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

Cheat Sheet for Walt Disney World in 2014

By Dave Shute

My four-page Walt Disney World Cheat Sheet–an example page is to the right–includes a number of this site’s famous charts and graphs. It’s updated to reflect FastPass+.

In total, the cheat sheet provides the key stuff you need for planning your 2014 first family visit to Walt Disney World.

Click here to open it as a PDF–it’s 1.47 MB, so might take a bit.

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1 Linda { 09.28.13 at 6:24 am }

Great website!
We are arriving on 6th April 2014 for two weeks. probably staying at either Wilderness Lodge or Saratoga – (just working out difference in cost- also get free dining plan). I have noticed that the first week is not so bad crowds wise but the second is one of the busiest. we have 2 children (1 girl 1 boy) 8 and 6 – is there anything you would suggest doing in the first week rather than the second and vice versa given the crowds?
Many thanks!

2 Dave { 09.28.13 at 10:29 am }

Hiya Linda, and thanks!

Frankly, I’d try to do everything the first week, and save the second week for repeat visits. Take a look at this for an itinerary that’s pretty much everything in the first part of your visit:

Was this even remotely helpful?

Well then mosey on over to the home page, and like it on Facebook or pin it on Pinterest!

3 Jenny { 10.27.13 at 9:22 am }

Going to WDW for the first time from Februrary 4-11 2014. Any recommendations?? Kids are 13 girl, 9 girl and 4 boy. We purchased the dining plan. I looked on line for Cinderella’s castle breakfast and or was pre pay even with the dining package?? Any tips for a awesome vacation will be much appreciated!! Thank you!!

4 Dave { 10.27.13 at 11:00 am }

Jenny, they will take your credit card info so they can hit you with the full charge if you are a no-show. You can still use credits from the dining plan.

See this for more on your dates, including a recommended itinerary. The itinerary does not match your days, but it will give you a strong start for your planning!

Was this even remotely helpful?

Well then mosey on over to the home page, and like it on Facebook or pin it on Pinterest!

5 Tammy Bearden { 12.07.13 at 11:56 pm }

Staying 5 full days in 2014 – March 31 – April 5 (possibly staying the 6th as well)
Kids ages 13,10,9 (all tall enough for all rides finally lol) any suggestions for seeing and riding all the “must do’s” while there? Are the crowds going to be manageable for a mom alone with 3 kiddos? Any tips are appreciated.

6 Dave { 12.08.13 at 12:18 pm }

Tammy, I’m not too keen on that week–see this:

At those ages, with 5 days I’d plan two days at MK, and one each at the other three parks.

I don’t have itineraries for trips that short, but take a look at this: Josh also has great stuff here:

The 31st, avoid HS and AK–Epcot is your best bet.
Te 1st avoid Epcot–this is a good MK day
The 2nd avoid AK, this is a good day for MK
The 3rd avoid MK–this is a good day for AK
The 4th, avoid Epcot and try HS

7 Mona { 12.14.13 at 3:15 pm }

Hi, I have reservations for Sun. MARCH 1ST thru Thurs. March 6th. 3 adult s and 7 year old little princess. Tentatively scheduling Sunday for MK, was able to get a late 5:25 app at BBBoutique and late CRT reservation at 9:25 I also have a reservation at 1900 PL for 8:25. Not sure where to eat that night. I also plan on doing MK on Wed. MARCH 5th. I have Tomorrow Lane Dessert Party Reservation for 7:05 bot o expect that to change seeing wishes is at 10. I have CRT reservation for 2:10 this day and 1900 Park Fare reservation for 4:35. I have never been to disney so not combination would work best in timing and getting from place to place. Please advise.

8 Joe { 12.14.13 at 5:57 pm }

We’re trying to plan a 2014 trip with our (then) 4 and 8 year olds. Due to school schedules of both the kids and my wife, who is a teacher, as well as an early summer commitment, we’re pretty limited to either early August or the week after Xmas. I’m torn because you say to avoid Xmas week due to big crowds and higher prices, but I’m also concerned about dragging my kids around in 90+ degree swampland temps for a week. I have no expectations of this being a relaxing week, but I don’t want to make it any worse than necessary. What do you think? What’s worse with small children, big crowds or sweltering heat?

9 Melissa { 12.14.13 at 10:16 pm }

Hi Dave. We are arriving April 6th for 5 nights at wilderness lodge. Doing 4 days of parks. Plan to just hit the pool and relax our arrival day. Any suggestions for a dinner place that first night? Does the boat from wilderness go to the Polynesian? Also I see you state it’s a good week to go crowd wise. Do you think we won’t even need to bother with the fast passes that week? Thanks!

10 Dave { 12.15.13 at 10:29 am }

Hi Mona!

What other parks are you interested in and for how many days? A seven year old could enjoy all the Disney parks except perhaps Epcot–altho princesses love Akershus at Epcot (see )

One of the reasons I ask is that March 2 will not be a great day at MK. The 4th and 5th will be much better!

Book breakfast in parks either at 8 or 8.10, or 10.30 or later. Otherwise you are wasting low-crowd times (the lines are always shortest at opening and the 60-90 minutes after.)

And be sure ot check out FastPass+

11 Dave { 12.15.13 at 10:31 am }

Joe, I’d pretty definitively pick August. The reason is that by taking the afternoons off and napping or swimming, you can avoid the worst of the heat…but there’s no good way to miss the truly astonishing crowds after Xmas…

12 Dave { 12.15.13 at 10:35 am }

Melissa–“good week crowd wise” means good compared to other weeks. There will still be tons of people, so you will still need to arrive at the parks before they open, use FastPass+, etc!

Re dining advice–do you have kids, and if so, how old? One set of boats goes from WL to MK, and another from WL to the Contemporary and Fort Wilderness. Between the three hotels involved in the second boat, there’s great dining for any goal. See also this:

To get to the Poly, take the first boat that is going to either MK or the Contemporary, and there grab the Resort Monorail.

13 Melissa { 12.17.13 at 12:53 pm }

Thanks! Yes we have two boys ages 4 and 6. Any dining advice with that in mind?

14 Dave { 12.18.13 at 10:00 am }

Melissa, with the boys, Whispering Canyon at the Wilderness Lodge would be my choice for the combination of simplicity–it’s right there–and family fun

15 Lisa { 12.29.13 at 10:09 pm }

Hi, we are looking at booking a trip for 8 possibly 9 of us for our first trip to Disney World, possibly May August or September. What would some of your recommendations be as where to stay for our two families as one group. We probably are looking to stay on the resort as I’m sure we don’t want to be taking taxi’s everywhere. Also what do you recommend for meal plannings as we are on a budget.

16 Dave { 12.30.13 at 7:26 am }
17 Candy Miller { 01.02.14 at 2:58 pm }

We are going to Disney Feb 24-March 2. There will be 4 adults and 1 child who will be turning 4 on Feb 28th. We are staying at Port Orleans French Quarter. Any recommendations for how to arrange/schedule our days would be a HUGE help as well as must sees or places we need to reserve for meals…all this planning is overwhelming and I want it to be an extra special birthday trip. Thanks

18 Dave { 01.03.14 at 8:11 am }

Hi Candy, my stuff focuses on kids 8 or older so I don’t have a lot to help. But here’s some thoughts:

Kids that age can have a trip entirely focused on the Magic Kingdom, for 2-3 mornings and one evening. You could also spend a morning at each of Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom. A morning at Epcot is also a possibilty

In general, avoid parks on days they have extra magic hours or late closes. Those dates, avoid all but Epcot the 24th, avoid Epcot the 25th, avoid AK the 26th, avoid MK the 27th, avoid Epcot the 28th, avoid HS March 1, and avoid MK March 2. The best MK days will be the 25th and 26th, and then the 28th.

Many of the best loved meals will have booked out months ago. But you can use this to target them:

Hope this helps!!

19 Jenn { 01.03.14 at 9:08 pm }

Hello Dave,
I just found your website and am very excited. We are planning our first trip to Disney World with our two girls. They are 7 and 4. It was a quick decision a few months ago to surprise them on Christmas morning so we are trying to work out all of the details. We are flying in the night of February 21st and leaving the morning of the 26th. Our plan is to do Animal Kingdom on the 22nd. MK on the 23rd and 25th. And Hollywood Studios on the 24th. We have no idea what we are doing. I didn’t realize planning this trip would be so stressful. We are staying off site so we aren’t doing the meal plan. We plan to go to Rainforest Café one day and also Chef Mickeys at some point. Any other ideas of where we should take the girls to eat? Cinderella’s castle was booked of course. I look forward to checking out the rest of your site!
Thank You!!

20 Dave { 01.04.14 at 10:11 am }

Hi Jenn! Keep the questions coming, that’s what this site is for.

First…change your planned park days. MK will be quite busy the 23rd, as will be both AK and HS the 24th. I’d do MK the 24nd and 25th, AK the 22nd, and HS the 23rd.

On dining…your trip is a little short, so I wouldn’t overdo this. Do the Rainforest cafe for lunch at AK, and consider–if your 4yo is a DIsney Junior fan–lunch at HS at Hollywood and Vine:

AT MK, aim for lunch or dinner at the Crystal Palace (or Chef Mickey’s if you can get it, but CP tends to be easier to book this late…), and do the rest of your meals as counter-service…

21 Jenn { 01.05.14 at 11:44 am }

Thank you so much Dave,
That was our original schedule until I got onto a site and it showed the crowd expected. It showed that MK would be busy on that Monday so we switched HS to Monday. Its so confusing. We weren’t sure if because of the princess marathon if that’s why HS was supposed to be busy on Sunday.
But I trust your opinion and will move things back around to our original plan if possible. Thank you again for all of your help!

22 Dave { 01.05.14 at 12:31 pm }

Jenn the only daily crowd calendar I trust is Josh’s…see this:

23 Lisa { 01.05.14 at 8:25 pm }

Ended up changing our travel plans a bit, now we are coming with our two boys 13 and 15 from March 27th- until April 9th, from an earlier March date, and staying at Port Orleans French quarter,I am guessing this time frame will see fewer crowds then earlier on is that correct? Also would you recommend getting the hopper pass option since are stay is also extended? We are also wanting to get to Universal studios, would renting a car be our best option to go to Universal and sea world and maybe a couple other outside of Disney World places? Can you recommend an itinery for this time period, and what days we might want to stray away from Disney World? Do you recommend reserving all sit down meals ahead of schedule..we will be on a dining plan as well. Any favourite places to eat that you recommend? Sorry for a ton of questions, I am enjoying your site and learning lots..TY for helping us plan a trip of a lifetime!

24 Jenn { 01.05.14 at 11:35 pm }

Hello Dave,
As I’ve said in each post “so stressful” We decided to change everything today except the dates we are going. Once we sat down and decided how much we were spending on renting a car, how much the character dinners were, and other things we decided our best bet would be to stay on site so that we can do the dining plan as well as hopefully try to enjoy some extra magic hours, and not have to stress about parking and driving.
What would your recommendation be for which parks we should go to which day now? Should I keep them the same? Of course I’ve already made reservations for places but now I am unsure of where we should go to and when to get the nost of our stay. You have been so wonderful and helpful. Thank you so much.

25 Dave { 01.06.14 at 8:28 am }

Hi Lisa!!

No you don’t need a hopper…and if you decide once you are on site that you want one, you can add one then at the same cost as buying it now.

I don’t remember your original dates so dunno if that will be more crowded or not! My crowd forecasts for then are here:

You can use my AWS itinerary as a starting point, but you’ll need to a. keep your eye out for earlier openings and b. supplement it with FastPass+ thoughts.

The itinerary is here and my thoughts on how to do FastPass+ are here:

Dining suggestions are in the itinerary–you need to book them now as they start filling 6 months before…

Typically, Universal and SeaWorld are least crowded Sat-Mon, so you can adjust the itin for that, given the length of your stay. The best way to see Universal is to stay in one of its three deluxe hotels for a night–this gives you special privileges the day of check in and the day of check out. See this:

Having a car is always handy, but not essential. See this and also this:

26 Dave { 01.06.14 at 8:35 am }

Jenn, I’d keep your park dates the same. EMH days are generally more crowded than non EMH days, so its best to avoid them…

27 Lindsey { 01.09.14 at 11:00 am }

Hi we are looking to go April 23 to the 30th.. We are a family of 7 16 yr old, 9,7,6 and 2.. I was wondering if this is a good time to go. We are not staying on the grounds. I am looking to buy tickets for 5 days and wondering if there will be any deals and if that is a good amount of time for all parks. If there are any other things I need to know as it being out first time. Thank you

28 Dave { 01.10.14 at 7:00 am }

Hi Lindsey, on your specific questions, yes and yes! See this for your week and see this for the deal that’s out now for then:

On the “other things you need to know”–start on the home page and work your way thru its topics and links!:

29 Samantha { 01.18.14 at 5:17 pm }

Hi Dave!-
I am trying to plan our 1st Disney trip, dates would be March10-13, (Spring Break for my Kindergartener) checking out 14th. This would be at Art of Animation. We have Military perks, but couldn’t lodge until the last week of May at Shades of Green. Son will be a week shy of 6yo and daughter will be 4. I looked at the charts for peak crowds & would like to come during Fall break (Oct. 13-16, checking out 17th) with the 4 day park hopper military tickets, but that being said- there is no guarantee te Government won’t shutdown again. If we could come in March or May this spring, what Parks, days would you suggest, do’s and don’t suggestions, things geared for the kids ages etc. Or should I play the waiting game and hope there is a deal on tickets for the fiscal year of 14′-15?

30 Samantha { 01.18.14 at 8:23 pm }

(in your opinion) for 4 days at WDW, would you recommend the Dining plan? We’ve changed dates to Labor Day weekend- for more booking options for dining etc.

31 Scott { 01.18.14 at 11:04 pm }

Samantha, for what it is worth we are planning a 4 day trip and are not getting the dining plan. This is partially because of where we plan to dine, which will include Yachtsman Steakhouse a credit choice. The dining plan is boarder line not worth it.

32 Dave { 01.19.14 at 8:08 am }

Samantha, as you know there’s no guarantee that the military salute will continue beyond September–we all hope so, but won;t know til it’s announced.

I focus on kids much older (see ) but for kids that age with a 4 day ticket I’d spend two days at MK and a morning each at Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom.

Your March dates will be wildly busy, so you’ll want to be at the parks before they open and use FastPass+…

33 Dave { 01.19.14 at 8:09 am }

The dining plan doesn’t save much money any more, so I agree with Scott–it doesn’t much matter whether you get it or not…

34 Twin mom { 01.19.14 at 9:04 pm }

We are planning to visit Disney 12/3-8. After stumbling up on your site, I noticed Pop Warner begins the 7th. Do you think we should change our reservation to earlier 11/29-12/4 or earlier in November. We will be visiting with our twins 8 years old and mother, brother, and 2 nieces 9 & 4. There will be a total of 8 people in our party. We are staying at POFQ, but I’m starting to second guess myself. Would you recommend Carribbean Beach or Coronado Springs. I’ve always heard great things about POFQ, but it’s been about 3+ years since my visit and researching. All of your suggestions will be appreciated. I need to know where you would stay, when you would visit, and any other tips for such a large group. Also, would I need strollers this time? I saw big kids riding last time, but would love your opinion 😉

35 Dave { 01.20.14 at 6:35 am }

Hi Twin mom! On Pop Warner, it’s trivial and don;t worry about it–see this:

On strollers…many find them a great help even with kids that have grown out of them recently. WDW take a look of walking and long hours, and wears kids out.

For large families, start here:

For your other questions–start on the home page and work your way through its topics and links!

36 jeff { 01.21.14 at 6:43 pm }

We are going to be in Orlando for a conference at the Conference Center near Sea World on April 10th, 11th, and 12th. We like the idea of fitting a “Disney” experience in while we are there. Our children will be 2.5 and 1. We really like to end our trip with a Magic Kingdom visit, and not end on a “boring” conference:)

QUESTION 1 – Which day(s) from April 9th-15th would you recommend for Magic Kingdom?

QUESTION 2 – With a 1 and 2 year old, we don’t want to wear them out, but would you recommend a 2nd park or best to stick with MK?

37 Dave { 01.22.14 at 7:48 am }

Jeff, frankly with kids that age it doesn’t much matter, as there’s very little that they will “get.”. MK alone will be fine, but AK and HS are also worth a morning visit.

Your dates the 11th will be best at MK…on the 12th, the Easter crowds start piling in…

38 Mary V { 01.23.14 at 12:08 pm }

Just found your site – Yeah! We’re 68 and plan to go to Polynesian June 4-12.
Any suggestions? June 11th is our anniversary – maybe we should go on that boat for fireworks

39 Jill { 01.24.14 at 12:21 pm }

New to your site. We are taking our first trip next month 2/22-3/1. We have a little boy that will turn 7 while we are there, Infact both he & I are celebrating our birthdays while there. I have looked at the calendar & hours over & over & still not sure where to go on which days. We are staying off site since it was so much cheaper. Any tips on where to go on which days and what we should do for our birthdays, or atleast my sons bday. I am excited & nervous about the trip all at the same time. I have trouble walking long periods or standing long and hope crowds & wait time will be low.

40 Dave { 01.24.14 at 2:03 pm }

Mary, I’m not so keen on the boat,as the fireworks are so much better from in the park. How about a celebratory dinner at Victoria and Alberts? See

41 Dave { 01.24.14 at 2:17 pm }

Hi Jill! First on the birthdays, see this

2/22: avoid HS
2/23: avoid MK
2/24 avoid all but Epcot
2/25 avoid Epcot
2/26 avoid AK
2/27 avoid MK
2/28 avoid Epcot
3/1: avoid HS

42 First Timer { 01.28.14 at 3:10 pm }

Wow-I have spent the past hour or more exploring your site. All I can say is AMAZING! You are certainly a wealth of information and I am so glad to have found your site. On recommendation of 2 friends, we will be taking our first trip to Disney 11/26-12/7 with the first and last days being our travel days. Our kids will be almost 7, 4, and 1. I’ve talked to a number of friends who have been and they are overwhelming me. I honestly didn’t know planning would be so involved and I’m nervous that I’ve gotten a late start! We will not be staying on property thanks to a time share trade in, which is why we will be taking our young kids. We are taking grandparents to assist with the little ones so the older one can experience a little more. Anyway, my question for you is a recommendation of which days we should visit which parks during our visit and should we build in break days for the kids or return daily to our timeshare for a rest period? Also, any tips for Thanksgiving Day or the Very Merry Christmas Parade? Thanks so much!

43 Dave { 01.29.14 at 7:55 am }

Hi First-Timer, and thanks!!

I won’t have specific recommendations for those dates (with one exception which I’ll get to in a second) until Disney releases its calendar for then, which it will do in late May. So come back then and check!

The exception is Thanksgiving Day. Without fail, the best park on major holidays is the Animal Kingdom!

44 Elizabeth { 01.30.14 at 10:59 pm }

We are planning to visit Walt Disney World the first week of December arriving on the 3rd and I was hoping the holiday D-Lights tour would be available that evening. Do you know what evenings it ran in the past? I am just trying to see if I can get an idea of how often this tour was offered last year. Any help you can give me will be appreciated. Thanks for your time and PS I love the site!

45 Dave { 01.31.14 at 7:25 am }

Sorry, Elizabeth, I don’t track that! I’ve seen on the web M-T-W the first three weeks after Thanksgiving, but don’t know how true that will be for the future…or even was for 2013!

46 Todd { 02.01.14 at 2:57 pm }

Trying to plan a visit for late Jul this year. When so you think the “deals” for summer vacations will be released?

47 Dave { 02.02.14 at 8:19 am }

Todd, Disney recently has been releasing new deals shortly after the current set expires. What’s out now expires 3/31, so I’d expect some time in early April.

48 twin mom { 02.03.14 at 2:18 pm }

If staying on the Disney property stay at pop century it is there lower budget but well worth the money

49 Jeff { 02.03.14 at 9:40 pm }

Hi there. We are starting very early to plan a trip to Disney World in December 2014. Likely leaving on Friday the fifth and staying four nights. When is typically the best time to Book the Disney resort hotels for this time in December. Three months ahead, Six months ahead? I see some specials For the spring right now but none that go into December at this point.

50 Dave { 02.04.14 at 9:24 am }

Jeff, the specials don’t matter–if one comes out, you can try to get it, and if successful, cancel your existing reservation. Your dates are popular with seasoned travelers, so the Disney hotels tend to book up early those dates. So I’d book as soon as possible.

51 Kelly { 02.12.14 at 1:53 pm }

Hi Dave, can you help me decide which week to go in the fall. We want to go when crowds are low and temps are comfortable (70ish). The 4 dates I’ve narrowed down are Oct 25-Nov 1, Nov 15-22, Nov 29-Dec 6, and Dec 13-20. My concern with arriving Nov 29th is the Thanksgiving crowds, and the week of the 6th will be Pop Warner, so I’m leaning towards arriving Oct 25th or Dec 13th. My kids will be 12 and 8, and it’s our first trip to Disney as a family. We will most likely stay at Pop Century due to budget (I wish I could stay at Wilderness or Polynesian, sigh). I’ve seen your suggestion re AoA but I’m afraid my children might find it ‘babyish’. My husband is also 6’3, would one of the other Value hotels be better suited for him than Pop? Ultimately, we are hoping to book at a time that free dining was offered in the past so that we can upgrade. Any advice will be much appreciated, thank you!!!

52 Robyn { 02.12.14 at 11:02 pm }

HI Dave!
I am planning a trip 2/28-3/10 with my 3 1/2 and 6 1/2 year old. We have 5 day base passes, we are planning to do one day at each of the parks and 2 days at MK. My question is which days are best at which parks? I was thinking
Sun Mar 2-AK
Tues Mar 4-MK
Thursday Mar 6th-Epcot
Fri Mar 7th-MK
Sun Mar 9th-HS

Does this sound like good days of the weeks at those parks? so many sites disagree on which days will be better during this week. Thanks so much for your help!

53 Dave { 02.13.14 at 10:05 am }

Hi Kelly!

First all the value resort standard rooms have full-size beds, so your husband will stick out off the bed wherever you stay, if a standard value room. The master bed at the value resort family suites is a queen, as are both beds at three of the 5 moderates–but those may be outside your price range. Got you on Art of Animation. Moreover, the standard rooms there are rarely discounted. So I think Pop Century is the best choice, and that you’ll see a room rate discount there for most of your date options.

The week of December 13 sees much higher hotel prices than any of your other options. See this:

I hope I’m wrong, but do doubt we’ll see free dining any of your dates.

I wouldn’t worry about either Nov 29th–as the rest of the week will be so good–or too much about Pop Warner. But given all your thoughts, it’s really hard not to focus on November 15…low crowds, low prices, most of the Xmas program, no Pop Warner, no Thanksgiving crowds until the 22nd…

For more, see this:

54 Dave { 02.13.14 at 10:13 am }

Hi Robyn!! Two things:

–I think you have picked great days to visit the parks on your list.

–But I’m not keen on the parks on your list–at the ages of your kids, I’d spend more time at MK, and none at Epcot. If you are staying at a Disney hotel, you can do Thursday at MK instead of Epcot–just arrive early for the extra magic hours…If you aren’t, then do your third MK day on Weds as well, and take Thursday off…

55 sara { 02.13.14 at 2:06 pm }

hello, my 13yr old son and myself want to go May 10th week. I will take him out of school for about one week. THis is a good wk to go? right? and where should we stay? We went once in 2008 and stayed outside of the park. I want a middle of the road hotel in the park. And meal plans?? let me know what u think.

56 Dave { 02.13.14 at 4:25 pm }

Hi Sara! Yes it’s a good week–see this: For where to stay, see this: The dining plan is unlikely to save you money, so I’d skip it…

57 Ess { 02.22.14 at 5:04 am }

Hey Dave! So I’m a bit confused= our anniversary trip will be March 30-April4 2014. Will this be a decent time to have booked? This time we won’t have children or grandchildren to run around with and wondering what would be a not-to-miss experience or two? We do have the 5hr tour booked about learning about Disney “behind the scene”. Thank you for any suggestions and thank you for the site!

58 Dave { 02.22.14 at 8:35 am }

Hi Ess–it’s not a horrible time, but not a good time either…not sure what you mean about “not to miss”…there’s so much…the Richard petty driving experience? the hot air balloon in Downtown Disney?

59 Marisa { 02.27.14 at 12:37 pm }

Hi, Dave! Love your site and all the info here. Planning our very first trip-myself, husband, and almost 4yo son-april 28-may 6. Decided after much research no DDP, not worth it for us, even tho planning many character meals. Right now my planning questions revolve around how to plan for and what to FP for each park? Not
overlyconcerned with
ding everything, more excited for characters, seeing the parks, parades, fireworks,etc.

60 Dave { 02.28.14 at 7:03 am }

Marisa, all my stuff is for much older kids. See this:

61 Scotta and Eric { 03.01.14 at 9:24 pm }

My boyfriend and I (no kids) are going from April 28 – May 3rd. He is a Disney expert, but we are both new to the new pass system and we are also hoping to use the dining plan this time around.
We are staying at Fort Wilderness. How do we go about booking the dining plan? Also, he wants to go to Kona and Artist Point. I know if we get the dining plan, those two restaurants will take up two nights. Is it worth it otherwise for two adults?
And how far in advance do we need to book pass rides?
Any help is appreciated.

62 Dave { 03.02.14 at 9:24 am }

Hi Scotta and Eric! You book the dining plan when you book at Fort Wilderness.

But I can’t advise it–since Artist Point is a two credit meal, you will likely save by paying cash for your meals instead of dining plan credits.

You can book your FastPass+ starting 60 days before arrival. I’ve had good luck booking FP+ even the night before, but it can’t possibly hurt to do it earlier. You tickets need to be linked to your FW reservation to so so. For mor eon FP+, see this:

63 Taryn { 03.02.14 at 3:35 pm }

Hi Dave-
Your site has been so helpful in planning our first trip to Disney! Our trip is booked for October 22-27 which I think is one of the top 10 weeks to go in 2014. My children will be 2.5 and 4.5 at the time and we were planning on doing the MK for 2 days, Epcot for 1 and AK for 1. Is that too ambitious? if so, what park would you leave out? Also, what days do you recommend visiting what park?
Just read on your site about the Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. Any idea when dates would come out for this event? Trying to decide whether it would be worth it.

Thank you!

64 Dave { 03.03.14 at 10:34 am }

Hi Taryn and thanks!!

At those ages there’s little at Epcot. I’d spend 2 days at MK, a half day at AK, and reserve your 4th day for off/return to one of these two/or a half day at HS.

I’ll have a good forecast for the October party dates when the October calendar comes out, which it will in a couple of weeks. See also this for my current forecast:

The actual dates may not be out til this summer…

65 Ercilia Hernandez { 03.03.14 at 11:30 am }

Hello! I just want to say that I love your website, it is such a huge help for a micro manager like me ;P. My question is this: We are florida residents planning on buying the Weekday Annual Pass and are planning on going to WDW the week of October 5 -10 2014. My plan was to arrive at the resort ( Art of Animation) and hit the parks on the weekdays. We will be traveling with our 2 daughters 7 and 6. The 7 year old is turning 8 years old on October 7, so we will be celebrating that in Disney. Do you recommend us going to Magic Kingdom on Monday or is that too busy for those dates. I would love any recommendations you have. We are planning on buying the Disney Dining Plan but I guess its too early for the promotions to be announced. Is that a good week for us to go and what days should we hit each park?

Thanks so much!

66 Dave { 03.04.14 at 7:54 am }

Hi Ercilia and thanks!! That is a good week, but I won;t be able to give you any specific advice until Disney’s October calendar comes out, which it will later this month. So check back in a couple of weeks, OK?

67 Shannon { 03.04.14 at 8:39 pm }

Hi! My husband and I are looking to book Oct 17-22 which I believe is a good time to go. Would like to stay at AoA do you have any info on the bus situation? Tips for quick travel or if anyone has complaints about the bus schedule/service to and from the park. We are bringing our 18 month old daughter and just looking for any tips about that age group. Also years past the free dining has been offered.. any idea if you think this deal will come up for the fall?? Thanks!

68 Dave { 03.05.14 at 7:45 am }

Hi Shannon, AofA and Pop Century have the best bus service among the value resorts. All my stuff is for kids 8 and up, so I don’t really have much to say about an 18-month old–sorry! Free dining has been offered these dates as a tool for recovering after the recession. I am on the record as predicting that we won’t see it in October 2014–but of course hope I am wrong!

69 Laura { 03.05.14 at 3:15 pm }

Hi Dave- I just found your site and love it! Thanks so much for all of the information. Can you comment on if you think free dining will be offered in September? We have always went in sept due to the low crowds and have been lucky to get the free dining.

Also, totally unrelated subject. Do you have any insight on how to become a Disney travel agent and which ones are the best companies to work for? This trip in sept will be our fourth trip to disneyworld and it looks like a lot of the travel sites require a minimum of five visits. Thanks so much for your help. You rock!

70 Dave { 03.06.14 at 8:30 am }

Laura, first thank!!, second on the travel agents front I have no idea sorry! My guess is that there will be free dining in the first half of September.

71 Frank { 03.06.14 at 10:17 pm }

Dave – I just found your site. Great information. Well we are flying in from Colorado the week of Easter. It is what it is at this point. I just found that it is one of the busiest times of the year. I can’t change it now, and that’s what we have going on for our vacation. We are staying off property close to Downtown Disney. I have found a lot of useful information about planning way ahead and going during different times of the year – but what kind of survival tips, crowd tips, fast pass tips do you have for the parks going during the busy times? Just trying to find the best way to survive. I have a lot of reservations for dinner confirmed and activities. We are going with another family and both kids are 3 years old. Should be fun, but crowds won’t be fun. Also, we won’t be the earliest of risers as the two hour time difference makes it a little tricky with young ones. Although trust me – he should have no problem rocking the 10pm or even later fireworks. Any survival advice you have – I would appreciate it. I went last year at the end of April with my 2/12 year old and we did just fine, but — it wasn’t Easter. And crowds seemed “average”. A little nervous about going at this time now.

72 Dave { 03.07.14 at 6:04 am }

Frank, I don’t have any great answers for you. Being off-site, and not getting there before open, blows the two best ways to beat the crowds that week (morning extra magic hours and booking FastPass+ ahead of time.)

However, some off-site guests are being picked for FastPass+ pre-booking. To be eligible, you need to create a My Disney Experience account, link up your tickets, and link up at least one dining reservation–ideally for the first day of your visit. Do all this and you may get an email inviting you to book FastPass+ ahead of time, beginning the date of your first dining reservation…

73 Pang { 03.14.14 at 2:25 pm }

Hi Dave. You’re information is AMAZING!! I’ll be traveling to WDW to celebrate my son’s 5th birthday from 05/16/14-05/21/14. We don’t arrive until 7pm so I don’t want to use theme park ticket since we only have passes for 5 days. I was planning on a late dinner at Downtown Disney but not so sure with all the construction that is going on. Also, I tried ADR for some of the restaurants and they’re all booked for the times that I want. What are the chances of calling 24 hrs before to see if we can get a reservation in case of last minute cancellations or must everything be done through My Disney Experience? This will be my son and husband’s first time and I just feel so stressed planning everything when I should be looking foward to this vacation. Any input would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

74 Dave { 03.15.14 at 8:52 am }

Hi Pang and thanks!!

First, if the ADRs you aren’t getting are for DTD, try calling the restaurants directly. Some restaurant there release only some of their inventory to Disney for ADRs. For ADRs elsewhere, I;d keep trying. People cancel trips and dining all the time–including, as you note, the day before…

Second, it might be easiest all around if you take your arrival night off, or use it to go to a fireworks show–e.g. at MK (open til 11 the 16th, with the evening parade at 9 and 11, and fireworks at 10) or Epcot (open til 11 for WDW hotel guests, 9 for everyone else, and fireworks at 9) Adding a 6th day to your ticket only costs $10.65/person, and will allow you an evening off later on your visit when you will really need it…

75 Nichole { 03.23.14 at 4:02 pm }

Hi Dave. Wow. For every one blog I read the more overwhelmed I think I become. We are taking our kids 10,10,15- all girls for all of our first time in Oct. dates are negotiable. Having no experience with Disney, we bought our 5 day Park Hopper passes as Christmas gifts. Planning in staying off site at a house rental. Where do we start the planning process?! Thank you so much in advance.

76 Brian { 03.24.14 at 12:47 am }

Hi Dave,
Great site!
I haven’t seen you comment on the Water Parks and More ticket option. Do you recommend the water parks at all? I will be staying a week 5/3-5/11 with my 5 and 4 year old. Is it worth checking out, or just use the pools? ( I am staying at AoA)

77 Dave { 03.24.14 at 7:48 am }

Nichole, start here and work your way down its topics:

78 Dave { 03.24.14 at 7:52 am }

Brian, my itineraries peak out at 9 days in Orlando, and for first timers who may never return, there’s not enough room in them for the minor parks. For families who plan to return the water parks can be great fun!

79 Missy Schmidt { 03.25.14 at 6:08 pm }

When will prices, park schedules, etc. for November/December 2014 be ready? Is the Animal Kingdom parade being replaced with another parade or will there be nothing?
Thanks in advance!

80 Dave { 03.26.14 at 12:04 pm }

Missy, prices are out. The schedule for November will be out in late April, and December’s in late May.

81 Anonymous { 04.09.14 at 11:11 pm }

We will have a military four day pass we will be there 5/6-5/10, we have the hopper pass. Do you have a good itinerary for us?

82 Dave { 04.10.14 at 11:31 am }

Sorry, I don’t have 4 day itineraries, but can help–but first, tell me how old the kids are?

83 Mary { 04.10.14 at 5:31 pm }

You have convinced me to want to stay at the poly .. Nov 16th -22 .. 6 adults -6 kids .. 3,3,6,8,12,and16 .. If volcano pool is closed .. Is it still worth staying? Is the other pool fun and is there a beach? Love your site

84 Jill { 04.10.14 at 10:33 pm }

Awesome sight,

I was hopping you can help me. I’m going to Disney with my twin 9 year olds on 6/1- 6/7.
It’s our first time and we are staying at Art of Animation. I was hoping you can give us an intinerary. We have the 4 day ticket with water pass. I like would like to avoid the most busiest parks on designated days. I just don’t know where to start.
Thank You!!!!

85 Dave { 04.11.14 at 7:46 am }

Matry, the other pool is dull. You’ll be able to use the Beach Pool at the Grand Floridian, which is fun…but frankly it would be easier all around just to book the Grand Floridian…

86 Dave { 04.11.14 at 7:58 am }

Hi Jill and thanks! I don’t have four day itineraries, but check out josh’s stuff here:

9 years olds can have fun at every park, and you need 6 days to see all the best, so you’ll have to make some choices about whihc parks get two days (e.g. Mk) and thus which you skip.

June 1 avoid MK and HS
June 2 avoid all parks but EPcot
June 3 all parks but Epcot are good
June 4 all parks but HS are good
June 5 avoid AK and MK
June 6 avoid Epcot and HS
June 7 avoid AK and HS

87 daria { 04.17.14 at 9:27 pm }

Hello, new to your site and I love it. Family of 7, 4 adults 3 girls 10,6,2 we are staying un two rooms at AoA 11/9-11/15 I know our girls are two young for your itenaries but do you have advice on what parks to stay away from when? We will be spending most of our time at mk with short trips to AK ,HS for disney jr lunch and akershus at epcot. Do you know when mickeys christmas party will start and where icanfind park hours forNovember? Thank you much

88 Dave { 04.18.14 at 8:33 am }

Hi Daria!! November hours are here: My forecasts for the Christmasa party are here–actual dates should be out in early May:

Those dates, MK will be most crowded 11/9, 11/11 and 11/15. AK will be fine most days, but best 11/11. Avoid HS 11/10, and avoid Epcot 11/11 and 11/14.

89 Erica { 04.22.14 at 12:29 pm }

Hi Dave,
We are planning our trip back to WDW for February 3, 2015 and we are stating until the 12th. I am trying to figure out what is the best way to go about planning this since I can’t really book any reservations (for dining, fast pass etc) yet. We are a party of 6 plus a toddler who will be almost three at the time of travel. We want to do breakfast at the hotel every morning so we need a room with a kitchen area. Last time we went we stayed at the Art of Animation and it was awesome but a little cramped with all of us plus our stuff, food, the pack and play etc… So I was thinking perhaps a family suite plus another room. What do you think? Also, I don’t want to miss out on “Be Our Guest” but we are nowhere near the 180 days…. can I reserve now? I read on your site here that the best time to arrive is on a Saturday and then leave the following Sunday.. I thought that airline tickets are cheapest on Tuesday. Is that not accurate because I am planning our trip to arrive on a Tuesday due to the flight prices? Also we will be adding the dining plan that has the 1 quick service and 1 table service to our trip, what are your thoughts about that? The party consists of four adults and 3 children (boy-7, boy-6 and girl-2.5) …. I know I’m all over the place here with our questions but I want to get planning and make sure I get into the things we want to see this time.

90 Dave { 04.23.14 at 1:50 pm }

Erica, there’s not a lot you can do now–including making dining–until 180 days before. But you can plan! Start on the home page and work your way through its topics– Your prior stay at AofA–was it in a family suite? As you likely know, you would be in different buildings if you got both a suite and a regular room. The Lion King suites are closest to the Little Mermaid regular rooms. I’m not keen on the dining plan for most–see the lower part of this page (the part “What is the Dining Plan Anyway”? And on Sat-Sun–see this

91 Andrea { 04.26.14 at 11:50 pm }

Dave, thanks for all of your help so far. I love your site! I’m in a major time crunch–coming up on day 180 MONDAY 4/28. I had everything perfectly planned out, and I stumbled upon a fun fact today. I can pay $20 less for FL resident weekday passes than I am paying for my 4 day FL resident park hopper tix. I had planned on visiting parks Sunday-Wednesday and I’m hoping for free dining on our dates (Oct. 25-30). I was on live chat for ages and the operator said I can only get credit for UNUSED tix if I upgrade while I’m there. However, I read this on FAQs on “I have heard that I can upgrade my MYW ticket to an AP or PAP and get full credit for the original purchase price even after I have used a few days admission. Is this true?

Yes it is. If you decide that you want to upgrade it to an AP/PAP, you will get full credit for the price of the ticket towards the AP/PAP. All MYW tickets must be upgraded within 14 days of first use. In all cases, the AP/PAP will be backdated to the date the hopper pass was first used.”

I’m so confused! Do you have any info on this? I think the operators have to be SO careful of what they put in writing that you can end up just going around in circles with them. If I can get credit for all my tickets, I’m going to keep my res. as is, but if I don’t get credit for my first day, I’ll likely move my reservation over a day and do the parks Mon-Thurs. rather than Sun-Wed and upgrade before using any. Please help clarify if you can :o)

92 Dave { 04.27.14 at 8:51 am }

Andrea: I think there’s two different things going on here. You can credit completely unused tickets at any time. You can credit partially used ones only during the 14 day window, and in most cases only before the last use day.

93 Andrea { 04.27.14 at 11:06 am }

Thanks for the speedy reply. I think the late hour last night coupled with the stress of my approaching 180 days got me worked up :o) So, you think that I will just get credit for the unused tickets–as long as they’re w/in the 14 day window. Is the allears post referring to a different kind of deal (full credit maybe won’t work for weekday only passes?) or maybe just old info?

94 Andrea { 04.27.14 at 11:30 am }

Ugh…And of course the ticketing office is closed on Sundays, and no one else seems to know the answer to this mystery! Looks like I’ll be getting up and making my reservations tomorrow at 5am cst. Hopefully, I’ll be able to keep what I get and not have to get up at the crack of dawn two days in a row! No need to answer if you don’t have anything concrete. If Disney doesn’t even know their policy, I won’t expect you to. Have a happy day. If my biggest problem today is planning my Disney trip, then I have a lot to be grateful for :o)

95 Dave { 04.28.14 at 8:00 am }

Andrea, honestly I just don’t know. If these were full price tix, you’d get credit for the entire full price you initially pay, so long as you got to guest services befroe 14 days/last ticket day of use. But I just don’t know the rules for the florida deal tix…Sorry to not be much help…

96 Andrea { 04.29.14 at 5:37 pm }

No problem. I called the ticketing office and she really couldn’t give me an answer either. She wouldn’t attach any numbers to it, but she did say that I would only get credit for unused tickets. She said that there’s a “formula” in the computer that calculates the value of the remaining tickets, since each day isn’t worth the same amount. When I asked if she could just put the numbers in her computer and give me an idea of how much that would be if I used the first day ticket, she balked. It was kinda strange. I’m not stressing over it. Our room is booked and all of the dining I wanted is booked, so I’m not going to be changing any dates. I’ll just see what happens when we get there. I got up at 4:30 (cst) and had 4 reservations made by 5:10. We’re eating lunch with Cinderella our first day at MK and dining with The Beast on our last! We’re also going to be eating at Chef Mickey’s the night we arrive. Life is goooood :o) Fingers crossed for free dining.

97 Dave { 04.30.14 at 7:45 am }

Cool ADRs, Andrea! My only advice on the tickets…check with different Cast Members before you accept the trade-in terms, as I hear that different ones understand the policies differently

98 Cindy { 05.27.14 at 10:49 pm }

Help! I’m stuck with the week of June 21 for our Disney trip. We will be in Orlando for a dance competition, so there is no flexibility. We have three, possibly 4 days for Disney. Any tips for making the most of this really crowded week? I will have one 13 year old daughter with me.

99 Dave { 05.28.14 at 8:28 am }

Cindy–use Josh’s cheat sheets here to plan your days and you’ll be OK!

100 e michelle { 05.31.14 at 11:50 pm }

love your site thank goodness we are going on a black week! i wanted to know if you had a cheat sheet on the snacks or quick dining plan we are going to mk, epcot and ak got the dinners reserved

101 Dave { 06.01.14 at 9:40 am }

Michelle, sorry I don’t!! But at MK the consensus favorite quick service are Columbia Harbor House and Pecos Bills. At Epcot, it’s Sunshine Seasons, and at AK, Flame Tree Barbecue.

102 Sandy { 07.02.14 at 7:33 pm }

My family and I are going July 27-August 9 with a 7 day pass and waterpark to wdw and 4 day pass to universal . Kids are 11,9 and 6. Any ideas for an itinerary and how I can make this enjoyable?

103 Dave { 07.03.14 at 9:44 am }
104 Michelle { 07.15.14 at 10:29 am }

Hi Dave,
Planning a Disney trip for my7 yr old’s birthday. Would like to go around the 9th of October…but only staying approx. 4 days. This is our very first Disney trip and we want to make the best use of our time. We need help from resorts to best parks and restaurants. I would like to stay at a Disney resort so any recommendations for all price ranges greatly appreciated!

105 Dave { 07.15.14 at 6:23 pm }

Michelle, the best resorts and restaurants all come through links from the home page: At that age, I’d do two days at the Magic Kingdom and one day each at the Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios. MK will be most crowded the 11th, 12th, and 14th. Avoid AK the 10th and 12th, and avoid HS the 11th and 13th. I don;t have daily itineraries on this site, but you can find them in my book The easy Guide to Your First Walt Disney World Visit.

106 Jill E { 07.23.14 at 9:51 pm }

I am planning a first time trip 06/12/15 to 06/22/15. We are thinking of purchasing a 8 day pass. We will be on a late flight 1st day and early flight last day. What are your suggestions for parks to visit each day? I was thinking MK 3 to 4 days so we can spread all the fun out and not be exhausted. We have a 5 & 7 year old so want to take a 4 hr break each day to eat, swim, & nap. We also want 1 day as a break day. Also what do you think about Hoop show for younger kids on break day?

107 Dave { 07.24.14 at 7:00 am }

Hi Jill, I won’t have an opinion about parks to visit each day until Disney releases its calendar for June, which it won’t do for another 3.5 months. And with the time you’ll have I’d vote for your break day to be completely unscheduled, so do Hoop on the evening of an MK day…

108 steve blume { 09.14.14 at 7:52 pm }

we will be going march1(arriving late night) and leaving march 8(mid afternoon)2015. altho we have six adults and one 4 1/2 year old only the child has never been before.this trip is mostley about her, the 41/2 year old.when would be the best time to go to each of the parks and would fast pass extra cost be worth it since it will be a less busey time of year. also what should be the must see and do with the 41/2 year old? we have her set up at the princess breakfast on wed the third at mk. we will be staying at the shades of green resort. thanks steve

109 Dave { 09.15.14 at 8:46 am }

Steve, FastPass+ is free, and even at quieter times of the year waits without it routinely exceed an hour, so you should definitely use it! For a child that age you could focus entirely on MK, but all the other parks except maybe Epcot are worth visiting as well. See this for what to prioritize in each park:

March 2, avoid HS and MK
March 3 avoid Epcot
March 4 avoid AK
March 5 avoid MK
March 6 avoid Epcot
March 7 avoid MK and HS
March 8 avoid AK

110 Marie { 10.15.14 at 10:20 am }

Hi Dave,

I’d love to know your advice on parking. We are not staying on site. We have a couple breakfast reservations at disney resorts. We purchased park hopper tickets and will be using fastpass. I worry we will be having to go back to our car to get to our next destination and I don’t want to be pressed for time or be spending a lot of money on parking. Any suggestions or advice is appreciated!!

111 Dave { 10.16.14 at 11:30 am }

Marie, if you are hopping, you pay to park just at the first park. Keep your receipt and show it at the next park and you won’t be charged again that day. Alternatively you can take Disney transport form the first park to the second park–though on average that will be slower…

112 Regina { 10.19.14 at 5:18 pm }

Hi! This is a great sight! Thank you! We have our trip planned for March 1 – 6. We will arrive early afternoon on Sunday. Leave late afternoon on Friday. What are your recommendations for the best way to see the parks? We would like to include the hoop de doo and camp fire sing along. Hawaiian buffet at the Polynesian resort. Crystal palace, chef Mickey and cape May cafe buffet. Kids are 14, 12, 11. Thank you for any help you can offer.

113 Dave { 10.20.14 at 4:09 pm }

Hi Regina! All my itineraries are for longer trips, since I reccomend 6 days in the parks. See this for an example of one:

However, you’ll find one and two day itineraries for each park in my book The easy Guide to Your First Walt Disney World Visit Note the link is to the 2014 edition. The 2015 edition will be out soon (we hope).

That is much more dining, and too many evening dining options, than I would recommend on such a short trip. I would skip the hawaiian luau, the campfire sing along, and Cape May. Your evenings are best spent at the park fireworks shows at HS, Epcot, and MK.

114 Regina { 10.20.14 at 5:25 pm }

Thanks for your response! I appreciate your advice! We do have six days in the parks with two of them being short days but we don’t need any breaks or days off with ages of our children. I was told that the Polynesian, where the luau is, is a great place to watch the mk fireworks. Not true? And that the Epcot fireworks can be viewed from the cape may? My kids prefer buffets over quick service meals.

115 Dave { 10.21.14 at 9:29 am }

Regina, you can’t see the EPcot fireworks from Cape May. You can see the MK fireworks from the beaches near the Poly, but they are a hundred times better inside the park, on the Main Street axis, facing the Castle.

116 Regina { 10.22.14 at 6:10 pm }

Ok! Thank you so much for answering my questions and setting it straight! It is so helpful if planning our days! I am going to follow your low crowd schedule to plan our days starting on that Monday, March 2.

117 Amy { 10.29.14 at 3:39 pm }

Hi there –
My family and mother are going to Disney staying in our condo at Westgate – checking in Dec 26th and out on the 2nd… We will have a 13 yr old, 10 yr old and us adults. We are looking to do a 3 day hopper pass – where can I get the best deal on those?? Also what are the best days to visit the MK during that week… obviously not the weekend and it will be busy the full week. We plan to arrive when the park opens, hit whatever rides first and then just plan on sight seeing – take pictures… etc. we do want to see the electric light parade at night, so thought about leaving for a little while, but afraid we won’t be able to get back in – do you know what time the parade starts at night?? Just excited to see all the decorations, my 10 yr old has never been. Also, am I understanding correctly that you can not purchase a dining package (like we were able to get for Busch gardens) because we are not staying onsight – do they allow you to bring bottle water in or any snacks in a backpack?? We will be there also for NYE – we don’t need to go “IN” the parks but do you have a spot outside where we can watch the fireworks?? Thanks for the great website and any help you can give!!

118 Dave { 10.30.14 at 6:43 am }

Hiya Amy! There are no good days, but some are better than others. See Josh’s Dec stuff here and his January stuff here–they also include such things as parade times

The only fireworks you can see well forom outside are HS from just outside the turnstiles and MK from the TTC…

119 Andrea { 01.21.15 at 7:27 pm }

My family and I are planning our first trip. I am a teacher and am limited to summer June7-August 15, 2 weeks at Christmas, Thanksgiving week and Spring break March 7-14. What is the best time to go. We really dislike the heat but huge crowds are not great either. Is it a lost cause?

120 Dave { 01.22.15 at 7:13 am }

Hi Andrea! If not for the heat issue, I’d advise as early in June or late in August as your schedule permits. The March option is your next best choice.

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