How to Choose Your Walt Disney World Vacation Dates

How to choose Walt Disney World vacation dates

Choosing what time of year to take a trip to Walt Disney World can involve many factors. From weather, crowds, personal and school calendars, and special activities, there is so much to consider. If your dates are flexible, take a look at other factors that might help with your decision. If your dates are not flexible, make sure you know what to expect, so you go into your trip prepared. Here are some helpful tips on how to choose your Walt Disney World vacation dates.

Crowd Levels  Holidays  Weather Factors  Annual Events

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How to Choose Walt Disney World Vacation Dates With Crowd Levels

Crowds by Attendance

  • Heaviest
    -Marathon weekend (usually in the first week or two of January)
    -Presidents’ week in February
    -Easter week (second busiest time of the year)
    -Mid-March through Mid-April (Spring Break)
    -June through Mid-August (School Summer Vacation)
    -Christmas through New Year’s Day (busiest time of the year)
  • Moderate
    -Memorial Day week
    -Thanksgiving week
    -Two Weeks before Christmas
  • Lightest
    -Mid-January through Early February
    -Late April through Mid-May
    -The week following Labor Day through the week before Thanksgiving
    -The week following Thanksgiving through the second week in December

Attendance Trends

Resort prices at Walt Disney World rise and drop with demand. The least crowded times of the year will offer the best resort prices, but also the shortest park hours. Also, the least number of operating park attractions-often with many favorites undergoing refurbishment. During the most crowded times of the year, resort prices will soar, and along with the heavy crowds will come packed parking lots, overcrowded resort transportation, longer park hours. On the plus side, you will see an increase in park entertainment offerings, more parades, more fireworks, and almost all park rides, attractions, and resort swimming pools will be open.  Advance Dining Reservations that are not booked far in advance may be difficult to get at many Walt Disney World Restaurants.

Lowest Resort Prices

The lowest resort prices can be found during Value Season. The Value Season dates are select dates in January and early February (all resorts), Mid July through September (Deluxe resorts) and August and early September (Value & Moderate resorts). For current resort pricing, click here.

Park Hours and Wait Times

Wait times average 90 minutes or more for popular rides during peak crowd times to 30 minutes or less during low crowd times. Additionally, during the busier times of the year, the parks will offer the longer hours guests to enjoy.

Peak Time for Ride & Attraction Refurbishment

Historically, January & February see the most rides affected, with many attractions down for refurbishment or closed seasonally. From late October through early March, Disney’s two water parks alternate closing for refurbishment, with only one open at a time during this period. For most resort swimming pools, Disney follows a January/February schedule for minor refurbishments, working through the various pools at one or two resorts at a time. September will also see the increased refurbishment of minor attractions and quick service restaurants, as Disney begins to gear up for the holiday crowds. For information on currently scheduled refurbishments and closures during your Walt Disney World vacation dates, visit our Rehab & Closures page. Disney tends to announce the majority of its refurbishments and closures only a month or two in advance.

Crowd Impact from Yearly Events

Yearly events at Walt Disney World can have a significant impact on crowd levels, park hours, and offerings such as special parties, live entertainment, fireworks, and parades. Some annual events, such as the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival, are so popular that many park guests plan their Walt Disney World vacation dates around them. Other events entirely outside of Disney’s control can also impact crowd levels, and thus your vacation experience. Events such as Jersey week in November, summer school recess, Gay Days in early June, and visiting South American tour groups (large groups of teenagers who enter attraction lines all at the same time) in June and July – all of which bring more visitors to the park. Likewise, park crowds can be impacted by events such as Super Bowl Sunday, which keeps many locals away from the parks and is usually a great time to visit. The chart below summarizes some of the special events you can expect during specific times of the year and the impact they may have on your vacation or particular areas of Walt Disney World Resort. While the scheduling of these events is somewhat predictable, the information below is offered as a guideline. Travelers should consult official Walt Disney World information or sponsor websites to confirm dates for any listed event.

Crowd Impact from Park-Specific Events

Other factors, or an isolated special event, such at the Christmas parade taping in the Magic Kingdom for a few days in mid-November/early December, can drastically change the “expected” crowd dynamics for a park for a single day, a week, or even longer depending on the event. While we can’t predict all of these events, a few that occur annually are listed below.

For park hours and parade and firework times up to six months out, visit Disney’s Official Park Hours.

Our Favorite Time to Go

Don’t underestimate the impact crowds and extremely hot temperatures can have on your vacation. Early December is probably our favorite time to visit Walt Disney World. Crowds are low to moderate, for the most part, resort prices are moderate, there is no chance of a hurricane disrupting your trip, temperatures are tolerable, and the parks are all decked out in their Christmas finery with special parties in the Magic Kingdom and holiday events in all parks and Disney Springs. Since Disney will be getting ready for the holidays, fewer attractions are likely to be down for refurbishment this time of year. The only two drawbacks to planning your Walt Disney World vacation dates at this time of year are that it may be too cold to swim, and children will have to be taken out of school.

How to choose Walt Disney World vacation dates – Holidays

US Holidays 2023 -Date 
New Year’s Day – January 01, 2023 (Sunday)
Martin Luther King Jr. Day – January 16, 2022 (Monday)
President’s Day – February 20, 2023 (Monday)
Easter – April 9, 2023 (Sunday)
Memorial Day – May 29, 2023 (Monday)
Independence Day – July 4, 2023 (Tuesday)
Labor Day – September 4, 2023 (Monday)
Veterans Day – November 11, 2023 (Saturday)
Thanksgiving Day – November 23, 2023 (Thursday)
Christmas Day – December 25, 2023 (Monday)

US Holidays 2024 -Date 
New Year’s Day – January 01, 2024 (Saturday)
Martin Luther King Jr. Day – January 15, 2024 (Monday)
President’s Day – February 19, 2024 (Monday)
Easter – March 31, 2024 (Sunday)
Memorial Day – May 27, 2024 (Monday)
Independence Day – July 4, 2024 (Monday)
Labor Day – September 2, 2024 (Monday)
Veterans Day – November 11, 2024 (Thursday)
Thanksgiving Day – November 28, 2024 (Thursday)
Christmas Day – December 25, 2024 (Sunday)

How to choose Walt Disney World vacation dates – Weather Factors

Hurricane Season

How to choose Walt Disney World vacation dates

The period from August to September is the height of the hurricane season in Florida, although hurricanes are possible roughly from June 1 through November 30. Keep that in mind when choosing your Walt Disney World vacation dates.

Walt Disney World is situated in the central part of Florida. Because of its inland location, the Walt Disney World theme parks have closed only a few times due to hurricane landfalls since the resort opened in 1971 – in 1999 for Hurricane Floyd, in 2004 for Hurricane Charley, in 2016 for Hurricane Matthew, in 2017 for Hurrican Irma, and in 2022 for Hurricane Ian. Most times, storm force winds are more an inconvenience to the resort guests, although lightning and tornadoes may also pose a threat. Hurricanes, however, can and do affect airline transportation in and out of Orlando yearly. If you’re planning a trip during this time of year, we suggest you purchase trip insurance that will reimburse you for any loss of time, delay, or trip cancellation due to weather. You can also consult Walt Disney World’s current hurricane policy on Disney’s web site.

Temperature Trends

For those looking to choose the right temperature during their Walt Disney World vacation dates, late November to mid-February becomes unpredictable at WDW. There is a 50% chance that temperatures will drop below the mid-seventies, and daytime high temperatures can dip well into the sixties and fifties during brief periods. During this period, be sure to consult the 10-day advance weather forecast for Orlando before packing and include at least a few items of clothing for both warm and chilly weather. January is the coldest month of the year, with average daytime high temperatures of about 71 degrees and average nighttime low temperatures of 47 degrees. Beginning in May and continuing through September, highs are almost always nineties and above with July being the hottest month at an average 92 degrees. Humidity levels of 95% can push the heat index even higher during this period. Although temperatures rarely reach 100 degrees, the extreme humidity hampers the body’s ability to cool off, and the Florida sun can be fierce during the summer months. Always protect your skin with sunblock and stay hydrated! March, April, and October are almost always in the mid-seventies to high eighties range. The lowest and highest recorded temperatures in Orlando both occurred in 2000 with a 17-degree low and a 102-degree high. For more information on how to choose Walt Disney World vacation dates with Orlando weather, visit our Weather page.

Rainy Season

When choosing your Walt Disney World vacation dates, the break of June through late September encompasses the rainy season in Orlando, with June typically being the wettest month. Late afternoon thunderstorms will be an almost daily occurrence in Orlando during this period. Typically, rain comes in quick late afternoon downpours (around 4 p.m.) that are heavy but last only about an hour or two. Afternoon storms can sometimes deliver several inches of rain within a single hour. Afterward, the sun comes out, and things dry up quickly. Unless a more severe storm front is hovering over Orlando, these afternoon rain bursts have little effect on your day in the park. Outdoor rides will close down, but Disney has an abundance of indoor rides that will continue to operate. Another bonus is that crowds thin down when it rains, and sticking it out at the park can often pay-off in shorter ride lines for the remainder of the day. If you’re planning on visiting during this period, be sure to pack a rain poncho. The ponchos that Disney sells are pricey, and Disney sells a ton of them! For ideas and tips on what to do at Walt Disney World during rainy days, read our tips. The dry (and cooler) season in Orlando is generally from October through May. Nothing is entirely predictable, however. For example, in 1998, the El Nino weather phenomenon brought an unusually wet January and February to Orlando, which led to summer drought.

Other Seasonal Concerns

The amount of daylight in Florida varies pretty substantially over the year. For more information, visit our guide. From December to May, Orlando is prone to wildfires – particularly March through May. Disney keeps its property well-watered, so the chance of a wildfire breaking out on Disney property is small. If, however, one suffers from a breathing condition such as asthma, be aware that smoke from nearby fires can sometimes be strong, even on Walt Disney World property.

Additionally, nearby brush fires can impact the flow of traffic on main highways and interstates. The Florida Forest Service updates current wildfire info on its web site. Lastly, there are several weeks in May and September when “love bugs” swarm in Central Florida. For some reason, these tiny fly-like insects seem to congregate along highways. While love bugs are harmless (they don’t bite or sting), it’s hard to avoid them when you are driving, and they can sometimes be so thick as to obstruct your view. Spattered love bugs exposed to sunlight will turn acidic within 24 hours. Failure to remove the dead insects from your car in a timely fashion could potentially cause damage to your car’s paint job. Lovebugs are most active in the mid-morning and just before nightfall.

How to choose Walt Disney World vacation dates – Annual Events


Event: Youth Group Competitions and Exhibitions
Time: January – March
Participation: Some public exhibitions may be scheduled (sports, dance, cheerleading, singing, bands)
Location: Worldwide
Impact: Heavy bookings at some resorts, especially All-Stars, by youth groups, where the noise levels may be significantly increased. Possible random closure of certain park attractions for use as event venues such as Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Event: Walt Disney World Marathon
Time: Second weekend in January
Participation: Registered Event
Location: Worldwide
Impact: Possible substantial resort bookings by marathon participants and early morning traffic impact on race day.

Event: Festival of the Arts
Time: Mid-January through Mid-February
Participation: Open to the public
Location: Epcot
Impact: Possible extra crowds at Epcot. Additional live entertainment at World Showcase


• Continuation of youth group competitions and exhibitions
• Continuation of Festival of the Arts

Event: Disney’s Princess Half Marathon Weekend
Time: Late February
Participation: Registered Event
Location: Worldwide
Impact: Possible heavy resort bookings by marathon participants and early morning traffic impact on race day.

Event: Presidents Day Weekend
Time: Third weekend in February
Participation: No related events scheduled
Location: Walt Disney World-wide
Impact: Traditional start of spring break season. Possible heavy booking at resorts. Extra crowds are possible in all parks. Longer park hours with more frequent scheduling of fireworks, parades, and some shows.

Event: Mardi Gras
Time: Mid or late February; early to mid-March.
Participation: Nothing specific at WDW since Pleasure Island Closure
Location: N/A
Impact: Possible extra crowds due to the closure of most Louisiana schools for the entire week.


• Continuation of youth group competitions and exhibitions
• Continuation of Mardi Gras

Event: Flower & Garden Festival
Time: Early March, through late May
Participation: Open to the public
Location: Epcot
Impact: Possible extra crowds at Epcot. Additional live entertainment at World Showcase


• Continuation of Flower & Garden Festival

Event: Easter
Time: Easter Sunday (March or April)
Participation: Open to the public
Location: Worldwide; some events at some resorts and Disney Springs
Impact: Likely extreme crowds in all parks, especially MK. Longer park hours with more frequent scheduling of fireworks, parades, and some shows.


• Continuation of Flower & Garden Festival


Event: Gay Days
Time: First week in June.
Participation: Unofficial public and private events at Disney & other Orlando locations.
Location: Worldwide
Impact: Possible extra crowds in specific parks, one each day. Possible early closings of some theme parks, water parks for private parties.
Additional Information: Scheduled events and times can be found at

Event: Summer School Recess
Time: Second week in June until Mid-August
Participation: Families with school-age children
Location: Worldwide
Possible Impact: Heavy bookings at resorts and longer lines in parks and restaurants.


• Continuation of Summer School Recess

Event: Independence Day Celebrations
Time: 4th of July
Participation: Open to the public
Location: Worldwide
Impact: Heavy crowds in all parks except Animal Kingdom. Longer park hours and special firework shows.


• Continuation of Summer School Recess

Event: Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party
Time: Select Dates, August – Early November.
Participation: Public & extended ticketed events
Location: Magic Kingdom, 7 p.m. – 12 a.m.; Worldwide Halloween
Impact: Early closings at MK for Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. Crowds in the Magic Kingdom may be lesser on party days due to the early closure of the park.


• Continuation of Free Dining
• Continuation of Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party

Event: Food & Wine Festival
Time: Mid- September – Early November
Participation: Open to the public; some ticketed events
Location: Epcot
Impact: Extra crowds at Epcot, especially the World Showcase, mostly on weekends. Some Epcot venues may be restricted for ticketed events. Possible late evening traffic impact near and around Epcot on the evening of Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon and increased bookings at resorts by marathon participants.


• Continuation of the Food & Wine Festival

• Continuation of Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party


• Continuation of Food & Wine Festival through the first week.

Event: Jersey Week
Time: First or Second Week in November
Participation: New Jersey Teachers Convention & Jersey Families
Location: Worldwide
Impact: Decreased availability at resorts. Possible extra crowds at all parks.

Event: Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party
Time: Select Dates in November and December.
Participation: Ticketed event
Location: Magic Kingdom
Impact: Early closings at MK for ticketed events. Possible heavier than usual dinner crowds at MK restaurants and resorts.

Event: Thanksgiving
Time: Fourth Thursday
Participation: No special events scheduled
Location: Worldwide
Impact: Likely extreme crowds on Thanksgiving weekend, especially at MK, heavy bookings at sit-down restaurants.


How to choose Walt Disney World vacation dates

• Continuation of Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party

Event: Christmas
Time: Christmas Week
Participation: Public
Location: Worldwide
Impact: Heavy booking at resorts for the end of December. Extreme crowds on Christmas week and between Christmas and New Year’s Day. Resort prices at their most expensive.

Event: New Year’s Eve
Time: December 31
Participation: Public & ticketed
Location: Worldwide
Impact: Heavy booking at resorts. Extreme crowds at all parks. Atlantic Dance Hall at Boardwalk restricted for a ticketed event. Extended Park hours and special fireworks.