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

Available on Amazon here.





Disney World Crowds in 2019



By Dave Shute

May   June   July   August   September   October   November

2019 CROWDS AT WALT DISNEY WORLD

Updated April 18, 2019.

The chart lower on the page shows my forecasts for 2019 crowds by week at Walt Disney World.

I updated and revised these in April 2019 after I completed my first set of analyses of 2019 fall breaks, and after the partial opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge on August 29 was announced. Dates affected by the update are the weeks beginning 8/24/19 through 10/26/2019.

I considered revising the July 6 through August 17 crowd level forecasts down by a point–e.g. from “High-minus” to moderate plus,” for two reasons:

  • For several years now, summer waits have been below past trend
  • Now that the Star Wars partial opening has been announced, some folks may shift their summer visits to later in 2019 when they can see at least part of the new land

I chose not to do so for a couple of reasons. First, people underestimate how many people want to avoid the whole Star Wars opening mess, and who as a result may move their trips from the fall into the summer. And second, summer in Orlando is miserably hot and sticky, and anything I can do to incent you to avoid it I view as a service to world…

Once the opening date of the rest of Galaxy’s Edge is announced, I may be forced to revise these forecasts again.

For 2020 crowds, see this.

I expect Galaxy’s Edge to unfold much like Harry Potter did at Universal–with crushing crowds in the actual land, but not a huge spillover effect on the other parks–or even much of the rest of Hollywood Studios other than the more thrill-style rides.

That said, Labor Day weekend 2019 will probably be the busiest ever instance of this holiday weekend at Disney World, and more generally, If I’m wrong, expect to see an increase of a point or two more in the crowd levels after late August.

THE 2019 DISNEY WORLD CROWD CALENDAR

Dates in the Disney World Crowd Calendar are the beginning of the week, and the forecast covers the recommended Saturday-Sunday 9 day stays from that beginning.

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 2019 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. 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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74 comments

1 Cooper { 07.20.18 at 4:01 pm }

we have been to Disney 4 or 5 times so we do know where to go and what to do, however I have never gone in the summer. I am planning on going late may/ early june of next year. do you have any articles displaying how to do it efficiently for summer crowds? or do you have any partner websites you suggest I look at?

Thanks!

2 Dave { 07.22.18 at 12:18 pm }

Cooper, the principles don’t much change, with the exception being that the heat, humidity and afternoon thunderstorms, when combined with later closures, make the idea of taking some or all of the afternoons off even better than other times of the year. For an example itinerary, see this.

3 James { 07.23.18 at 1:54 pm }

Dave,

My wife and I were continuing the debate on the value-adding an extra day to spend in MK on January 13 as part of the week-long vacation. We original only budgeted for 5 days but are contemplating adding a 6th day. If you had a choice that Sunday with the Half Marathon going on, would you go to MK or what Park would you recommend? Thanks for any guidance on this.

4 Dave { 07.24.18 at 7:42 am }

James, the half marathon is Saturday the 12th, the full is the 13th. The principal impact of the races is to clot up the roads, so allow extra time to get around in the mornings. The marathon route in the past has gone through all four parks, starting and ending in EPcot. Avoiding Epcot might be wise, and HS has morning EMH, so avoiding it might be a good idea as well. Either MK or AK would be the best choice.

5 Ingrid { 08.29.18 at 10:52 am }

Dave,
I am planning on taking my three 5 year olds on their first trip to Disney in the spring of 2019. I want to avoid the crowds and, based on my husband’s work schedule, we are pretty limited (he’s free when everyone else is!). Based on this forecast, you say the week of 4/6 is good, but I wonder why you think that since it is so close to Easter. It would work out for us so I want to make sure it’s a good time. So would the week of 5/11, but I’m worried about the heat/rain then. Also, I want to stay at the Polynesian. Would you recommend a standard room at he resort or one of the studio villas? They seem about the same price. Thanks!

6 Dave { 08.30.18 at 8:21 am }

Ingrid, for more on why I think the week of 4/6 will be OK, see this, especially the chart lower on the page.

The studio vs regular room question is not obvious. A regular room gives you more living space. The studio guarantees you a balcony or patio (1/3 of regular rooms have neither) and adds a half bath, but is a little more cramped. With five, the extra bath space might help…

7 Melissa Blackson { 08.30.18 at 2:12 pm }

Hi,
My fiance and I are basically first-timers. It’s been over 30 years since either of us have visited. We are coming in April 29th -May 6th, and thanks to a generous 7-night off-property timeshare wedding gift, we will NOT be staying on Disney property. We are about 15 minutes away by car. Any tips?

8 Dave { 08.31.18 at 7:57 am }

Hi Melissa! So much is different that you ought to treat it like your first visit! Start here, and then take a look at this.

9 What to Expect on the Day Disney Announces the Disney Armed Forces Salute • Military Disney Tips Blog { 08.31.18 at 11:39 am }

[…] See The YourFirstVisit.net 2019 Crowd Calendar  […]

10 Christine { 09.02.18 at 10:54 pm }

What are your thoughts on when Galaxy’s Edge opening will be better known? My friends and I want to plan a trip for when it opens plus a few extra days for visiting other parks, and we want to be sure we have enough time for planning dining fastpasses etc. And also what is the best resort for group of 4 (2 couples sharing 1 room) either moderate or deluxe

11 Dave { 09.03.18 at 8:46 am }

Christine, 3 to 6 months before seems a good guess, abse don how far in advance these opens have been announced lately.

12 Ashley { 09.03.18 at 5:38 pm }

Hi,

I am planning a trip for my 40th Birthday in November 2019, and I am planning Nov. 17-22, so that I will be there on my actual birthday. I am concerned about how the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge could effect my trip for my first time visiting as an adult. I have been to MK when I was 12, but not the other parks. Is the crowd going to be a huge difference when it opens? When will the date of the opening be firm?

13 Ashley { 09.03.18 at 5:40 pm }

Sorry, you basically answer all of that in the post. I should have read it more carefully!

14 Dave { 09.05.18 at 7:18 am }

🙂 Ashley!!!

15 Kashayna Alanis { 09.03.18 at 5:46 pm }

When does the guide for 2019 come out?? Thanks

16 Dave { 09.05.18 at 7:19 am }

Kashayna, it’s being uploaded to Amazon this week!

17 Arlene Chan { 09.20.18 at 12:34 am }

Dear Dave-I love your book, have bought it for friends & myself for last 3 years. Thank you for the update in 2017, we went Oct & I bought the book 1-24-17. Didn’t buy 2018 cuz we are going in 2019, specifically 3-23 to 4-1, weeks your crowd calendar rank 10 & 9. Never been to WDW at such a busy time. I need help, got 2 grandkids (2 & 5) going & Josh no longer does those great weekly calendars by the month on EasyWDW. Too soon to buy the 2019 book?
Any tips would be appreciated. Thank you for the great book!

18 Dave { 09.20.18 at 7:36 am }

Hey Arlene, so glad and thanks! The 2019 book just came out, and our updates to it will include evolving touring plans, as you already know! It’s available here.

Questions for you: are you staying at EMH-eligible resorts, and do you think you can get the beasts up and going in time to arrive before EMH starts?

19 Arlene Chan { 09.21.18 at 2:50 am }

Hi Dave-Thanks for answering email questions! Yes, we are staying on site at BW & AKL EMH resorts, getting the little ones up & running is hard, the parents “we are on vacation!” In the past we avoid the EMH early parks because they are so crowded if you do not get there early and our dining reservations seemed to dictate which park we went to on any day. We try to follow your general “picking the best days to visit the parks” recommendations, but would like to fine tune the plan since it is so crowded & do not know how much additional time it will take to tour with the new attractions. Will order your 2019 book tonight. Thank you ahead of time for your help.

20 Dave { 09.21.18 at 12:01 pm }

Arlene, first the calendar is out only through 3/20, so ping me back in ~10 days and I can give you park days advice.

The problem, though is that some 8a opens may be added as late as February (or conceivably even up to the night before), so the early morning issue–whether EMH or not–can rear its head.

The best way to tour in super busy times is to buy a hopper, go to the morning EMH parks, then hop away. Second best is to rope drop–that is, avoid EMH parks, but arrive well before open. If you can’t do that, then your best bet is to be in the parks every single day–even your arrival and departure days–so that you maximize your FastPass+ opportunities.

21 Arlene Chan { 09.22.18 at 6:05 pm }

Hi Dave,
Thank you for the tips, will check back with you in 10 days. Amazon getting your book to me on
Sunday and will read up.

22 Dave { 09.23.18 at 11:40 am }

OK Arlene!

23 2019 WDW Consolidated Crowd Calendar (6 in 1) – ryan erickson { 10.15.18 at 5:50 pm }

[…] YourFirstVisit.net […]

24 Jen { 12.28.18 at 2:34 pm }

Hey Dave, We are planning a trip for last week of October thru first couple of days in Nov 2019, but I am really concerned with the half marathon crowd levels are going to be high. Our alternative is last week of April 2020 into the first week of May. What do you think? We have not visited in either month before. Thanks for your input. We used your fist trip guide in 2015 and had a blast!

25 Dave { 12.29.18 at 10:34 am }

Hi Jen, the marathons and such (dance events, Pop Warner, etc) despite much internet fussing have no material impact on park crowds. They just don’t draw enough people. On an average day, the parks draw 160,000 people. Another 20,000 from special events just don’t make much difference.

26 DeAnn { 01.24.19 at 3:58 pm }

Hi Dave, I have found a lot of crowd calendars but I’m trying to find more info on crowds by time of day. I have park hopper and I would like some idea of what would be a good park in the morning, afternoon and evening. For example: “MK typically is the most crowded in the afternoon and Epcot is the most crowded in the evening.” This would help me plan my days. Morning in MK, evening in HS, for example. Can you help or have you seen any articles that go into this?

27 Dave { 01.25.19 at 8:32 am }

DeAnn, except on extra magic hours days, and Friday and Saturday evenings at Epcot during festivals, the parks are universally least busy in the first hour or so after opening and the last hour before close, and peak crowds are from mid-morning until late afternoon. The individual parks do not vary on this measure.

PS I edited your comment to convert “Jen” to me! No Jens here…

28 Teresa { 03.18.19 at 11:15 pm }

Hi,

I am planning to go to Disney on Labor Day.
How will the crowd be like and also is there train service?

Should I buy the super fast pass?
Taking the height restriction for my girl and going to only 1 park only I am wondering if is worth buying.

29 Dave { 03.19.19 at 6:50 am }

Teresa, FastPass+ is free with your tickets–you don’t need to buy anything other than a ticket to be able to use it.

Don’t quite understand your “train” question–can you be more specific?

But more poignant: DIsney World is seeing its biggest opening in decades, of a new Star Wars land, the Thursday before Labor Day weekend. As a result, I expect Labor Day weekend to be the busiest as it has ever been, and if I were you I would avoid it like the plague.

If you are planning to come anyway, tell my how old your child is, her height, and I can give you more guidance from that.

30 Nicole { 04.27.19 at 12:43 am }

Hello! I have two trips planned… Aug 10-17 at All Star Sports w free dining and hopper and Sept 28-oct 5 at Pop w free dining and hopper passes. Based strictly on the crowds and weather which would you recommend? I’m having a really rough time deciding what is best for my family of four (kids 5&6. Please help!!!! Thanks!

31 Dave { 04.27.19 at 1:08 pm }

Hi Nicole, the September-October dates win on both crowds and weather.

32 karen fantozzi { 05.02.19 at 3:36 pm }

my husband and I will be visiting MK and EPCOT during labor day weekend, however: we are
checking out on Friday Sept 6th. Was wondering would Tuesday(day after labor day) be a better day to visit MK and EPCOT on Wednesday or visa versa.

33 Dave { 05.03.19 at 1:36 pm }

Hi Karen, not precisely sure I understand your question, but that week Tues will be better than Weds at MK, and Weds will be better than Tues at Epcot

34 Rose { 05.07.19 at 8:50 am }

How long past Labor Day weekend do you think the massive SWGE opening crowds will last? Debating going September 2-5 or October 28-31, or possibly September 8-11. Adults only trip.

35 Dave { 05.07.19 at 10:30 am }

Rose, no one really knows. My guess is that things will settle down pretty quickly in September, but I may well be wrong. Your October date is probably safer…

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