The Best Time to Go To Disney World + FREE Printable 2018-2019 Calendar!

on May 17, 2017

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In this post, I’ll share the best time to go to Disney World along with a handy printable calendar to help you plan your vacation in 2018 – 2019.

Epcot in spring with flowers

Best Time To Go To Disney World: Cost, Crowds, & Weather

The three factors to consider as you plan your visit are cost, crowds, and weather. Since I’m a cheapskate at heart, I’ll start with cost!

The price you’ll pay for a hotel room at Walt Disney World varies wildly depending on the time of year during which you travel. For example, the “rack rate” for a standard room at Disney’s Pop Century Resort fluctuates from $99 to almost $200 throughout the year.

Yep, that same exact room costs 100% more during peak travel season than other times of the year.

So we aren’t just talking about a few extra dollars – we talking about cutting the cost of your lodging almost in half by traveling at off-peak times!

Magic Kingdom train station in fall

The second reason I suggest planning your travel dates carefully is to avoid horrendous crowds at the theme parks.

Nothing ruins a vacation like shuffling through the parks at a snail’s pace surrounded by throngs of frustrated tourists. Or seeing 2+ hour wait times for all of the popular attractions.

The third reason you should plan your travel carefully is the weather.

Don’t underestimate the heat and humidity of central Florida in the summer months!

It can be downright miserable, so I strongly suggest avoiding the summer months if at all possible.

Pool at Disney's All-Star Movies resort

If your vacation plans include pool time, you’ll want to avoid a visit in January or February, when pool days are rare.

Also, traveling to Florida in hurricane season can be dicey, so all but one of my recommended times to visit fall outside of that time of year (roughly June until the end of October).

I’ll give you my four favorite times of year to visit the parks below, but be warned: they all take place when kids are traditionally in school.

Now I will tell you what I told my students and their families if they informed me they would be missing a week of school to visit Disney World (I was a public school teacher for 10 years): Your kids will learn far more during a week at Disney World than they would have in school that week.

Blasphemous, right? But honestly, your kids will get SO MUCH out of a trip to Disney World in terms of new knowledge and life experience.

It is the best possible learning situation for them, so please don’t feel bad or hesitate to take your kids out of school to travel to Disney. Just ignore anyone who says otherwise and send them my way for convincing. 😉

On to my picks for the best dates to go to Disney World – and if you’d rather listen to this information, check out this episode of my podcast on the same subject!

#1 Best Time To Visit Disney World: Early November

Epcot's Spaceship Earth during Food & Wine Festival

My first choice for the best time to visit Disney World is early November.

To me, this time of year has it all… fantastic weather, relatively low crowds, and low room rates.

Plus you’ll catch the tail end of the hugely popular Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, my favorite event at Walt Disney World!

Average highs are around 80 degrees so you can likely still get some time in at the pool and it’s not scorchingly hot at the parks. Hurricane season is almost always over by now.

Crowds aren’t too bad (about 4-5 out of 10) and this time of year is part of the rate category Disney calls “Fall”, which is one of the lower-cost times of year to visit.

For comparison, a standard room at Pop Century costs $110 during the “Fall” season, which is second only to “Value” season in January in terms of affordability.

My source for the best rates on Disney Value Resorts is Orbitz since you can stack Orbitz promo codes ON TOP of any discount Disney has released! Read all about how to save money by booking Disney resorts on Orbitz in this post!

Note: There are a cost increase and surge in crowds associated with the Veteran’s Day long weekend, so avoid those few days if you can. ALSO, November 2019 may coincide with the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, which will lead to a huge surge of crowds and likely surge pricing. 

#2 Best Time To Go To Disney World: End of September

Mickey pumpkin in front of Cinderella's castle

My second choice for the best time to go to Disney World is the last two weeks in September.

I have visited Disney World this week for four out of the last five years for the following reasons:

1) Awesome pool weather (we spend LOTS of time at the pool)
2) Relatively low crowd levels
3) Food & Wine Festival (which began August 31st in 2017) and
4) This is the cheapest time of year to stay at Disney if you are renting DVC points.

Folks sometimes ask me why I prefer this time to October. October brings somewhat heavier crowds thanks to Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween party and peak Food & Wine Crowds, plus slightly higher costs. But overall, October is a great time to visit, too!

We love to rent DVC points this time of year for a stay at Animal Kingdom Lodge, our favorite resort.

We pay around $125/night for a Deluxe Studio Villa which would cost almost $500 if we booked it directly through Disney (read about how you can do this too).

It is pretty hot this time of year, with highs in the upper 80’s, making it sometimes unbearable in the sun.

But as long as you plan for a break in the middle of the day, the heat is manageable (at least for me).

PLUS, Disney usually releases a “Free Dining” offer for this time of year, which can be a great way to save money on a Disney vacation.

If you are looking for more help planning your visit, I suggest getting a free quote from the expert Disney agents at Destinations in Florida. They can help you pick the best resort for your family, book dining reservations, and get your FastPasses, all at no cost to you!

#3 Best Time To Go To Disney World: After Easter Until Memorial Day

Woody in front of Epcot in Spring

Another time of year that I Love to visit Disney World is the period after Easter up until Memorial Day.

The weather is the big draw this time of year. Visiting the warm and tropical lushness of Florida after a cold,

Visiting the warm and tropical lushness of Florida after a cold, gray winter is just completely incredible. Plus no chance of a hurricane ruining your well-laid plans!

Epcot’s Flower & Garden Festival takes place this time of year, adding more color and beauty to your trip. Crowds stay lowish, with averages of 4-5 out of 10 for the whole time period.

In 2018 Easter is pretty early (April 1st), allowing an excellent window to visit with low costs and crowds. Anytime from April 3rd through May 23rd, 2018 should be a great time to visit! I’m already planning a trip for this time next year.

As far as cost goes, this is a slightly more expensive time of year to visit. The rack rate at Pop Century is $122/night, still far less than peak season.

If you want to rent DVC points, I suggest visiting in May as opposed to April for significant savings.

May is part of “Dream Season” which has rates only slightly higher than the two cheapest seasons. You will pay about 30% more in April, so wait for May if you can!

#4 Best Time to Visit Disney World: Late November/Early December

Cinderella Castle with lights during the holidays

My final suggestion for a visit to Walt Disney World is the period right after Thanksgiving through the first week in December.

The main reason for a visit this time of year is to soak up the incredible Disney World holiday magic without paying any more than you would other times of year!

This is one of the most affordable times of year to visit, whether you are booking a resort room with Disney or renting DVC points.

Crowds are around 4 out of 10, though they spike a little on the weekends with locals visiting for the holiday decorations and special events.

The weather starts to get unpredictable this time of year, so you could catch highs in the 70’s or you could need parkas. But as long as you pack for anything, this is such a wonderful time to visit the parks.

As a special treat, get a ticket to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party and spend the whole afternoon and evening at the Magic Kingdom.

Runner-Up Best Time To Go To Disney World: January/Early February

I felt like I had to mention one more time of year to consider for the best time to go to Disney World.

January (after marathon weekend) and early February (up until President’s Day weekend) offer the lowest prices AND lowest crowd levels of the year. You’ll have to contend with “winter” in Florida, which is totally mild of course.

But, if you aren’t concerned with visiting the pool and want to avoid crowds/save money, consider a trip in the first two months of the year! Plus, you’ll get to experience Epcot’s Festival of the Arts, which is included with park admission.

We love the warm weather and special events of the previously mentioned time periods, so we tend to avoid these months.

Below is a calendar with the best time to go to Disney World in 2018-2019 highlighted in green. Click here to view and print your calendar!
The best time to go to Disney World in 2018 and 2019! Get the best dates to visit Walt Disney World based on crowds, cost, and weather. #disneyworld #familytravel

It is also important to note that resort hotel rooms are almost always cheaper Sunday through Thursday night.

If you are planning a 5-night stay and can make it happen with work schedules, go during the week to avoid the additional 10-25% cost increase of Friday and Saturday night stays.

I hope this post gave you some helpful hints for the best time to go to Disney World! Any questions? Please leave a comment below or join the discussion on my free private Facebook group!

Want to learn how to do Disney on a budget? Check out my Disney-only site, The Budget Mouse here!


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    October 29, 2018 at 6:24 pm Reply
  • Randall

    Hello, thanks for the advice. Great article! I am curious why the week of January 6th thru 11th is not recommended. We are taking our daughter for her college graduation, and planned on that week. Any help is appreciated.

    October 24, 2018 at 2:23 pm Reply
    • Leah

      The Disney World marathon events takes place 1/9 thru 1/13 which Brings increased crowds and higher prices. It won’t be nearly as crowded as peak times and crowds are the worst over the weekend. I think 1/6 to 1/11 will be fine.

      October 24, 2018 at 9:23 pm Reply
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    October 20, 2018 at 7:15 am Reply

    HI LEAH! I am from Chile….. yeah! very in the south…. well, we are planning to visit Disney from April 4th to 12nd, but I am reading that you have Spring Breaks in USA… is it going to be to heavy this week?
    Thank you in advance for your help!

    September 30, 2018 at 10:37 pm Reply
    • Leah

      Hi Karen from Chile! Yes, it will be crowded that week. I would definitely suggest using a crowd calendar to pick the best days to visit each park. Get there at least 30 minutes before opening time and use FastPass wisely and you will be ok!

      October 1, 2018 at 7:18 am Reply
  • Sam

    Hi! Great post. Where do you rent your DVC points from? Currently looking to do the same!!

    Thanks 🙂

    September 26, 2018 at 10:58 am Reply
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  • superior cruise

    I must say this is very effective and informative blog post and useful for those who are planning their vacations in the current or upcoming year. Thanks for sharing this post.

    September 12, 2018 at 12:55 am Reply
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  • jessica

    hi, i want to book a holiday end of march 2019.
    I’m from South Africa, so i know nothing about the weather or the holidays.
    is this a good time to go weather and crowd-wise?
    thank you in advance.

    September 1, 2018 at 2:52 am Reply
    • Leah

      Hi Jessica! In 2019 the last week of March will be quite crowded because many US schools are on their one-week “spring break”. The crowds will be at a 9/10. The weather is amazing – about 25 degrees Celsius for the average high and not much rain. P.S. I would have no idea about the weather in South Africa in March either, LOL!

      September 1, 2018 at 6:11 am Reply
  • Joyleen Mainiero

    Hi. i have two kids in college and they wrestle which means our only window of opportunity to go to Disney is July. is there anything you can help or tell me about during this month? best place to stay for older boys? etc. Pro’s and Con’s

    July 30, 2018 at 10:22 am Reply
  • Cassie Naasz

    it may also be added that park hours change DRASTICLY during fall and winter months also!! After planning our trip in December I found out a lot of the parks close as early as 6pm most 8pm !

    July 25, 2018 at 10:09 pm Reply
    • Leah

      This is a great point, Cassie! Yes, Magic Kingdom closes early (7 pm) many nights due to the hard-ticketed events in the Fall and Winter – Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas party. It is a good suggestion to check park hours when planning a trip this time of year!

      July 26, 2018 at 9:17 am Reply
  • Erica

    Thank you for the response! We are going Oct 2019 and wanted to make sure the red dates weren’t overly crowded days. 🙂

    July 14, 2018 at 9:12 pm Reply
  • Erica

    Why are some days in red and some in grey on the Calendars?

    July 14, 2018 at 8:52 pm Reply
    • Leah

      Hi Erica – it looks like the 2019 calendar has Sunday and holidays in red. It doesn’t mean anything in terms of Disney – the days that are highlighted in green are most recommended, regardless of the color of the font. Sorry for the confusion!

      July 14, 2018 at 9:07 pm Reply
  • Emily

    If you visit in September, can you still experience the Halloween event magic (assuming you’re there during the designated date)? I’m planning a 2020 trip (my toddler’s first, she’ll be 5!), and I want to give her all the magic I can. I’ve been told to visit during Halloween, but if I could save a bit (both money and sanity) by going in September, that sounds awesome!

    July 5, 2018 at 7:39 pm Reply
    • Leah

      Hi Emily! If you are referring to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween party, then yes, there are parties starting in September! Also Magic Kingdom is fully decorated for Halloween by the first party date, so even if you don’t get a ticket for the party you’ll still get to see all of the decorations (they are really fun). Here’s more info about the party:

      July 6, 2018 at 6:09 am Reply
  • Emma

    My family have booked a 10 day break in Disney for 17th to 28th May 2019, I am slightly concerned that the crowds are going to be horrendous. I have read so many contradictory opinions on crowds though I don’t know what to believe.
    What are your thoughts please?

    June 28, 2018 at 1:04 pm Reply
    • Leah

      Hi Emma! I think the first part of your vacation will be fantastic. Memorial Day is May 27th in 2019 and with it comes some serious crowds, but nothing like July 4th or Christmas. I’d suggest avoiding Magic Kingdom on the 27th. I’d actually suggest doing all of your Magic Kingdom days early in the trip if you can help it (avoiding Monday and Saturdays) and I think you’ll be fine! Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios would be better for the end of your trip when it’s more crowded.

      June 28, 2018 at 5:23 pm Reply
  • Susan

    I 100% agree, the beginning of November is the best time to go to WDW! Great weather, lower crowds, Epcot Food Festival and Christmas decorations up in the parks. We have been there several different months of the year and most recently May 2018. I would not go in May again. It was hot and humid and the hot afternoons took all the fun out of the parks for me.

    June 26, 2018 at 3:27 pm Reply
  • Tiana Timmons

    My plan is to go on May 21st to 30th of May of next year. It will be a total of 4 adults and 5 kids.
    Any suggestions, my goal is to stay for 12 to 13k total.
    I really want to do both Universal and Disney World.
    9, 9.7,5,and 3 years old. 8 months old as well

    June 26, 2018 at 12:00 am Reply
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  • Shannon

    Hi Leah – this is great information! I am planning a trip for early 2019, but have seen so many conflicting articles on the best time to go. I am thinking some time late Jan – early May. I am somewhat flexible on dates, but I need the weather to be nice (but not too hot/humid) and prefer the crowds to be moderate to low. It will be two adults and 4 kids (13,12,9,8) Can you give me your best suggestion?

    May 23, 2018 at 4:22 pm Reply
    • Leah

      I have two suggestions, Shannon – the first two weeks of February will be cooler (average highs in the low 70s) and crowds of about 4/10, and the first two weeks in May will have about the same crowd level and will be warmer (average highs in the mid 80s). So I guess it depends on how warm is hot to you, LOL. I prefer May because we love to spend some time at the pool every day and it’s generally a little chilly for that in February. Hope that helps!

      May 23, 2018 at 5:18 pm Reply
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  • Michelle

    My family and I are planning on going December 14th-17th this year. Is that a good time and how are the crowds during that time period?

    May 12, 2018 at 10:23 pm Reply
    • Leah

      Hi Michelle! You should have moderate crowds during that time, like a 5 or 6 out of 10. You are leaving just as the holiday madness is gearing up, so that is VERY good! You’ll get to see almost all of the special holiday events during that time without the ridiculous crowds so I think it’s a fantastic time to go. Here’s my post about visiting during the holidays for some tips and tricks:

      May 13, 2018 at 6:11 am Reply
  • Grant A

    Leah, I thought I would share this with someone that would really appreciate it. I travel a lot for my job and each time I travel I stay at Hilton hotels. I save my Hotel points and last May we went to Disney for 7 days and used points and didn’t pay a dime and we are going back in September of this year and doing the exact same thing. So, not staying at a resort is a drawback…BUT…you can’t beat FREE!! Saving all that money on hotels has allowed us to do so much more with character meals, souvenirs, etc.

    May 9, 2018 at 2:19 pm Reply
    • Leah

      That is fantastic, Grant! I love Hilton Honors points, too. What Hilton property did you stay at and did you like it?

      May 10, 2018 at 6:10 am Reply
  • John

    We went to WDW in early May 2017 (1st week) and other than the weekends the crowds were light. Looking to go again in 2019 May again or possibly Feb both wife and I are retired so time wise we are very flexable. Would like to avoid the crowds as much as possible. Would you recommend May again and what days are best to check in and out for 7 or 8 day stay on site

    May 7, 2018 at 7:51 am Reply
    • Leah

      I agree, John, May is a fantastic time to visit! You’ll have fairly low crowds (4/10 or less) for the first few weeks in May, with crowds increasing on the weekend like you noticed. The same is true for the first two weeks of February, with maybe slightly lower crowds during the week. Watch out for President’s Day crowds later in February. So I think either time is great – I personally prefer May because we love to spend time at the pool and its iffy weather for that in May. Any day you check-in during the end of April or first 10 days in May should be fine!

      May 7, 2018 at 8:43 am Reply
  • Josie

    My family and I are planning on going to Disney for the first time but we’re not sure when to go, mostly because my sister and I will both be college students. Looking at when we would have breaks, we’re thinking early October or mid March. Any advice, or suggestions?

    April 22, 2018 at 10:23 am Reply
  • PegP

    If traveling to Disney in September, please know that this is peak hurricane season time. Disney got hit big in Sept 2017 when Hurricane Irma plowed through. And hurricanes have been increasing in number and intensity over the last few years. If you must go in Sept, buy travel insurance!

    We went at the end of October in 2017 and it was great except for Epcot. Crowds were low at the other parks, but unreal at Epcot because of the Food & Wine Festival. We’ll never go there again when that’s on. When a child asks you why Disney is still serving drunk people, it’s time to go back to the resort. We were there for only 2 hours. It was not very family friendly.

    And also know that the 1st week of December is Pop Warner week. I wouldn’t advise staying at a value resort (especially the All Star resorts) during that week. It can get loud and unruly. That’s when we’re going this year, but hoping that it won’t be so noticeable at Saratoga Springs.

    March 31, 2018 at 8:37 pm Reply
    • Leah

      Thanks for sharing, Peg! We go to Disney every September and have been lucky to never have an issue with hurricanes. Last year we lucked out and went a few days after Irma and there was no damage to speak of, but there is always a chance so I agree with you that travel insurance is a great idea!

      Sorry you had a bad experience at Food & Wine. I avoid Epcot on Friday through Sunday during the festival for that reason. It is very different during the week in my experience at least – way less crowded and very little drunkenness.

      And great advice about Pop Warner week. You will not notice it at all at Saratoga. Pop Century doesn’t get the crowds either, just the All-Stars (especially Sports!) just like you said. Thanks again for all of your input!

      April 1, 2018 at 6:59 am Reply
  • Erin

    We are planning our first ever (and probably only) trip for 2019 and I can’t decide between May and September! We are using a friend’s DVC points so we can’t have trip insurance, and I worry about hurricane season/getting lots of rain. But we really want to enjoy a crowd-free trip. Crowds and weather are the most important factors. What would you do?

    March 28, 2018 at 10:42 am Reply
    • Leah

      This is SUCH a good question, Erin! Are you at all interested in Star Wars land? It is more likely to be open by September but no guarantees. If you don’t care much about it either way I would definitely recommend May! The surge in crowds will be tremendous when it opens. Also, the weather is way more reliable in May – not much rain and no hurricanes. It is a great time of year to go, just slightly more expensive than September. Hope that helps!

      March 28, 2018 at 12:45 pm Reply
  • J Riley

    My college student granddaughter and I will be staying at the Old Key West resort from Jan 5-Jan 11, 2019. That is the only week we can go due to her school and work commitments. I just learned that part of our stay will be during the marathon and I am very concerned about how that will impact our time there. Can you tell me what to expect as far as park crowds and bus transportation? I’m scheduled for knee replacements in preparation for this trip so I could be considered a trooper of sorts. I am not a trooper, however, when it comes to fighting big crowds and standing in extra long lines. Should I consider rescheduling for the following year in hopes of missing the marathon?

    March 27, 2018 at 12:03 pm Reply
    • Leah

      Hi there! Honestly I wouldn’t worry much at all about the marathon! The events that cause the biggest disruptions are the marathon and half-marathon and they are on the 12th and 13th when you will already be gone. For the first few days of the event (when you will be there) the crowds at the park won’t be affected much at all and you should have no problem getting around.

      March 28, 2018 at 12:49 pm Reply
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  • Diana

    E went to Disney this past November from the 26 th to the 4 th of December it was so crowded ? ugh after everything we read and heard about crowds that time of year was one of the best it was the worst every park every day was sooo crowded I was so disappointed. The weather was nice tho

    March 7, 2018 at 11:44 am Reply
    • Leah

      So sorry it was more crowded at the parks than you were expecting, Diana. That is a great time of year to visit, but there will always be crowds at Disney World – it is just HOW crowded it will be! What you saw in early December is nothing compared to the insane crowds between Christmas and New years, if that’s any consolation. I think it is becoming more and more important to get to the parks at least 30 minutes before opening and be very strategic about what parks you visit on what days. That really can help with the crowds.

      March 8, 2018 at 7:20 am Reply
  • shannon

    We just took a vacation to Disney Feb. 5-16 this year and it was insanely busy. I purposely planned early February for low crowds but it was packed =( Might do a different time of year next time.

    February 23, 2018 at 9:13 pm Reply
    • Leah

      Hi Shannon! Another reader visited February 1-5 and commented that she experienced light crowds and was even able to cancel some FastPasses. Maybe late January/first week of February is a safer bet. I was at Epcot on Monday, February 12th and I estimate the crowd level was a 3/4 out of 10 which I consider low crowds. Disney definitely is working on spreading out peak crowds throughout the year so I think it’s safe to say most times of year will be at least at this level.

      February 24, 2018 at 5:55 am Reply
  • Joan Fox

    We just got back from a 5 day stay at the Art of Animation Cars resort(Feb 1-5, 2018). This timing was perfect, allowing us to cancel several of our fast passes due to light crowds, with minimal waiting times. Counter meals were also a breeze. Weather was mild, requiring jackets or sweatshirts early AM and evenings, but very pleasant mid day.

    February 15, 2018 at 9:10 pm Reply
    • Leah

      I’m happy to hear you had a great trip, Joan! Glad you experienced light crowds and nice weather. I went about a week after you and had the same experience. February might become one of my new favorite times to visit!

      February 16, 2018 at 1:13 pm Reply
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  • Jessica

    Hello! Thank you for the information it is very helpful. I am planning our trip for the week before thanksgiving. I’m expecting busy parks. However, do you know if the holiday decorations will be up at that time? Would hate to miss that! Thank you so much!

    January 19, 2018 at 7:13 pm Reply
    • Leah

      Hi Jessica! The holiday decorations will definitely be up in the Magic Kingdom since there are Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Parties during your visit! The decorations there are wonderful so I’m glad you get to see them. The other parks are hit or miss. Trees, etc. won’t be up in the resorts at that time. Hope that helps.

      January 20, 2018 at 6:21 am Reply
  • Samantha

    I am planning a trip April 27th- May 5th. Glad to see these are good days to visit.

    November 30, 2017 at 8:16 pm Reply
  • Karen

    Planning a trip Feb. 4-6, we will be at the park Sunday through Tuesday and need advice about what parks to do in what order. Didn’t get a park hopper and want to visit AK, Epcot, and MK. Thanks in advance.

    October 21, 2017 at 4:47 am Reply
    • Leah

      I’d definitely go AK, EP, then MK. Those days look the best and that happens to be the order I prefer anyway!

      October 21, 2017 at 11:56 am Reply
  • Sagan C.

    How does late May look? I’m looking for less crowds because my son is autistic.

    June 6, 2017 at 3:44 am Reply
    • Leah

      Late May is an awesome time to visit if you are looking for lower crowds. Just make sure you are gone by the Thursday before Memorial Day when crowds start to ramp up!

      June 6, 2017 at 6:16 am Reply
  • Dianna Adams

    If planning a WDW family (6 adults 2 year old, 4 year old and a 12 year old) vacation in April or May 2018 when is the best time to book.

    June 2, 2017 at 6:52 pm Reply
  • Lucio

    Hi Leah, thanks for your post, I found it very interesting since your point of view considers weather, crowds and price. My main concern is finding low crowds in the parks. I checked in 4 websites and I found the second half of august and first days of september has moderate to low crowds (and also that fits well with the time we have for vacation), but I don’t find that dates in your recommended times to visit. Could you tell me what is your opinion on visiting disney on late august?
    Thanks a lot.

    March 30, 2017 at 10:35 am Reply
    • Leah

      I think you will find overall low crowd levels in the parks after August 30th and throughout September. The exception would be Labor Day weekend (September 2nd through 4th this year) which will have very high crowds. It will be very hot but if you can handle the heat then its a great time to visit! Thanks for stopping by, Lucio!

      March 30, 2017 at 10:42 am Reply
  • Chrissy van Doorn

    Hi Leah,

    When you stay at a resort, are you able to access all of the pools/public amenities at that resort, or only the ones closest to your room? For example, if we stayed in a Little Mermaid room at the Art of Animation Resort, would we be allowed to swim in The Cozy Cone Pool or the The Big Blue Pool–or would we only be allowed into the Flippin’ Fins Pool?


    March 26, 2017 at 1:23 am Reply
    • Leah

      Hi Chrissy! You can use all of the pools at your resort, regardless of your room location! At some resorts you can even use “sister” resort’s pools, such as you can use any pool at the All Star resorts if you are staying in one, or the pool at Animal Kingdom Lodge Jambo House if you are staying at Kidani Village. I’m actually at an All Star resort right now and can confirm that the sign at the pool says it is for guests of the All Star resorts.

      March 26, 2017 at 5:32 am Reply
      • Chrissy van Doorn

        That’s super helpful–thank you so much! 🙂

        March 26, 2017 at 6:34 pm Reply
  • Norma Cinco

    Thank you for all your great tips. I was wondering if you could give me some advice. I am a teacher and therefore, cannot travel during your recommended dates you provided. This, of course, makes my heart very sad. So, we were planning on Thanksgiving week, what do you think? Also, do you think it’s best for me to go to a travel agency or try to book everything separately and on my own?
    Thank you!

    March 19, 2017 at 3:56 pm Reply
    • Leah

      Hi Norma! I think of all the school breaks, Thanksgiving is the least crowded. Definitely less so than Christmas! Also the weather is usually nice and mild. It really depends on how much time you have to spend learning about all of the aspects of planning a Disney vacation. If you have the time and you like to DIY, then you can likely save money planning yourself. But if you don’t have the time or patience for planning the trip, a travel agent is the way to go! I recommend Destinations in Florida, an established no-cost agency that specializes in Disney travel:

      March 19, 2017 at 4:07 pm Reply
  • Jen

    Give me some good news..March 19-22 and we are staying at one of the other value resorts, that movie one, have you ever been there?

    February 21, 2017 at 4:34 pm Reply
    • Leah

      Yes! All Star Movies is actually my favorite of the All Star resorts! Are you traveling with little ones? The kiddie pool area there is really fun. Be sure to walk around the resort and check out all of the areas, the Toy Story courtyard is fantastic. I think you will encounter moderately high crowds but nothing like Easter week. Be sure to plan your visits to the Magic Kingdom carefully. I generally avoid Saturdays and Mondays there.

      February 22, 2017 at 6:42 am Reply
  • Megan

    My family is going March 2 thru the 8, any idea how this should be?

    January 29, 2017 at 10:54 pm Reply
    • Leah

      Hi Megan! Should be great, especially at the beginning of your trip since it is before most spring break crowds arrive!

      January 30, 2017 at 6:39 am Reply
  • laura

    We’re thinking about going October 8th-12th. I noticed October wasn’t recommended; can you tell me why?

    January 8, 2017 at 8:27 pm Reply
    • Leah

      Hey Laura! October is overall a good time to visit since schools are generally in session. There are higher crowd levels in October than late September and early November due to both Food & Wine Festival and Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween party being in full swing. If you use a crowd calendar to plan your park days carefully you will have a great trip!

      January 8, 2017 at 8:56 pm Reply
  • Sabrina

    I am planning on going either April 29th – May 6th or May 6th – May 13th for my birthday. I’m happy to see that these are highlighted in green! It will be my first time there 🙂

    January 4, 2017 at 9:42 am Reply
    • Leah

      That’s fantastic, Sabrina! After Easter and before school lets out is one of my favorite times to visit! I went the week after Easter last year and it was perfect. Hope you have a great time celebrating your birthday at Disney World.

      January 4, 2017 at 2:59 pm Reply
      • Sabrina

        Thank you so much! I’m happy to hear that and hoping to avoid major crowds to make the most of my trip!

        January 4, 2017 at 5:17 pm Reply
  • Main Street Electrical Parade | Magical Monday Blog Hop #2 -

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    January 2, 2017 at 2:21 pm Reply
  • Suzanne Maldonado

    Hi! Can you tell me what you think the week of 03/19/2017 might look like?? That is the week Im going to WDW for the first time. Im willing to move up a week or so if it will help to go during lower crowd times. TIA

    December 29, 2016 at 12:22 pm Reply
    • Leah

      Hi Suzanne! You are looking at peak pricing at Disney resorts from 3/10 through 4/8. You would save pretty substantial money if you were able to go prior to 3/10, but pool weather can be iffy at the very beginning of March. Crowds will also be higher the second half of March compared to the first half due to spring breaks. The week of March 5th through the 11th looks great for crowds and prices. Hope that helps!

      December 29, 2016 at 3:18 pm Reply
      • Lynn Smith

        I’m going 3/12-18/17. Is this going to be one of those super crowded weeks or can I count on, hopefully, moderate to slightly busy crowds?


        February 6, 2017 at 5:24 pm Reply
        • Leah

          Hi Lynn! I checked out the crowd calendar at Undercover Tourist and it looks pretty busy that week, about a 7/10. I suggest planning which park you will visit on which day using a crowd calendar like I suggest in this post: You can still dodge a lot of the crowds by visiting the least busy park each day! Hope you have a great trip.

          February 6, 2017 at 8:54 pm Reply
  • Justi

    What about the first week in April? Is that a good time

    December 28, 2016 at 3:00 pm Reply
    • Leah

      Hi Justi! It really depends on when Easter falls. This past year (2016) Easter was early, so we went during the first week of April which was AFTER Easter. We had a great time with overall low crowd levels. This upcoming year (2017) Easter is later in April, so it will likely be very busy and pricey the first week in April. Disney bases their prices on anticipated crowd levels, so the most popular times of year (such as the holidays and Easter/spring break) are going to be the most expensive. Hope that helps!

      December 28, 2016 at 3:05 pm Reply
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  • Julie

    Thanks for the great tips! We are planning to go November 12-18th in 2017. Just wondering why November 10-12 and 18 are not included in your green (i.e. “best time” dates)? Is something going on at Disney during that time that we don’t know about?

    October 25, 2016 at 10:52 am Reply
  • Lisa

    My family just returned from our visit this past week (10/15 – 10/21). The weather was perfect mid 80’s and the evenings were gorgeous! It didnt rain once..not the norm for FLA weather. We did dodge the hurricane; however, I did have friends that were there that week and even when the parks closed for the day (which they never do), they said that Disney was more then hospitable and it all worked out fine. For us we were able to spend time at the pool and water park. Blizzard Beach had just closed to start renovations for next year. In fact, the only downside visiting during an off season is that attractions may be closed..but since there is so much to dont even notice! The one pool was closed at our resort as well but we were advised ahead of time. The crowds were fantastic! Of course we worked our fast passes along with the Disney App for wait times and took advantage of the extra magic hours; however, the lines were only long to see the characters. We rode several of the special attractions mutiple times! Many, many years ago my parents would take us the 8th week of the year (February was their timeshare week) and the crowds were similar to what we experienced last week..but no swimming! I will probably always stick to the fall and don’t forget Mickey’s not so scary Halloween Party at Magic Kingdom..the decorations were awesome! I have to first trip was at x-mas break when I was about 12… the only thing I could remember about that trip was standing in line! It was right up there with wanting to slit your wrist! Don’t forget ….not only are the hotel rates higher in peak the-park passes are higher to help swing the crowds. P.S. about missing school….my son is in K…the principal when she signed off on the excused absent with a smiley face…said “I am sure I will sign one of these every year for a vacation?” Yep! ?

    October 24, 2016 at 1:35 am Reply
    • Leah

      I had a HUGE smile on my face reading your comment, Lisa! Thank you so much for sharing your experience at Disney in the fall! It is such an awesome time to visit, isn’t it!?! Where did you stay? So glad you had low crowd levels, I might have to adjust my calendar if I hear this is a pattern in mid-October.

      October 24, 2016 at 6:21 am Reply
  • kendra

    um I need to leave a comment saying the calendar needs updated because the whole calendar is wrong look at January 2017 the 1st starts on Sunday not Saturday so the whole calendar is a day off

    September 21, 2016 at 8:57 pm Reply
    • Leah

      Hi Kendra! The issue is that this calendar starts on Monday instead of Saturday. So while it is correct, it isn’t the usual Sunday through Saturday setup. I’ll look for something easier to read and get it updated. Thanks!

      September 22, 2016 at 5:35 pm Reply
  • Carissa

    Good to know, I wish I had this knowledge about the END of September earlier! I just got back yesterday, we spent the 13th-18th at WDW and the crowds were terrible! Well, terrible by MY standards lol. All the crowd calendars predicted a 2 or 3, lowest of the year for my dates at the parks, and they were more like a 5 or 6! Oh, and the humidity! We still had fun, but man you really have to NARROW down those dates! Thank you!

    September 19, 2016 at 9:18 pm Reply
  • Shelley

    Being East coast Canadians, by the end of January we are sick of winter. We took our dirt Walt Disney vacation in January 2014 and loved it! It was not too busy and not too hot (but much milder than the weather back home)! We went again in January 2016 and have January 2017 planned already!!! For us, it’s the best time to visit ?

    September 18, 2016 at 5:35 pm Reply
  • Heather

    Any recommendations, or follow same reasoning, for Disneyland.

    September 4, 2016 at 10:48 am Reply
    • Leah

      Sorry Heather, I’m not familiar with crowd patterns at Disneyland. I’m hoping to make my first trip there next year!

      September 5, 2016 at 3:42 pm Reply
    • Steph

      I do Disneyland at least once a year (this year I’ll have 4 trips!) My first choice is mid September. The fall decor is up, the weather is not as hot (probably low 80’s) and crowds are not bad mid week. My next choice is end of January-park can be u crowded and only once have we gotten rained on (but it may be too cool for outdoor swimming). I also have enjoyed a trip during the first week of December. Magical decorations and not crowded. I rarely visit on weekends, but even when I did Labor Day weekend and Mother’s Day (Disney half marathon weekends) it wasn’t insanely busy. I’m headed to DLR this weekend, so hopefully even though it’s a weekend, it won’t be too busy. Hotels near the park are always spendy, the best you can get at a decent place is going to be at least $100 (probably more like $149). I’m headed to Disney World the first week of November, so here’s hoping for no hurricanes!

      September 8, 2016 at 12:47 am Reply
      • Leah

        Awesome advice, Steph! Thanks so much for sharing, now I am even more excited to check out Disneyland. The first week in November is my hands down favorite time to visit WDW! Nice choice. 😉

        September 8, 2016 at 9:10 am Reply
  • LauraB

    I totally agree with your best dates! I also would rather swim with sharks than deal with crowds and heat, so my family and I have never visited in the summer. I would love to spend Christmas at Disney World, but never have because of the crowds and prices. About five years ago, before Veteran’s Day crowds were crazy, we went over Veteran’s Day and were at Magic Kingdom when they turned on the holiday lights at the castle for the first time that holiday season. It was magical. We’ve also visited at the end of September and the beginning and end of January. Recently my husband and I went for a few days at the beginning of February. I think it’s the most affordable time and crowds are at their lowest. I am hoping to plan another February trip for he and I in 2017. My daughter and I went in early May and enjoyed the Flower and Garden festival with low crowds. I also totally agree with you that it is worth it to take the kids out of school for a week to go when crowds are low. And I am a teacher!:) The memories you will make as a family and the experience they will get is definitely worth it. Thanks for continuing to give great advice on how to make a Disney World trip affordable!

    August 11, 2016 at 7:01 am Reply
    • Leah

      Thanks so much for sharing your experiences at Disney, Laura! Glad you too have had good trips during these times of year. I really want to get down next spring for Flower & Garden festival at Epcot as I haven’t been to that event in years.

      August 13, 2016 at 1:29 pm Reply
    • Carissa

      Ditto on the sharks! I love January at Disney World, it has been so much nicer to us.

      September 19, 2016 at 9:20 pm Reply
  • Anastasia

    We went September 13-20 in 2015. I loved it! Crowds weren’t bad, and I pretty much walked right up to the Space Mountain ride. Their were some waits, we did a lot of kiddie rides for my 2 year old daughter, I think our longest wait but most enjoyable wait was the Winnie the Pooh ride, thankfully they have tons of activities while you wait. 🙂 Stores weren’t crowded heavily either and Downtown Disney was a dream! I really dislike large crowds full of arrogant people who seem clueless of manners. That being said the most crowded area was main side, we double timed it the castle and the crowd reduced greatly.

    July 30, 2016 at 5:34 pm Reply
    • Leah

      So good to hear, Anastasia! I am heading down for a quick trip September 17-19 so I hope for similar low crowds!

      August 2, 2016 at 3:42 pm Reply
  • Ellen

    Planning my first family Disney trip for next year. Just curious, why not October? I was thinking first 2 weeks of Oct. Would it be worth it to plan for sept or nov? Also: when does the free dining generally run?

    July 20, 2016 at 1:19 pm Reply
    • Leah

      Hi Ellen! The reasons I suggest end of September or November as opposed to October is crowds and availability of Free Dining. It is slightly more crowded in October with both Food & Wine AND Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween party in full swing. But October is still not nearly as crowded as other times – maybe a 5 out of 10. The dates for Free Dining change every year and the offer is typically released in the spring (April/May). For the last two years, most dates in October have been excluded. For example, this year the dates for Free Dining were 8/14-10/1, 11/15-11/21, and 12/10-12/21. It is likely the dates for Free Dining next year will be similar, if Disney does indeed offer the promotion again next year! Hope this helps!

      July 20, 2016 at 3:04 pm Reply
      • Nicole MacFarlane

        hello, just wondering where i would find the info about the free dining. Also do you know when the halloween stuff starts? we were looking to travel in mid october for that particular reason so the kids could enjoy all the halloween things. and one more thing, having only visited disney once briefly is it best to book at an actual disney resort or a condo nearby? any info/tips much appreciated!!

        January 19, 2017 at 8:37 pm Reply
        • Leah

          Hi Nicole! Free Dining for the fall is historically released between March and May. As soon as I hear anything I will be sure to share it here on the blog! The Halloween party usually starts the first week in September on certain days. It isn’t likely that free dining will be offered in October (it hasn’t for several years) but there is a chance there could be some dates in September. I recommend staying on Disney property and just shared a post about this topic here: Thanks for stopping by!

          January 20, 2017 at 7:01 am Reply
  • Monica

    I would have to disagree with the end of September. I’m a Disney travel agent, and I sell a lot of vacation packages during that week. I would recommend arriving the day after Labor Day for a week. I have gone several times during that week, and the crowds are about a 1-2, and the weather is almost perfect! The last week of September/first of October is a lot more crowded.

    June 28, 2016 at 3:39 pm Reply
    • Leah

      Thanks Monica! I’ve never been during those weeks since it is before Food & Wine starts and that is our favorite event of the year. F&W Fest begins a week earlier this year (on September 14th) so we are going to try going during that week this year. Maybe the crowds will be less than we are used to? Thanks again for your input!

      June 29, 2016 at 7:56 am Reply
      • Deanna

        From Cali. Planning a NY/PA road trip next year then Florida on our way home. Which will put us in Florida first week of October. What do you think?

        August 24, 2016 at 10:58 am Reply
        • Leah

          The first week in October is a great time to visit Disney, Deanna. The only reason I don’t suggest October is slightly higher crowd levels than surrounding dates (though the crowds are nothing compared to peak times of year!) and the fact that free dining hasn’t been offered in October lately. The weather will be great though still very hot (highs around 85). Perfect for the pool!

          August 25, 2016 at 3:45 pm Reply
    • Brenna Anderson

      I disagree with mid October it’s too hot I know because I was there last year going in late March through early April next year

      September 6, 2016 at 3:49 pm Reply
      • Leah

        You are right Brenna, it is still pretty darn hot in Florida in mid-October! I bet you will like the weather in late March better.

        September 7, 2016 at 6:08 am Reply
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