Today we are starting a new feature called, Travel Agent Tip Tuesday! These are tips from the Disney experts at Dream Makers Travel Agency and will help you when planning your Disney World vacation.
Kicking off this new feature is Denise, who is the owner of Dream Makers Travel Agency. Denise and her family travel down to Disney World often, so her tips are very helpful! Her sons are big fans of the Citizens of Hollywood and the Citizens know her boys by name, which is pretty cool.
Without further ado, here is Denise’s tip for this week!
When To Visit WDW
The most common question I get as a travel agent is “when is the best time to visit Walt Disney World?” Guests are seeking the lowest crowds, best weather, lowest prices and best deals – which don’t always come at the same time! So decide what your most important focus will be, and follow along as I walk you through the year to tell you the pros and cons of each month!
The week of New Years is one of the most crowded weeks of the year, and the most expensive. It’s one of the rare times that Disney offers no discounts on packages or hotel rooms, so it will be very expensive.
The rest of the month finds historically low crowds and lower rates, combined with good discounts. January brings a marathon weekend, a long weekend with MLK weekend, and the Pro Bowl, yet crowds never get high enough to avoid any of the weeks. Prepare for cooler weather than you might expect for Florida, you may find you need warmer clothes than you would many other months of the year, and swimming may be difficult.
In addition, several rides may be closed for refurbishment during this slow time, including many of the water rides, and one of the two water parks will be closed. If you travel during the winter months, I highly suggest travel insurance, as flight delays can be costly.
The first week in February follows the same trend as January, with low crowds but slightly higher room rates. As the calendar moves closer to President’s Day weekend, the crowds will increase, with the week of Presidents Day being the highest crowds of the month. The weeks on either side of President’s Day will have decent size crowds, but not as high as the week that finds many schools on break. Much like January, there are usually good discounts through the month, and weather may be cooler than you would anticipate.
March begins the spring break season, starting with Mardi Gras early in the month in 2019, which brings higher resort rates and crowds. The entire month of March typically has high crowds, with many schools on break.
In 2019, Easter doesn’t fall in March which helps with crowds, but not much. Weather could start to warm up, or could still be cool, so it’s a tough call if you want warm weather! On the plus side, park hours are typically starting to extend and be open later at night, so you could have more hours in the park.
The discounts that we found in January and February don’t typically extend to March, so we usually see a room and package discount that isn’t quite as big an impact on the package price. Epcot’s Flower and Garden Festival starts at the end of February/beginning of March typically.
April is a tough month in 2019, with Easter falling late this year so many schools will overlap for school break. If you want to travel this month, the first week will have the lowest crowds, but expect higher resort rates. The very last week going into May will also have lower crowds, and prices will start to decrease at the resorts.
Plan on hotter weather, you should be able to swim and the water rides should be open again, along with both water parks. There is typically a room and package discount available, but don’t expect a huge savings – months with higher crowds tend to have less availability with the discounts.
Epcot’s Flower and Garden Festival continues in April. For those of you who enjoy dressing up, Dapper Day is usually in late April, and guests enjoy the chance to wear their finery to the parks.
May is a great time to visit for lower crowds if you enjoy warm weather! It starts to get hot, so having the parks open a little later this month means you can go for a swim and hit the parks again when the weather has cooled off. There is typically a rainstorm each day, as summer starts to set in, but not quite as stormy as months over the summer may find.
Hotel prices are mid-range, and there is typically a package and room discount available. Memorial Day is when crowds start to increase, as schools start to let out for the summer and families try to beat the summer rush. The Flower and Garden Festival typically ends on or around Memorial Day.
June is when the heat really starts to set in, and those afternoon storms become more frequent. The crowds also increase, starting the pattern of high crowds that continues through the summer. Interestingly enough, the hotel rates vary by hotel class, with the Value resorts pricing the highest of their price range, and the Deluxe resorts on the lower end. This could be attributed to school and tour groups blocking large amounts of rooms at the Value resorts, but regardless, it’s a great time to try a Deluxe Resort if this is the month you choose to visit! This pricing trend continues through the beginning of August, so always look at all resort options before making a decision. The package and room discounts are usually available all month.
It’s hot. Very, very hot. It will rain just about daily, but not enough to really impact your day. Crowds are very high, especially on the week of July 4th. Park hours are longer to accommodate the crowds, so plan to spend afternoons at the pool and hit the parks in the cooler evenings. Because it’s hot (did I mention that it’s hot?). Discounts may or may not be available for the week of July 4th, but the rest of the month you should be able to take advantage of a room or package discount. Again, check all the resort categories, as you might find a great price at a resort you aren’t expecting.
The first half of August is extremely crowded still, with the same trend for the resort pricing. The end of August, however, the crowds drop off as you approach Labor Day, and resort prices start decreasing as well. If you can visit the last week in August, you’ll find the lowest crowds of the month and the best prices. There are also typically good discounts for this time period, especially if you are a Disney Visa cardholder.
It is as hot as July, and the parks are open later to accommodate for the heat. For visitors from the Northern states where school starts after Labor Day, this is one of the lower priced options for visiting, as flights are lower than school vacation weeks – but be prepared for the heat.
In 2019, Gay Days will be moving to August, starting on the 13th. This can influence crowds in one park, but not the overall crowds, so plan accordingly and you can avoid the crowds (or join the fun). This is also the start of hurricane season, so buy travel insurance and pack your ponchos! Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party starts at the end of the month, so the Halloween and fall decorations will appear mid-month.
This is my personal favorite month to visit, with very low crowds, the Halloween Party in full swing, and great discounts. The heat remains, though, and the risk of hurricanes is high. The entire month falls in the peak of hurricane season, so it can be a risk to plan travel during this month. For families planning once in a lifetime visits, I worry about them choosing September over later in the fall due to the risk of trip cancellation or delay. If you don’t mind the risk, it’s a great time! The Food and Wine Festival is starting in Epcot, the Halloween party and decorations are up everywhere, and the parks are still open in the evenings when it’s a little cooler.
A fantastic month weather wise, it’s starting to cool off a little but still warm enough to swim. Halloween decorations are up everywhere, and the Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party is in full swing. There are activities that take place at the resorts on Halloween for guests not attending the party, where unique characters may appear or fun activities will be taking place.
Columbus Day weekend will find the highest crowds of the month, but the rest of the month finds mid-level crowds, nothing overwhelming. The risk of hurricanes is winding up as the month starts, so travel isn’t quite as threatened as September. And, as a bonus, if Disney does offer the free dining special they have historically, you can check in on the last day of September and have that discount for the duration of your stay! Great way to get a good discount and avoid the worst of the hurricane season! The Food and Wine Festival continues at Epcot, so park hoppers are a great addition to your tickets to use those snack credits at the Festival!
November is a mixed bag, with some very low crowds on a few weeks, and higher crowds on others. The first week of November is typically known as “Jersey Week”, since New Jersey schools have the week off and a large part of the state visits Walt Disney World. It raises the crowds slightly, and prices are a little higher than the following week.
The two weeks that follow Jersey Week, and the week that follows Thanksgiving, are lower crowds, lower resort prices, and better discounts. Thanksgiving week is crowded and has higher prices. If you have to visit over a holiday week, Thanksgiving is a better week to choose than Christmas and New Years, but it still is very crowded. Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party will start the first week of the month, but will not be held over Thanksgiving week.
The Christmas decorations will be going up at the parks and resorts, with the Christmas events at Epcot and Disney Springs starting mid-month. Santa Claus will start appearing at Hollywood Studios, Epcot and Disney Springs, and at Magic Kingdom during the Christmas Party. Weather is starting to cool off, but may still be warm enough to swim during the day.
Early December is a great time to visit, with low crowds, cooler weather, and good discounts the first two weeks of the month. As Christmas approaches and schools begin to let out for winter break, the crowds will increase to eventually be the highest of the year.
Discounts and room rates vary through the month, starting low rack rates and discounts, and ending the month with the highest rates and few to no discounts available. If you do want to have a discount and be in WDW for Christmas, plan to need to check in at least five days before Christmas – and that’s only applicable if Disney offers free dining, which extends through your whole stay. Room rates don’t extend through the stay, so won’t apply for dates that fall over the holiday. The Christmas Party will continue until the week before Christmas.
For 2019, please keep in mind that the opening of Star Wars Land will impact crowds at Hollywood Studios, and likely the other parks as well. Until we have set dates for the opening, it’s difficult to plan for or around – “Fall 2019” could mean late August or early December! Work with your travel agent, who can assist you with making the best decision for your trip!
Whenever you decide to visit, please keep in mind that you can utilize the free planning assistance of a travel agent from Dream Makers Travel Agency! Our services are 100% free to you, and we work hard to find the best possible price for you, find ways to save you money, search out discounts, and help you plan out your entire trip. Our advice and experience goes a long way to helping you get the most out of your money and your time in Disney, and we have lots of insider tips to share with our clients!
When is your favorite time to travel to Disney World?
Thanks for reading!