2018 Disney World Crowd Calendar
Once you have made the decision to book a Walt Disney World vacation, the next step is deciding which time of year to go. Because park attendance fluctuates throughout the year, we have designed a comprehensive (and free) Walt Disney World crowd calendar to help you plan your next trip. This crowd calendar information will help you determine the best time of the year to visit each theme park so you can get the most out of your Disney World vacation.
** FastPass+ Booking starts at 7AM on the date indicated. This date applies to guests staying at all Disney owned and operated resorts, as well as the Disney Swan and Disney Dolphin Hotels. If staying “off property” add 30 days.
*** Dining Reservations become available to book starting at 6AM on the date indicated.
The MagicGuides 2018 Disney World Crowd Calendar not only provides information on crowd sizes, but we have also included updated information regarding the daily hours of operation, average daily temperature ranges for Orlando, Extra Magic Hours, the first day to book FastPass+ reservations, and Disney Dining reservations, as well as special events. Let’s review some background information so that you understand how the MagicGuides Walt Disney World Crowd Calendar is organized.
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What is a Crowd Calendar?
Crowd calendars predict how busy a park will be on any given day of the year. By using data compiled from recent years, Disney crowd calendars determine which theme parks will have the shortest lines and which parks will have the longest lines. While not every traveler has the flexibility to plan their trip around the least crowded dates, crowd calendars can still be a valuable tool to help you to maximize your Disney experience during your visit. Below you’ll find our 2018 Walt Disney World Crowd Calendar infographic. It’s a great way to quickly identify the best times of year to travel to Disney World. Then use our comprehensive crowd calendar above to narrow down which parks to visit on which days.
When is Walt Disney World Least Crowded?
Walt Disney World parks are typically less crowded from January 2nd until just prior to Presidents’ Day week (third Monday in February), the week after Labor Day until just prior to Thanksgiving week, and the week following Thanksgiving weekend until the week prior to Christmas.
When is Walt Disney World Most Crowded?
Walt Disney World parks generally experience their highest attendance around Presidents’ Day week (third week in February), the Spring Break period from mid-March through late April, Memorial Day weekend, Summer (mid-June through Labor Day), Thanksgiving week, and Christmas week through January 1st.
The MagicGuides Disney Crowd Calendar
So now that you have an idea about what crowd calendars are and when Walt Disney World generally sees the most visitors, let’s get more specific. Unlike many other Disney crowd calendars, MagicGuides has created a comprehensive calendar which rates attendance volumes at each of the 4 Disney World theme parks for every day of the calendar year. The MagicGuides Crowd Calendar also lists additional key information to help you – the traveler – plan the best Walt Disney World trip possible.
How the MagicGuides Disney World Crowd Calendar is Organized
Let’s look at how we have set up the MagicGuides 2018 Crowd Calendar.
4 Theme Parks of Walt Disney World
Our crowd calendar provides daily information for each of Disney’s 4 theme parks:
- Animal Kingdom
- Hollywood Studios
- Magic Kingdom
Rating System for the Walt Disney World Crowd Calendar
Our 2018 Disney World Crowd Calendar uses a rating system from 1 to 5 for each of the Walt Disney World theme parks. This information is compiled using historical data from the past several years. While past attendance figures are not completely reflective of future attendance, this information should be used as a guide to help you plan your trip and to give you a sense of what to expect when you arrive at Disney World.
Ratings based on Park Attendance:
1 = Light Crowds (minimal lines)
2 = Below Average Crowds
3 = Average Crowds
4 = Above Average Crowds
5 = Heavy Crowds (long lines)
Orlando, Florida is known for its nice weather. That said, there are some seasonal differences that you may want to take into consideration when booking your Disney vacation. January is typically the coolest month, July is the warmest and wettest, and June has the most sunshine hours.
The MagicGuides Crowd Calendar lists the average temperature range for each day of the calendar year. This will give you an idea of what to expect (and what clothes to pack) when you vacationing at Walt Disney World.
Walt Disney World’s operating hours can be confusing because these vary by season and from park to park. But don’t fret! Our Disney Crowd Calendar helps you navigate through these fluctuations for every day of the year. For your convenience, we have listed the daily opening and closing times for each of the 4 Disney theme parks.
Extra Magic Hours
One of the perks to staying at certain Walt Disney World hotels is the Extra Magic Hours. This benefit allows registered Guests of select Walt Disney World Resort hotels to experience more hours and fewer crowds during non-standard operating hours. Here is how it works:
Each day, Walt Disney World chooses one of its theme parks to open one hour early or remain open up to 2 hours after closing time. In addition, Disney Water Parks offers Extra Magic Hours during select times of the year. There is no additional change for Extra Magic Hours, provided you meet the criteria outlined below.
Guidelines for Extra Magic Hours
- Morning Hours: Guests can arrive up to an hour before the designated park is scheduled to open. Guests are required to show a valid park ticket and Resort ID at the gate (if driving).
- Evening Hours: Guests can remain at the selected Disney theme park for up to 2 hours after standard operating hours. Each member of the party is required to present a Resort ID to participate in evening Extra Magic Hours.
The MagicGuides Crowd Calendar keeps you up to date with the current Extra Magic Hours of operations, as well as with theme park designations. Check back frequently, as this information is subject to change!
Disney’s FastPass+ service is like making a dinner reservation. It allows you reserve access to attractions of your choosing at a specific time of your choosing – and skip the long lines. Each FastPass+ ride has a reservation window that lasts 1 hour. Thus, if you make a FastPass+ reservation to ride for Pirates of the Caribbean at 2 PM, you have until 3 PM to use it. The FastPass+ gives you the flexibility to change a reservation, or even cancel it (with a credit added to your account) if you are running late.
FastPass+ is a complimentary (free) benefit provided with the purchase of any park admission or Annual Pass. Each Walt Disney World ticket holder receives 3 FastPass+ selections for a single park (per day). Once your first 3 FastPasses have been used there is an option to book a 4th FastPass+, but keep in mind availability at this point may be limited.
Once you have purchased you park admission or Annual Pass, you can begin making FastPass+ selections as early as 30 days before you arrive. If you have a Walt Disney World Resort hotel reservation, you can start making your selections up to 60 days before check-in.
Information on the MagicGuides Crowd Calendar lists when FastPass+ reservations begin for your selected dates. Just click on a specific date to see when you should start booking Disney FastPass+ reservations. If you have any questions about FastPass+ selections, feel free to call a Disney travel agent to assist you through this process.
Another unique feature of the MagicGuides Crowd Calendar is the dining reservations reminder. Newbies to Walt Disney World are often surprised by the unavailability of reservations when they get there. It is often impossible to just walk into a full-service restaurant at Walt Disney World and expect to get seated. Therefore, it is imperative to book your reservations well in advance to ensure your spot at as some of Disney’s outstanding dining establishments.
Guests can book dining reservations for Walt Disney World resorts up to 180 days in advance. Certain restaurants are more difficult to book, and traveling at peak times means there will be more demand for full-dining options, so it is important to book as soon as you are able.
The MagicGuides Crowd Calendar lists the specific date you should start booking your Walt Disney World dining reservations.
There are so many reasons to visit Walt Disney World on a normal day of operations, but going during a Disney World special event gives you one more. These events – which include festivals, food, races, concerts, holiday parties, and more – are traditionally held during off-peak times (in the spring and fall). Many of these special events have become quite popular and are reasons themselves to plan a trip to Disney.
The MagicGuides Walt Disney World Crowd Calendar keeps you updated on all the special events happening at Disney. Check back often so you won’t miss out! If you enjoyed our Walt Disney World Crowd Calendar page, be sure to check out our other articles, including the Disney World Planning Timeline, Tips and Tricks, and Secrets pages.
If you need help planning and booking your magical Walt Disney World vacation, contact our friends at The Vacationeer. Their services are always helpful and totally free of charge! Thank you for reading our page, and we hope you have a magical Walt Disney World vacation!