It can be truly difficult to figure out when is the best time to visit the most magical place on Earth. In my mind, any time is a great time to go! However, if you are like me and want to avoid the crowds as much as possible, there are certain times of the year that tend to be less crowded than others. Don’t get me wrong; no matter the time of year, you will have a great time (more so if you have proper planning). But it can be beneficial to aim for a trip during the “off times” or when the parks are a little less busy. For me this is the biggest decision of the trip for a couple different reasons: it can determine the crowd levels (which decides how much you can get done) and what events are going on. There is a post about what to take into consideration when picking a time HERE.
So when is the best time to go to Disney?
As I said above, any time is a good time to plan a Disney trip! I will plan on having a post up on Getting the most out of your day at Disney later on and will be linked HERE. Disney in recent years has pushed the discounts during the low times to draw more people in, which has worked really well. There are still some times that are lower than others but not extremely low times. For the lowest time, the biggest rule of thumb that I can say is avoid school vacations (winter, spring and summer breaks). This makes it difficult with children to either go during breaks or taking them out of school for a week, which I personally don’t have an issue with as long as they can make up the work. I know that some schools are starting to prohibit students from taking vacations during the school year apart from breaks, so that is a conversation to have with their teachers.
When determing which park to go to, remember that some parks will be busier than others each day. This can be due to a variety of factors from Special events as discussed HERE and even the nightly shows. Magic Kingdom has the Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party (MNSSHP) or Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party (MVMCP), EPCOT has International Flower and Garden Festival and International Food and Wine Festival.
When it comes down to it, the best time is September due to students just going back to school meaning lower crowds. I have found this to be true in my own experience. We was lucky enough to go to the MNSSHP in September and the crowds were a lot better than when I have been to Disney during the summer. June, July and first 2 weeks of August are typically the worst for summer. Second part of August is not as bad, but can be still moderately crowded. October tends to be a decent time as well at least most weeks. Halloween tends to be fairly busy especially with MNSSHP. For more information on Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, check out THIS
Month by month
This is a pretty decent time to go, usually after the first week. The third week in January can be moderately busy as well. Some of the lower times of the year are the second and last week in January. There may be some marathons that will increase the crowds
February is usually a good time to go, crowds can pick up around the third week of the month. This is due to many schools having winter break. Overall the crowds are manageable compared to other months. Overall this is a good month to go for lower crowds.
This can be a good time to go, specifically around the first week, there is usually a school vacation around the second to third weeks; so crowds start to pick up later in the month. From this point, crowds can start picking up with summer being the sustained peak time.
April tends to be a busier time as there are some school breaks around this time, so may want to avoid. There are also some competitions, such as gymnastics, held around this time as well, causing crowds to be a little heavier. This slightly decreases towards the end of the month.
The first couple weeks tend to have lower crowds, some weekends do tend to be busier though. Crowds tend to pick up slightly around around May 4th (May the 4th be with you) and as it gets closer to summer break. The month as a whole tend to be a little bit lighter crowds, from low to moderate crowds compared to the summer.
June, July, and August:
These months tend to be busier times as schools are on summer break. Weekdays maybe marginally better but overall these are when crowds stay a little heavier. During these times, I recommend getting fast passes early and plan on taking breaks during parts of the day.
September has been a great time to go to the parks since it is after schools are back in session. This has become more crowded in the past likely due to MNSSHP, but still a great time to go. Crowds pick up some on the weekends; but as a whole, September is the best time to go to Walt Disney World. If you prefer to go during the fall, this would be the best time to go!
This month can be a hit or miss on crowds depending which days you decide to go, especially around Halloween. Weekdays during October tend to be towards the slower end, with traffic picking up around Halloween and on weekends. This is usually when it starts to reach the moderate crowd levels.
Both November and december used to be lower crowds but this has started to become a more popular time to come. The first and third weekends have been the lower of the weeks. With the Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas party, the crowds have increased over the years. The days around Thanksgiving are also pretty popular, so you will see the wait times creep up then as well.
Christmas is one of the busiest weeks of the year at Disney where the partk can actually hit capacity, especially Magic Kingdom. The first and second weeks of December to be a little better in regards to the number of people in the parks. Weekends are still ususally pretty congested, even within the first couple weeks of the month.
On the weekends, Saturdays tend to be the busiest. This means that during the festivals at EPCOT, you may want to plan accordingly to avoid the crowds as much as possible. For example, if going to the Food and Wine festival in the fall, usually best to go during the week than weekend if possible. Other things to take into considerations are the marathon weekends as well, which can make for busier parks. Overall some times are slightly less crowded than other. The best time is based on your schedule and planning ahead to get the most out of your next Disney adventure
When would you choose to go to the parks? Let us know in the comments below!