If there’s one thing you can count on seeing in Walt Disney World, it’s crowds of people!
With the promotions Disney offers throughout the year, more people visit the parks during what was previously considered the off season. In recent years, that “off season” has seemed to become more and more elusive! While it’s never a ghost town, there are still a handful of times during the year that you’ll typically see lighter crowds at the most magical place on earth, and we’re here to tell you all about them!
As a general rule, if you want to avoid the biggest crowds at Disney World, do NOT plan your trip around times that you (and likely LOADS of other people) have off work or school. That means holidays, Spring Break, or during summer vacation. Even times that SEEM slow might not be due to large events such as cheerleading competitions. Here are the LEAST crowded times to visit Walt Disney World:
Early January, from about the 5th to Martin Luther King Jr. weekend, is typically a less crowded time at Disney World. You may still have some kids on the tail end of their holiday breaks, but for the most part, they’re back in school. School-age guests just had time off for a week or two, so the odds of seeing droves of families stretching a holiday vacation out or waiting until the days AFTER the big holidays to vacation is somewhat low.
Sometimes Disney even leaves their holiday decorations up a few days into the new year, so if you want that holiday feel without the crowds, this is when to go! EPCOT’s Festival of the Arts will also kick off in January, so you could be there on opening day if you time it right!
Late January, after the long weekend for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, is typically a lighter crowd time in Disney.
Kids are back in school and it’s winter, which means you might actually see some of those rare cold Florida days (which is like… 50 degrees in Orlando). EPCOT’s Festival of the Arts will be in full swing, so you can take advantage of the fun food festival!
Just like January, February is peak winter, so it can be kind of chilly! That is, unless you’re used to sub-zero temps in the winter, then Florida weather should feel warm to you!
The colder weather combined with no federal holidays make early February (before President’s Day) a typically less busy time in Disney World. It’s a great option if you want to visit the parks in moderate weather! Do know that starting in mid-February, Spring Break begins for many schools (plus Valentine’s Day can see an increase in guests), so crowds will start to go up in the latter part of the month.
End of August
School is back in session for most people, meaning waaay fewer families are at Disney! The end of August is a great time to go to the parks, IF you can get past the sweltering Florida heat (it’s no joke!). The thing to remember for families with school-aged children is deciding if you’re OK pulling your kids out of school RIGHT after it starts for a vacation.
We recommend you take advantage of the lighter crowds in late August before Labor Day Weekend! Plus, Disney begins celebrating Halloween in August, so you’ll get to see all the festive decorations and can even go to the new after hours event, BOO Bash, if it returns next year! You also can take advantage of EPCOT’s Food and Wine Festival!
Middle to Late September
Labor Day Weekend will bring BIG crowds to Disney World, but right after the holiday, kids have to get back to school and parents back to work. So, mid to late September is often one of the least crowded times in the parks!
Halloween festivities will be in full swing and the heat won’t be as bad as it was in August (it’s still hot though, I mean, it IS Florida). This is traditionally a great time to get to Disney.
Early to Middle November
After the chaos of Halloween quiets down, Disney World quiets down a bit, too! Early to mid November usually sees fewer crowds as it’s between two major holidays. However, keep in mind that with Disney World’s 50th Anniversary celebration in full swing, November may be more crowded than usual!
There can also be crowds when Veteran’s Day (November 11th) falls on a Monday or Friday, creating a long weekend.
This is the perfect time to check out all of the holiday decorations in Disney World without the crowds. The weather is also usually fabulous in November — not too hot, not too cold — and it’s the end of Hurricane season! You’ve got a small window here before Thanksgiving crowds roll into town though, so time your trip just right!
Those are all of the least crowded times in Walt Disney World! Usually, we would say October is a less busy time to visit Disney, but the resort’s 50th anniversary was on October 1st and is kicking off an 18-month celebration! Some people had trips booked for YEARS to be in the parks during the milestone anniversary. The celebrations combined with the peak Halloween season should lead to large crowd numbers.
Remember, you can also usually count on weekdays to be slightly less crowded than weekends in Disney unless it’s a holiday or Spring Break (locals love Disney World too!). We hope this helps you plan a vacation where you don’t spend the majority of the time waiting in line! Stay tuned to DFB for all of the best tips on planning your Disney World vacation!
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When are you going to Disney World this year? Let us know in the comments!