Our guide to July 2023 at Walt Disney World offers a free crowd calendar, when to visit & avoid, weather, new attraction openings & closures, and Independence Day events. Plus info & tips for summer season at Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom, and Hollywood Studios.
July is always the height of summer vacation at Walt Disney World and the time when summer storm season intensifies. There’s really no way to sugar coat it: July is for people who have no better alternatives. With that said, if you have a trip planned for July, the sky is not falling. As we’ve said before, “a rainy, crowded day at Walt Disney World is better than a perfect day at home.”
For starters, you might wonder why July 2023 will be bad. This is because July is a literal perfect storm of weather and crowds. Walt Disney World’s primary demographic is families, and on average, they vacation about halfway through the summer break. Although school schedules in some districts have shifted and Disney has raised peak season pricing on tickets & hotels, summer is still the busy season at Walt Disney World. This has shifted around in recent years, but it’s still generally true–and we’ll cover the typical crowd dynamics over the course of the summer season in this July 2023 crowd calendar.
JULY WEATHER AT DISNEY WORLD
The humidity is at “intense back-sweat” levels whenever the sun is up. On the plus side(?), that back-sweat will usually be washed away by the daily afternoon showers, which could be a 20-minute occurrence or could last the better part of the evening. Welcome to July in Florida.
If you think we’re exaggerating, let’s start by taking a look at the weather. July is the hottest month of the year with average high temperatures above 90 degrees every single day of the month. Average lows and highs range from 74 to 91 degrees. As demonstrated by the “comfortable” band on this page for July, 27% of the time, the weather is in “hot” (85-100 degrees) territory. If there is any silver lining in this, it’s that July has a greater percentage of “comfortable” weather than August (20% v. 15%)…so those hours of the day when you’re in your hotel room asleep in air conditioning, it’s actually not too bad outside!
Then there’s precipitation. Unless you’re homies with Zeus, it will rain during your July trip. It’s not a matter of “if”, it’s a matter of “how often and much how?” Especially later in the month, Florida is starting to get into the heart of hurricane and storm season, so you should be prepared for that. You’re average daily chance of some amount of precipitation in July ranges from 67% to 71%. I’m no mathematician, but that says to me it’s a small miracle if it goes 2 consecutive days without any rain.
The big thing is obviously Independence Day at the beginning of the month. That first (long) weekend will be especially busy as a result, but those crowds will be rewarded with some of the best fireworks shows of the year. Magic Kingdom and Epcot both have special fireworks shows for the Fourth of July.
“Disney’s Celebrate America” fireworks display is shown at Magic Kingdom on both July 3 and July 4, 2023. We highly recommend seeing Celebrate America on July 3. If you’re unable or unwilling to brave the crowds in Magic Kingdom, a great place to view it to see the full scale of the fireworks is outside the park at the Ticket & Transportation Center.
The reason we recommend seeing Magic Kingdom’s Independence Day fireworks on July 3 is because you can only see EPCOT’s fireworks with the “Heartbeat of America” finale on July 4, 2023. (Disney has already announced that Harmonious is ending at some point in 2023; while unofficial, our expectation is that the temporary EPCOT Forever fireworks are shown during the summer months.)
The beginning of July 2023 will have other special events. The 2023 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival will likely run until around July 4, 2023. After that comes a festival-less gap, during which the park will briefly become “Diet Epcot.”
But not for long. The 2023 Epcot International Food & Wine Festivalwill begin a little over a week later, likely on July 13, 2023. This is the biggest, longest, and most popular event of the year at Epcot. (It’s also our least favorite and the most lacking in substance, but people love it.)
In terms of other seasonal events, the France pavilion at Epcot will offer a very minor celebration of Bastille Day on July 14. Nothing around which you should plan a trip, but it’s neat to stop by to see.
It’s not really a seasonal event, but July is typically the month of the year when hours at Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach are longest. We love both of Walt Disney World’s water parks. You can read why in our Typhoon Lagoon FAQ & Tips post and Blizzard Beach FAQ & Tips post.
We highly recommend arriving early or late. If you go after 4 p.m., virtually everything will be a walk-on most days. Also, going on a rainy day is a great way to avoid crowds…and who cares about getting rained on when you’re at a water park? (It always amazes me when the water parks–inexplicably–clear out during storms.)
In the four main theme parks, July is also a month when park hours are (typically) longer. You’ll find earlier closings at Magic Kingdom than what we’ve seen in years past, but this is at offset by Animal Kingdom and Disney’s Hollywood Studios now closing later thanks to their big additions of Pandora and Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, respectively.
JULY REFURBISHMENTS & NEW ATTRACTIONS
For an idea of what’s going to be closed in July 2023, check the Walt Disney World Refurbishment Schedule. Not everything will be listed on that until a few months before July, and even then, it doesn’t fully cover the construction all around Walt Disney World–just attraction closures.
Epcot will be starting to look fairly good in Summer 2023. The massive reimagining at the front of Epcot that has resulted in half the park being a veritable dirt pit will be winding down, and hopefully more of those walkways will be open. Still, it definitely won’t all be finished, so expect at least some construction walls in July 2023.
On the plus side, Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, Space 220 Restaurant, Creations Shop, Club Cool, Connections Cafe, and more all have now debuted.
When looking forward to July 2023 at EPCOT, a couple of things that are uncertain. First is whether Cosmic Rewind will still be using a virtual queue. We highly doubt it, but if so, read this. Second, whether Harmonious will still exist. We also doubt this. Our expectation is that Harmonious will end before summer, and be temporarily replaced by EPCOT Forever while work is done in World Showcase Lagoon to prepare for the next nighttime spectacular, debuting in late 2023.
Then there’s the next big addition to Walt Disney World: TRON Lightcycle Run. Walt Disney World has already revealed that this will debut in Spring 2023, and it’ll almost certainly debut before July unless something goes terribly wrong (again). Our expectation at this point is that the ride will open in March 2023.
Beyond that, there are several attractions that have not yet opened and likely won’t until Summer 2023 or later. This includes Moana’s Journey of Water at Epcot, which is likely to open in the second half of the year according to Disney. (Judging by the current pace of work and the fact that it’s a water walk-through, it debuting in July 2023 is possible.) Other smaller scale additions are likely later in 2023.
JULY 2023 DISNEY WORLD CROWD CALENDAR
There’s no color-coded July 2023 crowd calendar to start this because that’s reductionist and doesn’t give you the full picture of Walt Disney World attendance trends. Moreover, WDW crowd calendars are less reliable due to how Disney manipulates attendance patterns, staffing, closures, and ride capacity. It better serves readers to offer an explanation in terms of what to expect crowd-wise this summer at Walt Disney World.
Since Disney doesn’t release official attendance numbers, crowd calendars use things like school schedules, airport traffic statistics, hotel pricing & occupancy, etc., as proxies for crowds. We use these to forecast attendance, and the resulting “feels like” crowds. Wait times usually align with attendance levels, but not always. In short, predicting wait times via Walt Disney World crowd calendars is an imperfect science. Hopefully that makes sense!
There are other wrinkles that make predicting July 2023 crowd levels at Walt Disney World incredibly difficult. One is the tension between pent-up demand and the pre-closure trend of summers being less busy. (See “Summer Isn’t Peak Season at Walt Disney World.”)
As covered in that article, July is no longer one of the busiest months of the year at Walt Disney World–or at least, it wasn’t from 2017 through 2019. That’s not to say it was off-season at Walt Disney World in July during those years (far from it!), just that the beginning of the month is no massively crowded. It was still summer vacation season. Nevertheless, the parks were busier in October than in July during those years.
Typically, the first week of July–the one encompassing Independence Day–would be far and away the busiest week of the month. Crowds would gradually decrease after that, dropping slightly with each subsequent week.
In 2022, wait times peaked in mid-June and began gradually dropping until Independence Day, and then rose (slightly) again thereafter. In the end, the week encompassing the Fourth of July was the least busy of the summer season until school went back into session. However, rising gas prices almost certainly threw a monkey wrench into that. Hopefully, we won’t see a repeat of that in July 2023.
Just for reference, in 2021, wait times increased with each week in July and peaked on July 28. That is way later than the historical norm, and over a month after crowds peaked in 2022. Normally, the end of July would be the least busy week of the month, with crowds continuing to drop in August (as they did).
In our view, both of these are anomalies (as is 2020) and not indicative of new trends. If we look back to July 2019 and earlier, the pattern is clearer and Independence Day is the peak, with wait times steadily rising throughout June and steadily falling after the holiday week in July. It’s impossible to say whether July 2023 will be yet another anomaly, as those are impossible to predict. Hence them being anomalies.
Accordingly, our recommendation would be to go early or late in the Summer 2023 season if avoiding crowds is your primary objective, you don’t care about earth shaking fireworks, and you’re willing to bet that things will return to normal with less pent-up demand and more predictable crowd levels.
With all of that in mind, our expectation is that July 2023 crowd levels decrease as compared to the past two years. Expect high crowds in the first full week, beginning on July 1, 2023 and continuing the entire week thereafter. We are forecasting across the board crowd levels of 7/10 to 8/10 for July 1-10, 2023.
This will be particularly pronounced over the Independence Day long weekend in the evenings at Magic Kingdom and, to a lesser degree, Epcot. That’s because more guests will Park Hop to Magic Kingdom and Epcot for fireworks, since those are the only two parks that will have nighttime spectaculars in July 2023.
Expect Magic Kingdom to have 9/10 or 10/10 crowds July 1-4, 2023. It might drop slightly in the weekdays thereafter, but don’t count on it. Despite no nighttime spectaculars, Disney’s Hollywood Studios does a poor job of absorbing crowds; it’s likely to be an 8/10 or 9/10 most dates around the holiday, too. At the other end of the spectrum is Animal Kingdom, which has no nighttime entertainment and thus empties out on those dates. It could drop below 5/10 on those dates.
The weeks that follow should get progressively better on the July 2023 crowd calendar, but you’re still looking at moderate to high crowd levels dropping only to the 6/10 range by the end of the month. This is the predictable pattern that normally plays out in summer–each week leading up to the Fourth of July is slightly busier than the one before it, and each week after is slightly less busy.
Even then, there is not a ton of day-to-day variance outside the Independence Day holiday. Think of this as almost akin to sunset times, shifting just a little bit each day. Except with crowd levels, there are random outliers that also occur due to weather, ride downtime, etc.
JULY PRICING & DISCOUNTS
While special offers for Walt Disney World are usually weak for summer, there are actually a higher than average number of deals. Due to school being out of session, Walt Disney World has something of a captive audience during the summer months as many families can only visit then. Disney only offers discounts in order to fill hotel rooms and entice more guests to visit. They don’t really need any extra incentive for the summer, as that’s when people are most inclined to travel to Florida, even in the face of the weather we mentioned above.
In terms of pricing, July has higher than average rates. One-day park tickets are most expensive during this month, with most of July being “peak” season (read our Tips for Saving Money on Walt Disney World Tickets post for multi-day ticket recommendations to avoid having to deal with seasonal pricing). Hotels aren’t quite as bad, as it’s the “Summer” pricing season for them most dates; overall, hotel rates are slightly above average, outside from the dates around Independence Day.
Even with below-average crowds, you’ll still want a solid itinerary for touring the parks. July is also a safe bet when it comes to seeing the new entertainment and attractions at Walt Disney World, and the longer hours. There’s also upside in the inclement weather: it clears out the parks. If there’s heavy rain for over an hour (and you follow our tips to stick it out), you’ll be rewarded with a far less-crowded park after the rain stops.
Many guests are not prepared for heavy rain, and a heavy rain in early afternoon can mean significantly lower crowds the rest of the day. It’ll also cool down the parks a bit. From an objective perspective, July is one of the worst months of the year, but it does have upside and if you’re forced to visit during the summer due to your school or vacation schedule, you should not hesitate to do so. You’ll still have a good time!
Do you agree that a rainy day at Walt Disney World is better than a perfect day at home? Do you like July at Walt Disney World? If you’ve visited in July, do you have any tips to add? Do you agree or disagree with our assessment of July? 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!