For many Disney fans, anytime is the right time to visit Disney World. Since central Florida typically has sunny, warm weather year-round, it’s hard to find a better vacation spot.
it can be hard to figure out when the best time to actual visit it.
Maybe too hard!
Between the great offereings, the fun festivals and the new attractions- it can get a little (ok a LOT!) overwhelming.
Let’s dive into the best times to visit in 2021 for the most magical trip yet. (and you can save this post for later, I’ll make sure to update it!)
While these are my opinions based on a lifetime of Disney Travel, I do think that you can have a magical vacation no matter what time of year you travel BUT their are some optimal times you want to check out Disney World for lower crowds, more fun, and better on your Budget Disney trip!
Don’t forget to check out the other places you can take the kids in Orlando besides Disney World!
This post contains affiliate links at no extra cost to you, check out my affiliate disclosure for more information and all the legal mumbo jumbo.
First things first, can you be flexible? or does vacation time stand in your way?
Most families need to schedule vacation times around the kids’ school schedule but that means parks are jam packed with other families in the same boat and break time typically is in the summer when Florida temps are at their peak.
If you can be more flexible with your schedule, you can hit the parks when crowds and temps are a little lower.
There are also crowd calendars available to give you a better idea of the “crowd seasons” at the parks, that touch on specific days.
I’ll be honest here, as a Central Florida native, I feel like those day to day crowd calendars are snake oil. No one can predict the future!
I’ve used and tested them SO much(and been really let down by them), but with all the changes coming to Disney World in preparation for their 50th anniversary in 2021, things are getting a little hectic.
But we can predict some weeks and months that will be better than others!
Historical Crowd and Budget What is the cheapest time to go to Disney World?Highs and Lows you need to be aware of
Historically, the best times to visit the parks are when schools are in session.
Most families don’t do much traveling during the school year and if they do, it’s on the weekends.
So, that would mean that September through May are not as busy as the summer months of June, July and August.
If you do go in the summer- please for all that is wonderful and holy, go prepared!
I’ve got my portable fan, my portable charger for my fan, my kids have their own stroller fans (and NOT the ones from disney because they break easily #askmehowIknow) and a cooling towel… but it’s TOO MUCH. The Florida Heat is here 10 months outa the year
What time of year is Disney World least crowded?
I’m sorry to disappoint, but as a local that goes weekly, I can assure you that there is no “off” season anymore.
Why is there no Disney World off season?
Well, Disney World has 1.) been upping their marketing and 2.) been adding offerings year round that make each experience unique.
Below in the calendar I’ll outline all the weeks that would be the best for a low crowd experience!
What is the cheapest time to go to Disney World?
This is a loaded question (and a good one!) that is hard to answer. It really depends on what you consider cheap, and how much you are willing to sacrifice for a Disney Vacation.
You could, right now, get one annual pass for one of your family members, get a campsite at the local campground, and spend get a multi day ticket with no dining plan for the rest of the family (using your annual pass for food and merch discounts) and come out with just a few thousand dollars spent.
You could also do a stay cation at the value resort for 5 days, spend one day in the parks, and enjoy all the free things Disney has to offer for under 1000 dollars.
But there is no super cheap option for park tickets AND staying on Disney Property. There are moderately priced ones. But not super cheap.
*** Let’s also mention that the Holidays in December are literally the most expensive times of the year! Disney World Uses Seasonal Pricing, and that means they increase prices DAILY! Weekdays are different than weekends.
I’ve watched it happen before my eyes. Sure 50 cents doesn’t seem like much, until you add up the price for a family (especially those on a big family trip) and it can easily equal thousands of dollars between the resort, food, tickets and souvenir costs. You can peep all the holiday festivities available at Disney on their official page.
Below in the Calendar you can see all the suggested dates for the lowest seasonal pricing.
Celebrating the Holidays? Good Idea or Worst nightmare?
Let’s keep in mind that Disney celebrates holidays in a BIG way.
Mickey’s Not-So-Scary-Halloween Party usually runs on select nights from mid-August until the first week of November, Magic Kingdom will close early these nights and allows only guests with separate party tickets to stay. While these were closed in 2020 because of the Covid Pandemic, I expect them to be very crowded in 2021 because of the demand.
Although these nights will bring in bigger crowds, the heaviest of them will be of course, Halloween week. Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is celebrated on select nights in November and December.
If you want to attend these nights, tickets go on sale 6-7 months before the first party.
So the Halloween Party will go on sale in January! Planning ahead to visit during the Holidays is pretty important if you have a bucket list.
The holidays, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years Eve/Day and the days surrounding them are times that should be avoided due to extremely high crowds and shortened park time for the Magic Kingdom, to accommodate party ticket holders.
Magic Kingdom usually hits park capacity on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and has to turn ticket holding guests away.
This year in 2020, with the addition of the park passes, Disney is telling us that they are already 77% percent full for the Holiday Season. WOAH! The holidays are very popular and fill up fast.
If you do plan on attending on either of these days, get there at rope drop (park opening) and don’t leave and plan to return later, you may not be able to get back in.
If you stay on Disney Property, you are guaranteed a spot in one of the parks on the holidays, BUT they don’t say which park.
Visiting Disney World During Spring Break
Spring Break is another peak time for Disney. The crowds are little harder to predict for this season because schools having varying break times, not all of them break for Easter since that date varies from year to year. However, many of the Florida annual passholders will NOT be attending because of black out dates. 2020 Florida Black out dates are April 4th-18th, and I would recommend those if you are from out of state.
This also means that crowds are more manageable than Christmas break because breaks are spread out between March and April.
What about the Festivals and Special Events At Disney World? Should I go to those?
Disney has been adding some really fun stuff the last 10 years, and amping up the stuff they already had.
Like the Festivals at Epcot. Like insane construction at every park. Like new additions of rides and attractions.
These are so much fun! They provide a new set of foods, and lots of new entertainment (concerts and drinks anyone)
But they also mean that the parks are much busier! You should take this into account when you are planning. It’s best to come in the middle of the festivals.
January- February is the International Festival of the arts.
March- June is the Flower and Garden Festival.
September- November is Food and Wine Festival.
December(ish) has the Festival of the Holidays
These festivals run EVERYDAY and they are also included in your park ticket. It’s certainly worth considering if you want to go- just remember that the weekends at Epcot will be busier and their will be more activities to enjoy.
Inclement Weather anyone? How Hurricanes can influence your Disney Vacation
Soooooo, how’s the weather?
Just kidding. I can tell you all about Florida weather.
It’s called- “the meteorologist is wrong and bring a poncho and shorts and a hoodie because Florida can’t make up it’s mind”
Especially, hurricane season, which runs from June 1- November 30.
Though Disney World rarely needs to close during this time, they have had to close at least one day each year for the last few years.
AND even if they aren’t closing 100%, they aren’t offering as much activities, rides, shows, and offerings because the heavy rains and thunderstorms (for days on end!) put a damper on the activities.
Again, please note that, Hurricane season is officially June 1st to November 30th.
However, for Orlando this usually just equates to a rainy June, July and August. The good thing is that even though there can be showers almost daily, they come and go very quickly, sometimes in just a few minutes time.
The rain water also dries quickly in the hot sun. ***HELLO HUMIDITY***
Disney had to close in 2017 for the Hurricane, and I won’t be surprised if it happens again (I didn’t have power for 2 weeks, so I’m just glad to have survived that one!)
Disney also just closed in September 2019 for Hurricane Dorian. While it didn’t directly impact Disney World, it did have impacts on the Disney Owned island in the Caribbean (and lots of other places not related to Disney!)
If you decide to come during Hurricane season, on a cruise or Disney World trip (or both!) get travel insurance!
YES! Let’s go to Disney World!
Ok, now that we’ve covered all the times that you shouldn’t go, let’s get to the happy stuff!
When should you go to Disney?
Whenever you want to!
But when is the best time, with the lowest crowd and the perfect weather?
>>> January. <<<
You should be able to make it to see all the new attractions in Galaxy’s Edge in Hollywood studios and deal with low crowds and less expensive hotels + The Festival of the Arts at Epcot.
But maybe you don’t want to risk it in January in case your favorite ride is being refurbished?
Come in February! Deals aren’t quite as budget friendly, but crowd level is still tolerable.
January and February aren’t in your schedule?
Come in Mid October. You’ll be able to see all the fall festivites, get in the Holiday Spirit without the bother of snow, and weekday crowds should be very tolerable.
But what if I need to come in the Summer?
If you absolutely need to come in the summer, but want to deal with lower crowds, I’d suggest only going to the Parks during the midweek (tue-thurs) and heading to the resorts or another Theme Park on the weekends! Legoland and Seaworld have great lines with lower crowds most days, but Universal gets very packed on the weekends (and they’ve really paced themselves as a True Disney Competitor!)
If you go to Universal, be sure to check out these hacks for a fun Universal Vacation!
So let’s talk the entire year of 2021!
- January 7-11, last week
- First two weeks of February ( Princess Run Marathon usually 3rd week of Feb, avoid Epcot/Magic Kingdom because it will be packed!)
- The month of May (avoid Memorial Day weekend)
- The second half of August (even though they did Star Wars, the crowds were still decently low! This is a great time to come)
- Most days in September (My personal favorite!)
- Most weekdays in October (avoid Halloween)
- Weekdays in November (avoid the week of Thanksgiving)
- Weekdays in Early December- specifically the second week(avoiding the weeks of Christmas and New Year’s Eve)
If you are budget conscious, the best times would be Sunday to Friday/the next monday.
I really like late September because you can enjoy the lower crowds, the better prices, the food and wine festival AND the hard ticket Mickey’s not so scary halloween party! But hurricanes are pretty common in September.
January is my ‘official’ recommendation, but I know not everyone can plan for that (especially if we consider 2021 which is so close)
Have fun on your Disney World Vacation!
We know that whenever you decide to visit Disney, you’ll have a magical time!
Each season has it’s own perks, but you can find the best time to visit with your schedule. Anytime at Disney is a magical time.