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.



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Disney World 2019 Resort Price Seasons

2019 RESORT PRICE SEASONS AT WALT DISNEY WORLD

The material below shows my forecasts for resort price seasons at Walt Disney World at different times of the year in 2019.

It’s based on Disney World’s recent practices, with an especially sharp look at March and April 2014, because 2014 also saw a very late Easter–Easter was April 20 in 2014, and will be April 21 in 2019.

(For 2017 price seasons, see this, and for 2018 price seasons, see this.)

Although this may change at the next ticket price increase, currently only one-day ticket prices vary over the course of the year–multi-day tickets do not, although they typically have an annual increase during the year. See this for more on ticket prices.

Resort prices, however, can be almost twice as high during some periods as they are at others.

In the material below, “X% Higher” means compared to the lowest prices of the year.

In addition to the details listed below, Disney typically ups prices even more during certain weekends and holidays–particularly over the Martin Luther King Day weekend, President’s Day weekend, Memorial Day weekend, Columbus Day weekend, and Veterans Day weekend.

I will revise these forecasts as needed when Disney releases its actual 2019 prices, most likely in the summer of 2018.

Cars at Disney's Art of Animation Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

2019 DISNEY WORLD FORECAST PRICE SEASONS: VALUE RESORTS

  • 30-40% higher–the peak season–begins 1/1/2019
  • 15-25% higher–Marathon rates–begin 1/2/19
  • Lowest of year–the value season–begins 1/6/19
  • 20-25% higher–the regular season-begins 2/10/19
  • 30-40% higher–the peak season–begins 2/14/19
  • 20-25% higher–the regular season–begins 2/24/19
  • 30-40% higher–the peak season–begins 3/9/19
  • 55-65% higher–the Easter season–begins 4/14/19
  • 30-40% higher–the peak season–begins 4/21/19
  • 20-25% higher–the regular season–begins 4/28/19
  • 30-40% higher–the summer season–begins 5/24/19
  • 20-25% higher–the regular season–begins 8/11/19
  • 5-10% higher–the fall season–begins 8/25/19
  • 20-25% higher–the regular season–begins 9/15/19
  • 5-10% higher–the fall season– begins 10/27/19
  • 30-40% higher over Thanksgiving begins 11/23/19
  • 5-10% higher–the fall seasonbegins 11/30/19
  • 20-25% higher–the regular season–begins 12/8/19
  • 30-40% higher–the peak season–begins 12/13/19
  • 60-70% higher–the holiday season–begins 12/20/19

Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

2019 DISNEY WORLD FORECAST PRICE SEASONS: MODERATE RESORTS

  • 20-25% higher–the peak season–begins 1/1/19
  • 15% higher–Marathon rates–begins 1/2/19
  • Lowest of year–the value seasonbegins 1/6/19
  • 15-20% higher–the regular season-begins 2/10/19
  • 20-25% higher–the peak season–begins 2/14/19
  • 15-20% higher–the regular season-begins 2/24/19
  • 20-25% higher–the peak season–begins 3/8/19
  • 30-45% higher–the Easter season–begins 4/14/19
  • 20-25% higher–the peak season–begins 4/21/19
  • 15-20% higher–the regular season–begins 4/28/19
  • 10-15% higher–the summer season–begins 5/24/19
  • 15-20% higher–the regular season–begins 8/11/19
  • 10-15% higher–the fall season–begins 8/25/19
  • 15-20% higher–the regular season–begins 9/15/19
  • 10-15% higher–the fall season–begins 10/27/19
  • 20-25% higher over Thanksgiving begins 11/23/19
  • 10-15% higher–the fall seasonbegins 11/30/19
  • 15-20% higher–the regular season–beings 12/8/19
  • 20-25% higher–the peak season–begins 12/13/19
  • 35-50% higher–the holiday season–begins 12/20/19

Disney's Polynesian Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

2019 DISNEY WORLD FORECAST PRICE SEASONS: DELUXE RESORTS

  • 20-40% higher–the peak season–begins 1/1/19
  • 15-20% higher–Marathon rates–begins 1/2/19
  • Lowest of year–the value season–begins 1/6/19
  • 10-20% higher–the regular season–begins 2/10/19
  • 20-40% higher–the peak season–begins 2/14/19
  • 10-20% higher–the regular season–begins 2/24/19
  • 20-40% higher–the peak season–begins 3/8/19
  • 30-50% higher–the Easter season–begins 4/14/19
  • 20-40% higher–the peak season–begins 4/21/19
  • 10-20% higher–the regular season–begins 4/28/19
  • 5-15% higher–the summer season–begins 5/24/19
  • 5-10% highernear-lowest of year–the value season 2–begins 7/7/19
  • Lowest of year–the value seasonbegins 8/23/19
  • 10-20% higher–the regular season 2–begins 9/20/19
  • 5-15% higher–the fall season–begins 10/13/19
  • 10-20% higher–the regular season–begins 11/1/19
  • 5-15% higher–the fall season–begins 11/11/19
  • 25-40% higher during Thanksgiving begins 11/26/19
  • 5-15% higher–the fall season–begins 11/30/19
  • 10-20% higher–the regular season–beings 12/8/19
  • 20-40% higher–the peak season–begins 12/13/19
  • 55-75% higher–the holiday season–begins 12/20/19

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September 17, 2017   No Comments

Disney After Hours Back in Early 2018

Disney After Hours is a separately-ticket opportunity to be in the Magic Kingdom with next to no one, and for three hours ride the best rides (not all are open, but most are) with next to no waits.

It’s expensive, but especially for returning visitors who know their way around Magic Kingdom and want to nail a lot of rides, can be well worth it.

I’ve done it twice–extensive reviews are here for my January 2017 Disney After Hours test, and here for my April 2016 Disney After Hours test.

These are the dates of Disney After Hours in early 2018:

  • Friday January 19: 8 to 11p
  • Friday January 26: 8 to 11p
  • Tuesday January 30: 8 to 11p
  • Thursday February 8: 8 to 11p
  • Thursday February 15: 9p to 12MN
  • Thursday March 1: 9p to 12MN
  • Thursday March 8: 9p to 12MN

Have you done it? What did you think?

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September 16, 2017   4 Comments

Meet Dave, Josh, Steve Bell September 24 at Magic Kingdom

Josh of easyWDW.com and I will be meeting our readers and signing more or less anything they bring for us to sign—but signing with special delight our co-authored The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney Visit 2018—in later September! (Scroll down a bit to learn more about The easy Guide.)

This time we’ll also be joined by Steve Bell of MilitaryDisneyTips.com!

Steve, in addition to authoring that great resource for military families,  is also the author of Walt Disney World For Military Families  and The Essential Guide to Shades of Green.  Steve—like Josh—is one of my longest-standing imaginary internet friends. If you’ve had enough of us, talk to Steve instead.

Josh, Steve and I will be in (or near) the seating area at Tomorrowland Terrace at Magic Kingdom on Sunday September 24 from 5.30p til 6.30p.

We love to be able to meet the folks we’ve tried to help, and are grateful for their kind words and support. If you will be in (or near!) the Magic Kingdom that day, we’d love to meet and thank you, too!

MORE ON THE EASY GUIDE 2018

As I noted a few days ago, the 2018 edition of the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook, ever, is now available on Amazon—paperback here, and Kindle here.

A guidebook too large to be understood or easily used is doing folks no favors. Co-author Josh of easyWDW.com and I from the start wanted to publish the shortest and best-organized guidebook we could. Our 2018 edition has 307 substantive pages—about a third the size of some Disney World guidebooks—and in what is probably a first for Disney World guidebook series, has 8 fewer pages fewer than our 2017 edition!

But in those 307 pages we cover every major decision you need to make—how old and tall your kids should be, how long to stay, when to go, where to stay, what to do in the parks, where to eat, and more.

Moreover, we make it easy for you to refer to the book in the parks. If you purchase the paperback version, we make the Kindle version available for free. Load it onto a Kindle app on your phone and you are all set!

THE MOST ACCURATE DISNEY WORLD GUIDEBOOK

We also pride ourselves on providing the most accurate guidebook available. Our knowledge of Disney World comes from direct experience—Josh is in the parks and restaurants two to four times a week, and later this year I will have stayed in my 150th different Disney World-owned room, villa, suite, studio, cabin or campsite. No one else can match the experience we bring.

Dave’s stays…

We match this with disciplined judgment and a commitment to accuracy. Accuracy is really hard, and we’ve had our share of goofs. But we are sure that we have fewer than anyone else.

For example, another 2018 guidebook that also came out in August 2017 has not updated its entry on Toy Story Mania since 2015, nor has it updated its entry on the Disney & Pixar Short Film Festival since 2015, either. More examples: it has Easter 2018 as April 11, still has a 54 inch trundle bed in Port Orleans Riverside—which was replaced by a 66 inch Murphy bed in 2012 (!)–and has only three DVC studios offering accommodations for 5, rather than the five that’s been true for a while now.

I could go on with many more errors from this alternative, but the key is that it’s really hard to be accurate, and we (largely) get it done.

THE MOST UP-TO-DATE DISNEY WORLD GUIDEBOOK

Our guidebook is up to date as of early August 2017—so we incorporate in it the latest refurb news at Pop Century, Caribbean Beach, and Coronado Springs, the shift of the afternoon parade to 2p, the closures of Ellen’s Energy Adventure and The Great Movie Ride, etc.

But no matter how up-to-date a guidebook is when published, it will necessarily become less so over time, as things change. We solve this problem for our customers by offering free updates. We will update the 2018 easy Guide two to four times between now and August 2018, when we publish our 2019 edition.

Anyone who emails us their Amazon receipt will get instructions on how to get these updates when they come out:

THE BEST DISNEY WORLD GUIDEBOOK

The best-reviewed Disney World guidebook. The easiest-to-use Disney World guidebook. The most accurate Disney World guidebook. The most up-to-date Disney World guidebook. That’s The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit.

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September 11, 2017   No Comments

Review: The Happily Ever After Dessert Party at Magic Kingdom

THE FIREWORKS DESSERT PARTY AT MAGIC KINGDOM

Happily Ever After is the new projection and fireworks show at Magic Kingdom that replaced Wishes in May 2017.

Like Wishes, Happily Ever After was explicitly designed to be seen from the axis between the Main Street train station and the Castle.

Unlike Wishes, Happily Ever After has projections. Because its projections can be small and–more to the point–are only on the Main Street side of the castle, even more so than Wishes, first-timers should see it from this axis, and from further away from the station than could work well for Wishes.

Since all locals, repeat visitors and readers of sound sources of advice have caught on to this, the area between the Casey’s Corner end of Main Street and the Castle is more mobbed than ever—which will surprise those who had thought it could not be more packed. It can—and it is.

Although it is pricey, I had thought of adding the Plaza Garden variant of the Happily Ever After dessert party to my itineraries as a way of creating great, uncrowded spots to view the show. So I attended it in July 2017 to see what the value was.


The short version is that for anyone who can afford it and does not like crowds, the value is there.

There are two different parties, both of which start in the Tomorrowland Terrace.

  • One is less expensive (about $63 adults/$37 kids, after tax) and has better propinquity and sightlines, but no rain protection during the viewing. This is the “Plaza Garden” party
  • The other, the “Tomorrowland Terrace” party is more expensive (about $84 adults/$50 kids, after tax), more distant, and with off-center sight lines, but has rain protection during the viewing.

(Both have rain protection during the “dessert party” part of the evening, which takes place in the Tomorrowland Terrace.)

There are multiple potential sources of value here:

The food and non-alcoholic drinks at the party, mostly desserts…

…lotsa desserts…

…but also cheese and fruit

The very nice viewing location at the less expensive Plaza Garden viewing variant. The Terrace viewing is not bad, especially for those who have already seen Happily Ever After before, but it is a little more distant, and much more off center, than the Plaza Garden option. On the image above, the best spots overall are in gold, the Plaza Garden spot in green, and the Tomorrowland Terrace spot is marked by a red “X.”

The lack of crowding at either spot. You will have crowds once you leave, but the show itself will not feature the jostling mobs you’ll see everywhere else nearby.

The rain protection you will get during the show from the Tomorrowland Terrace location. (Both locations dine out of the rain.)

The key sources of value will vary depending on what matters to you. For me, it is seeing a great show from a close spot with a great angle without having to show up early. Add to this the absence of crowds and jostling—a value you can achieve no other way—and it’s well worth it.

For me the food is of little value. There are ways I would much rather spend my time at Magic Kingdom than hang around in Tomorrowland Terrace for 90 minutes eating cupcakes, and even if I were in the mood for junk food—which, face it, at Disney World I usually am—there’s other junk I much prefer.

Note that while you have to check in at Tomorrowland Terrace and get your credentials, you don’t have to hang around and eat and drink. Check in, get your stuff, and return about 15-20 minutes before the show to be escorted over to the viewing area.

For others the food—and/or the opportunity to sit and rest for a bit–has much more value. Moreover, unless you will be at Disney World for weeks, there’s not much need to obsess over the caliber of your diet, so conceivably cupcakes, cookies, ice cream, fruit and cheese could pass for dinner.

Since I spend the equivalent of a month or two in the parks every year (I have the somewhat rare notion that those advising others about Disney World ought to base that on personal, recent, deep experience) I am quite used to Disney World in the rain, so see little value to the covered viewing location compared to how off-center—and slightly more distant—it is, so can’t advise paying for the more expensive party.

Happily Ever After is the best evening show at Disney World. Seeing it from a good spot requires a long wait and involves much jostling and crowding. The Plaza Garden version of the dessert party is a way to make these negatives go away.

And scarf a cupcake or two while you are at it…

You can book the party on Disney’s website here, and my co-author Josh has even more on the party here.

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September 2, 2017   1 Comment

Epcot Day 1 Disney World Lower Crowd Itinerary, Seven Night Saturday Arrival Variant

(Note: this is from the Disney World Lower Crowd Itinerary, Seven Night Saturday Arrival Variant.)

EPCOT DAY 1: FIRST SATURDAY AGENDA

Check in, get settled if your room is ready, and be at Epcot as soon as you can.

FIRST THINGS

  • Arrive at your hotel, following the instructions in your Disney’s Magical Express packet if you are using it to get from Orlando International to your Disney Resort. Check in
  • Unless you are arriving late, your room will likely not be ready, but you can leave your bags. First change into clothes more appropriate for the weather–which your To-Do List reminded you to pack in your carry-ons. You can ask to be called or texted later to find out your exact room
  • If your room is ready, and if you have time–you want to be at Epcot as soon as you can–get food and supplies (bowls, napkins, scotch) for your breakfast in the morning, which you will be eating out of your room. Also get (from the counter service restaurant)  “Refillable Mugs,” which you will be able to re-use at your resort for free drinks over your entire stay
  • Head to Epcot as soon as you can

Belle at Akershus from yourfirstvisit.net

AT THE PARK

  • Your plan today is to see as many of Epcot’s attractions as you can to free time on your second visit, see parts of World Showcase that are most fun in the evening, see the Frozen Ever After in Norway, and see Epcot’s park-closing spectacular IllumiNations.
  • You should have FastPass+ for Spaceship Earth and Frozen Ever After, and dinner reservations for either Akershus or San Angel Inn at around 6p. Those arriving late may have to thin the below to just dinner, Frozen Ever After, World Showcase, and Illuminations
  • Go through the turnstiles and pick up a park map and “Times Guide”–a schedule. Use your Spaceship Earth FastPass+
  • Head to World Showcase, and while keeping an eye out for your dinner reservation at around 7p, see the pavilions starting with Mexico and going clockwise.
    • Each pavilion will have some or all of shopping, special exhibits, a ride, a movie, and other special events—such as acrobats in China.
    • Check your map, times guide, and the pavilion itself, to see what each pavilion has.
    • For scheduled events like the acrobats, etc., sequence what you do when among items that are not scheduled (shops, exhibits, and rides), and bounce back and forth between nearby pavilions, so that you don’t have to wait long for the scheduled item
  • Have dinner at whichever you chose to reserve between San Angel Inn inside the Mexico pyramid or the Akershus Royal Banquet  Meal in Norway at 7p
  • Continue touring World Showcase clockwise until about 8:30p, using your FastPass+ for Frozen Ever After
  • Pick a spot for Illuminations as near its FastPass+ area on the Spacehsip Earth side of the lagoon as you can find
  • Watch Illuminations, and if you are parked, taking the monorail, or taking a bus back to your hotel, immediately at its end start walking briskly to the park exit (on the far side of Spaceship Earth) to beat the crowds.
  • Return to your hotel

BACK AT THE HOTEL

Buy food, supplies (bowls, spoons, etc.) and refillable mugs for breakfast in your room at your hotel counter service or gift shop, if you did not have time, or a room assignment, earlier.

PREVIEW OF TOMORROW

You will spend the morning and evening at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. You have an early morning–you want to arrive by 45 minutes before open. Check with your concierge on transport (likely buses) and what time you should be at the bus stop.

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August 25, 2017   No Comments

Animal Kingdom Day 1 Disney World Lower Crowd Itinerary, Seven Night Saturday Arrival Variant

(Note: this is from the Disney World Lower Crowd Itinerary, Seven Night Saturday Arrival Variant.)

ANIMAL KINGDOM DAY 1: SUNDAY AGENDA

Today you begin and end your day at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, which you will return to next Sunday morning. You should have dinner booked at Tusker House as the Rivers of Light Dining Package.

You should have FastPass+ for Na’vi River Journey, Finding Nemo, and Kali River Rapids. Bring spare socks and shoes to change into after Kali River Rapids.

MORNING PLAN

  • Arrive at the turnstiles 45 minutes before open
  • At open, head to and ride Kilimanjaro Safaris
  • See Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail
  • See Na’vi River Journey (FastPass+)
  • Explore Pandora
  • Have an early lunch
  • See the noon Finding Nemo: The Musical (FastPass+)
  • See the Maharajah Jungle Trek
  • See Kali River Rapids (FastPass+)
  • See the 1.30p Flights of Wonder
  • See it’s Tough to Be a Bug
  • Head back to your hotel for a nap and dinner

EVENING PLAN

  • Be back in the park in time for your Tusker House Rivers of Light Dining Package dinner.
  • See Rivers of Light (FastPass+)—be in the FastPass+ line 30 minutes before show start
  • Explore Tree of Life Awakenings and Pandora: World of Avatar after dark
  • Ride, if you wish, Expedition Everest and/or Kilimanjaro Safaris after dark
  • Head back to your hotel

PREVIEW OF TOMORROW

Tomorrow you visit Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

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August 25, 2017   No Comments