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



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



Category — w. Most Recent Stuff

Disney World Deal for October to December 2017 Released

Disney World released a new deal today. I’m on the road, so my friend Kelly wrote the following about it for you:

NEW DISNEY WORLD DEAL

Well, Disney is at it again. They just released a “Wicked Good” offer for everyone. The new discount will provide a savings of up to 20% on select Walt Disney World resort hotels.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • The discount is available most Sunday through Thursday nights for 10/8-11/16/2017 and for stays most nights 11/17-11/21/2017 and 11/25-12/24/2017
  • Book by 10/7/2017 (For stays 12/8-12/24 book by 12/24)
  • As always there are exclusions–for example campsites, Cabins at Copper Creek, Bungalows at Polynesian, and Little Mermaid rooms.

So far, this discount seems to have extremely low availability.

But you have no need to wait on hold for hours with Disney.  When you book your vacation with KellyB@DestinationsInFlorida.com, all of my services (dining planning, fastpass reservations, etc) services are free including future discount watch.  I’m Kelly, the dedicated Destinations In Florida Travel Agent for YourFirstVisit.net. Contact me today at KellyB@DestinationsInFlorida.com or 980-429-4499 to book your Magical Disney Vacation.

The 2017 easy Guide

Kelly B Can Help You Book Your Trip

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July 17, 2017   No Comments

July Update to The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit

Earlier this week, Amazon published a new version of my and Josh’s The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2017.

While not as extensive as our March update, we did send our publisher, Bob McLain of Theme Park Press, 34 pages of additions, deletions, updates and changes. Many were minor, but we made major changes to the Animal Kingdom material, so it is now fully up-to-date for those visiting the newly-opened Pandora: World of Avatar. We also made major changes to our review of Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort.

As noted in the image, we offer those who bought any earlier versions of the 2017 edition free updates (as a PDF). If you’ve not already sent us your email, do so following the instructions in the image, and we’ll reply telling you how to get your update!

Some more specifics on what’s available in the July update of The easy Guide:

CHAPTER 4: WHEN TO GO

We’ve made minor changes to reflect new dates that have come out—for example, for the Halloween and Christmas parties—since our last update.

We also revised the crowd forecast for the week of 12/16/2017, as new data suggest it will be a bit better than we had thought.

CHAPTER 5: WHERE TO STAY

We added minor updates on the status of various refurbs and additions, for example at the Wilderness Lodge, the Yacht Club, and Pop Century.

We’ve stayed in and dined at Caribbean Beach since its refurb began in May, and as a result did a major rewrite of its review. The key point: “We are hesitant to recommend [Caribbean Beach] for any guests planning much dining at the resort, as the temporary dining is barely adequate.”

CHAPTER 6: WHAT TO DO IN THE PARKS

Animal Kingdom saw an enormous set of changes and additions, including a new map, new overviews, new recommended FastPass+, new reviews, and new touring plans, and our material now fully reflects this major addition to Disney World.

Epcot saw just minor updates, and no changes to its FastPass+ priorities or touring plans.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios saw an expansion and re-organization of our material on the evening shows, an update on what’s happening at Hollywood and Vine, and other minor updates. The first four steps of one of our touring plans, “Morning Plan: Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster First,” changed a bit.

Magic Kingdom saw minor changes in the FastPass+ priorities, minor changes in the touring plans (especially related to the change of the typical afternoon parade time from 3p to 2p), a review of the new Happily Ever After evening show, and other small changes.

CHAPTER 7: WHERE TO EAT

We introduce the new mobile order function—where you can use the My Disney Experience app to save a ton of time by pre-ordering and then clicking “I’m here.” The new Animal Kingdom venue Satu’li Canteen is now in here, and you’ll find minor updates to dining in all the other parks, Disney Springs, and the resorts.

*  *  *  *  *

Ours is the only guidebook updated multiple times over the year, with free updates available to buyers. When Disney World changes, our advice changes. What does your guidebook do??

Kelly B Can Help You Book Your Trip

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

July 16, 2017   No Comments

July Update to The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit

Earlier this week, Amazon published a new version of my and Josh’s The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2017.

While not as extensive as our March update, we did send our publisher, Bob McClain of Theme Park Press, 34 pages of additions, deletions, updates and changes. Many were minor, but we made major changes to the Animal Kingdom material, so it is now fully up-to-date for those visiting the newly-opened Pandora: World of Avatar. We also made major changes to our review of Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort.

As noted in the image, we offer those who bought any earlier versions of the 2017 edition free updates (as a PDF). If you’ve not already sent us your email, do so following the instructions in the image, and we’ll reply telling you how to get your update!

Ours is the only guidebook updated multiple times over the year, with free updates available to buyers. When Disney World changes, our advice changes.

Some more specifics on what’s available in the July update of The easy Guide:

CHAPTER 4: WHEN TO GO

We’ve made minor changes to reflect new dates that have come out—for example, for the Halloween and Christmas parties—since our last update.

We also revised the crowd forecast for the week of 12/16/2017, as new data suggest it will be a bit better than we had thought.

CHAPTER 5: WHERE TO STAY

We added minor updates on the status of various refurbs and additions, for example at the Wilderness Lodge, the Yacht Club, and Pop Century.

We’ve stayed in and dined at Caribbean Beach since its refurb began in May, and as a result did a major rewrite of its review. The key point: “We are hesitant to recommend [Caribbean Beach] for any guests planning much dining at the resort, as the temporary dining is barely adequate.”

CHAPTER 6: WHAT TO DO IN THE PARKS

Animal Kingdom saw an enormous set of changes and additions, including a new map, new overviews, new recommended FastPass+, new reviews, and new touring plans, and our material now fully reflects this major addition to Disney World.

Epcot saw just minor updates, and no changes to its FastPass+ priorities or touring plans.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios saw an expansion and re-organization of our material on the evening shows, an update on what’s happening at Hollywood and Vine, and other minor updates. The first four steps of one of our touring plans, “Morning Plan: Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster First,” changed a bit.

Magic Kingdom saw minor changes in the FastPass+ priorities, minor changes in the touring plans (especially related to the change of the typical afternoon parade time from 3p to 2p), a review of the new Happily Ever After evening show, and other small changes.

CHAPTER 7: WHERE TO EAT

We introduce the new mobile order function—where you can use the My Disney Experience app to save a ton of time by pre-ordering and then clicking “I’m here.” The new Animal Kingdom venue Satu’li Canteen is now in here, and you’ll find minor updates to dining in all the other parks, Disney Springs, and the resorts.

*  *  *  *  *

Ours is the only guidebook updated multiple times over the year, with free updates available to buyers. When Disney World changes, our advice changes. What does your guidebook do??

Kelly B Can Help You Book Your Trip

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

July 16, 2017   No Comments

Disney World Summer Crowds in 2018

Every year I analyze summer break schedules for the upcoming school year, compare them to what I’d expected, and then don’t change my crowd forecasts for the upcoming summer, because breaks turned out about the way I thought they would, and nothing else is new.

Well, for 2018 breaks did turn out the way I thought they would–but something new emerged in the summer of 2016 that seems to be happening again in the summer of 2017. I thought long and hard about this new stuff, and about changing my crowd forecast for 2018…before deciding to leave the crowd forecast the same.

Here’s the story.

DISNEY WORLD 2018 SUMMER CROWDS: THE PRINCIPLES

Walt Disney World summer crowds historically have been governed by two factors:

  • Public school summer break calendars, which have start and end dates more varied than you’d think
  • The beginning of the peak of the hurricane season, in mid-August

Over the past summer and a half, however, it seems other factors have come into play.

Summer stand-by waits in all of 2016 and so far in 2017 (I write this in mid-July) have been lower–sometimes substantially lower–than we’ve been used to. While there’s no evidence from Disney that attendance is substantially down (in April-June 2016, Disney World attendance compared to 2015 “was down 4% …with most of that decline due to the adverse impact of the shift in the Easter holiday period“; in July-September 2016 compared to 2015 , there were “increases in attendance…on a comparable fiscal period basis“), the feel of the parks in the summer–especially Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and the Animal Kingdom outside of Pandora–is much more comfortable than in years past.

I can’t explain the changed experience.  I have theories, mostly about the effects of Disney’s strategic re-pricing of tickets to make the higher-demand periods like summer less attractive, particularly in the pricing of one day tickets and in Florida resident annual passes with summer block-out dates–distinctions that launched between the 2015 and 2016 summer seasons, so the timing is right.

But this is just speculation, and does not much account for other things we’ve observed in the parks this summer–lower numbers of people in the parks and more easily available FastPass+. My co-author Josh has written on all three points multiple times this summer on easyWDW.com–see this for an example.

So to make a long story short, I don’t know what is going on, nor why it is going on.  Because I don’t, I don’t know if it will happen again next summer.  So I’m not going to re-forecast 2018 summer crowds as “moderate” rather than “high.”  But I also would not argue with someone else who in fact did make such a forecast change…

So if you go in the summer of 2018, you might have a much better crowd and wait experience than  I am predicting.  You will, however, still be in Florida in the summer–and I can’t possibly recommend that…

So…back to the other two drivers of summer crowds–school breaks and the peak of the hurricane season.

Pretty much all kids are off all of July. As a result, July is the busiest summer month, and during it, the week that includes the 4th of July the busiest week.

Varied dates for when summer breaks begin means June can start well, and then build to high crowd levels–although in 2017 the beginning of June–before blockout dates kicked in, and right after Pandora opened–was the busiest part of the month.

August has the opposite pattern, beginning with high crowds, but, through the combination of a trickle turning to a flood of back-to-school dates, and savvy travelers avoiding the peak of the hurricane season, it ends quite un-crowded.

Families that can only visit in the summer (for example, school teachers) should go as early in June or as late in August as their schedules permit. [Read more →]

July 14, 2017   No Comments

A Friday Visit with Jim Korkis: The France Pavilion

Welcome back to Fridays with Jim Korkis! Jim, the dean of Disney historians and author of Jim’s Gems in The easy Guide, writes about Walt Disney World history every Friday on yourfirstvisit.net.

THE FRANCE PAVILION IN EPCOT’S WORLD SHOWCASE

By Jim Korkis

The France pavilion at Epcot was meant to capture springtime in Paris during the Belle Epoque, the “Beautiful Era” (1871-1914), a time of stability and optimism before World War I.

The International Gateway Bridge between the U.K. pavilion and France was meant to be reminiscent of the Pont des Arts archway pedestrian bridge that crossed the River Seine.

It was the first metallic bridge in Paris and was meant to resemble a suspended garden, with trees, banks of flowers, and benches. This historic monument was built in 1804 and demolished in 1981 because of structural damage and eventually re-built but with some significant differences.

Along the side of the river, there are items like an artist’s easel and canvas (an impressionist painting of the International Gateway) propped up against the wall with the artist’s bicycle nearby to create the impression that there is activity along the waterfront but that the people are just briefly away at the moment.

The streets of the pavilion are lined with cobblestones, and romantic background music fills the air. The goal was to provide a historical stretch of French architecture representing several styles and influences.

Architectural Designer Harry Webster, when he began designing the pavilion, thought to re-create the Place du Tetre, the artists’ colony near the cathedral of Sacre-Coeur, but decided the building would have dominated the skyline too much. He decided it would be more effective to have a “single exclamation point provided by the Eiffel Tower”.

The original Eiffel Tower in Paris was built in 1889 for the World’s Fair. Disney utilized the original blueprints and drawings of engineer Gustave Eiffel (who also designed the interior framework of the Statue of Liberty). One of the most famous landmarks in Paris, the Eiffel Tower was reconstructed at Epcot at one-tenth the scale of the original and rises 103 feet into the air. It includes replicas of tiny (non-working) elevators and turn-of-the century beacon lights.

Since guests are not allowed to go where the base of the structure would be, there was no reason to complete that part. The top of the tower actually rests on top of a building but its scale makes it look farther away and that other buildings in front are hiding the base so it seems complete. The actual tower is only 69 feet high on top of a 34 foot tall building.

When the Dolphin resort was built, guests could see the back of the pavilion, so additions had to be made to conceal the fact that the bottom of the tower was on top of a building.

The Eiffel Tower is more tan and pinkish than the one in Paris today.  The reason is that it is meant to resemble the coloring of what it looked like in the late 1800s.

The schedule for filming Impression de France, the film shown in the pavilion, had to be readjusted because the iconic tower was soon to undergo a three year renovation. Since the film required four scenes of the tower, the shooting schedule was shifted so that those scenes were shot first.

The park bordering the canal along the right side of the pavilion was inspired by the famous painting “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte” by pointillist artist Georges Seurat.

Behind Les Chefs de France is La Petite Rue (“The Little Street”) to showcase a typical rural street. It was meant to convey the design and craftsmanship of a street built without the aid of metropolitan construction work but “with strong farming hands, forming rustic and rugged looking exteriors and natural and unpretentious interiors”.

*  *  *  *  *

Thanks, Jim!

Here’s the scoop on France from our book, The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit:

And there’s more from Jim on World Showcase here. Come back next Friday for more from Jim Korkis!

In the meantime, check out his books, including his latest, Secret Stories of Disneyland, his Secret Stories of Walt Disney World: Things You Never You Never Knew, which reprints much material first written for this site, and his contributions to The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit, all published by Theme Park Press.
The 2017 easy Guide

Kelly B Can Help You Book Your Trip

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July 14, 2017   No Comments

Next Week (July 15 through July 23, 2017) at Walt Disney World

DISNEY WORLD NEXT WEEK: JULY 15 TO JULY 23, 2017

The material below details next week’s Disney World operating hours, Extra Magic Hours, parades, and fireworks.

 

For more on July 2017 at Disney World, see this.

OPERATING HOURS AT WALT DISNEY WORLD 7/15/-7/23/17

The Magic Kingdom will be open from 9a-10p every day

Epcot will be open from 9a-9p every day

Disney’s Hollywood Studios will be open 9a-9.30p every day

Disney’s Animal Kingdom will be open 9a-10p every day

EXTRA MAGIC HOURS AT WALT DISNEY WORLD 7/15-7/23/17

Saturday 7/15 Morning:  Animal Kingdom Evening: Animal Kingdom

Sunday 7/16  Morning:  Hollywood Studios  Evening: Animal Kingdom

Monday 7/17 Morning: Animal Kingdom  Evening: Animal Kingdom

Tuesday 7/18 Morning: none Evening:  Epcot, Animal Kingdom

Wednesday 7/19 Morning: none  Evening:  Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom

Thursday 7/20 Morning: Epcot Evening: Animal Kingdom

Friday 7/21 Morning:  Magic Kingdom Evening: Animal Kingdom

Saturday 7/22 Morning: Animal Kingdom Evening: Animal Kingdom

Sunday 7/23  Morning: Hollywood Studios Evening: Animal Kingdom

PARADES AT WALT DISNEY WORLD 7/15-7/23/17

The Magic Kingdom: Afternoon Festival of Fantasy Parade: 3p every day

FIREWORKS AND EVENING SHOWS AT WALT DISNEY WORLD 7/15-7/23/17

Happily Every After at Magic Kingdom: 9p every night

IllumiNations at Epcot: 9p every night

Fantasmic at Disney’s Hollywood Studios: 9p every night

Star Wars Show and Fireworks at Disney’s Hollywood Studios: 9.30p every night

Rivers of Light at Disney’s Animal Kingdom 9.15p and 10.30p every night

SHOW SCHEDULES FOR WALT DISNEY WORLD 7/15-7/23/17

See Steve Soares’ site here. Click the park names at its top for show schedules.

The 2017 easy Guide

Kelly B Can Help You Book Your Trip

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July 13, 2017   No Comments