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By the co-author of The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2019, the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook series ever.

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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 Laura { 02.22.16 at 10:09 pm }

Hi Dave. Due to work I am unable to go for a full week. I am looking at the last weekend in October (Friday Oct 28- Tuesday Nov 1). Or December 2-6 or 7. Any thoughts or suggestions. Thanks.

2 Dave { 02.23.16 at 8:34 am }

Laura, umm, thoughts or suggestions about what, specifically?

3 Laura { 02.23.16 at 2:26 pm }

Hi Dave. Looking to go to Disney for 5 days, as that’s all the time I can get. Would you recommend October 28-November 1 or December 2-6 or 7? Both are low on your charts regarding crowds but wondering if you had opinions about them one way or the other. We would be staying at Art of Animation. Thank you.

4 Dave { 02.24.16 at 8:24 am }

Laura, I’d pick among those weeks based on whether you prefer Halloween decorations and festivities and perhaps the Food and Wine Festival, or Christmas decorations and programs (2015 material)

5 Laura { 02.23.16 at 2:27 pm }

Sorry I didn’t see my other comment…. But maybe this one clarifies.

6 Brittany { 02.28.16 at 1:16 pm }

hello! So the only time my family could take off was the days 18-24 of june 2016. We have a 2 , 4 and 5 year old. We already have our trip booked. I read where There is really no “good” time to go . But now I am getting scared. I just keep reading all these discouraging things about going in June. Especially when we are going. This is my first trip and my kids. My husband has been. My mother and father in law is going also. Reading all these horrible things about disneyworld in June is bumming me out big time. I have a planner . I have thousands of tips and I have all of our reservations done. But our fastpasses of course. Please tell me something good haha! any tips? Is it true to try to be there when they first open and ride as many rides you can the first hr your there? Then get fast passes for the end of the day? We are also staying at the art of animation. I’ve have been wanting to go since I had born. Now taking my children I am beyond excited. But after reading all these things of Disney in June I just feel like I said bummed out. we are also driving from Kentucky.

7 Dave { 02.29.16 at 8:25 am }

Brittany, you can make June work fine so long as you arrive early and make wise use of FastPass+. See this for how I recommend doing it.

8 Nate { 03.11.16 at 7:16 am }

I had the opportunity to visit Disney World the third week of September 2015 and made a day of each park with a short revisit to Magic Kingdom on the last day. I was surprised by the crowds, having specifically picked this period for its reported low census. I though maybe I was comparing the crowds to my experience 15-years earlier and that this was the new low.

I had a conversation with some friends who came back from a February 2016 visit and it sounds like the crowds were far less than what we had experienced. They described a wait time at the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train as 20-minutes vs a reported 120-minute wait while we were there. Overall, it *sounded* less busy.

I ran across this article (https://www.undercovertourist.com/blog/best-time-to-visit-disney-world/) where they briefly report that September 2015 experienced higher crowd levels than normally expected and state some plausible explanations…

Might those looking to go in September 2016 expect to see similar crowds as in 2015? Would you care to provide your assessment on September 2015?

9 Dave { 03.12.16 at 10:04 am }

Nate, crowds were up about 3-4% last fall–that is, the increase was immaterial. What was up a lot was afternoon standby waits on a lot of rides. The smart money is on the idea that More FP+ capacity was both offered and utilized, which meant so little capacity for standbys that waits skyrocketed. So the key–as always–is to avoid standby lines in the afternoon…

10 SLS { 03.12.16 at 8:14 pm }

How much does the Epcot Food/Wine Fest impact crowds in September? It’s our first visit, with a four year old, and debating arriving 9/10 vs 9/17. Thoughts?

11 Dave { 03.15.16 at 8:27 am }

SLS, Weekends and evenings are busier in World Showcase. Future World is not much affected.

12 JT { 03.22.16 at 1:24 pm }

Hi Dave, Since crowds are expected to be relatively low the week of December 10-17th, why do the rates go so high compared to the first week of December? Trying to determine which week to go.

13 Dave { 03.22.16 at 4:03 pm }

JT the short answer is that prices go up then every year, because willingness to pay goes up…

14 kristi { 03.30.16 at 12:16 pm }

Okay so I have narrowed it down to december 2-6…..is that a good week?? planning to do MVMCP the sunday night….now to decide if POR is a good choice or not??

15 Dave { 03.30.16 at 3:46 pm }

Kristi, yes it is. My review of POR begins here.

16 Kevin { 04.01.16 at 3:06 pm }

Any word on Free Dining offer for Fall 2016 ?
Was hoping to visit 11-10-16 through 11-17-16. Do those dates avoid Jersey Week ?
Read the book cover to cover and really enjoyed it.

17 Dave { 04.03.16 at 9:58 am }

Kevin, last year it came out in late April. Eligible arrival dates for it then are here https://yourfirstvisit.net/2015/04/27/free-dining-available-for-arrival-dates-from-august-into-december-2015/ You will miss most of Jersey week but will see affects from it the 10th through the 12th.

So glad you liked the book!

18 Erin { 04.01.16 at 9:26 pm }

I am looking at dates for late April/early May of 2017 for our first trip to Disney with our children ages 3 and 5. One set of grandparents will also be joining us for a total of 4 adults and 2 kids. I want to avoid the spring break crowds as well as the cheerleaders, which I’ve heard are there the last weekend of April. Does May 6-12 look okay? We are flexible with dates in March-May.

19 Dave { 04.03.16 at 10:05 am }

Erin arrive 4/22 or later and you’ll be fine. The cheerleaders don’t matter. They are around multiple times every year but have no effect on waits. There just aren’t enough of them to move the needle in a system of parks that averages around 150,000 people a day…

20 Kristi { 04.11.16 at 1:59 pm }

Ok so I decided against POR as I was considering a royal room. We are now biking the Polynesian. Does it matter if I do 2-6 or 5-9???

21 Kristi { 04.11.16 at 2:00 pm }

Booking not biking 🙂

22 Dave { 04.12.16 at 9:44 am }

Kristi, typically weekdays are less crowded and less expensive than weekends.

23 Angelina { 04.26.16 at 11:36 pm }

Hello,
We are booked for Sept 12th/16th 2016… can you please give me suggestions on what parks to visit each day with regards to your crowd estimate… was super excited about visiting during a lower crowd time but second guessing it now… with the start of the Wine Fest at Epcot starting on the 14th.
Thank you!!!!

24 Dave { 04.28.16 at 11:08 am }

Food and Wine has little impact except on Epcot’s World Showcase, Angelina, especially evenings and weekends.

The 12th avoid MK and AK
The 13th avoid Epcot
the 14th avoid MK
The 15th avoid Epcot
The 16th avoid HS and Epcot

25 Shirley { 05.02.16 at 11:01 pm }

Absolutely LOVE your website! We are planning a trip for 11/27-12/3 2016 based on your recommendations. Very excited to see low crowds for that week and this will be our first time during the Christmas season. Any recommendations on which parks to avoid on which days? First and last days are not park days. Also which day would be the best for MVMCP? Thank you in advance!

26 Shirley { 05.02.16 at 11:02 pm }

Forgot to mention we will be celebrating my daughter’s 7th birthday!

27 Dave { 05.04.16 at 8:52 am }

Shirley, I won’t have recommendations for then until Disney releases its December calendar, which it should do in a couple of weeks

28 Mimi { 05.14.16 at 2:58 pm }

Hi Dave, we’ll be at WDW 11/28/16 – 12/6/16, staying at Poly. What crowd impact do you think the Pop Warner visitors will have on our trip once they arrive on 12/3/16? Will we even notice- at the resort? at the parks? Truly appreciate your advice. Thanks!?

29 Dave { 05.15.16 at 7:35 am }

Mimi, Pop has little impact on the parks, and none on the Poly!

30 Mimi { 05.15.16 at 1:10 pm }

Thank you for your response Dave! Phew- can’t tell you how much you’ve allayed our concerns! Appreciate you, and the valuable information you share on your site. Thanks again!

31 Dave { 05.17.16 at 7:11 am }

You bet, Mimi!

32 Katie { 05.22.16 at 4:30 pm }

Dave,
My husaband and I are going 11/26/16-12/1/16 for our 5 year anniversary. This is far from our first time going, but it is our first time without the rest of the family. We typically go with our entire family the week of Christmas to New Years (we know we are insane). Since free dining has been released for 11/26 will that make the crowd levels move to moderate or still low? And what is your best plan of attack? We are going to the Christmas party the 29th of that helps.

33 Dave { 05.25.16 at 9:13 am }

Katie, free dining has no impact other than making dining reservations a little harder to get.

11/26 avoid MK and AK
11/27 avoid HS
11/28 avoid MK
11/29 avoid Epcot
11/30 avoid MK
12/1–no data yet, but likely avoid Epcot

34 Kelly B - Destinations In Florida { 05.23.16 at 10:16 am }

Katie- You\’ve picked one of my all time favorite times to visit the parks. Low crowds, cool weather and Christmas decorations. The crowd levels that week compared to your usual week are completely different. You won\’t know what to do with yourself. You should still have low crowds even with the Free Dining. Enjoy yourselves.

35 Natasha { 06.12.16 at 4:23 pm }

Hi Dave,
Your website is fantastic! We just started planning a last minute trip for this November. This is our first trip to Disney, so far we have only done a Disney cruise. We have a 4 & 6 year old, and are planning to spend 4 nights at AoA (Nemo)… after reviewing your recommendations for resorts. We plan to return in a few years once the kids are older, so we are thinking we’ll take our time and do 3 full days at MK. I really want to see the castle dream lights on our last night (Nov 16 or Nov 30), but no interest in MVMCP this trip.
Would you recommend Nov 13-17 or Nov 27-Dec 1? Or is there not really much difference?
Will 3 days at MK be too much?
Any other tips are appreciated! Thanks!

36 Dave { 06.13.16 at 8:59 am }

Hi Natasha, three days will give you plenty of time for breaks and 50% more FastPass+ than two days, so I think that is fine. Not much difference between your dates for a MK focused trip–if you are flying, getting tix/being at the airport on the 27th will be a bear because of the post-Thanksgiving flight crowds…

37 nikki { 08.14.16 at 10:58 am }

How would crowds be 11/24-11/27?

38 Dave { 08.14.16 at 2:02 pm }

Quite high the 24th through the 26th, and fine the 27th.

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