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The Best Weeks in 2021 to Visit Walt Disney World, Ranked in Order



By Dave Shute

OVERVIEW: THE BEST TIMES IN 2021 AT WALT DISNEY WORLD

Most years, this site has recommended arriving at Walt Disney World one of the first three Saturdays after Thanksgiving.

However, in 2021, I expect that these weeks will be too crowded for me to recommend them, from a combination of the draw I expect of Disney World’s 50th anniversary, and vacations being deferred until late 2021.

Presented below are my draft rankings of all the weeks of 2021 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, which I hope we will see again in 2021.

The rankings are also in calendar order on the image.

These week rankings are based on my draft 2021 Disney World Crowd Calendar, Disney World’s 2021 calendar of ticket prices and Disney World’s 2021 calendar of hotel prices.

Other factors are key as well–especially the ride closure season and hurricane season in particular. Most years the Christmas season is also a key factor for recommendation in late November and early December, but my expectation of high crowds throughout the period leads me to not recommend any weeks during it in 2021.

RECOMMENDED 2021 WEEKS AT DISNEY WORLD, RANKED IN ORDER

The ten recommended weeks that follow are my current draft of the best weeks to visit Walt Disney World in 2021.

For the first time ever, summer weeks are in my list of recommended weeks–and in fact, hold the top three places! I don’t factor in the misery of heat and humidity that you will almost always find at Disney World from mid-May into October.  If this lousy weather is important to you, look at weeks 5, 7, 8, 9 and 10.

The top three weeks all share a combination (relative to the rest of 2021) of forecast lower crowds, lower ticket prices, and (in total compared to other recommended weeks), lower hotel prices. (Note that none of these is “lowest”–the very lowest crowds, very lowest hotel prices, and very lowest ticket prices happen at times I don’t recommend for first time visitors who may never return.  See the chart for when those occur.)

  • 1: 7/10/21
  • 2: 6/5/21
  • 3: 6/12/21

Weeks 4 through 7 are very strong weeks. All are in the late April/early May period after spring breaks are over.  Crowds and ticket prices are low, but hotel prices are a bit higher at the moderates and deluxes than in weeks 1-3.  The weather typically is much better than the summer as well, especially if you pick the April or early May options. (weeks 5 or 7)

  • 4: 5/8/21
  • 5: 5/1/21
  • 6: 5/15/21
  • 7: 4/24/21

Weeks 8 and 9 are also in the first half of the year, have crowds and hotel pricing similar to weeks 4-7, but differ from weeks 4 through 7 in having higher ticket prices. The April date will have better weather, and the possibility of a wider possible experience depending on how COVID operational changes emerge over the spring:

  • 8: 4/17/21
  • 9: 2/27/21

Week 10 is the last of the recommended weeks.  It is similar to other recommended April and May weeks, but has higher prices at the value resorts, and the first part of it may see a crowd hangover from the week after Easter.

  • 10: 4/10/21

This completes the weeks in 2021 that are recommended for first-time visitors to Disney World who may never return.

2021 WEEKS I’M NOT SO KEEN ON

Weeks 11-24 all have forecast moderate crowd levels, with different ticket prices, hotel prices, and weather, but are outside the rode closure and peak hurricane seasons.

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.

Weeks 11-13 are the lowest crowd weeks among this moderate group, and also see lower prices among the moderate and deluxe resorts. They also share lousy hot and humid weather.

  • 11: 7/24/21
  • 12: 7/17/21
  • 13: 7/31/21

Weeks 14-16 are the best of a group that sees somewhat higher–but still moderate–crowds compared to weeks 11-13:

  • 14: 1/2/21
  • 15: 6/19/21
  • 16: 7/3/21 (busier over first weekend from 4th of July, better after)

Weeks 17-20 have similar forecast crowds to weeks 14-16, but hotel and ticket prices are higher:

  • 17: 5/22/21 (busier over second weekend from Memorial Day, better before)
  • 18: 2/20/21
  • 19: 6/26/21 (busier over second weekend from 4th of July, better before)
  • 20: 5/29/21 (busier over first weekend from Memorial Day, better after)

Weeks 21-23 are during the normally busy spring break season, but I am forecasting them at moderate crowds because of COVID attendance limits.  They have higher hotel prices than the last group of weeks.

  • 21: 3/6/21 
  • 22: 3/20/21
  • 23: 3/13/21 

Week 24 has similar crowds but higher prices.

  • 24: 2/13/21

THE PEAK HURRICANE SEASON WEEKS

Weeks 25-32 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.

These peak hurricane season weeks are ranked in order of first crowd levels, and within the same crowd level prices. (I include only low and moderate crowd weeks in this group–there are some high-crowd October weeks in the peak hurricane season, which are covered lower on the page.)

Weeks 25 and 26 have my forecast lowest crowds of the year, as well as the lowest ticket prices of the year and generally low hotel prices:

  • 25: 8/21/21
  • 26: 8/28/21 (busier at end from Labor Day)

Weeks 27-29 have slightly higher crowds and ticket prices than weeks 25 and 26, and a mix of hotel prices which I use to rank among the three:

  • 27: 9/4/21 (busier at beginning from Labor Day)
  • 28: 9/11/21
  • 29 9/18/21

Weeks 30 and 31 have slightly higher crowds and ticket prices:

  • 30: 8/14/21
  • 31: 8/7/21

Finally week 32 is the only the moderate-crowd weeks in this hurricane group. It will be better early in the week, and worse later in the week as 50th Anniversary crowds build.

  • 32: 9/25/21

2021 WEEKS TO AVOID AT WALT DISNEY WORLD

There’s two groups of weeks to avoid in 2021: high crowd weeks and weeks when some rides are often closed.

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

Partly due to COVID protocols limiting crowds early in the year, and partly due to Disney World’s 50th Anniversary likely increasing crowds October and later, the shape of high crowd weeks in 2021 is very different than it has been in recent years.

The only high-crowd weeks I am forecasting for the first nine months of 2021 are the two weeks that include Easter–those beginning March 27 and April 3, 2021. But every week beginning October 2nd and later I have forecast as a some sort of high crowd week.

See the table above for exact rankings within these weeks.

The final group includes the January and early February weeks when rides are often closed for repair or refurbishment—weeks 48-52.

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. See the table above for exact rankings within these weeks.

 

 

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25 comments

1 Jennifer { 01.11.21 at 10:59 am }

Wow! Who would have thought after all these years, I would have managed to choose your #1 week, and that week would be in JULY??? It’s a strange, strange world, my friends… Thanks for your guidance as always, Dave!!! 🙂

2 Dave { 01.12.21 at 9:10 am }

A strange world, my friend!

3 Jonathan { 02.03.21 at 9:38 pm }

Something I think would be really helpful is if you would share your thoughts/possibly even rank the “non-recommended” weeks for people who have absolutely no choice but to go during that time or not at all. Like, do you have a top 5 “you could enjoy it ok, but it won’t be ‘magical’ ” weeks? Either way, your rankings were a godsend for me on the only time I’ve ever taken my kids before (and we didn’t ever think we’d go back, but now several years later and having had more children, we’re considering going again).

4 Dave { 02.05.21 at 10:26 am }

Hi Jonathan, so glad I could help before. The table has rankings for every week in it, so that’s what I’d use as a starting point to pick among non-recommended weeks. Once you start narrowing down, ping me back with your ideas and I’ll advise further!

5 Jim { 02.11.21 at 2:54 pm }

I have a trip planned for 5/22/21. Have been to the parks during this week previously, but the crowd levels were lower. Do you think the parks will be manageable this week or will wait times and crowds be an issue? We were hoping for lower crowds and shorter lines. Thank you

6 Dave { 02.17.21 at 3:47 pm }

Hi Jim, I expect to see higher crowds the weekend that’s at the end of your week from Memorial day. The parks should be OK before then!

7 Amanda { 04.17.21 at 4:33 pm }

Hi! I love your site even though I’m a returning Disney guest and appreciate the thorough content, advice and practical/realistic guidance. I’m actually contacting you because I found an error on your chart and only mention it because it confused me until I figured it out. You have the week of July 10 as a top choice and then your choice for 11th is wk of 7/12. I went back and looked at big chart and saw it was supposed to be 7/17. We actually planned a small trip around your advice which is the only reason I noticed:). Thank you again!!!!

8 Amanda { 04.17.21 at 5:27 pm }

oops. here I was pointing out an error and I was incorrect in my correction. ha! anyway it was actually week 12 not 11 that you have listed as 7/12/21 instead of 7/17/21.
don’t I feel sheepish

9 Dave { 04.19.21 at 3:14 pm }

Hi Amanda! Thanks so much for the catch. I have fixed it, and I am the sheepish one!

10 nashy { 07.21.21 at 12:56 pm }

I’m looking at a quick 3 day trip before the 50th anniversary and right now debating between what’s listed as 25 & 26 . I’ve noticed these have much lower ticket & hotel pricing too.
I’m looking at August 23-25 (m-w) or September 1-3 (w-f).
With the park order being hs first, Epcot sandwiched in the middle, and last day mk.
My goal with a Disney trip is usually lower wait times and crowds so I can get a bunch done. Lol.

Based on that, which do you think would be the better choice of days?

When do labor day crowds usually start? Do people come start the trip that Thursday – Friday or extend it into the next week?

Thanks !

11 Dave { 07.22.21 at 11:30 am }

Hey Nashy, Labor Day is the least crowded among the major holidays traditionally, but in 2021 all bets are off. I would have a slight preference for your August dates because of that, because those whose schools don’t start til the day after Labor Day may clot up your September dates

12 mashy { 07.22.21 at 12:54 pm }

Thanks! I am leaving towards those dates too but am a bit concerned about heat & humidity. Lol
I’m wondering now with happy ever after ending and epcot forever, if that’s going to draw more people in too plus I think tickets are expiring at the end of September too right?
It’s all one big wild card.

13 Liz { 07.25.21 at 7:49 pm }

I’m a bit nervous now as we have had a long time planned trip from December 4th to the 14th. We initially chose this time to celebrate Christmas and based on previous data that the first couple of weeks in December are not so bad. Very concerned like you that the 50th and deferred vacations will make this and untenable time to go. We are a group of 10 with lots of first timers and you never really know if you’ll get another chance to go, frankly. My two elderly parents are included in the group. Not sure whether to postpone or not.

14 Dave { 07.29.21 at 10:19 am }

Liz, as you know I also share your concern about this time frame! IF Fastpass+ returns, it will be more workable.

15 Traci { 07.25.21 at 9:47 pm }

Hi there,

looking to plan a trip in 2022. Do you have any info on crowds and prices for next year? Also, any idea if Dining will be returning?

Thank you.

16 Dave { 07.29.21 at 10:27 am }

Traci, I expect the dining plan will return. I hope to publish more thoughts on 2022 in late August or early September.

17 Patrick { 09.14.21 at 9:50 am }

Hi! Any update on your 2022 calendar? I used your 2015 calendar in September of 2014 to great effect and was hoping to repeat the experience!

Thanks so much for all your work!

18 Dave { 09.15.21 at 10:23 am }

Patrick still working on it. I have 2 of the 3 core data sets. If you have a specific time frame to ask about, I probably have enough to give advice!!

19 Patrick { 09.17.21 at 4:37 pm }

Thanks!

I usually like to go in March but time it to avoid spring breakers. Any idea of Low crowd levels in March 2022?

20 Dave { 09.17.21 at 4:45 pm }

Patrick based on current data–I may revise this in a month with the third data set–the worst March dates will be the 5th through the 19th, and the best the weeks beginning Feb 26 and March 26th, especially the latter

21 Patrick { 09.17.21 at 5:11 pm }

Thanks so much!

22 Patrick { 10.11.21 at 3:24 pm }

Regarding that March 26th week, do you think the Spring Time Surprise RunDisney will affect ride wait times at the end of the week and following weekend?

Thanks

Patrick

23 Dave { 10.14.21 at 10:32 am }

It certainly could, Patrick.

24 Michele { 10.20.21 at 4:02 pm }

Hey there! Absolutely love your site and have used it and all the resources you suggest for two incredibly successful trips from which we have unbelievable memories that would not have been possible without you! We’re planning a trip for 2022 and are wondering if your week suggestions / crowd calendar etc are coming soon? Thank you!

25 Dave { 10.21.21 at 10:15 am }

Thanks Michelle! My hope is to have my 2022 stuff complete by the end of the month.

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