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


By Dave Shute

For questions you have that other people might have as well, please use the comment forms you’ll find on every page. That way others will benefit from the answer too!

For any other contact need, email me at

For my social media accounts, click the links:  Facebook or Google+ or Twitter or Pinterest.

My Amazon author page is here.


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


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!


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:

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?


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 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: and here’s an example To-Do list:

21 Gordan { 07.12.11 at 10:34 pm }


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:

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,

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 }

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 and for links to reviews of all of these “moderate” resorts, see

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 and this

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:

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 }


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 }


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:

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:
5) The hurricane season peak also goes into early October, see 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!

52 Melissa { 04.24.14 at 9:01 am }

I have tried looking, but have been unable to find the 2013 crowd calendar. We went in April of 2013 and the crowds were great. (I used your site to plan our first trip and it did not disappoint!!) We are looking to book another trip, and I want to try to find a week like it was in April 2013, because it was the perfect crowd level.

I recommend your site to everyone who says they are planning a trip and I can say at least 5 people have used it and your crowd levels have been dead on. I am so happy that I found your site. Thanks for everything that you do!

53 Dave { 04.25.14 at 8:12 am }

Disney World 2013 Crowd Calendar Hi Melissa and thanks!! I’ve attached the 2013 crowd calendar. Note that becasue of different dates of Easter it won’t be the same other years–for example, see this for 2015 crowds:

54 melissa { 04.25.14 at 10:44 pm }

Thanks so much. I was looking for a reference point from when we went in 2013, the crowds were perfect. We hardly had to wait to get on anything. Thanks again for all you do!!

55 Kim { 05.12.14 at 7:05 pm }

Hi Dave. I was forwarded this site with high recommendation by my sister. We are taking 1st trip with our 3 daughters ages 16, 12 and 6 arriving May 17, 2014 5:50 PM and leaving May 23 9 PM and I see itineraries for 5 or 6 days but arriving midweek. We planned and booked this in January 2014 so are not staying on Disney property but in Kissimmee. Can you suggest an itinerary or a revision of an itinerary for our situation? Thanks!

56 Dave { 05.13.14 at 12:15 pm }

Kim, use the cheat sheets you can find for each park here:

57 Kim { 05.13.14 at 4:02 pm }

Thank you!

58 Kevin { 06.02.14 at 4:08 pm }

Hi Dave, awesome site! When will the 2015 best weeks/crowd schedule by updated to version 2 and available on your site? Want to see if there will be any changes for Jan/Feb/March 2015. Thanks much!

59 Dave { 06.03.14 at 7:19 am }

Kevin, I expect the revision will be out by the end of July–earlier if I a. can get the data earlier (many school districts are late this year as they revise calendars for Common Core testing) b. can find the time to do all the analysis.

That said, there’s not much uncertainty about Jan, Feb or the second half of March. Early March is the hard-to-forecast bit in 2015.

60 KC { 07.28.14 at 9:49 am }

I was wondering if, in your opinion, it is still worth staying at the Polynesian (for a first time fam of 5, kids ages 6, 6, and 2.5) during all the construction going on? We were looking to book the first week of December 2014 (i understand we will be too late to reserve some things). Thanks in advance for your help!

61 Dave { 07.29.14 at 8:24 am }

KC if you have the slightest reservation about staying there during the construction and closure of the main pool, then don’t!

62 Sonia { 08.03.14 at 9:33 pm }

Hi! I know earlier this year Disney had passes for florida residents I think they were called Discovery Disney passes 4 days for 129.00. Do you think they will have those passes again this year? We are going in November 2014 and wanted to get tickets a little less expensive. Just wondering if you knew if they had a late in the year discount in past years? Thank you! We love your site!! 🙂

63 Dave { 08.05.14 at 8:55 am }

Hi Sonia, thanks for the kind words! I’m sorry but I don’t track the Florida passes closely…

64 sonia { 08.05.14 at 12:15 pm }

Okay! Thank you so much! 🙂

65 liora { 10.16.14 at 7:17 pm }

Hi dave,
I just saw your great site.
That is why I’m asking a question in the last minute.
My family and I came to orlando from far… israel…
we thought of going to magic Kingdom tomorrow (11.17)but do to the closing hours
we think of postponing to saterday.
Should we do that?
We will be so grateful for your answer.

66 Dave { 10.17.14 at 8:19 am }

Liora, this may be too late, but crowds will be much lower today.

67 Mary Davis { 10.19.14 at 12:47 pm }

We are going to Disneyworld the week of Halloween. If we don’t buy separate tickets for the halloween party does that mean we cannot enter the park on those evenings with our 5-day hopper pass?


68 Dave { 10.20.14 at 4:03 pm }

Hi Mary! If you don;t have party tix, then you will have to leave when the park closes to non-party folk–that is, at 7p 10/26, 11p 10/27, 7p 10/28, 10p 10/29, and 7p 10/30 and 10/31.

69 Gloria { 10.26.14 at 2:38 pm }

Our family of four (two adults, 18 yo and 14yo) will be arriving at Disney World on June 1st and plan to go to Universal studios also. We will be taking two weeks to do this. It will take over 14 hours of driving to get back home so we will be in Florida just under two weeks. We have a hold on a room at The Beach Club resort for June 1 to June 8 but have not reserved anything at Universal yet. We will be buying a 4 day park hopper passes at our military base. I am wondering which days would be best to go to Disney and how many days would be best to stay at the Disney Resort. Also which days would be best to go to Universal and stay there? I would also like to know which parks to go to on which days and should we get dinner plans if our resort room is club level?

70 Dave { 10.27.14 at 6:36 am }

Hi Gloria, I won’t have specific opinions on the best days in June until Disney publishes its calendar for then, which will be in two or three weeks. So ping me back then> For my thoughts on how long to visit Disney, see this:

In general, with the early Memorial Day in 2015, earlier June will be better than later June both at WDW and Universal. Typically, the best days to go to Universal are Sat-Mon, but that matters a little less the later in June you go.

Snacking in the club level is a nice alternative to dining outside–but you will wish to be in Epcot, HS, and MK at least one evening each anyway, so dining in (or near) the parks those nights is best

71 Roxana { 11.04.14 at 10:27 pm }

Hi Dave, help pleaseeee! I have been convinced by some friends to go with them and their 6 year old boy to WDW on the first week of February 2015, eventhough my daughter is only 5. They have gone several times and since it will be low in crowds they say we’ll be fine but my concern know is being of different sex, that our kids will be fighting over what attractions to go. My daughter mostly cares for princesses. Do you think that putting toghether the fact of how young my daughter is and going with a friend who is a boy should make me re think whether we sholud go now or wait one more year? Thanks 🙂

72 MN Tim { 12.22.14 at 11:21 pm }

hi Dave… bottom line… busy single dad with not a lot of time to plan a trip for myself and my 5 year old girl. Haven’t planned it yet but would love to take her in late jan or early feb. (15′) I can be flexible but these dates look good for crowds…

Can you give any suggestions on where to stay for how long etc. etc. a trip she’ll love is more important than cost but I’m not donald trump either : ) …. thanks much!

A suggestion could mean a travel agent that will help me put together something without a lot of time and effort on my part. Thanks much!

MN Tim

73 Dave { 12.23.14 at 6:49 am }

Tim, you are much better off planning more than 60 days ahead. Doing this–and staying in a Disney resort–means you are much more likely to be able to book great experiences as Disney’s FastPass+ lets you book rides 60 days ahead of arrival, and some of the favorites disappear very quicky.

This site is mostly for kids older than 5, but my book will help you a lot–especially Chapter 9 The easy Guide to Your First Walt Disney World Visit 2015

Beyond that, I cover all the basics on links starting from the home page

The travel agents I work with are Destinations in Florida via this They (most likely Kelly, hi Kelly!) can help execute your choices, but you honestly will have the best results–with them and on your vacation–if you make the basic decisions yourself.

74 Kelly B - Agent with Destinations in Florida { 12.23.14 at 8:24 am }

Hi MN Tim,

I’m Kelly, the designated Destinations in Florida agent for It would be my pleasure to plan a magical vacation for you and your daughter. I’m a single mom of 3 and have take my children to Disney many times. It can seem a bit overwhelming. But you’ve already made one of the hardest choices….”When to Go”. You can contact me at or call at 980-241-7066 and we’ll start planning the rest of your special Disney vacation.

75 Lori I { 12.27.14 at 4:56 pm }

Hey Dave I am visiting WDW in late Feb also seeing Universal…do you know how to arrange transportation to Universal from WDW

76 Dave { 12.28.14 at 9:03 am }
77 Jenn { 12.30.14 at 6:56 pm }

Hi Dave,

Me and my husband and 1.5 year old are planning a 3 day, 2 night trip to the MK and AK in the fall. I’ve looked at the weeks you’ve suggested in September and October based on low pricing and low crowds, and would like guidance on the best days to visit each park (sorry, I tried to find the answer myself to no avail!). I’ve read on your site that if the wrong days are picked, we might be hit with large crowds…trying to avoid that if at all possible.

Also, we were planning on staying at a value resort. A couple of questions about the free dining plan offer (if it is available for fall 2015).
1. We were wanting to stay at All Stars Movie and it looked like the FDP was not available for this resort this year. Do you think we would be safe booking this resort in the hopes the FDP is included there or should we shoot for another one?
2. Since we are hoping for the FDP, would we be better staying in September over October? I don’t recall seeing the FDP available in October, but definitely all of September.
3. Since we are only staying for 3 days, is the FDP better than getting the room only discount if available? From what I read, it looks like the FDP is only 2 counter service meals per day.

I appreciate your help!!!

P.S. We have been to WDW about 20+ times but not since 1996! We are so excited to bring our little man to see Mickey for the first time!

78 Dave { 01.01.15 at 9:45 am }

Hi Jenn!!

I won’t be able to suggest better and worse parks until Disney releases its operating calendars for then, which it will in Feb for Sept and March for Oct.

Among the values, Movies and the Little Mermaid section of Art of Animation is frequently excluded from deals, so it will be simpler if you pick another value.

The best bet for free dining is September. Parts of October have commonly been in it as well, but most consistently it’s September.

For your family size, ages, and resort price target, you will be much better off with free dining–it’ll save you twice as much as room only. See this:

79 Ms. Phillips { 02.08.15 at 2:27 pm }

Our vacation is April 12th-19th to the Walt Disney World Resort. I have a picky toddler and was wondering where within the Epcot and Magic Kingdom parks can I find eateries that serve sweet potato fries?? I’ve looked at a few menus from those two parks but haven’t looked at all but couldn’t find anywhere. So I’m asking somebody that might have more expertise and might be able to tell me right off “oh yea such and such place has them…..”

Thank you for your site and also thank you for taking the time to answer my question! 🙂

80 Dave { 02.09.15 at 10:45 am }

Ms Philips–I’ve been able to find a few references but none super current, so the short answer is I don’t know, either…so sorry!

81 Jeanne { 02.16.15 at 8:11 pm }

Hi. We are visiting WDW for the second time and I was wondering what your thoughts are on Hoop Dee Doo Review. We will be there for 5 nights and 6 days with 3 boys 13, 11, and 8. Do you think it’s worth going?

82 Anonymous { 02.16.15 at 9:04 pm }

Hi. We are visiting WDW for the second time and I was wondering what your thoughts are on Hoop Dee Doo Review. We will be there for 5 nights and 6 days with 3 boys 13, 11, and 8. Do you think it’s worth going?

83 Dave { 02.17.15 at 8:41 am }

Jeanne, it’s a great time for most. See my review here

The older boys may be a little old for it, though–you might want to spend some youtube time before making your decision, e.g. wiht this

84 Mike { 02.18.15 at 3:57 pm }

So I am making a trip the week of 4/25. Is there downsides to going on a slower week? How are the ride lines in this situation and is Fastpass + early reservations needed often? Thanks!

85 Dave { 02.19.15 at 8:33 am }

Mike, waits can be long on the more popular rides any day of the year. They are just better than on worse days. So a good plan, dining reservations, and FastPass+ is still a must.

86 Lena { 02.19.15 at 11:52 pm }

What is the physical address for the TTC(Magic Kingdom) and Epcot for the GPS?

87 Dave { 02.20.15 at 8:11 am }

You don’t need GPS for either, Lena, as they are very well signed…

So far as I can find, there is no address for TTC–you could use the address of any of the MK resorts as your end point, abandoning it as soon as you pass the parking payment area and following the cars to TTC. The addfress of the Poly is 1600 Seven Seas Drive, Orlando, FL 32830

Epcot is 1510 North Avenue Of The Stars Orlando, FL 32836

88 Alicia { 04.26.15 at 10:15 am }

Very disappointed in the inaccuracy of the crowd calendar. I booked the week of October 19 because my triplets will be turning 5 while we are there & it was supposed to be a less crowded time of year. After having a lot of difficulty booking character breakfasts/dinners, I called Disney. October is a VERY crowded time of year due to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. I was also unaware that the Magic Kingdom closes at 7 o’clock 3 of the nights we will be there for this event and it will cost our group an additional $500 to attend it. I now have the choice of letting my kids down and rescheduling the trip or missing out on some of the events that they were looking forward to the most. My advice to everyone is to call Disney before making plans.

89 Dave { 04.26.15 at 10:19 am }

Alicia, this is nonsense.

The Disney cast members–the 70,000 of them–do not have access to crowd calendars, nor are they briefed on them, and get things wrong on all kinds of topics but especially crowds all the time.

October is NOT a “very crowded” time of the year–it is one of the least crowded times. They offer the party because it is not crowded, as a way to draw people. During the crowded times of the year you won’t see any such parties…

Seeing the Halloween party is an option, not a requirement, so you can buy the tix or not as you choose. It does have the effect of making non-Party days (and especially evenings) at MK more crowded than they would otherwise be. See this.

For more on October, see this.

90 Cat { 04.26.15 at 11:44 am }

Actually, that’s not entirely accurate. I was just there this past October (18-25) and it was EXTREMELY crowded. In past years, I found that the crowd level was lower during October which is why I planned my trip for that month, but that appears to no longer be true. At least it wasn’t in 2014.

91 Dave { 04.26.15 at 11:54 am }

Kat, no it wasn’t. Unless the word “extremely” just means “more than expected.” Disney World is extremely crowded for a week in February, most of March until a week after Easter, mid-June through mid-August, Thanksgiving week, and the weeks including Xmas and New years Eve. But not in October…

92 Valerie { 04.26.15 at 1:44 pm }

I was incredibly pleased with our planning decisions that I based off this site and easywdw. Our trip wasn’t October, but it was early/mid November 2013. The only time I felt crowded was 1 day when I purposefully chose to go against the suggestions and attend MK on a day that wasn’t recommended (in order to see parade and Wishes without attending a Christmas party). Even that day wasn’t too bad other that at parade time. We booked our dining at 180 days and got exactly what we wanted – well, except BOG. 🙂 We also avoided lines by knowing how fastpass+ worked. I’m now planning a trip for November 2015 and this site was the first one I revisited to help me plan. I love all the pictures, I love the explanations, and I love how questions that site visitors ask get answered pretty quickly. Thank you for all your help, Dave!

93 KE { 04.26.15 at 2:23 pm }

I’ve been to WDW 7 times and the last 2 trips were planned with a majority of the tips, advice, and strategies coming from this site. I did not follow Dave’s itineraries to the letter, but I did use the crowd calendars and the advice of getting to the parks early and using FP+ wisely. I also reviewed some of Dave’s dining suggestions. And I pay attention to Dave’s information about deals, special events, etc.

I am very thankful for Dave’s help, but I am also aware that I am in control of my own planning. I also know that there is always a little stress in the planning and execution of an awesome Disney vacation. I have yet to be disappointed, but I always choose to have a magical day no matter the lines, crowds, etc! My motto is: A bad day at Disney is still better than a great day at work! 🙂

94 Dave { 04.28.15 at 7:55 am }

Valerie…thanks so much!!!

95 Dave { 04.28.15 at 7:55 am }

Thanks KE!!

96 Karie { 05.14.15 at 1:00 pm }


Going with my hubby and 4-year-old son in 3 days, May 17-20. Staying at Caribbean Beach. First time for husband and son. 9th time for myself. All of us are going to AK for first time. Is May 17 – 20 a time you would normally avoid going? Any general advice or can you tell us what to expect? Thanks so much.

97 Dave { 05.16.15 at 11:15 am }

Karie, I’m not sure what to tell you so close to your visit…avoid HS the 17th, get your FastPass+ this second, AK will be best the 18th and 19th.

98 Donald { 05.22.15 at 9:53 pm }

Already have Fastpass+ locked up for other events. Is it possible to make the Indiana Jones show at 5:15 if my family was also to go to the Lights, Motors, Action at 4:30 or should I just pick one or the other and not try both? Late arrival to the park due to airline scheduling. Thanks and Love the easy guide book!

99 Dave { 05.24.15 at 10:54 am }

Donald, thanks for the kind words!!

It’ll be unlikely, as Lights is ~35 minutes long, and because of how the seats and exits work, does not empty quickly after…Between the two I’d pick Indy for sure…

100 Maria { 05.28.15 at 10:00 pm }

How much does PopWarner week affect the crowds at the parks? Love this site!


101 KE { 05.29.15 at 6:31 pm }

Just got a “Revisit the Magic” offer for some summer dates…Contemplating going, but not visiting the parks…We have been twice with the kids and our 3rd trip is planned later this year. so we don’t need to visit the parks and would enjoy some other experiences. What would you put on your “must do” list for things outside of the parks? Just curious…

102 Dave { 05.31.15 at 7:15 am }
103 Dave { 05.31.15 at 7:31 am }

KE, not much help here, as I don’t pay lot of attention to stuff outside the parks!! Unless you mean “on Disney property but not in a park”–if you do, then Cirque du Soleil in Downtown Disney and Hoop Dee Doo Revue at Fort Wilderness come grist to mind…

104 KE { 05.31.15 at 5:14 pm }

Yep, on Disney property. 🙂 I’m sure we could easily fill a week with other things Disney has to offer. Thanks for the suggestions!

105 Nadine { 09.06.15 at 7:08 pm }

I was hoping you might know of s great authorized canadian disney agent! I saw someone had already asked however it being long ago, maybe you know of one now?

106 Dave { 09.08.15 at 12:39 pm }

Nadine, try Kelly B!!

107 Frilly Keane { 09.15.15 at 2:09 pm }

Hi Dave,
I came upon your site by happy accident. What an incredible resource for overseas visitors. We plan on following your spreadsheet itinery in every detail, and I now intend to exploit your knowledge even more!
We are arriving in Orlando late evening, March 18th ( yeah I know, crowds at their peak) 2 adults 1 12yr. Plan so far is French qtr, delux dining plan , check out 26th.
Then to Universal for 4 nights. Cabana or Hard rock? I ask because you noted on your Harry Potter pages that the fast pass perks that come with the Hard Rock level are not available to Cabana level guests. For the high season that’s in it, is it worth the extra $ 1,200?
Also, will you have a 2016 update of your Guide Book?
Many thanks

108 Dave { 09.16.15 at 11:11 am }

Hi Frilly and thanks!!

The 2016 guidebook will be out very soon. As detailed in its Chapter 5, the deluxe dining plan is a waste of money and/or time. With the age of your 12yo, it’s hard for me to even recommend the regular dining plan.

If you plan to do a lot at Universal in addition to Harry Potter, then avoiding Cabana Bay is wise, as the lines for everything else will be really long (Cabana Bay does let you in to Harry Potter early). If you are focused largely or almost entirely on Harry, the extra cost is not worth it. Royal Pacific may be cheaper than Hard Rock.

109 Laura { 09.16.15 at 7:58 pm }

Hi – My family will be spending 2.5 days at Disney in October. We are actually starting our trip at Harry Potter for 2 full days because my 9 year old son loves HP. I also have a 6 year old daughter. After universal, our Disney schedule is as follows:
Friday 10/16: arriving around 4-5 pm from universal, thought we’d go to Epcot. Should we do Mk instead? We may be tired…
Saturday 10/17: spending day at Hollywood studios, maybe Mk in the evening
Sunday 10/18: all day Mk with a cinderella lunch. Should we do Mickeys Halloween this evening? If we don’t, do we have to leave the park by 7?

Any other grave planning errors you see?

Thanks! Your site has been very helpful and I often recommend.

110 Dave { 09.17.15 at 1:35 pm }

Hi Laura, and thanks!!

Saturday is not a good HS day. Are you interested in AK? It’s the only good park that day.

If you don’t do the party, you will need to leave by 7 (unless you are finishing up a meal)

111 Cassie { 10.01.15 at 9:30 pm }

Hi all,

My family and I are heading to Disney soon and we’d like an outside opinion. The earliest we’ll be able to get in to any of the parks is 6:30 at best, and we are completely torn on which park to choose. We have a very limited stay as well, about five days or so. We were hoping somebody here might be able to help us figure this out!

112 Virginia { 10.20.15 at 10:36 am }

My family of 4 have tickets to MNSSHP on Halloween night. We have an ADR to BOG for 4:05 that afternoon. I have been told that we can get in at 4pm even though the party starts at 7. If we are thru security and ready to have our magic bands scanned, can my husband run ahead and sign in for our reservation? He would probably be 15 minutes late- depending on crowds.

113 Dave { 10.21.15 at 2:29 pm }

Virginia, if he has the reservation open via the DIsney app on his phone, they may let him in early. But you can’t count on it…

114 Gail { 10.30.15 at 5:49 am }

Hi! I keep searching for the free Disney World dining dates for 2016 but have found no dates as yet…Was perhaps thinking of going again ( 4th time) with my 20 year old March 3-17,2016 but I am flexible in time frames/dates.Thank you in advance. Gail

115 Dave { 10.30.15 at 7:44 am }

Gail, Disney World has not offered free dining for dates earlier than late August or early September for years now, and I expect the same in 2016. If free dining is offered for then in 2016, it likely will be announced around the beginning of May.

Your March dates will be crowded and expensive. Take a look at this for much better options

116 JulieP { 12.06.15 at 1:41 am }

Hello Dave,
Thank you again for this website and your willingness to help.
I was hoping you could help making FAST Pass reservations for my trip during Christmas Break.
8 and 6 year olds who are at least 48 inches tall!!! Yeah! 5 day hopper pass. We bought it before we found your website 🙁

117 Dave { 12.06.15 at 6:37 am }

Julie–are you staying at a WDW hotel? And which exact days are you in the parks?

118 Julie P { 12.07.15 at 5:31 am }

Hello Dave,
Thank you for your advice regarding our Hail Mary last minute trip to Orlando.
We are doing an 2.5 day trip to Universal Studios prior to our adventure at WDW.

We are debating between the Dolphin verses the Hilton Lake Buena Vista which both have EMH. Any preference between the two?

We have a 5 day park hopper pass and our tentative schedule is
12/29: Hollywood studios
12/30: Epcot
12/31: AK (HS has EMH until 3am: children will disown if we even attempt to use it)
1/1: MK with EMH (debating to catch EMH at Epcot from 9-11pm)
1/2: half day at MK with EMH (leave by noon to catch flight by late afternoon to reality)

Since you are the Yoda of all thing Disney. Can you suggest the most efficient way to see the parks…you mentioned about hopping from one park to the other during mid-day to use FastPasses at the second park….I think I’m going to need a PhD to figure that out…Please Help.
Thank you so much for all your insight and this blog…it’s been a vacation saver!!!

119 Dave { 12.08.15 at 6:48 am }

Julie, this approach will work fine. See Josh’s cheat sheets for how to run each day and what FP+ to aim for (some will be sold out already). I would stick with the Dolphin, without question, largely cause from there you’ll have an easy walk to HS and Epcot–which, I note, you could use on 12/31, after the kids are asleep…moreover Hilton EMH access stops in 2016, I don’t know exactly when, but it’s likely 1/1. Also Dolphin bus service starts Valerie, runs later, and is more frequent than Hilton.

120 Dave { 03.14.16 at 9:35 am }

you have easter week 2017 as being very crowded…does this include the weekdays following?

121 Dave { 03.15.16 at 8:30 am }

Yes, Dave, but less so than in other years when Easter is earlier, as some districts that traditionally break the week after Easter shift their break to the week before to avoid compressing their May academic calendar so much.

122 Tina Fergerson { 04.11.16 at 11:54 am }

I am planning a trip for 2017 and due to my sister in law’s work she can only take off the week of July 4th or the week of Christmas. I know Christmas is crowded but is July any less crowded or the same for crowds?

123 Dave { 04.11.16 at 12:05 pm }

Tina, July is less crowded, and also less expensive.

124 Janet Burnside { 05.15.16 at 11:41 am }

Hi Dave – I just ordered your book. My husband Colin & I are mid 50’s Colin has never been to Disney World, I haven’t been in about 15 years. We are planning to go early October this year. We really only want to see Magic Kingdom & Epcot and will only have 2.5 days. We want to go before we have Grandchildren, so we can go back with them sometime in future. This time it’s not important for us to be in “Kid-Friendly” where would you suggest we stay & recommendations for highlights? Janet & Colin

125 Kelly Barnes { 05.15.16 at 5:17 pm }

Hi Janet – I’m sure Dave will have some great suggestion. My top pick would be Disney’s Beach Club resort. Great location, dining and decor. I’m Kelly the designated Destinations in Florida Travel Agent for I would love to help you and your husband plan your magical couples getaway. All my services are free. Feel free to contact me at or 980-429-4499

126 Janet Burnside { 05.16.16 at 6:25 pm }

Thanks very much Kelly. I may contact you. I was looking at the Orleans French Quarter Resort, but maybe it’s not as suitable for us as a couple.

127 Dave { 05.17.16 at 7:11 am }

Janet, there’s so many variables among the hotels that I’d advise reading the reviews in the book. Same on the highlights–pick based on the ride reviews.

128 Dave { 05.17.16 at 7:14 am }

Janet, French Quarter is a great choice for a couple.

129 allison { 06.09.16 at 12:50 pm }

Hi Dave! My family and I are looking to book a package at the Polynesian for 4/29-5/6 2017. Packages for 2017 are not available to book right now…when you they usually make them available? They give the option to book the hotel only now and then would have to refund the deposit and re book the package. Is all that hassle worth reserving the room?

130 Kelly B - Destinations In Florida { 06.09.16 at 1:35 pm }

HI Allison –

Disney just announced the other day that they are releasing 2017 package prices on Tuesday June 21st. I would love to help you plan and book your vacation. Please contact me at or call me at 980-429-4499. We can discuss the package you are looking for. Then when the package prices are released, I’ll contact you with your Magical Disney Vacation quote.

131 Bill Costa { 07.19.16 at 3:38 pm }

Hi, I just discovered your site and I love it. Thank you for your effort to make it special.
I have a question about the pick days, did you consider Food and Wine festival on the 2016 crowd calendar? Seems very low pick season. Thanks

132 Dave { 07.20.16 at 8:26 am }

Hi Bill and thanks, but I don’t know what you mean by “pick.”

133 Steve { 08.03.16 at 11:57 am }

Dave, I really do appreciate your website. Especially the crowd predictions. Disney hasn’t been making this any easier lately. Do you think that the unexpected extreme crowds seen in the first week of April 2016 will also be seen in that same week in 2017? I’ve read that the much higher crowd level was due to many reasons. Under-staffing by Disney, almost all of Georgia (Master’s Tournament) and Michigan being on spring break that week, and a huge number of people from the UK. What is your opinion as to why the crowd level was much higher than expected and do you think this will happen to the same degree in 2017? I have been following you and over the course of this year you have raise the crowd level from 4 to 7. Do you see it going even higher? Thanks so much.

134 Dave { 08.03.16 at 12:10 pm }

Steve there’s no credible explanation for what happened last April. For example, every good forecaster was well aware of the Georgia, Michigan and UK breaks…

My forecast for this April is based on the same school break facts (tho for 2016, not 2015!) that led to my incorrect forecast this April–the change came because once I had all the 2017 school year breaks in hand, the facts were different than I expected them to be …

135 Steve { 08.04.16 at 6:50 am }

Dave, thanks for the quick reply. I also saw that Wrestlemania is in Orlando 4/2/2017. How do you think that will impact the Disney Parks crowd levels? I growing more concerned about the first full week of April 2017. We usually go at lower times (3-5 crowd levels). Thanks again!

136 Dave { 08.04.16 at 7:41 am }

Steve, I guess generally forecasting is uncertain, so frankly if you are concerned about that week, then avoid it! The hardest part of the eyar to forecast is spring break…. I don’t think Wrestlemania will much matter.

137 carol leerkamp { 04.12.17 at 2:53 pm }

taking family to disney world (7 total) and considered all adults. is it safe to buy tickets online from someplace other than the official site? We will be there in Feb. 8 and think this is value season. thank you

138 Dave { 04.14.17 at 1:00 pm }

Carol, there’s only a few non-Disney vendors that are not scams. The Official Ticket Center is one, see this for some warnings.

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