By the co-author of The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2019, the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook series ever.

Available on Amazon here.

Instructions for Your First Visit to Walt Disney World

By Dave Shute



Follow the instructions that follow for your first family visit to Walt Disney World to save thousands of dollars, and avoid dozens of hours waiting in line, while seeing all the best of Walt Disney World!

Want a second opinion?  Then buy the book! you make great Disney World plans quickly!!1. When to Go to Walt Disney World:

If you can, arrive at Walt Disney World one of the first three Saturdays after Thanksgiving.      More…    Next best dates to go…

2. How Long to Stay:

You can have a wonderful trip spending as few as 5 days. However, if you can, be in Orlando for 9 days–a Saturday through a Sunday.    More…    Going for a shorter trip…

3. How Old/Tall Your Children Should be:

Kids of any age can have a wonderful time at Disney World. However, if this may be your kids’ only childhood visit, consider going when your youngest child is at least 8 or 9, and your shortest child at least 48 inches tall.      More…    Planning for going with younger/shorter kids…

4. Where to Stay at Walt Disney World:

Stay at Disney’s Polynesian Resort if you can afford it, or at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort if you can’t.   More…    Next best resort options…

5. How Much to Budget:

You can have a wonderful first visit for $3,000 or less. However, to see all the best of Walt Disney World, budget if you can $8,400 if you are staying at the Polynesian, or $5,300 if at Art of Animation.    More…    Developing a much lower or a different budget…

6. When Your Plans Need to be Firm:

Your plans should be firm at least 181 days before your arrival date.      More…    Planning if it’s already later than that…

7. How to Eat at Walt Disney World:

Sign up for the “Magic Your Way Plus Dining” package. More…    Planning if you can’t do this package…

8. Where to Eat:

The Basic Itinerary tells you exactly where to eat (as do the Other Itineraries).      More…    Next best dining choices…

9. How to Spend Your Time at Walt Disney World:

The Basic Itinerary tells you exactly how to spend your time in Orlando (as do the Other Itineraries).      More…    Other Itineraries…

10. What to do When:

See the To-Do List for an exact list of what to do when to prepare for your trip.       More…    To-Do Lists for Other Itineraries…

Kelly B Can Help You Book Your Trip

Follow on Facebook or Twitter or Pinterest!!


1 Brad { 08.29.18 at 1:34 pm }

We bought your book and enjoyed it! We see now our planning started too late, but we are committed now! We will be at WDW from October 29 to November 7. My question is about expected crowds. We had real difficulty finding a room on property, Swan and Dolphin also booked. Nothing in moderate, we were lucky to get non standard rooms in All Stars in Movies.. Where would you consider the best area in that hotel to request and with the shortage of available rooms, would you consider it time to go to the the higher crowd schedule?
Two adult visitors
Any other tips? For this November?
We did visit 25 years ago with our kids…

2 Dave { 08.30.18 at 8:25 am }

Hi Brad, the Disney resorts run at ~90% occupancy month in and month out, and thus are not a crowd calendar. For more on this interesting subject, see this.

At Movies a room refurb is underway, adding queen beds and coffeemakers to what had been a full bed and no-coffee-maker space, so I would call and request a refurbed room.

3 Jena { 09.18.18 at 2:34 am }

I love your weeks to visit WDW ranked in order and would really like one for Disneyland!!! I have searched many online hours have not found anything like it in comparison for WDW and there is nothing like it for Disneyland. Do you think this is possible I know the 10.4 million people who visit the smaller park would appreciate rankings as much as I would!

4 Dave { 09.18.18 at 10:38 am }

Sorry, Jean, I can barely keep up with DIsney World!

5 Elizabeth { 09.23.18 at 11:51 pm }

I’ve narrowed it down to Beach Club Villas vs Boardwalk Villas, and the price difference is a total of $300 more for Beach Club. Can you weigh in on why to choose one over the other? Thanks!

6 Elizabeth { 09.23.18 at 11:53 pm }

I should add that this is not our first visit and we have two teenagers

7 Dave { 09.24.18 at 5:40 am }

Elizabeth, the main difference is that Beach Club has a much better pool. My review of the Beach Club pool is here, and the Boardwalk pool is here.

8 Katie { 10.01.18 at 7:47 pm }

Hi Dave,
Planning on two days at Disney on November 3rd and 4th. Wanting to do Epcot and Hollywood Studios. I was going to do HS on Sat and Epcot on Sunday but now am second guessing. Also, if we would happen to do Magic Kingdom on Nov. 2 how do you think the crowd levels would be that day (just in case we add an extra day). Thanks for your advice!

9 Dave { 10.02.18 at 8:21 am }

Katie, because of unusual set of extra magic hours that week, your swap of HS and Epcot will work quite well! And yes, Friday 11/2 will be fine at MK!

10 Brittany { 12.05.18 at 3:44 pm }


My husband and I are having a big debate on how to deal with the Full Marathon traffic on Jan 13th. He wants to go early to the park and I want to go later in the afternoon to avoid the traffic. Honestly we have no idea what to expect, however, the last thing I want to happen is to get stuck in a car full of Kids and Mother in a car jam waiting to get into Disney. We plan to visit MK that day. Can you shed your perspective on how we should plan on arriving? Also, what is your estimated crowd level for that week? Seems like all the sites vary from 1 to 7…its confusing…thanks for any help and we love your site!

11 Dave { 12.06.18 at 7:23 am }

Hi Brittany and thanks!!

There’s a new set of flyovers at the Magic Kingdom parking entrance, that may make some causes of marathon congestion easier to deal with–it’s hard to say, as this is the first time it’ll be available. You can make either the early morning or afternoon approach work, but you would want to add an extra 30 minutes to your morning drive plan, just in case.

That week will be just fine until Saturday 1/19 when you will start seeing MLK crowds.

12 Jennifer { 12.12.18 at 5:39 pm }


I just got married and my husband and I just spent our honeymoon at disney. We were thinking of joining DVC or just becoming passholders.

With the opening of star wars land opening next fall, what do you anticipate as far as crowds? Because we are trying to consider if its wise joining either one for now. We know HS is going to be crazy and we aren’t planning on even going back to that park for a couple of years. But what do you think the other 3 parks will be like as far as crowds?

13 Dave { 12.13.18 at 7:38 am }
14 Jennifer { 12.16.18 at 8:21 pm }

Hi dave,

Thanks I just read your response regarding the impact on the parks when star wars land opens.

Question: my husband and I were thinking of going back either first or second week of december of 2019 but the travel agent we usually use said a lot of the resorts are already filling up. I know theres not an exact date as of yet, but our concern was even though we’d avoid HS, in the likely event it’ll hit capacity once it opens, would that cause the other parks to get crazy as well as people are turned away?

15 Dave { 12.17.18 at 7:07 am }

Hey Jennifer, this is absolutely possible. It is not what happened at Harry Potter–people either waited in line or avoided Universal entirely–but it is possible.

16 Jennifer { 12.17.18 at 7:01 pm }

Thanks Dave 🙂

I think we’re going to go with our premonition and wait till May of 2020, (our second favorite time to go) 🙂

Leave a Comment | Ask a Question | Note a Problem

My response to questions and comments will be on the same page as the original comment, likely within 24-36 hours . . . I reserve the right to edit and delete comments as I choose . . . All rights reserved. Copyright 2008-2018 . . . Unless otherwise noted, all photos are by me--even the ones in focus--except for half a dozen from my niecelets . . . This site is entirely unofficial and not authorized by any organizations written about in it . . . All references to Disney and other copyrighted characters, trademarks, marks, etc., are made solely for editorial purposes. The author makes no commercial claim to their use . . . Nobody's perfect, so follow any advice here at your own risk.