Hopefully, you’re starting well in advance, which is great. Planning a Disney vacation can be time consuming and is actually filled with thousands of individual, and sometimes very specific, choices. Most people start thinking about a Disney vacation by considering the time of year to visit.
Summer is going to be HOT, HUMID and CRAZY CROWDED. Spring is still warm, and crowded. Fall is nice, but crowded. Winter is chilly, and crowded (a little less so, until you get around the various holiday weeks). Sensing the theme here? 🙂 If there’s nothing you can do about the dates, then the only thing is to plan for it. I’ll talk about that more in a minute. But if you can adjust your dates, or at least be a little flexible, you can avoid the heat, avoid the crazy crowds and have a truly amazing experience.
How? Well, first, pick a time of year where the Florida weather is mild (most of my recommendations will work for Disneyland, too, just adjust for California instead). I prefer late February through early April and again between mid-September and early November. Next, exclude all weeks where there are US holidays. You simply don’t want to be at a Disney park on Labor Day or Valentine’s Day unless there’s something truly special about that day itself. You can have the exact same experience the week before or the week after – the only difference is that you might miss some of the crazy.
Next, exclude weekends, if possible. For most families with children that are of an appropriate Disney vacation age (down to one nap/day, walking on their own, etcetera), finding a week for vacation can be difficult in and of itself. But weekends are naturally busier than weekdays. So if you want to have a weekend as part of your trip, I recommend it be the end of the trip – where you’ve already been able to get in all that you’d want to do during the week and use the weekend events as one-off lazier days. Additionally, giving yourself “a day” for travel (especially if you have kids) isn’t a bad idea – I find I need a day or so for re-entry into my non-Disney life.
I find October to be a great time. Most kids don’t have a “break” yet from school, the European tourists have gone home. The weather is warm enough for the water parks, but not unbearable. Brief rain showers may occur but pass quicker than you can stand inline and eat a snack. The only thing is the Wine & Food festival is in October at Epcot, however I find they are often there without kids to enjoy the festival, and therefore don’t crowd up the lines. I like going there then because the kids will stay with grams and gramps in the room or at the pool in the evening, and we use our dining pass snack credits to try some of the yummy samples! Planning our 3rd October trip this year.
Thanks for creating this Jeff, I can refer friends here, as I am often asked to help plan these trips. More opinions are better than just mine!!