It’s no secret that Walt Disney World keeps getting more and more expensive. But, since we can’t seem to stop going it pays, literally, to know when the cheapest and most expensive times to visit Disney are. Luckily, there’s actually a calendar that tells you this information, though most people don’t know about it.
We’re going to share two ways to see this information. The first is by using the tried and true Disney Vacation Club rate calendar. This calendar is meant to share with DVC members the cheapest and most expensive times at Disney, so they can use their points wisely for a resort stay. The DVC Rate calendar is based on a complex formula involving crowds, events, seasons, and historical pricing. The second way is through Disney’s newly introduced ticket pricing interactive calendar on their website. This site allows you to choose your tickets, based on price, by scrolling through months to see what ticket prices are. You can also find that info in our post about how to save money on a Disney Vacation. Here’s what you need to know.
Use the DVC Rate Calendar to Plan Your Disney Vacation
The lowest seasons to book, based on this calendar are Adventure Season and Choice Season, which we’ll discuss more below. After that, the prices increase dramatically all the way up to Premier Season, which includes the holidays; the most expensive time to visit Walt Disney World. You can see later in this post where the dates fall for each.
Use Disney’s Ticket Calendar to Find the Cheapest Time to Visit Walt Disney World
The other way to get the BEST view of at least one variable of your trip is by using the Disney Ticket Calendar. This calendar shows you the ticket prices based on the number of days you need. So, if you’re visiting for a longer period of time your ticket price per day decreases significantly. Either way, you can simply scroll this calendar to see what ticket prices look like throughout the year. You’ll note that the Cheapest Disney Tickets and the Most Expensive Disney Tickets typically have about $25-30 per day difference. And that is per person, so do your math accordingly. Needless to say, visiting when Disney Tickets are Cheapest, can save you $100 per day for a family of four.
Cost of a Disney Vacation Factors
There are many factors when it comes to the cheapest time to visit Disney. Whether you’re booking a Disney Vacation package that includes your resort and tickets, or buying them separately, there are three things that affect the cost of your Disney vacation; duration, number of tickets, and hotel choice.
Number of Days at Disney World
While a longer Disney Vacation may be more expensive in the long run, the ticket prices are cheaper when staying longer. That said, How Many Days Do You Need for a Disney World Trip? Many families try for a 5-7 day vacation, but to make the most of your Disney Trip we always aim for that 9 day mark. This gives you enough time to visit each park, and a couple sometimes twice. Get to Disney Springs, the Disney BoardWalk, spend time at your resort, and take it easy on arrival and departure days. It is a vacation after all.
Walt Disney World is comprised of three different Resort Levels; Value Resorts, Moderate Resorts, and Deluxe Resorts. These Disney Resort Types, not only differ in price, but also the level of amenities, types of Disney transportation available, theme, and distance to the parks.
If you’re wondering how to have the Cheapest Disney Vacation, then your resort choice is a MAJOR variable in this calculation. Having been to Walt Disney World many times, we’ll just say, that if you need to get Disney cheaply, there is nothing wrong with choosing the cheapest resorts. Our first trip was at Disney’s All-Star Music Resort, and we loved it. What could have made it better? Going at a less crowded time of year! And now our budget Disney World trips typically include Disney’s Pop Century Resort. Another great value resort, with access to the Disney Skyliner. Which gets us easy access to EPCOT and Hollywood Studios. Bonus!
When Disney Resorts are Cheapest are in line with the DVC Rate Calendar we share later in this post. In order of cheapest, the resort costs range from low to high.
- January ( Cheapest)
- Early December
- October- November
- Late December
- Early February
- May- June
- Late August
- All other dates (Expensive)
We highly recommend aiming for January or September for your cheapest rates across the board. If you’re up against school schedules, it’s important to know that Disney Deluxe Resorts has “cheaper prices” in the summers. This makes sense since summers see so many travel groups who take the cheapest hotels. Leaving many of the deluxe resorts emptier, and therefore cheaper. Mind you, they are still expensive, but if you’re traveling during the summer or spring break, know that this is when Value Resorts are priced the highest.
As mentioned before the more days you visit, the cheaper your per-day ticket price becomes. That said, keep in mind you DO NOT NEED TICKETS for every day of your vacation. Think about that. Whether you’re buying them as part of a package or separately, you get to choose how many tickets you buy. We always recommend that you don’t buy tickets on your First Day at Disney or your Last Day at Disney. Mainly because travel days are tough to begin with. But also because your Disney Resort has so much to do, it’s nice to experience it a bit before heading to the parks, or heading back home. Additionally, you may want to have a day to experience Disney Springs, or just relax.
The Cheapest Time to Go to Walt Disney World
Since Disney vacations are ALWAYS going to feel expensive, know that there are ways to soften the blow! You can simply choose a different time to go to Disney World. But When? In this post, we’re going to share the cheapest time of year for Disney World AND the most expensive time to go to Disney World. That way, you can decide which time of year is best for you to visit.
When is the Cheapest Time to Visit Disney World?
January and September are the cheapest months to visit Walt Disney World. The cheapest months to go to Disney World offer you lower resort costs, fewer crowds, and better weather in Florida. All good things right? If you’re aiming for the most budget-friendly time to visit Disney, then you actually have a couple of months to choose from. January is generally the Cheapest Month to Visit Walt Disney World. But September takes second, and believe it or not, the first two weeks of December take third, as you’ll see below. Note that this is based on the DVC Calendar rates which average the historical pricing.
The Cheapest Month for Walt Disney World
The cheapest time to go to Disney World is in January. If you’re looking for the cheapest time to stay at Disney, then plan a Disney Vacation in January. January offers up the cheapest weeks to go to Disney, all month long.
- Jan 1-31
- Sept 1-30
- Dec 1-14
Adventure Season encompasses the cheapest times to visit Walt Disney World. Luckily, there are also a few of our favorite things offered during these dates. In January you can attend Epcot’s Festival of the Arts, and runDisney Walt Disney World Marathon. In September the Food and Wine Festival and Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and in December you can visit the resorts to view holiday decorations and check out the Festival of Holidays at Epcot.
- Oct 1-Nov 26
- Nov 30
- Dec 15-23
The next cheapest time to visit Walt Disney World is Choice Season. The dates included during these times of year are all about great fall weather in Florida, the Food and Wine Festival at Epcot, and Christmas at Walt Disney World without the crowds or high costs. That said, the month of October is getting busier as the Halloween events become more popular, so while October does fall in the “Choice Season.” it can sometimes be more crowded than you would expect.
When to Visit Disney for an Average Cost
While the least expensive time to visit Disney World may not work with your schedule, know that you don’t necessarily have to visit during the most expensive time to go to Disney World either. In fact, there are plenty of options to visit Disney when prices aren’t that bad. This includes Dream Season. Dream Season includes the first half of February, all of May, the early part of June, and the second half of August.
Dream Season dates also include the Festival of the Arts in February and better weather in the parks, as well as low crowds. May and June dates here are busy, but you can catch the Flower and Garden Festival as well as the May the Fourth be With You celebrations. And the August dates put you smack dab in the middle of the Halloween kickoff season. With options for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, and fewer crowds as kids go back to school.
- Feb 1- 15
- May 1- Jun 10
- Aug 16- 31
Dream Season offers shoulder season dates at average prices. Mind you, these are not great prices. It is during these dates that everything starts to go up. Resorts, tickets, flights, everything. However, if you’re unable to go in Adventure or Choice Season, Disney vacations within these dates are your next best bet.
The Most Expensive Time to Go to Walt Disney World
Ahhh, the most expensive times to visit Walt Disney World are all about major events and holidays. And while these times surely are extra special, there is so much to do the rest of the year that battling the crowds and dealing with high prices just isn’t our cup of tea. Interestingly there are times within these date ranges that do have low crowds that may make a higher price worth it for you. Check out our post on the Best Times to Visit Walt Disney World for week-by-week suggestions.
When is the Worst Time to Visit Walt Disney World?
Say hello to Magic Season and Premier Season. With rates at the highest range of the Disney Resort Tier prices, you could spend thousands per night at some resorts or villas. The exception here is the summer dates below. Jun 11- Aug 15 may once have been in the “Peak Season”, but now we often see summer deals as Walt Disney World tries to woo guests into a very very hot Florida summer vacation.
- Feb 16- Apr 13
- Apr 28- 30
- Jun 11- Aug 15
- Nov 27- 29
Magic Season is magical. It’s also…very expensive. This is where you find your on-season Summer Vacationers, your Spring Breakers, and Thanksgiving Week. The Presidents Day holiday week is pretty unbearable, and marks the beginning of the Spring Break price hikes. If you’re looking for pricey and very crowded you will find that at Walt Disney World during this time. You will also find many first-time vacationers, families, international tour groups, and high school students. Resorts are more heavily filled during this time making prices higher.
- Apr 14- 27
- Dec 24- 31
Premier Season at Walt Disney World is all about fantastic weather in late April, ahead of the crowds of summer. And Christmas week, when everything is extra sparkly at Disney. Resorts and tickets are the most expensive they will ever be during these dates. You’d pay similar pricing on a Disney Christmas Cruise at these rates.
Is Disney World Expensive During the Holidays?
Yes. Disney World is expensive and crowded during the holidays. Main travel holidays like Spring Break, President’s Day, Columbus Day, and more are always surprising when it comes to pricing and crowds. As such we always recommend you avoid holidays at Disney World.
Get a Discount on a Disney World Vacation
One of the most alluring parts of booking a Disney Vacation is the hope of getting your Disney vacation on Sale. Possible? Sure? Are you really saving money? Maybe. Disney World Discounts are always offered on the Disney Special Offers page and are usually offered during the most expensive times to go to Disney World.
When is Walt Disney World the Cheapest?
So, now that we’ve gone over all the things that can affect the price of your Disney Vacation and the times of year when the prices are lowest, let’s review. The time of year that Walt Disney World is the Cheapest is in January. Late August and September are a close second. In addition to the time of year, choosing a Disney Value or Moderate Resort gets you the cheapest resort price. And being strategic about the number of park tickets you need, can help you save money on tickets too. In addition to choosing the cheapest time of year to visit Disney, check out all the ways to save money on a Disney Vacation, so you can really maximize costs.
Planning a Disney World Vacation on a Budget
Hopefully being able to see the date breakdown and pricing options can help you make even better choices when it comes to planning your Disney vacation. Be sure to check out all our Disney on Budget tips on the blog, and reach out if you have questions. And once you pick your dates for your Disney Vacation review the best days to visit each Disney Park. This will help you plan your Disney Days and make the most of your days in the parks.