Best Time to Go to Disney World

We all know that Disney World vacations are memorable and magical. But did you know that the season, month, week, and even day you choose can make a big difference in your in-park experience? In addition, the time period you visit will also have an impact on costs and your ability to make dining and Genie+ reservations. Therefore, the best time to visit Walt Disney World is an important consideration as you book your family vacation.

Deciding when to visit Disney World will depend on variables like crowds, cost, and weather. You should also weigh other aspects like special events, seasonal festivals, and extended park hours. This article highlights the main factors to consider as you plan the best time to visit Disney World. Let’s get started!

 

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Crowds – Best Time to go to Disney World

Walt Disney World is the single most visited vacation resort on the planet. And with an average annual attendance of over 58 million people, you should expect to encounter crowds on any given day of the year. Sorry – this is just a fact. However, there are certain times of the year with fewer crowds. So if you think the best time to go to Disney World is when there are fewer people to contend with, here are a few tips.

When is Disney World the most crowded?

Generally, you can expect the crowds to be higher during school vacation weeks, holidays, weekends, and the summer season. In particular, the crowds swell around February school vacation week, Spring Break, Thanksgiving week, Christmas, and holiday weekends (i.e., MLK, Memorial Day, and Labor Day).

You can also expect the park to be busy right after a new section/land or attraction opens (such as Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge).

When is Disney World the least crowded?

Disney World theme parks are usually less crowded from January 2nd until Presidents’ Day weekend (the third Monday in February), the week following Labor Day until the weekend preceding Thanksgiving week, and the week after Thanksgiving weekend until the weekend before Christmas vacation week.

There are also some lighter non-vacation weeks in the late winter/early spring. But it goes without saying that Disney World is less crowded when families are busy with school and work and more crowded during school breaks, holidays, and weekends.

When is the best time to go to Disney World in 2023?

The least crowded times to go to Disney World in 2023 are:

  • January 9-14
  • January 22 – February 15
  • March 31 – April 8
  • April 17-30 (weekdays only)
  • May 2-19
  • May 24-27
  • June Tuesdays-Fridays (only if you must go during summer)
  • August 22-31
  • September 1 – October 5 Weekdays (except Labor Day)
  • October Weekdays (beginning and end of the month)
  • November Weekdays (not including Thanksgiving week or Wine & Dine Half Marathon)
  • December Weekdays (not including the weeks of Christmas and New Year’s Eve)

The worst time to go to Disney World is during school vacation weeks, weekends, holidays, and the beginning and middle of the summer season.

Disney theme park tickets are sold via a surge pricing model – ticket prices rise daily as the demand increases, and some parks are more expensive than others. Disney insists that this policy was instituted as a mechanism to even out the crowds throughout the year. But despite this new ticketing model, the normal seasonal patterns remain in play for the most part. So you’ll still need to factor in crowd levels when you’re planning your Disney Vacation.

Planning a Disney World trip? Need help figuring out the best time to go?

We highly recommend contacting The Vacationeer!

Their expert Disney travel planners are frequent Disney World visitors themselves, so they know all about juggling schedules and finding the best times to go. They can help you find just the right balance of hotel prices, ticket prices, and crowd levels.

The Vacationeer provides free help planning your Walt Disney World vacation, and they’ll make all your reservations for you!

And best of all, there are no planning fees! Their services are completely free to use!

Plus, you’re never under any obligation to book. So contact them today — there’s nothing to lose!

Weather – Best Seasons to go to Disney World

Best season at Disney World

Florida is known as the sunshine state. But while everyone loves the sun, most people dislike the heat and humidity that often accompany the Florida sun. Rain showers and thunderstorms are commonplace at Disney World during the summer months, and there’s even a remote chance of a hurricane from June through October. Therefore, we recommend you pack an array of cooler and wet clothing items in your luggage because Disney World weather can be unpredictable.

That said, Disney World experiences really great weather for most of the year. It’s rarely cold, and snowstorms are unheard of.

As far as weather is concerned, we think the best time to go to Disney World Resort is during the spring and autumn seasons. Temperatures tend to be warm yet quite comfortable for walking around the park. Humidity levels are lower than in the summer, and the UV index remains relatively safe. And for the record, winter isn’t so bad either. Summer is the only season that is routinely unpleasant because of the heat and humidity.

Spring at Disney World

The Spring season is short, but it’s gorgeous this time of the year. With its vibrant flowers and blooming, aromatic trees, spring is a wonderful season to go to Disney World. Low temperatures range up to around 82°F with moderately low rainfall and relative humidity of around 50%. The sun is strong for at least nine hours per day, giving you plenty of daylight hours to enjoy the park.

Autumn at Disney World

The Autumn season is near perfect at Disney World. It, too, is a short season, but it’s well worth a visit during this stretch between Labor Day and Christmas. Granted, the start of fall may be on the warm and humid side as summer drags on, but the rest of this time frame experiences crisp air, mild to warm temps, and lower rainfall. Visitors will still have up to 8 hours of full sunshine. Then evening and nighttime temperatures often drop enough for a jacket or sweater. It’s good to keep in mind Florida’s hurricane season.

Winter at Disney World

Don’t let the name scare you off because winter isn’t so bad at Disney World. In fact, it has quite a few things going for it. The average high temperatures are typically in the low 70s and rainfall is less common than in other seasons. In addition, humidity is usually around 59% and the evenings cool off considerably. However, winter suffers from a few drawbacks, including fewer daylight hours, less incentive to jump in the pool because of the cooler temperatures, and the park grounds aren’t as lush and beautiful.

Summer at Disney World

Walt Disney World’s summer is its longest season because it extends from May through September. On the surface, it may seem like the perfect time to visit the park. School is out, there are roughly 14 sunlight hours each day, and the theme parks usually have longer hours and more entertainment offerings. But the major downside is the heat. Mid-day temperatures often reach over 90 degrees and some days are even over 100 or 110! High humidity is also a factor, with an average of 61%. Then there’s the rainfall; Disney’s average precipitation of 6.4″ during the summer months, and July and August normally experience 13 days of rainfall. Yet if pools, water parks, longer park hours, and more entertainment are your top priorities, summer may be the best time to visit Disney if you don’t mind the summer crowds.

Cost – Cheapest Time to go to Disney World

Best Month to go to Disney World

When is the Cheapest Time to go to Disney World?

Generally speaking, the cheapest time to go to Disney World is when the park is least crowded. This is often over the winter months and other slow times of the year and during weekdays. Disney World often runs special promotions and discounted vacation packages during these slow times in an effort to entice more visitors. The most expensive time to visit Disney World is over the warmer-weather months, during school vacation weeks, holiday weeks, and weekends, or when Disney is hosting a popular event or festival.

Disney Theme Park Ticket and Hotel Prices

The cost of Disney World vacation packages fluctuates throughout the year. As far as nightly Disney World Resort Hotel pricing goes, the hotel rates increase during peak periods (like school vacations and holidays) and decrease during the slower, off-peak times of the year. This variable pricing policy is also in effect for theme park tickets. As demand for tickets increases, the price of theme park tickets also increases. As a result, more popular parks (or at least parks with smaller capacity and higher demand) cost a bit more than larger parks or those with lower demand. The advantage of this policy is that crowds are more evenly dispersed throughout the year (or that’s Disney’s stated reasoning, at least).

Disney World Theme Park Ticket Tiers

When Disney first introduced its variable ticket pricing model, there were three tiers of single-day theme park tickets: value, regular, and peak days. That seems like a distant memory, as tickets now have several price points and vary from park to park.

Starting Price for a 1-day Disney World theme park ticket in 2023

2023 base ticket (one day at one theme park) price ranges:

  • Animal Kingdom: $109-$159
  • EPCOT: $114-$179
  • Hollywood Studios: $124-$179
  • Magic Kingdom: $124-$189

Pick your days wisely, and you will save money! It’s always best to go to Disney World when there are fewer crowds. You usually pay less for theme park tickets and hotel stays, and have shorter lines.

Multi-day theme park tickets work differently than single-day tickets. With multi-day tickets, the more days you purchase, the less you will pay per day.

2023 multi-day ticket (one park per day) prices:

  • 2-Day Ticket: $112+ per day
  • 3-Day Ticket: $114+ per day
  • 4-Day Ticket: $114+ per day
  • 5-Day Ticket: $99+ per day
  • 6-Day Ticket: $85+ per day
  • 7-Day Ticket: $75+ per day
  • 8-Day Ticket: $70+ per day
  • 9-Day Ticket: $65+ per day
  • 10-Day Ticket: $60+ per day

You might notice that the per-day pricing drops significantly at the five-day mark.

Of course, dining and lodging costs will greatly add to your overall expenses. So an extended stay – just to spend less per day on tickets – is not a money-saving strategy. However, it’s important to note this theme park ticket policy because most people spend more than a single day at Disney parks.

If you can afford it, we recommend Visiting Disney World for an entire week and experiencing at least one day at each theme park. There is so much to see and do!

Disney World Ticket Prices for Children

One thing that hasn’t changed is the rate for children under 3 years old. They are admitted for free into any of the four theme parks and two water parks. Children ages 3 – 9 pay a slightly reduced rate (typically about $5 less than the adult prices). Kids 10 and up pay the normal adult prices. We should also point out that most Disney World restaurants offer a children’s menu with lower prices.

Disney World Hotel Prices

There are more than two dozen official Disney resort hotels on the property. Walt Disney World Resorts are categorized into three tiers: Value, Moderate, and Deluxe. Disney Value Resorts are the least expensive tier, followed by Disney Moderate Resorts as the middle tier, and Disney Deluxe Resorts as the most exclusive and costly.

Like theme park tickets, hotel prices vary based on the time of year. With so many variables in play — room type, location within the resort, location of the resort itself, view from the room, amenities, time of year, and even day of the week — it’s very difficult to provide a single price range for a stay at a Disney Resort Hotel. But the same general rules we give for tickets apply to hotels, too; if it’s a more popular time of year, hotel prices will be higher.

2023 Hotel Price Graph - All Star Sports - Standard Room Base Rate

All Star Sports Resort – Standard Room – 2023 Base Rate

The graph above shows sample starting prices for a stay in a Standard Room at All Star Sports (a Disney Value Resort). Those regular spikes you see represent increased prices around every weekend of the year. You can also see that the prices in general are higher during the more popular times of year and lower during the less-crowded times. You’ll pay $113 on January 3rd, 2023; the same room costs $255 on December 25th, 2023.

This pricing model is generally in place at all the Disney Resorts. An Outer Building Theme Park View room at the Grand Floridian (a Disney Deluxe resort) costs $827 on January 3 and $1,449 on December 25. You can literally save hundreds of dollars per night just by changing your dates; even changing from a weekend to a weekday might save you between $50 and $100.

Perks of Staying at Disney Resort Hotels

Staying at any one of Disney’s hotels is more convenient because of the free Disney World transportation to and from the parks. It’s also more cost-effective when you consider all of the extra perks you will receive, and you’ll be about to make your dining and Individual Lightning Lane reservations before non-Disney guests. You can also create a Disney payment plan to pay off your trip in installments.

There are tons of non-Disney resort hotels in the Orlando area. Most of them are adequate and cheaper than many of Disney’s offerings. However, when you add up all of the perks offered to Disney Resort guests, we think the benefits greatly outweigh the extra cost. Stay at a Disney World Resort and be close to the action! See our Disney World Resorts Comparison page for suggestions.

 

Confused about Prices? The Vacationeer Can Help!

Holiday Festivals and Seasonal Events

when to go to disney world

For many people, the best time to go to Disney World is during the holiday season. This is the time of year when the park dazzles with decorations, and there is holiday cheer in the air. Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party kicks things off in August – October. Then Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party takes over for November and December. Popular non-holiday events include the extensive Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival and the adult-friendly Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. Let’s look at what each month offers at Disney World.

January

January may be the quietest month of the year at Disney World because the holiday vacation crowds are gone, and cool temperatures keep people away. The high temperatures only reach 70 degrees during January. If you don’t mind the frosty early mornings and chilly evening temperatures – and the fact that at least one of Disney’s water parks might be closed – then January may be the best time to go to Disney World. The pools are still heated, and the cheaper off-season rates and shorter lines make them worthy of your consideration.

January events include:

February

With the exception of Presidents’ Day week, February is another slow month at Disney World. And like January, at least one of Disney’s two water parks usually remains closed during this time. In addition, off-peak pricing is in effect for non-holiday weeks. If crowds are a major concern, then February is a decent choice so long as you avoid the school vacation week (Presidents’ Day week). February might lack some of the beauty and excitement that other months at the park have — but it’s also a favorite month for locals precisely because of lower crowds and cooler weather.

February events include:

March

March experiences heavier crowds because of Spring Break, Bike Week, and Epcot’s Flower and Garden Festival. However, the weather begins to rise in March, and the water parks re-open during the first half of the month.

March events include:

April 

April is characterized by heavier Spring break crowds and milder temperatures. Spring Break season and the Easter holiday are especially popular times to visit Disney World, so we would avoid these periods if possible. Temperatures rise to the mid-80s, and the flowers and trees are in full-bloom mode.

April events include:

May

Crowds moderate during May because the spring break season is over, and there are no major holidays or school vacations. Although it’s spring and the flowers are still in full bloom, the weather feels more like summer, with temps reaching into the 90s. Thunderstorms are common occurrences during the afternoon.

May events include:

  • EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival

June

The summer season kicks off in June. While the first half of the month sees fewer crowds, the latter half experiences heavy traffic as students are off on summer break. Single-day ticket prices increase as the crowds swell, but the parks have extended hours and more shows and activities to even out the lines. June has long days of sunshine and hot weather, so come prepared with your sunscreen. A great time of the year to visit the water parks! (See our Blizzard Beach vs. Typhoon Lagoon page)

June events include:

  • EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival

July

Most people associate July with family vacations, so it’s no surprise that it is Disney’s peak month. Florida is sizzling hot during July, and temperatures can reach 100+ during the afternoon with lots of humidity. Rain and thunderstorms are also common. The good news is that the theme parks have extended hours. So you may want to hit the air-conditioned attractions, eat your meals, or head back to the pool during the hottest times of the day while experiencing the main attractions during the mornings and early evenings. Prices are typically higher during the summer months, so don’t expect to find any deep discounts.

July events include:

August

The Disney World weather can reach extremes during August, the hottest month of the year. You can beat the afternoon heat by seeking shelter at air-conditioned attractions and shows, restaurants, AMC movie theatre (Disney Springs), water parks, and Disney resort pools. Crowds are heavy for most of August, but the parks do thin out (a little) as kids return to school towards the second half of the month. However, Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and EPCOT International Food and Wine Festival help to draw visitors during the latter half of the month. Like July, it’s a hot, humid, wet, and crowded time to go to Disney World.

August events include:

  • Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party begins in mid-August

  • EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival

September

Early September is still hot, but temperatures do moderate slightly as the month wears on. While it is the peak of hurricane season, storms usually don’t cause major impacts to central Florida. The latter half of September is one of the best times to go to Disney World because the weather is decent, and lines are manageable since most kids are back to school. Hotel rates and park tickets are also lower. In addition, EPCOT’s Food and Wine Festival and Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party are in full swing. September is a great time to visit Disney World!

September events include:

  • Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party

  • EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival

October

The afternoons are still hot, but the evening temperatures drop considerably during the month of October. Disney’s parks are decorated for autumn, and most evenings showcase Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party events. The EPCOT International Food and Wine Festival is still going strong, and the crowds are moderate. October may be the best month to visit Disney World!

October events include:

  • Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party

  • EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival

November 

November would be an excellent month to visit Disney World if it weren’t for the crowd swell during Thanksgiving week. But if you avoid this week (and weekends around the holiday), you will experience pleasant weather, relatively short lines, and a festive holiday atmosphere. Cast Members are decorating throughout the month, but most of Disney’s Christmas holiday decorations are up by mid-November. Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party kicks off, and guests can enjoy many holiday events during the month.

November events include:

December

Disney’s theme parks are festively decorated, and holiday-themed events happen daily throughout the month. December is a popular time to visit Disney World because most people love the holidays and most children are out on school break. As a result, the beginning of the month experiences slightly lighter crowds, but the latter half of December is among Disney World’s busiest times of the year.

December events include:

  • Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party

  • Epcot International Festival of the Holidays

  • Special New Year’s Eve fireworks displays at Magic Kingdom and EPCOT

Best Times to go to Disney World

Final Thoughts on the Best Time to Visit Walt Disney World

In conclusion, the best time to go to Disney World will depend on your personal preferences. It will depend on what your budget and timing allow. There is no universal “best time to visit Disney World” because everyone’s vacation goals and lifestyle realities are different.

That said, certain times of the year have better weather and fewer crowds. This is quantifiable. Luckily, many of these periods are also less expensive.

We personally view September – Early December (minus Thanksgiving week) as the best time to go to Disney World, followed by the late winter through the short spring season. These periods have favorable Disney World weather and fewer crowds. Just avoid school break weeks, if possible. At the end of the day, you’ll have to make your own determination as to what works best for you.

We would certainly recommend staying at a Disney Resort and checking out at least two of the theme parks. However, you really have to stay at least 3-5 days to get the full Disney experience. And if you can go for a full week – and hit all 4 theme parks (and a water park) – even better!

Hopefully, this information will help you make more informed decisions to get the most enjoyment and value out of your trip. But whatever dates you pick, we are sure you’ll have a magical Disney World vacation!

Enjoy your trip!

Free Help Planning Your Disney World Vacation

As you’ve seen in this article, there’s a LOT to consider when trying to find the best time to visit Disney World. For personalized vacation planning help — all at no additional cost to you — we highly recommend contacting The Vacationeer!

As our pick for the best Disney travel agency out there, The Vacationeer provides a dedicated agent to handle your trip from start to finish. No more waiting on hold with a Disney call center for you! That alone is a prime reason to use a Disney travel agent. Then, consider the fact that they’ll help you find the best price for your vacation, even adding new discounts to your already-booked trip! Finally, add in the fact that their planning help doesn’t cost you a dime. It’s a no-brainer!

So let The Vacationeer handle all of your reservations for you — you won’t regret it!

We hope our Best Time to Visit Disney World has helped you decide the best week for your next vacation.

For more useful Disney World information, please review some additional pages on MagicGuides like our Animal Kingdom RestaurantsBest Magic Kingdom RidesBest Hollywood Studios RidesDisney Travel AgentsDisney World Youtube ChannelsDisney World Map, and Adventures by Disney Reviews articles.

Thanks for reading, and we hope you have a magical Walt Disney World vacation!