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By Dave Shute

Email me at davidhobartyfv@gmail.com.

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51 comments

1 Kevin R. { 05.06.08 at 8:33 am }

Dave,

What a wonderful and useful site!

Kevin R.

2 larry garland { 05.17.10 at 2:34 pm }

have spent time looking thru the info. cant find pricing..what is cost for one day june 9. 2 kids 5 nd 7 years old. ,2 aarp seniors, and 3 adults. what time does park open.

3 Dave { 05.17.10 at 3:12 pm }

Hi Larry!

Hope this helps and have a great trip!

Dave

4 Brandon { 12.29.10 at 1:32 pm }

Just wanted to tell you that I really appreciate your website and how invaluable the information was to me on my recent (Dec ’10) trip to WDW. I have been to Disney every year for almost 20 years and have always done it a certain way. Your suggestions on how to plan a Christmas time experience were eye-opening. After a flawless vacation with 2 under the age of 3, I will be “doing it your way” from now on in December. Many thanks!

5 Dave { 12.29.10 at 2:18 pm }

Brandon—thanks so much for your comment!

Anything about your trip that suggests any advice I should change?

6 Scott { 01.29.11 at 8:17 pm }

We just got back from a trip to Disney 1/23/11- 1/27/11. It was crowded. We had 60-70 minute waits for most rides. The fast passes were all given out on some rides by 11:00am. This was very disappointing because in years past January was considered a low crowd month, especially towards the end of January. Just thought I would let you know how crowded it was recently.

7 Dave { 01.30.11 at 4:46 pm }

Scott–I was at WDW from 1-21 through 1-26 and found the crowds as I would expect them–that is, quite low compared to other times of the year. If the wait times and FASTPASS outages were re Toy Story Mania, that’s typical on any day, which is why getting to it when the park opens is featured on all my itineraries.

8 Greg { 02.09.11 at 6:15 pm }

Dave, how or who do I contact to find out if the Quickie dining plan is available during my stay? Is it available when staying at the value resorts?

9 Dave { 02.09.11 at 6:42 pm }

Hi Greg!

The Disney Dining Plan is always available.

It’s not always available for free, if that’s what you meant. Right now there are no promotions being offered for free dining. This may change!! In most recent years, Disney has mades it available for stays from mid-August through the end of September, and announced this in late spring…

Keep your eye on this page for discount updates: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2010/03/29/walt-disney-worlds-latest-spring-and-summer-deal/

10 jamie { 05.07.11 at 4:38 pm }

What a great site! Wish I saw it sooner! We’re booked to go for our first trip from 11/8 through 11/13. I knew it was NJ week (my sister lives there and we were planning on meeting them here and there throughout the trip) but didn’t know it was Epcot Food and Wine Festival. I am officially worried. My kids will be 7, 4 and 2. They are currently not into roller coasters at all, which I believe makes it at least a little easier. Did I pick the worst time imaginable? I just don’t want it to be so crowded that we can’t enjoy ourselves. I can tweak the dates a little, if it would even matter. What do you think?

Jamie

11 Dave { 05.07.11 at 4:53 pm }

Jamie, you’ll be fine.

There’s plenty of better weeks, but this is not a bad week–just not one of the better weeks. Food and Wine has little impact, and Jersey week only a moderate impact!

If you want to tweak, either way–arriving earlier or staying later–will help with Jersey Week.

12 Gail { 05.24.11 at 4:46 pm }

We have a Disney vacation scheduled for Nov. Two years ago we got free dining. Is this available through AARP? We couldn’t get free dining this year but was told that we could get it though AARP. Also, my son and his family are going. I wondered
if it was available to me would they be eligible to get the free dining also ?

13 Dave { 05.24.11 at 6:45 pm }

Hi Gail! I’m sorry but the only discounts I track are those offered directly by Disney, so I don’t know.

14 Tom { 05.25.11 at 10:17 am }

Dave, I have looked at your site and used it considerably the past 3 years we have gone. Am planning for this year and had a question re: dining. Do you feel there is any relationship between availability of ADR’s and crowd level? Last year, we went Nov.12-19 and it was more crowded than expected. Particularly, one family in the park who have always gone that week (due to a convenient, non-conventional school schedule) commented that they had NEVER seen it that crowded that week and were shocked. During our planning, I noted that there were ample ADR’s available, which led me to believe that we would have low crowds (along with your site of course) but that was not the case. Just wondering what your thoughts were on that. And a second question – do you know where I can find a historical calendar of crowd levels?? Thanks so much for your work on this site. It is really beneficial!!! Tom

15 Tom { 05.25.11 at 10:19 am }

oh and I also meant to add that we are looking at Sept. 2011 right now, and my above question is relevant because I see FEWER ADR’s available the last week of Sept. and MORE ADR’s available the second week of Sept. (starting that Friday after labor day).

16 Dave { 05.25.11 at 10:43 am }

Hey Tom!

First on historical crowds–see TouringPlans.com. You have to pay (around $10) but well worth it. They also have a crowd forecast for your possible dates as well!

On the relationship of ADRs to crowds–nice observation!! I’d view it as an interesting data point, but one that can be misleading because of the ebb and flow of free dining offers and the Epcot food and wine festival…free dining periods will look worse than they really are in terms of crowds…the period right after labor day is one of the lowest crowd periods of the year…

17 Tom { 05.25.11 at 1:24 pm }

Thank you Dave!

18 Dave { 05.25.11 at 2:07 pm }

You bet!

19 Roni { 05.28.11 at 4:56 am }

Hello we are going in march 2012 for cheer comp and half vaction staying for on week. Its are first time so want to make it great.So what should I bee doing . First thing is the meal paln worth the money??? Second park hopper tickets for the whole week or for part??I don’t really know what iam doing just need a little help to get started.We have a group that goes together so if you book more people is that better or not??

20 Dave { 05.28.11 at 9:15 am }

Roni–start with the home page, it has all the basics. Then take a look at one of the To-Do Lists for some more details. You’ll have to modify the to-do lists for your specifics.

The home page is here: http://yourfirstvisit.net/ and here’s an example To-Do list: http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/to-do-list/to-do-lists-for-alternative-itineraries/to-do-list-v2-of-2009-autumn-winter-spring-itinerary/

21 Gordan { 07.12.11 at 10:34 pm }

Dave,

My family and I are planning a Nov 25-Dec 3 2011 trip. Since we are arriving on Friday and departing on the following Saturday (9 days), should I change the itinerary around? I wasn’t sure if your itinerary takes into account of early and late openings at certain parks on certain days. We will be staying at the Poly. By the way what a great site you have put together here. Thanks for all the info.

22 Dave { 07.13.11 at 6:05 am }

Hi Gordan and thanks!

Important parts of my itineraries tie to the specific days–Friday is Friday–and not to ‘”day 1, day 2″ etc.

However, you can easily adapt it for your dates by doing the Second Saturday evening stuff your Friday arrival night, and the Second Saturday morning stuff the next morning. Then pick up the First Saturday evening stuff for the rest of the 26th and go from there as written.

In case you didn’t note this, for those dates you should be using the Basic Itinerary–here: http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/basic-itinerary/

Hope this helps and have a great trip!! Dave

23 Brittany { 08.03.11 at 3:15 pm }

Hi Dave,
Just stumbled upon this awesome site! We are trying to plan our first family WDW visit, and only have 2 options of times to go (with work/ school schedules). I am mainly interested in the crowds. Which would be a better time to visit:
November 19-22 (Sat- Tues) just before Thanksgiving, or
December 17-20 (Sat- Tues) a little over a week before Christmas.

Really appreciate your help,
Brittany

24 Dave { 08.03.11 at 3:21 pm }

Hi Brittany!–I think the December days will be less busy.

25 Jennifer { 09.27.11 at 8:42 am }

Dave,
Thank you for your website! I love, love it! My husband, 2 year old and niece are going to be staying in CBR for one week beginning on 10/29. What village would you recommend to keep us closest to the “best” bus stop (if there is such a thing at CBR)? Any other strategies you can recommend for getting to the parks quickly? Being close to pools & dining are not that important to us.
Thank you for your help!

26 Dave { 09.27.11 at 8:58 am }

Hi Jennifer and thanks for the love! There really isn’t a “best” bus stop. Buses enter and go around from two different points, so what’s good for one bus is bad for another…

27 Jennifer { 09.28.11 at 9:24 am }

Thanks for the quick response Dave! I made another call to WDW and the agent tried to convince me that Port Orleans would be the way to go for quicker bus rides to park since there are less stops. Can you please comment on this?
Thank you again for your website!

28 Dave { 09.28.11 at 9:42 am }

Hi again Jennifer! There’s two Port Orleans resorts. Port Orleans French Quarter is the more convenient of the two (the other is Port Orleans Riverside and both are more convenient than CB.

I prefer CB because it has more kid appeal…

For more on convenience, see http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/where-to-stay/next-best-resort-choices/picking-your-resort-based-on-convenience/resort-convenience-grouped-by-price-category/ and for links to reviews of all of these “moderate” resorts, see
http://yourfirstvisit.net/2009/10/28/the-moderate-resorts-at-walt-disney-world/

29 Mireille { 10.09.11 at 7:42 pm }

I saw a chart indicating height requirement for rides along with a description of how they are scary for a 3 years old but can’t find it anymore. It will help us decide what to see or not to see

30 Dave { 10.10.11 at 7:45 am }

Hi Mireille–I focus on older kids so don’t quite have exaclty what you are looking for. The closest I have is this http://yourfirstvisit.net/2011/03/09/the-comprehensive-guide-to-walt-disney-world-rides-and-attractions/ and this http://yourfirstvisit.net/2010/04/21/ride-height-requirements-at-walt-disney-world/

Almost any guidebook has a section on rdies that might scare little ones…

31 Dina { 11.03.11 at 1:46 am }

Awesome site! Quick question.. I notice you didn’t mention TRex at Downtown Disney in your top restaurants picks. Any reason why? Do you think it’s a good dining experience (especially with young kids)?? Thanks! :)

32 Dave { 11.03.11 at 7:53 am }

Hi Dina! In general this site does not cover Downtown Disney… and specifically I don’t have an opinion on TRex… sorry to not be able to help!

33 Micheline { 09.24.12 at 10:48 pm }

Ive been to Disney 4 times growing up but my husband has never been or our 2 girls 4&2. We are wanting to go in late January 2013 because of the low rates and we can take advantage of our youngest being “free”. But I saw on your list it is one of the highest ranked and it is discouraging. Would our little family of 4 be ok going then since we wouldn’t be able to go on the big rides anyway? And do you think free dining may be offered?

34 Dave { 09.25.12 at 8:21 am }

Hi Micheline, no guarantees on free dining. Assuming that you’ll be taking your kids back later when they are old enough to fully enjoy the parks, no worries about late January. The only reason it gets low ratings is for people who may never return–that’s those for whom ride closures are an issue! If you can return, ride closures hardly matter…

35 Dawn { 02.07.13 at 1:14 pm }

I am really confused. I am trying to plan a trip to Disney on a budget (as is everyone). We have a child w/ a medical condition and we were considering one of the Moderate resorts “Port Orleans – Riverside” because it was near the Magic Kingdom where we would spend most of our time and be easier should she need rest. The Value resorts are a little farther, but more in our budget. Say the Moderate resort is already @ at 25% discount (looking at Sept 2013 cause the rates are lower) can you get free dining w/ that discount as well if its offered the time we go – or is better to book at a Value resort and then wait and see if free dining is offered and upgrade if necessary from there. Is free dining ever offered at the end of Nov? Any suggestions would be appreciated.

36 Dave { 02.07.13 at 1:48 pm }

Hi Dawn! Coupla things:

You can’t do both free dining and a room discount–if both are offered, you can only pick one.

Free Dining has been offered the past few years at the end of November, but I’m skeptical that it’ll be offered this year: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2013/02/07/2013-free-dining-mymagic-implications-disneys-q1-2013-earnings-call/

You can book at a value and then make a new reservation at a moderate if free dining is offered, but you’d have to move quickly–in the past the moderates have always quickly sold out in a free dining offer.

While POR is closer to MK than the values, when you factor in that it has 4 internal bus stops, while the values Pop Century and Art of Animation have just one, your total travel time to MK is about the same between POR and these two, so I wouldn’t let travel time sway you too much.

Hope this helps!!

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37 Dawn { 02.07.13 at 2:43 pm }

Dave this does help – Thanks so much! Your site has been very helpful!!

38 Dawn { 02.07.13 at 2:48 pm }

Dave – One more question?
Where (on your site) and when can you find out fee dining ops for the fall months?

39 Dave { 02.07.13 at 2:50 pm }

Great, Dawn

40 Dave { 02.07.13 at 4:06 pm }

Dawn–I’m not sure what you mean by “fee dining ops” :)

41 Dawn { 02.08.13 at 10:06 am }

Dave,

Typing to fast..I mean if free dining will be an option for the fall months

42 Dawn { 02.08.13 at 11:20 am }

Dave,

I am sorry to bother you again?, but I have a couple of more questions.
1) We don’t need hopper passes for every day, but maybe one. Can you just buy a pass for that day and if so how much does it cost?
2) In reference to the value resorts – How many stops is it to All Star Movie Resort and is it a good choice for the girls (ages 5 w/ medical condition and 7), it’s the cheapest. I hope we can stay at ART of Animation, but we have to wait and see.
3) Any suggestions on Photo Pass….I know if we purchase we have 30 days to access our pictures, but I may not have the extra money to print all the good ones by the end of the 30 days…Is there a way to buy a CD that not to expensive?
4) I know that due to the hurricane season you are not crazy about Sept. being the month of choice for first time family trip. Out of the weeks in Sept. which one would you choose (AS far as special things happing at WDW).
5) If given the chance of “Free Dining in Sept. –I understand the likely hood of not getting it.) Does the savings out way the slight increase of resort fees in the first part of Oct – because I am really considering pay the extra just for the “Magic” for the girls and not having to worry about the hurricanes.

43 Dave { 02.09.13 at 1:43 pm }

OK Dawn! If such a deal comes out, I’ll have it here within a day or two: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2010/03/29/walt-disney-worlds-latest-spring-and-summer-deal/

44 Dave { 02.09.13 at 1:49 pm }

Hi Dawn, in order:
1) No
2) Movies shares buses with the other two All-Stars
3) Sorry–I don’t pay much attention to photo pass…
4) What I think about these weeks compared one to another is captured in the week rankings which you can get by clicking the image at the bottom of this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2011/09/19/2013-weeks-to-visit-walt-disney-world-ranked-in-order/
5) The hurricane season peak also goes into early October, see http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/when-to-go/next-best-dates/weather-and-when-to-go/chance-of-cyclonic-storm-affecting-florida/ Free dining is more likely the first half of Sept…

45 Dawn { 02.10.13 at 1:44 pm }

Thanks for all your help Dave – your site is a big help!!!

46 Marie { 03.11.13 at 2:54 pm }

Hi Dave,
I love this site and used it when I planned our trip back in 2011. I was wondering if you could provide any input on what days of the week are the best to visit the different Disney parks? We will be arriving 4/6/13 and leaving 4/19/13. Thanks for your help – any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. :)

47 Dave { 03.12.13 at 8:17 am }

Hi Marie and thanks!!

The general rules are as follows: Saturday to Monday is busier than Tuesday to Friday; days when a park has extra magic hours–especially morning extra magic hours–are busier than other days; days when a park has distinctively later hours will be busier than days with shorter hours.

So with this and the park calendar in hand, you can plan your days!

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48 Lee { 06.16.13 at 7:08 pm }

Hi Dave – I think your site is incredible! I wondered what your thoughts might be on the following: we are a family of 5, with three children (ages 10, 9, 7). Planning on being at WDW between 5/10 and 5/20/14 for the first time. That week looks good for volumes and weather. I am thinking of splitting our stay between the Polynesian for the first 5 nights and the Villas at Wilderness Lodge for the last part of the trip. We are Ok sleeping 5 as you describe in a 2 bedroom room at the Polynesian. We would plan on doing MK while at the Polynesian. We have peanut allergies, and having a kitchen for part of the trip would be extremely advantageous for us (though Disneyland was fantastic in dealing with our food concerns and think, with proper planning, WDW will be too). We could reverse the order if that worked better. Thank you for any suggestions you may have.

49 Dave { 06.17.13 at 11:24 am }

Hi Lee!

Your plan looks great to me with one exception–not sure what you mean by “2 bedroom room at the Polynesian”?

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50 Dale & Dawn Thomas family { 02.24.14 at 7:47 pm }

Hi Dave,
We just want to commend you on your website. We have just returned from a 7 night stay and we used your site primarily to help us plan our trip. We followed your itinerary and suggested Fast Pass recommendations and feel like you were bang on with the information provided. Many times through our trip we were praising you and your your site. Everything from where to stay, how to save a few bucks on meals, etc. We travelled as a family of 4, our oldest child is 20 and our youngest is 5 – so quite an age range. Everyone came home feeling like it was a trip of a lifetime, so thank you! We returned to -30 Celsius temps in Canada so are really missing the beautiful Florida sunshine.

51 Dave { 02.25.14 at 7:15 am }

Dale and Dawn–thanks so much! I really appreciate your report, and your kind words!

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