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Wondering when is the BEST time to go to Disney World? We share the insider tips to help you save time and save money.
As a regular to Disney World (with over 1,000 visits). Yep, I did say over 1,000 visits! We get asked a lot of questions from family, friends, and fans. One of the most popular questions we get asked is “when is the best time to visit Disney World?”
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Best Times to Visit Disney World
If you are visiting Disney World for the best prices and least crowded times at the Disney Theme Parks, the answer is easy…September and mid-January. The month of September and mid-January are the best times of the year to visit the Walt Disney World Resort for both discounts and crowd levels.
I know your vacation may not be that simple, so we are going to break down the best time to visit Disney World in more details. Let’s start with my favorite . . . saving money.
Best Prices at Disney World
The best time of year to visit the Disney World Resorts is during value season. The value season runs September, first week and second week of December, and January. Disney Resorts have the lowest prices of the year during these months. This is considered during the Value Season.
A less popular, but perfect time to visit is during the first or second week in December. You can still take advantage of the Christmas decorations, entertainment, and special events (like Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at Magic Kingdom). However, you can save up to 50% off Disney Resort prices compared to the Holiday Season that usually starts on December 24.
Many visitors come to Disney World for special events. There are many amazing special events for the whole family. These are some of our favorite times of the year to visit, too.
One of the most popular special events for adults are runDisney races. These include the Disney Princess Half Marathon, Walt Disney World Marathon, Wine & Dine Half Marathon (for Epcot International Food and Wine Festival), and Star Wars Rival Run. You may plan your whole Disney World vacation around one of these races.
Halloween at Disney World
We love celebrating the Halloween season at Disney World. We always attend Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party at Magic Kingdom. This private event runs 7 PM-midnight on select nights during September and October.
Christmas at Disney World
One of the most popular seasons for a Disney vacation is during Christmas. Each of the Disney Parks and Disney Resorts have special activities and decorations celebrating the season. Another one of our favorite special events at Magic Kingdom is Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. This private event runs 7 PM-midnight on select nights during November and December.
New Year’s Eve at Disney World
The most popular time of year at Disney World is Christmas-New Year. As locals, we try to avoid this time of year (at all cost). It is the busiest time of the year. We know celebrating the New Year is exciting and Disney Parks (around the world) are often televised during New Year’s Eve festivities. If you do want to visit Disney World over New Year’s Eve, book early.
I would even recommend booking a hotel at Bay Lake Tower with a view of Magic Kingdom or a Lagoon View Room at Disney’s Polynesian Resort. You can enjoy the fireworks at midnight without having to fight the crowds. If you do decide you want to visit the Disney Parks, plan on arriving early. Many of the Disney Parks do fill to capacity from Christmas-New Year’s.
Epcot hosts several festivals throughout the year. These festivals are free with your paid admission into Epcot. These festivals include Festival of the Masters, Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival, and Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. If you love art, gardening, or food; you may want to plan your visit around these special events.
Discounts in Orlando
We love Disney World during the off-season season (September, early December, and January). However, we love Orlando, too. You can find some incredible discounts for your family vacation in Orlando on dining, shopping, attractions, hotels, and spa treatments.
In September, the Visit Orlando CVB partners with popular restaurants for Magical Dining Month. You can get a four course meal for a fraction of the price.
You will be surprised how many deals pop up around Orlando in September. It is a great time to visit for discounts.
Slowest Time at the Disney Parks
The value season I mentioned above (January, September, and early December) is also the best time to visit the theme parks. You will be amazed at the low crowds and the shorter wait times in the rides. Many of the rides with only 10-15 minute waits.
The locals and Disney Cast Members bring their family’s to Disney World during these months, since we know there are light crowds.
Even with the shorter lines, be sure to take advantage of the Extra Magic Hours and Disney Genie+ reservations. We still believe that you should avoid waiting in any lines during a vacation.
The best days of the week for visiting the Disney Parks is during the weekday. The prices on park tickets are slightly lower and it is not as busy as the weekends.
In our family, we only have a Weekday Annual Pass that allows us to visit the Disney Parks only on the weekday. This is a slower time to visit the parks.
Some Parks are Less Crowded
Not all of the Disney Parks are super busy, even during the peak season (Christmas-New Year’s). Right now, Disney’s Hollywood Studios is the busiest park. With the opening of Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge, this park is super popular.
Magic Kingdom is the second busiest park. On weekends or during holidays, try to avoid Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Magic Kingdom. You can enjoy a day at your resort or visit a less popular park like Epcot or Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
Watch Out for Weather
September is one of the best months to visit Disney World, but you do have to be prepared for weather issues. The month of September is peak hurricane season. Since Disney World is in the middle of the state, we normally do not have a lot of issues with hurricanes. However, you do have to be prepared for weather issues if you are flying into Orlando.
The airlines will cancel flights if the weather is even slightly bad, which can cause lots of issues with your vacation. This is usually the biggest concern most guests face during a hurricane on a Disney World vacation. If you are visiting in September, be prepared for possible delays or cancellations, depending on the weather.
January is a great time to visit for weather in Florida, but it can also be cool. The weather in January changes year to year, but it is usually cooler. One of the Disney Water Parks (either Disney’s Blizzard Beach or Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon) is always closed for refurbishment in January. You may not want to try swimming in the cooler weather, so visiting in January could certainly have an impact on your trip. We love January, because it is so nice and cool!
Worst Time to go to Disney World
We talked a lot about the best time of year to visit Disney World. Let’s jump into the worst time of year to visit Disney World. These are the times of the year that we try to avoid.
We know you only get a few vacations a year with your kids. I always recommend pulling the kids out of school (if your school allows it) to visit Disney World. However, if you cannot do that you will get stuck visiting during a busier time of year and at a more expensive cost.
One of the best of the worst times of year to visit Disney World is Spring Break. This season runs after Valentine’s Day through the end of Easter. So, this time of year will vary from year to year. If your Spring Break runs early (before Easter) that is a better time to visit. The crowd calendar is much lighter. Just try to avoid visiting Disney World over the Easter holiday. This is usually the busiest times at the parks.
The summer months are always super busy for domestic and international guests visiting Disney World. In addition, it is super hot. Try to avoid the summer months if possible.
The week of Thanksgiving is not the worst time of year to visit. The weather is usually cooler and it is usually a little bit busier. However, if you have to visit during a break we recommend Thanksgiving Week. This is one of the best of the worst times to visit.
We also try to avoid holidays like Memorial Day Weekend, Labor Day, and President’s Day. Many families will take a Walt Disney World vacation over those longer weekend holidays. Just like Thanksgiving and Spring Break, these are not the worst times to visit. You can enjoy more time at the Disney Resort hotels or Disney Springs to avoid the crowds at the Disney Parks. You can still have lots of fun without dealing with the crowds.
When is your favorite time to visit Orlando?