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

Category — p. News and Changes

How the Disney World Week Rankings are Built

I rank the weeks of the year for first time visitors to Disney World who might not be able to ever return to Disney World on this site—the 2017 Disney World week rankings are here, 2018 Disney World week rankings here, and draft 2019 Disney World week rankings are here.


(These same rankings also inform the guidebook I co-author with Josh of, The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit.)

Here’s an example, for 2018:

These rankings are meant to guide first timers who can never return towards better weeks, and away from bad weeks. They incorporate crowds and prices, as you might expect. But because they are meant for people who might be able to make only one visit, they also particularly downgrade the weeks of January and early February when rides are more commonly closed for refurb, and also view skeptically the weeks when the hurricane season is at its peak.

Both of these periods contain good weeks for returning visitors who might care less about these risks. So for this reason, I both include the crowd and price data in the chart, and also mark in green at the far right edge of the chart weeks that are good for returning visitors.

That way returning visitors can use the chart to pick their weeks, too—or they can simply focus on my crowd forecasts and price information. Disney World crowd forecasts for 2017 are here, 2018 here, and draft crowd forecasts for 2019 are here. Disney World resort pricing for 2017 is here, for 2018 is here, and draft price forecasts for 2019 are here.

Besides deprecating the ride closure and peak of the hurricane seasons, I also promote the lower-crowd part of the Christmas season, because it is such a magical time at Disney World.

So with that as the background, here’s the technical approach I take to ranking the weeks of the year for first time visitors.


First, I take the ride closure season weeks, and give them the lowest rankings of the year (because if you can only come once, why come at a time when some great rides predictably will be closed?)

In every grouping, including these weeks, higher crowd weeks get the worst ranking, and within equivalent crowd rankings, higher prices break the ties. This involves a bit of judgment, as the deluxes work to a different price seasons than the other resorts from July into the fall, and the moderates don’t show as much price variation over the year as the other price classes do. So if you are committed to a certain resort type, note also the price levels of your resort type among these weeks.

Next to be ranked are all the remaining higher crowd weeks, with the worst rankings going to the highest crowds, and ties sorted by prices.

Next to be ranked is the remaining weeks in the peak of the hurricane season. I have taken a lot of grief over the years for deprecating these weeks, as, like the January and early February weeks, they include a number of lower crowd and lower price dates:

After the past two years, however, I expect people to hold off a bit on the “hurricanes never affect Disney World” claim…

This leaves a group of moderate and lower crowd weeks of various prices that are in neither the ride closure season nor the peak of the hurricane season. The moderate crowd weeks get ranked by crowds the prices, in the usual fashion.

Then the remaining low crowd weeks get ranked the same way, with the expectation that the Christmas season low crowd weeks get privileged rankings. This set of weeks become my “Recommended Weeks”—usually 13 to 15 a year. (The number has narrowed over time as October has gotten more crowded; in any given year, an early Thanksgiving might add a fourth December week, and an early Easter might add an extra April week.)

The rankings are fundamentally based on crowd forecasts and actual or forecast prices.

The crowd forecasts are based on my actual experience—I’m in the parks 30-60 days a year over six to ten visits.

For example, in 2017:

This experience is supplemented by extensive analysis of school breaks—here’s an example from my analysis of spring breaks in 2018:

The prices are based on actuals for 2017 and 2018, and on forecasts based on recent Disney practice for 2019. I’ll be revising the 2019 rankings as necessary after the actual 2019 prices come out, likely in the summer of 2018, and based on a full analysis of 2018-2019 school year breaks, also in the summer of 2018 (too many districts don’t publish their calendars for the upcoming school year until May or June for me to do this earlier).

So that’s how the week rankings are built!

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October 9, 2017   3 Comments

Why The Hotels Aren’t Crowd Calendars

Every year around this time I get comments from people trying to book one of my recommended December weeks that say something like “all the Disney World hotels are booked, so how can these be lower-crowd weeks?”

The short answer I always give is that this happens every year.

Disney World hotel occupancy is not a crowd calendar. These hotels are almost full almost all of the time, in high crowd periods or low. For three years now, occupancy has been above 85 percent, and for the last seven quarters it’s averaged 89 percent. For an average room, that equates to about two nights free every three weeks.

Rooms have been even harder to find in 2017.

  • First, about 3 percent of capacity permanently disappeared in 2017, with demolition of rooms at Caribbean Beach and Coronado Springs, and conversion of formerly eight-person areas at the Wilderness Lodge to four-person areas in Copper Creek.
  • Second, the ongoing room refurbs at Pop Century and Coronado Springs have taken another 1.5% to 3% of rooms out of capacity, depending on how many buildings are closed at a time for refurb

This may not sound like a lot–but it’s about half of the previous excess capacity.  So a room that used to be unused two nights out of every three weeks now might now be unused two nights out of every six weeks…

You can tell from Disney’s pricing patterns that the most popular nights are Fridays and Saturdays, and the least popular Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays.  So vacations that include weekend nights–as almost all do–are even harder to book.

Moreover, I am told–I can’t independently confirm this–that Disney is booking “orphan” room nights differently.

Say a room is booked through a Saturday, then available the next five nights Sunday to Thursday, and then booked again beginning the Friday after. Before this purported change, a guest who wanted to book this room Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday would have no problem, even though it would leave “orphan,” hard-to-book single nights on Sunday and Thursday.

Word is that this no longer works so well, as Disney’s systems prefer in this case guests looking for a Sunday-Tuesday or Tuesday-Thursday stay, leaving a more bookable two-night block before or after.

So guests looking for longer stays will run into the problem of all the weekend nights being booked up, and guests looking for shorter stays will have easier or harder times depending on how many orphan nights their preferred dates will yield.  On shorter stays, shifting your check-in day just a day can help. On longer stays, dividing them into two or even three shorter stays can help.

The best approach, though, is to book well in advance. Historically, people have most commonly booked their Disney World vacations three months ahead.  The more ahead of this you can book your rooms, the better off you will be.  More than 180 days before is the magic number…but even if it’s closer than that, as soon as possible is better than later!

Another way to ease the burden is to use a travel agent, who likely will have both more patience and more ideas for finding you a room. This site has partnered for years with Kelly, who you can reach at or 980-429-4499.

Quarter to quarter, Disney’s recent average occupancy* has been between 85 and 90% for a while (the red line is 85%):

On a four-quarter trailing moving average basis (which cleans out the effects of seasonality), it’s been around 90% for seven quarters in a row (red line is 90% occupancy):

The difference between 85% and 95% occupancy is about 2,540 more rooms filled per night—or, at an average of 3 people per room, about 8,000 more people.

Eight thousand more people divided among four theme parks, two water parks, Universal, Sea World, Disney Springs, days off, etc. just don’t much matter to a set of theme parks that have a base average of more than 147,000 visitors a day anyway.

(This is the same reason that the cheering competitions, runDisney events, etc., don’t much matter to park crowding. Fifteen thousand cheerleaders or runners and family members may seem like a lot to you…but translate into less than 10 percent more people on property.)

Here’s the longer answer.


Crowds at Disney World don’t come from the Disney hotels, which are almost always close to full. They come from hotels outside the parks.

On an average day in 2016, there were 147,000 people in one of the four Disney World theme parks. (Math applied to this.) You can convert those into required hotel rooms by making assumptions about

  • People per room (e.g. 3) and
  • Rooms occupied by those not in a Disney theme park that day: people in a hotel room for a Disney World vacation but taking a day off from the four Disney theme parks and instead going to a water park, Disney Springs, Universal, taking a day at the pool, shopping, or skipping the parks on their arrival night)—I’ll use 25% as my assumption on this.

So divide the 147,000 people in the parks on an average day by three people per room and you get 49,000 required rooms; shift this by another 25% for the folk on a Disney-oriented vacation but not in a Disney park that day and you get 65,000 required rooms.

Disney World itself right now has “only” about 25,400 rooms available, and probably can’t hit much above 95% occupancy for any sustained period (at 95% occupancy rooms are booked 19 out of every 20 nights) except in the rarest of circumstances, because even with the new orphan night policy, there aren’t enough two and one-night stays to fill in the tiny gaps that exist between 95% and 100% occupancy.

At 90% occupancy Disney World can serve just 22,900 of the 65,000 needed rooms—just a little more than a third.

Occupancy at the Disney hotels doesn’t flex up and down much with crowds. Rather, Disney runs its price seasons and its deals to hit a fairly high level of average occupancy year round. Hotels fill up in the highest-crowd times, but they also fill up during the rest of the year too–including times when savvy Disney World visitors (the most likely to occupy a Disney space—especially DVC owners) know are great times to visit—like early December!!

In other words, the crowds don’t come from Disney World hotels. They just don’t flex enough. Rather, they come from off-property folk. So full Disney World hotels don’t necessarily mean high crowds. (They can mean that—it’s just that they don’t necessarily do so.)

Want a real crowd calendar?  See this.


*This is Disney’s domestic occupancy, so it does include the three Anaheim hotels, which make up about 10% of total rooms. Because it’s just 10%, I ignore them, except that I do substract them to get rooms available in Florida.

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October 8, 2017   9 Comments

Disney World Deals for Early 2018 Released


Today, after some troubles with Disney’s IT system, three Disney World deals for early 2018 came out.


Kelly can book you into the best of these deals for your plans—she’s been the travel agent partner of this site for years. To book your vacation through her, contact her at or 980-429-4499. (If you’ve already booked with Kelly, she’s been busy this morning trying to get the best deal for you!)


The room rate deal covers most dates from January 1, 2018 through April 14. Discounts vary by resort and resort class, and are not available in all booking categories.

  • At the values, Little Mermaid Rooms at Art of Animation are excluded. All-Star Movies is 10% off, and the others are 15% off.
  • At the moderates, Port Orleans Riverside and Port Orleans French Quarter are 10% off, and the rest are 20% off.
  • At the deluxes, the Contemporary, Polynesian Village, and Wilderness Lodge are 10% off, and the rest are 25% off.
  • At the DVC resorts, Bay Lake Tower, the Villas at the Grand Floridian, and Bungalows at the Polynesian are excluded. Old Key West, Saratoga Springs, and the BoardWalk Villas are 25% off. The other DVC resorts are 10% off.

Reports are that Disney Visa holders can call to get additional savings, but I haven’t been able to document the full extent of this yet.

This deal needs to be booked by January 2.

Disney’s page on this deal is here, and you can reach Kelly at or 980-429-4499.


The Play Stay and Dine package offers savings of of a combined room, ticket and dining plan package. It covers most arrival dates from January 1 through March 10 and needs to be booked by December 22.

Disney’s website hopes for savings of $300-$500 based on its examples, but as with the next deal, actual savings are hard to calculate without test-booking some reservations. The basic concept seems to be savings of 40-45% off the dining plan–quick service at the values, and regular at the other resort types–plus maybe a bit more at the deluxes. This can be the best deal for larger parties at the moderates in particular.

Excluded from this deal are

  • Little Mermaid rooms at Art of Animation
  • Fort Wilderness campsites
  • Bungalows at the Polynesians and Cabins at Copper Creek at the Wilderness Lodge

Disney’s page on this deal is here, and you can reach Kelly at or 980-429-4499.


The Family Magic Package deal covers most dates from January 1, 2018 through April 14. Discounts vary by resort and resort class, and are not available in all booking categories. The “example” discounts shown on Disney’s page on this deal exclude the highest-priced dates.

Actual savings are very hard to calculate without running actual reservations through the system. The best way to choose is to try each option and pick the one with the best savings. You also want to compare your offer with the lowest-priced undiscounted rooms, as these offers recently have put you into higher-priced rooms. This is where a travel agent like Kelly is a godsend.

It looks like the following resorts/room types are excluded from the Family Magic Deal:

  • Little Mermaid rooms at Art of Animation
  • Fort Wilderness campsites
  • Bungalows at the Polynesians and Cabins at Copper Creek at the Wilderness Lodge

This deal needs to be booked by January 2.

Disney’s page on this deal is here, and you can reach Kelly at or 980-429-4499.

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October 3, 2017   2 Comments

Disney’s Armed Forces Salute Deal for 2018 Released

As Steve announced on, the 2018 Disney Armed Forces Salute became available Thursday.

  • The salute is valid from January 1, 2018 through December 19, 2018. The room part of the deal is blocked out 3/25-4/5/18
  • As in 2017, it includes not just deeply discounted 4 day tickets, as it has the past few years, but also deeply discounted 5 day tickets. Unless your kids are younger than 5, the 5 day option is the one to choose, as it permits two days in the Magic Kingdom and a day each in the other three parks.
  • Also available again as part of the 2018 salute are room discounts of approximately 30%  to 40% off .
  • Note that the two deals are not linked–you can get the ticket deal, the room rate deal, or both

Some of the most popular room types (e.g. Little Mermaid rooms at Art of Animation) may be excluded, and availability elsewhere is very limited (more rooms may be added).

I’ll publish more details I understand them, but frankly the best starting point for understanding the deal is Steve’s page here.

The ticket deal is available only directly from various base sources. But Kelly can book the room rate deal for eligible military families. Contact her at or 980-429-4499.

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September 30, 2017   No Comments

Review: The Fantasmic! Dessert and VIP Viewing Experience

In August 2017 Disney World announced the new Fantasmic! Dessert and VIP Viewing Experience offering. This “Experience” offers some nice snacks, a souvenir mug, and—at least on my visit to it in late September 2017, more on this point below—first come, first served seating in the “Dining Package” reserved area of the Fantasmic! amphitheater.

The cost, including tax, is $39 for those ten and older, and $19 for those aged three to nine.

Fantasmic! is an evening show at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Combining a cast of more than 50 people, huge puppets, water effects, live action, projections, and a boat show (well, sorta), it touches on more or less every great Disney animated film through The Lion King and Pocahontas, with a few interludes with more recent characters.

I’ve seen it more than a dozen times, and while it is getting a little old—the projections, on water screens, are particularly in need of both technical and substantive updates—it is among my top five Disney World attractions, and on all of this site’s Disney World itineraries. There’s more on Fantasmic! here.

Two showings of Fantasmic! a night used to be fairly common, but with the introduction of the new evening show Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular, one Fantasmic! show a night is now much more typical—so it’s not unusual for there to be more people who want to see Fantasmic! than there is capacity.

There’s now five ways to get a seat for Fantasmic!

  • One is to use one of your pre-booked FastPass+, which on a one-day visit to the Studios is not a great use of FastPass+. The late timing of the show means you probably won’t be able to book any additional FastPass+ at the Studios that day. Also, Fantasmic! FastPass+ are Tier One FastPass+, and frankly on a one day visit your Tier One FastPass+ is better spent on Toy Story Mania or Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster. (Most of my itineraires have two visits to the Studios, partly for this reason, partly so that you can see both evening shows, and partly as prep for Toy Story Land and Star Wars.)
  • Second is to keep looking for Fantasmic! as a 4th, 5th or whatever day-of FastPass+. This works most days, but comes with no guarantee of success.
  • Third is to get in line for Fantasmic! really early—like more than an hour before show start. This works quite well, but this site isn’t really designed to tell you how to wait longer in line…
  • Fourth is to purchase a Fantasmic! Dinner Package at The Hollywood Brown Derby, Mama Melrose, or Hollywood and Vine. Traditionally the problem with this—other than cost—has been the choice of restaurants. The Brown Derby is terrific, but not exactly fun. Mama Melrose is pedestrian. Hollywood and Vine traditionally focused on the Disney Junior characters, which put it right in the wheelhouse of kids for whom Fantasmic! might be too scary (it has lots of villains, including large dragon and serpent puppets). Recently lunch and dinner at Hollywood and Vine has shifted to a more broadly appealing character line-up of Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, and Goofy, making it a more viable option. But at Hollywood and Vine lunch Fantasmic! package (after tax and tip) is around $63/39 per person, and the dinner package around $70/43. Mama Melrose is a bit less, and Brown Derby much more.

The Fantasmic! Dessert and VIP Viewing Experience presents potentially a money and time-saving fifth alternative–to the dining package in particular. At $39 for those ten and older, and $19 for those aged three to nine (tax included, no tip), it is cheaper than a dining package—although not by much–and it saves you the time you would otherwise spend at the sit-down restaurant.

The way it works is you make your reservations online here (or of course you can call 407 939-3463).

Then at the Studios you enter the FastPass+ line at Fantasmic! When you enter is a little screwball. Disney’s promotional material—and the paperwork I got from them—indicates that seating is in a dedicated part of the amphitheater “in the first couple of rows of the theater.”

“Dedicated” would seem to mean that you don’t need to arrive early to get good seats.

However, on our visit (I went with my imaginary internet friend Steve Bell of, seating was first-come first served in the Dining Package area of the amphitheater. This matters if you want a specific location. Up close is best for viewing; mid-way gives you an adequate view and avoids the water spray you will get up close; toward the back is best for an easy exit. If there’s not a dedicated seating area on your visit, the earlier you arrive, the more seating choices you will have. If there is a dedicated seating area, then you will be up close, and will get misted.

We purposely got up close, as I’d sat pretty much everywhere at Fantasmic! except front and center in the first few rows. Can’t really complain about how close and centered our seats were. And the mist, frankly, was welcome, as it was a hot and humid night. On cooler nights, the mist would be a bug, not a feature.

Anyway, back to the process, a bit after you enter the FastPass+ line you’ll see a sign heading you off the line…

…and a kiosk off to the side.

Here you get a lanyard that identifies you to cast members further in as a possessor of this Experience, a drink in a special cup (we got blue margaritas), a small bottle of water, and a boxed set of desserts and savory snacks.

Then you go in and sit and drink and snack and wait for the show.

There was nothing special about the margarita—there’s also a non-alcoholic punch for the kids, and of course the water bottles—but the mug was fun. It has settings for fast and slow flashing, plus steady lights. The image is of the steady lights.

The snack box has both more and better food than I’d expected. The three cupcakey looking things are an apple crisp, cheesecake, and a chocolate cupcake. Each was delightful. The two chocolate-covered strawberries were large and perfectly ripened. The cheese cubes are typical, and in the cute little paper bag are some nice salty tortilla chips. The small jar—you are seeing its lid–includes a trail mix that was the only offering not particularly to my taste, but trail mix preferences do vary (my fave is M&Ms, peanuts, and golden raisins).

The menu (click it to enlarge it).

Here’s the full set of loot, with one exception There’s a knife-fork-spoon-napkin set up at the bottom of your bag, somewhat hidden by a printed “Fantasmic! Fun Facts” flyer. Some people might not find these, and hence complain about difficulties in eating the cupcakes in particular. Not that you would have this problem. Because you’ve been warned. But we got a little messy…

In total, while not what you’d call a healthy meal, there’s a fair amount of food here. If you had a heavy lunch, and a snack after, it might substitute for dinner—or come pretty close to doing so.

So for your $39/$19, you get a large and varied snack, a drink, a bottle of water, and a fun mug. (Kids get more kid-appropriate snacks, e.g. gummy bears.) In addition, you get as good a seat at Fantasmic! as you are willing to come early for, without using a FastPass+, and without the time and expense that a sit-down dining package dinner would cost. (The dining package saves you no time at Fantasmic! itself, as it also has first-come-first served seating in the dining package section.)

At this price, the Fantasmic! Dessert and VIP Viewing Experience is clearly not for everyone, and is an even worse deal for those whose dining earlier in the day makes the snacks largely superfluous. The drink is nice, but no one ever goes to the Studios yearning for a blue margarita.

That said, it is a legit approach to seeing Fantasmic! for those who can afford it, especially if the rest of their dining this day lets the snacks substitute for dinner.

There’s lots of good seats for Fantasmic!, but so long as the seats for this experience remain where they are, the seating location is hard to beat. You are near the center of the show, but can pick how close to the water you want to be. If the event does convert to dedicated seats by the water, you will get misted, but the vantage point from up close is really nice…

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September 27, 2017   11 Comments

Walt 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.


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.


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 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 or 980-429-4499.


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 or 980-429-4499.


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 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.


Disney World 2018 Crowd Calendar

Disney World 2018 Price Seasons

2018 Disney World Week Rankings

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September 24, 2017   No Comments