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By the co-author of The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2018, the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook series ever.

Available on Amazon here.





Disney World Crowds in 2018



By Dave Shute

2018 CROWDS AT WALT DISNEY WORLD

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 2019 crowds at Disney World, see this. )

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

HOW TO INTERPRET THE 2018 DISNEY WORLD CROWD CALENDAR

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.

MY DISNEY WORLD CROWD CALENDAR GOES UP TO “11”

The influence of the Unofficial Guide  and TouringPlans.com 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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194 comments

1 debra laudenslager { 11.06.17 at 11:21 am }

Hi Dave
Our date for dining reservations is fast approaching and I was wondering if you have any recommendations for the best parks for our stay from May 21,2018 thru May 29,2018. We utilized your crowd calendars for our May 2016 trip and it was very successful so any input would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you,
Debra

2 Dave { 11.06.17 at 1:55 pm }

Hi Debra, I can advice, but only after the operating calendar for then is out. Right now it is out only through May 1. I expect the full month will be out in about 10 days or so, so check back OK?

3 Amanda { 11.06.17 at 7:53 pm }

Hi Dave,

Your website is amazing!

We just booked March 20-27th 2018 and I’m seeing on your calendar that it’s a terrible time to go (slightly worried at kids are 2&4). Any suggestions for me? We are staying at a Disney resort so will have option of magic hours. Thanks!

4 Dave { 11.07.17 at 9:18 am }

Hi Amanda, and thanks! The key to such a rough period is to have good FastPass+ and daily plans. Take a look at this and its daily links for an example of such plans–FastPass+ are covered here.

Morning EMH can be a great help, especially if you can get out of bed early enough to arrive at the turnstiles well before the EMH are scheduled to start. Note that the week before Easter it’s common for MK to move to 8a opens, and then have (7a) EMH every morning. See this for how the equivalent week unfolded this year.

5 debra { 11.27.17 at 5:51 pm }

Hi Dave,
I see you have posted the park hours for May and I was hoping to get your input on the best days to visit each park. We will be arriving on May 21st and leaving on the 29th. I am also wondering which parks would be more impacted by the Memorial Day weekend.

Thank you,
Debra

6 Dave { 11.28.17 at 6:43 am }

Hi Debra! The calendar is out only through May 23, so buzz me back in a few days. The holiday will affect all the parks, in particular–I’d guess–Hollywood Studios, as Toy Story Land, if not already open by thrn, will likely open that weekend.

7 Myra { 11.30.17 at 7:12 am }

I’m planning on giving a Disney World trip to my daughter, her husband and 2 children(9 & 4 yrs old) for a Christmas. Should I go through a travel agent or book everything myself? I don’t want to pay more than I have to. Thanks

8 Dave { 11.30.17 at 7:37 am }

Myra, the weeks including Christmas and New Years are wildly expensive. You can see the Christmas programs for less money earlier in December. In general, a travel agent will not save you money, but rather time.

If you do choose to use a travel agent, I recommend Kelly B–her info is later in the comment thread!

9 Mark { 11.30.17 at 2:05 pm }

I keep seeing the question about whether or not to use a travel agent (in response to Myrna). In 2016, we decided to cut our vacation short by a day because of Hurricane Matthew. We had booked through a travel agent. I spent about 3 hours with Disney staff getting bounced around several departments trying to find out about getting a refund for the shortened vacation. I found that different Disney departments don’t communicate.

Because I had booked through a travel agent, I was able to contact the travel agent to work out the refund issue. I ended up getting about a $300.00 refund from Disney. It was very nice having the travel agent there to navigate the Disney bureaucracy and pin Disney down on an answer.

I don’t know if this would have been any easier had I booked through Disney. The Disney bookings are handled by a different group than the travel agency bookings. It took several phone calls just to figure that out.

I recommend using a travel agent.

10 Dave { 12.01.17 at 9:26 am }

Thanks, Mark!

11 Kelly B - Destinations in Florida { 12.01.17 at 9:25 am }

Hi Mark. I’m Kelly B – the designated Destinations In Florida travel agent for yourfirstvisit.net.

I can’t speak for all travel agents, but when you book a vacation package with me, all of my services are free. Free itinerary planning, Free Dining reservation planning and booking, Free Fastpass planning and booking, Free MousePerks, Free future discount search. There are no price mark ups. And in cases like the one you experienced (like the hurricane), I’m here to advocate on your behalf.

From the moment you start dreaming of your vacation, until you wave good-bye to Mickey I’ll be here. I’ll share my lifetime love of Disney as well as my years of experience, knowledge and training as a Travel Agent to help you create the magical vacation of your dreams. My goal is to help you make memories to last a lifetime.

KellyB@DestinationsInFlorida.com or 980-429-4499

12 Kelly B - Destinations in Florida { 12.01.17 at 9:29 am }

Hi Myra,

I would love to help you and your family plan your upcoming Disney Vacation. All of my services are free when you book a vacation package with me. We’ll find you the best pricing available.

Feel free to contact me at 980-429-4499 or KellyB@DestinationsInFlorida.com so we can start your planning that dream vacation

13 MJ { 12.04.17 at 9:11 am }

Hi Dave. We are taking a WDW trip for 1/20-1/27 with 2 other families. Would appreciate any thoughts on our tentative park itinerary:
1/20 (Sat) – MK (not the ideal day for MK but the other 2 families will arrive in the evening so we want to take advantage of being a smaller group with young kids)
1/21 – MK
1/22 – EP
1/23 – HS
1/24 – Break
1/25 – MK
1/26 – AK
Thanks!

14 Dave { 12.04.17 at 1:34 pm }

Hi MJ! I think this will be OK. However, I’m not keen on MK on Sunday (or MOnday…). Could you do 1/21 Epcot, 1/22 HS and 1/23 MK?

15 MJ { 12.04.17 at 2:22 pm }

Thanks for your input Dave. In trying to be mindful of not writing too much in my previous comment, I left out that our “break” on 1/24 is actually when half the group (older kids) will be going to Universal and the other half (younger kids) will go to MK that’s more focused on them. So, 3 days in a row at MK based on your suggestion may not be ideal for us. Does this change your thinking at all? Thanks.

16 Dave { 12.05.17 at 6:52 am }

MJ three days in a row at MK is just fine 🙂

17 Eric { 12.06.17 at 4:41 pm }

Hi Dave, is it too early to start planning park days for August? At the least, which parks to avoid Sun/Mon/Tue/Wed ?

18 Dave { 12.07.17 at 7:01 am }

Eirx, the calendar only goes out to early June, so yes, it is too early…

19 Dave { 12.07.17 at 7:01 am }

Eric, the calendar only goes out to early June, so yes, it is too early…

20 debra { 12.15.17 at 8:21 pm }

Hi Dave,
Hoping for advice for our upcoming May trip. We will be there from May 21st to May 29th. Looking for your input on what would be the best day for each park.
Thanks

21 Dave { 12.16.17 at 9:43 am }

Hi Debra, things may evolve a bit depending on what happens with the opening date of Toy Story Land at HS, but here’s what I’d advise today:

5/21 avoid MK and AK
5/22 avoid Epcot
5/23 avoid MK
5/24 avoid Epcot
5/25 avoid MK
5/26 avoid MK and AK
5/27 avoid HS
5/28 avoid MK and AK
5/29 avoid Epcot.

Crowds will be worst the 26th and 27th, and best before then.

22 Yuko { 12.17.17 at 3:52 am }

Hi Dave,
Looking for your advise on our trip to WDW between 2/4-2/8. We will have 5 days hopper tickets. What day will be the best park between MK/AK/HS and Epcot? We want to go MK twice. Your recommendation will be much appreciated.

Thank you

23 Dave { 12.17.17 at 9:46 am }

Hi Yuko!
2/4 Epcot and AK will be best
2/5 Epcot and HS will be best
2/6 all but Epcot are OK, MK best
2/7 all but MK are OK, Epcot best
2/8 all but EPcot are OK, MK best

I advise doing Epcot first, so on that basis do Epcot 2/4, HS 2/5, MK 2/6, AK 2/7, and MK 2/8

24 Yuko { 12.17.17 at 10:33 pm }

Dave,

Thank you so much for your advice! My original plan was so close to your advice. I was gonna do AK first on 2/4, but I will switch to Epcot as your advice! Thanks again!

25 Dave { 12.18.17 at 6:00 pm }

Have fun, Yuko, and let me know how your visit goes!!

26 B { 01.01.18 at 2:50 pm }

Hi Dave,
Hoping you can give advice on our 2018 WDW trip. Due to work & school schedules, we’re looking at April 5-11. With a mix of two different weeks, how do you see crowds overall during that time? Thanks!

27 Dave { 01.02.18 at 6:55 am }

Hi B, the parks will be wildly busy through April 7. The 8th through the 11th will be much better! Let me know if you’d like advice on which parks which days.

28 B { 01.02.18 at 8:44 am }

Hi Dave,
Advice on which parks which days would be much appreciated. Thanks!

29 Dave { 01.02.18 at 3:23 pm }

B, here you go. If you need a break day, aim for 4/7 as it will be pretty bad. Try to see all four parks on 4/8-4/11, so you have a “better day” in each.
4/5 avoid MK, Epcot
4/6 avoid all but AK
4/7 avoid MK, AK
4/8 avoid HS
4/9 avoid MK and AK
4/10 avoid Epcot
4/11 avoid MK

30 Fiona { 01.03.18 at 12:02 pm }

Hi,
Doing our first WDW trip arriving June 3 departing june 10. Have 6 days park hopper plus wondering which parks we should do on each day.
Thanks Fiona

31 Dave { 01.04.18 at 2:29 pm }

Hi Fiona!

6/3 avoid MK and HS
6/4 avoid AK
6/5 avoid Epcot
6/6 avoid MK
6/7 avoid Epcot
6/8 avoid MK
6/9 avoid AK
6/20 avoid MK and HS

32 lorena { 01.04.18 at 5:52 pm }

hi its the first time taking my daughter when do you recommend me that is lowest crowds firsts weeks in may 4-8,5-10 or september 8-13 ?

33 Dave { 01.05.18 at 7:01 am }

Lorena, September. But you have to be very careful in picking which park you go to which day. Ping me in six weeks or so (when the calendar for then should be out) and I’ll be able to advise you.

34 Lorena { 01.05.18 at 5:51 pm }

So may 5-10 do you think it’s going to be very busy?

35 Dave { 01.06.18 at 8:22 am }

No, I was just answering which was lowest. All three of your choices are low crowd, but your September option is the lowest.

36 Jf { 01.13.18 at 12:32 am }

Going April 4-8. Any suggestions?

37 Dave { 01.13.18 at 9:45 am }

JF it will be pretty lousy through the 7th. Are you eligible for EMH, and will you have a hopper? Let me know, as my advice will vary a bit depending…

38 Jf { 01.13.18 at 10:02 am }

Yes to EMH as we are staying at The Swan and Dolphin. Also will have hopper for the 5th 6th and 7th

39 Dave { 01.15.18 at 8:15 am }

JF, then one good plan would be to do the morning EMH park (arrive at the turnstiles 45 minutes before EMH starts, and watch for 8a opens that would put the beginning of EMH at 7a) and then hop away from that park after crowds build, setting your pre-booked FP+ up for the park to which you plan to hop. This would put you at morning EMH at Epcot the 5th, MK the 6th and AK the 7th. Note that if you can’t get to the park that early that this approach won’t work well.

40 Katie { 01.13.18 at 10:59 pm }

Hi,
Looking at coming in 10-4-18 and leaving 10-8-18. We are traveling with a set of grandparents and one 3 year old. Which two days do you recommend for Disney?

41 Dave { 01.15.18 at 8:17 am }

Katie, I’ll be able to reply after Disney releases its calendar for then, which won’t be until April. You will also need to tell me which of the 4 parks you want to see, as the answer will be different depending on which park you are going to.

42 PJB { 01.14.18 at 9:24 pm }

Hi there. First time visit to WDW scheduled 4/2/18-4/6/18. I know…. horrible timing as far as crowd calendar, but have students in the group so we needed to travel during their break.
5 day hoppers. Non-Disney resort accommodations booked. Advice for helping us build our itinerary? I purchased your 2018 Guide to our WDW visit. Great info! Hoping to get advice on which park to visit which days…..Thank you. We are DL Annual Passholders and know that resort well, but this is ALL new territory! Trying to figure out how non-resort guests get to stay on property to enjoy fireworks, etc….

43 Dave { 01.15.18 at 8:24 am }

Hi PJB and thanks!!

Everyone can stay for the fireworks, regardless of where they are staying. For you, the key will be having excellent daily plans and FastPass+ choices, and avoiding parks on days they have extra magic hours–especially morning ones. The calendar for these (for the moment) is available here https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/calendars/five-day/2018-04-02/ However, I expect to see them added at MK most or all days of your visit…

You can find good one and two day park itineraries in my book. However, your 30 days FastPass+ eligibility will limit you a bit in executing them.

44 Allison { 01.19.18 at 10:22 am }

I am trying to plan a trip for our family, and can not decide between 11/11/18- 11/17/18 or 11/26/18- 12/2/18. I love the idea of the kids not having to miss as much school during the Veterans Day week, but am also nervous that it will be more crowded. Thanks for your help!

45 Dave { 01.20.18 at 6:27 am }

Allison, because it’s less common for parents to have veterans day off (unless they work for the government) than any other major holiday, it does not yield much in the way of crowds. So I forecast crowds these two weeks to be about the same. The earlier date, on average, will be not as chilly; on the other hand it will have less of Disney’s Christmas program

46 Mike { 01.20.18 at 8:56 pm }

Hi Dave
Trying to set out itinerary for 7/8-7-15
Arriving early afternoon on the 8th, probably could hut the park around 5:00.
Which parks would be best for each day?
Thanks!

47 Dave { 01.21.18 at 9:32 am }

Hi Mike, you could use this: https://yourfirstvisit.net/2017/05/11/disney-world-higher-crowd-itinerary/

Otherwise,
7/8 avoid HS and MK
7/9 avoid AK
7/10 avoid Epcot
7/11 avoid MK
7/12 avoid Epcot
7/13 avoid MK
7/14 avoid MK and AK
7/15 avoid HS and MK

48 Mike { 01.21.18 at 2:55 pm }

Thanks Dave, i did see the Higher Crowd itinerary, but it shows MK on Saturday, you’re saying that’s not a good idea?

49 Mike { 01.21.18 at 8:50 pm }

So it looks like i need to schedule an MK day either Monday or Saturday, which would be best? (I would do Epcot instead of MK on whichever one of the two i dont do MK)

50 Dave { 01.22.18 at 9:26 am }

Mike, my itineraries are forced into some compromises because they are designed so that MK is the last of the four parks to be seen, so the three MK days they have have to coincide with some less good days. Because there’s three days there (and three days worth of FastPass+, etc.) it ends up not mattering.

51 Mike { 01.22.18 at 2:40 pm }

That makes sense, but I will only have 2 MK days and 2 EP days.
I need to schedule one of the MK days on either Monday or Saturday ( the other MK day will be Thursday), which day would be best?

I will schedule EP on whichever one I don’t schedule for MK. The other EP day would be arrival day (Sunday), so only half day

52 Dave { 01.25.18 at 7:48 am }

Mike, there’s not quite as much difference in day-day crowds in the summer, especially now that most locals have their annual passes blocked out and thuis aren’t clotting up the weekends. That said, I’d give Monday at MK the nod over Saturday.

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