When’s Cheapest to Visit Disney World in 2023-2024?
As prices increase, you might want to know when are the least expensive times to visit Walt Disney World? This answers that, with seasons, weeks & dates in 2023 to 2024 that have lower prices and crowds than the most expensive & busiest travel holidays. (Updated June 8, 2023.)
Note that “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 of late. 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 8. In total, Walt Disney World raised those costs by around 15-20% last year. On a positive note, resort rates went up by less than the historical average, with higher rack rates by about 3-4% on average.
However, that doesn’t take into account other 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.
We first took a look at 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 13 Money Saving Tips for Walt Disney World 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. (This happened many times last year!)
Consequently, it is almost always less expensive to visit sooner rather than later. If you’re debating between 2023 and 2024, there’s a strong chance this year will be cheaper. If you’re waiting for prices to drop, history is not on your side.
However, there can be exceptions even to that. 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 2024 than in November or December 2023. That’s because prices usually decrease in the winter off-season as compared to the prior holiday season, and there are also typically better discounts for the off-season.
Another wildcard is discounting and the broader economy. This is something we’ve been discussing quite a bit, most recently in What Does Walt Disney World Do During A Recession? The odds aren’t in your favor that Disney will drop prices with all else being equal. However, the case could be made that, right now, all else is not equal.
To the contrary, Walt Disney World had almost two years of pent-up demand, strong spending, constrained capacity, etc. However, that has started coming to an end. On the company’s latest earnings call, CFO Christine McCarthy warned of a slowdown at Walt Disney World in the coming quarters. This has already started to happen.
To combat the end of “revenge travel” and normalization of attendance, Walt Disney World has started pulling “levers” to remedy the issue. Thus far, this has included the resumption of new Annual Pass sales and more being done to show appreciation to fans and locals, from new discount ticket offers to VIPassholder Days.
Most notably from the perspective of this post about the cheapest dates to visit in 2023-2024, Walt Disney World has already released more–and better–discounts for 2023 than last year by this same point (see All Current Walt Disney World Discounts). In total, there have been over a dozen different resort discounts, and they’ve gotten progressively more aggressive, with savings of up to 35% off resort rooms (on average, discounts have offered 5-10% more savings on average as compared to last year).
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 run hot for the rest of this year and into 2024. That could continue to 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 October 2023 and/or February 2024, so plan accordingly if you want to “beat” those. (Last year, prices also went up in early December, but we suspect that was an anomaly.)
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. Although there are signs of a looming recession, there are also signs of a resilient economy and American households. This is not a blog about consumer sentiment, and since there’s not even consensus among economists about what will occur at some point later in 2023, that’s beyond the scope of this post.
Normally, the least expensive time to visit Walt Disney World would be the winter off-season in January and February. This basically encompasses these entire two months, 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.
There’s a bit more nuance to it than that, but 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 2023 could come close.
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.
Within each year, January and February are the cheapest months to visit. January 8-11 and January 15 through mid-February 2024 are two relatively crowd date ranges that are cheapest. 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, early March is generally another sweet spot, as is the end of the month. Spring Break and Easter also bring with them significant spikes to both pricing and crowds.
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. Already, Walt Disney World Released a Summer & Fall 2023 Discount: ‘Free’ Dining Card Up to $150 Per Night. That discount begins in June 2023, with the best bonus and cheapest rates being in August and September 2023. These two months might leapfrog January and February for some families as a result.
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:
- All Sundays through Thursdays approximately equal in June and July 2023
- August 6 to 10, 2023
- August 13 to 17, 2023
- August 20 to 31, 2023
- September 4 to 14, 2023
- September 17 to 21, 2023
- September 24 to 28, 2023
- October 1 to 5, 2023
- October 9 to 12, 2023
- October 15 to 19, 2023
- October 22 to November 1, 2023
- November 6 to 17, 2023
- November 25 to 30, 2023
- December 3 to 7, 2023
- 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
A couple of things to note about the above. First, Summer through Christmas 2024 prices track very closely with this year; we’ll add those dates soon, but you can basically adjust by a day to determine the cheapest dates for the second half of the year.
Second, there are major price changes in Spring 2024 as compared to this year. 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 15-31, 2023 and December 13-31, 2024. (January 1, 2024 and 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 2023-2024…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.
Of course, that’s a wide range of dates and even potential pricing depending upon where things go from here. While I cannot offer any credible predictions about the economy, my general sentiment is essentially this can’t go on forever.
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.
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.
Everything has a cost, whether in dollars or otherwise, and you could argue that the non-monetary costs of visiting in September are higher than in the lull between holidays. For other dates we love to visit (and ones we dislike), see our Best & Worst Weeks to Visit Walt Disney World in 2023, 2024 and 2025.
Planning a Walt Disney World trip? Learn about hotels on our Walt Disney World Hotels Reviews page. For where to eat, read our Walt Disney World Restaurant Reviews. To save money on tickets or determine which type to buy, read our Tips for Saving Money on Walt Disney World Tickets post. Our What to Pack for Disney Trips post takes a unique look at clever items to take. For what to do and when to do it, our Walt Disney World Ride Guides will help. For comprehensive advice, the best place to start is our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide for everything you need to know!
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 2023 and put a reality-check on runaway prices? Have you noticed these increases in 2024 Walt Disney World vacation packages? 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!
I reside in the UK, and just love Disney in fact the whole of Florida. I am truly one of the lucky ones who was hooked on the magic of Disney, I always find the customer service in Disney to be one of the highest I have encountered. We have visited Florida twice a year sometimes more going right back from the mid 80s, we have been in every month of the year, Christmas is so special my personal favourite. We also stay for 3 weeks on our visits, we rough it first in a hotel and spend the last two weeks in Disney. I have seen so many change in Disney over the last 35 years I could write a book. I feel no matter when you visit Disney it’s expensive, you can never stay in budget no matter how hard you try Disney are experts on how to get every cent out of you, but I would never ever have changed a thing, the memories are so wonderful. Now with Co-Vid we have not visited for 2 years and have no idea when we shall visit again. Or what to expect, which is exciting. At 66 years of age I and my family have been blessed to have seen the mouse that lives in Disney so many times.
Agree 100% with your suggestion that late August/early September may be the best bet. Although it’s an OG strategy many of us used for years pre-pandemic, key planks haven’t changed. As this also includes humid wet weather, risk of hurricane disrupting flights, as well as back to school, its a no for some guests and puts a bit more pressure on WDW to offer some kind of savings. While festivals pop up year round, the old favs of Food & Wine and either some kind of Halloween Party of HHN at nearby Universal are a bonus. My bet is some form of free dining for Aug-Sep will drop for a Jan or Feb booking. Whether it will be the same as what we loved is very uncertain. But if WDW makes a new free dining offer, or any standard paid dining plan, wildly complicated and restrictive than that will be one more barrier to guests who already struggle with the new Disney. I have never heard and read of so many guests complaining that a WDW vacation makes their brains hurt. But they still book. And they still pay. Even when they can’t wring the same value and enjoyment out of the trip. Has to be a tipping point. Think that may be mid summer and early fall.
You picked it. You said the most expensive dates were December 16-31, 2022, and we will be leaving WDW on December 16th, Our dates are from December 9-16, 2022. How funny is that or what?
Were trying to book for next year it’s so hard we have seen every season but halloween so we want to go for that. But so hard we want to go with the best deal and best time. But not sure when they start Mickey scary halloween is it all sept do they have it in august. But everyone says it’s so hot in sept and August. And the weather is really raining because of hurricane season. Can anyone help us. We were thinking october 4-10 or 11-17th. Or would it be better to go middle of september
Starts mid August and the party gets more expensive the closer you get to Oct 31st. It’s a great evening and be sure to wear a costume but keep it light in August.
I just came back from a WDW trip the week after Thanksgiving. 11/27-12/4/21.
It was MOBBED.
This post was a breath of fresh air! I didn’t think there were any writers on the internet who had the ability or inclination to put sentences together properly, use the appropriate words to communicate the meaning and PROOFREAD. Of the many things that unravel the fabric of our society, disintegration of language may be the worst. I’m a “retired” homeschool mom but still a card carrying member of the grammar police!
Thank you for this blog. I plan to go back and read several of the links in this article. We are hoping to visit Walt Disney World just after Thanksgiving 2022.
I fear your praise might be premature, and setting yourself up for future disappointment.
While I’ve gotten a bit better about proofreading, it’s still not my strong suit. If this post is truly free of grammatical gaffes or stylistic snafus, that can probably be filed under “even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while” rather than being a testament to my acumen or adeptness. 🙂
My wife and I went two years ago with our two young boys pre-pandemic (thankfully) for our first times at the end of January. We went hoping for low crowds but they were actually high crowds when we went. We are taking our second trip this coming end of January. Should I be afraid of everyone thinking and wanting the same low crowds I want as predicted by all of the experts so forth driving crowds up. We had a wonderful time regardless of crowds and are excited to go back, Please tell me I can really expect low to moderate crowds this time around. I apologize this isn’t really cost related besides the fact it should be a cheaper time to go
Tom, how do I find DVC points available for families and for the weeks available?
Here’s our guide to that: https://www.disneytouristblog.com/renting-disney-vacation-club-points/
For best success, you’ll typically want to book at least 7 months in advance, but both major brokers should have some confirmed reservations available that might work for your dates.
While the price of the hotel has got to be the major cost drive in terms of variability, how much more will ticket price increase over the next year?
That’s really tough to say. WDW ticket price increases have been fairly flat since reopening, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be a big one in February 2022.
We are anxiously awaiting our 2 youngest to be vaccinated and have Disney vacation placeholders for both June and October. Hoping for discounts to return by October to better justify keeping both reservations!
I was there for the end of September this year, and I’ll be back for mid-September again next year. It really shocked me how hot it still was! Not as bad as July/August, which I have somehow managed to hit two years in a row now, but…still hot. But when you posted the DVC point charts for the Galactic Starcruiser I was able to see, laid out nicely, a very good spread of when things were generally the cheapest for accommodations. It was eye-opening!
First, I want to thank you Tom, and Sarah, for the work you put in to this blog. As an obsessive planner, I could not do this without you guys. This year we are going to the dark side and doing the 3rd week of August, oppressive heat be damned. For years, I would pull my daughter out of school, and enjoy the September/October crowd levels, and relative lower prices. But, with High school this year, no longer an option. Monday thru Friday, rented DVC points at the Polynesian (again, thanks!) Lake view, 2400. 3 day park hopper for 3, 1160. Flights, 1000. All I need now is for Disney to restart the dining plan and I will be able to give them the rest of my money. I’m beginning to think I may have a Disney problem. Totally will look for Mickey1928
I love the pricing for the end of January like we did in 2020, however people have to be aware that in those months there are also rides closed for refurbishments, if not entire water parks, And park days are shorter because of days getting darker sooner. For some there might be a monetary exchange on that loss of time/experience. (And I’m skeptical about our outdoor pool at Contemporary being heated like they are supposed to be in Winter)
Very astute young man. I had to rush that post to get to my booster shot appointment so not my best work. I’m writing this at CVS during the 15 minute waiting period to see if I have a mini stroke or heart failure. Fingers crossed. We’ve been lucky with the weather but you’re right as usual. Very humid, sticky hot and they closed for a hurricane one year. This year, and I know you advised against it, were going to start by tenting the first 3 days. Ok I should close either they just turned off all the lights in CVS or
The last two weeks of August!!! Folks you DO NOT want to go then. It’s terrible. Nobody wants to go then. People there are miserable because they’d rather be anywhere else. Do you want to be around miserable people? I’m telling you stay away! Only uncool really stupid ugly fools are there the last two weeks of August, I know because we go at that time every year for my wife’s birthday. How I wish I’d married someone with a birthday at some other time of the year. Honest you don’t want to go then. You’ll be unhappy. Please remember what I’m telling you. Everyone stay away the last two weeks of August. Just so we’re clear here, forget what Tom says, NOBODY GO THE LAST TWO WEEKS OF AUGUST.
While I assume you’re joking because you want your ‘secret’ window of low crowds to remain that way, I think there’s some inadvertent truth to what you’re saying–the weather in August is pretty miserable, especially as compared to January/February and November/December!
Even after living here several years, my body is still not acclimated to summers* in Florida.
*The months of April through October
Planning is definitely half the fun for me. I’ll reminisce over a well prepared and executed spreadsheet vacation anytime 😛
I enjoy planning, daydreaming, researching, etc. but NOTHING bores me like putting together a spreadsheet. To each their own, though! 😉
We usually go in the third week of January and have plans to do so again next month. I have been trying to prepare the family for higher crowds than we are used to and changes in procedures and services that we may not love. We are all so looking forward to it. I hope our expectations will have been tempered to the extent that we will still have a great time.
Our ticket pricing was about as low as it gets, which is good, but seeing how little availability there was at the 7-month window for points, and no availability for cash rates when we considered adding a studio at Saratoga so that my in-laws could spend a few days with us was a shock. I know that may be due in part to pent-up demand but I am also assuming that they are not filling all available rooms due to staffing issues.
We have always felt fortunate that the best times for us to visit are the last two weeks in August and mid-January.
I don’t think the room-fill issues extend to DVC. Those units need to be rented to capacity (or close to it) throughout the year, or it creates significant downstream issues–plus potential problems with owners who don’t have access to their property. We’ve discuss DVC’s “point pool problem” here: https://www.disneytouristblog.com/disney-vacation-club-point-pool-problem-closed/
Sounds like you’re going into the trip with a good mentality, regardless! 🙂
My two trips this year are scheduled in these “cheap” windows, and I’m already feeling the squeeze of 2022 prices! Unfortunately, I do expect price increases to continue, resulting from a combination of inflation and pent up demand. I’ll be thrilled if resort discounts come through for late August/early September, but I’m not holding my breath.
I’ve been wrong plenty of times before, but I’m not that pessimistic. If all of the current issues extend into next August/September, the world has far bigger issues than the lack of Walt Disney World discounts! 😉
Speak for your own reality. All the cool kids know the best family vacations are taken inside of an Excel Spreadsheet. When I need to reminisce about the good times we had do I pull up some old photos? Hardly…that’s for sentimental suckers. I merely peruse the tabs on my vacation planning workbook. The rows and columns really come alive if you just let them. And if I need a good cry, I can just stare longingly at the price on that first bounce back.
Before the internet, people hid their peculiar predilections for fear of ostracization. I miss those days. 😉
Being Canadian we are basically screwed. Continued unrealistic demands on each side of the border, NEXUS centers completely closed in Canada, the exchange rate and much more makes it very difficult to justify a Disney trip moving into 2022 and beyond. And this is coming from a DVC member since 2005. Thank goodness that we got in on DVC resales when there were no restrictions at it was priced at $75/point. But even with DVC, the annual fees have gone through the roof and that is with Saratoga which is supposed to be one of the cheapest for fees. In 2010, for 250 points, were we looking at $1000.00 per year. Now it’s north of $1800!! My wife and I make decent salaries but even those salaries are not keeping up with the inflation going on in Canada and the US. Meaning some things get cut, like lavish Disneyworld vacations. Renting our DVC points have been helped offset the fees but for how much longer, I do not know.
A lot of the decision making at the top is plain disgraceful. Sure, the company is there for the shareholders, of which I am one, but this is plain robbery. I get the sense, Bobby C. and company are not interested in the fan base and could care less about regular visitors. They appear to want the first timers and perhaps the only timers! Be careful what you wish for as everything that has a beginning has an end. Especially if you continue to charge more and offer less and less value.