The idea behind planning a trip to Walt Disney World has come full circle in the last 5 years, and it’s getting more and more difficult to find the “perfect time” to be in Florida without having to deal with huge crowds, school groups or events that close down our favorite parks.
As Disney starts to plot out the 2018 schedule, which will be released in early summer, we have a few ideas to help with your trip planning for next year.
Let’s Break Down Disney Crowds by the Month
January Disney Crowds
First half is still heavy from folks who stay over from the holidays. The second half of the month is pretty light but watch out for Martain Luther King Day. So many people pack into the parks for this long weekend.
February Disney Crowds
The first half of February is fairly light, with a few random dates to look out for. In the beginning of the month, you will want to be cautious around Madri Gras. Avoid President’s Day Weekend. It is very busy, especially with it overlapping so many longer winter breaks.
March Disney Crowds
During the first week of March, crowds are relatively light. Watch out for Epcot during the opening weekend of the Flower and Garden Festival. The rest of the month you should expect heavy crowds as Spring Break starts. Expect the crowds to the be the worst at the end of the month, Easter is April first and crowds will be extremely heavy for the holiday.
April Disney Crowds
Second Half is perfect, as it’s great weather with no holidays scheduled and all the kids are back from march break
May Disney Crowds
Low crowds throughout the month, but the heat is starting to get up there. Towards the end of the month, local schools start to let out as well as college kids.
June / July / August Disney Crowds
Summer months are recommended to skip (unless you’re a teacher). These months are extremely hot and humid here in Florida. Not to mention the parks become packed with everyone who is out on summer break.
September Disney Crowds
Anytime after Labour Day is great, although keep the Halloween nights in the back of your mind. Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party makes the Magic Kingdom packed.
October Disney Crowds
First half is light but be prepared for weather to affect your trip. October is the the last rainy month of the “summer” season. Don’t worry they are typically just quick shower.
November Disney Crowds
First two weeks is great, after that the crowds become heavy with holiday crowds.
December Disney Crowds
Anytime before the 17th-20th is recommended.
Manage your expectations going in to your trip and you’ll be fine. Spring is great for planning due to weather, but stay aware of school holidays. After Labour Day in September is solid too, but be prepared to see a lot of families and locals in the parks.
Disney Vacation Dates to Avoid
- 3rd – 7th is the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend. RunDisney is becoming a force on the property during their marathons, so be prepared for a huge amount of runners and their families to be on property. Traffic, Restaurants, and Park Crowds are subject to be impacted.
- 12th – 15th – Martin Luther King Jr. Weekend – Long weekends at Walt Disney World usually come with a nice bump in attendance. We’ve seen it with every holiday so far in 2017. Although it’s manageable with days at EPCOT and Disney’s Animal Kingdom…it’s about being prepared.
- 11th – 19th – Mardi Gras Week and President’s Day Weekend – Be PREPARED for massive crowds. Not only do you see the families taking a week of school before March Break, you also see a long weekend with President’s Day on the 19th.
- 20th – 25th, 2018 – Princess Half Marathon – Another Marathon = another chance for long lines for buses and other disruptions if you’re not prepared. Most marathon participants tend to stay close to the starting point of the race and they are thinking about multiple trips to WDW annually for the races…so the Value Resorts tend to fill up quickly.
- 10th – 31st is Spring Break- Take advantage of the early part of Spring Break if you must, but keep an eye on the University and High School dates, as they don’t all take the holidays at the same time.
- 1st – 7th – Easter – It’s an April Fool’s Day Easter, so families may end up bypassing March Break and doing an Easter trip instead. Just something to think about!
- 20 – 23 – Star Wars Half Marathon – May the force be with you…and with your wallet. I love this weekend because even if you don’t run the marathon, the merchandise is all over the place! It’s also a smaller impact on crowds than the other events.
- 4th – Star Wars Day – May the Forth be with you – This partly official and unofficial day is incredibly popular for folks who really love the franchise, so be prepared for huge lines at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
- 25th – 31st – Memorial Day Weekend – The official kickoff of Summer, this weekend is usually a no-go for folks who are planning a trip in advance. It’s utterly impossible to get good ADR’s and the price points for resorts are astronomical, so unless you absolutely have to go, plan for another time and you’ll be fine:)
- 1st- 7th – Fourth of July Week- This time in the parks is usually on par with the Christmas crowds, so planning is essential if you’re preparing to be at Walt Disney World. Knowing the in’s and the out’s, such as the additional Fourth of July fireworks show at the Magic Kingdom on July 3rd will help!
August and September 2018
- August 30th to September 3rd- Labor Day Weekend – The popularity of long weekends is continuing to grow, as families and travellers alike love getting those extra few days to play in the parks. With the weather coming back to normal and the thought of going back to school haunts the younger generation…it’s a big impact on the crowds!
- 5th – 8th – Columbus Day Weekend- Long weekends are usually big, but this one may be not as popular, however, don’t be fooled by falling into a false sense of security…it will still be busy! Fall Break and Halloween may draw folks down for some fall fun!
- 1st -4th – Wine and Dine Half Marathon – Be flexible on the dates, as they are not quite announced yet. Historically, the event happens on the first weekend of November. Races = crowds;)
- 18th – 24th – Thanksgiving- The whole week will be pretty busy, but with the planning tools that we have regarding Advanced Dining Reservations and FastPass+ Reservations, should allow for a great time to enjoy your vacation. Remember though…holidays in any form are a reason for increased crowd patterns and less flexibility closer to the trip.
- 22nd – 29th – Christmas – Personally, the Christmas week fascination that folks have is unfounded. It’s incredibly busy, the ABC Christmas Morning Parade was filmed in November and the only reservations you can get are Tony’s Town Square and The Wave. ; ) Capacity for the Magic Kingdom is maxed most days before 11 am. We so we usually suggest enjoying things from the outside for this one week a year.
Summer Months at Disney World
Well let’s be honest, the summer is incredibly hot. During the summer you will get a few hours of touring time in the morning and then have to nap (and shower) in the afternoon. This allows you a nice recharge before heading back for fun after 5pm. 2018 will be even busier with the addition of the nighttime activities at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Pandora: The World of Avatar and other fun stuff that we’ll discover during D23. The summer is also when the parks are at their ‘A-game’, so be prepared with a plan and you’ll be fine!
We hope that this helps in your planning for 2018 in Walt Disney World! If you need any additional help, just post in the comments below and we’ll start posting more Q&A style articles. The more that our readers let us know the stuff they want to read about…the more that we can provide tailored posts:)
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