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 draft forecasts for 2018 crowds by week at Walt Disney World.

These forecasts will be revised in the summer of 2017, when the full suite of 2018 school year calendars comes out.

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.

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