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

Available on Amazon here.

2018 Planning Tools for Walt Disney World

By Dave Shute


I’ve published several key planning tools for selecting when to go to Walt Disney World in 2018:

Prices can vary by 50% over the year, crowds by even more, and the best weeks to visit–for first timers, or for others–are also affected by weather, special events, and ride closures.disney-world-in-2018-from-yourfirstvisit-netSo these are key tools for you to use in planning your 2018 Disney World vacation.

For more on when to go to Disney World, see this.


My calendar of Disney World price seasons in 2018 shows changes in Disney World resort hotel prices over the dates of 2018.



My  2018 Disney World crowd calendar indicates lower, moderate, and higher crowd weeks to visit.

It’s based on recent trends–especially lower summer crowds and higher crowds in the first half of October–and the impacts of moving holidays, particularly Easter, and the actual day of Christmas in 2018 (which effects the start of an enormous number of school breaks).


My  week rankings for 2018 are based on the above price seasons and crowd forecast, and also are influenced by weather, seasonal events, and ride closures.


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1 Ninette Sacco { 11.23.16 at 6:04 am }

We are 4 adults coming to Disney the first 2 weeks of September 2018 from the UK as it is my 60th Birthday. We have been before in 2008 and 2015. I usually book a package as soon as they are released, as usually the price seems cheaper the further in advance you book. However I have seen that Disney did offer basic Disney Dining at the Value resorts this year and I wondered if I should wait to see if they are doing this again for 2018 or if by the time they release this offer (if they do) the package prices have gone up anyway wiping out any gain. We will be staying again at Pop Century Resort in 2 rooms. I am always open to any suggestions. Thank you very much for your time. Ninette

2 Dave { 11.24.16 at 8:17 am }

Ninette, I don’t track UK deals, as they aren’t that visible to me. Check out the site/forum a UK_foucsed DIsney site and ask your question there. (Tell them that Dave from sent you!)

3 Ken { 01.23.17 at 10:49 pm }

Do you have an idea of when tickets for 2018 will go on sale?

4 Dave { 01.24.17 at 6:39 am }

Ken, Disney tickets (other than one day tickets) are undated. You can buy them now and use in 2018. If you do so, you’ll also avoid price rises between now and then, one of which should be happening quite soon.

5 Ed { 03.06.17 at 11:11 am }

Do you have any idea when Disney rooms will become available for January 2018?

6 Dave { 03.07.17 at 8:58 am }

Ed,they are available now. See this.

7 Suzanne { 03.09.17 at 5:49 am }

Hiya Dave, We are looking at either April or late October/November and there doesn’t seem too much difference in crowds/prices in the weeks we are looking at. I was just wondering if you know whether there is much difference in weather/temperature between April and late October/beginning of November? Many thanks for your help! This site has been an amazing help!

8 Dave { 03.11.17 at 8:12 am }

Hi Suzanne, so glad to help. See this and its links for weather info.

9 Natalee { 04.07.17 at 2:37 pm }

Hi! We are planning a trip for October 21-27, 2018 and I have a question about the Halloween party and events. How much do tickets usually run for those? Also, while we are there my husband and I will be celebrating our 10-year wedding anniversary and I’d love to book a really nice dinner or experience for that night. Also thinking about maybe a family photo shoot. Any suggestions? Thank you!

10 Dave { 04.08.17 at 8:55 am }

Natalee, plan prices for the party to be >$80/person. There’s all kinds of spots for a celebratory dinner–look at the lower right side of the table on this page.

Probably more helpful will be the reviews in our book, and this language from it:

“For couples looking for the most romantic atmosphere and the best
food, we suggest:

California Grill: Located on the 15th floor of the Contemporary
Resort, California Grill offers breathtaking views of Magic Kingdom
during the evening fireworks, in addition to a great menu
focused on fresh ingredients, sushi, and contemporary cocktails.

Artist Point: Nestled inside Wilderness Lodge, this romantic
rendezvous is themed to the restaurants found in the great
National Park lodges of the west. Buffalo, salmon, and a terrific
mushroom soup and berry cobbler are menu mainstays.

Victoria & Albert’s: For a truly special occasion; astonishing

11 Sarah { 07.21.17 at 4:15 pm }

We were there at that time last year! It was busy (especially epcot with food/wine festival) but the kids had a blast. Tickets for scary Halloween were $100 a piece, I believe. We decided to skip and just watched the special fireworks from GF. Our family LOVES Ohana. We took great pictures on our walk on the beach from Grand Floridian to the Polynesian. Have a blast and happy anniversary!

12 Stephanie { 04.12.17 at 8:12 pm }

Hi! I am just starting to research a trip to Disney world for 1st timers! I was thinking September or October for 1 week for 5 of us. We are flying from Washington state and wanted to know what is the best month that is budget friendly? Also what’s. The best way to book? A package, agent, or separate?

13 Stephanie { 04.12.17 at 8:13 pm }


14 Dave { 04.14.17 at 1:05 pm }

Stephanie, see this for my advice on dates for first-timers.

Many first-timers use travel agents, as there’s a lot of decisions to be made and things to be booked. On the other hand many families enjoy doing the research and the booking themselves.

If use a travel agent, I recommend Kelly B at 980-429-4499 or email me at –tell her I sent you!

15 Kate { 04.18.17 at 2:34 pm }

Just booked to go 16th aug 2018 for two weeks from U.K (picked due to lower crowds otherwise would have been 23rd July or easter) but I see on your guide it’s peak hurricane season- now I’m concerned??? How is this likely to affect our trip and how should I plan for this?

16 Dave { 04.19.17 at 8:28 am }

Kate, the chance of a hurricane affecting your trip is small, but not insignificant. See this. Make sure you have travel insurance, and note Disney’s hurricane policy (s). I’d also invest in a portable weather radio like this one.

17 Alex { 04.27.17 at 10:17 am }

Since they are doing construction at Hollywood Studios, should I plan a whole day there or is it now a half day park?

18 Dave { 04.28.17 at 12:12 pm }

Alex, the construction shut down only a few either low-popularity or low-capacity rices, and it remains a full day park if you want to see everything else.

19 Karen { 05.12.17 at 3:11 pm }

Hi Dave,

I love your site.I mostly have visited Disney for a couple of daysand have stayed with family. However, I am trying to get together a ladies trip with some friends and wanted to know what resort you would recommend for us? Right now, I would say we have between 6-8 interested so far.

Any advice for planning a group trip like this for February? We plan to go Feb 4-10 with 5 days in the parks.


20 Dave { 05.13.17 at 9:39 am }

Karen, it’s hard to advise without an idea of your nightly budget, and whether you want a bunch of separate rooms, or a space that will hold most or all of you. Guide me, please!

21 Ed { 05.29.17 at 11:32 pm }

We are looking to take or triplets for their graduation gift in 2018. Any ideas on best place to stay etc? Is it better to get more than 1 room or maybe a suite?

22 Dave { 05.30.17 at 2:32 pm }

Ed, it depends a lot on your budget and the number of separate beds and sleeping spots you’d want… See this for a start.

23 Carly { 06.29.17 at 7:28 am }

We (three adults) are planning on going from March 17-March 24. When should I book for the best deal?

24 Dave { 06.30.17 at 8:41 am }

Carly, with one exception, timing does not matter as if a deal comes out, already having a reservation will neither help nor hurt you in trying to get into it. That’s a very busy week in 2018, and may not see a deal. The exception is tickets, which may go up in price anytime, most likely in Feb. Buying them early insulates you from a price increase–unless you change your reservation (e.g. to get a deal) in which case you have to pay the new price.

25 Ana { 06.29.17 at 2:13 pm }

Hello Dave!
I’ll be running the WDW half marathon in Jaunuary 6th, so my family decided to make an event out of it! I usually go by myself, but this time, it’s going to be a family trip! My dad wants to book the Grand Floridian, as he used to take us there when we were little. Do you know when I should expect Florida Resident/Passholder Offers to come out? (I qualify for both) Have you ever booked your trip taking advantage bounceback offer? (I have a trip planned for august)

One last question… what happens if you make a room request over the phone and then selecting the same options in the online check-in (room request)? will the first get wiped out?

26 Dave { 06.30.17 at 8:45 am }

Hi Ana, the AP deal for then in 2017 came out in late October. I don’t track the Florida resident deals–nor have I done a bounceback, so sorry.

I have heard that an online request will supersede a previously called in request (if it is different)

27 Beth Shearin { 09.25.17 at 2:52 pm }

Planning a trip to Walt Disney July 9-15th 2018. 9 adults 5 kids under 10. We are getting a house through for our trip. Are tickets available now for purchases and what’s the price for Florida residents.

28 Dave { 09.26.17 at 9:43 am }

Hi Beth, yes you can buy tix now–and by doing so will avoid a likely price increase in early 2018. Various deals come out at various times for Florida resident, but the are commonly blacked out in the summer. has stuff on this here.

29 Julie G. { 11.07.17 at 11:09 pm }

Hi Dave. Do you do park recommendations for certain days? I will be in the parks from Thursday, May 31st-Wednesday, June 6th, 2o18. I used Josh’s recommended days on my last trip in 2015 and they worked very well for my family. Thanks for any advice you can offer!

30 Dave { 11.08.17 at 7:05 am }

Hi Julie, I can help, but only after Disney publishes its calendar for then, which (from the June dates) will be in ~5-6 weeks. So ping back later!

31 Michelle { 11.12.17 at 5:21 pm }

I’m planning our first visit for late June/ July 2018. We are in Australia (so I’m factoring in jet lag.)

I’ve run into a stumbling block.
I’m picking out restaurants to book and what FastPass to select. We are staying on site, BUT how do I find out what is an Extra Magic Hours morning? I’m worried it’d be for a day that I may be planning breakfast elsewhere (Trail’s End) or have a plan to visit another park. What do people do to work around this?
Thank you!

32 Dave { 11.14.17 at 11:49 am }

Hi Michelle, So sorry it’s taken me so long to respond–I’m at Disney World right now and have been having fun while neglecting the site!

Disney will post its Extra Magic Hour schedule 5.5-6.5 months ahead. It then may change. It’s unusual for EMH to be removed from a day, but not unusual for additional EMH to be added, or openings changed from 9a to 8a. I’d expect to see this at Hollwood Studios in particular, as Toy Story Land should be open by then.

Frankly, the best way to deal with this uncertainty is not to book breakfasts until very late morning–e.g. 10.30a, and just make do first thing with coffee/juice/pastries/fried kangaroo sticks.

33 Sharrod { 11.18.17 at 7:43 pm }

Hey Dave,
We want to visit Disney World Dec. 22nd-27th, 2018… Any suggestions for deals and discounts. It would be nice to stay at a Disney resort on site but I hear there are other resorts close by. Please poiont us in the right direction.

34 Dave { 11.19.17 at 8:04 am }

Sharrod, that is one of the most popular and crowded periods of the year, so hotel prices are as high as they are all year–double the level of some other times–and deals/discounts are quite rare–because no one needs to offer them to fill their hotels. See this.

It is possible that Disney will offer free dining within your arrival dates, but that’s about it, and I would not count on it. You will save money by staying off-site, but still also pay (for them) prices higher than you would at any other time of the year.

35 Catherine { 12.31.17 at 1:57 pm }

Hi we are planning a trip for Dec 2018, we are thinking the first week of December. Is it a good time to go? Do you know when is the best time to plan the vacation, and to start booking everything, we will be 10 of us, 6 adults and 4 children (age 4-6-7-9)

36 Dave { 01.01.18 at 11:43 am }

Hi Catherine, first that is a good week–see my week rankings for 2018 here.

Second, I recommend that your plans be largely complete by 180 days before your arrival date. Sometimes this is hard to do, as DIsney may not yet have published its calendar bny then, but that’s the goal. For why, see this.

Finally–Kelly (from the comment above) is my travel agent partner. If you decide you need help, she’s a great resource!

37 Kelly B - Destinations in Florida { 12.31.17 at 5:54 pm }

Hi Catherine – I’m Kelly, Travel Agent for The first week in December is a great time to visit. All of Disney World is decorated for the Holidays, crowds are on the lower side. Weather can fluctuate, but it’s a nice break from the melting hot Florida days (Dress in layers).

It’s always best to plan as early as possible. Do this will provide you with the best availability and lock in pricing. Disney only requires a $200 deposit (per room) that is fully refundable up until 30 days before arrival. The great thing is that you make changes to your reservation (tickets, dining, dates) and should a discount come out, you can apply that (1 discount per reservation and based on availability)

You definitely want to book at least 180 days before your vacation at the latest. This is the point that dining reservations can (and should) be made.

I would love to help you plan your upcoming Disney vacation. When you book your vacation package with me, all of my services are FREE!!! They include:Free Itinerary Planning

Free Mouse Perks – Tips, Updates, and Fun Freebies

Free Dining Services – Dining suggestions and reservation planning

Free FastPass+ Services – FastPass+ planning and reservation assistance

Free Future Discount Search – Ongoing searching for future discount to apply to your vacation

Please feel free to contact me at 980-429-4499 or

38 Melissa Attaway { 03.05.18 at 9:15 am }

Do you know about what time a year Disney comes out with the specials for the first week of December and what they usually are? I am trying to plan a trip to Disney at the beginning of December of 2018. I know they usually come out with specials for December I am just wondering about when they usually announce them and if you have any idea of what kind of specials they will be this year.

Melissa Attaway

39 Dave { 03.06.18 at 9:41 am }

Hi Melissa, in 2017 a room rate deal for that week came out in mid-July. It was for 10-20% off–the lower discount for less expensive rooms.

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