Operating Hours tips
Walt Disney World
"Best Times to Visit the Walt Disney World Resort"
Submitted on Jul 24, 2012 by unknown
The best times to visit WDW are as follows:
January - After the first week in January (after the New Year's Eve partiers go home), this is an excellent time to visit, as the crowds are very thinned and the weather is mild (if not even a bit chilly at nights).
February - This is a great month to visit, with the only exception of right around Valentine's Day of course, as it can be a bit crowded on that day and the weekends nearest the holiday.
March - The first week of March is good up until Spring Break vacations start, and then the crowds begin to ramp up a bit. The International Flower and Garden Festival at Epcot also begins around the second week of March and usually draws a decent crowd.
April - The last week of April is typically good, as the Spring Break crowds have died down a bit. The International Flower and Garden Festival continues through April, but the crowds for this event are usually lower during this month.
May - The International Flower and Garden Festival ends around the 3rd week of May and usually brings another large bump in Epcot attendance. Otherwise May is a decent time to come. The one exception is for Disney's Hollywood Studios during the last two weekends when they have the Star Wars Weekends event going on. It can be QUITE busy in that park during those weekends.
June - Star Wars Weekends continues for the first two weekends in June at the Disney Hollywood Studios, so expect large crowds at this park during these weekends. Most US schools begin to let out in June, so expect the family vacation crowds to start increasing in attendance during this month. The Sounds Like Summer concert series (which runs from mid-June through July) at the American Pavilion in Epcot can draw a crowd during those days and times with concerts, but the impact is usually quite minimal. Be aware of that schedule just to be safe. June is also the time that the weather in Florida REALLY starts to get very hot and humid.
July - Expect attendance in all of the parks to be rather high, with longer wait times for attractions. The Sounds Like Summer concert series runs through the month of July, but the impact on Epcot attendance will have minimal impact due to the concerts. Be prepared for VERY hot and humid days with cooler but still humid evenings during July. WDW does an excellent job of minimizing the heat for park-goers standing in long lines outside, either with misting fans or partially-covered or even air conditioned queues. Also know that you can ask for a cup of water at any quick service food and beverage stand in any of the parks for FREE! Also be aware of the threat for mid-day storms to pop up, as well as the possibility of a tropical storm or hurricane to affect Florida during this month, although July is usually pretty quiet.
August - Again, it's Summer-time! Expect long lines and a lot of people in all of the parks. Some schools begin the new year around the third week of August, so the last week might be slightly less crowded than the rest of the Summer. Also be aware of the threat mid-day storms to pop up, and the probability for a tropical storm or hurricane to affect Florida is greater in August than July.
September - The first week of September is usually quite busy in all of the parks, as this is the last "hoorah" for the families before starting school after Labor Day. That said, after Labor Day is a fantastic time to visit the parks! The weather starts to cool off a bit, and there are wonderful special events that run during the Fall seasons. The International Food and Wine Festival at Epcot's World Showcase really draws a crowd during the last week in September when the festival kicks off. Also be aware that September is the month that Florida most often is affected by a tropical storm or hurricane, statistically. At the Magic Kingdom, Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party (MNSSHP) begins around the second week in September and runs on various days through October. It is important to know that if you plan to visit the Magic Kingdom on a day that there will be a MNSSHP, the park will close to regular guests at 6:00pm. If you would like to stay in the park you may purchase a ticket, but I would suggest planning this ahead of time, as the event often sells out way before the day-of.
October - A fantastic time to visit Walt Disney World. If you are wanting to attend the International Food and Wine Festival at Epcot, this is an excellent month to do so, as crowds are usually thinned down during October. The Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Parties tend to sell out quickly, especially the one's closer to Halloween itself.
November - The beginning of November is the last time the parks will be somewhat thinned before the major holiday crowds. The International Food and Wine Festival wraps up it's last week at Epcot during the first week of November. Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party begins around the second week and runs through December. Just like the Halloween Parties, the Magic Kingdom will close at 6:00pm to regular guests on days of the Christmas Party. As the date approaches Thanksgiving, the crowds in all of the parks will increase drastically, and the holiday weekend itself can be absolutely miserable if you do not plan for large crowds in the parks and use Fast Passes wisely.
December - Generally, the month of December is very crowded, but especially so the week before, during, and after the Christmas holiday. During this time the parks are outrageously crowded (I've seen a 3-hour wait for Space Mountain during this time). Albeit the parks are beautifully decorated for the season, it can be quite a challenge to navigate a family through the parks this time of year. Walt Disney World hosts one of the largest events to celebrate the new year, with a special events and hours at all of the parks except for Disney's Animal Kingdom. The other parks are open until at least 1:00am and the attendance is unlike any other day of the year. But just like those who head to Times Square in New York, these events are usually attended by those who love to be among very large crowds.
In general, the larger crowds tend to gather around holidays. As long as you avoid these times, you should expect to have a bit more room in the parks. That said, some events certainly are worth attending even if the crowds are large, the Halloween and Christmas parties, and the Food and Wine festival in particular.