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.—Disney World Instructions for the First-Time Visitor

How to Use

By Dave Shute


This site is designed for first time family visitors to Walt Disney World who do not know if they will ever return.

It guarantees the best possible first family visit to Walt Disney World for the least possible time spent planning!

To use this site, begin by clicking here for the Summary of Instructions.

Follow the instructions that you can, and where you can’t, click the links in the Summary of Instructions for your next best options, ranked in order!

If you are looking for something specific,

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1 B { 03.12.12 at 2:37 am }

Hi , I need your assistance please. I am from South Africa , i have a 11 year old boy and a 6 year old girl and my husband and i would like to take them to WDW. Their holidays are from 23rd June – 25 July , they break again from 28 Sept to 07 Oct and again from 07 Dec 2012 to 10 Jan 2013 . Please can you advise , the best times to travel there for a week as well as where exactly to stay , and dining options to choose (all not to expensive but yet to get the Disney experience) ? i know you have already given some advise to others but i donot understand everything . Lastly < please advise on what not to miss out on ….thanks a million 🙂 B

2 Dave { 03.12.12 at 1:22 pm }

B, all your quesitons are answered on this site. Start with the home page and work your way through by topic! is the home page…

3 B { 03.13.12 at 3:29 am }

Thanks a mil .. B

4 Dave { 03.13.12 at 6:37 am }


5 Kim { 03.19.12 at 11:17 pm }

Hi Dave. Great site. My 2 kids (aged9&11) and my husband are heading to Florida on march 29 until April 13. Can you advise us as to the least busy dates we might find during this period. And if we had only two days – can you advise us which venues we should target. We all love nature. Thank you very much!!

6 Dave { 03.20.12 at 6:38 am }

Hi Kim–your time is one of the two or three busiest of the year at WDW. There are no good days, but the best will likely be the 29, 30, 31 of March and then, perhaps, the 12th and 13th of April.

You should go to the Magic Kingdom, and may well find it worth two days–most people do. After that, given the ages of yuor kids, either Hollywood Studios or the Animal Kingdom is your next best bet…

7 Shef { 04.30.12 at 6:54 pm }

Hi there. Question: My family is 2 adults (my husband and I) and 2 girls age 7 and 5. We booked the polynesian but then found out my parents (in their late 50s) want to join for the week. What do you suggest for accommodations? we like poly b/c of convenience/monorail but we would want either 2 separate rooms or a 2 bdrom condo/villa. Seems that the beach club villas are sold out already!! Anything else? I feel like there are not that many choices for us?

8 Dave { 05.01.12 at 1:53 pm }

Hi Shef, see the material that begins here for my suggestions:

9 Nancy { 06.15.12 at 8:00 am }

Hello, We are planning a trip to Florida Jan 4th through the 12th. I havent booked anything yet. I am waiting to see if Disney will be having any special offers at this time. Do you know if they typically do?

10 Dave { 06.15.12 at 9:55 am }

Hi Nancy, that period has been commonly discounted in the past few years. No guarantees, but it’s possible!

11 Jen { 08.15.12 at 11:42 pm }

Hi Dave, going to WDW for our first visit in 2 wks, staying at Pop per your recommendation. Is there one place that’s better than others for buying souvenirs ??? Downtown ?? Thanks for this site !!

12 Dave { 08.16.12 at 6:55 am }

Hi Jen, while DTD has the biggest selection of souvenirs, you’ll find huge souvenir variety in every park as well, particularly in MK. So I’d not make a special trip to DTD for souvenirs…

13 Janet { 08.28.12 at 12:32 pm }

Dave – We are planning a family vacation November 4 – 11 with our grandchildren ages 5 (boy) and 4 (girl). We were thinking of spending 2 days at Disney. What park would you recommend for their age and do you think 2 days is OK? Can we get an itinerary?
Thank you for your time.

14 Dave { 08.28.12 at 12:56 pm }
15 Amy { 10.20.12 at 11:53 am }

Dave, my husband and I are taking our 8yo son for his third time and our 5yo daughter for her first visit 11/24-12/2/12 and staying at the Poly (first time here). We’ve never been that long before and are excited about how much we will be able to do. We have 2 nights in the middle of our trip and are trying to decide how best to use them. On wed 11/28 we are breaking away to see Harry Potter World, but planning to be back that afternoon on thursday we will be at Hollywood studios most of the day. we will have already done fantasmic and MVMCP and thinking of maybe staying around hotel one night to eat at ohana and the other night maybe hoop de doo v./cir.d.s. ?? never done any of that but want to know what would be best use of our time and most enjoyable. any suggestions?

16 Dave { 10.20.12 at 1:20 pm }

Hi Amy! I’d save Cirque for when your daughter is a little older, and target either Hoop or a free night with nothing scheduled…

17 Carrie { 10.24.12 at 10:11 am }

Hi Dave, my family has both 8:10am and 8:45am adr’s to Crystal Palace when MK opens at 9am. We’ll be heading there this April 2013. I want to cancel one of those times sooner than later to be courteous to others. Will we miss rope drop either way, even with the 8:10 reservation? How long does a typical character breakfast last. I’m not looking to rush through especially since it seems like the only way to meet characters without waiting in long HOT lines.

18 Dave { 10.24.12 at 12:58 pm }

Hi Carrie, you may be OK with the 8.10. The meal will take 45 minutes to an hour, but since it’s a buffet you can shape the time yourself…Try to arrive at the turnstile right at 8 so you can back to Crystal Palace ASAP

19 Carrie { 10.24.12 at 2:21 pm }

Thanks that is helpful. I’ve been hearing/reading different reports as to how to get to an early adr. Some say a taxi is a must and other say that the buses actually begin running ~6:30am regardless of which park has morning magic hours. Do you have any experience with this?
thanks again.

20 Dave { 10.24.12 at 2:27 pm }

Carrie–the day before your ADR, check with your hotel lobby concierge (assuming you are at a WDW hotel). The concierge will tell you when and where to pick up your bus! They do begin a special set of buses early for 8ish ADRs–dunno if it’s 6.30, but connect with the concierge and all will be well!

21 Joe { 12.31.12 at 10:32 am }

Hello, we are planning a visit the first week in March with three kids ages 3, 6 and 8. What would your recommendation be on where to stay? We thinking the cabins at Fort Wilderness, or maybe a one bedroom villa at the Wilderness Lodge? Any thoughts on either of those as far as convenience with three kids…thanks so much!

22 Dave { 12.31.12 at 2:01 pm }

Hey Joe, Fort Wilderness is incredibly inconvenient unless you have a car…There’s only a few villa resorts with one bedroom villas that you can book 5 into, and WL is not one of them. The most convenient of them is Bay Lake Tower–see this:

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23 Joe { 01.05.13 at 12:47 am }

Hi Dave,
Thanks for your reply. We had called about the 1 bedroom villa at WL and did find out we can’t stay there with 5. Bay Lake is booked and we really wanted to be able to use the boat transportation or monorail so we booked a room at the Polynesian. A little nervous about a single standard room with three kids but they said room sleeps 5. Do you think this would be ok? Do you recommend putting in a request for a certain building or area of the Polynesian?
Thank you very much for your help,

24 Dave { 01.05.13 at 7:43 am }

Hey Joe, you’ll be fine at the Poly. However, some buildings there are even better than others. See the bottom of this page for specifics:

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25 Missy { 03.05.14 at 12:41 pm }

Do you have any information how the rider swap works? Can it be used along with fast pass?

26 Dave { 03.06.14 at 8:26 am }

Missy, I don’t have a post on rider switch because I focus on older kids, but yes, you can use it with FP+. Here’s Disney’s page in how it works:

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