When is the Cheapest Time to Go to Disney World?

By |2024-02-29T16:02:33-05:00February 15th, 2024|Budgeting for Disney, Disney World Tips|

Planning a trip to Walt Disney World can be expensive, with the cost of tickets, hotels, food, and more really adding up. That’s why it’s crucial to identify the most affordable times of year to visit Disney World – especially if you’re a family trying to stick to a budget.

The guide for 2024 focuses on navigating Disney’s pricing to help you find the best times for an enjoyable yet economical visit. Drawing from personal experiences and detailed research, I aim to share valuable insights to assist you in choosing the ideal times for your Disney vacation.

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Cheapest Times to Go to Disney World in 2024

There are certain times of the year when visiting Disney World is more affordable, even if resort and ticket pricing don’t always align. Here are the top four cheapest times to go to Disney World in 2024.

  • Late Winter (January 2 – February 15, 2024, excluding MLK weekend)

Typically, the period from January through mid-February is the most inexpensive time to visit Disney World throughout the year. This season comes after the holidays, which brings a quieter atmosphere and cooler weather. Additionally, you can save a lot on hotels and park tickets during these months. As the crowds are the smallest of the year, it’s an ideal time for those who want to explore the parks at a leisurely pace without burning a hole in their pockets.

  • Late Summer to Early Fall (August 18 – October 3, 2024, excluding Labor Day weekend)

Visitors looking for budget-friendly options will find this time of year to offer a great balance of enjoyable weather and reasonable costs. When my wife and I were dating, we preferred going right after Labor Day, as September is one of the cheapest months to visit Disney World. However, now that we have kids, this timeframe doesn’t work as well because of their school commitments.

  • Early Spring (April 6 – May 23, 2024, excluding Easter)

After the spring break, the number of visitors at Disney World decreases. The resulting period is ideal for enjoying the parks with fewer people and at moderate costs. Additionally, the weather during early spring is usually delightful, and visitors can attend the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival without any additional charge.

  • Early December (December 1 – December 5, 2024)

While not as cheap as other periods, early December presents a unique chance to enjoy Disney’s holiday decorations at lower prices than the peak holiday season. It’s a magical time to visit, offering a taste of festive cheer with relatively lower expenses.

Peak Dates to Avoid in 2024

To ensure your Disney vacation is as affordable as it is memorable, it’s crucial to also know which dates to steer clear of. Here are the peak times in 2024 when Disney World sees the highest prices:

  • January 1st: New Years Day
  • January 13th – 15th: Martin Luther King Jr. Weekend
  • February 17th – 25th: Presidents Day Week
  • April 5th – 14th: Easter/Spring Break
  • May 24th – 27th: Memorial Day Weekend
  • July 4th – 7th: Independence Day Week
  • August 30th – Sept 2nd: Labor Day Weekend
  • November 23rd – 30th: Thanksgiving Week
  • December 20th – January 1st: Christmas & New Years Holidays

These dates are often associated with higher prices and larger crowds, which can cause issues with hotel and dining availability and longer lines for attractions. For families, especially those with school-aged children, navigating around school holidays while avoiding these peak times can be a challenge, but not impossible.

Understanding Crowds and Pricing

The relationship between crowd levels and pricing at Disney World is essential for budget planning.

The cheapest visit times often align with the least crowded periods, typically when schools are in session and major holidays have passed. Lower demand prompts Disney to offer more attractive rates for both park tickets and hotel stays.

Conversely, prices rise during peak visitation periods—like summer, Christmas, and Spring Break—due to increased demand. Recognizing this pattern can help you choose the best visit times, balancing cost savings with the benefit of shorter wait times and less crowded parks.

For families like mine, with two school-aged children, the challenge is finding a balance between seizing those unbeatable Disney World deals and adhering to school commitments. We often find ourselves torn between the temptation of visiting during the low-priced seasons and the importance of not having our kids miss valuable school days.

This dilemma has led us to creatively explore the “shoulder seasons” and make the most of long weekends or minor school breaks. By doing so, we aim to strike a compromise that minimizes classroom absence while still benefiting from reduced crowd levels and somewhat lower costs.

Weekdays vs. Weekends

Planning a budget-friendly trip to Disney World requires knowing when prices drop. The best days to visit Disney World for cheaper rates are Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. These days usually have fewer people in the parks due to school and work schedules, prompting Disney to lower prices to attract guests. Conversely, prices increase on Fridays and Saturdays when the weekend draws in more visitors. Holidays and school breaks are the most expensive times to visit, even if they fall on weekdays.

My wife and I are hesitant to take our kids out of school for an extended period of time. However, we sometimes make an exception for a mid-week Disney trip, allowing for a few days off. This compromise helps us take advantage of lower rates and thinner crowds, striking a balance between our budget and the kids’ education. Avoiding the busiest times not only saves us money but also enhances our experience and makes our Disney visits more magical and relaxed.

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. With our Disney Crowd Calendar and the help of an expert Disney travel agency like The Vacationeer, you’ll be able to narrow down the exact days that work best for your family and budget.

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.

Graph showing the price of Disney World theme park tickets in 2024

Graph showing the price of Disney World theme park tickets in 2024

Graph showing ticket prices and seasonality for Walt Disney World in 2025

Graph showing the price of Disney World theme park tickets in 2025

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 in 2024 or $119 in 2025 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’s latest promotions include free dining and 35% off stays at select Disney resorts when you stay nights or longer. Additionally, there are military and Florida Resident Discounts.  Contact a Disney travel specialist for assistance with planning your visit.

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.

Graph showing starting rates for a standard room at Disney's All Star Sports Resort across all of 2024.

Graph showing starting rates for a standard room at Disney’s All Star Sports Resort across all of 2024.

Graph showing starting prices for hotel rooms at Disney World in 2025

Graph showing starting rates for a standard room at Disney’s All Star Sports Resort across all of 2025.

The cheapest time to go to Disney World and book a room at a Disney World resort hotel in 2024 are:

  • January 2nd – February 7th (Mondays-Wednesdays significantly cheaper)
  • April 6 – May 23 (Mondays-Wednesdays significantly cheaper)
  • August 16th – October 3rd (Mondays-Wednesdays significantly cheaper)
  • October and November (except weekends, Halloween & Thanksgiving Week)

These dates are among the cheapest to stay at a Disney World hotel in 2024. 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 $133 on January 3rd, 2024; the same room costs $305 on December 25th, 2024 through January 1st, 2025.

An Outer Building Theme Park View room at the Grand Floridian ranges costs $964 on January 3, 2024, and $1721 on December 25th, 2024 – January 1st, 2025.

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 vacation.

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. On peak days, we’ve seen prices as high as $39!

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.

The Vacationeer Can Help you Find the Cheapest Dates for your Disney World Vacation

We hope that the information provided in this post has helped you identify the most affordable time of the year to visit Disney World. However, please remember that you don’t have to plan your trip alone. If you require any assistance in planning your Disney vacation, you can contact a Disney World planning expert for free.

We would highly recommend The Vacationeer, an Earmarked Diamond-level Authorized Disney Vacation Planner agency. To get a free, no-obligation cost quote for your Disney Vacation, please click the link below!

Additionally, our month-by-month guides for Disney World are great resources to help you plan your affordable vacation. They offer detailed information on events, pricing trends, crowd sizes, weather conditions, and new attractions for every month. Discover the ideal month for your Disney vacation by exploring our comprehensive guides for other months of the year.

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About the Author:

From the moment I first experienced the magic of Disney as a child, I've been hooked, and that love has only grown stronger over the years. Now, I have the incredible opportunity to share that enchantment with my wife, Jaimie, and our children, Ben and Ava, as we create new Disney memories together. I'm truly blessed to combine my passion for Disney with my love for writing by contributing to MagicGuides.com, where I can help others turn their Disney dreams into reality by sharing my family's firsthand experiences from the parks.

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