What’s the best time to visit Disney World? When people ask me questions about Walt Disney World, one of the most common questions I’m asked is what’s the best time to go.
The answer really varies – depending on who is traveling and what specifically you are trying to see and do. There are multiple “best” times to go to Walt Disney World, based upon your situation. Luckily, the theme parks are so much fun no matter when you visit.
Here are some guidelines to review when deciding what’s the best time to visit Disney World.
I am a former member of the Disney Parks Moms Panel and have been on some complimentary press trips at Walt Disney World, but all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. A purchase through one of these links may result in a commission paid to us at no additional cost to you.
If you are looking for discounted Walt Disney World tickets, visit Undercover Tourist.
What’s the Best Time to Visit Disney World?
The Best Time to Visit Disney World To Avoid Crowds
If you want to avoid crowds, it’s usually best to visit when school is in session. School vacations, weekends, and summer break can be extremely crowded. The holidays are also a busy time. Undercover Tourist has a crowd calendar online that can help
I have found that early May is my favorite time to visit the Disney theme parks. Typically, the weather is warm (but not usually TOO hot), and the crowd level is fairly low because it doesn’t coincide with school vacations.
If you live in the Northeast, late August can be a good time because Southern schools are usually back in session, but Northeast schools aren’t. But keep in mind that it’s likely to be hot during August. If you want to avoid excessive heat, August isn’t a great time to visit.
Other busy times of the year are spring break and long weekends like Presidents’ Day, Veterans and Labor Day. Thanksgiving and Christmas time are especially busy. The theme parks, especially the Magic Kingdom, often reach capacity on Christmas Day.
Before committing to a specific week for your Walt Disney World vacation, take a look at the special events that are being held. Marathon weekend and festival weekends can often be very busy in the parks and the resorts. Sometimes you’ll be surprised that hotels are booked up, and often that’s because a major event is happening.
When to Visit Disney World To Have Good Weather
I like to visit the Orlando Florida area when it’s warm but not super hot. I find that March and October are the best months of the year to visit if you want to experience that type of weather.
I recommend looking at this page from the Weather Channel to see average temps (but keep in mind that temperatures can vary). This past November, I visited on a day that was in the high 80s, which was pretty unusual for that time of year.
October, of course, is still hurricane season, so that’s something else you’ll need to keep in mind. In addition, while you may plan for a specific type of weather, often Mother Nature in Florida has other plans. Be prepared for any changes in the weather, and make sure you understand the change policies for your hotel and airfare.
The Best Time to Visit Disney To Experience Peak Magic
The holiday season, from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day, is when you can experience peak magic on the Disney property. The resort hotels are decorated for the holidays (including a gingerbread house at the Grand Floridian and a carousel at the Beach Club), as are the theme parks.
You can also attend Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party (an extra fee applies) and the Candlelight Processional at Epcot (book one of the meals that includes VIP seating).
Keep in mind that the holiday season at Walt Disney World is an extremely popular time to visit. As a result, you’ll probably find larger crowds. Be prepared by making early plans, and consider staying at a Walt Disney World resort hotel so you can make your FastPass+ reservations earlier.
Halloween (and the month preceding it) is also a fun time to visit. You can purchase special tickets to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, and enjoy a night of parades, fireworks, special ride overlays, entertainment, and more.
The Best Time to Visit Disney World To Experience a Specific Event
Of course, if you want to experience a specific event, such as the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival or the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival, you’ll want to visit during that time. Check out the event schedule in advance so that you can attend on the perfect day.
These events are offered over multiple weekends, so you’ll have lots of options. This past year, the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival was held over more days than ever. Dates are typically released well in advance.
The Best Time to Visit Disney World for the Best Prices
If you are looking to save money on your Disney vacation, you’ll want to pay attention to when you are planning your visit. There are some months where Walt Disney World tickets are a bit less expensive. Currently, according to the Disney website, January and February 2020 are the cheapest months for 5-day tickets.
You’ll also want to compare those prices with hotel and flight prices. Those can vary widely, however. It’s important to get the prices of all three before deciding to book based upon price.
What Age Is the Best Time to Visit Disney World?
This can be a heated question with a lot of different answers. If you are looking to maximize your Disney World vacation budget, you may want to visit the resort at the perfect ages for your kids. I’ve found, however, that many different ages are the perfect times.
Because I love to travel, I knew that I’d want to go on vacation with my kids even when they were very young. Walt Disney World made it so easy to travel with young kids less than two years apart. Everything is set up for families.
From the moment I arrived at Orlando International Airport and could skip the baggage claim, I knew this would be an easier trip than most. Disney’s Magical Express will get your luggage and bring it to your hotel room, and it was so nice not to have to worry about two suitcases and a double stroller.
Walt Disney World also offers baby care centers. These make changing and feeding a baby much easier. There are some negatives to traveling with babies and toddlers though. We weren’t really able to go on many rides with them and they weren’t familiar with the characters.
Elementary-school aged kids really love the parks, usually. By then, they can go on more rides and know who the characters are. If you can go to the parks while the kids really believe in the characters, that can be especially magical.
Now that I have teens, they love the Disney parks as well. Our experience is very different from when they were babies, however. Now, they love the theme parks for sentimental reasons and always want to go on their favorite rides. It’s still a magical place for us now.
What Specific Days to Visit Walt Disney World
Once you’ve decided the month to visit Walt Disney World, you may be wondering what specific days to visit.
SAP* recently conducted a study with guests at the parks over the summer, to see when the parks were the most crowded. While conventional wisdom would say that weekends would be the most crowded, the research showed that it’s the opposite in the summer. Wednesday, Tuesday, and Saturday were the most crowded in the summer, according to the research, and Sundays were the best day to visit to avoid crowds.
Typically, once I’ve got my vacation plans set, I plan out each day. You’ll be able to make dining reservations 180 days in advance, so you’ll want to have an idea of which theme park you’ll visit each day.
Once I have the dining reservations set, I then know which FastPasses I’ll want to go. Those are available 60 days in advance for on-property Disney guests and 30 days in advance for off-property guests. You’ll need to have your park tickets before you make those reservations.
If I don’t have a preference for which park to visit each day, I’ll usually make that determination based upon the availability of dining. Just remember that you’ll need the park hopper option on your ticket if you want to visit more than one park per day.
What is your favorite time to visit Walt Disney World?
*“The insight for this [story/infographic] was gathered using SAP Consumer Insight 365 and SAP Digital Consumer Insight. By capturing mobile moments in and around specific locations, these offerings allow users to better understand their customers and markets with aggregated insights based on anonymized data about consumer demographics and behavior,” says Jonathan Becher, Head of SAP Digital and Chief Digital Officer, SAP.
Written in 2016, updated in 2019.