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.
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
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
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.
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.