Now that I live in Orlando, I visit Disney World at least once a week. Since I have been a frequent visitor to Disney World for the last 8 years, this has taught me the “secrets” for the best dates to visit. In the last 3 years, I have seen a significant increase in the crowds throughout the entire year.
The days when I could ride a couple of times on Space Mountain without the wait are now sweet memories. Nonetheless, there are times when I have visited the parks and noticed fewer visitors. Can I guarantee you a 5 minute wait on all your favorite attractions? Not really. Can I guarantee you a table at Le Cellier or Be Our Guest? No, but I can guarantee the following dates in which the parks will be a lot less packed than in the Summer or Christmas.
1. The Second or Fourth Week in January
When children return to school and the Christmas bustle has died down, most families return to their normal lives. Although this past January the park experienced low attendance; schools now visit the parks during the first weeks of the semester. On Martin Luther King Day, the parks tend to be quite busy. January has a favorable climate and the temperature remains at about 70 degrees (Fahrenheit) without rain!
2. Early February
The week of Valentine’s Day tends to attract enormous multitudes yet if you are able to travel the first week of February, you’ll be in for an incredible surprise. Few visitors and a pleasant climate make for perfect days at the parks. Ensure that you pack clothes for a colder climate as the evenings in February can be quite cool. By this time, most schools have been in session for 3 weeks therefore most parents will not take a vacation. This is the perfect opportunity to travel.
3. Last 2 Weeks in August
Most schools in Florida begin the new school year around the third week in August. Although the temperature is still quite warm, it is a good time to visit Disney World. The pools in the resorts are quite refreshing and there is no better time to visit the water parks. In conclusion, the last two weeks in August are ideal for enjoying Disney World.
4. After Labor Day in September
While most of the out of state visitors are focusing on the return to school, Florida families tend to visit Disney World during the Labor Day weekend. If you are able to visit during the remaining weeks in September, you will find less crowds and shorter lines for the attractions. Keep in mind that the Epcot Food & Wine Festival takes place around the third week in September and attendance increases during this period and even more so on the weekend!
5. The Last Two Weeks in October
October used to be my favorite time to visit Disney World but the first two weeks have become more and more frequented. Disney has begun to offer enormous discounts for the hotels and free meal plans to encourage an increase in attendance. November is usually the period for free meal offers which is why most try to travel early in November in place of the end of October. Here is a quick glance at the Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party which tends to attract enormous crowds to Magic Kingdom.
6. The Week Prior to Thanksgiving Week
The week prior to Thanksgiving week is completely packed but the first two weeks November are pretty quiet. These are the perfect dates of the year to make restaurant reservations.
7. The First Two Weeks in December
While the youth are ready for their Winter break, most parents do not travel prior to the schools’ Christmas vacation. During this time, the weather is perfect as most days will be between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit and the Christmas decorations are already in place. You will notice that Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is full but not packed.
8. Preferably Days of the Week Instead of Weekends
Of course, another great time to visit Disney World is Monday through Friday. Usually, hotel rates are lower on weekday stays and crowds swell on the weekends. Monday through Wednesday will be your best days for Magic Kingdom, while the other parks are great for the full 5 days. Just be careful, weeks off from school, especially the Florida schools, can change this in an instant!