I am a huge planner! I plan out activities, lessons, pictures, bills, and so much more. So it is no surprise I put a lot of thought into planning our vacations too!
I’m a big believer that if I plan things well ahead ahead of time they go smother & I can just enjoy the moment with my kids. [[See our Disney World Planning here!]]
BEST Time to Visit Disney World
There are a LOT of factors in choosing when to go on a Disney vacation:
- Do your kids go to school? If so are you going to pull them out or go on a school break?
- Are you a teacher with only certain times you can get off?
- How amount of money do you want to spend? (There are cheaper and more expensive times to go)
- Are you okay with crowds & waiting in long lines?
- Do you like warm weather and lounging at the pool or sweatshirt weather?
As you can see there is a LOT that goes in to finding the perfect time to go to Disney World.
End of August through September
This time of year not only boasts the lowest rates (up to 35% off), but low crowds [think a crowd of 3 on a scale of 1-10]. Plus, it is also the best time of year to snatch some extra special incentives like FREE Disney Dining Offer (these usually start appearing in June).
So what’s the downside? Most families have kids in school plus the weather is usually HOT – around 90 F every day. They get an average of 6” of rain this month, but Florida rain comes down fast and furious and completely goes away quickly.
October continues to have low rates and low crowds (an average of 4 on a scale of 1-10). Many years guests can snatch deals like 30% off rooms or free Disney Dining Plan.
Guests will also enjoy the Halloween decorations throughout the park and can enjoy Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party (read more about that).
The downside with October is that due to the lower crowds and Halloween party the parks often closer early and open later. If you plan your itinerary well making use of evening magic hours you can still be in the park from 9am-9pm or more daily. Once again, families with kids in school will find this time challenging.
Note: Halloween and the days before/after are more crowded, about a 5.
Beginning of November / Beginning of December
The first part of November (2-20) and the first part of December (1-18) continue to offer guests low crowds (average of 4 on a scale of 1-10). Offers for 30% off rooms or free Disney Dining Plan have been offered many years as well.
My favorite part of coming in November and December is seeing all the beautiful Disney Christmas decorations! You will instantly be whisked into the holiday spirit with the seasonal decorations.
Holidays at Disney World
- Magic Kingdom (decorated around Nov 5th; including holiday music & costumes for cast memebers)
- Epcot (holidays around the world and Candlelight Processional do not begin until December)
- Hollywood Studios (Osbourne Spectacle of light is AMAZING and begins in early November; ended in 2015) As of 2018 they are offering Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM!
- Animal Kingdom (nothing much any more; previous parades ended 2014)
- Resort Decorations (each resort is decorated differently and the Grand Floridian has a huge gingerbread house; decorated around Nov 15-20)
- Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is a must see event with special characters, parades, shows, snow on main street, and more!
Once again the down side is many families will have to pull their kids from school this time of year. Although the crowds have historically been low it is not guaranteed and in 2014 the November crowds were more like a 5-6. The weather is cooler and you will be grateful for long pants and a sweatshirt. It was extra chilly on our visit and we were grateful for warm hats too!
End of January / Early February
More and more families seem to be willing to pull their kids for a special Disney vacation this time of year (must be that 1/2 the year is over). So although the crowds are still good compared to the summer, they now average a 7 on a 1-10 scale.
Previously, the chillier weather and lack of holidays kept the crowds reasonable. But with the addition of various marathons, festival of arts, and others this time of year has become more and more popular. Add to the more moderate crowds that you will need to pull kids from school and the chillier weather (high 70-74; lows 45-50) makes the pools not much fun, and no seasonal decorations. No longer one of our picks!
End of April / Early May
This block of time also boasts lower crowds (average of 5 on a 1-10 scale), but with mid range hotel costs.
The weather is wonderful this time of year! You can expect a high of 88 with a low of only 66. Rain is minimal this time of year as well.
But my favorite part of going to Disney in May is the Epcot Flower & Garden Festival (AMAZING!!)
and Star Wars Weekends at Hollywood Studios (a very cool experience if you are a Star Wars fan) the park is becoming a Star Wars park with the addition of Star Wars land in 2019 so there is no one time event anymore.
Summer at Disney World
Summer is a convenient time of year to head to Disney World so you can expect the highest crowds (averaging an 8+ all summer long). Plus with Disney’s new pricing scale the summer is now the most expensive making the price tag on your vacation higher than any other time of year.
But it’s not all bad news. Because of the higher crowds Disney kicks it into high gear!
- Longer Park Hours
- More Parade / Show Times
- Additional Characters Out & About
- Great Weather for Pools / Water Parks
- Rarely any Scheduled Ride Closures
- Some room discounts (usually up to 30% off room rates depending on hotel)
Disney World Planning Tips
- When to take your kids (what is the ‘perfect’ age)
- Planning for your trip (time of year, how long to stay, Disney hotels, and affordability/deals)
- Tidbits (20 tips from the best place to see Mickey to strollers to super cool Disney features you may not know about)
- Dining: My top picks for snacks, quick meals, and reviews on 12 restaurants (including character meals)
- Magic Kingdom
- Animal Kingdom
- Hollywood Studios
- Mickey’s Halloween Party at Disneyland, CA