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



Required September, October, and November 2013 Itinerary and To-Do List Changes

By Dave Shute

The Autumn-Winter-Spring Itinerary and its associated To-Do List work fine for most of the weeks in September and October 2103, and also for most of November

However, almost every week needs a minor change:

  • For an 8/31 arrival date, because of a special event at the Magic Kingdom on 9/7, swap Thursday evening and the evening of the Second Saturday in both the itinerary and the To-Do List
  • For arrival dates of 9/7 through 11/9/2013, a change in the typical Extra Magic Hours patterns means that you need to swap Wednesday and Friday in both the itinerary and in the To-Do List
  • Those arriving 11/16 need to swap Monday and Sunday in both the To-Do List and the itinerary, and to start the new Monday plan an hour earlier than it would have started Sunday.

Note that based on the November calendar right now, those arriving 11/23 can use the itinerary as is, but they may need to make changes based on calendar changes nearer Thanksgiving.  See this.



44 comments

1 Bonnie { 05.06.13 at 3:27 pm }

Love your site,
We are making our 1st trip Oct 21-31. Staying at Pop, arrive in Orlando about 9 on the 21st and leaving mid morning on the 31st. Trip is for our son’s B-day who is 9, turning 10. Going to Universal on 10/28&10/29 but looking for help with the Disney plans. So far have MK for Tues 10/22 with pirates league and Mickey’s Halloween Party, the only thing else set is Mickey BBQ on 10/26 and Hoop Dee Due on 10/24 at 8:30. We have the 10 dy standard dining plan and 8 dy water parks and more option with park hopper. Park ideas by day? Thanks in advance for any help

2 Dave { 05.07.13 at 9:14 am }
3 GeorgeyBoy { 05.07.13 at 10:02 pm }

Great resource! I used your basic sched. Your EMH times are wrong for Hollywood. Oct 27th ( a sunday) is the EMH for Hollywood. Monday has the EMH 8-9AM for AK. We just switched to Hollywood all day Sun. and AK all day Mon. Seems to work even better, no park Hopper! times here: https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/calendars/2013-10-27/

4 Dave { 05.08.13 at 9:12 am }

Thanks GeorgeyBoy!! I actually knew this, but HS EMH is not a profound part of this itinerary, so I passed over it silently…

5 GeorgeyBoy { 05.10.13 at 4:33 pm }

Dave, your site made our planning great! Thanks. Used your itinerary with a few simple changes and feel like my wife, my 5yr old and 7yr old will have a blast!
Started at AOA for 8 nights starting Oct 26th. Had it all planned, dinner reservations booked 180 out. List made of things to bring. Strategy ready.
Got the free dining offer PIN in the email today!!! Had to change to Pop Century, cause it doesn’t work for AoA Little Mermaid Rooms, but Disney reps handled it great! Saved 900 bucks! Your website is an invaluable resource. Thanks again.

6 Scott { 05.10.13 at 9:42 pm }

Hi Dave,

Why and how do some people get PIN offers for free dining while others do not? Does Disney base this on geographical location or something? Anything you can offer about this is appreciated.

Thanks,

Scott

7 Dave { 05.11.13 at 8:09 am }

GeorgeyBoy, thanks for the kind words, and hooray in the $900!!!

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8 Dave { 05.11.13 at 8:21 am }

Scott, you’ll find much advice across the internet on this, most mutually contradictory. I have little that I have any confidence in to offer on it. There’s some clear facts–Disney needs to know your email and that you have some interest in WDW–and everything after that is a guess…sorry!

9 Scott { 05.11.13 at 9:42 pm }

Thanks Dave. Guess I will just have to see if one comes my way.

10 Jennifer { 05.12.13 at 3:53 pm }

email from WDW quote: Thank you for contacting the Walt Disney World Resort regarding
discounted PIN offers. These promotional rates are offered randomly on a
first-come, first-served basis and are subject to availability.

11 Dave { 05.13.13 at 7:56 am }

Do you believe them??? “Randomly” seems unlikely to me…

12 Jennifer { 05.13.13 at 12:03 pm }

Nah! I sure don’t believe that….randomly! I wrote back and told them I thought I didn’t receive any because I have already paid in full for my trip…..so far they haven’t responded. LOL They were very fast to respond with their “canned” response. 🙂

13 Dave { 05.14.13 at 7:29 am }

If it were random I’d think I woulda got one by now…

14 Lesli { 05.18.13 at 4:28 pm }

Do you think there is any chance of Free Dining being offered for the first week of October? Even with the PIN, we’re out because we will be there Oct 5-12…well, we actually won’t be with no free dining 🙁

15 Dave { 05.19.13 at 7:08 am }

Lesli, I don’t…but I’m wrong six times before breakfast…

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16 Sonia { 08.04.13 at 10:16 am }

Hello We just made reservations for the Disney Polynesian for our family of 5 (3 Boys 5, 7, and 9) and this is our first visit to Disney. We are arriving on a Wednesday and looked at your itineraries but I cannot figure out how to change them to accommodate us. We have purchased the 4 day Magic your way passes. Please help.

17 Sonia { 08.04.13 at 10:17 am }

Oh forgot to mention we arrive Oct. 23, 2013!

18 Dave { 08.05.13 at 6:47 am }

Hi Sonia! I need your exact arrival dates, as there’s enough variability week to week in Disney’s operating calendars that I can’t give you a general answer…

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19 Dave { 08.05.13 at 6:55 am }

Oh never mind, Sonia! I see this now.

With a four day ticket and kids of these ages, I’d spend two days at MK and one each at AK and HS–skipping Epcot.

I’m not sure how many total days you’ll be there, so here’s some thoughts on parks to avoid by day (I’ll include Epcot, just in case..)
10/23: Avoid MK, Epcot
10/24: Avoid MK
10/25: Avoid HS
10/26: Avoid MK, AK
10/27: Avoid HS
10/28: Avoid all but Epcot

Note that there’s not a lot of good MK days your dates, so if your trip is short you will have to go on at least one “bad” MK day. Of the days before the 27th, the 25th will be best, and after that I’d advise the 26th.

For daily itineraries, you can put together pieces from for example this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/basic-itinerary/alternative-itineraries/itineraries-for-the-rest-of-the-year/v2-of-2009-autumn-winter-spring-itinerary/

Hope this helps!

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20 Sonia Randhawa { 08.05.13 at 10:10 pm }

Hello Dave,Thanks for the quick reply. A few things….we changed our tickets to 5 day Magic your way. We looked at the Epcot website and thought there was some interesting stuff for the boys but you are suggesting to skip out on it. Please tell me why? Also, since the kids would be excited to finally be at Disney we thought it was sensible to appease their excitement to do Magic Kingdom on the Thursday Oct. 24. As well, some of the days will have extra magic hours at the parks so we planned that we should be at that park on that day. It seems to me that your plan above doesn’t take that into account. I am guessing you believe the park will be too busy that is why?
Thanks again for all your help!
Sonia

21 Dave { 08.06.13 at 8:29 am }

Sonia, at that time of the year things are…complicated…at MK. See this for the full scoop on which are good and bad days and why: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2012/04/30/crowds-and-walt-disney-world/ Give it a read, and then get back to me with your reflections!

Epcot is on average the least interesting park to younger kids, and since MK needs two days, I’d always recommend skipping it on four day tickets with kids your age. With 5 days, it’s a great option. See also this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2011/03/09/the-comprehensive-guide-to-walt-disney-world-rides-and-attractions/

22 Sonia { 08.06.13 at 9:02 am }

Dave, I had a chance to read the links and I think I understand your intention….basically plan to attend the park that does not have magic hours that day. However, I am still confused on how to adapt your itinerary. Are you suggesting that I follow the plan for the day that I will be at the corresponding park and ignore the day of the week (wed,thurs)? Please help!

23 Dave { 08.07.13 at 7:42 am }

Sonia, I meant just use the approach of my itineraries to create your own. This works best for AK and HS, and will be harder for MK. My itineraries are integrated long multi-day designs, so for shorter visits they only work as a starting point.

24 Sonia { 08.07.13 at 2:31 pm }

Thanks for the help Dave. I sorted out the week with the following itinerary: Arrival Oct. 23, Thurs Oct 24, Epcot, Fri. Oct 25 Magic Kingdom, Sat. Oct 26 Hollywood Studios, Sun. Oct. 27 Magic Kingdom Day #2, Monday Oct. 28, day off, Tues Oct. 29, Animal Kingdom and then Hollywood Studios for Fantasmic if possible (not sure about the travel time from Animal Kingdom to HS including dinner), Wed. Oct. 30 return home. Please let me know what your views are on this. Thanks!

25 Brian { 08.08.13 at 6:09 am }

Hi,
I am going with a group of 4 adults on a 7 day 6 night visit starting Oct. 27 with park hoppers. Can you recommend an itinerary that works around the MNSSHP? I doubt we’d be interested in paying extra for the Halloween stuff. How will the crowd levels be that week, especially in the non-MK parks? Thanks!

26 Dave { 08.08.13 at 7:29 am }

Sonia, with one exception I really like what you’ve got–you’ve picked lower crowd parks on every day. And you should have no trouble with Fantasmic the 29th–it’s at 7.30, and AK will likely close at 5. Be at the bus stop at AK to HS before 5 (so you miss the park-close crowds) and grab a quick bite at HS, being in line for Fantasmic by 6.30.

The exception is that on neither of your MK days is the evening fireworks showing. Since you are buying a hopper anyway, I’d suggest hopping from HS to MK Saturday evening. You wanna arrive at MK by 7p for the 8p parade and 9p fireworks…

27 Dave { 08.08.13 at 7:49 am }

Hey Brian, first crowd levels should be fine.

Second, for “typical” adults who are looking for a mix of Disney fun, pool and nap time, and evening excitement, you’ve picked a really good week to have park hoppers, as the Epcot food and wine festival is on your week (see http://yourfirstvisit.net/2013/02/13/the-2013-epcot-international-food-wine-festival/ )

I’d plan on at least five mornings in the parks–yes you do have to arrive before they open, or you will waste needless hours in line–2 at MK and one each at the other parks. See the mornings of my itineraries for how to work these. Then you’ll want an evening at MK for the fireworks, and an evening at HS for Fantasmic. The other evenings you can spend at Epcot or off. You can choose each day whether to stay on in a park for the afternoon, or to head back to the hotel for a nap and swim.

For the mornings, think about this:
10/27: avoid HS
10/28: avoid MK and HS
10/29: avoid Epcot
10/30: avoid Epcot
10/31: avoid MK
11/1: avoid AK
11/2: avoid HS.

For evening hopping, avoid Epcot the 29th and 30th, and avoid HS the 27th, 28th, and 2nd. MK evening fireworks will be available to you for hopping 10/28, 10/30, and 11/2. Of these, I’d target 10/28.

Does this help??

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28 Brian { 08.08.13 at 8:03 am }

Thanks, Dave! That’s really great. We just made our reservations last night, so our “180 days” has been compressed to 77. I have a lot of planning to do and I really appreciate the help.

29 Sonia { 08.08.13 at 1:59 pm }

Dave, I am glad I got the days right! Actually we are not purchasing the park hopper passes. I knew the evening fireworks were not on the days we picked but I think are on Saturday night. That night we are having dinner at the Kona Café which I read should give us a good view of the fireworks. So hopefully that might work out. Also, I didn’t realize that since we would not be park hopping the Fantasmic would also be off limits. So I guess that will be a miss until the next trip.

30 Dave { 08.09.13 at 10:56 am }

You bet Brian, and good luck!

31 Dave { 08.09.13 at 11:26 am }

Sonia…Kona has no view of fireworks. Some tables at Ohana do–but seeing them there is not even remotely comparable to to experiencing them in the park.

Honestly–and I realize I’m spending your money–I’d skip a table service meal and apply the savings to a hopper so you can see both Fantasmic and Wishes. Otherwise you will be missing two of the top three things at all of WDW.

You really, really will view this, when you return, as money well spent…

32 Madhu { 08.23.13 at 2:37 pm }

Hi Dave,

What a wonderful site you run! I am hoping you can help us organize our twip a little. I am arriving in Disney on November 9th @6:00 PM and depart November 15th @5PM. It’s our first trip and my daughter’s 4th birthday celebration trip. So far, the only things I have figured out are:

1. Nov 9th dinner at Chef Mickey’s at 9:10 PM
2. Nov 10th Breakfast at Akershus at 10:45 AM (Spend the day at Epcot)
3. Nov 11th – Mickey’s Very Merry Xmas party 7:00 PM onwards (Enter MK @ 4:00 PM)
4. Nov 12th Breakfast at Tusker house at 10:30 AM (Spend the day at Animal Kingdom)
5. Nov 13th – MK
6. Nov 14th – Epcot
7. Nov 15th – leisure and fly out.

Does this look good? Should I add on something? I am thinking of buying a 5 day MYW park hopper option as well.

Thank you,
Madhu

33 Dave { 08.24.13 at 9:31 am }

Hi Madhu, in terms of the days you’ve picked for the parks, this is great.

However, it’s hard to imagine a 4 year old would want to spend two days at Epcot, and only a day and a half at MK.

So I would drop an Epcot day and add a MK day. If you are staying at a WDW resort, then the 14th would work as an Epcot day (it has morning extra magic hours, whihc you’d want to arrive nice and early for, so it’s a bad day if you are staying off site.)

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34 Justin { 10.06.13 at 3:40 pm }

Awesome site. Thanks so much for all your time and effort. We’ll be at WDW from 11/16-11/23 and are following your 7 night Saturday arrival Autumn-Winter-Spring itinerary with the modification suggested (switch Monday and Sunday–change to HS on Sunday and AK on Monday). I wanted to know what the rationale is for swapping those days. Hollywood has a heavy crowd forecast for Sunday and has EMH that day. It seems reasonable to just keep the original itinerary but thought you must have a reason for modifying it. Please enlighten us! Thanks!

35 Justin { 10.06.13 at 3:51 pm }

Sorry for the back to back comments/questions. On Friday 11/22 Epcot has EMH and has a heavy crowd forecast, yet it is scheduled for that day on the Autumn-Winter-Spring itinerary. I thought it was best to avoid parks on EMH days. Please help. Thanks so much.

36 Dave { 10.07.13 at 7:56 am }

Justin, in my integrated itineraries I do generally have people seeing Fantasmic at the Studios and almost always Illuminations at Epcot on evenings the parks have evening EMH. This is so that these shows don’t close the park for them. When these shows close the park–as they otherwise do at Epcot, and often do at HS–that means 20,000+ people at Epcot and 10,000+ at HS are all hitting transport at the same time.

The rides that develop lines can all be seen in the morning, so the days still work out quite well, even with the extra crowds from evening EMH, whihc tend to build late in the afternoon and in the evening…

So that’s why the change!

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37 Justin { 10.07.13 at 9:40 pm }

Thanks so much, Dave. Huge help!

38 Dave { 10.08.13 at 8:02 am }

You bet, Justin!

39 Beth { 10.09.13 at 10:09 am }

I love your site. We will be at WDW from 10-14-13 to 10-18-13. I had my days planned out and then decided not to go to Epcot. I would like your opinion about our park schedule. We have park hoppers.
10-14 MK and DHS for Disney Jr. Dance Party
10-15 DHS w/ Fantasmic
10-16 DHS and MK for Wishes and Parade
10-17 MK
10-18 AK

40 Dave { 10.09.13 at 1:03 pm }

Hi Beth, and thanks for the love!

I’d suggest one switch, because I think you are overbooked at DHS. Instead of HS the 16th, do AK the 16th (still planning to hop to MK that evening) and make the 18th “Go back where you want based on what you’ve experienced so far, deciding the night before.”

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41 Beth { 10.09.13 at 9:24 pm }

Thank you so much for your help. I like the idea of having a day at the end go back to what we like best.

42 Dave { 10.10.13 at 7:41 am }

You bet, Beth!

43 Megan { 10.11.13 at 1:48 am }

Hey Dave! I am a first-timer to Disney and this site has been so USEFUL thus far 🙂 I am active duty military and am planning to take my girls (3 of them, 10, 8 and 2) when I get back from this deployment (currently serving in Afghanistan), my issue is that I don’t want to go over the summer months (hot, crowds, tired kids = not happy momma) and was thinking about the first week in Sept, I know the military salute offers the 3 day park hopper pass, I’m just not sure if that would be enough time for the kids to be able to enjoy everything. Right now I’m planning on 1 Sept – 5 Sept but can adjust accordingly with your recommendation! Please help 🙂
Thank you!

44 Dave { 10.11.13 at 7:31 am }

Hiya Megan!

Here’s the problem: September heat and humidity is just about as miserable as that of August and July, and the whole month also in the peak of the hurricane season. See this http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/when-to-go/next-best-dates/weather-and-when-to-go/high-temperatures-year-round/ and this 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/

There’s lots of better choices in later 2014–see this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2012/10/15/2014-weeks-visit-walt-disney-world-ranked-order/

The problem with visits after September is that there’s no guarantee the Salute will be extended another fiscal year. BTW, it’s a four day ticket, but either three or four days in my view is too short–6 or 7 ticket days is better. See this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/how-long-to-stay/

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