When to Visit Disney World

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Hey howdy hey! It’s blog post day! There are many important factors to consider when you plan your Disney World vacation, such as weather, holidays, deals, and more! Today we’re reviewing these considerations in depth so you can determine when to visit Disney World!

If you’re here, then it’s no secret that you are searching for the best time to visit the Most Magical Place on Earth. You want to ensure you experience the most magic with the best bang for your buck and short wait times. We all have different priorities when it comes to determining when to visit Disney World, so there is no single best time to visit that applies perfectly to each party. Let’s get into the most valuable factors to consider when you plan your Disney World vacation so you can make the best decision for you!

Special Events

There are so many special events that happen throughout the year at Disney. If you want to visit during a particular special event, then you’ll need to factor this into planning your vacation. Here are some of the most popular special events at Disney World:

EPCOT Festivals

EPCOT has different festivals all year long with little time between festivals. Festivals feature incredible bite-sized food and beverage, scavenger hunts, and concerts by some of your favorite performers! Because they happen all year, this means no matter when you visit, you’re likely to experience one of EPCOT’s incredible festivals.

While these are approximate dates, from July – November is the Food and Wine Festival, an exciting event celebrating food and wine from around the world.

From November – January is the Festival of the Holidays, celebrating the different holidays from around the world, with traditional food, cookies, and beverages served during the holiday season in different cultures.

From January – February is the Festival of the Arts, celebrating different local artists, Broadway performers, and artistic food and beverage.

Lastly, from February – June is the Flower and Garden festival, with floral and citrus food and beverage offerings, gorgeous Disney -themed topiaries, and the Garden Rocks series of performances.

Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party

This is a special ticketed event that generally takes place select nights from August-October at Magic Kingdom Park. This event is entirely themed around Halloween; and not in a scary or grueling way, but a happy one! It includes Halloween-themed overlays on attractions, free trick or treating, exclusive Halloween snacks available for purchase, the Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular Halloween stage show, Mickey’s Boo-to-You Halloween parade, and even Halloween-themed fireworks hosted by Jack Skellington.

This event is extremely popular, and for good reason as it’s sure to be one of the best ways to celebrate the Halloween season! I mean, how cool is it to go trick or treating around Magic Kingdom?!

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party

This is a special ticketed event that generally takes place select nights from November-December at Magic Kingdom. This event is themed around all things Christmas! You can check out Christmas-themed overlays on attractions, free Christmas cookies and hot cocoa, exclusive Christmas snacks available for purchase, Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration Christmas stage show, Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime parade, and Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks Show.

This is one of my family’s favorite special events that we try to catch every year; trust me, you won’t be disappointed if you plan your Disney World vacation to enjoy this event!

Photo of EPCOT's Flower and Garden Festival. A giant bed of flowers arranged strategically to resemble Mickey Mouse and a flower.
EPCOT Flower and Garden Festival

runDisney Races

If you are a runner, runDisney is worth looking into in deciding when to visit Disney World! Disney hosts Disney-themed races throughout the year that are truly a fan-favorite. During the event, runners are offered the unique opportunity to race through the theme parks. Just picture running down Main Street through the castle at sunrise or running through Animal Kingdom hearing the animals as they wake up! I don’t run, but if I did, this is how I’d want to do it!

runDisney also offers fun character meet-and-greets throughout the course of the race, cheerleaders to motivate you to keep going, and an exclusive race t-shirt and medal for participating. These events happen on select dates throughout the year, so check the runDisney website for more information and pricing.

If you aren’t a runner, it would still be worth checking the race weekend dates and trying to avoid visiting during these times. Race weekends tend to be busier. This can add an extra layer of difficulty in snagging dining reservations, adding wait times to attractions, and early morning noises at the resorts since the races start very early. runDisney weekends simply might not be the best time to visit if you aren’t looking to participate!

Weather

Hurricane Season

Hurricanes are common in Florida from June through November. During these months hurricanes are a possibility for the trip so you’ll want to consider this when you plan your Disney World vacation. While Disney is very experienced with hurricanes and does an incredible job taking care of guests, hurricanes might cause a few unwelcome interruptions during your trip.

If you decide to visit, one of the best perks to visiting before and after a hurricane is much lower crowds! Many of the most popular attractions will have very minimal wait times and dining reservations will be plentiful! However, should you plan your Disney World vacation during hurricane season, I highly recommend purchasing travel insurance with your vacation package. Because hurricanes are possible, you will want more options in terms of rescheduling if necessary.

Summer

I’m not going to lie to you, Florida is brutal during the summer. Even if you have visited warm climates before, the humidity of Florida adds another layer to the heat that few have experienced. Because of this, May – September might not be the best time to visit if you are sensitive to the heat! However, if you do visit during summer, you’ll definitely want to download my freebie to Beat the Heat at Disney World this Summer!

Additionally, Florida is known for afternoon showers and thunderstorms, and this occurs almost daily in summer. Sometimes the storms last a couple of hours, and other times they will continue all afternoon and into the evening. If you don’t mind getting wet, this can be to your advantage as the park crowds will typically clear out during a storm! However, keep in mind many attractions and transportation options cannot operate if lightning is in the area. For more information, check out my other post, How to Handle Disney World in the Rain.

Fall

The fall weather in Florida is pretty warm, but it’s still a beautiful time to visit! You’ll want to prepare for the heat and pack sunscreen, but it is generally a tad bit cooler and drier than the summer months. I also recommend packing a layer to add on, as mornings and evenings can be chilly. Another fun perk of visiting in the fall is that Magic Kingdom Park will be decorated for Halloween with all kinds of gorgeous autumn decorations, jack o lanterns, and fall leaves! It truly is such a special time to visit!

Winter

To be honest, winter weather can be very unpredictable in Florida. For example, there could be low temperatures in the 30’s on Monday, and highs in the 80’s on Tuesday. However, despite what anyone might tell you, Florida can get very chilly, and the humidity will make the temperatures feel even more extreme. If visiting in the winter, your best bet will be to pack in layers, as you can experience a wide range of weather during your vacation.

Spring

Spring brings warmer temperatures to Florida, but lots of pollen as well! Be sure to keep this in mind if you have seasonal allergies and pack a variety of allergy medication. It’s typically warm enough for a visit to the pool, so you’ll want to bring bathing suits too! Lastly, mornings and evenings in the spring can be chilly, so don’t forget to pack a sweater!

Holidays

If schools are out of session, prices will be higher, and the parks will be more crowded! This is super important in deciding when to visit Disney World! While holidays can still be the best time for you as you’re already off work, you’ll want to be sure to pack your patience and expect crowds.

I highly recommend avoiding the week of Thanksgiving, the weeks between Christmas and New Year’s, Easter week, and the week of the 4th of July in planning your trip. The parks will see the absolute maximum guests during these holidays, and many guests have found the parks to be unenjoyable due to the insanely high crowd levels. You don’t want to waste your money on a trip spent waiting in line!

Photo of a couple in front of a Christmas Tree at Animal Kingdom

Attraction Opening Dates

One of the things that keeps guests coming back to Disney over and over again is that they are always dreaming up new attractions, restaurants, shows, and events! If you are excited about an upcoming new offer, it would be worth scheduling your vacation after the opening date.

With that said, if you want to visit during the “opening week” of a new offering, crowds will often be much higher, so you’ll want to consider this! Additionally, many attractions specifically open with a Virtual Queue, so ensure you are familiar with the Virtual Queue system before your visit.

Refurbishments

I often see guests plan their entire vacation around an attraction that is their absolute favorite, that they haven’t visited since their childhood, or that they’ve heard so many incredible things about, only to find themselves crushed when they head to their dream attraction and find it’s closed for refurbishment. Don’t let this happen to you! Search “Disney Refurbishment Calendar” on Google and take note of when your favorite attractions will be closed. Be sure to avoid these times in deciding when to visit Disney.

Special Ticket or Resort Promotions

Occasionally, throughout the year, Disney will offer special discounts and/or promotions if you visit within a certain window of time. If the best time to visit is one where you can save money, visiting when a special promotion is offered can be beneficial!

Keep in mind many of these promotions have conditions that you must meet to qualify for the promotion. For example, you may be required to visit during an “off season” or purchase at least a 3-Day ticket. Please have patience and flexibility if you’ll be taking advantage of promotions or discounts and remember to read the fine print before booking to ensure it’s a right fit!

Similarly, promotions can also allow you to have an experience you didn’t think you’d be able to try! For example, my husband and I dreamed of staying at a deluxe resort for our honeymoon but didn’t think we could afford it. Luckily, we were able to take advantage of a Florida Resident discount on rooms that allowed us to stay in our dream resort – Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge in a Savanna View Room! It was such a magical honeymoon and I’m so grateful we were able to find a deal!

Photo of An animal kingdom lodge themed chocolate with a Happily Ever After button.

Conclusion

Thanks for reading this post on When to Visit Disney World! As we’ve discussed, there is no one-size-fits-all time of year to visit Disney World. Priorities, budgets, and interests are so varied amongst guests, so there truly is no time of year that is guaranteed to provide a magical vacation for every guest. Instead, use this post to help you plan your Disney World vacation and decide when is best for your loved ones to visit!

Lastly, if this was helpful for you, don’t forget to download my freebie, 10 Ways to Beat the Heat at Disney World This Summer! Stay magical, and I’ll see ya real soon for another blog post!

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32 thoughts on “When to Visit Disney World”

    1. I am growing so excited with you! Thank you so much for your sweet message, I’m glad I’ve been helpful for you! And can’t wait to hear all about the trip!

  1. I really love these Disney posts! From all the information I think I’d aim to go in Fall! Spring would be next! I’m from Scotland so definitely would not be going in the Summer months!!

    1. Fall and Christmas are my personal favorite times. Spring is amazing too because the weather is so nice! Haha yes, we have a heat index of 110 F/43 C today, so it’s a tricky day to be in the parks!

  2. This was really helpful in trying to plan out the best time to visit Disney. Great tips and good points about holidays! Thanks for sharing!!

  3. This is a very informative guide. We had the pleasure of attending the flower and garden festival during our visit to Epcot. Loved it! They had a butterfly garden and incredible sculptures

  4. Janice Mariano-Pratt

    Wow such an amazing place to visit at any occasions. All the information are spot on and it’s very helpful. Definitely, checking out this article when I’m ready to visit this wonderful, fun place. Thanks for sharing!

  5. I’m telling you, it takes a spreadsheet to figure out when is the best time to go!! With the seasons, festivals and school holidays to consider on top of being able to take leave- it can be a real mess! Though they say that no matter the weather, Disney is magical 🙂

    1. Haha this is so true! It’s definitely complicated to plan a trip given all the things you can consider. But you’re so right! Even on the busiest days, it can still be so magical!

  6. I have only been to Disneyland and dream of going to Disney world! These are fantastic tips for planning our trip. Thank you!

  7. This is very helpful! I’m trying to convince my reluctant husband that we need to take our kids to Disney World at least once, but he’s not at all excited about waiting in a lot of lines in the heat.

    1. I completely understand his concern! Hopefully these tips help. In terms of the heat, definitely come in the winter or early spring so it’s not as hot! And Genie+ can be a great option in terms of cutting down wait times 🙂

  8. I’ve visited Disney at several different times of the year. I’ve always wanted to visit at Christmas. It is really on my bucket list. I love reading all your Disney posts!

    1. Christmas is truly so magical! Something about Disney and Christmas just go so well together 🙂 I hope you get to visit at Christmas soon!

  9. Visiting Disney is getting tricker over time, will definitely keep this info in mind when I plan my next.

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