The 2013 Walt Disney World Week Picker



By Dave Shute

PICKING THE BEST WEEK OF 2013 AT DISNEY WORLD FOR YOUR FAMILY

The 2013 Walt Disney World Week Picker is designed to show you the best weeks for your 2013 visit to Walt Disney World based on what’s important to you.

(It’s an alternative to this site’s 2013 Weeks to Visit Walt Disney World, Ranked in Order, which is designed to yield answers for the “typical family” of first time visitors who may never return.)

The Week Picker provides guidance on the best weeks of 2013 for you to visit Walt Disney World based on your family’s exact preferences, and is particularly useful for returning visitors!

(For the 2014 Week Picker, click here.)

HOW THE WEEK PICKER WORKS

You will be asked to pick the best answer for your family to three questions:

  • The first question—lower on this page—is about the importance to you of crowds. You click the best answer for your family out of four possible answers. (See this for why crowds matter.)
  • The second question–which you will be sent to once you click the link answering the first question–is about the importance to you of avoiding certain types of weather
  • The third question is about the importance to you of prices

Based on your answers to these three questions, you will be shown the best weeks of 2013 for your family visit!

Note that you will be given three sets of results, for value, deluxe, and moderate resorts. This is because the resort groups have slightly different price seasons.

If you aren’t sure which group you wish to stay in, you may want to check out the material that begins on Where to Stay at Walt Disney World first, then come back to this page.

Ready? Let’s go!!

2013 WEEK PICKER: FIRST QUESTION

The first question is what is your family’s attitude towards crowds?

Read through the four numbered answers in bold, and click the one that best represents your attitude towards crowds.

1. You are seeking the lowest crowds

2. You are seeking to avoid higher crowds

3. You are seeking to avoid the highest crowds

4. You don’t care about crowds

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27 comments

1 Carolyn F. { 09.10.12 at 7:17 am }

Thank you for such a great site! I’m still confused because I will not be traveling with kids to DW! Instead this is a trip for just my husband and I. We were at Disney World approximately 20 years ago with our children so now it’s our turn to return and act like kids ourselves! What suggestions would you give to an older yets still young at heart couple vacationing at Disney World [late 50's] ? What would be the best hotel for us. We have no physical limitations. Also are there any other suggestions for our age group that you would suggest? Thank you in advance! Carolyn

2 Dave { 09.10.12 at 7:41 am }

Hi Carolyn, and thanks!

This sit is built for the young at heart…so pretty much all the advice except the plethora of character meals applies regardless of age!

A couple of thoughts: aim for the second half of October–it’s the perfect time weather-wise, fine from the point of view of crowds and prices, and Epcot’s Food and Wine festival is on then–see http://yourfirstvisit.net/2012/03/18/the-2012-epcot-international-food-and-wine-festival-at-walt-disney-world/ Also, replace most of the character meals with more fun adult oriented dining–you may want to keep Crystal Palace, but for the rest, see this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/where-to-eat/dining-alternatives/the-comprehensive-guide-to-walt-disney-world-dining/

It’s hard to recommend a hotel not knowing more–what are you looking for, and what price level are you shooting at?

3 Lily from Destinations in Florida { 09.11.12 at 9:49 am }

Carolyn,
If your budget allows it I would go with the Polynesian if you want to keep it in the moderate price range the Port Orleans French Quarter or Coronado Springs are great!

4 debbie { 09.14.12 at 9:22 am }

hi
only just found your site and the information is extremely helpful. just wish i had found it before we booked our holiday, we are in orlando for 2nd and 3rd weeks of feb 2013. I am worried now because of crowds for presidents day celebrations. (We are from UK and didnt know about it )we want to do all the theme parks, any tips appreciated, many thanks.

5 Dave { 09.14.12 at 3:03 pm }

Hi Debbie, the tip is to be at the parks before they open, see the most popular rides first, and after use FASTPASS!

6 Lee { 09.24.12 at 9:12 am }

Senior Trip to Disney in lieu of the Jersey Shore – We graduate 6/2/13 – do we come immediately or wait a week or two? Also, we are thinking moderate resorts to avoid the majority of alot of families with young children (yes, we know Disney will be alot of young kids). Also, do you hear of others doing their senior week in Disney ?

7 Dave { 09.24.12 at 1:20 pm }

Hi Lee, you want to come as early in June as you can. See this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2012/07/31/disney-world-crowds-2013-summer-2013-crowds/

Also–let me know how many of you there are. The moderates are no less kid-mobbed than anything else, but there’s a couple of other options which are more isolated from other people, so you have a bit more privacy and a bit less kids. These are the Treehouses, which sleep 9–see this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2009/08/16/review-the-treehouses-at-disneys-saratoga-springs-resort-and-spa/ and the cabins at Fort Wilderness which sleep 6: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2009/10/26/review-the-cabins-at-disneys-fort-wilderness-resort/

8 Carolyn { 10.17.12 at 3:10 pm }

We are giving “Disney” to our kids and grands for Christmas. We have to go during spring break (March 25-29, 2013) and just realized that the Military Discount ticket will not apply because of black-out dates – is there another alternative for a good price 4 day w/hopper ticket for a crowd of 7 adults and 4 kids ?? We already have our reservations at Shades of Green confirmed. And, what about food – what’s the best deal ?

9 Dave { 10.17.12 at 3:35 pm }

Carolyn…you have to go then? That’s one of the two or three worst weeks of the year–see http://yourfirstvisit.net/2012/07/25/disney-world-crowds-2013-spring-break-2013/ , which is why it’s blocked out. If you must go then–paying a lot extra for the privilege of wall to wall crowds–you can get tix from Shades, with no tax, and a little discount, but still an arm and a leg compared to the Salute. And Shades does not participate in any of the dining plan options…and there will be no food deals that week anyway…

10 Calvin { 11.12.12 at 12:25 am }

Used your week picker to get to target weeks around end of April/early May for a visit – has those weeks recommended as near lowest crowds with great weather ( but prices are moderate). Undercover tourist doesn’t recommend those weeks much at all for crowds (http://www.undercovertourist.com/planning/when-to-visit/disney-world-crowds-calendar_april-2013.html#disney-opening-hours). Any idea about the difference? We are thinking of arriving April 27th and leaving May 5th – avoid Spring Break and get out before summer hits.
Thanks

11 Dave { 11.12.12 at 7:14 am }

Calvin, I don’t have a fact-based opinion on UT. One distinction is that they are forecasting days, and I’m forecasting weeks. Another is that they use “moderate” much more in their days than I do in my weeks. That implies that my judgment of “low” overlaps with their judgment of “moderate.”

Pragmatically, late April and early May is a great time to go from a crowds perspective as 1. next to no US kids are on vacation, and 2. It’s a tougher time for US parents to take kid their kids out of school for both pragmatic (end of term) reasons, and emotional ones (they are soon going to be off for three months anyway) ones…

12 Heather { 11.24.12 at 8:13 am }

Hi Dave,
We have been to disney before. Our trip this time needs to occur as soon as our kids let off school. June 8-14. I know this isn’t ideal. Other than getting to the parks early do you have any suggestions for how to manage. I am hoping the crowds are managable. We usually go first thing and wrap up around 1. We are traveling with 2 school aged children and a 2 year old.

13 Dave { 11.24.12 at 2:29 pm }

Hi Heather! Since you’ve been before, you do know the keys–arrive early, ride the most popular rides first, and use FASTPASSES…

14 Sylvia Morgan { 12.13.12 at 10:56 pm }

Hi, we planned our vacation in Feb to avoid the spring break and summer crowds. I just saw your site and see the week we planned is one of the most crowed, so I am really sad and confused. Why would the week of Feb. 16 be a level 10 for crowds? Thanks for your help!

15 Dave { 12.14.12 at 10:02 am }

Hi Sylvia, that’s the week of President’s Day. A lot of northeastern schools have that whole week off, without another break until April, so it gets mobbed as they need to get away form the snow! See this for more: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2012/07/25/disney-world-crowds-2013-spring-break-2013/

16 Cindy { 01.13.13 at 11:01 pm }

I am planning on taking my own kids and grandkids for my retirement party. Would early Dec. or Oct. be better? We have 6 ranging in age from 7 years to 1 1/2 years. How are the parades for Halloween?? or are the Christmas festivites better??? Thanks:)

17 Dave { 01.14.13 at 8:15 am }

Cindy you won’t see special parades for either unless you buy the special tickets for the evening parties that happen in both periods–Mickey’s Not so Scary Halloween Party ( http://yourfirstvisit.net/2012/02/14/halloween-2012-at-walt-disney-world/ ) and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party ( http://yourfirstvisit.net/2012/04/18/mickeys-very-merry-christmas-party-2012-at-walt-disney-world/ )

While crowds and prices are comparable, I suggest the December dates because early October is still in the peak of the hurricane season: 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 Disney World (beyond MVMCP) is astonishing during the Christmas season–and has its Xmas program fully in place by the Friday after Thanskgving. ( http://yourfirstvisit.net/2012/05/20/christmas-2012-at-walt-disney-world/ )

See also http://yourfirstvisit.net/2011/09/19/2013-weeks-to-visit-walt-disney-world-ranked-in-order/

Hope this helps!

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18 Carol Ann { 01.24.13 at 3:13 pm }

We will be at Disneyworld with our grandchildren (18m0nths,4 and 7 ) on Easter ,and the following Monday and Tuesday(4/1,4/2/2013)
.Will Easter be the most crowded day of the three ?
Since we are there for for only these three busy days ,what are your suggestions for us ? Thanks.

19 Dave { 01.24.13 at 3:34 pm }

Carol Ann, each of those days will be horribly crowded, with no one day much better than another.

The only approach on days like these is to arrive at the turnstiles well before the parks open. Those days, the Magic Kingdom–which you should focus on, given the ages of your kids–opens at 7a for WDW hotel guests and 8a for everyone else, so I hope you are staying at a WDW hotel!

You should ride the most popular rides first, fastpassing those you can’t get immediately to. These will keep you OK until early afternoon! Then take the afternoon off, and return at least one evening for the evening parade and fireworks. Those dates the parade is shown at both 9 and 11p, and the fireworks at 10p.

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20 Jada { 02.25.13 at 10:48 pm }

Wow!! This week was suppose to be one of the slower ones – but it has been absolutely slammed!! Every ride has a stand by wait time of about 55 minutes to an hour and a half!!!
I figured everyone would be in school (as its early for spring breaks) but WOW!!! it’s BUSY!
(we got her 2/24 and leave on 3/2)

21 Dave { 02.26.13 at 7:30 am }

Hi Jada, it is a slow week. Any day of the year will see longer waits after 10.30a on the more popular and/or lower-capacity rides. Last week you saw the hangover of the President’s Day crowds, and over the weekend the Half-Marathon crowds, but the rest of the week is fine!

22 Jennifer { 03.15.13 at 12:45 am }

Helloooooooo Dave! First and foremost, you have done a beautiful job with this site. Several times I have referenced it and have found just what I’m looking for and have also referred many friends here as well. However, I have a question that I haven’t seen asked within your blog, as well as responses to posts on here. My question is, have you noticed a pattern with Disney and their EMH month by month or even week by week according to each month? As in for December, Sunday has EMH at MK, Monday is EMH at HS etc..I am planning our 3rd trip to WDW for December 1-7 and while I saw you had your best guess listed (in response to another post I believe) for the week of Dec 7th 2012, I was curious as how you came to those conclusions? I also believe the post was farther in advance than 180 days. I would like to get some dining reservations in place now, because if I wait until the 180 day benchmark, the places we would like to eat have nothing left to reserve. We don’t get the park hopper for 1.) To save $$ and 2.) There is more than enough to do for a full day at each park. So, therefore, I have to be accurate with my reservations for which park we visit for each day. I would be disappointed if we had dinner reservations at MK on the only day AK is open later because they close so early to begin with. I hope I have explained it well enough.

23 Jennifer { 03.15.13 at 12:48 am }

OOooo! Sorry, 5th line down, *there is supposed to be *their. One of my biggest pet peeves and I just did it!…..yeesh. Thanks in advance for your response :)

24 Dave { 03.15.13 at 9:56 am }

Hiya Jennifer and thanks!!

Yes, there is a strong pattern to EMH. There’s basically 4 patterns, one for the most crowded weeks, one for most of the other weeks, one for the weeks from the Sunday after Thanksgiving through the Saturday before Xmas, and a 4th during the Food and Wine Festival. You will see some minor week to week variations in these for special events–e.g. during Star Wars weeks.

Disney, though, can change this at any time. For example, it dropped evening EMH at AK about a year and a half ago–after having them on Weds evenings most of the non-crowded weeks of the year for years. Its calendars are (almost) always out before the 180 day window, so the changes, if they happen, can be Incorporated in planning. That’s why I don’t recommend itineraries on this page http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/basic-itinerary/alternative-itineraries/ until Disney’s calendar comes out…

If you need a prediction now, assume the pattern will be the same as last year–which you can find here: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2012/11/30/next-week-121-1292012-walt-disney-world/

However, you can’t reserve any dining until you hit the 180 day mark…

Hope this helps, and thanks again!!!

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25 Dave { 03.15.13 at 9:59 am }

Jennifer, I edited your “there.”! I hate typos too…though I usually commit seven before breakfast…

26 Karen { 10.20.13 at 11:59 am }

Thinking of visiting Dec 19-23rd or 24th 2013. Returning guest. Have never seen Christmas there and would love too, but don’t want to get stuck in the crowds. Is the week before Christmas as crazy as the week of?? Thank you so much!!

27 Dave { 10.21.13 at 9:56 am }

Hi Karen! See this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2013/07/30/disney-world-crowds-christmas-2013-and-new-years-20132014/ Crowds become massive 12/21.

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