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Avoiding the Crowds

magic kingdom crowdmagic kingdom crowdOne of the biggest questions I get asked very often is when is the best time to go to Disney and avoid the crowds.  Trust me I completely understand why people want to avoid 90 minute lines and crowds at every corner and this is the main reason why we choose to travel to Disney during off-peak times of the year.  Here’s a break down of the Disney crowd ‘seasons’.

Peak Season – This is when you will encounter the largest crowds (and highest room rates).  We have traveled to Disney during this season and it can be difficult at times to get around and see all the attractions.  If you are not a ‘crowd’ person then I suggest you stay away from this time period.  Also, if you are planning your first trip or traveling with young kids you may want to avoid this time period as well. 

            Time periods included:

                             –          Weeks leading up to a major holiday (Christmas, Thanksgiving, New Years Eve)

                             –          March (Spring Break)

                             –          Early April (School Vacations)

                             –          June, July, August (Summer Vacation Months)

Unfortunately many people are forced to travel during the ‘peak’ season as it corresponds with school vacations.  Just know that there may be other options out there that may allow for a better (and cheaper) experience.   

Moderate Season  – This is when you will encounter moderate crowds and room rates at Disney.  This is the shortest ‘season’ and generally weather is not a major factor during this time period (too cold vs. too hot).

            Time periods included:                                

                               –          January

                               –          Early-mid May

                               –          Late August

                               –          Late October (Halloween)

Low Season – This is when you will likely encounter the smallest crowds and room rates at Disney.  This is also when weather can become a major factor as it includes Florida’s hurricane season (September).  We generally always travel during this time period as the weather is cooler (we are from the New England so running around in 90+ temperatures is not our idea of fun), crowds are tolerable and the rates are at their lowest.  It does, however, mean that we have to take our kids out of school for a few days in order to make it work.  

            Time periods included:

                               –          September (Hurricane season)

                               –          October

                               –          Early November

                               –          Early December

                               –          Early May

Aside from the crowd ‘seasons’ there are a few other variables to consider when planning a Disney vacation.  This includes special events, park size, weekend vs. weekday visits and FastPass usage.

starwars weekendDisney World is host to numerous special events throughout the year and this will cause a major spike in the number of guests funneling in and out of the parks/resorts.  If you are looking to avoid the crowds then you will want to stay far away from these.  My wife and I once made the mistake of going to Hollywood Studios during Soap Opera Weekend and it was crazy busy – we won’t make that mistake again.  Always look to see what’s going on before planning your itinerary.

The day of the week can also make a big difference when is comes to crowds at Disney.  Weekends are much more busy than week-days.  Given this we always go to the smaller parks (such as Magic Kingdom which is only 107 acres in size) during the week-days and reserve the larger parks (such as Animal Kingdom which is 500 acres in size) for the weekends.  That way it never feels ‘too’ crowded as there is ample space to disperse throughout the park. 

Lastly, if you are planning a Disney vacation, especially if you are going during a peak season, you must utilize the newly revamped Disney’s FastPass+ System.  This will save you lots of time and aggravation as you attempt to see as many attractions as you can during your stay.


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