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

2018 Weeks to Visit Walt Disney World, Ranked in Order

By Dave Shute


This site recommends arriving at Walt Disney World one of the first three Saturdays after Thanksgiving.

If you can’t go then, presented below are my draft rankings of the weeks of 2018 in order of best to worst times to visit Disney World.

These rankings are designed for first time visitors who do not know whether or not they will return.

For visitors on a return trip, less concerned about ride closures or the peak of the hurricane season, the later January, early February, and September weeks would be ranked much higher.

These draft rankings will be revised after the final 2018 price seasons are released and school calendars analyzed, in the summer of 2017


These week rankings are based on my draft 2018 Disney World Crowd Calendar and on my draft 2018 Walt Disney World price seasons.

Other factors are key as well–the Christmas season, ride closure season and hurricane season in particular.

(For 2017 rankings, see this.)


The thirteen recommended weeks that follow are wonderful weeks to visit Walt Disney World in 2018

Week number one has it all–lower crowds, lower prices and wonderful Christmas programs and decorations. The first Saturday of this week overlaps with Thanksgiving crowds, but the rest of it will be marvelous:

  • 1: 11/24/18

Weeks 2 and 3 have many, but not all, of the strengths of week 1:

  • 2: 12/8/18. A week as good as week 1 on crowds and holiday programs. Slightly more expensive, however, than weeks 1 or 3
  • 3: 12/1/18. Largely a terrific week with low crowds, low prices and wonderful holiday programs. However, this is a week that, because of Pop Warner football demand for resort rooms, is rarely discounted beyond its already low prices. Those intending to stay at a value resort, Caribbean Beach or Coronado Springs should consider avoiding this week and target week 1 or 2 instead, as Pop Warner guests may make these resorts boisterous this week

Week 4 is a very strong week. It has low crowds and prices, and Disney World’s holiday program at the Magic Kingdom will be in place

  • 4: 11/10/18

Week 5 has lower prices and crowds, and offers in its first few days Disney World’s Halloween program

  • 5: 10/27/18

Week 6 is your best 2018 Spring Break bet, with low crowds and moderate prices

  • 6: 3/3/18

Week 7 is similar to week 5 but projected at slightly higher crowds.

  • 7: 10/20/18

Weeks 8 to 12 are all in the same 2018 post-Easter stretch, and share low crowds, moderate prices, and nice spring weather. They are in calendar order, as the weather is better earlier in this period

  • 8: 4/14/18
  • 9: 4/21/18
  • 10: 4/28/18
  • 11: 5/5/18
  • 12: 5/12/18

Week 13 is the second-best 2018 Spring Break week, with low crowds and moderate prices

  • 13: 2/24/18

This completes the weeks in 2018 that are recommended for first-time visitors who may never return.


Weeks 14-18 all have moderate crowd levels, with different prices and weather. I don’t particularly recommend moderate-crowd weeks for first time visitors, but they are quite manageable, and I would go myself such weeks with no hesitation.

They are in order of least to most crowded, and within crowd groups are sorted by price.

  • 14: 11/3/18. Jersey Week”—teacher meetings in New Jersey, leading to a massive temporary immigration of New Jersey families to Orlando. Crowds moderate-minus, prices low to moderate, almost never with major discounts.
  • 15: 10/13/18. A week with moderate crowds, moderate prices, and great weather that has become more crowded in recent years
  • 16: 5/19/18. Similar to week 12, slightly more heat and humidity and crowds.
  • 17: 12/15/18. The same Christmas program as week 1-3, but higher crowds–especially later in the week–and higher prices
  • 18: 6/2/18.  Beginning of summer, with traditionally the lowest crowds until late August

Weeks 19-26 have one thing in common: they occur during the peak of the hurricane season. Hurricanes are rare and even more rarely affect a Disney World vacation, but for first-timers who may never return, why not just avoid the risk? For returning visitors, though, the low-crowd weeks among this group can be wonderful times to visit.

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

Week 19 has among the lowest crowds and lowest prices of the year.

  • 19: 9/8/18

Weeks 20 and 21 are similar to Week 19, but with slightly higher crowds

  • 20: 9/1/18
  • 21: 9/15/18

Weeks 22 and 23 have slightly higher crowds, and Week 23, higher prices

  • 22: 8/25/18
  • 23: 9/22/18

Weeks 24 to 26 are the moderate-crowd weeks in this hurricane group

  • 24: 8/18/18
  • 25: 8/11/18
  • 26: 9/29/18


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

The first group, ranked 27-45, should be avoided because of crowds ranging from high to unbelievable.

This group includes all of later June, July and early August (massive crowds). It also includes the busy March spring break weeks beginning 3/10/2018, and the holiday weeks—President’s Day week, the weeks before and after Easter, Columbus Day week, Thanksgiving week, and the weeks around Christmas.

Click the table for exact rankings within these lousy weeks.

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

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

(But not all--click the table above.)

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 first days of January (massive crowds), the Martin Luther King Day (1/13/18 arrival date) holiday weekend, and possibly the week before the Pro Bowl (which is January 28th).

The Marathon Weekend (projected affecting arrival dates of 12/30/17 and 1/6/18) complicates Disney World as well, although it has little impact on park crowds.
The 2017 easy Guide

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1 BostonEd { 01.11.17 at 9:43 am }

Hi, Dave. It’s still quite early in 2017 as I type this. So, I would guess that there might be changes to your 2018 best weeks estimate? When does your estimate get more solid, or is this pretty much it now? Probably going April 14 regardless, unless the school calendar changes (which is slightly possible), but it’s nice to see it as a good week.

Also, while I’ve been to WDW many times before, this will be the fist time in a LONG time to go for a full week, so I’ll be picking up your book. Approximately which publication date revision should I look out for, for an April 2018 trip? It seems you revise them regularly. Thanks.

2 Dave { 01.11.17 at 10:06 am }

Hey, they will firm up in the summer, after the full suite of 2018 school calendars is out (it’s amazing how many districts don’t finalize until June).

On the book, we now offer free updates (as PDFs) as we revise, so you’ll be fine with any 2018 edition. The first 2018 version should come out in August ish.

3 Eric { 01.11.17 at 3:09 pm }

Hi Dave,
Noticed that you moved the week-after-Columbus Day to a much lower rank from 2017. You note the increasing crowds etc. But given that we’re only 11 days into 2017, would/should this cause an adjustment to the 2017 ranking? Or do you still think for 2017, it’s a top 10 best?

4 Dave { 01.12.17 at 11:02 am }

Hey Eric, a great but hard question. To be specific, the week ranking shifts from 10 to 15 over the two years–I don’t view that as a huge difference, though you are right that because of my classification system it does drop that week out of the “recommended” list.” And it’s as likely I’ll change the 2018 crowd ranking as that I’ll change the 2017.

The increased waits in early October, while real, have been greatly overstated, conflating problems people have when they pick the wrong parks–an egregious error during the Party seasons–with observed higher standby waits in mid-afternoons at the more popular rides. The problem I have with the latter is that it’s an artifact of FastPass+, and with 70-80% + of capacity going to FastPass+, both affects few and describes an experience that no one with a good plan should have. That is, a good plan should avoid riding popular rides on standby in mid day…

The technical problem I have is I don’t get good data on the upcoming year’s fall breaks like this until the summer (because a surprising number of schools don’t publish the next academic year’s calendar until near or after the end of the current year). So I won’t have a strong fact-based reason to change 2017 until I get that data–and of course I’ll be in the same shape for 2018 in the summer of 2018…

5 Eric { 01.20.17 at 4:49 pm }

Hi Dave, a little late replying but many thanks for the detailed reply. Sorry to be asking tough questions 🙂 Since I’m planning on going during this week, between the Party days and Epcot F&W, I have some challenges. On that Friday (Oct 20, 2017) it’s a Party day plus AM-EMH as MK; do you think that’s a really bad day to go? It’s our last day at parks so I really want to end with MK. It’s also our third day at MK so it would be mostly repeats anyway.

6 Dave { 01.21.17 at 6:24 am }

Eric, the early close effect will tend to overwhelm the EMH effect, making that a very good MK day if you are EMH eligible!

7 Kristen { 03.21.17 at 12:34 pm }

Why are the prices low for moderate resorts week of 12/30/17 but moderate for the rest? We are thinking of a trip 12/27/17 to 1/3/18. Really can’t do any other time due to schedule and want to avoid the summer. Any advice on how to manage crowds during that time?

8 Dave { 03.22.17 at 8:17 am }

Kristen, first note that this is a forecast–actual 2018 prices won’t be out until this summer. Second, I class these prices (forecast or not) as low, moderate, etc, so the breaks between these classes sometimes are not the same–what is happening that week is a few days of high prices at the beginning, and then some lower priced days, averaging out to either low or moderate depending on the resort type.

Re the high crowds, pick your FastPass+ judiciously, have a good plan for what you will see the rest of the day, and arrive at the parks well before open. See this for an example of how to shape things.

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