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10 Most Crowded Weeks A Year At Walt Disney World

Probably the first question that travel clients ask me is When is the BEST Time to Visit Walt Disney World?  This question has a lot of answers depending on when they need to go as a family for work and school schedules, the kind of weather they want to experience, and if they want to catch a particular party or festival while they are there.  Most often what they are really asking is when is it NOT crowded.  Unfortunately, the answer is really never.  The popularity of Disney Parks continues to grow and with it Disney Vacations.  While you will always encounter some crowds at Walt Disney World, there are some weeks you want to avoid (if possible) that are traditionally more crowded than others.

 

10. June & July

Any time school is out Walt Disney World is going to be more crowded.  Parents with school aged children don’t want them to miss instructional time, and teachers prefer to travel when they are out of school too.  This means crowds pick up in June & July.  But not all schools in the US get out at the same time, so it is a gradual build up from Memorial Day and the first part of June with July being more crowded as generally all schools are out by then (& haven’t gone back yet).

9. Veteran’s Day

Many schools offer extended holidays around Veteran’s Day each year.  And for the past few years that weekend has coincided with the last weekend of Epcot’s immensely popular International Food & Wine Festival.  This 1-2 punch of crowd influx means the weekend feels very crowded, particularly at Epcot.

8. Marathon Weekend

Held annually early each January Run Disney’s Marathon weekend events attract 10’s of 1000’s of runners to the parks.  You will find it difficult to find onsite hotel reservations if you do not book well in advance because so many people are coming to participate in the races.  It also has an impact on the parks and visitation will be up that weekend.  Not to mention road closures for the races that just make it a little more difficult to get around.  Other Run Disney Events throughout the year like the Princess Half Marathon in February and the Wine and Dine races in November create a bump in attendance as well.

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7. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Weekend

The Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday weekend is a vacation time for many schools.  There is the holiday itself, and some give extra days off around it as well.  In my area a lot of people like to travel around that time, and give it as a Christmas gift to their family—not too long to wait to “get” the gift.  It doesn’t necessarily cause a huge increase for the entire week, but the long weekend does see more crowds than you would typically expect in January.

6. Easter & Spring Break

Because the date of Easter varies year to year it is hard to pinpoint an exact peak week for crowds.  The entire month of March is a popular Spring Break time with many schools getting their week off at that time.  If Easter is early in March or the first part of April then Easter week is going to be very, very crowded (both week before an week after) as it coincides with many other Spring Break times.  If Easter falls later in April it is still busy but not nearly as bad as many school systems across the country choose to have their break earlier in the Spring so not as many fall on that particular week.  Anecdotally I’ve noticed over the past 5 years that if Easter is later then the week before is a lot more crowded than the week after.  But this is really variable year to year based on Easter’s date and when school systems choose to have their breaks.

5. Early November

I’ve already mentioned Veteran’s Day (November 11) & the Wine and Dine Races (early November) that cause an increase in attendance at Walt Disney World.  There is another couple of phenomena that make the early part of November—the first 12 days or so—more crowded.  And that is that many schools, particularly in New Jersey, have an extended break for workshops and other holidays.  This is known as “Jersey Week” and does create a notice crowd increase, particularly when it corresponds with the races or Veterans Day.

4. President’s Weekend

Many schools have an extended break around President’s Weekend in February.  It coincides with several holidays and becomes a Winter Break when families want to escape the cold & snow and head south.  It is particularly bad when it meets up with Mardi Gras dates (again that vary yearly).  Mardi Gras brings up families from the south who get holidays around that time.  We see flight prices increase, hotel room inventory low and more crowds in the parks at that time.

3. Columbus Day

Many people who contact me say they want to go in October because they have heard that crowds are lowest then and the weather is nice.  While it is true that the weather is usually pretty nice, it is no longer true that it is an uncrowded time.  In fact, we find it to be one of the most crowded time.  The resorts fill up very far in advance, and little to no discounts are offered because the hotels are full without them.  Lots of school systems have started to have extended fall breaks in their calendars, and many fall around the Columbus Day time frame (October 12 or second Monday of October).  Religious holidays and teacher workdays combine to make all of October a very busy time to visit.  Disney has added to the demand by hosting two of their most popular events that month—Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival and Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party.

2. July 4

With many businesses closing for the 4th, and additional days around it, along with most US schools being on summer break, July 4th remains one of the busiest times to visit Walt Disney World.  Families traditionally vacation around this time so we find vacation destinations around the world filling up quickly and prices being higher during this period and Walt Disney World is no exception.

1. Christmas-New Years

Without a doubt THE busiest week at Walt Disney World.  So many people are on vacation it is a natural time for travel to any destination.  At Walt Disney World prices go up, availability goes down and parks fill up.  Each year we hear about various stages and phases of park closures due to capacity during this week, and it is really the only time of year that we see that happening on a regular basis.  While the holidays are a magical time to travel, if you want to avoid crowds this is not the week you want to visit.

About Sarah Chapman

I am a long time Disney fan since I was hooked on Walt Disney World with my first trip in 1987. Since that time I’ve tried experiencing everything I can in the parks, with a total of 30 visits and counting (I’m always planning my next trip) to Walt Disney World—not to mention Disney Cruise Line and even (shhh!) Universal Orlando and Sea World. I’ve turned my Disney obsession into a profession helping others plan their magical vacations as a Dream Vacation Maker at LBAC Travel. I am a work at home mom to three wonderful boys, and each one has been properly indoctrinated with all things Disney. Walt Disney World is definitely our “Laughing Place.” Look for me on Facebook at Facebook.com/SarahLBAC for updates, discount announcements, tips, tricks and planning advice for your next vacation. You can also find me on Instagram (sarahdreamvacationmaker) and Pinterest (sarahlbactravel).