OVERVIEW: THE BEST TIMES IN 2019 TO VISIT WALT DISNEY WORLD
For most years, this site recommends arriving at Walt Disney World one of the first three Saturdays after Thanksgiving–although in 2019, the late Thanksgiving costs us a week, so the week beginning the third Saturday after Thanksgiving is not as good a choice as the earlier two weeks.
If you can’t or don’t want to go then, presented below are my rankings of the weeks of 2019 in order of best to worst times to visit Disney World.
Once the opening date of the rest of Galaxy’s Edge is announced, I may be forced to revise them again.
These rankings are designed for first time visitors who do not know whether or not they will return.
These rankings assume that you follow sound touring plans and pick the right parks to visit on the right days–an especially big issue during the party season in the last third of the year.
A major forecasting issue for Disney World in 2019 is the impact of the opening of the new Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge land in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The land will partially open on August 29. My forecasts for what will happen because of it, and why, are detailed on this page. The short version is that the land and its ride(s) will be mobbed, other thrill rides at the Studios will see longer waits, but the rest of that park–and the other three parks–will not be much immediately affected.
This last point comes from people flocking to Disney World and the Studios for Star Wars being in some measure compensated for by people avoiding Disney World and the Studios because of the potential Star Wars crowds. So if you are tempted to avoid Disney World August 29, 2019 and later to avoid the Star Wars mess, then please do avoid it, as otherwise my forecast won’t come true!
And if my forecast is wrong, things will be worse at Disney World after late August than I indicate below.
RECOMMENDED 2019 WEEKS AT DISNEY WORLD, RANKED IN ORDER
The eleven recommended weeks that follow are wonderful weeks to visit Walt Disney World in 2019.
Update: The recently announced opening of the second ride at Galaxy’s Edge December 5 makes the first two weeks of this ranking more uncertain than they were.
Week number one has it all–lower crowds (except on 11/30 itself), lower prices, and wonderful Christmas programs and decorations.
- 1: 11/30/19
Week 2 has most of the strengths of week 1, but has higher prices. It is also 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, as Pop Warner guests may make those resorts boisterous this week. The recently announced opening of the second ride at Galaxy’s Edge this week
- 2: 12/7/19.
Weeks 3 and 4 are very strong weeks. They have lower crowds and prices (with higher crowds over the weekends), and Disney World’s holiday program at the Magic Kingdom will be fully in place these weeks.
- 3: 11/16/19
- 4: 11/9/19
Week 5 got bumped from its former position as week 3 as a result of my April update. A few more kids on fall break the weekend of 10/26, when combined with the Star Wars partial open, has led me to bump crowds for it a bit, so it makes its way to number 5 on my list.
- 5. 10/26/19
Weeks 6 through 9 are all in the same 2019 post-Easter stretch, and share lower crowds, moderate prices, and (especially in weeks 6 and 7) nice spring weather. They are in calendar order, as the weather is better earlier in this period, with humidity and rain arriving sometime in mid- to later May
- 6: 4/27/19
- 7: 5/4/19
- 8: 5/11/19
- 9: 5/18/19
Week 10 is your best spring break week
- 10: 2/23/19
Week 11 is in what I believe will be a window between March and Easter spring breaks. If I am wrong, crowds will be higher and the week would shift into the next group.
- 11: 4/6/19
This completes the weeks in 2019 that are recommended for first-time visitors who may never return.
2019 WEEKS I’M NOT SO KEEN ON
Weeks 12-17 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 if you have to pick one. These got re-arranged a bit with the April update as I am forecasting slightly higher crowds for the week of 10/19, which has more kids on fall break than I had previously forecast.
They are in order of least to most crowded, and within crowd groups are sorted by price.
- 12: 11/2/19. “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, rarely with major discounts.
- 13: 12/14/19. Despite its high prices, this week had been ranked in my top 3 every year since I started providing this list. However, attendance this week has crept up–even though hardly any kids are on break during it–so I am now calling it a moderately-crowded week. Good choices in your daily plans and in particular in which park to visit which day can make it fine, but my logic forces me to take it off of the “Recommended Weeks” list, as I can no longer call it a “low crowd” week.
- 14: 10/19/19. Similar to week 5 but with more crowds
- 15: 3/2/19. This week was recommended in both my first draft of 2019 and in prior years, but creeping attendance leading to moderate crowds has caused me to demote it.
- 16: 6/1/19 Beginning of summer, with traditionally the lowest crowds until mid- August.
- 17: 3/16/19. Some years this is a very rough week, but the late Easter in 2019 and its effects on school breaks lead me to forecast it as a moderate+ crowd week instead. Prices will be very high.
Weeks 18-26 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.
Most of these weeks saw increases in my crowd forecasts from a combination of Star Wars and the new data on fall breaks. Particularly bumped are the weeks of the Star Wars opening (8/29) and the Labor Day week that follows it.
They are ranked in order of first crowd levels, and within the same crowd level, prices.
Weeks 18 through 20 have some of the lowest crowds in this period
- 18: 9/7/19
- 19: 9/14/19
- 20: 9/21/19
Week 21 through 23 have higher crowds, on average, and week 21, slightly higher prices. Note that weeks 21 and 22 are particularly hard to forecast, as no one know what will happen 8/29 through 9/2, as Star Wars partially opens while some kids are still out of school. Expect heavy crowds at the Studios these dates
- 21: 8/31/19
- 22: 8/24/19
- 23: 9/28/19
Weeks 24 to 26 are the highest crowd weeks in this hurricane group, with the last one nearing “high” crowds
- 24: 8/17/19
- 25: 10/5/19
- 26: 8/10/19
2019 WEEKS TO AVOID AT WALT DISNEY WORLD
The first group, ranked 27-47, 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 through 2018 were much more manageable than I’d thought they would be).
It also includes the busy March spring break weeks beginning 3/9/2019, and the holiday weeks—President’s Day week, the weeks before and after Easter, Columbus Day week, Thanksgiving week, and the weeks around Christmas.
See the table above for exact rankings within these lousy weeks.
Some of these weeks have among the lowest crowds and lowest prices of the year. The later January and early February weeks were unexpectedly bad in 2018–a circumstance that most believe was due to some operational experiments which I am forecasting won’t be repeated in 2019.
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 probably be closed?
If you must go during this period, avoid the first days of January (massive crowds), and the Martin Luther King Day (1/19/19 arrival date) holiday weekend.