Disney from a Twenty-Something: When Is the Best Time to Visit Walt Disney World?

by Caitlin Corsello

Now being well into October, it is officially my favorite time of the year. I love the fall weather, the activities (pumpkin carving, apple picking!!), and Halloween. With all that, it’s not surprising that the fall season has now become my personal favorite time to visit Walt Disney World for a number of reasons. However, I know this is not the case for everyone and each season has its own pros and cons of visiting. So how do you choose when to visit the World? There are several things to think about when choosing when you will make the trip to Disney World. I’m going to focus on what I believe are the two biggest factors to consider: weather and crowd volume.

As a child, my family would always visit in the summer while school was out. If you’ve been to Disney World in the summer you know that it is hot, sticky, and often rainy. It can be so hot and humid that you can easily become uncomfortable early on in the day. Late summer is also the middle of hurricane season, which can bring tons of unwanted rain to your vacation. I actually experienced a hurricane in Disney World once, and while the resorts were great at catering to guests, the parks actually had to close early one day. Talk about a bummer. Whereas the summer can reach temperatures upwards of ninety with those heavy Florida downpours, the other seasons can provide cool and comfortable weather to explore the parks in. The average temperature for March is the high sixties, and for October is around the mid-seventies both with a significantly lower amount of rain than the summer months. If visiting in the winter, it can become quite cool at night (in the mid-fifties), so if you enjoy the heat you may want to opt to not visit during this time.

In addition to weather, you should consider crowd volume. Are you the kind of person that can’t stand waiting in line for long or maneuvering through large crowds? Then your best bet is to avoid visiting in the summer months and during any holidays. These are the peak times for crowds and waits can easily reach over an hour on many attractions throughout the World. Some of the least crowded times of the year are mid-January to mid-February, the weeks following Labor Day, and mid-September to early November. If you are looking to avoid wait times and experience more in the parks, choose to visit during one of these slower periods.

You may also choose to visit during a special event or holiday season, and while crowds may be higher, there are still ways to plan accordingly and choose the best time to attend the events. Such events include the Flower and Garden Festival in the spring, Star Wars Weekends in May, the Food & Wine Festival in the fall, Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. If you choose to visit for one of these events, opt to attend during the week as the parks will be less crowded. For the two holiday parties, choose to attend earlier in the season as they are less crowded and the tickets are less expensive than the parties closest to the actual holidays. As with any place of interest, more crowds will be present on the weekends, so planning a vacation during the week especially during these events can save you dealing with slightly heavier crowds.

Visiting during the less busy times of year can also result in obtaining the Disney Dining Plan for free. Often times Disney will offer the plan for free in slower seasons as long as you arrive to the World on certain specific dates. The Disney Dining Plan is a great offer, and if you can get it for free is can save a lot of money for those on a budget. In respect to those on a budget, visiting during the slower seasons can also save money as often times the resort rates are lower than during peak seasons (the summer and holidays).

My personal favorite time to visit, as I mentioned, is now. I love the fall, and what better place to enjoy it than Disney World! I came to enjoy this time to visit after many experiences as a child sweating it out in the summers. In addition, my family and I once visited the week between Christmas and New Year’s. It was so crowded that we vowed to never return for an actual holiday again. Those experiences have led to my love of visiting in the fall. The weather is perfect, the crowds are low, and you get to experience not only the Halloween festivities, but also the Food & Wine Festival. I love being able to visit when the crowd volume is low not only to avoid long wait times, but also to take a more laid-back approach in exploring the parks. Add in the pleasant weather and special events and what could be better?

What is your favorite time of the year to visit WDW and why? Ever visited at a certain time and said “never again?” Let me know in the comments below, I would love to hear from you!

Caitlin Corsello was born and raised in New York. She graduated from Adelphi University with a Masters in Mental Health Counseling in 2012. Her love for Disney started as an infant and has continued to grow with family vacations to Disney parks almost every year since. She holds a particular interest in WDW’s parks and attractions, never passing up an opportunity to visit. She looks forward to continuing to explore and learn about all things Disney and to share that passion with readers.