Disney World Calendar of Crowds, Cost, Weather, Events

Updated 12/1/15 – Updated for 2016.

Introduction

This is a month by month look at the cost, crowds, weather, and special events at Walt Disney World.

The cost section relates primarily to booking a room at a Disney-owned resort. The cost of theme park tickets, upgrades, and other add-ons generally does not change throughout the year, with the exception of theme park tickets, which usually see one price increase during the course of the year.

The weather section is based on the historical data available. For a look at the last 15 years of Orlando weather on any date, check http://www.wunderground.com/tripplanner/index.asp?MR=1 This is a handy reference tool, but make sure you look over more than just the past couple of years. The fall of 2009 was one of the hottest on record and January 2010 broke record lows when the temperature dipped below freezing several times.

The crowds section is based on data from the past several years and projections moving forward. Generally speaking, the higher the price of a Disney resort room, the busier the Parks will be. For example, Value season usually has the smallest crowds and Peak and Holiday seasons see the highest crowds. We’ll also take a closer look at the various exceptions throughout the year.

The Park hours and entertainment section covers the hours of operation at the Disney Parks. If the hours and entertainment aren’t yet available, you’ll see (expected) after the section header. In this case, I’m basing the hours and schedule on past years.

The best week to visit section takes into account crowd level, available promotions, Park hours, ride closures, resort cost, special events, and other pertinent information. Be sure to check out the day-by-day analysis when available to check on the daily crowd levels and dates of important events.

The closures and openings section lists all known and expected ride, Park, restaurant, and other closures throughout Disney World. If a ride is closed for refurbishment or reopened after refurbishment or a new ride or restaurant is expected, it will be listed here.

Finally, I’ve included a brief description of the special events and other nuances throughout the year. This will help you plan around events that may adversely affect your vacation or you might want to tweak your plans to visit during a special event of particular interest. I link straight to the Disney website throughout this calendar so you can read “the official word” about the events or purchase tickets.

January 2016

January Cost:

  • January 1-2 is New Year’s, which is just slightly less expensive than Holiday, but more expensive than any other date.
  • January 3 – 6 is Value, the cheapest season.
  • January 7 – 9 is Marathon, which is similar to Regular and Martin Luther King.
  • January 10 – 14 is Value, the cheapest season.
  • January 15 – 17 is Martin Luther King, which is similar to Regular and Marathon.
  • January 18 – 31 is Value 1, the cheapest season.

January Weather: It’s the coldest of the year in Orlando, with an average high of 69 degrees and an average low of 50 degrees. Historically, it rains on 22% of days.

January Crowds: Many United States school districts continue winter break though January 2nd and Christmas level crowds continue into the new year. January 1st – 2nd remains extremely crowded with crowds tapering off significantly beginning Sunday the 3rd.

Crowds are low for the majority of the rest of the month with two major exceptions. Average to above-average level crowds are seen for the Marathon from January 8th to 10th. While the marathon brings in thousands of people to the resorts, they don’t have as big of an impact on theme park crowd levels. Martin Luther King Jr. crowds from the 15th to the 18th are some of the heaviest crowds of the month and the highest crowd level we’ll see until President’s Day Weekend in the middle of February. It’s best avoided if possible, but still perfectly doable using the touring strategies discussed on this site.

January Park Hours and Entertainment: http://media.disneywebcontent.com/StaticFiles/ParkHours/WDWTravelAgent_january.pdf

Best Week to Visit Disney World in January 2016: January 18th through February 11th are several of the best weeks to visit of the year with decent weather, some of the lowest crowds of the year, and the lowest prices to stay on Disney property.

Closures and Openings:

Continuing Refurbishments:

  • Blizzard Beach: Reopens January 3rd.
  • Polynesian: Quiet pool and other construction through at least March.
  • Wilderness Lodge: Construction continues throughout the year.

New Refurbishments:

  • Typhoon Lagoon: Closed January 3 – March 12.
  • Soarin’: Closed January 4 – Summer (reopening date not confirmed, likely June).
  • Planet Hollywood: January 6 – September 1.
  • Splash Mountain: Closed January 10 – 14.
  • Liberty Square Riverboat: Closed January 18 – 22.
  • Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin: Closed January 18 – February 11.
  • All-Star Sports feature pool: Closed January 25 – 28.

Notes:

Historically, January has the most refurbishments and closures of any month. Lengthy pool refurbishments are also common at Disney resorts as are refurbishments at the water rides, including Splash Mountain.

January Special Events That May Affect Crowds or Your Stay:

The Disney World Marathon is held January 7 – 9. While the Marathon doesn’t increase lines at the rides much, it does cause a lot of congestion in and around the Parks on the mornings of January 9th and particularly January 10th. See http://www.rundisney.com/disneyworld-marathon/ for more information on the event, including pricing and exact race times.

The last night of the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights is January 3rd.

Beginning in mid-January, South American tour groups tend to visit Disney World en masse due to a long vacation throughout the continent. Expect to see large groups throughout the theme parks. If you do see a group, it’s best to avoid them. They are not as much of a nuisance as during the summer when overall crowds are so much heavier, but the last week of January into February in particular will see more tour groups than usual.

February 2016

February Cost:

  • February 1 – 6 is Value, the cheapest season.
  • February 7-10 is Regular, which has prices that are about in the middle of Value and Peak Seasons. For example, a resort that is $100 during Value Season and $150 during Peak Season would be about $125 during Regular Season.
  • February 11 is Peak, the second most expensive of the major seasons.
  • February 12 – 14 is President’s Day Weekend, with pricing slightly higher than a weekend night during the rest of Peak Season.
  • February 15 – 20 is Peak, the second most expensive of the major seasons.
  • February 21 – 29 is Regular, which has prices that are about in the middle of Value and Peak Seasons. For example, a resort that is $100 during Value Season and $150 during Peak Season would be about $125 during Regular Season.

February Weather: The average high is 72 degrees and the average low is 53. Highs do occasionally get into the low 80s. Precipitation is relatively low, but it does rain on about 23% of days.

February Crowds: Crowds are below average to slightly above average through February 10th, which is the Wednesday before President’s Day Weekend. President’s Day Weekend will be very busy, as will the week following it until February 20tt due to some schools getting that whole week off. February 21st through March 6th has below average to average size crowds.

February Park Hours and Entertainment: http://media.disneywebcontent.com/StaticFiles/ParkHours/WDWTravelAgent_february.pdf

Best Week to Visit Disney World in February 2016: February 1st through 6th is by far the best time of the month to visit. Crowds will be the lowest and it is still Value season, the cheapest season to book a Disney resort. Crowds pick up substantially February 11th and continue to be large through the 20th. February 21st through the first week in March is a decent time to visit, but after that we’re getting into spring break territory and crowds that are even heavier than President’s Day, which is already well above average. Try to book the first ten days or the last week.

Closures and Openings:

Continuing Refurbishments:

  • Polynesian: Quiet pool and other construction through at least March.
  • Wilderness Lodge: Construction continues throughout the year.
  • Typhoon Lagoon: Closed January 3 – March 12.
  • Soarin’: Closed January 4 – Summer (reopening date not confirmed, likely June).
  • Planet Hollywood: January 6 – September 1.
  • Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin: Closed January 18 – February 11.

New Refurbishments:

  • Flying Fish Restaurant: Closed February 1 – November 1, with the potential that it will open about six weeks earlier.
  • Disney All-Star Movies Feature Pool: Closed February 22 – 24.
  • Mad Tea Party: Closed February 22 – 26.

Notes:

Some of the refurbishments from January inevitably run into February. Pool refurbishments are also common throughout the month as temperatures are lower and fewer people are in the pool. Most refurbishments will be completed by mid-February to make way for the heavier crowds and higher resort prices.

February Special Events That May Affect Crowds or Your Stay:

The Princess Half Marathon Weekend is scheduled for February 18 – 21. It is a smaller event than the January Marathon, but still brings people to the area. With heavier crowds already in town for a weeklong vacation beginning over President’s Day Weekend, the Friday and Saturday leading up to the Marathon are quite busy. Beginning Monday February 23rd, crowds return to average levels. For more information on the Marathon, including the schedule and pricing, visit http://espnwwos.disney.go.com/events/endurance/princess-half-marathon/

Superbowl Sunday is February 7th. Sunday during the Super Bowl is usually one of the best times of the year to tour the Parks due to all the people who will be home watching the Big Game.

Valentine’s Day (February 14th) does not have much of an impact by itself, but it will end up being much more crowded due to President’s Day and the fact it’s a Sunday.

Mardi Gras/Fat Tuesday is February 9th. The event closes many Louisiana schools, causing elevated crowds from that area for the entire week and combining with Presidents Day crowds over the weekend.

The Atlanta Braves MLB baseball team returns to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in mid-February for spring training. For the schedule and ticket information, visit: www.espnwwos.com/atlantabraves.

March 2016

March Cost:

  • March 1 – 3 is Regular Season, which has prices that are about in the middle of Value and Peak Seasons. For example, a resort that is $100 during Value Season and $150 during Peak Season would be about $125 during Regular Season.
  • March 4 – 19 is Peak Season, the second most expensive season.
  • March 20 – 31 is Easter, with pricing slightly higher than peak and slightly lower than Holiday over Christmas.

March Weather: Temperatures warm, but remain erratic. Expect highs anywhere from the mid-60s to the mid-80s with an average high of 77 degrees and average low of 57 degrees with minimal precipitation.

March Crowds: March 1st through 3rd closes out March’s average crowd levels. Beginning March 4th, crowds increase substantially with Spring Breaks scheduled throughout the United States. Crowds are similar in size to summer and decidedly in the 6 – 8 range on our scale. The fact that temperatures are much milder certainly helps and international attendance from South America is lower than the June – August months. Easter is perhaps the second busiest time of year at Walt Disney World with overall crowds that rival Christmas.

March Park Hours and Entertainment: http://media.disneywebcontent.com/StaticFiles/DTA-Domestic/pdf/ParkHours/WDW_Operating_Calendar_mar.pdf.

Best Week to Visit Disney World in March 2016: March 1st through March 7th will have the lowest crowds and it’s the relatively inexpensive Regular Season at the Disney resorts until the 5th. If possible, begin your trip a week earlier in February or wait until the second week in April.

Closures and Openings:

Continuing Refurbishments:

  • Polynesian: Quiet pool and other construction through at least March.
  • Wilderness Lodge: Construction continues throughout the year.
  • Typhoon Lagoon: Closed January 3 – March 12.
  • Soarin’: Closed January 4 – Summer (reopening date not confirmed, likely June).
  • Planet Hollywood: January 6 – September 1.
  • Flying Fish Restaurant: Closed February 1 – November 1, with the potential that it will open about six weeks earlier.

 

New Refurbishments:

  • None at this time.

Notes:

There are a surprising number of pool closures in March, considering how heavy crowds are, but major ride refurbishments are less common. Expect a lot of pool refurbishment updates as we get closer to March.

March Special Events That May Affect Crowds or Your Stay:

The Atlanta Braves MLB baseball team returns to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in mid-February for spring training. For the schedule and ticket information, visit: www.espnwwos.com/atlantabraves.

The Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival runs from March 2nd through May 30th. Because it runs for so long and it isn’t a “big draw” on its own, the Festival does not noticeably increase crowds like the Food and Wine Festival does. The Festival features millions of flowers, Disney-themed topiaries, and an expansive butterfly garden. Visit http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/parks/epcot/special-events/epcot-international-flower-and-garden-festival for more information on the event.

The 2015 Festival brought food and alcohol booths very similar to the Food and Wine Festival in the fall with an emphasis on fresh vegetable and fruit ingredients. The booths proved much less popular than the fall festival and did not bring in crowds. The booths are expected to return in 2016, but should not impact crowd levels.

In addition to the Festival, there is also a concert series that takes place on weekends at the American Garden Theater in the United States Pavilion of the World Showcase. Shows begin at 5:15pm, 6:30pm, and 7:45pm on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights.

April 2016

April Cost:

  • April 1 – 2 is Easter Season, with pricing slightly higher than peak and slightly lower than Holiday season over Christmas.
  • April 3 – 30 is Regular Season, which has prices that are about in the middle of Value and Peak Seasons. For example, a resort that is $100 during Value Season and $150 during Peak Season would be about $125 during Regular

April Weather: April warms up to some of the most comfortable weather of the year with an average high of 82 degrees and an average low of 62 degrees. Precipitation remains low with chances at 18%.

April Crowds: April 1 – 2 sees the heavy Easter crowds tapering off, but crowds will still be substantial. It’s one of the four or five busiest weeks of the year with some of the highest prices of the year. April 3rd through the end of the month is a good time to visit with below average to average level crowds and generally pleasant weather.

April Park Hours and Entertainment: http://media.disneywebcontent.com/StaticFiles/ParkHours/WDWTravelAgent_april.pdf.

Best Week to Visit Disney World in April 2016: The last week in April would be best

Closures and Openings:

Continuing Refurbishments:

  • Polynesian: Quiet pool and other construction through at least March.
  • Wilderness Lodge: Construction continues throughout the year.
  • Soarin’: Closed January 4 – Summer (reopening date not confirmed, likely June).
  • Planet Hollywood: January 6 – September 1.
  • Flying Fish Restaurant: Closed February 1 – November 1, with the potential that it will open about six weeks earlier.

New Refurbishments:

  • None at this time.

Notes:

None at this time.

April Special Events That May Affect Crowds or Your Stay:

The Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival runs throughout April. Because it runs for so long and it isn’t a “big draw” on its own, the Festival does not noticeably increase crowds like the Food and Wine Festival does. The Festival features millions of flowers, Disney-themed topiaries, and an expansive butterfly garden. Visit http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/parks/epcot/special-events/epcot-international-flower-and-garden-festival for more information on the event.

Flower and Garden brings food and alcohol booths very similar to the Food and Wine Festival in the fall with an emphasis on fresh vegetable and fruit ingredients. The booths have proved much less popular than the fall festival and do not specifically bring in crowds, so weekends don’t need to be avoided.

In addition to the Festival, there is also a concert series that takes place on weekends at the American Garden Theater in the United States Pavilion of the World Showcase. Shows begin at 5:15pm, 6:30pm, and 7:45pm on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights.

The Star Wars Half Marathon is scheduled for April 14th to 17th. It should be similar in scope to the Princess Half Marathon Weekend in February, raising resort occupancy but having less of an impact on theme park crowd levels.

May 2016

May Cost:

  • May 1 – 26 is Regular Season, which has prices that are about in the middle of Value and Peak Seasons. For example, a resort that is $100 during Value Season and $150 during Peak Season would be about $125 during Regular Season.
  • May 27-29 is Memorial Day, with pricing slightly above Regular and below Peak.
  • May 30 – 31 is Summer Season. At the Values, pricing is slightly lower than Peak Season. At the Deluxe Resorts, pricing is actually a little lower than Regular Season and much lower than Peak.

May Weather: Temperatures rise significantly in May, with an average high of 87 and an average low of 69 degrees. The chance of precipitation increases as it gets later in the month.

May Crowds: Crowds are average to above average for most of the first three and a half weeks in May through the 26th. Generally speaking, the earlier in May, the less crowded it will be. Expect weekends to be busier with pleasant weather, visiting locals, and longer hours of operation. Memorial Day Weekend is busier than the rest of May, but not as busy as other major holidays like Easter, Independence Day, or Thanksgiving.

May Park Hours and Entertainment: http://media.disneywebcontent.com/StaticFiles/ParkHours/WDWTravelAgent_may.pdf.

Best Week to Visit Disney World in May 2016: Any time between May 1 – 15 would be best. Lower crowds and slightly lower temperatures along with less precipitation.

Closures and Openings:

Continuing Refurbishments:

  • Wilderness Lodge: Construction continues throughout the year.
  • Soarin’: Closed January 4 – Summer (reopening date not confirmed, likely June).
  • Planet Hollywood: January 6 – September 1.
  • Flying Fish Restaurant: Closed February 1 – November 1, with the potential that it will open about six weeks earlier.

New Refurbishments:

  • None at this time.

Notes:

None.

May Special Events That Could Affect Crowds or Your Stay:

The Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival continues through May 30th. See April above for details.

Star Wars Weekends will not occur in 2016 or the foreseeable future.

June 2016

June Cost:

  • All of June is Summer Season. At the Values, pricing is slightly lower than Peak Season. At the Deluxe Resorts, pricing is actually slightly lower than Regular Season and much less than Peak Season.

June Weather: June is hot, with an average high of 90 and an average low of 72 degrees. Precipitation is at its highest level with a 38% chance.

June Crowds: June gets busier and busier as the month goes on and more schools let out for the summer. Summer is obviously much longer than Spring Break and prospective visitors have several months to visit rather than just a one or two week window. This equates to crowds lower than the busiest holiday weeks like Easter and Christmas, but higher than just about any other time. If you’re flexible and wary of crowds, you’ll want to visit during the first two weeks of June – and ideally the first. You’ll still run into an above average amount of people, but it will be much more manageable than the last two weeks. More so than in previous years, South America drives attendance higher throughout June.

June Park Hours and Entertainment: The current operating schedule is available here: http://media.disneywebcontent.com/StaticFiles/ParkHours/WDWTravelAgent_june.pdf.

Best Week to Visit Disney World in June 2016: June 1st through June 8th will see slightly lower crowds and temperatures, but any week would offer a similar overall experience.

Closures and Openings:

Continuing Refurbishments:

  • Wilderness Lodge: Construction continues throughout the year.
  • Soarin’: Closed January 4 – Summer (reopening date not confirmed, likely June).
  • Planet Hollywood: January 6 – September 1.
  • Flying Fish Restaurant: Closed February 1 – November 1, with the potential that it will open about six weeks earlier.

New Refurbishments:

  • None at this time.

Notes:

June Special Events That May Affect Crowds or Your Stay:

Star Wars Weekends will not occur in 2016 or the foreseeable future.

“Gay Days” is an event held in the Orlando area each year in June. It is not an official Disney event and the great majority of the participants do not stay on Disney property, but they do visit one of the Disney Parks over a four day span. In 2016, they are expected to be in town from May 31st through June 7th. The schedule is not yet available, but we can expect them to be in these theme parks:

  • Thursday June 2 – Animal Kingdom
  • Friday June 3 – Hollywood Studios
  • Saturday June 4 – Magic Kingdom
  • Sunday June 5 – Epcot

For the first two days, we’ll plan to avoid the Parks that Gay Days is visiting because the additional crowds will have a more substantial impact. Because Animal Kingdom has a limited number of attractions and is open fewer hours, the Gay Days crowd will make the Park considerably busier and it will be difficult to avoid large groups entering attraction queues all at once. This can cause standby waits to be unexpectedly long. Gay Days participants generally arrive at the Parks around 11am and leave much earlier than the Parks close. However, with the short 9am to 6pm hours at the Animal Kingdom, they’ll plan to arrive earlier and won’t leave early enough that we can get a lot done after they’re gone. It’s a similar scenario at Hollywood Studios with the five rides there. If you visit the recommended Parks each day (or avoid the Park designated as the Gay Days Park), it’s unlikely that you’ll even notice they’re there. In fact, they can actually help clear out Magic Kingdom on Saturday and Epcot on Sunday due to all the people who will avoid the Park that Gay Days is visiting solely because there will be a lot of gay people around. Because the Gay Days contingent isn’t that large and the fact that they tend to arrive late and leave early, we can get even more done than usual at the Magic Kingdom and Epcot if we arrive by Park opening and visit the headliners first thing. Since that’s our plan of attack anyway, we don’t need to be concerned about visiting the Magic Kingdom on Saturday or Epcot on Sunday. I still recommend avoiding the Animal Kingdom on Thursday and Hollywood Studios on Friday. Overall, Gay Days is not worth worrying about. You can simply visit a Park that Gay Days is not visiting and you probably won’t run into more than a handful of Gay Days participants during your entire visit. Most of them also stay off-site, so they are unlikely to be staying at any Disney resort en masse.

The “Sounds Like Summer” concert series returns in Epcot is expected to return in 2016 outside the American Adventure Pavilion in the World Showcase, likely from June 5 through July 23. This series features cover bands of popular artists with shows that begin at 5:45, 7:00, and 8:15pm. Because each band plays for one week and there are multiple shows per night, this concert series doesn’t make crowds any larger than they would be otherwise.

South American tour groups are common in June and July. I mention this because the groups are primarily made up of kids between the ages of 13-17 and they generally aren’t well chaperoned. Many people return complaining of rude behavior. If you see (or hear) a group of young kids walking around behind a 20-year-old carrying a flag, your best bet is to head in the opposite direction.

July 2016

July Cost:

Value and Moderate Resorts:

  • July 1 – 3 is July 4th season with pricing about 5% higher than summer.
  • July 4 – 31 is Summer Season with pricing slightly lower than Peak Season.

Deluxe Resorts:

  • July 1 – 3 is July 4th season with pricing about 5% higher than summer.
  • July 4 – 9 is Summer Season with pricing that’s actually lower than Regular Season.
  • July 10 – 31 is Value 2 Season with pricing in between Value and Regular.

July Weather: July is among the hottest months in Orlando, with an average high of 91 degrees and an average low of 74 degrees. Yes, it will rarely be less than 75 degrees, even at 3am. Even worse than the heat is the humidity, which averages about 75%. Rain showers also increase in July, with a 49% chance of precipitation on any given day.

July Crowds: Fourth of July crowds are the largest of the Summer Season. The rest of July is the first or second busiest month overall because the great majority of kids will be out of school and summer vacations will be on everyone’s minds. International visitation, fueled by South America, is also at its highest point of the year. Most other months have at least some portion where crowds will be smaller, but July is not one of those months. It is crowded every day. Crowds are slightly lower towards the end of the month as you move into August.

July Park Hours and Entertainment: The current July operating schedule is available here: http://media.disneywebcontent.com/StaticFiles/ParkHours/WDWTravelAgent_july.pdf.

Best Week to Visit Disney World in July 2016: There are no breaks from the crowds in July and no “soft spot” like there is during other months. Consider a stay sometime after July 9th if you’re staying at a Deluxe resort because the cost will be less due to the change from Summer season to Value season. Otherwise, avoid July 1st through 7th because of the even larger crowds due to the holiday. A vacation that begins around the end of the month would see somewhat leaner crowds. If you’re flexible with your dates, avoid July if possible and look toward the end of August or September.

Continuing Refurbishments:

  • Wilderness Lodge: Construction continues throughout the year.
  • Soarin’: Closed January 4 – Summer (reopening date not confirmed, likely June).
  • Planet Hollywood: January 6 – September 1.
  • Flying Fish Restaurant: Closed February 1 – November 1, with the potential that it will open about six weeks earlier.

New Refurbishments:

  • None at this time.

Notes:

None.

July Special Events That May Affect Crowds or Your Stay:

The “Sounds Like Summer” concert series returns in Epcot is expected to return in 2016 outside the American Adventure Pavilion in the World Showcase, likely from June 5 through July 23. This series features cover bands of popular artists with shows that begin at 5:45, 7:00, and 8:15pm. Because each band plays for one week and there are multiple shows per night, this concert series doesn’t make crowds any larger than they would be otherwise.

South American tour groups are common in June and July. I mention this because the groups are primarily made up of kids between the ages of 13-17 and they generally aren’t well chaperoned. Many people return complaining of rude behavior. If you see (or hear) a group of young kids walking around behind a 20-year-old carrying a flag, your best bet is to head in the opposite direction.

July 4th Fireworks Shows at Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, and Epcot (Expected in 2016)

There are special fireworks at Epcot, Magic Kingdom, and Hollywood Studios on the evening of July 4th. In addition, they do a “dry run” on July 3rd at the Magic Kingdom to make sure everything is ready to go for the 4th. It is possible that Magic Kingdom will fill to capacity on July 4th and the Park will close to some or all visitors sometime in the afternoon. In 2014, Magic Kingdom closed to a Phase 2 closure at 3:45pm and didn’t reopen to all guests until 9pm. In 2013, it closed to a Phase 2 at 11am and a Phase 4 at 4pm. It didn’t reopen to all guests until 8:15pm. If you want to be guaranteed entrance to Magic Kingdom to enjoy the evening fireworks, you will need to be at the Park by 10:30am at the latest. There will also be additional security at the Monorail Deluxes (Polynesian, Grand Floridian, Contemporary) and you will either need to be staying at the resort or have a dining reservation for a meal to be admitted on that resort’s property if you’re arriving by car. This is because the beaches/viewing areas are so popular. The same is likely to be true for the Epcot-area Deluxe resorts (Boardwalk Inn, Beach Club, Yacht Club). If you’d like to visit these resorts, plan to do so by Disney transportation. In addition, the Polynesian may close to guests not staying at the resort around 8pm if too many people have already arrived on the beach. This may be even truer this year less available space due to the Vacation Club bungalows blocking many views. Read over the July daily analysis for more tips on how to see the fireworks from inside and outside the Parks.

At Epcot, the good viewing areas are the same as usual. I like to see the show in Canada or Norway to see the fireworks shot above the American Adventure Pavilion during the finale.

At Hollywood Studios, you will want to be positioned on Hollywood Boulevard for the fireworks show. The fireworks are shot off of the various buildings and generally appear above the Chinese Theater that houses The Great Movie Ride.

Since Pleasure Island at Disney Springs closed, it is highly unlikely that there will be fireworks there.

Of the various shows, the fireworks at the Magic Kingdom are the best. I recommend seeing them on July 3rd when crowds will be slightly smaller and going to Hollywood Studios or Epcot on July 4th.

August 2016

August Cost:

Value and Moderate Resorts:

  • August 1 – 13 is Summer Season and the cost is the same as most of June and July – higher than Value and Regular but less expensive than Peak or Holiday.
  • August 14-18 is Regular Season, which has prices that are about in the middle of Value and Peak Seasons. For example, a resort that is $100 during Value Season and $150 during Peak Season would be about $125 during Regular Season.
  • August 16 – 31 is Fall, with prices slightly higher than Value.

Deluxe Resorts:

  • August 1 – 13 is Value Season 2, with pricing in between Value and Regular.
  • August 14 – 31 is Value Season with the lowest possible rates.

August Weather: August is one of the hottest months in Orlando, with an average high of 91 degrees and an average low of 75 degrees. It’s also peak Hurricane Season in Florida. Although Disney World is inland and not usually affected by hurricanes directly, lesser storms may affect flights and bring otherwise nasty weather with them. Showers and thunder are common in the afternoon, with a 43% chance of precipitation.

August Crowds: The first three weeks in August will be about as popular as the rest of the Summer season. In other words, crowd levels will be high. Crowds begin to diminish beginning the third week in August as more and more kids start the new school year and summer vacation season winds down. The last week in August is usually a good time to visit as far as crowds are concerned, though much of September will be even less crowded.

August Park Hours and Entertainment Schedule: The current August operating schedule is available here: http://media.disneywebcontent.com/StaticFiles/ParkHours/WDWTravelAgent_august.pdf.

Best Week to Visit Disney World in August 2016: The last week in August is the least crowded and least expensive since early May, but most of September is less crowded. Visit as late as possible and ideally wait to arrive until the Wednesday after Labor Day when crowds are the lowest of the year.

Continuing Refurbishments:

  • Wilderness Lodge: Construction continues throughout the year.
  • Planet Hollywood: January 6 – September 1.
  • Flying Fish Restaurant: Closed February 1 – November 1, with the potential that it will open about six weeks earlier.

New Refurbishments:

  • None at this time.

Notes:

None.

August Special Events That May Affect Crowds or Your Stay:

None.

September 2016

September Cost:

Value and Moderate Resorts:

  • September 1 – 17 is Fall Season, which is just a few dollars more per night than Value Season, the cheapest season to book a Disney resort room.
  • September 18 – 30 is Regular Season, which has prices that are about in the middle of Value and Peak Seasons. For example, a resort that is $100 during Value Season and $150 during Peak Season would be about $125 during Regular Season.

Deluxe Resorts:

  • September 1 – 22 is Value Season, the cheapest Season to book a Disney resort room.
  • September 23 – 30 is Regular Season 2, which is just slightly less expensive than Regular Season and more expensive than both Value Seasons. Prices are also less expensive than Peak or Holiday Seasons.

September Weather: September is just barely cooler than the summer months with an average high of 89 degrees and an average low of 74 degrees. Humidity remains extremely high and there is a good chance thunderstorms or rain will disrupt most afternoons and some evenings. Historically, it rains on 40% of days in September. Peak hurricane season continues as well.

September Crowds: Crowds are at their lowest levels of the year during the first three weeks in September. The only time you may find less people in the Parks is certain days toward the end of January and the first two weeks in February, making it an excellent time to visit as far as crowds are concerned. Expect many visitors to be on the Disney Dining Plan due to the Free Dining Promotion, which means lines to the rides may be even shorter than they would be in January due to all the people focused on eating at the various table service restaurants. September 2nd through the 5th will be the busiest days due to the Labor Day holiday on Monday September 7th, but even those three days will have significantly smaller crowds than any of the days during Summer and Peak Season. Things pick up in the last week as the Food & Wine Festival kicks off.

September Park Hours and Entertainment: The current September operating schedule is available here: http://media.disneywebcontent.com/StaticFiles/ParkHours/WDWTravelAgent_september.pdf

Best Week to Visit Disney World in September 2016: Any date from September 1st through the 17th will have low crowds and you can take advantage of what will most likely be heavy discounts, in addition to already low resort prices. Labor Day Weekend is only slightly busier. Crowds remain below average for the rest of the month, but trend higher towards the end as the Epcot Food and Wine Festival boosts overall attendance and in particular, Epcot attendance.

Closures and Openings:

Continuing Refurbishments:

  • Wilderness Lodge: Construction continues throughout the year.
  • Planet Hollywood: January 6 – September 1.
  • Flying Fish Restaurant: Closed February 1 – November 1, with the potential that it will open about six weeks earlier.

New Refurbishments:

  • None at this time.

Notes:

None.

September Special Events That May Affect Crowds or Your Stay:

Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party is scheduled on “select nights” in September. in 2015, there were only six dates with the first falling on the 15th. That’s a departure from previous years when the first Party was typically around the 8th of the month. We’ll have to wait and see what this year’s schedule looks like. The Party otherwise runs from 7pm until midnight and includes an additional parade, fireworks show, and trick-or-treating throughout the Park. Most of the rides are open as well. For more information about the event, including pricing and tips to maximize your experience, see: http://www.easywdw.com/category/worth-2/halloweenparty/. For the official word and to purchase tickets, visit http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/parks/magic-kingdom/special-events/mickeys-not-so-scary-halloween-party/ Be aware that this event closes Magic Kingdom at 7pm for visitors that do not have a ticket to the Halloween Party. The Magic Kingdom is actually less busy on days when there is a Halloween Party due to the fact that it closes early and most casual vacationers avoid it. If you have Park Hopper you may want to start there and then hop to another Park to end the day or stay through 7pm and find dinner at a resort.

The Night of Joy is moving to the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex in 2016, which should allow Magic Kingdom to stay open late on the Friday and Saturday that it would typically close at 7pm to host the event.

The Food and Wine Festival is likely to return on September 23rd, though dates are not yet available. In past years, the booths have opened up as part of a cast member preview beginning right around 11am on the Thursday prior. That tradition should continue and any regular guests are welcome to visit the booths on Thursday, which will be much less crowded than the Friday – Sunday of the Festival.

October 2016

October Cost:

Value and Moderate Resorts:

  • October 1 – 6 is Regular Season, which has prices that are about in the middle of Value and Peak Seasons. For example, a resort that is $100 during Value Season and $150 during Peak Season would be about $125 during Regular Season.
  • October 7 – 9 is Columbus Day Holiday, with pricing that’s slightly more expensive than a weekend night during Regular Season.
  • October 10 – 29 is Regular Season, which has prices that are about in the middle of Value and Peak Seasons. For example, a resort that is $100 during Value Season and $150 during Peak Season would be about $125 during Regular Season.
  • October 30 – 31 is Fall Season which is just a few dollars more per night than Value Season, the cheapest season to book a Disney resort room.

Deluxe Resorts:

  • October 1 – 6 i s Regular Season 2, which is just slightly less expensive than Regular Season 1 and more expensive than both Value Seasons. Prices are also less expensive than Peak or Holiday Seasons.
  • October 7- 9 is Columbus Day Holiday, pricing is slightly more expensive than a weekend night during Regular Season.
  • October 10 – 15 is Regular Season 2, which is just slightly less expensive than Regular Season 1 and more expensive than both Value Seasons. Prices are also less expensive than Peak or Holiday Seasons.
  • October 16 – 31 is Fall Season, which is slightly more expensive than Value Season 1 and 2, but less expensive than Regular Season 1 and 2.

October Weather: Weather cools slightly with an average high of 84 degrees and an average low of 68 degrees. Precipitation is much lower than the summer months, with a 26% chance of showers on any given day.

October Crowds: Crowds are heavier in October than past years with domestic school schedules moving away from the typical long summer vacation, in favor of a larger number of shorter breaks throughout the year. That includes a week off in October for schools in the south, which feed Disney World attendance. South American attendance is also higher in the first two weeks, culminating in the largest crowds of the month over Columbus Day Weekend, from the 7th – 9th. Still, they won’t be anywhere near as bad as summer or other holiday weekends. If you are flexible with your dates, hold off until after October 15th. Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival is scheduled throughout October, which makes Epcot busier on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.

October Park Hours and Entertainment: The current October operating schedule is available here: http://media.disneywebcontent.com/StaticFiles/ParkHours/WDWTravelAgent_october.pdf.

Best Week to Visit Disney World in October 2016: Sunday October 23rd through Sunday October 29 is the best week to visit in October, with average crowds, cooler weather, and plenty of opportunities to enjoy Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and the International Food and Wine Festival. The cost to book a Disney-owned resort is also lower than earlier dates in October, especially at the Deluxe resorts.

Closures and Openings:

Continuing Refurbishments:

  • Wilderness Lodge: Construction continues throughout the year.
  • Flying Fish Restaurant: Closed February 1 – November 1, with the potential that it will open about six weeks earlier.

New Refurbishments:

  • None currently scheduled.

Notes:

None.

October Special Events That May Affect Crowds or Your Stay:

Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party  should include about 18 dates in October, usually on Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday nights. The Party runs from 7pm until midnight and includes an additional parade, fireworks show, and trick-or-treating throughout the Park. Most of the rides are open as well. For more information about the event, including pricing and tips to maximize your experience, see: http://www.easywdw.com/category/worth-2/halloweenparty/. For the official word and to purchase tickets, visit http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/parks/magic-kingdom/special-events/mickeys-not-so-scary-halloween-party/ Be aware that this event closes Magic Kingdom at 7pm for visitors that do not have a ticket to the Halloween Party. The Magic Kingdom is actually less busy on days when there is a Halloween Party due to the fact that it closes early and most casual vacationers avoid it. If you have Park Hopper you may want to start there and then hop to another Park to end the day or stay through 7pm and find dinner at a resort.

Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival is a fun event that brings food and wine from around the world to booths spread out around the World Showcase. It runs throughout the entire month of October. There are also bands you’ve actually heard of (and some you probably haven’t) performing throughout the Festival outside on the American Adventure Pavilion stage for free. It’s a fun event with interesting food, educational classes, and several expensive dinners. For more information, and a complete list of the bands performing, head over to http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/parks/epcot/special-events/epcot-international-food-and-wine-festival/. The Festival makes Epcot busier on the weekends in particular. Weekdays in World Showcase are also busier than they would be otherwise, making it more important to arrive by 11:15am.

November 2016

November Cost:

Value and Moderate Resorts:

  • November 1 – 10 is Fall Season which is just a few dollars more per night than Value Season, the cheapest season to book a Disney resort room.
  • November 11 – 13 is Veterans Day Season with pricing $5-$10 more expensive than a weekend date during Fall season.
  • November 14 – 18 is Fall Season which is just a few dollars more per night than Value Season, the cheapest season to book a Disney resort room.
  • November 19 – 25 is Thanksgiving, with pricing about equal to a weekday during Peak season or about equal to a weekend during Regular season, depending on room type and resort.
  • November 26 – 30 is Fall Season which is just a few dollars more per night than Value Season, the cheapest season to book a Disney resort room.

Deluxe Resorts:

  • November 1 – 3 is Fall Season, which is slightly more expensive than Value Season 1 and 2, but less expensive than Regular Season 1 and 2.
  • November 4 – 12 is Regular Season, which has prices that are about in the middle of Value and Peak Seasons. For example, a resort that is $400 during Value Season and $300 during Peak Season would be about $350 during Regular Season.
  • November 13 – 21 is Fall Season, which is slightly more expensive than Value Season 1 and 2, but less expensive than Regular Season 1 and 2.
  • November 22 – 25 is Thanksgiving, with pricing similar to Peak Season. Prices are actually right in the middle between a weeknight and weekend night during Peak. So if a room is $750 on weeknights and $850 on weekends, it would be about $800 over Thanksgiving.
  • November 26 – 30 is Fall Season, which is slightly more expensive than Value Season 1 and 2, but less expensive than Regular Season 1 and 2.

November Weather: It’s noticeably cooler than September and October, with an average high of 76 degrees and an average low of 59 degrees. Humidity is also substantially lower with a 23% chance of precipitation. For those who like warm, but not uncomfortably hot temperatures, November is the perfect month to visit.

November Crowds: Crowds are average to slightly above average for the most part. The Wine and Dine Marathon over the first weekend on November 4th – 5th increases crowds the first week and then Veterans Day combining with the New Jersey schools closing over the 10th to 11th increases crowds then, in addition to the Food and Wine Festival continuing to boost overall attendance.

Thanksgiving week is very crowded, from the Sunday before to the Saturday immediately following. November 19th to 25th will be substantially more crowded than the rest of the month.

November Park Hours and Entertainment: http://media.disneywebcontent.com/StaticFiles/ParkHours/WDWTravelAgent_november.pdf.

Best Week to Visit Disney World in November 2016: November 13th-19th would be best. You’re arriving just before the Thanksgiving crowds descend and after the bulk of the Veterans Day/Jersey Week/Food and Wine crowds leave.

Closures and Openings:

Continuing Refurbishments:

  • Construction at Wilderness Lodge will likely continue.

New Refurbishments:

  • None

Notes:

None.

November Special Events That May Affect Crowds or Your Stay:

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party should include about nine dates in November – typically on Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday nights. Note that the Party is not offered during Thanksgiving Week: It is a “hard ticket” event, which means you need to purchase a separate event ticket to attend. Like Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, it includes an additional parade, fireworks show, stage show, and special Castle lighting. Cocoa and cookies also take the place of trick or treating candy. For more information on pricing, event features, and tips on how to maximize your experience, see: http://www.easywdw.com/category/worth-2/christmasparty/. For the official word and to order tickets, visit http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/parks/magic-kingdom/special-events/mickeys-very-merry-christmas-party/

“Jersey Week” is November 8th through the 12th, with all public New Jersey schools closing Thursday and Friday November 10th and 11th. While everyone from New Jersey does not visit Disney World, some do and it does noticeably increase crowds.

The Wine and Dine Marathon is scheduled on Saturday November 5th. The various races and prices are explained in full at http://espnwwos.disney.go.com/events/endurance/wine-and-dine-half-marathon/. The Marathon begins at 10pm at the ESPN Wide World of Sports and finishes at Epcot for the after-party, which runs (no pun intended) through 3am. Spectators may also purchase separate tickets to just the Party. This year, some of the major Epcot attractions will be open during the after-party along with the food and wine booths.

Veteran’s Day is Friday November 11th.

Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival will continue until at least November 12th. See October for details.

Holidays Around the World in Epcot begins on Friday November 25th. Disney brings in storytellers to tell holiday stories and explain unique traditions in many of the World Showcase countries. Santa Claus is also available for pictures and wishlists in the American Pavilion. In addition, the Candlelight Processional is an amazing stage show featuring the voices of famous celebrities, a large choir, and a 50-piece orchestra. The show, which tells the story of Christmas, is put on three times throughout the night (5pm, 6:45pm, and 8pm) and lasts about 40 minutes. Illuminations, the nightly fireworks and laser show, also includes several holiday-only effects that you won’t want to miss. Holidays Around the World will increase crowds to the World Showcase in the evening, especially on the weekends. You may want to visit the World Showcase in the early afternoon if Epcot is particularly busy, because the evenings are much more crowded.

At Hollywood Studios, the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights will not return.

December 2016

December Cost:

  • December 1 – 10 is Fall Season which is just a few dollars more per night than Value Season, the cheapest season to book a Disney resort room.
  • December 11 – 21 is Peak Season, the second most expensive season.
  • December 22 – 31 is Holiday Season with the highest prices of the year.

December Weather: Expect erratic temperatures throughout December. It is not uncommon for one day to be in the low 60s and the next day to be in the high 70s. Nonetheless, the average high is 72 and the average low is 53 degrees Fahrenheit, making most afternoons comfortable and most evenings a little chilly. Precipitation remains low with a 22% chance.

December Crowds: Crowds get heavier and heavier throughout the month with the month opening with average crowds. Things pick up a bit with slightly above average crowds through the 20th, and then elevate to the highest levels of the year from December 25th to December 31st.

December Park Hours and Entertainment: http://media.disneywebcontent.com/StaticFiles/ParkHours/WDWTravelAgent_december.pdf

Best Week to Visit Disney World in December 2016: Sometime between December 1st and 10th will have lower crowds and lower resort pricing.

Closures and Openings:

Continuing Refurbishments:

  • Construction at Wilderness Lodge will likely continue.

New Refurbishments:

  • None at this time.

Notes:

None.

December Special Events That May Affect Crowds or Your Stay:

Beginning December 17th (expected, not yet confirmed), Magic Kingdom should begin to offer the special Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade and Holiday Wishes during regular Park hours. They replace Festival of Fantasy and “Regular” Wishes. These are the special Parade and Fireworks Shows that are shown during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.

Pop Warner is a serious youth football league which brings its Super Bowl to ESPN’s Wide World of Sports Complex over the first week in December. Pop Warner does not have a substantial impact on theme park attendance, but it does have a serious impact on the resorts because the great majority of the kids and their families stay on Disney Property, specifically at the All-Stars, Coronado Springs, and Caribbean Beach. If planning a trip over the first two weeks in December, consider booking another resort to avoid thousands of largely unchaperoned kids.

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party should include about 11 dates in December, usually on Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday nights. Parties are not offered during the extremely busy weeks before and after Christmas. It is a “hard ticket” event, which means you need to purchase a separate event ticket to attend. Like Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, the Party includes an additional parade, fireworks show, stage show, and special Castle lighting. Cocoa and cookies also take the place of trick or treating candy. For more information on pricing, event features, and tips on how to maximize your experience, see: http://www.easywdw.com/category/worth-2/christmasparty/. For the official word and to order tickets, visit http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/parks/magic-kingdom/special-events/mickeys-very-merry-christmas-party/.

Holidays Around the World in Epcot runs through December 30th. Disney brings in storytellers to tell holiday stories and explain unique traditions in many of the World Showcase countries. Santa Claus is also available for pictures and wishlists in the American Pavilion. In addition, the Candlelight Processional is an amazing stage show featuring the voices of famous celebrities, a large choir, and a 50-piece orchestra. The show, which tells the story of Christmas, is put on three times throughout the night (5pm, 6:45pm, and 8pm) and lasts about 40 minutes. Illuminations, the nightly fireworks and laser show, also includes several holiday-only effects that you won’t want to miss. Holidays Around the World will increase crowds to the World Showcase in the evening, especially on the weekends. You may want to visit the World Showcase in the early afternoon if Epcot is particularly busy, because the evenings are much more crowded.

At Hollywood Studios, the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights will not return in 2016.

New Year’s Eve Celebrations: For New Year’s Eve, December 31st, Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, and Epcot all have special celebrations. It’s just like any other day at the Animal Kingdom, which should close at 8pm and doesn’t offer any special fireworks or Parade. At Magic Kingdom, special “Fantasy in the Sky” fireworks are featured on both December 30th and December 31st at 11:50pm. Fireworks are shot from all over the Magic Kingdom, creating a 360 degree panoramic effect. I recommend seeing the fireworks on December 30th because the Magic Kingdom will be slightly less crowded and you can see one of the other special shows on December 31st. None of the other Parks also have a special celebration on December 30th. At Epcot, IllumiNations has a special ending with about six minutes of additional fireworks. The show is shown twice, at 6:30pm and 11:40pm. Many countries in the World Showcase will host dance parties or similar other festivities. It’s a lot of fun for people of all ages, but also by far the busiest day of the year with wall-to-wall crowds in World Showcase beginning in the early evening. Hollywood Studios offers a special fireworks show called “Lights, Camera, Happy New Year’s” at 12am. It’s also a great show, with fireworks shot from all over the Studios’ rooftops. I recommend going to the Studios because it’s less crowded than Magic Kingdom and Epcot and the fireworks are every bit as good. It will still be extremely crowded, but it isn’t quite as stifling as the Magic Kingdom or Epcot.

Comments

  1. says

    Don’t forget that the Brazilian tour groups (which I categorize them under “turismos,” alongside their cousins the Argentinean youth herds) do December, July, and June too!

  2. says

    We’re probably going the first part of June and debating if June 1-3 will be busy due to Memorial Day. Might wait until June 3 to start our trip. Any thoughts?

    • Sarah M. says

      The Last trip that we took was over Memorial Day weekend and there were definitely crowds, but it was not unbearable by any means. The weather was nice too!

  3. Rebecca says

    Another special event that can affect crowds is the Children’s Miracle Network Pro/Am golf tournament the week of October 17-23 on the Disney courses.

  4. Judy says

    Hi, We are planning a family trip in April, 2012. Will you have this info available for that time of year?

    Thanks so much!

    Judy

  5. Judy says

    Hi, We are planning a family trip in April, 2012. Will you have this info available for that time of year?

    Thanks so much!

    Judy

  6. ferg says

    This stuff is GREAT! These kinds of explanations and analysis is one of many things that makes your site so useful and unique. Thank you!

  7. kelly says

    I followed the crowd calendar and did exactly what park was suggested by this site. Our trip was amazing!!!! The crowds were not bad at all and I followed the advice of being at the park when it opened and used Fast Pass and never waited in a line longer then 30 minutes!! Thanks so much for the great advice! I also went to the Dollar Tree and purchased mini fans and a spray bottle the kids loved it. I also packed our own snacks and water and my husband said that I saved tons of money by doing this. It kept my 5 kids happy, too! We were in the parks July 4 through July 8th. I was dreading it, but your insight and advice made our trip an awesome family trip! Thanks sooo much!

  8. Colleen says

    Hi Josh,
    We’re planning a trip in Dec. (14 – 18). Our DD’s bday is the 16th and we were thinking of going to MVMCP. Any thoughts on crowd level at that event on that night? The fact that it is a non-discount night sort of scares me!
    The last time we went in Dec. we were there the 13th – 17th and the levels were good.
    Thanks!

  9. shannonf says

    Thank god Narnia is closing! Maybe they’ll use that space for something good, like a staging area for TSM demolition.

  10. RebeccaMcK says

    Josh, once the Fantasmic show is done being “fixed” or refurbed next year I hope you’ll go see and report back about what’s new and different. Personally, I hope they take out a lot of the Pocahontas segment – it’s old now and takes up too much of the show, I think. It’s still the best night time show at Disney Orlando (World of Color is the best at Disney Anaheim).

  11. Veronica says

    Brazilians also visit Orlando in October, December, January, February, July due to the holidays and vacations in Brazil.

  12. Mike says

    Very little rain in January, but historically 22% of the days it rains??? I know Florida is a tropical climate but whaaaaa?

  13. Sharon C. says

    Wow…this is some seriously great stuff!

    Going to DHS on Monday, 11/14. Want to see F! because we’ve never seen it before. If F! is at 6:30pm, can we head to the Streets of America to see the Osborne Lights afterwards…or will we be ushered out of the park?

    Thank you!!

  14. Ferg says

    Love this! I booked a few weeks ago our first ever fall trip for Oct 18-28 so it looks like we picked the best week for October! :)

  15. Mike says

    Josh,

    How will the week of 11/10-11/17 compare to prior years crowdwise with Veterans day observed falling on the Monday of 11/12. Whole week busier, just that weekend busier, or little difference?

  16. marlaine8 says

    Wonderful job again Josh! You’ve really given us all the info we need to get started on our planning! The knowledge you share with us makes all the planning easy and fun! Thank you so much!

  17. Alby says

    Hi Josh, thanks a lot for your fantastic work!
    Can you explain why the second week in May is more recommended than the first?
    thanks!

  18. sophie says

    can’t believe it gets busy in feb just as we arrive… we choose that time cause we thought it would be quiet!!!! presidents week? never heard of it! annoyed :(

  19. Drew says

    When will you have the October 2012 information updated as when is the best time to go and least crowded, etc. It currrently looks like 2011 information is still represented. We used your guide last year and am trying to plan a trip for this year. Thanks

  20. Coutney says

    Same here sophie! My son turns six on feb. 16 and I booked for the 20-24! Maybe we’ll get lucky! Fingers crossed.

  21. Tracey H says

    I’m lookingg to see if it’s been updated for 2012 as it says Sun. Oct 23 is the best week to visit, but this year the 23rd is not on a Sunday?

  22. Disney Convert says

    This is very well done. I subscribe to TouringPlans.com and I like the qualitative analysis here. We’ve done a lot of late August — early Septembers and a few January’s, but as our son gets older, it’s harder to pull him out of school and his other activities.

  23. TriSeb says

    Thank you very much Josh. I noticed a date correction (still has last years dates) but this is when we’ll be @ WDW so, love the info!! : Tuesday June 7th through Tuesday June 14th is the best week.

  24. Carla says

    The NAE4-HA conference is being held at the WDW Hilton October 18-26 and many are bringing their families for Disney. A special event will happen at EPCOT on Monday night. Check out http://www.nae4-ha2012.com for the agenda. Didn’t know if this would affect crowds or not but most rooms are booked with booking deadline Sept 20

  25. MamaOdie says

    Pretty please on the Jan/Feb 2013 update? :) Trying to plan a trip and I can’t pick days without knowing your official “Best Week” dates.

  26. artal says

    I know you said there’s a spike over MLK weekend which is of course when we’ll be there, but it’s not a Spring Break spike or anything like that…..right?

  27. MommaCash says

    Thanks for all the time and effort you put into this Josh. I’m sure you already know this, but you make a lot of Disney fans very happy. I check your site everyday, and I love reading about your wanderings and your ideas. Thanks again.

  28. says

    Great work Josh. One question though…

    “After that, expect a second Fantasmic and a 10pm close when the Studios hosts morning or evening Extra Magic Hours.”

    So Monday, Aug. 27 and Saturday, Sept. 1 may have a second Fantasmic added on? I really hope so!

  29. patriot14 says

    I find WDW to be the busiest Monday thru Sunday between the hours of 8AM and 12AM (earlier for some of the parks). These also tend to be the most expensive times to go. I especially dislike it when there are a bunch of electric scooters, strollers, and kids there. Okay, other people annoy me a lot, too. Disney needs to do a better job of adhering to the crowd calendars posted on this and many other “not so good” sites. Or they should just pick their favorite. Either way, I may just wait to go again after the trendiness wears off……

  30. Heisenberg says

    Hello there. Found this site a few weeks ago, just wanted to say excellent work sir. I really enjoy reading all your Disney stuff.

    I have a trip coming up in fall, September/October time frame and wanted to know if you had any insights on the water parks. I’ve looked around the site and haven’t found anything, and the calendars of what time to visit only talked about the parks. Maybe I’m not looking correctly but I would appreciate if you took the time to address this question.

    Or if some of the readers can point me in the right direction, I’d appreciate it.

  31. Pumpkin says

    Just so ya know, in the October section where you say, “Sunday October 23rd through Sunday October 30th is the best week to visit in October,” that should either say Tuesday October 23- 30 or Sunday October 21-28. You have your dates/days of the week wrong.

  32. Linda says

    curious that your site lists the week of Feb 25th as a regular week for pricing and lower crowds but the Disney site has it for PEAK costs. Any idea what the crods will be like from Feb 25th – March 2nd? thanks

  33. Wendy says

    You may already know this and haven’t gotten around to changing it but for December 2012, Coronado Springs is offered as a Pop Warner Resort in addition to Caribbean Beach and the All-Stars. I would change your recommendation to the Port Orelans resorts for anyone traveling the first week of December and wanting to stay at a moderate.

  34. Steve says

    Do you have an idea when your October 2013 calendar will be posted? I’m new to your site and don’t know how often you update

  35. Meghan (affableolive) says

    AMAZING as usual! Thanks for all your hard work! Will be planning my subsequent 2013 trips by this! Thank you!

  36. ErinElizabeth says

    I am planning at least one (hopefully more) trips to WDW in 2013. I’ve combed the web and this is truly the best & most helpful planning info website around. Thank you for your incredibly insightful perspective and useful information.

  37. Jim says

    Sad, so sad, that your bigotry and hate spills over to your otherwise valuable site.

    As a gay person I will match my morals to yours any day. I do not cast stones, and I love my neighbor. I do not judge (you should know the rest), and I leave the final decision to MY lord.

    Doubt that this will ever make it to your pages, but if it even gives you one second pause to think that perhaps a gay person is exactly like you except for the sexuality with which he was born, than the effort of writing this won’t be in vain.

  38. Dee says

    Jim,
    I don’t see anything on this site that shows bigotry. Gay Days is a concern for a lot of people visiting with young children. I have no problem with homosexuals and strongly support gay marriage, but I do not think my child should be exposed to PDA’s of gay people. I have no problem with seeing a same sex couple at Disney if they are there to enjoy the parks and have a great vacation, but when they are showing up in masses to try and prove some point…I don’t want my family to be a part of that. I’ve seen pictures of what goes on and I would never take my child during that time. It’s not being anti-gay at all, it’s just knowing that the type of people Gay Days draw is not the type of people I want my son exposed to. And by “type” I don’t mean homosexual, I mean the type who would overtake a happy place for children exposing them to perversion for no reason other than demanding equality and respect, the same respect they lack for all the families who’s vacations they ruin by their very actions. Gay Days reminds me of PETA, doing more harm for their cause than good. I support animal rights but am very anti PETA just as I support gay rights but am very anti Gay Days. Same principle.
    He was simply providing valuable information for those of us who want to avoid those days. It absolutely does not mean he is a bigot.

  39. Meg says

    Dee, just a little FYI, Disneyworld isn’t only for children. Have you been during ‘gay days’? If not, leave your little commentary out about what you think goes on. Pictures? Really that’s your defense. I’ve been during this time and it’s no different than any other time. Let’s be honest, a person displaying obnoxious PDA, is a hoosier whether homosexual OR straight. I’ve seen some nasty things at Disney, from straight couples being inappropriate. Ridiculous.

  40. J says

    Josh mentioned Gay Days because the entire purpose of this site is to plan around the crowd. Gay Days affects the crowd — therefore he accounts for it.

  41. mc says

    Wow….this world would be a better place if people weren’t so sensitive–thick skin needed. TO JIM: Josh simply makes note of when Gay days is to point out crowds–should the people from Jersey get upset because Josh points out when Jersey week is???? I agree…PDA from ANYONE is annoying, but I get when people are trying to make a point simply by being obnoxious in poblic–IGNORE THEM! They want to get your attention. I mean if there was a “straight day” at MK, then trust me, there would be a HUGE uproar.

  42. Alana says

    Hey Josh, you mentioned for sept 2013 that there would be free dining promotion for the 3rd-27th. I was wondering if that is true or not due to not being able to find that information anywhere else. If it is true and hasnt been released yet, do you know when disney will announce it?
    Thanks! :)

  43. Donna says

    Thanks for this awesome summary!!! This will be a big help for people trying to decide when to go. I thought I had read that Pirates of the Caribbean would be closed for refurbishment June 17-20. Has that changed?

  44. Prof. Brainard says

    Knowledge of when Gay Days occurs is important if you are trying to avoid visiting when there are large crowds. A person wishing to have such information for this purpose has a legitimate and sensible reason for inquiring. If, however, people want that knowledge so that they can avoid certain kinds or classes of park guest, then that is a different matter entirely, akin to someone wanting to know when there would be large crowds of [insert minority group here] because they did not want their children exposed to such people. Avoiding Gay Days because one does not wish to subject one’s children to the sight of two men kissing leads to suspicion of bigotry (unless one objects to ALL public kissing regardless of the sexual orientations involved). As to people taking offense, it is not oversensitive to take offense when someone says the sight of you kissing your partner in public is so repugnant that children must be kept from it. Any straight person would be offended, likewise, if their relationship were viewed in such a way. No one can ever be too sensitive about their rights as a citizen and their dignity as a human being. I have no doubt that the owner of this blog would agree with these points.

  45. mike says

    Im sorry to disagree with you but why should my 3 year olds innocence be lost becausr he goes on gay days and sees 2 large men with princess dresses on. What am i supposed to tell him about that when he asks me? So i want to avoid my child losing his young innocence by avoiding gay days. Its not my childs fault, nor my fault that 2 depraved homosexuals want to flaunt thier lifestyles in front of young children. If it was just kiss ing

  46. mike says

    Then it would be easier to explain, and dont try to tell me it doesnt happen because i have seen it with my own eyes. I dont see touring groups doing depraved things

  47. Psac says

    Monday April 22 is earth day and the 15th anniversary of Animal Kingdom. Probably a busy day for that park.

  48. Lisa says

    I don’t have offense to gay individuals or straight. However I do understand why some families may want to avoid gay days. That’s their personal right to their families. I have never been to a ‘gay day’. I have a 12, 10 and 2 year old and a husband. I personally would be ok with taking my children to a gay day at Disney as long as it is respectful the same as I would expect that same type of respect from straight individuals. Kissing in public is fine as long as it is respectful by anyone. I would hope and expect any human being to be respectful anywhere! Unfortunately some ‘bad apples’ wreck it..straight or gay.

    But

  49. Jen says

    We have been to Disney during Gay Days. We’re a very accepting family, have a number of gay friends, and spend two weeks each summer with my best friend who is gay. Our kids have grown up understanding the basic difference between gay and straight, and they don’t think a thing of it. However, with that said, there are a couple of things you should know about Gay Days if you’re planning to bring your family during that week. Even though we are very accepting people, I was frankly appalled at the public displays going on at MK during our last trip. Our kids were 6 and 7, but they could READ – and it got a little awkward trying to explain the phrases displayed on the multitude of t-shirts worn by gay and lesbian tourists. We were really surprised that Disney allowed the sexually explicit language (rug-munching, boner, etc.) openly displayed, as most parents would be offended by t-shirts like that worn by ANYONE at a family theme park – gay or straight. When I talked to my best friend about it, he was appalled as well – and he’s gay! Our solution was simply to avoid the park designated for Gay Days on the rest of our trip, and we didn’t have any problems. Crowds are lower at the non-gay days designated park anyway! It’s a shame, however, that we don’t feel comfortable bringing our kids to a Gay Day park – they’re used to seeing members of the same sex holding hands, living together, even kissing – but the makeout sessions and vulgar t-shirts were too much even for us. It’s too bad there isn’t a better way to promote acceptance.

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  54. Robyn says

    Hi Josh,
    May 1 is Hollywood Studios’ 25th anniversary, and I’ve heard it will be a busy weekend for the entire resort as a result. The same company that did Epcot’s 25th is planning a whole weekend for the studios’ celebration, so please make any necessary adjustments in crowd levels based on that.
    Otherwise, this guide is really cool, thanks so much for compiling all the info!

  55. Darwin says

    Perhaps the Gay Days folks are using the rude behavior to deter others from going during that time frame resulting in sparse crowds, an abundance of FP+s, and awesome touring. Brilliant!

  56. Patty says

    Love the site! Any idea when Pop Warner will invade Disney World for December 2014 and which resorts they will stay at??

  57. Nydia says

    We were at Disney World Feb 1st to 4th and stayed at Pop Century. It was VERY crowded due to a cheerleading convention. There were swarms of Latin American girls at our resort and in the parks, being very loud and obnoxious, and they cut in line without so much as an apology, no chaperones… we complained to Disney and got free tickets. That’s how bad it was. The parks were not crowded during the Super bowl, but Magic Kingdom was VERY crowded earlier in the day and especially crowded the day after. Do NOT go the first week of February unless you are not staying at a value resort and don’t plan to visit Magic Kingdom.

  58. Nydia says

    I forgot to mention, the Cheerleader convention happens annually and Disney has received numerous complaints about the girls for at least the last two or three years.

  59. says

    I wanted to let you know that the Jamberry International Convention is August 10-13 at WDW this year, so you may want to add that to your “special events that may affect crowds” section – there will be hundreds of Jamberry consultants in Orlando!

  60. Jen says

    I know it’s a full year in advance but would you recommend a june 12- 19 2017 or march 17-24 2017 trip for a family if 4 kids will be 4.5 and 2….likely return trips when they are older. My husband prefers nice weather but I am wondering about the crowds.

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