So you want to go to Disney World, and you want it to be perfect? Of course. But when to go? This is one of the most critical questions you must answer when planning your trip to Disney World. The challenge is there isn’t a single right answer for every person. While crowd levels tend to be the first thing on the minds of guests, the matter is complicated further by the fact that there are so many other factors to consider. Here are a handful of things to think about before you set the date.
Editor’s Note: We understand that with the phased reopening of Walt Disney World, the crowd levels are capped and therefore, drastically reduced. Currently, Disney has shared they are operating at 35% capacity. We will continue to share articles that give guidance on a “normal” vacation to Walt Disney World, along with any special changes or instructions you may need to be aware of during the phased reopening to provide the best tips we can regardless of when you are visiting. ~ Chad & Cindy
1 – Crowds
There’s no getting around it. Disney World is more crowded than ever. All things considered, most people will want to avoid congested times as much as possible, but there are plenty of good reasons you may choose to visit during a peak period. For a full look at the impact of crowds as well as some of the best times of year to avoid them click here.
2 – School
If you’re the parent of a school-aged child, you have a difficult decision to make. This is probably the number one consideration for most parents with it comes to travel timing. The first step is to determine how your child’s school will handle an absence during the school year. Many schools and teachers are surprisingly accommodating, many are not, which will make the question moot. If taking your children out of school is an option, then you must decide how you feel about it and if it’s the right decision for your child. While there are many people with firm opinions on the subject, it’s your child and your choice.
3 – Work
This may be obvious, but if you have a job you need to report to so that you can pay for your vacation, it’s a good idea to take into consideration the best time to be away from it.
4 – Weather
There is a perception that the Central Florida television stations taped the forecast once in the mid-1970s and have been rebroadcasting it every day since then, but it’s not true. Central Florida has three distinct seasons; perfect, not as perfect, and hotter than the surface of the sun.
The perfect season runs from early November through April. This is the time of year when the humidity is generally low, and the temperatures are in a very comfortable range of the ’70s to low 80’s. We get our cold spells from time to time (We survived the winter of 2015. It was a brutal couple of days!), a light jacket is usually sufficient. Be aware that if the pool and waterparks are at the top of the list for your family swimming can be touch and go during this time. The waterparks will close in turns during this time for refurbishment, and while the pools are heated and we swim year-round, the ’60s are pretty cool for sitting by the pool.
The not as perfect season consists of October and May through June. The weather can be warm yet in October, but the humidity has usually begun to decrease. May through June will be heating up, but with cooler waters off both coasts, it’s still relatively pleasant.
That brings us to the ‘hotter than the surface of the sun’ season. The heat and humidity really descend on Orlando from July to the end of September. Disney World sits in a tropical climate, so summer is pretty hot and wet. Be aware that this is also our rainy season. It may surprise many to know that it rains in the sunshine state, A LOT. During the summer it rains nearly every day. That’s the bad news. The good news is the storms are intense but short. Usually, 30-45 minutes and the skies will be sunny again.
The last consideration of the weather is hurricane season. Hurricane season runs from June 1st through November 30th. These massive storms are rare, but they can affect your vacation. Except in the case of a direct hit, Disney World will remain open. But plan on being very wet.
5 – Cost
The time of year you visit will impact your vacation budget. Room charges vary depending upon crowd levels and demand for rooms. You can see significant savings on the cost of lodging by traveling during a slower time of the year. Disney also occasionally offers seasonal sales that you can take advantage of. While it is never guaranteed, Disney World historically has offered a spring room sale of around 25% off and a fall sale that includes free dining. Other sales do pop up from time to time. We keep an eye out for deals and send alerts to our newsletter list when they are released. If you’d like a heads up, you can sign up for the newsletter at the end of this article.
6 – Holidays
If avoiding crowds is your number one priority, then avoid holidays like the plague. However, if you are a fan of Halloween or Christmas, then you should consider visiting during these times. The Magic Kingdom is decked out for Halloween with incredible decorations and is host to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. The Halloween season runs from mid-September through Halloween. From mid-November through the first week of January, Walt Disney World undergoes what can only be described as a fantastic transformation to a holiday wonderland. While the Magic Kingdom is the star of the show, Christmas cheer spreads to every corner of Disney property. From the parks to the resorts to Disney Springs and pretty much everywhere in between, everything gets a touch of holiday magic. Also not to be missed are the resort gingerbread displays, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, Festival of the Holidays at Epcot, and my personal favorite the Candlelight Processional. Honestly, the holidays are a fantastic time at Disney World and shouldn’t be missed.
7 – Special Events/Festivals
Disney World is more than just rides at theme parks. There are a fantastic number of special events year-round you may want to think about incorporating into your vacation time. A couple of the most popular is the International Food & Wine Festival and the Flower & Garden Festival, both at Epcot.
For a no obligation, FREE Quote on a Disney vacation package, please contact our travel partner Magical Vacation Planner at 407-442-0227 (407-442-0215 for Spanish). You can also request a FREE quote online by Clicking HERE.