2012 Weeks to Visit Walt Disney World, Ranked in Order



By Dave Shute

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OVERVIEW: 2012 WEEKS AT WALT DISNEY WORLD

This site recommends arriving at Walt Disney World one of the first three Saturdays after Thanksgiving.

If you can’t go then, presented below are the weeks of 2012 in order of best to worst.

There are two pages of 2012 Disney World week rankings. The page you are on has recommended weeks. The second page has the rest of the weeks of the year.

(For a more personalized approach, see the 2012 Week Picker.)

The ranking is designed for first time visitors who do not know whether or not they will return.

For visitors on a return trip, less concerned about ride closures, the January and early February weeks would be ranked much higher–with the Marathon and Martin Luther King Day weeks being the worst of these.

(For 2013 recommendations, see this.)

RECOMMENDED 2012 WEEKS, RANKED IN ORDER

The recommended weeks that follow are wonderful weeks to visit Walt Disney World in 2012.

The first three are almost interchangeable: low prices, low crowds, and wonderful Christmas programs and decorations.

  • 1: 12/8/12. Lowest crowds and prices of these three weeks.
  • 2: 11/24/12. Tail end of Thanksgiving week makes the first Saturday and Sunday of this week more crowded than week #1. The rest of this week is terrific. A great week to visit. Could easily be ranked #1.
  • 3: 12/1/12. A great week, but a little more crowded than the other two, and a week that because of Pop Warner football demand for resort rooms is rarely discounted beyond its already low prices. Those intending to stay at Pop Century or other values should consider avoiding this week, as Pop Warner may make the value resorts crowded and boisterous this week

The next four share great weather, low crowds, and low to moderate prices. The first three are nearly identical, and are sorted on the basis of weather. The last has slightly higher prices at some resorts than the first three.

Weeks 8-10 share great late spring weather, have low crowds, but are more expensive than any of the weeks so far. They are near-tied, but are in calendar order as the best weather is earlier.

  • 8: 4/21/12
  • 9: 4/28/12
  • 10: 5/5/12

The next week has high prices, but low crowds, and is your best Spring Break bet.

  • 11: 2/25/12.

Week 12 is similar to weeks 8-10, but with slightly higher crowds and a little more risk of hitting the beginning of the rainy season.

  • 12: 5/12/12.

Week 13 is the second-best Spring Break week, more crowded and expensive—especially later in the week—than week 11.

  • 13: 3/3/12.

Week 14 is similar to week 5, except a little more expensive and crowded at the very beginning of the week—the rest of this week is as good as week 5.

  • 14: 4/14/12.

This completes the weeks in 2012 that are recommended.

THE REST OF THE WEEKS OF 2012 ARE ON THE NEXT PAGE

Rankings for the remainder of the weeks of 2012, which are not recommended, can be found by clicking here.

For a calendar view of the entire year, click the image.

(After you click it, the image will open.

When it opens, click it again to enlarge it.)

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480 comments

1 Alicia { 10.21.10 at 2:29 pm }

Dave,
I am looking at the ranked weeks for 2012 (yaayy!) and I have a question – you wrote for week 13 and 14 : “and are your best Spring Break bets”. Do you mean these weeks are likely to have spring breakers there?
Thanks again!!!

2 Dave { 10.21.10 at 3:24 pm }

There will be some spring breakers there–but not many. Few kids will be off, so what you’ll see will be northerners looking for a break from the cold. It will not be nearly as crowded as the later spring break weeks…

3 Alicia { 10.21.10 at 4:15 pm }

Thanks for clarifying, Dave. The week 2/25/12 looks like a better week than 3/5. My plans can change! It appears that the trend is the last few days of February are a little cheaper than the first full week of March.

4 Dave { 10.21.10 at 7:01 pm }

Alicia–the crowds will be better the week of 2/25/2012 than the week of 3/5.

I wouldn’t assume that prices will different between the weeks, tho. In recent years with an “earlier” Easter prices have gone up President’s Day weekend and stayed high until the week before Easter, when they’ve popped up even more.

For my forecasts for 2012 price seasons, see this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2010/05/26/walt-disney-world-2012-price-seasons/

5 Kristi { 01.26.11 at 12:56 pm }

Hi Dave,
I LOVE your site :-D. My question may seem a little weird but I notice that the dates you have for the weeks are actually Saturdays. So for instance you state that (2012) week 5: 5/5/12 starts to get uncomfortably warm. So would this be the week starting 5/5 and ending 5/11 or the week ending on 5/5? I’m currently planning a honeymoon trip and trying to decide between 4/16 – 4/30 or 4/23 – 5/7. I am trying to avoid spring breakers, heavy rains, and extremely high temperatures. I know the weeks are close so would it even make a difference?

Thanks,
Kristi

6 Dave { 01.26.11 at 1:26 pm }

Thanks Kristi–these are all “weeks beginning.” Because my itineraries go from a Saturday to the Sunday 9 days later, on this site weeks are nine days long and begin on Saturdays!

I would pick your 4/16 to 4/30 period. The differences aren’t huge until mid-May, but late April weather is as good as it gets…

7 Tara { 02.06.11 at 10:47 pm }

hey dave-my family is planning a big reunion to disneyworld next february. i was planning on the week starting the 25th, but it looks like the week starting with president’s day works better for those with older kids. is there a way to know which rides are closed and how much more crowded is it? is it just more crowded that first weekend? thanks! i love this site by the way. i’m so excited to go. we just don’t want to waste all this money and go when its going to be crowded/rides are closed.

8 Dave { 02.07.11 at 8:54 am }

Hi Tara, and thanks for the love!

For President’s day week, most rides will have re-opened, so I wouldn’t worry about that.

The thing to worry about is indeed the crowds. Thousands of other familes also find it convenient for their older kids, which makes it the worst week between the Christmas and Easter seasons…

With planning almost any kid except those in multiple AP classes can figure out a way to take a week off from school and still keep up…so I’d pick your later week!

9 Sandi { 02.17.11 at 10:56 pm }

Hi! Thank you for a detailed website. Your chart with the weekly breakdown is great! I was planning a trip for 3/15 – 3/23, however, I have an opportunity to change the trip to 4/8 – 4/16. Your website is only one that I have seen showing this as a low attendance week to visit. It seems like you use a lot of data to make the calculations, and I am hoping that your website is more accurate than the others (the others are predicting high crowds during the week of 4/9). I just wanted to verify if there if your data still shows 4/9 to be in low attendance. It is slightly more convenient for my family to visit in March, however, I would much rather go during a low attendance time. Right now, my only options are the week of 3/15 or 4/9.

We will also be staying on the grounds and our trip will be only Disney related. We plan to use the shuttle service (no car), and I would prefer a less crowded time in order to avoid full shuttle / delayed trips to the parks.

Thanks!

10 Dave { 02.18.11 at 5:57 am }

Hi Sandi!

Yes I am still predicting that.

So many school districts have the week before or after Easter off that hardly any schools have breaks the week of 4/9. That’s what I’m basing my predictions on. See the chart on this page: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2010/07/13/spring-break-2011-at-walt-disney-world/

Meanwhile, based on Disney’s calendar, the week of 3/15 is looking even worse–e.g. the Magic Kingdom is open from 8a til 1a multiple times that week…so between the two I have much more confidence that the week of 4/9 will be less crowded…

11 Simon { 02.19.11 at 4:41 pm }

We are looking to visit disney from the UK but are restricted to our school holidays. We are planning to come for two weeks either the first two weeks in April 2012 or the last week in May 2012 and first week in June, which would you recommend? We don’t want to clash with Spring break. We would like to know how busy it gets during Unofficial Gay Week at Disney?

Thanks

12 Dave { 02.20.11 at 1:11 pm }

Hi Simon!

The first two weeks of April 2012 ovelap with Easter, and are among the worst weeks of the year from both crowds and pricing.

Your late May/early June weeks will be less crowded and less expensive. Crowds won’t be light–they’ll just be much less than the weeks before and after Easter.

Gay days don’t make much incremental difference.

13 Simon { 02.20.11 at 5:44 pm }

Dave,

Thank you for your advice, you have been very helpful and very quick with your response.

Thank you Simon

14 Dave { 02.20.11 at 6:01 pm }

Simon–have a great trip!!

15 Pam { 02.21.11 at 5:27 pm }

I noticed in early Jan there are “ride closures common” are there a lot of rides closed? what rides? is it still worth it to go at that time or not?

16 Dave { 02.21.11 at 5:47 pm }

Hi Pam!

See this page: ride closures.

If you are a first time visitor and unsure whether or not you will return, I’d avoid January.

If you are a returning visitor, or know you will return, January other than the MLK Day weekend and the first few days after New Years is a great time to visit–low crowds and low prices.

17 Kathy { 04.27.11 at 11:03 am }

Hi Dave,
Am planning on disney 2/25/12 week, what do you think my chances are of getting the free dining ? Also how do you know the calendars of the parks for that week

18 Dave { 04.27.11 at 1:18 pm }

Hi Kathy!

Disney publishes calendars about 6 months in advance, so February hours should be out in August. Touring plans.com has recently started forecasting park hours beyond the Disney calendar, so that may be worht looking at it you need a forecast now.

There’s no real predicting whether and what discounts it might do. It discounts based on how well reservations are going at the non-discounted rates, which really depends on the economy. If I had to bet, it’s that there will be a discount, but that it will be a room discount, not free dining.

19 Tricia { 05.04.11 at 1:04 pm }

Question about your October weeks for 2012 – they don’t seem to take into consideration the opening of the Fantasy Land Expansion? Or do they? I would expect the crowds to not be the lowest of the whole year.

Crowd levels are extremely important to our decision due to medical issues with one person in my party. Second is the heat. While January would be best, it’s too cold usually for swimming. So Sept/Oct would be a good compromise. But, I can’t figure out the impact of the opening Fantasy Land on the crowds.

Any ideas?

20 Dave { 05.04.11 at 1:26 pm }

Tricia, you are right–they don’t. I don’t have a solid date for the opening so have not incorporated it.

That said, one of the reasons October openings are common at WDW is that they are so un-crowded, which makes it easier for them to get the kinks out before the Thanksgiving/Xmas crowds come.

If crowds are really critical, I’d go in January 2013. If pool weather is more important, I’d aim for early-mid November, which other than Jersey week is uncrowded and often–though not always–has delightful weather.

21 Tricia { 05.04.11 at 3:19 pm }

Thanks Dave.
I understand that Oct is less crowded, and was on my list. Until I started my normal research and seeing folks post that they are putting off their visit until Oct/Nov 2012, or doing a visit instead of a cruise this year, etc. Now, that could just be the die hard folks and won’t make a huge impact.

And we could just avoid that park. We did four days there last time, so we could skip it this time.

And then there is always Sept 2012, which is what we did last time and outrun the hurricanes.

Can you tell I’m full of indecision on this? LOL. Seriously, thanks for your week ranker, it’s very helpful.

22 Dave { 05.04.11 at 5:46 pm }

I knew that you knew that WDW knew that it wasn’t crowded then!! :) Was just trying to note that WDW probably does not expect big incremental crowds then either…Givne your recent 4 days, I think your best bet is to go for the second half of October and play it by ear…

23 Steph { 05.13.11 at 12:27 pm }

Hi Dave,
I was wondering when the best fall time to go is. I saw your rankings. My mom doesn’t want to go during hurricane peak season, but she wants it to be warm. I want to see less crowds. I dont’ know when those weeks are that all the cheerleaders and football players are there. I want to see Mickey’s Halloween party too so when do you think would be the perfect time to go and accomplish these hefty goals

24 Dave { 05.13.11 at 2:59 pm }

Hi Steph!

Arrive in the middle of October. This is after the peak of the hurricane season, still warm though not oppresively so, low crowds, the time when the Halloween Party is on, and well before the football players and cheerleaders show up in December!

25 Myniee { 05.13.11 at 8:07 pm }

Hi Dave,
I am planning a trip for early June 2012; I would like to know if this is a good time to attend this is our first time coming and we really want to enjoy ourselves. Would you happen to know if disney will be having another promotion going on next year

26 Dave { 05.13.11 at 9:42 pm }

Hi Myniee!

Yours is not a good time to go unless you have no better options. Crowds are high–not horrible but high–prices are highish and the weather is tuff.

Can you come in late April, late October, or early December? Those are the special times to go…

27 Gaylene { 05.16.11 at 12:49 am }

Dave,
Your site is GREAT! We have been to Walt Disney World six different times. We have four children between the ages of 2 and 10. We attended the “Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party” in October 2010 and LOVED IT! We had originally planned on our next trip to Disney Nov 29th to Dec 9th, 2012, but I kids are begging to return sooner. With a large family cost and of course crowds are equally important to us. Would you suggest that we return Feb 10, 2012 and depart on Feb 19, 2012 or wait and go sometime in April May 2012? We are very flexible with our dates…we will be taking our kids out of school so the dates are irrelevant. However, the February dates will include a parent teacher conference in which our kids will be out during that time, but that is not a major deciding factor for us. Or, would you just hold off and come in Nov. 2012 and see the Christmas stuff. Please advise on what would be our best possible option. Thank you.

28 Dave { 05.16.11 at 6:05 am }

Hi Gaylene and thanks!

Answering is a little complicated because your February dates inlcude the President’s day pricing and crowds.

If you could arrive a little earlier in February and leave by 2/17 that would be the best from a pricing and crowds point of view. If you can’t, your November dates would be what I’d recommend. April, beginning a week after Easter, is a wonderful time to go and would be a very close third; it is likely to be a little more expensive but not much more crowded than November, and with nicer weather.

One wild card is how much you care about seeing the first fruits of the Fantasyland expansion. Some of that likely will be open by your November dates, but probably not for the earlier dates. (I expect that the Little Mermaid ride, and the Beauty and the Beast dining, will be open by the end of November.)

Other than the President’s day issue, these are all great weeks,

29 Joanne { 06.06.11 at 4:27 pm }

Hi Dave, I have been reading all of your reviews and have a couple questions My husband and I are planning a surprise trip with our 3 young children ranging in age from 1 to 7, none of us have ever been and are very excited we were looking to come Sunday Feb. 12 till Sat. Feb. 18 I notice that it says there may be ride closures, is this one of the weeks they are usually closed?? What time do the parks usually close this time of year and do you suggest coming this week??

Thanks for your help…

30 Dave { 06.07.11 at 12:13 pm }

Hi Joanne!

I do not recommend that week for first time visitors who may never return, as ride closures remain common (see this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2010/05/12/winter-ride-closures-at-walt-disney-world/) Moreover the last two days could be crowded as they are the beginning of the President’s Day holiday.

Otherwise it is a great week, with low crowds and low prices. If you will be able to return to see anything that might be closed (or don’t care if you miss a few rides), then go for it!!

When crowds are low and prices are low, hours are short. MK and HS commonly close at 7p at this time of year, with a few nights each week open later; AK commonly closes at 5p, and Epcot is almost always open until 9p.

Hope this helps!! Dave

31 Todd { 06.11.11 at 1:49 pm }

Hi Dave!

Love your site; very informative and helpful!

I was wondering why 10/13/12 is ranked higher than 10/20/12. I was planning on visiting during the former week, due to scheduling conflicts with the latter week. Is the former week rated higher because of the climate/temperatures?

Thanks again for your wonderful contribution to those who need help (like me!).

Todd

32 Dave { 06.11.11 at 2:23 pm }

Hi Todd–that’s exactly it, the weather…obviously the difference of one week is slight and either would be a great week!! Thansk for the thanks and have a great trip!! Dave

33 Mike { 06.11.11 at 6:02 pm }

Hi Dave,

Planning a trip for 2012. Deciding between the weeks of 10/12 and 11/10. Would love to increase our chances of seeing the Fantasyland expansion, but getting a week with low crowds is more of a priority. How much impact does Veteran’s day have on crowds that week. Also, i noticed that 4/14 is ranked high with low crowds and moderate prices. I am surprised by this as this is school vacation week in MA and other sites have stated that no matter when Easter falls, April is quite crowded and has high prices for deluxe hotels (Peak or Easter rates) which seems confirmed by Poly’s 2011 pricing.

Thx in advance.
Mike

34 Mike { 06.11.11 at 6:03 pm }

Sorry, meant to say week of 10/20 vs 11/10

35 Dave { 06.11.11 at 7:22 pm }

Hi Mike! It doesn’t quite work like that. Every year Disney drops prices the Sunday a week after Easter. Since Easter this year was so late, that’s why you saw peak prices in late April–not because it’s April, but because of Easter.

Despite the number of districts with non-traditional calendars, the majority of kids (I analyze large school districts every year–the 100 biggest in the country, and the next 40 biggest that are also east of the Mississippi) have breaks the week before or the week after Easter.

Any site that says the second half of April 2012 will be either high-crowded or high-priced is wrong.

See http://yourfirstvisit.net/2010/05/26/walt-disney-world-2012-price-seasons/ which is just a projection, but you can search the site for the equivalent 2011, 2010, 2009 and 2008 and you’ll see the same pricing pattern for Easter.

36 Dave { 06.11.11 at 7:29 pm }

Hi Mike–continuing on your specific question. Veteran’s Day has next to no impact. My crowd forecasting tools aren’t precise enuf to distinguish between these two weeks, but both are definitively low-crowd. My general recommendation between the two is for the October date, as the odds of great weather are higher, but you are right to think that the later you go the better the chance of the Fantasyland expansion being up and running.

37 Mike { 06.12.11 at 8:56 am }

Thx Dave, your the best. Best site hands down. I’m still wary about running into crowds that first Sat/Sun of the 4/14 week, if from nothing else but the school breakers lingering from the week before. Is this a legit concern? I think we’ll still pull the kids out of school and go in the fall. Is there a place online that lists april school vacation weeks across the country?

38 Dave { 06.12.11 at 9:39 am }

Hey Mike–the 14th is definitely affected. People using one of my itineraries go to Epcot that evening, for a crowd-irrelevant experience, so it doesn’t affect my recommendations.

Unfortunately there’s no place I know of that has all April vacation weeks for schools. (There is one for college spring breaks, less relevant to WDW.) So I have to go to every school’s website to get the data and analyze it. I’m still missing 15 or so calendars for 2011-2012 school year, as they haven’t yet been published…this as you can imagine is a major PIA!

When I’m done, I’ll publish something like this page on 2011 spring breaks: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2010/07/13/spring-break-2011-at-walt-disney-world/ Page down for the chart that comes out of the analysis

Thanks for the kind words about the site!!

39 Jerry { 06.23.11 at 2:13 am }

Hi Dave,
I know President’s week can get really crowded. Do you think it would make a difference if we went mid-week? Either 2/15 – 2/21 ……or 2/23 – 2/29? We’re debating about whether we should go in February or just pull our daughter out of school for a week at end of April. Also, is the weather too cold in February to go to the waterparks?

40 Dave { 06.23.11 at 6:31 am }

Hi Jerry!

Midweek before President’s Day–eg the 15th–will impove things. Lots of school districts have the whole week after President’s day off, so it will be busy from the 18th on.

February temps are highly variable so there’s a chance that it will be too cold for the waterparks–see http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/when-to-go/next-best-dates/weather-and-when-to-go/high-temperatures-year-round/

End of April is a much better choice–better weather, lower crowds, lower prices!

41 Jenny { 06.23.11 at 4:56 pm }

Need your help pretty please…1st of all AMAZING site I have recommended it to many friends and family. I am wanting to take our family of 5 ages from 3-11 in 2012 The time is not important but price definately is as well as crowds….I suck at setting this up! I would like to not stay CHEAP per say but more on the frugle end of things with out missing out on anything really cool for 1st time goers…can you point me in the right direction?? place to stay?? time to stay?? etc.. THANKS A MILLION in advance

42 Dave { 06.23.11 at 5:38 pm }

Hi Jenny! and thanks!

First, take a look at this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2009/12/16/planning-your-walt-disney-world-budget/

Then, because of your family size, take a look at this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2010/12/15/lower-priced-options-for-large-families-at-walt-disney-world/

The times that best combine low prices and low crowds are the second half of January and the first half of Feb, and September after Labor Day. I don’t rank either period highly, because of ride closures in Jan and Feb, and the peak of the hurricane season in Sept.

43 Mike { 06.27.11 at 9:26 pm }

How much will the Sat/Sun beginning the week of 11/10/12 be affected by jersey week crowds?

Why isn’t the week of 10/20 rated higher than 10/13 given that it falls mostly in fall pricing for deluxe resorts?

44 Dave { 06.28.11 at 9:06 am }

Hi Mike!

For those following one of this site’s itineraries, Jersey week won’t have much of an effect those dates. It will make Saturday and to a much lesser extent Sunday morning busy for those following their own itineraries…

Regarding 10/20/2012 vs 10/13/2012, I don’t disitnguish on deluxe prices because value and moderate prices don’t change, and they are the majority of rooms–ont the order of 2/3.

45 Ashley { 06.28.11 at 11:57 pm }

Hey Dave! My husband and I are planning our 1st disney trip… We were originally thinking of Thurs. Feb. 16th – Monday Feb. 20th, but now we are a little nervous about the crowds and cost. We were thinking of moving our trip up a week to Wed. Feb. 8th- Sun. Feb. 12th, but we are wondering about ride closings. We could do Nov. 9th-13th of this year, but it is so close to time I am not sure we could get reservations for dinner and character meals now. Our kids will be 5 and 2. What do you suggest?

46 Gerard { 06.29.11 at 2:05 am }

Hi Dave
We’ve planning on coming in early December 2012 for 2 weeks. How cold will it be in respect to swimming and the water parks? Are the pools heated? Is it still warm enough to go to the water parks without it being too cold?
Cheers Gerard
PS: We’ll be coming from an Australian summer.

47 Dave { 06.29.11 at 6:07 am }

Hi Ashley!

I’d avoid the 16th-20th for the reasons you note, and do Feb 8-12 instead. While a few rides will be closed, given how young your kids are it won’t matter much! There will be many more that they will be too short or young to ride anyway.

Have a great trip, Dave

48 Dave { 06.29.11 at 6:11 am }

Hi Gerard–the pools are heated.

Temps can be very variable, so whether it will be warm enough for swimming/water parks is hard to predict.

For the variation in high temps at thjis time of the year, see this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/when-to-go/next-best-dates/weather-and-when-to-go/high-temperatures-year-round/ and also http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/when-to-go/next-best-dates/weather-and-when-to-go/pool-days-november-through-february/

49 Michelle Holmes { 07.11.11 at 6:00 pm }

Hi Dave,
I love your site very informative and to the point :-) I am planning a trip from the UK and im planning on weeks from 3rd May to the 17th May, flight prices still seem high is this an indication that it will be busy at disney, also is the weather really humid at this time, as i will have with me a fair skinned child and disabled mother :-)

50 Michelle Holmes { 07.11.11 at 6:01 pm }

forgot to say it will be in 2012 !!

51 Dave { 07.11.11 at 6:51 pm }

Hi Michelle, thanks for the kind words!

It will not be busy then. If those are typical UK holiday breaks, that may be why the flight prices are high, but US kids aren’t on summer break til June.

Weather is typically not humid early in May, but shifts to humid later in the month. On the odds, you’ll miss this, but every year is a little different…

52 Michelle Holmes { 07.12.11 at 1:32 pm }

Thats great news and i have booked our flights now, and soooooooo excited, im so glad of your advice. I so hope Disney know about this site because you should get a life long free membership for all the good advice and time you dedicate to making other peoples trip a less stressful experience. Thank you x :-)

53 Dave { 07.12.11 at 1:41 pm }

Thanks Michelle! Have a great trip, and tell your 1000 closest friends about this site! :) Dave

54 Mike { 07.21.11 at 8:50 pm }

Hi Dave,

Do you think with the NJ teachers convention on 11/8/12 through 11/9/12 and veterans day falling on 11/12/12, that many NJ families will choose to vacation from 11/8 through 11/16 rather than taking the week leading up to the convention. I know that’s what i’d do. What has happened in the past with crowd levels when veterans day falls on the Monday after “Jersey Week”

Mike

55 Dave { 07.22.11 at 7:36 am }

Hey Mike interesting question.

Because Veteran’s Day is not a standard “Monday off” holiday, and because most employers don’t grant it as a holiday, it has little effect on WDW.

I don’t thus expect it to affect Jersey week….

56 Melinda { 07.22.11 at 10:39 am }

My question is more deal related! We are planning are trip thanks to research from you rsite the last week in April and 1st week in may sometime and when I called the travel agent to get prices they gave us a $4000.00 price (including air) for 5 days at Pop Centry! This is my first time going and I’m bring small children! I was hoping for a better deal and a Tram located Hotel! I would love some advice on this and do you recommend hopper passes and food plans?

57 Dave { 07.22.11 at 11:49 am }

Hi Melinda!

Not knowing how much of this is airfare it’s hard for me to comment on the total. My recommended budget (for a longer trip, but at a less expensvie time of the year) if you stay at Pop is $4,300 before airfare. This includes some frills!!

Pop at your time of the year is one the order of $120 a night plus tax (more on weekends, less on weekdays). The monorail resorts cost 3-5 times as much.

Your park tickets–if they did 6 days with hoppers–will be over $300 each.

Most times of the year you can make a trip work without hoppers, which saves around $50 per person. The dining plan saves a little money but only if you would have paid in cash otherwsie for one sit-down meal a day. This can be hard to do in a shorter trip, so I’d skip it and budget for food in cash instead.

Take a look at this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2009/12/16/planning-your-walt-disney-world-budget/

…and then scan thru the material that begins on this page: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2010/10/03/introduction-to-the-tightwads-guide-to-walt-disney-world/

58 Jen { 07.31.11 at 3:35 pm }

Hello, we are planning our second trip to Disney during Star Wars weekend 2012. I believe the Star Wars weekend occurs the last weekend in May and into June. I believe it will be when the weather is hot and the crowds are high. I am looking at June 6th and staying for 6 nights and 7 days. Our girls are Star Wars fanatics and I regret that the Star Tours was closed for renovation during our recent visit in December 2010. Our girls were greatly disappointed because that was the main reason for our visit. My question is, does Disney ever offer free dining during the months of May and June? Do you have any added suggestions for us.

59 Dave { 07.31.11 at 5:00 pm }

Hi Jen!

You are right, Star Wars weekends have typically been at the end of May and first half of June. They haven’t been announced for next year yet, but your date looks good to me. Touringplans.com has a forecast of dates for Star Wars weekends on their crowd calendar–you can get to it (it costs 10 bucks or so) by clicking the image at the top left of this site and then signing up.

Disney has at least once recently done free dining in May/June. I wouldn’t bet on it unless the economy continues to refuse to grow…

One thought is that if you can afford it, to stay in one of the Epcot resorts, so that you can walk back and forth to the studios–it’s about a 20 minute walk, and there’s also a boat as well if its too hot to walk. Of the Epcot resorts, the BoardWalk is the closest to the Studios (both walking and by boat!)

You’ll love the new Star Tours! See this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2011/05/24/review-star-tours-the-adventure-continues-at-disneys-hollywood-studios/

60 Matthew { 08.01.11 at 12:02 am }

Hi Dave,

First, I want to compliment you on your amazing website and all the hard work you put into it. Wife and I are planning to take our son to Disney World for the first time in 2012. We would be staying for 6 days. Our schedules are somewhat hectic and the two times that we could go which are approved by you are March 5, 2011 to March 10, 2011 and February 27, 2011 to March 3, 2011. We would rather go the first week of March and it would seem like we would miss the first couple of days that you commented on for higher the crowds. Would both of those times be about as safe in terms of crowd levels or would you back it up to the February date? Again, thank you so much for your website. We were considering going at the end of March before the research here. Take care, Matt

61 Dave { 08.01.11 at 7:54 am }

Hi Matt, and thanks!

I’d vote for the February arrival date. While I rank it only a little higher than the March one, March can be volatile and my crowd forecasts may be off. Going Feb 27-March 3 minimizes this risk!

Glad the site helped and have a great trip! Dave

62 Amy { 08.03.11 at 3:06 pm }

Hi Dave, thank you so much for your awesome charts. We have found them to be right every time. This is my question. We need to travel during my sons April vacation. Will we save money by waiting until Sunday April 15th to check in over the 14th? I noticed that the 14th ends a different pricing season. Will we get the lower prices if we wait a day or will it not matter? thanks! Amy

63 Dave { 08.03.11 at 3:17 pm }

Hi Amy and thanks!

It doesn’t matter–you pay each day the price that’s in effect that day. So you’d pay the higher rates for just one day.

64 Amy { 08.03.11 at 8:27 pm }

Thanks for the info Dave!

65 Dave { 08.03.11 at 9:27 pm }

You’re welcome and have a great trip!!

66 Amanda { 08.04.11 at 11:32 am }

Hi! I am coming for a 5 night trip in December 2012. What day would you recommend arriving? I want to be there when crowds are the lowest in December. Thanks!

67 Dave { 08.04.11 at 12:00 pm }

Hi Amanda! Arrive 12/8, 9, or 10 and you’ll have a great trip!

68 Amanda { 08.05.11 at 10:40 am }

Thanks! Do you think any special offers will be out at that time? Looking forward to my 9 day trip next month :)

69 Dave { 08.05.11 at 11:26 am }

Hi Amanda!

Based on the past, that’s a time when special offers are common. E.g. this year, that’s a time when free dining is available. Aim for a Sunday or Monday arrival to increase your odds, and keep your fingers crossed!

Have a great trip in September! Dave

70 Rob { 08.13.11 at 4:41 am }

Hi Dave ,
we are visiting for the first time Disney in Orlando ( after 30 times Euro Disney in Paris ) so we are realy exited about our trip to Disney in Orlando.
We are staying at a Disney Hotel from 18 till 24 of February. I already saw some of your comments about President’s day on 20 th of February and that prices are going up in that week . But does this mean that it is more crowded during our whole stay or is it specific for President’s day? Also I have a question concerning the weather in this period . What’s it like in general? we also have these tickets for the waterparcs do you think we can use these , is it not too cold ?

thanks for your comments in advance.

Rob
The Netherlands

71 Dave { 08.13.11 at 10:42 am }

Hi Rob!

Yes, the whole week is busy, although it does get a little better after the three day weekend.

February weather is highly variable.

See this page for the distribution of high temps: http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/when-to-go/next-best-dates/weather-and-when-to-go/high-temperatures-year-round/ and for more on weather at Walt Disney World see this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/when-to-go/next-best-dates/weather-and-when-to-go/

72 Debbie { 08.14.11 at 8:07 pm }

Hi. We are looking at going to Disneyworld either late April / early May or sometime in October….leaning more towards the earlier due to the fact that October seems too far away to wait….we plan to go for two weeks…which 2 weeks would you recommend for least amount of crowds.

73 Debbie { 08.14.11 at 8:27 pm }

Hi. A few moments i go i sent an email but i should clarify…Although April / May is more appealing to us due to the fact that it is not as far away, we are open to waiting to go in late Sept / Oct / Nov…this is a one time trip for us, so less crowds is extremely important to us as is weather (we are hoping for some great weather to visit the waterparks as well)…which would be your 2 weeks recommended with these things in mind for travelling either April / May 2012 or Sept / Oct / Nov 2012? and thanks so much for your assistance.

74 Dave { 08.15.11 at 8:15 am }

Hiya Debbie, got both your comments! There’s wonderful 2 week stretches in both your periods.

For April/May, look for arrivial dates of 4/14 or 4/21. The weather is wonderful until around mid-May, when the rainy season begins, and crowds in this period are low. Earlier will put you in the Easter season–incredibly crowded and expensive.

For Sept/Oct/Nov, arrivie October 13 or October 20. Both crowds and prices are a tad lower this period than in the April dates. Earlier will put you in the peak of the hurricane season, and while there are great weeks later, they don’t come in 2-week stretches.

For more on weather, see the material that begins on this page: http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/when-to-go/next-best-dates/weather-and-when-to-go/

Hope this helps, have a great trip, and please consider using the travel agent I work with–see the form on the lower right–Dave

75 Julie { 08.16.11 at 9:54 am }

Hey Dave, We have booked our trip for Jan 14-21st. Our kids are out 2 days during this time. I’ve read the week picker and see this week is ranked 50th. I’m hoping this is due to the ride closures only, not crowds. I would guess the parks would be crowded over the three day weekend, but thined out after that. We normally visit in October, the week including Halloween. How will the crowds compare? Ride closures are sad, but this is our 6th consecutive year visiting, so it would be ok if we missed a ride this visit. Thank you for all the information you post on this site. Wonderful resource to have!

76 Dave { 08.16.11 at 10:24 am }

Hi Julie, and thanks for the kind words about the site!

If you are not concerned about ride closures, that should be a fab week after the MLK holiday.

The holiday weekend itself may be moderately crowded (more than you are used to in Ocotober) but the rest of the week should be less crowded than October.

You are right, the 50 ranking is just for ride clsoures…

77 Emily { 08.16.11 at 3:50 pm }

Dave –
LOVE your site! It has been so helpful in our planning. We were set to go 4/21/12 following your plan staying at Pop Century. But with the free dinning through the first of March we are looking to change to 4/4/12 staying at a moderate and saving $500. Our big thing is to avoid crowds. Is this a good change or should we stick with the original plan?

78 Dave { 08.16.11 at 4:25 pm }

Hi Emily, thanks for the love and glad the site is being helpful!!

Did you mean change to 3/4? I think that’s worth $500. I rank that week 13th, and recommend it. It wll be more crowded and cooler than 4/21, which I rank 8th. See this for more: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2010/10/20/2012-weeks-to-visit-walt-disney-world-ranked-in-order/

79 Vivian { 08.16.11 at 5:39 pm }

What an awesome site! So glad google found this for me ;)
Question: Planning family trip with 2 kids end of April 2012 looking at either 4/14 or 4/22 – they both seem to have the same price (per the web site mockup I did with the exact same info) so any thoughts/tips on which is better for low crowds and great weather (you are a fortune teller aren’t you ;) )

And what’s the deal with the discount dining plans or nights free deals – if I book now can I go back and get the deal or once it’s booked, it done? When would be a good time to book an April 2012 trip – I want to get the most out of my money, ya know.

Thanks!

80 Dave { 08.16.11 at 6:14 pm }

Hiya Vivian!

Both are great weeks, but I like the week of the 22nd a little more than the week of the 14th.

No telling on whether there will be a deal then or not, but if your dates and hotel are eligible you can transfer to it.

You can do this yourself, but it’s easier to do through a travel agent.

If you book starting with the form on the lower right, then that agent shares a bit of the pixie dust they get from Disney with me, which helps pay for the time I put into the site!

Hope this helps and love your style!

Dave

81 Vivian { 08.16.11 at 6:56 pm }

Thanks!
I was just looking at the new resort too – was hoping it would be open when we would be there but after talking to a Disney person online, the Art of Animation is set to open on May 30, 2012 :( Bummer!

82 Dave { 08.16.11 at 8:05 pm }

Yeah that would have been cool!

83 ashley { 08.18.11 at 12:20 pm }

hi dave i wanted to go may4-10, 2012 but i am worried bout it being to hot!! so then i decided on march 7-13, 2012 but im worried bout the crowed!! what would u advise… i dont want it to be crowed or too hot!!! im having a hard time deciding!!! please help me thanks!!!

84 Dave { 08.18.11 at 1:10 pm }

Hi Ashley!

May in a heartbeat…crowds arr uch more of a killer than heat, and it’s often very nice in early May!

See this for more on high temps: http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/when-to-go/next-best-dates/weather-and-when-to-go/high-temperatures-year-round/

85 ashley { 08.18.11 at 3:12 pm }

so may… its not crowed and not that hot!!!! sound great thanks!!!

86 ashley { 08.18.11 at 3:19 pm }

hi dave
real quick i was reading some of your comments and would you say april is better then going in may!!

87 Dave { 08.18.11 at 3:41 pm }

In 2012, the second half of April–beginning the 16th–is better than May–cooler and less crowded…the first half of April 2012 will be horribly crowded….

88 ashley { 08.18.11 at 5:01 pm }

k i think it gunna do the second half of april thank you so much for all your help!!!

89 Dave { 08.18.11 at 5:04 pm }

Great, and have a wonderful trip!!

90 Carla { 08.23.11 at 1:55 pm }

We just booked our trip for disneyworld arriving on Feb. 16th and leaving the 21st. Do we need to worry about ride closing and also weather. Also any other advice would be great!!!

91 Dave { 08.23.11 at 4:44 pm }

Hi Carla!

The good news is that you won’t have to worry about ride closures, as almost everything is open by President’s Day weekend. The bad news is that’s a very high crorwd time to visit. Weather is still quite variable in Feb–see this for more: http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/when-to-go/next-best-dates/weather-and-when-to-go/high-temperatures-year-round/

92 Allison { 08.25.11 at 2:37 pm }

Hi there Dave.
I LOVE your site. Let me start off my saying we are homeschoolers (not the scary kind) and we LOVE Disney!! Some say we homeschool just to go during the less crowded times. I can’t say they are totally wrong ;)
Anyway, in 2010 we went in Early Feb and December and for us Southerns it was too cold. Well, we are looking to go back in 2012 and I know the fall is better but it’s too long for us to wait. We want less crowds and decent weather. That last cold blast in early Feb left my hubby a little gun shy.
We are going to surprise the children with this trip for Christmas and are excited to start planning. Any help is greatly appreiciated. I tell everyone about your site who is planning a trip.

93 Dave { 08.25.11 at 3:40 pm }

Hi Allison and thanks!!

This one is easy–shoot for the second half of April 2012, arriving no earlier than the Sunday a week after Easter.

This puts you in a low crowd period with, as far as I am concerend, absolutely delightful weather.

See this on the most comfortable time to go: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2009/12/23/the-most-comfortable-time-to-go-to-walt-disney-world/

For highs at that time of year, see http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/when-to-go/next-best-dates/weather-and-when-to-go/high-temperatures-year-round/

94 Ann { 08.31.11 at 5:51 pm }

Very informative site!! I was just wondering are your September dates ranked low because of the hurricane season? Is it crowded during that time? Is mid to late September a good time to go barring hurrican season?

95 Dave { 08.31.11 at 8:33 pm }

Hi Ann!

Yes, other than hurricanes it is a good time to go–but the later the better. September is both low crowd and low cost. It’s also frequently discounted–e.g. with free dining plans. The later in the month you go, the more comfortable the weather.

96 Stephanie Brown { 09.03.11 at 8:44 pm }

Thanks so much for this list…we were thinking about the first week of October but I think that we are goin to push it back a week so we have lower crowds, prices and hurricane season is over.

97 Dave { 09.04.11 at 7:38 am }

Glad the site helped! One note–the hurricane season isn’t over then, but rather the peak of the season is over. The season runs from June 1 to the end of November, but the majortiy of storms are from late August to early October. See this for more: http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/when-to-go/next-best-dates/weather-and-when-to-go/chance-of-cyclonic-storm-affecting-florida/

98 Aimee Pearson { 09.13.11 at 7:08 pm }

We just back from WDW last week and are now planning a trip to Disneyland in Dec 2012. Do you info on best times for DisneyLAND? Thanks!

99 Dave { 09.13.11 at 8:25 pm }

Hi Aimee! I hope you had a ball!

For what I got, see this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2010/11/17/suggestions-for-your-first-trip-to-the-disneyland-resort/

You can also find a Disneyland crowd calendar on TouringPlans.com

100 Isis { 09.16.11 at 3:06 pm }

Hi Dave I think your website is so helpful and i just wanted to know if u could help me my husband and me are planning a surprise trip to walt disney world for our two girls who will be 5 and 6 and are planning it from May 13 to May 19 how are the crowds and the weather

101 Dave { 09.17.11 at 2:43 pm }

Hi Isis! That’s a good time. Crowds are fine, and the weather can be either fine or hot and steamy…

102 Dennis { 09.20.11 at 5:36 pm }

I do like you site, very useful. We are planning a trip the week of 4/21/2012. When you speak of crowds (low to high) what number are you talking about, say for Magic Kingdom. Such as 20,000 is low and 60,000 as high? So what is expected for a rating of 2 on your scale of 1-10? Thanks for you input.

103 Dave { 09.20.11 at 8:31 pm }

Dennis, my ratings of crowds don’t lead to such precise translations, as they are meant to guide families to good weeks and away from bad weeks…. That said, your numbers are in the ballpark. “2″ equates–essentially–to “hardly any dates have fewer crowds, so waits should be among the lowest of the year…”

104 Holly { 09.21.11 at 8:12 pm }

Hi Dave – Planning a trip for 2/24-3/5…good time or 2/17-2/26. We have a 5 and 2 y.o. Thanks!! Great site!!

105 Dave { 09.22.11 at 7:02 am }

Hi Holly! I really like your later dates. Avoid the earlier ones–they put you there President’s Day week, a buy and expensive tiem…

106 Feb. or March? { 09.25.11 at 3:24 pm }

Trying to decide between Feb.11 arrival or March 3 arrival…looking for mild weather and low crowds…which would you recommend? Your advise is awesome…thanks for the help!

107 Dave { 09.25.11 at 4:01 pm }

A tough one, Nancy. If you may never return, choose the March date. It avoids the risk of ride closures, and has better weather. Otherwise, pick the Feb date–risk of ride closures and more likely to be cool, but lower crowds and lower prices.

108 Feb. or March? { 09.25.11 at 10:49 pm }

We go once a year Dave…how bad would the crowds be for the Mar. 3 date? We used to go in May but its so hot plus the free meal deal ends in Mar. Thanks so much for your help! Nancy

109 Dave { 09.26.11 at 7:18 am }

The no worries. Crowds will be low to moderate til around the 8th when they will pick up!

110 Amanda { 09.26.11 at 8:47 am }

Hi! If I stay for 5 nights in November 2012, what day should I arrive? I want to come when it is not busy and try to do the Christmas Party and the food & wine festival. Will free dining be out at that time?

111 Dave { 09.26.11 at 10:52 am }

Hi Amanda!

It can be tough to get an overlap between food and wine and the Xmas party. None of the schedues for 2012 are out yet, but your best bet is to aim for an arrival of Nov 9 or 10, which will give you a day or two of Food and Wine plus likely an Xmas Party* on 11/13.

Because of jersey week, the first few days will be busy, and if there’s any deal offered, it won’t be offered for these arrival dates.

At the cost of missing food and wine, an arrival date of the 11th or 12th, or the 25th or 26th, will give you lower crowds and more chance that any available discounts might work on your dates!

*The most common nights are Tuesdays and Fridays, starting after Jersey week, and not during Thanksgiving week

112 Angelique { 10.06.11 at 12:01 am }

Hola Dave!

I was wondering why the last weeks of January and the first weeks of Feb. don’t have a higher rank as good weeks to go? They have very low attendance at a 1.

113 Dave { 10.06.11 at 6:25 am }

Hi Angelique!

The week rankings are for first time visitors who may never return. Since Jan and the first half of Feb often have ride closures, I steer people away from them–see http://yourfirstvisit.net/2010/05/12/winter-ride-closures-at-walt-disney-world/ If you may never return, why go when great rides may be closed?

As I note on the page, these are GREAT weeks for returning visitors–not just the low crowds, but also low prices!

114 Michele M { 10.07.11 at 10:47 pm }

Hi Dave,
I am trying to plan a first time visit for my son who is 9 for 2012. We want to avoid the humid heat and crowds…thinking about last week if Aug since less crowds but I know weather is unpredictable. What would you suggest?

115 Dave { 10.08.11 at 8:40 am }

Hi Michelle! You will miss the crowds then, but not the heat and humidity. How about the second half of October or April? Those are the best 2012 dates for crowds, heat and humidity, while still providing lovely weather…

116 Melissa { 10.09.11 at 7:52 am }

Hi Dave,
I love your site! It is such a big help in planning our vacation. Our family has always gone to Disney toward the middle of April (not during Easter), and we absolutely love this time of year. The weather is perfect and the crowds aren’t too bad. I am a teacher, and unfortunately, they have changed our spring break schedule so that it falls one week before and one week after Easter. We definitely don’t want to go then. Now, that leaves us with a summer trip in 2012. We are thinking of going one of the last two weeks in August because of the prices and crowds. We usually stay at CSR but are thinking of trying POFQ this year. How will this compare to the April time of year that we love so much? Thanks for your help!

117 Dave { 10.09.11 at 1:22 pm }

Hi Melissa, and thanks for the love! First, go as late in August as you can, as crowds really drop over the course of the month.

Assuming you do that, the main difference is weather. Later April is perfect…and August is not. It typically is hotter, and MUCH more humid. It’s also in the peak of the hurricane season. Hurricanes almost never affect WDW, but humidity always does!

I think you’ll like POFQ. It doesn’t have as many amenities as CSR, but is lovelier and much more compact!

118 Michele M { 10.10.11 at 10:39 am }

Thank you so much for your informative website. Is the weather in late Aug (last week) really too humid? The times when weather is perfect is during school session and I don’t like taking my son out of school unless it was 1 or 2 days. We are in NY and used to Aug humidity but is Fla worse?

119 Michele M { 10.10.11 at 10:48 am }

Hi Dave again…how does April 10th-April 14th fair with crowds and weather?

120 Dave { 10.10.11 at 11:36 am }

Hi Michele…I can’t really tell you if it’s worse. If you are unwilling to take your kids outta school, then late August is your best overall bet…

121 Dave { 10.10.11 at 11:40 am }

Hi again :) In 2012, those are bad dates–spring break corwds extend to the week after Easter. If you are thinking 2013, Easter is earlier and those are great dates that year…

122 Staci { 10.11.11 at 9:52 pm }

Hey Dave! I booked a trip to Disney World April 14-21, 2012. Do you honestly feel that week will be a good week to attend? Any information is appreciated! Love the site!

123 Michele M { 10.11.11 at 11:05 pm }

Thank you very much!

124 Dave { 10.12.11 at 8:33 am }

Hi Staci, and thanks for the love!

Yup I do think that’ll be a good week. The first day or two may have some overlap crowds from spring break, but otherwise it’ll be terrific!

125 Dave { 10.12.11 at 8:37 am }

Glad to help!

126 Bailee { 10.19.11 at 2:17 pm }

Hi! I come every year and I’m starting to plan my 2012 and 2013 trips. In 2012 I am planning on staying 5 nights at a value or moderate resort in December. When do you recommend arriving? I would like to try to arrive on a Friday & when crowds will be lowest. How busy will it be?? Will free dining be out?

127 Bailee { 10.19.11 at 2:21 pm }

In 2013, I want to come for 7 or 8 nights in October or early November. What weeks will be the least busy? I’m not sure where we’ll stay, but I want to be there for the food & wine festival and hopefully either the Halloween or Christmas party. Is there any way of knowing what special offers will be out at that time? Thanks for your help!!

128 Dave { 10.19.11 at 5:06 pm }

Hi Baillee, for lowest December crowds I’d arrive 12/9, 10 or 11 in 2012

129 Dave { 10.19.11 at 5:09 pm }

Hi again Baillee!

For 2013 see http://yourfirstvisit.net/2011/09/19/2013-weeks-to-visit-walt-disney-world-ranked-in-order/ and http://yourfirstvisit.net/2011/09/12/disney-world-crowds-in-2013/ Halloween typically ends 11/1, Food & Wine starts around 10/1 and ends in mid-November, and the Christmas party typically starts around Nov 10 +/- a few days. So nothing fits you perfectly.

No way of telling this far in advance if offers will be out then!

130 Bailee { 10.20.11 at 10:51 am }

Thank you!! I am hoping the fantasyland expansion will be opened when I come in December. Will the first part be done by then? In 2013, I want to do either the Halloween or Christmas party and food & wine festival, so it’ll work out. This is a great site! Thanks!

131 Dave { 10.20.11 at 11:19 am }

Bailee, there’s no firm dates for the 2012 expansion–but personally I’d bet it will be done by Thanksgiving!

132 Angela Gaskin { 10.24.11 at 1:19 pm }

Hi!
Never been to Disney with our 7 & 9 yer old boys….What would be the best time in March to go and take advantage of the Free Dining?
I think the free dining for March is 3-8 and 24-29….
Trying to avoid hot weather and big crowds….Thanks!!

133 Dave { 10.24.11 at 1:22 pm }

Hi Angela–I think the first period will be less crowded. That deal needs to be booked soon–by 10/29!

134 Angela Gaskin { 10.24.11 at 1:28 pm }

Thanks for your help!
Where would you recommend us staying for our first time….We are on a limited budget….But want to go with the Delux Dining because my son has multiple food allergies and I think he will enjoy actually getting to eat in real restaurants as much as the parks….Should we stay at a Value and upgrade the dining, or a moderate?

135 Dave { 10.24.11 at 2:30 pm }

Hi Angela, tell me more about your family numbers and ages, and also check out some of the reviews on this page: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2010/04/26/walt-disney-world-resort-hotel-reviews/

Deluxe dining is an interesting strategy. If you do it, and once you make reservations (which you also need to do ASAP, as during free dining weeks the restaurants book very quickly), you can then call the restaurants a couple of days ahead to discuss his allergies–Disney is VERY good about this.

On the other hand it almost forces you into one of three moderates: Port Orleans Riverside, Carribbean beach, or Coronado Springs, as values don’t have sit down restaurants (neither does POFQ) and you will never be able to use up all your credits otherwise…

136 Angela Gaskin { 10.24.11 at 3:19 pm }

Hi my boys are ages 7 and 9….The oldest was a preemie who has asthma and food allergies….One of the main reasons we want to go to Disney is so he can a normal restraunt experience on vacation….On all of our other vacations, we just cook our own food, but I have read amazing things about Disney and Food Allergies. He will have so much fun trying new foods that Mommy did not cook….
Both boys love Star Wars, but I was afraid the Star Wars weekends might be a lot more expensvie and/or crowded….They have outgrown most of the other typical Disney Characters. A convenient location would be great due to my son’s allergies….Maybe close to bus stops ect.

137 Dave { 10.24.11 at 4:11 pm }

Angela, they’ll love the rides, and especially those at the Magic Kingdom.

None of the moderates are particularly convenient (all have buses). The most convenient that also has a sit-down restaurant is Coronado Springs. See this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2009/10/19/review-disneys-coronado-springs-resort/

You may also want to buy this book: PassPorter’s Open Mouse for Walt Disney World and the Disney Cruise Line: Easy Access Vacations for Travelers with Extra Challenges

138 Angela Gaskin { 10.24.11 at 6:10 pm }

Thanks so much for help! I will check out all of these suggestions!

139 Dave { 10.24.11 at 6:47 pm }

You’re welcome!

140 Dennis { 10.25.11 at 2:09 pm }

Hi Dave- I like your site. I picked up some good tips from you for my recent stay at Pop Century. Now I have a question regarding my next trip. We are thinking about going back in January 2012. We are looking at arriving on Monday,January 9, but I see on your site that there is a Disney Marathon going on just before our arrival. What impact does the Marathon have on crowds for the week of January 9 thru january 12? Thanks!

141 Dave { 10.25.11 at 3:30 pm }

Hi Dennis, glad it helped!

You should be fine. Marathon effects are mostly over Sunday

142 Mary { 11.01.11 at 11:16 am }

Hi Dave,
Love your site! Thanks for all the great information. We are trying to decided between two weeks and would like your advice. We are looking at either the weeks of Feb 25 or April 21st. Our biggest concern with Feb. is the weather…we may be driving from PA. Our concern with April is that it would be more crowded. What do you think?

143 Dave { 11.01.11 at 6:55 pm }

Hi Mary–the week of April 21st may be a little more corwded, but not much, and the weather is likely to be much better!

144 Deb { 11.03.11 at 6:32 pm }

I love love love your site!!!!!!!!!!! Can you help me make a decision, I am booked for Feb. 11th -18th 2012, avoiding the Presidents day holiday and taking advantage of the free dinning, but I kinda want to go when it is warmer and avoiding crowds, thinking of changing to April 21st-28th. I guess I am asking because I am worried about spring break, and I see you have that April week listed as #8, is this a good week? Bringing my two 6 year olds and husband. Thanks Dave!!!!!!!!

145 Dave { 11.03.11 at 6:45 pm }

Hi Deb and thanks for the love!!!

On your Feb dates, you will have a day or two of President’s Day crowds–especially the 18th. The rest of this time is low crowd, but will have some ride closures.

I like the April dates much better. No routine ride closures, weather is as good as it gets, and the crowds will be fine–a little higher than the lower days in Feb, but still low.

For why I think the spring break crowds won’t be much then, see this page: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2011/07/11/disney-world-crowds-in-2012-spring-break-2012/

146 Deb { 11.05.11 at 12:04 pm }

Thanks Dave! I have already changed all my reservations and dinning!!! Great great site!

147 Connee { 11.05.11 at 9:00 pm }

Hi Dave,
We are looking at arriving at Disney on Saturday March 4th with our granddaughters ages 7 and 10. Fortunately we have a friend who has a house less than 5 miles from the park. Could you advise us on any “bargains” such as meals, how to access the park earlier, or otherthings we must not miss. This will be their first trip! Thanks so much.

148 Dave { 11.06.11 at 9:20 am }

Hi Connee! You can’t access the parks early unless you stay at a WDW hotel. For things not to miss, see the image on this page: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2011/03/09/the-comprehensive-guide-to-walt-disney-world-rides-and-attractions/

149 Dave { 11.06.11 at 9:20 am }

Thanks Deb and have a great visit!

150 Jen { 11.09.11 at 3:57 pm }

We have booked a trip to Disney for the Star Wars weekend 2012 arriving Wednesday June 6th leaving June 12th. My questions to you is should we attend each day Friday, Saturday, Sunday of the Star Wars weekend? Do they do different events each day or is it pretty much the same? My plan was to go to Hollywood studios on Friday and Sunday thinking those would be the two less crowded days versus Saturday. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

151 Dave { 11.09.11 at 5:30 pm }

Jen, I’m not sure as I don’t track it. I beleive the events are the same every day, but presenters and characters vary. See the links on this page from allears.net for what happened the first weekend of 2011: http://allears.net/tp/mgm/m_starwars.htm

152 Jen { 11.09.11 at 7:09 pm }

Thanks! If I do find out that the events are the same throughout the weekend which day do you suggest we attend (Fri, Sat or Sun).

153 Dave { 11.09.11 at 10:00 pm }

Standard rules are that Friday is the best and Saturday the worst. However check Touringplans.com’s crowd calendar espcially as the event nears to doube check.. See and sign up for TouringPlans.com

154 Mike { 11.23.11 at 11:35 am }

Hi Dave. Just noticed that touring plans changed the crowd level predistions for my week (4/15/12 – 4/21/12) from 6s to high 9s on almost every day. Do you agree with this assessment. It is the 2nd week after Easter, so i was expecting moderate crowds after the first weekend. Is there something i don’t know?

Mike

155 Dave { 11.23.11 at 12:30 pm }

Nope, I’m stikcing by my forecast. For why see this, whose facts have not changed: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2011/07/11/disney-world-crowds-in-2012-spring-break-2012/

For second (or third and fourth) opinions see this http://www.easywdw.com/category/calendar/04-april-2012-crowd-calendar/ and this (ignore text, as from last year–just see the image) http://www.dadsguidetowdw.com/april-disney-world-crowds.html

TP just went thru a massive update which was partly based on their forecasting of future changes to operating hours.

Final operating hours are a proxy for Disney’s own crowd forecast, but for a long time Disney has published them “thin” and then a couple of weeks before have extensively updated them. The result of incorporating the updates into the TP crowd calendars was major changes to the TP calendars a few weeks ahead.

To avoid this, they have forecasted op hours based on past actuals and updated their crowd calendar based on these forecasts.

Depending on the level of after the fact manual correction they did, this approach will show bad results in April because of the moving date of Easter…

But even if they extensively corrected, I’m still sticking to my forecasts as they are fact-based and the facts haven’t changed…

156 Mike { 11.23.11 at 12:35 pm }

Thx so much. The erratic changing of crowd levels on TP from 1.1 to 4.4 to 6.6 then finally to 9.8+ for several days on my trip, has made me lose faith in their mathematical models. Sometimes reasoning and common sense like i get here and on easywdw goes a lot further. I still think levels may end up more like a 7 given the large amount of Northeast visitors that have sschool break that week, but i will not be renewing my TP subscription. Thx as always for the prompt response!

157 Anonymous { 11.23.11 at 2:30 pm }

Thx, i’ll take the kind of expertise and reasoning i get here and at easywdw over a complicated mathematical model at TP any day of the week. Thanks for the prompt reply as always!

158 Vanita { 11.27.11 at 2:31 am }

We are planning a trip for Jan 9-13, 2011. We have a unique opportunity when we are in the States and our 6 and 4 year old are out of school. Do you think we’ll be disappointed with ride closures or enough will be open? This is our first trip to Disney.
Thank you for this great site!

159 Dave { 11.27.11 at 12:46 pm }

Hi Vanita! Fewer than 5% of rides will be closed. While they include some great ones–Fantasmic and Big Thunder Mountain in particular–enough will be open that you can have a fantastic time. Bring back your kids when they are older for another visit but on that one avoid January and early Feb!

160 Zoe { 11.29.11 at 3:45 pm }

Hi. Would love some advice. We are thinking of going to Florida from UK on Thurs 12 April 2012 for 2 weeks. Travelling with a 5 year old. Would the parks still be busy from Easter? Hoping you will tell me they will be lovely and quiet!!! Thankyou

161 Craig { 11.29.11 at 4:00 pm }

Amazing site. Thank you. We were thinking of going to Disney in Florida following this New Year. Around Jan 4 to 9, or 5 to 10. Thanks to your site I see this is during the marathons … does it make it really busy at the park then? We have 5 yr old twins that will be 6 in March and aren’t too concerned about the bigger “thrill rides” being closed as they couldn’t ride them anyway.

162 Dave { 11.29.11 at 4:11 pm }

Hi Zoe! I think that the 12th-14th will show remaining Easter crowds, but afterwards it should be great!

163 Dave { 11.29.11 at 4:12 pm }

Hi Craig! The marathon crowds the hotels and creates some traffic problems, but it doesn’t have a real bad effect on the parks!

164 Zoe { 11.30.11 at 3:45 pm }

Hi Thankyou so much for reply. Could i ask you one more question? We are considering staying at a hotel near Point Orlando- International Drive. How much approx do you think it would cost to get a taxi form here to Disney. Thankyou

165 Dave { 11.30.11 at 8:24 pm }

Hi Zoe. I’m not sure–I’d guess $30-40…

166 Zoe { 12.01.11 at 5:10 am }

Thankyou for information

167 Dave { 12.01.11 at 10:31 am }

Zoe you are welcome and have a great trip!

168 Ann { 12.08.11 at 9:06 am }

I was looking at planning a trip for mid march like the week of the 19 but after reading here on your site I am questioning which daytes to go Feb 25 or Apr 21 I want good weather and low crowds which do you suggest?

169 Dave { 12.08.11 at 9:35 am }

Hi Ann, both your alternates are great weeks. You’ll have a much better chance of good weather during the April option.

170 Jill { 12.12.11 at 2:23 pm }

Hi,

We took advantage of the Free Dining from March 3-10th. It’s a huge discount, but I’m worried about crowds. Is the discount worth the increased crowd predictions in your opinion?

171 Dave { 12.12.11 at 2:33 pm }

Hi Jill, I’m not seeing that as a particularly crowded week…

172 Paul { 12.13.11 at 7:53 pm }

Hi Dave, just came across the great site well done full credit to you.
Our family of 4 (girls 11 and 8) are planning to visit Disney at some point on our US trip from Australia. We are arriving on Sept 7 and leave 5 Oct would like to plan a 5 to 7 day stay somewhere in that period. Is the weather going to be to hot or the stoems going to wreck our holiday.
Thanks Paul

173 Dave { 12.14.11 at 7:47 am }

Hi Paul, do Disney as late in your trip as you can–this will yield both better weather and less hurricane risk.

174 Jules { 12.17.11 at 11:06 am }

As a true Disney-ac, I don’t know how I’ve missed your wonderful site over the years. This is just top-notch info and very well laid out – Ears to ya!

175 Dave { 12.17.11 at 11:20 am }

Hi Jules, and welcome the site! Thanks for the kind words…I’m still little and young (well, the site is, I’m not) and I really appreciate comments like yours from people who have been around! Dave

176 Eddie { 12.18.11 at 7:31 pm }

Dave,

I am an experienced WDW traveler – having been at least once a year for the last 10 years. For a number of reasons, our 2012 trip would probably be the week of July 4. Please tell me what difficulties (weather, crowd levels, etc.) lay ahead. Thanks.

177 Dave { 12.18.11 at 7:46 pm }

Hi Eddie, the answer is yes…all the above. But you can make it work since you already know what to do–arrive before the parks open, ride the most popular rides first, and use FASTPASS.

The parks are open later than many other times of the year, so a good strategy is to spend the afternoons at your hotel napping and at the pool, and returning in the late afternoon/evening.

If yo are a WDW hotel guest, and can afford hoppers, that also helps, as you can see an am EMH park, and hop to a less busy one in the evening…

Hope this helps, and have a great trip! Dave

178 Kelly { 12.19.11 at 9:01 am }

Hi Dave!

I am SOOOO glad to have come across your site. A-MAZING. We were all set to book our trip yesterday, 2/23-2/28 of 2012 but then a travel agent said that the Daytona 500 was that week and would make Disney a madhouse. Can you tell me if she’s right? We were bummed to have to start looking all over again. Thanks so much, we are anxious to book! Kelly :)

179 Dave { 12.19.11 at 9:23 am }

Hi Kelly–you’ll see crowds in the first half of your dates from the ongoing effects of Presidents Day. The Daytona 500 itself has little impact…

180 Kelly { 12.19.11 at 9:53 am }

Thanks Dave. We might try to shift it by one day 2/24-2/29 to try to help a bit. One more question for you…we’ve heard differences in opinions… would either Hollywood Studios or EPCOT be suitable for a 3 year old? Thanks!

181 Dave { 12.19.11 at 10:12 am }

Hiya again Kelly! Not much at Epcot for a 3yo. A little more at the Studios… See the bottom row of this–which is designed more for 5-7yo… http://yourfirstvisit.net/2011/03/09/the-comprehensive-guide-to-walt-disney-world-rides-and-attractions/

182 Kristi { 12.19.11 at 11:58 am }

Hello Again Dave :) I am trying to plan my wedding around a great time to have a Disneymoon ( I know I’m crazy). We were originally looking at April 2012 but the wedding is being pushed back so now I’m looking at late October,early November, or early Decmeber. I would love to be able to make the F&W Festival and MVMCP but I don’t think that schedule is going to work so I am leaning towards the week of December 1, 2012 for a 10 night stay arriving on 12/3/12. I love the Christmas season and figure the decorations will be up in the parks by then. After reading your repsponse to another question I’m concerned about pop warner football during this time. Are the parks overcrowded due to the pop families? We are looking to do a split stay between the Poly and Port Orleans. Also are there usually many ride closings or refurbs going on in the parks that time of year? I hope that I didn’t make that too complex, lol. Thanks again for the site and your help!

183 Dave { 12.19.11 at 12:19 pm }

Hiya Kristi! No worries on ride closures or rehabs then. Pop Warner crowds the value resorts, and add a little bit of crowding inthe evenings, but really isn’t worth worrying about. For more see http://yourfirstvisit.net/2010/05/30/pop-warner-week-at-walt-disney-world/

184 Kelly { 12.19.11 at 12:57 pm }

Hi (again) Dave! Sorry to bug you with one more set of dates….but do you think 3/1-3/6 would be better so we don’t hit Presidents weekend at all (instead of 2/23-2/26)?

Thanks yet again!

185 Dave { 12.19.11 at 1:05 pm }

Hey Kelly you arent bugging me! Yes I do like the March dates better!

186 jennifer { 12.27.11 at 5:44 pm }

Hi Dave, I’m currently planning my 6th trip to disney. We have been 3 times during christmas and the crowds seem to grow each time. We are considering the week of thanksgiving. Are the crowds any better on certain days of the week prehaps getting larger by Thursday through the weekend. We love the decor during this time but, hoped to avoid the crowds we last experienced. I am a planner when it comes to family vacations and I can’t believe I am just finding your site. AWESOME!!!

187 Dave { 12.27.11 at 7:14 pm }

Thanks Jennifer! Crowds are better during thanksgiving than Christmas week. And earlier is better than Wednesday on…

188 Brian { 12.31.11 at 6:29 pm }

How will the crowds be on Feb. 6th? What do you expect the average wait time to be?

189 Jodi { 01.01.12 at 10:45 am }

okay so thanks to you i know not to do jersey week. We just booked for Nov 10 th 2012 for 8 nights.( we bumped the trip up a year) How is the weather usually at that time and will the resorts be decorated for Christmas? The crowds are still low at that time? sorry if i am being repetitive but you know how it is to plan for a disney week. ty Dave ;)

190 Darby { 01.01.12 at 10:45 pm }

Hi Dave, I love your website! It is truly great. I was wondering… my family and I are planning to go Memorial Day week 2012 for 4 or 5 days. My husband says it will be crowded though, it being a holiday and all, but looking at your site it is ranked 19th. He says we could also go sometime in April or early May but that would involve pulling our daughter out of school even longer and she’s already missed alot for hockey. Would you recommend going earlier than memorial day week or does it matter that much?
Thanks in advance! -Darby

191 Jen { 01.01.12 at 11:54 pm }

Hi Dave,
Amazing site, thanks for all your hard work! We are planning an extended family trip with my sister and her family, 4 adults 5 kids ages 15-6. We are looking at November 2012, thinking about arriving on Thanksgiving or the Friday after for 5 nights. This will be my boys ages 6 & 8 first time and possibly only so I want to make sure it is memorable but not over the top expensive. Any suggestions? Should we do the meal plan? Hopper passes? We would like to stay where shuttles are available as we will not have a car. Thanks for your thoughts!

192 Dave { 01.02.12 at 8:55 am }

Hi Brian, that will be one of the lowest-crowd days of the year!

193 Dave { 01.02.12 at 8:58 am }

Jodi the weather in mid-November is highly variable–can be cold or hot. Christmas decorations are being put out then, but are not complete. Crowds are still low!

194 Dave { 01.02.12 at 9:01 am }

Hi Darby and thanks! My crwod ratings are for a Saturday-Sunday visit, so shorter visits may throw them off. The three day Memorial Day holiday is indeed corwded, but the week that follows is not. If you are aiming for a short trip that starts on the Sat befroe memorial day, I’d definitely shoot for your late April/early May dates

195 Dave { 01.02.12 at 9:02 am }

Hi Jen, and thanks!

WDW will be very crowded Thanksgiving and the Friday and Saturday after it. For your other queries, see the material linked to on the home page– http://yourfirstvisit.net

196 Mendy { 01.02.12 at 11:29 am }

Dave, we are thinking of taking a family trip to WDW. Planning seems to be a task. We will be brining our children ranging in ages 14, 4 and 2. This will be our first trip. We would like low crowds over prices for the early spring Feb-March, any suggestions? We are looking into staying at the Windor Hills Resort which seems reasonable. You help is greatly appreciated!!

197 Diana Brown { 01.02.12 at 12:01 pm }

We are wanting to come back to Disney for our third time. First was in Jan. 2010 and the crowds were great. Last time was Mid-May 2011 and the heat and crowds for the weekend were terrible! Wanting to come in November 2012. Looking for light crowds and hoping for deals to come out on dining! Really would like to see the Fantasyland expansion somewhat done, and the Christmas decorations. What would be your suggestion or should we wait and not come in November all together. Thank you SO much!

198 Dave { 01.02.12 at 12:12 pm }

Hi Mendy, in your time frame the only period with low crowds and low prices is early Feb up until the 16th or so…

199 Dave { 01.02.12 at 12:13 pm }

Hi Diana, the full Christmas program does not begin until the Friday the day after Thanksgiving…that’s among the reasons my top three weeks are what they are…

200 Diana Brown { 01.02.12 at 12:38 pm }

Are there typically deals (looking at Nov 24-Dec 1) or would crowds and deals be better Nov 10-17 leaving out the Christmas factor? Thank you so much for your answers. Just want this to be the best trip yet!

201 Dave { 01.02.12 at 12:43 pm }

No guarantees, but the later week is more likely to have deals…

202 Rani { 01.02.12 at 5:57 pm }

Hi Dave- thank you so much for this fantastic site-what a wealth of information!!!! My family is venturing on our first trip to Disney- 12 year old daughter, and 9 year old son… we are not too concerned about warm weather as we do take a Spring break trip in middle March to a warm climate- this is strictly Disney AND a maybe 2 day intro to Universal? (huge Harry Potter fans.) We are considering February 7-12, 2012 trip but I see that you rank that the 46th best (or worst) week and I am wondering if it is mostly b/c of ride closures or weather… and might you suggest another possibility considering weather is not an issue. Thank you, thank you.

203 Mel { 01.02.12 at 6:35 pm }

Hi Dave,

We are considering a 10 day trip to Disney from the UK in either fall half term (oct 19 to nov 3, 2012) or during the 2013 Easter holiday (march 27 to 14 April). This will be our first visit and we are not very likely to visit again. We will be bringing our daughter, who will be 8 then.

Which date would you recommend?

Thanks,
Mel

204 Tracy { 01.02.12 at 7:03 pm }

Hi.
My partner can only get school holidays off as he works in a school and I was trying to find a good two weeks for us to visit so we could get on rides and not spend the whole time in queues as it’s his first time going I wanted him to see as much as possible…I don’t think I will be able to find that.
I have seen that the week 11 feb is a low crowd week, i know rides will be closed but i think that might be unavoidable. Do you think this week will be okay to visit..or is it possible you can advise of a better time.
I wish we weren’t tide down to only going when the schools are out :(

205 Dave { 01.02.12 at 8:10 pm }

Hi Rani–it’s just because of ride closures. Otherwise, that’s a great week!

206 Dave { 01.02.12 at 8:26 pm }

Hi Mel–the weeks before and after Easter are very busy and very expensive, so the fall dates are a much better choice.

207 Dave { 01.02.12 at 8:26 pm }

Hi Tracy, other than ride closures that’s a great week–low crowds and low prices…

208 Mel { 01.03.12 at 5:40 am }

Thanks Dave! If we decide to go fall 2013 instead of fall 2012 (similar dates), is there anything else I need to watch out for?

209 Dave { 01.03.12 at 7:49 am }

Hi Mel! Just be sure to avoid the US Thanksgiving week….

210 Rani Fordi { 01.03.12 at 8:58 am }

Hello Dave, Thank you for your quick response and insight….. one closure in Feburary during our proposed trip dates is the Parade of Lights. We were thinking of visiting the WW of HP at the beginning of our trip and Disney the end of our trip so that we can see the Parade of Lights…….. do you have any input on that scheduling decision? We originally planned on visiting Disney first and Universal last…… thinking of saving the best for last… (kids aged 12 and 9) Is the Parade of Lights worth waiting for (it’s what I remember seeing as a kid!!) Thank you again!!!!!!! Most Sincerely~ Rani

211 Dave { 01.03.12 at 9:29 am }

Rani, do you mean the Main Street Electrical Parade–the evening parade currently at MK? If so personally I think this is a weak parade, but it does have nostalgia value!

212 Yinell { 01.03.12 at 4:50 pm }

Hi Dave,
My husband and I would like to take our 2 yr old daughter to DW for the first time:) It will also be my first time! We would like a week that is not crowded and not too hot. Would the week of April 21st be a good time?
We were also looking at March but I think you wrote it will be busier. Your suggestions for March thru May would be appreciated. Thanks!

213 Dave { 01.04.12 at 10:09 am }

Hi Yinell! Yes, that’s a good week. You can see more on these months either by clicking the image lower on the page or clicking the month links at the top of the page!

214 Catherine { 01.04.12 at 12:43 pm }

Hi Dave, We are looking to go in April 2013, coming from the UK. Is it better to book as soon as we can or do the prices tend to stay the same no matter when you book? Thanks!

215 Dave { 01.04.12 at 5:42 pm }

Hi Catherine, 2013 prices won’t come out til later this year, and you will be charged those prices whenever you book. Tickets, however, can be bought now and used in 2013, even if prices later go up–which they will…

216 Debi { 01.05.12 at 2:59 pm }

Hello! We are making a second trip with the grandchildren March 7 to the 13, 2012. One has special needs for waiting, crowds are not her thing. Where can we get some ideas on what to do with our large group under these cicumstances. There will 9 of us. Staying at Port Orleans on Disney property. Can not wait we all love Disney Parks :)

217 Dave { 01.05.12 at 4:29 pm }

Hi Debi, what fun!

First, consider buying this book: PassPorter’s Open Mouse for Walt Disney World and the Disney Cruise Line: Easy Access Vacations for Travelers with Extra Challenges

Second, don’t expect to keep everyone together all the time. A group that big will have varied interests and tolerances. You may want to begin at the same park, and reconvene for meals, but otherwise split up.

For the special needs child, you should be fine for the first few hours each day–arrive before the park opens, and use FASTPASSES, and you won’t have much waiting for the first few hours…

218 Kate Shapiro { 01.06.12 at 12:44 am }

Do you think it makes a difference if we go the third or fourth week in March? Our kids have off both weeks from school so we are flexible. Thank you!

219 Dave { 01.06.12 at 8:37 am }

Hi Kate… my “official” forecast is for equally bad crowds both weeks. However, if I’m wrong, the week beginning 3/24 will be better. For why, see this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2011/07/11/disney-world-crowds-in-2012-spring-break-2012/

220 Linh Chi { 01.06.12 at 10:12 am }

Hi Dave,
we’re planning to take my daughter (6 years old) on Disney world for the first time on the week from 4th March to 10th March. What time do the parks usually close this time of year and do you suggest coming this week?
Thanks in advance.

Linh Chi

221 Dave { 01.06.12 at 10:49 am }

Hi Linh!

That’s a good week, except the 10th may be quite busy.

Hours vary and are frequently revised. For how to figure out what’s open when, see this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2010/03/30/walt-disney-world-hours-of-operation/

Right now, MK is posted as open from 9a to 8p to 10p, depending on the day; Hollywood Studios open 9a to 7p to 10p, Epcot 9a-9p, and Animal Kingdom 9a to 6 or 7p. These hours may change–specifically, with some 8a openings and some later closings…

222 Jodi { 01.06.12 at 12:36 pm }

We are booked dave for November 10 -18.. 2012.. My how did i end up booking a year sooner then planned. LOL i am a 49 year old kid

223 Dave { 01.06.12 at 1:04 pm }

:) I always say that it’s never too late to have a happy childhood…

224 Denise { 01.06.12 at 2:10 pm }

Hi Dave, thanks for all of the helpful information! My children and I are going to DisneyWorld Easter Week, yes, I know, the busiest time. We have been several times before and just enjoy going, so we are hopeful that we can cope with the crowds. My question is how crowded does “highest” mean? My guess is that fast passes will be gone for most rides by lunch, the rides will have up to two hour waits without fast passes, the parks will need to close due to crowd capacity, is this generally correct? We need to mentally prepare ourselves!! :) Thanks!

225 Dave { 01.06.12 at 2:44 pm }

Hi Denise! Yes, except maybe not park closures–though it’s possible, especially the 7th and 8th….

226 Josette { 01.07.12 at 2:21 pm }

Hey Dave
We just booked our trip for April 15th thru the 21st. We typically go every year the week before Easter and this year opted for the weekend after hoping the crowds are more manageable. My kids are young enough that pulling them out of school for a week isnt really a big deal, and I have found it has been MUCH easier to book dining events this time around. We went in December 2010 towards the middle of the month and it was awful. In the future, do you think it would be much more beneficial for us to book a trip in February or January? It is so cold here in the winter, but I found last December Disney wasnt much better and it was kind of depressing going and dealing with awful crowds and cold weather. I know that was unusual for that year, so I just wanted to see what you thought.

227 Dave { 01.07.12 at 3:31 pm }

Hi Josette…it depends what you are looking for. I find APril beginning a week after Easter and the second half of October to be the best balance of crowds and weather for returning visitors…the lowest-crowd weeks are low for a reason–hurricane risks (Sept) and ride closures (mid-Jan-early Feb)…

228 Kristi { 01.08.12 at 12:44 am }

I am considering planning a last-minute Disney trip, and the week of 2.25.12 is probably when we would want to go. I was pleased when I saw on your site that this is a lower crowd week. Is it crazy to attempt to make plans this late for a trip for 2 adults and 2 kids? My husband and I have both been there before, but we have never been the ones doing the planning. Just wondering your opinion on this.

229 Dave { 01.08.12 at 10:05 am }

Hi Kristi, no you aren’t crazy! The only problem with short-notice visits is that it can be hard to get great dining reservations. That week should be a good one…except DIsney just announced a new promotion that covers it which may make it a little more crowded than I had thought it would be—especially the 28, 29 and 1st…see this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2012/01/03/new-disney-free-night-promotion/

230 Jennifer { 01.08.12 at 9:16 pm }

Dave – what are your thoughts on the days leading up to Thanksgiving 2012? We are thinking of arriving the Friday before Thanksgiving and staying through Thanksgiving Day (actually leaving on Thanksgiving Day morning so we would not be in the parks that day at all). I have heard it is both a good week to visit (in terms of crowd size) and one of the worst. Thanks so much!

231 Mark { 01.08.12 at 10:45 pm }

I have noticed that early August for deluxe resorts is listed at “lower” in price. When can we expect to see discounts o lower prices listed for those times?

232 Dave { 01.09.12 at 8:30 am }

Hi Mark. Prices at the deluxe resorts drop to near-lowest of the year on July 15. See this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2010/05/26/walt-disney-world-2012-price-seasons/

233 Dave { 01.09.12 at 8:33 am }

Hi Jennifer, crowds begin building the Saturday before Thanksgiving and hit very high levels by Tuesday. IN years past, they were OK until Wednesday, but not anymore…

234 Gene { 01.11.12 at 8:34 am }

Hi Dave,

We are planning a last minute vacation for my daughters birthday. There will be 4 of us in total. Me, my wife, girl turning 4 and 2 year old (Yes I know we are breaking every piece of advice you have suggested). The timing is the reason we are now going and we are getting a good deal. My question is between the resorts (we can choose between, Coronado, French or Riverside – Port Orleans, Safari Room and Caribbean (waterview). What makes the best sense given the fact we will be on meal plan and have 2 little girls.
I originally liked the Caribbean – but not a fan of a pirate room for me or my 2 girls.

235 Dave { 01.11.12 at 8:53 am }

Hi Gene, you can find my general ranking of the moderates here: http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/where-to-stay/next-best-resort-choices/

However, a couple of qualifiers they may change the order: French Quarter does not have an on-site table-service restaurant (it does have a counter service) so if you were thinking of using table service credits at your hotel knock it off the list.

Second, Caribbean is the only one of these to have full-size beds rather than queen beds. That may cause you to ding it as well.

Hope this helps, and have a great trip! Dave

236 Jennifer { 01.12.12 at 6:22 pm }

Hi Dave,
I hope this question has not already been posted. Is Disney busy the week leading up to Thanksgiving? Or, do the crowds start on Thanksgiving day/weekend? We were thinking of visiting 11/16 to 11/23. Thank you!

237 Dave { 01.13.12 at 8:07 am }

Hi Jennifer, yes it is. Crowds begin to build the Sunday before Thanksgiving.

238 ED { 01.13.12 at 11:10 pm }

MY wife and I will be in Sarasota starting 4/16 for a week. We are considering going to Disney arriving 4/13 and departing late in the day on 4/16 to drive to Sarasota . Do you think most of the crowds from post Easter will be leaving by the 13th and 14th or will it be too crowded …..we are young seniors

239 Dave { 01.14.12 at 9:43 am }

Hi Ed, I don’t epxect the Easter crowds to go down much until Sunday the 16th. For more, see this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2011/09/28/spring-break-2012-at-walt-disney-world/

240 Jack { 01.14.12 at 1:46 pm }

My son is getting married on Oct 6 and spending the next 7 days at the Polynesian. Looks a good time to go. Is that Columbus period moderate all week long or does it become less crowed as that week goes by? Tks

241 Dave { 01.14.12 at 2:23 pm }

hi Jack, it does get less crowded after Monday…

242 Jodi { 01.15.12 at 12:05 pm }

we are so confused. We booked a river room at port orleans french quarter for nov 10-18.. with a pin code its $1700.00 my husband got a pin code as well and with his pin the room is $1346 but its a king bed not a river room. We are so confused we love the river room and now we dontknow what to do. Then for the heck of it i used the pin to get a price for a royal room and that is only $1498.. But we dont want to go to riverside so the royal room is out. Ugh the disney rep said we can book the king room for cheaper and then request a river room when we are there , but if they say no when we are there it could really change our trip mood if we are overlooking a parking lot or a garden. Sigh the $354.00 price difference is so tempting. Do you know if they really consider to upgrade to a river room once you are there?

243 Jodi { 01.15.12 at 12:05 pm }

oh and what do you think of the week nov 10 -18

244 Dave { 01.15.12 at 1:03 pm }

Hi Jodi! I’ve gotten some amazing upgrades at times and completely struck out at other times. So there’s no guarantee…and it becomes a bet…are you willing to risk $354 on a view you don’t like…

245 Dave { 01.15.12 at 1:04 pm }

Hiya again Jodi! I love that week, and rank it 7th best of the year.

246 Jodi { 01.16.12 at 11:53 am }

thanks Dave. Hopefully we will have warm weather and at least a few xmas decorations up. we are going to just stay with our river room. 299 days to go lol silly me

247 Dave { 01.16.12 at 12:14 pm }

:) Have a great trip!

248 Jodi { 01.16.12 at 1:40 pm }

By any chance do you know of any sites that sell the almond pralines they have at Goofys candy store and at the MK? I found 1 store but you have to buy in bulk. Been looking for 2 months just thought of asking you now dave.

249 Dave { 01.16.12 at 4:07 pm }

Hi Jodi, sorry, I don’t!

250 Missy { 01.17.12 at 4:24 pm }

Hi! Do you think the free dining offer will be out Dec 2012? Thinking of going the week of the 1st or the 8th.. definitely want the free dining if possible!

251 Dave { 01.17.12 at 5:20 pm }

Hi Missy, I think there’s a 50-50 chance that SOME deal. free dining or reduced room rates, will be offered. If it is, it’s likely to exclude the week beginning 12/1…

252 Missy { 01.18.12 at 11:36 am }

If I stay Dec 7-14 (Fri-Fri), do you think there is a good chance of the offer? or would I have a better chance if I came Dec 8-15 (Sat-Sat)?

253 Angela { 01.18.12 at 2:15 pm }

I was going to try to book the Pop century resort but it is aleady book for the week of April 21 st. I picked this week because it was one of the better weeks as far as crowds are concerned, but after finding out pop century was booked it concerned me as far as crowds are concerned.

254 Dave { 01.18.12 at 5:14 pm }

Missy, just based on what they did in 2011, the Saturday (12/8) arrival date will have a better chance.

255 Dave { 01.18.12 at 5:19 pm }

Hi Angela, there’s not a tie between how busy the WDW hotels are and how crowded the parks will be. Disney runs deals to fill its hotels during otherwise low demand periods, because they are low demand periods. There is such a deal during your week, and it’s likely why Pop is sold out…

256 Mike Angelo { 01.24.12 at 11:14 am }

Hi Dave, good morning. Looks like I’m not going to make a trip in January after all but possibly This February. I advoid weekends so will probably do a Tuesday through Friday. Can you tell me the lowest week for crowds? And i’m thinking about staying at a place a friend told me about; Pop Century. Is that close to DW and would you recommend/ Thanks again…..Mike

257 Dave { 01.24.12 at 12:19 pm }

Mike, all the weekdays except the16th through 24th look fine to me. Pop is a WDW resort–see this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2010/03/22/review-disneys-pop-century-resort/

258 Mike Angelo { 01.24.12 at 1:01 pm }

Got ya….Thanks!

259 Dave { 01.24.12 at 2:56 pm }

Have a great trip!

260 Charlene { 01.29.12 at 6:39 pm }

Hi,
We are going to Disney from2/23-2/27 for the princess marathon and to take in as much of the parks as we can in such a short time. After looking at your site I’m feeling a little nervous about the crowds. What should I expect?
Thank you!

261 Dave { 01.29.12 at 7:15 pm }

Hi Charlene! It’ll be pretty ugly thru the 25th, but should be fine the rest of your time.

From the 23rd-25th you’ve got to follow the basics: avoid parks with morning extra magic hours that day, arrive well before they open, ride the most popular rides first, and use fastpasses….you wanna do this stuff the 26th and 27th too, but for the 23-25th especially get up early!.

During the crowded time, take the afternoons off, and return late in the day for the evening parades/fireworks…

262 Melanie { 01.30.12 at 6:01 pm }

Hi Dave, we’re going to WDW Sept. 14-18th, I’m wondering if you think they’ll have a free dining offer at that time?

263 Dave { 01.30.12 at 6:54 pm }

Hiya Melanie! Disney’s been doing free dining in this time frame every year for years. No guarantees, but I’d bet the odds are >75%.

264 Jenn { 01.30.12 at 11:36 pm }

Hi Dave! We plan to take our 2 boys (ages 3 and 6) to Disney for the first time this summer. I know this is not the optimal time to go but works best for us. Taking heat and crowds, etc into consideration when is the best time to go? We were thinking mid June or early August before school starts again. Thanks!

265 Dave { 01.31.12 at 8:51 am }

Hi Jenn!

There’s not a ton of difference between your options, but mid-June–the earlier the better–is a little bit less crowded.

See this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2012/01/31/summer-2012-at-walt-disney-world/

266 Pat { 02.01.12 at 5:10 am }

Hi Dave! I’ve planned a trip to Orlando with my husband, arriving on Saturday 18Feb12 (flight will arrive around 7am) and leaving Orlando on Thursday 23Feb12. I’m planning to visit Walt Disney World for 3 days during my stay in Orlando. I’ve browsed through your advice for the autumn-winter itinerary suggestions, but as i have limited time, i can most probably visit only 3 parks during my visit. Do you have any suggestions on the day and parks i should visit during my stay? And i tried to search park hours for 19 and 20 February but the calendar in disney official website shows nothing and those 2 dates, i wonder are they closed? Will it be cheaper that i buy the tickets online in advanced (which website do you recommend?) or only purchase when i reach Orlando? This is my first time visit to Orlando, apologies on the many questions i have :)

267 Dave { 02.01.12 at 8:16 am }

Hi Pat!

You’ll be there during one of the most crowded weeks of the year, because of President’s Day. There really are no good days.

Get your tickets ahead of time–check out Mousesavers.com for savings, but don’t expect much.

For the parks, see for sure Epcot and the Magic Kingdom. Your third day could be another day at either of these, or one of the other two Disney parks…you can make that decision after you’ve seen the first two.

Avoid entirely if you can the 18th, 19th, and 20th. Avoid MK the 19th and 23. Avoid Epcot the 21st. Avoid the Studios the 18th and 20th. Avoid AK the 20th and 22nd.

268 Gaylene { 02.04.12 at 2:34 am }

Dave,

We are planning to return to Disney December 7th – December 16th 2012. We watch your site on a regular basis and it is such a wealth of information. Thank you for all that you do in making trips the most of what they could possibly be – dreams do come true :-) I wanted to toss some ideas out there and get your opinion. The dates we selected are flexible; should we alter them any or, do you think those are great dates for low crowds, cost, and still get to experience Christmas at Disney? We are a party of six and my mother will be coming too, making us a party of seven. We are looking at a value resort since money is a critical factor. Any suggestions for different lodging. We hope to get to utilize the free dining plan; any thoughts on if you think it might be available then? We typically do the dining that includes a table service, quick service and snack. What about weather, do you think it will be cold? And, we will get to attend the Mickey’s Merry Merry Christmas party during that time, correct? We attended the Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween party in 2010 and it was GREAT! We are hoping the Christmas one is equally as good if not better. Any tips or advice for planning our trip is very much appreciated. Thank you.

269 Dave { 02.04.12 at 9:56 am }

Hi Gaylene! Thanks for all your kind words!

I do think that’s a great week–which is why I rate it #1 of the year! The only negative is that temps are quite variable, so it may be cold on some days–see this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/when-to-go/next-best-dates/weather-and-when-to-go/pool-days-november-through-february/

Yes, MVMCP will be on during that time. Schedules aren’t out yet, but the most common days are Sundays, Tuesdays, and Fridays.

A party of 7 is hard to fit in low-cost lodging. Your bets bet is two value resort rooms, but the rooms may be a hike from each other. See this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2010/12/15/lower-priced-options-for-large-families-at-walt-disney-world/

If you want two value rooms, the 4 person rooms at the soon to open Art of Animation Resort have the best chance of being close together (because there’s not many of them) but I don’t know if those are reservable yet for your time period–these 4 person rooms are supposed to open in December…

Your dates closely track to one of my itienraries–see this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/basic-itinerary/basic-itinerary-daily-links/

Hope this helps and have a great trip! Dave

270 Shawn { 02.07.12 at 11:38 am }

Hi Dave! I thought I posted this question successfully on your site a week or two ago, but can’t find it anywhere now! :) We are planning our trip for 10/30 (evening arrival) – 11/6 (morning departure), with a 4 & 6 year old. How will the crowds be for the Not So Scary Halloween Party on the 31st? Will we miss the Jersey Week crowds? We have not booked our travel yet, but do not have too much flexibility on the dates. Do you have a recommendation for which itinerary to follow since we are going Wed – Mon? Do you think they will have the free dining at this time? Thanks so much!!!

271 Dave { 02.07.12 at 12:06 pm }

Hi Shawn–see this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/basic-itinerary/alternative-itineraries/itineraries-for-the-rest-of-the-year/v2-of-2009-autumn-winter-spring-itinerary/comment-page-3/#comment-25661

For a couple of other things not addressed on that link: Disney limits how many tix it sells to the Halloween Party–the rumor is a max of 25,000 per party. However, of all the party nights, the ones closest to–and on–halloween are the most likely to sell out, and thus feel a little crowded. Still worht doing if you really want to!

Your period is during the Food and Wine festival at Epcot, and that period is often excluded from any free dining that might be on offer…

272 Angie { 02.07.12 at 3:18 pm }

Hi Dave-
We are planning a Make-A-Wish trip for my 4 year old daughter who was diagnosed with stage 5 bilateral Wilms tumors (both kidneys) on Father’s Day 2011. We have two older children, 10 (girl) and 12 (boy). We would like to have warm weather to visit the Disney water parks, as well. We were thinking about October, but can’t quite figure out the best dates to request. We need to provide 3 options to Make-A-Wish. I’ve read through all your material and charts, but I think I have “decision overload” from my daughter’s treatment. Any suggestions to help me out??
Thanks!!!

273 Dave { 02.07.12 at 3:44 pm }

Hi Angie, I’m so sorry to hear that. The second two weeks of October are wonderful, as are the second two weeks of April…

274 Leslie { 02.09.12 at 10:00 am }

Hi Dave, love the site and am a research nerd/Disney fan. My question is a little different. We have visited Disneyworld several times and usually go in October or April, or sometimes marathon weekend. Just found out my husband has a business trip to Orlando the week of July 8. To go or not to go with the kids (10 and 6)? I’m afraid of the crowds/heat/humidity. We always are there when the park opens in the morning to beat the heat and the crowds, but still don’t know if it would be worth it. Otherwise, no Disney trip for us this year. Your opinion? Thanks in advance!

275 Dave { 02.09.12 at 10:31 am }

Hi Leslie, and thanks!

Before I get to the substance, as a fellow research nerd let me call your attention to a coupla pages I’m particularly proud of: http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/where-to-stay/next-best-resort-choices/walt-disney-world-resort-features-by-price-category/how-many-square-feet-in-a-square-foot/ and http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/when-to-go/next-best-dates/weather-and-when-to-go/high-temperatures-year-round/

Ok re your question, the glib answer is why not? A year without Disney World is like a year without Christmas.

Less glib, the issues are the next best use of what you’d spend, and what you might do in the afternoons. While these questions are the same whether or not you bring the kid, have you ever been there just as a couple? It actually makes a pretty nice vacation away from the beasts charming youth…and is either less expensive, or more luxurious, depending on how you deploy your savings from not bringing the kids…dinner at V&A…Cirque du Soleil…

You know enough to be able to have great mornings, and evening fireworks and such aren’t much of an issue. But afternoons (unless you buy your way out the problem, see this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2010/02/21/getting-more-fastpasses-faster-at-walt-disney-world/ ) are pretty horrible.

I’ve been there in July—I’ve camped at Fort Wilderness in a tent in July :) —and have had an OK time. But I wouldn’t myself shell out the bucks to bring the family to a nice hotel then—I’d save the money for a more special visit another time…

276 Leslie { 02.09.12 at 12:15 pm }

Very helpful – thanks so much. And thanks for the extra links, can’t wait to check them out. Had not thought about kid free. . .or the idea of an extra fast pass. . .expensive, but genius!

277 Dave { 02.09.12 at 12:48 pm }

:)

278 Christina { 02.09.12 at 2:41 pm }

We are debating between the week of December 1st, the week of October 13th or the week of October 2oth. Our concerns with October 13th week are :1)You are only just one week after the Hurricane season peak 2) Love Bug Season. Will the week of October 20th be best to get us farther from both the hurricane risk and Love Bugs? The benefit of the October 13th week is slightly lower crowds from our research. December 1st week seems very nice for the decorations and low crowds but the weather might be chilly in early morning, nighttime and for water rides. Help! We go back and forth. Our biggest concerns are crowds, weather (warm enough but not oppressive, hurricane risk) and Love bugs. What do you recommend?

279 Dave { 02.09.12 at 2:44 pm }

Hi Christina–the love bugs don’t bug me :) so leaving that out I’d go with the week of October 20, as it is the best balance among all your factors!

280 Christina { 02.09.12 at 2:55 pm }

All kidding about the Love Bugs aside, do you know if the Love Bugs are typically gone by mid to late October? Some people’s comments and photos of them concerned us!

281 ED { 02.09.12 at 3:58 pm }

Hi Dave…great site. My wife and I , young seniors, are making a stop over at Disney arriving early 4/13 and driving down to Lido Beach late in day Monday the 16th. I know there will be some leftover Easter break crowds but can you reccomend and plan on what parks to visit to limit crowds. We are going to Epcot the evening we arrive for dinner and the light show. After that we have yet to decide. Thanks for your help.

282 Dave { 02.09.12 at 4:46 pm }

According to this, they should be: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lovebug

283 Dave { 02.09.12 at 5:05 pm }

Hi Ed, crowds will be quite heavy the 14th, a little better the 15th, and best the 16th. On the 14th, the Magic Kingdom will be worst, and nothing particularly good. On the 15th, MK is bad, and the 16th, MK is best, and AK and HS the worst…

284 aden { 02.13.12 at 8:37 am }

I’m looking to visit Disney World in the last week of September to coincide with school holidays in the southern hemisphere. Crowd levels are predicted to be low, but will it be a worthwhile experince for the children? We were at Disneyland in Paris twoyears ago over the same period and they had a blast.

285 Dave { 02.13.12 at 9:07 am }

Hi Aden! Crowd levels indeed will be low. The weather is still quite hot, and this is in the peak of the hurricane season. Hurricanes are rarely an issue…but still worth keeping in mind… see this and its links: http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/when-to-go/next-best-dates/weather-and-when-to-go/

286 Aden { 02.13.12 at 10:26 am }

Thanks for the prompt response. In Paris the park hours were shortened because it was downtime so there were no night parades – also, soe of te rides were having maintenance done. Do they do they do the same at WDW during Septemer/October?

287 Dave { 02.13.12 at 12:07 pm }

Hi Aden, the Magic Kingdom will have fewer evening parades, but they’ll still be on a third to a half of nights. The other nightime stuff–fireworks/evening shows at MK, Epcot, and the Hollywood Studio–should be pretty much every night. Park hours except at Epcot will be shorter–but with the lower crowds, this ought not to matter…

288 Cara { 02.16.12 at 11:21 am }

This is an amazing site. THANK YOU for the time you’ve put into helping so many plan their trips!

I’m trying to decide between the weeks of 10/20 and 11/10. My preference would be 11/10 (October is a busy month for our family already) but am a little concern about crowds on Veteran’s Day. Could you comment on this? We are flexible in our traveling and only plan to spend 2 days at Disney and 1 at Animal Kingdom. Any thoughts on how we’d break that down to have the least crowds (preferably arriving in Orlando on the 9th, 10th, 11th).

Many thanks!!!!!

289 Dave { 02.16.12 at 12:09 pm }

Hi Cara and thanks :)

Veterans Day does not have much effect, because 1. most of the private sector does not have it off, and 2. since it’s not an “always Monday” holiday, those who do have it off often don’t think of it as a three day weekend for vacation planning. So your November dates should be fine!!

Not sure what you mean by “two days at Disney and one at the Animal Kingdom,” as the Animal Kingdom is one of the four Disney World theme parks–the other three being the Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, and Epcot. Did you mean “two days at Disney World and one at Sea World”? Help me with what you are thinking and I’ll try to help!

290 Cara { 02.16.12 at 2:03 pm }

Thanks for the Veteran’s Day tip! And sorry – I see now how that would be confusing. We’re just planning to spend 2 days at Disney World and 1 day at Animal Kingdom. Our children will be 5 years and 12 months so I think much more might be too much. Just wondering if you’d recommend any strategies on which park to visit on which day. (I’ve heard it’s best to start with Animal Kingdom and then to Disney World as it might be a let-down if done in the opposite order). :)

291 Cara { 02.16.12 at 2:04 pm }

Agh! Just realized I STILL wasn’t clear enough. By ‘Disney World’ I mean ‘Magic Kingdom’. Sorry! Thank goodness I have 10 months to get my terminology down! :)

292 Kathy { 02.16.12 at 2:14 pm }

Dave-

Love your site. Used it last year and found it accurate so I wanted to check with you on this year’s plans. Last year we went the week of June 16th. It was hot, but the crowds were manageable (we have been 5 times before so we know what to expect). We actually felt as though the crowds were a little lighter than when we went in October, 2010 bc of all the fall breakers we encountered that trip. This year we are going June 9. I notice you have that as more moderate than the heavy crowds from last year’s week of June 16…is there that much difference on going just one week earlier? (BTW, we have gone in early May, early October and in June. We definitely agree that early May is the best time we have been.)

293 Dave { 02.16.12 at 6:13 pm }

Got it! The November schedules won’t be out for another couple of months, but it’s likely that the best days at Magic Kingdom will be Tuesday and Wednesday, and at the Animal Kingdom Tuesday and Thursday…and I agree with your thoughts about what’s a good idea for that age!

294 Dave { 02.16.12 at 6:16 pm }

Hi Kathy, thanks, and glad the site helped last year!

I’ve changed the crowd calendar around a bit, so you can’t compare the two years directly, but regardless even one week earlier makes a big positive difference in June! See this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2011/07/20/disney-world-crowds-in-2012-summer-2012-crowds/

295 Dan { 02.19.12 at 6:48 pm }

Hi Dave,

We’re a couple in our mid 20′s with no kids and like to stay in the deluxe resorts. I’ve noticed that your website is based more towards families so i was wondering what the best time for us to visit would be. Personally i don’t enjoy holidays where i have to que and i prefer warmer weather. I’ve always thought that September was the best time as the weather is great and the crowds are very low but would you agree?
Great site btw!

296 Dave { 02.20.12 at 9:30 am }

Dan there’s a lot to be said for September based on your criteria, but it is in the peak of the hurricane season–see this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/when-to-go/next-best-dates/weather-and-when-to-go/chance-of-cyclonic-storm-affecting-florida/

My preference based on your criteria is early May–crowds and prices are both a little higher, and temps a little lower, than in Sept, but spring is beautiful and you avoid any risk of hurricanes…see this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2009/12/23/the-most-comfortable-time-to-go-to-walt-disney-world/

297 KWD { 02.21.12 at 12:52 pm }

Hi, looking for an expert’s opinion. Considering a visit with school-aged kids either Oct 5-8 (Columbus Day), Oct 19 weekend or around Nov 9. Is there a big difference between the dates in terms of crowds & costs? Kids would have to miss fewer school days if we went in early Oct. Also, my in laws live in FL so this will likely not be our only visit. Thanks!

298 DENISE { 02.21.12 at 9:41 pm }

Hi, this is the first time I go to Disneyland with my boys, ages 15, 9, and 5, I am driving from Texas and I was going to leave Friday night (June 1st) and spend the weekend and Monday in Anaheim but my friends tell me that the weekends are crowded, is it better to do Monday-Wednesday? And are the activities and events the same during the weekdays? Thank you.

299 Jennifer { 02.21.12 at 10:52 pm }

Thanks for all the great information! We are planning our trip April 29 but are now thinking we need to push back our arrival by a day or two to avoid the cheerleading competition. What are your thought? I appreciate your help in advance.

300 Kesh { 02.22.12 at 5:48 am }

Hello, we will in disneyland orlando from 29 October 2012 till 6 November? Can i expect there to be lesser people and shorter lines to wait for rides? Will the weather be good as well? Thanks a million

301 Dave { 02.22.12 at 6:27 am }

Hi KWD, I like both of your later options better. Columbus Day creates slightly higher crowds and prices, and also is still in the peak of the hurricane season. See http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/when-to-go/next-best-dates/weather-and-when-to-go/chance-of-cyclonic-storm-affecting-florida/

302 Dave { 02.22.12 at 6:34 am }

Denise, I’m not an expert on Disneyland–I focus on Disney World–buut your friends are right, the weekends are much more crowded.You can see all the activites and events either way…they may not be every day during the week, but will happen enough that over your visit you can catch them

303 Dave { 02.22.12 at 6:37 am }

Hi Jennifer, and thanks!

I wouldn’t. The competition doesn’t make that much difference, and the busiest days at WDW are typically Sat-Mon. So if yuo arrive earlier you’ll face higher crowds anyway…

304 Dave { 02.22.12 at 6:45 am }

Hi Kesh. The first part of yourr dates should be great in terms of prices, crowds and weather. The second part overlaps with Jersey Week, which is a little more crowded. See this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2010/05/02/jersey-week-at-walt-disney-world/

305 Jennifer { 02.22.12 at 9:47 am }

Thanks Dave. I was actually thinking about arriving Monday the 30th instead of my original Sunday plan to avoid a large group of girls at our hotel (All Star Movies). Do you still think Sunday arrival is good or chancery Monday. I think this week (april 28) was one if your top picks so I just want to plan with that. Figured late in the month to miss Easter and Spring break.

306 Dave { 02.22.12 at 9:51 am }

Oops, sorry, misinterpreted you! It can’t hurt to arrive Monday instead, and may help!

307 zonie clark-williams { 02.22.12 at 8:47 pm }

Hello Dave,my name is Zonie and my family and i are planning to go to Walt Disney world march 9th and i was wondering how the crowd will be for us ,this will be are first real big family trip ,i now cant change the date since i already paid for it but was just wondering what to expect ,Thank you so much for your time !

308 Dave { 02.23.12 at 12:43 pm }

Hi Zonie, I’m not sure if you are there only the 9th or for that week, but I do expect boh that day and the week following to be quite crowded. What you can do is avoid parks on days they have morning extra magic hours, arrive at the turnstiles at least 30 minutes before opening, ride the most popular rides first, and use fastpasses…

309 Thyria { 02.23.12 at 2:24 pm }

Hi Dave,
We are thinking of taking our kids to Disney World the last or 2nd to last week in August? We are looking for low crowds? What about the week after Thanksgiving as well?

310 Dave { 02.23.12 at 5:36 pm }

Hi Thyria! The last week has low crowds–but is also in the peak of the hurricane season. For more on both, see this page on August: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2012/01/22/august-2012-at-walt-disney-world/

311 Kara { 02.25.12 at 8:36 am }

HI Dave
We are planning a 2013 trip 3rd week in April or PResidents Day week in Feb. Based on your chart, it looks like April is the betterweek? We are coming from Ma. where the whole state has this week off. Easter is March 31 next year so Easter shouldnt effect the crowds for the April week. I always thought April Vacation Week was a high crowd level week?

312 Dave { 02.25.12 at 12:22 pm }

Hi Kara, yes, you’ve interpreted the chart correctly. While a lot of the northeast has that week off, hardly anyone else does, so it’s a good week at Disney World.

313 Mike Angelo { 02.25.12 at 10:27 pm }

Hi Dave, I sent you a email a couple of days ago but I don’t thing it went through.
Just wanted to thank you again for the recommendation for going to DW the week of Feb 6th through the 10th. The crowd lever was low – I think the longest we waited in line was 10 mins or so. You know I went last November before the TG holiday and that too was a great time you suggested. thanks again for all your work on this site!
Mike

314 Dave { 02.26.12 at 7:16 am }
315 brendon { 02.28.12 at 11:46 am }

Hi Dave, i just found your site and its absolutely amazing with the amount of knowledge and stats you have laid out. If we are planning to check in on Dec. 16th and stay 6 days, do you think we will run into the beginning of the terrible crowd week of christmas??

thanks!!!

brendon

316 Amanda { 02.28.12 at 12:01 pm }

Hi! I’m probably coming Dec 7-12. I will do the Christmas party one night and get 6 day base tickets. Which park do you think I should visit each day? I want to visit when they will be least busy

317 Dave { 02.28.12 at 5:53 pm }

Hi Brendon, and thanks! You may see some crowding late in the week, but not til Wednesday or Thursday…

318 Dave { 02.28.12 at 5:54 pm }

Hi Amanda, Disney’s December hours won’t be out til late May/early June. Check back with me then! If you can’t wait, I can guess based on past patterns and likely will be >75% right…

319 MaryAnn { 03.01.12 at 12:47 pm }

our famil of 8 (6 adults, 5 year old and 19 month old) will be going to disney 3/4/12 to 3/9/12.
is this spring break week and will it be very crowded?
any suggestions will help
thank you

320 Dina { 03.01.12 at 1:36 pm }

Hi Dave!
I think it is so kind of you to offer your insight and help to everyone!! Thank you much… My questions are: We have 3 kids: (11, 9 and 7) and this will be their 1st visit to Disney in Florida! We are open to arrival dates but were shooting for November as we heard the Christmas decorations are up and worth seeing. We thought it a good time as well because it will not be tooo hot (hopefully still good enough to swim though) and not so crowded. We wanted to take advantage of everything going on – parties, free dining…etc.. that we can- so I wanted to know if there was a date you recommend as our best option – as well as any 2nd and 3rd options. We were thinking to arrive on a Tuesday and leave on a Sunday but that is adjustable as well. What does the 6th-11th look like? Any other thoughts – where to stay, what to book/do, parks to visit,…etc? I am starting my research now (hopefully a good headstart!).. Thanks again!!!!

321 Dave { 03.01.12 at 2:14 pm }

Hi MaryAnn, no, Spring Break starts the week after–March 10/11–so you should be fine! For other tips, start with the home page, http://yourfirstvisit.net/

322 Dave { 03.01.12 at 2:16 pm }

Hi Dina, yes, read actually the page you are on–you’ll find the top 3 weeks are all in the Xmas period, and the top 2 often have discounts attached (but there’s no guarantees). For the rest of my tips, start on the home page http://yourfirstvisit.net

323 Melissa { 03.04.12 at 6:46 pm }

Hi, I am planning my trip to Disney we are spending 4 nights in disney and then going on a 4 night disney cruise to the Bahamas. Since I have to consider the weather for the cruise along with the crowds in Disney, I am having a hard time deciding on a date. I originally planned for 12/8 but am worried that is may be too cold for cruise weather. Am also considering the end of Oct. or Some time in November. Can you give me a few recommendations when taking the cruise into consideration?

324 Gibson { 03.04.12 at 9:28 pm }

Hi Dave!
Love the site. I am a single mom trying to decide between early May or halloween week. My kids are 4 and 7 and of course wanting to go sooner rather than later. However, money and crowds are important. Do you recommend one time frame over the other? Also what are your thoughts on hotel level? In terms of ease I didn’t know if I should strive for pop culture or one more pricey. Thank you!

325 Dave { 03.05.12 at 8:59 am }

Hi Melissa, I’d target mid-October to early November.

Later as you note the weather is too unreliable (see http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/when-to-go/next-best-dates/weather-and-when-to-go/high-temperatures-year-round/ ) and earlier puts you in the peak of the hurricane season (see http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/when-to-go/next-best-dates/weather-and-when-to-go/chance-of-cyclonic-storm-affecting-florida/ )

Hope this helps and have a great trip!

326 Dave { 03.05.12 at 9:02 am }

Hi Gibson! Halloween week should be a little less crowded and a little less expensive, but both are great options. I think Pop will work fine for you…but if you do decide to splurge, go for a monorail resort or the Wilderness Lodge so it’s easier to get the 4yo back for a nap. See http://yourfirstvisit.net/2011/11/08/the-monorail-resorts-at-walt-disney-world/ and http://yourfirstvisit.net/2010/08/25/review-disneys-wilderness-lodge/

327 Amanda { 03.05.12 at 9:47 am }

I will check back then, but based on past hours what would be your guess?

328 Dave { 03.05.12 at 12:15 pm }

Ok, purely in terms of crowds, the parks will be busiest the 8th through the 10th.

My guess is to in particular from the point of view of crowds avoid Epcot the 7th, HS the 8th and 9th, MK and AK the 10th, Epcot the 11th, and AK the 12th.

Best MK days will be the 11th and 12th. Best AK days are the 7th and the 11th. Best Epcot day is the 10th and 12th. Best HS days are the 7th and 10th.

329 Shannon { 03.06.12 at 1:59 pm }

How bad is Jersey Week, really? We are planning a trip arriving Thursday, November 1 and leaving Tuesday, November 6 2012. Our first full day will be on Friday. How bad is it going to be? When do the crowds start arriving? Saturday or Sunday? Should we visit the parks in a particular order? We are staying at the new Art of Animation Resort.

330 Dave { 03.06.12 at 2:36 pm }

Shannon, Jersey week is not that bad–it’s just worse than the weeks around it. See this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2010/05/02/jersey-week-at-walt-disney-world/

2012 Jersey week effects peak Thursday the 8th through the weekend, so you should be missing the larger part of its impact.

331 Margarita { 03.07.12 at 7:39 pm }

Dave, you are a blessing!!!!
My hubby is in Clearwater, Florida this week,starting March 9. He invited us to come join him with a visit to Disney in mind. I dread those long lines. Your site is helping me avoid my pet peeve: long winding Disney lines. We will plan our trip for a date that is better for the whole family!

332 Dave { 03.08.12 at 6:33 am }

Thanks, Margarita, I’m glad the site helped!

333 Chris { 03.09.12 at 6:33 am }

We can go to Disney either the week of May 28 – June 3 OR June 3-9. I know that Memorial Day is on the 28th (this would be our travel day) – would this be a better choice than the first full week in June?

334 Dave { 03.09.12 at 10:19 am }

Hi Chris! I like the June 3 arrival date better, but not by a whole lot, as Memorial Day crowds should settle down by Wednesday…see this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2011/11/28/june-2012-at-walt-disney-world/

335 sue { 03.12.12 at 6:56 am }

hi , we are visiting from england on march 19th till 3rd april, i am really worried that is going to be over crowded , do these dates fall in you busiest time

336 Dave { 03.12.12 at 1:26 pm }

Sue, I am sure it will be crowded April 1-3, and fear it will be crowded before then. I’m not certain about the March dates, though–it may be better than I fear–see this for why: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2011/07/11/disney-world-crowds-in-2012-spring-break-2012/

337 Jan { 03.13.12 at 12:28 pm }

Hi! We are planning a trip the week of April 22 and had planned to go Sunday through Thursday, but the hotel we want is not available those dates – but it is available if we go the previous Thursday through that week Wednesday. Do you think having so many weekend days part of the trip would make the crowd levels much higher? Are all-weekday trips much more preferable? Not concerned about the weekend nights cost as much as the crowd factor. Thanks a ton for any info!!

338 Sean { 03.13.12 at 2:31 pm }

Hi Dave….your site is by far the best there is! so much great information and care. Thank you so much for making my life easier. So…planning a kinda last minute trip for may….what do you think…first or second week? we really want the lowest possible crowds. we have 3 kids, the youngest being 1 and the less crowds the better for us. thank you so much for your great site and help.

339 Dave { 03.14.12 at 6:41 am }

Hi Jan, the busiest days at WDW tend to be Sun, Mon and Sat, so overall weekdays (except Mondays) are better..that said, your week should be fine anyway, so I wouldn’t worry too much about this!

340 Dave { 03.14.12 at 6:45 am }

Thanks Sean! I’m seeing the first week of May as slightly less crowded than the second, but they are both good weeks…

341 John { 03.15.12 at 9:48 am }

Hey,

I’m a huge fan of the site. My family will be at Walt Disney World from April 30th through May 4th (Monday – Friday). Your crowd calendar lists those days at approximately 2 out of 11. But Touringplans.com lists those days at 6-7 out of 10, which sounds a lot worse. Do you have any idea why theirs seems significantly higher? Suffice it to say, I’m hoping you’re proved right.

Thanks,
John

342 Dave { 03.15.12 at 11:17 am }

Hi John and thanks!

I’ve checked out a couple of other sites and they tend to agree more with me than with TP. That said, TP’s median rating is 5.5, so even if they are right a 6 is not that bad, nor is a seven.

TP did a major revision of thier calendar a few months ago, and as a result bumped a lot of late April and early May predictions up.

I honestly don’t know why. No kids are on vacation during your dates, and that’s the major driver of crowds…

343 Momof4 { 03.17.12 at 8:47 pm }

We are all booked for the week May 5-12…………our 1st trip 4 kids between the ages 7-12……….we choose this week hoping it wouldn’t be as busy thinking most kids would still be in school. Unlike many of the families on this site, we know this will probably be the only time we can take our kids. We did get the dining plan, and we did get the hopper passes…………our goal is to try to hit each park, sea world, and a day at the ocean, as none of us have seen it before………..do you have any recommendations on must see’s and do’s……….we are very excited and are hoping we chose a good week to go for our family!!!

344 Dave { 03.18.12 at 9:42 am }

Hi Momof4! Sounds perfect, and you chose a great week–although you may want to skip the ocean, it’s a long ways away.

For must sees you might want to look at one of my itineraries, or the guide to rides.

Here’s an example itinerary: http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/basic-itinerary/alternative-itineraries/itineraries-for-the-rest-of-the-year/v2-of-2009-autumn-winter-spring-itinerary/

…and the guide to rides is here: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2011/03/09/the-comprehensive-guide-to-walt-disney-world-rides-and-attractions/

345 Alejandro { 03.21.12 at 12:47 am }

hi, i’m planning to travel to WDW on thanksgiven week, but I have some doudts about how crowded the parks get.
Also do parks close earlier than usual, specially the thanksgiven day?
Do you know if supermarkets (like walmart or target) are open thanksgiven day?

346 DeeM { 03.21.12 at 8:29 am }

Hi Y’all, first Dave, amazing site, its is great! This is my family’s first trip to Disney World and are putting down a deposit today. We decided to go October 7 – 13. Are those good dates? No major events during those time frames? We picked October based of advice from family, which ended up being better advice than we realized because most rides require 40″ minimum and our son is just over 39″ now which means he will be slightly over 40″ when we go. Another question for you Dave is when do you start seeing deals for October? Our travel agent said we should hopefully see an extension for the meal pan in May (fingers crossed), but do they also offer other discounts like hotel, etc? We are staying at Pop, it it worth getting preferred since the rooms are similar?

347 Dave { 03.21.12 at 9:12 am }

Alejandro, Thanskgiving week is one of the most crowded weeks at Disney World of the year. Park hours on Thanksgiving day are not shorter, but longer, to accomodate the crowds. See this for the 2011 Thanksgiving week schedule: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2011/11/18/next-week-1119-to-11272011-at-walt-disney-world/ I don’t know about Walmart and Target…

348 Dave { 03.21.12 at 1:28 pm }

Hi Dee and thanks!!

It’s an OK week but one with some issues.

First, you are almost out of the peak of the hurricane seaosn, but not quite–see this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/when-to-go/next-best-dates/weather-and-when-to-go/chance-of-cyclonic-storm-affecting-florida/

Second, because of Columbus Day it’s a little more crowded and expensive than the weeks right after–which I thus like a lot more.

Finally, slso because of Columbus Day, I doubt you’ll see any discounts.

349 Linda { 03.22.12 at 11:14 pm }

I am planning on visiting Disney World starting 12/3/12. I used the crowd calender and thought that would be a good time. I am afraid the park hours might be shorter during that time. We’re staying at shades of green. Do you know anyway to save on food? I now understand that we cannot use the disney dining plan.

350 Dave { 03.23.12 at 8:06 am }

Hi Linda! Park hours are always shorter during the uncrowded parts of the year, as they don’t need to keep MK open until 1am to accomodate the lines. For saving on dining see this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2010/08/30/the-tightwads-guide-to-how-to-eat-at-walt-disney-world/

351 Mark { 03.24.12 at 8:59 pm }

Hi Dave. I have two daughters ages 6&9.I’m a dvc member and it’s the best money that I ever spent. I paid 18k four years ago that sells for 24k now to stay in a suite with king size beds, full kitchens and a washer and dryer in the room just to name a few perks for the next 54 years. We stay at disney for 10 days each year which breaks down to roughly $33.00 a night for a $600.00 and up room . Over the long haul is that a deal or what?

352 Dave { 03.25.12 at 6:23 am }

Hey Mark, that’s great! I don’t talk much about DVC membership on the site, but I probably should…

353 Mark { 03.25.12 at 6:14 pm }

One more for you Dave. I know that tipping is always a discision left up to each individual. Until a couple of years ago the disney dining plan covered tips and now it does not. Lets say you go to an all you can eat buffet like 1900 Park Fare or the Crystal Palace were you get all you own food and the waiter brings you 4 cokes and hands you a bill for $150.00 which is covered by the disney dining plan. The reason the bill is so high is because of the characters coming over to your table. Right?Right. I don’t want to sound like a tight wad but does 4 cokes warrent a $30.00 tip? I’m curious what your oipinion is and what the opinion of your readers are.

354 Dave { 03.25.12 at 8:15 pm }

Hey Mark!

Touringplans.com just had a discussion wiht 60+ comments on the general issue of tipping at WDW–see this: http://blog.touringplans.com/2012/03/21/disney-world-tipping/

I disagree with the blog post proposition that buffet wait staff work almost as hard as regular wait staff, on average, but believe it could be true in special circumstances.

My overall take-having been a waiter a coupla times–is that you owe a buffet server who gives typical service $5 a head, and if they provide more–e.g. a discussion of what’s on the buffet, help in guiding you to special food restriction issues–then it’s 20%.

355 Lisa hampton { 04.01.12 at 11:42 am }

Hi there
Firstly your site is amazing. I went to Florida on 26th Nov 2011 based on your dates and it really was perfect. I am planning on going in 2013 but want to go sooner than November. I found the weather a bit cold in November. We were planning on going after Easter in 2013 or beginning of may. Going for two and a half weeks and I wondered when you thought would be a good time to fly out. Was thinking 17th April. How do you think crowds and weather will be then? Thanks for your help.

356 Dave { 04.01.12 at 1:40 pm }

Hi Lisa, and thanks! Your target dates are great–see this http://yourfirstvisit.net/2009/12/23/the-most-comfortable-time-to-go-to-walt-disney-world/

357 Jodi { 04.05.12 at 5:20 pm }

Hey Dave, Just wondering if you know of anything new, being built at downtown disney, that will be completed by november

358 Dave { 04.05.12 at 6:44 pm }

Jodi, sorry, but I don’t track DTD too closely…

359 crystal { 04.09.12 at 12:19 am }

Was wondering if you could tell me He better date to go the disney? Was there in august and it was too hot for me. I was thinking either april may and open anytime. I was wondering what time of year is better? I don’t like Aug heat and don’t want rides to be shut. I’m bringing my kids because the first time a lot of stuff with closed. Thank u

360 Dave { 04.09.12 at 7:18 am }
361 Barb { 04.19.12 at 3:29 pm }

Hi Dave,
Based on your calendar, we are going with November 24th-30th. It sounds like it’ll be much nicer than when we’ve gone 3rd week of June!! Onc question, do you think they’ll offer a package deal (free dining, or something) for that week? Seems like the type of week where a discount could grab a few thousand extra guests.

362 Dave { 04.19.12 at 4:02 pm }

Hi Barb. No telling if they’ll offer a winter discount…but if they do, it’s likely that week will be included!

In the past few years there have been deals that week. Disney’s strategy, though, is to cut back on the deals as the economy slowly improves….

363 Jen { 04.27.12 at 3:38 pm }

We will be at Disney December 23-29, 2012. I know this is not the best week but it is our only option. We have a 14 year old and a 10 year old. We would like to spend one day at each of the 4 Disney parks and then spend 1 day at LegoLand and 1 day at Kennedy Space Center. Do you have any suggestions on which of these days would be better to spend at the Disney parks? Thanks!!

364 Tonya { 04.27.12 at 4:39 pm }

Hi Dave, Thanks for all the great information you provide!!! We are thinking of going to DisneyWorld Dec 1-4, and although it’s ranked a good time to attend, I’m still a little concerned because of the Pop Warner Championships. Can you provide any further details on whether this event makes the parks more crowded? Thank you.

365 Dave { 04.28.12 at 7:22 am }
366 Dave { 04.28.12 at 7:24 am }

Tonya, it doesn’t except for an hour or so in the evening, as the kids are busy with their events during the day. See this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2010/05/30/pop-warner-week-at-walt-disney-world/

367 Paul { 04.29.12 at 9:48 am }

Hi Dave,
We visited WDW 3 years ago in July and I thought there were late hours every night. Maybe I was wrong. I notice that there are days that have none in mid and late July. Has that changed. Also, I iknow the MK was open until 3 on two nights of our 8 day stay (that was July 4th weeks) but no such hours now. Again, has that changed? THANKS

368 Dave { 04.29.12 at 9:53 am }

Hi Paul! Back in the recession’s peak, Disney changed how it posted hours for future months and kept them very conservative. It then expands them based on actual demand about two weeks before the month starts, and even will add more expansions the week before, day before, or day of if corwds are higher than expected.

What’s posted now for example for MK in July is a bunch of 10p closings, with Extra Magic Hours pushing those to 1a on certain nights.

What we’ll get in mid-June is a bunch of July operating hours extensions til 11p, midnight, and 1a, with extra magic hours going on til 3a…

369 jennie { 04.29.12 at 2:30 pm }

my question is i have been to disney 42 times. i think i m bored. we would like polynesian again and my child is 8th grade . we like this nov. window that works for us seems to be only time to take him out. any suggestions or places to stay i dont know about. i like to get the meal plan always , what about renting someones time share. do they have a web sight for that. can you buy into the meal plan. i have stayed in every disney hotel. my kids only want bc or Poly

370 Dave { 04.30.12 at 7:41 am }

Hi Jennie! First, you can’t buy into the meal plan if you stay off site. There’s tons of time shares out there–see this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2010/01/27/the-tightwads-guide-to-staying-off-site-at-walt-disney-world/

For onsite options…have you really stayed everywhere? At the Treehouses? http://yourfirstvisit.net/2009/08/16/review-the-treehouses-at-disneys-saratoga-springs-resort-and-spa/ In a deluxe room at Wilderness Lodge? http://yourfirstvisit.net/2011/03/29/review-deluxe-rooms-at-disneys-wilderness-lodge/ Etc…

371 Tara { 04.30.12 at 7:50 pm }

We are the process of planning a large family gathering (6 families) end of April beginning of May 2013, is April Peak season. We are looking into the Polynesian. In your experience do they offer deals at this time of year? The last time we went the 2nd week of May and they offered the 40% discount.

372 Dave { 05.01.12 at 1:54 pm }

Hi Tara! That should be regular season–see this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2011/09/04/walt-disney-world-2013-price-seasons/

That’s a period that has been discounted the last few years…

373 Jessica { 05.07.12 at 12:41 pm }

Hi! My family and I will go to Orlando on the first week of june, you rank this week on 16th place. Is this too bad? How crowed it will be?

374 Dave { 05.07.12 at 2:39 pm }

Hi Jessica, see this for more detail: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2011/11/28/june-2012-at-walt-disney-world/ That’s an OK week, one I would not hesitate to go during myself (in fact I am!). It’s a little crowded, but there are not many better summer weeks…

375 Deanne { 05.12.12 at 3:59 am }

Hi Dave
Great site but my head is literally bursting with information, lol.

We are in Scotland and looking to go to WDW either 2012 or 2013, we would like to be there on 15th November for a very special family celebration (2 adults and 2 young children).

I really don’t know much about American holidays so would you suggest going so 15th is towards the end or start of our holiday?

Also if we wanted to do the Mickey Magical Christmas on 15th we need to pay extra for that. Can you not attend the parks on that day unless you have the extra ticket?

Hope you don’t mind the questions, many, many thanks for all your wonderful information so far.
Deanne

376 Dave { 05.12.12 at 8:52 am }

Hi Deanne, and thanks!

I’ll give you the short answer, but if you want the longer explanation let me know and I’ll give you that too!

It varies by year: In 2012, you want the 15th to be near the end; in 2013 it could be at the end or the beginning of a one-weekish trip, or in the middle of a longer visit.

In 2012 the Christmas Party is being held the 15th. No guarantees it will be available on that date in 2013, as it does not show every night, but I would bet it will be, as in 2013 that’s a Friday, and Fridays are common nights for it to be on.

Your party ticket lets you enter the Magic Kingdom as early as 4p (even though the ticket will say 7p). If you wish to be in MK earlier than that on that day, you will need a regular ticket to enter earlier, as well as your party ticket. See this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2012/04/18/mickeys-very-merry-christmas-party-2012-at-walt-disney-world/

377 Lee { 05.13.12 at 10:56 am }

We are thinking about a family reunion trip around April 12, 13, 14, 15 2013. How well did your week predictor for 2012 perform for the same time period. I see it predicts both then and now as lower (2) crowd levels. However, the DVC points chart show it as a very expensive time which typically coincides with larger crowds. I am jus trying to figure out if it will actually be less crowded. Thanks!

378 Dave { 05.13.12 at 3:10 pm }

Hi Lee: short answers is I expect that to be a low crowd week.

Longer answer: I’ll revise my crowd calendar in June after more school districts publish their 2012-2013 calendars, but base don what I know now, 1. nationally hardly any kids are off after the week after Easter, which is why overall crowds are low, but 2. many kids in the northeast have that later April spring breaks, enough to make it worth having those as high-point weeks.

That is, the point charts aren’t quite crowd calendars (though they often correlate); they are measures of the price elasticity of certain time periods. If a family’s spring break begins 4/13, they will have a very high demand for DVC then, even if not enough people in general have that week off to make the parks crowded…

379 Lee { 05.19.12 at 9:12 am }

Thanks Dave. It sounds like we should be okay in terms of crowds, especially if we wait until the 20th.

380 Jen { 05.30.12 at 1:57 pm }

We are checking in on December 22 and checking out December 27, 2012. I know this is not the best week to go but it is our only option. We have 2 boys- ages 14 & 10. We would like to see all 4 parks. Which days do you think it would be best to visit the different parks? What park should we avoid on Christmas Day? I have 2 days of hopper passes and 2 days of regular tickets. I figured we would probably visit Downtown Disney on the evening we arrive. We are staying onsite. Thanks for your help!

381 Dave { 05.30.12 at 5:42 pm }

Hi Jen! I’d avoid everything but Epcot on Xmas day.

Best parks is a little tough. All the parks will be mobbed every day.

I’d advise HS the 23rd, AK the 24th, Epcot the 25th, and MK the 26th…but you likely want to check Touringplans.com and easywdw.com as well…

382 Jodi { 06.04.12 at 10:12 am }

Hi Dave. Any word yet on when the festival of the seasons is starting.?We are going Nov 9 -18 th was hoping to maybe catch it the first day it opens before going home.. the festival of the arts has dates nov 9-11 but i cant find the dates for the festival of the seasons.

383 Jodi { 06.04.12 at 10:40 am }

oh wait you dont follow downtown disney i forgot sorry.. scratch last question lol

384 Craig { 06.04.12 at 3:24 pm }

I have the choice of going to Disney World 11/18-21/2012 or 1/3-6/2013. The chart of ranking by week shows crowds are relatively low the first week in January and very high Thanksgiving Week. I would think the first week in January would be ranked better than Thanksgiving Week if the crowds are so much lower. Why does the first week in January rank so low?

385 Dave { 06.04.12 at 4:22 pm }

Hi Jodi…I’m not familiar with that…could you be thinking of “holidays around the world?”–this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2011/12/12/the-holidays-around-the-world-at-walt-disney-worlds-epcot/ This particular event traditionally starts the day after Thanksgiving.

If not, there’s some Xmas stuff that happens beginning in early November–see this http://yourfirstvisit.net/2012/05/20/christmas-2012-at-walt-disney-world/

386 Dave { 06.04.12 at 4:23 pm }

Oops just got this…well I like the other answer anyway as it may help someone else!! :)

387 Dave { 06.04.12 at 4:33 pm }

Hi Craig! The rankings are for first time visitors who may never return. Because ride closures are common in Jan and early Feb, those weeks get dinged as people may miss rides that they can never see again. If you are not worried about ride closures, then many of those weeks are great–low price and low crowd…

388 Craig { 06.04.12 at 4:54 pm }

Thanks Dave. This is a great website and I will spread the word on it.
Do you think the marathon being run the first week of January 2013 will have a significant impact on the park crowds? That is my main concern since I have been to Disney World over a dozens times and am looking to take my one year old granduaghter for the first time.

389 Dave { 06.04.12 at 5:11 pm }

Thanks Craig!

The marathon–not the first week, but the weekend of the 14th in 2013–crowds the hotels, and causes some traffic problems, but it doesn’t really crowd the parks much. Crowds are higher than they would be that same date without the Marathon, but still plenty low.

Note that you are on the 2012 page–for 2013, see this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2011/09/19/2013-weeks-to-visit-walt-disney-world-ranked-in-order/

390 Heidi Reichstein { 06.17.12 at 4:01 pm }

Greetings from Denmark! We are staying in Orlando from oct 3rd to oct 17th this year with our girls age 5 & 7. We are planning to see Animal Kingdom and Magic Kingdom, but should we see more, and is one day in each park enough and which dates would you recommend to avoid crowds? They do not understand any english so I dont know if Hollywood studios would be fun for them? Best regards Heidi

391 Dave { 06.17.12 at 4:13 pm }

Hi Heidi and welcome. How is their German? A number of attractions are translated into German (and French)…but no Danish…

If just Danish, I’d advise at least two days at the Magic Kingdom, and at least one in the Animal Kingdom.

The busiest period, in general, will be the 6th-13th, and especially October 6-8 (because of US Columbus day holiday 10/8). Then more specifically you want to avoid parks on days they have Extra Magic Hours, which you can read from Disney’s operating calendars (see this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2010/03/30/walt-disney-world-hours-of-operation/ )

After you’ve filtered based on all that, Tues-Fri is less busy than Sat-Mon.

Hope this helps and have a wonderful trip!

392 Victoria { 06.25.12 at 4:01 pm }

Hi! I love this site! My family has a trip planned for 10/10-10/18. Do you think this is a good time to go? We are taking our daughter who will be 16months at the time so we are hoping for the crowds to be low. Thank you!!!!!

393 Dave { 06.25.12 at 4:56 pm }

Hi Victoria, you should be fine then–crowds do bump a bit that week for Columbus day and some school fall breaks, but it’s still a good time to go!

394 Kaycee { 06.30.12 at 7:29 am }

LOVE this site. Thanks so much for all your hard work. We have our 2nd Disney trip booked for Oct 21-Oct 27. We wanted to visit a water park on this trip. I’m concerned about crowds because of the Food & Wine Festival. Should I change our dates to after Thanksgiving? Also, I have our itenerary scheduling us to be in HWS, E & MK on the days that they have EMH in the PM. Should I change all of our dining reservations around to avoid EMH? (we do not have park hopper) Thanks so much!

395 Dave { 06.30.12 at 7:34 am }

Kaycee, food and wine only affects Epcot, and even then doesn’t really crowd the rides–just world showcase. Crowds will be low your week. And I do generally advise avoiding EMH days…

396 Kaycee { 06.30.12 at 8:10 am }

Well, I’m going to have to change my whole dining itenerary. Can you give me suggestions for those dates as to what would be the best days to visit which parks &/or what’s days to avoid other parks? Thank you!

397 Dave { 06.30.12 at 8:44 am }

Kaycee, how old are your kids?

398 Kaycee { 06.30.12 at 8:52 am }

Here is our itenerary: I was looking at parade, fireworks & Fantasmic, because not all are scheduled everyday.
9/21 HWS
9/22 MK, Crystal Palace Bkfst
9/23 RPDE, Water Park, DwnTwn w/ TRex
9/24 E, Akershus, Bkfst, LaHacienda, Dinner
9/25 MK, 1900 Park Fare, Lunch, MNSSHP
9/26 AK, Tusker House Bkfst, HDR dinner
9/27 extra day to let the kids choose or alt water park day
Does this look ok to you or should I rearrange some dates? My main concern is wait times for rides/attractions. We didn’t see Fantasmic last time, I was concerned about the (sorcery aspect) our children are a little older now, 14,10 & 8, is Fantasmic a must see?
Thank you! Your site is priceless! Much better than any other site or any book I’ve bought!

399 Dave { 06.30.12 at 11:23 am }

Kaycee–October or September? You two messages vary…I’m guessing you mean October (because of your Food and Wine point)

These are parks to avoid by day:

10/21 avoid HS
10/22 “” MK, AK
10/23 “” Epcot
10/24 “” Epcot
10/25 “” MK
10/26 “” AK
10/27 “” HS

Fantasmic looks to be on every night except the 23rd and 25th. MK fireworks and parades are trickier–I’d target the 24th for that…That implies AK the 23rd and Epcot the 25th..and you can then fill in HS and another day or two at MK around those dates…

Hope this helps and have a great trip…

400 Kaycee { 06.30.12 at 5:31 pm }

I wish I would have found you before I made all my dining reservations! Lol I may scratch the whole plan & move our stay to Nov. (sigh)

401 Dave { 07.01.12 at 7:53 am }

Sorry, Kaycee… :)

402 Kaycee { 07.02.12 at 8:23 pm }

I changed our stay to arrive Nov 25th. This will fit better with my husbands work schedule anyway :) We probably won’t get the free dining plan but I saved $800 by staying at Port Orleans instead of AOA. Is there anything you would consider a “should not miss” during this week? Thank you for this site!

403 Marcia { 07.03.12 at 4:09 am }

I am looking to go for marathon weekend Jan 10th to 12th. what should I plan to hit/avoid around that time activity wise. And I need to plan 4 days prior or after, which way should I go?
Thanks,
Marcia

404 Dave { 07.03.12 at 8:07 am }

Hey Kaycee, that’s a great week. For “do not miss”, see this page: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2011/03/09/the-comprehensive-guide-to-walt-disney-world-rides-and-attractions/

405 Dave { 07.03.12 at 8:10 am }
406 Kristen { 07.10.12 at 5:40 pm }

Hi Dave!
Your site is fantastic. I give this website out to everyone I talk to about Disney! We have chosen the week of Oct.13-20, because that works well with my daughter’s school calendar. However, I noticed that Disney has skipped that week specifically for free dining. We aren’t staying onsite, so that doesn’t matter, but it gives me pause for that week…according to your predictions, it should be a great week for weather and crowds, but why would Disney skip that week? Do they know something we don’t are are expecting heavier than normal crowd volume that week?? I’m totally re-thinking my dates! LOL! Also…I know that week is the tail-end of hurricane season. I don’t want a rained-out vacation. I live in Louisiana, so believe me, I have quite enough of hurricane season right here at home. I know you don’t control the weather, but is it a good bet that we’ll have dry weather that week?
Thanks,
Kristen

407 Dave { 07.11.12 at 7:29 am }

Hi Kristen and thanks for the kind words and referrals!!

Disney does not set its hotel discounts based on crowds. It sets them based on expected hotel occupancy, which in the off-months is not totally related to crowds, but rather more tied to special events like the PGA in Orlando, bulk deals offered to youth sports groups, etc and such, so don’t worry about crowd levels your dates–they will be fine!

On the math you’ll just miss the end of the peak hurricane season—see the chart here: http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/when-to-go/next-best-dates/weather-and-when-to-go/chance-of-cyclonic-storm-affecting-florida/

And just so you know–I DO control the weather, but have delegated it to my cat :)

408 Mike Angelo { 07.16.12 at 12:34 am }

Hi Dave, Mike here. Just reading some of your post and re-reading some info you provide to your readers. I just read a interesting comment made about WD early closing (7PM) time as a good day to visit the park (less crowds). I really never thought about it that way but a very good point. I’m planning on coming again this September and will keep that in mind. I’ll get your opinion the best week to go when Sept gets a little closer. You have really been great helping me to advoid the crowds!!! I’ll catch in September!!!

409 Dave { 07.16.12 at 7:33 am }

Hey Mike. good to hear from you again!

410 Jodi { 07.25.12 at 11:15 am }

hi Dave. we just got free dining for our whole trip POFQ nov 9 – 18 th. We never had free dining we are so excited.. Any tips? 1 quick service , 1 sit down and 1 snack a day

411 Dave { 07.25.12 at 12:17 pm }

Hi Jodi! My core dining suggestions are in the itineraries–see for example this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/basic-itinerary/alternative-itineraries/itineraries-for-the-rest-of-the-year/v2-of-2009-autumn-winter-spring-itinerary/ Note that there are more than are covered by the dining plan–the ones in italics are cash…see also this for a more general view: http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/where-to-eat/dining-alternatives/the-comprehensive-guide-to-walt-disney-world-dining/

412 Tracie { 08.02.12 at 8:52 am }

Hi Dave — We were planning our first family trip to Disney in early May of 2013. (Our kids are 8, 5 and 4) But with free dining and relatively low airfare, we may be heading there in late October. It looks like you have that week ranked as #6. Still looking good?? Given the two choices, which would you choose and why? Thanks!!

413 Dave { 08.02.12 at 10:38 am }

Hi Tracie, October will be cooler, less crowded, and less expensive than early May. But early May is a great time too–those weeks are recommended for 2013, just not quite as highly as October…

414 Rezi { 08.02.12 at 12:17 pm }

Hello Dave!

Congratulations on your website! I find it very unique and informative.

We are a family of four and we are thinking to go to Disney during the last week of August 2012 for a week.

What would be your suggestion, having in mind that the last week of august is the only time that will work for everyone.

I would appreciate your feedback/reference because after lots of research it is hard to make the best decision on what to do and to maximize the fun and pleasure.

Thanks again!

415 Dave { 08.02.12 at 5:58 pm }

Hi Rezi–that’s a pretty good week other than being very hot, and in the peak of the hurricane season. Both crowds and prices are low.

416 Rezi { 08.03.12 at 9:04 am }

Hi Dave,

Thank you for your prompt response. It will be our first time there, and what does it mean “peak of hurricane season” ? I mean, will it rain/thunder a lot, or it will be very hot…and how will that impact our stay there based on your statistics.

417 Dave { 08.03.12 at 3:59 pm }

Peak just mean the chances of something are highest. The odds are quite strong in any given week you will have NO problem…and if you do have one, it will be like a thunderstorm, not like the pictures on TV of coastal areas…

418 Mike Angelo { 08.03.12 at 4:50 pm }

Hey Dave, it’s already Aug and thinking about my trip to DW this Sept. You know I enjoy Sept the most but went last Nov and Feb and was surprised how low the crowds were thanks to your advice! Anyway what looks best in Sept (Low crowds)? I see the “not so scary Halloween starts Sept 11th through Nov 2nd. I’m “assuming” these dates aren’t good? Just let me know waht you recoomend.
Mike

419 Dave { 08.04.12 at 5:01 pm }

Hey Mike!

Crowds looks great all of September–see this for more detail. http://yourfirstvisit.net/2012/02/15/september-2012-at-walt-disney-world/

The Not-So-Scary Party is on because of low crowds, and does not increase crowds! It however does make the MK days when it is not on, but the evening parade and fireworks are on, more crowded, tho…

420 Janel Monai { 08.08.12 at 10:56 am }

Hi Dave,
Im headed to Disney in September (13th- 19th) for my first time in over 12 years and my fiance’s first time ever! I was very excited until I saw that September is hurricane season. I’ve seen many people say it hardly rained or if it did, it only rained for an hour in the afternoon. Have you ever been in September yourself? Does going in the beginning, middle, or end of September make a difference? Thanks

421 Leslie { 08.08.12 at 2:40 pm }

Hi Janel!

You are going to have a BLAST! September is a great time to go for many reasons: the crowds are lighter, the weather is cooler (for Florida) and there are fun events going on e.g. the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, and Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party!

As for the hurricanes, unfortunately there is no way to forecast when these storms will make an appearance. Looking at hurricane history for Florida, September & October are the more “busy” months; however, the last few years have been relatively quiet. The great thing about Disney is, they are on top of weather- once you feel a few drops, they will have ponchos out to purchase immediately! My top weather advice? Take rain boots- walking around with dry feet will make you almost forget the weather & feel the magic!

Have an amazing time!

422 Dave { 08.08.12 at 8:47 pm }

Hi Janel!

The chances of any hurricane affecting WDW are slight, and if it does affect WDW, it would be more like a strong thunderstorm. I’ve been to WDW in September a ton of times, and never had an issue. There’s a risk…but not a big one…and the whole month is in the peak of the hurricane season.

See also this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/when-to-go/next-best-dates/weather-and-when-to-go/chance-of-cyclonic-storm-affecting-florida/

423 Dave { 08.08.12 at 8:47 pm }

Thanks, Leslie!

424 Julie { 08.11.12 at 7:31 am }

Hi Dave-
We are oing to Disney the weekof 12/8-12/14- how do you thin the new fantasyland opening will affect the crowds? Thanks!

425 Dave { 08.11.12 at 11:20 am }

Hi Julie, it’s still a hard week for parents to take their kids out of school, so I don’t think it will matter much…

426 Kurt { 08.26.12 at 7:16 pm }

Dave, my wife and I want to visit for an adults only vacation. We are mainly interested in the Animal Kingdom but want to catch as much as we can. Last visit was prior to the Animal Kingdom and we stayed at the Grand Floridian. We were thinking the Animal Kingdom Lodge this time with an Arusha view. We were thinking an October visit but wondered if that was a good time to see all the wildlife. Is it worth coming during Halloween week or better served with smaller crowds earlier in the month?

427 Dave { 08.27.12 at 7:35 am }

Hi Kurt, other than the very first week October, is not busy–see http://yourfirstvisit.net/2011/06/29/disney-world-crowds-in-2012-3/ That is a good time to see the wildlife, as the animals are more active in the cooler weather!

428 Karen Wilson { 08.30.12 at 8:52 am }

I’m hoping to come to Disneyworld from the UK in November this year. I’ve been before at this time of year but noticed this time that a few of the hotels I know of are full during some of the dates I was interested in, mainly 17th-19th November. is this a typically busy time? maybe because it’s a weekend?

429 Dave { 08.31.12 at 6:57 am }

Hi Karen, that weekend marks the beginning of the US holiday Thanksgiving week, the second-busiest end of year time after Christmas…

430 Mike { 09.05.12 at 10:59 pm }

Hi Dave. Was planning on coming down this Sunday Sept 9th but it seems storm Issac has returned and heading your way for the weekend and Monday. Is there another week in Sept you would recommend? Just want to avoid the crowds.
Thanks again,
Mike

431 Dave { 09.06.12 at 7:11 am }

Hi Mike, all September weeks are low crowd, and all are in the peak of the hurricane season. So while Irene, turning into Nadine, may have a slight impact, there’s no way to tell that a bigger storm might not have a bigger effect later–and storms do keep the crowds down!

432 Semali { 09.07.12 at 7:25 am }

Dear Dave
I have for many years been promising the family a trip to Disney but have not been able to do so. The kids (21 & 12 years old) will be on vacation 01 Dec 2012 until about 12 Jan 2013. It will be our first time visiting Disney, we do not know when to visit and how long we need to stay. can you please advice (we will be coming from South African)

433 Dave { 09.07.12 at 1:12 pm }

Hi Semali! December up until December 20 will be much better than afterwards–less crowded and less expensive.

If you can afford it, I’d recommend as much as two weeks–see this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2010/02/24/the-comfortable-guide-to-how-long-to-stay-at-walt-disney-world/

Otherwise, shoot for 8 nights, plus maybe one more to help adjust to the time change–see this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/how-long-to-stay/

All the other key questions you need to respond to are on the home page and its links–start there! See http://yourfirstvisit.net/

434 Leslie { 09.07.12 at 7:44 pm }

Hi Dave,
Fantastic site to get tips!! We’re booked to arrive at WDW at unfortunately an expensive time of year – end of Dec. to beginning of Jan. We’ve got our itinerary staying at Wilderness Resort (concierge level) with friends. We’re on more of a budget than they are and I’m willing to move to Port Orleans (Riverside) and keep our dinner reservations. Friends concern is that we will spend our time waiting for transportation and for meals (breakfastst) due to increase in crowds and it will be harder to meet during the day. It would save us over one thousand dollars to do so. In your opinion, is the time and ammenities/atmosphere worth it to keep our original reservation?
Appreciate the thoughts!

435 Laura Argoselo { 09.07.12 at 11:07 pm }

Hi Dave,

We are planning on visiting Disney Nov 12-16, 2012. We will be staying at the Art of Animation. My girls are 5 and 1 and we plan on returning again when they are older. Can you suggest what days we should do each park? I would like to catch the Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party and Fantasmic. Thanks so much in advance.

436 Dave { 09.08.12 at 10:54 am }


Leslie, the crowds will be spectacular, and they will have a real impact on the bus system at Riverside, and thus will in fact add uncertainty to your transportation times…

If you want to still be in WL but cut some costs, a couple of thoughts–1. dump the concierge service; 2. shift both of your reservations to a two bedroom villa in the Villas at WIlderness Lodge. See this and the floorplan: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2011/02/07/review-the-villas-at-disneys-wilderness-lodge/

437 Dave { 09.08.12 at 10:58 am }

Hi Laura!

At that age, and since you will be coming back, you could do only MK, and absolutely could skip Epcot…see this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2011/03/09/the-comprehensive-guide-to-walt-disney-world-rides-and-attractions/

That said, these are the worst parks by day:

11/12 HS AK
11/13 Epcot, MK
11/14 AK, MK
11/15 MK
11/16 Epcot

MVMCP is on those dates the 12th, 15th and 16th–any would be fine, the 15ht might be the best of these. Fantasmic is on every night except the 13th…

438 Debbie { 09.16.12 at 12:32 am }

Hi Dave,
Going to WDW on 9/22 thru 9/30, been to WDW before but not at this time. You stated crowds are lowest during this time but how low are we talking? Would still want to be around a good amount of people. Did we make a mistake going at this time? Still plan on having fun. Thanks

439 Dave { 09.16.12 at 10:09 am }

I’m sorry Debbie–I’m not sure what you are asking–if the crowds will be too low?

440 Debbie { 09.16.12 at 12:15 pm }

Hi Dave,
Sorry if I wasn’t clear. Just wanted to know how low the crowds are during week 9/22? Per your expertise can we expect or hope to see a lot of people(surely not like the peak weeks). We still like the crowds, but not overwhelming. Thanks for your advice.

441 Dave { 09.16.12 at 4:59 pm }

Debbie, that’s one of the least crowded weeks of the year!

442 Mike { 09.17.12 at 8:42 pm }

Hey Dave. Made it back from Orlando (DW) last Saturday. As you stated the crowds were low and the longest time we spent in line was 5 to 10 mins. I just read the question/answer from Debbie….If I can add my two cents; even when the parks are “least crowded”, there’s still a lot of people!

443 Dave { 09.18.12 at 7:17 am }

Hey Mike, thanks for reporting in! Good point about lots of people…as used on this site, “low” is a relative term, not an absolute one–see this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2012/04/30/crowds-and-walt-disney-world/

444 Lindy { 09.19.12 at 11:58 am }

Do you still have up the previous years’ rankings? I know I visited this site while planning our 2011 trip, and I was wondering how other weeks I’m considering for a future trip compare.

445 Dave { 09.20.12 at 7:43 am }

Hiya Lindy I have them in my file somewhere–if you let me know what when you went in 2011 I can comment on that week…

446 john { 09.26.12 at 11:14 am }

My wife and I are planning a trip to Disney World in December what would be the best week to go as far as crowds, and deals for lodging in the park. We will not have our children with us and this would not be our first visit (15 th visit in fact)

447 Dave { 09.26.12 at 11:24 am }

Hey John, all in I’d go with the last week of November or Dec 10 or shortly thereafter as your arrival dates. These periods are eligible for deals (one of which has to be booked by 9/29!) see this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2010/03/29/walt-disney-worlds-latest-spring-and-summer-deal/ and are also low-crowd!

448 Jodi { 09.29.12 at 12:35 pm }

Finally only 42 days away…. We are going Nov 9-18.. We manage to see the open air art festival at DD disney when we arrive.. the dd disney festival of the seasons the weekend before we leave.. The epcot food and wine festival.. and plenty of xmas parades and events and it will still be warm hopefully because its early november. And to top it off we got FREE DINING the whole stay at the Port Orleans french quarter.. Thanks for all your advice becasue i looked through it all while planning my dates and it worked out superb!!!!

449 Dave { 09.29.12 at 1:47 pm }

Hi Jodi, sound s like you’ve got a great trip planned! Come back here when you are done and let me know how it went!

450 Joni { 10.02.12 at 9:49 am }

My husband and I are trying to decide between two dates for our family vacation, and would appreciate your input. Our 2 children are in college, and will finish finals on Dec. 10. We could be at the World on Dec 11 for 5 nights. The biggest criteria for us is the crowd level (last two trips we have dealt with Thanksgiving crowds and Spring Break crowds.) We spend all our time in the parks, and a low crowd level would make the trip much more enjoyable for us. We wondered what impact the new Fantasyland opening the weekend before would have on the crowds. Our other possible date would be January 6 – 11 before they start classes next term. Could you give us your opinion as to which would be your recommendation? Love your site so much. Thanks

451 Dave { 10.02.12 at 10:25 am }

Hi Joni! Purely on the basis of crowds, I’d pick the Jan dates.

Because previews for the Fantasyland stuff begin Nov 19–and because kids aren’t out of school Dec 11–I think the December week will be fine, but the January week will have even lower crowds during the dates you are targeting.

You may face some ride closures in Jan that would not be an issue in Dec–see this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2010/05/12/winter-ride-closures-at-walt-disney-world/

452 Jaime { 10.03.12 at 5:33 pm }

I am so excited. It will be my kids (15 and 8) first visit 11/23-11/27 so hopefully it will be an okay time to go.

453 Dave { 10.04.12 at 6:51 am }

Jaime, the 23rd and 24th will be crowded, but the rest of your days should be great!

454 Luis { 10.05.12 at 1:38 pm }

Hi Dave!!! you definitely do the best work!!! I was wondering, going to WDW on december 25th will be a good idea? The crowds in this day are low? Thanks in advance, best regards from Guatemala

455 Dave { 10.05.12 at 4:24 pm }

Hi Luis and thanks! 12/25 is the busiest and most crowded day of the year at WDW and I strongly recommend not going then…

456 Luis { 10.05.12 at 4:55 pm }

Thanks four your kind response! Will be looking forward for more of your posts!

457 Dave { 10.05.12 at 5:24 pm }

Thank you, Luis!

458 sylvia { 10.07.12 at 1:01 am }

my time at the resorts is from nov 29, thru dec 6th. please tell me what day you would consider best to go to the parks.
the parks i want to go to are
disney world, i want to stay the same nite and go to mickeys party, maybe give me two days..
universal, the 2 parks. want to go there 2 days. best days.
where is the best site to purchase tickets for universal, 2 day tickets.
epcot
mgm
sea world

i heard around nov 31, that there was gonna be a filming of the cheerleaders in wdw, so would that weekend be a time to forget all the parks, or should i go to anything but wdw, where there will be thousands of cheerleaders.

also, dave. please tell me where is the best place to order tickets by internet, before I arrive if you would. I am 57, and traveling without kids, so dont need any activities for children. could you return your recommendations to my above email address.

Could you tell me about things to see at the hotels..resorts also. Didnt research this.
There is an art community, street, restaurants in Orlando . Saw on the travel channel, do you know where this is.

thank you for your time sylvia k.

459 Dave { 10.07.12 at 3:14 pm }

Hi Sylvia, I’m afraid I don’t do that level of individualized trip planning. Suggest you take a look at this and its links, http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/basic-itinerary/basic-itinerary-daily-links/ and then reach out to someone who does this level of work for a fee– I recommend John at http://www.leaveittogenie.com/

460 Jessica { 10.09.12 at 1:24 pm }

Hi again! Thank you so much for the awesome site, and answering my question from earlier…Ilooked at your rate chart and we decided to go on Feb 25th to March 1st instead of beginning of april…will this week be better for crowds you think??

461 Dave { 10.09.12 at 1:44 pm }

Jessica, that will be so much a better week! Crowds will be low, and prices are better too!

462 Sheila { 10.09.12 at 4:00 pm }

Hi there! wich would you recomend going to WDW betweeen Dec 24th thru Dec 31? Regards!

463 Sheila { 10.09.12 at 4:01 pm }

Im sorry, I meant what day? I know in advanced these are crowdest days… but anyone particulary better?

464 Dave { 10.09.12 at 5:06 pm }

Sheila, the 25th and 31st will be the worst, so I guess that makes the other days better…but it sure will be hard to tell…

465 Jodi { 11.03.12 at 6:29 pm }

Sandy took my roof off and damaged my car. Im over ready to get to out of New York and the destruction and get to disney.. Friday !!! 11/9/12 – 11/18/12 . POFQ Free dining, Epcot Food and Wine festival.. festival of the Masters and Festival of the Seasons… and African Trek !!!!!! WOOHOOO finally ;) Dave your info is priceless

466 Dave { 11.04.12 at 8:22 am }

Oh Jodi, I’m so sorry Sandy hammered you like that, but what a great reason to get away and have some fun!

467 Diane { 11.10.12 at 4:40 pm }

Dave, how will the crowds by on Dec 14th or Dec 15th. Will I beat the Christmas Holiday people?
Thanks

468 Dave { 11.11.12 at 7:36 am }

Hi Diane! The Xmas crowds won’t start coming in until later the next week, so you will miss them. See this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2012/07/17/disney-world-crowds-2013-christmasnew-years-crowds-20122013/ However, MK will be quite crowded the 15th, both because its a weekend (always busier) and because the 15th is one of only two late close nights between the 13th and the 18th…

469 Brooke { 11.16.12 at 9:28 am }

We are only a few weeks away from our 1st December trip. We are going December 14th-22nd. Any suggestions on itinerary and park crowds???? Thanks…love the site!

470 Dave { 11.16.12 at 5:03 pm }

Hi Brooke, and thanks!! This itinerary is a pretty close fit, so give it a look: http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/basic-itinerary/basic-itinerary-daily-links/ It’s off by a day, and you can’t just shift it back by a day, as “First Saturday” in it means “Saturday,” not “Day 1″

Crowds will begin to build towards the end of your visit, but you should be fine until say the 20th, and they don’t get super-bad until the 22nd–see this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2012/07/17/disney-world-crowds-2013-christmasnew-years-crowds-20122013/

471 Jodi { 12.03.12 at 9:03 am }

geez dave im here again . lol i remember coming to you after our dec 2011 trip. we were going to wait 2 years but ended up going back nov of 2012.. I told you we had the best time and the crowd levels were just what you anticipated. Well we certainly cant afford a 3 rd trip in a row BUT i am allready looking at your 2014 lol.. we are going back nov 7 th 2014… 1 year and 10 months and 27 days to go lol but your info allready set my date in stone thanks as always

472 Dave { 12.03.12 at 11:09 am }

Cool, Jodi! The 7 dwarves ride should be open by then, as well as Fastpass +!!

473 Jodi { 12.03.12 at 12:45 pm }

fast pass plus? ill have to google that.

474 Jodi { 12.03.12 at 12:47 pm }

are the taking away snow white ride and adding this seven dwarfs?

475 Dave { 12.03.12 at 1:19 pm }
476 Dave { 12.03.12 at 1:20 pm }

Snow White is gone as of this summer, and is being replaced with a Princess Meet and Greet. The Seven Dwarfs mine train ride is going into a spot that decades ago was the submarine ride…should open in late 2013

477 Mike Angelo { 12.30.12 at 9:08 am }

Hi Dave.
Wanting to know when you are going to set up the new 2013 calendar year.
hope you had a merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Mike (in Pensacola)

478 Dave { 12.30.12 at 10:51 am }

Hey Mike, and happy new year to you to!

Not sure what you are talking about for 2013–if this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2011/09/19/2013-weeks-to-visit-walt-disney-world-ranked-in-order/ that’s been up for almost 16 months?

If you aren’t seeing a bunch of 2013 links on the top of the left sidebar, then your browser may not be refreshing…especially if it’s Mozilla which for some reason loves to not refresh but rather re-show ancient versions of the site!

Follow yourfirstvisit.net on Facebook!

479 Jack { 10.29.13 at 5:55 pm }

hello ive booked tickets to go to disney land in december i would like to know what will the weather be like and how busy is it?

480 Dave { 10.30.13 at 2:35 pm }

Hi Jack, I concentrate on Disney World, not Disneyland, so I can’t comment on Disneyland…sorry!!

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