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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Category — a. When to Go to Walt Disney World

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

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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January 11, 2021   14 Comments

Disney World Crowds in 2021

2021 CROWDS AT WALT DISNEY WORLD

The chart lower on the page shows my current draft forecasts for 2021 crowds by week at Walt Disney World. I explain how I built it at the end of the post.

2021 will be an interesting year at Disney World, with COVID-related capacity restrictions dominating crowds early in the year, but after that new attractions opening, old attractions re-opening, and Disney World beginning its 50th anniversary celebration later in the year.

[Read more →]

January 6, 2021   No Comments

2021 Disney World Resort Hotel Price Seasons

2021 RESORT PRICE SEASONS AT WALT DISNEY WORLD

The material below shows Walt Disney World resort hotel price seasons at different times of the year in 2021.

Resort prices can be more than twice as high during some periods as they are at others. The information on this page helps you identify lower and higher cost periods.

Ticket prices also vary by date. Much of the time, you’ll find higher ticket prices at when resort hotel prices are also higher, but there are nuances to this, as the hotel market is more competitive, and for moderates and deluxes in particular, are affected by both the tourist and convention markets. 2021 Disney World ticket prices are here.

In the below, I compare 2021 hotel prices over the year for each hotel class to that class’s lowest price of the year. I don’t have as many different hotels in the analysis set as I do most years, because many key hotels have not yet re-opened.

Grouping of dates is based on “price seasons,” a grouping tool Disney World no longer makes public, but which can be identified analytically, and named (sorta) based on past practices. Disney charges based on the actual price of the actual nights, so if your visit straddles price seasons, you’ll pay the prices of each price season.

The charts average prices over the next seven nights, by arrival date.  This eliminates what would be otherwise be incomprehensible bumpiness from Thursday/Sunday and/or Friday/Saturday upcharges. For exact prices by night by room type by date, see MouseSavers.com here.

Price patterns over the year are similar to those of prior years, with the exception of the fourth quarter, when–compared to the rest of the year–they are higher in early October, and do not get quite as low as they used to get after Thanksgiving into early December–while still being low these dates than the holiday dates before and after.

One distinct change that affects the early October pattern is that October 1 and October 2 see a new set of higher prices, which I have named the “Anniversary Season” in honor of Disney World’s 50th anniversary–expected to be celebrated beginning October 1, 2021.

 

2021 DISNEY WORLD RESORT PRICE SEASONS: VALUE RESORTS

When a range is given, the higher end applies to Fridays and Saturdays, and the lower end to Mondays through Wednesdays. Sundays and Thursdays vary, but are typically closer to the lower end. Disney’s Pop Century Resort prices used to illustrate value resort prices.

  • The lowest prices of the year–the value season–begin 1/3/2021
  • 40% higher prices–RunDisney rates–begin 1/7/21
  • Lowest prices of year–the value season–begin 1/10/21
  • 40% higher prices for the Martin Luther King Jr. long weekend begins 1/15/21
  • Lowest prices of year–the value season–begin 1/18/21
  • 55% higher –the spring season—covers 2/11/21
  • 80% higher for the long weekend of Presidents Day begins 2/12/21
  • 50-80%% higher –the spring season—begins 2/15/21
  • 80% higher–RunDisney rates—begins 2/18/21
  • 30%-65% higher–the regular season–begins 2/21/21
  • 50-80% higher–the spring season–begins 3/5/21
  • 85% higher–the Easter season–begins 3/28/21
  • 50-80% higher–the spring season–begins 4/11/21
  • 65% higher –RunDisney rates—begins 4/15/21
  • 30-60% higher–the regular 2 season–begins 4/18/21
  • 65% higher over the Memorial Day long weekend begins 5/28/21
  • 40-65% higher–the summer season–begins 5/31/21
  • 70% higher over the long 4th of July weekend begins 7/2/21

  • 40-65% higher–the summer season–begins 7/5/21
  • 25-55% higher–the summer 2 season–begins 8/8/21
  • 15-40% higher–the fall season–begins 8/22/21
  • 55% higher over the long Labor Day weekend begins 9/3/21
  • 15-40% higher–the fall season–begins 9/6/21
  • 30-60% higher–the fall 2 season–begins 9/12/21
  • 75% higher—the Anniversary season—begins 10/1
  • 30-60% higher–the fall 2 season–begins 10/3/21
  • 70% higher over the long Columbus Day weekend begins 10/8/21
  • 30-60% higher–the fall 2 season–begins 10/11/21
  • 20-50% higher–the fall 3 season– begins 10/24/21
  • 50% higher–RunDisney rates, I expect—begins 11/4/21
  • 20-50% higher–the fall 3 season– begins 11/7/21
  • 60% higher over Thanksgiving begins 11/20/21
  • 20-50% higher–the fall 3 season–begins 11/27/21
  • 30-55% higher–the fall 4 season–begins 12/3/21
  • 55-90% higher–the holiday season–begins 12/10/21
  • 100% higher–the holiday 2 season–begins 12/17/21
  • 110% higher–the holiday 3 season–begins 12/26/21

2021 DISNEY WORLD RESORT PRICE SEASONS: MODERATE RESORTS

When a range is given, the higher end applies to Fridays and Saturdays, and the lower end to Mondays through Wednesdays. Sundays and Thursdays vary, but are typically closer to the lower end. Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort prices used to illustrate moderate resort prices.

  • The lowest prices of the year–the value season–begin 1/3/2021
  • 20% higher prices–RunDisney rates–begin 1/7/21
  • Lowest prices of year–the value season–begin 1/10/21
  • 20% higher prices for the Martin Luther King Jr. long weekend begins 1/15/21
  • Lowest prices of year–the value season–begin 1/18/21
  • 35% higher –the spring season—covers 2/11/21
  • 55% higher for the long weekend of Presidents Day begins 2/12/21
  • 30-45% higher –the spring season—begins 2/15/21
  • 55% higher–RunDisney rates—begins 2/18/21
  • 25%-40% higher–the regular season–begins 2/21/21
  • 30-45% higher–the spring season–begins 3/5/21
  • 60% higher–the Easter season–begins 3/28/21
  • 30-45% higher–the spring season–begins 4/11/21
  • 55% higher –RunDisney rates—begins 4/15/21
  • 25-45% higher–the regular 2 season–begins 4/18/21
  • 50% higher over the Memorial Day long weekend begins 5/28/21
  • 25-35% higher–the summer season–begins 5/31/21
  • 45% higher over the long 4th of July weekend begins 7/2/21
  • 25-35% higher–the summer season–begins 7/5/21

  • 25-40% higher–the summer 2 season–begins 8/8/21
  • 25-40% higher–the fall season–begins 8/22/21
  • 50% higher over the long Labor Day weekend begins 9/3/21
  • 25-40% higher–the fall season–begins 9/6/21
  • 35-50% higher–the fall 2 season–begins 9/12/21
  • 60% higher—the Anniversary season—begins 10/1
  • 35-50% higher–the fall 2 season–begins 10/3/21
  • 50% higher over the long Columbus Day weekend begins 10/8/21
  • 35-50% higher–the fall 2 season–begins 10/11/21
  • 30-50% higher–the fall 3 season– begins 10/24/21
  • 50% higher–RunDisney rates, I expect—begins 11/4/21
  • 30-50% higher–the fall 3 season– begins 11/7/21
  • 50% higher over Thanksgiving begins 11/20/21
  • 30-50% higher–the fall 3 season–begins 11/27/21
  • 40-50% higher–the fall 4 season–begins 12/3/21
  • 45-60% higher–the holiday season–begins 12/10/21
  • 80% higher–the holiday 2 season–begins 12/17/21
  • 85% higher–the holiday 3 season–begins 12/26/21

2021 DISNEY WORLD RESORT PRICE SEASONS: DELUXE RESORTS

When a range is given, the higher end applies to Fridays and Saturdays, and the lower end to Mondays through Wednesdays. Sundays and Thursdays vary, but are typically closer to the lower end. Disney’s Yacht Club Resort prices used to illustrate deluxe resort prices.

  • The lowest prices of the year–the value season–begin 1/3/2021
  • 25% higher prices–RunDisney rates–begin 1/7/21
  • Lowest prices of year–the value season–begin 1/10/21
  • 25% higher prices for the Martin Luther King Jr. long weekend begins 1/15/21
  • Lowest prices of year–the value season–begin 1/18/21
  • 40% higher –the spring season—covers 2/11/21
  • 50% higher for the long weekend of Presidents Day begins 2/12/21
  • 40-50% higher –the spring season—begins 2/15/21
  • 50% higher–RunDisney rates—begins 2/18/21
  • 30% higher–the regular season–begins 2/21/21
  • 40-50% higher–the spring season–begins 3/5/21
  • 50% higher–the Easter season–begins 3/28/21
  • 40-50% higher–the spring season–begins 4/11/21
  • 40% higher –RunDisney rates—begins 4/15/21
  • 30% higher–the regular 2 season–begins 4/18/21
  • 35% higher over the Memorial Day long weekend begins 5/28/21
  • 20% higher–the summer season–begins 5/31/21
  • 30% higher over the long 4th of July weekend begins 7/2/21

  • 15% higher—the summer season 2—begins 7/5/21
  • 5-10% higher—the value season 2—begins 8/20/21
  • 20% higher over the long Labor Day weekend begins 9/3/21
  • 5-10% higher—the value season 2—begins 9/6/21
  • 30-35% higher–the fall season–begins 9/17/21
  • 45% higher—the Anniversary season—begins 10/1
  • 30-35% higher–the fall season–begins 10/3/21
  • 40% higher over the long Columbus Day weekend begins 10/8/21
  • 25-40% higher–the fall 2 season–begins 10/11/21
  • 35-40% higher–the fall 3 season– begins 10/29/21
  • 40% higher–RunDisney rates, I expect—begins 11/4/21
  • 25-40% higher–the fall 2 season– begins 11/7/21
  • 45% higher over Thanksgiving begins 11/23/21
  • 25-40% higher–the fall 2 season–begins 11/27/21
  • 30-50% higher–the fall 4 season–begins 12/3/21
  • 45-55% higher–the holiday season–begins 12/10/21
  • 75% higher–the holiday 2 season–begins 12/17/21
  • 80% higher–the holiday 3 season–begins 12/26/21

OTHER KEY PAGES FOR WHERE TO STAY AT DISNEY WORLD

 

Kelly, the long-time travel agent partner of this site, can book your Disney World vacation at any Disney World hotel!  Contact her using the form below.

  • Date Format: MM slash DD slash YYYY
  • Date Format: MM slash DD slash YYYY

 

 

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December 31, 2020   No Comments

Disney World 2021 Ticket Prices in a Color-Coded Calendar

I’ve color coded the start dates of the various base ticket lengths in Disney World’s date-based ticket pricing system to indicate less and more expensive ticket dates in 2021, compared to prices in all of 2021.

The prices I show are pre-tax, per ticket day, and rounded to the nearest dollar. For 2021, I left out 1 and 2 day tickets, as they are of less interest and technically harder to color code.

In what follows, compared to other dates for the same ticket length

  • The more and the darker the green, the better
  • The more and the darker the red, the worse.

Dates with black text on a white background are everything else–you can think of them as “typical” or “average” for that ticket length. The technical details on how I color coded are at the end of the post.

I begin with an overview of the year see you can see the flow of 2021 price colors in one spot, and then move to two-month calendars.

If you compare 2021 colors to 2020 colors, you’ll note that while the rough calendar of reddish and greenish periods is the same as 2020, there are more red dates in the fourth quarter of 2021 than I have ever seen before.

JANUARY AND FEBRUARY 2021 DISNEY WORLD TICKET PRICES

MARCH AND APRIL 2021 DISNEY WORLD TICKET PRICES

MAY AND JUNE 2021 DISNEY WORLD TICKET PRICES

JULY AND AUGUST 2021 DISNEY WORLD TICKET PRICES

SEPTEMBER AND OCTOBER  2021 DISNEY WORLD TICKET PRICES

NOVEMBER AND DECEMBER 2021 DISNEY WORLD TICKET PRICES

TECHNICAL DETAILS OF COLOR CODING

For each ticket length:

  • Ticket prices approximately in the bottom 10% have darker green fill and black text, with the very lowest bolded
  • Ticket prices approximately in the next lowest 10% have a lighter green fill and black text
  • The next approximately 10% of prices has white fill and green text
  • Dates with prices approximately in the 70th to 80th percentile have white fill and red text
  • Prices approximately in the 80th to 90th percentile have a light red pinkish fill and black text
  • Prices in roughly the top 10% for the year have a darker red fill and black text, with the very highest bolded
  • Every other price in between has black text and white fill.

Note that my work is largely based on the rounded per-day prices Disney published. As a result, the “10%” breaks are not exact. Prices shown are also pre-tax.

 

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December 31, 2020   No Comments

October 2020 at Walt Disney World

April   May   June   July   August   September   October

WHAT IS OCTOBER LIKE AT DISNEY WORLD?

Late October has some of the best times of the year to visit Disney World, with nice weather, low-ish crowds, low-ish prices, and fun special events.

The rest of the month is not so good, as

  • The first two weeks are still in the peak of the hurricane season
  • The second through fourth weeks see extra crowds from fall breaks, and
  • The weekend beginning 10/9 sees both higher crowds and higher prices from Columbus Day.

Note also that picking the right park to visit each day is critical at this time of the year. See this, and use the comment form below to ask me about your specific dates!

[Read more →]

April 5, 2020   2 Comments

September 2020 at Walt Disney World

April   May   June   July   August   September   October

WHAT IS SEPTEMBER LIKE AT DISNEY WORLD?

September at Disney World combines lower crowds with low prices, and typically also has nice deals as well.

This makes it a great month for returning visitors.

But it has lousy weather, combining continuing summer heat and humidity with the peak of the hurricane season, making me not so keen on the month for first time visitors who may never return.

Note also that picking the right park to visit each day is critical at this time of the year.  See this, and use the comment form below to ask me about your specific dates!

[Read more →]

February 10, 2020   4 Comments