The two most common questions that are asked when planning for disney are: what to consider when choosing when to go to Disney? This usually goes hand in hand with, when is the best time to go to Disney? The latter seems like a straightforward question and my short answer is …. Any time! However, there are certain times around the year that may be more appealing to some than others, whether it is for certain festivals or just being based on the crowds. The crowd times have changed over time. Even a couple of years ago, there would be times when the slow times were really slow and busy times were just that – busy. For a full breakdown on busiest or slowest times of the year at Disney, check out HERE. Disney has rolled out discounts to boost up the “slow” times, which are a little busier especially in September. That is not to say you shouldn’t try to plan for slow times; but if you’ve gone in the past, you’ll notice a difference.
So what to consider when choosing when to go to Disney?
The beginning of summer is a busy time due to schools getting out for the year. Some people can only go during the school vacations either because of students or they are teachers. But the busiest times are always around the major holidays – Christmas, New year’s, Fourth of July. And it is not uncommon to see Disney reach capacity for the park. There are several websites that have crowd calendars available and I hope to have one put up within the next few weeks. This will be linked HERE. There are a handful of marathons at Disney spread throughout the year that can increase the crowds. These include WDW Marathon around Jan 13th, Princess Half-marathon around Feb 24th, Star Wars Half-marathon on April 4th, and Food & Dine Half-marathon around Nov 4th. Other things to consider are festivals and special events.
What are the festivals at Disney?
There are several different festivals that take place over the course of the year at EPCOT which can sway your travel plans. For me, I personally love the Flower and Garden festival in the spring…I’m a gardener at heart. So in the past, we have planned trips around going during this festival. When I have an in-depth post – I will have it linked HERE. All the festivals bring something different to EPCOT. The other options include the Food and Wine festival which takes place in the fall and Festival of the Holidays that includes a candlelight processional. Disneyland also has a similar festival for Festival of the holidays.
Festival of the Arts at Epcot have gained popularity and continue to be built upon. This popular Festival starts on Jan. 17 to Feb 24th. International Flower & Garden festival is from Mar 4th to June 1st. The International Food and Wine festival this year will take place on Aug 30 to Nov 12th 2019 (2020 schedule has not been released). Festival of the Holidays at EPCOT starts on Nov 18th and goes until Dec 30th 2019 (2020 schedule has not been released). There is no specific time that is better than others due to each time brings a unique experience and comes down to preference. Even with the various festivals, you can find times that are a little slower.
Magic Kingdom Special events
Magic Kingdom doesn’t have much in terms of festivals compared to EPCOT but it does have special events. Some of the events are limited days during the summer based on holidays. BUT the Fall is where it’s at with the Halloween and Christmas after that. These are by far the best Disney has to offer with the scenery and extras. My wife and I have gone during the Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and loved it!! Click HERE to get more information on Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. This year it will start on Aug 17th and go until Oct 31st! Best time we found was the third week of the party in Sept. Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party starts Nov 8th and goes until Dec 21st. The only catch with these events is that the crowds increase. So in short, the best time to go is usually after the first couple weeks of a special event or festival. This allows the crowds and hype to decrease slightly. It can make a big difference with choosing when to go to Disney.
There are no perfect times to go to Disney, Only perfect times for you to go to Disney. What I choose, may not fit for others. I tend to plan trips around the slightly less crowded times of the years that still have bigger events. In the spring, the best time is around the Flower and Garden festival, Summer (late summer) for the Food and Wine Festival and in the Fall it is around the Halloween party. No matter the time of year, you will have a great time and the nice thing is that there is always something to see.
For our next trip, we are going down with a decent size group, 4 adults and 1 toddler. We have decided to go down during (what should be) the middle of the Food and Wine Festival but also for the Halloween Party! I like the Food and Wine but I’m most excited about the MNSSHP. Especially as this will be our daughters first Halloween party. The plan is to go beginning of Fall, so that it will be towards the slower times of the year. This way we can plan out what our big attractions will be and have a plan going in. We have already started to plan out the details for restaurants and listing out rides. People may think this is over the top, but I feel like it is always a good idea to have a game plan going in. There have been changes to fastpasses in that time, so I try to keep up to date. Even the best laid plans can break but having a good basis allows you to get the most out of your trip.
Any suggestions when choosing when to go to Disney? Leave them in the comments!