Home to thrilling rides, electrifying parades and heart-warming characters, Disney World in Orlando is the perfect place for a vacation. But when is the best time to visit? We’re here to give you the lowdown on the weather, the crowd sizes and the accommodation prices, which all change throughout the year.
With a little bit of careful planning you’ll be able to meet a Disney princess, eat in Orlando’s top restaurants, watch the famous firework displays and attend some of the best seasonal events. Read on for our top tips, or check out our handy crowd calendar for an overview of the best times to visit.
Busy times at Disney World
There isn’t a single ‘high season’ at Disney World. Instead, there are several main busy periods throughout the year, with crowds and accommodation prices peaking when the kids are off school. These are some of the busiest times:
Christmas and New Year
The busiest time at Disney World by far is the festive period, when masses of people flock to the parks and prices begin to peak. It’s also one of the dreamiest times to visit. Visit during the holiday season and you’ll be able to watch renowned Christmas firework displays, embrace the wintry wonderland of twinkling lights, and experience the parks’ top rides, all in a magical setting.
Mid February through mid April
The Easter weekend is probably the second-busiest time of year at Walt Disney World in Orlando. Expect big crowds, pricier accommodation and higher-than-average airfares. The upside is that you’ll be able to enjoy sunnier, calmer weather. The weeks immediately before and after the Easter weekend can also be pretty crowded, with lots of families taking advantage of the school break.
Other parts of the spring can also be considered peak times at Disney World, not least Spring Break, when young people visit from all around the country. However, there are plenty of days – especially during the middle of the week – when the parks are much quieter.
Summer (June through August)
Prepare for busy crowds and hot, humid weather; summer is the time when families are most likely to visit. For the best experience, we’d recommend visiting the parks first thing in the morning before the crowds and humidity hit.
Temperatures peak at lunch time and during the early afternoon, so take this time to either have an afternoon break or head to one of the water parks, then return to the theme parks in the late afternoon or evening when it’s cooler again. It tends to be hottest and busiest between 11am and 4pm, so aim to go before or after these hours for a top experience during the summer months.
Aside from the main holiday periods, don’t forget the crowds surrounding Thanksgiving (near the end of November), Independence Day, Presidents’ Day, Labor Day, Memorial Day, Halloween, Marathon weekend (early Jan) and Mardi Gras.
Quiet times at Disney World
Not a fan of big crowds? Then you’ll be happy to know that the magical lands of Disney have much quieter days, with fewer people, shorter queues and more space to explore the parks at your own pace. Generally speaking, low season at Disney World kicks off when the kids return to school and the weather cools down. We’ve recommended some of the best times to visit below.
Mid January through mid February
The weather is coolest in Florida at this time of year and the accommodation prices tend to be lower, with some great last-minute deals available. Since the school holidays have just come to a close, crowds also tend to be sparser.
First three weeks of May
Before the school kids’ vacation begins, May is a fairly quiet month with lovely warm weather and moderate accommodation prices. Aside from the Memorial Day weekend and the very end of the month, Disney’s crowds are quite manageable.
Late August through September
Once the kids go back to school you can enjoy beaming weather, low crowd levels and plenty of exciting events. We’d recommend taking time away from the main Disney parks and heading to the water parks during the afternoons in order to refresh, relax and take a break from the intense Orlando heat.
Mid November through mid December
Apart from the buzzing week of Thanksgiving, weekdays in November are a prime time to visit Disney World. The weather is comfortable, parks are decorated with festive decorations, and there are all sorts of fun-filled events for the family. Likewise with December, before the hectic week of Christmas approaches, parks tend to stay quite calm with that heart-warming spark in the air.
Disney World crowd calendar 2018
The nifty crowd calendar below will help you work out the best times to visit Disney World.
Tips for beating the crowds
When high season is in full swing, Disney World’s exciting events are booming and excitement is sky high. Crowds are plentiful and queues can be long, but the pros definitely override the cons.
However, if you’re visiting during any of the busy periods mentioned above, our advice is to plan, plan, plan. To beat the crowds, arrive early when the parks open and you should have an hour or so of relatively short queues.
Make a note of your must-see attractions and prioritize accordingly. You should also make dining reservations a long way in advance to ensure you get a spot (our Concierge team can help with this). Another useful tip is to take advantage of your Disney Fast Pass by pre-booking your top three rides in advance – check out our Fast Pass guide for more information.
What’s the best day of the week to go to Disney World?
Crowds vary depending on which day of the week you choose to visit Disney World. Long weekends tend to be the busiest, with Sunday and Saturday at the top, followed by Monday and Friday. Tuesday is known as the quietest day with Thursday and Wednesday just slightly busier.
Planning for the weather
Although it’s known for year-round sunshine, Orlando’s weather does change from month to month, and it should be a significant factor in your Disney planning.
The best time to visit weather-wise is between January-April – there’s little rain and temperatures are warm but not as humid as other months in the year.
The summer months are hot and humid, with average daily temperatures rising to around 82F (28C). For more in-depth weather information, check out our ‘best time to visit Florida’ guide.
What about attraction ticket prices?
Whether you love water parks or rollercoasters, the attractions at Disney World are truly unmissable. The admission fees for each attraction are the same throughout the entire year, apart from Discovery Cove which is priced seasonally – speak to our Concierge for more details on costs or to book tickets.
Just like the crowds and the weather, prices for accommodation near Disney vary from season to season.
The cheapest times for Orlando vacation rentals are generally late January and early February, plus September, early November and early December; you’ll often find great last-minute deals at these times.
At the other end of the scale, prices tend to peak when the crowds are at their highest.
How can you save money on accommodation?
Visit our latest deals page, which we update constantly with the best vacation rental offers. Whether you’re visiting with the extended family or enjoying a small gathering, we’ll find the perfect villa for you at the best price.
Other things to consider
During the quieter periods in low season, the parks tend to go ahead with refurbishments. This means certain rides are subject to closures, especially between mid January and mid February.
Walt Disney World is also home to two water parks: Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach. Both parks are open all year round, but they are occasionally closed for renovation work. Typically, Typhoon Lagoon closes from the end of October to early January and then Blizzard Beach closes until early March.
This means one water park will always be open, but depending on when you visit, both may not be. Also bear in mind that if the temperature does drop too much, or if the weather is too stormy, water parks may be closed for the day.
Flight prices vary a lot throughout the year. To get the best deal you’ll need to be prepared to fly in low season. Being flexible with your dates can also help to keep costs nice and low.
To find the dream vacation rental on your Walt Disney trip, browse our Orlando latest deals page or search the full list of homes here. If you’d like to speak to a sales adviser to guide you through the way, call us on 1-866-341-8086 (US)/ 0800 43 34567 (UK) or for more information about extras, attraction tickets and anything else you require, speak to our Concierge team.