The biggest outside factors to consider in deciding when to visit Disney World are crowds, weather, events, and price.
Crowds change your trip drastically, and have the most impact in the overall satisfaction with your trip. High crowds equal high frustration. They also mean that it takes much longer to do things, meaning you will see and do less.
I understand that sometimes there may be no other time you’re available to visit other than high crowd times. I get it. But my biggest caution is this: if this will be your very first trip to Disney (or first trip in more than 10 years) and you don’t anticipate being back anytime soon, then try if at all possible to come during a lower crowd time. You really will have an overall better vacation experience.
Free Planning Tool
Guess what? I’ve made a handy dandy chart to show you guys the best weeks to visit! It’s color coded and easy to see at a glance when the best times are. I’ve got it packaged in an eBook that also details my personal top picks for the very best weeks to come to Disney World. Want to download it for free? Well that’s easy- it’s a free gift just for my subscribers. Once you confirm your email address you’ll get the download link. If you have any trouble with that at all, please drop me an email and let me know. I’ll make sure you get the link. Sign up here.
Crowds and Heat are a Deal-breaker
If you must come during one of the busiest weeks, try hard to choose one when the weather isn’t hot. Please take it from someone who knows- you can handle crowds, and you can handle heat. But both together are a recipe for disaster.
You’ll end up one of those families standing in the middle of Fantasyland on an August afternoon screening at a three-year old that no, they can’t go back to the hotel pool because “we are paying thru the nose for this dangit!” (That’s a true story FYI, and sadly, not rare to see.)
I’d rather you come Christmas week when the crowds are super high but the parks are festive and beautiful and the weather is gorgeous. Those things will help to compensate for the extra waits.
My Top Pick for Best Overall Time to Visit Disney World
Here’s my top picks for the best times to visit Disney World. Each have their own vibe and will have a different feel. Personal preference can play a big part in this. But if I had to pick just one, it’d be this.
My all time favorite is the first two weeks of December. You’ll experience everything the Holiday season has to offer, with low crowds and great weather. It’s a win/win/win. It’s really the best of all worlds. The dream lights they put on the castle are truly incredible and need to be experienced in person.
Halloween Versus Christmas Season
If you’re trying to decide whether you should come for the Halloween/Fall season or the Winter/Christmas season then I have a great solution for you. The very end of October/beginning of November is a very unique week that allows you to experience both of those.
Disney World transitions from Halloween to Christmas in one night. Seriously. The final Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party (MNSSHP) is November 1st in 2017. On the 2nd you’ll visit Magic Kingdom and all the orange is gone and Elsa is turning on the castle lights that night.
So if you want to see both seasons there ya go. You’ll even catch the end of Food and Wine Festival at Epcot.
***Note: If you want to go to both MK parties, you’ll have to stay a little longer than a week though. Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party (MVMCP) begins November 9th for 2017.
Slow Season in Disney World
The last half of January and the first part of February is true “slow season”. You’ll find low crowds, great weather, and cheaper rates. You’ll also get to see the parks in classic Disney style with no holiday decor which some people prefer.
February is also the start of Spring here in Orlando, so you’ll see the trees and flowers begin to bloom. It makes a great escape for those from the north who want to get away from Winter for a while.
Springtime at Disney
My final favorite time to visit is in April. Once the frantic rush of March’s Spring Break crowds are done April is a surprising low crowd month. The only part of the month that gets busy is right around Easter if it falls in April. (For 2018 it’s on April 1st so the whole rest of the month is great.)
You get lovely Spring weather (all though for you Northerners it’ll feel more like Summer to you). It’s warm enough to really enjoy the pools and water parks without the full heat of summer.
And one of the biggest highlights for April is the Flower and Garden Festival that’s happening at Epcot. If you’re a gardener you’ll especially love this Festival, and Epcot is at its most gorgeous. The topiaries are throughout the parks as well as many food and beverage booths. This festival is only slightly smaller than the Fall Food and Wine one, so if you prefer Spring it’s a great option.
This week we talked about this topic in my Facebook Live weekly Q&A. If you’d like to see a video version of this, check out the replay below.