By the co-author of The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2018, from the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook series ever. Paperback available on Amazon here. Kindle version available on Amazon here.—Disney World Instructions for the First-Time Visitor


By Dave Shute

For questions you have that other people might have as well, please use the comment forms you’ll find on every page. That way others will benefit from the answer too!

For any other contact need, email me at

For my social media accounts, click the links:  Facebook or Google+ or Twitter or Pinterest.

My Amazon author page is here.


1 Brandon { 12.29.10 at 1:32 pm }

Just wanted to tell you that I really appreciate your website and how invaluable the information was to me on my recent (Dec ’10) trip to WDW. I have been to Disney every year for almost 20 years and have always done it a certain way. Your suggestions on how to plan a Christmas time experience were eye-opening. After a flawless vacation with 2 under the age of 3, I will be “doing it your way” from now on in December. Many thanks!

2 Micheline { 09.24.12 at 10:48 pm }

Ive been to Disney 4 times growing up but my husband has never been or our 2 girls 4&2. We are wanting to go in late January 2013 because of the low rates and we can take advantage of our youngest being “free”. But I saw on your list it is one of the highest ranked and it is discouraging. Would our little family of 4 be ok going then since we wouldn’t be able to go on the big rides anyway? And do you think free dining may be offered?

3 Dave { 09.25.12 at 8:21 am }

Hi Micheline, no guarantees on free dining. Assuming that you’ll be taking your kids back later when they are old enough to fully enjoy the parks, no worries about late January. The only reason it gets low ratings is for people who may never return–that’s those for whom ride closures are an issue! If you can return, ride closures hardly matter…

4 Dawn { 02.07.13 at 1:14 pm }

I am really confused. I am trying to plan a trip to Disney on a budget (as is everyone). We have a child w/ a medical condition and we were considering one of the Moderate resorts “Port Orleans – Riverside” because it was near the Magic Kingdom where we would spend most of our time and be easier should she need rest. The Value resorts are a little farther, but more in our budget. Say the Moderate resort is already @ at 25% discount (looking at Sept 2013 cause the rates are lower) can you get free dining w/ that discount as well if its offered the time we go – or is better to book at a Value resort and then wait and see if free dining is offered and upgrade if necessary from there. Is free dining ever offered at the end of Nov? Any suggestions would be appreciated.

5 Dave { 02.07.13 at 1:48 pm }

Hi Dawn! Coupla things:

You can’t do both free dining and a room discount–if both are offered, you can only pick one.

Free Dining has been offered the past few years at the end of November, but I’m skeptical that it’ll be offered this year:

You can book at a value and then make a new reservation at a moderate if free dining is offered, but you’d have to move quickly–in the past the moderates have always quickly sold out in a free dining offer.

While POR is closer to MK than the values, when you factor in that it has 4 internal bus stops, while the values Pop Century and Art of Animation have just one, your total travel time to MK is about the same between POR and these two, so I wouldn’t let travel time sway you too much.

Hope this helps!!

Follow on Facebook!

6 Dawn { 02.07.13 at 2:43 pm }

Dave this does help – Thanks so much! Your site has been very helpful!!

7 Dawn { 02.07.13 at 2:48 pm }

Dave – One more question?
Where (on your site) and when can you find out fee dining ops for the fall months?

8 Dave { 02.07.13 at 2:50 pm }

Great, Dawn

9 Dave { 02.07.13 at 4:06 pm }

Dawn–I’m not sure what you mean by “fee dining ops” 🙂

10 Dawn { 02.08.13 at 10:06 am }


Typing to fast..I mean if free dining will be an option for the fall months

11 Dawn { 02.08.13 at 11:20 am }


I am sorry to bother you again?, but I have a couple of more questions.
1) We don’t need hopper passes for every day, but maybe one. Can you just buy a pass for that day and if so how much does it cost?
2) In reference to the value resorts – How many stops is it to All Star Movie Resort and is it a good choice for the girls (ages 5 w/ medical condition and 7), it’s the cheapest. I hope we can stay at ART of Animation, but we have to wait and see.
3) Any suggestions on Photo Pass….I know if we purchase we have 30 days to access our pictures, but I may not have the extra money to print all the good ones by the end of the 30 days…Is there a way to buy a CD that not to expensive?
4) I know that due to the hurricane season you are not crazy about Sept. being the month of choice for first time family trip. Out of the weeks in Sept. which one would you choose (AS far as special things happing at WDW).
5) If given the chance of “Free Dining in Sept. –I understand the likely hood of not getting it.) Does the savings out way the slight increase of resort fees in the first part of Oct – because I am really considering pay the extra just for the “Magic” for the girls and not having to worry about the hurricanes.

12 Dave { 02.09.13 at 1:43 pm }

OK Dawn! If such a deal comes out, I’ll have it here within a day or two:

13 Dave { 02.09.13 at 1:49 pm }

Hi Dawn, in order:
1) No
2) Movies shares buses with the other two All-Stars
3) Sorry–I don’t pay much attention to photo pass…
4) What I think about these weeks compared one to another is captured in the week rankings which you can get by clicking the image at the bottom of this:
5) The hurricane season peak also goes into early October, see Free dining is more likely the first half of Sept…

14 Dawn { 02.10.13 at 1:44 pm }

Thanks for all your help Dave – your site is a big help!!!

15 Marie { 03.11.13 at 2:54 pm }

Hi Dave,
I love this site and used it when I planned our trip back in 2011. I was wondering if you could provide any input on what days of the week are the best to visit the different Disney parks? We will be arriving 4/6/13 and leaving 4/19/13. Thanks for your help – any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. 🙂

16 Dave { 03.12.13 at 8:17 am }

Hi Marie and thanks!!

The general rules are as follows: Saturday to Monday is busier than Tuesday to Friday; days when a park has extra magic hours–especially morning extra magic hours–are busier than other days; days when a park has distinctively later hours will be busier than days with shorter hours.

So with this and the park calendar in hand, you can plan your days!

Follow on Facebook!

17 Lee { 06.16.13 at 7:08 pm }

Hi Dave – I think your site is incredible! I wondered what your thoughts might be on the following: we are a family of 5, with three children (ages 10, 9, 7). Planning on being at WDW between 5/10 and 5/20/14 for the first time. That week looks good for volumes and weather. I am thinking of splitting our stay between the Polynesian for the first 5 nights and the Villas at Wilderness Lodge for the last part of the trip. We are Ok sleeping 5 as you describe in a 2 bedroom room at the Polynesian. We would plan on doing MK while at the Polynesian. We have peanut allergies, and having a kitchen for part of the trip would be extremely advantageous for us (though Disneyland was fantastic in dealing with our food concerns and think, with proper planning, WDW will be too). We could reverse the order if that worked better. Thank you for any suggestions you may have.

18 Dave { 06.17.13 at 11:24 am }

Hi Lee!

Your plan looks great to me with one exception–not sure what you mean by “2 bedroom room at the Polynesian”?

Follow on Facebook!

19 Dale & Dawn Thomas family { 02.24.14 at 7:47 pm }

Hi Dave,
We just want to commend you on your website. We have just returned from a 7 night stay and we used your site primarily to help us plan our trip. We followed your itinerary and suggested Fast Pass recommendations and feel like you were bang on with the information provided. Many times through our trip we were praising you and your your site. Everything from where to stay, how to save a few bucks on meals, etc. We travelled as a family of 4, our oldest child is 20 and our youngest is 5 – so quite an age range. Everyone came home feeling like it was a trip of a lifetime, so thank you! We returned to -30 Celsius temps in Canada so are really missing the beautiful Florida sunshine.

20 Dave { 02.25.14 at 7:15 am }

Dale and Dawn–thanks so much! I really appreciate your report, and your kind words!

21 Melissa { 04.24.14 at 9:01 am }

I have tried looking, but have been unable to find the 2013 crowd calendar. We went in April of 2013 and the crowds were great. (I used your site to plan our first trip and it did not disappoint!!) We are looking to book another trip, and I want to try to find a week like it was in April 2013, because it was the perfect crowd level.

I recommend your site to everyone who says they are planning a trip and I can say at least 5 people have used it and your crowd levels have been dead on. I am so happy that I found your site. Thanks for everything that you do!

22 Dave { 04.25.14 at 8:12 am }

Disney World 2013 Crowd Calendar Hi Melissa and thanks!! I’ve attached the 2013 crowd calendar. Note that becasue of different dates of Easter it won’t be the same other years–for example, see this for 2015 crowds:

23 melissa { 04.25.14 at 10:44 pm }

Thanks so much. I was looking for a reference point from when we went in 2013, the crowds were perfect. We hardly had to wait to get on anything. Thanks again for all you do!!

24 Kim { 05.12.14 at 7:05 pm }

Hi Dave. I was forwarded this site with high recommendation by my sister. We are taking 1st trip with our 3 daughters ages 16, 12 and 6 arriving May 17, 2014 5:50 PM and leaving May 23 9 PM and I see itineraries for 5 or 6 days but arriving midweek. We planned and booked this in January 2014 so are not staying on Disney property but in Kissimmee. Can you suggest an itinerary or a revision of an itinerary for our situation? Thanks!

25 Dave { 05.13.14 at 12:15 pm }

Kim, use the cheat sheets you can find for each park here:

26 Kim { 05.13.14 at 4:02 pm }

Thank you!

27 Kevin { 06.02.14 at 4:08 pm }

Hi Dave, awesome site! When will the 2015 best weeks/crowd schedule by updated to version 2 and available on your site? Want to see if there will be any changes for Jan/Feb/March 2015. Thanks much!

28 Dave { 06.03.14 at 7:19 am }

Kevin, I expect the revision will be out by the end of July–earlier if I a. can get the data earlier (many school districts are late this year as they revise calendars for Common Core testing) b. can find the time to do all the analysis.

That said, there’s not much uncertainty about Jan, Feb or the second half of March. Early March is the hard-to-forecast bit in 2015.

29 KC { 07.28.14 at 9:49 am }

I was wondering if, in your opinion, it is still worth staying at the Polynesian (for a first time fam of 5, kids ages 6, 6, and 2.5) during all the construction going on? We were looking to book the first week of December 2014 (i understand we will be too late to reserve some things). Thanks in advance for your help!

30 Dave { 07.29.14 at 8:24 am }

KC if you have the slightest reservation about staying there during the construction and closure of the main pool, then don’t!

31 Sonia { 08.03.14 at 9:33 pm }

Hi! I know earlier this year Disney had passes for florida residents I think they were called Discovery Disney passes 4 days for 129.00. Do you think they will have those passes again this year? We are going in November 2014 and wanted to get tickets a little less expensive. Just wondering if you knew if they had a late in the year discount in past years? Thank you! We love your site!! 🙂

32 Dave { 08.05.14 at 8:55 am }

Hi Sonia, thanks for the kind words! I’m sorry but I don’t track the Florida passes closely…

33 sonia { 08.05.14 at 12:15 pm }

Okay! Thank you so much! 🙂

34 liora { 10.16.14 at 7:17 pm }

Hi dave,
I just saw your great site.
That is why I’m asking a question in the last minute.
My family and I came to orlando from far… israel…
we thought of going to magic Kingdom tomorrow (11.17)but do to the closing hours
we think of postponing to saterday.
Should we do that?
We will be so grateful for your answer.

35 Dave { 10.17.14 at 8:19 am }

Liora, this may be too late, but crowds will be much lower today.

36 Mary Davis { 10.19.14 at 12:47 pm }

We are going to Disneyworld the week of Halloween. If we don’t buy separate tickets for the halloween party does that mean we cannot enter the park on those evenings with our 5-day hopper pass?


37 Dave { 10.20.14 at 4:03 pm }

Hi Mary! If you don;t have party tix, then you will have to leave when the park closes to non-party folk–that is, at 7p 10/26, 11p 10/27, 7p 10/28, 10p 10/29, and 7p 10/30 and 10/31.

38 Gloria { 10.26.14 at 2:38 pm }

Our family of four (two adults, 18 yo and 14yo) will be arriving at Disney World on June 1st and plan to go to Universal studios also. We will be taking two weeks to do this. It will take over 14 hours of driving to get back home so we will be in Florida just under two weeks. We have a hold on a room at The Beach Club resort for June 1 to June 8 but have not reserved anything at Universal yet. We will be buying a 4 day park hopper passes at our military base. I am wondering which days would be best to go to Disney and how many days would be best to stay at the Disney Resort. Also which days would be best to go to Universal and stay there? I would also like to know which parks to go to on which days and should we get dinner plans if our resort room is club level?

39 Dave { 10.27.14 at 6:36 am }

Hi Gloria, I won’t have specific opinions on the best days in June until Disney publishes its calendar for then, which will be in two or three weeks. So ping me back then> For my thoughts on how long to visit Disney, see this:

In general, with the early Memorial Day in 2015, earlier June will be better than later June both at WDW and Universal. Typically, the best days to go to Universal are Sat-Mon, but that matters a little less the later in June you go.

Snacking in the club level is a nice alternative to dining outside–but you will wish to be in Epcot, HS, and MK at least one evening each anyway, so dining in (or near) the parks those nights is best

40 Roxana { 11.04.14 at 10:27 pm }

Hi Dave, help pleaseeee! I have been convinced by some friends to go with them and their 6 year old boy to WDW on the first week of February 2015, eventhough my daughter is only 5. They have gone several times and since it will be low in crowds they say we’ll be fine but my concern know is being of different sex, that our kids will be fighting over what attractions to go. My daughter mostly cares for princesses. Do you think that putting toghether the fact of how young my daughter is and going with a friend who is a boy should make me re think whether we sholud go now or wait one more year? Thanks 🙂

41 MN Tim { 12.22.14 at 11:21 pm }

hi Dave… bottom line… busy single dad with not a lot of time to plan a trip for myself and my 5 year old girl. Haven’t planned it yet but would love to take her in late jan or early feb. (15′) I can be flexible but these dates look good for crowds…

Can you give any suggestions on where to stay for how long etc. etc. a trip she’ll love is more important than cost but I’m not donald trump either : ) …. thanks much!

A suggestion could mean a travel agent that will help me put together something without a lot of time and effort on my part. Thanks much!

MN Tim

42 Dave { 12.23.14 at 6:49 am }

Tim, you are much better off planning more than 60 days ahead. Doing this–and staying in a Disney resort–means you are much more likely to be able to book great experiences as Disney’s FastPass+ lets you book rides 60 days ahead of arrival, and some of the favorites disappear very quicky.

This site is mostly for kids older than 5, but my book will help you a lot–especially Chapter 9 The easy Guide to Your First Walt Disney World Visit 2015

Beyond that, I cover all the basics on links starting from the home page

The travel agents I work with are Destinations in Florida via this They (most likely Kelly, hi Kelly!) can help execute your choices, but you honestly will have the best results–with them and on your vacation–if you make the basic decisions yourself.

43 Kelly B - Agent with Destinations in Florida { 12.23.14 at 8:24 am }

Hi MN Tim,

I’m Kelly, the designated Destinations in Florida agent for It would be my pleasure to plan a magical vacation for you and your daughter. I’m a single mom of 3 and have take my children to Disney many times. It can seem a bit overwhelming. But you’ve already made one of the hardest choices….”When to Go”. You can contact me at or call at 980-241-7066 and we’ll start planning the rest of your special Disney vacation.

44 Lori I { 12.27.14 at 4:56 pm }

Hey Dave I am visiting WDW in late Feb also seeing Universal…do you know how to arrange transportation to Universal from WDW

45 Dave { 12.28.14 at 9:03 am }
46 Jenn { 12.30.14 at 6:56 pm }

Hi Dave,

Me and my husband and 1.5 year old are planning a 3 day, 2 night trip to the MK and AK in the fall. I’ve looked at the weeks you’ve suggested in September and October based on low pricing and low crowds, and would like guidance on the best days to visit each park (sorry, I tried to find the answer myself to no avail!). I’ve read on your site that if the wrong days are picked, we might be hit with large crowds…trying to avoid that if at all possible.

Also, we were planning on staying at a value resort. A couple of questions about the free dining plan offer (if it is available for fall 2015).
1. We were wanting to stay at All Stars Movie and it looked like the FDP was not available for this resort this year. Do you think we would be safe booking this resort in the hopes the FDP is included there or should we shoot for another one?
2. Since we are hoping for the FDP, would we be better staying in September over October? I don’t recall seeing the FDP available in October, but definitely all of September.
3. Since we are only staying for 3 days, is the FDP better than getting the room only discount if available? From what I read, it looks like the FDP is only 2 counter service meals per day.

I appreciate your help!!!

P.S. We have been to WDW about 20+ times but not since 1996! We are so excited to bring our little man to see Mickey for the first time!

47 Dave { 01.01.15 at 9:45 am }

Hi Jenn!!

I won’t be able to suggest better and worse parks until Disney releases its operating calendars for then, which it will in Feb for Sept and March for Oct.

Among the values, Movies and the Little Mermaid section of Art of Animation is frequently excluded from deals, so it will be simpler if you pick another value.

The best bet for free dining is September. Parts of October have commonly been in it as well, but most consistently it’s September.

For your family size, ages, and resort price target, you will be much better off with free dining–it’ll save you twice as much as room only. See this:

48 Ms. Phillips { 02.08.15 at 2:27 pm }

Our vacation is April 12th-19th to the Walt Disney World Resort. I have a picky toddler and was wondering where within the Epcot and Magic Kingdom parks can I find eateries that serve sweet potato fries?? I’ve looked at a few menus from those two parks but haven’t looked at all but couldn’t find anywhere. So I’m asking somebody that might have more expertise and might be able to tell me right off “oh yea such and such place has them…..”

Thank you for your site and also thank you for taking the time to answer my question! 🙂

49 Dave { 02.09.15 at 10:45 am }

Ms Philips–I’ve been able to find a few references but none super current, so the short answer is I don’t know, either…so sorry!

50 Jeanne { 02.16.15 at 8:11 pm }

Hi. We are visiting WDW for the second time and I was wondering what your thoughts are on Hoop Dee Doo Review. We will be there for 5 nights and 6 days with 3 boys 13, 11, and 8. Do you think it’s worth going?

51 Anonymous { 02.16.15 at 9:04 pm }

Hi. We are visiting WDW for the second time and I was wondering what your thoughts are on Hoop Dee Doo Review. We will be there for 5 nights and 6 days with 3 boys 13, 11, and 8. Do you think it’s worth going?

52 Dave { 02.17.15 at 8:41 am }

Jeanne, it’s a great time for most. See my review here

The older boys may be a little old for it, though–you might want to spend some youtube time before making your decision, e.g. wiht this

53 Mike { 02.18.15 at 3:57 pm }

So I am making a trip the week of 4/25. Is there downsides to going on a slower week? How are the ride lines in this situation and is Fastpass + early reservations needed often? Thanks!

54 Dave { 02.19.15 at 8:33 am }

Mike, waits can be long on the more popular rides any day of the year. They are just better than on worse days. So a good plan, dining reservations, and FastPass+ is still a must.

55 Lena { 02.19.15 at 11:52 pm }

What is the physical address for the TTC(Magic Kingdom) and Epcot for the GPS?

56 Dave { 02.20.15 at 8:11 am }

You don’t need GPS for either, Lena, as they are very well signed…

So far as I can find, there is no address for TTC–you could use the address of any of the MK resorts as your end point, abandoning it as soon as you pass the parking payment area and following the cars to TTC. The addfress of the Poly is 1600 Seven Seas Drive, Orlando, FL 32830

Epcot is 1510 North Avenue Of The Stars Orlando, FL 32836

57 Alicia { 04.26.15 at 10:15 am }

Very disappointed in the inaccuracy of the crowd calendar. I booked the week of October 19 because my triplets will be turning 5 while we are there & it was supposed to be a less crowded time of year. After having a lot of difficulty booking character breakfasts/dinners, I called Disney. October is a VERY crowded time of year due to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. I was also unaware that the Magic Kingdom closes at 7 o’clock 3 of the nights we will be there for this event and it will cost our group an additional $500 to attend it. I now have the choice of letting my kids down and rescheduling the trip or missing out on some of the events that they were looking forward to the most. My advice to everyone is to call Disney before making plans.

58 Dave { 04.26.15 at 10:19 am }

Alicia, this is nonsense.

The Disney cast members–the 70,000 of them–do not have access to crowd calendars, nor are they briefed on them, and get things wrong on all kinds of topics but especially crowds all the time.

October is NOT a “very crowded” time of the year–it is one of the least crowded times. They offer the party because it is not crowded, as a way to draw people. During the crowded times of the year you won’t see any such parties…

Seeing the Halloween party is an option, not a requirement, so you can buy the tix or not as you choose. It does have the effect of making non-Party days (and especially evenings) at MK more crowded than they would otherwise be. See this.

For more on October, see this.

59 Cat { 04.26.15 at 11:44 am }

Actually, that’s not entirely accurate. I was just there this past October (18-25) and it was EXTREMELY crowded. In past years, I found that the crowd level was lower during October which is why I planned my trip for that month, but that appears to no longer be true. At least it wasn’t in 2014.

60 Dave { 04.26.15 at 11:54 am }

Kat, no it wasn’t. Unless the word “extremely” just means “more than expected.” Disney World is extremely crowded for a week in February, most of March until a week after Easter, mid-June through mid-August, Thanksgiving week, and the weeks including Xmas and New years Eve. But not in October…

61 Valerie { 04.26.15 at 1:44 pm }

I was incredibly pleased with our planning decisions that I based off this site and easywdw. Our trip wasn’t October, but it was early/mid November 2013. The only time I felt crowded was 1 day when I purposefully chose to go against the suggestions and attend MK on a day that wasn’t recommended (in order to see parade and Wishes without attending a Christmas party). Even that day wasn’t too bad other that at parade time. We booked our dining at 180 days and got exactly what we wanted – well, except BOG. 🙂 We also avoided lines by knowing how fastpass+ worked. I’m now planning a trip for November 2015 and this site was the first one I revisited to help me plan. I love all the pictures, I love the explanations, and I love how questions that site visitors ask get answered pretty quickly. Thank you for all your help, Dave!

62 KE { 04.26.15 at 2:23 pm }

I’ve been to WDW 7 times and the last 2 trips were planned with a majority of the tips, advice, and strategies coming from this site. I did not follow Dave’s itineraries to the letter, but I did use the crowd calendars and the advice of getting to the parks early and using FP+ wisely. I also reviewed some of Dave’s dining suggestions. And I pay attention to Dave’s information about deals, special events, etc.

I am very thankful for Dave’s help, but I am also aware that I am in control of my own planning. I also know that there is always a little stress in the planning and execution of an awesome Disney vacation. I have yet to be disappointed, but I always choose to have a magical day no matter the lines, crowds, etc! My motto is: A bad day at Disney is still better than a great day at work! 🙂

63 Dave { 04.28.15 at 7:55 am }

Valerie…thanks so much!!!

64 Dave { 04.28.15 at 7:55 am }

Thanks KE!!

65 Karie { 05.14.15 at 1:00 pm }


Going with my hubby and 4-year-old son in 3 days, May 17-20. Staying at Caribbean Beach. First time for husband and son. 9th time for myself. All of us are going to AK for first time. Is May 17 – 20 a time you would normally avoid going? Any general advice or can you tell us what to expect? Thanks so much.

66 Dave { 05.16.15 at 11:15 am }

Karie, I’m not sure what to tell you so close to your visit…avoid HS the 17th, get your FastPass+ this second, AK will be best the 18th and 19th.

67 Donald { 05.22.15 at 9:53 pm }

Already have Fastpass+ locked up for other events. Is it possible to make the Indiana Jones show at 5:15 if my family was also to go to the Lights, Motors, Action at 4:30 or should I just pick one or the other and not try both? Late arrival to the park due to airline scheduling. Thanks and Love the easy guide book!

68 Dave { 05.24.15 at 10:54 am }

Donald, thanks for the kind words!!

It’ll be unlikely, as Lights is ~35 minutes long, and because of how the seats and exits work, does not empty quickly after…Between the two I’d pick Indy for sure…

69 Maria { 05.28.15 at 10:00 pm }

How much does PopWarner week affect the crowds at the parks? Love this site!


70 KE { 05.29.15 at 6:31 pm }

Just got a “Revisit the Magic” offer for some summer dates…Contemplating going, but not visiting the parks…We have been twice with the kids and our 3rd trip is planned later this year. so we don’t need to visit the parks and would enjoy some other experiences. What would you put on your “must do” list for things outside of the parks? Just curious…

71 Dave { 05.31.15 at 7:15 am }
72 Dave { 05.31.15 at 7:31 am }

KE, not much help here, as I don’t pay lot of attention to stuff outside the parks!! Unless you mean “on Disney property but not in a park”–if you do, then Cirque du Soleil in Downtown Disney and Hoop Dee Doo Revue at Fort Wilderness come grist to mind…

73 KE { 05.31.15 at 5:14 pm }

Yep, on Disney property. 🙂 I’m sure we could easily fill a week with other things Disney has to offer. Thanks for the suggestions!

74 Nadine { 09.06.15 at 7:08 pm }

I was hoping you might know of s great authorized canadian disney agent! I saw someone had already asked however it being long ago, maybe you know of one now?

75 Dave { 09.08.15 at 12:39 pm }

Nadine, try Kelly B!!

76 Frilly Keane { 09.15.15 at 2:09 pm }

Hi Dave,
I came upon your site by happy accident. What an incredible resource for overseas visitors. We plan on following your spreadsheet itinery in every detail, and I now intend to exploit your knowledge even more!
We are arriving in Orlando late evening, March 18th ( yeah I know, crowds at their peak) 2 adults 1 12yr. Plan so far is French qtr, delux dining plan , check out 26th.
Then to Universal for 4 nights. Cabana or Hard rock? I ask because you noted on your Harry Potter pages that the fast pass perks that come with the Hard Rock level are not available to Cabana level guests. For the high season that’s in it, is it worth the extra $ 1,200?
Also, will you have a 2016 update of your Guide Book?
Many thanks

77 Dave { 09.16.15 at 11:11 am }

Hi Frilly and thanks!!

The 2016 guidebook will be out very soon. As detailed in its Chapter 5, the deluxe dining plan is a waste of money and/or time. With the age of your 12yo, it’s hard for me to even recommend the regular dining plan.

If you plan to do a lot at Universal in addition to Harry Potter, then avoiding Cabana Bay is wise, as the lines for everything else will be really long (Cabana Bay does let you in to Harry Potter early). If you are focused largely or almost entirely on Harry, the extra cost is not worth it. Royal Pacific may be cheaper than Hard Rock.

78 Laura { 09.16.15 at 7:58 pm }

Hi – My family will be spending 2.5 days at Disney in October. We are actually starting our trip at Harry Potter for 2 full days because my 9 year old son loves HP. I also have a 6 year old daughter. After universal, our Disney schedule is as follows:
Friday 10/16: arriving around 4-5 pm from universal, thought we’d go to Epcot. Should we do Mk instead? We may be tired…
Saturday 10/17: spending day at Hollywood studios, maybe Mk in the evening
Sunday 10/18: all day Mk with a cinderella lunch. Should we do Mickeys Halloween this evening? If we don’t, do we have to leave the park by 7?

Any other grave planning errors you see?

Thanks! Your site has been very helpful and I often recommend.

79 Dave { 09.17.15 at 1:35 pm }

Hi Laura, and thanks!!

Saturday is not a good HS day. Are you interested in AK? It’s the only good park that day.

If you don’t do the party, you will need to leave by 7 (unless you are finishing up a meal)

80 Cassie { 10.01.15 at 9:30 pm }

Hi all,

My family and I are heading to Disney soon and we’d like an outside opinion. The earliest we’ll be able to get in to any of the parks is 6:30 at best, and we are completely torn on which park to choose. We have a very limited stay as well, about five days or so. We were hoping somebody here might be able to help us figure this out!

81 Virginia { 10.20.15 at 10:36 am }

My family of 4 have tickets to MNSSHP on Halloween night. We have an ADR to BOG for 4:05 that afternoon. I have been told that we can get in at 4pm even though the party starts at 7. If we are thru security and ready to have our magic bands scanned, can my husband run ahead and sign in for our reservation? He would probably be 15 minutes late- depending on crowds.

82 Dave { 10.21.15 at 2:29 pm }

Virginia, if he has the reservation open via the DIsney app on his phone, they may let him in early. But you can’t count on it…

83 Gail { 10.30.15 at 5:49 am }

Hi! I keep searching for the free Disney World dining dates for 2016 but have found no dates as yet…Was perhaps thinking of going again ( 4th time) with my 20 year old March 3-17,2016 but I am flexible in time frames/dates.Thank you in advance. Gail

84 Dave { 10.30.15 at 7:44 am }

Gail, Disney World has not offered free dining for dates earlier than late August or early September for years now, and I expect the same in 2016. If free dining is offered for then in 2016, it likely will be announced around the beginning of May.

Your March dates will be crowded and expensive. Take a look at this for much better options

85 JulieP { 12.06.15 at 1:41 am }

Hello Dave,
Thank you again for this website and your willingness to help.
I was hoping you could help making FAST Pass reservations for my trip during Christmas Break.
8 and 6 year olds who are at least 48 inches tall!!! Yeah! 5 day hopper pass. We bought it before we found your website 🙁

86 Dave { 12.06.15 at 6:37 am }

Julie–are you staying at a WDW hotel? And which exact days are you in the parks?

87 Julie P { 12.07.15 at 5:31 am }

Hello Dave,
Thank you for your advice regarding our Hail Mary last minute trip to Orlando.
We are doing an 2.5 day trip to Universal Studios prior to our adventure at WDW.

We are debating between the Dolphin verses the Hilton Lake Buena Vista which both have EMH. Any preference between the two?

We have a 5 day park hopper pass and our tentative schedule is
12/29: Hollywood studios
12/30: Epcot
12/31: AK (HS has EMH until 3am: children will disown if we even attempt to use it)
1/1: MK with EMH (debating to catch EMH at Epcot from 9-11pm)
1/2: half day at MK with EMH (leave by noon to catch flight by late afternoon to reality)

Since you are the Yoda of all thing Disney. Can you suggest the most efficient way to see the parks…you mentioned about hopping from one park to the other during mid-day to use FastPasses at the second park….I think I’m going to need a PhD to figure that out…Please Help.
Thank you so much for all your insight and this blog…it’s been a vacation saver!!!

88 Dave { 12.08.15 at 6:48 am }

Julie, this approach will work fine. See Josh’s cheat sheets for how to run each day and what FP+ to aim for (some will be sold out already). I would stick with the Dolphin, without question, largely cause from there you’ll have an easy walk to HS and Epcot–which, I note, you could use on 12/31, after the kids are asleep…moreover Hilton EMH access stops in 2016, I don’t know exactly when, but it’s likely 1/1. Also Dolphin bus service starts Valerie, runs later, and is more frequent than Hilton.

89 Dave { 03.14.16 at 9:35 am }

you have easter week 2017 as being very crowded…does this include the weekdays following?

90 Dave { 03.15.16 at 8:30 am }

Yes, Dave, but less so than in other years when Easter is earlier, as some districts that traditionally break the week after Easter shift their break to the week before to avoid compressing their May academic calendar so much.

91 Tina Fergerson { 04.11.16 at 11:54 am }

I am planning a trip for 2017 and due to my sister in law’s work she can only take off the week of July 4th or the week of Christmas. I know Christmas is crowded but is July any less crowded or the same for crowds?

92 Dave { 04.11.16 at 12:05 pm }

Tina, July is less crowded, and also less expensive.

93 Janet Burnside { 05.15.16 at 11:41 am }

Hi Dave – I just ordered your book. My husband Colin & I are mid 50’s Colin has never been to Disney World, I haven’t been in about 15 years. We are planning to go early October this year. We really only want to see Magic Kingdom & Epcot and will only have 2.5 days. We want to go before we have Grandchildren, so we can go back with them sometime in future. This time it’s not important for us to be in “Kid-Friendly” where would you suggest we stay & recommendations for highlights? Janet & Colin

94 Kelly Barnes { 05.15.16 at 5:17 pm }

Hi Janet – I’m sure Dave will have some great suggestion. My top pick would be Disney’s Beach Club resort. Great location, dining and decor. I’m Kelly the designated Destinations in Florida Travel Agent for I would love to help you and your husband plan your magical couples getaway. All my services are free. Feel free to contact me at or 980-429-4499

95 Janet Burnside { 05.16.16 at 6:25 pm }

Thanks very much Kelly. I may contact you. I was looking at the Orleans French Quarter Resort, but maybe it’s not as suitable for us as a couple.

96 Dave { 05.17.16 at 7:11 am }

Janet, there’s so many variables among the hotels that I’d advise reading the reviews in the book. Same on the highlights–pick based on the ride reviews.

97 Dave { 05.17.16 at 7:14 am }

Janet, French Quarter is a great choice for a couple.

98 allison { 06.09.16 at 12:50 pm }

Hi Dave! My family and I are looking to book a package at the Polynesian for 4/29-5/6 2017. Packages for 2017 are not available to book right now…when you they usually make them available? They give the option to book the hotel only now and then would have to refund the deposit and re book the package. Is all that hassle worth reserving the room?

99 Kelly B - Destinations In Florida { 06.09.16 at 1:35 pm }

HI Allison –

Disney just announced the other day that they are releasing 2017 package prices on Tuesday June 21st. I would love to help you plan and book your vacation. Please contact me at or call me at 980-429-4499. We can discuss the package you are looking for. Then when the package prices are released, I’ll contact you with your Magical Disney Vacation quote.

100 Bill Costa { 07.19.16 at 3:38 pm }

Hi, I just discovered your site and I love it. Thank you for your effort to make it special.
I have a question about the pick days, did you consider Food and Wine festival on the 2016 crowd calendar? Seems very low pick season. Thanks

101 Dave { 07.20.16 at 8:26 am }

Hi Bill and thanks, but I don’t know what you mean by “pick.”

102 Steve { 08.03.16 at 11:57 am }

Dave, I really do appreciate your website. Especially the crowd predictions. Disney hasn’t been making this any easier lately. Do you think that the unexpected extreme crowds seen in the first week of April 2016 will also be seen in that same week in 2017? I’ve read that the much higher crowd level was due to many reasons. Under-staffing by Disney, almost all of Georgia (Master’s Tournament) and Michigan being on spring break that week, and a huge number of people from the UK. What is your opinion as to why the crowd level was much higher than expected and do you think this will happen to the same degree in 2017? I have been following you and over the course of this year you have raise the crowd level from 4 to 7. Do you see it going even higher? Thanks so much.

103 Dave { 08.03.16 at 12:10 pm }

Steve there’s no credible explanation for what happened last April. For example, every good forecaster was well aware of the Georgia, Michigan and UK breaks…

My forecast for this April is based on the same school break facts (tho for 2016, not 2015!) that led to my incorrect forecast this April–the change came because once I had all the 2017 school year breaks in hand, the facts were different than I expected them to be …

104 Steve { 08.04.16 at 6:50 am }

Dave, thanks for the quick reply. I also saw that Wrestlemania is in Orlando 4/2/2017. How do you think that will impact the Disney Parks crowd levels? I growing more concerned about the first full week of April 2017. We usually go at lower times (3-5 crowd levels). Thanks again!

105 Dave { 08.04.16 at 7:41 am }

Steve, I guess generally forecasting is uncertain, so frankly if you are concerned about that week, then avoid it! The hardest part of the eyar to forecast is spring break…. I don’t think Wrestlemania will much matter.

106 carol leerkamp { 04.12.17 at 2:53 pm }

taking family to disney world (7 total) and considered all adults. is it safe to buy tickets online from someplace other than the official site? We will be there in Feb. 8 and think this is value season. thank you

107 Dave { 04.14.17 at 1:00 pm }

Carol, there’s only a few non-Disney vendors that are not scams. The Official Ticket Center is one, see this for some warnings.

108 Jenna { 05.24.17 at 2:55 pm }

We are planning our second family Disney World vacation for September 22, 2018. We are really interested in staying at Port Orleans, French Quarter but are unsure of the busing. I have been told that POFQ shares buses with PO Riverside and I am concerned that it will cause long bus rides and many stops and starts at the various bus stops. What can you tell me about this? Thanks!

109 Dave { 05.25.17 at 9:24 am }

Jenna, by then things may have changed, but there’s less bus sharing than there used to be. Sharing is most common during the less busy hours of the day.

110 Christie { 07.05.17 at 2:00 pm }

Hi, when does your 2018 book come out? Thanks!

111 Dave { 07.06.17 at 7:31 am }

Christie, we are hoping sometime in August.

112 Dawn { 07.14.17 at 11:58 am }

In Port Orleans Riverside resort which is the first bus stop that gets picked up first east west north or south

113 Dave { 07.15.17 at 7:32 am }

Dawn, from Andre at

“The routes taken by buses used to vary significantly by park, but as from December 2015 a new simpler routing plan has been introduced. If a combined service is operating, the shared buses will call first at French Quarter, then progress on to the Riverside stops. Within Riverside, theme park buses now call at the West Depot first, then North Depot and East Depot, and finally the South Depot before departing for the park.”

“In an effort to reduce overcrowding and wait times during the peak demand period, it was announced in December 2016 that the service from Riverside to the Magic Kingdom would be operated using two separate buses from roughly 8am until 11am. The first bus will serve the South Depot only, and the other will cater solely for the three outlying circle Depots, West, North and East. This should make using the outlying stops a much more attractive proposition for guests visiting the Magic Kingdom in the morning.”

114 Rich { 07.20.17 at 1:27 pm }

Planning on bringing the family to Disney, 2 adults and 4 Kids (14, 12,5 & 2) in Oct 2018. Travelling from the UK and want the compete experience. Just wondering when is the best time to book a Disney Package (hotel & tickets)? Great site – very helpful and informative. Many Thanks.

115 Dave { 07.20.17 at 6:04 pm }

Rich, there are special UK deals available that I don’t track. I’d suggest you ask this question on the UK-oriented Disney discussion board,

116 Zephra { 07.27.17 at 5:06 am }

PLEASE HELP! We are visiting DW for the first time in Sept. The group traveling with me will be: My 80yr old grandma, 6yr old daughter, husband, and son that will be turning 14during the trip. There was a serious issue trying to find available hotels bc of the Food & Wine festival, so our choices were limited. The first 4 days we are staying at the Polynesian, but are having a difficult time trying to decide where to spend the remaining 3 days. There was 1 night that wasn’t available at the Polynesian-thus the need to transfer hotels. Here are a few of the options we have booked. Could you PLEASE make a suggestion for us, as we live in CA and no-one here travels to DW bc we’re so close to Disneyland.

Option 1: Transfer straight to a 1bdrm suite at Baylake tower(Contemporary resort) with a Lakeview for the entire remaining trip. Pros(that I know of): 5 min walk to Magic Kingdom, which we will be starting our day at all 3 of those days, monorail access, and space to sprawl out bc it’s a suite, only one transfer.

Option 2: Transfer to Yacht Club club level standard room for one night and then transfer next door to Beach club for following 2 nights in a pool/lagoon view standard rm. PROS(that I know of): The pool shared by both of these resorts is supposed to be the Best, easy transfer of luggage to sister hotel next door, proximity to Epcot(will be going to one of the days), my husband will be attending a conference 2 mornings at the yacht club, and I’ve heard that it’s neat to be looking over/close to Disney boardwalk?Plus concierge service.

Option 3: Transfer to Yacht club standard view club level rm for one night and then back to the same Polynesian standard view rm. PROS: we could still have a chance to visit the pool at the yacht club one night, plus have concierge service and monorail. I know that it comes highly recommended for first timers by you. Is it worth giving up the chance to see another resort, or spread out in a suite at the contemporary?

Option 4: transfer to Yacht club level standard view rm for one night, and the take a 2nd transfer to Bay lake tower 1 berm suite. Pros: chance to check out 3 resorts in total, and 3 different pools, if we can make the time for it. Get concierge service, plus the chance to spread out in the suite (for 2 days), chance to stay by boardwalk AND then be right next door-5 min walk to Magic Kingdom.

I cannot tell you how much I would appreciate any insight you could give us. Again, we live in California and most people here haven’t been to Disney world bc of our proximity to Disneyland. We are VERY excited to visit and know that we have a lot to see, so there will not be a lot of time to enjoy the resorts, and location/ease of traveling to parks will probably take priority, however there are 5 of us (3 adults), so space would be a definite bonus….I’m just not sure that giving up kid appeal is worth some of those things…what do you think?

117 Dave { 07.27.17 at 11:59 am }

Zephra, all of the hotels themselves are cool choices/location, for the reasons you note.

However, I have a simple proposition: take the option that requires the lowest number of moves, which looks like your first BLT option. I change rooms 3-5 times a trip (that’s how I keep my hotel reviews fresh) and it is a pain.

In particular, check out time is 11a and check in is 3p for regular rooms and 4p for DVC. While often you can get in to your room much earlier, it can be a real pain to not have a place to go in the heat of the day when you (or grandma, or the 6yo) need a nap…

118 Ana { 07.27.17 at 2:32 pm }

Hello again Dave,
I was wondering if you had been able to change your requests made on your online check in room requests… I made mine and now I can’t seem to be able to change them at all!!! Also, read somewhere that the official opening date for the 80’s section (building 9) at pop was set for July 24th… have you heard anything?

119 Dave { 07.28.17 at 8:16 am }

Ana, one of the two 80s buildings opened–see this.

Generally I’ve had no trouble changing my requests, but apparently closed buildings (or ones expected to be closed) are not requestable, and I don’t know how up to date such stuff is. You can always call in your request at 407-939-7675.

120 Peter { 08.07.17 at 3:29 am }

Hi Dave,
Your site is truly invaluable and many thanks for your advice over the last couple of years. I am bringing another group of 17 – 18 year olds from the UK for a week on 23rd August, 25 this time, and was just wondering how the magic hours work. We are staying at the Pop Century Resort and would like to do a couple of the extra hours liste. Do you have to leave the park and re-enter for the evening ones or just show your magic bands?
Any help greatly appreciated.
Also, do you have any updates on the weather for the end week of August, the forecasts I am looking at are not very good.
Best regards and thanks for a wonderful site.

121 Dave { 08.07.17 at 7:43 am }

Peter, you just show your Magic Bands to use EMH. Re weather, it kinda always stinks in the summer. Any forecast more than 5 days out is not worth much, so be guided by long term averages until then, which would be hot, humid, brief afternoon thunderstorms, slight chance of hurricanes. More on August is here.

122 Anastasia Ivanov { 08.09.17 at 6:14 pm }

Hi there, I was doing some research and ended up on one of your articles about travel rewards, appreciate the info!

I just finished putting together an infographic about how much average Americans spend on vacation in comparison to millionaires. This is a super interesting topic to me, since it seems like everyone I know loves to talk about their vacation spots on social media, constantly. How many vacation days are Americans actually using each year, how much are they spending on vacation, and where are they traveling? I took a deep dive into the stats surrounding these questions.

Given your past work on the topic, I thought this might be of interest – please let me know if you want to check it out. In any case, keep up the great work!


123 Dave { 08.10.17 at 11:24 am }

Sure, Anastasia, post a link or send it to me at

124 Michelle { 09.10.17 at 11:02 pm }

Hi there!
My family and i (kids 7 & 5) will be visiting WDW for 8 days in June/July 18 from Australia. As we will be going straight to WDW, i am allowing 2 days of jet lag adjustment before we hit the parks. Ive been researching the resorts, and the things that matter to me most are proximity to MK and good pool without much of a walk (prefer no bus ride if possible). Any suggestions on this? I have been looking at POFQ as the price is only slightly more than Pop for more dining options etc. I am also looking at the the Cabins at FW for the first few nights as i am worried we will all be awake at 4am and that the resort walls may be thin and we\’ll wake other guests, plus it has a separate bedroom. Our dollar against yours isnt too flash ATM so its making that option not so palatable. There is so much to read about and i am enjoying it, but I\’m finding no resort with all the answers (Poly is WAY out of out price range). Happy for any suggestions, thanks!

125 Dave { 09.11.17 at 9:01 am }

Hi Michelle! At your price point and with the body clock issues, I am intrigued by the cabins as a solution. In addition to less noise, the full kitchen they have will be handy if your hunger is off cycle with when restaurants are open. Otherwise the cabins are awkward–weak and distant pools, good but distant dining.

POFQ dining is little better than Pop–it has no sit down restaurant.

Consider rather than POFQ Coronado Springs–better and more varied dining, more services. Review is here.

Also consider a “split stay,” spending perhaps your first three nights in a cabin, and the rest or Coronado Springs (or elsewhere.)

126 Meg { 09.24.17 at 2:27 pm }

Hey Dave! I’m taking my two adult daughters to WDW in January. I’ve contacted Kelly for help. She has given me 3 available hotel options. Saratoga 2 bedroom being the most expensive, Boulder Ridge in the middle, and Old Key West being the most affordable. We won’t have a car, so is getting around in OKW that much of problem that I should consider staying elsewhere? We will be staying 9 days. Would love to visit Universal for one of those days – which day of the week would you recommend? Thanks Dave!

127 Dave { 09.25.17 at 7:08 am }

Hi Meg, I would not stay at either OKW or SS without a car. I also rank Boulder Ridge much higher than either. Re Universal, I don’t track crowds there enough to have a useful opinion. Take a look at

128 David { 11.04.17 at 3:17 pm }

Great site! Thank you for all the excellent information and the work you put into this site. We have been to WDW four times over many years, and we are looking for tips for WDW resorts and itineraries for returning guests. We are in our early 60’s but we still enjoy all the attractions. We plan to take a full week for this next trip and we can pick any week that’s best for us. Any recommendations for WDW resorts and dates for our situation? Thanks!

129 Dave { 11.05.17 at 9:03 am }

Hi David, and thanks! While optimized for first-time visitors, my week rankings are here. Note that returning visitors enjoy as well many September and January weeks that, in the table on that page, are marked in green on the far right.

I publish recommended itineraires about six months ahead (as that’s when Disney released its draft calendar. You can find them here. You might also find the per-park itineraires in my book easier to work with.

On where to stay, there’s a wide variety of choices, with the biggest distinction being price. My recommendations (by price class) and reviews begin here.

Leave a Comment | Ask a Question | Note a Problem

My response to questions and comments will be on the same page as the original comment, likely within 24-36 hours . . . I reserve the right to edit and delete comments as I choose . . . All rights reserved. Copyright 2008-2017 . . . Unless otherwise noted, all photos are by me--even the ones in focus--except for half a dozen from my niecelets . . . This site is entirely unofficial and not authorized by any organizations written about in it . . . All references to Disney and other copyrighted characters, trademarks, marks, etc., are made solely for editorial purposes. The author makes no commercial claim to their use . . . Nobody's perfect, so follow any advice here at your own risk.