a 6% increase.

BoardWalk Inn standard view room prices, after being largely unchanged in 2017, are up on average 5.7%, tightly grouped among the seasons with 4.6% to 6.3% increases. Water view rooms here are up 5% and show the same pattern of a narrow range of increases across all 2018 major seasons.

Standard view rooms at the Yacht Club and Beach Club are up for 2018 5.5% on average, grouped among seasons from 4.5% to 6%. The next most expensive room class in each are both up around 5%, also with a tight grouping in price increases for the seasons.

Animal Kingdom Lodge standard room prices are up an average of 6% in 2018 after a 2% rise for 2017. Increases are tightly grouped across the major seasons in the 5-7% range.  Savanna view rooms went up about 3% in 2017, and are up 6.2% for 2018.

Lava Pool Disney's Polynesian Village Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

MORE ON THE DISNEY WORLD RESORTS

I’ve stayed in more than 140 different Disney World-owned rooms, suites, villas, and such. Reviews resulting from these stays are linked to here.

The 2017 easy Guide

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July 5, 2017   7 Comments

2018 Disney World Prices Released

Yesterday prices for 2018 Disney World packages were released. I’ve largely updated my 2018 price seasons page, but have more checking to do, so have left it with its “projected” label for a day or so.

I’m also collecting and analyzing actual nightly prices, comparing them within resorts and to 2017. This is always a pain, and is much more so for 2018, as there is much more variation in prices across the days of the week than we’ve ever seen before, especially for the value, regular, peak and fall seasons.

This pricing messiness means that more than ever before it makes sense to use a travel agent, as the agent can help your figure out if small changes in your planned dates will yield huge savings.

If you want to use an agent, I recommend Kelly. She’s the agent from Destinations in Florida dedicated to the readers of yourfirstvisit.net, and hundreds of my readers have had great experiences with her.

Kelly can be reached at KellyB@DestinationsInFlorida.com or 980-429-4499.

Knowing I was swamped with pricing analytics, Kelly also wrote for me (thanks, Kelly!!!) the following update:

The wait is finally over. 2018 Walt Disney World® packages have been released. Now is the perfect time to book your Disney vacation. From the youngest child to the wisest Main Street citizen, there is something for everyone. 30 unique resorts, 4 theme parks (including the all new Pandora at Disney’s Animal Kingdom), 2 water parks, 100’s of places to snack, sip and dine across Disney property, not to mention the unique mix of dining, shopping and entertainment found at Disney Springs.

When you book a Walt Disney World® vacation package you are in for a magical experience like no other. Your Magic Your Way package includes:

  • Resort accomodations at a Disney Resort hotel
  • Magic Your Way Tickets (2-10 Days. Base tickets allow admission to one theme park per ticket day. Add the Park Hopper Option to visit more than one park per ticket day. To visit the water parks as well, be sure to add the Park Hopper Plus option)
  • Complimentary MagicBands (1 per resort guest)
  • Free airport transfers aboard Disney’s Magical Express (this service is only available at Orlando International Airport – MCO)
  • Keepsake Luggage Tag (one per resort guest)

As a Disney resort guest you also have the option of adding one of Disney’s Dining Plans. Quick Service Dining Plan, Disney Dining Plan or Disney Deluxe Dining Plan.

(All guests staying in the same room must have the same package -dining and ticket options. Children ages 2 and under are free).

The magic doesn’t stop there. These exclusive Magical Extras are included with Walt Disney Travel Company packages at the Walt Disney World® Resort.

Things to Do

  • Miniature Golf: Receive four (4) vouchers per package, each voucher valid for one (1) 18-hole round of miniature golf prior to 4:00 p.m. on one (1) day for ONE (1) Guest at either Disney’s Fantasia Gardens Miniature Golf Course or Disney’s Winter Summerland Miniature Golf Course. Voucher and Magic Band or resort key card are required at time of redemption. Voucher is non-transferable and expires at midnight on the day of checkout. Lost or stolen vouchers will not be replaced. Not valid with any other offer, discount, or promotions, and may not be redeemed for cash in whole or in part. Due to capacity limitations, occasionally it may not be possible to accommodate Guests at the time they choose to visit. No photocopy or reproductions of voucher will be accepted. VOUCHER IS VOID IF SOLD.
  • ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex: Receive four (4) vouchers per package, each voucher valid for one (1) general admission to ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex on one (1) day for ONE (1) Guest. Valid only on event days. Some events require an additional admission charge. There are no events on certain days. Days and hours of operation of concessions, venues and attractions varies. Visit www.espnwwos.com for more information.
  • Voucher and Magic Band or resort key card are required at time of redemption. Voucher is non-transferable and expires at midnight on the day of checkout. Lost or stolen vouchers will not be replaced. Not valid with any other offer, discount, or promotions, and may not be redeemed for cash in whole or in part. No photocopy or reproductions of voucher will be accepted. VOUCHER IS VOID IF SOLD.
  • Sammy Duvall Water Sports: Receive 10% off the non-discounted price of all activities, including parasailing, waterskiing, wakeboarding, tubing trips and personal watercraft rentals at Sammy Duvall Water Sports Centre located at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. Restrictions apply. Excludes merchandise. Subject to availability. For reservations call (407) 939-0754. Due to capacity limitations, occasionally it may not be possible to accommodate Guests at the time they choose to visit.
  • Splitsville Luxury Lanes™: Receive 10% off the non-discounted price of bowling (walk-in bowling only); receive 10% on the purchase of food and non-alcoholic beverages (dine-in only); and receive 10% off the non-discounted price of merchandise at Splitsville Luxury Lanes located in Disney Springs® West Side.

Places to Eat

  • EARL OF SANDWICH®: Receive 10% discount on the purchase of food and nonalcoholic beverages at EARL OF SANDWICH located at Disney Springs Marketplace. Valid for dine-in only. Gratuity not included.
  • Ghirardelli Ice® Cream and Chocolate Shop: Receive 10% discount or $1 off any Specialty Sundae at Ghirardelli Ice Cream and Chocolate Shop located in the Disney Springs Marketplace. Cannot be combined with any other offers.
  • House of Blues® Restaurant & Bar: Receive 20% discount on the purchase of food and nonalcoholic beverages during lunch or dinner at House of Blues Restaurant and Bar located in Disney Springs West Side. Valid for dine-in only. Excludes Quick Service location. Discount limited to six guests per party. Gratuity not included. Receive 10% off the non-discounted price of merchandise, excluding CD’s, art, sundries and sale items, at House of Blues Restaurant and Bar located at Disney Springs West Side.
  • Joffrey’s Coffee and Tea Company®: Receive 20% off entire purchase excluding alcohol at Joffrey’s Coffee and Tea Company at the following locations at Walt Disney World Resort: Magic Kingdom® Park, Epcot®, Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park, Disney’s Hollywood Studios®, Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park, Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park and Disney Springs The Landing including Tea Traders Café by Joffreys, or purchases online at Joffreys.com and use coupon code: travel.
  • Planet Hollywood Observatory™: Receive 10% discount on the purchase of food and nonalcoholic beverages during lunch or dinner at Planet Hollywood Observatory located at Disney Springs Marketplace. Valid for dine in only. Gratuity not included. Offer not valid for merchandise.
  • Wolfgang Puck® Express: Receive 10% discount on the purchase of food and nonalcoholic beverages during breakfast, lunch or dinner at Wolfgang Puck Express located at Disney Springs Marketplace. Offer not valid for merchandise.

Places to Shop

  • Basin: Receive 10% off entire purchase, (excluding sale items), at Basin located at Disney Springs Marketplace or Basin White located in Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa.
  • Crystal Arts by Arribas Brothers: Receive 10% off purchases at the Crystal Arts by Arribas Brothers stores at Disney Springs Marketplace, Magic Kingdom Park and Epcot. Exclusions apply. Not applicable for shipping charges. Some other restrictions apply. Discount may not be combined with any other offer.
  • Curl® by Sammy Duvall: Receive 10% off the non-discounted price of merchandise at Curl by Sammy Duvall, located at Disney Springs West Side, excluding sale items.
  • JOHNNY WAS: Receive 20% off a single full priced item at JOHNNY WAS located at the Disney Springs Town Center. Not to be combined with any other discount or offers. Exclusions may apply.
  • Live Trends: Receive 10% off the non-discounted price of merchandise purchased at Live Trends located at Disney Springs Marketplace.
  • Pop Gallery: Receive 10% off the non-discounted price of merchandise at Pop Gallery located at Disney Springs West Side. Published artists excluded. Not valid toward shipping. Other exclusions may apply.
  • Set The Bar: Receive 10% off the non-discounted price of merchandise at Set The Bar located at Disney Springs The Landing.
  • Something Silver®: Receive 10% off the non-discounted price of merchandise at Something Silver located at Disney Springs West Side.
  • Sublime Gifts and Finds: Receive 10% off the non-discounted price of merchandise at Sublime Gifts and Finds located at Disney Springs The Landing.
  • Sugarboo & Co: Receive a gift with any purchase of US $50 or more at Sugarboo & Co. located at Disney Springs Town Center. Cannot be combined with any other offers or promotions. Exclusions may apply and subject to availability.
  • UGG: Receive customization up to US $35 with any merchandise purchase at UGG located at Disney Springs Town Center. Exclusions may apply.
  • Vince Camuto: Take 15% off your Vince Camuto purchase located within Town Center at Disney Springs. Offer valid in Disney Springs Vince Camuto store only. To redeem, present card at point of purchase. Not for use on previous purchases, with purchase of gift cards or in combination with other offers. No price adjustments on items purchased after 30 days. Some exclusions may apply. See sales associate for more details. Code: MAGIC15

With so many options and choices, planning a Disney vacation can be a bit overwhelming. But no worries, Kelly B is the designated Destinations in Florida travel agent for yourfirstvisit.net. As your personal Disney World expert, when you book a vacation package with Kelly, she is able to provide you with the agency’s many valuable services including:

  • Free Itinerary Planning
  • Free Mouse Perks – Tips, Updates, and Fun Freebies
  • Free Dining Services – Dining suggestions and reservation planning
  • Free FastPass+ Services – FastPass+ planning and reservation assistance
  • Free Future Discount Search – Ongoing searching for future discount to apply to your vacation
  • Give Kids The World – Our agency is proud to support one of Orlando’s local organizations called Give Kids the World. This organization is a 70 acre storybook village in Kissimmee where children with life-threatening illnesses are treated to a cost-free fantasy vacation. For every package booked with our agency, a donation goes to Give Kids the World. Thank you for helping support this wonderful organization.

Contact Kelly B today at KellyB@DestinationsInFlorida.com or 980-429-4499.

The 2017 easy Guide

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June 21, 2017   1 Comment

December 2017 at Walt Disney World

OVERVIEW: DECEMBER 2017 AT DISNEY WORLD

This page reviews December 2017 Walt Disney World crowds, prices, deals and discounts, weather, and operating hours; adds a few other notes; and ends with week by week summaries.

 

Early December, with lower crowds, lower prices, and wonderful Christmas decorations and events, has the best weeks of the year to visit.

Later December has the highest crowds and prices of the year.

Park closings to additional guests are possible in this later December period, as are 8a openings and more morning Extra Magic Hours than other weeks.

December also has a special party, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, a special evening event–with its own ticket–that has become a family tradition for many.

[Read more →]

June 13, 2017   10 Comments

Christmas 2017 at Walt Disney World

OVERVIEW: CHRISTMAS 2017 AT DISNEY WORLD

The Christmas season at Walt Disney World includes both the best and the worst times to visit, with both prices and crowds at both lower and very high levels over the period.

Decorations, special Christmas shows, programs, and events, and Christmas trees are everywhere, making Disney World as special a place to celebrate the holidays as you can find.

THE CHRISTMAS SEASON AT WALT DISNEY WORLD

December crowds at Walt Disney World begin at lower levels. They will begin to build on 12/22, and by 12/24 will hit their highest levels of the year, where they will stay until about January 2, 2018. Crowds will still be high–though not at the holiday levels–through January 7.

AK-Christmas Mickey and Minnie at Disney's Animal Kingdom from yourfirstvisit.net

Walt Disney World resort hotel December prices at the beginning of the month are at one of the lower levels of the year.

Prices increase 12/10, again 12/15, and again 12/22, ending at the highest levels of the year.

December weather is cooler and variable. While the average daily high is 73, this masks tremendous variability.

CHRISTMAS CELEBRATIONS AT WALT DISNEY WORLD

Christmas 2014 at Walt Disney World form yourfirstvisit.net
Each of the parks has wonderful Christmas decorations, and the Magic Kingdom and Epcot (and likely Hollywood Studios) have special Christmas events, which will begin in early November at Magic Kingdom, mid-November at the Studios, and right after Thanksgiving at Epcot.

  • At the Magic KingdomMickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party—a special event that requires its own ticket—runs on many nights from November 8 through December 22nd. Later in December, its signature events—a special Christmas parade, and special Christmas fireworks—are available to all guests. Christmas decor is in place by the night of the first party–in 2017, November 8.
  • At the Studios, in 2016 the Christmas projection show Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! kicked off on November 14. I don’t know if it will return for 2017.
  • At Epcot, the evening fireworks show Illuminations has special Christmas additions. In addition, most nights Christmas carols are sung by massed choirs in the Candlelight Processional. Many of the countries in Epcot’s World Showcase have special Christmas events as part of Epcot’s Holidays Around the World program. Epcot’s special events are fully in place the Friday after Thanksgiving–November 24 in 2017.

NEW YEAR’S EVE 2017 AT WALT DISNEY WORLD

New Year’s Eve festivities have not yet been announced, but based on past practices will occur December 31, 2017 at Disney World’s Epcot, Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios theme parks, and also at the Magic Kingdom on December 30. The Animal Kingdom in the past has had no special New Years events, but may well in 2017.

Based on the past, the schedule will look like this:

  • Epcot will be open until 1a on New Year’s Eve; Disney’s Hollywood Studios until at least midnight, and the Magic Kingdom until 1a or later
  • The Magic Kingdom likely will have Happily Ever After at 7.30p and special New Year’s Eve fireworks at 11.48p
  • Epcot likely will have its Illuminations fireworks show at 6p and 11.40p, plus DJs in various pavilions.
  • Disney’s Hollywood Studios likely will have fireworks at midnight
  • There may be a New Years Eve show at the Animal Kingdom–the first ever
  • Note that alcohol is not available at the Magic Kingdom (other than at a few restaurants), but is available at the other three parks

The Magic Kingdom likely will have the same fireworks at the same times on 12/30/17. This date will likely be a little less crowded than 12/31.
The 2017 easy Guide

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June 12, 2017   6 Comments

Disney World Crowds: Christmas 2017 and New Year’s 2017/2018

DISNEY WORLD CROWDS FROM LATER DECEMBER 2017 TO EARLY JANUARY 2018

Disney World sees its highest crowds and prices of the year in the later third of December and the beginning of January, in the weeks around Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

This is for a pretty basic reason: kids are out of school then.

However, not every school district has the same break schedule.

In 2017, as always, there’s more kids out the week between Christmas and New Year’s than before or after.

Unlike 2016, because of the Monday Christmas (the first since 2006), there’s not a lot of kids out the week before Christmas. Crowds the first part of the week of December 16 will be fine, but will build at the end of the week and be massive by December 23, 2017.

The week after New Years in 2018 has many more kids on break than usual, so I expect it to be heavily crowded through January 8, 2017.

SCHOOL BREAKS AND DISNEY WORLD CROWDS

Most years, there two typical sorts of breaks:

  • Long breakers–districts that take at least 2 full weeks (and three weekends) off
  • Short breakers–districts that take off as close to only December 25 to January 1 as they can

As a result, the period Christmas-New Years is always mobbed at Disney World, as everyone is out of school then, but the periods before and after vary from year to year depending on what day of the week Christmas falls.

In 2017, a Monday Christmas put long-break districts in the position having to pick when to schedule their second week–before Christmas weekend, or after New Years. Enough put it after New Year’s that I expect to see heavy crowds that week.

Note that I had originally forecast the week beginning 12/16/2017 as “high crowds.” However, more long-break schools than I’d expected put their second week in January rather than December, so I am now calling that a moderate-plus crowd week–which is the combined effect of moderate-minus early in the week and high late in the week.

ACTUAL 2017-2018 CHRISTMAS SEASON SCHOOL BREAKS

The chart above illuminates this.

It’s based on data from a weighted sample including more than 270 of the largest relevant US public school districts with almost a third–more than 15 million–of total US school kids included.

The holidays are red, the weekends black, and weekdays blue.  Click the image enlarge it.

You can see that some breaks begin Saturday the 16th, with hardly any kids on break before then. More kids go on break beginning the 2oth, and by the 23rd everyone is on break.

Pretty much everybody stays out of school through January 1, 2018, and while many go back to school January 2 or 3rd, almost 40% of US schoolkids remain on break through January 7.

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May 29, 2017   2 Comments