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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The Best (and Worst) Times to Visit Walt Disney World

By Dave Shute


The Best and Worst Times to Visit Walt Disney World from

Most years, I recommend arriving in Walt Disney World either one of the first three Saturdays after Thanksgiving, or one of the first two Saturdays.

In 2022 I recommend the first two Saturdays after thanksgiving–November 26 or December 3. See this for specifics.

The best times to go on a first family visit to Walt Disney World are lower-crowd periods outside of the ride closure and peak hurricane seasons.

These best times to visit include

  • Very late February–very early March
  • Between the second week after Easter and the week before Memorial Day
  • Later October
  • November–other than the first full week and Thanksgiving week
  • December up until a week before Christmas
  • (For returning visitors, January and February, except New Years week, Presidents Day week and the Martin Luther King Day holiday weekend, are also excellent, as can be September)


Tigger at the Crystal Palace from yourfirstvisit.netPretty much all other times, but especially Christmas week, New Year’s week, and the weeks before and after Easter.

More specifically,

  • Walt Disney World is the most crowded when kids are out of school: over summer through later August, Thanksgiving week, Christmas and New Years weeks, Presidents Day week, the spring break month of March; and the weeks before and after Easter. Crowds matter because they can increase waiting times by a factor of 3-4, lengthening your trip and/or reducing its value as a vacation while you are there.
  • The times when kids are out of school are (mostly) also the most expensive times to visit–Disney increases resort prices at times of higher demand, so that for example the same room at the Polynesian is $1800 more during Christmas week than during the week this site recommends.
    • Walt Disney World pricing is complicated, and prices do vary during these busy periods–for example, prices go down quite bit in August, even though the first two weeks are busy.
    • But generally you will pay more during the periods when kids are out of school.
  • Rides are mostly likely to be closed (for refurbishment) between early January and mid-February. For more on winter ride closures at Walt Disney World, click here
  • The hurricane season officially runs from June 1 through November 30, but strongly peaks from mid-August through early October.
  • Warm weather becomes materially less likely starting in mid-November, and the chance of good pool weather does not sharply improve again until mid-February. See Weather and When to Go.



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1 Muffin { 01.02.16 at 11:43 pm }

First I want to say your site is amazing. It assisted me in planning our first trip last may. I am thinking about returning from 8/26-9/4 . My fiance is extremely nervous about hurricane season. Does anyone have experience with Orlando during the late August early September months? We are from upstate NY so this is not something I am familiar with. I understand that the weather gets very hot during these months so any advice/recommendations would be appreciated! We are traveling with our 7 year old.

2 Dave { 01.03.16 at 5:40 pm }

Hi Muffin and thanks!!

There’s been no material issue with hurricanes at Disney World since 2004, and 2016 is expected to be a low-hurricane year. But if your fiance is worried, I’d pick another date. There’s plenty of good ones–see this.

3 Shawn { 01.04.16 at 1:51 pm }

Hi Dave, we are looking at the first week after Thanksgiving (arriving Saturday, 11/26) for a visit- will the parks still be crowded with Thanksgiving travelers on Sat 11/26 and Sun 11/27? Are any of the parks to be avoided on these days? We are also looking to visit Universal Studios, so we could potentially hit those parks in that time period, and wait on the WDW parks until Mon 11/28. Thank you!

4 Dave { 01.05.16 at 8:11 am }

Shawn, there will still be crowds the 26th, but not the 27th. Universal will be equally crowded the 26th. With FastPass+ you can still do fine the 26th. I won’t be able to advise on specific parks until the calendar for then comes out several months from now…

5 Tabitha { 01.07.16 at 2:49 pm }

We are planning a trip to Disney World this summer. Right now, our potential dates are June 18-23, August 1-6 and August 13-18. Which of these three dates would be best? We are also looking at June 6-11 but are nervous that our daughter wouldn’t be out of school because of snow days. From what I can tell, the crowds seem to be less that week. Are they substantially less to take that risk or is the difference between that and the other weeks slight? Thanks!

6 Dave { 01.07.16 at 4:29 pm }

Tabitha, see this: The later August date has lower crowds and lower prices, but is in the peak of the hurricane season. Hurricanes are rare, and an impact on a DIsney World vacation is rarer, but it is possible. If you are not willing to take the slight risk, then the earlier in June the better.

7 Triah { 01.09.16 at 11:05 pm }

We are going June 10-16 2016. How crowded do you think it will be?

8 Dave { 01.10.16 at 8:22 am }

Triah, see this.

9 George { 01.30.16 at 5:22 am }

Hi Dave,
Thanks so much for the website!, I have to choose one week, We were thinking about going in April 2th to 9th or 9th to 16th. ¿which week you recommend me?

10 Dave { 01.31.16 at 11:53 am }

George, for the reasons noted here, the later week.

11 Kelly { 04.07.16 at 7:42 am }

Awesome site! We currently have 2 options – September 15th or October 20th – 5 nights for me, my husband, and 12 yr old daughter . Our daughter has autism so crowds aren’t her thing. Also she tends to like activities geared towards younger kids. In your opinion, which is the best date of the two and which parks?

12 Dave { 04.07.16 at 11:41 am }

Kelly, an important point is that Disney World is never not crowded, it’s just that some times are better than others. September will be less crowded than October.

13 sandy szul { 04.07.16 at 6:16 pm }

We are going to Disney Oct 19-22 2016. I hate crowds. Is this a decent time to go, on another Website I had read crowds become heavy on the 20-22. Please advise, thank you for your time. Sandy

14 Dave { 04.09.16 at 9:19 am }

Sandy, Disney World is always crowded–it’s just that some times are much worse than others! Your dates are just fine, but you do have to be really careful which park you got to which day

10/19 avoid MK
10/20 avoid Epcot
10/21 avoid HS and Epcot
10/22 avoid all but HS

15 Freya { 04.10.16 at 4:16 pm }

Hi my family of four are going to Disney from the 9th-23rd. we are trying to go to parks for the first week and chill for the rest, do you have any tips to avoid crowds? (we are staying off site) and the best date to go to the Xmas party and such.

thanks x

16 Dave { 04.11.16 at 12:01 pm }

Freya, what month?

17 Courtney { 04.21.16 at 1:30 am }

Hi Dave! I am in the process of planning our first trip to WDW next year! We are considering the first week of September and are looking to spend about 10 days! I know we are thinking a day at seaworld and a day or two at universal with the rest a mixture in the parks! We will have a 4 yr old and almost 3 yr old twins, all boys! Is that a decent time? What are your suggestions park wise? Are we crazy?! 🙂 thanks in advance!

18 Dave { 04.21.16 at 12:11 pm }

Courtney, see this for general observations on September (it’s about 2016, but 90% will be true for 2017). 10 days is a long trip for kids that young, so you will have a very easy visit. A few half days at MK, and a half day each at the other three parks, will cover it.

19 Taylor { 04.26.16 at 7:58 pm }

Hello! My boyfriend & I are planning on doing Disney World in January 2017. We are both returners so we figured this was the best time that fits with our school schedule. We are planning on going the Monday and Tuesday directly after the Marathon weekend (or the Tuesday and Wednesday). How busy are the parks a day or two after the marathon? For specific dates- it is January 9th & 10, or 10th & 11th. Thank you!

20 Dave { 04.28.16 at 11:02 am }

Taylor they will be fine! Tues and Weds will be a little better than Mon and Tues, but not enough to make a huge difference.

21 Gail { 05.12.16 at 12:47 pm }

We are going to be in Orlando on July 15, 16 & 17. I’m already aware that it’s going to be busier than normal due to summer break, but that was our only option. Trying to decide which day to go to MK – would Sunday, July 17 be our best bet?

22 Dave { 05.13.16 at 8:50 am }

Gail, not much difference but yes, Sunday is the best choice!

23 Gail { 05.13.16 at 6:30 pm }

Thanks, Dave. We’re coming from California with a 6 year old son and a 3 year old daughter in tow. We’ve conquered Disneyland but are anticipating much more stress at MK. Do you suggest we head to anything in particular first in the day? Anything MK has that is different than Disneyland?

24 Dave { 05.14.16 at 10:58 am }

Gail take a look at my itineraries or my book for some ideas.

25 Gail { 05.16.16 at 2:06 pm }

Okay, one more question – since we only have one day, would you suggest MK over Epcot with kids?

26 Dave { 05.17.16 at 7:14 am }

With kids, Gail, MK in a heartbeat.

27 Sonia { 06.01.16 at 9:22 am }

We have booked to go Orlando for two weeks (June 21st – 5th July 2017), I keep seeing that June is the worst time to go but that was the date that was advised to us as September can have bad weather. We can change the dates and can go any time in the year. So ideally want to avoid high crowds unless its a special occasion like July 4th for example. What would you advise?

Thank you!

28 Dave { 06.02.16 at 9:42 am }
29 Eric { 06.01.16 at 11:33 am }

Hi Sonia, I think Dave just put out his 2017 crowd calendar. I would determine based on that. I’m sure it will be very close to the tips given at the top of this webpage. I’m planning 2017 for my family and have adjusted our dates based on the above. If you have the flexibility, why not?

30 Scott { 06.01.16 at 9:05 pm }

Sonia – if you have the flexibility to go at any time I would recommend arriving the Saturday after Thanksgiving. It has traditionally been one of the lower crowd times at Disney, although in recent years the crowds have increased some. The Christmas decorations, programs that Disney does are excellent. Plus the weather is quite nice.

31 Kelly B - Destinations In Florida { 06.02.16 at 7:46 am }

Hi Sonia – I\’m Kelly, the designated Destinations in Florida travel agent for I have to agree with Eric and Scott. I would change your dates. Not only can your original dates be crowded, but they can be hot and crowded. The winter months of January and February (just avoid the holidays), and the week Scott mentioned are great. Even if you run into a crowded day you aren\’t dealing with that Florida heat. So standing in line is tolerable.

32 Gail { 06.08.16 at 6:40 pm }

I previously asked you for advise regarding the best day to go to MK. We now have a little more wiggle room as we are staying in Orlando a little longer – so my question is, would going to MK on Thursday (7/14) be better than going on Sunday (7/17)? I read that since Wednesday is an EMH day, Thursday mornings are relatively less crowded since the park is open until midnight the night before. Thoughts/opinions?

33 Dave { 06.09.16 at 11:36 am }

Gail, July sees the least day to day variation of any month. That said, Thursday will be a little better than Sunday.

34 Jennifer Walker { 06.09.16 at 2:01 pm }

My husband and I are planning an anniversary trip. We’re looking at dates after Oct. 15 and in November. I would like the Food and Wine Festival to still be going on. Any suggestions?

35 Dave { 06.11.16 at 9:18 am }

Jennifer, see also this

36 Kelly B - Destinations In Florida { 06.10.16 at 9:37 am }

Jennifer, The F&W festival runs through 11/14 so you\’ll be fine any of your dates. The week of the 23rd – 28th should have lower crowds than the previous week.

I would love to help you plan. You can contact me at or 980-429-4499.

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