This guide to February 2020 at Walt Disney World includes a free crowd calendar, weeks to visit & avoid, weather, seasonal events, and new attraction openings & closures. All the tips & info for February 2020 at Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom, and Hollywood Studios is covered here. (Updated December 28, 2019.)
Aside from certain weekends, February is a good month to visit Walt Disney World. 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 2020 at Walt Disney World. As with the month before it, February’s big draw is the Epcot Festival of the Arts. As with January, February is generally quiet but sees spikes in crowds due to special events and holidays. And also as with January, we’re expecting that Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance will continue drawing huge crowds and necessitating earlier openings at DHS. (More on this below.)
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 2020 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.
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 2020 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.
The project that will have the most noticeable impact on the guest experience is the massive reimagining at the front of Epcot, which will eliminate Future World and replace it with 3 new neighborhoods. This project has already kicked into high gear, and will further gain momentum in early 2020 with more closures.
This unprecedented overhaul has led us to address the question Should You Visit Epcot in 2020 or 2021? in a dedicated post. We’d encourage you to read that, but the answer for February 2020 is yes. In fact, we recommend spending a lot of time at Epcot for Festival of the Arts. Just be aware that the front of Epcot will have significant construction.
Other work around Walt Disney World won’t be visually noticeable. This includes ongoing construction on Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and the TRON Lightcycle Run roller coaster at Magic Kingdom. 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 in December and is so incredibly popular that it has led WDW to extend park hours. The blockbuster ride has an unprecedented protocol, as it does not have FastPass+ or a standby line.
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.
Back at Epcot, three new films open in January. These are “Awesome Planet” in The Land pavilion, “Canada Far and Wide in Circle-Vision 360” in World Showcase’s Canada pavilion, and “Beauty and the Beast Sing-Along” in World Showcase’s France pavilion. None of these will require planning around at all.
February 2020 Disney World Crowd Calendar
We’ll begin this free crowd calendar section with the same preface that we offered in January (scroll to the Hall of Presidents photo and pick up there if you’ve already read that monthly overview). 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.
Walt Disney World crowd calendars are less and less reliable due to how Walt Disney World manipulates attendance patterns, staffing, closures, and ride capacity. Most of February is unquestionably Florida’s off-season, but it doesn’t always reflect that in the parks.
Disney doesn’t release official attendance numbers, 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.
As we discussed in our “Is There an Off-Season at Walt Disney World” post, we’ve encountered some of the worst crowds of the year from mid-January through early February at times that attendance has historically been low. We are of the belief that this was not an isolated occurrence, but a calculated move by Disney.
In terms of crowds, February is all over the place. In general, attendance is low to moderate, but there are seemingly random spikes, and what crowds feel like to you will largely hinge on luck–if you get stuck in the same park as the youth and tour groups visiting.
Speaking of which, the entire month of February 2020 is dotted with events at the ESPN Wide World of Sports. There’s the National Dance Team Championship, National High School Cheerleading Championship, Diamond 9, Twirl Mania, and Presidential Classic–just to name a few of the events. This is another factor that makes a February 2020 crowd calendar for Walt Disney World tricky.
February is also summer vacation season for much of South America, most notably Brazil. This means you might encounter large South American tour groups in the parks. These tour groups typically don’t have a significant impact on crowd calendars, but they could have an outsize impact on the “feels like” crowds if you encounter them frequently. Again, that’s mostly a matter of luck.
Then there’s 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.
At the end of this week, it’s the Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend. With the President’s Day holiday and the Princess Half Marathon effectively “bookending” the week, the crowds are really bad throughout the entire week. In fact, February 16-22, 2020 will be one of the busiest weeks on the Walt Disney World crowd calendar.
In terms of dates that are good to visit in February 2020, we’d recommend February 2-7 and 10-14, 2020 as the best dates in February 2020 to visit. Our favorite week on balance would be that first week, but the dance and cheer events could throw a monkey wrench into crowds.
Despite Mardi Gras on February 25, 2020 resulting in many schools to be closed for several days (or a week in some Louisiana districts), February 23-28, 2020 should still be a good week to visit. However, if you’re thinking of that week, we’d encourage you to do the first week of March 2020 instead.
February 2020 PRICING & DISCOUNTS
Another upside to a February Walt Disney World vacation is prices. Normally, you’ll see a 25% off room-only offer for all of February except President’s Day week, and also Value Season rates for hotels. If you’re really looking for a great deal, check out the 40% Disney Visa discount for the new Disney’s Riviera Resort.
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 visiting for the Princess Marathon or 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. Much like September, the best time in February is at the very end of the month (overlapping with the following month, in both cases), when the weather starts to improve and crowds remain low.
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!