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2017 Disney World Planning and Highlights Tipsheet
This podcast features 10 tips for visiting Disney World in 2017. Contact
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Kingdom Strollers is the mentioned preferred Disney World stroller rental company.
From Dr. Loe’s Perfect Planner for Disney World 2017:
Tips for planning your visit to Disney World in 2017
Step One – Ticket Choices and Dates of Travel
Consider your ticket options before you decide when to go and where to stay. Here’s why:
Ticket choices can impact the exact dates of when you decide to visit the parks and the prices you will pay for Disney resorts. There are three prices of regular tickets based on season of travel. Disney labels these seasons Value, Regular or Peak. So, if you wish to visit Disney during holiday seasons or in the beginning part of the summer (May 26 – July 22 in 2017, for example), then you will be visiting during Peak Season. At Peak Season time the parks will be the most expensive and the most crowded, but the parks will be open later in the evening and have more entertainment options than during the other seasons.
Peak Season tickets are $124 per day for adults and $118 per day for children (ages 3-9) for the Magic Kingdom park and $10 cheaper for the other parks. Value Season tickets are $107 per day for adults and $101 per day for children (ages 3-9) for the Magic Kingdom park and slightly cheaper for the other parks. If you would like to go from park to park on the same day, you will need a Park Hopper Option ticket. These tickets allow you to visit more than one park on the same day, but you pay a price for this flexibility. A one-day Park Hopper Pass during Peak Season is $174 per adult and $168 per child (ages 3-9). During Value Season a one-day Park Hopper ticket is $162 per adult and $156 per child. Regular Season prices fall about partway between Peak and Value Season prices. Multi-day passes are discounted off of the per day price. The more days you purchase at one time, the cheaper the ticket price per day. For example, a 5-day Park Hopper Option ticket is $445 per adult and $425 per child (ages 3-9), regardless of season. Multi-day passes must be used within 14 days of first use of the ticket. They do not provide any dining or resort discounts.
You may want to consider purchasing an Annual Pass if you plan to visit the parks for more than a five days or for a few days or more over a two-year period. If you decide to purchase an Annual Pass, you will be eligible for significant Disney hotel discounts of up to 40 percent off, as well as 20 percent dining discounts at many Disney restaurants both inside and outside of the parks, and free parking at the parks. Only one family member needs to purchase an Annual Pass to get the discounts. Currently, a $779 Platinum Annual Pass for ages 3 and up is good for 365 days from activation at all parks on all days. If you would like to visit Disney two years in a row, you might want to consider one pass to cover two years of vacations. For example, if you visit the parks one year at the end of June and the following year at the beginning of June, both years would be covered by one Annual Pass.
Magic Kingdom – On selected evenings in September and October, Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween party will take place at the Magic Kingdom. On selected evenings in November and December, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas party will take place in the Magic Kingdom. On these evenings, the park will close early and an additional ticket charge will be assessed. Annual Passes do not cover this ticket; so all participants must purchase admissions. Dates for 2017 are not yet released.
Epcot – Be sure to take a look at the many special offerings unique to Epcot throughout the year. These special festivals are included in the price of admission, although add-ons such as special wine and/or food tastings and special dining or special ticketed events are available for additional charges. Some highlights include:
Epcot Festival of the Arts – Culinary, visual, and entertainment arts weekends – tastings, art shows, Broadway entertainment, and classes in arts, calligraphy, origami, glass blowing and more – 2017 dates were January 13 – February 20 (Fridays through Mondays)
Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival – Special flowers, including floating gardens and topiaries; free Garden Rocks concerts on Fridays through Mondays; weekend appearances by gardening gurus; outdoor kitchen displays; and special dining menus with farm-to-table meals. – 2017 dates are March 1 – May 29
Epcot International Food and Wine Festival – The largest Epcot event of the year, this festival brings in chefs, presenters and guests from throughout the world. Food and wine tastings, concerts, cheese tastings, special dinners prepared by world-renowned chefs, culinary demonstrations, beverage seminars – 2017 dates are August 31 – November 13
Check here for special events at all parks, tickets for special events, and dates of special events when they are released:
Of course, you need to think about the weather in deciding when you will go to Disney World. Remember that from about mid-June through early September, Orlando is not only hot but also incredibly humid. You may want to plan to take a break at the pool or even to relax inside at your hotel room during the mid- to late afternoon hours. If you are not used to the Florida heat and humidity, and even if you are, this can be a big consideration in planning your day and enjoying your trip.
Set up your Disney account so you can personalize your Disney planning, set up your itinerary, download and link the “My Disney Experience” app, and link all your tickets and reservations. More information and website link here:
Disney has a calendar for all park options and all ticket prices that can be accessed here:
Step Two – Make Your Hotel Reservations
Once your have decided which ticket type you would like to purchase and when you want to go, then make your hotel reservations. Again, there are options for you to consider. For example, like the parks, Disney hotels are the least expensive during Value Season and are most expensive during Peak Season. Peak Season prices can be double Value Season pricing. If you stay at a Disney resort, you will have the option of making ride and attraction “reservations” called FastPass+ reservation 60 days in advance. This can be especially helpful if you want to visit some of the more popular attractions or ride some of the more popular rides rather than spend your valuable time waiting. (If you have purchased tickets in advance, but if you do not have a Disney hotel reservation, you can make FastPass+ reservations 30 days in advance.) See Disney’s facts here about FastPass+:
Disney hotel guests also benefit from Extra Magic Hours. During this time, a theme park will open early or stay open late for an hour or so late just for Disney resort guests. Disney resort guests also get free parking at all the parks, free transportation via bus and resort monorail throughout Disney World.
Following are a number of hotels in various price ranges and areas that are most convenient for visiting the Magic Kingdom and Epcot. All Disney hotels have transportation to every Disney park and the Disney Springs shopping and entertainment area, but these 20 hotel options warrant particular consideration due to their additional options for reaching the Magic Kingdom and/or Epcot or due to their proximity to one or both of these parks. Each of the recommended resorts has a number of restaurants and pools. All Disney resorts can be booked online at the website below. Be sure to check the “specials” tab for general available discounts. All Disney owned resorts have free parking and free Wi-Fi. If you are an Annual Passholder, also make sure you are signed in to your Disney online account in order to see the Annual Passholder discounts available:
Magic Kingdom area recommendations:
Options 1/2 – Disney Grand Floridian Resort and Spa and Disney Grand Floridian Villas (prices begin at about $600 per night)
Disney’s most lavish resort is a deluxe resort is a Victorian designed property made up of large hotel rooms and villas surrounding the lake the looks out toward Cinderella’s Castle at the Magic Kingdom. It is directly on the monorail that takes guests to the Magic Kingdom and to the transfer station to the Epcot monorail, so it is extremely easy to get to these two parks. Boats also go directly from the Grand Floridian to the Magic Kingdom. The hotel has an exclusive Club Floor with access to a private lounge that serves a free daily continental breakfast, snacks, beer and wine, and desserts in the evening. The Villas are part of the Disney Vacation Club (DVC) program, but they are often available to reserve for regular guests as well. There are studios, as well as 1-, 2-, and 3-bedroom villas. The 1-, 2-, and 3-bedroom villas have complete kitchens, living rooms, spa-type master bathrooms, and washer/dryer combinations.
Options 3/4 – Disney Contemporary Resort and Disney Contemporary Tower villas (prices begin at about $375 per night)
Disney’s futuristic Contemporary Resort is the only hotel that the monorail runs right through the fourth floor concourse! Nestled along a lake that has boat transportation to the Magic Kingdom, this gives you a water option to access Magic Kingdom, as well. From the monorail, guests can also transfer to the Epcot monorail, so it is extremely easy to get to Epcot as well as Magic Kingdom. The hotel has an exclusive Club Floor with access to a private lounge that serves a free daily continental breakfast, snacks, beer and wine, and desserts in the evening. The Tower villas are part of the Disney Vacation Club (DVC) program, but they are often available to reserve for regular guests as well. There are studios, as well as 1-, 2-, and 3-bedroom villas. The 1-, 2-, and 3-bedroom villas have complete kitchens, living rooms, spa-type master bathrooms, and washer/dryer combinations.
Options 5/6 – Disney Polynesian Resort and Bungalows (prices begin at about $475 per night)
This Hawaiian style property is made up of large hotel rooms and bungalows surrounding the lake the look out toward Cinderella’s Castle at the Magic Kingdom. It is directly on the monorail that takes guests to the Magic Kingdom and to the transfer station to the Epcot monorail, so it is extremely easy to get to these two parks. Boats also go directly from the Polynesian to the Magic Kingdom. The hotel has an exclusive Club Floor with access to a private lounge that serves a free daily continental breakfast, snacks, beer and wine, and desserts in the evening. The Bungalows are part of the Disney Vacation Club (DVC) program, but they are often available to reserve for regular guests as well. Some of the bungalows are built directly over the water and have their own small plunge pool. These are about $2,500 per night, but they do sleep up to eight adults. There are studios, as well as 1- and 2-bedroom bungalows. The 1- and 2-bedroom bungalows have complete kitchens, living rooms, spa-type master bathrooms, and washer/dryer combinations.
Options 7/8– Disney Fort Wilderness Lodge and Boulder Ridge Villas – (prices begin at about $375 per night)
This rustic lodge is sited on a lake that has boat transportation to the Magic Kingdom. From the Magic Kingdom monorail, guests can also transfer to the Epcot monorail, so it is extremely easy to get to Epcot as well as Magic Kingdom. The hotel has an exclusive Club Floor with access to a private lounge that serves a free daily continental breakfast, snacks, beer and wine, and desserts in the evening. The villas are part of the Disney Vacation Club (DVC) program, but they are often available to reserve for regular guests as well. There are studios, as well as 1-, 2-, and 3-bedroom villas. The 1-, 2-, and 3-bedroom villas have complete kitchens, living rooms, spa-type master bathrooms, and washer/dryer combinations. They are currently undergoing renovation, but they are available for booking later in 2017.
Options 9/10– Cabins at Fort Wilderness (prices begin at about $275 per night) and Campsites (prices begin at about $70 per night)
The cabins are actually individual trailers that have a separate bedroom with a double bed and a set of bunk beds and a full kitchen with a living area that includes a pull down double Murphy bed. Guests can rent golf carts for $60+ per day to use to make your way around Fort Wilderness. This resort is situated on a lake that has boat transportation to the Magic Kingdom. From the Magic Kingdom monorail, guests can also transfer to the Epcot monorail, so it is extremely easy to get to Epcot as well as Magic Kingdom.
Epcot area recommendations:
Options 1/2/3 – Disney Yacht & Beach Club Resort and Disney Beach Club Villas (prices begin at about $325 per night)
One of the best and most expensive Disney resorts, this complex of three connecting resorts shares the best pool in all of Disney World with a sand bottom, various play areas and slides, a large children’s area, and a small lazy river area in a deep water section. You must show your wristband from one of the three resorts in this complex in order to use the main pool. The resorts also have a number of other pools and hot tubs. They are the closest hotels to Epcot. You can walk to the back gate of Epcot from here. The Yacht Club and Beach Club hotels face the lake that looks out onto the Boardwalk area, so many of the rooms have nice lake and/or pool views. Their rooms are essentially the same with two queen beds or one king bed and many have a single sleeper sofa, as well. Every room in the Yacht Club has a balcony, but many rooms in the Beach Club do not have balconies. The Beach Club is closest to Epcot, but the Yacht Club is closest to the boat dock for the complex. Both the Beach Club and the Yacht Club have a Club Floor with access to a private lounge that serves a free daily continental breakfast, snacks, beer and wine, and desserts in the evening.
The Beach Club Villas are between the Beach Club resort and the parking lot, so you will not have a lake view. Many of the villas do look out to lovely gardens. The Beach Club Villas are part of the Disney Vacation Club (DVC) program, but they are often available to reserve for regular guests as well. There are studios, as well as 1-, 2-, and 3-bedroom villas. The 1-, 2-, and 3-bedroom villas have complete kitchens, living rooms, spa-type master bathrooms, and washer/dryer combinations.
From the complex, it is possible to walk or take a boat from the dock to Disney Hollywood Studios. Also, if you have Park Hopper tickets, you can walk through Epcot and take the monorail to the Magic Kingdom. Disney buses are available to all Disney areas.
Options 4/5 – Disney Boardwalk Inn and Villas (prices begin at about $325 per night in Value Season)
On the other side of the lake from the Yacht and Beach complex, the Boardwalk Inn is similar to the Yacht and Beach Club. The DVC Boardwalk Villas are similar to the Beach Club Villas. The pricing is also in line with the comparable options at the Yacht and Beach Club. The main pool is not quite as large or as nice as the Yacht and Beach Club, but it is still a very nice main pool. It is easy to walk to Epcot and to walk or take the boat to Hollywood Studios.
Option 6 – Disney Caribbean Beach (prices begin at about $175 per night in Value Season)
This moderately priced resort has rooms with two queen beds or a king bed. Some of the rooms with two queen beds also have a child-sized pull down bed. The resort is made up of a number of buildings that surround a lake, each with its own pool area. There is a main food court area and a large main pool area with a fun pirate ship for kids. There are boat rentals available at the small dock, and even a pirate cruise that children will enjoy (for a fee). Transportation to the parks is via bus only. There are frequent buses (every 20 minute buses) to all the Disney locations. Epcot and Hollywood Studios are the closest parks.
Options 7/8 – Disney Pop Century and Art of Animation Resorts (prices begin at about $125 per night in Value Season)
Pop Century and Art of Animation are Value Resorts are located on either side of a small lake near Epcot and Hollywood Studios via bus. The Art of Animation has small family suites that sleep up to six adults beginning at about $300 per night in Value Season. The resorts each have a large food court area and large pools. There are frequent buses (every 20 minute buses) to all the Disney locations. Epcot and Hollywood Studios are the closest parks.
Other Disney Options – Epcot is easily reached from Disney’s Polynesian, Contemporary and Grand Floridian monorail resorts by transferring from the resort monorail to the Epcot monorail.
Options 9/10 – Starwood Swan and Dolphin (prices begin at about $325 per night during Value Season)
The other two hotels along the lake between the Yacht and Beach Club complex and the Boardwalk Inn and Villas, these two hotels, are not Disney-owned hotels but they are part of the FastPass+ and Extra Magic Hours programs. Prices and rooms are comparable to the Yacht, Beach and Boardwalk Inn. There are some differences. Other than some Disney themed merchandise for sale in gift shops, you will see very little evidence that you are near Disney. Unlike Disney properties, there is a daily parking fee and a daily resort fee. The main pool is beautiful with a large grotto area with a large waterfall and a small slide. Swan boats are available for rental to pedal around the small pond beyond the main pool area. The Swan and Dolphin share a boat dock between them. Boats go to Epcot and Hollywood Studios approximately every 20 minutes. Both resorts are served by free Disney bus service. Book directly with Starwood instead of through Disney. You can use your SPG points for free nights, if you have earned these through the SPG/Marriott program. Book at:
Step Three – Make Your Dining Reservations
Make your lunch and/or dinner reservations for your Disney dining experiences. You can make reservations for Disney restaurants 180 days in advance. You will need to provide a credit card number to reserve. If you cancel less than 24 hours in advance, you will be charged $10 per adult for no-shows, so remember to cancel if you change your mind. Annual Passholders receive up to a 20 percent discount on 45 different Disney restaurants, so be sure to let your server know if you are an Annual Passholder. Dining reservations can be made on the Disney app or here:
Step Four – Purchase Your Tickets and Make Your FastPass+ Reservations
Once you have purchased your tickets based on your Step One considerations and are within the 60-day window for Disney resort guests (30 days for ticketholders without Disney resort reservations), then you can make your 3 FastPass+ reservations. FastPass+ choices must be made at the same park on the same day. Note that after you use all three of your FastPass+ choices, you can get on your MyDisneyExperience app, log in to your account, and select one more choice. After you use that FastPass+ you can select yet another if any more FastPasses are available. Note that there are a limited number of FastPasses allotted per day per attraction.
Finally, if you are having difficulty deciding on ride choices based on your special needs, concerns, or ages of children, you may want to check out YouTube videos. Search on ride names and you will find videos of just about every ride at Disney. Many contain videos of the complete ride.
For more information about Epcot and Magic Kingdom, check out Dr. Loe’s books:
Paperback, Kindle Book and iBook:
One Perfect Day in Disney World: Epcot 2017 – Kindle and Itunes/Ibook $2.99, Amazon paperback $5.99
One Perfect Day in Disney World: Magic Kingdom 2017 – Kindle book is $2.99 and the Amazon paperback is $5.99
Dr. Loe’s Amazon/Kindle Author Page Link for these and other books is:
Dr. Loe is also available to customize travel unique to your needs and wishes for your upcoming trip. Contact her or see her website below for more details.
Every effort has been made to ensure that the content provided is accurate and helpful for our readers at publishing time. However, this is not an exhaustive treatment of the subjects. No liability is assumed for losses or damages due to the information provided. You are responsible for your own choices, actions, and results. Please contact us with updates and suggestions based upon your experiences so we can improve new editions. This planning guide is not affiliated with Disney.
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