Planning a visit to the “happiest place on earth?” Disney World is a classic family destination, but going at the wrong time will take away from experiencing the magic of Walt’s kingdom.
Disney World is an iconic place, filled with countless rides, sights, and sounds, and is perfect for families and couples alike. If you want to make the most of your time at Disney World, it’s a good idea to have a game plan.
This guide will help you to determine when the best time to visit Disney World is and how to enjoy the parks like a pro. We will also discuss the worst time and answer some frequently asked questions.
Read on to learn more!
Why You Should Visit Disney World
The better question might be, why should you not visit Disney World? After all, it has plenty of activities for children and adults who are young at heart.
Once you step through the gates of the Magic Kingdom, you’re truly entering into a brand new dimension where all of your wildest dreams can come true. Part fantasy, part heart-pounding rides, and part interactive exhibits, Disney World is enchanting and educational at the same time.
Plus, each section of the park offers a different experience, so you can tailor your Disney World trip to suit your and your family’s preferences. Disney World also features plenty of real-life locations in the World Showcase at Epcot Center.
You’ll get a taste of different cultures and learn about new customs. It’s an inspirational and fun experience, especially for children who’ve already shown an interest in traveling. You’ll get all of this and more in a clean, safe, and welcoming environment.
Overall Best Time to Visit Disney World
Since Disney World is in Orlando, Florida, the best time to visit is in the fall. Florida is notoriously hot during the summer months, but it does get chilly during the winter.
Since seeing the parks is an all-day experience, most people want to go during a temperate and pleasant time of year. Fall is definitely that, although you can also go during the early to the middle part of the spring.
Although visiting Disney World is a phenomenal experience, there is one major downside; long lines. Beat the crowds by avoiding weekends and school holidays.
If you absolutely want or need to visit on the weekends, you can always use the Disney Genie+ app that gives you “Lightning Lane” access and allows you to bypass some of the longer lines.
If you stay at the park, you can also enjoy “Extra Magic Hours,” where there are fewer people and more access to the top rides and attractions.
If you’re not staying at the park but still want that coveted Disney quiet time, think about going in right when they open or close. Being an early bird has its advantages, specifically getting a seat on your favorite rides in no time.
Cheapest Time to Visit Disney World
If spring and fall are the best times to visit Disney World, temperature-wise, it makes sense that the dead of summer and winter are the cheapest and least crowded.
August and September tend to be highly affordable, although also scorching, and January and February are chillier.
If you want to do Disney World on a budget, look for Disney promotions or packages right around these times. You can generally get some outstanding deals, but there are a few things that you will also want to keep in mind to keep you and your family comfortable.
- Bring plenty of sunscreen and water
- Schedule regular rests in shaded areas
- Try to avoid being out in mid-day; go in the morning or evening
- Know the signs of heat exhaustion and heatstroke
- Bring an umbrella and change of shoes in case it rains
- Nights can get chilly, so pack a jacket
- You can’t go wrong with a light pair of gloves
You can also get discounted tickets by staying at the park for multiple days. Check Disney’s website to see where you can shave a buck or two off your entrance fee.
Least Busy Time to Visit Disney World
Disney World tends to be least busy during summer, winter, and weekdays. However, if you’re visiting the parks during peak season, try to avoid school holidays and weekends. Otherwise, you’ll have to contend with huge crowds.
You can also check online with Disney’s crowd calendar to see how many people had the same vacation idea that you did. Of course, things can change suddenly, so make sure that you regularly check up to the time that you’re ready to go.
Worst Time to Visit Disney World
The worst time to visit Disney World is relatively subjective. If you want to avoid the crowds, you should certainly stay away from the park on weekends and school holidays and avoid scheduling your vacation during the fall or springtime.
Disney World tends to get very crowded on Easter, the Fourth of July, and the Thanksgiving holidays, as well as weekends during the spring and fall. The very beginning of summer can be busy, too, as children are just getting off school.
You will have more luck with the crowds at the end of summer. If you’re highly sensitive to the heat or cold, you will want to schedule your vacation for the milder spring or fall months.
The other thing that you should keep in mind is that June to November is hurricane season in Florida. Although rare, hurricanes can still impact Disney World, so keep an eye on the storm forecast and perhaps bring an umbrella during this time of year.
Things to Consider
Before you head off to your fun, whirlwind vacation in Disney World, there are a few considerations to keep in mind. Understanding how to navigate Disney World is one of the key ways that you can experience all of the magic without sacrificing too much effort.
This simple list of tips and tricks will help you and your family have the magical and fun vacation of your dreams.
- Walt Disney Resort is massive, so tackle it in sections
- Arrive early for the fewest crowds and lines, or stay at the park to take advantage of magic hours
- Bring sunscreen, even in the winter
- Food at Disney World is expensive, so bring enough water to keep you and your family hydrated
- Check out the packages—sometimes you can get great deals on food or hotels
- Book early for the best deals
- Manage expectations with your children and let them know what’s in store for the day
- Take aspirin and heartburn medication with you in case of pain or indigestion
- Comfortable shoes and clothes are an absolute must
- Download an app, like Genie+ that can map out your day based on personal preferences
Follow these easy steps, and you are bound to have a great time with your family. You can also hop on social media and visit Disney-specific chat groups to get insider advice.
Frequently Asked Questions
Visiting Disney World is a significant vacation, so it’s entirely reasonable to have questions about how best to go about it. These common questions and answers can help ensure your experience at Disney World is the most memorable ever.
Can I visit Disney World without children?
Many people think that Disney World is only for kids, but there are plenty of activities for adults as well. Many grown-ups never really get the magic out of their systems, and that’s not such a bad thing.
If you love Disney, by all means, book an adult-centric vacation. You’ll have a great time. These are just a few of the many sights and experiences that are geared toward grown-ups at Disney World:
- Take in the themed drinks and libations at the World Showcase in Epcot Center
- Savor some of Disney’s fantastic cuisine at five-star restaurants
- Visit the House of Blues Disney location
- Stay at a gorgeous grown-up resort
Or, you can just go on all of the rides and let your inner child enjoy themselves to the fullest.
How far out should I plan my Disney vacation?
Although you can sometimes get last-minute deals, it pays to plan ahead when you’re booking your ideal Disney World vacation. First, think about what time of year you want to go, then buy your hotel room, plane tickets, and park tickets about ten months before you leave.
You don’t have to stay at the resort, although it can be easier with dining and accommodation packages. If you stay at the resort, you will also have access to Disney’s robust transportation system.
How can I see everything?
It pays to make a plan. Disney World is massive, with so much to see. Your best option is to tackle the parks bit by bit. Have one day for the Magic Kingdom, one for Epcot, etc. If you’re traveling with your family, it will help you talk to them about what they want to do and see.
Also, think about age-appropriate activities. For example, very young children will love the character interactions, and some of the tamer rides at Magic Kingdom. Older ones will probably gravitate more towards Epcot Center and experiences like the Tower of Terror.
How old should my kid be to enjoy Disney?
Very small children and babies might not get as much out of your Disney World vacation as older children. Generally, children who are around five years old can start to appreciate the concept and magic of Disney.
Every kid is different, though, and your little one might be more mature than others.
Before booking your tickets, assess their interest level in Disney, and bring up the idea of the park casually. That way, you can ensure that you’re not wasting your money on an experience that they won’t fully appreciate.
How long should I spend visiting Disney World?
One of the biggest million-dollar questions people have before they book their Disney World vacation is how many days they should allocate to seeing the parks.
The answer hinges on how big the group is, the time of year, and how fast-paced they tend to move. Think about these factors before booking your trip:
- The season—fall and spring will be much busier than summer or winter
- Whether your trip falls on weekends or holidays
- How large your group is
- If your group agreed to the schedule or not
- If you’re staying on or off the resort
Be realistic with your plans and what you’re working with, and give yourself a little bit of extra time for emergencies if need be.
How do I get to Disney World?
You can easily get to Disney World from the Orlando airport using a ridesharing service or hiring a shuttle to take you to the park.
There used to be a free shuttle running, but it’s stopped now. Generally, Uber and Lyft are more cost-effective options than traditional taxis. You can also request larger cars for your family if need be.
What are the dos and don’ts for interacting with Disney characters?
One of the best aspects of visiting Disney World is meeting all of your favorite characters from the big and small screens. If you want to be a good guest, and set the best example for your children, make sure that you understand the dos and don’ts of interacting with them.
Do ask for signatures. The characters love signing photographs, autograph books, and other memorabilia. Plus, an autograph book full of character signatures is an excellent souvenir from your time in the park.
You can also get your picture taken with the characters and see where your favorites will be based on Disney’s calendar. If you have small children with you, don’t let them tug at a character’s costume or otherwise physically interact with them, aside from an arm hug.
Be nice to the characters at all times, and never suggest that they aren’t real, especially in front of children.
Just remember that Disney is a place for magic and that the best way you can keep it alive is to be respectful, kind, and appropriate with the people putting on the show. Disney World can, and is, a completely enchanting experience for both children and adults.
These frequently asked questions and answers can help you to understand how to behave while you are there, make the most of your time, and have a fantastic vacation.
So, What’s the Best Time to Visit Disney World?
If you want to avoid the crowds, make sure that you visit Disney World during the “off-seasons” of summer and winter and during the week when fewer children will be at the park.
If you want a mild and warm experience without too much sun or cold, you’ll have to go during the busy season.
Make the most of your time by staying at the park, taking advantage of magic hours, and packing your patience along with your sunscreen and Mickey Mouse shirt.