Which Season Is the Best Time to Visit Walt Disney World
When you plan a Walt Disney World vacation, you face many decisions. For starters, you must pick the best time for your trip.
Every day on the annual calendar comes with some excitement and intrigue. You should weigh your options more generally, though.
Before you lock in on a date, you should pick a season so that you’ll know what to expect.
Which season represents the best time to visit Walt Disney World? Let’s talk through the pros and cons…
Pros and Cons of Winter
I’m going to tweak the calendar a bit here. At Disney, winter lasts from the start of November through mid-February.
Obviously, you’ll enjoy plenty of official holidays during this part of the year. I’m talking Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, and Martin Luther King Jr.
To some, that’s also a con. You’ll face extensive crowds during those times of the year.
However, once New Year’s Day passes, Walt Disney World traffic drops dramatically.
Many tourists dislike the idea of visiting during the first six weeks of the year. They believe it’s too cold.
Notably, Central Florida rarely experiences what the rest of the country would describe as cold weather. The temperature falls in the 60s on many days.
Savvy travelers understand that this weather makes for a perfect visit, as it’s nowhere near as hot as the other three seasons.
Still, we should acknowledge one other con. Disney closes some of its water rides during the winter since they’re unpopular then anyway.
You won’t get to ride Splash Mountain or Kali River Rapids if you pick the wrong time for your trip.
Similarly, Disney never operates both water parks in January. Either Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon or Disney’s Blizzard Beach will open.
After a few weeks, the operational one will close while the other will reopen. There’s just no need to open two water parks in January and early February.
The other significant pro involves EPCOT festivals. Three of them are open at various points during the winter.
You can catch the tail end of the EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival and the entire EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays.
In January, the EPCOT International Festival of the Arts has evolved into the most underrated event on the Disney calendar, too.
Oh, and did I mention the holiday decorations?
Pros and Cons of Spring
The unofficial start of Spring at Disney makes sense when you read it. Yes, I’m talking about Spring Break, a time that varies across the country.
Generally, Spring Break happens toward the end of February or sometime in March. Then, the Spring season continues through Easter and even into early May.
During this time of year, everything is operational but for a reason. Crowds surge during Spring Break and generally stay that way through mid-April.
Afterward, park traffic decreases until around May 20th each year. However, it’s counterbalanced by the fact that temperatures soar.
February and March are rarely problematic, and April’s okay most of the time, too. Those May days can be brutal, though.
As far as amenities, the EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival is quietly the longest-running of all annual park events.
For whatever reason, this one doesn’t possess the same demand as Food & Wine, which is strange since it’s demonstrably better.
Until recently, Disney hosted Spring Training baseball games, too.
That statement isn’t accurate right now, but Disney could always bring in another team to replace the Atlanta Braves.
Spring Training at Disney is a baseball fan’s dream come true. So, I hope that it’s not gone for good.
Pros and Cons of Summer
Here’s the time of year when you’re most likely to visit, especially if you’re a parent with school-aged children.
You can do the math from there to recognize that summer crowds at Disney are generally large. That goes double for the week of July 4th.
The only other week that’s comparable on the annual calendar is Christmas week.
While I recognize that many vacationers don’t have a choice, I actively encourage people NOT to visit Disney on holidays.
Two weeks before or after holidays usually provides the sweet spot for crowd size.
Interested tourists generally wait until the holidays. You can take advantage of that behavior.
Obviously, summer in Orlando can be oppressively hot, too. How much this bothers you will depend on where you live the rest of the time.
I’m a native southerner, which means I’m used to 100-degree temperatures. If you’re from, say, Colorado’s mountains, the heat can kick your tail.
This weather can impact your trip in other ways, too. The glare from your smartphone will make it difficult to read.
Meanwhile, the heat can turn electronic devices into portable conductors. They’ll get so warm that they’ll feel uncomfortable to the touch.
Plan accordingly by packing anti-glare items and anything that cools you down.
MickeyBlog posts frequent suggestions about beating the heat, but the heat is something you should remember. Plan to stay hydrated!
The primary event at Disney at this time of year is the EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival. It’s probably the most recognized of all Disney festivals.
Beyond that, Disney really doesn’t do much during the summer because there’s no need. People will visit anyway.
Many Disney amenities exist to entice guests to visit during the “off-season” at the parks.
Pros and Cons of Fall
These days, the Fall at Walt Disney World is synonymous with Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party.
If you’re visiting when there’s a party, you’re going in the Fall. I don’t care what the calendar says…unless it’s still August.
Of course, Disney isn’t hosting its vaunted Halloween event this year. In its place, we’ll get Disney After Hours – Boo Bash instead.
The difference between the two is like owning an Xbox Series X vs. a PlayStation Five. Either one will thrill you.
Disney throws up Halloween decorations around the same time that the party nights begin.
If you time it right, you can experience Halloween at Walt Disney World and then watch the Christmas decorations go up around November 2nd – 4th.
For this reason, I think of the Fall as ending a week into November. And that brings us to another consideration.
Hurricane season technically lasts from June 1st through November 30th each year. However, Disney has closed the most due to hurricanes in September and October.
Now, the parks shut down for your safety, and it only happens about every three years or so. Still, it’s something to remember.
As for the crowds, the period from the day after Labor Day through the first week of October represents the least crowded time on the annual calendar.
The only other time that’s close is that short window after New Year’s Day but before Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
The weather in September can still be very hot, but October usually comes with moderate temperatures.
In reading this, I think you can tell that there’s never a wrong time to visit Walt Disney World.
These Disney savants will help you pick the best date for a magical vacation!