Winter Ride Closures at Walt Disney World



By Dave Shute

RIDES CLOSED FOR MAINTENANCE AND REHAB AT WALT DISNEY WORLD

Walt Disney World rides and attractions can be closed for maintenance, rehab, or replacement at any time.

The way I keep up with this is to check the “Refurbishments and Attraction Closures” part of the weekly Walt Disney World Resort Update section of MousePlanet.com.

That said, the most common time for attraction closures is January and early February.  For this reason, this site suggests that first time visitors who are unsure whether or not they will ever return should avoid this period.

Why go during a period when some of the best of Walt Disney World may not be available?

For the currently known 2014 winter closures at Disney World, see this.

However, I’ve seen some claims that “only Splash Mountain is closed” during this period, so I went back and analyzed ride closures over the last five years to double check the facts.

The results of this analysis are presented below.

WINTER RIDE CLOSURES AT WALT DISNEY WORLD

Over the past five years, an average of three rides are closed in January at Walt Disney World.  (This figure excludes rides closed for massive rehabs—e.g. a nine month do-over.)

The average number of closures drops sharply as mid-February and the President’s Day Weekend approaches, and continues to drop into March.

Walt Disney World Ride ClosuresSee the chart for daily averages (click it to enlarge it.)

Splash Mountain is indeed the most common ride to be closed in this period–it has been closed each of the last five years, for at least five days, and for an average of almost 30 days.

Other attractions closed more than once during the period include Test Track, Buzz Lightyear, the Backlot Tour, and the Liberty Belle riverboat. Other significant attractions closed at least once in winter include Rock N’ Roller Coaster, Kali River Rapids, and Indiana Jones.

There’s not much on this list I’d want to miss…so the advice to first time visitors who may not be able to return remains the same–avoid January and early February!

This advice is reflected in this site’s 2014 weeks to visit, ranked in order.

Follow yourfirstvisit.net on Facebook or Twitter!

RELATED STUFF

85 comments

1 Deb { 04.08.11 at 10:53 am }

Hi,
Looking to book a break to Disney on 19 April 2012 for two weeks. Have two young children so would like to choose a good time when the parks are not as busy. This will be after Easter but will schools still have Spring breaks at this time or are they normally in March? Your help would be much appreciated.

2 Dave { 04.08.11 at 11:08 am }

Hi Deb–for just the reason you point out, I think those will be great weeks!! See http://yourfirstvisit.net/2010/10/20/2012-weeks-to-visit-walt-disney-world-ranked-in-order/

3 Anu { 06.28.11 at 12:06 pm }

Hello.

I want to give my son a memorable 3rd year birthday in January 2012 and I promised to take him to Disneyland. Since I will be coming all the way from Lagos, Nigeria, I need to know the timing will be worth my while.
Thank you.

4 Dave { 06.28.11 at 12:39 pm }

Anu, at that age it will be memorable! A few rides may be closed, but not noticable to a three year old!

5 Robin { 07.30.11 at 1:57 pm }

Hello,
When does disney usually post ride closures for january. We have been to disney 10+ times so a few rides closed is not major deal.
Thank you

6 Dave { 07.30.11 at 4:06 pm }

Hi Robin–there’s no set date. Sometimes a ride gets listed as closed months before, and other times weeks–or even days–before.

7 melissa { 10.02.11 at 12:18 am }

Hi, my 3 children range from ages 12-18. They want us to have a family blowout vacation, since there’s a chance this may be our last. I am very ill and on an IV several hours a day. I will still be able to enjoy the parks for a few hours at a time. What we need is a fair price hotel that sleeps 5 They and has trams to parks, a refrigerator for my o’s and transport to and from airport. Thank you

8 Dave { 10.02.11 at 6:44 am }

Hi Melissa I’m sorry for your illness. If you stay at a Disney hotel, you get free airport transport–called Disney’s Magical Express–and free transportation from your hotel to and from the parks. The lowest-price option that sleeps 5 and has a fridge is a family suite at All-Star Music or at the Art of Animation Resort (opens late May 2012.) For an example floorplan see http://yourfirstvisit.net/2010/07/27/review-disneys-all-star-music-resort/

Depending on the time of year this will cost you from $200 to more than $350 a nite.

Much cheaper hotels are available outside WDW, but not with airport transport or transport to the parks. For staying outside the parks, see this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2010/01/27/the-tightwads-guide-to-staying-off-site-at-walt-disney-world/

9 Shannon { 11.29.11 at 10:30 am }

Hey! Great site. Just stumbled upon it and glad I did. I looked at the list of ride closures. We are looking at going to WDW either January 28-February 2, 2012 or March 24 – 29, 2012. I hate that Thunder Mtn is going to be closed, but we have to do with the free dining plan – can’t beat that. I went as a kid, but I am taking my 8 yr old daughter for her first time. I really would hate to take her and Splash Mountain be closed. Is there anyway to get a more definite answer from WDW as to whether it would be closed during the January dates. That is the ride I have been telling her about and it would almost be a wasted trip if she didnt get to ride it. I really don’t want to go during March due to Spring Breakers and the crowds. Thank you!

10 Dave { 11.29.11 at 1:47 pm }

Hi Shannon and thanks.

The word on the street is that Splash Mountain will NOT be closed for refurb in 2012, and the people who say this say it comes from Disney, but I have not seen anything official…I’m not sure if WDW will make a definitive statement…sorry to be so little help!

If I were you I’d do the Jan-Feb dates in a heartbeat, as Splash can be visited another time but the crowds in March may be horrible…

11 Kelly { 02.03.12 at 8:48 pm }

Hi Dave!

I was wondering if you could shed any light on the Dumbo closure situation. Is it completely closed? I’ve read two different things – one that it would reopen on Feb 18 and the other saying not until March 11. Do you know anything about this? Thanks again! Kelly

12 Dave { 02.04.12 at 9:26 am }

Hi Kelly!

I don’t have any knowledge beyond what Disney is saying on its website–which remains March 11.

Because there are two Dumbos at issue–one being built new at Storybook Circus, the other dismantled and moved there–there had been specualtion about this being staged so the the new one might open earlier than 3/12. But I don’t know if any of this specualtion is true…

13 Kelly { 02.04.12 at 6:03 pm }

Aww man! :( Well we will keep our fingers crossed for an earlier opening. Thanks for the info though!

14 Dave { 02.04.12 at 6:54 pm }

Me too!

15 Lynn Villarreal { 02.13.12 at 2:01 am }

Hi Dave,

Going to WDW on 3/10/12-3/16/12. We are driving from Texas and staying at Pop Century. 3 kids…all boys!! 4 boys including my hubby, I am the only lady in the party. Any tips for me???? Please? 2nd visit after 7 years. Any help appreciated.

:)love your website!!!,
Lynn Villarreal

16 Dave { 02.13.12 at 12:04 pm }

Hi Lynn, and thanks! I’m seeing that as a very crowded week…keys to success will be avoiding parks with morning EMH, arriving well before the parks open, doing the most popular rides first, and using FASTPASS!

17 Jen { 04.13.12 at 12:29 am }

Hi,
I just stumbled across this website and I like all of the information! We are going to be at WDW June 4-June11th, we have a 13 & a 9 year old and we also have 14 month old twins… what can you recommend for us to have a great time? Will there be many rides that the babies will be able to go on with us?
thanks!
Jen :)

18 Dave { 04.13.12 at 6:50 am }

Hi Jen, on many rides you can hold the babies on your laps!

On some of the most popular ones, tho, someone will have to wait with them. There’s a option called the “baby swap” where a parent holds them and then when the other parent gets off, they swap and the parent who had been holding them can get right on..this works well with one kid but not so well with twins…you may have to dragoon the older kids into helping with the baby swap.

For what to do, see this–it’s not a perfect fit to your dates, but you can tailor it to your visit: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2010/12/06/summer-itinerary-for-walt-disney-world-v2/

19 lottie89 { 04.19.12 at 10:28 am }

Hi there,

My boyfriend and I have booked for 1st May-19th May 2013. We’re on a Disney Cruise for the first bit, and from the 5th May we’ll be at Wildnerness Lodge for 14 nights. How do you think this will be for crowds? (We’re from the UK, hence the long holiday!)

Thank you!

20 Dave { 04.19.12 at 12:24 pm }

Lottie, that’s a wonderful time of the year to be at WDW, and includes some of my top-ranked weeks of the year! See this for more on May: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2011/10/31/may-2012-at-walt-disney-world/

21 lottie89 { 04.20.12 at 12:03 pm }

Excellent! It was between May and September and we went for May because it isn’t hurricane season, and we wouldn’t have to wait so long until we go! I’m feeling like we made a good decision. I don’t mind queuing for anything up to 45 minutes really, and from what I can see, we shouldn’t have to do that too often if we plan properly.

Fantastic site by the way :)

22 Dave { 04.20.12 at 6:11 pm }

Thanks, Lottie, have a great trip, and write back when you are done and tell me how it went!

23 Travis { 06.17.12 at 9:09 pm }

Hi Dave
I have been to wdw 8 times but never in January … we are planning to go 1/6/13 – 1/13/13 .. my question is do u think a lot of rides will be closed ? I hate missing out on rides .. and test track will be reopening soon so would that be closed ? If u have any input I would appreciate it .

24 Dave { 06.18.12 at 6:13 am }

Travis, I think 4-7 rides will be closed. I doubt Test Track will be, for the reasons you note, but expect Splash Mountain will be, as it did not have its usual rehab this year.

25 Travis { 06.18.12 at 10:22 am }

Oh ok … do you think its still worth going ? And 4-7 rides is that just magic kingdom ot is that 4-7 all parks combined ?

26 Dave { 06.18.12 at 10:27 am }

Travis, that’s all parks…me, I’d go in a minute…

27 Travis { 06.18.12 at 10:31 am }

Thanks for all your input and advice …. great site and even better host !

28 Dave { 06.18.12 at 11:39 am }

Thanks Travis :) Also see the bottom of this page in the section “Refurbishments and Attraction Closures” of what was closed this Jan: http://www.mouseplanet.com/9857/Walt_Disney_World_Resort_Update#Quick

29 Trish { 08.30.12 at 2:21 pm }

My husband & I are planning a trip to DisneyWorld in either January or February 2013. What week would you suggest that has the least amount of ride closures? Also will Disney be offering free dining plans in those months.

30 Dave { 08.31.12 at 7:01 am }

Hi Trish, I can’t say for sure if they’ll be offering free dining. The best week in Jan or Feb is the last week of the month of Feb–most ride closures end by the very busy week before (President’s Day week). See this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2011/09/19/2013-weeks-to-visit-walt-disney-world-ranked-in-order/

31 Carol { 09.21.12 at 3:18 pm }

Hi, we are going to Disney World on January 31 – February 8 (can’t change these date) and wanted to stay at the contemporary…the contemporary isn’t accepting reservations for that week….at all….it’s like it is closed for that time period….the week before you can reserve a room and the week after you can reserve a room but not that time period…any ideas why?

32 Dave { 09.21.12 at 4:14 pm }

Hey Carol–I don’t know why. I’d guess there’s a convention there that week, which has absorbed all the rooms, but don’t know. There’s no special event that I know of that week…

33 lauren { 09.28.12 at 8:14 am }

Hi: I”m planning the first (and hopefully not last) trip somewhere in the ‘quiet’ time of early January – mid February. Any tips on the best week w/in that timeframe for us? I know some rides might be closed but we will probably be back :)

34 Dave { 09.28.12 at 10:14 am }

Hi Lauren! shoot to arrive after MLK Day, and to depart by the Thursday before President’s Day. The whole period in between should be great–other than closures…

35 lauren { 09.28.12 at 12:05 pm }

Thanks!…Now my husband is concerned about it being warm enough during that time…is early Feb iffy for outdoor swimming…for kids?

36 Dave { 09.28.12 at 12:31 pm }
37 Ei Leen { 10.19.12 at 11:30 pm }

Hi, I’m planning to go to Disney World some time between January 3rd and 17th, 2013. That’s really the only time I’ll be able to make it and it would suck to have some of the best attractions closed. I guess it’ll still be fun and magical and all, but do you have any advice on which 5 or 6 day period would be best within this time frame?

38 Dave { 10.20.12 at 1:18 pm }

Hi! In your dates, I like Jan 5 or 6 through the 11th or 12th the best.

39 Erik { 10.28.12 at 11:36 pm }

My wife and I have a son 9 &daughter 7 we are looking to spend around 3000 or a little more if have to this will b are first family trip to disney and are kids first time. we are thinking about going in late feb. early mar. and we d like to get there on a saturday or sunday and stay till the next saturday or sunday. we want to stay on campus. and wld if possible to get free dining plan and go when rides are open. but the overall experience of doing the most is more important than free dining plan. i know i asked alot but i want to maximize my kids first time.

40 Dave { 10.29.12 at 6:45 am }

Hi Erik, I don’t think you can do all that for $3000–see this for what you can do for various target budgets: http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/what-to-budget/estimating-budgets/designing-your-walt-disney-world-vacation-to-a-lower-target-budget/

41 mary { 11.15.12 at 10:44 pm }

Hi, we are thinking of a first time trip with grandson who just turned 4. What park(s) are best for a little one and is mid-end of January a good time for suggested parks? Any pool activity possible at this time? Thanks!

42 Dave { 11.16.12 at 4:43 pm }

Hi Mary! At that age, you can–and likely should–focus on only the Magic Kingdom. You can do it easily in 2 days. Epcot likely you should skip, and the other two parks may be worth a half day each.

Except for ride closures…and weather…the end of January is a great time to go. See this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2012/07/22/january-2013-walt-disney-world/

43 Anonymous { 01.06.13 at 5:54 pm }

My wife and I are planning a trip to wdw in Feb 2013. Currently its planned for the week starting Feb 16. I wasnt’t aware that was such a busy time though and I might be able to reschedule for the week after (starting the 23rd). Would it be worth it to reschedule? I have been several times but not for more then 15years and she has never been.

44 Phillip { 01.06.13 at 5:56 pm }

My wife and I are planning a trip to wdw in Feb 2013. Currently its planned for the week starting Feb 16. I wasnt’t aware that was such a busy time though and I might be able to reschedule for the week after (starting the 23rd). Would it be worth it to reschedule? I have been several times but not for more then 15years and she has never been.

45 Dave { 01.07.13 at 6:48 am }

Hi, the week after would be a much better choice!

Follow yourfirstvisit.net on Facebook!

46 Sarah { 01.08.13 at 2:18 pm }

Hi…We are just starting to look into going to Disney for the first time ever. When we go our girls will be almost 3 and 6. I do not think big rides will be something we will be doing. So is Jan a good time to go. We would like to make it a Christmas gift next year. Is there usually a free dining program at that time? Also, is the weather usually good enough? We are from Neb so used to colder weather but nice would be great.
Only other question is we want to stay in Animal Kingdom. Is it worth the money to stay in a room overlooking where the animals are?
Thank you so much.

47 Dave { 01.08.13 at 6:11 pm }

Hi Sarah! If you know you can come back later–and so see later anything that’s closed, or that the girls are too young for next year–January–after the fourth, and ideally the second half–is a great time to go, with low crowds and low prices. Weather, however, can be all over the place. See this–on 2013, but the weather will be the same–http://yourfirstvisit.net/2012/07/22/january-2013-walt-disney-world/

My guess is that as there was no free dining this January, there won’t be any next January either…By policy Disney is cutting back on its discounting…

If you are going to stay at the Animal Kingdom Lodge, it’s definitively worth it to spend the extra on an animal view room–what Disney calls a “Savanna view.” See this for more on AKL: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2010/10/13/review-jambo-house-at-disneys-animal-kingdom-lodge/

Follow yourfirstvisit.net on Facebook!

48 John { 01.11.13 at 1:52 am }

My wife and I are visiting Disney on the 16th 17th and 18th of January which of the four parks would you recommend us going to. Also would the parks be crowded?

49 Dave { 01.11.13 at 12:15 pm }

Hi John, those will be uncrowded days! You should go to at least Epcot and the Magic Kingdom. Epcot will be best the 16th and 17th, and MK the 16th and 18th. That suggests MK the 16th, Epcot the 17th, and either another park or returning to your favorite one of these the 18th.

Follow yourfirstvisit.net on Facebook!

50 John { 01.11.13 at 7:28 pm }

Thanks for that tip Dave! I really appreciate it.

51 Dave { 01.12.13 at 9:39 am }

You’re welcome, John!

Follow yourfirstvisit.net on Facebook!

52 Mike { 01.22.13 at 5:53 pm }

Hi,
We’re looking to come from the UK for two weeks either Feb 4th, Mar 4 or early-mid April. We have two young boys, 2& 4 and were thinking march best but are put off by spring break. Which would be the best choice in your opinion please ?

53 Dave { 01.23.13 at 8:03 am }

Hi Mike, in this response I’m assuming your dates are 2013. I’d rank your options April best–so long as your arrival date is April 6 or later, then Feb, then March. April after the 6th has low crowds and great weather. February low crowds and low prices–until the 14th or so–but lousy weather. March has high crowds and high prices.

Follow yourfirstvisit.net on Facebook!

54 Monica { 01.24.13 at 8:34 pm }

Love your blog!! It’s the perfect planning site that I have been looking for! I’ve read most of the comments, but I was wondering between December 25 and January 6, what would you recommend is the best time to go!? I love Splash Mountain (I’ve been to Disney Land before) and I’m Canadian so anything above 0 degrees C (32 degrees F?) is warm to me! I have a feeling it will be closed when I go though! Just me and my boyfriend are planning to go and we loooveeee rides!

55 Dave { 01.25.13 at 7:04 am }

Hi Monica and thanmks! Through Jan 4th 2014 that’s the most wildly crowded and expensive time of the year, so I don’t recommend any dates between the 26th and the 4th…the 5th and 6th should be fine…

Follow yourfirstvisit.net on Facebook!

56 Tonya { 02.11.13 at 9:36 am }

Hi Dave! Planning a trip to WDW not sure when is best time.We have never been. I have 3 kids ages 5,6,13. All in school so want to go while they out June, July or Christmas. There is 5 of us one is military . What is cheapest way? Im looking for hotel, tickets, & meal plan. Do you know if WDW will do Military Promotional Tickets after Sept. 2013? Are there any good deals to be found for Christmas time?
Thanks

57 Dave { 02.11.13 at 2:44 pm }

Hi Tonya! If you don’t take them out of school, then you’ll be going at a wildly busy time. Of your choices, as early in June as you can go is the best bet. If you can do that in June 2013 it also solves the Military Salute deal question, as no one knows if it’ll be extended or not.

The cheapest way is the military ticket deal and either the military hotel deal or Shades of Green. For more on these see the links here: http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/special-circumstances/military-families/

There are no Christmas deals, BTW–that is by far Disney’s busiest week, and rather than giving deals, they jack up prices…

Follow yourfirstvisit.net on Facebook!

58 Stacy { 02.12.13 at 11:00 am }

Howdy, Dave. I am so happy I found this website. We are planning a Disney World vacay in 2014 with a 5 year old and a 2.5 year old. I have not been to WDW in over 16 years. This will be a first time for my kids and husband. I was thinking Feb or April to avoid Spring Break crowds. I do not want to go during hot times and be miserable hot. I have never flown there nor stayed on property, and we will be doing both on our trip to WDW. What would you suggest for times to go with our kids? Ride closures hopefully will not affect us as we are not going to be going on the “big” rides with two little ones. It is very overwhelming and I’m kind of just spinning on where to start looking/planning. Any help would be greatly apprecaited. Thank you so much!!!

59 Dave { 02.12.13 at 11:06 am }

Hi Stacy!! Start here: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2012/10/15/2014-weeks-visit-walt-disney-world-ranked-order/ If you don’t care about ride closures, add to the “recommended weeks” the weeks beginning Jan 25 and Feb 1!

Follow yourfirstvisit.net on Facebook!

60 Tom { 02.12.13 at 10:52 pm }

Speaking about closures Dave, my son regretted during all of our stay about Splash Mountain being closed. He really missed it and said that other parks attractions featuring a similar one, such as Busch Gardens for instance, were bad replicas of the “original” one. Last year we missed Big Thunder Mntn and now it came back better than ever, would Splash follow the same road maybe?

61 Dave { 02.13.13 at 6:57 am }

Heya Tom. I think Splash Mountain is the single best example of the best of Disney, so I feel your son’s pain! Everyone hopes that Splash will come out of what for it is an uncharacteristically long rehab with a lot of broken stuff fixed, and more operating reliability, so it should be great for your son’s next ride!

62 Tom { 02.13.13 at 9:57 am }

Dave, a year ago (on our prior visit to MK) we rode Splash like three or four times and in each of our rides our boat was stopped momentarily while either inside the tunnel or outside, even once for three minutes. It was clearly giving signs that it needed an overhaul. I do hope they come back with something new to impress us!

63 Dave { 02.13.13 at 12:48 pm }

Tom, yup–though sometimes Splash pauses because of loading a person from a wheelchair, etc…

64 Lisa { 06.03.13 at 11:48 pm }

Dave, I’m far ahead of myself, but my son and I plan to visit WDW for five days during the latter part of 2014 or January 2015 (My son’s birthday is January 22). My son is not a little kid anymore, He’s an adult. We visited MK when he was a child, but was only there for one day. While we made the most of that one day, there were many things we didn’t get to see. We have always wanted to visit WDW again, but just haven’t been able to. My son has been through a lot lately, dealing with health and personal problems as well. I want to take him someplace where he can forget about his troubles for a few days. He said once that he enjoyed Disney as a child, but now he want to enjoy Disney as an adult.

Here’s my questions. Are there restrictions on fast rides and steep drop-offs for people with heart conditions? He has a duel chamber pace maker/defriberlator.

My next question is, if we decide to visit Disney during his birthday month (Jan.) Do you have any suggestions of something special I could do for him as a surprise for his birthday to make the visit more memorable? (something inexpensive, but nice). He will be turning 35.

And my last question is, how much spending cash do you think I will need to feed two adults for five days at Disney?

Thanks for you help, I love this site, and I’m sure this won’t be the last time I will check out this site for other helpful information.

. My son has been through a lot lately, dealing with health and personal problems

65 Dave { 06.04.13 at 8:08 am }

Hi Lisa, and what a wonderful idea! Many of the wilder rides have explicit warnings to avoid them if you have a heart condition. I don’t have a list, but found this here: http://www.mousecounselors.com/walt-disney-world/ride-restrictions/

For some birthday ideas, see the second half of this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2012/02/01/is-walt-disney-world-free-on-your-birthday/

Food at Disney is expensive. I’d start with a budget of $50/adult/day, but see also this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2010/08/30/the-tightwads-guide-to-how-to-eat-at-walt-disney-world/

Keep the questions coming!

Follow yourfirstvisit.net on Facebook!

66 Chris { 07.08.13 at 7:35 pm }

Dear Dave-
We are planning a trip to WDW for the dates of Jan 5-10 2014. We are buying
6 day (base) ticket and staying off the grounds of Disney. We want to spend 2
days in Hollywood Studios, 2 days in Magic Kingdom, 1 day in Animal
kingdom and 1 day in Epcot. Our priorities are in this order: Magic Kingdom
most important, Hollywood Studios second, Epcot third and Animal Kingdom
last- having stated that can you help us figure out what days of the week we
should visit each park? I am concerned it will be very crowded Jan 5 with
guests visiting for the New Year and then it will get crowded again on Thursday
Jan 9 and Friday Jan 10 with the marathon crowd. We can’t change our dates.
Thank you very much for your help. We really appreciate it!

Thanks- Chris

67 Dave { 07.09.13 at 7:19 am }

Hi Chris! The marathon clots up the parks, but not anything like the New Years crowds. Most kids are back in school the 6th, so will be traveling the 5th. Thus the 4th will be the last really bad day.

I like MK your dates the 7th and 8th, HS any day but the 10th, but especially the 9th; AK all days except the 6th and 8th, and Epcot all days except the 6th and 7th.

So putting all these together, I’d do this:

1/5 AK
1/6 HS
1/7 MK
1/8 MK
1/9 HS
1/10 Epcot

Follow yourfirstvisit.net on Facebook!

68 Crystal { 07.18.13 at 1:22 pm }

Hi Dave,

We are planning our first family trip to WDW. It will be my husband and I and our two daughters, ages 9 and 2. We want this to be an extremely memorable trip especially for our 9 year old as it will be a surprise birthday & Christmas gift for her (her b-day is Dec 22) and we don’t know when we will be able to go again. We will be staying at a resort outside of Disney. Unfortunately, with my husband’s work schedule and daughter’s school schedule the dates that we have already locked in are Dec 28, 2013- Jan 4, 2014, which I am now reading are some of the MOST crowded times.

I think Magic Kingdom will be the best way to WOW our 9 year old. She doesn’t really like rides that much, especially anything that would be considered the least bit scary. She is really into music and movies. I have been to WDW, but it has been 15+ years so I can’t remember a whole lot about many of the attractions. Can you give us any pointers or other suggestions to make this the most memorable trip for the whole family? What are the must sees at Disney for a family like ours? Also, do you know if there will be any earlier fireworks displays during this time period because both girls are usually in bed by 9:30 or 10 at the latest.

Thanks in advance!
Crystal

69 Dave { 07.18.13 at 4:55 pm }

Crystal, frankly, you should cancel and take your daughter out of school to go another time, or cancel your off-site hotel and book on site. My parents took me out of school routinely through my junior year of high school (and would have done so my senior year except that we were in London!) and I still got nominated by the University of Chicago to apply for a Rhodes Scholarship!

Not only will the crowds be simply astonishing–I’m talking about three hour waits for rides in the afternoons–but also MK will close to those coming from off site likely several times during your visit. See this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2010/11/30/park-closings-at-walt-disney-world/

Moreover, the common way to get a heads up on the crowds–to arrive before they open–won’t work well at MK for you, as it opens an hour early through the 31st on the current calendar, and likely through the 4th once the January calendar is finalized, for WDW resort hotel guests. That means the crowds will already be there when you arrive…though still not as bad as they will be in the afternoons.

There’s a couple of nights (the 30th and 31st) when MK fireworks are at 9, but they are otherwise at 10. The fireworks show “Fantasmic” at Disney’s Hollywood Studios has daily shows among other times at 6.30p. Epcot’s fireworks are typically at 9.

For my general recommendations of what to do and see, check out one of my itineraries–e.g. this one http://yourfirstvisit.net/2010/12/06/summer-itinerary-for-walt-disney-world-v2/ (It’s called “Summer,” but applies to all the higher-corwd periods.)

Sorry to be a downer. See this for much better weeks to go: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2012/10/15/2014-weeks-visit-walt-disney-world-ranked-order/

Follow yourfirstvisit.net on Facebook!

70 Karen { 08.06.13 at 2:29 pm }

Looking to plan a trip 1/17/14-1/23/14. Looks like that’s ranked pretty low on your list of “best weeks.” We’re all repeat visitors, except my 4 yr old, and not too concerned about ride closures. Think we’ll be ok?

71 Dave { 08.07.13 at 7:54 am }

Karen, the week rankings are for first time visitors who may never return, and it’s noted on them that the later January (and early Feb) weeks in particular can be great for returning visitors. Yours is exactly like that–very good for returning visitors–except that your first few days will be crowded by the MLK holiday weekend!

72 Rhett { 08.08.13 at 8:48 am }

Karen –
We went 3 years ago over MLK weekend through the Tuesday after MLK. We followed the crowd days from The Unofficial Guide To Disney and each park was like a ghost town. I was shocked by how empty the parks were for a holiday weekend. The only ride closed then was Splash Mountain, but our daughter was to short to ride it anyway. And the weather was FABULOUS! We are actually booked for Jan 19-23 2014 because we enjoyed that time so much (and going over that weekend saved me one of my vacation days at work!

73 Dave { 08.09.13 at 10:57 am }

Hi Rhett, that’s great!

Follow yourfirstvisit.net on Facebook!

74 Lisa { 09.22.13 at 11:53 am }

Hello,
Stumbled upon your site, pertaining to all things Disney, and I absolutely LOVE it!

Hubby, myself and little girl want to come celebrate her 4th birthday at WDW in Nov 2014. We are coming from South Africa, hence the planning way in advance.

My major question is when around that time period, the “lowest of low” crowd wise, budget wise ect are. We took her to Disneyland (Paris) for her 2nd birthday, and hubby sooooo didn’t do queues, hence the question. Very flexible with dates, thus will look forward to your recommendations around this.

Much appreciated
Lisa

75 Dave { 09.23.13 at 10:43 am }

Hi Lisa, and thanks!!

See this, especially the weeks ranked #4 and #9: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2012/10/15/2014-weeks-visit-walt-disney-world-ranked-order/

Was this even remotely helpful?

Well then mosey on over to the home page, and like it on Facebook or pin it on Pinterest!

76 Ell { 09.25.13 at 10:00 am }

Hi Dave, your site is great, really informative. I was just wondering if you could let me know what you think about out holiday dates for November 2014, they can’t be changed as all booked bit I was wondering what your think the weather an crowds would be like. We are coming 11th Nov 2014 – 25 th. thanks Ell

77 Dave { 09.26.13 at 11:02 am }

Hi Ell and thanks!

For your dates, see this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2012/10/15/2014-weeks-visit-walt-disney-world-ranked-order/ Your weeks are in the top 10!

Weather can be tricky then. See this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2012/10/15/2014-weeks-visit-walt-disney-world-ranked-order/

Was this even remotely helpful?

Well then mosey on over to the home page, and like it on Facebook or pin it on Pinterest!

78 Ell { 09.26.13 at 11:23 am }

Thanks Dave, we are coming from the uk for the first time and as long as we get a few nice days we will be happy, can’t wait, only 411 days to go ????

79 Christie W { 10.29.13 at 4:08 am }

Dave , hi!!! You are the expert it seems. I have a couple major & time sensitive questions. We are arriving Nov. 9th first flight. – Nov. 12 ( for my husband & 2 high schoolers). Wed. Nov.13th for me & my 9 yr old. DVC members , wondering staying @ 2 hotels had to break up visit due to last minute booking. Bay Towers & Sar. Villas. We received opportunity to test the bands. I’m 50/50 on this. ( tried exact this @ Dollywood, worked well, saved steps & preferences). For Disney we’d love to do toy story , Jedi academy for. 9 yr old , roller coasters, tower for 14 year olds.
Do you have suggestions which days open early during our trip. Which passes to request @ each park per day to make the most of our trip. Bringing an extra 14 yr old, whom I assume is as daring as my own. My two boys are daring & and ride anything , but detest waiting . My oldest will ride single rider while we fast pass Everest , so we are pretty savvy. Please come up with a great plan. & we ‘ll be forever greatful !!! Due to 3 gifted students and desire to exempt this is THE week we can travel . It maybe possible teens can stay with us for the additional Wed. Should find out tomorrow. Thanks for your expertise!!!!

All things magical to you!
And and tricks to getting into LeCellar in Canada @ this late date? Only rest we ‘be desired to go to & haven’t. My sons favorite is the Flying fish & we love the Yachtsman .

All and any advise will be appreciated!!!

Christie & the Wiley Family :) SOS – save our spots in line lol , from the. 9 yr old!!!

80 Dave { 10.29.13 at 7:55 am }

Hi Christie, I think I’m a little lost in your questions, but here’s the basics:

I have no idea how to get into Le Cellier on such short notice…

The word is that “regular” fastpasses are in really short supply, so I would go with the MagicBands and FastPass+

My thoughts on which attractions to book by park are at the end of this page: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2013/08/20/what-you-need-to-know-now-about-fastpass/

I’m not quite following your dates and their complexities, but here’s parks to avoid by day

11/9: Avoid MK and HS
11/10: Avoid MK
11/11: Avoid HS and AK
11/12: Avoid Epcot

Was this even remotely helpful?

Well then mosey on over to the home page, and like it on Facebook or pin it on Pinterest!

81 Disney DataViz: 2015 Walt Disney World Crowd Calendar | Michael Sandberg's Data Visualization Blog { 04.06.14 at 10:09 am }

[…] week. The lowest weeks are low for a reason–typically because they are in the hurricane or the ride closure […]

82 DataViz: 2014 Walt Disney World Crowd Calendar | Michael Sandberg's Data Visualization Blog { 04.06.14 at 10:13 am }

[…] week. The lowest weeks are low for a reason–typically because they are in the hurricane or the ride closure […]

83 michelle { 08.26.14 at 11:18 pm }

Hi

We are planning a 2 week trip to Florida for 2 girls who will be 6 years and just under 2.5 years (we have family in florida). we are planning on 2-3 days at the magic kingdom (so 2 hotel night stays), what days would be the best in Jan or Feb?

84 Dave { 08.27.14 at 8:03 am }

Michelle, you basically want the period between the day after MLK day to the Thursday before President’s Day. Within that, in general Tuesdays and Wednesdays are best.

85 michelle { 08.28.14 at 10:06 am }

Thanks Dave for your response!

Leave a Comment | Ask a Question | Note a Problem Easy Guide Banner

My response to questions and comments will be on the same page as the original comment, likely within 24-36 hours . . . I reserve the right to edit and delete comments as I choose . . . All rights reserved. Copyright 2008-2014 . . . Unless otherwise noted, all photos are by me--even the ones in focus--except for half a dozen from my niecelets . . . This site is entirely unofficial and not authorized by any organizations written about in it . . . All references to Disney and other copyrighted characters, trademarks, marks, etc., are made solely for editorial purposes. The author makes no commercial claim to their use . . . Nobody's perfect, so follow any advice here at your own risk.