Nothing can ruin a Disney Vacation faster than large crowds!
For most people, Disney isn’t a spur of the moment/ last minute decision kind of trip. It requires a lot of saving, planning, and research. So, the last thing you want is for it to be ruined by long lines and crowds. While some will argue that there is no such thing as low crowds at Disney anymore, I find that there still a few times of year where a little planning goes a long way and the crowds are low enough that it doesn’t completely ruin my vacation.
So, what are the best times to go if you’re looking for lower crowds?
Even if you don’t have any kids, the biggest thing to consider are the school calendars. I’m not just talking about the school calendars in Florida or California. I’m talking about ALL school calendars. People are coming from all over the world. So, it doesn’t necessarily mean anything if guests local to Walt Disney World and Disneyland are in school. If a lot of kids are on vacation, it’s going to be busy.
Late January / Early February
By this time, kids are back to school (including college kids). When I was growing up, the whole month of January consisted of studying for and taking my midterm exams, so taking a vacation during this time would have been a big no-no. Bills from Christmas are coming in, also, so dedicating money towards a vacation may not be in the books for some. Between the fact that not many people are traveling during this time and the weather is much more comfortable than the summer heat, it’s a great time to go to Disney and enjoy the lower than average crowds.
Late February / Early March
The middle of February is when we had our Winter Break up North, so while it doesn’t seem like Florida and California has Winter Breaks in their school calendars, kids from other states do, meaning it’s more likely that they will be traveling during that time. I should know…I’ve done it. Late February / Early March is a great time to travel because it’s smack dab in the middle of February Break and Spring Break. Those with children may find traveling during this time inconvenient because there are school breaks right around the corner. Parents may think it makes better sense to schedule vacations to coincide with those vacations instead of pulling them out of school.
Late April / Early May
The Easter crowds have gone home by now and kids are back to school. This is also the time when schools are preparing for and doing State Testing and Final Exams, so taking kids out of school at this time is strongly frowned upon. The weather, while hot, isn’t too humid yet, and refurbishments are less common, so these things makes this time of year a great time to travel. Epcot also has their International Flower & Garden Festival going on at this time, which is definitely a plus!
Schools are just beginning a brand new school year, so taking some time off isn’t convenient for a lot of parents. Plus, it’s the height of hurricane season, which scares away a lot of travelers. However, it’s the prime time for the coveted Free Dining promotion and the Halloween decorations are up. If you want to go to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party or Mickey’s Halloween Party, tickets are available for certain days all month long.
A couple weeks before Thanksgiving has shown to be a good time to visit if you want to enjoy the lower than normal crowds. Holidays at the Disney Parks are BUSY! So, if you’re eager to see the Christmas Decor, plan on going in Early November before the crowd level picks up to an uncomfortable level by the middle of November.
Week After Thanksgiving / Early December
This is the little sweet spot between 2 major holidays. Since many kids have off the week of Thanksgiving, people may have just taken off work to travel and spend time with family. For these people, taking more time off to go to Disney immediately after Thanksgiving is not the most convenient time for everyone. You still get to enjoy the Christmas Decorations, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, and if you plan it just right, you may also get to take advantage of the Free Dining promotion that is generally taking place around the beginning of December.
Have you ever gone on a Disney Vacation during any of these times? Did you notice a difference in crowd levels?