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By the co-author of The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2018, the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook series ever.

Available on Amazon here.





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By Dave Shute

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148 comments

1 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

2 Dave { 07.20.16 at 8:26 am }

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

3 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.

4 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 …

5 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!

6 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.

7 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

8 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.

9 Jenna { 05.24.17 at 2:55 pm }

Dave,
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!

10 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.

11 Christie { 07.05.17 at 2:00 pm }

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

12 Dave { 07.06.17 at 7:31 am }

Christie, we are hoping sometime in August.

13 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

14 Dave { 07.15.17 at 7:32 am }

Dawn, from Andre at portorleans.org:

“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.”

15 Rich { 07.20.17 at 1:27 pm }

Hello,
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.

16 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, https://www.thedibb.co.uk/forums/

17 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?

18 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…

19 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?

20 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.

21 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.
Peter

22 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.

23 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!

Thanks!

24 Dave { 08.10.17 at 11:24 am }

Sure, Anastasia, post a link or send it to me at davidhobartyfv@gmail.com

25 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!

26 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.)

27 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!

28 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 https://orlandoinformer.com/universal/crowd-calendar/

29 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!

30 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.

31 STUART { 01.07.18 at 11:48 am }

Hi Dave, amazing site.

Im arriving late on 7th July 18 from the UK for 2 weeks with our 2 young children (aged 3 and 6). I know this is the worst time to visit but its the only dates we can go. You have not published the itineraries for July yet but I need to start booking some of the restaurants in the next few days so I was wondering if you could give me some advice on what parks to go to in what order during the first week (or even for the 2 weeks).
We are staying at the Animal Kingdom resort and was thinking of using the water parks as down days. I would also like to fit a visit to Seaward in during our stay.

Thanks in advance.

32 Dave { 01.08.18 at 10:47 am }

Hi Stuart, yes it stinks that Disney now puts the calendar out only 180 days ahead.

On the other hand, first July has been much better than it traditionally has been the last two summers. No one knows exactly why but my theory is that it is because of blackout dates on a new Florida annual pass that Disney began selling before the first drop off.

The second good thing is that there is not a lot of day to day park variation in July. What I’d do is make your most hard-to-get reservations now, avoiding parks on days they commonly have morning EMH–HS SUnday, AK Monday, Epcot Thursday, MK Friday, and AK Saturday. Then revise them as needed as the actual calendar comes out, then add the rest of your reservations then.

Ping me in a couple of weeks and I’ll be able to give you a final set of “parks to avoid” by day for your visit.

The reservations that are hardest to get are:

Be Our Guest Restaurant [Magic Kingdom]
Trattoria al Forno breakfast [Boardwalk]
Cinderella’s Royal Table [Magic Kingdom]
Chef Mickey’s [Contemporary Resort]
’Ohana [Polynesian Resort]
Akershus Royal Banquet Hall [Epcot]
1900 Park Fare Dinner [Grand Floridian Resort]
California Grill [Contemporary Resort]
Crystal Palace [Magic Kingdom

33 Tracey { 02.22.18 at 4:01 pm }

Hi Dave, fell in love with your website and bought your book in 2016 hoping to plot out a Disneyworld vacation, had to delay a bit but your book remains invaluable to me! Thank you for sharing all your knowledge and wonderful information. Now that I’m coming up on my 50th birthday in February 2019, I’m thinking Disneyworld is what I’d love to do for my 50th! Any advice or thoughts on traveling to Orlando in February for a my 1st trip and my 50th birthday combined?

34 Dave { 02.23.18 at 7:54 am }

Hi Tracey so glad to have been helpful (and even loved!!).

Take a look at the February portions of this for my thoughts on February, which is complicated by Presidents Day.

35 mike { 04.18.18 at 2:24 pm }

Dave….how do i see older posts on your site? I see the recent posts but cannot find where to see older ones….thx

36 Dave { 04.18.18 at 4:55 pm }

Mike the most straightforward way is to use this category view https://yourfirstvisit.net/t-most-recent-stuff/ (The third link from the top on the left sidebar gets you to the same pace.)

If you scroll WAY to the bottom, you’ll see a link on the bottom left ” <--- Previous Entries "Another approach, if you're just browsing, is to start with the bolded links in the left sidebar navigation under "KEY DISNEY WORLD TOPICS."If you are looking for something specific, use the search bar at the top left of every page, just under the site logo.

37 Michelle { 05.14.18 at 10:12 am }

I just recently bought your book and starting reading it. I came no here to see the charts in larger views. My question is do you have a specific link that just shows those charts? If not how do I locate them? My other question is. I noticed you have the December 2017 Itineraries. Will you be updating for December 2018? We are going Dec. 7 on a 5 day ticket. I didn’t see an itinerary for a shorter December trip. Thanks.

38 Dave { 05.15.18 at 7:12 am }

Hi Michelle, some of the charts are on this page: https://yourfirstvisit.net/easy-guide-2018-changes/ I just noted that the page is not up to date–it does not have out March changes–and also does not have all the charts. If there’s a specific one you are looking for, let me know and I’ll get it up ASAP!

I will be publishing December itineraries, but only after the Calendar for then comes out–right now, it’s out just through Nov 11. I have not published 5 day variants of the December itineraries for a while now, as they have too many compromises. However, I can work with you to develop one. We can start in general now if you can tell me if this is your first visit, and if there’s any kids and if so what ages.

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