Some people are limited in when they can go on vacation. They may be in a profession where they’re not allowed to go away during specific times of the year (such as accountants during the weeks leading up to Tax Day), or they might have kids who can only go out of town when school isn’t in session.
If you’re lucky enough in that you don’t have those kinds of limitations on when you can go away, you may still want to go at the “best” time.
Let’s say you want to go to WDW…when IS the best time of year to go? Well, that’s kind of a loaded question because it really depends on what you consider to be “best”…is that based on the weather? The crowds? The holidays and special events? The cheapest time of year? Hmmm…let’s look at all of the options…
This is probably the easiest one to answer. The annual Heat & Humidityfest generally begins sometime in May, is at its worst in June, July, August and September, and is finished by some point in November (note that roughly coincides with hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to Nov 30). July through September tends to be the rainy season, with near-daily 15-minute thunderstorms in the afternoon. November through April or so has better weather temperature-wise, although December through February tend to be cooler, albeit not all the time (read: we’ve been known to wear shorts and a T-shirt on Christmas Day because it was THAT hot outside), with a couple of evenings where we could see frost. Check a weather app to get a better idea.
It’s rarely not crowded at WDW anymore. There used to be times, through the early 2010s, when the parks were a little more empty, like in the beginning of the year, the autumn, and the first couple of weeks before Christmas, but Disney made sure to fill those up with the special events posted below ;-).
The times with the biggest crowds are when kids are out of school. Spring break, any weeks surrounding a national holiday and, of course, all summer long, are times when the crowds will be at their worst. The week between Christmas and New Year’s Day are historically the most crowded, followed by the week of July 4th.
There are other times of the year, such as when there are cheerleader competitions at WDW, or when tour groups come by the droves, that can also make the parks more crowded.
Holidays and Special Events
Walt Disney World is well known for how it plays up the holidays, especially Halloween and Christmas. The parks and resort hotels are decorated to the nines and they have special events such as Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, holiday parades, special menus and firework shows, etc.
During the times of year when there aren’t big holidays, Disney has designed big events in the parks to help entice people to come at what used to be slower seasons. They’re generally held at Epcot, which is the biggest park and can, therefore, hold the biggest crowds. So there’s a big arts festival in January (that one used to be held at Downtown Disney – now Disney Springs – in November. But I guess if it’s in a park, they get more people to pay to get in, and storefronts don’t have to worry about being upstaged by art vendors LOL), the Garden & Flower Festival in the spring and the Food & Wine Festival in the Fall. All of these park-wide festivals have special events (some free, some paid-for options), such as classes, concerts and food opportunities.
Cheapest Time of Year
Walt Disney World doesn’t have a whole lot of major discounts for John Q. Public; there are some, but there tend to be more available for Annual Passholders, Florida residents, Disney Visa cardholders, etc. How much of a discount they give, and when and to whom and for what (parks, meal plans, tickets, etc.), varies from year to year. MouseSavers.com has kept an ongoing list through the years of these discounts – it’s an excellent reference and could be a huge help in your planning. Click here to see their list.
Weather, holidays & special events, cheapest time of the year…you may be able to find out more info about all of those, and more, in the books I mention in this post.
So there you go – no one can really say when the “best” time to go to WDW is, since it all depends on the person and his/her priorities. If you do have plans to go, whenever the “best” time for you is, hopefully, you’ll have a great time!
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary