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 2020



By Dave Shute

2020 CROWDS AT WALT DISNEY WORLD

The chart lower on the page shows my forecasts for 2020 crowds by week at Walt Disney World.

It was updated in July 2019, and I may update it again after that, if material new information comes out.

2020 will be an interesting year at Disney World, with the new land Galaxy’s Edge dominating the news early in the year, but after that other new rides opening, and Disney World beginning its 50th anniversary celebration later in the year.

More on 2020 at Walt Disney World is here. For 2019 Disney World crowd forecasts, see this.

THE 2020 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 2020 DISNEY WORLD CROWD CALENDAR

Dates are the beginning of the week.

As is the case in almost 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 good plans. However, I’d go during such weeks myself with no hesitation, and think these levels are totally 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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64 comments

1 Nicky S { 01.14.19 at 11:01 pm }

Hi, thanks for the info, I will be a first timer to DWR in 2020(but I’ve been to DisneyLand), and if I choose to go in March, which is going to be very crowded, do you think my experience for ride wait times will be much improved if my family purchases Fastpass? Thanks in advance.

2 Dave { 01.15.19 at 6:21 am }

Hi Nicky. The first bit of good news is that access to FastPass+ is free and included in everyone’s ticket. The key is using it well. The program is explained on this page.

The second bit of good news is that most days of the year, good plans can overcome most of the problems of high crowds. Good plans include judicious use of FastPass+, getting to the parks before they open, and sequencing the rides you see–especially first thing–to avoid crowds. For an example of such a plan, see this, part of this.

3 Kelly { 01.20.19 at 9:10 am }

What did you use to determine March 2020 being so high?

4 Dave { 01.21.19 at 7:29 am }

Kelly, every year massive numbers of public school spring breaks begin in early March and continue until the week after Easter. Disney crowds are profoundly shaped by how easy it is for families with kids to come, so every year March (after the first week) sees heavy crowds.

For an example of how these breaks will unfold in 2019, see this.

5 Beth { 01.22.19 at 11:42 am }

Hi, do you know yet when the cheer/dance competitions are in April 2020? We went in May 2017 and the cheer camps really affected the crowd levels so hoping to avoid on this trip. Thanks so much!!

6 Dave { 01.23.19 at 9:13 am }

Hi Beth, such groups are very visible, and annoying when they get into line ahead of you. But asd I note on this page,

“… the cheering competitions, runDisney events, etc., don’t much matter to park crowding. Fifteen thousand cheerleaders or runners and family members may seem like a lot to you…but translate into less than 10 percent more people on property.”

7 Beth { 01.23.19 at 10:16 am }

Thanks so much! I really appreciate all of the information on your site! We’re trying to decide between the week of April 19th or the 26th and thought maybe one would be better than the other to avoid them??

8 Dave { 01.24.19 at 7:04 am }

Beth, the week of the 19th should be fine, but you’ll see a day or two of spillover from Easter breaks, plus a but of added visitation form the Northeast who is on spring break that week. The 26th will be slightly better. But either will be fine!

9 Beth { 01.24.19 at 10:05 am }

Thank you so much! I’m so glad I found your site!! So helpful!

10 Nicky S { 01.26.19 at 8:42 pm }

Thanks again for the info for 2020, we are flying in from Australia, so we need to work in with our own school holidays etc, we have from about the 20th March to the 17th April, and wanted to do 7 days, somewhere over that time. I’ll look at your links for planning the fast passes. Thank you!

11 Dave { 01.27.19 at 8:49 am }

You bet, Nicky!

12 Andrew { 02.07.19 at 1:06 pm }

Hi Dave,

Do you still think mid-to-end of January crowds will be low? Doesn’t seem to be the case for 2019 (we just returned) and 2018 was also high that time of year. Thanks

Andrew

13 Dave { 02.08.19 at 8:22 am }

Hi Andrew, for what it is worth, touringplans has average January 2019 daily waits after MLK day as being 5.2 (TP is fine for historical crowds–it’s their forecasts that can be curious). That puts them slightly below average, and almost a full point below last year’s number for the same days. On this site, for reasons too complicated to explain here, an average week gets a 4 ranking. So I am OK with my forecast for next year.

Star Wars will make absolute waits not directly comparable to prior years, but ought not to change a lot the relative ebb and flow of waits across the year, which is what I focus on. What might change things on the relative ebb and flow would be much bigger differences in 2020 in the highest and lowest date-based ticket prices than we see in 2019–but there is nothing on that front yet.

14 Kim { 03.01.19 at 4:23 pm }

Hi Dave,
Any predictions for how much ticket prices/resort prices will increase for 2020? We just saw a big food increase. Do you think food prices will likely increase as well?

15 Dave { 03.02.19 at 2:05 pm }

Kim, I don’t track food prices closely enough to have an opinion on them.

What I expect for 2020 is a re-patterning of hotel and ticket prices to try to shift demand to currently less popular times. So times when families find it easy to visit Disney World will see substantial ticket and room rate increases, and times when it is harder for them to go will see much lower increases. So there might be 20% increases in ticket and room prices during the “easy to visit” times, and “just” 5% at some of the other times.

16 Kim { 03.03.19 at 3:03 pm }

Thanks for your thoughts!

17 Erin { 03.11.19 at 12:26 pm }

Hi Dave!

Wow, thanks for this information! My boyfriend and I are planning our “first” WDW trip (we both haven’t been since we were small children, pre 2008 economy crash). We are planning to go May 13th 2020 to May 18th 2020. I like what I’m seeing about crowd levels and it definitely put my mind at ease. Do you think your prediction is still accurate given the update that Galaxy’s Edge will be opening August 2019? I am nervous to plan such an expensive, once in a decade big trip. Also, I know prices for 2020 will be released summer 2019. Do you think May 2020 will still be a reasonable time to go? We will have a budget of about $2000 for the both of us (tickets and hotel) and plan on staying at the cheapest All Star resort. Thank you!!

18 Dave { 03.12.19 at 7:21 am }

Hi Erin, and thanks!

The earlier open of Galaxy’s Edge may lead to some people who hoped to avoid the opening cancelling their planned visits this fall and rescheduling them into later 2020, but I don’t see that having an impact on the relative crowding of Disney World in May.

2000 should be about right, depending on how much prices go up. You said just tix and hotel, and for the two of you 5 nights in the cheapest ALl-Star room and 6 day tickets should be right around that.

19 Richard { 03.14.19 at 8:06 am }

Hi Dave
Hope you are well
I’ve got the chance of getting decent priced flights back to UK on 1st March
So 2 weeks leading up to that( that’s 2 weeks prior to our usual holiday dates)
What would your initial thoughts be in terms of being busy etc
I think this would have us arriving around Presidents Day 2020

20 Dave { 03.15.19 at 7:21 am }

Richard, because of Star Wars, President’s Day week in 2020 will be as busy as it has every been. The week after should be much better, and with good plans and judicious use of FastPass+, overall you can make that set of weeks work just fine.

21 Richard { 03.15.19 at 4:48 pm }

Cheers Dave
Would you recommend not arriving that week at all( mon 17th ) and leaving till 24th( we arrive on a Monday )
Do you believe that all parks will be busy due to Star Wars or mostly HS?
Finally do you have any thoughts as to whether the Free Disney Dining Deals will appear in the UK end April( as has been the case ) or do you see big changes to this or, perhaps, not appear at all?

22 Dave { 03.17.19 at 8:12 am }

Richard, I don’t quite understand your first question.

I think the other parks will be a bit higher, but none like Hollywood Studios–see this.

And I don’t track the UK deals closely enough to have an opinion on those…

23 Richard { 03.17.19 at 5:28 pm }

Sorry Dave, what I meant was….. we normally arrive on a Monday. As Presidents Day is Monday 17th would you suggest it’s better to arrive Monday 24th
ie) is the whole of the week following PD really busy or does it tail off quite quickly.

24 Dave { 03.18.19 at 12:53 pm }

Richard, while it is heaviest over the weekend, about 20% of US kids have that whole week off, so it is bad all week.

25 Richard { 06.25.19 at 7:06 am }

Hi Dave.
Our circumstances have now changed. We arrive on 26th February for 14 days. How do you see this playing out crowd wise?
I’m thinking it’s not too bad until around the 8th March?

26 Dave { 06.25.19 at 9:44 am }

Richard, yes–you’ll be fine!

27 Ashley { 03.20.19 at 1:48 pm }

How much of an effect will Mardi Gras have an effect on crowds the last week of February? And what accounts for the increase in crowds the first week of March? (I’m guessing the beginning of some spring break crowds?) Thanks!

28 Dave { 03.21.19 at 9:00 am }

Ashley, folks in only a couple of states have Mardi Gras off, so it does not affect crowds. And yes, March signals the beginning of Spring Break.

29 Mike { 03.24.19 at 7:52 am }

We are planning on taking our son, his wife and 3 kids to Disney World. What are your thoughts on crowds for February of 2020 or 2021?

30 Dave { 03.24.19 at 8:27 am }

Mike, my thoughts on 2020 February relative crowds are on this page. 2021 crowds I’d forecast to follow the same pattern.

31 Jessica { 04.24.19 at 8:07 pm }

Would you prefer first week of March 1-7, 2020 or first week of May 3-9, 2020 as far as crowds? Thanks

32 Dave { 04.25.19 at 1:57 pm }

May, Jessica.

33 Kiley { 04.29.19 at 11:14 pm }

Hi! Is there an event the week of 2/8/20 that influences your prediction of moderate crowds? Trying to decide between weeks of 2/1 and 2/8 and understand why the first week is lower predicted crowds and second week is higher end of moderate. Thanks!

34 Dave { 04.30.19 at 6:27 am }

Hi Kiley, great question. The crowds for President’s Day begin the Thursday before and become substantial the Friday before. It’s the effect of these end-of-the-week days that lead me to ding the week beginning 2/8.

If you page down to the chart on this page, you can see how this played out in 2019–I have not yet completed this analysis for 2020.

35 Ashley Ratliff { 05.03.19 at 9:51 am }

I want to take my kids (9 &3) to Disney world in 2020. We are forced to go during school breaks. So all the dates we can go seem to be 8/10 crowd. Which dates do you think would be less crowd. 3/11-3/15, 4/6-4/11, 5/26-6/1.

36 Dave { 05.03.19 at 1:42 pm }

Ashley, if you can’t or won’t take your kids out of school, then you will face higher crowds and prices than you need to. Your dates, June is the best option.

37 Bridget Canales { 05.10.19 at 12:26 pm }

We were planning on going March 15th-18th 2020 but now I’m not so sure that’s a good idea. Trying to plan around our daughters basketball season. How horrible will it be?

38 Dave { 05.11.19 at 8:15 am }

Hi Bridget, first, as noted on the page, I expect to update my 2020 crowd calendar at least once this summer, so things may change. At the moment, you can make those dates work with good plans and a willingness to get up very early.

39 Wendy { 05.15.19 at 9:47 am }

Looking at 2020, either April or October and flexible with dates. Crowds and weather? We have gone the end of April the last 2 years and it was getting a bit hot. Easter being on the 12th next year which week would be best in April and October? Is the week leading up to Easter better than the week following Easter?

40 Dave { 05.16.19 at 2:12 pm }

Wendy, personally I find the second halves of each of April and October to be the best of the year, in terms of typical weather. April may be hot–it varies–but is rarely humid.

I would not consider either the week before or the week after Easter, so in 2020 the best April dates will being on 4/18. If you are forced to pick among the Easter weeks, the week after is usually a little better.

41 2019 and 2020 WDW Consolidated Crowd Calendar (7 in 1) | Days To Wander { 05.22.19 at 9:07 am }

[…] Your First Visit […]

42 Luke { 05.23.19 at 7:23 am }

I fly out on Nov 30th 2020 so I’m hoping we’ve picked well!

43 Shawna { 05.27.19 at 8:48 am }

We are choosing between Jan 15-23 or Feb 5-13. I was leaning toward Feb to avoid MLK weekend but your calendar says it will be busier in Feb even though it’s not a holiday weekend. Why is the level moderate for that week in Feb? Thanks!

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