Family Travel

Unlock the Magic: Your Guide to Disney World’s Least Crowded Months

disney world crowd calendar"
disney world crowd calendar
Source: @thosegarciagirls
Source: @thosegarciagirls

If you’ve ever visited Disney World, you’ve likely heard some variation of this statement while in a long line: “We’re never doing this again.” Despite its nickname of the Most Magical Place on Earth, there are times when the parks can certainly be less than magical. It’s the most popular family vacation spot on Earth, after all, so crowds are to be expected. But, just because it’s a sought-after destination, does that mean that it’s inevitable to wait in long lines at Disney World?

Let’s get the bad news out of the way first. While this may not have been the case a decade or two ago, Disney World no longer has times of year that are crowdless. Whether it’s for a popular attraction or a dining hot spot, you will doubtlessly run into some crowds when you visit the parks. However, there are certain times of the year that are far less crowded than others. So, let’s take a closer look at the Disney World crowd calendar to find sweet spots for your next visit.

The Least Crowded Months to Visit Disney World

January and February

As a Floridian, one of my favorite times of the year to visit Disney World is in the winter, when you can step outside and enjoy the decidedly cooler weather. The other major plus for visiting during the middle of the coldest season is that you’ll likely find fewer people in the parks than at some of the busier times of year.

In early January, the end of the holiday season, along with Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend, brings plenty of people, so the first two weeks are ones to avoid. However, by the end of January and into much of February, outside of the Presidents’ Day long weekend, you can expect some lower-than-average crowds around Walt Disney World Resort. You can also experience the EPCOT Festival of the Arts during this time of year, a shorter festival that celebrates the visual, culinary, and performance arts. 

Select Dates in April and May

These months need to come with a big ol’ asterisk because while there are dates in the spring that are less crowded, there are also pockets where you’ll find the most crowds. Spring break season typically kicks off for schools and colleges in early to mid-March, and these are dates you can expect a lot of families to visit the parks. 

Those crowds continue through the first week or so of April but then drop pretty dramatically from mid-April through mid-May. Those few weeks are the sweet spot where you can enjoy potentially shorter lines and fewer people. Just be sure to plan that trip before Memorial Day weekend at the end of May because those crowds will be back in full force! Plus, keep in mind that most Florida schools are let out for the summer in May, which is why earlier in the month is a safer bet for fewer people.

These months are also ideal for visiting because you will get that Florida sunshine without the sweltering heat of the summer months. Plus, it’s when the EPCOT Flower and Garden Festival is happening, which is one of the most popular festivals that the park offers.

disney world crowd calendar family at disney
Source: @occasions.byshakira

Early June and Late August

Summer break is one of the most popular times to visit the parks, which means you can expect tons of crowds from mid-June through at least mid-August. If summer is the time of year that works best for you, though, you’ll find pockets of lighter crowds in early June and late August, before the majority of schools let off for summer break, and after many have started getting back in session. 

While the weather in early June will likely not be too hot yet, be warned that in late August you may not be dealing with overwhelming crowds, but you will likely deal with sky-high temperatures.

September, October, and Early November

Years ago, September and October were known as the times of the year when you could visit the parks for absolutely zero crowds. While that’s not the case anymore, you will still find there are fewer people in the parks during this time period than usual.

After Labor Day, September and October have some quieter days at the parks, especially on weekdays when locals will be home with work or kids in school. It’s also a great time of year to visit to see the Halloween decorations, which are especially prevalent at Magic Kingdom. One thing to note for these dates is to make sure you check the park hours ahead of time. Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party happens on select dates from August through early November, and on those nights, Magic Kingdom closes earlier than normal for guests.

In November, you’ll have a little bit of time in the early part of the month when you can enjoy fewer people around the resort. The decorations for the parks and hotels are typically switched from Halloween to the holidays in the first week of November, making it a fun time to get into the holiday spirit early if you’re there! Just make sure to plan to go prior to Thanksgiving week, which is one of the busiest times of the year.

What if I can’t visit during a less crowded month?

While visiting during one of the less busy times of year is ideal, it’s also not always realistic. There’s a reason that the summer and holiday breaks are some of the most crowded times to visit Disney World—they may be the only time people can get off from work or school to visit.

Visiting during a crowded time of the year doesn’t have to mean you can’t still enjoy your trip. However, it does mean you may want to consider doing a little extra planning in advance. Make sure to get your dining reservations in ASAP, at the 60-day mark, if you are staying at an onsite Disney hotel. Also, consider purchasing Lightning Lanes or Genie+ so that you can get on the rides without hours-long waits. These Disney experiences are extra costs but may be worth budgeting for if you want to get the most out of your trip.

Above all, try not to set sky-high expectations. During a busy time of year, it likely won’t be possible to get everything on your list done. If you can manage your expectations and sort out a list of top priorities, it will help relieve a lot of stress with your trip planning.

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