When Do We Recommend Going?
If you just want to bypass all the complexities that can be a Disney World Crowd Calendar and just want to cut to the chase about when we recommend going, then you can check out this episode of the podcast where we talk about just that – the best and worst times to go to Disney World.
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Capture The Magic Podcast Disney World Crowd Calendar
We will break or Disney crowd calendar up by months to make it as simple as possible for you to get the info you need for when you are thinking about going to Disney.
Coming off the crowded summer months, September is a time where the parks get a little reprieve. We say a little, mostly because Disney has done a very good job filling this month with special events to draw guests in. While kids are now back in school, Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival and Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party start at the end of August and are in full swing, drawing big crowds to EPCOT and Magic Kingdom. Regardless of those events, September remains to be an ideal time to visit Disney World. The Fall decorations alone are worth a trip this month.
This time of year used to be slow, but that’s not the case as much anymore. The crowds are less than they are in the summer for sure, but with Food & Wine and Halloween parties in full swing, more people will make their way to the parks. More schools across the country have implemented Fall Breaks into their school year (usually the 2nd or 3rd week in October), giving opportunities for families to travel more easily without missing school. You’ve also got Columbus Day on the weekend of the 6th that will draw more crowds. So if you’re going to go in October, it’s recommended to go the first few days of October or more towards the end of the month, as crowds typically lessen toward the end of October. Keep in mind that Epcot will get really busy during the Food & Wine Festival on the weekends, as it’s a favorite of locals.
November signals the beginning of Christmas at Walt Disney World, making this month one our our favorite times to visit. If you’ve never experienced it, you really should. The parks are festive, fun and truly magical during this time of year. It used to be the early part of November was a great time to head to the parks as they had low crowd levels, but that is not the case anymore, with the Wine & Dine marathon the first weekend of the month and many schools in New Jersey having time off around the 6th – 12th, also known as “Jersey Week”. Any holiday is always busy at Disney and Thanksgiving is no different. Guests will start heading to the parks around the 17th, but crowds will be very heavy from the 22nd – 25th. Some lower crowd levels during this time can be the 13th-16th and the week after Thanksgiving will usually see crowds taper off.
This is our favorite time of year to go to Disney, with Christmas in full swing. You’ll see the parks in ways you never will any other time of the year. It’s actually not bad the early part of the month, crowd wise. There are some Pop Warner events going on that will bring some crowds in, but nothing bad. As it gets closer to Christmas, the crowd levels increase quickly. The week of Christmas the crowds are, well… nuts! If you’re going during this time you can expect the Magic Kingdom to close due to capacity at least a few times (ya, it’s that busy). This is a great time to go, but our recommendation is to go in the first part of the month before the Christmas crowds come in full force.
Starting off the new year on our Disney crowd calendar, you can see a drastic swing in crowd levels during this month. The beginning of January will still see high crowd levels as schools are on still on Winter Break and people are still there from Christmas. There is marathon weekend the 9th-13th that will see thousands of people descend onto the parks for this event. The 14th-18th and the 22nd-31st can see very low crowd levels, in fact, some of the lowest crowd levels of the year. Martin Luther King Day tends to bring in some decent crowds during the 19th-21st so keep that in mind. There is also the International Festival of the Arts that continues to see more dates added and is becoming another popular festival at Epcot. This could also mean January will become busier in the coming years due to this festival.
The very beginning of the month will see a slight increase in crowds due to the National Dance Team Championships and again from the 9th-10th. Crowds will be light between and after the dance events until crowds start showing back up for President’s Day weekend around the 15th. You also have the Princess Half Maraton after President’s Day, making the time period from the 16th-25th anywhere from moderate to very busy. The rest of the month you will see lighter crowds.
This month is a busy month at Disney World with Mardi Gras, dance and cheer competitions and, of course, Spring Break. There is also the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival going on during this time which is going to bring in crowds, especially on the weekends, as locals make their way to Epcot during the festivals. You can basically count on high crowd levels up until the 25th and then the rest of the month is actually lower crowd levels.
April can see a mixture of Disney crowd levels from low-moderate and then up to very high due to Easter (any holiday at Disney is busy). The first few days of the month have pretty low crowd levels, but you’ve got the Star Wars Marathon from the 4th-8th that bring in heavier crowds. Starting around the 13th, there is more Spring Break crowds making their way to the parks, and then you have the Easter (April 21st) crowds and more dance competitions, basically making it busy to moderately busy the rest of the month.
May is probably our second favorite time to go to the parks after Christmas, but its our top pick in terms of crowd levels, weather and atmosphere. Most of the month is pretty low crowd levels, even with some dance competitions sprinkled in during that time. You’ve still got the Flower and Garden Festival going on, the weather is usually not too hot, and the parks just have that feel of Spring in the air. This also marks the last time you will see low crowds until September because once Memorial Day weekend hits, schools start letting out and the summer crowds start coming to Disney World.
This used to be a much busier time at Disney World in years past, but for the last few years, June hasn’t seen the higher crowd levels it once did. It’s still a busier time of year compared to, say, May, but for summer crowds, it’s not awful. No festivals going on or big events, so if you are planning to go in the Summer, June isn’t a bad time to go.
Overall crowds aren’t as high in the Summer as they used to be. It could be that people started planning their trips in “off-peak” times to avoid the crazy crowds, but the exception to this is July 4th holiday. This is peak summer crowd levels, as Disney puts on an amazing fireworks show on the 3rd and 4th to celebrate America’s Independence Day. Before the 3rd and after the 7th, the crowds will go back to being busy to moderately busy for the most part.
Summer is beginning to wind down but the crowd levels won’t reflect this until more toward the middle of the month as that’s when some school districts start going back to school. It is very hot at Disney during this time so while you may have some lower crowd levels toward the middle to end of the month, you can expect to sweat buckets, so be sure to drink plenty of water. You also have the Food & Wine Festival and Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party kicking off in August.
Crowds will start really thinning out in September as kids have all started going back to school, making it one of the ideal times to head to Disney. Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival starts this month, Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party dates are in full swing along with the amazing Fall decorations at the Magic Kingdom. This is our 3rd favorite time to head to the parks.
This time of year used to be slow but that’s not the case as much anymore. The crowds are less than they are in the summer for sure but with Food & Wine and Halloween in full swing, more people will make their way to the parks. You’ve got Columbus Day weekend on the weekend of the 6th that will draw more crowds so if you’re going to go in October it’s recommended to go the first few days of October or more towards the end of the month as crowds typically lessen toward the end of October. Keep in mind that Epcot will get really busy during the Food & Wine Festival on the weekends as it’s a favorite of locals.
November begins possibly our favorite time to visit Disney because it means it’s the beginning of Christmas at Disney World. If you’ve never experienced it, you really should. The parks are festive, fun and truly magical during this time of year. It used to be the early part of November was a great time to head to the parks as they had low crowd levels but now with the Wine & Dine marathon at the beginning of the month and many schools in New Jersey have time off around the 6th – 12th, also known as “Jersey Week”. Any holiday is always busy at Disney and Thanksgiving is no different as crowds will start heading to the parks around the 17th but crowds will be very heavy from the 22nd – 25th. Some lower crowd levels during this time can be the 13th-16th and the week after Thanksgiving will usually see crowds taper off.
This is our favorite time of year to go to Disney with Christmas in full swing and you’ll see the parks in ways you never will any other time of the year. It’s actually not bad the early part of the month crowd wise. There are some Pop Warner events going on that will bring some crowds in but nothing bad. As it gets closer to Christmas the crowd levels increase quickly. The week of Christmas the crowds are, well… nuts! If you’re going during this time you can expect the Magic Kingdom to close due to capacity at least a few times (ya, it’s that busy). This is a great time to go but our recommendation is to go in the first part of the month before the Christmas crowds come in full force.
Note: Disney has announced that Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is set to open “Late Fall 2019. ” The rumor is that this probably means late November/early December. When it does open, our crowd calendar will be adjusted to fit the insanity of the high crowds that this new land will bring.
Wrapping It All Up
Hopefully, our Disney crowd calendar helped give you a good idea about crowd levels while you’re planning your Disney vacation. While it’s easy to obsess over crowd levels and try to plan your trip based on ideal times, the truth is that the best time to go is the time that works best for you and your family. Crowds can change and it’s impossible to know exactly when it’s going to be slow or busy at Disney. There are so many factors that go into crowd analysis in a place as large as Disney World.
Check Out The Capture The Magic Podcast
If you would like even more tips, tricks, and advice along with Disney World news and rumors, then we invite you to check out the Capture The Magic Podcast. We have episodes two times per week along with our other shows, The Dis Dudes and Main Street Magic. We’ve got you totally covered when it comes to planning and enjoying a Disney World Vacation.
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