The least expensive times to visit Disney World are during the low seasons when crowds are at their smallest. If you want to plan an affordable Disney vacation, timing is perhaps the most important factor to consider. (And you should always look for a great Disney World vacation deal.)
But other factors might be important to you other than crowds and prices. In choosing the best time to visit Disney World, you might want to balance four factors:
- Park hours
- Special events
Extended Park Hours & Special Events
Yes, the busiest times of year are crowded, but they also have some terrific benefits: extended hours, special parades, and so on.
During summer, the Magic Kingdom theme park is often open until 11 p.m. or later; during Christmas and New Year's, it will probably remain open until midnight.
Magic Kingdom, Epcot, and Disney's Hollywood Studios are a lot of fun after dark, and you'll often find a special night parade, fireworks, and/or shows that only happen when the park is open late. For example, during a visit we made in June day-time crowds were intense but night-time in MK was delightful: no wait for rides, fireworks at 10, and at 11 pm, an extra Spectral Parade. Peak periods do have their benefits.
As for special events, many people would consider Disney Christmas -- with spectacular lights and festivities -- a "best time to visit" despite the crowds. Star Wars Weekends in June, and the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival in spring (with free Flower Power concerts) are other fun times.
For park hours, check the calendars for individual theme parks at the Walt Disney World site. For special events by month, try this calendar at AllEarsNet.com.
Another factor to consider regarding when to Visit Disney World is variation in the seasonal prices for Walt Disney World Resorts. If you're traveling on a budget, it makes sense to visit when Disney resort prices are at their lowest.
Expect plenty of heat and humidity during the summer peak season, which can be a nightmare for small kids. Disney has done a great job putting the lines for many rides under the shade or in air-conditioned areas; plus, you can cope by riding a "wet ride" to cool down or by visiting the parks in the morning and evening, and staying at the hotel pool during the day.
Summertime often brings thunderstorms but the rain rarely lasts long, and cools things down. Bring plastic ponchos, or buy the Mickey poncho on the spot. Hurricanes are rarely a problem, because Orlando is inland. (See more about Florida hurricane season).
Dealing with Crowds
Also affecting best times to visit is visitor volume, so it's handy to know when are the parks least crowded and most crowded? For example, the end of April, after Spring Break, has moderate attendance; January and early February, and fall months, have low attendance.
Best Bets for When to Visit Disney World
Many fans have praised the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas as a top time to visit. Be aware that the Magic Kingdom may close early some nights, and weather may be too cool for the water parks. Still, this remains a recommended time for enjoying the park decorations before peak season.
If you do visit during a busy time of year, be sure to make good use of Fastpass to sidestep line-ups for rides.