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

Available on Amazon here.

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2020 Weeks to Visit Walt Disney World, Ranked in Order



By Dave Shute

April   May   June   July   August   September   October

OVERVIEW: THE BEST TIMES IN 2020 AT WALT DISNEY WORLD

For most years in the recent past, this site has recommended arriving at Walt Disney World one of the first three Saturdays after Thanksgiving. However, in 2020, the week beginning the 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 all the weeks of 2020 in order of best to worst times to visit Disney World. These rankings are designed for first time visitors who do not know whether or not they will return.

For visitors on a return trip, less concerned about ride closures or the peak of the hurricane season, the later January, early February, later August, and September weeks would be ranked much higher.

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.

The rankings are also in calendar order on the image.

These week rankings are based on my  2020 Disney World Crowd Calendar and Disney World’s 2020 price seasons.

Other factors are key as well–the Christmas season, ride closure season and hurricane season in particular.

(For more on how I build these rankings, see this.)

RECOMMENDED 2020 WEEKS AT DISNEY WORLD, RANKED IN ORDER

The ten recommended weeks that follow are \ of the best weeks to visit Walt Disney World in 2020.

Week number one has it all–lower crowds (except on 11/28 itself), lower prices, and wonderful Christmas programs and decorations.

  • 1: 11/28/20

Week 2 has most of the strengths of week 1, but has higher prices. Moreover, it is a week that, because of Pop Warner football demand for resort rooms, is rarely discounted. 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

  • 2: 12/5/20

Weeks 3, 4 and 5 are very strong weeks. They have lower crowds and prices (with slightly higher crowds over the first weekend of week 4), and Disney World’s holiday program at the Magic Kingdom will be fully in place for week 3 and largely in place for week 4

  • 3: 11/14/20
  • 4: 11/7/20
  • 5: 10/24/20

Weeks 6 through 9 are all in the same 2020 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: 4/25/20
  • 7: 5/2/20
  • 8: 5/9/20
  • 9: 5/16/20 (worse the second weekend)

Week 10 is your best spring break week

  • 10: 2/22/20

This completes the weeks in 2020 that are recommended for first-time visitors to Disney World who may never return.

2020 WEEKS I’M NOT SO KEEN ON

Weeks 11-23 all have moderate crowd levels, with different prices and weather. I don’t particularly recommend moderate-crowd weeks for first time visitors, but with good plans they are quite manageable if you have to pick one, and are fine for returning visitors.

I present them in two groups. Weeks 11 to 17 are outside the heat and humidity of summer, while weeks 18 through 23 are during the summer.

The first group is in order of least to most crowded, and weeks with similar crowd forecasts are sorted by price.

  • 11: 10/31/20. 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.
  • 12: 10/17/20. Similar to week 5 but with more crowds from the tail end of fall breaks.
  • 13: 4/18/20. This week was on my draft list of recommended weeks, but slightly higher crowds in my latest forecast now shift it here.
  • 14: 2/29/20. This week was recommended in many prior years, but creeping attendance leading to moderate crowds has caused me to demote it
  • 15: 12/12/20. 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.
  • 16: 3/7/20. The shift in 2020 of many spring breaks (e.g. half of Texas) from this week to next makes it a better bet than the same period many prior years
  • 17: 3/28/20. Actual spring break data has led me to lower the crowd forecast for this week to from “high” to “moderate plus,” so it joins this list

The 6 moderate crowd summer weeks that follow are in calendar order, as on average weather is better earlier in the summer.

  • 18: 5/30/20
  • 19: 7/4/20
  • 20: 7/11/20
  • 21: 7/18/20
  • 22: 7/25/20
  • 23: 8/1/20

Weeks 24-32 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 that can be found among this group can be wonderful times to visit, and many of them traditionally see what can be a great deal, Free Dining.

These peak hurricane season weeks are ranked in order of first crowd levels, and within the same crowd level prices.

Week 24 has some of the lowest crowds of the year

  • 24: 9/12/20

Weeks 25 has slightly higher crowds…

  • 25: 9/19/20

…and Week 26 just a bit higher

  • 26: 8/29/20

Weeks 27-29 have slightly higher crowds, but still in my “low” class, and are sorted by price.

  • 27: 8/22/20
  • 28: 9/5/20
  • 29: 9/26/20

Weeks 30 to 32 are the moderate-crowd weeks in this hurricane group.

  • 30: 8/15/20
  • 31: 10/3/20
  • 32: 8/8/20

2020 WEEKS TO AVOID AT WALT DISNEY WORLD

There’s two groups of weeks to avoid in 2020: high crowd weeks and weeks when some rides are often closed.

The first group, ranked 33-47, should be avoided because of crowds that traditionally range from high to unbelievable.

This group includes later June, and early July. It also includes the busy March spring break weeks beginning 3/14/2020, 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.

The next group includes the January and early February weeks when rides are often closed for repair or refurbishment—weeks 48-53.

Some of these weeks have among the lowest crowds and lowest prices of the year. 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 (1/18/20 arrival date) holiday weekend.

The Marathon (affecting especially the weekend of 1/11/20) complicates Disney World as well, although it has little impact on park crowds.

 

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59 comments

1 Chrisynda Price { 11.06.19 at 12:02 pm }

Thank you so much! You have this down to a science and your website is such a wealth of information!

2 Dave { 11.07.19 at 7:30 am }

🙂 Chrisynda!

3 Joan { 11.21.19 at 6:18 pm }

Hello! thank you so much for taking the time do write this out. I was just wondering however, if you took into account Rise of the Resistance opening on 12/5/2020 and how that might effect crowds?

Any insight is greatly appreciated!

4 Dave { 11.22.19 at 12:49 pm }

Joan–I don’t much expect the new ride to change the weekly patterning of crowds–that is I expect an increase in crowds in 2020, but for them to be spread out over the year based on the usual factors, of which the most important are predictable holidays and vacations.

5 Daria Schaffeld { 12.13.19 at 3:11 pm }

Hi! Thanks so much for your wonderful site and info. I’m a high school teacher and I want to take my 7 year old to Disney. I can take off only 2 personal days in a row and I’m not allowed to attach them to days off (Presidents Day or Columbus Day) for example. I just don’t think a long weekend is enough. Do you agree? What vacation week would you suggest? Or would you suggest I pick a low crowd week and only do a 4 day park pass – a long weekend? Thanks soooo much. I’m overwhelmed.

6 Dave { 12.14.19 at 8:15 am }

Hey Daria, would this be your only visit? If not, it does not much matter. If it would be, then you really would want a full week–likely in the summer (either early June or late August, epdeindgin on yuor academic calendar). See this for some overviews and thoughts on how long to spend in each park–note that it’s a bit out of date, and there’s more available now at HS, and coming soon at both HS and Epcot.

7 Jeff { 01.06.20 at 7:10 pm }

About to pull the trigger on either an October or November trip, but Veterans day falling on Wednesday makes me worry about a crowd peak even tho it’s ranked as a top 5 week….any thoughts on how the holiday will effect things?

8 Dave { 01.07.20 at 10:43 am }

Jeff, Veterans day is a different holiday.

First, it is not a “Monday” holiday–it is celebrated the actual date, and the holiday for those who get it is on the 11th, unless that’s a Saturday (in which case people get Friday the 10th off) or a Sunday (and then people get Monday the 12th off). So since it is not reliably a three day weekend, it is not very present in people’s minds as a great time for a vacation.

Second, of all the major holidays, it is the one least likely to actually be offered by employers as a holiday. Only about 20% of private employers have it as a holiday at all. That means even when it is a three day holiday it is less likely to be a particularly convenient time to travel.

The combination of these two factors means it does not much drive theme park attendance, and can be safely ignored.

9 Eric { 01.08.20 at 2:41 pm }

Hi Dave! I’m helping a friend book their trip for the week of Aug 22. Right now they just need to figure out which parks to avoid on which days. Do you have any suggestions? Normally I was would base that week from the same week of prior years, (usually MNSSHP & EMH etc has been consistent), but especially with the major changes at DHS, I’m not sure. What would you do?

10 Dave { 01.09.20 at 9:52 am }

Hey Eric, I don’t expect any official calendars for then to be out until mid-February, although I may be able to find unofficial hints before then. As you know, the main variable is MNSSHP, which has been in August for only two years, and the dates were not quite identical. Both 2018 and 2019 had the party the last 3 Fridays of the month, and the Tuesday before the last Friday. 2019 also had the Tuesday the week before that Tuesday. So my best guess would be that week will see a party Tuesday the 25th and Friday the 28th, making both of those good MK days (Friday if EMH eligible–and EMH patterns remain) and bad days at the other parks.

11 Eric { 01.09.20 at 12:12 pm }

As always, appreciate your help. Happy New Year!

12 Dave { 01.10.20 at 8:08 am }

You too, Eric!

13 James { 01.10.20 at 5:34 pm }

In 2019 Veterans Day weekend was really busy. Personally I would avoid it. It also coincides with the opening days of the Mickey Christmas Party making the crowds even more likely to be high. The first two Mickey Christmas party dates in Nov were the first to sell out I believe.

14 Dave { 01.11.20 at 10:39 am }

In 2019 the Jersey Week weekend was moderately busy, as it always is, and Veterans Day happened to fall that same weekend.

It’s important to distinguish between the two and know which is the driver and which is along for the ride.

The same issue comes up re Mardi Gras, which often falls during the same week of Presidents Day, but it’s the Presidents Day crowds that make it busy when it overlaps, not the Mardi Gras crowds, because 20x as many kids have a long weekend or all week off for Presidents Day as do for Mardi Gras.

Almost every year the first two Xmas parties sell out, as they coincide usually with Jersey Week, regardless of the date of Veterans Day. The party has profound effects on crowding patterns in specific parks by day, so if you pick the wrong day to visit a park during the party season, you can be quite surprised by the crowds, and would have had a much better visit by better park choices.

15 James { 01.10.20 at 5:41 pm }

I guess though with it being on a Wed that changes things.

16 Karen { 02.27.20 at 11:15 am }

Hello – We are visiting during Veterans Day week this year – glad to hear you don’t think it will affect crowds much. I noticed in your last reply you mentioned the parties will, however, affect crowds in certain parks on certain days. Do you have parks you’d recommend for different days of that week?

17 Dave { 02.29.20 at 3:02 pm }

Hi Karen, I’ll be able to help, but only after the full schedule is out, 190 days before–in May!

18 Michael Angelo { 03.11.20 at 12:23 pm }

Hey Dave. Just wondering how the crowd levels are running lately with the Corona virus? Are the parks still busy. I know it’s spring break time until end of April!
Thanks, Mike

19 Dave { 03.13.20 at 1:21 pm }

Hey Mike, Tracy, 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…As you already know, the parks are closed.

20 Mike { 04.26.20 at 6:50 am }

Hi Dave – hope you and your loved ones are doing ok during all of this.

I was just wondering when the 2021 version of this page will be ready? Or is it already up and I’m being stupid?

We were supposed to come from the UK for 2 weeks on 9th May. We are now looking to reschedule to May 2021, with the addition of a cruise as that time it’ll be our honeymoon. We’d go on a week’s cruise on 8th May 21, then spend 2 weeks in the parks from 15 May onwards.

If we did that this year, we’d run into Memorial Day crowds. But given Memorial Day in 2021 is on 31 May, am I right in saying we’d experience two lowish crowd weeks (w/c 17 May and 24 May), only hitting Memorial Day crowds on our final day or two? That’s the scenario we expected with our 9th May visit this year, so it’d be great if we could expect similar even when pushing the parks back a week next year.

21 Dave { 05.03.20 at 2:57 pm }

Mike, honestly I’m not sure when it will be out–between the uncertainty at Disney and my day job, I have not doe the usual first draft. I usually do the final version in June or July of the year before.

That said, relatively speaking, I think your May 2021 plans are fine. You will not see relatively higher crowds for the holiday weekend as you note until around May 29!

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