If you’re wondering what sort of Big Bang Theory algorithm you’ll need to calculate the best time to visit Disney World, we’ve got you covered. Obviously, there are certain times where Walt Disney World is just busy. You can look at any basic Walt Disney World crowd calendar to get this info and some crazy detailed pins, so we won’t go into that detail here. What we will share is what to expect and which days are best to go to Disney parks no matter when you vacation. And now that you’re limited to one park per day via the Disney Park Pass Reservation system this info is more important than ever!
- 1 The Best Days to Visit Disney World Based on Crowds
- 2 Walt Disney World Crowd Calendars
- 3 Annual Events and Holidays
- 4 Walt Disney World Events by Month
- 5 Which Days at Walt Disney World are the Busiest?
- 6 What are the Best Days to Visit Each Disney Park?
- 7 Walt Disney World Planning Tips
- 8 Sample Itinerary for a Disney Vacation in One Week
- 9 Cheapest and Most Expensive Times to Visit Disney
The Best Days to Visit Disney World Based on Crowds
Whether you’re looking for the least crowded time to go to Disney World, or even just the best time to visit Magic Kingdom, we’re going to break it all down in the post so you can make the best Disney itinerary for your trip.
Overall Best Dates for the Lowest Crowd Levels
Lowest Crowds at Walt Disney World
- January 10-13 and 25-27 | Festival of the Arts
- January 31-February 10 | Festival of the Arts
- May 3-12 | Flower and Garden Festival
- August 15-31 | MNSSHP, Food and Wine Festival
- September 1- 30 | Food and Wine Festival
- November 14-16 | Food and Wine Festival, Holiday Resort Decorations
- December 1-10 | Festival of Holidays
Overall Best Time to Visit Walt Disney World
This quick schedule is repeated every year with slightly different dates, but here is a quick look at the Peak/Off-Peak times at Walt Disney World.
- Off-Peak Periods / Least Expensive Times to Visit Disney
- January: 4th week in January through 2nd week in February
- Spring: 4th week in April- 3rd week in May sees average crowds
- August: Generally 2nd week in August through 1st week in December
- Peak Periods/ Most Expensive Times to Visit Disney
- Winter Break: 3rd weekend in January/ MLK three day weekend
- Spring/Easter Break: 1st week of March through 3rd week in April
- Memorial Day: Last 2 weeks of May
- Summer Vacation Last week in May through 2nd Week in August
- Thanksgiving: Day and Weekend after
- Christmas: 2nd week in December through 1st Week in January
Note: Your busiest times will always be around holidays, especially when kids are off school, and on weekends. Check out the EXACT DATES of when Disney is the Least Expensive every year.
Walt Disney World Crowd Calendars
If you want a day by historical look at crowds to get your vacation on a microcosm schedule, check out the crowd calendars. Know that Disney crowd levels have been changing a lot, so take these with a grain of salt.
Undercover Tourist has an outlook calendar-style layout that will show you exact days and levels to expect.
Disney by Age offers a very detailed pin that will tell you exactly what the crowd levels look like.
Annual Events and Holidays
Planning a Disney Vacation for the perfect time is tough. As a result, it’s important to know the best times to visit to give yourself your best chance. We’ve pulled together a list of all the Disney Festivals and Parties that happen annually so you can choose the best time to visit. Here are also the major holidays and runDisney events causing the busiest times to visit Walt Disney World.
January: runDisney Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend, Martin Luther King Jr. Weekend
February: Valentine’s Day/President’s Day Weekend, runDisney Princess Half Marathon, and Mardi Gras Week
March: Spring Break
April: Easter, runDisney Springtime Surprise Weekend
May: Dapper Day, Memorial Day Weekend
July: Fourth of July Week
September: Labor Day Weekend
October: Columbus Day Weekend
November: Wine and Dine Half Marathon, Thanksgiving Week, Destination D23
December: Christmas Week
Walt Disney World Events by Month
Now, since there’s a good chance you planned your vacation because you had time off at work or were working around a child’s school schedule, the crowd-level info in these guides can only get you so far.
To get a glimpse as to what you’ll be seeing at Disney while you’re there, regardless of when you go, here’s the rundown of yearly Disney festivals and activities. Check out our Walt Disney World Events Calendar for 2021 or our Walt Disney Calendar for 2022 for Details.
Festival of the Arts
Martin Luther King Day Weekend
Best Week to Visit: 2nd or 4th Week
Festival of the Arts
Princess runDisney Half Marathon
Best Week to Visit: 1st and 2nd Weeks
Flower and Garden Festival
Best Weeks to Visit: 1st or 2nd Week
Expect Spring Break Crowds to be heavy 3rd week in March through the 2nd week in April
Flower and Garden Festival
Best Weeks to Visit: 1st and 2nd Weeks
Expect high school Senior Trip Crowds the 3rd and 4th weeks of May
H20 Glow Night at the Water Parks
Best Week to Visit: 1st Week
Expect lots of summer heat. and pretty much why we’d recommend visiting any other time of year.
Sounds like Summer Concerts in Epcot
Best Week to Visit: 3rd Week
Best Week to Visit: 2nd or 3rd Week
Best Weeks to Visit: 3rd and 5th Weeks
Which Days at Walt Disney World are the Busiest?
- Sunday is the busiest day at every Walt Disney World Park.
- Saturday the second busiest.
- Monday the third busiest.
- Friday the fourth busiest.
Which Disney Park Takes the Least Time?
Hollywood Studios typically takes the Least Time of any Walt Disney World park. As one of Disney’s smaller parks, this park is broken up into several areas. Get to know the Hollywood Studios map before you go, because while it has the least things to do, see and eat, it also has a rather confusing layout. Our best advice here if you’re trying to save time at Walt Disney World is to head to the major rides first, Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway, Rise of the Resistance, and Slinky Dog Dash.
What are the Best Days to Visit Each Disney Park?
Thankfully, even if you don’t pick a vacation during the best time to visit Disney World, you still have control over which days you go to which park. THIS is just as important. If you’ve made your dining and Lightning Lane reservations already some of these decisions may have already been decided for you. These are your best days to be in the parks with minimal crowds and minimal waits.
- Magic Kingdom (MK): Tuesdays & Thursdays
- Hollywood Studios(HS): Tuesdays, Wednesdays & Fridays
- Animal Kingdom(AK): Mondays, Tuesdays & Wednesdays
- Epcot (EP): Mondays and Wednesday
Notice the complete absence of weekend days here. If you’re visiting during the weekend, Animal Kingdom is usually ok on a Saturday, now that more popular parks- like Hollywood Studios and Magic Kingdom-are attracting even more guests. And Magic Kingdom is usually ok on a Sunday. But try to avoid both EPCOT and Hollywood Studios on the weekends.
Suggested Walt Disney World Park Planning Schedule
Here’s what you can control. We’ll assume for convenience that you are tackling one park each day of your vacation. Keep in mind that Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios are the smallest parks, so fill up faster, so the weekend will feel extra crowded at these parks.
You will find that Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday are by far the best days to be in the parks. Still, chances are your vacation will be longer than 3 days, so you will be venturing into the parks Friday through Monday as well. These are our recommendations if you want a little more elbow room and a little less line waiting. We’ve added in the Disney Monorail Resorts as an honorary fifth location you can spend your time close to the parks because they are convenient and a nice change of pace.
- Monday: AK
- Tuesday: MK
- Wednesday: HS
- Thursday: EPCOT
- Friday: HS or Disney Springs
- Saturday: AK
- Sunday: MK or AK or Disney Monorail Resorts
- Disney Water Parks, Blizzard Beach, and Typhoon Lagoon are least busy during the late spring and early fall on weekdays.
- Disney Springs is the least busy M-Th mornings and afternoons.
Early Entry into the Parks
Days with Early Theme Park Entry are for Disney Resort Guests ONLY and allow you to enter the park 30 minutes before it opens. This offers opportunities to maximize your time! Morning magic hours are still pretty light when it comes to crowds so we definitely recommend, if you’re a morning family, to get up early and take advantage of the extra hours. Early theme park entry is now available every day.
Walt Disney World Planning Tips
Here’s the planning algorithm we use when planning our trips to WDW.
- Pick One Park Per Day
- If staying at a Disney Resort, plan to be there early to take advantage of your 30 minutes extra on weekday mornings.
- Stay away from Epcot and Magic Kingdom on Saturday if you can help it. While lots of vacationers are beginning vacations on the weekend and usually head straight to Magic Kingdom, the locals head to Epcot.
- Stay away from Epcot in the evenings from Thursday to Saturday
- Stay away from Magic Kingdom on Mondays.
- Magic Kingdom requires 2 days
- EPCOT requires 2 days if visiting for a Festival
- HS and AK are 1 day each
- Start vacation on a Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday.
- End vacation on a Tuesday or Wednesday.
Sample Itinerary for a Disney Vacation in One Week
We primarily make the choice to leave for vacation mid-week because flight costs are cheaper. If you’re driving these aren’t requirements for your algorithm.
- Wednesday: EPCOT (arrive morning, 1/2 day in the park)
- Thursday: Up early, MK (access early hours) first full day in parks
- Friday: sleep in, EPCOT stay up late
- Saturday: up early HS (access early hours), head to Animal Kingdom if you have a park hopper.
- Sunday: sleep in and head to brunch at Disney Boardwalk or Disney Springs
- Monday: AK
- Tuesday: MK (depart evening, 1/2 day in the park)
By far one of our best strategies for WDW planning. The opportunity to take advantage of early morning hours any day of your vacation is a good one. Additionally, we always like to build in a day to get tea at the Grand Floridian, dole whip at The Polynesian, and time on The Boardwalk. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need a ticket to anywhere to have fun on the Boardwalk. Just access it from the secret path at the entrance of Hollywood Studios. This plan is for your typical 7 day/ 6 night and 6-day park ticket ( assuming that either your arriving or departing day you will not be in the parks).
Cheapest and Most Expensive Times to Visit Disney
One of our favorite new hacks we learned on our DVC tour was that there is actually a calendar that shows the cheapest times to visit Walt Disney World. And frankly, until there is an update to this pricing schedule we’re gonna treat it like the gospel it is. The cheapest season to book is Adventure Season and the most expensive is Premier Season. Here’s where the dates fall for each.
Adventure Season ( cheapest)
- Sept 1-30
- Dec 1-14
- Oct 1-Nov 26
- Nov 30
- Dec 15-23
- Feb 1- 15
- May 1- Jun 10
- Aug 16- 31
- Feb 16- Apr 13
- Apr 28- 30
- Jun 11- Aug 15
- Nov 27- 29
Premier Season ( most expensive)
- Apr 14- 27
- Dec 24- 31
We hope this gives you a little more information than you had before and some good tips to make sure you make the most of your Disney vacation. And be sure to check out our Disney World Event Calendar for specific things happening this year!