Best Time to Visit Disney World

Learn When Crowds Lessen and Costs Drop

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••• Matt Stroshane/Walt Disney Parks

Trying to figure out the perfect time to visit Disney World? The best time to go is usually in January or September. It is at that time that crowds thin out and prices plummet. The sweet spot with deciding when to go to Disney World is when prices are reasonable, crowds are manageable, and temperatures are tolerable. 

In January, the temperatures are at annual lows, but if you're coming from up North, then temperatures in the 60s and 70s in Florida are a welcome break from a snowy, wintery location with freezing temps.

In September, most children return to school, which reduces the lines and long waits that Disney is known for.

Weather

Florida is famous for its sunshine, but many visitors are not prepared for the Florida heat and humidity. The temperatures in the summer climb into the 90s and the humidity can be stifling. If you or your family get uncomfortably hot easily, then travel in the winter, when the climate is more moderate. If you're only able to travel during the warmest months, then note that hurricane season runs from June through October. Although the chance of a hurricane hitting Florida while you are visiting is slim, this is something you still want to keep at the back of your mind. If a hurricane does roll into town, if you booked a trip at a Disney resort, in almost all cases, you can reschedule your vacation plans for a later date.

Affordability

If saving money is your top priority, travel when Disney vacation prices are at their lowest and be aware that Disney recently introduced a surge pricing model for theme park tickets that follows its long-established practice for hotel room prices.

What this means is that hotel prices and ticket prices are less expensive during slower periods.

In addition, there are a few money-saving strategies that can help you visit Disney World in a more frugal way. You can start by checking out these six more affordable places to stay at Disney World.

Crowds

If you hate waiting in long lines or you have little ones who have yet to learn the art of patience, plan your trip when the parks are least crowded.

If you can't avoid visiting during a peak season, learn strategies for managing crowds at Disney World. Regardless of when you visit, you will want to lock in ride times and dining experiences with the My Disney Experience tool. Gone are the days of keeping track of your paper tickets. Now, you use a smartphone application and your MagicBand bracelets. The app lets you program your attractions and dining experiences with FastPass+, which speeds up everything, even when the crowds are large.

As a top destination for American children (and foreign children), it should come as no surprise that crowds tend to be bigger during school holidays, such as summer vacation, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and spring break.

Popular Events

Disney has several major events throughout the year, so consider choosing your travel dates to coincide with, or avoid, these times. The crowds do surge around these times such as the Epcot International Flower and Garden FestivalMickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, or Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party.

Disney Travel Chart

This handy month-by-month chart lists hotel prices, crowd levels, and average daily temperatures in Disney World. The stars align a few times a year when all three happen to be at their ideal at the same time.

If you can't hit them all, then aim for two out of three.

Of January and September, January has the added benefit of milder temperatures. Both of these months can be ideal if your kids are not yet in school or if you're willing to pull them out of school for a few days.

 Month Hotel Prices Crowd Level Average High Temperatures
 January Low Low 71
 February Low to high (Winter Break) Low to medium 74
 March Medium to high (Spring Break) Medium 74
 April Medium to high (Easter) Medium to high 83
 May Medium Medium 88
 June High (Summer) High 91 (most rainfall)
 July High (Summer) High 92 (second highest rainfall)
 August High (Summer) to low (Return to school) High to low 92 (third highest rainfall)
 September Low to medium Low 90
 October Medium Low to med 85
 November Low (except Veterans Day, Thanksgiving) Medium to high 79
 December Medium to high (Christmas) Medium to high 73

January

Disney World in January is the off-season. The high peak prices from just a few weeks earlier during the Christmas winter break come down. The weather is mild. You may even wake to frosty dew in the early morning hours and evening temperatures can drop, so bring a jacket. Since Disney is in the off-peak, park hours may shorten, too. But, if you're not a fan of long lines, then you're in seventh heaven. Lines are gloriously shorter than any other time of the year.

February

Much like January, Disney in February is great as it is still considered the low season. The exception to this is President's week. Try to avoid the second or third week of February when the crowds begin to pick up. If you're planning to go swimming or visit one of Disney's waterparks, the water is comfortably heated, although the air temps might make it seem too chilly to enjoy the pools as much as you would during the warmer summer months.

March

In March, the weather in central Florida is still mild, the crowds are thin, and the prices are reasonable. Disney in March can be a great idea as long as you avoid Spring Break or Easter break time, which can sometimes occur in March. Also, if you are traveling by car look to avoid Bike Week in March, which occurs in March in Daytona Beach. The traffic may get heavy around that time.

April 

Things begin to heat up in Disney World in April. You can expect temperatures to start to rise to the mid-80s. Spring Break and Easter week are usually in April, if you visit Disney during those times you can expect lines to start to lengthen, prices start to go up, and accommodation availability may not be your first choice.

May 

In May, temperatures are rising in Florida, although the calendar says it's spring, you will feel like you're in the middle of summer with temps potentially reaching 90 F. Thunderstorms in the afternoon are a common occurrence. Florida is known for its flash rain showers, so pack a poncho or plan to buy one while at one of the parks if you are visiting Disney World in May.  Crowds are moderate at this time since most schools hold a lot of the end-of-the-year events in May.

June

Disney World in June can be a lot of fun for most children since school's out, but that means the crowds are back and the lines lengthen. A perk to peak time in Disney is that the performances and activities are at their peak too. Beware of the sun though, June is the month with the longest day. The sun is brutal. Be mindful to constantly reapply sunscreen, wear sunglasses, and bring a hat with a visor.

July

July is one of Disney World's peak months. The temperatures are high, the sun's rays are strong, and the lines for the rides and finding restaurant reservations are a hassle. The good news is that the parks are open longer so you can get to the parks when they first open. Leave and return to your resort for lunch or a dip in the pool. Afterward, you can return to the parks once the temps drop a little in the late afternoon.

August

August is the hottest month of the year. While at Disney World in August, from noon to 3 p.m., you will want to find indoor shows to visit or make lunchtime reservations indoors. If the heat's unbearable, skip the theme parks and plan a trip to one of Disney's water parks, like Typhoon Lagoon or Buzzard's Bay. Most of the month is packed with visitors, but Florida children return to school in late August, so you might notice a slight dip in the size of the crowds at the tail end of the month.

September

Disney World in September is one of the best times to visit the theme parks. The lines are again manageable. Also, September is a great month to visit Orlando because hotel rates are at their lowest of the year. Usually, crowds have thinned out since most school-aged children have returned to school, and there are hundreds of terrific deals that you can find. 

October

October can still be hot during the day in the 80s, but the temperatures start to dip at night. So, be prepared, and bring a light jacket. October is a special time to visit, the Magic Kingdom is decorated for the Halloween season and features its annual Halloween party festivities.

November 

Disney World in November can be a great time to go—crowd-wise—as long as you avoid Thanksgiving week. The temperatures are pleasant during the day, although the temps start to get cooler at night. Still, bring a bathing suit. Disney resort pools are all heated, and the Florida sun beats strong. Do not forget your sunscreen.

December

December in Disney World is festively decorated for Christmas. It's a special time. You don't want to miss Mickey's Christmas party (on select nights at the Magic Kingdom). It's worth it to see Mickey and the Mouse House decked out in all it's Christmas finery at least once if you can.