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

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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 Lisa { 05.27.19 at 2:32 pm }

Last week of April or first week of May 2020….any real difference to make one more desirable over the other?

2 Dave { 05.28.19 at 7:57 am }

Lisa, not in 2020.

3 Annie { 06.18.19 at 2:48 pm }

Hello,
Doing our first trip ever in February with our 3 kids. Was looking at feb 1 – feb 8 2020.

Thoughts?

Thanks!

Annie

4 Dave { 06.19.19 at 10:28 am }

Annie, that is historically a good week!

5 Emma { 06.20.19 at 10:49 am }

Apologies for asking, as I think we are ok looking at your graph, but we are looking at coming for 2 weeks from the 21st April 2020. It’s the first time for our 9 year old son. What will the crowds be like? My worst fear is hours of queuing ?

6 Dave { 06.21.19 at 9:50 am }

Hi Emma, those are good dates, but you still need good daily plans to avoid queues–see this for the issues in general, and this–especially its links at the bottom to daily plans– for an example (which will be updated by the time you need to use it).

7 Lisa { 06.28.19 at 10:59 am }

I was wondering if May 9-14 2020 a busy time

8 Dave { 06.28.19 at 12:37 pm }

Lisa, that should be an average to better than average time

9 Angela { 07.18.19 at 4:37 pm }

Hi.
Planning first time trip for family of 5 (3 kiddos ages 2.5, 5 & 7). Thinking of an 8 day trip (doing 4 days at parks, one day at Disney Springs & some downtime at resort pool) sometime in April-anytime between April 17-29. What dates would you recommend?

10 Dave { 07.19.19 at 10:55 am }

Angela, see this. The later, the better, and the more you four days are Tues-Thurs, the better.

With kids that age (especially the three younger than 7), I would not do a park a day, nor would I bother with Disney Springs. I would do 2-3 Magic kingdom days either half days or a 2/3 days with length breaks in the middle, a 2/3 day at Animal Kingdom, and maybe a 2/3 day at Hollywood Studios.

11 Carrie { 07.19.19 at 7:26 am }

Hi Dave,
We planned our trip to Disney World January 22-29 to avoid crowds. I am a little worried it will be packed now, seeing the Pro Bowl that weekend and also with the new Star Wars ride opening in December. What you you think? Thank you!

12 Dave { 07.19.19 at 10:58 am }

Carrie, the Pro Bowl has been going on for a few years now to no material effect on the parks. Star Wars increases the attractiveness of the parks for some, but lowers it for others (who want to avoid the mess, as you do). The balance of the two is hard to predict–crowds are WAY down at Disneyland this summer, as people avoiding it have overwhelmed people seeking it out. My general advice on this matter is that if you are concerned, delay.

13 Jennifer Schiarizzi { 07.19.19 at 1:40 pm }

Hi!
We have planned a big family trip for February 2020. There are 20 people in our party. We plan on splitting up at the parks but would all like to be at the same park each day. February 19th-22nd we are staying at the Polynesion. February 22-26th we are staying at the Beach club. February 19th, 22, and 26th will be resort days.
Do you make specific park suggestions? Unfortunately this time looks really busy but we had to accommodate a lot of schedules.
Another problem is our group disagrees on rope drop vs going to the parks late in the day and staying until close.
Any advice is appreciated!
Thank you
Jen S

14 Dave { 07.20.19 at 11:06 am }

Hey Jennifer, it’s too early for me to have an opinion on the best park days your dates, for two different reasons–official hours are not out yet for then, and I don’t have a ton of confidence that even when they do come out, that the EMH patterns won’t change in a profound way after then.

That said, in my experience this site has a pretty good track record in mathicng the first verions of Disney World’s operating schedule (Disney will continue to tinker with them as time passes) hours and they recommend parks within that prediction using a process that is very similar to mine. (The EMH point still applies.)

Re disagreements…frankly, my experience is that this is usually a losing battle. Even on a short trip, being in the parks from rope drop thru the evening shows is pretty exhausting. So a mid-day or morning break is reasonable. People will see more with lower waits if they rope drop and take an afternoon break, but the advent of FastPass+ makes an afternoon start more viable.

15 Donna { 07.19.19 at 10:32 pm }

We are thinking about Feb 8, what is going on for the cloud level to be black? Is this a good time?

16 Dave { 07.20.19 at 11:09 am }

Donna, President’s Day crowds and higher prices begin Thursday 2/13, and are both high by 2/15. The first part of the week is fine, the second part (beginning Thursday) is not, so on average it gets a black.

17 Anna { 08.06.19 at 12:41 am }

Great post! Why will the week of March 21st have lower crowds than the week of March 14th? Those are the two weeks I’m considering (and yes, I know they’re the busiest — just wondering why 3/21 week would be a little better). Thanks!

18 Dave { 08.06.19 at 9:37 am }

Hi Anna, all is explained here.

19 Kimberly { 08.09.19 at 10:42 pm }

We used to travel in Sept. it was ideal weather and crowds and thankfully never had an issue with hurricanes. Last year I chose the second week in Sept and it was awful, the crowds were heavy and the weather was steamy. The year prior we celebrated my son’s first birthday there in May, super hot and very crowded. I’ve chosen two dates this year, every site offers different advice, so I thought maybe I would just ask…January 3-10 or May 1-8 or May 8-15? I’m really struggling with this one. Homes are way cheaper in May, but the crowds seem higher, and I’m very concerned about being too hot. Thank you for your time

20 Dave { 08.10.19 at 8:56 am }

Kimberly, I don’t think I can help you. Crowds the second week of last September (according to Touringplans historical crowd tracker, the only “actuals” data available) ranged from 2 to 4 on a 10 point scale, with six “2s,” two “3s” and one “4.” If that is too crowded for you, then I have no alternative to offer.

21 Kelly B - Destinations In Florida { 08.12.19 at 1:17 pm }

I agree with Dave that September is going to give you the lowest crowds. But do agree that September falls during the 5th Season – MELTING. Out of the 3 choices, I would lean towards the first week in January. Although the crowds could be higher, you wouldn’t be waiting in lines in the heat. You’ll see hot weather and crowds towards the end of May. (I would love to help you book your vacation. Please contact me at KellyB@DestinationsInFlorida.com or 980-429-4499)

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