When to Visit Walt Disney World

A question that is often asked when planning a Disney vacation is, “What time of the year is best to go?”  There is no simple answer to this one.  People prioritize different events and situations so the answer will change for each group or person.  In this post, I will go month-by-month writing about the pros and cons of going to Walt Disney World during that time.  I’ll also include the average temperatures for each month at Disney World via this website.

DSC_8041_edited-1

January
Pros:  
No more crowds!  Well, less crowds than usual, I should say.  January will have some of the smallest crowds of the year at Walt Disney World (aside from the first week of the month).  It is also much cooler in January than it is just a few months later.  For the claustrophobic and heat-exhausted people, this is one of the best months to go.  Some of the Christmas decorations will still be up during this time too which could be a positive or negative.  I put it in the pro section because guests can see these beautiful Christmas-laden parks without the huge crowds that come in November and December.  But, it could also feel like a bit of a letdown or hangover with all of the Christmas decor up when it’s still about 350 days until Christmas.  Marathon Weekend is usually in early January, which is fun to take part in but may increase the crowds some.  If you aren’t interested in participating or watching, then avoid that weekend.  There is a hotel room discount offer that generally runs through most of the year, aside from the very busy times like July, August, and holiday weeks.  As long as you book far enough in advance, that discount will probably be available throughout the year.
Cons:  Cold weather and ride refurbishments.  While Florida is still pretty warm in January, it’s not always the warm-weather getaway that cold-weather city folks crave in winter.  If you are looking for that, I suggest going a month or two later.  Also, this is the time of year where attractions get their yearly tune-up.  This is a real letdown for some, especially those who mainly go for the attractions.
Average High Temperature – 72 degrees
Average Low Temperature – 48 degrees

upside down tree

February
Pros:  This is basically an extension of January.  The Princess Half-Marathon is mid-February.  There will be less crowds than most other times of the year and the weather will be fairly nice (a little warmer than January).  The crowds may be a little higher around President’s Day Weekend and schools having a mid-winter break but otherwise they aren’t much to worry about.  The Christmas decor is usually down at this point which could make the parks feel a little fresher.  The discount generally offered by Disney for this time period is a hotel-room discount.
Cons:  There aren’t many cons here aside from the ride refurbishments.  Granted, this is a pretty big con.
Average high temperature – 73 degrees
Average low temperature – 49 degrees

March
Pros:  The weather is about perfect at this point.  While the crowds are growing from January and February, there aren’t huge crowds early in the month.  As far as crowds in the spring, try to avoid the spring break rush.  The Epcot Flower and Garden Festival starts in early March and that is a pretty beautiful time to see the park.  There is no extra cost to see Epcot during this time.  Expect that the room discount is probably the main one offered during this time.
Cons:  As I mentioned above, crowds are starting to pick up.  If it’s an option, I’d probably avoid the last few weeks of this month.  There are some ride refurbishments still going but generally less than there are in the first 2 months of the year.
Average high temperature – 77 degrees
Average low temperature – 53 degrees

Leslie dragon

April
Pros:  The Flower and Garden Festival in Epcot continues.  There are also some Easter festivities around the parks and resorts that are pretty fun and interesting.  The end of this month is a pretty decent time to avoid huge crowds.  The weather is still really nice during this month.  The parks are beginning to run close to full steam aside from some longer ride refurbishments.  The hotel room discount is generally available.
Cons:  The early part of this month is a time that I would probably avoid.  The spring break rush is still going through then and the parks are going to be quite busy.
Average high temperature – 82 degrees
Average low temperature – 58 degrees

May
Pros:  The Flower and Garden Festival goes through the first part of the month.  Star Wars Weekends usually start at the end of the month in Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  There is usually a 24-hour event around Memorial Day Weekend in the Magic Kingdom, which some people love (I can’t comment on that, as I’ve never experienced it).  Those are both really cool events.  The crowds in early May aren’t too bad.  This is a general thought, but it seems that most new attractions open in late spring.  That is something to think about if you go to the parks every few years.
Cons:  The cons for the next few months are pretty simple, it’s really hot and crowded.  If you go to Walt Disney World over Memorial Day, there will be lines galore.
Average high temperature – 87 degrees
Average low temperature – 64 degrees

Epcot Sunset_edited-1

June
Pros:  
Star Wars Weekends run throughout most of the month.  The parks are also running at just about full speed as Disney World gears up for their peak time – summer.  If summer is the time that you can go with your family, then June is probably the least crowded and not quite as hot.  Many people can only go in the summer, if that’s the case then I highly recommend going in June.
Cons:  It’s still crowded and hot.  While it’s not as crowded as Memorial Day weekend, it is probably more crowded than the rest of May at Disney World.
Average high temperature – 90 degrees
Average low temperature – 70 degrees

July
Pros:  There are some special events for the 4th of July (mostly special fireworks at every park but Animal Kingdom).  Those are supposedly fantastic.  The parks have to have most of the attractions going because of how crowded they are (unless we’re talking about Hollywood Studios because apparently they aren’t big fans of having more than 10 things to do in that park).  That can be seen as a good or bad thing.
Cons:  The heat and crowds increase.  Some of the parks reach capacity on the 4th of July, not being able to add more guests.  I would avoid July and August if at all possible.
Average high temperature – 92 degrees
Average low temperature – 72 degrees

Harambe theater

August
Pros:  
While August is still a busy month at Disney World it’s no July.  If you are able to go in late August (maybe your kids start after Labor Day), you’ll be able to avoid some of the crazy summer crowds.
Cons:  You exchange fewer people at the parks for just as much (if not more) heat.
Average high temperature – 92 degrees
Average low temperature – 72 degrees

September
Pros:  
Other than a slight Labor Day rush (which really isn’t that bad), this might be the best month to visit the parks, crowd wise.  In the end of September, the crowds will probably be as low as they are all year.  The free dining discount traditionally starts this month and that is a big deal for families and some people traveling to Disney World.  Here’s why I’m a fan of it.  The food and wine festival generally starts late this month, as well.  The food at the festival is great, although it will increase the crowds.  If you can go to Food & Wine on a weekday I would guess that it would be a really good experience.  On the weekend, I’m not as sure.  There will also be Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Parties in Magic Kingdom (these are not included with regular park tickets).  The Parks will also start to add their Fall/Halloween decorations
Cons:  It’s still pretty hot, especially early in the month.  There may be a few rides that go down quickly before they ramp back up for the holiday season but that doesn’t happen much if you look at Disney World’s history.  Otherwise, if you can plan a trip for this month I would recommend it.
Average high temperature – 90 degrees
Average low temperature – 71 degrees

pumpkin mk

October
Pros:  
While it’s not as quiet as September, there are relatively less crowds in October than other times of the year.  Food & Wine, free dining, and the Halloween Parties continue at various frequencies.  It also cools off by about 6 degrees on average from September to October.  This is a pretty fun month to visit.
Cons:  As I said, the crowds go up from September.  The weekends especially are busy with Food & Wine in full swing.  This is still a pretty good time to visit if you aren’t into crowds.
Average high temperature – 84 degrees
Average low temperature – 65 degrees

November
Pros:  
This month has a bit of everything.  Food & Wine continues through the first week or two of the month.  Free dining is offered at various lengths throughout the time.  Christmas Parties start in Magic Kingdom.  There are some Thanksgiving festivities around the parks and resorts.  The Osborn Family Lights appear in Hollywood Studios in the last week of November (although there are rumors that they could come to an end in the next few years).  Christmas decorations start to go up.  There is the Wine & Dine Half Marathon in the first week of the month.  There are also a few less busy periods in the week before Thanksgiving and the week after.  Although these periods are more busy than they used to be.  It really cools off if you are trying to stay away from the heat.
Cons:  The crowds come back during Thanksgiving week, Veterans Day and the Wine & Dine Half Marathon.  It also starts to get pretty chilly in the evenings.  While it’s a magical time at Disney World, it’s definitely a more busy time.
Average high temperature – 79 degrees
Average low temperature – 57 degrees   

California Grill Fireworks

December
Pros:  CHRISTMAS IS EVERYWHERE!  Disney does the holidays pretty well with special events all over the parks.  There’s the Christmas parties in Magic Kingdom, the Osborne Lights in the Studios, and a few special events in Epcot.  The resorts are decorated beautifully (especially Wilderness Lodge).  New Year’s Eve also offers special fireworks in every park aside from Animal Kingdom.  The first few weeks don’t have huge crowds this month.
Cons:  While the first few weeks don’t have tons of people, the whole month is very crowded.  It’s hard to get to half the amount of attractions as you could in January, February or September.  It’s also one of the coldest months at Disney World.  If you go to the parks for ambiance, go in December.  If you go to see everything, go during one of the less busy months.
Average high temperature – 73 degrees
Average low temperature – 50 degrees

A Few More Quick Thoughts

  • Being in Florida rain is an issue.  While it doesn’t really affect my vacations, some people might not enjoy getting soaked.  Historically October-April is the best time to avoid the rain. Also, be aware of hurricane season.  Although it won’t likely affect your vacation, there’s a slight chance.
  • While bringing up cool temperatures in Disney World is a bit of a laughing matter, I do think it’s pretty important.  While a high temperature of 72 sounds great to most of us in the winter, it does make what to wear and packing a bit more complicated.  While it’s not a big deterrent for me, some might not want to go when they have to deal with some cool nights.

gargoyle

If you have any questions or things to add about when to go to Disney World, please put them in the comments and we will get back to you.  If I get some feedback, I’d possibly do one of these posts for Disneyland  Thanks for reading!

– Andrew

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3 thoughts on “When to Visit Walt Disney World

  1. We love going to Disney World in November because the temps are cooler, and it’s not as crowded. We love going to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at the Magic Kingdom, and seeing all the Christmas decorations around the parks. We also enjoy the Food and Wine Festival. But…I will warn that in 2013, we did have one day that was pretty cool and windy during the day, and down right cold at night. We had to bundle up with layers that night. That one night wasn’t much warmer than our temps back home in Illinois.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m always surprised by how cool it can get at night. Maybe it’s something in the air that makes it colder at 60 degrees than it does other places in the U.S. But yes, if going in the winter months people definitely need to pack warm! Do you think the Food & Wine gets too crowded in November? I’ve never been that month and was wondering if that’s the case.

      Like

  2. Pingback: A Walt Disney World Trip Planning Timeline | Wandering In Disney

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