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.



yourfirstvisit.net—Disney World Instructions for the First-Time Visitor



Category — a. When to Go to Walt Disney World

April 2018 at Walt Disney World

OVERVIEW: APRIL 2018 AT DISNEY WORLD

This page reviews April 2018 Walt Disney World crowds, prices, deals and discounts, weather, and operating hours; adds a few other notes; and ends with week by week summaries.

Because of Easter breaks, the first week of April in 2018 will be quite bad, with some of the highest crowds and highest prices of the year.  The rest of April 2018 should be be a great time to go to Disney World.

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October 17, 2017   No Comments

March 2018 at Walt Disney World

OVERVIEW: MARCH 2018 AT DISNEY WORLD

This page reviews March 2018 Walt Disney World crowds, prices, deals and discounts, weather, and operating hours; adds a few other notes; and ends with week by week summaries.

The first week of March can be a great time to go to Disney World, and is so in 2018, up until March 9. The rest of the month will be lousy–with high prices and high crowds.

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October 2, 2017   No Comments

2019 Weeks to Visit Walt Disney World, Ranked in Order

OVERVIEW: THE BEST TIMES IN 2019 AT WALT DISNEY WORLD

This site recommends arriving at Walt Disney World one of the first three Saturdays after Thanksgiving.

If you can’t go then, presented below are my draft rankings of the weeks of 2019 in order of best to worst times to visit Disney World. I will revise and update these as necessary as more 2019 information comes out, likely in the summer of 2018.

These rankings are designed for first time visitors who do not know whether or not they will return.

For visitors on a return trip, less concerned about ride closures or the peak of the hurricane season, the later January, early February, and September weeks would be ranked much higher.

The rankings are also in calendar order on the image. For a printable PDF of the draft rankings, click here.

These week rankings are based on my draft 2019 Disney World Crowd Calendar and on my forecasts for Walt Disney World 2019 price seasons.

Other factors are key as well–the Christmas season, ride closure season and hurricane season in particular.

(For 2017 rankings, see this, and for 2018 rankings, see this. For more how I build these rankings, see this.)

RECOMMENDED 2019 WEEKS AT DISNEY WORLD, RANKED IN ORDER

The thirteen recommended weeks that follow are wonderful weeks to visit Walt Disney World in 2019

Week number one has it all–lower crowds, lower prices and wonderful Christmas programs and decorations.

  • 1: 12/7/19

Weeks 2 and 3 have many, but not all, of the strengths of week 1:

  • 2: 12/14/19. A week as good as week 1 on crowds and holiday programs. More expensive, however, than weeks 1 or 3
  • 3: 11/30/19. Largely a terrific week with low crowds (other than the 30th itself, which overlaps with Thanksgiving crowds), low prices and wonderful holiday programs. However, this is a week that, because of Pop Warner football demand for resort rooms, is rarely discounted beyond its already low prices. Those intending to stay at a value resort, Caribbean Beach or Coronado Springs should consider avoiding this week and target week 1 or 2 instead, as Pop Warner guests may make these resorts boisterous this week

Weeks 4 and 5 are very strong weeks. They have low crowds and prices, and Disney World’s holiday program at the Magic Kingdom will be fully in place for week 4 and largely in place for week 5

  • 4: 11/16/19
  • 5: 11/9/19

Weeks 6 and 7 have lower prices and crowds, and offer both the Food &Wine Festival and Disney World’s Halloween program

  • 6: 10/26/19
  • 7: 10/19/19

Week  8 through 10 are all in the same 2019 post-Easter stretch, and share low crowds, moderate prices, and (especially in weeks 8 and 9) nice spring weather. They are in calendar order, as the weather is better earlier in this period

  • 8: 4/27/19
  • 9: 5/4/19
  • 10: 5/11/19

Week 11 and 12 are your best spring break bets

  • 11: 2/23/19
  • 12: 3/2/19

Week 13 is in what I believe will be a window between March and Easter spring breaks. If I am wrong, crowds will be higher and it will shift to being not a recommended week.

  • 13: 4/6/19

This completes the weeks in 2019 that are recommended for first-time visitors who may never return.

2019 WEEKS I’M NOT SO KEEN ON

Weeks 14-17 all have moderate crowd levels, with different prices and weather. I don’t particularly recommend moderate-crowd weeks for first time visitors, but they are quite manageable, and I would go myself such weeks with no hesitation.

They are in order of least to most crowded, and within crowd groups are sorted by price.

  • 14: 11/2/19. Jersey Week”—teacher meetings in New Jersey, leading to a massive temporary immigration of New Jersey families to Orlando. Crowds moderate-minus, prices low to moderate, almost never with major discounts.
  • 15: 5/18/19. Similar to week 10, slightly more heat and humidity and crowds.
  • 16: 6/1/19  Beginning of summer, with traditionally the lowest crowds until late August
  • 17: 4/20/19.  The week after Easter is typically a high-crowd week, but the very late Easter in 2019 leads me to forecast it as a moderate+ crowd week instead.  Prices will be very high

Weeks 18-26 have one thing in common: they occur during the peak of the hurricane season. Hurricanes are rare and even more rarely affect a Disney World vacation, but for first-timers who may never return, why not just avoid the risk? For returning visitors, though, the low-crowd weeks among this group can be wonderful times to visit.

They are ranked in order of first crowd levels, and within the same crowd level prices.

Weeks 18, 19 and 20 have some of the lowest crowds of the year

  • 18: 9/7/19
  • 19: 8/31/19
  • 20: 9/14/19

Weeks 21 and 22 have slightly higher crowds, and Week 22, higher prices

  • 21: 8/24/19
  • 22: 9/21/19

Weeks 23 to 26 are the moderate-crowd weeks in this hurricane group, with the last two nearing “high” crowds

  • 23: 9/28/19
  • 24: 8/17/19
  • 25: 10/5/19
  • 26: 8/10/19

2019 WEEKS TO AVOID AT WALT DISNEY WORLD

There’s two groups of weeks to avoid: high crowd weeks and weeks when rides are often closed.

The first group, ranked 27-47, should be avoided because of crowds that traditionally range from high to unbelievable.

This group includes all of later June, July and early August (traditionally massive crowds, although I do need t0 note that the summers of 2016 and 2017 were much more manageable than I’d thought).

It also includes the busy March spring break weeks beginning 3/9/2019, and the holiday weeks—President’s Day week, the weeks before and after Easter, Columbus Day week, Thanksgiving week, and the weeks around Christmas.

Click the table for exact rankings within these lousy weeks.

The next group includes the January and early February weeks when rides are often closed for repair or refurbishment—weeks 48-53.

Some of these weeks have the lowest crowds and lowest prices of the year.

(But not all--click the table above.)

However, this is the peak time for ride closures at Walt Disney World, especially the January weeks.

If this may be your only family visit, why go when you know some of the best of Disney World will be closed?

If you must go during this period, avoid the first days of January (massive crowds), and the Martin Luther King Day (1/19/19 arrival date) holiday weekend,.

The Marathon Weekend (affecting the weekend of a 1/5/19 arrival date) complicates Disney World as well, although it has little impact on park crowds beyond the effects of leftover holiday visitors.

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October 1, 2017   1 Comment

Walt Disney World in 2018

DISNEY WORLD IN 2018

Below are my thoughts on rides, hotels, crowds and such at Disney World in 2018. BTW, there’s even more on Disney World in 2018 in the guidebook I co-author, The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2018–the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook, ever.

NEW RIDES AT DISNEY WORLD IN 2018

The big news of 2018 will be the opening of Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

This land will include what looks like a great new roller coaster ride, Slinky Dog Dash, aimed at kids but probably fun for all, kinda like Seven Dwarfs Mine Train at Magic Kingdom, and also a minor spinning ride.

See the image at the top of this page, from the preview model in Walt Disney Presents, for the extent of the Slinky Dog Dash ride. (Click it to enlarge it.)

There’s no word on when exactly Toy Story Land will open, but the betting is before the end of June 2018, and perhaps even earlier. Bob Iger recently said it would open “this spring,” a term that has no completely accepted meaning and can mean anything from March 1 through June 21st. Pandora opened after the spring break season, but a couple of weeks before before blockout dates for certain annual pass types kicked in. This precedent suggests it could be as early as mid-May or even later April.

Construction of the new Star Wars area will continue at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in 2018. It’s not expected to open until late 2019–October or later.

Multiple other rides are being developed or worked on at Magic Kingdom, Epcot and the Studios.

The only one of these I can even imagine opening in 2018 is Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway, a new ride that will occupy the old Great Movie Ride space at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. I say this not because I have any private insight into its opening dates, but rather because it makes sense to open this before Star Wars opens, to provide capacity.

It should be noted, however, that Mickey Mouse’s 90th birthday is November 18, 2018, and that it “will be heavily celebrated across the company” according to recent remarks from CEO Bob Iger. So there’s that. But early to mid-2019 is probably more likely.

DISNEY SPRINGS AND THE DISNEY RESORTS IN 2018

The massive redevelopment at Disney Springs should largely be complete by 2018, with only a restaurant or two perhaps left to open in 2018.

The story at the Disney World resorts will be refurbs and new construction.

Pop Century rooms are being renovated, with queen beds and coffee makers being added.  This should be (at least) half done by the beginning of the year, and complete, I’d hope, by mid-2018.

Shortly after Pop is done, I’m betting that Art of Animation Little Mermaid rooms will get queen beds. This will chill the already cold hearts of Disney’s accountants, as these rooms are the highest priced among the values and there’s not many of them.  However, I can’t imagine a world where the premium prices at Art of Animation can be maintained if standard rooms there have full beds and no coffee makers, while Pop has queens and coffee.

Caribbean Beach is in a messy refurb that for the moment has led to weak temporary dining. No official re-opening of the new dining here has been announced, but clues in how Disney priced Caribbean Beach for 2018 make me suspect that permanent dining will open here in the second half of 2018, and letters are being shared that suggest August 2018 is the target date.

All three of these resorts will be eventually connected to a new gondola that will go to Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. While I don’t really expect this to open until 2019, work is proceeding pretty quickly at, for example, the station for Pop Century and Art of Animation (image of the pilings for it from September 2017 above), so 2018 is possible for this.

Coronado Springs has lost a building which is being replaced by a new tower, and is also going through a building-by-building room refurb I expect to be completed in 2018.

Andre at PortOrleans.org notes that Port Orleans French Quarter is expected to be in refurb in the first half of 2018, followed by a similar refurb at Port Orleans Riverside–first Alligator Bayou, and then Magnolia Bend–ending in 2019. The scope is not yet clear, but a “light” redo akin to what’s happening in the Coronado Springs rooms seems likely. That said, no one expected what’s happening at the other two moderates in terms of demolition and new towers, restaurants, gondolas etc. before such was announced, so these Port Orleans refurbs could be more interesting…

Kinda hoping for a new shower surround in Alligator Bayou…and since French Quarter is now so far ahead of Riverside in its kids water play area and in 2016 had its quick-service venue completely redone, I would not be surprised to see a bigger redo at Riverside than wooden floors, a sliding barn door to the bath, bigger TVs, and more power points…

Old Key West is also expected to go into its long-delayed refurb in 2018,

Between permanent closures and building-by-building closures for refurbs at Pop Century, Coronado Springs, and likely floor by floor closures at French Quarter, as much as 6.5% of capacity may be unavailable in earlier 2018 compared to prior years.  Since Disney’s occupancy was already very high, as a result, rooms have been hard to find, so book as soon as you can–and ideally more than 180 days before. Kelly B., who has been the travel agent partner of this site for years, can help you. Contact her at KellyB@DestinationsInFlorida.com or 980-429-4499.

DISNEY WORLD DEALS IN 2018

Disney World uses a combination of complicated and changing room pricing, and, on top of that, deals, to keep its resort hotel occupancy very high. While deals have been technically available for most times of the year (you’ll find current Disney World deals here), the number and types of rooms available has gotten more and more restrictive. I expect this trend of less-available deals to be even more true in 2018 because of the capacity reductions that I noted above.

Deals often emerge after the best time to book your Disney World vacation. The simplest way to handle getting your deals is to make your initial booking through a travel agent, who will then–if a deal comes out for your dates–move heaven and earth to try to get you in to it.

I recommend Kelly B., who has been the travel agent partner of this site for years. To book your vacation through her, contact her at KellyB@DestinationsInFlorida.com or 980-429-4499.

DISNEY WORLD CROWDS IN 2018

Presidents Day, February 19 in 2018, is late-ish, meaning more good January and early February dates, and fewer good late February dates. The week that includes Presidents Day will be bad as usual. (Tons of kids in the northeast have the whole week off.) Crowds for this week actually begin the Thursday before.

Mardi Gras in 2018 is the week before–February 14th.  A few southern school districts have it off as a single or multi-day holiday. This, combined with the more important early Presidents Day breaks, will lead to the week of 2/10/18 being moderately busy, especially in the second half of the week when the President’s Day crew begins to show up.

Easter in 2018 is early, on April 1. As a result, later March will be particularly heavy, but there will be more good April weeks.

Summer crowds are a bit up in the air.  They felt down in both 2017 and 2016. As I note here, I have theories about why, mostly about the effects of Disney’s strategic re-pricing of tickets to make the higher-demand periods like summer less attractive to some, and thus more comfortable for everyone else, particularly in the pricing of Florida resident annual passes with summer block-out dates. These new distinctions launched before the 2016 summer seasons, so the timing is right. But honestly I’m not sure what’s going on, so for the moment am still forecasting high summer crowds.

Thanksgiving, November 22, is almost as early as it can be in 2018, giving more good late November dates but fewer good early November ones.

Christmas is on a Tuesday in 2018.  That means almost all schools will begin their breaks on 12/22/18, with heavy crowds into the new year.

For more on 2018 crowds at Disney World, see this.

DISNEY WORLD PRICING IN 2018

Disney World raised ticket prices in February 2017, and I’d expect to see them go up again in early 2018. Resort prices should not change again during the calendar year.

MORE ON 2018 AT WALT DISNEY WORLD

Disney World 2018 Crowd Calendar

Disney World 2018 Price Seasons

2018 Disney World Week Rankings

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September 24, 2017   No Comments

Disney World Crowds in 2019

2019 CROWDS AT WALT DISNEY WORLD

The chart lower on the page shows my draft forecasts for 2019 crowds by week at Walt Disney World. 

I’ll revise these 2019 Disney World crowd forecasts in the summer of 2018, when the full set of school schedules is out.  The week I am most concerned to get full school break data on is that beginning 4/6/19, which looks good at the moment but may change as more data comes in.

The other point some would argue I’ve not sufficiently built in to this calendar is the impact of the opening of the new Star Wars land Galaxy’s Edge in Disney’s Hollywood Studios in 2019.

There’s no formal opening date for this land — “late 2019” is the rumor. I expect it to unfold much like Harry Potter did at Universal–with crushing crowds in the actual land, but not a huge spillover effect on the other parks–or even the rest of Hollywood Studios. If I’m wrong, expect to see an increase of a point or two in the crowd levels after it opens.

THE 2019 DISNEY WORLD DRAFT CROWD CALENDAR

Dates in the Disney World Crowd Calendar are the beginning of the week, and the forecast covers the recommended Saturday-Sunday 9 day stays from that beginning.

(For 2017 crowds click here, and for 2018 Disney World crowds click here.)

Crowd levels are ranked by week from 1-11 in the following way:

1: Lowest of the year

2: Lower

3: Low

4: Low-plus

5: Moderate-minus

6: Moderate

7: Moderate-plus

8: High-minus

9: High

10: Higher

11: Highest

HOW TO INTERPRET THE 2018 DISNEY WORLD CROWD CALENDAR

Dates are the beginning of the week.

As is the case in every good Disney World crowd calendar, the forecasts are about wait times on rides–not about how crowded the areas outside the rides might be.

The “low crowd” weeks–those colored green, and rated 1-4–represent the only crowd levels a family visiting for the first time, and unsure if it will ever return, should consider.

However, lower crowds, especially lowest crowds, do not always mean a better week. The lowest weeks are often best avoided by first timers who may never return because they are in the peak hurricane or the ride closure seasons.

The “moderate crowd” weeks–those in black and rated 5-7–have crowd levels I would not particularly recommend to first time visitors, though the crowds can be managed with careful planning. However, I’d go during such weeks myself with no hesitation, and think these levels are OK for returning visitors who don’t need to see everything and already know how to work Walt Disney World.

The “high crowd” weeks–those in red, rated 8-11–should be avoided by everyone. They aren’t, which is why they are so high.

MY DISNEY WORLD CROWD CALENDAR GOES UP TO “11”

The influence of the Unofficial Guide  and TouringPlans.com has led almost all Disney World crowd calendars to top out at 10.

However, I’ve always thought that the really nastiest weeks of the year deserved an 11 for emphasis.

So, in homage to Spinal Tap, I assigned 11 to “highest.”

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September 18, 2017   2 Comments

Disney World 2019 Resort Price Seasons

2019 RESORT PRICE SEASONS AT WALT DISNEY WORLD

The material below shows my forecasts for resort price seasons at Walt Disney World at different times of the year in 2019.

It’s based on Disney World’s recent practices, with an especially sharp look at March and April 2014, because 2014 also saw a very late Easter–Easter was April 20 in 2014, and will be April 21 in 2019.

(For 2017 price seasons, see this, and for 2018 price seasons, see this.)

Although this may change at the next ticket price increase, currently only one-day ticket prices vary over the course of the year–multi-day tickets do not, although they typically have an annual increase during the year. See this for more on ticket prices.

Resort prices, however, can be almost twice as high during some periods as they are at others.

In the material below, “X% Higher” means compared to the lowest prices of the year.

In addition to the details listed below, Disney typically ups prices even more during certain weekends and holidays–particularly over the Martin Luther King Day weekend, President’s Day weekend, Memorial Day weekend, Columbus Day weekend, and Veterans Day weekend.

I will revise these forecasts as needed when Disney releases its actual 2019 prices, most likely in the summer of 2018.

Cars at Disney's Art of Animation Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

2019 DISNEY WORLD FORECAST PRICE SEASONS: VALUE RESORTS

  • 30-40% higher–the peak season–begins 1/1/2019
  • 15-25% higher–Marathon rates–begin 1/2/19
  • Lowest of year–the value season–begins 1/6/19
  • 20-25% higher–the regular season-begins 2/10/19
  • 30-40% higher–the peak season–begins 2/14/19
  • 20-25% higher–the regular season–begins 2/24/19
  • 30-40% higher–the peak season–begins 3/9/19
  • 55-65% higher–the Easter season–begins 4/14/19
  • 30-40% higher–the peak season–begins 4/21/19
  • 20-25% higher–the regular season–begins 4/28/19
  • 30-40% higher–the summer season–begins 5/24/19
  • 20-25% higher–the regular season–begins 8/11/19
  • 5-10% higher–the fall season–begins 8/25/19
  • 20-25% higher–the regular season–begins 9/15/19
  • 5-10% higher–the fall season– begins 10/27/19
  • 30-40% higher over Thanksgiving begins 11/23/19
  • 5-10% higher–the fall seasonbegins 11/30/19
  • 20-25% higher–the regular season–begins 12/8/19
  • 30-40% higher–the peak season–begins 12/13/19
  • 60-70% higher–the holiday season–begins 12/20/19

Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

2019 DISNEY WORLD FORECAST PRICE SEASONS: MODERATE RESORTS

  • 20-25% higher–the peak season–begins 1/1/19
  • 15% higher–Marathon rates–begins 1/2/19
  • Lowest of year–the value seasonbegins 1/6/19
  • 15-20% higher–the regular season-begins 2/10/19
  • 20-25% higher–the peak season–begins 2/14/19
  • 15-20% higher–the regular season-begins 2/24/19
  • 20-25% higher–the peak season–begins 3/8/19
  • 30-45% higher–the Easter season–begins 4/14/19
  • 20-25% higher–the peak season–begins 4/21/19
  • 15-20% higher–the regular season–begins 4/28/19
  • 10-15% higher–the summer season–begins 5/24/19
  • 15-20% higher–the regular season–begins 8/11/19
  • 10-15% higher–the fall season–begins 8/25/19
  • 15-20% higher–the regular season–begins 9/15/19
  • 10-15% higher–the fall season–begins 10/27/19
  • 20-25% higher over Thanksgiving begins 11/23/19
  • 10-15% higher–the fall seasonbegins 11/30/19
  • 15-20% higher–the regular season–beings 12/8/19
  • 20-25% higher–the peak season–begins 12/13/19
  • 35-50% higher–the holiday season–begins 12/20/19

Disney's Polynesian Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

2019 DISNEY WORLD FORECAST PRICE SEASONS: DELUXE RESORTS

  • 20-40% higher–the peak season–begins 1/1/19
  • 15-20% higher–Marathon rates–begins 1/2/19
  • Lowest of year–the value season–begins 1/6/19
  • 10-20% higher–the regular season–begins 2/10/19
  • 20-40% higher–the peak season–begins 2/14/19
  • 10-20% higher–the regular season–begins 2/24/19
  • 20-40% higher–the peak season–begins 3/8/19
  • 30-50% higher–the Easter season–begins 4/14/19
  • 20-40% higher–the peak season–begins 4/21/19
  • 10-20% higher–the regular season–begins 4/28/19
  • 5-15% higher–the summer season–begins 5/24/19
  • 5-10% highernear-lowest of year–the value season 2–begins 7/7/19
  • Lowest of year–the value seasonbegins 8/23/19
  • 10-20% higher–the regular season 2–begins 9/20/19
  • 5-15% higher–the fall season–begins 10/13/19
  • 10-20% higher–the regular season–begins 11/1/19
  • 5-15% higher–the fall season–begins 11/11/19
  • 25-40% higher during Thanksgiving begins 11/26/19
  • 5-15% higher–the fall season–begins 11/30/19
  • 10-20% higher–the regular season–beings 12/8/19
  • 20-40% higher–the peak season–begins 12/13/19
  • 55-75% higher–the holiday season–begins 12/20/19

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September 17, 2017   No Comments