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

Walt Disney World in 2016

By Dave Shute

Disney World in 2016 from yourfirstvisit.netSee below for my thoughts on rides, hotels, crowds and such at Disney World in 2016.


The opening of the redo of Epcot’s Maelstrom as a Frozen ride (“Frozen ever After”) is targeted for early 2016.

Waits for the new Frozen ride will be really long, especially during the period Soarin is closed for refurb.

Rivers of Light—the new evening spectacular at the Animal Kingdom along Discovery River between the Tree of Life and Expedition Everest—is in construction, and is expected to open in 2016, the current guess being after Easter.

“Avatar Land” (more formally, “Pandora — The Word of AVATAR”) at the Animal Kingdom is in construction in the former Camp Minnie Mickey, and currently has an opening target of early 2017

An announcement about more Star Wars and Toy Story in Disney’s Hollywood Studios came out in August 2015.

In the park, for 2016 there’s some new Star Wars meets and greets, an update to the Star Tours ride, and new evening fireworks that flow to the movie’s soundtrack. (It’s unclear whether these fireworks are meant as a permanent or temporary addition to the park.)

The new Star Wars and Toy Story rides won’t be open for years…


Most of the Disney Springs reconstruction of Downtown Disney will be complete in 2016. The transformation is pretty profound, making parking much easier, and adding some really great restaurants to the mix.

I’m not seeing much profound change on the resort front for 2016, although there is a potentially distracting refurb happening at the Wilderness Lodge, and a major re-do of the Fort Wilderness Cabins should be complete by Easter.


Presidents Day, February 15 in 2016, is as early as it can be, meaning fewer good January and early February dates, and more good late February dates. Crowds for this week actually begin the Thursday before, and in 2016 Mardi Gras–which some southern school districts have off as a single or multi-day holiday–is Tuesday the week before. The combination makes me see the week beginning 2/6 as worse than this part of February usually is.

Easter in 2016 is early, on March 27. As a result of the overlap between March breaks and Easter breaks, March other than the first week will be even more of a zoo than usual, but most of April—after the 3rd—will be great.

While this is not a crowd point, El Nino may increase the tornado threats in late winter and early spring.  See this.

Summer crowds will continue to be rough, as more and more South Americans take advantage of their winter breaks to come to Disney World and join the hordes of US families on summer breaks.

Or maybe not–South American recessions, currency troubles, and the draw of vacation dollars into the Olympics in Brazil may make for less South American visitation, and a better summer than I am predicting…

There was much comic panic in the fall of 2015 over high standby waits in the afternoons at rides that shifted from no FASTPASS in prior years to FastPass+.  You should keep this in mind if you plan to visit in the fall of 2016, you plan to not use FastPass+, and you plan to ride only standby only during the busiest times of the day. A good plan, however, that avoids this silliness will result in great fall visits.

Thanksgiving, November 24, is earlier in 2016 than it has been recently, giving more good late November dates but fewer good early November ones.

Christmas is on a Sunday in 2016.

  • Many, many school districts that take long holiday breaks will begin their breaks on Monday December 19, so holiday crowds at Disney World will begin to roll in on December 16th—a few days earlier than we’ve seen the last couple of years with mid-week Christmases.
  • Districts that take shorter breaks will be off something like Friday the 23rd through Monday the 2nd. This means that the week between Christmas and New Years—always the worst of the year at Walt Disney World—will be an especially crazy mess in 2016.

For more on 2016 Disney World crowds see this, and for my Disney World 2016 week rankings intended for first time visitors who may not return, see this.


Disney World resort hotel prices largely follow their usual patterns in 2016, with a couple of twists–prices overall have gone up a fair amount, and there are fewer low-priced weeks over the course of the year.

For the details on 2016 hotel pricing at Disney World, see this, and for the scoop on 2016 price changes, see this.

Current Disney World ticket prices are here. They could go up any day, and likely will increase before the end of February 2016. Buying them now will let you avoid this future price increase.


The Disney Armed Forces Salute has been extended into late December 2016.

Room rate deals for 2016 have been out for a while.  You can always find up to date details on the major Disney World deals here.

While I am largely out of the Free Dining prediction business, I do expect to see something like the 2015 deal in 2016. For more on Free Dining at Disney World in 2016, see this.

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1 Kelly B - Agent with Destinations in Florida { 09.21.14 at 9:18 am }

A lot of BIG changes happening. Better start planning now. Spring/late Fall. So many decisions to make.

2 Jane { 02.19.15 at 7:59 am }

Hi Dave
I have just found your site, and found lots of amazing information. We booked our holiday and arrive 2nd Feb 2016, looking at your sight i am now wondering whether to change dates to Nov 2015, due to ride closures and presidents day. This is our one chance at an amazing Disney holiday?

3 Dave { 02.19.15 at 8:52 am }

Hi Jane and thanks! Yes, I would chnage. See this for suggested November 2015 (and other!) dates

4 Blanca { 02.22.15 at 12:06 pm }

Thank you so much…I just came back from WDW and thinking which was the best… 2016 or early 2017…..

5 Jamie { 02.25.15 at 11:11 am }

We’re attempting to plan our trip for Feb 9 – 14, 2016 so that we can be there on my daughter’s 5th birthday. Are you saying that crowds are going to be bad, or just busier than normal for that time in February?

6 Dave { 02.25.15 at 1:26 pm }

Jamie, crowds will be bad starting the 12th, will be horrible the 13th to 18th or so, then bad the 19th and 20th. It’s not “bad for Feb”–it’s bad

7 Lyndsey { 03.05.15 at 3:40 pm }

So we are planning on going the very last week of February starting on the 23rd for a cluster of birthdays. How should crowds be around then?

8 Dave { 03.05.15 at 4:05 pm }

Lyndsey, good crowds then. See this.

9 Debbie { 03.07.15 at 4:32 pm }

Hi, Dave
I am planning my fall 2016 trip for my family of five (me, my husband, and my sons ( 16 ,14, 14). What new experiences will be open then? I know my kids are a bit older and I wanted to know of any resorts that could appeal to teens. Also, are there any experiences (new and old) that could cater to that age group? Lastly, when do discounts become available, before or after the 180-day mark? I know its early now, but its never too early to start planning. Thanks

10 Dave { 03.08.15 at 10:52 am }

Debbie, discounts usually become available after the 180 day mark, though it can vary–sometimes discounts reaching into December are announced in May.

I don’t see a lot that’s relevant opening in 2016. Teens tend to like much of WDW, but see this, especially its right side.

Teens also tend to appreciate more a great pool. If you can afford it, that would suggest the Beach Club.

11 Baleigh { 03.09.15 at 7:50 pm }

Would next year last week in April or first week in May be a good time to go to Disney ? I want to go when the crowds won’t be to bad and the weather will be nice, but I dont want to go if a ton of rides and attractions will be closed? Any suggestions would be appreciated!

12 Debbie { 03.09.15 at 9:58 pm }

Hi Dave, thanks for the help. We actually just came back from the Beach Club and loved it. I know nothing will be as good as Stormalong Bay, but what are some next-best pools? I heard rumors about the Polynesian adding a pool that could beat the Beach Club’s. Is this true? Lastly, I thought about going to Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. What’s included in the ticket? How scary do some events get, I am traveling with some teens as I mentioned?

13 Dave { 03.10.15 at 8:38 am }

Hi Baleigh, see this

14 Dave { 03.10.15 at 8:48 am }

Hi Debbie!

First, for the Halloween Party see this–it’s form 2014, but 2105 will be similar.

Nothing is clear enough about the Poly’s East Pool renovation–either scope or timing–for me to say much about it. The main Poly pool should be great after it re-opens, and also great are the pools at the Wilderness and Animal Kingdom Lodges.

By far the best pool complex on site–better than Stormalong–is at the Four Seasons.

15 Amanda { 04.21.15 at 3:03 pm }

Hi Dave!
We’re looking at booking our 2016 vacation around the ‘usual’ free dining timeframe. I am unfortunately not able to go the two weeks before and the two weeks after September 20th. I have a large report due for my work and it’s just not possible. My son will turn 9 on November 6th. So we thought about going around then. And we definitely want to avoid crowds so that’s why we’re planning a FALL trip. From your experience, are we going to run into a lot of closures/refurbs by pushing our trip out to a ‘slower’ time? – End of October/beginning of November.
Thanks in advance!

16 Dave { 04.23.15 at 7:58 am }

Amanda, no on the refurbs then.

17 Claire { 04.24.15 at 5:19 pm }

We are planning on going Feb 7th through the 13th. Spending the first 5 days in the parks and the rest around Orlando. This will be my 3 daughters first trip (they will be 10, 5 and 2) and my 2nd but I was 4 years old when I went. How do you think the crowds will be? We have a week long break from school for Mardi Gras and I know a TON of people from my area go during the Mardi Gras holiday. I am not concerned about nice southern people, just severe crowds.

18 Dave { 04.26.15 at 10:23 am }

Claire, when you look at all kids east of the Mississippi, hardly anyone gets a Mardi Gras break. For this reason, it never on its own affect crowds much.

19 heather { 05.16.15 at 8:04 pm }

First vacation to disney- 4 adults, 1 kiddo, planning to go 2016- we HATE crowds and want to be able to enjoy our days minus 2 hr wait time for rides, we were thinking Jan or Nov/December (no holidays we plan to go when ppl are back at work and kids in school) which month do u think is best and which week of that month? Appreciate it!
Also- top pick for best “wow” factor value hotel?

20 heather { 05.17.15 at 8:20 am }

***we still would like to enjoy the magic (like if christmas decorations still goin in january or halloween in november etc…) thanks!! 🙂

21 Dave { 05.18.15 at 5:24 pm }

Hi Heather! for my draft 2016 week recommendation see this.

You’ll note I am not keen on Jan for first timers who may never return because of ride closures. If you can return, then just note the January crowd and prices listed in the image on that page.

For Values “wow,” Art of Animation, Pop Century and All-Star Movies are the one to think about. Reviews ot each are linked to from here–though I’ll be updating the Movies review shortly…

22 Dave { 05.18.15 at 5:43 pm }

Heather, there will still be some Xmas decorations, and perhaps programs, in early Jan, but Disney’s Xmas program starts around November 8-10 and is in full fledge by the Thursday after Thanksgiving

23 Heather { 05.19.15 at 7:44 am }

Thanks Dave! 1 more question- my group is now wanting to try out Animal Kingdom bc of the animals- do u know if Nov stay there is better then AOA? im unsure my 7 yr old will LOVE it as opposed to the adults & im worried the animals wont even be out bc of the cold…
Thanks 🙂

24 Dave { 05.19.15 at 1:42 pm }

Heather, AK is great year round!!

25 JennyJ { 05.20.15 at 2:17 pm }

Hi Dave! We’re planning our first family trip to WDW for Jan 30th-Feb 4th 2016. How do the crowds look for that week? After the Princess Marathon but before Mardi Gras, should be a pretty low crowd time, correct? On average, how long are the wait times for rides during a low crowd week? 5 mins? 25 mins? Just curious. And one last question…for a family of 5 (2 adults, 3 kids ages 13, 12 & 7) would it be better to take a 15-25% off our room that week or the free dining plan? Thanks for your time and advice!

26 Dave { 05.21.15 at 11:42 am }

JennyJ, see this for forecast crowds then.

There’s no simple answer to your wait time question as it varies by park, ride, time of day, and day. Chapter 6 of my book shows typical wait times by park by crowd level by hour.

Free dining has not been available for then for years now.

27 Sparky { 05.22.15 at 6:17 pm }

We booked our WDW vacation for the last week in April 2016 based on your recommendations. Now we just learned that the NYC public school system will be on vacation that week. Do you think this will impact the crowds? Should we reschedule? Thanks very much! 🙂

28 Dave { 05.24.15 at 10:51 am }

Sparky, I’ll have a better take on this in a couple of months, when I build the final 2016 crowd calendar (the current one is a draft).

The issue you note is that in 2106 Easter and Passover are off cycle, so some school districts have added holidays in late April to accommodate Passover.

I don’t expect enough school districts to do so to really effect late April, but won’t know for sure til I have and have analyzed the calendars of the 180 or so districts I use every summer to finalize the next year’s crowd calendar.

29 Cathy { 05.30.15 at 1:27 am }

My husband and I are talking about a WDW trip in either Feb or Apr 2016, Feb 15 is his b-day and Apr 28 is our ann, so it’ll be around one of those dates…which do you recommend? Also, my husband is handicapped and can’t walk a great distance…does WDW offer scooters or electric wheelchairs for rent?

30 Charlotte { 05.30.15 at 11:12 am }

Hi Dave
We are planning a family trip for Dec 14-20 2016 and will be staying at the wilderness lodge courtyard view. We will be booking 5 rooms and the reps at Disney suggested booking the rooms this summer to ensure they aren’t all booked up and then add on our meAl and ticket packages when free dining is announced but this recommendation seems too good to be true. Any thoughts?
Thank you

31 Dave { 05.31.15 at 7:33 am }

Cathy, for recommended dates in 2016 see this. Disney rents scooters and wheel chairs, but only in the parks. To use one e.g. in your hotel as well, third-party vendors will rent them for your entire trip.

32 Dave { 05.31.15 at 7:35 am }

Charlotte, there is no guarantee there will be free dining then, and if there is, no guarantee that you will be able to change your reservation to it. It does not harm your chances to book the rooms now, but it also doesn’t harm you to wait a bit. I would not wait until the expected 2016 free dining announcement, which would be about a year from now…

33 Sara { 06.02.15 at 2:38 am }

Hi Dave
We are thinking about planning another trip in 2017… And I was wondering when you will have the info for that year? Also what are your thoughts on the annual pass that’s good at both Disneyland resort and Disney World. (We live in so cal and have passes already) We have gone for the Halloween party the last two times and been able to do the Food and Wine festival but I was wondering what u thought of the other special events? Love all your advice so thank you in advance for any help!!!

34 Dave { 06.02.15 at 5:06 pm }

Sara, I usually post substantial preliminary material about 15 months before the beginning of the year (so in September for 2107) and may put something more thin up before then. I can comment on specific dates if you are weighing a few periods.

There’s been enough movement in pass prices lately that I’d say just compare upgrading your DLR pass vs buying straight WDW tix when the 2017 prices come out.

I’d go sometime between the Saturday after Thanksgiving and 12/21/17 to see WDW’s Xmas program!!

35 Spencer { 06.29.15 at 6:38 pm }

Your site is amazing!!! My fiance and I were planning on going to WDW May 7-14th 2016 for out honeymoon. We are just worried about the new 2016 changes and are hesitant to book our honeymoon. We don’t want our honeymoon to be filled with construction, and we don’t want to miss out on anything. I would appreciate your insight regarding the 2016 changes to WDW in May. Again, your site is great, and I continue to find myself referring to it. Thank You!!

36 Dave { 07.01.15 at 7:53 am }

Hi Spencer, construction happens all the time at Disney World, and is sometimes not announced much ahead so you can’t really frame dates to avoid it. All of 2016 will see construction at AK and, I except, HS.

37 Tiffany { 07.18.15 at 12:08 pm }

My oldest is in school and my husband is a farmer so picking a good time to go to WDW is like finding a needle in a haystack. The best we can do is pick the best of three awful times: Feb. 10-15th, March 26th-April 1st or Thanksgiving week. Which of these would you go with in 2016 if you had no other options? Also, this is not our first trip and will most likely not be our last.

38 Thelma { 07.18.15 at 2:16 pm }

we are planning another trip to wdw with some friends that have never been and we want to go when the crowds aren’t too bad but we have to take the trip when we are on vacation from work, my family has been twice and both times in july for the 4th and know how bad the crowds are then. my question is would it be better for our group to go 12-27 -2016 or stick to our july dates.

39 Dave { 07.18.15 at 3:44 pm }

Hi Tiffany! Your March dates are out of the question. The February dates will be more crowded (by a little) and expensive (by a fair amount) than Thanksgiving week, and Disney will be all decked out for Xmas then, so I;d lean to Thanksgiving.

40 Dave { 07.18.15 at 3:45 pm }

Thelma, it’s much worse between Xmas and New Years than even the fourth…

41 Conni B { 07.22.15 at 11:28 am }

Can I also give a heads up on dates Feb. 18-21? It is Disneyworld Princess Half Marathon Weekend. The run is sold out across the board so there will be thousands and thousands of us there.

42 Dave { 07.22.15 at 5:21 pm }

Conni, on an average day there are 140,000 people in the parks. As hard as it may be to believe, thus another ten or twenty thousand people from the running events makes no material difference in the crowds.

43 Sherry { 08.05.15 at 12:53 pm }

My family of 4 is looking to book a trip in the fall of 2016. We have the dates narrowed down to either the week of September 17 or the week of October 15. We want to be able to utilize water parks and resort pools. Noticed that it is significantly less expensive in September, but we also want good weather and low crowds. Any recommendations?

44 Dave { 08.06.15 at 8:28 am }

Sherry, the issue with September, which is great in other respects, is weather. Heat and humidity typically are as bad as the peak of the summer, and the entire month is also in the peak of the hurricane season.

45 Jenny { 08.06.15 at 1:34 pm }

We are planning our first WDW trip for the first weekend of June 2016 (my 10 yr old son won’t be able to miss any school). We will have our 6 yr old daughter as well and plan to hit up tons of princess attractions. I have been doing my research and have a ton of tips for Fastpass, but how would that work for a new attraction that might be opening? For example the new Frozen ride or an Elsa & Anna character meet & greet? Would Fastpass be offered and if so, when/how would it become available to reserve?

46 Amy Sayle { 08.07.15 at 8:28 am }

We are planning our first vacation to WDW Feb 23-28 and staying at the Polynesian. Which itinerary do you recommend using for 5 days being Tues-Sunday? Your site has been very helpful in planning our trip to Disney! I have two boys and they will be 5 & 8. Thank you!!

47 Dave { 08.07.15 at 9:33 am }

Jenny, the new stuff will come onto FastPass+ for booking as soon as WDW is convinced it has a firm opening date. This may or may not be in the 60/30 day windows.

48 Dave { 08.07.15 at 9:45 am }

Hi Amy, great idea, I added a PDF link! Also here.

49 Dave { 08.07.15 at 9:49 am }

Amy, my itineraries aren’t that flexible–they are integrated to their length, and in them days are days–e.g. Monday means Monday, not Day 3. Moreover–as you noted–they aren’t great for 5 year olds.

Your best bet is to get a copy of my book, which has one and two day (where appropriate) itineraries for each park, some for everybody and some for little ones, in Chapter 6. We are working on the 2016 edition, but (because we just updated it in mid-July) the itins are not changing much compared to the 2015 edition.

50 Tammy { 08.12.15 at 1:43 pm }

Hi Dave!
After reading your site for years, I believe our family is ready to take the WDW plunge! We are currently planning on visiting My 14-22, 2016, with 2 adults and 2 kids (6 and 8, both tall enough for all rides). I assume I’m reading correctly that this is a moderate-minus busy week. We plan on staying at bonnet creek, eating all meals in or packed except for two or three character meals and heavy snacks (WDW special eats) in the parks. I’m struggling to make sure that I have the correct itinerary (high or low crowd??), and would like to choose the right meals – chef mickey, royal table, be our guest??? As our resort has many many water options, do we need to really visit the water parks? What’s your feeling on arriving on Friday and leaving on Saturday instead of Sat-Sun? I’m a type-A personality, and I would like to plan, plan, plan as much as possible now so that we can execute the plan and just ENJOY our time away. Any help that you could offer – tips, anything would be so very greatly appreciated.

51 Denise { 08.12.15 at 2:52 pm }

Hi Dave! We are booked for 2/28/16 – 3/5/16 with the park hopper option and very excited as this is our first trip. We are doing the Disney Dining Plan so we have several table service credits. Can you recommend the best character meals (specifically for a 5 year old girl) where we can use the table service credits or even the quick service credits? I’m researching info all the time and it’s a little overwhelming so what are you must-do’s for a first timer?

52 Tammy { 08.12.15 at 10:02 pm }

Correction – we are also available to travel the week before: May 7-15. Does this change anything? Thank you for your help!!!

53 Dave { 08.13.15 at 8:53 am }

Tammy, I won’t have an itinerary for then until Disney releases its operating hours for May–in a couple of months. But it will be a version of the low-crowd itinerary. Friday-Sat is fine!! It won’t match any of my itineraries, though. Your best bet will be to get the 2016 edition of my book, which will be out in a couple of months. The 2015 version is here, if you can’t wait.

Yes, the water parks are skippable.

For meals, see this.

54 Dave { 08.13.15 at 8:54 am }

Hi Denise, no character meals for quick service credits. See this for the table service options.

55 Dave { 08.13.15 at 9:00 am }

Tammy, earlier May is better than later May–slightly lower crowds, better odds of better weather.

56 Amy { 08.23.15 at 10:00 am }

We are planning to go the January 24, 2016. Why is this week ranked so low? Is it just because of ride closures? How many rides should we expect to be closed?

57 Jenny { 08.24.15 at 9:50 am }

hi Dave. I booked our trip for feb 8-13 2016. We are leaving early on the 13. I understand the 12 will be really busy but how about the 8-11 and which parks would you recommend visiting each day. We are staying at a Disney resort. Do you recommend using EMH or going to a different park? Thanks. We are taking our 9, 8 and 5 year old boys

58 Brooke { 08.25.15 at 1:03 am }

Hi Dave! Thanks for All the incredible information. We are looking at WDW for Jan10-15, 2016.

What is the ride closure thing? How many? At all parks, or just MK? I didn’t know about this and trying to decide if waiting for another ‘low crowd month’ is better.

Do you know when construction starts for AK? We knew about WL having construction so avoiding it… But are looking into either doing Polynesian for location or AK for kids.

59 Dave { 08.25.15 at 11:00 am }

Amy, yes, just because of ride closures. The full list likely won’t be out for a while, so right now it’s just Buzz Lightyear your dates–other major rides (Space and Splash Mountain) are closed earlier in the month.

60 Dave { 08.25.15 at 11:19 am }

Hi Jenny! The 8th-11th will be just fine.

The 8th avoid AK, the 9th avoid Epcot, the 10th avoid MK, the 11th avoid Epcot. The 12th avoid MK and HS, and the 13th avoid MK and AK. So focus early in your visit (except the 10th) on MK, and late on Epcot, fitting the other parks in between.

61 Dave { 08.25.15 at 11:42 am }

Haven’t heard about Animal Kingdom Lodge construction, Brooke. See this for ride closures.

62 Jenny { 08.26.15 at 9:40 am }

Thanks so much!

63 Dave { 08.30.15 at 5:33 am }

im taking my family to WDW florida July 18th for 2 weeks. My kids will be 10 and 7 years old.
Just wondering about how busy it will be and the weather.
Cant wait as weve been to disney land paris but this is our first visit to the states.?

64 Dave { 08.30.15 at 8:51 am }

Dave, see this. It’s about July 2015, but all the basics will be the same for 2016.

65 Rebecca Miller { 09.09.15 at 12:17 pm }

I am planning a 7 day 6 night trip with a 5 and 2 year old for the dates of April 23-30. We have a 5 day park hopper option. I cannot locate a itinerary for that time frame. What parks should I go to which day? I want to do 2 days at Magic Kingdom – maybe Wednesday and Thursday because I read those are the least crowded days?

66 Dave { 09.10.15 at 7:50 am }

Rebecca, Disney has not released its schedule for April yet–it should any day now. So get back to me in a week and I’ll be able to advise you.

67 Rebecca Miller { 09.10.15 at 9:56 am }

GREAT, thank you so much! I will back in touch!

68 Ashley Stembridge { 10.07.15 at 9:07 am }

Dave, we are going to Disney January 31st thru February 6th for my daughter’s 5th birthday. I am worried about the ride closures. Since she is only 5 and we will be traveling with another toddler who will be 18 months, will we be missing out on a lot with ride closures? Also, in the past, what is the weather like during that time?


69 Rebecca Miller { 10.21.15 at 3:30 pm }

I am planning a 7 day 6 night trip with a 5 and 2 year old for the dates of April 23-30. We have a 5 day park hopper option. I cannot locate a itinerary for that time frame. What parks should I go to which day? I want to do 2 days at Magic Kingdom – maybe Wednesday and Thursday because I read those are the least crowded days?

Also, I would like to get your opinion on one more thing…….. we have an extra day and should I try and go to Sea World or just do another day is Disney?

Thanks so very much!

70 Hannah { 10.22.15 at 10:22 pm }

My family and I are so excited to say that we are going to Disney World for the second time! We went March of 2015. We are planning our upcoming trip to Disney world for November 14th until the 20th. We know that is the week before thanksgiving.. Do you think the crowds will be bad? We’re only doing two parks. Magic Kingdom and Epcot. And doing Universal separately. And is the Caribbean Beach Resort a good choice for 2 adults and 2 teenagers (17&14)?

71 Hannah { 10.22.15 at 10:24 pm }

Our trip is going to be in 2016. November 14th until the 20th

72 Dave { 10.23.15 at 8:01 am }

Rebecca, all the itineraries on this site are designed for much longer trips and much older kids. You can find park plans designed for younger kids in Chapter 6 of my book.

Chapters 2 and 3 discuss what Disney parks ot visit at that age–e.g. a coupla days at MK, and half days at AK and HS.

Those dates, avoid the parks noted

4/23: avoid MK and AK
4/24: avoid HS
4/25: avoid AK and MK
4/26: avoid Epcot
4/27: avoid MK
4/28: avoid Epcot
4/29: avoid HS and MK
4/20: avoid AK and MK

Note that while Thursday is a good MK day, Wednesday is not.

And Sea World is a great option at that age!

73 Dave { 10.23.15 at 8:27 am }

Hi Hannah! That’s a low crowd period, but you have to be careful about which park you pick which day as individual parks hit high crowds certain days. For 2016, I can guide you after the operating calendar for then comes out–likely in early March.

CB should be a good choice for you. See this. But Universal works best if you spend at least one night in a Universal hotel–see this.

74 Debbie { 10.26.15 at 10:32 pm }

Hi Dave,
I’m planning on visiting WDW on 5/8/16 – 5/16/2016. I understand that The Invictus Games will be at the Wide World of Sports complex. Do you think this will bring heavier than expected crowds that week? Thanks!

75 Dave { 10.27.15 at 9:40 am }

No, Debbie, they will have no impact on crowds.

76 Debbie { 10.27.15 at 10:05 pm }

Thanks so much!! I love your site and your book.

77 Erika { 11.06.15 at 10:23 pm }

I have been researching our Disney trip since our children were tiny and have FINALLY booked our first trip. October 19-24, 2016!!! SO excited and (according to your info) think I have picked good dates. I just wanted to tell you how amazingly awesome and informative this site is! I have been using many others and am thrilled to have found you! Quick question, I’ve been looking at crowd calendars trying to determine best days for each park. How will I know when the extra magic hours are for each park? I’m hoping to pick a less crowded park on those days. Oh and is one night any better than another for MNSSHP? Any advice you would have would be great! Thanks, Erika

78 Dave { 11.08.15 at 8:55 am }

Erika, thanks!!! I won’t have a point of view on best days for the parks until Disney releases its operating schedule for then, which will be in mid-April. For MNSSHP, weekdays (e.g Tuesdays and Thursdays, if offered your dates) are a little better, but honestly I expect them all to sell out so there won’t be much difference.

79 Brett { 12.03.15 at 8:19 pm }

Hi Dave, this website is great and helpful, thanks a lot! I have a few questions about my upcoming trip with my family of 5 in late October 2016 (me, wife, 16 yo boy, an 2 14 yo boys). We are on a budget so I did some research and 2 great options for us are the 5-perosn rooms at Port Orleans Riverside and Caribbean Beach. I know they both have similar murphy beds, but they seem a bit small for my boys. Do the mattress of the murphy beds come out? We would put it on the floor so one of the boys wouldn’t so tight. Also, do you think we as a whole will be tight in the room? Lastly, which resort is would be better for our teens? The pools at the Caribbean look better, but I think the access to Disney Springs at Riverside is nice too. Any help is appreciated and I would like to thank you again!

80 Gabrielle { 12.04.15 at 11:52 pm }

Hi Dave! We are going to disney world with a 4 day park hopper pass Monday through Thursday of this week… we have 2 kids only 2 and 4. Reservations are made for lunch the first day at epcot and Tuesday at Hollywood studios. We wanted the kids to dine with the characters but still pretty overwhelmed with planning. Any tips on an order of parks or days to avoid?

81 Dave { 12.05.15 at 4:55 pm }

Brett, I’m not sure but I doubt the mattresses come off (otherwise they wouldn’t work so great folding up) and they also are short– just ~64 inches long. I’d bring a single air mattress and set it up between the door and the first bed, where there is plenty of room.

The Disney Springs boats at POR are (in my opinion) slow, not that frequent, and have low capacity. So since there’s a bus to Disney Springs from CB, I think it’s a wash on that front…

82 Dave { 12.05.15 at 4:59 pm }

Gabrielle, Monday avoid MK, Tuesday avoid HS and Epcot (unless your meal is a huge priority), Weds avoid AK and MK, and thurs avoid Epcot and HS. With kids that age I’d focus on MK.

83 Shelly Holmes { 12.08.15 at 11:15 pm }

Hi Dave, we are planning a trip for the first week in June…Yes, I know, the dreaded June. We just didn’t have a choice. My daughter in law is a school teacher, she gets out the last week in May. We are taking my married son and his family, two kids and our two kids, my hubby and I, 8 of us in all. We are staying in Disney, have a meal plan pkg and park hoppers. Staying for 5 days. Our grandkids are 2 and 5. We are hoping we are not making a huge, expensive mistake but our youngest grandson has just finished treatment for cancer and we wanted to have a family end of treatment celebration. Do you have any advise for us? We are very excited and are planning to a t, just thought I would get your thoughts/suggestions. Thanks!

84 Dave { 12.09.15 at 8:57 am }

Shelly, with good advice June can be fine. With kids that age you want 2-3 days at MK, and a half day each at HS and AK. If you give me exact dates, I can advise on which parks to go which days.

85 courtney barden { 12.18.15 at 9:06 pm }

Thanks for all of the great information! Are the operations calendars typically out prior to the 180 day ADR date? We are planning a trip October 15th to the 22nd and I just don’t want to make dining reservations in the wrong parks for that..

86 Dave { 12.19.15 at 7:14 am }

Hi Courtney, yes they are!

87 Heather { 12.28.15 at 9:54 pm }

We’ve booked our first Disney vacation for February 19-26, renting a house off grounds, 10 min from park. We’re coming with children ages 1-10. Any recommendation as to what parks to visit which days given the crowds and rides for young kids? We’re thinking Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom at this point?? Any advise is welcome!

88 { 12.29.15 at 3:41 am }

We are hoping we are not making a huge, expensive mistake but our youngest grandson has just finished or cancer and we wanted to have a family end of treatment celebration. Do you have any advise for us? We are very excited and are planning to a t, just thought I would get your thoughts/suggestions. Thanks!

89 Dave { 12.29.15 at 9:16 am }

Heather, tell me a little more about how many kids and the ages of each.

90 Dave { 12.29.15 at 9:17 am }

Walter, start here.

91 Brenda { 01.16.16 at 11:49 pm }

Thank you for all this wonderful information on your site. I know we are past the 180 day mark and we will be traveling to Disney during the summer season, but I would love to pick your brain about our trip. My family (2 adults and 3 kids – 5g, 10b, 12g) and my in-laws are heading WDW from June 18-27 of this year. We are stuck between staying off property (at a cost of under $1000) but only 3-5 minutes from the gates and staying on property and having the full Disney experience. We aren’t sure we’ll ever make it back to WDW, but money is a factor. Will we really miss much staying off or should we just go for it and enjoy the experience? Also, we were looking at staying at AofA for the kids, but we got quotes that the New Orleans room would be cheaper. Do you have any thoughts about those locations and the kid factor?

92 Dave { 01.17.16 at 9:05 am }

Brenda, what you will miss is the easy transport (you will need a car if you stay offsite) and the ability to make FastPass+ at 60 days instead of 30 days. Unfortunately with a 5 person family there’s no really affordable option on site… For example, you can’t stay in the least expensive Art of Animation rooms, whihc fit only 4.

The least expensive on site 5 person rooms are at Caribbean Beach and Port Orleans Riverside. Your dates the least expensive view options at CB are ~$223/night at CB and ~$233 a night at POR.

93 Hayley O { 01.26.16 at 2:06 pm }

I have a question about your plans for fall of 2016 when you were talking about going from no FASTPASS to FASTPASS+. My family has been twice, both in January. In Jan 2013, we just had the paper things. In Jan 2015 we had the magicbands and I could book our rides months in advance online. What are you expecting for fall of 2016? We are planning on going towards the end of October 2016. Will I not be able to book our 3 rides online like last year? Thank you!

94 Dave { 01.27.16 at 8:27 am }

Hayley, FastPass+ has been fully operational for two years. Not sure what you are referring to, but yes, you will be fine with FastPass+

95 jill { 02.08.16 at 12:38 pm }

We are going to disney april 22-may 1 and are trying to finalize our plans. I know both rivers of light and the nighttime safari are rumored to open “spring 2016”. Right now our day at AK is 4/29. Any thoughts as to how much notice they will give for opening? same question for the frozen ride?

96 Dave { 02.09.16 at 7:04 am }

Jill, not enough rides have opened under the new FastPass+ regime to have a good sense of how much notice we’ll get…

97 Sherry { 02.24.16 at 3:44 pm }

Hi, Dave!
We have booked our trip for October 22-29, 2016. Purchased 6 day park tickets with a park hopper and water park option. We have decided that we will not attend the MNSSHP. Can you give me an idea as to which parks to avoid on particular days during our stay? I want to start planning our meals so that I can book at the 180 day window. We also want to co-ordinate an early breakfast at Cinderella’s Royal Table on a morning that there will not be EMH so that we can get in line early for some of the attractions that we won’t have FP for. Can you also give me an idea of what crowd levels will be like that week?

98 Dave { 02.25.16 at 8:35 am }

Sherry, I can’t give you daily advice until the October calendar is out, whihc will happen in mid-March. Check back then, OK? Forecast crowd levels are here.

99 Bev { 02.27.16 at 8:37 am }

Hi Dave

Our family Orlando vacation is booked from Apr 24 to May 2 of this yr. My kids are 11 & 14 and love moderate to high thrill rides. Its our first trip and we will be spending time at Disney and Universal Studios. We have the 3 day base pass for WDW and are staying off site. We want to maximize our experience at Disney but unsure of our best plan of attack. Do we see only 3 of the 4 parks? If so which ones? Should we consider park hopper option for one of the days and which parks are 1/2 day? We are spending 3 days at Universal so might that cover us eliminating Disney Hollywood Studios? We are also planning some “down time” at our house rental between park days. Any suggestions you have to maximize our WDW experience would be appreciated!

100 Dave { 02.27.16 at 12:55 pm }

Bev, I don’t have any great ideas on a three day visit, especially if moderate-high thrill rides is the priority. There’s exactly three high thrill rides at Disney World–Tower of terror and Rock n Roller Coaster at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Expedition Everest at the Animal Kingdom. (And Disney’s Studios vs Universal’s have nothing to do with each other–they were more similar a decade ago, but one is now not a substitute for another, although you’ll see badly-updated guidebooks suggesting that they are.)

Park hoppers are usually a mistake on such a short trip as since you are missing so much anyway, why miss more by spending time commuting?

So I’d suggest a day at HS, a day at AK and a day at MK–the last because you can’t go to Disney World and not go to MK!

See this for some more important guidance.

101 Sherry { 03.21.16 at 7:13 pm }

Hi, Dave.
Any info on the October 2016 schedule yet?
If so, please refer to my post above.

102 Dave { 03.22.16 at 3:51 pm }

10/22 avoid MK, Epcot and AK
10/23 avoid Epcot and HS
10/24 avoid MK and AK
10/25 avoid Epcot
10/26 avoid MK
10/27 avoid Epcot
10/28 avoid Epcot and AK
10/29 avoid Epcot, MK and AK

103 Jamie { 04.04.16 at 6:40 pm }

Hey, this is my first time going to Disney World. We are going at the end of May to beginning June. Is this a good time to go? Also, if you have a dining plan can you use it on the last day of your stay even if you have already checked out? For example, we are checking out but going to Hollywood Studios all day then leaving after that. Thanks!

104 Dave { 04.05.16 at 9:36 am }

I can’t recommend that week, Jamie, as it is quite busy. A good plan will help–see this.

Dining plan credits are good til midnight of the day you check out.

105 Allison { 04.07.16 at 11:21 am }

Hi Dave-
I love your website and all the useful information. My family with be traveling for our first trip 10/16-10/21, (7yr old & 16 month old). Can you advise on which parks to visit these days. We are staying at Pop Century.


106 Dave { 04.07.16 at 11:44 am }

Hi Allison!

10/16 avoid HS and Epcot
10/17 avoid AK and MK
10/18 avoid Epcot
10/19 avoid MK
10/20 avoid Epcot
10/21 avoid HS and Epcot

107 Kristy { 04.14.16 at 12:06 am }

We are going in October also….may I ask why you are saying avoid these parks?

108 Dave { 04.14.16 at 9:02 am }

Kristy, every day some parks are more crowded than others. This is especially true September-December.For some slightly out of date stuff on why, see this

109 Kelly { 04.27.16 at 7:03 pm }

We are planing our vacation for the week the Invictus Games will be at WDW. I know there are only 500 competitors but I’ve heard it’s supposed to bring thousands of spectators to the area. Do you have any idea of how this will impact crowds?

110 Dave { 04.28.16 at 11:20 am }

Kelly, in London the average audience was around 13k/day. The Orlando audience will be I expect much lower–not enough locals compared to London. They should have no impact on parks that average 150k a day in attendance…

111 Mary { 04.28.16 at 1:47 pm }

Hi Dave
the free dining is here I booked it for September for my husband and I.Adults no children.
then I noticed Fall Savings on resorts. We are staying at Port Orleans Riverside. During our stay it is 20% off.
Which offer is best for us? thankyou

112 Dave { 04.29.16 at 10:27 am }

Mary, the numbers here should help

113 Cheryl { 05.05.16 at 5:55 pm }

Can you advise on which parks to avoid 11/26/16 thru 11/30/16? 4 adults and 3 kids (ages 6,11,14). This is our first visit to WDW and appreciate all of your helpful information.

114 Dave { 05.07.16 at 6:05 am }

Hi Cheryl!

11/26 avoid MK and AK
11/27 avoid HS
11/28 avoid MK
11/29 avoid Epcot
11/30 avoid MK

115 Cassie { 05.09.16 at 11:46 am }

Hi Dave! Cheryl is there many of the same days as we will be but would you mind letting me know which parks to avoid on 11/25, 12/1, 12/2 and 12/3? And of that week, which Christmas party you predict will be the least busy? Thanks for your help! Your site has been VERY helpful our last few trips – appreciate all of the info you put out! 🙂

116 Dave { 05.10.16 at 7:53 am }

Cassie, so glad to have helped, but I can’t comment on December until Disney’s schedule for then comes out which it should in a week or so.

Among MVMCP I’d aim for 11/29 or 12/2

117 David { 09.13.16 at 6:02 am }

Great website.
I am going Oct 14th -23rd. I already had my schedule made out before stumbling on your site and had Magic Kingdom down for sat the 15th. How crowded will it really be? I haven’t been to Disney sincr 2002 and Oct then was great every day.

118 Dave { 09.13.16 at 7:02 am }

Hi David and thanks. MK will be very crowded the 15th.

119 David { 09.13.16 at 12:09 pm }

Thank you for the reply. The bad part is the Magic Kingdom Fireworks are only Saturday Oct 15th and Weds Oct 19th . Weds are the EMH. What day would I be better off going?


120 Dave { 09.14.16 at 10:46 am }

David, I have a slight preference for Weds.

121 David { 09.14.16 at 11:53 am }

Thanks. Maybe I can do a two part Magic Kingdom since I have a day ticket. Part of Saturday and then the rest on Weds. I was wrong though. Monday is also a fireworks day. Why is that Monday Oct 17th not a good MK day? No extended hours? Should I go that Monday instead?
Thank you for your help.

122 Dave { 09.15.16 at 12:01 pm }

David, MK tends to be the heaviest on Sundays and Mondays, EMH days, and days when it has more evening entertainment than days before and after. Based on this there is no clear case for Sat vs Mon vs Weds. While I do have the slight preference for Weds, it’s probably not material…

123 Luis { 09.21.16 at 5:11 pm }


We are now planning to go December 9-13 (instead of the week after Easter 2017). Staying at Boardwalk Villas. I was wondering what park recommendations you had for those days. For reference what I was thinking was:

Friday December 9 (arrival day): Epcot for dinner (Garden Grill) + a couple of rides
Saturday December 10: Magic Kingdom
Sunday December 11: AK in the morning for a short bit (Dinoland rides + Everest), afternoon break, then MVMCP at MK
Monday December 12: mid-morning start (we’ll be tired from a late night) HS
Tuesday December 13: morning at Epcot, leave after lunch to catch bus at 2pm.


124 Dave { 09.22.16 at 10:52 am }

Hi Luis–Saturday will be crowded at MK, but given the other options, your approach looks fine!

125 Luis { 09.22.16 at 2:42 pm }

Dave, I’m actually reconsidering and thinking we will shift things by 1 day instead. Arrive 12/10, Return 12/14. If so, I’m thinking the schedule then becomes

Sat 12/10 – Epcot at night
Sun 12/11 – AK in morning, MVMCP at night
Mon 12/12 – HS (come back later for fireworks)
Tue 12/13 – MK
Wed 12/14 – Epcot in AM

This seems to solve the MK crowded problem (in fact, the new MK day is a party day so it should be low crowds).

126 Dave { 09.24.16 at 7:21 am }

Luis, this looks great!

127 mia { 10.07.16 at 9:26 am }

hi dave!
my family of 4 is going to visit orlando florida for the first time on Oct. 21-25 2016. we’re planning to go to seaworld on that saturday, then universal studios on sunday and disney world on monday. do you think this is good? and hopefully the hurricane matthew’s not gonna affect that time we’re there (the aftermath). thanks!!

128 Dave { 10.08.16 at 7:38 am }

Mia, there’s a lot to see at Disney World…

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