Hey everybody, there’s a new itinerary out for arrivals 8/31 through 10/26/2019. You can find it here.

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

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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85 comments

1 Jane { 06.05.19 at 5:23 pm }

Hi Dave, I was very disappointed just now to look at some other crowd calendars and see that they are now rating most of the days of Thanksgiving week 2019 at 10 out of 10 for most days at WDW (one I looked at was Touring Plans, for example). I see that you are still rating it as an 8. Do you think they are assuming more of an impact from SW? Or do you and they not always see eye to eye? I was expecting more of an 8, not a 10, but also expecting to see more from SW so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised….still, was not expecting it to be that bad…..I do have other ideas for stuff to do if we feel like parks are too crowded, like go back to the GF to see the gingerbread house….there are a lot of nice things around WDW to do I’d like to do and haven’t budgeted time for……

2 Dave { 06.06.19 at 6:56 am }

Hi Jane, the only other crowd calendar that I know to be fact-based and transparent is that of touringplans, and it has had reliability issues for some time.

That said, there is plenty of ambiguity about 1. the impact of the partial opening of Star Wars, since Thanksgiving week is the first major holiday period after it opens and 2. the timing of the opening of the second ride there. So I would not argue with someone who puts a ten on that week just to play it safe.

The good news is that ever since the advent of FastPass+ a good plan has made more of a difference to a good day than the overall levels of crowds. So I would not be too worried about the difference between an 8 and a 10.

3 Jane { 06.06.19 at 4:11 pm }

Thanks Dave! You put my mind at ease. In our previous 2 visits we managed to have a great time, and do all the things we really wanted, despite heavy crowds—and it was due to following your advice. I haven’t seen my new copy of the Easy Guide yet, however, b/c my 10 yr old took it away to his room the minute I got it…….

4 Angela Coughlin { 06.20.19 at 9:54 am }

Hi Dave,
Planning our first trip to Disney, kids ages are 4 and 6. We are flexible on dates. Was thinking of 10/27 – 10/31. Nervous with crowds from star wars opening.
10/27 – travel
10/28 AK
10/29 MK
10/30 HS
10/31 travel

Thoughts? Should we totally move our dates?

5 Dave { 06.20.19 at 10:31 am }

Angela, in general my advice is that if you are worried and also flexible, re-book. I would target late April (arriving after 4/19) or early May… If you want to keep your dates, let me know, and I’ll give you my thoughts on them!

6 Lourdes { 06.24.19 at 11:33 am }

HELP PLEASE!

Hi,
We are planning our first family trip to WDW, we have booked flights and hotel from october 31 to novembrer 5 2019.
Reading all this blogs im getting anxious about the trip, because they say the weekend of the 31th is the worst! Chaning our flighs is really expensive, but I need advice on this because we want to enjoy the trip.

We have two kids (2 an 3 yo) so skipping Epcot because of the Food and Wine Festival could be an option, but I dont know if its still a good idea for Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studio (just Toy Story Land) and Disney World

Thanks in advance for your help.

7 Dave { 06.25.19 at 9:44 am }

Lourdes, you will be fine!

8 Paula { 07.14.19 at 12:40 pm }

Need advice… We are a family of 6: 2 adults, 4 kids at ages 15, 13/13, 11. I can take 8 days vacation anytime from Dec 1st to Jan 5th. We have an RV and would stay at Fort Wilderness resort. Total 5 nights. 1 day at each park. Cannot afford park hopper.
What week would you recommend?
Added info is kids have school break 12/20 to Jan 5th. So they wouldn’t miss school then… But that is of course busiest/crowded time.
I will say we did WDW Dec 22-23-24, stayed in condo 12/25, then 12/26 wdw in 2012 and had a FABULOUS experience. Great lines, not too crowded, parade. We still talk about it. So, I do debate taking the risk again.
This trip would be their Christmas gift.
Any advice appreciated.

9 Dave { 07.15.19 at 12:58 pm }

Hey Paula, first I’d check on availability at the Fort, as that is a very popular time for repeat campers.

The second ride of the new Star Wars land will be opening on December 5. That is a powerful argument to be there before then.

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