For my thoughts on the re-opening of Walt Disney World, see this.


By the co-author of The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2020, the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook series ever.

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Disney World Crowds in 2020



By Dave Shute

April   May   June   July   August   September   October

2020 CROWDS AT WALT DISNEY WORLD

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

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.

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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104 comments

1 Kelsey { 01.11.20 at 3:22 am }

Hi, we have a family of 4 coming down + grandma. (Ages almost 1 and 4.5) We are coming down February 22-29 this year. We plan on doing 2 days at Universal, and 2 days at Disney (HS and MK). Do you have any tips for which day for which parks to have lowest crowds? Thanks!

2 Dave { 01.11.20 at 10:51 am }

Hi Kelsey, I’m commenting only on WDW here, as I have little useful to say about Universal. By far the busiest days at WDW will be 2/22, 2/23, and 2/29, and the least busy days will be 2/25 through 2/27. Of those three, HS will be about the same each day, maybe better on 2/26, and MK will be best 2/25 and 2/27.

3 Angela Kurzhal { 01.18.20 at 1:36 am }

Hi Dave,
My husband and I are planning a trip November 27- December 4th. We are only playing at the four main parks, no H2o for us. What days should we plan on visiting each park?

4 Dave { 01.18.20 at 8:35 am }

Hi Angela, I can help, but not precisely until Disney’s calendar for then comes out, which it should in late May (recently, it’s been released about 190 days ahead)

Your dates, precision matters, as it is during the late August-mid-December party season, when picking the right park each day is particularly important. See this for more.

5 Chelsa { 01.27.20 at 2:32 am }

Visiting WDW 03/22/-03/26. We have scheduled to visit MK 2 days, HW- 1 Day, AK- 1st day and Epcot- Last Day. Any suggestions on how you would do it?

6 Dave { 01.28.20 at 8:06 am }

Hi Chelsa, that’s a high crowd week, so good daily plans will matter a lot, and more than picking the best park each day. 3/22 is a fine choice for AK, 3/26, with the morning EMH, may be crowded at Epcot. I would do Epcot on Monday or Weds, and MK on 3/26, putting your other MK day on 3/24. Weds is the best HS day, so my advice boils down to

3/22 AK
3/23 Epcot
3/24 MK
3/25 HS
3/26 MK

7 Jennifer { 01.28.20 at 7:21 pm }

So, we were NOT going to go this year. Really really weren’t. Planning a big trip in June 2021, but because of a major conflict THIS June, we were NOT GOING TO GO in 2020.

… I feel like I hear you laughing hysterically, Dave. 😉

We arrive 8/2 around noon, currently staying at CSR (but wondering where the heck the AP discounts have gone???), and will probably be dragged onto the Tragical Express midafternoon on 8/7. The sad part is, that was the exact length of our very first trip in 2012, and we did everything we set out to do, but this time? It feels WAY too short. Ah, experience…

That same experience tells me I’m not looking at the trip objectively, and I would LOVE recommendations for park days. We have tickets for H2O Glow on the 5th, Biergarten is a traditional must-do (I’m thinking the first night?), and of course the kid and I will shrivel up and die if we don’t ride RotR.

Thanks in advance!!! 🙂

8 Dave { 01.29.20 at 9:32 am }

Jennifer, there’s only two mistakes you can make–choosing to go to Disney World, or choosing not to go to Disney World.
Sunday 8/2 will be best at AK, and worst at HS.
Monday 8/3 will be best at Epcot, worst at AK
Tuesday 8/4 is OK at all parks, Epcot may be a little worse
Weds 8/5 will be best at HS, worst at MK
Thursday 8/6 will be OK everywhere except Epcot.

AP discounts usually aren’t released much in advance. In 2019, for your dates they came out at the end of April.

If you have not stayed at CSR since the new dining and bars opened there, you are in for a treat. See this.

9 Jennifer { 01.29.20 at 3:56 pm }

We stayed at CSR last June and the Three Rivers Bar opened to the public the day after we left, which was soooo disappointing. But we’re gonna do it all this time, starting with a Tower Room (standard view)!!! 🙂 Thanks SO much for the help with the planning!!!!

10 Jessica { 01.31.20 at 1:17 pm }

For 2021- would you advise first week of February, or last week of February or first of March for crowds
Thanks!

11 Dave { 02.01.20 at 10:57 am }

Jessica, for crowds, pretty much in the order you have listed–the first week of Feb best.

12 Becky { 02.08.20 at 5:31 pm }

Hey Dave,
I’ve been following you (& Josh) for YEARS – thank you for all you do! We are planning a trip the last week in April and was wondering if you thought the following is okay or if I need to tweak it a little – if so how?) We have weekday passes so park hopping is not an issue.
Monday 4/27 – EP
Tuesday 4/28 – HS
Wednesday 4/29 – AK
Thursday 4/30 – MK
Thank you for your time!

13 Dave { 02.09.20 at 7:42 am }

Hi Becky, and thanks for the follow! Your schedule looks fine. I think HS will be a little better on Weds, so you might flip Tues and Weds, but that’s a nit…

14 Erin Myers { 02.12.20 at 12:21 pm }

When do you release this for the following year??? I am looking for spring 2021 and am looking for days that fall in the 5-6 range. We have been a couple of times and are adept at the fast pass and planning of our days. Thanks!

15 Dave { 02.14.20 at 11:31 am }

Hi Erin, it’ll be no later than mid-summer, with perhaps a draft tp come in May. But if you can give me more specific windows than “spring” I can give you some first thoughts…

16 Jenny { 03.10.20 at 1:07 pm }

Hi, we are currently planning our 4th trip for 2021. Our first two visits were late April/early May. We enjoyed this time and the crowds were manageable. Our last trip we went end of January and it was way too cold for us. I believe it was colder than normal, with many days in the 40’s. We are stuck on what to plan for next year. While we would love to go again in April/May, we are not able to due to our child’s schedule. We are thinking end of February…maybe even beginning February (but temperatures really have me nervous). What are your thoughts on crowd levels during that time?

17 Dave { 03.13.20 at 1:13 pm }

Jenny, I am so sorry it’s taken me so long to respond. As part of my day job, I am leading the pandemic disaster plan implementation at the health care facility I co-lead…so am a bit behind on Disney stuff…

Based on traditional patterns, you should be fine after February 20, 2021 or before February 11 2021. However, the equivalent dates were largely peetty bad in 2020. I have not yet sat down and through through my 2021 forecasts, so can’t say for sure right now whether these were one-time factros and next year should be fine then, or not. I’ll have some perspective by late June (at the latest)

18 Tracy { 03.10.20 at 10:42 pm }

Hi Dave. New follower here. We have a one time shot at this Disney thing and we’re going the week of August 10-15. Doubt we will be able to do another trip for many years. Any advice of which park to attend on particular days would be greatly appreciated! How is that week looking, crowd wise? Is”moderate” manageable or will we be lucky to ride five rides in a day? Thank you!!

19 Dave { 03.13.20 at 1:20 pm }

Tracy, welcome, and I am so sorry it’s taken me so long to respond. As part of my day job, I am leading the pandemic disaster plan implementation at the health care facility I co-lead…so am a bit behind on Disney stuff…

With a good plan, that’s a quite manageable week

8/10 avoid AK
8/11 avoid Epcot
8/12 avoid MK
8/13 avoid Epcot
8/14 avoid MK unless you are eligible for, and willing to arrive 30 minutes before the start of, Extra Magic Hours
8/15 avoid AK and HS

20 Charissa { 03.17.20 at 9:01 am }

Hi! Any idea when you will have a crowd calendar for 2021? I am looking to possibly reschedule our 2020 vacation due to the closures 🙁

21 Dave { 03.20.20 at 10:25 am }

Charissa, it should be out sometime in June.

22 Shelly { 04.30.20 at 4:56 pm }

Hi! HOPEFULLY trip rescheduled for Nov 7-11 Looking to go to HS, AK, and Magic Kingdom – any suggestions

23 Dave { 05.03.20 at 2:58 pm }

Hi Shelly, Disney has published no operating hours for after October 31, so I don’t have much to go on…I’d be glad to guess, but would prefer to wait until some more facts come out.

24 Heather { 05.08.20 at 1:31 pm }

Here’s the million dollar question: is it worth going for a first/only trip if there’s reduced capacity (and will that even translate to shorter lines?) but no parades or other experiences? Would love to hear your thoughts, maybe a whole article?

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