Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Best Time of Year to Visit Disney World

I don't know what the weather is like where you live, but it is cold outside here in southern Ohio, and when it gets cold like this, I start daydreaming of a nice warm, sunny vacation. And that sunny vacation daydream almost always is Walt Disney World. The Lewis and Henderson family can always find an excuse to go on another Disney vacation, so I figured I'd share a few tips and guidelines about choosing the best time of year to go to Disney World.

If you are not limited to going during school breaks, then the best time of year by far to go is October/early November. As long as you avoid the week before Thanksgiving, these two months are the best months out of the year to go to Disney World. In fact, the second week of November is my overall choice for the best week to visit Disney World. Here are my reasons for choosing this as the best time of year for visiting Disney World:
  1. Low Crowds. To be fair, Disney World is always fairly crowded, but this time of year has very low crowds for Disney standards. Even the weekends are manageable at the parks.
  2. Weather. It is warm enough to still swim practically everyday during October and November, yet not as scorching as the summer months . To be fair, October is still in hurricane season, but weighed against the rainy, tornado season in the spring, I prefer the fall.
  3. Special events. If you go during this time of year, you will most likely be there during the Magic Kingdom's "after-hour" parties, Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party and Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party. 
Me and my girls with very little crowds on Main Street

There are a few "runner-up" months, such as September (avoid Labor Day) and February (avoid President's Day), but the weather knocks them out of the top. While it can be warm enough to swim on many days in February, it can also be 40 degrees or, heaven forbid, snowing.  And September will still bring you many days in the upper 90's. But if you are most concerned with crowds, these months might be the best choice for you.

The first 2 weeks of December are also a nice choice, however a bit more crowded than my top choices. You will probably find many sites out there telling you that these are the best 2 weeks to visit Disney, and they used to be. However they also have the lowest prices for resorts and the lowest point requirement for Disney Vacation Club owners, coupled with the fact that the entire place is fully decorated for Christmas, has made it increasingly busier this time of year. It is still a great time to go-especially if you want to see all of the Christmas decorations- I'm just saying it's not as empty as it used to be.

What is I can't go during the school year? Don't worry, there are still great times to visit Disney World. However, at all costs, avoid Spring Break and Christmas Break weeks! Unless you've been there multiple times and know what you are doing when it comes to touring the parks, I really don't think anyone should go these weeks. The week between Christmas and New year's is the #1 busiest week of the entire year at Disney World, and the parks often reach capacity, and Spring Break is right behind as far as the largest crowds. Just don't do it. So that really just leaves the summer months. It gets very hot in Florida in the summer, so I suggest you go as soon as you can in June (like the first weekend through the next week if possible). Avoid 4th of July because of crowds, and really July in general. it is HOT and crowded. The last few weeks in August have lower crowds, but it's still HOT. But no matter when you go in the summer, it is so important to be at the parks when they open and plan on exiting after lunch. You can return in the evening once the sun goes down.

Disney World VERY crowded

I hope that helps you decide when to plan your family's Walt Disney World vacation. If you have any other weeks that you have been that you would like to recommend, please do so in the comments below. Have a magical vacation!

Henderson/Lewis kids getting ready for Main Street Electrical Parade