When To Visit Disney World in 2015

People often ask, “when is the best time to visit Disney World?” Some days and times of year are better to plan your trip to Walt Disney World. The least crowded times of the year are typically after Labor Day until the week before Thanksgiving, early December, the entire month of January and early February, and late April. That said, nowadays especially in 2015 now that New Fantasyland is complete and ‘Frozen Frenzy’ is at its peak, there really is no “slow season” at Walt Disney World.

Crowds should not be your only consideration when planning when to visit Walt Disney World. There are some great seasonal events, such as the Halloween and Christmas seasons, Food & Wine Festival, runDisney, and other fun events. You may also be constrained as to when you can visit by school schedules, vacation time, and other factors. Add to that weather and various other considerations, and when to visit Walt Disney World isn’t as cut and dry as visiting in late September, early December, or February when crowds are low.

Of course, choosing which days to visit Walt Disney World is just one aspect of planning a trip. To make sure you tackle everything, make sure you read our Guide to Planning a Walt Disney World Trip, which covers all of the essentials.

With that said, let’s take a look at when you should and shouldn’t visit Walt Disney World…


Since Walt Disney World is typically a family vacation destination, crowds typically go hand-in-hand with the school schedules discussed below. In addition to these school-vacation times to avoid if you’re seeking lower crowds, the following is generally true:


  • Easter Week
  • Mid-March through mid-April (Spring Break)
  • June through August (Summer Vacation)
  • Christmas week through Marathon weekend (the first or second weekend in January)

Moderately Busy

  • Mid-May (“early” Summer Vacation)
  • The week before Christmas week

Least Busy

  • Mid-to-late January
  • Early February
  • Late April
  • Shortly before Labor Day until the week before Thanksgiving
  • Early December

Many specific dates within the “Busiest” and “Least Busy” ranges actually fall within the moderately busy range, but, as I mentioned above, creating a calendar of specific crowd conditions is beyond my expertise. The above ranges plus our detailed month by month overviews (see below) should be what you need to plan when to visit, though.

Worth noting is that we’ve seen many times that used to be slower times of the year increase in terms of crowds. The week after New Year’s used to be the slowest of the year at Walt Disney World, but thanks to the rise in popularity of runDisney and the Walt Disney World Marathon, those first two weeks can now be fairly busy.

Likewise, September and October used to be the two slowest months of the year. Well, these months are still slow, but Disney has wised up, and now offers the popular “Free Disney Dining Plan” promotion during these months to spike crowds a bit.

South American tour groups used to invade Walt Disney World during the summer months, leaving many agitated Walt Disney World guests in their wake. Now, these (and other) groups seem to be spread throughout the year from early spring until early fall. These groups, and really any large group, can cause serious headaches if you happen to be in the same line or same park as them, but if you are in a different park, your experience is likely to be radically different. This same sentiment applies equally to youth sporting groups that often visit in early December. Ever been in line behind 100+ high school cheerleaders? If you answered “no,” hope that it never happens. If you answered “yes,” I feel your pain.

This isn’t to say that there’s no way to avoid the crowds anymore–there absolutely is. The slower times of the year are still noticeably slower than the busier times of the year, but in the last few years, Disney has really been aggressive with promotions and scheduling seasonal events during the slowest times of the year to entice people to visit and close the gap. These attempts to close the gap have been successful to a degree in that there is now truly no “dead” time of the year, but the difference in crowds between, for example, mid-September and the week before Christmas is still substantial. 

Through December, 2014 has been a busy year, thanks in part to the popularity of Frozen Fun Live! at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and the opening of Seven Dwarfs Mine Train in the Magic Kingdom.

Obviously, crowds should not be the only consideration on when you visit Walt Disney World. School schedules, weather, special events, and even park hours may all come into play. If you’re looking for a more detailed day-by-day Walt Disney World crowd calendar, check out TouringPlans.com.

School Schedules

If school schedules are something around which you must plan, chances are you’re going to go during one of the busier (or at least not one of the least busy) times of the year, as that’s the paramount consideration for many other families planning trips, too. It may seem like a convenient time to visit during one of the ‘holidays’ your kids have off from school, but it’s important to consider whether other schools have these same times off, as well. Of the traditional school holidays, only Labor Day weekend is a good time to visit.

Because most schools have the week before Christmas until the shortly after New Year’s off, this is an especially crowded time to visit. Likewise, the same goes for President’s Day weekend, Easter week, Memorial Day weekend, the entirety of the Summer, and Thanksgiving week. Although schools do vary their Spring Break schedules, don’t expect the parks to be any less busy because of staggered Spring Breaks. Mid-March until mid-April are also incredibly busy times for the parks because of Spring Breaks. This isn’t to say you shouldn’t visit during these times, as some people don’t have many other options, but if you do go, at least bring your patience with you, or at least a good plan for touring the parks!


If weather is an important consideration, we highly recommend heading down during the months of September, October, early November, late February, March, or April. That is, assuming you want more temperate weather, rather than extreme heat and humidity or more cold weather. If you like your clothes drenched in sweat from high temperatures, May until late-August are the perfect times for you to visit.

Late summer and early fall are the height of hurricane and storm season, so you may want to consult our Visiting Walt Disney World During Storm Season article to navigate the afternoon showers without them putting too much of a damper on your trip.

If you must visit between the late spring through early fall, just remember to pack accordingly, bringing the Frogg Toggs for the humidity…and ponchos for the rain so you don’t spend $179 on them at Walt Disney World. Read our Unique Disney World Packing List for some items you might not otherwise think of taking.

While early December and January are great times to visit to avoid crowds, our experience has been that these are the worst two months in terms of weather. Not only does it get extremely cold (well, relatively speaking–it is Florida after all), but there are substantial swings in temperature. You might find yourself wanting to wear shorts in the morning but by late afternoon it is jeans and sweatshirt weather. As the night rolls on, you might even find yourself wanting to put on a parka. If you travel during these times of year, expect to bring more luggage and make more stops at your room to change clothing (or at least plan on renting a locker to store additional layers of clothing each day). You may be lucky and find relatively consistent temperate weather during these times of year, but it’s best to prepare for the worst so that you don’t have to purchase a bunch of $50 sweatshirts from the Emporium on Main Street. Those $50 sweatshirts can add up quickly! Check out our Winter Packing Tips for Disney post for more insight on what to take on your winter trip to Walt Disney World.

Park Hours

In talking to others, we’ve found that this is the one area that people consider the least when planning their trips, which we think is at least a small mistake. It’s important to note up front that, typically, less busy times of year have shorter park hours and busier times of year have longer park hours. It thus stands to reason that you can basically get the same amount done in a shorter day during a less busy time of year than you could during a busier time of year. However, this isn’t always true. If you work the FastPass system well and/or use a Touring Plan, you have a good chance of getting more done during a busier time of year than during a slow time of year.

This is especially true if you get to the park early and stay late. Sometimes during especially busy times of year, the Magic Kingdom will open at 8 am and will close at 3 am (with Extra Magic Hours). While we’ve taken advantage of these hours without taking a break during the day, we realize some of you are mere mortals. A great strategy to employ during days with operating hours such as these is to get to the park shortly before opening, stay until around 11 am, go back to your resort to nap or relax, and return around dinner time to stay until park close. Regardless of the time of year, the parks will always be fairly slow during the first couple operational hours, and will always be fairly deserted late at night. Ride as much as you can early in the day and use FastPass more as the day wears on.

Similarly, park hours should be taken into account based upon your sleep habits. If you’re a late-to-rise night owl, the Fall and late Winter/early Spring months may be a bad idea, as these entail many early closing times. If you’re not going to get to the parks until noon anyway, your day might be only 7 hours or so. Conversely, if you rise early and generally call it a day by 5 or 7 pm or so, those 3 am closings aren’t going to do you any good. Make sure you check Disney’s park hours calendar when planning your trip. It’s important to note that this calendar is often inaccurate far in advance (Disney posts hours conservatively, then extends them as bookings increase).

Special Events

This is a big one for us, as we’ve been to Walt Disney World so many times that it’s nice to visit during different times of year to keep things varied. Even if it’s your first visit to Walt Disney World, if you have particular interests, you might want to consider planning your trip around these special events. The schedules for these varies from year to year, as does the price (if any), so please consult the respective page for each event when doing your planning and budgeting.

Halloween and Christmas events in the Magic Kingdom are separately ticketed, meaning you can’t use your standard park tickets for them. Unlike regular park tickets, you also can’t purchase these tickets at a discount from Undercover Tourist. Despite this, both events are a ton of fun and well worth experiencing. Christmas at Walt Disney World is actually our favorite time to visit!

We’ve written tips & tricks for almost every seasonal event at Walt Disney World, because most aren’t simply a matter of “show up, have fun.” We encourage you to click these links (they will open in a new tab) and read the guides. Like all things Walt Disney World-related, you’ll have a much better time and see more that the event has to offer if you do some advance planning…



  • Flower & Garden Festival at Epcot – Our Guide to the Flower & Garden Festival. We think this is one of the most underrated events at Walt Disney World. Epcot looks so beautiful this time of year.


  • Star Wars Weekends at Disney’s Hollywood Studios – Read our Guide to Star Wars Weekends. We aren’t the biggest Star Wars fans, but these weekends are a ton of fun, even for non-fans. However, they are PACKED, so you’ll want to read this to develop some strategy for the event.
  • Frozen Summer Fun Live at Disney’s Hollywood Studios – This is special ‘Frozen Fun’ that started in Disney’s Hollywood Studios after Star Wars Weekend concluded, with many of the same types of offerings, except themed to Frozen. Some elements of this event became semi-permanent after the summer ended, and it’s unclear if the full event will return for Summer 2015.


  • Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party at Magic Kingdom – Possibly more than any other special event at Walt Disney World, you need to do advance planning for this. Character meet & greets can form hour-plus long waits, and there’s so much to do that you can’t accomplish everything in one party. We highly recommend reading this guide!
  • Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival – Want to know what to do–and more importantly what NOT to do? Read our guide. It’ll give you an idea of what’s not worth the money, and what is worth doing.

Month by Month Guides

Based on questions we’ve received from readers, we’ve started to expand the general schedule bullet-point information with more in-depth monthly guides that cover everything from anticipated crowds over the course of the month to weather to smaller special events, and more. So far, we have the following months done (click each to open each month in a new browser-tab):

If you’re considering when you want to visit, you should definitely read each of these months, as other variables come into play for planning which we simply cannot account with a basic look at crowds. We will have the rest of the year posted soon.

If you are unsure of when visiting Walt Disney World might be best for you–or need personalized help with any aspect of your trip from hotels to the Disney Dining Plan and more–we  recommend contacting a no fee “Authorized Disney Vacation Planner” (basically, Disney’s term for a travel agent) to get a quote and to help you plan. They get their commission from Disney, so none of the authorized (key word) planners will charge you for booking their trip and helping. Here’s one such recommended Authorized Disney Vacation Planner.

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Hopefully this is a valuable primer to help you choose when you want to visit Walt Disney World. Figuring out when to visit is an important first step, but there’s much more to know. You’ll also want to read our Tips for Saving Money on Walt Disney World Tickets post to buy the cheapest tickets from legitimate sources. To figure out where to stay, our Walt Disney World Hotel Reviews page is a great resource. Want to know where to eat or if the Disney Dining Plan is right for you? Our Walt Disney World Dining Resources will help!

For lots of other Walt Disney World trip planning tips and comprehensive advice, make sure to read our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide.

For updates on Walt Disney World, the latest news, discount information, and tips, sign up for our free newsletter!

Your Thoughts…

Visiting Walt Disney World at the right time to avoid crowds is probably one of the most important aspects of trip planning. What time of year do you generally visit? Do you visit at times when you know crowds will be light, or do you visit when school is out of session? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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94 Responses to “When To Visit Disney World in 2015”

  1. Joy says:

    Hi Tom,

    Myself and my fiance are currently planning our Disneymoon (very excited!) for next August. We use the Fastpass system a lot when we visit DisneyWorld, but we’ve never heard of the fact that you can return after the later time. Just to check, if the Fastpass was for 4.00-5.00, we could return anytime after 5pm? Sorry if this is a silly question!



    • Tom Bricker says:

      Hi Joy,

      As of the date of this post, that is the correct. It’s an unofficial policy, but we have *never* had an issue returning well beyond the window. We usually save FastPasses for the afternoon when crowds are the worst, and try to ride as many attractions via the standby line earlier in the day. The only things that are enforced are the day (can’t use it the next day–although this wasn’t always the case!), and the early return time.

      Hope that helps.


      • Joy Gooding says:

        Thank you that’s brilliant. We’ll definately be making use of this information next August!


      • sueJ says:

        I think this has now changed and you will find they stick to the time stated with perhaps a 5/10 minute leaway unless you have a really good excuse as to why you were late. Too many people were ignoring the time block.

      • Tom Bricker says:

        sueJ is correct. The policy changed as of 2012.

  2. John B says:

    Tom, as usual, you are totally right. I usually go during the low season, as my schedule is flexible and I have a AP (plus, hotels are cheaper!). I’m on the list of people that will sacrifice park hours for fewer crowds. As you alluded to, you can get more done in less time, so longer hours are unnecessary. Also, TouringPlans crowd calendar is a life saver.

    Amazingly, one of my most relaxing WDW vacations was this past April. I went during “spring break” because my AP was about to expire and they were offering 35% of Mods, so I made a quick 3 night trip. Since it was so packed I basically gave up trying to tour commando style and just enjoyed the atmosphere. Despite the throngs of unwashed humanity, it was relaxing because I wasn’t trying to cross everything off my list. I was just happy to be there!

  3. Paul says:

    Hopefully not too silly of a question, the wife and I just booked a week stay from April 13-20, is that considered “late” April? We’re hoping the rush month will begin to taper off at that time. Thanks, and awesome blog!


    • Tom Bricker says:

      Things should begin to taper off after April 14th this year. Based upon how things are going this year, I’d expect it to be moderately busy when you’re there.

  4. Sarah says:

    I just discovered this blog and wanted to add something that has proved beneficial to us and that I haven’t seen mentioned elsewhere. If you are going with kids who are old enough for fireworks but not old enough to stay up too late, early park closing in the off-season can be a blessing. My kids can never make an 11 pm firework show, but they can handle the 8 pm show, or the – can you believe it – 6:30 or 7:00 showing of Fantasmic. They can see that one and still get to bed by 8:30. Otherwise, staying late for a firework show pretty much kills the entire next day for the little ones (very cranky from lack of sleep), which often isn’t worth it. When you can catch a 7:00 showing of the Main Street Electrical Parade in MK followed by Wishes fireworks at 8:00, it is great! Since early closing often goes hand-in-hand with early parade/fireworks, it is something to consider.

    • Becky says:

      Thanks for the tip, Sarah! We’re planning to take our son for the first time and were a little bummed he wouldn’t get to see the Electrical Parade. Sounds like that might be a possibility now.

  5. theresa hagen says:

    We are visiting orlando August 15 to 23. what is the weather and crowd levels like???

  6. Casey says:

    My family and I have been to Disney many times but only ever in the summer. For the first time ever we are considering a trip around the second week of December…aiming to arrive the 8th or 9th and stay for a week. It is our hope that this will mean MUCH smaller crowds than our traditional August visits. However, I am really concerned about the weather. Call me crazy but I don’t know is Disney will seem like our beloved Disney, if it is cold. For some reason sweating our socks off seems to have become part of the tradition…while I don’t need or want it to be blistering, how cold do you think it will be? Will water rides be out of the question? Will it really be jacket-apropriate temperatures as the sun starts to set? I know the temperature drops drastically but in recent years how cold is a Floridian December? All I can find onnline are averages and record highs…but the whole USA seems hotter the past few years. THANK YOU IN ADVANCE!

    • Tracy says:

      Hi Casey!! My family of four always visits WDW in the colder months although that is not always an accurate description. In 2010 and 2011, we went two weeks before Christmas. In 2010, it was COLD the entire week, I mean heavy coat cold. In 2011, I forgot to pack short-sleeved shirts and only took heavy sweatshirts. Boy was that a mistake!! It was in the mid 80’s the whole trip. This has happened in January as well. In 2009, they had a record cold snap the week we were there. I recall feeling so sorry for the little kids who were walking around in their princess dresses and flip flops. :( So, since we drive anyway, I’ve learned to pack everything but the kitchen sink!! It’s a lot, but it seems to be the best thing to do so we are not caught off-guard by those crazy temperature swings. 😉 For the most part, a hoodie is sufficient, but you can’t count on that. The crowds are so much better this time of year. As far as water rides, Splash Mountain is always down in January for it’s yearly maintenance. Usually one water park is still open in the winter. Hope this was of some help to you.

      • Tom Bricker says:

        We traveled during the same general times of year as you and we had similar experiences. In 2010, I packed no coat nor any sweatshirts (it was warm in 2008 at Christmas!) and had to buy warmer clothes. In 2011, I over-compensated and packed clothes that were too warm. This year I packed perfectly, though!!! :)

  7. Megan Dyan says:

    Tom, do you know – or could you point me to any resources – that would estimate the “best” race time to attend – and by best, I mean least crowded?? We’d like to do a RunDisney race, and aren’t particular about which one, and as we have a family and would also be vacationing at that time, we’d like to plan on going during the slowest crowd time. Appreciate your help and LOVE your blog!

  8. Fernando says:

    I just booked a week in Walt Disney World with my family to stay from May 11-18, you know how are the crowds in that time???. Thanks in advance

    • Kristen says:

      I have gone the past 3 years right about that time (we would leave the day after my last college class ended) and stay about 15 days. Towards the end, it would get very crowded but the first week has been fine, “normal” lines not super long or short. Touring Plans lists the crowd level that week last year as 5/6 out of 10. And the week after becomes 9/10. For your week, I’d say peak wait times for the Etickets would be 30-45mins (excluding the outliers like TSM, TT 2.0, Soarin, etc.)

    • Amy says:

      Go to touringplans.com they will tell you exactly what the crowds will be like and what parks to go to (green) what parks to avoid (red) and the middle ground (yellow). Also included is Universal Studios and Island of Adventure. It is GREAT.

      • Tom Bricker says:

        Yep, as stated in the post, we highly recommend TouringPlans.com. For any specific dates you may be considering, we defer to them.

  9. Lori says:

    I have been going to Disney now for we’ll over 30 years. I have noticed lately that there really are no slow times. So I asked and the answer I got from a cast member has me less than thrilled with the state of Disney. We are here now and just found out a week ago that a national dance competition was being held here. No where on Disney’s website is this mentioned. It is already somewhat crowded with the people here from South America. But now add in kids from 100+ high schools and you can see where I am going with this. I asked a cast member today and she told me that Disney has decided to spread out events in order to fill their typically low periods. So what once was considered low crowds by the web sites that track this data, is now moderate to heavy. Perfect example was today. Touring plans had magic kingdom at 3.2. It was more like a 7 to 8 with some rides showing 1 to 1.5 hours. The only day this week that was bearable was Wednesday. Today and yesterday all I saw were mobs of matching jackets everywhere. Point of my story….do some digging to find out who is here at Disney. Subscribe to as many of the sites that give information on Disney and read the newsletters. Disney apparently won’t post any of these events so you need to do it yourself if you really want to find that perfect week.

  10. Chris says:

    We’re looking at Feb 17 – 24 for some last minute travel but REALLY don’t do well with huge crowds. How will this time be do you suspect?

  11. Wendy says:

    I my family and I are off to Disney on 5.7.13 – 14.7.13, what will the crowds be like then??? oh please tell me not too bad!!!!!!! My daughter is turning 21 on 6.7.13 and this is where she want to be and oh boy I dont like huge crowds.

  12. Anthony says:

    My two cents. We are long time wow guests and I recommend the following. Go when you want, make all the plans you want but remain flexible. We have always had our most enjoyable time when we relax and stroll through the park at whatever pace we are in the mood for that day. Even when the kids were young. I always recommend staying on disney property regardless of offsite deals. Take a break during the day back at room, this is a must with little kids. We never get anything other than the park hopper. If you are going for a week or more spend a day just touring the grounds on the many modes of free transportation. The hotels are themed and pleasant to tour and sample different foods. Did I mention its all free to tour the grounds and see the events going on around the parks and still feel the disney magic. I have always been under the mindset the family vacations are supposed to be relaxing and enjoyable not stressful. Yes we tried to hit it all the first time we went to wdw, nowadays we stop and smell the roses and everyone enjoys the trip with or without hitting every ride. WDW does not appear to be going away, pick up where you left off on the next trip. In short look at the graphs, read the comments and the many books, download the apps and make mental notes, but go when your ready, go, relax and make lemonade with whatever Walt throughs your way.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      I like the idea of relaxing and taking it easy if that’s how you want to approach the trip, but it doesn’t make sense to me to put so much effort into planning, but then to only do it half-heartedly. Doing the level of planning you’re suggesting without picking the best/least crowded days to visit doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me.

  13. Saimaeve says:

    We’re planning for the last week of April the first bit of May. Our school district here does not observe a Spring Break recess so I’m simply taking my daughter out of class for a few days. (Horrible, I know! But she’s fine academically and can get away with it)

    I’m hoping the Flower and Garden festival doesn’t drive up the crowds too much that week but I’ve heard it doesn’t)

    I imagine there will be a lot of crowds, but hopefully it’s a bit quieter than say the week of July 4th.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Flower & Garden Festival doesn’t have much of an impact on crowds.

      • Beth says:

        We just came back we were there from April 29-may3rd and despite the unusual amount of rain we had it was a GREAT time to go no lines at the MK (again I don’t know if it was because of the weather)we accomplished everything we planned and more,and the rain didn’t really matter much.the temp was about 80 average just a wonderful time to go.have fun!

  14. Alicia says:

    HI there,

    We are first timers and are planning on going October 6-11. Anyone know what the crowds are like? And when would be a good time to actually book to get the lowest rates? Thanks=)

  15. Lisa says:

    I am really enjoying your blog, as well as your pictures! We are planning our first trip to Disney as a surprise for our five kids. My question concerns when we are going. We plan to arrive Thanksgiving Day and stay til the following Tuesday. I’ve read the Unofficial Guide and I have subscribed to touringplans.com. we are also using a travel agent to book everything….I just can’t get a real good idea of how busy the first few days of our trip will be. Are we crazy to go at that time for our first trip?
    P.S. we are staying at POR..I was thrilled to read your opinion & review on the moderate resorts! Thanks so much for all the tips you give!

    • Tom Bricker says:

      The first couple of days will be pretty busy, but the busiest part of Thanksgiving week will have already passed. We’ve done that weekend before and it hasn’t been too bad. If you’re used to light September crowds, it will be a bit of a change, but otherwise nothing to worry about.

  16. Sara says:

    Hey Tom,

    We will be going on our honeymoon the week before Marathon weekend, are he crows already big then or is it just the weekend itself?

    Thanks for your help!

  17. Brenda says:

    So much great info !
    I have so many questions as I have not been to Disney for 14 years. We will be going with our kids who will be 9 & 5 by November when we are planning on going. We hope to go and be back well before Thanksgiving. Will anything be decorated for Christmas and any holiday events be going on? What are the best tips to use to have a great trip with little ones? How exactly does fast pass work and do you recommend the meal plans ? Thanks in advance! Any info is greatly appreciated:)

  18. Aminta Silva says:

    Hi Tom, We are planning to visit Disney World the last week of August, can you tell me how is the weather by this time of the year?? Thank You….

    • Vanessa says:


      We went last August. Yes, it was hot and humid, but we’ve gone in May and experienced the same thing.

      It rained each day, but usually for about 20-30 minutes. Get some ponchos.

      We had just as much fun in August as in other months. We are going again this August.

  19. Jazmine says:

    Hi, I know this might be a little crazy question ,we r planing on going the 2nd week of july 2013 we r from tx n we never expirence thr tropical weather of Florida we r really looking about going but am holding back cause of the weather i believe i sern that might have thunder storm n i really would hate to be on a rainy vacation i read that its short times of rain can someone tell me how its really like rsiny weather wise, I really don’t know mind crowd s .

  20. elisa says:

    i’m from italy and i’m planning to visit Disney World for two days: 2-3 September. I just found out that the first day of our stay will be the first monday of september and from what i read on the internet it’s labor day in america. Do you think it will be too crowded?

    • Tom Bricker says:

      It will be pretty busy then. If you can visit another time, I’d recommend it, but it’s not a terrible time to visit if you have no other choice.

      • Danielle says:

        I am planning our first trip to WDW which was scheduled for Columbus Day week and I heard the weather and crowds would be great – well I received a call from my agent offering me a deal in sept 14-21 which saved us over $1200 how could I pass that up but being our first time I am concerned with weather at that time! Any advice would be greatly appreciated – hope I didn’t make a mistake thanks Danielle

  21. Amanda says:

    I’m considering a trip to WDW for my family from 12/30/13 thru 1/5/14. I realize that New Year’s Eve and New Year’s will be extremely busy, but will the crowds slack off at all after New Years so that the rest of our time there is somewhat enjoyable? I have two girls, 9 and 4, and this will be their first trip. My next option for taking them would be the week of March 17th as that is my 9 year old’s spring break. We were wanting to surprise them with the trip for Christmas. Also, we were trying to decide on whether to stay at Port Orleans Riverside or Art of Animation. We’ve had both recommended to us…would love to hear your thoughts. Thanks so much!

  22. Tim says:

    Hi Tom, we are from Australia and will be arriving on 2nd May 2014. Not knowing much about your holiday times etc, how will the crowds be at that time next year as I think we will be there in between holiday periods.
    We will be staying at the Art of Animation resort for 10 days with 8 days in the parks, do you think we will get through most things in that time.
    Very much appreciated, Tim.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      You’re correct about being in between holidays. Crowds shouldn’t be too bad (but don’t expect them to be super-light).

      10 days should be plenty of time. No amount of time is enough to do everything, but you’ll be able to do a lot!

  23. Hayley says:

    Hi there we have just booked a surprise trip for the kids on the 7th may 2014 for 2 weeks were are staying on international drive. This is the first time ever going and was looking to plan our trip but have no idea where to start. Will it be extremely busy??? What will the weather be like??
    Would be really grateful to get an idea on how I would even plan our trip I.e opening/ closing times? We have a ticket for all parks do which would be the best park to start At??? Also rides I have a5 year old and a 9 year old (at time of travel) so will rides be ok???
    Please please please help I’m so lost xxx thanks

  24. Terrie says:

    Just found your blog, and it’s very helpful! do you happen to know how the Sunday after Thanksgiving is?

    thank you!

  25. shauna says:

    Hi Tom! My fiance and I were planning on taking our children to disney for christmas next year, but realized thats a very busy time. We were thinking of maybe the first or second week of december instead when kids have returned from thanksgiving break and not yet hit their christmas break. What do u think?? we really would like to go at the least busy time but still able to see the christmas decor and lights. thanks!

  26. Elizabeth says:

    Hi there. We are currently planning our first trip to Disney World. We are arriving on February 1st and departing on February 9th. We have purchased 7 day base tickets. Can you give us some ideas on how much time at each park we should plan for? I am having a hard time deciding what parks to visit twice and what parks to visit once. We have two children aged 7 and 11. Any input is appreciated! Also any suggestions on where to eat. We have purchased the dining plan for our stay as well.

  27. Hannah Lucas says:

    So Thanksgiving week is a good time to go? I’ve been reading everywhere else that its pretty busy.

  28. colette says:

    I want to go around the end of January but it has been years since we have been…worried about the weather for late January 2014. I’ve heard it can be more than just parker weather. Any thoughts/experience with that time frame?

  29. James says:

    We consulted several resources regarding the optimal time to visit the parks and were told that October is a good month with low park activity. However, our first day in Hollywood Studios was an indicator of the traffic for the rest of the week. It was almost unbearable. Fast pass tickets were scooped up pretty quickly, wait times for table service were an hour, non fast pass lanes were averaging an hour, park traffic was HEAVY. Of course the Food and Wine Festival was in motion but I mostly saw families with young children at each park. After discussing out game plan for our 2015 visit, we’re switching seasons and going in February. The last time we went to Disney was in early April and park activity was low. I’m beginning to think predicted activity is becoming more like a crap shoot.

    Mind you, we still had a good time. Much luck to you folks on your next visit!

    • Tom Bricker says:

      This October has been insanely busy for some odd reason (locals seem to be attributing it to the weather…I’m not sure). In the past, October has been a great time to go. We’ll continue to monitor to see how crowd trends change.

      Thanks for the feedback.

    • Tammi says:

      I agree with you that predicted activity is a crap shoot. I went to WDW the end of October in 2012 which was supposed to be a low crowd time. Turns out it was midterm break in England. I swear the entire country of England was in the parks. So, the next time I went for the beginning of February 2014, which is supposed to be the lowest crowds. Turns out the entire country of Brazil was there for their summer vacation (plus a bunch of dance teams and several quinceanera groups–what a nightmare!) I have come to the conclusion that Disney is definitely all about making the most money possible and is heavily marketing overseas. I am giving it another shot with end of September/beginning of October 2014. We’ll see. Might be my last trip. Lately the experience just has not been nearly as good as it used to be.

  30. Michelle says:

    We also went in October this year, same week as we went last year, but it was crazy packed! Every day. Every park. It was surprisingly hotter than last year as well. We still had an amazing time, but it was definately busier! Than last year.

  31. Jenny says:

    Hi, my family and my friend’s family are going to disney world on thanksgiving week next year, what weather and crowd levels should we expect?

  32. Stephen says:

    I was planning a trip to WDW, can anyone please tell me what the crowds are like mid-Feb, specifically the 16-22? I read above someplace that this time is pretty good time, crowds are not bad. This is school break time for me here in NYC, I’m not sure about other parts of the country. I will have a 4 yr old and a 16 yr old. Sounds like it is best to buy tickets in advance, not at the park when you get there. Thank you, I will appreciate your feedback. Stephen

  33. Risqot Shehu says:


    I learnt a lot from going through your write up. I live in Nigeria and we are planning a lifetime vacation trip for our Children ages 8, 7 and 2. We are looking at the 2nd week in December 2014. Please could you give me a summary on the best room to stay on site, the type of rides , the things to do and how to get better deal on tickets and above all where to buy the tickets.

    Thank you as I look forward to your response.


    • Brighton says:

      Hi there! I just recently found out about my WDW trip with my family. My sister has been to Disney 7 times, and she by FAR loves the All-Star Sports resort! Most of the Disney rides are family-friendly. And if it’s your kid’s first time at Disney, then when you check into your Disney resort, tell the person who checks you in. They will receive free complimentary buttons that say ”1st visit!”. Google is your best friend when it comes to finding out things to do in Disney. I’d suggest you tour all the resorts though, it’s very fun.Of course I don’t know how she got her tickets, but she got a great deal on them. Have fun on your Disney vacation!

    • Tee says:

      Hi. I took my family to WDW in dec. 2012. We stayed on the monorail. This worked out great since my youngest was 3. Being on monorail gave us quick access to MK and Epcot. Also for those times he fell asleep in stroller, we could just roll him into the car, whereas you have to take him out of stroller for buses. It also made it easier to go back to hotel for midday rests. The Polynesian is my favorite but there is some construction going on there which I don’t think will be completed by then. You could check into that. the contemporary may be a better choice and it usually is less expensive.we are Vacation Club members so we go every year now. In fact we just got back from a trip a couple days ago. But back to Dec. the kids went in the pool our first day there. It was a bit too chilly for me but temperature was low 70’s. However that did not last long. The weather became cold, rainy and damp. We had ponchos but not the warm clothes for underneath. We spent a fortune on sweatshirts and even bought 2 blankets for the fantasia show to snuggle up under. Although Christmastime was beautiful and we still enjoyed ourselves, I am not sure we’ll go in Dec. again. I rather enjoy the heat instead.
      At a minimum you need to bring a moderately warm jacket and a rain poncho for everyone. A pair of pants may be good also. We only had shorts. If you tend to feel the cold more, then you will need to up that minimum. Keep in mind though, layers are your best bet because the temperature can fluctuate dramatically. We could live with a little chill on our legs as long as we were warm on top. Also a couple of the days we just wore shorts and tees so you will need some of those as well. Good luck and enjoy. There is magic there all year long!

  34. Mary says:

    My 32 yr old daughter is autistic(high functioning) & bipolar,is qualified as disabled. Do they have any special rates for disabled people ? Also is Nov.10-15th a good time to visit. She is not physically handicapped, but mental issues.

  35. Stephanie says:

    We are planning on 3/17-24 this year. Do you think this will be a very busy time or moderate?

  36. MrsM says:

    We took our first July trip this past year. We have three kids in school and had to work around that. I’ve been to Disney many times, usually in October. I was expecting the lines to be horrible but they weren’t at all. We only get base tickets and I knew our kids wouldn’t be in for too long of a day so we never went to the park with extra magic hours. The kids got to see everything they wanted. We used Fastpasses but didn’t maximize their potential the way some people do. We didn’t wait in a standby line that was more than 40min but most were under 25. I qualify for a GAC but with fastpasses and the standby wait times I never felt the need to use it.

    If we had be using Fastpass+ I’m not sure we could have done anywhere near as much. We will be using Fastpass+ on our next trip but if I didn’t qualify for Disney’s disability service I wouldn’t be happy about it.

  37. Nancy says:

    Hi Tom,
    My husband and I visited Disney World for Christmas in 2012. We were there from Dec. 28 through Jan.2. It was VERY busy, and COLD. The first thing we did was buy more sweatshirts to put over the sweatshirts we already had on. I about froze. The crowd was huge, but I think it was well worth seeing the Christmas lights and Christmas parade. We’ll go again, but at a less busy times.

  38. Chris says:

    Hey Tom,

    Ever sense we have been dating for three months my girlfriend and I have been visiting Disney World once a year for going on our third year now, we have visited in June and had a blast because we were up and at the parks at 10 and stayed till 2am every day without leaving. The second year we went in early February and had a lot of fun but found the weather a little like a roller coaster. This year we are planning our visit from 8/17-8/27 and I was wondering what the weather is like? We don’t mind a thunderstorm here or there but I was looking around and was getting a little worried about hurricanes? I know anything can happen and on vacation it is best to just role with it but I am just wondering if it is a common thing that time of the year in Disney World to have issues at the park with hurricanes? I know that even if you say it’s not it could still happen but I am just wondering how likely it is that it will?

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Hurricanes aren’t common (although that is hurricane season), but storms certainly are. You could just have a couple afternoon showers, but you could also have 8-hour downpours.

  39. Jessica Smith says:

    Hello, currently the active military discounts expire at the end of September. Do you have any idea if they will be extended or new discounts put into place? My family is looking to go the first week of December.

  40. Tracey says:

    We are planning a trip for family of 4 the week of June 8- June 14, 2014 – how bad are the crowds usually during the first part of June? Thanks.

  41. Justin says:

    My wife, mother, father and my 4-year old son will be going this weekend for his first trip and mine in at least 25 years. We want to enjoy ourselves and let him see the magic I remember. I have been known to get overly stressed at times and I don’t want to make that the case for this special trip. We are going for 2 days, 4/4 and 4/5. Any tips for me?

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  43. Sharon says:

    I am planning on visiting in March of 2016 for my 50th birthday. I am looking at the first week of March and I was wondering if that’s a good time to go or is it too close to spring break? I want to go the first full week of March and hope it won’t be too busy then. Does anyone know?

  44. Lauren says:

    Hi Tom

    Thanks so much for your site and insight!

    I am from South Africa and am planning a disney world holiday for my 10 yr old niece. We want to come in early Dec 2015 – need to save for a while as the rand / dollar exchange is crazy!

    There are quite a few questions I have but will prioritise :)
    – Are all the rides are operational at that time?
    – besides sea world and universal studios, are there any other sights that we should consider outside of disney world?
    – can we get the multiday park hopper even if we don’t stay in the “bubble”?

    Waiting in anticipation,


  45. Danielle says:

    I am planning our first family vacation to WDW we were scheduled to go Columbus Day week which I heard was a great time to visit regarding crowds and weather but my travel agent offered us a deal for sept 14-21 which saved us $1500 so of course we couldn’t pass this up but I am concerned with weather regarding hurricane season and chances if it raining all day everyday at this time of year. Any information would be appreciated as it being the first visit and unknown – hope I didn’t make a mistake by changing my date.


  46. Husna says:

    Hi, my name is Husna and I am from England.

    My husband and I are planning to take our 3 kids (age between 5-8yrs)to Orlando for 12 days in mid-August. We are thinking to buy 5-6 days hopper ticket for Disney World and 2 days base ticket for Universal Studio.It’s our first time to Orlando, so We don’t want to use all our days to the parks as we want to visit other place as well.

    I would be grateful if you can advice me if we are making the right choice.

    Kind regards

  47. Laura Walter says:


    We are planning to visit family for Thanksgiving in Orlando this year and wanted to go to Disney World with our kids. We were thinking Thanksgiving Day or day after. Are we crazy? Will it be insanely crowded?


    • Mark T says:


      We are going the week of Thanksgiving to WDW. I have seen some sites that say it will not be very busy. The Disney travel people also say that they do not think it will be busy. I hope they are correct on this because my child & I like to quickly go from park to park when we feel like riding certain rides. We do not like to wait in long lines so I hope that we can ride our favorite attractions repeatedly. We can’t wait to see all of the XMAS decorations. Another bonus is that I do not have to make any special deals with my ex-wife to trade time just so I can go on vacation when I want to with my family! I look forward to relaxing and having fun at WDW. WDW is the only place where I can go on vacation and be able to leave all of my troubles or problems at the door to have fun! I believe that I can relax like this because I trust that Disney staff will take care of me and will do whatever it takes to make my vacation magical. Maybe I will see you there.

      I do not work for Disney in any capacity, this is my personal opinion.


  48. Mel says:

    Is it possible to visit WDW and see both Halloween and Christmas decorations? We would love to catch the Halloween party and Christmas parade in our visit.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Yes, to a degree. If you start your trip on October 31, 2015 and stay for about 10 days, you’ll see Christmas decorations, and might even be able to attend the first Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. Depends on when the first Christmas party is in 2015.

  49. Stephanie says:

    Mid-May is our favorite time to go. We love the weather, the Flower and Garden Festival and our little Jedi’s love Star Wars Weekends. But considering that our children are in school, it’s the most practical time as well. Testing is finished and their just coasting at that point, they never even have make up work :)

  50. Beau says:

    Hi Tom,

    Love your blog. My husband and I want to do a 2 week trip either in mid to late September or beginning to mid May. I have been in May before and had great weather and medium crowds. Could you reccomend which month is better all around.weather and crowds ect ?

  51. Turner T. says:


    Does WDW usually run a 30% off resort room deal during the slower November season like they do during the slower Spring months? I am looking to travel November 12-16, 2015 and plan on staying at the Contemporary Resort. Also, if we book our room directly through Disney, and a later discounted price comes up on the same room also through Disney, can we contact Disney and have them apply that discount to my account?

    Ps – Love the blog! Incredibly informative.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Yes to the discount, and yes to applying it later (assuming it’s valid at your resort for your dates, and there’s openings on the discount). You might consider going through a Disney Authorized Vacation Planner to handle that for you and make sure the discount gets applied.

  52. Daniel says:

    My wife and 2 kids, age 10 and 7, went the week after Labor Day, Sept 8-12 in 2014 and we had a blast. The only wait time longer than 20 minutes for a ride was the Seven Dwarfs train ride. And it wasn’t that bad because of some of the interactive things to do on the way to the ride. Everything else was 10-15 minutes, tops. At one point, we rode space mountain back to back to back, just walking up the front of the line. We spent 3 days at Magic Kingdom, 1 in Epcot and 1 in Hollywood Studios. Every ride we enjoyed going on we rode multiple times without issue. Fast passes were readily available so if one ride we really liked took 20 minutes, we would do the ride and then turnaround and use the fast pass. School is in full swing so the crowds are at a minimum and the kids could catch up on any school work they missed.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Totally agree–Labor Day can be a great time to visit, which is actually sort of surprising when you think about it, given that it’s a holiday week. Thanks for passing along your experience! :)

  53. Jen says:

    My husband and 5 year old daughter just came back from Disney World – we went from January 26th to the 31st. I have to say the weather was fine! Mid to high 60’s each day – our last day it hit 72 actually – and the crowds were really managable. Being from upstate NY the 60 degree days felt like spring and there was no hint of Christmas stuff and to be honest we aren’t waterpark people so having that closed didn’t affect us at all. I think end of January can be a great time to visit – it does get colder at night to be sure but if you are from somewhere up North a 48-50 degree night still feels pretty mild. But if your main concern is having fewer people in the park then January might be a good time to go. Just wanted to give some feedback about a great January outing! Thanks Tom – and fyi – love the blog!

  54. Preeti says:


    We’re goung to be at WDW for 2 days between 27 th and 30 th April. Mostly 28 th and 30 th…planning to alt between Universal n Disney… Going by the calender, it says least busy….. Will that be so?
    Coming from India we know hot and humid….but what’s it like typically at that time? Been researching on the rates, seems like the 2 day hopper is a good one and cheapest on the disneyworld official site. Am i right ? Are the water parks worth while add ons?

    • Tom Bricker says:

      April can be pretty humid, but not nearly as bad as summer. It’ll probably be nothing to you.

      Yes, buying the 2-day ticket from Disney directly is the way to go. I think the water parks are a worthwhile add-on, but it depends on how much you enjoy that type of experience. Have fun!

  55. disney4memommy says:

    We are planning to go June 5 – 14 and are using the Fastpass+ for the first time. Is it better to use the 3 passes early in the morning and add one after that and wait in lines later? Or is it better to save the 3 passes for the afternoon and wait in lines in the morning? We have been many times but haven’t been in 2 years and are trying to wrap our heads around the new Fastpass+.


  56. MS says:

    Hi Tom,
    Keep up the good work! We are heading down from May 8th to the 13th and I have 2 questions:
    1. Is this considered slow to average season or does the high season officially kick-off.
    2. I understand each ride is different based on popularity but how long is the average wait for a ride?

  57. Jose says:

    I am planning to go from august 30 to 5 september. I have been trying to find when do school go back in hours but have not been lucky. Any recomendations for this week. I may also consider 8 – 15 september…but this may not be a choice because of work

    What would you recommend


  1. Visiting Disney World in December 2014 - Disney Tourist Blog - […] is that the beginning of December is still a good month to visit for low crowds (check out our When To Visit …

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