By the co-author of The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2018, from the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook series ever. Paperback available on Amazon here. Kindle version available on Amazon here.



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2016 Weeks to Visit Walt Disney World, Ranked in Order



By Dave Shute

December    January   February   March   April   May   June   July

OVERVIEW: THE BEST TIMES IN 2016 AT WALT DISNEY WORLD

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 rankings of the weeks of 2016 in order of best to worst.

The ranking is 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, the later January and early February weeks would be ranked much higher–with the Marathon and Martin Luther King Day weeks being the worst of these.

2016 Disney World Week Rankings from yourfirstvisit.net

These week rankings are based on my 2016 Disney World Crowd Calendar and on 2016 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, and for 2018 rankings, see this.)

RECOMMENDED 2016 WEEKS, RANKED IN ORDER

The fifteen recommended weeks that follow are wonderful weeks to visit Walt Disney World in 2016.

Week number one has it all–lower crowds, low 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: 11/26/16.

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

  • 2: 12/3/16. 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 should consider avoiding this week and target week 1 instead, as Pop Warner may make the value resorts crowded and boisterous this week
  • 3: 12/10/16. A week as good as week 1 on crowds and holiday programs. Much more expensive, however, than weeks 1 or 2

Weeks 4 is a very strong week. It has low crowds and prices, and most of Disney World’s holiday program except at Epcot will be in place

  • 4: 11/12/16

Weeks 5 and 6 share great late autumn weather and have low crowds. These are near-tied, but are in calendar order as the better weather is earlier this time of year

  • 5: 10/22/16
  • 6: 10/29/16

Week 7  has great late spring weather, low crowds but moderate prices.

  • 7: 4/9/16

Weeks 8 is your best 2016 Spring Break bet, with low crowds and moderate prices

  • 8: 2/27/16

Week 9 is similar to weeks 5 and 6, but with higher prices

  • 9: 10/15/16

Weeks 10 through 13 are similar to week 7, but with slightly higher crowds. They are in calendar order as the better weather is earlier.

  • 10: 4/16/16
  • 11: 4/23/16
  • 12: 4/30/16
  • 13: 5/7/16

Week 14 is similar to week 8, but with slightly higher crowds, especially at the beginning of the week

  • 14: 2/20/16

Week 15 is similar to week 7, but with higher crowds and prices at the beginning of the week. This week may end up with higher crowds than I am forecasting, but such would move down just a spot or two in the rankings.

  • 15: 4/2/16

This completes the weeks in 2016 that are recommended.

WEEKS I’M NOT SO KEEN ON

Weeks 16-21 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 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.

  • 16: 5/14/16. Similar to week 13 but with higher crowds and more summer-like weather. Crowds moderate. Prices moderate
  • 16: 11/5/16. 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. A little more crowded in 2016 than recent years, because Veterans Day falls on Friday of Jersey Week.
  • 18: 5/21/16. Similar to week 17, slightly more heat and humidity and crowds.
  • 19: 10/8/16. Columbus Day week with higher crowds and prices than the great weeks (ranked 9, 5 and 6) that follow it
  • 20: 8/6/16. Moderate-plus crowds as the summer season begins to fade away
  • 21: 6/4/16.  Beginning of summer–similar crowds to week 20, but higher prices in deluxes

Weeks 22-29 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.

Weeks 22, 23 and 24 have among the lowest crowds and lowest prices of the year.

  • 22: 9/10/16
  • 23: 9/3/16
  • 24: 9/17/16

Weeks 25 and 26 are similar, but with slightly higher crowds than 22-24

  • 25: 8/27/16
  • 26: 9/24/16

Week 27 is at the outer range of low crowds

  • 27: 8/20/16

Weeks 28 and 29 are the only moderate-crowd weeks in this hurricane group

  • 28: 10/1/16
  • 29: 8/13/16

2016 WEEKS TO AVOID AT WALT DISNEY WORLD

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

The first group, ranked 30-47, should be avoided because of crowds ranging from high to unbelievable.

This group includes all of later June, July and early August (massive crowds, higher prices). Prices go down in Deluxes starting in mid-July, and in the other resorts in mid-August.

It also includes the busy March Spring Break weeks beginning 3/5/2016, and the holiday weeks—President’s Day week, the weeks before and after Easter, 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 48-53.

Many 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 few days of January (massive crowds), and the Martin Luther King Day (1/16/16 arrival date) holiday weekend.

The Marathon Weekend (affecting arrival dates of 1/2 and 1/9/16) complicates the parks as well.
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239 comments

1 dave o { 08.18.16 at 12:51 pm }

Dave – you rock!

We are planning an October 2016 trip. Maybe the week of the 17th or 24th with our 7 year old twins.

What are your thoughts on weekend vs weekday. We home school our kids, so Monday/Tuesday is just as easy as a Sat/Sun. If it’s worth it, I can burn some vacation to avoid the crowds.

Thanks!

2 Dave { 08.19.16 at 7:25 am }

Thanks Dave! because of the Food & Wine show at Epcot and early closes at MK for the Halloween party, you see different crowd patterns at the parks during your dates than at other times of the year.

So for example Sundays are good at MK your dates, unlike other times of the year, because the 7p close makes people choose other parks.

In general the parks are most crowded Sat-Mon, and prices are higher at most WDW hotels Fri and Sat. Tuesdays your dates will be good at all parks except Epcot, Wednesdays at all except MK, and Thursdays at all except Epcot.

3 Jessica Frost { 09.12.16 at 10:51 pm }

Your site is so thorough! I just love it. We will be arriving November 27th! What a relief to see that it is your MOST recommended week. I have a feeling its going to be a magical week for us! Thanks for all the wonderfully detailed information.

4 Dave { 09.13.16 at 7:00 am }

Thanks, Jessica!

5 Jim { 12.11.16 at 10:27 am }

We usually avoid the Pop Warner week but due to scheduling conflict we had to go to the parks last week during their Super Bowl. I was randomly looking for their dates for next year and ran across this site. You recommend going to the park that week as your #2 week – I have to tell you that it.was.mobbed. We’ve never seen it that crowded – and it didn’t help that Splash Mountain was closed the whole day and Frozen – we had a Fast Pass and it was our last FP of the day – broke right before our pass started, it reopened and then broke while we were in line.

Not our finest Magic day…

Again – not sure why you highly recommend that week since it’s generally mobbed with packs of kids all cheering and clapping the same thing over and over again.

6 Dave { 12.11.16 at 11:47 am }

Jim, it’s a myth that’s been exploded for more than a decade that Pop Warner has a material effect on the parks. I suspect you were in parks on bad days, which is quite easy during the party seasons. E.g. if you were in MK last week on Sat, Mon, or Weds, or Epcot Tues or Thurs, you would have seen summer-level crowds–not because of Pop Warner, but because of the distinct ebb and flow shaped by the early vs late close to MK.

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