By the co-author of The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2017, from the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook series ever. Paperback available on Amazon here. Kindle version available on Amazon here. PDF version available on Gumroad here.



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Next Week (October 21 through October 29, 2017) at Walt Disney World

DISNEY WORLD NEXT WEEK: OCTOBER 21 TO OCTOBER 29, 2017

The material below details next week’s Disney World operating hours, Extra Magic Hours, parades, and fireworks.

 

 

For more on October 2017 at Disney World, see this.

OPERATING HOURS AT WALT DISNEY WORLD 10/21-10/29/17

The Magic Kingdom will be open 8a-12MN 10/21, 8a-7p 10/22, 9a-11p 10/23, 9a-7p 10/24, 9a-11p 10/25, 9a-7p 10/26, 8a-7p 10/27, 8a-12MN 10/28, and 8a-7p 10/29

Epcot will be open from 9a-10p 10/21, 9a-9p 10/22 through 10/26, 9a-10p 10/27 and 10/28, and 9a-9p 10/29

Disney’s Hollywood Studios will be open 9a-8p every day

Disney’s Animal Kingdom will be open 9a-9.30p 10/21, 9a-9p 10/22 and 10/23, 9a-8.30p 10/24 through 10/28, and 9a-8p 10/29

EXTRA MAGIC HOURS AT WALT DISNEY WORLD 10/21-10/29/17

Saturday 10/21 Morning:  Animal Kingdom Evening: none

Sunday 10/22  Morning:  Hollywood Studios  Evening: none

Monday 10/23 Morning: Animal Kingdom  Evening: none

Tuesday 10/24 Morning: none Evening:  Epcot

Wednesday 10/25 Morning: none  Evening:  Magic Kingdom

Thursday 10/26 Morning: Epcot Evening: none

Friday 10/27 Morning:  Magic Kingdom Evening: none

Saturday 10/28 Morning: Animal Kingdom Evening: none

Sunday 10/29  Morning: none  Evening: Epcot

PARADES AT WALT DISNEY WORLD 10/21-10/29/17

The Magic Kingdom: Afternoon Festival of Fantasy Parade: 2p every day

FIREWORKS AND EVENING SHOWS AT WALT DISNEY WORLD 10/21-10/29/17

Happily Every After at Magic Kingdom: 9p 10/21, 10/23, 10/25 and 10/28

IllumiNations at Epcot:  10p 10/21, 9p 10/22 through 10/269, 10p 10/27 and 10/28, and 9p 10/29

Fantasmic at Disney’s Hollywood Studios: 7.30p every night

Star Wars Show and Fireworks at Disney’s Hollywood Studios:  8p every night

Rivers of Light at Disney’s Animal Kingdom:  7.45 and 9p 10/21 through 10/28; 7.30p 10/29

SHOW SCHEDULES FOR WALT DISNEY WORLD 10/21-10/29/17

See Steve Soares’ site here. Click the park names at its top for show schedules.

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October 19, 2017   No Comments

Review: Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside Resort

DISNEY’S PORT ORLEANS RIVERSIDE RESORT

Review - Disney's Port Orleans Riverside Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

(Note 10/17: Port Orleans Riverside is now part of a dog-friendly pilot program.)

With more than 2000 rooms sprawling in two different sections around Disney’s (man-made) Sassagoula River, Port Orleans Riverside is probably Disney World’s best-loved moderate resort, and has inspired a great fan site.

I’ve stayed at Riverside ten times since I started this site, most recently in September 2017. These visits confirm that Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside Resort remains the third best of the moderate resorts for first time family visitors.

(For what the moderates provide, and how they compare to the other Disney World resort classes, click here)

You can have a wonderful visit at any Walt Disney World resort.

However, this site recommends that first time visitors to Walt Disney World avoid the moderate resorts, while noting that these resorts are wonderful for visits after the first. (See this for why.)

That said, the moderates represent ~30% of the rooms of Walt Disney World, and will be sought by some because this site’s recommended resorts are sold out, because you are on return visits, or because–sensibly–you’re just not that into my rankings!

So I stay in them all the moderate resorts multiple times–in 35 different moderate rooms, ten of them at Port Orleans Riverside–and publish reviews of each.

This review has nine pages

OVERVIEW: DISNEY’S PORT ORLEANS RIVERSIDE RESORT

Resorts are ranked on this site for first time visitors based first on their kid appeal, and then on their convenience.

On this basis, Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside resort is the third best moderate resort for first time family visitors.

(Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort is first, but see this before booking it; Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort second; and Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter is fourth; these results are very close.  The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort are ranked last, and this is not close.)

Themed to the riverine rural south, Port Orleans Riverside combines sweeping riverside vistas, manicured gardens, and accommodations themed as stately homes in its Magnolia Bend section (red oval on map)…

…with a more backwoods and wetland-themed area in Alligator Bayou (blue circle on map).

Joining the two, and containing most amenities, is the river-port themed area Sassagoula Steamship Company (gold circle on map).

ROOMS AT DISNEY’S PORT ORLEANS RIVERSIDE RESORT

Much more so than Disney World’s other moderate resorts, Port Orleans Riverside has distinct areas and room types, with varied pros and cons.

There’s two areas–Alligator Bayou and Magnolia Bend–and three different room types.

STANDARD AND ROYAL ROOMS IN THE MAGNOLIA BEND SECTION OF PORT ORLEANS RIVERSIDE

The Magnolia Bend section of Port Orleans Riverside contains four large buildings themed as graceful southern plantation homes, with courtyards, porticoes, grand stairs, and fountains.

The northern-most of these buildings are Acadian House and Magnolia Terrace. These are the best-located of the Magnolia Bend options, being closer to the resort’s central amenities and more convenient to bus stops than the two more southern buildings.

Bed Side from Back Standard Magnolia Bend Room Disney's Port Orleans Riverside Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

Rooms here sleep four in two queens (and a few two person king bed rooms).

Floor Plan Standard Room Disney's Port Orleans Riverside Resort from yourfirstvisit.netTheir floor plans are typical of the moderates. For a full review of this room type, see this.

Royal Rooms at Disney's Port Orleans Riverside Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

The two southern Magnolia Bend buildings, Oak Manor and Parterre Place, are where you’ll find Riverside’s Royal Rooms.

Royal Rooms are distinctively decorated to a Disney Prince and Princess theme, and are higher cost than options at Port Orleans Riverside. Their floor plans are very similar to those in the two other Magnolia Bend buildings. They sleep four in two queens–no king bed rooms are in the Royal Room buildings.

Families who find the added theming worth the extra ~$50-$100 per night these rooms cost may find them quite pleasant. The buildings themselves, however, are distant from the main pool and from bus stops.

A detailed review of the Royal Rooms is here.

FIVE PERSON ROOMS IN THE ALLIGATOR BAYOU SECTION OF PORT ORLEANS RIVERSIDE

The Alligator Bayou section of Port Orleans Riverside is on the northern and western sides of the resort. The two-story, no-elevator buildings here are themed as backwoods cabins.

These rooms are among the few “traditional” moderate rooms at Walt Disney World that can sleep 5–the only other ones are at Caribbean Beach.

Murphy Bed Alligator Bayou Port Orleans Riverside from yourfirstvisit.net

The fifth sleeping spot is in a short (66″) Murphy Bed that drops down from the TV/dresser object. (There’s also a few king rooms, also with the Murphy Bed.)

Floor Plan Alligator Bayou 5 Person Room Disney's Port Orleans Riverside Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

The geometry of the object containing the Murphy Bed means that these rooms have both less drawer space to start with, and also that the drawers are inaccessible if the Murphy Bed is in use. So for families that don’t need the extra bed, a room in the Magnolia Bend section at either Acadian House or Magnolia Terrace is a better choice.

See a full review of these Alligator Bend rooms here.

A room refurb is expected to kick off at Port Orleans Riverside in later 2018. No confirmed details are available, but recent refurbs at other Disney World resorts have included a shift to wood floors, the replacement of the fabric curtain separating the bath from the living area with a sliding solid door, bigger TVs, more and better organized storage, and many, many more power points. This refurb will likely be done floor by floor in Magnolia Bend, and building by building in Alligator Bayou, and should have little impact on guests.

There’s much more on accommodations and theming at Port Orleans Riverside here.

AMENITIES AT DISNEY’S PORT ORLEANS RIVERSIDE RESORT

Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside has as wide a range of amenities as you’ll find at any Disney World moderate resort, falling short compared to the rest only in dining compared to Coronado Springs and in its kids pool, where you’ll find much better ones at Port Orleans French Quarter and Caribbean Beach.

Distinctive amenities here–shared with sister resort Port Orleans French Quarter–include boat service to Disney Springs and horse-drawn carriage rides.

Details on the amenities at Port Orleans Riverside begin here.

DINING AT DISNEY’S PORT ORLEANS RIVERSIDE RESORT

Port Orleans Riverside has an indoor bar with a limited menu, a poolside bar with chips and such, a table service restaurant, Boatwright’s, and a quick-service venue, the Riverside Mill.

Each has its fans–especially the indoor bar, River Roost, with its common live entertainment from Yehaa Bob— but collectively they are about average among the moderates, and are particularly bested by Coronado Springs with its “real” room service menu and “real” food at its main pool.

For more on dining at Port Orleans Riverside, see this.

THE POOLS AT DISNEY’S PORT ORLEANS RIVERSIDE RESORT

Port Orleans Riverside has six pools–the main pool with a fun slide, pool games, and sawmill theming at Ol’ Man River, and five smaller, un-themed “leisure” pools scattered among the accommodations buildings.

Six pools is either a feature or a bug, depending on your perspective.  There are so many because the main pool is too small to serve all who might wish to use it, and is a hike from many outlying rooms. You’ll find the same feature/bug at Caribbean Beach and Coronado Springs.

The main pool, though much loved, is uninteresting compared to those at Caribbean Beach and Coronado Springs, and the kids pool next to it is quite weak compared to the alternatives at Caribbean Beach and French Quarter.

There have been no hints at this, but I do imagine that the kids pool at Riverside will be replaced one of these days with a much more fun splash play area. In the meantime, Riverside guests are welcome to use the one at French Quarter.

There’s more on the pools at Port Orleans Riverside here.

KID APPEAL AND CONVENIENCE AT DISNEY’S PORT ORLEANS RIVERSIDE RESORT

Kid Appeal. The southern bayou and plantation theming of this resort, while charming to many adults (especially the Magnolia Bend section, whose Georgian architecture is quite lovely), will miss most kids entirely.

That said, its extra amenities bump it slightly ahead of its sister resort Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter. (French Quarter visitors are encouraged to use these amenities; the difference is that for Riverside guests, they are immediately present.)

Moreover, the Royal Rooms will have great appeal to some kids–though they are more expensive, and less convenient, than alternatives.

Main Pool Disney's Port Orleans Riverside Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

Now, I get comments all the time along the lines of “We stayed at Riverside and it had great appeal for my kids!” Of course it did. All the Disney resorts have great kid appeal. My point is that some have even more than others…

Convenience. Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside is in the middle of moderates IN convenience.

While often thought of as out of the way, it is in fact just across the street (or two) from Epcot, and along with Port Orleans French Quarter is the closest of the “traditional” moderates to Magic Kingdom. It also shares with French Quarter a slow boat to Downtown Disney.

The principal convenience frustration is that, since it commonly shares buses with Port Orleans French Quarter, it has in effect 5 bus stops. The Magic Kingdom bus is the exception–it has only four stops, as it skips Port Orleans French Quarter.

Buses sometimes fill before they get to their final stop (although this is much less common than it used to be), and the first day or two of a visit, it can be hard to identify from inside the bus whether one is at the West, North, or East Bus Stop.

Getting off at the wrong stop matters, because Port Orleans Riverside is pretty darn big, and can be a challenge to get around.

While at my pace no room is more than a ten minute walk from the central service area and pool, this is assuming you take the most direct path, and don’t get lost. Getting lost–especially at night–in the far reaches of the Alligator Bayou section is easy. Or at least it is for me…

It’s not widely noticed, but the texture of the concrete paths in the Alligator Bayou section is meant to help with wayfinding. Where there are groups of buildings, the main path through them is textured to look like a plank road.

The texturing is meant to indicate to you that you are on a main path, and keep you from wandering off accidentally onto a building-specific path.

The image on the right side shows the texture of such a plank road.

As a final convenience point, the two story buildings in the Alligator Bayou area have no elevators.

Other distinctive features. One of only  two traditional moderates that can sleep five, in the Alligator Bayou section. (Caribbean Beach is the other, and its five person rooms are slightly more livable.) These Alligator Bayou rooms provide two queen beds and a short Murphy bed. With Port Orleans French Quarter, the only moderate with no lake, and with the French Quarter the only moderate with boat transport to Downtown Disney.

BEST PLACES TO STAY AT DISNEY’S PORT ORLEANS RIVERSIDE

This site suggests that first time visitors stay in standard rooms, not preferred rooms (because they won’t be spending much time in their rooms, or going to the main resort food area often; the single exception is visitors to the Animal Kingdom Lodge, who should always pay for savanna views.)

Unless you need the bed for the 5th person, stay in a top floor (quieter) standard room in building 85– “Magnolia Terrace” –in the Magnolia Bend section. This area is much lovelier than the other section, Alligator Bayou, and the storage is more convenient. And of the non-Royal options, Building 85 is the best choice–lovely, closer to the pool and central services, and with a nearby bus stop.

If you do need the fifth person bed in Alligator Bayou, shoot for a ground floor room (no elevators) in buildings 16, 17 (close to the amenities and bus stop at Sassagoula Steamship Company) or 38–better views, close to the main pool.

Room request forms for Riverside are particularly thin on options. If you booked a Royal Room you’ll automatically be put in Oak Manor or Parterre Place, the buildings that include them; if you booked five people three or older, you’ll automatically go into one of the Alligator Bayou rooms.  Beyond this, call to express your preferences.

THEMING AND ACCOMMODATIONS AT DISNEY’S PORT ORLEANS RIVERSIDE RESORT

This review continues here.

TOPICS IN THIS REVIEW OF DISNEY’S PORT ORLEANS RIVERSIDE RESORT

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October 18, 2017   No Comments

Dining at Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside Resort

For the first page of this review of Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside Resort, see this.

DINING AT PORT ORLEANS RIVERSIDE

Dining at Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside is located in the main Sassagoula Steamship Company building. Here you’ll find a fun little bar, the River Roost Lounge, the table service restaurant Boatwright’s, and the quick service venue the Riverside Mill.

Yehaa Bob Port Orleans Riverside from yourfirstvisit.net

The River Roost is a charming bar, home to “Yehaa Bob” Jackson’s singing and comedy show most Wednesdays through Saturday evenings.

Sometimes you’ll find other entertainers here. It has a pretty sound menu, of which the Mardi Gra fritters are kinda required eating.

Boatwright's Disney's Port Orleans Riverside Resort from yourfirstvisit.net (3)

Next is Boatwright’s, a table service restaurant open for dinner.

Boatwright's Disney's Port Orleans Riverside Resort from yourfirstvisit.net (2)

It’s OK–not worth a special trip, but fine if you are already staying here. The review of Boatwright’s from our book The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2018:

The menu for Boatwright’s is here.

During lunch and dinner, Boatwright’s also provides overflow seating for the next-door quick service, The Riverside Mill.

Food Court Disney's Port Orleans Riverside Resort from yourfirstvisit.net (3)

Food Court Disney's Port Orleans Riverside Resort from yourfirstvisit.net (2)

Food Court Disney's Port Orleans Riverside Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

Next to Boatwright’s is the Riverside Mill, which used to be one of the weaker food courts at the moderates, with both a dull menu and too little space…

Food Court Disney's Port Orleans Riverside Resort from yourfirstvisit.net (4)

…although some will be intrigued by the water wheel meant to drive the “mill.”

The menu has gotten much more interesting lately, with more southern and southern-inspired offerings.  You can find it here.

Note that as is becoming all too common at Disney World, the menu offers variants on standbys without offering the standby itself. So you’ll find on the posted menu here a Bayou Burger, a Baton Rouge Burger, a Swamp Burger, and a Surf and Turf Burger, but neither a simple cheeseburger nor a bacon cheeseburger. Never fear, though–just ask for the simpler standby made form a subset of the more complicated ingredients and almost all the time you’ll be able to get it.

On my last visit I have to admit I was impressed and surprised by the improvements in burger quality here–I eat a lot of Disney burgers, so should have a sound basis for judging them. The meat tasted handmade and robust, not flattened and formerly frozen.

The Baton Rouge Burger, with bacon and a fried green tomato on top, was my favorite…

…but chopped prime rib and especially the house-made pickles added a nice touch to the Bayou Burger.

Either is best with a side of fried green tomatoes.

The barbecued pork sandwich, in contrast, was a little dull, but tastes vary in barbecue so much that it might be right up your alley.

The proteins at the carving station are quite reliable, especially when it’s offering beef, although the side dishes are usually not hot enough–an endemic problem at such venues at Disney World

Breakfast offerings are typical–I quite enjoyed my omelet.

THE POOLS AT DISNEY’S PORT ORLEANS RIVERSIDE RESORT

This review continues here

 

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October 18, 2017   No Comments

April 2018 at Walt Disney World

OVERVIEW: APRIL 2018 AT DISNEY WORLD

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

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

[Read more →]

October 17, 2017   No Comments

Disney World Announces Additional Dog-Friendly Resorts

Late last week Walt Disney World announced a pilot program in which The Cabins at Fort Wilderness, Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside Resort, and Disney’s Yacht Club Resort would join the Campsites at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort (which has long allowed dogs) in being dog friendly.

Among the rules and regulations of this pilot program,

  • Pet-friendly rooms in the four pilot resorts will cost an additional $75 (Yacht Club) to $50 (the other three) per night
  • At most, you can have two dogs per room
  • Disney World will also “designate certain floors or sections of a hotel as dog-friendly, while the majority of areas will remain canine-free to accommodate Guests with allergies or other concerns.”

Here’s more Disney World guidance on the issue (click it, then click it again, to enlarge it):

There’s a number of other features of this pilot in a disboards post by the usually reliable rteetz here, and more in this Touringplans.com post.

The backlash from those with allergies and/or fear of dogs has been quite understandable, especially with the short notice and two of the pilot resorts being among Disney World’s most popular.

Beyond this, the Disney community is enraged by only two things—

  • Things Disney does
  • Things Disney doesn’t do

And so of course there’s been even wider dismay beyond those whom it most materially affects.

Much of this backlash seems to be from people who don’t understand that Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort has been pet friendly for years without much in the way of issues; that the Universal resorts have been pet friendly for decades, and that this has caused so many problems that they’ve had to double the number of their pet-friendly hotels; and that the Four Seasons at Disney World is also pet-friendly—though perhaps it has a less demanding clientele than Port Orleans Riverside.

All of which is not to entirely diminish the concerns of those without allergies or phobias who still hate this pilot, but rather to note to those rabidly opposed to it that dogs in destination resorts, in Disney World resorts, and even in Disney World owned-and-operated resorts is hardly a new thing, and that tested practices for handling them have existed for decades.

Beyond this, there has been reasonable skepticism about the effectiveness of Disney World’s post-pet room cleaning, and real concern that in fact “the majority of areas will remain canine-free,” given the number of likely over-booking situations by lawyers bearing pugs. Moreover, ADA will continue to mean that service dogs can be in any room anywhere that is needed to accommodate their owners–as these dogs have for years now.

Given this reasonable skepticism and concern, those who judge their allergy or phobia issues to be material probably will want to change their resorts until there’s more experience–especially with room cleaning–to report on. The new pilot is already in effect—although very few will be in a position to take advantage of it immediately, so I don’t expect to see much in the way of added pups for a month or so.

Those who simply don’t like dogs have a somewhat more complex calculus, as dogs are everywhere at Disney World—service dogs, security dogs, and commonly specious “support/therapy” dogs. For multiple reasons, we will see more and more of each of these classes of dogs at Disney World…regardless of how this pilot goes.

 

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October 16, 2017   2 Comments

Disney World in 2019

DISNEY WORLD IN 2019

Below are my thoughts on rides, hotels, crowds and such at Disney World in 2019.

NEW RIDES AT DISNEY WORLD IN 2019

The big news of 2019 will be the opening of the new Star Wars land, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

This land will add a planet to Disney World to join Avatar’s moon–a new, remote frontier planet–and include two new rides–a Millennium Falcon ride and a ride involving a battle between the First Order and the Resistance.

Expect also Star Wars dining, character interactions, and a new standard for immersiveness–even richer detail than in Pandora.

There’s no word on when exactly Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will open, but the betting is late 2019. Bob Iger recently said it will open in 2019, but after the fiscal year was over, which puts it into October-December 2019.

Multiple other new rides are being developed or worked on at Magic Kingdom, Epcot and the Studios. The ones at Magic Kingdom and Epcot I don’t expect to see open in 2019.

However, the Hollywood Studios ride Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway, a new ride that will occupy the old Great Movie Ride space at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, I do expect to be open by the end of 2019, and perhaps even as early as late 2018. I say this not because I have any private insight into or good sources about its opening dates, but rather because it makes sense to open this before Star Wars opens, to provide capacity.

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

DISNEY SPRINGS AND THE DISNEY RESORTS IN 2019

The massive redevelopment at Disney Springs should be complete by 2019.

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

A new Star Wars hotel was announced in 2017.  It makes sense for this to open by the time the new land opens, but that would require Disney World–which can take six months to paint a fence–to act unusually quickly. I’ve seen forecasts for a 2021 opening, which seems more likely…

Pop Century will have completed its renovation by 2019, with queen beds and coffee makers being added. 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.

These queens and coffee refurb may also extend into the other value resorts, All-Star Movies, Music and Sports.  There’s also the expectation that a table service venue will be added to the All-Stars, likely between Sports and Music.

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. Broader construction of the new Disney Vacation Club property in the former Barbados area will likely continue in 2019.

All three of these resorts will be eventually connected to a new gondola that will go to Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. This may be open in as early as Spring 2019–again, it makes sense for it to open with or before the Star War land.

The Coronado Springs building-by-building room refurb I expect to be completed in 2018. The new bed tower, dining, and other amenity additions here likely will open in 2019.

Andre at PortOrleans.org notes that Port Orleans French Quarter is expected to be in refurb in the first half of 2018, followed by a similar refurb at Port Orleans Riverside–first Alligator Bayou, and then Magnolia Bend–that will be complete 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 tw0 traditional moderates in terms of demolition and new towers, restaurants, gondolas etc. before such was announced, so these Port Orleans refurbs could be more interesting…

Among the deluxes, it’s about time for all the Magic Kingdom resorts to go into refurb, with the betting on this that it will start with a floor-by-floor room refurb at the Wilderness Lodge, perhaps as soon as early 2018.

Between permanent closures and floor-by-floor or building-by-building closures for refurbs at resorts, a lot of capacity may be unavailable into mid-2019 compared to prior years.  Since Disney’s occupancy is already very high, as a result, rooms have been hard to find, so book as soon as you can–and ideally more than 180 days before.

Kelly B., who has been the travel agent partner of this site for years, can help you. Contact her at KellyB@DestinationsInFlorida.com or 980-429-4499. You can book 2019 rooms 499 days before your check-in date. So for example, in mid-December 2017 you can book an arrival date at the beginning of May 2019. See this for how to do it.

DISNEY WORLD DEALS IN 2019

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 2019 because of the openings at Disney’s Hollywood Studios of very attractive franchise (Toy Story in 2018 and Star Wars in 2019) and the capacity reductions noted above.

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

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

DISNEY WORLD CROWDS IN 2019

The major question for 2019 is the impact of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge on the parks. Based on what Universal saw with Harry Potter, I expect the new land to be just slammed with crowds, with some spill-over effect into the rest of the Studios.  However, based on what happened at Universal I don’t necessarily see a broad increase in crowds in all the other parks from the Star Wars fans.

Presidents Day, February 18 in 2019, 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 2019 is March 5.  A few southern school districts have it off as a single or multi-day holiday. The impact of Mardi Gras-related visitors on Disney World is vastly overrated, so don’t worry about it. (People mix up the effects from it and the effects of President’s day breaks–five out of the last seven years have seen the week of Mardi Gras also influenced by crowds from President’s Day breaks.)

Easter in 2019 is almost as late as it can be, on April 21. As a result, later March, while not good, will be better than in years with an earlier Easter. Early April will have a good week or two, but there will be fewer good late 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 28, is as late as it can be in 2019, giving more good early November dates but fewer good late November ones.

Christmas is on a Wednesday in 2019.  That means almost all schools will begin their breaks on 12/21/19, with heavy crowds into the new year.

For more on 2019 crowds at Disney World, see this.

DISNEY WORLD PRICING IN 2019

Expect higher than average ticket price increases in 2018 and 2019 as Disney World extracts value from its Pandora, Toy Story, and Star Wars investments. There may even be two ticket price increases in 2019–one early in the year, and a second tied to the opening of Galaxy’s Edge. We may also see in 2019 (or earlier) Disney shifting to different prices for multi-day tickets, with prices varying depending on when they are used.

Tickets bought in 2018 will have their prices honored until the end of 2019, so long as you don’t make any changes (like adding or subtracting a day, or adding or subtracting a hopper, or changing elements of a package of which they are a part) to them.

2019 resort prices will be announced in the summer of 2019, and should not change again after then.

MORE ON 2019 AT WALT DISNEY WORLD

These drafts will all be updated in the summer of 2018:

Disney World 2019 Crowd Calendar

Disney World 2019 Price Seasons

2019 Disney World Week Rankings

Kelly B Can Help You Book Your Trip

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October 15, 2017   2 Comments