Welcome to the first installment of our new series: So You Want to Go to Disney?
We are – by no means – experts in all things Walt Disney World, but given that we’ve made the trek multiple times in the past few years, we’ve learned a few things. I’ve had more than one friend reach out recently for tips and advice on planning their trip. While I am MORE than happy to oblige, it struck me that maybe centralizing what little we have to offer might be a good idea. So, without ado, here are some tips and advice…in BLOG form!
Part 1: WHEN TO GO
Picking a good time to go and managing the anual crowd levels is important. Our first two trips were the end of January/first of February, which are among the lowest attended times annually at WDW. That’s not to say there aren’t crowds. There just aren’t “FOURTH OF JULY” crowds. (sidenote: don’t go over Fourth of July.) We also recently went in Mid-April, which was a little more crowded (due to the way Easter fell) but not at all unmanageable.
There are LOTS of places on the internet to find crowd calendar predictors for any given year. Helpful infographics that list the potential highest and lowest crowds for a given year/month/week. Simple Google searches will turn up a number of predictors who have access to MUCH better data that we do. So, I won’t bother cobbling one together. I’ll just say this:
Consistently, the HEAVIEST CROWDS at Walt Disney World are the dead of Summer (end of June through Mid-August – with the entire month of July typically packed) and immediately around Christmas/New Years. Spring Break season is also very crowded but exact dates can vary from year to year.
Contrarily, the LIGHTEST CROWDS tend to be the times when either most schools are in session or the weather is cooler. Or both! Mid-January to Mid-February, Late April/Early May, Late August to Mid-September and large parts of October all generally have lower crowds. There are, of course, exceptions depending upon holiday weekends or on-property events like the RunDisney Marathon and the like.
So, if you happen to be tied to a school schedule, there are still options to help avoid the crowds. You just have to find a time that has moderate to low crowds and see if you can work around that.
That’s not to say you can’t have fun at Disney World in July. If you like oppressive heat and thick crowds, maybe that’s just a bonus for you. Either way, if you go in with some sort of a plan for not getting stuck out in the blazing sun for hours at a time…you’ll be fine.
Regardless of when you choose, plan on maximizing your time there by arriving to parks early or having some sort of plan in place. Spontaneity on vacation is a wonderful thing, but a Disney vacation is going to require at least a little bit of planning ahead. That’s why things like Advanced Dining Reservations and FastPass+ come in handy. And we will cover those in future installments.