This guide to February 2021 at Walt Disney World includes a free crowd calendar, weeks to visit & avoid, weather, seasonal events, and new attraction openings & closures. This covers all tips & info you need for Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Animal Kingdom, and Hollywood Studios is covered here. (Updated January 3, 2021.)
Before we get started, there are some necessary caveats: a lot has been cancelled, cutback, or changed at Walt Disney World following the reopening of the parks, and that will remain the case in February 2021. Even though we’re starting to see things return, the experience is still very different from the same month last year.
This guide will cover a normal February at Walt Disney World and then offer commentary about how this year will differ. That should make this a useful resource for those planning or debating trips for February 2021 and February 2022, and will also give the former group an idea of what they’re missing and how it’ll impact their Walt Disney World vacation for better or worse…
In general, February is a good month to visit Walt Disney World aside from weekends and holidays. The weather is starting to improve, crowds remain low most of the month, hotels are offering discounts and off-season pricing, and it’s a great time to see the parks without seasonal decor. All of this makes February a pretty solid time to visit Walt Disney World.
February has a lot of parallels to January at Walt Disney World. The biggest difference between the two months is that February lacks that holiday hangover–that awkward time in mid-January when you’re “over” Christmas and there isn’t any seasonal entertainment, but the decorations are still oddly up and Christmas music is still playing. Additionally, February has slightly better weather than January.
Let’s take a look at the other upsides and downsides to visiting Walt Disney World in February…
February WEATHER AT DISNEY WORLD
As noted above, Weather is one of the biggest upsides to Februrary. Based upon historical averages for the month of February, you’re looking at highs in the mid-70s and lows in the mid-50s. Now, this is only around 5 degrees better than January, but I think that makes a big difference. Additionally, based on our visits during both months, it seems like February is a lot less likely to have a freak cold spell with freezing weather.
That’s just anecdotal, but it has been our experience. This isn’t to say it can’t get cold in February, and you should still watch the weather forecast in advance and pack items that might be useful for your trip, but you’re probably less likely to need to bust out that parka.
Really though, if you’re escaping the blizzards of the northern states, even those low temperatures in Florida are going to feel like tropical paradise! Read our Winter Packing Tips for Disney post for more insight on what you might need to be prepared for colder weather in February.
February Special Events at Disney World
In terms of special events, normally there is not much during February. The only major thing is the continuation of the ‘festival season’ over at EPCOT, with our favorite one of the year beginning in January and running through February 22, 2021. Read our Guide to the EPCOT International Festival of the Arts for more info and tips about this special event.
Then there’s the Princess Half Marathon Weekend, but that’s cancelled for 2021. Normally, there are a ton of events going on at the ESPN Wide World of Sports, but the calendar is empty for 2021. Both of those things are actually great news for non-participants, as the impact on the crowd calendar will be very positive for 2021! (See below for that.)
In terms of general public events, very little happens during February outside of Festival of the Arts. It’s mostly just pin releases, art signings, and other minor merchandise happenings. Nothing around which you’d plan a trip…unless you’re a huge Precious Moments fan. (Hey, we aren’t judging! 😉 )
This lack of events can be a good or bad thing depending upon your perspective. You get to see the parks as the Imagineers originally designed them, without any decorations or overlays “blemishing” things. On the other hand, “blemish” is in the eye of the beholder (hence the air quotes) and a lot of the decorations and seasonal events are fun and a nice change of pace, especially if you’ve visited before and want something new to see or do.
February 2021 REFURBISHMENTS & NEW ATTRACTIONS
In terms of other attractions that will be closed during February, check the Walt Disney World Refurbishment Schedule. Just a heads up: that might be a bit deceptive in terms of actual construction work. In the lead up to the 50th Anniversary in October 2021, you can expect a range of enhancement projects throughout Walt Disney World.
At EPCOT, there’s the possibility that three new things will debut by February 2021: Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, Space 220, and Harmonious. We highly doubt that any of them will open before Easter. Our Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure Opening Info post covers why, and the rationale applies to all three, not just the rat ride.
Also at EPCOT is the project that will have the most noticeable impact on the guest experience–the massive reimagining of the center of EPCOT, which will eliminate Future World and replace it with 3 new neighborhoods. This project has already kicked into high gear, and will continue through at least 2022.
This unprecedented overhaul has led us to address the question Should You Visit EPCOT in 2021? in a dedicated post. We’d encourage you to read that, but the answer for February 2021 is yes. In fact, we recommend spending a lot of time at EPCOT for Festival of the Arts. Just be aware that there’s significant construction in the middle of Future World.
Other work around Walt Disney World won’t be visually noticeable. This includes ongoing construction on TRON Lightcycle Run roller coaster at Magic Kingdom, but that’s an expansion to the park that is not in the normal guest areas. Some minor projects will be visible in the other parks, but EPCOT is the major one at this point.
In terms of new attractions that have already opened, there’s Star Wars Rise of the Resistance at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. This opened just over a year ago, but is still so incredibly popular that the ride has its own special policies and hoops to jump through in order to experience it.
If you only read one other post while planning, we highly recommend that it be our Ride Guide & FAQ for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. That covers almost every conceivable question you could have about ‘best practices’ for experiencing the attraction, and basic info about it.
February 2021 Disney World Crowd Calendar
We’ll begin this free crowd calendar section with the same preface that we offered in January. Wondering why you don’t see a color-coded crowd calendar here? It’s because we don’t really trust them anymore and don’t think you should, either. If we just had a visual crowd calendar graphic here, many of you would only look at that and not read the accompanying explanation that covers what you might actually expect.
Such an approach would do readers a disservice, and we’d strongly caution you against over-reliance on any Walt Disney World crowd calendars. While they can be useful tools, crowd calendars are but one small piece of a much larger puzzle. We no longer choose our own travel dates based upon crowd calendars and we’d encourage you to do the same.
Disney doesn’t release official attendance numbers, so crowd calendars use things like school schedules, airport traffic statistics, hotel pricing & occupancy, and other indicators as proxies for crowds. For years, this approach worked and made crowd calendars reliable. Walt Disney World attendance followed an identifiable pattern that tracked with the aforementioned proxies.
More recently, Disney has become adept and more sophisticated at manipulating both attendance and crowd flow. February attendance is still lower than most other months, but wait times often don’t bear this out. Think of this as the difference between the actual temperature and the “feels like” temperature, but with crowds. We can still actual crowd and attendance patterns, but not wait times. The latter are what most of you likely care about (the “feels like” crowds), but it’s more difficult to accurately forecast wait times via Walt Disney World crowd calendars.
This is actually best illustrated by what happened last January and February, both of which were busier than the prior December. Whereas the holiday season is a peak travel time, the winter months that follow are typically Florida’s off-season. That was not the case last year whatsoever.
Given everything that happened afterwards, it might seem like an eternity ago, but we wrote about the phenomenon last February in Peak Season Crowds During Winter “Off-Season” at Walt Disney World. We largely attributed the spike to the grand opening of Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, a huge number of youth events at the ESPN Wide World of Sports, and international tourists coming Orlando from South American countries for their summer vacation.
While Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance remains popular, the current capacity cap on that park and greater awareness of the hoops required to ride will likely significantly limit its drawing power in February 2021 as compared to last year.
More importantly, none of those other things will impact crowds in February 2021. There isn’t a single youth event scheduled for ESPN Wide World of Sports and international travel is virtually nonexistent this winter due to border closures. Plus, runDisney races, conventions, and other normal winter draws have all been cancelled. Thus, as discussed in Will Crowds Keep Increasing at Walt Disney World in 2021? we’re expecting a drop in attendance.
The biggest factor will end up being President’s Day week. For most people, President’s Day isn’t a weeklong holiday, but in terms of crowds at Walt Disney World, it absolutely is. A lot of people visit for the long weekend, with some staying the rest of the week, but that’s not the only reason it’s busy.
Valentine’s Day coupled with President’s Day will make that long weekend really bad, but we’d recommend avoiding February 12-21, 2021 entirely if at all possible.
There’s also the issue of Mardi Gras, which falls on February 16, 2021. Many schools will be closed for several days (or a week in some Louisiana districts) and that coupled with the cancellation of Mardi Gras parades could result in more Southerners taking trips to Walt Disney World during that week. It’s a total wild card at this point, but yet another reason to avoid mid-February 2021.
Due to President’s Day, Valentine’s Day, and Mardi Gras, our expectation is that this will be the busiest week of the first quarter of 2021. It could end up being significantly worse than that, being one of the 3 worst weeks of the entire year. Unlike Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Year’s, it would also be one that catches a lot of guests by surprise.
In terms of dates that are good to visit in February, we’d recommend February 1-11, 2021 and February 22-26, 2021 as the best dates to visit. Within those ranges, weekdays will definitely be better than weekends due to the disproportionate number of locals visiting Walt Disney World right now.
Our favorite week on balance would be the first week of February 2021, but you really can’t go wrong with the dates that avoid the trio of holidays. Those should be really bad, whereas the rest of the month should be pretty good!
February 2021 PRICING & DISCOUNTS
Another upside to a February Walt Disney World vacation is prices. Disney already released some 2021 room-only discounts that offered up to 40% off Walt Disney World resort discounts for Annual Passholders and Florida residents, with up to 35% off for the general public. Those are good discounts–about 5% better than what’s historically offered for the same dates.
There’s also a new 35% off PIN Code was released that extended that same discount even deeper into Summer 2021. However, the best deal of all is the Half-Off Hotels at Walt Disney World for Visa Cardholders, which has great rates for February 2021.
Again, President’s Day week is an exception to the seasonal rates, as hotel prices spike for that week, too. In case it’s not already abundantly clear, unless you’re getting time off for President’s Day, you really should avoid that week. If you’re booking a February stay at a Disney resort-hotel, you can decide for yourself which hotel might be best by reading our Walt Disney World Hotel Reviews.
Overall, we have had some really great experiences at Walt Disney World in February. Low to moderate crowds for most of the month, temperate weather, the parks looking good, and cheaper prices all make it a winner in our book. February (again, minus that one week) feels like the early year sweet spot between the holiday hangover of January and the Spring Break season of March.
Think of February as this time of year’s September (another of our favorite times to visit for similar reasons), except without quite as much humidity. Unlike September, there is a huge mid-month spike in February crowds, but the rest of the month–before and after that–should be fantastic. While we prefer the beginning of the month, February is great at the very end of the month overlapping with the beginning of March, when the weather starts to improve and crowds remain low.
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!
Do you like Walt Disney World in February, or do you think it’s a dull month to visit? Do you like seeing the parks in their “normal” state, or would you rather have a special/seasonal event? Are you a fan of EPCOT’s Festival of the Arts? Ever experienced President’s Day crowds? Hearing from you is half the fun, so please share your thoughts on these questions, or anything else, in the comments!