When it comes to theme parks, there aren’t many places more magical than Walt Disney World. One thing that can ruin the magic, though, is showing up to find super long lines! Let’s get one thing straight; Disney World is never not busy, but there are times of the year that are less busy. To help you out, here’s some info on the best times to visit Walt Disney World.
Fall Weather Means Falling Crowd Sizes
This first tip is the biggest, but also the most obvious; try to avoid the times when school isn’t in session. When it comes to both crowd levels and hotel prices, September and October are your best bets. This is back-to-school time and people won’t be traveling as much. Most families won’t be taking time off yet for travel during the first two months of classes, which is a perfect time for a trip if you can swing it. You’ll enjoy much smaller crowds and cheaper hotel rates during that quieter time of year.
Aside from enjoying the blissfully shorter lines, there are other great benefits to visiting Disney World this time of year!
- Compared to the other “off-peak” time in the winter (more on that later), park hours and showtimes are fairly robust.
- Warmer temperatures mean you can still hit up the pools and water parks without worrying about catching a chill.
- Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival is delicious, is kicking into high gear during this time, and is included with any Epcot admission.
- Halloween events like Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights take place throughout September and October!
Avoid the Winter Holidays
So you’ve got Thanksgiving off, or maybe the week of Christmas and New Year. If you want long lines and crowded resorts, this is a great time to go do Disney! You aren’t reading a piece about the best times to visit Walt Disney World for that, though. Still want or need to plan a trip in November or December? There’s one trick that can make it work — just avoid the holidays! Yes, it’s that simple!
Weekdays in these months, aside from the weeks of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s, are a great time to visit and avoid the crowds. We personally think that Tuesday and Wednesday are the best, especially if you go first thing in the morning. Even with the cooler weather, though, the weekends can be absolutely brutal. Holiday travelers will pack the parks and restaurants while driving up hotel prices. Still, there are some genuine benefits to a November or December Disney trip:
- Temperatures are dropping, but still comfortable or even mild for people from most other parts of the country.
- Heated pools mean you can still swim under the volcano at the Polynesian or relax in a hot tub after a day in the parks.
- Holiday decorations are either going up or are already up, too, so you can truly revel in the spirit of the season.
- Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is a great holiday event (although it requires its own ticket) and Christmas treats abound throughout all of the parks.
Escape the Cold at Disney World
Once New Year’s is over, the unofficial Disney off-season begins in January and February. With the holidays behind us, kids are heading back to school again and the new work year begins. People are so busy getting the new year off to a good start that they forget all about Walt Disney World! As a result, crowds drop to their lowest levels of the year. You definitely want to use this to your advantage!
During the beginning of the year, the ticket and hotel prices start to drop too, making this one of the best times to visit Walt Disney World! It won’t be as sunny and bright as you’ll find the park in summer, but it could still be worth it. Unless you live in a warm climate, chances are that, even in the middle of January, Florida will still be warmer than where you live. What better way to escape the cold than with a fun trip to Disney?
Planning a January or February vacation to Disney World? Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Two weeks to avoid are Walt Disney World Marathon week in January and the Valentine’s Day/President’s Day holiday window in February.
- Winter means smaller crowds, but also means reduced park hours and fewer showtimes.
- This time of year is also a popular time for ride refurbishment. Many rides, and the two Disney water parks, routinely close during January and February for maintenance.
- Pack some hoodies, sweaters and warmer shoes (flip flops are probably a bad idea!). Even though it’s Florida, it’s still the middle of winter!
- Still be prepared for cool weather, but don’t forget a bathing suit for the heated resort pools and hot tubs!
The Crowds Will Return
As spring arrives, the crowds will begin to return to Walt Disney World. Spring break trips lead to the Easter holiday, leading to schools getting out and ultimately the return of the summer “peak” season. As you can imagine, it’s pretty crazy in the parks during this time which is why we try to avoid it. If this is the only time when you can go, you’ll still have fun, but you’ll just be surrounded by a lot more people. Plus, it can be unbearably hot and humid.
Missed your window this year? No problem. The good news is that this cycle repeats every year, so you can start planning your next vacation now! Just remember to follow this guide for the best times to visit Walt Disney World, and you’ll be heading to Florida before you know it!
Tell us — when is your favorite time of year to visit Walt Disney World? Do you brave the crowds, frequent downpours and heavy humidity in the summer or do you wait for the off-season? We’d love to hear all about your Disney vacation planning. Leave us a comment below!
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