When To Go In Walt Disney World
Best Time of Year to Visit
Because of the large number of international visitors, there’s really no off season at Disney, but during the winter months, usually mid-January through March, crowds are smaller , and the weather can be mild . The crowds also thin from mid-September until the week before Thanksgiving, and in May, before Memorial Day weekend. Summer is when the masses throng to the parks. It’s also very humid and hot, Hot, HOT. If you can skip a summer visit, you also won’t have to worry much about the possibility of a hurricane or an electrical storm .
Best Days to Visit
The busiest days at all parks are generally Saturday and Sunday. Seven-day guests usually arrive and depart on one of these days, so fewer of them turn the turnstiles but weekends are when locals and Florida commuters come to play. Beyond that: Monday, Thursday, and Saturday are pretty frantic in the Magic Kingdom Tuesday and Friday are hectic at Epcot Sunday and Wednesday are crazy at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday are a zoo at the Animal Kingdom. Periods around major holidays also attract throngs — mid-December through the first weekend in January is busy beyond belief. Crowds tend to thin later in the day, so if you’re going to visit during the busy season and have included the Park Hopper option on your ticket, you’ll bump into fewer guests the later you visit. This also applies to the water parks.
Things To Keep In Mind For September:
- Halloween entertainment continues at Magic Kingdom, but no word yet on whether it will be either Mickeys Not-So-Scary Halloween Party or the brand-new Disney After Hours Boo Bash.
- The International Food and Wine Festival will be in full swing over at Epcot. Whenever possible, we recommend that you avoid Epcot on Thursday Sunday .
- Weather has always been a factor when planning Disney World trips, but the temps and humidity in September can be particularly brutal.
- Storms will also likely be a factor, so we highly recommend you plan mid-day breaks from the sun and rain during your trip.
Get park hours and info on refurbishments and special events on the .
Disney World In January
In this post, we discuss visiting Disney World in January. We cover weather, crowds, holidays, events, refurbishments, and anything else youd like to know if you were planning a visit to Walt Disney World Resort to start the new year! Read on to learn all about visiting Walt Disney World in January!
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How Will Low Crowds At Disneylands Star Wars: Galaxys Edge Compare To Walt Disney Worlds
Weve seen what crowds are like at Star Wars: Galaxys Edge with and without reservation-restricted access at Disneyland. But what will the crowds be like at Walt Disney World? Disney officials are keeping a close eye on how Disneyland is handling crowd control in the most anticipated and largest single-land opening in history in order to predict how to best combat crowds when the lands identical counterpart opens at Walt Disney World. Star Wars: Galaxys Edge opens on August 29 at Disneys Hollywood Studios in Florida, and heres what we think you can expect.
But at Disneyland, a majority of the visitors every year are locals and/or annual passholders who visit the resort knowing they can come back multiple times per year . On the other hand, Walt Disney World visitors are a much different demographic. Those visiting Star Wars: Galaxys Edge in California will likely be back for more not too long after their first visit, but those in Florida may not be so lucky. A majority of those visiting Walt Disney World are doing so knowing they are only able to make the trip once a year, once every few years, or even, for some, once in a lifetime. So not only will the crowds be expectedly higher, but the demographic of the crowds will be different, as well: generally speaking, the guests on both coasts have different ideas of what they want to get out of their trips to the theme parks.
Cheapest Time To Visit Disney World
Finding the cheapest time to go to Disney World can be an even bigger motivator than basing your decision on the crowds. Thankfully, these two are also connected and the cheapest time to go is also when the crowds are the lowest. Disney knows this which is why there are always offers to try and entice guests to visit during those times.
Going to Disney World when the cost is lowest will save you money on hotel rooms, theme park tickets, airfare, and even food. You could potentially be saving thousands of dollars just by changing the dates.
- The cheapest times of the year to visit Disney World are August, September, and January after New Years is over into early February.
Since crowds have slowly been shifting from the Summer months into October/November, weve also noticed good deals on certain dates in June and July so thats worth considering.
Our guide to the Cheapest Time to Go to Disney World is invaluable in helping you pick dates if you are on a budget.
Also, read our post How Much Does a Disney World Vacation Cost? for the average price of a Disney Vacation.
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How To Avoid January Crowds
If you dont visit WDW right after New Years Day, during the weekend of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, or the runDisney Walt Disney World Marathon weekend, the rest of the month should have very low crowds. Ohyou might also want to avoid EPCOT on the first day of the EPCOT International Festival of the Arts Unless you love the excitement of something new happening at a park and just have to be there for opening day, in which case, youll have a blast!
Important Planning Details To Know:
- Disney Park Pass reservations are required if you want to enter any theme park . No reservation, no entry. Get caught up on how the Disney Park Pass Reservation system works.
- All parks will have a maximum capacity, and once that capacity is reached, no additional reservations will be available unless Disney increases capacity in the parks OR you are able to snag a spot from somebody who has canceled their Park Pass Reservation.
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The Busiest Time Of Year At Disney World Breakdown:
- Spring Break
- Thanksgiving week
- Christmas and New Years Eve
So, specific to crowd sizes, the dates above are unmistakably the busiest time to go to Disney and the worst weeks to go to Disney World. However, if you cannot visit during one of the Disney World least crowded months, dont let this discourage you from planning your trip. Besides crowds, there are many other factors that could go into planning your Disney trip, including weather, special events, and more.
Month By Month When To Avoid Disney And When To Go
A big part of having the right mindset for Disney is understanding the flow of the crowds. It is helpful to know what to expect as far as crowds.
While the exact dates of high attendance and low attendance changes year by year, there are certain times of the year and certain events happening at Disney that we suggest avoiding.
Below you will find a month by month rundown of the 2022 Disney Crowd Calendar. You will find the attendance predictions for the year as well as both general and specific events happening each month.
Obviously the exact attendance, wait times, etc at Disney World cannot be foretold but this should give you a general idea of what to expect.
It may be helpful for you to also search specific events happening to give you assistance as to which particular park you may want to avoid on a specific day. For example, if a cheer event is happening in the Magic Kingdom, spend that day at Epcot instead!
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Check School Calendars For Low Crowds
Even if you dont have children, school calendars and calendars in general, are the most helpful tool when deciding when to visit Walt Disney World. Bottom line if kids are in school, it is going to be less crowded at Walt Disney World!
This means that crowd levels begin to drop in mid-August when kids in the South go back to school, and drop even further after Labor Day when most if not all kids have started. Crowds start to increase at the end of the school year which is in late May for Southern schools and mid-June for Northern schools.
Of course, in between the beginning and the end of the school year are countless holidays and school breaks. It is only mid-October and my son has only had two full weeks of school all year thanks to Labor Day, the Jewish Holidays, and Columbus Day! Pull up your local school district on Google and look for the calendar. Many schools already have the calendars out for the 2022-2023 school year!
You want to avoid any school vacation holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas of course. But even holidays like Presidents Day means a school break for some districts, which means higher crowds at Walt Disney World.
Spring Breaks vary across the country from March through mid-April.
A crowded day on Main Street, USA, in the Magic Kingdom. Photo Courtesy of Kimberly Ringlever
Park Closures In 2020
Of course, with the unprecedented park closures of 2020, guests may very well experience very different crowd levels than have been historically encountered. As of this update, Disney has not officially announced how its domestic Parks will manage crowds, whether Parks will require social distancing, or how technologies might impact queues.
While nothing has officially been announced, changes are expected, and well update you every step of the way.
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Love In A Roller Coaster
If you’re a Disney shareholder, don’t panic. The same company that surprised the market with a return to profitability for its theme parks segment in its latest quarter isn’t going to be seeing red on its bottom line anytime soon.
The theme parks seeing what Disney Tourist Blog is calling the weakest crowds of the year right now isn’t really a surprise. Florida schools started up again two weeks ago, so weekday crowds will naturally be light with most young families out of the mix. We also can’t forget that the delta variant has been wreaking havoc on Florida’s COVID-19 case counts, hospitalization rates, viral positivity rates, and deaths. Between the obvious safety concerns and the return of indoor masking mandates making visits less than ideal for some, it’s not a shock to see both locals and tourists not as eager to visit the House of Mouse as they were earlier in the summer.
Another point to consider is that many Disney rides and attractions that were spacing guests out earlier this year — reducing the hourly capacity levels — are back to normal. In short, lower wait times for rides doesn’t mean that the park attendance levels are at the lowest point of 2021. It’s just more efficient now that Disney’s eased up on having empty seats between groups of riders and taking breaks to clean the vehicles.
Walt Disney World Marathon
The Walt Disney World Marathon is an extremely popular 4-day event that usually happens during the second week of January. In 2022 the Walt Disney World Marathon is taking place from January 5-9.
Events during the weekend include a 5K, 10K, Half Marathon, and a Full Marathon on Sunday.
Its one of the fastest runDisney events to sell out, so if you are planning to go, make sure to be online right when tickets go on sale to reserve a spot. The theme parks arent affected much, since most runners are too tired to visit the parks much during their trip.
The only time your visit to the parks might be affected by the marathon is on Sunday morning with an impact from runners seen in EPCOT, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom. By the time the parks open, theyve already been through the Magic Kingdom, so this is a good choice for that day.
However, you should book your hotel room far in advance as the best rooms sell out quickly.
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Its So Crowded This Is The Number One Complaint I Hear From People Who Are Thinking About A Trip To Walt Disney World And Yes Crowds Are A Reality Of A Disney Vacation Its A Popular Place But There Are Times You Can Visit With Low Crowds Figuring Out When Is Easier Than You Think
Everyone has heard horror stories of long lines at Walt Disney World. And yes, there are times when long lines and crowds are expected! But there are many times during the year with low crowds and short wait times. There are even days when the parks close due to capacity restrictions. It doesnt happen often , but it can happen!
It doesnt need to be that way! It is possible to visit Walt Disney World and enjoy short wait times, or even walk on to a ride or in to a show.
There are people for whom visiting in the busy season is the only option. But when possible, we definitely recommend visiting during lower crowd periods!
How do you find these mythical low crowd periods? Read on!
When Is Disney World Most Crowded 2022 And 2023
Walt Disney World always has peak crowds during the big holidays. New Years and the days following are always packed, with Martin Luther King Day Weekend, Presidents Day Weekend, Spring Break, Easter, the 4th of July, Columbus Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas into New Years Eve.
If you are concerned about finding large crowds when you go, then you will definitely want to follow our crowd calendar to know which ones to avoid. Here is a list of when Disney World will be the most crowded in the next 2 years:
Busiest Days in 2022:
Busiest Days in 2023:
- Mid-March Mid-April
This is looking out all the way into 2023 so things can change from now until then, but for the most part, these are going to be the days with the highest attendance.
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How Do We Determine Crowd Levels
We use a lot of data.
We have a pool of historical data that includes over 8 million wait times, accumulated over more than 10 years of Disney World operations. Additionally, we track holiday dates and the vacation schedules of more than 140 key school districts, paying particular attention to floating dates such as Presidents Day and Easter which impact winter and spring break crowds. We also use economic data from the US and other countries, which point us to travel spending trends. Historical and predicted weather data go into our models, as do observations about Disney’s operations such as new attraction openings and maintenance schedules.
Further, Lines users and our own employees record attraction wait times every day.
Posted wait time is the wait time that Disney posts on a sign outside of an attraction and in their app. Actual wait time is the amount of time a guest actually waited to get on an attraction. We predict both posted and actual wait times. Disney typically inflates the posted wait time so people are happy when they actually wait a short time.
We then crunch all the numbers and patterns into highly educated estimates of crowd levels and wait times. Whew!
Refurbishments & New Rides
One thing that might not come to mind when trying to find the best time to visit Disney World is the attraction refurbishment schedule. This is important because there are certain times of the year where Disney likes to do extended maintenance on the rides, which means your favorite could be closed.
The last thing you want to do is show up at Disney and find that Space Mountain or Pirates of the Caribbean in down for refurbishment. How can you do this if you are planning your trip many months in advance?
- The most popular time for big Disney World attraction refurbishments is in.
Disney wants all the big rides open in the busiest periods of the year, which definitely includes the Summer and the Thanksgiving/Christmas holidays. After New Years, crowds lessen which is a good time for Disney to work on any rides that need a tune-up. In this case, going to Disney World when the crowds are the heaviest ensures the majority of attractions will be open.
The water parks are also likely to be closed in parts of January and February, so dont expect to go to Typhoon Lagoon or Blizzard Beach during that time.
You also will definitely want to check whats new in Disney World and all upcoming attractions to see if you can plan your trip around a new ride youve been waiting to go on.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Walt Disney World
On this page youll find answers to dozens of Walt Disney World frequently asked questions, including information about vacation planning, tickets, hotels and more!
Help! Where do I start?
If you have never been on a Walt Disney World vacation , its understandable why you might feel overwhelmed by all of the information on this site. The best place to start is with the step-by-step planning guide.
When are the best times of year to go to Walt Disney World?
WHEN you choose to visit can make a substantial difference! Its not as big a difference as it used to be, as Disney has done a lot of work on spreading attendance across the year. They put special events, parties, festivals and promotions to fill up the hotels and parks during the traditional off season, making the slow seasons not as slow as they once were. That said, paying attention to dates is still worth it. Even if you have very limited times you can go, choosing the best possible options for arrival and departure date might reduce the average attendance across your trip by 10% or more if you can just avoid one super busy day, and thats absolutely worth it.
The BEST times to go to Walt Disney World are:
- During special events that interest you. Bear in mind that events held on major holidays usually attract significant crowds, however.
The WORST times to visit Walt Disney World are:
In short, dont waste your money.