August 16, 2015

Choosing the Right Time For A Trip To Disney World

The time you choose to visit Disney World will in large part dictate your vacation.  We have been there in September, October, November, December and March.  There are things I love, and don't so much love, in each time frame.  I strongly urge you to give a lot of consideration to how you schedule your trip, taking into consideration your families needs, desires and vision for your vacation.  As a home school family and with Allen's slightly more flexible work schedule we can be more choosy as to when we travel but I will acknowledge not everyone has the same choices when scheduling time away.  If at all possible take your kids out of school and go during the slower times.  You will be so glad you did.

I am going to get it out of the way right up front.  I would NEVER visit Walt Disney World Between May and August.  Even in December Florida has days that make me feel as if I will melt.  I love those kind of days when I am poolside.  I hate them with a vengeance when we are in the middle of Disney with 53,000 other people.  Which leads me to the reason I would not visit Disney world in the Summer months.  There are so many people!  Most of our trips are in September, which has the lightest crowds of the entire year.  That is still a lot of people... a lot of waiting... a lot of no dinner reservations available... no more fast passes... I just can not imagine how ridiculous it is in summer months when the crowds are doubled.  

So with that out of the way, let's zero in on good times to visit.  

March... What I like about March is the weather.  It is like the perfect Maryland May weather every day.  At least every day that we were there for two weeks.  It rained only once.  Was just cool enough to throw a sweater on in the morning and after sunset but never cold or uncomfortable.  I hear January and February are nice, as well.  However, I've not been there during those months so I can only speak for March.  

What I don't like about March is the crowds.  There are a lot more people during Spring Break season than in September.  Allen and I went for two weeks sans kids and we weren't in a hurry to do anything and we had already been a number of times and done just about everything on previous visits so we were okay without doing this or doing that.  We enjoyed time spent waiting in lines sipping our iced coffees, chatting and just being friends.  So we were fine with the crowds and the waits.  However, if we had the family I think it would be very exhausting for little ones and awfully expensive for not being able to do as much as you can during the fall months.  Still, if it was just he and I, we would definitely do it again.  

September... crowd wise, is the very best time to visit Disney World.  The authors of The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World and moderators of rate the daily crowds on a scale of 1 to 10.  A July day at Magic Kingdom could be a 10 and in the same park the week following Labor Day it is a 1.  Why is it such a big deal?  Because seriously there are so many people!  There are impatient kids everywhere throwing fits and screaming and crying and begging for things while their exhausted parents are trying to placate them with whatever is on the nearest food cart.  The lines can be HOURS.  And that is just miserable.  Add in the Florida heat and the thousands of dollars you paid to simply stand in line for 2 hours to experience Peter Pan and that adds up to no fun.  In September we are able to do just about everything with little or no crowds.  We walk right into restaurants booked 6 months out for August and get a table with no waiting.       

And it's cheaper.  Disney offers amazing unadvertised deep discounts on rooms and dining and fantastic vacation packages in the fall months starting after Labor Day.  Unfortunately, these discounts only apply to those staying in a Disney resort, which we never do. But if you are an average size family you can really clean up.  This fall Disney is offering free dining plan to resort guests.  Free!  A family of 4 can easily spend $300 a day on meals.  Do the math.  There are also lots of perks for resort guests like extra magic hours and first dibs on fastpasses.  To find out about these special offers contact the Disney representatives and ask them what special deals are being offered.  Also, Disney adds a surcharge of up to 20% to restaurant prices during the busiest months so going during the slower times saves you even more.

One more bonus to visiting Disney World in the fall is the Food and Wine Festival in the World Showcase.  Because really what better way to tour EPCOT than eating your way around the world?  So much tasty fun! 
What I don't like about September?  While it is cooler, it is still oh, so very hot!  You will always feel as if you need a shower and your hair will always be frizzy.  It's just hot.  Hot enough that we have serious concerns about how Addison will manage during our upcoming trip this fall.  

October is busier than September and just as warm and some of the good deals are disappearing.   There are the Halloween decorations and their Halloween party if you are interested in those things.  Which we are not.  To my thinking there was no advantage to going in October versus September.  
November is a nice month to enjoy the Christmas decorations before the holiday crowds set in.  It is a little cooler but notably busier than September and October.  If you want to see both the Fall and Holiday decorations time your trip just right.  It is rather nifty the way you leave one day and Main Street is all about autumn and you come back the next morning to Christmas wreaths on every lamppost.  It's Disney Magic.  
December was a nice time to visit because it was cooler, although there were still some hot and humid days.  My kids loved that they could swim while listening to Christmas music.  This is a crowded time and there is a lot more waiting.  However, we very much enjoyed all the Christmas shows and seeing all the holiday decorations.  Especially, around the World Showcase.  I would go again in December.  The biggest draw back for our family was missing out on some of the holiday festivities back home.  We love tradition and we love what we love and we missed being away from home during the holiday season.  

Stop back next time to talk about how to find a vacation house for less... much less.


  1. We went in October of last year and were able to catch the food and wine festival at Epcot, which ended up being one of our favorite things! The food was SO good! While we weren't into all the Halloween stuff either, going around that time did allow us some flexibility with tickets. While most would probably want to spend more than just at day at Disney, we were able to do Mickey's Halloween party, which let us into the park from 4 pm to midnight. Because of the lower number of people we were able to do SO much during that time and the discounted ticket price was a great plus.

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