I hesitated to even construct this post as In reality, there is no bad time to visit WDW. The worst day at Disney still beats the best day of working, as they say. (ok I’m paraphrasing, but I don’t fish, so..) But I do want you to have every resource available for a stress-free (ish) Disney World vacation!
I would also like to point out that this information is based solely on personal experience and while that is quite substantial, can vary from person to person 😉
While you may or may not see a huge difference during peak times (summer, spring break, christmas/holiday) if you visit Disney World anytime during the remaining eight months of the year, the difference between a Monday and Tuesday is like the difference between Woody and Buzz. Think of Monday as an extension of Sunday, as that is exactly what it is regarding vacation time. Having been in the parks on weekends vs Mondays during the ‘off’ season, there is very little difference in wait times and the general unsavory ness of overheated, undernourished Disney-goers. And you can’t really blame them, large crowds cause most of us major unease! At the end of the day, I would still rather be at Disney World on a Monday than anywhere else. And if Monday is your only option for the parks, (especially Magic Kingdom as it tends to be the most crowded no matter what) drink your coffee, eat your wheaties and have a meeting place if you get seperated. I recommend under the walkway that dumps fantasy land into liberty square as it seems to be a little less congested. On a completely unrelated note, this spot happens to be right by The Haunted Mansion;)
Kickoff days/weeks of any party or event:
Parties at Disney are the best for SO many reasons! But, if it can be helped, try and wait until an event like Mickey’s not so scary Halloween party or The Very merry Christmas party have been in session for a few weeks. The aforementioned celebrations are ongoing for months (MNSSHP goes from August to November 1st, MVMCP is the beginning of November until New Years) so you need not worry about missing these events! Essentially, the beginning and tail end of any special ticketed event will be crazy town banana pants( and most likely sold out!), so aim for smack dab in the middle, if at all possible 😉
Unless you are a participant, the WDW Marathon
I have been to Disney World two days before Christmas and it wasn’t as congested as the time I accidently booked a vacation the weekend of run Disney. At this point, I consider myself a deft manipulator of Disney crowds. But even so, the cluster of aggressively fit, numbered shirts and wristbands proved too much for me to handle. A good option, and one I chose in this particular instance, was to take a break mid-day back at the resort. A dip in the pool with a freshly made beverage from the bar will transport you back to your ‘happy place’. And as always, Magic Kingdom will be the most crowded NO MATTER WHAT, so if you have no other choice than this particular weekend in February (it varies, check the Disney website for exact dates) try and work in the other three parks or resort days during Rundisney.
Any Holiday weekend, whatsoever.
I know this seems a little on the nose, but this is taking into account long weekends and bank holidays. MLK, Columbus, and Presidents day are WILD at WDW. Any weekend parents and kiddos will likely have off, expect to be rubbing shoulders with fellow Disney-goers. These long weekends are times when not only locals, but folks from all over the state and surrounding states take advantage of a ‘quick trip’ to Disney. Resorts tend to be booked up, and while it is rare, it is possible for parks to reach capacity. My advice? Pull the nuggets out of school for a day or two and take them on educational attractions like The Hall of Presidents or Carousel of Progress to erase any guilt:)
The opening of any new attraction
So many folks plan their vacation around excursion openings, so if you can, try not to be those people. I visited Pandora at Animal Kingdom shortly after its launch and witnessed a park-goer shove a wheelchair bound guest in an attempt to get in line for Flight of Passage. While travesties such as these can happen at any time, the need to be the ‘first’ to experience anything new gets the better of us sometimes. ‘Don’t you visit the parks every time something new comes out?’ You might ask? Yes, I do! Mostly, because I can’t help myself! But I go to Disney A LOT, and I know if you are reading this and you don’t live in the Orlando area, you might not visit WDW three to five times a year like I do. I choose to subject myself to the crowds and chaos of the more congested times because for me, it is worth it. I understand and appreciate it might not be for all of my readers.
You’ll notice in this post I did not mention avoiding the parks on the weekends in general. While I do suggest avoiding friday-sunday if at all manageable, I aim to be as informative and genuinely helpful as possible. most folks already assume a theme park, or almost anywhere for that matter is going to be crowded on the weekends. If you are at Disney World on a saturday, it is because you have no other choice.
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