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.



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2018 Weeks to Visit Walt Disney World, Ranked in Order



By Dave Shute

April   May   June   July   August   September

OVERVIEW: THE BEST TIMES IN 2018 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 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 week rankings are based on my updated  2018 Disney World Crowd Calendar and on the final Walt Disney World 2018 price seasons.

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

(For 2019 rankings, see this. For more how I build these rankings, see this.)

RECOMMENDED 2018 WEEKS AT DISNEY WORLD, RANKED IN ORDER

The fourteen 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. 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

Week 14 is similar to weeks 8-11, but has higher prices in the deluxes

  • 14: 4/7/18

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

2018 WEEKS I’M NOT SO KEEN ON

Weeks 15-19 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.

  • 15: 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.
  • 16: 10/13/18. A week with moderate crowds, moderate prices, and great weather that has become more crowded in recent years
  • 17: 5/19/18. Similar to week 12, slightly more heat and humidity and crowds.
  • 18: 12/15/18. The same Christmas program as weeks 1-3, but higher crowds–especially later in the week–and much higher prices
  • 19: 6/2/18.  Beginning of summer, with traditionally the lowest crowds until late August

Weeks 20-27 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 20 and 21 have some of the lowest crowds of the year

  • 20: 9/1/18
  • 21: 9/15/18

Weeks 22, 23 and 24 have slightly higher crowds, and Week 24, higher prices

  • 22: 9/8/18
  • 23: 8/25/18
  • 24: 9/22/18

Weeks 25 to 27 are the moderate-crowd weeks in this hurricane group

  • 25: 9/29/18
  • 26: 8/18/18
  • 27: 8/11/18

2018 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 28-47, should be avoided because of crowds that traditionally range from high to unbelievable.

This group includes all of later June, July and early August (traditionally massive crowds, although I do need t0 note that the summers of 2016 and 2017 were much more manageable than I’d thought).

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 48-53.

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), and the Martin Luther King Day (1/13/18 arrival date) holiday weekend,.

The Marathon Weekend (affecting the weekend of a 1/6/18 arrival date) complicates Disney World as well, although it has little impact on park crowds beyond the effects of leftover holiday visitors.

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72 comments

1 Melissa { 01.07.18 at 9:54 pm }

What are EMH days ? Can u tell me which parks would be best for the following days. We want to do magic kingdom 1 day then park hop to two parks to do what we can the other day.
April 26and 27. Thanks

2 Dave { 01.08.18 at 10:41 am }

Melissa, EMH are explained here.

I can’t advise hopping on day two–it costs more and you waste time going from park to park–but if you must, ignore me!!

On your April dates, MK will be best the 26th.

3 Heather { 01.08.18 at 1:22 pm }

Planning a trip of less than a week.
For crowd levels.
May 24th
Or Oct 6th (could arrive 6, 7 or 8)
?

4 Heather { 01.08.18 at 1:32 pm }

We could arrive May 24 or after.
I noticed June 2 looks like better crowd levels.
So May/June or Oct
Crowd first priority & temps second 🙂
Thanks.

5 Dave { 01.09.18 at 5:51 am }

Heather, by temps do you mean looking for hot or looking for comfortable? If the latter, I’d advise late October.

6 Heather { 01.09.18 at 4:02 pm }

Less than week trip with options of
Arriving oct 6, 7, or 8
Or may 24, end of May, beg June
First concerned with crowd levels
Second concerned with not unbearably hot

7 Dave { 01.10.18 at 6:07 am }

Heather, the period around Columbus Day can be quite crowded, as so many kids are on Fall break then. The week of Memorial Day is also quite crowded. So The beginning of June is your best choice form a crowd perspective. However, Florida in the summer can be unbearably hot and humid…so none of your dates really fit your criteria.

8 Justine { 01.21.18 at 8:06 am }

We were looking to go to WDW the week of 3/4/2018 which is ranked pretty well here. However, we learned that The Pirates of the Carribean ride will be down at that time. We have been to Disney once, in 2015 but the kids were so young- one has little memory of it and the other has no memory. I remember this as my favorite ride and my son love Captain Jack Sparrow! We originally considered the week of 4/8/2018. Would you suggest us going that week instead so we can enjoy the Pirates ride? Or will the crowd lebel make up the difference enough that we should stick with 3/4/18? Thank you for this awesome calendar and ranking!

9 Dave { 01.21.18 at 9:40 am }

Hi Justine and thanks! The week of 4/8 should be just fine!

10 Dave w { 01.29.18 at 9:12 pm }

7 day trip, first timers, was looking at arrival of nov 1-2 but worried about Jersey Week. Ironically from Jersey but worried about crowds? How much of a change in crowd volume is this week and when do they arrive? Could potentially go the following week. Thoughts?

11 Dave { 01.30.18 at 7:21 am }

Dave, Jersey week is not bad–it’s just worse than the weeks before and after. Good plans can make a visit then completely successful.

12 Danielle { 03.15.18 at 1:49 pm }

Totally disagree – we went to Disney during jersey week last year and vowed never to go during that week again. Wait times were outrageous compared to what they were projected to be. Magic kingdom was so congested, it was miserable.

13 Dave { 03.18.18 at 12:43 pm }

Danielle, sorry you were miserable. Peak waits in 2017 were more than 300 minutes–more than 5 hours. Jersey week came nowhere close to that. On a ten point scale, crowds were 6.8 that week, putting them at a moderate+ level–a little higher than I had forecast.

14 Jamie { 01.30.18 at 2:02 pm }

Hi Dave,
Thank you so much for this wonderful site. I was looking at booking a Disney World trip in September – especially weeks 21, 22 or 23. I was wondering if the crowd level for week 22 goes up for a particular reason? and how much would it be noticable in crowds than weeks 20 or 23? We want to stay 10 nights and there are 3 families going. Thank you for any help!!

15 Dave { 01.31.18 at 9:27 am }

Jamie, there’s not much difference in one point in my crowd rankings (the difference in week 22 is from historical patterns) If you are staying in a Disney Resort, note the mid-month price changes.

16 Lisa { 02.02.18 at 11:07 am }

What about Week ranked #4 – November 10th? No impact from Veteran’s Day on the 11th? I was surprised to see Jersery Week having more of an impact than Veteran’s Day. First time visitor and also Canadian, so not sure about the significance of all of the holidays. Your input is greatly appreciated 🙂

17 Dave { 02.03.18 at 6:41 am }

Hi Lisa, while most kids get Veteran’s Day off, few parents do–about 21%. Moreover, since it is so close to (US) Thanksgiving, it’s harder to take kids out of school around it. So by itself it has little impact on crowds.

18 Tommy { 02.02.18 at 1:55 pm }

Hey dave thank you so much for the information. We are planning a trip for 7 days and staying off site. I was wondering which week you would recommend for first time visitors looking for lower crowds but warm enough weather to visit a water park. We are looking to visit between between march 10 through may 19. Thank you for any advise.

19 Dave { 02.03.18 at 6:47 am }

Hi Tommy, in 2018 aim for mid-April to mid-May.

20 Gina Anderson { 02.10.18 at 11:48 pm }

What does “low” crowds mean on your standards? Just trying to get a feel for what they mean. What kind of wait times would be considered low before it becomes moderate? Also, were you aware of you aware of Mardi Gras week? End of feb first part of March? We went at this time last year since it was predicted low crowds. Shortest wait time was 65 mins. Longest was 200 mins. That’s hardly a low crowd in my opinion. Low would be 40 min wait or less on most rides. It would be nice to have more accurate predictions but I understand they are only just that. I hate trying to go during a low season and to mean I consider it to be moderate to high every time. Maybe low crowds now means 70 mins or less in wait time? Just wondering. Thank you for some of the other info it’s helpful!

21 Dave { 02.12.18 at 6:29 am }

Gina, since there was no period in late February when every single ride had a minimum wait of 65 minutes all day long, I’m not sure what you are talking about in your specific instance. Mardi Gras happens every year at a different date, not the end of February or first part of March, depending on when Easter is.* When it is during Presidents week, it is mobbed; otherwise it is not, as only about 3% of US schoolkids get it off. You will not find a single week during the year when no rides exceed 40 minute waits at any time. Peak waits in 2017 exceeded 5 hours–300 minutes. I think we can all agree that is “high.” WHat is low is a matter of opinion–mine are outlined in detailed, hour by hour tables in my book–but as always the best approach is 1. Have good daily plans including 2. good FastPass+ plans and 3. pick the right park to be at each day

*Typically 47 days before Easter, and Easter can occur between March 23 and April 25, so Feb 4 to March 9

22 Denise { 02.28.18 at 7:25 pm }

We would like to go to Disneyworld anywhere from the end of Sept to the end of Oct but we would really like to go when then offer the free dining plan. Do you have any idea when this would be offered?

23 Dave { 03.01.18 at 1:46 pm }

Denise, the eligible arrival dates for the past few years are towards the bottom of this post. You’ll note that an October arrival date is unlikely to be included, but there may well be late September arrival dates.

24 Debra Diane Piper { 04.17.18 at 2:49 pm }

Which is the best week to visit in 2018. The week of November 11-16 or November 25-30? Both are showing as pretty good crowd level wise. Thanks!

25 Dave { 04.18.18 at 8:45 am }

Debra, they are very close. The main difference is that Disney’s Christmas program is fully in place the later dates, and only partly in place the earlier ones.

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