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.



Meet Dave and Josh and get your 2017 easy Guide signed Saturday 1/28 at Epcot. Details here!



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







Category — p. News and Changes

Meet People Who are Good at What They Do, and/or Dave and Josh, in Late January

MEET THE AUTHORS

Co-author Josh and I will be doing a meet-up and book signing Saturday January 28 at Epcot.

Meet Dave and Josh 1-28 at Epcot at 1pWe’ll be outside the main pyramid in Mexico on the right from 1p to 2p (or until the crowds go away) and would love to say hi and sign your copy of The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2017.

For your own copy of the 2017 edition of the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook series ever (ever!), click here.

PRO BOWL AT DISNEY WORLD

That’s the same period that for the first time the Pro Bowl will be in Orlando, with many festivities in Disney World, especially at ESPN but also at Magic Kingdom and Disney Springs.

Cleveland Browns at the Pro Bowl from yourfirstvisit.net

Here’s the current scoop on what’s going on with the Pro Bowl at Disney World:

Pro Bowl at Disney World from yourfirstvisit.net

To actually see practices or the skills showdown, go here to get tickets.

Pro Bowl Event Tix at Disney World from yourfirstvisit.net

The tickets are free and are just a way of limiting access to capacity. Note that Saturday the 28th is already sold out, so just come to the meet-up. You don’t need tickets for the “Pro Bowl Experience” fan zone.

In addition there’s a parade of players Friday at the Magic Kingdom—no details yet—and something at Disney Springs, possibly late night player sightings at Raglan Road or, more likely, STK.

Younger son and I will be doing most of these experiences so we can review them for you in case you want to try them out next year. (Older son can’t make it because he’s too busy BECAUSE HE WON A TICKET TO THE SUPER BOWL.)

It’s hard to say what impact the Pro Bowl and associated festivities will have on the parks that week—the best guess is little, except for Friday at the Magic Kingdom and the roads around ESPN Wide World of Sports. (We’re at Art of Animation most nights, so are theoretically within walking distance, although I don’t recall any sidewalks on Victory Way.)

The Pro Bowl fan events and practices at ESPN and parade at Magic Kingdom obviously makes a Disney World visit a little more attractive that week for some football fans, and if it gets the rep of being fun, may make that week a bit more of a target next year. That’s’ why I’m going—to see for myself so I can offer guidance for next year.

ALTERNATIVES TO EPCOT’S FESTIVAL OF THE ARTS

Over that weekend I’ll also be seeing Epcot’s new International Festival of the Arts, which occurs Fridays to Mondays until February 20th. This looks, so far, more promising than I’d thought it would, and after the visit I’ll let you know what I think.

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However, you can do your own Festival of the Arts at home—grab some Triscuits and pimento cheese, and settle down with a copy of The Walt Disney Film Archives.

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Wildly expensive at 135 bucks on Amazon, this huge (I put the playing card on it for scale, and had to reorganize one of my bookshelves to fit it), 14 pound book is the most beautiful book on the classic animated films you’ll find, and despite the tiny type, my favorite Disney-related book in years.

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I’ll post more on this amazing book later, but in the meantime, just trust me and get it.

DISNEY AFTER HOURS

Friday night the 27th we’ll be doing the Disney After Hours event, an expensive way to see a bunch of Magic Kingdom rides with hardly any waits.

Not something I’d recommend for first-timers, this event is well worth it for returning visitors who can stay up through it, especially on nights Magic Kingdom closes at 8p, or if they’ve otherwise blown their Disney World visit hanging around at ESPN.

Space Mountain at the After Hours Party

Space Mountain at the Disney After Hours Event

It’s currently on the calendar for multiple Thursday and Friday nights into early March—specifically, January 20 and 27, February 2, 9, and 16, and March 2 and 9.

See this for how it went in 2016.

THIS AND THAT

FWIW, also on this visit I’ll be staying in and photographing a refurbed One Bedroom Villas at Kidani, and also, I hope, a refurbed room at the Dolphin.

The 2017 easy Guide

Kelly B Can Help You Book Your Trip

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January 15, 2017   No Comments

Testimonials and Puffery

Since it opened, this site has helped more than 10 million people. Among the reactions:

  • “This site is astonishingly helpful…Highly recommended!” –Lee Cockerell, Former Executive Vice President, Operations, Walt Disney World® Resort, and author of Creating Magic
  • “The premier website for first time visitors to Walt Disney World!” –Steve Bell, webmaster, MilitaryDisneyTips.com
  • “The most valuable Disney World site on the web!”—Lee
  • “This website is a staggering achievement!” —Jeff
  • “The best Disney website that I’ve ever found!” – Brie
  • “This site is amazing!!!… there is nothing else like it! Great job!” –Fiona
  • This site ROCKS! Thanks thanks thanks for the great advice!” —Eva
  • “Brilliant website! The most informative website I’ve seen on Disney!” –Chris
  • “If it weren’t for this site, I think we really would have messed this trip up!” —Mary Beth
  • “The bestest blogger ever!” –Sara M
  • ”Your site is brilliant! I’ve used you for the last three years to plan our holiday. You’ve become part of the process, nothing happens until I’ve checked out your site!” —Alicia
  • “I go to WDW about once a year, know the parks like the back of my hand, and have a system for planning our trips. Even so, there’s a LOT of useful info on here, even for me. AWESOME site! Thanks!”—Debra
  • “I’ve been going to WDW with the kids for over 15 years now and still found this site helpful! Great, I repeat great site!” — Carolyn
  • “I’ve been to Disney World every year for almost 20 years and have always done it a certain way. Your suggestions were eye-opening. After a flawless vacation, I will be “doing it your way” from now on! Many thanks!!” –Brandon
  • “I’ve been to Disney World over 40 times and I still find tons of great tips and information from your site! This is a must-stop web site for anyone heading to Mouseville! Nice job and thank you!” –Adam
  • “OMG! LOVE your site. I have been going to Disney since I was 9, and I even did the Disney College Program and thought I knew Disney, but I have learned SO much from your site!” –Kimberley
  • “This site is a miracle!” —Carol
  • Dave, I love, love, love your site! I can’t tell you how much it has helped my family plan our Disney World vacations. You are a God in the blogging world for WDW.” —Alex
  • “You are the Disney Buddha!” –Carol
  • “I swear you are the Disney Angel. Thank you oh so much!” –Sami
  • ”You are the Yoda of Disney!” —Stefanie
  • “Thanks for being a Disney Mastermind!” —Jennifer
  • Thanks! Around our house, you are known as ‘Dave the guru.’” —Wendy
  • “Dave, you have earned a galaxy of stars in your crown in Heaven for helping so many people have a great time at Disney World!” – Ted
  • “I wish I had found this site last January. It would have saved me so much time. You really are the best. Ever think of running for President?” —Patricia
  • “This is an INSANE site! THANK YOU!” –Emily
  • “This is a must-go, must-read site!!” —klmall
  • “Your ideas are genius! Unbelievably helpful!” —Tara
  • This site is TERRIFIC! We’d been to Disney World a few times before, but our latest trip was light years better because of your wonderful advice! Using your recommendations, we had much smoother days, experienced far lower crowds, and had a much more enjoyable time. I’m recommending your site to everyone I know!” –Katie
  • ”I’ve been going to Disney World every year, and thought I had a pretty good plan, but we just re-planned our entire trip thanks to this site. We added 6 people to our usual group, but still we saved $1,600 and found a less crowded time!! Thanks Dave for this great, unbiased site!” –Steve
  • Thank you so much for your fabulous website! We almost completely planned the trip based on your site, and our trip was amazing and everything flowed so well!” –Michelle
  • “This is awesome! Where was this site when I had to figure all this out for myself?” —Cindi R
  • “WOW – I am SO impressed with your fact based approach to Disney – so awesome and refreshing.” – Danielle
  • “As a four-time Disney veteran, this website is awesome! I wish it had been around ten years ago for our first trip!” —Chris P
  • “Having done the trip 6 times, I really wish the site had been around when we started! What a great idea!” —Joan S
  • “I think you should re-name your site ‘(notjustfor) yourfirstvisit.net.’!
    I am a frequent visitor to the “happiest place on earth”, and have become very knowledgeable about planning, visiting, eating, avoiding crowds and lines, how to use EMHs to our advantage, etc, and know the parks like my own neighborhood.
    Nevertheless, I am finding so much information here that is helpful even to a seasoned guest like myself, especially the detailed info regarding best and worst weeks to visit. LOVE your rankings, all the great advice, and the links to extra info.” —Gramma Kaye
  • “Great, right-to-it information, very quick to access. ” —JuneChickie
  • “Dave, what a great site! I love how quickly and easily you can get to the information you need!”—crazycatlady
  • “Dave, your site is so to the point! I love it!” —momma2minnie
  • “Great site! I love the easy-to-follow plans. ” —Kailua’s Belle
  • Short, sweet, and to the point. Love the charts too!” —katepass72
  • This site is a one-click shot! It’s all figured out…a great help!” —Jen
  • “As a Disney Travel Specialist, I have assisted thousands of guests with their Disney trips. First time guests are very often overwhelmed with planning their vacations to Disney. Your site is a great source of straight to the point information which will be helpful to many!” —Kerri G.
  • “Dave you have done a wonderful job…thank you for sharing all this great information! ” —Damien2213
  • “Dave—your site is wonderful, I only wish I found it sooner!” —brooklynbrenden
  • “Wow, Dave! What a great site! Now I have a great site to send to people who ask about what to see and do their first trip!” —momimouse27
  • The information you provided is priceless; a simple thanks does not do any justice; I have to find a new way/ word to thank you. You are really awesome!” —Mahe
  • “I’ve been to WDW 55 times, but still found this site so helpful!” –Kerm
  • “This site is by far the best I have ever run across regarding Disney!!” –Kim
  • “The best Disney site on the web!” –Lisa
  • “By far the most informative and best WDW website for ALL visitors!” —Mark
  • “I’ve been looking at Disney World sites for years, and this is the best I’ve ever seen for planning a Disney vacation!” —Alicia

The 2017 easy Guide

Kelly B Can Help You Book Your Trip

Follow yourfirstvisit.net on Facebook or Google+ or Twitter or Pinterest!!

January 8, 2017   No Comments

Giveaway Winners/Next Giveaway

Here are the winners of the giveaway of the free signed copies of The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2017–the best reviewed Disney World guidebook ever:

I had planned to pick only three winners on the merits, but the comments were so great is was hard for me to stop at even six!

And if you didn’t win, don’t despair.

  • First, if you book your trip using Kelly B as your travel agent, you get a free copy–plus her terrific and sweet help in making all your arrangements
  • Second, co-author Josh and I will be doing another giveaway later this month, this time of books signed by BOTH of us, thus either doubling or halving their value! Stay tuned, more details to come.

The actual winning comments:

winner-aimee-9

winner-carla-g-31

winner-isobel-10

winner-jeff-26

winner-leanne-27

winner-marilyn-6

winner-staci-15

winner-tanya-20

The 2017 easy Guide

Kelly B Can Help You Book Your Trip

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January 3, 2017   No Comments

Disney World Discounts into June 2017 Released

Several new Walt Disney World discounts for late February into early June came out this morning. The later April through June dates are a new offer.

disney-world-2017-deal-from-yourfirstvisit-net

If you book your vacation through partner and friend of this site Kelly B as your travel agent, she will figure out the best deal for you!! Contact her Kelly@DestinationsInFlorida.com!

The most understandable part of the deal is a room rate deal, which has various levels of discounts by room class, date of booking, and period of stay.

DISNEY VALUE RESORT DEALS

Value resort deals exclude–as usual–Little Mermaid rooms at Art of Animation.

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DISNEY MODERATE RESORT DEALS

Port Orleans French Quarter is excluded from the deal among the moderates, and deals at Riverside are slender.

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DISNEY DELUXE RESORT DEALS

All of the Disney deluxes are in the deal, although savings range from 10% of to 25%.

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DISNEY DVC RESORT DEALS

Bay Lake Tower and the Villas at the Grand Floridian are excluded from the DVC resorts on offer, and at the Polynesian Villas and Bungalows, only Studios are in the deal.

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For detailed reviews of every resort hotel  option, see this or get a copy of my book.

For the full set of deals that came out today, see this. Or, if you sign with Kelly B as your travel agent, she will figure out the best deal for you!! Contact her Kelly@DestinationsInFlorida.com!

The 2017 easy Guide

Kelly B Can Help You Book Your Trip

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December 28, 2016   No Comments

Photo Tour of a Refurbed Studio at Kidani Village

(For the first page of this review of Kidani Village, see this.)

PHOTO TOUR OF A REFURBED STUDIO AT KIDANI VILLAGE

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Kidani Village has four room types–Studios, One Bedroom Villas, Two Bedroom Villas, and Grand Villas.

In some two Bedroom Villas, the Studio is the second bedroom. These are called “lock-offs.” In others, built from the start as Two Bedroom Villas, and called “dedicated,” the second bedroom is a little different than a Studio. In these,

  • The kitchenette is replaced with a second closet, and the wardrobe is replaced with a storage bench
  • There’s no entry to the outside hall from the second bedroom
  • Instead of a queen and a fold out couch, you get two queens

All Kidani rooms are seeing a minor refurb–this is expected to be completed in early 2017. I stayed in refurbed Studios twice in later 2016, and the images of this photo tour are from those visits.

You enter a Studio from the hall or, if in a lock-off, either from the hall or from a door near the connecting One Bedroom Villa’s kitchen.

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The entry from the hall.

One side of the entry has a mini-kitchen and a small closet.

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The mini kitchen has a coffee maker, toaster, microwave and mini-fridge.

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The supplies that come with it.

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The mini fridge.

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The small closet–there’s another clothes storage space in a wardrobe in the main part of the room.

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Across the hall you’ll find the divided bath, with the sink…

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…and tub/shower on one side…

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…and a toilet in its own space on the other. I think a better way to have divided this bath would have been to have put the tub and the toilet into their own private space, keeping only the sink in the other space.

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Deeper in the room you’ll find on one side a queen and a fold-out sofa.

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A closer view of the queen.

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This side from the back.

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Between the bed and sofa is this small bedside table, with a bit of storage and also added power points.

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The sofa folds out into a bed which I measured as 60 inches wide by 79 inches long.  The cushion is only around three inches deep, so I would not plan to sleep adults or larger kids on it.

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The coffee table is split, making its parts easier to move when you need to unfold the bed, and I suppose also more flexible.

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The other side of the room has a wardrobe, TV/dresser combo, and table and chairs.

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This side from the back.

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The wardrobe, when combined with the small entry closet, creates plenty of hanging room.

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A closer look at the dresser/TV combo.

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The dresser has plenty of storage for the four people this space fits…

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…and also has two sets of added power points, left and right.

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The last furnishing on this side is a table and chairs.

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Each bay at Kidani Village has access to a balcony–given how much fun it is to watch the animals in the savannas from the balconies, this is a great feature.

THE LIVING/DINING/KITCHEN SPACE AT KIDANI VILLAGE

This review continues here!

The 2017 easy Guide

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December 18, 2016   No Comments

Review: Breakfast at Sanaa

Sanaa, the great table service restaurant at Kidani Village, has been serving counter service breakfast for a couple for months now, and I had a chance to check it out in mid-November.

Kidani Village is a DVC property with much going for it, but until recently it was weak on dining options at lunch and especially at breakfast.

Until Sanaa opened for breakfast, morning options included

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The gift shop is pretty well stocked with food.

A couple of months ago, however, Sanaa opened up for breakfast in counter service style.

Basically, breakfast is a set of grab and go options plus some hot meals.  You can combine both, and eat them either in Sanaa or back in your room.

Here’s the menu for the hot items (click it to enlarge it):

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You enter, and grab anything you want from the grab and go stations:

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Bring these to the register…

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…and at the register order any hot meals you want.

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Pay, and you’ll get a numbered animal that you take with you to whatever open table you want. Your hot meals will then be delivered to your table, as identified by the number on your animal.

Both my visits were a little after 9a (breakfast is served 7a-10a) and at both most interior tables were empty, and about half of the windows tables were available:

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Among the menu options, I tried the Savanna Platter…

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…and the Safari Waffle.

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Each was excellent. The Safari Waffle was out within six minutes, but a kitchen snafu (they had my ticket as number 0, not number 50) with the platter meant it took almost half an hour–it was fine when it did come out, though.

The set-up through ordering has more of an air of slapped-together than I’d really like, driven, I imagine, by the need to create a temporary grab and go and ordering area in the morning, and then having it disappear in time for the table-service lunch.

But once you are at your table, and have your food, all is well, and if you have a window table, you’ll get views like these:

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Begun as a test, the breakfast offering seems to have been formalized, but in mid-December 2016 the breakfast menu was still not listed on Disney’s Sanaa webpage.

It is a great convenience however, making up for one of Kidani’s notable weaknesses, so if you are staying at Kidani, give it a try!

While on the topic of dining at Kidani, I should also note that I found the Samawati Springs pool food menu more expansive than at my last visit (or maybe I just didn’t notice it).

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Here it is–click it to enlarge it!

Kidani used to have two major issues: weak breakfast and lunch counter service offerings, and long walks (up to a quarter of a mile each way) from its furthest rooms to its central services.

Sanaa breakfast, and the entree options on the pool menu, go a long way to fixing the first issue, so I hope the Sanaa breakfast continues!

 

The 2017 easy Guide

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December 5, 2016   No Comments