When is the Cheapest Time to Go to Disney World?

By |2023-07-19T19:43:32-04:00December 27th, 2022|Budgeting for Disney, Disney World Tips|

The biggest drawback to a Disney World vacation is the cost. Travel, tickets, and hotel rooms are all expensive. That’s why it’s important to know if there are less expensive times to go to Walt Disney World.

When considering both ticket prices and hotel prices, Early January through Presidents’ Day weekend is the cheapest time to go to Disney World. The next cheapest time to visit Disney World would be late August through early September and non-holiday weekdays during October, November, and December.

Let’s examine the least expensive dates for a vacation in 2023 and why these season dates are cheaper.

The most Expensive Dates and Time to visit Disney World in 2023

No one likes to pay more than they have to for a trip. Disney World prices fluctuate throughout the year, peaking in summer and the holidays, so it’s a good idea to know when these dates are so you’ll avoid the high rates and increases in prices.

Here are some of the most expensive dates to visit Disney World in 2023:

  • 1/1  (New Year’s)
  • 1/13 – 1/16 (MLK Holiday Weekend)
  • 2/18 – 2/26 (Week of Presidents Day)
  • 4/1 – 4/16 (Easter/Spring Break)
  • 5/26 – 5/29 (Memorial Day Weekend)
  • 7/1 – 7/9 (July 4th Week)
  • 9/1 – 9/4 (Labor Day weekend)
  • 11/18 – 11/26 (Thanksgiving Week)
  • 12/16 – 12/31 (Christmas Holiday)

Again, these are the dates to avoid in 2023 if you are looking for the cheapest prices when you visit Disney World.

With prices being highest during the times when most families are best-able to travel, it’s no surprise that a study found many families are actually choosing to go into debt to visit Disney World.

If you don’t want to give up major parts of your trip just to avoid debt, it pays to be savvy about when you travel.

Disney World is Cheapest to Visit when there are Fewer Crowds

As you begin to plan a Disney trip, the biggest consideration is cost. You will want to find the cheapest time to go visit. However, there are other factors to consider, including crowds when you visit Walt Disney World.

The cheapest time to go to Disney World is during the least desirable times of the year, such as most of January and February. This is normally when Disney’s weather is cooler, or there’s nothing to draw people to the park (i.e., no holiday festivals).  It’s also the time of year when people are busy with work or school, so there are more discounts and opportunities to save money on your trip.

Crowded weeks usually have the highest ticket and hotel prices at Disney World. Prices and tickets are more expensive during the summer.

Before you can book your Walt Disney World trip, you must first determine what time of the year works best for everyone going on your trip. This decision will be based on when you and your kids are able to get time off from work or school to go on a leisure vacation and visit Walt Disney World.

Another consideration when visiting is the weather. If you hate the heat and humidity, a summer month may not be the best time to go. Winter isn’t the best time to go if you love the pools and water parks. The other seasons work best for visiting Walt Disney World, in my opinion. Of course, demand for tickets is also higher during the nicer seasons of the year.

Next, you must consider the crowds at Walt Disney World. Busy times at the park translate into long lines at the rides and more competition for dining, Lightning Lane (formerly FastPass), and theme park reservations. Busy times will also result in higher prices and demand for tickets.

Cheapest Time and Prices for Disney Theme Park Tickets

On October 16, 2018, Disney changed its ticket pricing so that all theme park tickets were priced according to the specific dates the tickets would be used. On December 8, 2022, prices were again adjusted so that each park was priced differently from one another (as opposed to all four parks being the same price on the same date). With these latest changes, the cheapest time to go to Walt Disney World is on a scant few weekdays from late August through late September, followed by the colder season of the year, such as late January and February.

This surge-pricing model was an attempt to distribute the crowds evenly throughout the year. Disney had been luring guests with discounts on hotel rates during the “off-season” for years, so this is a natural extension of that demand-based pricing model that was already in place for Walt Disney World hotels.

The date-based pricing model for tickets is easy to figure out. The least popular dates have the least expensive tickets, while the busiest days have the highest theme park ticket prices.

A graph showing the starting price of Disney World Tickets for 2023

Starting price for a 1-day Walt Disney World theme park ticket in 2023. Exact price varies by park.

You will find the cheapest Disney theme park tickets for a very specific period of time: Mondays-Thursdays from late August through late September (starting at $109 for a ticket to Animal Kingdom — a bit higher for the other parks). After that, the cheapest times are after New Years’ through until Spring Break (minus MLK and President’s Day holidays). That’s when tickets are in the $130s. Non-weekend and non-holiday dates in the Spring and late Summer – Early Autumn are your next best bet for the cheapest prices and to save money. Then you can find less expensive tickets after Halloween through the first half of December (excluding Thanksgiving). If price is your primary concern, you’ll want to completely avoid the weeks of Thanksgiving and Christmas. That’s when tickets top out as high as $159 at Animal Kingdom, $179 at EPCOT and Hollywood Studios. and 189 for a one-day ticket to Magic Kingdom.

You can also keep an eye out for special promotions. For example, Disney launched a new ticket promotion during the COVID-19 pandemic — Disney World 4-Park Magic tickets allowing Guests to see all four theme parks (one per day) for just $356 and up. Current promotion change from time to time, so please contact a Disney travel specialist for assistance with planning your visit.

See our Disney World Crowd Calendar for more specifics on the crowds.

Cheapest Time to Stay at Disney World Resort Hotel

I recommend staying at an on-property Disney resort. You get access to extra time in the parks (formerly known as Extra Magic Hours), priority dining reservations, and earlier access to Genie+ and Lightning Lane (formerly FastPass) selections — plus you get to wake up inside World Disney World and don’t have to travel off-property each day. The one drawback is that Walt Disney World Resort hotels tend to be more expensive than off-property hotels. That said, Disney Value Resorts are still quite affordable and the cheapest in-park option.

The hotel you choose – and the dates you select – will impact how cheap your vacation ends up being.

Like ticket prices, the prices at Disney World resort hotels fluctuate throughout the year, and they are priced higher during busier times and lower during slower times. That said, ticket rates and prices do not all move in the same way. See our Cheapest Hotels at Disney World for the most affordable options for your visit.

It’s a challenge to time the absolute cheapest tickets and rates because Disney World offers special promotions and deals every so often.

The nightly rates and prices are almost always cheaper from Monday through Wednesday night — so if you want to save, those are the nights to visit Walt Disney World. Fridays and Saturday nights are often the most expensive.

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

All Star Sports Resort – Standard Room – 2023 Base Rate – Does not include taxes/fees

The cheapest time to go to Disney World and book a room at a Disney World resort hotel in the year of  2023 are:

  • January 2nd – February 8th (Mondays-Wednesdays significantly cheaper)
  • August 21st – September 6th (Mondays-Wednesdays significantly cheaper)
  • April 17 – May 24; Oct 23th – December 7th (except weekends & Thanksgiving Week)

These dates are among the cheapest to stay at a Disney World hotel in 2023. Check with The Vacationeer to find the best rates for your visit.

The time of year you choose to stay has a major impact on the price you pay. For example, one night in a Standard room at All Star Sports ranges costs $113 on January 3rd, 2023; the same room costs $255 on December 25th, 2023.  An Outer Building Theme Park View room at the Grand Floridian ranges 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.

The general takeaway from this article is that the cheapest time to go to Disney World is when kids are traditionally in school, especially during the winter season.

If you want a recommendation on when to visit based on crowds, cost, and weather, check out my post on the Best Times To Visit Disney World here.

Cheapest Time for Priority Ride Access and Other Expenses

In addition to your hotel and theme park tickets, there’s plenty more to account for when budgeting your trip.  Most of these prices are fixed throughout the year; when you go doesn’t really affect the cost.

For example, parking at Disney World costs the same at each theme park every day of the year.

Food costs don’t really change by the season (though you can sometimes save a bit by choosing to do your table service “sit down” meals at lunch instead of dinner). And souvenirs aren’t subject to any seasonal price swings, either. Those mouse ears cost the same whether you buy them during a January or a June Disney vacaation.

One Disney World offering that does have variable pricing, though, is the ability to pay a bit of money to skip the lines at some of the more popular attractions.  Disney offers two paid options that help you skip the line: Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lane access.

Genie+ costs vary day by day, depending on demand and the park chosen.  You can generally expect to spend between $15-$30 per person per day for the service, which allows you to skip the lines at multiple attractions.

Individual Lightning Lane, which allows expedited access to the most popular ride at each park, also varies in cost based on demand. The cost usually falls between $10-$20 per person, per ride — but it can occasionally cost a few dollars more or less than that.

Unlike Hotel Rooms and Theme Park tickets, there’s no handy calendar to look at to determine which days will be cheaper or costlier for Genie+ and Lightning Lane. But, given that the cost is based on demand, you can make an educated guess. The days with higher ticket costs and hotel rates, both of which are also based on demand, will likely have higher prices for priority attraction access, too.

Enjoy your Trip!

We’re still in a period of adjustment following COVID-19, and Disney World continues to adjust its pricing strategy for both its hotels and theme park tickets.  But even with all the changes, some of the same rules apply.  If the schools are out, the crowds (and higher prices) are in.  If you’re able to visit during a time when you can avoid the crowds, you’ll also be able to avoid the worst of the prices.  The cheapest tickets and the cheapest hotels don’t necessarily line up during the same days of the year, but you should be able to find a sort of “sweet spot” that works for you.

We hope this post helped you find the cheapest time of the year to go to Disney World!  But remember, you don’t have to do this alone!  If you want completely free help planning your Disney vacation, you can contact a Disney World Planning expert for free!

Contact the Disney Travel Agents at The Vacationeer to get a free, no-obligation cost quote on your Disney Vacation.

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About the Author:

Joshua Powell's love for Disney began with a childhood trip to Disney World and has grown into a shared passion with his wife, Jaimie, and children, Ben and Ava. Together, they create lasting memories infused with Disney magic. As a contributor to MagicGuides.com, Joshua leverages his extensive knowledge and lifelong enthusiasm to help families plan unforgettable Disney vacations.
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