The Best Time to Visit Disney World

minnie and mickey mouse in a parade at disney
••• Matt Stroshane/Walt Disney Parks

Trying to figure out the perfect time to visit Disney World? If you're looking to avoid crowds, the best time to go is in January or September when the weather is mild, crowds thin out, and prices plummet.

However, if special events and decorations are what you're seeking, the months of August, September, October, November, and December may be better options for you.

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 high 90s and the humidity can be stifling, but during the winter, the climate is more moderate.

Hurricane season runs from June through October. Although the chance of a  hurricane hitting Florida while you are visiting is slim, this is something to keep in mind. ​

Affordability

In 2016, Disney introduced a surge pricing model for theme park tickets that follows its long-established practice for hotel room prices. This simply means that hotel and ticket prices are less expensive during slower periods, such as January and September. However, the pricing is done on a day to day basis, so you may find that Thanksgiving Day is more expensive than a Saturday in July, depending on past attendance records. 

The fact is, a trip to Disney won't be cheap, but there are a few money-saving strategies that can help, such as choosing an affordable place to stay, and avoid visiting on major holidays.

 

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, and learn the best strategies for managing crowds.

Regardless of when you visit, you will want to lock in ride times and dining experiences with the My Disney Experience app.

This app lets you choose your FastPass+ attractions and dining experiences with ease, even when the crowds are large. Crowds will be the worst during school holidays, such as summer vacation, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and spring break.

Popular Events

Disney has several major events throughout the year, such as the Epcot International Flower and Garden FestivalEpcot's International Food and Wine FestivalMickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, and Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party.

Disney Travel Chart

The stars align a few times a year when hotel prices, crowd levels, and average daily temperatures are ideal at the same time, in January, September, and November. 

 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

As Disney World continues to draw more and more crowds year-round, January is one of the last remaining months considered to be the off-season. The high peak prices from the holiday season just a few weeks prior significantly come down, and the weather is particularly mild.

While days are usually warm and sunny, don't be surprised if you see a frosty dew in the early morning hours or experience chilly evening temperatures, as Orlando has a sub-tropical climate. Post-New Year's Day, the hours in the parks shorten, as workers speed to remove the holiday decorations, but since the attractions lines are shorter than any other time of the year, the lessened hours shouldn't affect your trip.

While the resorts' pools and hot tubs remain heated and open year-round, Disney's two water parks, Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach are typically closed for the winter following New Year's Day.

 

February

Much like January, February is still a slow month, with the exception of the President's week, which falls on the third week each year. Since most U.S. schools are closed during this week, crowds are to be expected. Valentine's Day is also a popular day for locals, especially at the onsite restaurants, so unless you have reservations, it's best to skip visiting on February 14th.  

The park hours are similar to January, and the waterparks usually remain closed during February as well.

March

In March, the weather in central Florida is still mild, but with Spring Break, Bike Week, a popular Daytona Beach event, and Epcot's Flower & Garden Festival, the traffic, in addition to park attendance can get heavy this month. Easter is also a popular day for families to visit Disney, but it is an ever-changing holiday that occasionally falls in March, but more often April. 

The waterparks typically reopen in early to mid-March, and as the days get longer (and warmer), the park hours follow.  

April 

Things begin to heat up in April as temperatures begin to rise to the mid-80s during the day. Spring Breakers continue to flood the parks, and the prices reflect this sudden surge. Avoid visiting on Easter Sunday if it occurs this month, as it will be the most popular park day.

May 

In May, although the calendar says it's spring, you will feel like you're in the middle of summer with temps potentially reaching 90 degrees. Thunderstorms in the afternoon are a common occurrence, usually right around 3 p.m. Florida is known for its flash rain showers, so you don't win any style points, but it's a good idea to pack a poncho if you are visiting from May through September.  Crowds are moderate at this time since most schools are in session, and no major holidays or events fall within the month. 

June

June is the month with the longest day, so beware of the brutal sun. Though necessary year-round, you must be mindful to constantly reapply sunscreen, wear sunglasses, and bring a hat if you plan on spending the daylight hours at the parks.

The beginning of the month sees few crowds, as many schools are in still in session until mid-June, and it is too close to summer break to justify playing hooky. After June 15th, however, the high summer season is in full swing, and with that comes rising prices and fewer accommodations and restaurant choices, but also longer park hours, and in-park shows, activities, and ride openings.

July

July is the peak month at Disney World. Just about every child in America is enjoying summer break during this month, so families flock to the House of Mouse to enjoy their time off. The temperatures are at this time are sometimes unbearably high, especially midday when the sun's rays are strongest.

You can expect attraction wait rides to rise to well over two hours for the most sought-after attractions and finding a place to eat a sit-down meal might prove impossible if you don't have an advanced reservation. 

The good news is that the parks are open longer. Your best plan of action is to arrive at opening time, then leave and return to your resort for lunch and a refreshing dip in the pool. Afterward, you can return to the parks once the temps drop a little in the late afternoon, and ride anything you may have missed in the morning.

August

August is the hottest month of the year. From noon to 3 p.m., your main goal is to get inside, whether you make a lunchtime reservation in an indoor restaurant, or perhaps catch a movie at the AMC theater in Disney Springs. You can also beat the heat at the water parks, Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach, or take to the sea and rent a paddleboat from your resort's dock and cruise around the Seven Seas Lagoon.

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. However, the end of the month marks the beginning of the months-long Epcot International Food and Wine Festival, so within that park, you can expect high crowds.

September

September is one of the best times to visit the theme parks. The lines are again manageable since most school-aged children have returned to school, and hotel rates are the lowest of the year.

The weather is hot but milder than July and August, and the waterparks, as well as Epcot's Food and Wine Festival, remain active during the month. 

October

October can still be hot during the day, but temperatures start to drop at night. It is a great time to visit since the parks are decorated for the fall season and there is a special Halloween party that happens most evenings. Other than Halloween day, you shouldn't have much a crowding issue, aside from in Epcot, for the Food and Wine Festival.  

November 

November can be a great time to go, as long as you avoid Thanksgiving week. Though, if you plan to visit the day following Thanksgiving weekend, you may find no lines at all. The temperatures this month are pleasant during the day, and cooler at night. The holiday decorations won't be fully on display until December 1st, but you might get a glimpse of what's to come if you visit later in November. 

Epcot's International Food and Wine Festival begins winding down until mid-month when it officially ends.

December

In December the parks are festively decorated for the holidays, and there are plenty of special holiday-themed treats as well as events scheduled throughout the month, such as Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party.

Naturally, many families love visiting during this month, as many have holiday breaks, and like July, it also has an extremely high amount of visitors.