“It’s so crowded.” This is the number one complaint I hear from clients who are contemplating a trip to Walt Disney World! And yes, crowds are a reality of a Disney vacation. It’s a popular place! But there are times you can visit when the crowd levels will be lower. Figuring out when is easier than you think!
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Walt Disney World crowd calendars abound online with many websites offering them. There are even sites like TouringPlans.com that use algorithms and historical data to “predict” crowd levels. I find crowd calendars to be a great help when trying to plan out my daily itinerary.
While I love a tech solution to just about anything, when you are still looking at the macro issue of when to visit Walt Disney World (as opposed to the micro issue of what park to visit on which day), your best bet is going to be fairly low tech. All you need is an internet connection!
Even if you don’t have children, school calendars and calendars in general, are the most helpful tool when deciding when to visit Walt Disney World. Bottom line – if kids are in school, it is going to be less crowded at Walt Disney World!
This means that crowd levels begin to drop in mid-August when kids in the South go back to school, and drop even further after Labor Day when most if not all kids have started. Crowds start to increase at the end of the school year which is in late May for Southern schools and mid-June for Northern schools.
Of course, in between the beginning and end of the school year are countless holidays and school breaks. It is only mid-October and my son has only had two full weeks of school all year thanks to Labor Day, the Jewish Holidays, and Columbus Day! Pull up your local school district on Google and look for the calendar. Many schools already have the calendars out for the 2020-2021 school year!
You want to avoid any school vacation holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas of course. But even holidays like President’s Day means a school break for some districts, which means higher crowds at Walt Disney World.
Spring Breaks vary across the country from March through mid-April.
Festivals and Special Events
So you’ve looked at the school calendar and narrowed it down to some possible dates for your trip to Walt Disney World. Ready to book? Not so fast! Walt Disney World has its own schedule of events that can affect crowd levels. And while these events can be a reason to visit for many people (myself included), they do mean higher crowd levels.
Epcot is basically a year-round Festival starting with the Epcot International Festival of the Arts, followed by the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival, then the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, and finally the Epcot International Festival of the Holidays. By far the most popular is the Food & Wine Festival. Thanks to this event, October has gone from being one of the quietest months of the year to one of the busiest! (That’s right – October is busy at Walt Disney World! People who tell you it is quiet that time of year clearly haven’t been in October in at least five years.)
If you just have to experience a Festival at Epcot, the Epcot International Festival of the Arts has the lowest crowds.
runDisney is another factor in crowd levels. The Walt Disney World Marathon, held in January, is the largest runDisney event. But there are Half-Marathon Events in February, April, and late October/early November as well that can cause increased crowd levels. Be sure to check the runDisney calendar of events!
Our Favorite Times to Visit Walt Disney World for Low Crowds
So what are our favorite times to visit Walt Disney World with low crowds? Here you go!
January: late January, after MLK Jr. Weekend
February: early February, before President’s Weekend
May: early-mid May, before Memorial Day Weekend
August: mid-late August
September: mid-late September, after Labor Day Weekend
November: early-mid-November, before Thanksgiving
When is your favorite “low crowd” time to visit Walt Disney World? Share with us in the comments!
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