Next Best Dates for Your Walt Disney World Visit



By Dave Shute

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NEXT BEST DATES FOR YOUR WALT DISNEY WORLD VISIT

This site recommends that you arrive in Walt Disney World one of the first three Saturdays after Thanksgiving.

If you can’t go then, there’s a number of tools to help you figure out the best dates that work for you.

EASY TOOLS FOR PICKING THE NEXT BEST DISNEY WORLD DATES

Easiest for first time family visitors who may never return is to work down this site’s lists of weeks to visit Disney World, ranked in order, so you can pick the highest-ranked option that works for your family.

For families that can return or are returning, the Week Pickers are a better choice–as it opens up ride closure season and hurricane season weeks that are fine for most returning visitors.

DO-IT-YOURSELF TOOLS FOR FIGURING OUT THE BEST DATES FOR YOUR DISNEY WORLD VISIT

You can do the work of the Week Pickers on your own, circling in on your preferred weeks based on any combination of crowds, prices, weather, and such.  Links for doing so are all below, or deeper within the pages below!

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48 comments

1 Pauline { 04.11.13 at 3:34 pm }

Hi I just stumbled upon your site, I have been to Disney many times but mostly in October for Mickey’s not so Scary Halloween party so your site has been helpful deciding on if we would enjoy a December Trip, I was thinking of going on December 4th or 5th – 10th. We really enjoy Halloween and would love to see the Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas but I have a few questions about what else we can expect to be happening that week, since it seems our resort pool time will be iffy, is the candle light processional happening at that time or would I be there too early? The dates for that and the Very Merry aren’t posted yet. I know about hotel hopping to see all the decorations but was wondering if there is anything else I should look out for. Also we will celebrate my daughter’s 11th birthday during this trip – anything you can suggest for that would be great as well. Oh and I’m thinking we will stay at Wilderness Lodge. Thank you for your help and great site!

2 Dave { 04.12.13 at 7:58 am }

Hi Pauline!!

The entire Christmas program will be in place by then–the last item to launch, Epcot’s program, traditionally launches the Friday after Thanksgiving. For all that’s likely to be going on, see this (about 2012, but 2013 should be similar): http://yourfirstvisit.net/2012/05/20/christmas-2012-at-walt-disney-world/

On the birthday point, see this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2012/02/01/is-walt-disney-world-free-on-your-birthday/

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3 Diana B { 04.14.13 at 6:36 pm }

Hello… I, too just stumbled upon your fantastic, very helpful & super informative site on first-timers to Walt Disney World. I have a few questions (perhaps more than a few to be honest) for you; on a trip I’m planning for May (10+ days) but feel, at this time, as you grieve the loss of your dear mother, I will hold off & email you another day. I just wanted to express my appreciation for you & your website that appears to give so much to so many people looking to have a wonderful time at WDW. I am hopeful that you will, at some point in time, grab hold of the sweet memories you shared with your mom, and let them fill the emptiness in your heart – may they bring you (a little) peace. Thank you in advance for all the assistance you provide.

4 Dave { 04.15.13 at 7:47 am }

Thanks Diana…I’m very touched…

5 Diana B. { 05.15.13 at 8:22 pm }

Hello Dave…How are things going for you today? I have changed my plans (window closing soon for May) for my first trip to WDW. Perhaps Sept. or Oct. So, I will read more of your suggestions and tips, and I’ll be ready later this year. I thought we could go this month as I am in Chattanooga, TN for awhile (so close). But plans have changed. I’m a Disneyland gal – born & raised in the ‘burbs of L.A., CA. I have always wanted to checkout Walt’s “Florida Project” but just haven’t. Oh…I was so close this month! Oh, well…I want to skip the summer crowds and the steamy heat. One thing, will you please remove my last name and just keep the “B”. I feel like I’m sticking out like a sore thumb, as I see most posters are using first names only. I purposely posted this under my first post so you would know that this is me. I will be in touch. Thank you, and best wishes to your and you family. Your website is so appreciated.

6 Diana B. { 05.15.13 at 8:28 pm }

Oops… your family not you family. And I hit the submit button by mistake & didn’t place a period after appreciated. My phone…very sensitive. Thanks, again!

7 Dave { 05.16.13 at 8:08 am }

Got it, Diana!

8 Dave { 05.16.13 at 8:09 am }

OK you are setting too high a standard for yourself, but I’ve made the two edits :)

9 dorothy kelleher { 05.26.13 at 8:49 pm }

I would like to plan a trip first week in Dec for myself grandson and son (grandson is 4 ) What is the best way to go? Hotel, air from New York, food and tickets> Can you please help me. I would appreciate your response.
Thank you so much. Since I am a senior I would love to take my Jake to Disney
Thank you
Dorothy

10 Dave { 05.27.13 at 5:37 pm }

Dorothy, I’ve taken out your phone number for your own privacy–as thousands of people see these comments (as hard as that is to believe…)

For the same reason, I’m so sorry that I can’t possibly call you to help, but here’s what I suggest:

  1. Go down through the basic choices in order, which you’ll find here: http://yourfirstvisit.net/
  2. Once you’ve got your basic plan set, contact a travel agent to help you put it together and do all the details. There’s a link to my travel agent partners on the right side of every page

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11 dorothy kelleher { 05.28.13 at 8:18 am }

Thank you for doing that. I will try to figure it out. Can you please give me the phone number to the travel agent you deal with.
Thanks for your help because I need it

12 dorothy { 06.14.13 at 10:08 am }

Dave, I got a call from a girl name Pam at Destination Vacations, do you know her? I decided to go Oct 26th. My questions are: for a 4 year old do you think it is advisable to do the hop on and off package or just do daily trips to different parks? also the food program which is more suitable for a 4 year old child? Last questions how many nights do you think is necessary for this trip.
Thanks for your answers
Dorothy

13 Dave { 06.14.13 at 12:18 pm }

Hi Dorothy! I don’t know Pam, but there’s lots of great agents there I don’t know! You don’t need the hopper add on. The dining plan will likely be a little more expensive than she would eat on her own–especially if she’s picky…

14 dorothy { 06.14.13 at 5:31 pm }

Dave
Thanks for the answers, so you are saying dont get the food plan? And how many days do you think we will need

Thanks Dorothy

15 Dave { 06.15.13 at 8:56 am }

Oh sorry Dorothy.

A Magic Kingdom focused trip–entirely appropriate given her age–is an easy 3 days–three mornings, an afternoon, and an evening. You could also add a morning at the Animal Kingdom park and a morning and evening at the Hollywood Studios park, and a day or two completely off. So anywhere from three nights to 6 or 7 would do…

And yes I’d skip the dining plan and pay cash…

16 dorothy { 06.15.13 at 5:42 pm }

Dave

Thanks so much for ur help. We are going to book 6 nights and no food and a 5 day park pass
YOU ARE VERY HELPFUL
Dorothy

17 Dave { 06.16.13 at 8:42 am }

Thanks, Dorothy! Havre a great trip, and let me know how it goes…

18 Nicole { 09.06.13 at 10:04 am }

Hi Dave,
Plan on going to disney christmas week. I know it’s going to be crowded no matter what but I was wonder if you thought this was a good week plan…
Monday dec 23..Epcot
Tuesday dec 24..HS
Wed dec 25..AK
Thursday 26..MK
Friday 27..Relax

19 Dave { 09.07.13 at 10:35 am }

Hi Nicole, if you must be there Xmas week, then you’ve done a wonderful job of avoiding the worst! I like your plan a lot…

Was this even remotely helpful? Then mosey on over to the home page, and like it on Facebook or pin it on Pinterest!

20 Joe { 09.14.13 at 8:10 pm }

Hi Dave —
Our first trip to Disney is Oct. 17-22, arriving early afternoon on Thurs. Oct. 17. We have made some dining reservations in this order:
Friday-Magic Kingdom,
Saturday-Epcot,
Sunday-Animal Kingdom,
Monday-Hollywood Studios.
Now to my questions… What is your suggestion as to which park we go to for a few hours after we arrive on Thursday? And, should we leave Tuesday unscheduled then see which park needs a second day?
We have two sons, ages 7 and 9, who love rides and entertainment but have ZERO interest in characters and character experiences, and have some anxieties around people with face paint, costumes (i.e. Halloween party).
So, any observations based on when we are going to be there and our specifics? Thanks so much!

21 Dave { 09.15.13 at 11:47 am }

Hey Joe, I really like the days you’ve picked!

The only issue you’ll see–which will matter less than it seems–is that the Food and Wine Festival will be happening at Epcot your dates, which tends to make the World Showcase part of the park wildly crowded on weekends, particularly in the evenings.

Based on that, I’d go to Epcot the 17th, so that you can see the evening fireworks show Illuminations in a less crowded setting.

The Magic Kingdom is a two day park, so while you can certainly keep the 22nd open, the odds are strong you’ll be returning there that day.

I would like to piss away your money on one point, however. Both your MK dates (Friday and the my assumed Tuesday) will be uncrowded, partly because there are no evening shows those days. But the evening shows–the evening parade and Wishes firework show, with “Celebrate the Magic” in between–are among the best-loved, and best, offerings at WDW.

So I think you should add “park hoppers” to your tix, so that on Saturday, you can leave Epcot and head to the Magic Kingdom in time for the 8p parade and 9p fireworks there…

Was this even remotely helpful?

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22 Joe { 09.15.13 at 9:53 pm }

This is very helpful (and also reassuring that our October dates look good)! Since I have your ear(s), we are staying at the Hilton Bonnet Creek which we know shares a shuttle with the Waldorf to the Disney Parks. As we want to be at the parks when the gates open, what time do you think we need to leave the hotel? My fear is that the demand for that shuttle will be too great and we would have to wait (and for how long?) for the next one. So, what are your thoughts about hailing a cab, instead? Any transportation, timing tips are appreciated!

23 Dave { 09.16.13 at 10:09 am }

Hey Joe, I’m glad the site is helping!

but on he unhelpful front… I’m sorry, but I can barely keep up with the Disney resorts, and so don’t really track the others.

It is common for non-Disney shuttles to begin too late–especially for the Magic Kingdom, as they will let you off in the TTC, and you’ll still have another step, monorail or ferry, to get to MK.

Since you want to be at MK turnstiles by 8.30a–and at the other parks by 8.15 or so–a cab, or even a rental car, may be the right choice. Once you are rolling, it’ll be a 10-15 minute drive, with another 5-15 minutes to get to the turnstiles/monorail. So I’d want to be rolling by 8a.

What Id do is ask the night before about the first bus time and its crowding, and then make further decisions based on that…

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24 katie { 09.20.13 at 4:46 pm }

I love this site!! We are planning our first trip to WDW but not until 2015 but I would like to decide on a date soon. We are a family of 6 and the two things I am looking at when planning a date low crowds and decrease cost. Can you help?

25 Dave { 09.21.13 at 10:47 am }

Katie, I’ll have lotsa 2015 advice coming out in 30-45 days–for example, the first draft of the 2015 version of this will be out by then: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2012/10/15/2014-weeks-visit-walt-disney-world-ranked-order/

So come back in a bit, OK? In the meantime, this may also help: http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/when-to-go/next-best-dates/best-and-worst-times-to-visit/

Was this even remotely helpful?

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

26 disney freak { 11.06.13 at 12:00 am }

Hi Dave
3 friends and I are coming down Jan 22 and leaving on the 26. We wont be getting there till around 5pm. One of my friends has never been so I’m hoping it wont be real crowded and we will have an easy time. Do you have any suggestions on what day is best for MK. We absolutely have to see the fireworks and electrical parade. I felt so bad in sept when I took my grandaughter and one of her little friends who had never been. This was the first time I had not gotten park hoppers. It came a downpour so the little one did not get to see the electrical or the fireworks :^( Lesson learned ALWAYS get park hopper! Will the large crowd be gone for MLK BD? I was hoping the large crowd would be the week before and weekend but gone by the time we arrived on wed. any input would greatly be appreciated

27 Dave { 11.06.13 at 6:54 am }

Hi Disney Freak…and aren’t we all! Your dates should be great–the MLK crowds are weekend only!

28 Andrea { 03.24.14 at 9:26 am }

We are going to Disney October 2014. We’re not interested in the Halloween party, but we are starting the day in MK and want to have a Princess Dinner on the evening of Oct. 26, a projected party date. How does the park closing work? We’d like to get a reservation as close to 7 as possible to maximize our time in MK. Thoughts?

29 Kristy { 03.27.14 at 12:16 pm }

Hi Dave, having difficult time deciding when to go and where to stay. We are traveling with Grandparents that don’t like long lines and crowds, along with a 5 yr old princess. Looking at Nov 15 to 22 2014 and staying at either Port Orleans or Pop Century. any suggestions. thanks

30 Dave { 03.28.14 at 6:37 am }

Kristy, those dates look fine. Pop and POR are so different that it’s hard to advise. POR has queen beds, larger rooms, a sit-down restaurant, and a slightly better pool. It’s also enormous and hard to get around. Pop has tiny rooms, full bed, no sit-down restaurant, but is more compact. Reviews of both begin here: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2010/04/26/walt-disney-world-resort-hotel-reviews/

31 Andrea { 03.29.14 at 6:43 pm }

Hi Dave! I don’t know if you missed my question on 3/24, but do you think I’ll be able to get a reservation at Cinderella’s Table for 7:00 if I don’t have a ticket to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween? I just don’t really know how the park closing works. We’ll be spending the day in Magic Kingdom. I’ll piggyback another question on with that one…Would you recommend that we just leave the park altogether and book our reservation at Akershus?

32 Dave { 03.31.14 at 7:43 am }

Hi Andrea, sorry I think I did miss it–as I can’t find my answer either…Typically reservations will be available up until park close (that is 7p). The implication of the party is only that you need to leave the park after dinner.

33 Andrea { 03.31.14 at 12:33 pm }

Thanks, Dave! One more question. We wanted to try to get out of the park and to the TTC dock in time for Wishes. Do you think 7:00 is a good time for this? Too early/too late? Do you think Wishes will be at 10:00?

34 Andrea { 03.31.14 at 12:50 pm }

See above…I didn’t mean train station, I meant Ticket & Transportation Center Dock

35 Dave { 04.01.14 at 7:02 am }

Andrea, the special fireworks during the party, “HalloWishes,” in past years has been at 9.30p. Even at this ealrier time, you’ll likely be hanging at TTC for a while. Suggest you head to one of the monorail resorts to look around first, then go to TTC via the resort monorail.

36 Dave { 04.01.14 at 7:02 am }

Fixed, LOL…I was a little nervous about that whole “roof” thing…

37 Krystal { 04.08.14 at 12:03 am }

Hi Dave, I am planning to arrive November 8 for approximately 6 nights. We have 2 girls that will be 2.5 and almost 5.we are leaning towards the Polynesian hotel, but trying to decide if its worth the extra money. I would appreciate your thoughts on an iteniary and must sees for our first trip. We are a bit lost on meals, attractions and such. I saw where you were able to suggest certain parks and meals by day which would be a great help. Thanks!

38 Dave { 04.08.14 at 8:40 am }

Krystal, first consider avoiding the Polynesian then, as it’s expected to be in the middle of major construction. Second, all my suggestions are for much older kids (see this for why: http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/how-oldtall-your-children-should-be/ ) , but see Josh’s “character centric” material here: http://www.easywdw.com/category/cheat-sheets/

39 Jo greenan { 07.06.14 at 3:17 pm }

Hi Dave,
my family and I will be visiting Disney on October 13th 2014, we are from England and have never been to Disney before, I have a 10yr old boy and a 18 month old daughter, we have our magic kingdom tickets booked as there were in the package, we also want to book discovery cove, the more I look at different site and info the more confused and annixous I become, do we plan the parks/days before we go ? Do we need to book in restaurants before we go ? Would you recommend a car to drive off to other locations ? Will we have time to go universal as well as the other parks we have paid for …. Also before we go we have the option to fast pass rides, so this makes me feel in order to get everything you want from the holiday you need to plan each day ?

40 Dave { 07.07.14 at 8:49 am }

Jo the short answer is yes to all. The most popular dining venues start to fill 6 months ahead, and if you don’t do your FastPass+ ahead of time (you can do them beginning 60 days ahead if you are staying at a WDW-owned hotel, 30 days otherwise) you will run into some rides being out and others offering less-great times. You can find shuttles that will take you from hotels to parks, but your own rental will be so much easier.

There’s two ways to work this. One is to start on my home page and work your way through its topics http://yourfirstvisit.net/ The other is to get a copy of my book The easy Guide to Your First Walt Disney World Visit

41 Jim { 07.22.14 at 7:17 pm }

Dave

Great site — very helpful. Is this calendar still in draft form? Our spring break falls during a non-traditional time and in a recommended week (week 14). We are thinking it might be a good time for a Disney get away.

Thanks

42 Dave { 07.23.14 at 6:41 am }

Hi Jim, and thanks! Yup it’s still draft. My niece collects school break data for 180 districts, which I in turn analyze for the updated final crowd calendar. I then combine that with the final price seasons (out 7/30 this year) to re-do the week rankings. I expect the rest of the school data this week, and to get the re-done crowd calendar and week rankings out by mid-August. Week 14 should be stable–but the hardest part of the year to predict without the actual facts in hand is spring break, so if you can, pause on it a bit…

43 Sequoyah { 07.25.14 at 3:39 am }

Hi Dave,
Your website is AWESOME!!! Thank you for providing great insight!
Our family just returned from Disney World we arrived July 20-24
It was very hottand rainy. We would love to plan another trip but did not
Want to wait until Christmas 2015. When is the best time to go for good weather and
Less crowds?

Please don’t think im an idiot. I have difficulty with graphs and charts. I need
Kindergarten level explanation. LoL
We are considering months march april and may 2015
Please list best weeks for good weather and low crowds. I really would appreciate your help…

44 Dave { 07.26.14 at 9:05 am }

Hi Sequoya and thanks! For good weather and low crowds, there’s two periods I particularly recommend: the second half of April (so long as Easter is not late–it isn’t in 2015, so this is a good period) and the second half of October.

45 Renee { 10.27.14 at 12:55 pm }

Wonderful site, so happy I found it! I am looking at at trip in March 2015. Traveling with grandparents (who are close to 80)and our daughter is 5. Looking at breakfast at Cinderella’s table on 3/8( earliest we can get in with renovations , so we are thinking 6 nights 3/3-3/9. We are most interested in Magic Kingdom. My husband and I have been once before. Based on your info, would it be best to do mk on 3/4 and 3/6 and then just do the breakfast on and maybe catch the parade on 3/9 since mk isn’t recommended that day? Or is 3 days overkill for mk? We could move our dates more into the next week. But your crowd levels make me think to go as early in March as possible. Also, port orleans French quarter seems like a smaller easier to navigate resort for traveling with grandparents??
Thanks very much for your help. This is a once in a lifetime trip with Grandparents and I want to get it right!!!!

46 Dave { 10.29.14 at 7:57 am }

Hi Renee, yes on POFQ, and yes go as early in March as you can. Many of my itineraries have three days in MK–it’s not overkill, it gives you a more relaxing visit!

47 Juliet { 11.30.14 at 9:36 pm }

Love your site! We had to reschedule our normal Disney Dames trip from Dec. 9-15 until Feb. 25 – March 3. We thought possibly the Flower and Garden Show would be mostly set up. Do you have any information on how early they begin to set it up? We don’t care as much about the food since we are on the dining plan, but hope to see some of the flowers. Any insight would be appreciated!

48 Dave { 12.01.14 at 9:45 am }

Juliet, as you know Epcot always has a ton of flowers. I don;t have any specific thoughts, but with the March 4 opening http://yourfirstvisit.net/2014/08/12/the-2015-epcot-international-flower-and-garden-festival/ pretty much all the extra flowers should be in by the end of your trip. Some of the special gardens may still be hidden by scrims…

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