Disney World, Minus the Crowds

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••• Matt Stroshane/Walt Disney Parks

Love Disney World but hate the crowds? If you want to spend more time enjoying the rides and attractions, it can be worthwhile to time your trip at a time when Disney's parks are at their least crowded. 

Not surprisingly, that will mean avoiding holiday periods, school breaks and most of summer vacation. Visiting during the midweek instead of weekends will also help. Getting to the parks early in the day before crowds build, will guarantee that you are able to experience some top rides and attractions without much of a wait.

 And lastly, using FastPass+ strategically to lock in times for your top-priority experiences will further cut down the time you spend in lines.

Peak Crowds Mean Peak Prices

Need another reason to go during the off-season? The least crowded times to visit Disney World are also the least expensive, so it's a win-win. In early 2016, Disney introduced a dynamic ticket pricing model, which means that ticket prices are more expensive during peak periods. This mirrors the fluctuations in seasonal room rates that have long existed at Disneyland Resorts, so now there is an even stronger reason to visit during slower periods.

There are now three tiers for one-day theme park tickets: value, regular, and peak days. Disney uses its crowd calendars to categorize days and single-day tickets are now assigned to a specific day of use.

Keep in mind that weekends are typically more crowded than weekdays, and special happenings like Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party or Mickey's Very, Merry Christmas Party can draw higher attendance to the park hosting the specific event.

Disney World With Fewer Crowds

January to early February and the back-to-school season are great times to visit. September and October are great months to visit Orlando in general because hotel rates are at their lowest of the year, crowds have thinned, and there are many terrific deals on the table.

 

To make efficient use of your time, use the MyMagic+ planning system to manage your time and schedule your priority rides and attractions with FastPass+ to chop your wait time considerably.

When is Attendance the Lowest?

This attendance chart offers a good overview of when Disney World is at its least and most crowded.

DatesHolidayCrowds
Jan 1New Years Day   high
Jan 2 to mid-Feb low
Presidents WeekWinter Breakhigh
late Feb to early Mar moderate   
mid-Mar to mid-AprSpring Breakhigh
late Apr to late May moderate
Memorial Day weekendMemorial Dayhigh
early to mid-June moderate
mid-June through Labor Day   Summerhigh
early Sept to mid-Nov low
Thanksgiving weekendThanksgivinghigh
early to mid-Dec low
late DecChristmashigh

 

In a nutshell, the low seasons correlate with times when school is in session and there is no major holiday.

How to Outsmart Crowds

  • Be an early bird. It pays to be an early riser when visiting Disney World.  For starters, the parks get more and more crowded as the day goes on. Arrive at opening time, and you will be able to go on your favorite ride or attraction without any line. You may even be able to do it twice quickly without having to use a FastPass+. An hour later, the regular wait time for the same ride might be 45 minutes or an hour. Your best battle plan is to arrive early in the parks and spend a few hours going on as many rides and attractions as you can.
  • Zig when everyone else zags. Around lunchtime, when the parks are hitting their peak crowds, consider heading back to your hotel for a bite to eat and some down time. You can return to the parks in the late afternoon when many families are waning and starting to leave the parks for dinner.
  • Get a read on attendance. Want to drill down deeper? If you're looking for day-to-day crowd forecasts, the very best resource for predicting Disney park attendance is this Disney World Crowd Calendar.
  • Come with a peak-crowd plan. Can only visit during school breaks? Be sure to arm yourself with strategies for dealing with huge crowds.

Whenever you decide to visit Disney World, be sure to consult our Smart Parent's Guide to Walt Disney World for great tips and planning advice.

Check rates at Disney World Resort hotels and save money on your hotel stay as well by reading up on the cheapest places to stay at Disney World and the best Disney World Resorts for big families.