It’s one of the most beloved destinations worldwide but planning your vacation at The Most Magical Place on Earth can be overwhelming. Whether it’s your first visit or you’re a seasoned Walt Disney World Resort regular, the time of year you choose to vacation can really enhance your trip. If you want to know the best time to visit Disney World, the answer will vary depending on what is important to you. Let’s weigh some of the things that will help you decide like weather, crowds and seasonal offerings in 2023.
What is the best time to visit Disney World for low crowds?
People love Disney Parks so much that crowds have become an issue. So much so that Disney has been in a position to raise prices across the board due to demand. Crowds usually mean longer wait times and less picturesque views in the parks. There used to be slow seasons throughout the year at Walt Disney World. A few changes like runDisney leveraging slower times to host events and international travel initiatives have brought more tourists in times that were usually sparse. These days, it’s more like slower seasons. It’s just become so consistently popular that down times are shorter and less.. down. So the key here is to find the slight dips in attendance or, if possible, the few, short distinct time periods that are gloriously quiet.
If you’re completely flexible, the absolute best time to visit Disney World for low crowds is the week after Labor Day. I mean the rest of the week starting the Tuesday after Labor Day. It’s historically and consistently the least crowded time because summer travel dwindles as families prepare for kids to go back to school. It’s just an inconvenient time for many people to travel. The result is shorter wait times, more restaurant availability and more elbow room as you’re walking around. It’s really nice. Aside from this particular week, all of September seems to be decent crowd wise. The next best time to visit is January. The holidays are the busiest time of the year and after that things tend to slow down a bit as people gear up in the new year. The parks at Disney World are the busiest during Thanksgiving and Christmas week, the month of July, spring break season and any time there is a long holiday weekend.
What is the slowest day of the week at Disney World?
Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays are usually the slowest days at Walt Disney World. Aside from those coming for a weeklong vacation, many come for just a long weekend. The Friday to Monday trips and locals enjoying weekends at the parks make midweek visits your best bet.
What is the best time to visit Disney World weather wise?
This is almost a trick question. Florida, the Sunshine State, is known for its hot and humid weather. In the summer it can really be a lot to handle between 12:00 pm and 3:00 pm, especially if you’re not acclimated. Staying hydrated is definitely important. Temperatures are usually most enjoyable November through March in Florida.
During summer time you can often expect afternoon showers. They go as quick as they come so if you don’t mind taking cover for the duration, you can often get right back to your park day. Many outdoor rides and some shows at Disney Parks will still operate in light rain. It’s lightning and thunder that will shut things down right away. Disney has a protocol they follow and things usually reopen 20-30 minutes after the last lightning strike within a certain mile radius.
I wouldn’t count on Central Florida weather to start to reliably cool off until October. Even in the autumn, mornings in Orlando can feel nice but as soon as 10:00 am rolls around, the sun usually changes that. Expect mid day to almost always feel warm at Walt Disney World.
In the winter months when it’s very cool in the morning, you should still dress in layers. By lunch time, it’s likely you’ll be needing to shed outer pieces like gloves, hats or a heavy jacket.
Puffy vests that keep the heat in can be really helpful on January and February trips. If you need to cool off just slightly, you can unzip the vest. If it gets much warmer, many vests can be rolled up and take up minimal space in a park bag.
Hand warmers or thermal adhesive wraps can bring warmth without having to pack and carry additional or heavier clothing. Both of these are very light and can easily be kept in a park bag all day. On chilly nights waiting for fireworks, one of these small heating elements can make the experience much more comfortable.
Does Disney World Close For Hurricanes?
Let’s not forget about hurricane season. Though Florida is equipped to handle most storms, a hurricane can certainly put a damper on air and road travel.
When it comes to hurricanes, Walt Disney World is slow to close and quick to reopen. Did you know there is a team of cast members in each park that ride out the storm? Many protective arrangements are made in the days preceding these natural disasters while the parks are still open. Hotels will still house guests but the parks will close the nearest they can to when the hurricane actually hits. To be precise, Disney waits until the last minute to close in accordance with state and local recommendations. It seems they allow cast members just enough time to travel home before roads are officially closed or stay at home orders are in place.
If a fast moving hurricane comes on a Tuesday morning and leaves Tuesday night, Disney can assess damage and have the parks cleaned and opened the next day, usually with a delayed opening. I wouldn’t count hurricane season out altogether, as it’s a large portion of the year, but it is an extra variable to consider. It’s not the worst to have a hurricane hit on your vacation when it comes to being safe. I consider Disney resorts a solid storm shelter. I’ve seen some interesting things like the windmill at Stormalong Bay rotating thanks to hurricane gusts but Disney is built with hurricanes in mind.
Seasonal Walt Disney World Offerings and Special Events
Walt Disney World changes a bit from season to season with different park decorations. If you want to see Disney Parks in their classic look, consider booking outside of the following holiday time periods because they start early and run long. Visits during fall and the holiday season also change things like window displays, merchandise and some menu offerings.
Halloween starts mid August at Walt Disney World and Main Street at Magic Kingdom gets a special layover of pumpkins and leaves. Around this time Disney offers Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Parties at Magic Kingdom for an additional cost. This special ticketed event has unique entertainment, an over the top spooky parade, trick or treating, special themed food and more. Guests can wear Halloween costumes too! During the fall, Epcot gets even tastier with the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival. This delightful event has special musical performances and small plates inspired by different countries.
Christmas time usually starts a week after Halloween as all four parks transform for the holidays. Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party brings festive fun to Magic Kingdom with a special parade, fireworks, complimentary treats and other ways to celebrate the most wonderful time of the year. Closer to Thanksgiving, the Epcot International Festival of the Holidays brings lots of jolly entertainment and rich flavors to World Showcase. All of the theme parks and resorts are decorated in a big way. The glittering holiday displays typically stay up through the first week in January.
January also brings the Epcot International Festival of the Arts to the park. The event runs from January 13th through February 20th in 2023. Expect food booths, art demonstrations, additional performing art entertainment offerings, Disney art and artists meet and greets and more. In the spring, Epcot gets all dressed up with beautiful topiaries and flowers for the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival. Of course you can expect delicious culinary offerings inspired by the season during this time as well. Dates for the 2023 Flower and Garden Festival are March 1st through July 5th. All Epcot festivals are included with the price of regular admission.
You might also consider planning a trip around special events held at Walt Disney World like the ones D23: The Official Disney Fan Club hosts. There are also runDisney event weekends that you might want to think about participating in. On the contrary, if you’re not participating, you may want to avoid runDisney event weekends because they can change park schedules slightly but alter road travel around the property majorly.
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