31 responses

  1. Octavia
    January 8, 2019

    Any suggestions for me taking a child with autism which park will be the best for him.He will be twelve this Feb. I will be so happy to see his face lighten up.

    Reply

    • Dave
      January 9, 2019

      Octavia, hundreds of thousands of kids with autism have successful Disney World visits every year. There’s two places to start.

      Review this so you get a sense of what’s available and some of the planning tools (like FastPass+) that are keys to getting a good trip.

      Then work through Disney’s page here, paying attention in particular to the Disability Access Service (the second item)

      Reply

  2. Julie Schantz
    October 20, 2018

    We are planning our second trip to WDW the last week in January (should be less crowded than the week of 10/7/18). We stayed at the contemporary which was super convenient. We didnt want to spend all that money so soon but loved the convenience. I have read that boardwalk is convenient to Epcot and HS. Would you recommend? We purchased season passes our last visit.

    Reply

    • Dave
      October 21, 2018

      Julie, it is. My full review is here.

      Reply

    • Jeremy
      November 15, 2018

      Most definitely. Boardwalk is very walkable to Hollywood Studios and Epcot (also the boats for you want to save some steps ). Bus to the other parks.

      Reply

  3. Debbie
    January 16, 2018

    I will be visiting WDW in March for a convention, we are staying at the Yacht club. I am considering coming a few days early (2) I love Christmas, my tree is totally Disney, I want to shop while I am here, I will be coming by myself so I see myself spending 1 day at a park and another day shopping. where should I stay and where should I shop for Christmas

    Reply

    • Dave
      January 16, 2018

      Hi Debbie! While each of the parks has shopping, there’s another vast conglomeration of shops–a mix of dedicated DIsney facilities, unique shops, and mall-style offerings–in Disney Springs. Each of the DIsney resorts has buses that go to Disney Springs (a couple also have slow boats), but you can also walk there from one of the Disney resorts, Saratoga SPrings, particularly if you stay in its Congress Park section. There’s more on Saratoga Springs beginning here.

      On Christmas shops, most of the larger DIsney shops (one in each park, plus Disney Springs) have a selection, but you will also find a shop dedicated to Christmas in the Magic Kingdom, in Liberty Square.

      Reply

  4. Carolyn
    February 27, 2016

    Hi Dave, I am planning a Sept 2016 trip, for myself and my 6 year old daughter. I am going back and forth between Riverside, AK (renting points) and AOA. Convenience is a huge factor, because I don’t want my daughter’s first vacation memories to be of a bus. We will be staying 6 nights and I’m doing 4 park days, so we will be spending a decent amount of time hanging out around our resort. What do you think is the best option?

    Reply

    • Dave
      February 27, 2016

      Carolyn, between one thing and another (distance/internal stops) you’ll spend about equal time on a bus at any of these. A 6yo typically will like AK or AOA more than Riverside–though she’ll be delighted by any of them.

      Reply

  5. Craig
    September 11, 2015

    Hi, Planning aWDW trip from Ireland next year and unsure whether to hire a car or use Disney world transportation ( I am a bit anxious about driving in U.S. as never been before ). Would also like to stay in the most convenient hotel that would mean the least amount of bus travel between the parks. I think MK, Epcot and HS will be the parks that appeal most to us ( have 2 kids 3 and 9 ). Any thoughts would be much appreciated. Thanks

    Reply

    • Dave
      September 14, 2015

      Craig, avoiding a car is easy. There’s no single hotel that’s easily accessible to all of those three parks. The Polynesian is the best choice for MK and Epcot, and the Beach Club or BoardWalk Inn for Epcot and HS. Given the ages of your kids, I’d go with the Poly.

      Reply

  6. Stefanie
    July 17, 2015

    I’m a single mother and it will take me at least a year and a half to save for a trip to WDW. Value is key to me but I am willing to spend a little extra for convenience as I will be taking both of my parents who are handicapped. They won’t be riding rides but will be renting scooters and we all just want my 11 year old to have the best time possible. He hasn’t had much of a childhood because I have to work a lot to provide for a family of 4 so he takes on more than he should have to with taking care of his grandparents. I want him to have the time of his life, he deserves it, so I am trying to plan very early. Which resort would be best as far as lowest price but highest convenience? Any ideas as far as what parks he should experience? (Also going to the Harry Potter park because he is a huge fan) And it is his dream to hold a baby monkey so any info about animal interactions would be great to know as well, if there are any. Thank you so much!

    Reply

    • Stefanie
      July 17, 2015

      Scratch Harry Potter I just saw some prices lol we will stick to just WDW

      Reply

    • Dave
      July 17, 2015

      Hi Stefanie! Will all four of you be in one room? Do you need three sleeping spots (one for the parents, one for you, one for him?) And if so, how tall is he?

      Reply

  7. Tammy
    April 24, 2015

    Hi Dave- I have been reading your site non-stop over the last couple of days and told my husband to take a look as well since he is the one aching to go to DW. We are DL aficionado’s but this whole DW thing feels quite perplexing. We are looking at taking a WDW vacation December 12-20(or 21) after my daughter finishes her first semester in college finals. It will be myself, husband (early 40’s) and just turned 19 y.o. I want to stay at the Waldorf Astoria and husband wants to stay at Poly or Grand Floridian. Given that we are used to DL, not sure how many days at MK we need to spend vs. Epcot, HS, AK, etc.? How do you feel about staying at a close by hotel that has its own transportation vs. a Deluxe Resort? Also the recommendation is a resort, would you advise a dining plan for the 3 of us or just to make some rezzy’s and eat as we go? Thanks so much as any guidance you can provide might help save a marriage!

    Reply

    • Dave
      April 26, 2015

      Hi Tammy, I would skip the dining plan, as you are unlikely to save money on it. And for sure I would stay on property.

      I would plan two days for Epcot, one for AK, a half day for HS, and 1.5 days for MK.

      Reply

  8. Sarah
    March 7, 2015

    Dave,
    Thank you for your reply. We have looked at our options again and decided against the dining plan. I priced out the estimated cost at each restaurant and the deluxe plan was going to cost us $2000 more than just paying out of pocket! I had a few other restaurants that I wanted to try and my husband is pretty set on one park a day with MK and Epcot getting two days so I’ve been tinkering with my own schedule (we shall see how badly it works out). However, I was wondering if you had a recommendation on hotel for us. We want to have my husband, myself, and the kids in one room and my father in the other. He snores very, very loudly and it makes it difficult to sleep in the same room as him. As we are driving and will have a car, I’m not sure that the convenience of the disney transports will be a big issue as we can drive to the parks. I saw the deluxe rooms at the wilderness resort would fit our needs but are there any others that would separate our group the way we want? That might be better or more cost effective? The deluxe rooms are a little above what we wanted to pay. If we have to, I guess we can get ear plugs and all sleep in the Polynesian standard room. Which is about $2000 less than the deluxe room.

    Reply

  9. Sarah
    March 4, 2015

    If you are driving to Florida is it more convenient to stay at one disney hotel or another? I have been considering Art of Animation, Contemporary, Villas at Wilderness, and Polynesian. All of these seem to be very easy to navigate but we will be driving there. Is it easier/faster to drive to the parks rather than use disney transportation? My husband and I are traveling with my two children ages 12 and 13 and my father age 63. We will want to make sure that It is easy for him to navigate to and from the parks. He does not have any physical disability other than the fact that his is overweight and doesn’t walk very quickly. On that note as well, would it be advisable for us to get the deluxe dining plan so we can have more sit down meals and give him more time to rest in between running around to rides? I was thinking just one park a day (two at magic kingdom and two at another park of your recommendation- or maybe a day to rest in between instead of another park) to avoid the issue of running him ragged going to too many places in a day. Your advice is greatly appreciated. I am a severe over-planner and this has really helped me narrow down places to stay as well as give me a good idea of what to look for.

    Reply

    • Dave
      March 5, 2015

      Sarah, you will waste both money and time on the deluxe plan. There’s plenty of places to sit and rest!

      You can also rent a wheelchair if he needs one. Rentals are right after the park turnstiles.

      It’s faster to drive to all parks except MK–for MK always take Disney transport. However, the Disney buses drop you off closer to the park entrances than where you park–cutting down on the walks.

      Cars have the most benefit at the huge and sprawling resorts (Old Key West, Saratoga Springs, Caribbean Beach, Coronado Springs, Port Orleans Riverside) as they let you drive to the resort’s dining option if your room is distant…

      Reply

  10. ray
    June 17, 2014

    Great site Dave would like your opinion on what resort hotel I should stay at I was thinking contemporary or a and a I’m going with wife my two daughters ages 15 and 3 my son and his girlfriend my they are both 23 should I get 2 rooms or stay at a family room at a and a that holds 6 it will be the first time since my son was 5 that we’ve been there first itll b first time for our girls though like theming in rooms but only one young really is our 3 year old it’s been a tough decision for us I’ve seen map in booklet it seems magic kingdom is by itself and everything else is on other side wouldn’t it b wise to stay at a resort closer to that side and just travel to magic kingdom for my younger girls plan on 10 day stay to really see as much as we can I here a and a is newest and have dedicated buses but they’ll b packed too tough to make decision Polynesian,a and a or contemporary which is on other side and away from downtown ,Hollywood studios and animal kingdom and Epcot would it b better to stay at hotel near those places than magic kingdom hotels such as contemporary which rooms don’t have disney feel but values hotels overly so tough decision price isn’t important if we are all together making memories that will last forever I appreciate your knowledge and thoughts thanks Dave

    Reply

  11. Karen
    May 27, 2014

    Great site! thanks for all the info. My family has been to disneyland many times, but it is obvious from your site that disneyworld is a very different experience! I’m looking for advice in regards to where to stay. My priority is maximizing time as we will only be there 4 days. I booked us at the doubletree suites by downtown disney, but I am reconsidering booking at a disneyworld resort. The vacation is as much for the adults as for the parents, so for me the value resorts are really out of the question (the decor is just too much for me). Is it worth staying at the French quarter or will we get to the parks faster via our Doubletree suites shuttle?

    Reply

    • Dave
      May 28, 2014

      Hi Karen and thanks! You will get to the parks much faster from POFQ. It’s much closer, and is almost certain to have more frequent bus service, and its buses drop you off closer to the parks.

      Reply

  12. Tim
    May 17, 2013

    Hi Dave! Great site!

    I simply cannot agree that the Boardwalk should be listed as convenient – I imagine the BC and YC have the same issues, but can’t speak from experience. For us it was as bad or possibly worse than Caribbean Beach, Pirate Rooms. Which is to say, at least in my opinion, unspeakably bad. On the buses there was frequently standing room only, rides were often 30 – 60 min, frequent stops at other hotels and parks only made things worse, etc. The amount of stress, unhappiness, and overall delay this adds to a Dis experience is simply unacceptable to me, especially for a deluxe resort. When you’re *arriving* at a park with cranky kids because of a bus schedule/route, and you’re paying in excess of $400/night for a room, something is wrong. It’s simply amazing to me that they have the Swan and Dolphin in the same bus route. Obviously JMO, JME, YMMV, etc.

    Being walking distance from Epcot and Hollywood Studios is possibly a plus, but obviously your family needs to be an Epcot/HS family for this to work out. IME, neither park appeals to younger/antsier kids much. World Showcase is possibly one of my favourite places in the universe, but children seem to be less enamoured with eating “strange” foods, or being dragged through a cultural mini-immersion while their parents “drink around the world.” Likewise, I find the shows at Hollywood Studios fascinating/exhilarating/whatever, but smaller kids seem to have trouble sitting still for the length of the shows, and it’s possibly the hottest park in WDW. Again, JMO, etc.

    Thanks again for the great site!

    Reply

    • Dave
      May 19, 2013

      Hi Tim, thanks for the kind words, thoughts and comments. “Convenience” here is relative–all the deluxe resorts share buses with others except for the Animal Kingdom Lodge, which has its own convenience issues, and all the AK buses from any resort do a Blizzard Beach stop. Sounds like you did have a particularly rough experience, though…

      Follow yourfirstvisit.net on Facebook!

      Reply

  13. Heidi
    March 11, 2013

    I am blown away by your site! I know that you specialize as a resource for first timers, but I am definitely taking it all in as a repeat visitor. Awesome! I am totally geeky and detail plan to the nth degree – I love that your information is backed by so much data. Question for you – our last two trips were MK only and we stayed at the Poly and WL specifically for that reason. Our next visit (hopefully 1st Sat after Thanksgiving ’14) will be the first with going to all 4 parks. Boys will be turning 6 & 8. We hope to take in the holiday activities. I am considering doing counter service only-dining (we’ve done the character meals twice now.) Where would you recommend staying? I was thinking of Beach Club, Yacht Club, and Boardwalk, but I wonder if I should also consider Art of Animation based on your convenience rating. Thank you so very much!!

    Reply

    • Dave
      March 12, 2013

      Hi Heidi and thanks!!! A couple of thoughts…

      I’d wait until you can book a package–those are easier to convert to a deal if one comes out than room-only, which is all you can book now. Packages will be bookable (but still with the 500 day constraint) as soon as 2014 prices come out–which will be sometime between today and mid-summer.

      Second, with kids that age, I’d still go for a Magic Kingdom area resort or a family suite at A of A rather than an Epcot area resort. Besides being dull for kids that age, the counter service options at the Epcot resorts are really thin…see this: https://yourfirstvisit.net/2012/02/16/the-epcot-resorts-at-walt-disney-world/

      Follow yourfirstvisit.net on Facebook!

      Reply

  14. Lorena McGuinness
    February 10, 2013

    Hi we will be first timers at WDW in April we want to stay on site. Wewill have our boys 20 and17. Do you have Anny recommendations on where and what we should do? Do they have 3 or 4 day specials that includes everything we need? Lodging, transportation etc,, Thank you.

    Reply

  15. sara
    June 21, 2012

    Dave,

    Thank You, from the bottom of my heart, this is such a wonderful job you do for all of us first timers! 🙂

    Reply

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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 2008-2019 . . . 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.

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