By the co-author of The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2017, from the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook series ever. Paperback available on Amazon here. Kindle version available on Amazon here. PDF version available on Gumroad here.



yourfirstvisit.net—Disney World Instructions for the First-Time Visitor



2012 Weeks to Visit Walt Disney World, Ranked in Order, Continued



By Dave Shute

2012 WEEKS TO VISIT WALT DISNEY WORLD, CONTINUED

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For the first page of 2012 weeks to visit Walt Disney World, ranked in order, see this.

2012 WORSE WEEKS

The remaining 2012 weeks are not recommended—but still presented in order:

Weeks 15-20 all have moderate crowd levels, with different prices and weather. They are in order of least to most crowded.

  • 15: 5/19/12. Similar to week 12 but with higher crowds and more summer like weather. Crowds moderate-minus. Prices moderate to moderate-plus
  • 16: 6/2/12. Like week 15 but with even more summer-like weather. Crowds moderate-minus. Prices higher than week 15.
  • 17: 11/3/12. Like week 7 except more crowded because of “Jersey Week”—teacher meetings in New Jersey, leading to a massive temporary immigration of New Jersey families to Orlando. Crowds moderate to moderate-minus, prices low.
  • 18: 12/15/12. Thanksgiving 2012 is as early as it can be, putting it 33 days before a mid-week (Tuesday) Christmas. As a result, the first part of the week beginning 12/15/2012 will be great. However, both crowds and prices, which begin low, will build towards its end. Note that some have suggested that December 21, 2012 will be the slowest day ever at Walt Disney World. I personally don’t believe this
  • 19: 5/26/12. Crowds this week moderate-plus from Memorial Day. Prices moderate-plus to high.
  • 20: 6/9/12. Similar to week 16 but crowds higher—moderate plus–as more kids are out of school by this point (60% vs. week 16’s 30%).

Weeks 21-28 have one thing in common: they occur during but the peak of the hurricane season. They include in weeks 21-23 some of the lowest crowd weeks of the year, and weeks 24-26 are also low-crowd weeks.

They are ranked in order of first crowd levels, and within the same crowd level prices.

You could easily view the first three as tied—lowest crowds and low prices. I rank them with later dates being better because they may be less brutally hot.

  • 21: 9/22/12
  • 22: 9/15/12
  • 23: 9/8/12

Week 24 is slightly more crowded than weeks 21-23, because of the effects of Labor Day, but shares their lower prices

  • 24: 9/1/12

Week 25 has similar crowds to 24, but slightly higher prices

  • 25: 9/29/12

Week 26 is the last of the low-price weeks in the peak of the hurricane season, with slightly higher crowds than week 25 from the last effects of summer breaks:

  • 26: 8/25/12

Weeks 27 and 28 have slightly higher, moderate to moderate plus, crowds compared to the others in this hurricane season group. More crowded in week 27 because of summer breaks, and 28 because of Columbus Day. Prices are lower week 27, and moderate week 28.

  • 27: 8/18/12
  • 28: 10/6/12

WEEKS TO AVOID

There’s two groups of weeks to avoid: high crowd weeks, and weeks when rides are often closed.

The first group, ranked 29-45, should be avoided because of crowds ranging from high to unbelievable. (Click the table below for the exact ranking of these weeks, and for more specifics on crowds and prices.)

This group includes all of later June, July and early August (massive crowds, higher prices). June and early August are better than July. Prices go down in Deluxes starting in mid-July, and in the other resorts in early August.

It also includes the busy March Spring Break weeks beginning 3/10/2012, and the holiday weeks—President’s Day week, the weeks before and after Easter, Thanksgiving week, and the weeks around Christmas.

The next group includes the January and early February weeks when rides are often closed for repair or refurbishment—weeks 46-53.

Many of these weeks have the lowest crowds and prices of the year.

(But not all–click the table below for details).

However, this is the peak time for ride closures at Walt Disney World, especially the January weeks.

If this may be your only family visit, why go when you know some of the best of Disney World will be closed?

If you must go during this period, avoid the Martin Luther King (1/14/12 arrival date) Day holidays.

The Marathon Weekend (affecting arrival dates of 12/31/2011 and 1/7/2012) complicates and slightly crowds the parks as well.

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72 comments

1 Carla { 07.11.11 at 2:19 pm }

Great site Dave,
my family and I are going 29th March 2012 for 2 weeks, I’ve got a feeling this might be Spring break for a lot of US schools. Can you help at all?
Thanks

2 Dave { 07.11.11 at 6:48 pm }

Carla–I’m sorry to say you are right–those will be very busy weeks. See this http://yourfirstvisit.net/2011/07/11/disney-world-crowds-in-2012-spring-break-2012/

3 shaun { 08.04.11 at 6:26 pm }

hi my fiancee and i booked our first ever trip to disney for our honeymoon starting april 15-21 is this a good week to go since we arrive the next sunday after easter?

4 Dave { 08.04.11 at 6:48 pm }

That’s a great week!

5 danny { 08.06.11 at 11:26 pm }

We were thinking of taking a trip to WDW February 2012. We would have to go either 2/15-2/21 or 2/18-2/24. The only other option would be in March, the week of 3/24-3/30. Any suggestions?

6 Dave { 08.07.11 at 8:01 am }

Hi Danny!

I don’t really like any of these weeks, as you know…of them probably the 2/15 arrival is the best, as that’l give a couple of good days before the crowds hit. Next best is the March date…

7 Natasha { 09.23.11 at 12:32 pm }

Thankyou this is great. I was worried because we’ve booked from March 4th until March 9th and it’s around the spring break time. But now on your list I’m glad to see it on the recommended section (13) – it’s my son’s birthday (3rd) so we actually get in for free, plus disney offered the free dining plan so was great.

8 Dave { 09.23.11 at 12:41 pm }

Hi Natasha! I am expecting the later part of the week to be crowded..plus fyi I don’t think you have been able to get in free on your birthday for a couple of years now…

9 Logan { 09.25.11 at 10:11 pm }

Hi! Loving this site! We are planning a WDW trip for February 2012. I have been several times, my husband, and 3 kids will be first timers. The kids will be 6, 4, and 14 months. I am looking at the dates of February 12-15th for actual park days. Hoping to be out before the crazy presidents day weekend. What do you think about these days? Too many ride closures? My kids will be overwhelmed and amazed by EVERYTHING, so I’m thinking if even a few rides are closed, it will still be fantastic! I’m sure you get TONS of these emails checking dates with you, but I would love your opinion! Thanks so much! : )

10 Dave { 09.26.11 at 7:19 am }

Hi Logan! I think your dates will be fine! Since you are doing a relatively short trip, the closings–if any–shouldn’t matter!

11 Deanna { 09.26.11 at 6:04 pm }

Hi, love the info on this site. We are booked to go on Jan 1 thru jan8 of 2012. Moms with kids. Will we be dissapointed?

12 Dave { 09.26.11 at 6:27 pm }

Hi Deanna! You’ll be OK after you get through the first couple of days…

The 1st will be bad, and the 2nd may be just as bad–see this http://yourfirstvisit.net/2011/07/05/disney-world-crowds-in-2012-christmasnew-years-2011-2012/. You should be OK afterwards, although the Marathon will add some crowding and complexity the 6th-8th…

It’s too early to know about ride closures, but you should target any rides that will be closed later in the week for the first part of your visit. See http://yourfirstvisit.net/2010/05/12/winter-ride-closures-at-walt-disney-world/

Closed rides–eventually–will make it to the Disney calendars. You need to click on a day–e.g. Jan 3–to see them. Check the lower right. (Most won’t be posted for a while.) You will also be able to find them on MousePlanet.com. For how to use these calendars, see this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2010/03/30/walt-disney-world-hours-of-operation/

13 Keisha { 09.30.11 at 11:53 pm }

We are planning on going from feb 21 to the 25 th. Will it be too hectic traveling with toddlers even if we get to the parks early, which we normally do as our kids are up at the crack of dawn?

14 Dave { 10.01.11 at 1:41 pm }

Hi Keisha, if you are there early you should be OK. Arrive well before the parks open, and use FASTPASSES as well…and you should be able to avoid crowds until the early afternoon..when the kids will be worn out anyway!

15 Lilly { 10.26.11 at 6:18 pm }

Hi, love your site! I am going with my kids to Orlando from April 9th to the 15th. I will be visiting other places as well (e.g. universal and seaworld); I know you said these dates are horrible to go to WDW because of crowds, but which days during that time frame would be best? Would really appreciate your input. By the way, I’m only going to visit WDW 2 days out of my seven as I have other places to visit, which 2 days would be best. Thanks in advance for your input!

16 Dave { 10.27.11 at 10:53 am }

Hi Lilly! The later that week, the better. Traditionally crowds tends to drop on the Wednesday and Thursday after Easter, but I’m thinking that in 2012 that drop won’t be as big or that early. So I’d shoot for as late as you can.

17 Jan { 11.12.11 at 2:30 pm }

Hi! Thanks for this great site! I am considering early Feb. 2012 for our second visit trip. I wondered if the ride closures are the only reason the Feb. dates are so low-ranked? Or is it also variable weather? I’m concerned about the weather, but like the idea of very low crowds. There is also a discount being offered. We are going with two toddler-age kids so not sure if ride closures would be an issue or not. I’m not sure we would notice/mind a couple rides being closed, unless it is like several rides at a time in a single park? Thanks for any info!!

18 Dave { 11.12.11 at 2:53 pm }

Hi Jan!

Yes, the only ding on these weeks are for the ride closures. The rankings are for first time visitors who may never return, and hence the ding. Potential or actual repeat visitors will find early Feb a great time!

19 Robert { 12.05.11 at 12:22 am }

I’m going March 12th-16th, my Dad booked it for me and my wife. Easter is April this year so I thought we would be avoiding most the Spring Break traffic, how accurate do you think this is. I don’t mind going when it’s a little busy but I don’t want it to be so out of control that we don’t have fun. We live 2 hours south of Disneyland so we know what it can be like when the park gets out of control.

20 Dave { 12.05.11 at 8:09 am }

Hi Robert, I do indeed think it will be a horrible week. For why and the facts underlying the thought, see this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2011/07/11/disney-world-crowds-in-2012-spring-break-2012/

I checked three other crowd calendars I for you. All agree it will be very crowded, but only one is as extreme as I am on the week…

21 Robert { 12.05.11 at 10:40 pm }

That’s unfortunate since it will be our first and possibly our only time. My Dad already booked the hotels and our flights our purchase so we will do what we can. Does Disney World have fast passes like Disneyland, it can help a lot.

22 Robert { 12.05.11 at 10:42 pm }

I really wish I would have seen all this a few months ago before it was booked, now I’m worried.

23 Robert { 12.05.11 at 10:57 pm }

Thanks for the pointers though, I appreciate it.

24 Steve Theobold { 01.03.12 at 9:27 am }

Hi,
Great site and well laid out. We in the UK and with children are tied down to the school summer holidays. My wife and two girls had planned this year for two weeks either 11th August or 18th August but looking at your week rankings, these are bad! Its also very expansive now from the UK so we are having second thoughts (not told the kids yet).

25 Dave { 01.03.12 at 9:31 am }

Hi Steve, thanks! Late August is both cheaper than the rest of the year and OK to good on the crowd front. You do take a minor hurricane risk by going then, which is why I rate it low…

26 Kim { 01.28.12 at 10:47 pm }

Hi, I really enjoy your website. I just have a question though. You have November 10th being low, but isn’t there a half marathon the previous night that may attract more people in Disney around then? I do know that the NJ Teacher’s convention is the 8th- 9th so families from NJ will most likely leave the 10th or 11th .

Thanks! Kim

27 Dave { 01.29.12 at 9:23 am }

Hi Kim, the crowd calendar is about weeks, and the week beginning 11/10 will be low. The weekend will be a little more cramped and crowded because of the marathon, but not by much…

28 Nanette { 01.30.12 at 10:57 pm }

Hi,
We are planning our first trip to Disney and were hoping to go October 3-October 8, 2012 just wanted to know what you thought as far as the crowds and time of year. Thanks.

29 Dave { 01.31.12 at 8:49 am }

Hi Nanette! On most dimensions that is an excellent week. The only thing wrong with it is that it is still 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/ Hurricanes are hardly ever an issue tho…

30 Tracy { 03.13.12 at 7:46 pm }

Hi Dave, We are planning our first trip to WDW from May 13-22, 2012. Two families: including 4 adults, 3 teenagers and 1 youth. Would this be a bad time to go? Not sure what to expect..nervous and extremely excited all the same time.

31 Dave { 03.14.12 at 6:47 am }

Tracey, that’s a very good time to go!

32 Albert { 03.22.12 at 7:00 pm }

Hi Dave. I planned a trip for May 29th to June 5th. I know its not one of your top choices. Is it that bad at this time for 2 adults a 9 year old and a 2 year old? Thanks for having this site!

33 Albert { 03.22.12 at 7:04 pm }

Plus I only plan to do the parks for 2 to 3 days during that time….

34 Dave { 03.22.12 at 8:00 pm }

Hi Albert! Because it’s a holiday week, it’ll be busy, but it will still be better than the period mid-June to mid-August. If you have to go in the summer, the very next week in early June, or the last week of August, are much better choices…

35 Dave { 03.22.12 at 8:01 pm }

Albert, that’s good, because you can focus on post-Memorial Day weekdays, when it will be less crowded

36 MARIE D'SOUZA { 03.23.12 at 1:39 pm }

Hi Dave:

I love your website. I am planning a trip to Disney on April 20 returning on April 29. I have 3 children aged 14, 10 and 5. I was planning on buying a 5 day Disney Pass (no park hopper). This is our first time and I am on a tight budget. Would the crowd level be good for that time of year. I am staying off property. What parks would be good to visit on what day. Thanks so much. Regards – Marie

37 Dave { 03.23.12 at 5:56 pm }

Hi Marie and thanks! I think crowds will be good then. Disney World is busiest on weekends (and Mondays). Given that and the fact the you are off-site, I’d suggest Epcot the 23rd, Magic Kingdom the 24th and 25th, Animal Kingdom the 26th, and Hollywood Studios the 27th.

38 Jenny { 03.24.12 at 7:15 pm }

We are looking to do a quick 5 day trip in november (thinking 1st-6th). Since election day is that week, do you think the crowds would be higher than normal?

39 Dave { 03.24.12 at 8:03 pm }

Hi Jenny! Election Day won’t matter, as hardly anyone has the day off. However, that week is Jersey week, which is more crowded than the weeks right before and after–see this http://yourfirstvisit.net/2010/05/02/jersey-week-at-walt-disney-world/

40 Lilly { 03.29.12 at 3:45 pm }

Hello Dave! Is April 13th, 14th and 15th a bad time to visit WDW? I see your calendar shows the week of April 14th as low in crowd levels. Is this a good time, being that it’s so close to the prior week, which is a high level crowd week? I’m really nervous after reading all the negativity about crowds and waiting on long lines! Please let me know. Thanks in advance for all your help!

41 Dave { 03.29.12 at 4:20 pm }

Hi Lilly, I’d view it as bad. The 9 days beginning the 14th are good overall, but the 13th and likely the 14th will be ugly…

42 Lilly { 03.29.12 at 6:18 pm }

Hi again Dave! Thanks for your quick response! In that case then when would be the best time to go (when crowds aren’t so bad), during early morning or late evening? Thanks again for all your help!

43 Dave { 03.29.12 at 6:23 pm }

Lilly, crowds are lowest at opening. Arrive at the turnstiles well before–at least 30 mins, and better 45–the posted opening times, and avoid parks on the days they have extr amagic hours…Ride the most popular rides first, and use FASTPASSES. Corwd peak in the afternoons, and are somewhat better again in the evenings…

44 Mia { 05.25.12 at 11:07 pm }

Hi, we’re planning our Disney trip with my daughter whose nine for Memorial Day week. I know its not a good choice but were gonna make the most of it. What place would you suggest visiting first on Memorial Day and maybe hit Disney later in the week. Also what’s a good Hotel?

45 Dave { 05.26.12 at 1:54 pm }
46 raj { 06.14.12 at 10:47 am }

Hello all; Awesome site, I was looking for this since long.

We are planning our trip from 11/13 through 11/21 for couple of reasons
1) My infant will be turn 2 on 12/4, so will have to pay extra ticketing for airfare etc
2) We are assuming it will be less crowded as it is just before thanks giving 11/22

We are planning to visit for infant and toddler ( Magic Kingdom / Animal Kingdom and Seaworld) For my and my wife we are looking for Universal Studio/Adventure Island

If you can suggest how should we pan out our trip to parks with less stress for kids. I understand we are partly in thanksgiving week so what would be ideal itinerary you would recommend. Thanks for your help.

47 Jesse { 06.14.12 at 1:26 pm }

Hello,

Why is the week of 10/6/12 so low on your ranking? Is it because of the Columbus Day Holiday??? Does that really bring in a crowd? Was contemplating going with a group of adults around this time, was hoping for low crowds and possibly some discounts or free dining… Am I dreaming lol…. I’m a former CM and this would be my first trip without cast discounts so seeing this prices is putting me into sticker shock, but I”m determined to return.

48 Dave { 06.14.12 at 5:47 pm }

Hi Raj and thanks. I don’t have an itinerary that fits your dates and ages. Everything will be quite crowded beginning the 18th, and will get worse after then. Given that suggest you target AK on 11/14, MK the 15th and 16th, and Seaworld the 17th. After that everything will be about equally a mess, but in particular avoid MK the 18th, and avoid AK the 19th and 21st… See also this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2011/03/09/the-comprehensive-guide-to-walt-disney-world-rides-and-attractions/

49 Dave { 06.14.12 at 5:52 pm }

Hi Jesse, it gets dinged for three different reasons. It’s in the peak of the hurricane season, and has higher crowds and higher prices (because of Columbus day) than the other weeks in its group…

50 Jesse { 06.14.12 at 11:50 pm }

Thanks for the info… gonna adjust my dates a tad and see if there is a huge difference… I”ll take my chances with the hurricanes 8-D. I can deal with a 5/10, but wouldn’t want to go much higher than that… Cool site.

51 Sylvia { 06.25.12 at 8:53 am }

Hello,
We are planning to visit from Dec 15-23, is that a good time to visit the parks? What about rates and crowds?
Thanks!

52 Dave { 06.25.12 at 9:06 am }

Hi Sylvia! You should be fine in terms of corwds most of your period. They’ll start building the 20th, and will be ugly by the 22nd…

53 Kristy { 07.22.12 at 10:30 pm }

Hi Dave! We are thinking of booking a Disney trip from Nov 21-Nov 24. How do you feel about the crowds on these days?
Thanks!
Kristy

54 Dave { 07.23.12 at 7:12 am }

Hi Kristy! Thanksgiving week is one of the busiest of the year at WDW, so I can’t recommend those days at all…

55 dee { 07.27.12 at 7:13 pm }

Hi! I am undecided on which week to go to WDW….. Nov 1st to the 8th or Nov 27th to Dec 4th? What do you think would be better? Thanks! Dee

56 Dave { 07.28.12 at 8:06 am }

Hi Dee! Of the two I’d pick the latter. Your earlier dates overlap with Jersey Week (see http://yourfirstvisit.net/2010/05/02/jersey-week-at-walt-disney-world/ ) but your later ones tie to the two best weeks of the year! See http://yourfirstvisit.net/2010/10/20/2012-weeks-to-visit-walt-disney-world-ranked-in-order/

57 paul { 08.12.12 at 10:09 am }

My aging fold want to visit WDW and take in the christmas decorations etc. I have been several times, and I am not one to enjoy mass crowds, Any good weeks to accomplish my goal and avoid some crowds

58 Dave { 08.12.12 at 5:40 pm }

Hi Paul, any of the first three weeks on this page would suit: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2010/10/20/2012-weeks-to-visit-walt-disney-world-ranked-in-order/

59 Alex { 08.14.12 at 4:41 pm }

Hi Dave, I love, love, love your site! I can’t tell you how much it has helped my family plan our vacations time and time again. You are a God in the blogging world for WDW. My family want to go back to Disney but don’t know which weeks to choose.
I would love to see WDW Christmas decorations and activities (been many time but never during this time of year). I could go Dec.10th to the 17th (to get free dining), the week before is also possible but no free dining is offered. I am flying on points so only paying taxes for tickets. I can go late November but will not get to fly with points. I can handle some crowds but not 1-2 hour waits for each attraction. We are willing to skip rides and enjoy the sites.
If you think I should avoid WDW during this time then I can also go between Jan 1st to the 11th 2013. From Feb 6th to the 20th 2013 is also an option or Feb 27th to March 8th.

The later I travel the more $$ I can accumulate for my trip and can upgrade my stay to a deluxe resort (Poly if possible).

When do you recommend I visit?

60 Dave { 08.14.12 at 4:58 pm }

Hi Alex and thanks so much!

I’d go the week of December tenth in a heartbeat. You need to see xmas at WDW, and corwds and prices will be low. It’s within my highest ranked week of the year! See this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2010/10/20/2012-weeks-to-visit-walt-disney-world-ranked-in-order/

Your next best choice is Feb 27th. Crowds are also low then, but prices are higher…it’s my 10th best week for 2013–see http://yourfirstvisit.net/2011/09/19/2013-weeks-to-visit-walt-disney-world-ranked-in-order/

61 Desiree { 08.17.12 at 4:27 pm }

Hi We are taking our son to Disney for the first time on 11/28-12/05, was wondering what you think about the days for crowds and weather?
P.S. I love this site!!

62 Dave { 08.18.12 at 7:25 am }

Hi Desiree and thanks!

That’s a great time to go–it overlaps my 2nd and 3rd best weeks–see this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2010/10/20/2012-weeks-to-visit-walt-disney-world-ranked-in-order/

63 Carole { 10.01.12 at 1:01 am }

dave, love this site!! Were planning to go to WDW 11/24-12/2. Now wondering if we should hold off for 12/8-15 so we can see FLES, but concerned about crowds. How bad do you think they will be? I’m sure we’ll be back to Disney, but maybe not before princesses have lost some of their magic for our 8 year old.

64 Dave { 10.01.12 at 7:40 am }

Hi Carole–not precisely sure what you mean by FLES–but if you mean the Fantasyland Expansion opening, previews will begin 11/19, so it both will be available 11/24, and also not have much impact on crowds…. see http://yourfirstvisit.net/2012/08/08/next-stage-fantasyland-expansion-set-grand-opening-126-previews-begin-1119/

65 Carole { 10.01.12 at 10:04 am }

Thanks Dave. Wha exactly do previews mean? Are the rides open only certain times and certain days?

66 Carole { 10.01.12 at 10:05 am }

I know crowds wont be great sat after thanksgiving but will sunday be ok?

67 Dave { 10.01.12 at 10:27 am }

“Preview” is a new word for Disney, but what I expect it to mean is that most of the new stuff will be open most of the time, but it may without notice open later or close earlier than expected, or close for an unspecified period at any moment.

Me, I’m not expecting much of this randomness as the stuff they are opening is pretty operationally simple…

68 Dave { 10.01.12 at 10:27 am }

Carole, Sunday will be great, as the Thx crowds will be gone or going by then!

69 Amy Henry { 11.12.12 at 3:59 pm }

I was wondering what the crowds might be like from 11/23/12 through 11/28/12. It would be just 2 adults, one of which will be a first timer.

70 Dave { 11.12.12 at 5:09 pm }

Hi Amy! You’ll see high crowds the 23rd and 24th, moderating crowds the 25th, and low crowds the 26th through the 28th.

71 Amy Henry { 11.15.12 at 10:59 pm }

Thanks. What about 12/8/12 thru 12/13/12 and what about the weather at this time of year?

72 Dave { 11.16.12 at 4:45 pm }

Amy, that’s also a great time to go! It shares with your late November option quite variable weather. The high temp could be 80 or 45…

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