How To Decide When to Visit the Walt Disney World Resort
What is the best time of year to visit Walt Disney World?
Each season brings new and exciting adventures to the already Wonderful World of Walt Disney. Making a decision on when to visit is a personal choice, but there are many factors to consider before making vacation plans. The following will review considerations for each season of the year and what to expect when visiting the resort. Factors include crowds, weather, park hours, special events, promotions, ride closures, and of course, your personal schedule.
How to Avoid the Crowds
Crowds are a big question for anyone who has not visited Walt Disney World before. Horror stories about waiting in line for hours for a 2 minute ride, shoulder to shoulder at any parade, and the heat to add to the exhaustion are just a few complaints you may have heard. Just remember, people are always visiting the parks, so expect some minor wait times during slow periods of the year, and longer wait times during the peak seasons. If you are not inclined to visit when everyone else is, then making arrangements to visit the parks during slow periods will take extra planning. There are benefits and disadvantages to visiting during non-peak times.
How to Reduce Resort Cost
One advantage is the value pricing the resorts offer on accommodations. Walt Disney World has Value Season pricing for many weeks out of the year that are typically slow periods of time. These weeks occur in the first couple of weeks in January, around mid February, late August, late September, after Thanksgiving and the first week in December. The crowds are smaller and the accommodations have reduced pricing to entice consumers to visit the parks.
Other advantages include reduced wait times, but at Walt Disney World, many of the lines are part of the ride. The entrance through the Pirates of the Caribbean at Disney’s Magic Kingdom, the introduction to Dinosaur at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, or the interactive movie prior to the start of the Muppet Vision 3-D at Disney’s Hollywood Studios are all part of the experience. Taking the time to sit back and enjoy this part of the ride is really an experience you won’t want to miss. The reduced wait times will provide you with the freedom to watch or experience it once then next time you can zip right through the line to experience the actual ride again.
A major disadvantage while visiting during non-peak times will be the closure of specific rides for refurbishment, repair, or replacement. To keep the park looking fresh and beautiful, a cycle of closures happens throughout the year. Be sure to check with Disney about upcoming ride closures so you don’t miss your favorite or a must see on your list.
How to Know When To Go To Walt Disney World, Orlando
If you’re planning a trip for this year, consider all options: Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter.
The spring months (March through May, excluding Spring Break (mid March through mid April) will provide you with terrific weather, smaller crowds, and great promotions such as discounted room rates and gift card packages. Special events occur throughout the year at the parks and spring is no exception. The Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival is a wonderful event for the whole family. The gardens are filled with beautiful flowers and the Disney Character topiaries are an extraordinary sight to see. The special events include educational events (so you can feel less guilty of pulling the kids out of class for a few days), live music, and millions of blooming flowers.
The summer months (June through early September) will bring you heat and crowds, as well as, higher accommodation prices. If this is your only option, then take it–the trip is worth it. Try to plan for the first week in June or the first couple of weeks in September for slightly smaller crowds and slightly cooler temperatures. In any case, be prepared to beat the heat by going to a Blizzard Beach or riding Splash Mountain, Pirates of the Caribbean, and The Hunted Mansion at Magic Kingdom. These rides provide a cooling splash of water, or a nice escape from the heat while waiting in line for the ride. Try to avoid the Jungle Cruise and The Magic Carpets of Aladdin during the heat of the day. Both rides provide a sweltering line wait–The Magic Carpets is right out in the open without any shade from the sun, so your children will become cranky in a hurry (so will you!). Also, take advantage of your Extra Magic Hours and hit the tiny-tot rides first if you are traveling with small children. Catch the earliest bus from your resort during Extra Magic Hours and you might be able to get in The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Snow White’s Scary Adventures and Peter Pan’s Flight all before the park opens to the general public. Don’t forget to grab a Fast Pass if you plan on being in line more than 30 minutes!
The autumn time (mid September through November) makes a great time to escape from the stresses of everyday life. Most families have taken their vacations reducing the crowds, the temperatures are mild, and if there is a hurricane off the coast of Florida, everyone cancels their plans so the park is yours! Seriously, this is a great time of year to visit WDW. A really cool special event is the Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. This is a special Halloween-themed event held in October of each year. If that is not quite what you were looking for there is the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival providing a wine lover’s paradise and great international food tasting. The accommodation rates are also slightly lower during this time of year making it easier to spend more time at the parks.
The winter time (December through early March) is still a magical experience for the whole family. With reduced rates (excluding major holidays), exciting special events such as the Holidays Around the World–Candlelight Processional at Epcot and fabulous decorations at every turn, the experience is magnificent. Don’t forget to pack a light jacket or sweater for the cool evenings and late nights, even if you are from up north you will feel the chill in the air. This is a great time to walk the Downtown Disney trip or to take in one of the many live performances at the parks.
Live it Up
Whatever your decision may be, have a great vacation! Staying at a resort hotel and taking advantage of all Walt Disney has to offer is an unforgettable experience regardless of the time of year you go. Special events, fantastic food, enjoyable resort accommodations, and memories to last a lifetime are waiting for you!
What time of year is your favorite time to visit WDW? We would love to hear from you. Please feel free to comment with your experience at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.
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