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

2013 Cheat Sheet for Walt Disney World

By Dave Shute


Disney World Cheat SheetJames McC. emailed last year to thank me for this site, and among other things said “It really helped, it was kind of like a cheat sheet.”

A “Cheat Sheet” is a “concise set of notes used for quick reference” and is a great description of what the site is trying to do.

So based on these thoughts and what people pin on Pinterest, I’ve put together the four-page Walt Disney World 2013 Cheat Sheet. Click the link to open up the (1.9 mb) PDF.

(The image at the top of this page is an example page from it.)



1 DisneyDiningAgent { 12.10.12 at 11:05 am }

Just some tidbits on upcoming things:

The Disney Senses spa at the Grand Floridian will open on 12-17-12. Unlike the spas currently on the property, this spa is Disney-owned. Reservations can be made now and select dining agents are the people taking reservations for the spa. Pricing/packages/reservations are not currently available online, you have to call for info. Please call: 407-939-7727.

Le Cellier will be two table services (TS) per person off the Disney Dining Plan(DDP) in 2013.

Disney is experimenting with quick service (QS) Fantasmic packages again this year. They are one QS meal off the DPP. Here is the info:

Fantasmic! Taste of Hollywood Package 2012

Dining dates of Saturday Dec. 22, 2012 – Saturday Jan. 5, 2013
The five meals in the “Adult” category each include an entrée, two sides, dessert and 20oz. fountain soda or bottled water. Guests can choose from:
? Cold Fried Chicken
? Veggie Wrap
? California Tuna Roll
? Cold Cut Roast Beef
? Cajun Shrimp Salad
Adult meals are priced at $15.99 plus tax per meal (if you pay out of pocket)

The two kids’ meals include:
? Turkey and American Cheese wrap
? Kid’s Power Pack
Each meal includes yogurt, apples & carrots, a cookie bar and a 20oz. fountain soda or bottled water.
Kid’s meals are priced at $5.49 plus tax per meal.

You can get a package with meal and ticket for either the 1st or 2nd show. You pick up your meal and ticket at Min and Bill’s Dockside diner starting at 11:00am until 1.5 hours prior to showtime on the day of the show.

Contemporary Resort – Refurbishment of California Grill starting 2/2/13-no end time yet, some time late summer.

2 Dave { 12.11.12 at 9:20 am }

Thanks as always for the scoop!! I’ve added some bold to your comment to help the topics jump out…

3 linda passarelli { 01.09.13 at 10:44 pm }

How and where is the site to find out when and where the high school band especially Austintown Fitch Band is is playing in Feb. I can not find it. will be in Fl. around theis time but I want to see this band . I am from Austintown.ohio

4 Dave { 01.10.13 at 7:46 am }

Linda that’s a great question, and I don’t know the answer. The band director or the school oughta know, but I haven’t run across a site that will help.

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5 Rachel { 01.19.13 at 4:08 pm }

I could be wrong, but I thought that I read somewhere on your site that there was a certain date that you could try to make or change dinner reservations if you were unable to get them previously. Do you know what that date would be? Also, we are coming March 30th for 7 days. You had previously had posted an Easter Itinerary. Should I use the Summer V3 itinerary or the Easter itinerary for my week? Thanks.

6 Dave { 01.20.13 at 8:29 am }

Hiya Rachel!

A bunch of the restaurants now have a penalty if not cancelled within 24 hours, so a glop of cancellations tends to come in the day or two before. And yes–Easter operations used to be slightly different than summer operations, so I had two itineraries, but now they are similar so the Summer 3 itinerary works just fine!

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7 Anonymous { 02.17.13 at 2:29 pm }

Planning visit oct 17-21. First time visit would this week be good for toddlers? Any rides closed? What is weather like?

8 Dave { 02.18.13 at 6:36 am }

Hi, I think that’s a great week–see #4 here: There’s not any currently scheduled closures, and that can be the second-best weather of they year at WDW–see this:

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9 mike { 02.26.13 at 6:52 am }

Plan on a 10/20/13- 10/ 26/13 WDW trip and was wondering how much of rehab is being done on the Poly and will we notice it?

10 Dave { 02.26.13 at 7:42 am }

Hi Mike, I don’t know anything more recent than this:

It looks like the renovation is going building by building, so that part won’t much matter (in other words, they’ll close the whole longhouse, so no one will be in it to face construction noise/mess).

What will make some difference is renovation to the central Great Ceremonial Hall, but that seems not to be scheduled yet.

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11 mike { 02.26.13 at 2:43 pm }

Thanks, have stayed at the GF the last few years and want to change things up. We have never been in the Poly so we are looking at it. Read that the layout is large and confusing, what do you think?

12 Dave { 02.26.13 at 3:13 pm }

It’s both larger and more confusing than GF, Mike, but not that hard to figure out once you are there. There’s profound differences among the longhouses, though…see this for recommended buildings:

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13 mike { 02.26.13 at 5:59 pm }

Dave, you are the best. Thank you for such quick response. Really enjoy all the other questions on your site. Thank you

14 Dave { 02.26.13 at 6:16 pm }

Thank you, Mike, and feel free to tell your 1,000 closest friends about the site. And if you end up at the Poly, come back here and let me know what you think vs GF!

15 Shukonda { 03.03.13 at 12:46 am }

We are staying off-property from 3/3–4/6 and wanted to spend Easter at Magic Kingdom because it sounds so…well…Magical! I know it’s high volume and probably will be for our entire trip, but what do you think? We only plan to visit Magic Kingdom and Epcot this trip while also visiting Universal and enjoy what the Nickoodeon hotel has to offer. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

16 Dave { 03.03.13 at 5:52 am }

Well, Shukonda…the parks will be just mobbed, with 2-3 hours waits for the major rides, so I don;t see it as magical at all…so personally I’d save the money and return during a time when you aren’t facing one of the 3 or 4 busiest weeks of the year…

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17 betsy { 03.15.13 at 9:00 am }

We are thinking about going to Orlando June 4-? We have a 14 year old son. Never been there except for husband about 30 years ago. where would the best place to stay be for us and what would be the highlights maybe for us having a 14 year old – sports not important.
Thanks- this trip is a bit overwheming to figure out; your site is very helpful

18 Dave { 03.15.13 at 9:58 am }

Hi Betsy, just start at the home page and work your way through its topics. It covers how long to stay, where to stay, what to do, and everything else!

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19 vivian { 03.15.13 at 9:19 pm }

Hi Dave,
First of all, wha a great work!!!
Last year I visited your site and I planned my trip with my kids(6y and 2y) for 25/04 – 11/05 because of the early easter this year.
For this period can I use the Itinerary V3? I will be arriving on friday the 25th late at night.
Do I need to book the Chef’s Mickey and the Cinderella Royal Table in advance? What about the others parks like: Sea World, Wet’n Wild and Universal Studios?

20 Dave { 03.16.13 at 7:21 am }

Hi Vivian, you can use the itinerary, but you’ll need to modify it a bit for your different calendar (in it, Saturday means Saturday, not Day 1.)

The restaurants are bookable 180 days in advance, and many of the best sell out 5 or 6 months ahead of time. So yes, book those meals right await!

I don’t track Universal etc closely…sorry!

21 Karin { 04.06.13 at 10:20 am }

Any news if Disney will be offering the $399 deal for premium annual pass for dvc again in 2013?

22 Dave { 04.06.13 at 5:27 pm }

Hi Karin! Because of this site’s focus on first time visitors, I don’t track DVC perks. But you likely can find an answer here:

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23 Tammy { 05.05.13 at 8:20 pm }

Love your website! Clear, informative with lots of feedback. My question; I’ve read that thanksgiving week is not a great time to go (as I teacher – my times are all limited) but I like the idea of seeing Disney decorated for the Christmas season (it will be our first family trip for my six and five year old and I want it to be special). Would it be better earlier in the week…say the sun/mon/tues before thanksgiving? Or is it less crowded ON thanksgiving?

24 Dave { 05.06.13 at 12:24 pm }

Hi Tammy and thanks! I will be a teeny bit better but not much… hardly enough to notice…

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25 Evan { 06.11.13 at 5:15 pm }

I have a trip planned for 0ct 14-19th, staying at the Contemporary, and was very disappointed when I was unable to book a dinner at Chef mickeys (I tried just a tad under the 6 month recommendation) during hours suitable for my 2 kids (4 and 2 yo). what’s your knowledge/experience about how possible it is to obtain reservations for a busy place like this when I get there? Or does the reservations likely open up as it gets closer due to cancellations?

26 Dave { 06.12.13 at 7:44 am }

Hey Evan, I can’t give you a percentage chance–I can only agree with you that as people cancel a day or two before, some slots do open up…Not sure when you tried to reserve, but your 180 day mark was almost two months ago…

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27 Evan { 06.12.13 at 9:39 am }

yes I tried about a month ago. and did not realize how in demand that place would be. thanks for the reponse!

28 Dave { 06.12.13 at 5:43 pm }

Sorry, Evan!

29 Lindsey { 06.27.13 at 6:24 pm }

Does Disney typically offer free dining in December and when is it usually released?

30 Dave { 06.28.13 at 7:00 am }

Lindsey, it’s complicated, because “typically” isn’t much relevant this year. See this:

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31 Tara { 07.06.13 at 7:34 am }

Love your site! We’ve been about 6 times in the past 9 years, but kept adding kids 🙂 we fell in love with ft. Wilderness cabins, full kitchen and golf carts ;), but we are about to size out, as our 5th child turns 3. For a family of 7 on a hotel budget, do you recommend hoping for connecting rooms at Pop or AofA? Thanks! Hoping to hit the value season in November or February. Also wanted to add my husband and I went for 3 nights to the Beach club this June, and that sure was great for getting to and enjoying Epcot. (But 2 rooms in the Epcot area seems to be a bit crushing?)

32 Dave { 07.06.13 at 9:05 am }

Hi Tara and thanks!!

Seven people is an awkward group, as you know. My vote is for renting points and going for a 2 bedroom villa at Old Key West. See this: and its links.

You probably already know this, and it matters little, but November is no longer “value season.” A couple of years ago, Disney converted it to “Fall” season, at a slightly higher price.

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33 Tara { 07.06.13 at 3:29 pm }

Thank you! You have great, fresh information on every page!

34 Dave { 07.07.13 at 8:37 am }


35 Lynne { 07.07.13 at 9:40 am }

This will be our first time at Animal Kingdom Lodge Villas (Sept 27, 2013 for one week). Any suggestions on what’s happening at the parks for those dates and what room numbers to ask for?

I do enjoy your site and your amazing knowledge.


36 Dave { 07.08.13 at 7:12 am }

Hi Lynne, and thanks!

My suggestions on where to stay at AKL Jambo House villas are here:

That week, you have the Halloween Party and the beginning of the Food and Wine Festival

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37 angela { 07.25.13 at 4:25 pm }

My husband and i are taking our 6 yeat old and our 2 year old on August 14 for 5 days. How miserable is that going to be weather wise? Lay it on me…dont hold back. My husband did not understand why i picked this time for our first time to go. I was just thinking anout going before school starts up again.

38 Dave { 07.26.13 at 7:44 am }

Well, Angela, you can expect highs in the 90s, high humidity, and daily (but brief) afternoon thunderstorms. See

The best way to handle it is to focus your park visits on the early mornings and evenings, and take the afternoons off, napping or at the pool…

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39 Teri { 09.03.13 at 12:06 am }

My sister and I will be staying at the Boardwalk on 12-31-13 thru 1-5-14. Please give us the hot tip where to go for a New Years celebration. Ideally we would love to make a reservation, dining outside and be there to watch fireworks. Is this at all possible??

40 Dave { 09.03.13 at 7:29 am }

Teri, see this:

Re dining, there’s one reservable dining venue at Epcot–the Rose and Crown–where it’s possible to be seated outside, and see the fireworks from there. But there aren’t many seats, New Year Eve is–by far–the most crowded day of the year at Epcot, and so I’m sure those seats booked up months ago…

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41 Penny { 10.13.13 at 7:53 am }

David, We are heading to Disney Dec. 14-20th. There will be 8 of us. Our family which includes my husband and our 4 kids, 2, 6, 9, and 13 and my parents. Is there any special events that you really recommend for us to do this time of year and where is a good place for my parents to stay? We are staying at the wilderness cabins. Is there any Disney resort that is reasonable that sleeps just two? We already made our reservations and now they decide to tag along. My mom had health issues that are now resolved. Help. Thanks so much.

42 Dave { 10.13.13 at 11:48 am }

Hi Penny, first, see this It’s a day longer than your trip, but is otherwise a really good fit. It’s framed to see all the special xmas stuff that’s noted here:

Second, I’m really not keen on the cabins for first-time visitors. For why, see my review here: Moreover, there’s nothin inexpensive for your parents nearby.

A much better choice would be for you guys to get a six-person family suite at Art of Animation, and your parents to get a 4 person standard room there. Links to both are found on this overview:

If the standard rooms at Art of Animation are sold out–as they often are–then your parents can get a standard room at Pop Century, just nearby, or you could give up on Art of Animation and try for a family suite and a standard room at All-Star Music. Links to all these are here:

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43 Bob { 10.20.13 at 1:01 am }

11 of us staying at Cars resort oct 25 thru nov 2. What kind of crowds can we expect?? Rainy?? Gonna need jackets??Any suggestions for must see? 5 grandkids never been there. Coming in from Arizona.. Thanks Dave..

44 Dave { 10.20.13 at 7:05 am }

Hi Bob! See this–all your questions are answered in it:

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