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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

When to Visit Walt Disney World

visiting Walt Disney World

One of the main themes of this site is how to prepare for a visit to Walt Disney World in Orlando (technically, in Lake Buena Vista), Florida. If you want to visit a princess in her castle, that is - bar none - the best place to do it. Walt Disney World has a completely different vibe than Disneyland in California and every other theme park. People quite literally travel from halfway around the world just to go there.

visiting Walt Disney World
Meet the princesses at Princess Fairytale Hall

I have been to Walt Disney World. I will make you this guarantee: if you haven't been to Walt Disney World, and you take your own little prince or princess with you, you never, ever will forget it. And, despite the petty annoyances of any visit to a popular place, they will be overwhelmingly positive memories.

visiting Walt Disney World

Now, I have a point to this post other than lauding the Mouse Factory (from which I receive no remuneration - I wish). If you are going to plan a trip to Walt Disney World, you would be wise to - at the very least - understand what kind of crowds to expect while making your choice of time. Because the size of the crowds varies tremendously from month to month and, even, from week to week.

visiting Walt Disney World
You may have your most memorable moments in the restaurants

It is of course quite possible and likely to go to Walt Disney World without knowing this information and having a terrific, mind-blowing time. If all you have open is a certain week and that's it, well, then you don't really need to do much planning on when to visit. But if you have, say, several times during the year when you can visit, then a word to the wise: you should go when the crowds abate. This is particularly important if it is a repeat trip, because then the newness will have worn off and you will notice the annoyances a lot more. Wait times everywhere, from Space Mountain to the soda stand to the rest room, will be greater or lesser depending on when you go.

visiting Walt Disney World
The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

That said, and not to belabor the point, I found these charts which show the size of relative crowds at Walt Disney World. Especially if you are thinking of taking one of the expensive private tours, you will get immensely greater value during certain weeks, both by paying less (the rates are variable) and seeing more with fewer people making you wait for certain rides. You also are more likely to get a top guide during a slow period in the calendar.

visiting Walt Disney World
Princess Merida's coronation in 2013

Orlando is usually pretty warm year-round, certainly warm enough to walk around the park without discomfort if you wear an appropriate jacket or coat. Taking a collapsible umbrella isn't a bad idea, either.

Times to consider visiting if you have leeway in planning:

  • Late January
  • February (except Valentine's Day and surrounding days)
  • Late April
  • Late August through mid-December (except Thanksgiving)

Times to avoid:

  • Any major holiday
  • March
  • June/July
  • Last half of December

visiting Walt Disney World
The 'plaids' give private guided tours for a price.

The charts below bear this out.

visiting Walt Disney World
visiting Walt Disney World

visiting Walt Disney World


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