We get asked this question all the time. When should you go to Disney World? There is no easy answer for this question but I’ll try to give some recommendations here. Ultimately you need to decide what works best for your family. Many people looking to go are greatly hindered by their kid’s schedule at school.
The most difficult thing about your vacation to the most magical place on earth may actually be leaving.
I think the major thing most people consider is the crowds. The day of entering a park at rope drop and having it to yourself is all but over, even when the crowds are at their lowest. No matter when you go, you will have some crowds to deal with, but how those crowds affect you can greatly be mitigated. We will have a comprehensive guide to the crowds at Disney World coming soon.
In the meantime, we will break the crowds down into four categories:
- Mid January through most of February
- The first two weeks of May
- The last half of August
- The last half of October through the fist week of November
- The first week of December
- January 4 through Mid January
- The third week in February
- The first half of March
- The last half of April
- The last half of May
- The first two weeks in June
- The first half of October
- The second week in December
- The second half of March
- The first week of April
- All of July through the first half of August
- Thanksgiving Weekend
- For the love of all that is Holy I can’t even walk around
- December 24th through January 4th
Low crowds are obviously ideal, but they are low for a reason. Most people are not afforded the time to go during this time due to life’s schedule, be it kid’s school or work. We typically try for Low or Moderate times to go which is a good balance. We have also been during high crowd times and it is very manageable if you make good use of FastPass+ and dining reservations (more on that another time).
We have not visited during the “For the love of all that is Holy I can’t even walk around” time but April really wants to go for Christmas sometime. Based on people we have spoken with and other reviewers it can be shockingly busy. I know for fact that Walt Disney World does have a capacity limit and will close parks to entry of new guests when they reach it. This has, in fact, happened in July which I would consider a High month.
I think our best trip was the time we went for the first two weeks of December in 2012, but I’m probably biased because Tinkerbell landed on me in that trip. But the crowds were good. We even were able to walk on many rides, something that definitely would not happen later in December. Early December can be considered Low – Moderate. Late December is definitely High.
Another consideration to make on making your decision is special events. We love, love, love the Food and Wine Festival. April and I always make a date night and walk around and sample a bunch of the great international food that the best restaurants have to offer in Epcot (not to mention the wine and… ahem… beer). You basically get a bite or two for each sample but the price is reasonable. Try the escargot at the France pavilion. Thank me later.
There are several special events throughout the year. Some of them require a special pass that you must purchase and others are included with your Magic Your Way Base Ticket.
- Wine and Dine Half Marathon (this is on April’s bucket list)
- The International Flower and Garden Festival
- Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party
- Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party
- Star Wars Weekend
No matter what your interests are, there is likely a special event that you will enjoy. We will have an events guide page coming soon so please check back for a more comprehensive guide for events.
Florida weather can be unpredictable. No, you’re not going to get snow, but no matter when you visit you are likely to see at least a little rain. The summer months can be absolutely sweltering. Couple temperature in the 90’s during the day with high humidity and you will be sticky.
Conversely, the day time temperature in the winter months can be chilly. The average temperature in January is a high of 71 and a low of 49. Now if you’re from Chicago, a 60 degree day in January is going to feel nice and warm, but will it be warm enough to visit Typhoon Lagoon or Blizzard Beach? That is up to you. I will go to the water parks any time.
The water parks do stay open year round and they keep the water heated to a comfortable level. They do close for inclement weather and if the temperatures get too low to keep the water a comfortable temperature. If the water parks (or water rides) are on your “must do” list, you may want to make sure you are planning your vacation for when you can really enjoy them.
The pools are a bit of a different story, at least to me. All of the Walt Disney World Resort pools are also heated so you can also enjoy them year round. It’s not as bad to make the short walk to get inside as it is if you’re out of the water for long periods of time hiking two the next slide, like you would be at a water park.
Back to the heat.
If you have to go in July or August there are ways to beat the heat. They have a lot of shaded places and the dining rooms are all climate controlled. Another option is to return to your resort or hotel in the heat of the day. Take a lunch break and go back to the park when the sun is lower in the sky and the temperature is starting to drop.
Rain, rain, go away…
You will get wet in Orlando. I think that goes without saying. The rainy season typically starts in mid-May and runs through October. That’s a long rain season. With that said, most days it’s going to be a passing shower.
Speaking of rain, you know what brings a lot of it? Hurricanes! And Florida gets them. Disney World does have a good hurricane policy but if this is a major concern of yours I would avoid September and October. Personally, I would not avoid these months for this reason. To the best of my knowledge Disney World has only closed the parks due to hurricanes twice, once in 2004 and once in 2005. They do have an excellent policy and work hard to keep their guests safe and comfortable.
There is a lot to consider when planning your trip to Disney World. It will be fun regardless of when you go. There is always something magical to do no matter when you are there.