When to Go to Disney World
Choosing when to go to Disney World can have a large impact on your enjoyment of the parks. My family is full of Disney nuts, yet there are still certain times of year that we avoid like the plague for various reasons. Let’s go over the considerations you need to make when choosing when to book your vacation, so that you can choose a time suitable to your family.
If you’ve never been to Orlando in the summer, be very careful when booking a trip on summer break. Orlando in the summertime can be stifling. From Mid-May to Mid-September, temperatures average in the 90’s and the humidity is unrelenting. If you aren’t used to humid conditions, you WILL struggle. If the summertime is the only time you can make it, please prepare yourself. Bring lots of water and take breaks. If you love the heat, however, you’ll fit right in. Fortunately, you’ll find that Disney World has the best air conditioners in the country. COLD air is everywhere and there are many great places to cool down.
The winter months in Disney World are incredible if you don’t mind being slightly cool. From mid-November throughout most of February, highs are around 70 and lows right around 50. Nights can be rather cool, especially if you are on water rides. Those that don’t like to be cold while at a theme park may not be too thrilled with these temperatures. But for people flying in from the North, a 70 degree day in January is a BIG change and will probably bring out the shorts in many travelers.
Overall, when it comes to weather, it’s a matter of personal preference. Just don’t underestimate how hot it will get in the summertime, as it can be exhausting for the unprepared. Conversely, don’t underestimate wintertime either. Pack jeans, sweatshirts and coats if you are coming in the winter months, as you will get cold.
Cost and Crowd Level
There is a very basic rule of thumb when it comes to crowd levels and your overall cost of going to Disney World.
In general, when school is in session, Disney is cheaper and the crowd levels, especially mid-week, are very low. January and the first part of February are among the cheapest and least crowded times of the year to be at Disney World. In addition, the period of time between the end of Thanksgiving and the start of the Christmas holidays is also a great time to be there.
But when school lets out, WATCH OUT. There are five time periods to be extremely wary of:
- Presidents Day weekend in February
- Spring Break (about a 3 week period) in March and April.
- Summer Vacation – Summer’s are insane at Disney World. High crowds, high prices and high temperatures!
- Thanksgiving weekend – Thanksgiving weekend is very crowded, but the week right after Thanksgiving drops to an exceptionally low crowd level.
- Christmas – The Christmas season is the most expensive, crowded and festive time periods of the year. Many don’t mind the crowds because they want to be a part of the festivities. I find December better than summer because I prefer the cooler weather. You may prefer the summertime, but crowds are extremely high during all of the above periods.
In summation, it basically comes down to common sense. When school is in session, crowds are low. When school is out, crowds are high.
Star Wars weekends, marathons, Thanksgiving and Christmas parties, the Epcot Food & Wine Festival and many other events can significantly alter crowd levels at some of the parks. Be aware of when these celebrations take place. Many local area residents will come to Disney World during these special events, spiking foot traffic even more. Some of these events may be events you want to be a part of, but as always check the final calendars at Disney.com before booking.
Miscellaneous Tidbits and Hints
There are a few other things to consider, when deciding the optimal time to attend Disney World.
- While the winter months may be great for crowd levels, it also is a popular time for Disney to bring rides down for maintenance. Check our 2013 maintenance calendar for dates and times.
- Winter months (post December) also get fewer parades, special events and shorter park hours.
- Summer months will have longer hours and will have the electrical parade every night. This provides more flexibility to get out of the summer heat, as you can take longer mid-day breaks
Now that we’ve given you some guidelines to help you determine when you will go to Disney World, lets move on to part 2, Which Disneyworld Resort?