Disney World finds its way onto almost every single family’s vacation checklist. Either the parents loved Disney as kids (me) or the kids bug their parents until the parents cave (also me). An important part of the planning process is answering the question: “When are Disney World crowds the lowest?”
Disney World always boasts large crowds, but you still can find the best time ago by considering the following parameters. Using basic common sense can really help you with your visit.
Here are four of the best times to visit Disney World and the two busiest times of the year!
Mid January – Early February
The biggest theme for avoiding Disney World crowds? Avoid school vacations. Obviously, families love to visit Disney World, and school schedules provide the biggest constraints.
So: kids in school? Crowds will be…cool. Well, they will be lower!
This holds particularly true right after a school vacation. In mid January, lots of people have just arrived home from visiting Disney World over the holidays. Early January can be a bit crowded due to leftover Christmas crowds and visitors from outside the US, but by mid January most crowds have thinned out.
You’ll only deal with light to moderate crowds for the back half of January and in February up until President’s Day. Obviously, MLK weekend boasts a ton of crowds, but other than that, the winter is a great time to visit if you want to avoid crowds.
One note: Disney World operating hours are shorter in the winter, so although there will be smaller crowds, you may find yourself having less time to get things done, especially if you have a family of night owls!
The second half of August
While the next two low crowd times run back to back, I consider the second half of August part of summer so it warrants its own discussion. Over half the country goes back to school in mid August which really helps to thin out the crowds.
On top of that, even families with kids out of school tend to avoid traveling a lot that last week before vacation ends. Add that all up and you get much lower crowds.
Of course, one drawback about August is the weather, it can be very hot, rainy, or both. But if your kids start school later and you want to take a trip to Disney World in the summer, consider late August.
September and midweek October
Continuing with the kids not in school team, September features some of the lowest crowds of the year. All the kids are back in school, it’s too early in the year for a vacation, so crowds at Disney World tend to be pretty low, even on weekends.
One benefit about visiting in September is Disney’s Halloween themed extra ticketed event, Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. It’s a super fun event but do note that it should be crowded anyway because it’s pretty popular. Still, regular park days will have lower crowds.
Weekdays in October are good times to visit as well, though October is busier because of Columbus Day and because more people like to go to Not So Scary in the month Halloween actually resides in.
Early December is an excellent time to visit Disney World, both for crowds and theming. By now you can figure out for yourself why crowds will be low – early December is sandwiched between two major holidays.
In early December, you have the benefit of holiday decorations and a gigantic Christmas tree which really have a unique and positive influence on the feel of the parks. Disney also hosts an extra ticket event during this time, called Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. Debates rage long and hard about whether the Halloween or Christmas party reigns supreme – try both for yourself!
The BUSIEST times of the year at Disney
If you want to avoid crowds, there are two main times to avoid. Spring Break is a crazy time at Disney World. Every week between late February and Easter, somebody in the country has spring break. Spring Break also features a lot of competitions and events so kids are in and out of Disney World for all sorts of things. People are trying to get out of the cold, too. So try to avoid it if you can!
The absolute busiest time of year at Disney World is that week between Christmas and New Year’s. On Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve, Disney often has to stop allowing people into the parks because they are above capacity. Yes, there is a limit to people Disney will take! While that is a great week to go in terms of schedule (you probably aren’t working and your kids aren’t in school), it’s a great week for the entire country. So be warned!
Obviously, things change year to year so this is just general advice. But in general, think about when kids are in school and you can find lower crowds at Disney World. Of course, avoiding crowds may not be your priority, Disney hosts a lot of wonderful events during the crowded seasons, so make your decisions balancing everything.
What are your favorite times to visit Disney World? Would love to hear it in the comments!
Want to support Traveling Dad? All the Traveling Dads use travel rewards credit cards to help fund our world travels. You can too by checking out some great offers from our credit card partners here!