The Walt Disney World Resort is the most visited vacation spot in the world, welcoming over 52 million guests annually. As a matter of fact, out of the top five most visited theme parks in North America, Walt Disney World’s four parks – Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom – took four of those top five spots.
With the Magic Kingdom Park having a daily average of over 50,000 guests per day, families are basically guaranteed to always face crowds at the Most Magical Place on Earth, but there are certain times of the year, days of the week and times of day when the Disney crowds seem more manageable. Want to know more? Keep reading to find out!
Best time of the year to visit
Generally speaking, the best time of the year to visit is when kids are in school. Parents do take children out of school all the time for family vacations to see the Mouse, so you will always see plenty of kids, but again, generally speaking it is best to go when school is in session and no holidays are approaching. That means that after Labor Day until the middle of November, early December, January through mid-February and late April into the early part of May are considered slower times at the Walt Disney World Resort.
On the other hand, the busiest times are summer (late May through the end of August), the week of Thanksgiving, the weeks before and after Christmas through New Year, and the Spring Break time frame. Of course, there are exceptions to these, such as Epcot in the fall during the International Food & Wine Festival, or Magic Kingdom on the same day as Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. We suggest looking ahead to see if there are any special events going on at the parks during your visit, as this will heighten the crowds even if you are visiting during a slower time of year.
Best days of the week to visit
It seems to reason that the best days of the week to visit Disney are the weekdays, and that is absolutely true. If you can avoid weekends at all cost, that’s the best way to plan a Disney vacation. However, just because you plan to visit Magic Kingdom on a Wednesday doesn’t mean you won’t be waiting in any long lines. The best way to strategically plan which day to do which park is to look and see what park offers Extra Magic Hours – and don’t go to that park that day (EMH is for guests staying at a Disney resort hotel and means the park is either open early or late exclusively for those guests). If you are staying at a Disney resort hotel, we do suggest you take advantage of those specific time periods – particularly the morning Extra Magic Hours – but just note that any resort guests plan their days around EMH and those parks will be the most crowded on those days. If you have park hopper passes, take advantage of those extra hours with shorter lines and then hop on over to another park for the rest of your day.
Best time of the day to visit Disney
When planning your day at Disney, it’s important to note the Extra Magic Hours as mentioned above if you are staying at a Disney resort, but the No. 1 piece of advice for visiting Walt Disney World is this – get there early! Plan your FastPasses for later in the day, because if you arrive before the park opens (the parks usually open 10-15 minutes before list time, just FYI), you can have free reign of many of the park’s attractions for at least a couple hours until the crowds start to roll in. Conversely, the last couple hours of park operation are also a good time to sneak in some of your favorite rides, and at Magic Kingdom, the time between the fireworks to park close is possibly the least crowded point of the day (if you can stay awake that long). The middle of the day can sometimes see a dip too as families with children leave the park to take a nap or hit the pool for a few hours before returning for the evening.
As we mentioned, there are no truly “slow” times for the Walt Disney World Resort. However, if you take the tips from above, it can reduce some of the stress associated with your vacation and help you plan the most magical trip of a lifetime!