With its sunny weather and thrilling theme parks it’s a favorite family destination, but when is the best time to visit Orlando? While there’s no bad time to travel to the theme park capital it definitely pays to plan ahead.
Figuring out the best time to visit Orlando really depends on you. Along with planning your itinerary, you’ll want to weigh up a variety of factors such as the weather, crowds and prices. Ideally, the best time to go to Orlando is when the weather isn’t too hot, prices aren’t too steep and the crowds aren’t too heavy – if that is when you are able to travel. If not, don’t worry! Even if you’re traveling during a busy period you’ll still have an amazing time, especially with a bit of forward planning.
Read our simple month-by-month guide to help you work out the best time to visit Orlando for you – we’ve included details about the weather, the holidays and peak times for tourism, along with handy hints and tips to help you get the most out of your visit.
The weather in Orlando
Located at the heart of the Sunshine State, Orlando stays warm pretty much all year round. It has a subtropical climate consisting of two main seasons, one is hot and wet and the other is warm and dry. Visit in the summer months and Orlando will be hot, hot, hot – perfect for topping up your tan. Temperatures in the summer can soar into the 90s, and the humidity can make it feel even hotter. Visit in the winter or spring and you can expect milder temperatures between the 50s–70s and little in the way of rain.
Florida also has a hurricane season which runs from June through November. While those are the official dates, most storms occur during peak hurricane season which is the month of October. Don’t be too alarmed though, as even if you choose to visit at this time (and there are some great deals to be had) the chances of a serious hurricane hitting Orlando during your visit are slim.
Weather-wise, the best time to visit Orlando is from mid-January to April as that is the time of year when you’ll get mild weather, fewer crowds and cheaper prices on travel and accommodation (as long as you avoid the holidays). Likewise, September offers comfortable temperatures and lower airfare and accommodation rates – and while it comes with the risk of storms, there’s still plenty of sunshine to enjoy.
So, when is peak season in Orlando?
Because of Orlando’s endless attractions, peak season comes into effect whenever there’s a school holiday. For those who need to plan their vacation around school holidays for their children, this is the best time to visit Orlando. Generally speaking, peak season comes into effect from March through April (spring break) June through August (summer break) and mid-December through early January (winter break). Peak season also occurs at Easter and half term, and during Thanksgiving and other federal holidays.
If you’re visiting Orlando in peak season you’ll find that crowds around the tourist attractions are heavier, and airfares and hotels are more expensive. That said, there’s still plenty you can do to make your life easier. Paying peak prices for the theme park hotels definitely isn’t a money-saving idea – you’ll be better off staying at one of the affordable resorts near Disney. Also, keep a look out for multi-day attraction tickets as they usually work out cheaper than gate prices.
The best time to visit Orlando, month-by-month
While the start of January is a busy time in Orlando, things tend to quieten down towards the middle of the month. Winter break comes to an end, the theme parks pack away their holiday decorations and the tourist crowds disperse. Through the first month, temperatures are mild (highs of 72, lows of 52) and rainfall is minimal, making it one of the best times to visit Orlando if you prefer things cooler and quieter.
If you’re visiting Orlando in January, check out fun events like Epcot’s International Festival of the Arts (Jan 17-Feb 24) and Disney’s Marathon Weekend (January 9-12). Be aware that the latter brings in thousands of runners each year, and some of the longer races take competitors through each of the four Disney parks. Also worth noting for January is that theme park opening hours are shorter, and while Disney’s resort pools remain open, its two water park are typically closed.
February is a lovely time to visit Orlando as it’s warm, sunny and pleasant. The month is characterised by gradually increasing daily temperatures, with highs in the 70s and lows in the 60s. The sun shines for around 8 hours per day through February and rainfall levels are low, so take advantage by hitting the theme parks or Orlando’s great outdoors.
In terms of the holiday crowds, February is fairly quiet with the exception of a few busy periods. Presidents’ Day falls on the third Monday of the month, and since it’s a federal holiday crowds are to be expected. Valentine’s Day is pretty busy too, especially at the restaurants, so if you plan on dining out we recommend making a reservation. The crowds also spike for the UK half term which occurs around mid-February and lasts for a week.
Events to check out in February include Universal’s Mardi Gras which runs all the way through the month. There’s also the Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend from February 20-23.
With its combination of low rainfall and warm weather, many vacationers consider March to be the best time to visit Orlando. Temperatures rise into the 70s and there’s around 8 hours of sunshine a day in this pleasant ‘shoulder season’ month. The waterparks typically re-open in March, and as the days get longer, the theme park opening hours follow.
From mid way through the month, spring break tends to bring the crowds to Orlando’s main attractions. Epcot’s International Flower & Garden Festival kicks off in March and runs through the end of May. Although things might be busy, the amazing Disney-inspired floral arrangements are well worth the hubbub. The Atlanta Braves also spend their spring training at Disney. Games take place at the ESPN Wide World of Sports. For anything Disney related be sure to arrive early, before the parks reach full capacity.
If you don’t like crowds, you might want to check out some of the city’s other offerings like its gorgeous parks, quirky museums and craft breweries. Fancy something different? Head out of the city and spend a day at a natural spring, go quad biking through the countryside or get up close to alligators on an airboat adventure.
Hello, spring breakers! If you’re visiting Orlando in April you should expect some serious crowds around spring break and Easter. Nevertheless, April is still one of the best months to visit with temperatures really starting to heat up towards the summer. The rain hasn’t quite set in and hurricane season is still a way off, so you’ll get the best of both worlds weather-wise.
At Disney, skip the queues by taking advantage of the free Fastpass service which allows you to book your turn on some rides in advance. The park also operates single-rider lines for solo riders, plus a rider-switch program that allows anyone with a child (or dependant adult) to take turns riding while the other waits with the child. Over at Universal you can skip the regular queues with an Express Pass (prices start at around $80) or use the shorter single-rider lines.
In terms of events, Disney’s Star Wars Rival Run weekend kicks off on April 16. Runners can compete in the Star Wars Star Wars 5k, 10k, Rival Run Challenge and kids races, as well as the Rival Run Half Marathon. Also in April is the Florida Film Festival, taking place at the beautiful Enzian theater in Maitland.
May marks the start of the warmest part of the year, and is one of the best times to visit Orlando. Daytime temperatures hover in the mid 80s and climb even higher towards the end of the month. The wet season is still a way off although you should expect some afternoon rain showers from around mid May. Most schools are still in session through May so crowds will be minimal and prices for travel and accommodation will be on the cheaper side, at least until Memorial Day when things tend to get a little busier.
There are a few events to get involved with in May, especially if you enjoy a party vibe. Cinco de Mayo takes place at the start of the month and is celebrated all across the city. For the biggest celebrations head to Church Street for endless margaritas, music and Mexican food. Also check out the Orlando Carnival which takes place in downtown Orlando at the end of May, or make a trip to the Orlando International Fringe Theater Festival, a showcase of musicians, dancers and artists from around the globe.
Much like spring break and Easter, June is one of the peak times to visit Orlando. The theme parks buzzing with life, and the hot weather provides the perfect conditions for making a splash at Orlando’s fantastic water parks. If you’re visiting Orlando in June, there’s likely to be some rain although any showers are quickly followed by clear, sunny skies.
If you prefer to avoid the crowds, plan your visit for the start of the month before the school holidays. There are lots of advantages to visiting at this time including lower airfares, cheaper accommodation and quieter attractions. If you’re tied to traveling in the holidays, you’ll still have a great time. If the heat gets too much, then head to one of the many beautiful beaches near Orlando.
If you’re a fan of hot weather then July is a good month to visit Orlando. Daily highs can reach a toasty 90F so be sure to pack plenty of sunscreen and plan regular breaks from the heat. Schools are on summer break through July so it’s no surprise that it’s a peak month for Orlando’s theme parks and attractions. The good news is that they’re open for extended hours so you can time your visit around the crowds and the heat.
If you’re visiting Orlando in July, a good plan of action is to visit the theme parks at opening time when it’s quieter and cooler, then leave around midday and enjoy lunch and a refreshing dip back at your resort. Plan for the heat through the afternoon, then return to the theme parks in the evening when things are a little cooler.
As it’s rainy season in Orlando, July is very likely to be wet, however the rain rarely stays around for the whole day. Most of it comes in short heavy downpours in the afternoon, which usually pass within an hour. Our tip is to be prepared! You can purchase a rain poncho for around $10 in the theme parks, or you could save money by buying a few in advance and taking them on vacation with you.
August is the hottest month of the year in Orlando with temperatures soaring into the 90s most days. Try to stay inside or plan plenty of breaks when the sun is at its strongest – from around midday to 3pm. This is a great time to visit Orlando’s water parks, like Blizzard Beach, Typhoon Lagoon and Volcano Bay. Alternatively, you can head to the air-conditioned shopping malls where you’ll get great bargains at places like Orlando Premium Outlets.
Events to check out in August include Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival, featuring drinks and delicacies from around the world. Pin collectors should not miss the Pins Around Our World Festival at Epcot World Showcase – you can buy and trade pins with other collectors, plus there are workshops where you an learn pin-making and create pins of your own.
By September, schools are back in session making it a good time to visit Orlando if you want to avoid the crowds. Travel and accommodation rates are at their lowest point of the year so it’s also one of the cheapest times to visit. Whether you want to avoid the sun or brave the heat, there’s plenty to get involved with in September.
Near the start of the month is Rock the Universe, the biggest Christian festival in Florida. Set in Universal Studios, the most famous names in rock and worship music come together for a rousing weekend of music and fun. For indoor entertainment, check out places like Wonderworks and Ripley’s Believe it or Not, both on International Drive. Or for water-based fun, head to Orlando Watersports Complex where you can go wake-boarding or waterskiing.
October is a great month to visit Orlando. With the kids back in school, the queues for rides in the theme parks are much quieter, and October’s cooler temperatures offer a welcome break from the summer heat. Yes, there might be some rain, but with wet season coming to an end, any rain showers are likely to pass quickly.
Events-wise, October means Halloween in Orlando. At Disney World there’s Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. Taking place at Magic Kingdom on select nights through October, it features a trick-or-treat extravaganza, themed parades, dace parties, competitions and a fireworks spectacular. For something scarier, head to the award-winning Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios. Pit your wits against scare zones, horror houses, terrifying live shows and other creepy goings-on.
Orlando’s weather in November is much more bearable than in the humid summer months. It’s also the low season in Orlando so a quieter time at the theme parks and resorts. The combination of great weather and fewer crowds makes November one of the best times to visit Orlando for a relaxing off-season getaway.
There’s plenty to do in Orlando in November, with something for everyone. Foodies shouldn’t miss the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival at Disney World. Running from September through mid-November, you can taste you way around more than 30 international food booths, watch celebrity chef demonstrations, attend wine seminars, and enjoy nightly music performances.
Also look out for the incredible Christmas decorations at the theme parks – some are fully decorated by mid-November.
By December it’s peak season for tourism in Orlando, with families flocking in for the Christmas holidays. The whole city gets decked out with elaborate decorations – it’s like a winter wonderland wherever you go, except with warm temperatures instead of cold ones. Unsurprisingly, there are heavy crowds at the theme parks and attractions, so you’ll want to make the most of the queue-jump and ride-reservation services.
In December there are a range of Christmas and New Year’s celebrations to get involved with. At Disney, there’s the fun-filled Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party with its festive parades, faux snowfalls and one of the best fireworks shows of the year, Holiday Wishes. Also check out Christmas at Universal Studios, with Macy’s Holiday Parade, Grinchmas, and Christmas at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
In Orlando for New Year? You can visit all of the main theme parks for parties and fireworks, or head to one the city’s myriad restaurants, bars, clubs or entertainment venues.
How to get the best deals
You’ll get better deals and enjoy a quieter vacation by visiting Orlando during the low season – this is the best time to visit Orlando if you’re looking to save. The busiest and most expensive time to go to Orlando is during the holidays, especially over Christmas, New Year, spring break and summer vacation. While prices for vacations tend to go up during these times, you can still get some great deals if you book way in advance or look out for last-minute special offers.
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Tempted to book?
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