a. When to Go to Walt Disney World
OVERVIEW: WHEN TO GO TO WALT DISNEY WORLD
Arrive in Walt Disney World one of the first three Saturdays after Thanksgiving.
See Next Best Dates if you cannot go on these dates.
WHY GO TO WALT DISNEY WORLD THEN?
“Here’s a tip for avoiding the crowds. The entire world over, two of the best weeks to go anywhere are the first two weeks of December. The weather is good in most places and attendance is almost always low. At Disneyland and Disneyworld in particular, the first two Wednesdays of December are often among the three or four lowest days of the year.”
Buzz Price, Walt’s Revolution: By the Numbers
Crowd levels* are the first factor to consider in timing your Walt Disney World trip.
Here’s why: daily attendance at the Magic Kingdom, the signature park at Walt Disney World, varies from fewer than 20,000 people to more than 60,000, with more than 90,000 heard of at Christmas. The park has a total hourly capacity of approximately 40,000 people–that is, the attractions can deliver about 40,000 rides per hour.
Consequently, on a day with 60,000 visitors, it will be hard for you to average more than one attraction every 90 minutes or so. Multiply this by the number of attractions in the park and it could take you more than 50 hours to enjoy everything at the Magic Kingdom. The attractions themselves take about 7 hours to enjoy; the other 40 or so hours will be spent waiting.
On the other hand, if you go to Walt Disney World during a low attendance period, you can enjoy an attraction at the Magic Kingdom every 20-30 minutes, reducing your total Magic Kingdom time to less than 15-20 hours, and your waiting time down to 8-14 hours.
Multiply this effect over the other three other theme parks at Walt Disney World and you can see how you can save literally days of waiting in line by going during a low attendance period. This allows you to
- Spend fewer total days at Walt Disney World, easing budget and schedule issues
- While seeing more of the best of the parks
- Taking more breaks from the parks, and, all in
- Having a less stressful, more satisfying experience
Other factors to think about in setting your date include seasonal pricing, the hurricane season, ride closures, and special events.
Given this, early December is the best time to visit.
Crowds are low, prices are low (in 2013, the week beginning 12/14/2013 has high prices), the hurricane season is over, few rides are closed, and magical special Christmas events and displays are everywhere.
See Next Best Dates if you cannot go in early December.
*But not the lowest crowd periods–these are low for good reasons: the peak of the hurricane season, and ride closure season, both of which should be avoided by first time visitors who may never return.
MORE ON WHEN TO GO TO WALT DISNEY WORLD
- For when to go to Walt Disney World, see this
- For the next best dates, see this
- For the best and worst times to visit, see this
- For forecasting crowds at Walt Disney World, see this
- For seasonal pricing at Walt Disney World, see this
- For weather at Walt Disney World, see this
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