It's no secret that one of the biggest vacation-planning topics out there is when to visit Disney World. Today, we wanted to take away some of the mystery by sharing the best time to visit Disney World in 2015! For those of you planning a trip to Disney in 2016, we've added these dates too.
Now, in our book, it's always a good time to visit the Walt Disney World Resort. We've been to visit in every season and have found we could manage crowds just fine — by following our own solid touring advice. That is getting to the park at opening, taking breaks in the afternoon when the parks are busiest and making use of wait-time apps. Now guests can follow our FastPass+ tips as another means of skipping the lines. Believe it or not, if you take our advice, you will find crowds can be manageable even during the busiest times!
That said, there are still better times to visit Disney World, and by extension Universal Orlando and SeaWorld Orlando, than others. It should come as no surprise that the best time to visit Disney World in 2015 and 2016 generally falls along school schedules, which is to say, when the kids are in school. Generally anytime there is a holiday where kids will be out of school, there will be crowds at Disney World. Now, we have a no-judgment policy over here for you parents who want to pull your kids out of school for a Disney vacation (we have done it ourselves), but here are some things to consider.
When planning the best time to visit Disney World in 2015 and 2016, we recommend you check out our Crowd Calendar. The weekly and daily crowd levels for the whole year are right there for you to see, along with individual park recommendations and park hours. Park hours are important and should be factored in when deciding when to visit Orlando. This is because when crowd levels are lowest, park hours are shortest. When crowd levels are highest, the parks generally open earlier and close later.
Special events should also be a consideration in deciding the best time to visit, and they are also displayed on the crowd calendar. Disney World offers some spectacular events, and you just might decide you want to plan your visit during one or more of them.
The very best times to visit Disney World in 2016 are ...
Historically, September has been the best very best of the month of the year to visit Disney World in terms of crowd levels, and it remains the case for 2015 and 2016 as well. With the kids just returning to school, parents are loath to take the kids out for vacation. Also working in its favor, September has some of the very best events of the entire season, including Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party, Halloween Horror Nights at the Universal Orlando Resort and Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. The second half of the month is a little more crowded than the first part of the month, which doesn't have any special events. Lest you think September is the perfect month, keep in mind that it is also the height of Orlando's rainy season. You should prepare for daily afternoon thunderstorms and possibly more rain than that.
The days after Thanksgiving leading up to the week of Christmas are also a good time to visit Disney World, although perhaps not as good as they used to be. With the popularity of Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party, which is held on select nights in November and December, those days are getting busier.
Some days in January, and some in February, are also great times to visit the parks. The least crowded time we have ever experienced was in January, the week after the Walt Disney World Marathon. The big drawback to visiting at this time is reduced park hours and often scaled-back entertainment. The Main Street Electrical Parade at Magic Kingdom, for example, isn't held every night during this time. While there isn't much rain, there are cold fronts that blow through, which makes swimming chilly (but still doable most of the time). Finally, this is when many rides go through refurbishment. Splash Mountain and Disney's Blizzard Beach have annual refurbishments around this time.
The very worst times to visit Disney World in 2015. They are ...
The very worst times to visit Disney World in 2016 are ...
With Easter falling earlier in spring for 2016, it means that the "spring break season" will be shorter and more intense. Heavier crowds will last through the week of Easter, which will be close to the peak crowds you see around Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Eve.
I want to take a moment to look at the holidays, because these are a popular time for families to make trips to Disney World. And rightly so. The Christmas holiday season especially, which runs from mid-November through the first of the new year at Disney World, is a wonderful time to visit because the parks are decorated and there are many fun special events. Many families love the atmosphere around the holidays, even with the extra crowds. The parks are most crowded around the following holidays:
If you're thinking of visiting during these times, be sure to check out our survival guides for Spring Break, Thanksgiving and Christmas. The other holidays also see an increase in crowds, although they are less pronounced than the ones above. The least busy holidays for 2015 and 2016 are:
Well, there you have it — the best times to visit Disney World in 2015 and 2016. Let us know your favorite time of year to visit Disney World in comments below! Curious how busy Disney World will be when you plan to visit? Check out our Crowd Calendar. You'll find more resources to help you plan your Disney World vacation inside our Orlando Planning Guide
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