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The Orlando area is one of the most visited tourist spots in the world. As a Central Florida native, I’m no stranger to the crowds, tourists, chaos, entertainment, and kids. Central Florida is awesome and I love my [coastal] hometown. I’m thrilled that people from all over the world come to visit the beauty of Florida and channel their inner child to experience all of the theme parks. But with millions of people visiting every year, is there ever a good time to visit Disney World?
The Worst Times to Visit Disney World
Updated for 2019 Dates!
Let’s start with the times you absolutely want to avoid unless there’s simply not another option (because even going during the worst times is better than not going at all!)
The last two weeks of December
- Those weeks are festive, fun, beautiful, and typically feature much cooler temperatures, but Disney is completely over-crowded. It’s not uncommon for Magic Kingdom to reach capacity once or twice during Christmas week.
- Alternate Option: If possible, visit sometime after Thanksgiving weekend, but before the third weekend of December. Back in college, I would go to Magic Kingdom on Wednesdays in early December and would literally walk right onto rides.
- Even more than the holidays, we completely avoid Disney World during the summer. I get it. If you have children in school you’re probably pretty bummed to read this, but not only are the crowds at all-time highs, but it’s HOT. Extreme heat, humidity, long lines, and massive crowds make for irritable tourists and miserable days.
- Pro-Tip: If you must visit during the summer months, don’t be scared away by rain. Florida experiences afternoon thunderstorms pretty often during the summer and the parks tend to clear out when it pours. Luckily, these storms can disappear pretty quickly. Stick around and wait it out. You’ll be happy you did.
Spring Break + National Holidays
- Because travelers are coming from all over the world, the Spring Break crowds are typically pretty constant from mid-March to mid-April. If you insist on revolving your vacation dates around the school schedule, Spring Break might be the most enjoyable time as the weather isn’t quite as hot as summer and the crowds aren’t quite as thick.
- National holidays like Easter, 4th of July, Labor Day, etc. are always packed. Pick a different weekend, if you can.
The Best Times to Visit Disney World
First of all, always go on a weekday over the weekend, if possible. However, most of us cannot skip around the parks on any given Tuesday, but if you can take the time off from work, go for it!
But guess what? I’m an annual passholder and I live less than 90 minutes from the Happiest Place on Earth, but I simply can’t go on weekdays that often. My husband gets a whopping 10 days off per year and we save those for the adventures beyond our “backyard”. That means we go on Friday nights, Saturdays, and Sundays – a lot. As any good Disney AP, we use our passes as often as possible. I think we visited Disney World close to 30 times (maybe more?!) in 2017. We’ve been there during the worst crowds and on some of the best days.
Month By Month Guide
While this isn’t a specific guide for any particular year, it’s one you can loosely use when planning a Disney vacation any year. See below for our favorite weeks throughout the year!
Avoid the Disney Marathon Weekend and the weekend around Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The end of the month (typically 20th – 31st) are some of the smallest crowds.
TWF FAVORITE: End of January (ex: January 22 – 31)
The first two weeks are some of the best weeks to visit, but crowds pick up around President’s Day and the Princess Half Marathon weekend.
TWF FAVORITE: February 1 – 13
Spring Break begins this month and spreads throughout April. Keep an eye on when Easter weekend is for the year you’re visiting. *Epcot’s Flower & Garden Festival is usually March-May.
Typically between Spring Break and Easter, early in the month is packed. Mid-April and late April might be your best bet. The Star Wars Half Marathon will increase the crowds a little, too.
The beginning to middle of May starts to get much hotter in Central Florida, but it can be a great time to visit with smaller crowds. I think it’s one of the most under-rated months to go because we’ve literally walked onto rides on an early May trip.
TWF FAVORITE: Second week of May (ex: May 3 – 10, 2019)
Summer crowds begin, but aren’t at their worst yet.
Summer crowds are at their worst around 4th of July weekend. We avoid the month of July.
Summer crowds start to dissipate towards the end of the month. This is usually the hottest month of the year.
After Labor Day weekend, September can be one of the best months to visit!
TWF FAVORITE: Mid-late September (ex: September 16 – 22, 2018 or September 9 – 30, 2019)
The very first few days of October are the best of the month. Fall can be a wonderful time in Florida, but Halloween festivities and Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival make the weekends very busy.
2018 Food & Wine Festival: August 30 – November 12, 2018
The Wine & Dine Half Marathon is really popular this month. Pick a weekend between the Half Marathon and Thanksgiving, or go the week right after Thanksgiving.
TWF FAVORITE: November 5 – 10, 2018 or November 13 – 22, 2019 (Thanksgiving falls at the very end of the month in 2019).
Crowds at the beginning of the month are never as bad as the two weeks around Christmas. It really is a magical time of year at Disney World, so make sure you get there at least once during the holiday season!
TWF FAVORITE: Beginning of December (ex: December 1 – 8, 2018 or December 4 – 11, 2019) *You’ll still experience moderate crowds, but the holidays are totally worth it!
Want more Disney?! Check out our Magic Kingdom proposal! Spoiler – it was in a commercial! 😉
Or check out this 2018 Guide to Disney World!
When do you plan to visit Disney World?!