Walt Disney World is never cheap, but some times of year are significantly less expensive than peak dates, which can cost over double the off-season. Wondering when it’s cheapest to visit Walt Disney World? This offers a list of days, weeks & seasons in 2024 that have lower prices and crowds! (Updated December 26, 2023.)
As suggested above, “cheapest” is a relative term and not an absolute one. Walt Disney World is an undeniably expensive vacation destination, and the least expensive dates are still priced on par with traveling to Europe, Asia, or many tropical locales. Compounding that is the reality that total trip prices to Walt Disney World are up by thousands of dollars in the last couple of years–and had risen by around 5% per year in the decade before that.
Park tickets, hotels, restaurants, and more at Walt Disney World have all increased dramatically in the last couple of years. While not totally unprecedented, menu and ticket prices increased multiple times last year. First in February, and then again in phases between last October and December. In total, Walt Disney World raised those costs by around 15-20% last year.
That sharp increase doesn’t even take into account all costs, like transportation (airfare, rental cars, rideshare, etc.) or added expenses, such as souvenirs, dining, and more. It also doesn’t factor in the shift from free FastPass to the flat-rate Genie+ to date-based pricing for the line-skipping service. What was once free jumped to $16 per day and now is double that on busier days.
On a positive note, it’s been over a year since across the board price increases at Walt Disney World. While food and souvenirs have gone up in cost and the average daily price of Genie+ is now higher, the normal February price increase did not happen. Some prices did increase in October, but not park tickets. (Meaning there’s a high probability of those going up in February 2024.)
In addition to that, Walt Disney World has gotten more aggressive resort discounts as “revenge travel” has fizzled out, resulting in most resort rates effectively decreasing as compared to the last two years. This is particularly true for travel dates during the second half of the year and first half of 2024. Those who drive or rent cars are the biggest winners, as there’s also no longer an overnight parking fee at on-site hotels.
This is all victory, but arguably a small one if you zoom out. Walt Disney World prices are still shockingly high and surprising to first-timers and those who haven’t visited since 2019 or earlier. We revisited this topic in How Much Does a Walt Disney World Vacation Cost?That was rather eye-opening for many people planning trips for the first time or returning from a hiatus of a few years.
The reader comments to that are equally illuminating, as many reported spending even more than our already high budget ranges on Walt Disney World vacations. Consider this post an indirect “sequel” to that–and one that aims to avoid overspending.
While this doesn’t help you cut costs or trim the fat from your vacation budget, it does aim to help you choose the most economical dates to visit! Similarly, our recent Top 14 Money Saving Tips for Walt Disney World in 2024 offers assistance with reducing your vacation budget by eliminating expenses that do not enhance your trip. In fact, some of that advice actually improves your trip–for example, doing breakfast in your room (saves money and time–plus food court breakfasts generally underwhelm unless you like powdered eggs).
This post is similar in that choosing cheaper dates will generally also improve your trip and can save you money. That’s because the dates with the highest prices are typically busiest, and vice-versa. As a general rule, higher prices do not deter people from visiting or “redistribute” attendance. Crowds are almost always a good proxy for prices–the lower the prices, the lower you can expect attendance to be. Double win!
That’s one of the general “rules” when it comes to the cheapest times to visit Walt Disney World, and there are a few more. Another is that prices go up every single year. These increases take many forms, and are staggered across the calendar. Typically, the cost of snacks, sodas, and other pre-packaged items increases in late January or February and potentially again in September or October. Tickets and parking follow a familiar pattern; the last several years, those have gone up in February.
Vacation packages and resort rates for the following year are usually released in mid-summer, and almost always show higher rates. In fact, this just happened prior to our latest update–and is covered in 2024 Walt Disney World Resort Price Increases. Other things, such as souvenirs and regular restaurant menu prices go up at random without any real predictable patterns.
Consequently, it is almost always less expensive to visit sooner rather than later. If you’re debating between 2024 and 2025, there’s a strong chance the coming year will be cheaper. If you’re waiting for prices to drop, history typically is not on your side.
The last year has been an exception to that for on-site resort guests. Even with Genie+ and food prices increasing, the far superior discounts for hotels have more than offset this. The end result is that many travel dates in 2024 will end up being cheaper than comparable trips in 2022 when pent-up demand was running at its hottest.
With that said, there can be exceptions to that even in normal times. For example, if you book your vacation early and lock-in pricing on tickets and hotels, it will likely be less expensive to travel some dates in January or February 2025 than in November or December 2024. That’s because prices usuallydecrease in the winter off-season as compared to the prior holiday season, and there are also typically better discounts for the off-season.
Again, it’s worth reiterating that rack rates for resorts–the most expensive component of most vacations–increase each calendar year. While it’s debatable whether February or September will be cheaper within 2024 after discounts, it’s likely that both of those months will offer lower rates than their counterparts in 2025. (Again, barring a recession in one of those years.)
In other words, the advice here should be applied to dates or months in the same year (with the aforementioned carve outs). Unless you’re “banking on” another recession or economic downturn, it’s a safe bet that the general trend line for Walt Disney World prices will continue its upward climb on an annualized basis.
While our expectation is that hotel discounts will continue to get more aggressive, that’s not the only component of costs to visit Walt Disney World. It’s still entirely possible that inflation will continue to be elevated in 2024. That could put price pressure on restaurant menus, souvenirs, and more. Additionally, wage growth could accelerate as businesses are forced to pay more to attract hourly workers.
This could increase the likelihood of more price jumps, especially on food, tickets, parking, and other discretionary add-ons and upcharges. The next major price increases are likely to occur in February 2024 and/or October 2024, so plan accordingly if you want to “beat” those.
Your personal perspective about the direction of the economy will almost certainly dictate where you think Walt Disney World’s pricing is heading in the next couple of years. There are signs of a resilient economy and also strong American household balance sheets…and also expectations of a looming recession.
It’s tough to reconcile Americans’ feelings about their own financial circumstances (largely positive) with their beliefs about everyone else (largely negative). Thankfully, this is not a blog about consumer sentiment, and since there’s not even consensus among economists about what will occur in 2024, that’s beyond the scope of this post.
Getting down to brass tacks, the least expensive time to visit Walt Disney World are usually the winter off-season. This basically encompasses the entire two months of January and February, with the exception of the very beginning of the year when schools are still on Christmas break plus the weeks around MLK Day and Presidents’ Day.
The general rule is that January and February are the cheapest months of the year, on average. There’s a little more nuance to it than that, as the fall has had better discounts (historically) and other variables that can move the needle on a case-by-case basis. Nevertheless, we could say January and February 2024 will mostly be the cheapest months of the next 12, although portions of August and September 2024 could come close or even surpass the winter depending upon the circumstances.
Those aforementioned circumstances are mostly Free Dining. Again, we’re expecting it to be released very soon. If that happens, it definitely will not include winter travel dates. It also may not include the early fall off-season, but we anticipate that it will eventually. For families that are the “right” size and can take full advantage, there’s no better deal than Free Dining. It’ll make those months cheaper than winter…but not across the board or for everyone.
If you’re looking for the two best timeframes in the winter off-season when Walt Disney World is cheapest, January 8-11 and January 15 through mid-February 2024 are best. Prices spike for the week of Presidents’ Day/Mardi Gras, falling again the next week–but not as low as those early-year off-season dates.
Following that, prices in March and April are hit or miss, usually driven by the timing of Spring Break and Easter. Whenever goes are on break, you can expect significant spikes to both pricing and crowds. In 2024, Easter is early–meaning that March is more expensive (on average) and prices drop in mid-April.
Fast-forward past Easter, and that week (after the holiday) through the week before Memorial Day once again see lower prices. This is technically considered “regular” season, but it’s on par with some dates in mid-February and is the cheapest Walt Disney World will be until early August.
About a week before schools go back into session, prices decrease again. This occurs earlier on the hotel side of the equation than with park tickets, presumably because locals continue visiting after tourists stop traveling–and only the latter books hotel stays.
Starting the third Sunday of August, prices return to near their lowest levels of the year and stay there until mid-September (with the notable exception of Labor Day weekend). Costs do get higher from then until early October, but it’s by a nominal amount. Technically, these rates are higher than off-season dates in January and February. As noted above, that can be further exacerbated by intervening price increases on tickets, food, etc.
However, it can also be more than offset by discounts that tend to be offered in the fall offseason (as discussed above). Prices for October through early December tend to be a veritable roller coaster depending upon whether it’s a holiday week/end or not. Columbus Day, Veterans Day, and Thanksgiving all see spikes–some fairly massive. Same goes for runDisney race weekends.
If it’s not one of those weeks or weekends, pricing is near its lowest levels of the year through the first week of December. That gradually escalates beginning the second week in December, culminating in the weeks of Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Beginning December 16 and lasting until the end of the calendar year, holiday season kicks in and prices hit their highest levels of the entire year.
If you’re simply looking for the very best dates in each season, they are as follows:
January 2 & 3, 2024
January 8 to 11, 2024
January 15 to 18, 2024
January 22 to 25, 2024
January 29 to February 1, 2024
February 4 to 8, 2024
February 12 to 15, 2024
February 26 to 29, 2024
March 17 to 20, 2024
April 7 to 11, 2024
April 14 to 18, 2024
April 21 to 25, 2024
April 28 to May 2, 2024
May 5 to 9, 2024
May 12 to 16, 2024
May 19 to 23, 2024
All Sundays through Thursdays approximately equal in June and July 2024
August 4 to 8, 2024
August 11 to 15, 2024
August 18 to 29, 2024
September 2 to 12, 2024
September 15 to 19, 2024
September 22 to 26, 2024
September 29 to October 3, 2024
October 7 to 10, 2024
October 13 to 17, 2024
October 20 to 24, 2024
October 27 to 31, 2024
November 3 to 7, 2024
November 10 to 14, 2024
November 17 to 20, 2024
December 1 to 5, 2024
December 8 to 12, 2024
A couple of things to note about the above. First, these season by season prices are relative to other dates within each season. For example, that last set of December dates costs exactly $100 per night more than the cheapest dates in January. If the entire calendar is open to you and you’re primarily concerned with price, you really want to be looking at winter or the late fall and early fall off-season.
However, not everyone can or wants to visit during those timeframes, so we’ve also included dates throughout the entire year that are cheaper than comparable alternatives. In the case of the above example, those dates are nearly $100 cheaper than the two weeks that follow. So significantly higher than the true off-season, but far lower than the true peak season. It’s all relative.
Second, there are major price changes in Spring 2024. That’s almost certainly because of Easter shifting into March 2024, which makes that–and not April–the busy month for spring break season. April 2024 rates are still elevated as compared to January and February, but there are actually many dates that are less expensive than this year.
By contrast, every single day in March 2024 is more expensive than this year. Based on our research and comparisons, that’s the only month of the year when that’s true. (Although the jury is still out on October through December 2024–more price increases could come for those dates.)
Next, it’s mostly Sunday through Thursday nights that have the lowest prices, with Mondays through Wednesdays having the absolute cheapest rates. If you’re looking for the least expensive options, you’ll find them at the All Stars. Those Value Resorts start at $117 per night in the off-season, which will likely be right around $100 per night after discounts.
In general, Friday and Saturday will be the most expensive days of the week to visit Walt Disney World, with Thursday and Sunday costing less–but still more than Monday through Wednesday nights.
As for the most expensive dates to visit, we can say with almost complete confidence that the most expensive dates to visit Walt Disney World are December 13-31, 2024. (January 1, 2025 is also extremely elevated–prices drop like a rock the following night.)
If you want more specificity in the least & most expensive dates to visit and the best & worst dates to visit, it can be useful to consult our Walt Disney World Crowd Calendar. Look for the least busy dates, you’ll also generally find the cheapest dates.
Ultimately, that should answer some questions about when it’s cheapest to visit Walt Disney World in 2024…and perhaps raise even more. Basically, the least expensive dates on paper as of right now are mid-January through mid-February and mid-August through September, followed by late April to late May, then October through early December–all minus long holiday weekends and the full weeks leading up to major holidays.
Against that backdrop and with that bias, if forced to choose dates to visit Walt Disney World in the next two years–for a range of reasons both qualitative and quantitative–I would not pick the winter months. Though great from a weather perspective and for EPCOT Festival of the Arts, winter is no longer the sleepy off-season it once was.
Instead, I would look to September. Even though the weather is far less desirable in the early fall off-season, September is reliably the best month for crowds and deals at Walt Disney World. It’s also a great time of year with Halloween, EPCOT’s Food & Wine Festival, and more. The big caveat here is that you need to be able to bear the heat and humidity if you choose these dates.
Personally, I’d actually go beyond September for my travel target and book the week after Thanksgiving. This is nothing new and actually has nothing to do with pricing–we’ve been recommending that week for ages, and it’s our personal favorite for a mix of reasons related to pricing, weather, crowds, and Christmas.
Late November and early December are “objectively inferior” to September, but the reality is that humans don’t take vacations in a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. That’s the better week on balance. It typically offers superior weather (far lower likelihood of high heat & humidity…or hurricanes!), seasonal events, and more. It’ll be slightly more crowded and expensive, but that’s a worthwhile tradeoff in our view.
What do you think about this look at the cheapest times to visit Walt Disney World? Which would you pick in the January/February v. August/September dilemma? Think discounts will continue to improve throughout 2024 and put a reality-check on runaway prices? Do you agree or disagree with our assessment? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback–even when you disagree with us–is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!