By the co-author of The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2019, the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook series ever.

Available on Amazon here.





Category — a. When to Go to Walt Disney World

September 2019 at Walt Disney World

 March    April    May    June   July   August   September

Update 3/10/2019: on March 7, Disney announced that the new Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge land would partially open at Disney’s Hollywood Studios on August 29.

Crowds in the new land will be a mess, and likely will spill over into the other thrill-style rides at that park. While I don’t see much impact on the other parks, no one knows for sure, and the Labor Day weekend that immediately follows opening day will likely be the busiest such in Disney World history.

I don’t see a huge impact outside the land itself the rest of the month, as it is hard to take kids out of school in September, the partial opening will make visiting specifically to see Star Wars less attractive, and many people will cancel their September trips to avoid the mess entirely.  See this for more.

WHAT IS SEPTEMBER LIKE AT DISNEY WORLD?

September at Disney World combines low 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!

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February 26, 2019   8 Comments

2020 Weeks to Visit Walt Disney World, Ranked in Order

OVERVIEW: THE BEST TIMES IN 2020 AT WALT DISNEY WORLD (DRAFT)

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 a good choice as the earlier two weeks.

If you can’t or don’t want to go then, presented below are my draft rankings of 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 September weeks would be ranked much higher.

I will revise these rankings at least once, after Disney’s actual 2020 prices come out (likely in the summer of 2019) and after I update my 2020 crowd forecasts, also likely in the summer of 2019.

Finally, 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. For a printable PDF of the draft rankings, click here.

These week rankings are based on my draft 2020 Disney World Crowd Calendar and forecast of Disney World 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 eleven recommended weeks that follow are my current forecasts 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 5), and Disney World’s holiday program at the Magic Kingdom will be fully in place for week 4 and largely in place for week 5

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

Weeks 6 through 10 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 mostly in calendar order, as the weather is better earlier in this period, with humidity and rain arriving sometime in mid- to later May. The final two weeks are not in calendar order, as they see a few days of higher crowds and prices over one of their two weekends.

  • 6: 4/25/20
  • 7: 5/2/20
  • 8: 5/9/20
  • 9: 4/18/20 (worse the first weekend)
  • 10: 5/16/20 (worse the second weekend)

Week 11 is your best spring break week

  • 11: 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 12-16 all have moderate crowd levels, with different prices and weather. I don’t particularly recommend moderate-crowd weeks for first time visitors, but they are quite manageable if you have to pick one.

They are in order of least to most crowded, and within crowd groups are sorted by price.

  • 12: 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.
  • 13: 10/17/20. Similar to week 3 but with more crowds from the tail end of fall breaks.
  • 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: 5/30/20  Beginning of summer, with traditionally the lowest summer crowds until mid- August. Crowds this week have been increasing the past few years, so the risk-averse may wish to avoid it.

Weeks 17-25 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 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.

Weeks 17 and 18 have some of the lowest crowds of the year

  • 17: 9/12/20
  • 18: 9/5/20

Weeks 19 and 20 have slightly higher crowds, and Week 20, slightly higher prices

  • 19: 8/29/20
  • 20: 9/19/20

Weeks 21 and 22 have slightly higher crowds than weeks 19 and 20

  • 21: 8/22/20
  • 22: 9/26/20

Weeks 23 to 25 are the moderate-crowd weeks in this hurricane group, with the last one nearing “high” crowds

  • 23: 10/3/20
  • 24: 8/15/20
  • 25: 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 26-47, should be avoided because of crowds that traditionally range from high to unbelievable.

This group includes all of later June, July and early August (traditionally massive crowds, although I do need t0 note that the summers of 2016 through 2018 were much more manageable than I’d thought they would be–that said, the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge in late 2019 will likely out an end to this recent trend of tolerable summer crowds.)

It also includes the busy March spring break weeks beginning 3/7/2020, 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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January 26, 2019   2 Comments

August 2019 at Walt Disney World

 March    April    May    June   July   August   September

WHAT IS AUGUST LIKE AT DISNEY WORLD?

Update 3/10/2019: on March 7, Disney announced that the new Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge land would partially open at Disney’s Hollywood Studios on August 29.

Crowds in the new land will be a mess, and likely will spill over into the other thrill-style rides at that park. While I don’t see much impact on the other parks, no one knows for sure, and the Labor Day weekend that immediately follows opening day will likely be the busiest such in Disney World history.  See this for more.

There are no great times for first-timers who may never return to visit in August. Kids start going back to school in August, so crowds (and most prices) go down later in the month–but that’s also when the peak of the hurricane season kicks off.

Note however, that the last three summers have been unusually good at Disney World in terms of crowds. If this trend continues, then August will be better earlier in the month than I’ve noted.

Hotel prices begin the month low at the deluxes and stay low all month long. Prices begin the month OK at the moderates, and high at the values. Values prices drop to moderate levels on 8/11, and on 8/25 prices drop to among the lowest of the year at the values. Moderate prices also change these dates, but stay within the general band of 10-20% higher than the lowest of the year.

Ticket prices are low in the later two-thirds of the month.

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January 25, 2019   No Comments

Disney World Crowds in 2020

2020 CROWDS AT WALT DISNEY WORLD

The chart lower on the page shows my draft forecasts for 2020 crowds by week at Walt Disney World.

I will update this forecast at least once, in the summer of 2019, and may update it again after that.

2020 will be an interesting year at Disney World, with crowds from the new land Galaxy’s Edge dominating the news early in the year, but after that other new rides opening and Disney World beginning its 50th anniversary celebration later in the year.

More on 2020 at Walt Disney World is here. For 2019 Disney World crowd forecasts, see this.
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January 13, 2019   28 Comments

Disney World 2020 Resort Hotel Price Seasons

2020 RESORT PRICE SEASONS AT WALT DISNEY WORLD

The material below shows my forecast resort price seasons at Walt Disney World at different times of the year in 2020. My forecasts are based on recent Disney practice, and I will revise them once Disney World publishes its actual 2020 resort hotel prices—likely in the summer of 2019.

Resort prices can be almost twice as high during some periods as they are at others. My forecasts help you identify lower and higher cost periods.

My comparisons are to prices that are “the lowest of the year,” the value season.

Grouping of dates is based on “price seasons,” a grouping tool Disney World no longer makes public, but which can be identified analytically. 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.

(For more on 2020 at Disney World, see this. For 2019 price seasons, see this. For the basics on where to stay at Disney World, see this.)

2020 DISNEY WORLD FORECAST RESORT PRICE SEASONS: VALUE RESORTS

  • The lowest prices of the year–the value season–begins 1/2/2020
  • 20-30% higher prices–Marathon rates–begin 1/9/20
  • Lowest prices of year–the value season–begin 1/12/20
  • 20-25% higher for the Martin Luther King Jr. long weekend begins 1/17/20
  • Lowest prices of year–the value season–begin 1/20/20
  • 55-65% higher for the long Presidents Day weekend begins 2/13/20
  • 35-45% higher–the peak season–begins 2/17/20
  • 20-30% higher–the regular season–begins 2/23/20
  • 35-45% higher–the peak season–begins 3/6/20
  • 60-65% higher–the Easter season–begins 4/5/20
  • 20-30% higher–the regular season 2–begins 4/19/20
  • 45-50 higher over the Memorial Day long weekend begins 5/22
  • 30-40% higher–the summer season–begins 5/25/20
  • 20-25% higher–the summer 2 season–begins 8/9/20
  • 5-10% higher–the fall season–begins 8/23/20
  • 20-25% higher–the regular 3 season–begins 9/13/20
  • 40-50% higher over the long Columbus Day weekend begins 10/9/20
  • 20-25% higher–the regular 3 season–begins 10/12/20
  • 5-10% higher–the fall 2 season– begins 10/25/20
  • 30-35% higher over Thanksgiving begins 11/21/20
  • 5-10% higher–the fall 2 season–begins 11/28/20
  • 10-20% higher–the regular 4 season–begins 12/6/20
  • 35-45% higher–the peak season–begins 12/11/20
  • 60-70% higher–the holiday season–begins 12/18/20

2020 DISNEY WORLD FORECAST RESORT PRICE SEASONS: MODERATE RESORTS

  • The lowest prices of the year–the value season–begin 1/2/2020
  • 15% higher prices–Marathon rates–begin 1/9/20
  • Lowest prices of year–the value season–begin 1/12/20
  • 10-15% higher for the Martin Luther King Jr. long weekend begins 1/17/20
  • Lowest prices of year–the value season–begin 1/20/20
  • 35-45% higher for the long Presidents Day weekend begins 2/13/20
  • 25% higher–the peak season–begins 2/17/20
  • 20% higher–the regular season–begins 2/23/20
  • 25% higher–the peak season–begins 3/6/20
  • 40-45% higher–the Easter season–begins 4/5/20
  • 15-20% higher–the regular season 2–begins 4/19/20
  • 25-35% higher over the Memorial Day long weekend begins 5/22
  • 14-17% higher–the summer season–begins 5/25/20
  • 16-22% higher–the summer 2 season–begins 8/9/20
  • 10-20% higher–the fall season–begins 8/23/20
  • 15-25% higher–the regular 3 season–begins 9/13/20
  • 25-35% higher over the long Columbus Day weekend begins 10/9/20
  • 15-25% higher–the regular 3 season–begins 10/12/20
  • 10-18% higher–the fall 2 season– begins 10/25/20
  • 20-25% higher over Thanksgiving begins 11/21/20
  • 10-18% higher–the fall 2 season–begins 11/28/20
  • 10-20% higher–the regular 4 season–begins 12/6/20
  • 325% higher–the peak season–begins 12/11/20
  • 45-55% higher–the holiday season–begins 12/18/20

2020 DISNEY WORLD RESORT FORECAST PRICE SEASONS: DELUXE RESORTS

  • The lowest prices of the year–the value season–begin 1/2/2020
  • 15-20% higher prices–Marathon rates–begin 1/9/20
  • Lowest prices of year–the value season–begin 1/12/20
  • 15-20% higher for the Martin Luther King Jr. long weekend begins 1/17/20
  • Lowest prices of year–the value season–begin 1/20/20
  • 40-55% higher for the long Presidents Day weekend begins 2/13/20
  • 30-45% higher–the peak season–begins 2/17/20
  • 20-25% higher–the regular season–begins 2/21/20
  • 30-45% higher–the peak season–begins 3/6/20
  • 50-60% higher–the Easter season–begins 4/5/20
  • 20-25% higher–the regular season 2–begins 4/19/20
  • 25-35 higher over the Memorial Day long weekend begins 5/22
  • 10-17% higher–the summer season–begins 5/25/20
  • 5-10% higher–near-lowest of year–the value season 2–begins 7/12/20
  • Lowest of year–the value season–begins 8/21/20
  • Prices bump up on 9/4/20 to 15% higher than the lowest of the year for the long Labor Day
    weekend
    Lowest of the year–the value season–begins 9/7/20
  • 10-20% higher–the regular season 3–begins 9/18/20
  • Prices increase to 25-30% higher than the lowest of the year for the long Columbus Day weekend on 10/9/20
  • 5-15% higher–the fall season–begins 10/12/20
  • 20-25% higher–the regular season 4–begins 10/30/20
  • 5-15% higher–the fall season–begins 11/8/20
  • 25-40% higher during Thanksgiving begins 11/24/20
  • 5-15% higher–the fall season–begins 11/28/20
  • 15-20% higher–the regular season 4 or 5 or something–begins 12/6/20
  • 30-45% higher–the peak season–begins 12/11/20
  • 55-75% higher–the holiday season–begins 12/18/20

OTHER KEY PAGES FOR WHERE TO STAY AT DISNEY WORLD

 

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January 8, 2019   4 Comments

July 2019 at Walt Disney World

February   March    April    May    June   July   August   September

WHAT IS JULY LIKE AT DISNEY WORLD?

Because pretty much every US schoolkid is on break in July, while shorter periods the rest of the year are more crowded, July overall has traditionally been the most crowded month at Disney World.

Note however, that the last three summers have been unusually good at Disney World in terms of crowds. If this trend continues, then July 2019 will be better than I’ve noted.

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January 7, 2019   No Comments