One of the most frequently asked questions by people who are planning a Disney vacation is, “When is the best time to go to WDW?” Along with that question also tends to be, “What time of year should I avoid going to WDW?” There are a lot of factors involved in determining the best and worst times to plan your Disney vacation, but let’s try to make this decision a bit simpler.
First of all, over the past few years, there have been a lot of changes in crowd levels throughout the year. In the past, there were certain times of the year when the parks consistently were significantly less crowded. This, for the most part, is no longer the case. While the parks are still typically less crowded during those times of year than during peak times, the slow times have become busier.
Starting out the year, the first week or two of January still tends to be fairly busy in the parks. Families are enjoying the last few days before the kids go back to school, following their holiday break. There is also a Disney marathon, which brings thousands of runners from around the world to WDW. Any given day in the parks during this two week period could be ridiculously packed.
As we move into the second half of January through February, the parks start to become noticeably less busy. The only downsides to visiting during this time are that park hours tend to be reduced, and the temperatures can get quite cool. For us locals, this time of year can feel very cold. Guests visiting from colder climates may still find it to be cool, but will enjoy much more comfortable temperatures than what they would likely be experiencing at home.
March and April tend to have beautiful weather. Days are warm, and even hot, at times. Nighttime temperatures tend to be very comfortable. However, a major downfall to visiting this time of year is that it tends to be one of the busiest times of the year, due to spring break for schools across the nation. Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival is going on at this time, as well. Annual Pass blockout dates apply during this time of year, due to the large crowds in the parks.
Guests visiting in May will enjoy pleasantly low crowd levels throughout the month. We recommend visiting in the first half of May, if at all possible. Temperatures will be quite hot most days in May. Late May or early June is when the rainy season begins in Florida.
If you aren’t familiar with Florida’s climate, our rainy season coincides with the Atlantic hurricane season. From June through October, we experience daily downpours that can best be compared to waterfalls. Several inches of rain can fall in a very short period of time. The lightning in these storms is extremely dangerous. A beautiful, sunny day can turn dark and stormy in a matter of minutes. Humidity during this time of year can make the heat dangerous for people who are unprepared, or for anyone who is sensitive to hot temperatures.
Although park attendance has decreased in recent summers, many people plan their Disney vacations during the summer, because their kids are not in school. Due to the larger crowds, as well as the weather, we do not recommend visiting during June, July, and August. The week of the 4th of July is guaranteed to be one of the busiest weeks of the year, so we recommend avoiding that week, unless you don’t mind excessively long wait times in the heat, humidity, and, in the afternoons, rain.
September is a great time to visit. Although the days are still hot and rainy, the crowd levels are much more manageable. Epcot International Food & Wine Festival and Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party at Magic Kingdom are both going on at this time. Both events are great ways to enjoy something extra, in addition to the shows and attractions that are available throughout the year.
We must mention that September 10th is the peak date for the Atlantic hurricane season, which continues through the end of November. Although hurricanes rarely hit Orlando directly, it is a possibility that should be considered when planning your trip.
On a side note, for those of you who aren’t concerned with a hurricane impacting your vacation, a surprisingly great time to visit WDW is either right before or right after a hurricane impacts central Florida.
In September 2019, Hurricane Dorian was forecast to directly impact central Florida, causing thousands of people to change their vacation plans. The hurricane ended up missing the Orlando/Disney area, and the parks were empty for a couple of weeks. The parks will remain open during hurricanes and tropical storms, unless the storm is strong enough that Disney feels its Cast Members and guests are unsafe.
October becomes gradually busier as the month goes on. Halloween, and the days leading up to it, are very busy, especially at Magic Kingdom. Heat, humidity, and daily storms are still a factor through most of the month.
The first half of November is an excellent time to visit WDW. Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party begins just days after Halloween, and Epcot International Food and Wine Festival is still going on. Temperatures can still be hot in November, but the humidity starts to become more tolerable as the rainy season comes to an end. People tend to not schedule their vacations for early November, because they want to wait until the holidays.
The week of Thanksgiving is chaos in the parks. Speaking from personal experience, visiting the parks on Thanksgiving Day is very stressful and frustrating.
The beginning of December provides a small window of opportunity to enjoy beautiful, warm, sunny weather and light crowds in the parks. Mid-December through the New Year is constantly busy. Once again, Annual Pass blockouts are in effect during this time, due to the parks being so busy. Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve are the busiest days of the year at WDW. Magic Kingdom is guaranteed to hit capacity on these days, and navigating the parks becomes a nightmare.
Everyone has their own preferences for time of year to visit, events to attend, experiences and attractions to enjoy, and weather conditions that they enjoy. All of these things should be strongly considered when determining when to schedule your Disney vacation.
Based on the information we have provided, our recommendations for the best times of the year to visit WDW are:
- Mid-January through February
- Early December
The worst times of the year to visit WDW are:
- March through April
- June through August
- Late November
- Late December
We hope this information is helpful as you determine when you should schedule your next Disney vacation. Please feel free to leave us a comment and let us know what you think of our best and worst lists. Do you agree with our suggestions? When are your favorite and least favorite times to visit WDW?
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XOXO, Halie and Danny