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.—Disney World Instructions for the First-Time Visitor

Disney World Crowds in 2018

By Dave Shute


The chart lower on the page shows my forecasts for 2018 crowds by week at Walt Disney World.

Dates in it are the beginning of the week, and the forecast covers the recommended Saturday-Sunday 9 day stays.

(For 2017 crowds click here. )

Crowd levels are ranked by week from 1-11 in the following way:

1: Lowest of the year

2: Lower

3: Low

4: Low-plus

5: Moderate-minus

6: Moderate

7: Moderate-plus

8: High-minus

9: High

10: Higher

11: Highest



Dates are the beginning of the week.

As is the case in every good Disney World crowd calendar, the forecasts are about wait times on rides–not about how crowded the areas outside the rides might be.

The “low crowd” weeks–those colored green, and rated 1-4–represent the only crowd levels a family visiting for the first time, and unsure if it will ever return, should consider.

However, lower crowds, especially lowest crowds, do not always mean a better week. The lowest weeks are often best avoided by first timers who may never return because they are in the peak hurricane or the ride closure seasons.

The “moderate crowd” weeks–those in black and rated 5-7–have crowd levels I would not particularly recommend to first time visitors, though the crowds can be managed with careful planning. However, I’d go during such weeks myself with no hesitation, and think these levels are OK for returning visitors who don’t need to see everything and already know how to work Walt Disney World.

The “high crowd” weeks–those in red, rated 8-11–should be avoided by everyone. They aren’t, which is why they are so high.


The influence of the Unofficial Guide  and has led almost all Disney World crowd calendars to top out at 10.

However, I’ve always thought that the really nastiest weeks of the year deserved an 11 for emphasis.

So, in homage to Spinal Tap, I assigned 11 to “highest.”
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1 Clare { 10.30.16 at 3:15 pm }

Is the week commencing 10th February so much higher than the previous weeks due to Presidents’ Day making the weekend 17th/18th busy or is there another reason as well? Hope I have the date of Presidents’ Day correct as I’m from the UK

2 Dave { 10.31.16 at 10:39 am }

Clare, Presidents Day crowds begin the Thursday before–in 2018 that’s 2/15. It’s because of that that the week of 2/10 is shown as moderate crowds–low early in the week, high late.

3 Clare { 10.31.16 at 2:13 pm }

Thanks Dave. We are hoping to make our first ever trip 10th-17th Feb 2018. So we will just have to take advantage of the early part of the week.

4 Laura { 11.13.16 at 7:22 am }

Hi Dave,
Thanks so much for the helpful info. It’s been about 10 years since I’ve been at Disney, we’re looking into a trip the first week of February 2018. This will be our first time traveling with children, ages 4 and 6, so minimizing wait times is very important to us. I see this is one of your predicted lowest weeks! Is something going on this time that would make it a bad time to visit? Lot of ride refurbishments or something else that folks are avoiding? Thank you!

5 Dave { 11.17.16 at 9:14 am }

Laura, that week may see a few rides closed for refurb, which is why I rank it low for those who may never return, but otherwise should be low crowd and low price.

6 Mike { 01.10.17 at 8:03 pm }

Hey Dave, love the website and the book!

I had a quick question:

Any reason in particular why the week of Jan 20, 2018is ranked more crowded than Feb 3, 2018?


7 Dave { 01.11.17 at 10:03 am }

Mike, it may well turn out to be a lower crowd week than I am forecasting.

I gave it the bump because it’ll be the second time the Pro Bowl will be in Orlando (with many fan events at WDW, especially ESPN but also MK and Disney Springs) and that MAY have an effect on the parks–I’ll have a better sense after this year’s Pro Bowl, although I don’t think enough people know about its timing to have affected much their Disney World date selections.

8 Kaisha { 01.16.17 at 10:01 pm }

Hi, I am in the planning process of a trip in 2018. We have a lot of flexibility on dates, which is almost making things harder to narrow down! I keep reading how amazing the first weeks of December are, but I am hoping to rent DVC points and also keep reading how popular that time is becoming for members. I am nervous that December could go the way of October in becoming busier and busier by the time we go. Also, we’d like to stay for 2 weeks so our kids (they’ll be 7 and 10) can have plenty of down time worked in. It seems like week to week crowds can go from amazing to avoid at all costs! Any advice on 2 solid good weeks to book together? This is our first trip and I can’t imagine how it’d turn out without websites like yours! Thank you so much!

9 Dave { 01.17.17 at 3:14 pm }

Hi Kaisha, outside of December my highest ranked consecutive weeks would be later Oct/early Nov (beginning 10/20/18) and later April (beginning 4/14/18.) Also worth considering though a little cool would be the two weeks beginning 2/24/18.

10 Courtney { 03.28.17 at 3:43 am }

Trying to decide between late April/ early May 18 and September 18! So tough as weather wise April would be better but then I want to do Horror Nights in Universal too! So tough!

11 Dave { 03.28.17 at 9:19 am }

In your shoes, Courtney, I’d go with the horror!!

12 ALEX PUCCI { 03.30.17 at 11:45 pm }

My family is thinking about going to WDW on either April 20th-28th or April 27th – May 5th 2018. We are curious if you would recommend one week over the other and why?? It is our first trip and we are staying at a timeshare called Wyndham Bonnet Creek so we will not have access to EMH

13 Denise B. { 04.02.17 at 5:59 pm }

My family is considering a trip in January 2018, right after the New Year Holiday. Will all the Christmas decorations and holiday entertainment be down by then?

14 Dave { 04.04.17 at 10:37 am }

Alex, as you can see here, I have a slight preference for the earlier week

15 Dave { 04.04.17 at 10:59 am }

Denise, the holiday entertainment will be largely over, but some of the decorations will still be up–disappearing over the course of your visit.

16 Michael { 04.10.17 at 7:57 am }

We are coming in Jan 2 until the 9th for the Disney World Marathon. My wife runs the full while me and our 6 yr old will run the 5. we have our hotel (Art of Animation Resort) but that’s it. We still need tickets for 4 days and eating package. I have tried to get some deals but am finding there is no info for 2018 Jan yet. Any idea’s?

17 Kelly B - Agent with Destinations in Florida { 04.10.17 at 4:43 pm }

Hi Michael – 2018 package prices won’t be released until sometime this Summer (we are expecting them towards the end of June). If your reservation # is a 12 digit number, then you have booked a room only reservation. Tickets and dining can NOT be added to this. In order to include dining and tickets, you’ll need to rebook (usually a new deposit is needed) as a vacation package (these are an 8 digit reservation number).

18 Dave { 04.11.17 at 8:48 am }

Michael, deals for then are likely to come out in late September. When they do, they’ll be here.

19 Justin { 05.01.17 at 5:36 pm }

Hi Dave, I was wondering why your not keen on weeks 14-18 in 2018 about moderate crowds.It says on your weekly calendar that the crowds would be low+ that week. Is there something else going on in those weeks (week 15 especially) that I’m missing. Thanks Dave

20 Dave { 05.02.17 at 9:17 am }

Justin, those weeks are all moderate crowd weeks, not low+.

21 Staci { 05.03.17 at 9:04 am }

Hi Dave,

Do you anticipate a change in crowd levels toward the end of April 2018 due to the Star Wars Marathon April 18-22?


22 Dave { 05.04.17 at 8:23 am }

Hi Staci, the Disney running events have never before had much effect on park crowding, so I don’t expect this one to have much effect either.

23 Mario { 05.23.17 at 12:23 pm }

Hi Dave, I was told that two weeks after holly week could be a good idea for the family trip to Disney world… so I was wondering if you can advice which week will be better for 2018 between April 8 or April 15? Thanks in advance!

24 Dave { 05.23.17 at 1:00 pm }

Mario, see this. The week of the 15th will be much better.

25 Jim { 05.25.17 at 6:57 pm }

Dave, I’m thinking of pre-Thanksgiving week for our family vacation and I’m hoping for a free dining offer that week since there is a history of that week being included. With Thanksgiving day being early in 2018 (Nov 22), pre-Thanksgiving week is Nov 10-17. Will crowds be impacted by the long Veterans Day weekend and is it likely that free dining will not be offered as it has been in the past?

26 Dave { 05.26.17 at 9:27 am }

Jim I guess I’d never count on free dining being available, but if it is available in November 2018, I do expect it to be offered for at least most of that week. Veterans Day has less impact on the parks than many think as a surprising number of schools don’t take it off.

27 Chrissy G { 06.03.17 at 10:16 am }

Hi, this will be our first Disney trip, we plan to go march 3, 2018, it seems like that month is busy but that week seems ok. any thoughts about that week?

28 Dave { 06.04.17 at 11:52 am }

Chrissy, yes, that first week is usually fine! I’ll have an update to this out in a month or so, but take a look at my 2018 week rankings:

29 Chrissy G { 06.06.17 at 10:33 pm }

Hi Dave, one more question please! I have just booked Beach Club Resort for March 2018, any info you can tell me about tips for that hotel? I did pay $350 for the week extra for water/Lagoon view. The runner up hotel I wanted was the Poly but it was almost $1000 more for the week. again this is our first time going so any tips help,, thanks

30 Dave { 06.07.17 at 6:04 am }

Chrissy, see this.

31 Deirdre { 06.07.17 at 12:47 pm }

We have just booked the Beach Club for June 2nd 2018 for 7 nights (with free dining through UK & IRL Disney website). We went the week after Easter this year (Apr 15th to 22nd) and crowds were very manageable and the weather was great. Unfortunately we can’t go in April next year so we’re stuck with summer. I was hoping the first week of June would be ahead of the full summer crowds but it seems like it’s been really busy this week (from looking at wait times). Now I’m wondering if it would be better to move our trip to the week of August 18th. That’s as late as we can go in August. This will be our 4th trip to Disney and all previous trips were over the Easter holiday, so we’re used to having a good touring plan to avoid waits. Any advice much appreciated.

32 Dave { 06.08.17 at 10:11 am }

Deirdre, between the two–since you know how to tour–I’d go with June, as that lets you avoid the peak of the hurricane season. Waits the past week have been inflated from the opening of Pandora. See also this.

33 Deirdre { 06.08.17 at 12:40 pm }

Thanks Dave. I appreciate the quick response. We’ll stick with June and hope for the best!
Also, thanks for all the great information on site. The book is great and it’s nice to be able to reference all the updated reviews and information on the site too.

34 Jessica { 06.09.17 at 10:28 am }

In the beginning stages of planning a trip for early November 2018. There will be 4 of us, 2 adults and 2 children (ages 5yrs and a couple weeks short of 2yrs). I have been to Disney World several times as a child & young adult but this is my first time planning a family trip as an adult. Looking for opinions on the best resort to stay at with kids that young. In the past we’ve stayed at All Star Movies but I’m worried the longer wait times for the busses may not be ideal; though I’m not sure if the wait times are shorter for any other resorts? Also wondering when the best time would be to book the resort & tickets? Any other advice would be greatly appreciated!

35 Dave { 06.09.17 at 2:15 pm }

Hi Jessica, All-Star Movies is a good choice. At certain times it shares buses with the other All-Stars. This sometimes can mean a bus is full before it gets to Movies, but this is less common that it used to be. Pop Century is only a little more expensive but shares no buses so that’s you next best choice among the values. My highest-recommended value, Art of Animation, also does not share buses, but is more expensive still.

36 L { 06.12.17 at 9:19 am }

Hi Dave- so I’m planning on an April trip in 2018. I’m a bit torn: the week of April 16th ends with the Dark Side half, and the week of April 23rd ends in Dapper Days and probably a cheer competition. Do either of these events have much of an impact on crowds? I’d be staying moderate/deluxe, and I’d be solo so it’s a bit easier for me to navigate than a large party.

37 Dave { 06.13.17 at 8:28 am }

L, on an average day there’s 150,000 people in the parks. Minor things like Dapper Days, running events and cheer events just don’t bring in enough people to make much difference.

38 L { 06.13.17 at 10:49 am }

Thank you, Dave- for answering and for this very helpful site!

39 Dave { 06.15.17 at 8:52 am }

🙂 L

40 Gina { 06.20.17 at 2:14 pm }

For those looking into traveling in February, know that Mardi Gras had a huge impact on crowds when we went that week a couple of years ago. Rooms were overbooked and attraction waits were longer than we had dealt with before.

41 Dave { 06.21.17 at 7:43 am }

The impact of Mardi Gras itself is quite trivial, as few kids outside a couple of states get it off. It sometimes can appear to be a factor, when it is near the busy period of the week of Presidents Day, but the crowds actually come from the kids off for the week of presidents day.

42 Penny Presley { 06.23.17 at 6:54 pm }

Hi Dave: My daughter and I will be visiting Disney the week of January 7-13, 2018. Staying on site at Art of Animation. I’m looking for recommended itineraries for these dates, but don’t see them. I know your site and book state that plans should be firm at 180 days out. Will these be posted in the next week or so? Thank you!

43 Dave { 06.24.17 at 8:27 am }

Penny, they will be out when Disney publishes its hours for all those dates, which should be out at the latest by July 3.

44 Lisa Brown { 06.30.17 at 2:52 pm }

Thanks so much for your site! We are looking to go to the F&W next year in October. From experience we know NOT to go on a weekend day but the only day we can make work next year is a Friday. I recently read on Josh’s site that the weekends from last October showed busier than the crowds this summer. Sooooo…..what weekend in October would you recommend going that may be the last crowded?

45 Dave { 07.01.17 at 8:10 am }

Hi Lisa, the weekends in the second half of the month are much better than those in the first half.

46 Eoghan { 07.04.17 at 3:28 am }

Hi Dave,
Great website, it is very helpful.
As a first timer I was hoping to bring the kids in August 2019 (sorry a long way away!), I would be looking at staying for the 3 weeks of 10th, 17th and 24th August. We will be travelling from Ireland, so will be staying for a longer than usual time and visiting Universal also. With school breaks July and August are the only real options, and we would need to be home by the end of August.
Looking at the crowds I see for those weeks in 2017 you are expecting 6,4 & 3, and in 2018 you are expecting a draft 7,6 & 3. Do you believe this is going to be a new trend and I should be expecting crowds in 2019 similar to 2018 or maybe even worse ?
If we were able to get 2 weeks of good crowds, that would be perfect for getting around both sets of parks, how likely is that to be ?

Thanks for any advice, it is much appreciated!

47 Dave { 07.04.17 at 8:09 am }

Eoghan, don’t pay much attention to year to year numbers in my crowds calendars–they are meant to be ordinal within a year, not cardinal across years.

It is always true that the beginning of August is worst, the end is best, and the middle in between. The specific dates are shaped by dates of US kid return to school dates, which are driven by broad trends, the specific date of Labor Day (early in 2019, pushing August crowds back to earlier in the month), and local idiosyncrasies.

As a rule, visit as late in August as your own calendar permits. This will put you deeper into the peak of the hurricane season, but avoids the most crowds.

48 Eoghan { 07.04.17 at 12:54 pm }

Thanks Dave, have a happy 4th July!

49 Maggie { 07.08.17 at 9:45 pm }

Hey Dave! I love this site!! It was instrumental in planning our first trip in 2014. We are headed back Jan 27-Feb 3 2018. What is going on with park hours!?!? I’d really like to get our itinerary set and dining plans in place a little more than the day before! Any insight as to what’s up with the slooooowww release of park hours? Thanks!

50 Dave { 07.09.17 at 7:51 am }

Hi Maggie, and thanks for the kind words. I have no insight, just frustration…

51 Christy Williams { 07.09.17 at 1:11 pm }

Great information! We have been to Disney many times including the week of Thanksgiving, Memorial Day, early March and most recently the third week of Sept. Athough crowds may have been smaller it was just too hot to go in September. Our favorite week was mid December but our kids are now in school and we must LAN around school holidays. We are thinking of going Dec 27-Jan 4 this year. I have read this is the busiest time to go but I am wondering if it is that much worse than Thanksgiving week? We probably won’t plan to stay at the parks for NYE as our kids are a bit younger (9 and 6). So, is it just that bad or would you rank it as similar to Thanksgiving crowds? We absolutely LOVE Disney at Christmas and thought this would be a good time to go and enjoy the atmosphere. Thanks for your advice!

52 Dave { 07.10.17 at 8:01 am }

Christy, it’s just horrible. However, with good FP+ plans, EMH eligibility and the willingness to get up really early it can work just fine…

53 Patrick { 08.22.17 at 12:23 pm }

Thanks so much, Dave! I keep seeing varying crowds on the week I landed on — March 4-9.

Your calendar makes me feel slightly better, particularly since you factor in a lot of different school breaks. So the week starting on your calendar of March 3 is still pretty low crowds?

I’m agonizing over individual days and EMH utilization (it’s my partner’s first time going, and I want minimal crowds). Do you have any day-by-day predictions for parks? Thanks again!

54 Kelly B - Destinations In Florida { 08.23.17 at 11:22 am }

Hi Patrick- I have to say, that my usual advice is to avoid the parks with Extra Magic Hours. I find the crowds are drawn there and do better being at rope drop at one of the other parks. Don’t forget that MK opens up Main Street (from gates to Castle) every morning at 8. So arrive early, enjoy some shopping and snacking and be ready for the ride at 9.

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