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 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 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, and later August, and September weeks would be ranked much higher.
I revised these rankings in the summer of 2019, after Disney’s actual 2020 prices came out and after I updated my 2020 crowd forecast. I may need to revise them yet again.
(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
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.
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.