It’s the world’s most famous theme park and it’s open for business every day, but when is the best time to visit Disney World?
Like all theme parks in Orlando there is no ‘bad’ time to go but with a little forward planning you can make sure your visit lives up to your expectations. Whether you’re looking perfect weather, shorter queues or cheaper prices, read on to find out more about the best time to visit Disney World.
So, when is the best time to visit Disney World?
The best time to visit Disney World really depends on you. Do you want the parks to be at their busiest and best? Then go during spring break, summer vacation or the Christmas holidays. Prefer to avoid the crowds? Then visit during the low season which generally comes into effect during term time. Other factors like special events, the weather and the cost of traveling can all have a big impact on your vacation.
Find out more in our month-by-month guide.
The best time for avoiding the crowds
If you want to avoid the crowds (and the higher prices) then you may prefer to visit outside of school breaks and national holidays. Some of the best times for avoiding the crowds include:
By the first week in January most kids are back at school making it a great time to visit Disney if you prefer it quieter. January is the low season in Orlando so you can expect far fewer tourists at the parks, plus the price of flights and accommodation will be lower. You won’t need to worry about the weather which tends to stay cool and dry at this time of year.
Aside from the UK half term, February is a good month to visit Disney World. The weather is starting to warm up, crowds remain low for most of the month and you’ll find plenty of deals on accommodation. If you do plan on visiting you should head to Epcot’s International Festival of the Arts which runs through February 25.
Spring break and Easter dominate much of March and April, but by May things quieten down again. The weather is great and the crowds are low to moderate until Memorial Day Weekend which is the official kick-off for summer at Disney World.
September to November
From September most kids have gone back to school so there shouldn’t be too much hustle and bustle. The weather is likely to be hot and rainy but there are indoor rides, water parks and air-conditioned spots to retreat to. If you want to avoid the crowds be careful to time your trip outside of fall break, the UK’s half-term holiday, Halloween and Thanksgiving.
By December all of the Christmas offerings are in full swing making it one of the best times of the year to visit. The early part of the month sees low to moderate crowds, however all bets are off from December when the parks get very busy.
Busy times at Disney World
There isn’t a single ‘high season’ at Disney World however there are a number of times throughout the year when you can guarantee that the park will be bustling. Some of the busiest times at Disney World include:
March & April
March and April are both busy months at Disney World. The upside is that you’ll be able to enjoy warm, sunny weather and lots of spring break and Easter excitement including the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival, the Star Wars Rival Run Weekend and an array of St. Patrick’s Day festivities. You can avoid the heavy crowds by taking advantage of *Fastpass+, single rider lines and the rider switch program, and by making dining reservations in advance.
Even in March and April there are plenty of days – especially during the middle of the week – when the parks are much quieter.
*Fastpass+ is currently suspended.
June through August
Much like Spring Break and Easter, the summer months are peak times to visit Disney World. Not only are the parks buzzing with life, the hot weather provides the perfect conditions for swimming and splashing at Disney’s two fantastic water parks. If you’re visiting Disney during the summer, be aware that there’s a good chance of rain although any showers are quickly followed by clear, sunny skies. Also, make sure you pack plenty of sun cream and plan regular breaks from the summer heat.
If you’re visiting Disney World during the summer but you prefer it quieter then aim for early June just before the school holidays start.
Christmas and New Year
With its elaborate Christmas decorations, festive parades and faux snow falls, Disney World is especially magical over Christmas and New Year. One of the best times to visit, this period packs in a whole heap of extra entertainment such as Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, Epcot’s International Festival of the Holidays, the rousing Candlelight Processional and an abundance of other holiday merriment including festive parties, live shows, spectacular fireworks and character meet-and-greets.
As you’d expect, the parks get pretty packed, especially during Christmas week. Weather-wise it’s a great time too, as it’s pleasantly warm and unlikely to rain. As peak season comes into effect vacation prices will be higher, however if you sign up to our free newsletter you’ll be the first to hear about our latest deals and last-minute offers.
Aside from the main holidays there are quite a few other busy times at Disney World. There’s Martin Luther King weekend in January and President’s Day weekend in February. Also, don’t forget the UK half-terms – one in February and one in October – when lots of Brits arrive on vacation.
Other busy times include Independence Day (4th of July), Columbus Day and Halloween (both in October) and Thanksgiving in November. It’s also worth bearing in mind events that are going on nearby. Is there a special sports event or convention going on? Or even something like the Mardi Gras at Universal? Even these kinds of events can make Disney World much busier.
Tips for beating the crowds
If you’re visiting Disney World during a busy period you’ll still have an amazing time, especially with a bit of forward planning.
Here are a few tips for beating the crowds:
- Get there early: This way you’ll avoid the worst of the traffic and crowds. Disney World opens to the public at 9am so make sure you allow around 30 minutes to park and walk to the gate, and be aware that security checks can take time.
- Plan for the weather: Be aware that the heat and humidity can soar in the summer, plus it’s likely to rain. Make sure you pack sun cream and a rain mac, you can also bring your own refreshments in a cooler bag. You can cool off at the indoor rides and cooling stations or with an ice cream from one of the many vendors.
- Book in advance: Don’t forget you can beat the crowds by taking advantage of Fastpass+, single rider lines and the rider switch program, and by making dining reservations in advance.
- Visit on a week day: Even during peak season you can enjoy some quieter times during the week.
The best time to visit weather-wise
The best time to visit Disney World weather-wise depends on what kind of vacation you’re expecting. If you like it hot, and you want to incorporate some swimming and sunbathing then visit in the summer months. If you prefer it cooler then visit during the winter or spring.
Bear in mind that while Orlando is famous for its year-round sun there’s a rainy season to think about, too. There is also the threat of hurricanes in the late summer and autumn. These are rare, though, and even during these months there’s still plenty of sunshine.
For a more in-depth look at the weather in Florida, check out our guide here.
The best time for cheap attraction tickets
Figuring out the best time to visit Disney World price-wise can be tricky as ticket prices can vary from one day to the next (plus they tend to go up every year). As a general rule you’ll find higher prices during peak periods and lower prices during quiet seasons.
If you can be flexible and visit when the parks are less crowded your vacation will work out cheaper. You can get attraction tickets directly through Disney’s website although this price is often beaten by specialist ticket agents including the Top Villas concierge team.
What about flights?
As with tickets, the cheapest time to fly to Orlando is during the low season. There are easy ways to find great-value flights using flight comparison websites such as Skyscanner, especially if you’re willing to be flexible with which days of the week you can travel on.
If you visit a few of your favorite airlines and sign up for their newsletters you’ll get updates about new travel routes, introductory discounts and flash sales on flights before anyone else. Also most airlines operate a ‘free flight’ policy for infants under the age of 2 – it usually covers 1 infant flight per paying adult.
Where should I stay?
If you want to avoid shelling out for expensive (and hectic) on-site hotels, a good alternative is to rent a private villa nearby. You’ll find a wide range of great-value vacation homes in popular resorts just a few miles from Disney World. Many villas come with private pools, game rooms, home theaters and themed kids bedrooms. You’ll also enjoy access to top resort amenities such as water parks, golf courses, restaurants, kids clubs and even free shuttles to the parks (from some resorts).
If you’re looking for something a little smaller, check out our range of condos in Orlando instead. These compact but luxurious properties offer access to shared pools and other communal facilities.