So you want to visit Walt Disney World, but you don’t want to wait in 90-minute lines for attractions or fight your way through wall-to-wall people to nab a spot for the afternoon parade?
Disney World is a magical place…and lots of people know it. While there will always be crowds as your fellow Disney fanatics enjoying the parks, you can absolutely choose a slower time of year to plan your visit. As an added bonus, you’ll get to take advantage of cheaper room rates and travel promotions in the “off season” that you’re unlikely to score during a busier time of year (read: any time kids are off from school).
Here are 7 of the least crowded times to visit the Walt Disney World resort:
7. September and October
By the first week of September, schools are back in session…and parents are hesitant to pull their kids out at the beginning of the school year for a family vacation. Early fall is one of the least crowded times of year to visit, and best of all, you can catch two of the most popular special events at Walt Disney World; kick off your Halloween celebrations at Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, or wine and dine your way around the world at Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival.
6. The first two weeks of December
Though the holiday season is notorious for rendering Disney’s theme parks completely jammed — sometimes even to full capacity — the period between Thanksgiving and before most people begin their holiday vacation is one of the quietest times of the year. You don’t have to subject yourself to the unmanageable crowds during the week leading up to Christmas — or, worse, between Christmas and New Year’s Day — to have some festive fun. Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party runs on select nights all month, and the holiday decorations, lights, and other merry magic will be on full display for your enjoyment.
5. The second two weeks of August
Though it’s still technically a summer month, the rush of June and July begins to fade away as August winds down because many Florida schools open early. The drop in local visitors combined with the fact that most families have already taken their summer vacations means that of the summer months, the end of August is the best time to plan your visit. If, of course, you can stand the humidity.
4. Mid- to late-January
After everyone finishes ringing in the New Year, the first few days of January can be a nightmare thanks to extended holiday vacations as well as the runners who take over the parks for Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend. But by the second week of January, crowds are starting to die down — and, later in the month, Disney World practically becomes a ghost town (comparatively speaking, of course). January is also one of the coolest months in Florida, so not only will you be able to enjoy shorter waits in line, but I’ve actually longed for my winter coat when temperatures plummeted into the 30s and 40s at night!
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3. Early February
Much like January, this is a month that isn’t an especially popular travel time for most Disney-goers. Crowds pick up considerably over Presidents’ Day Weekend and for the Princess Half Marathon later in the month, but an early February trip is still a pretty safe bet for lower crowds and cooler temperatures.
2. Late April through Early May
This is the calm before the storm. While spring break week is typically a big no-no for the crowd-conscious planner, crowds tend to die down a bit towards the end of the month and into early May. It’s approaching the end of the school year, and parents may be loath to pull their kids out before final exams. Enjoy the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival through mid-May.
1. Early November
Dubbed “Jersey Week” because New Jersey schools have a teachers’ convention that coincides with Veterans Day school closings, many Garden State families take advantage and plan a weeklong voyage to Walt Disney World. However, it’s still a quiet time of year to visit, and you can take advantage of fall festivities like Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival. Note that crowds may be spiked slightly by runners participating in the Wine and Dine Half Marathon during the first weekend of the month.