Are you planning a trip to Disney World, and need to know:
When is the best time to visit Disney World?
We’ve got a crowd calendar for the 2018-2019 school year with the answer.
Which months are the most packed at Disney World,
and which months are the best to visit.
Let’s dive in…
A Word on Disney World Crowds
Disney World crowds are pretty easy to understand.
Or are they?
How exactly do you measure Disney World crowd levels?
Is it the wait times on rides?
Or how booked up the restaurants are? Or the hotels?
Or is it how full the parks feel?
We take the view that it’s all of the above. And that’s how we create and present our 2018 and 2019 Disney World Crowd Calendar.
It’s an estimation of overall crowd levels, combining multiple factors, including wait times and resort capacity.
For this reason, we predict crowd levels in categories: light, moderate, heavy and extreme. These are depicted as green, blue, yellow, and red.
We believe that these categories provide all of the information necessary for vacation planning. We also believe that predicting the future any more precisely requires a crystal ball that no one has access to.
If you are traveling during the 2017/2018 school year, please use this Disney World Crowd Calendar.
2018-2019 Disney World Crowd Calendar
This calendar is structured around the school year because that is how most families plan their vacations.
As you can see, we predict crowd levels for each park. They are as accurate as we can make them, given that we are predicting the future.
Starting in the summer of 2018 and throughout 2019, we expect to see an increased crowd volume in Hollywood Studios. Disney World will be opening Toy Story Land on June 30, 2018 and Star Wars Land in the summer of 2019. For information on the crowd levels during the summer of 2018, please look at our 2017/2018 Disney World Crowd Calendar.
However, we advise against using them to pick individual park days.
That’s because things like park hours and Extra Magic Hours can have a significant effect on individual park crowd levels. That information is not available when the calendar is created, and it frequently changes.
For the most up-to-date information on park hours, check the official Disney World calendar.
A better strategy is to use the crowd level data to pick your week(s). The more green, the lighter the crowds, the shorter the ride wait times, and the more likely you’ll get your hardest-to-get ADRs.
Then, as your vacation nears, and you are planning your itinerary, pick your individual park days based on when you can get Advanced Dining Reservations (ADRs) for the restaurants you want, Extra Magic Hours, and other events that you are interested in.
We generally recommend avoiding parks on Extra Magic Hours (EMH) days. Park crowd levels are at their lowest the day after EMH. The rest of our Disney World simple planning process is here.
How We Predict Disney World Crowds
We use a number of methods to predict Disney World crowd levels, such as:
- historical crowd data from Disney
- historical crowd patterns, especially around holidays
- upcoming events and festivals
- upcoming conventions
- school breaks
- and the most important, experience.
We combine this data in a way that’s part art and part science to produce what we believe is the most accurate,
and most representative…
Disney World crowd calendar available.
It’s also one of the most comprehensive calendars, as it includes crowd levels at each major park, not just one level for all of Disney World.
When is the Best Time to Visit Disney World?
The best time to visit Disney World depends on your party, whether you want to experience a particular season or event, and whether you have school-related date restrictions:
- If you have no restrictions on dates, the first half of December, is the best time to visit Disney World.
- If you have no restrictions on dates, the month of September is the next best time to visit Disney World.
- If you have kids in school who cannot be taken out, the end of August is the best time to visit Disney World.
- Other school break periods can have extreme crowd levels.
Otherwise, review the crowd calendar above to determine what works best for you.
When is the Worst Time to Visit Disney World?
The worst time to visit Disney World are during extreme crowds (red on the calendar). This includes:
- Thanksgiving week
- Christmas week
- New Year’s week
- Spring Break (end of March/beginning of April)
- Easter week
- Memorial Day
- Fourth of July
- Labor Day
Having said that, if one of these breaks are the only time that works for you and your family, you can still go and have a great time. After all, thousands of other families are!
Just start planning earlier, so you can get your ADRs and FastPasses as soon as they become available.
Disney World Crowds Month by Month
September is one of our favorite months to go to Disney World…
As you can see, there’s a fair amount of green on the calendar, indicating low crowd levels.
Crowd levels remain low to moderate throughout most of the month, as kids have just gone back to school. Very few families go on vacation during the first month of school.
Labor Day weekend is the exception to the rule when it comes to September. That is a very busy weekend for families trying to fit some last minute fun into their summers.
September is the first full month of the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival, our favorite Epcot festival. This festival doesn’t have much effect on overall crowd levels.
It can increase crowd levels in the World Showcase at Epcot on the weekends, as locals come in to sample the international flavors, but not to the point you need to avoid the park altogether. The lines at the sample stands can be a long, but overall it is still a good time to go.
Crowds pick up a little at the end of the month, as some schools have early fall breaks. However, crowd levels only creep up to moderate.
Remember that September is peak hurricane season, so you may want to consider travel insurance.
Crowd levels begin to pick up and remain moderate to heavy for the first half of October, as more schools go on fall break.
Crowd levels peak around the Columbus Day long weekend, with many schools on fall break – with extreme crowd levels for three days.
Epcot International Food and Wine Festival continues during October, increasing weekend crowd levels at Epcot.
Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is in full swing at Magic Kingdom, with that park closing at 6 PM on party nights unless you have a ticket for the event.
Crowds remain mostly in the moderate range through the end of October.
Peak hurricane season continues during October; you may want to consider travel insurance.
Crowds begin to pick up more in the month of November between the end of the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival and the Wine and Dine half marathon, as well as some families choosing to take vacations before the Thanksgiving and holiday season gets into full swing.
The week of Thanksgiving is a very busy one. We recommend not trying to schedule a trip to Disney World during that week if your goal is low crowd levels, short wait times, and availability of the restaurants you most want.
The following week begins a unique, great time to visit Disney World. The last week of November, and the first part of December tends to have lower crowd levels. The holiday decorations go up throughout the month of November but are completed by the last week of November.
There are some stunning holiday displays to see at all the parks, the resorts, and Disney Springs.
The first half of December is our overall favorite time to visit:
You’ll find moderate crowd levels and pleasant, warm-but-not-too-hot, dry weather. You’ll also enjoy festive, magical holiday decorations.
Cinderella’s Castle in Magic Kingdom is lit beautifully for the season, and there are giant, beautiful Christmas trees in the parks and resort lobbies, as well as some spectacular gingerbread displays in some resorts. There’s certainly no shortage of festive photo-ops.
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is also running during this time, a hard ticket event at Magic Kingdom.
Crowd levels begin at moderate and pick up to high the week before Christmas.
The week of Christmas and the week of New Years both feature extreme crowds, and we recommend steering clear, unless that is the only time that works for your party.
As January kicks off, crowd levels are at their highest during the week of New Year’s Day. We recommend avoiding this week if at all possible.
Crowd levels are moderate to high for Marathon Weekend, which takes place mostly over the first weekend of January. This contributes to slightly higher park and resort crowd levels, but has minimal impact on ride wait times, as many visitors are there to run or watch the marathon, not ride the attractions.
Crowds decrease to mostly moderate levels during the second and third week of January, with the exception of Martin Luther King Day and weekend. Crowd levels are high to extreme during this 3 day weekend.
The Epcot International Festival of the Arts is anticipated to begin January 11th. It is not expected to significantly increase crowd levels, which are generally moderate during the week and high on weekends.
Crowd levels stay in the moderate range, with some parks seeing low crowd levels during the last days of the month.
February starts off with a moderate to heavy weekend. The first week is low to moderate, but crowd levels begin to pick up by the second weekend. The second full week has heavy crowd levels, with extreme crowd levels mid-month at the end of the Epcot International Festival of the Arts and over President’s Day Weekend. President’s Day falls on February 18, 2019 and crowd levels are expected to be extreme leading up to the weekend and through the holiday itself.
The Princess Half Marathon also results in high crowd levels the last weekend in February. The following week, the crowd levels return to moderate, and even low for some parks.
March starts moderate crowd levels during the first and second weeks, with a few days of high crowds.
Crowds then begin to increase dramatically as Spring Breaks begin.
Crowds continue to increase during the fourth week of March, as more school districts go on Spring Break.
The last week of March is peak Spring Break. Expect extreme crowd levels.
April starts off with a bang. During the first week of April, there are still many schools on Spring Break, and Guests can expect extreme Disney World Crowd levels.
Crowd levels then decrease week by week, up until Easter, which falls on Sunday, April 21st. Extreme crowd levels are expected for several days surrounding that holiday.
Crowd levels drop back to moderate-to-high after the Easter rush until the end of the month.
The Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival continues during April.
The first 3 weeks of May are a great time to visit Disney World, with generally moderate crowd levels. Temperatures are warm to hot, spring has been in full swing for several months, and the wet season is just beginning.
Cinco de Mayo increases crowd levels significantly, but the effect is only for that day.
Crowds then begin to pick up at the end of the month as Memorial Day approaches and summer begins.
The long Memorial Day weekend is a great time to avoid Disney World, as crowds peak into the extreme range.
May finishes out it’s last few days with extreme crowds.
The Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival ends during May.
The wet season is in full swing by June. Guests to Walt Disney World can expect brief but heavy afternoon downpours.
But, if you pack the right gear, you can ride these out and use them to your advantage. Parks tend to be less crowded and cooler immediately following rain.
The beginning of June is the busiest as families are taking full advantage of summer break, with many trying to beat the highest heat months.
Crowd levels remain high to extreme for most of the month, with a few exceptions.
If you have school age kids (which is one of the best ages for Disney World) and need to make your Disney trip in during the summer, consider shooting to travel towards the end of August, but not over Labor Day.
Starting June 30, expect Hollywood Studios to be PACKED as everyone will want to get their eyes on the brand-new Toy Story Land.
Wet season continues during July, so bring your best Disney World gear to deal with afternoon storms. You can ride these out and use them to your advantage. Parks tend to be less crowded and cooler immediately after the rain.
July is our least favorite month for Disney World because of the combination of high to extreme crowds and high temperatures. However, July crowds are not as as consistently extreme as they have traditionally been, possibly due to peak season pricing.
Crowd levels throughout July are mostly in the high and extreme range as almost all school systems are out for summer break.
The week of July 4th is the one of the busiest weeks of the summer at Disney World.
The average high temperature is 92 degrees, so if you do plan a July trip, use these tips for staying cool.
August begins with crowds in the high to extreme range, and they taper off to moderate to high at the end of the month. That’s why we consider the of end August to be the best time of the summer to visit.
By the final week in August, crowds are actually in the low range. So if your kids haven’t gone back to school yet, this may be a great way to end the summer. This is true up until the Labor Day weekend, which can attract quite a bit of traffic from those looking to pack one last hurrah into the summer before the school year begins again.
However, while the crowds are better than July, the weather isn’t.
The average high temperature is 92 degrees. Wet season continues with frequent afternoon downpours, and peak hurricane season begins. You may want to consider travel insurance during hurricane season.
2017 – 2018 Disney World Crowd Calendar
If you are planning a trip before September 2018, please use our Disney World Crowd Calendar for the 2017/2018 school year.
Well, that is our 2018-2019 Walt Disney World Crowd Calendar!
If you’d like to use our calendar on your site, you are welcome to: just click here.
Please let us know what you think in the comments! And if you visit, let us know how we did with our predictions!