Hey everybody, there’s a new itinerary out for arrivals 8/31 through 10/26/2019. You can find it here.

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 — 8. Winter at Walt Disney World

January 2019 at Walt Disney World

January   February   March    April   May    June    July

WHAT IS JANUARY LIKE AT DISNEY WORLD?

Early January 2019 will be dominated by holiday crowds and higher prices, but after the 5th, most days will see low crowds and low prices–with upticks around the marathon, the Martin Luther King Day three day holiday weekend, and possibly during the days before and after the Pro Bowl on January 27.

January is not recommended for first-time visitors who may never return, because of ride closures. For returning visitors–and first timers who know they can return–after the first week, January is usually a great time to visit, with low crowds and low prices. If you can, visit after Martin Luther King Day–January 21 in 2019.

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August 7, 2018   9 Comments

December 2018 at Walt Disney World

December   January   February   March  April   May    June

WHAT IS DECEMBER LIKE AT DISNEY WORLD?

Early December, with lower crowds, lower prices, and wonderful Christmas decorations and events, has the best weeks of the year to visit.

Later December has the highest crowds and prices of the year.

Park closings to additional guests are possible in this later December period, as are 8a openings and more morning Extra Magic Hours than other weeks.

December also has a special party, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, a special evening event–with its own ticket–that has become a family tradition for many, and major New Years Eve celebrations.

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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July 19, 2018   4 Comments

New Year’s Eve 2018 at Walt Disney World

2018 NEW YEAR’S EVE AT DISNEY WORLD

What’s known so far is that New Year’s Eve festivities and fireworks will happen at Disney World on December 31, 2018 at Disney World’s Epcot and Magic Kingdom theme parks, and also at the Magic Kingdom on December 30.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios currently has no special New Years eve events on its calendar, but in past years has done something at midnight as well.

The Animal Kingdom in the past has had no special New Years fireworks events–usually attributed to not troubling the animals. This makes it the best park to visit for those trying to avoid crowds. Everything will be wildly crowded, but the Animal Kingdom will be less so, and Magic Kingdom and EPcot will be overwhelmed.

Based on what’s already in the calendar and the past, the schedule will look like this:

  • Epcot will be open until 1a on New Year’s Eve; Disney’s Hollywood Studios likely until at least midnight, and the Magic Kingdom likely until 1a or later
  • The Magic Kingdom will have special New Year’s Eve fireworks at 6.30p and  11.50p
  • Epcot will have its Illuminations fireworks show at 6.30p and New Years Eve fireworks at 11.40p, plus DJs in various pavilions
  • Disney’s Hollywood Studios likely will have fireworks at midnight

Magic Kingdom will have the same fireworks at the same times on 12/30/18. This date will likely be a little less crowded than 12/31.

Note that alcohol is not available at the Magic Kingdom (other than at a few restaurants), but is available at the other three parks

DISNEY WORLD PARK CLOSURES ON NEW YEAR’S EVE

Disney closes parks due to crowding often on New Year’s Eve. “Closes” means closed to additional guests–those in the parks do not have to leave.

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July 18, 2018   No Comments

January 2017 at Walt Disney World

January   February   March   April   May   June   July   August

OVERVIEW: JANUARY 2017 AT DISNEY WORLD

January 2017 at Disney World from yourfirstvisit.net

This page reviews January 2017 Walt Disney World crowds, prices, deals and discounts, weather, and operating hours; adds a few other notes; and ends with week by week summaries.

Early January 2017 will be dominated by holiday crowds and prices, but after the 6th, most days will see low crowds and low prices–with upticks around the Marathon (weekend of the 9th), the Martin Luther King Day three day holiday weekend, and possibly during the days before the Pro Bowl on January 29.

January is not recommended for first-time visitors who may never return, because of ride closures. For returning visitors–and first timers who know they can return–it’s usually a great time to visit, but the Pro Bowl does add some uncertainty to 2017.

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July 5, 2016   40 Comments

Pro Bowl, Presidents Day, and Mardi Gras Crowds at Disney World

DISNEY WORLD CROWDS AND THE PRO BOWL

In 2017 for the first time Orlando will be hosting the NFL’s Pro Bowl, on January 29. The game itself will be in downtown Orlando’s “Camping World” Stadium, which some of you may remember as the Citrus Bowl, but Disney World–especially, but not only the ESPN Wide World of Sports area–will be heavily involved.

According to NFL.com,

“Practices will be held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort simultaneously with youth football events and a fan fest…There will be a Pro Bowl-themed 5K run, a parade of Pro Bowl players in the Magic Kingdom and Pro Bowl-themed elements throughout Disney Springs, Disney’s newest entertainment and dining destination.”

This is a new thing, so there is no track record to base crowd predictions on. Wide World of Sports–and the roads near it–will be mobbed during the fan events the days before the game, as will also, I’d guess, the Magic Kingdom on the as-yet unannounced day of the parade there.

Predicting resulting overall Disney World crowd levels the weeks before and after the game is a little harder.

  • First, the Pro Bowl itself is not much of a destination event. The announced figure of “at least” $30 million economic impact on the Orlando area implies at the low end just 10,000 to 20,000 incremental people in Orlando from the Pro Bowl (based on rules of thumb about the value of an out of town visitor I learned at one of my clients), which is nothing when spread across all of Orlando’s attractions.
  • However, the Pro Bowl has never been held in collaboration with Disney World and ESPN before, so it and more importantly its fan fest might end up being a real draw to people from out of town.
  • It may especially be a draw for folks within easy driving distance–the Orlando area itself, of course, and Jacksonville and Tampa–to combine a day or two at the fan fest and at the theme parks. (The “easy drive” might even include the arc from Mobile through Atlanta to Charleston, and all of South Florida as well.)

We won’t really know until after it happens, but we can say for sure that the Disney World hotels will likely be booked solid the week before and perhaps a few days after the game, and that the parks will likely be somewhat more crowded than I’d predicted before the Pro Bowl was announced.

My original crowd forecasts for the week leading up to and the week after the Pro Bowl weekends were both 1/lowest crowds. Because the only number I have is the quite low $30 million in incremental economic impact, I’m not raising these a lot.  In my 2017 Disney World crowd calendar, I am now forecasting the week before the game as 4/low+ crowds, and the week after as 2/lower crowds.

DISNEY WORLD PRESIDENTS DAY CROWDS

Based on the comments I get on this site, year after year one of the things that most surprises people is how crowded the week of Presidents Day is at Walt Disney World.

Most schools just have one day off–the Monday holiday.

However, even so, lots of other school kids have a four or five day weekend (Thursday or Friday to Monday, or Saturday to Tuesday or Wednesday).

Even more have the whole week that includes Presidents Day off. Most of the latter are from the Northeast, and really, really need a break from the snow and cold…and thus the massive crowds that week at Disney World!

See the left side of chart, which shows the proportion of the 15.4 million kids in my 2016-2017 school year calendar database with more than a three day weekend over President’s Day:

Disney World Crowds February 2017 from yourfirstvisit.net

In 2016 Presidents Day is February 20th, shown in red.

Breaks begin the Thursday before, and continue at high levels through the rest of the week.

In my 2017 crowd calendar I have the week that includes Presidents Day rated as 10/higher crowds.  Expect the highest crowds Friday through Tuesday, and high crowds the rest of the week.

MARDI GRAS CROWDS AT WALT DISNEY WORLD

Mardi Gras, February 28 in 2017 and in red on the right side of the chart, is the opposite. My commentors worried about it tend to come from the very few southeastern areas that have a multi-day holiday around it. But hardly anyone else does.

So Mardi Gras has little effect on February crowds unless it falls (as it did in 2015) the day after Presidents Day, in which case it makes a lousy week even more horrible.

In my 2017 crowd calendar I have the week that includes Mardi Gras rated as 4/low+ minus. This rating combines moderate crowds at the beginning of this week from leftover Presidents Day folk, a runDisney event, and Mardi Gras itself, with quite low crowds later in the week.

(For how these charts are built, see this.)

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July 1, 2016   19 Comments

February 2016 at Walt Disney World

February   March   April   May   June   July    August   September

OVERVIEW: FEBRUARY 2016 AT DISNEY WORLD

February 2016 at Disney World from yourfirstvisit.netThis page reviews February 2016 Walt Disney World crowds, prices, deals and discounts, weather, and operating hours; adds a few other notes; and ends with week by week summaries.

Early February 2016 will have some of the lowest crowds and prices of the year, but also the risk of ride closures.

The end of the month brings slightly higher prices and crowds, but better weather and few closures.

In between–the period from Thursday the 11th through Sunday the 21st–we will see high crowds and high prices.

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July 12, 2015   26 Comments