Contemplating a visit to Walt Disney World during the holidays? We’re here to break down the best times to visit in terms of crowd size during the holiday season.
Once the clock strikes midnight on October 31st, the holiday season begins at Walt Disney World Resort. From Christmas trees appearing to garland and tinsel hanging overhead, it’s the most magical time of year. But with the amazing holiday decor, special seasonal offerings, and most wonderful time of the year comes one drawback: huge crowds!
That’s right, the holiday season may be one of the best seasons to visit, but it’s also one of the busiest of the entire year. If you want to find the perfect time to visit that avoids crowds and maximizes the fun, we’ve got the answer. Below, we’re breaking down the best, least crowded times to visit Disney World during the holiday season.
The Least Crowded Holiday Dates at Disney World
Most of November
If you don’t mind getting in the holiday spirit a little early, head to Disney World in November! Most of the month of November tends to be a low crowd period, compared to October and December, which tend to be more crowded. This means you’ll experience fewer crowds and have plenty of time to explore the seasonal decor and offerings around the parks.
Keep in mind, though, that most of the holiday decor and parties don’t officially begin until November 12th or so each year. That means if you’re visiting prior to that date, you may not get to experience the full holiday festivities at the park. However, with that said, you’re very likely to catch some details and decor already decking the halls across the parks and resort hotels!
Weekdays in December
While weekdays might also be crowded if you visit in December – the busiest month of the year! – odds are these days will most likely be more manageable. You’ll most likely face some lines and crowds, but you’ll still be able to experience all that Disney World has to offer during the holidays. Plus, compared to Saturdays and Sundays, you’ll have a bit more room to move about the parks (and slightly shorter wait times).
The First Week of December
If you need to pick a week to visit in December, the first week would be the winner. This is the week that’ll most likely have the lowest crowds of the entire month, but you won’t avoid crowds all together. This is the holiday season after all! Crowd levels increase the closer you get to the actual holidays themselves, so earlier is always better if you’re looking for Disney World’s least crowded dates.
The Most Crowded Holiday Dates at Disney World
November: Thanksgiving Week
As we mentioned, November is a great month to visit due to the lower crowd levels. But there’s one exception to that rule: the week of Thanksgiving. While not as crowded as Christmas week, there’s typically very heavy traffic during this time, and your experience will reflect this.
At most of the parks, the holidays are in full swing the day after Thanksgiving. In EPCOT, the Festival of the Holidays begins, so the increase of crowds will reflect that.
December: Saturdays, Sundays, and Mondays through December 22nd
As you can imagine, most weekends – and Mondays, surprisingly – during the month of December are quite crowded. This is because many Florida locals will use the weekends as a time to visit, take a long weekend, and enjoy the decorations and festivals.
December: December 23rd through December 31st
This time of the year includes Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Years Eve, which are some of the most crowded days of the year at the parks. This is your peak holiday crowd time.
With that said, you might find parks maxed out in terms of crowds and you’ll want to visit early so that you can enter the park. Extras like Genie+ will be at its highest price during this time as well. However, given the crowds, paying to skip the line might be worth it.
Tips for Visiting Disney World During the Holiday Season
Whether you’re headed to Disney World during one of the busiest times of the holiday season or are hoping to skip the crowds by planning your trip on less-crowded dates, seeing everything that’s special about the holidays can be tricky! Below, we’re sharing our top tips for anyone who’s planning a visit during the final months of the year.
Book Parties During the Week
If you’re considering attending Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, Disney’s Jollywood Nights or the Candlelight Processional at EPCOT, consider picking a weeknight rather than a Friday or weekend date. Weekends are typically more crowded, since both out-of-town visitors and locals will pick these dates to visit.
Book Reservations Prior to Visiting
Since the holiday season at Disney World is the busiest time of year, you’ll want to be sure to make reservations prior to your visit. This includes booking your dining reservations as early as possible – 60 days out – and booking your party tickets in advance, since some dates do sell out early.
Dress in Layers (and for Every Type of Weather!)
November and December offer some refreshing weather in Central Florida. With that said, you never quite know what kind of weather you’ll get in a single day! During the day, it could be super warm; however, when the sun sets, the chill typically comes out. That’s why packing layers you can add or remove throughout the day is usually effective. This way, you can bundle up as much (or as little) as you want.
Want to know what to pack for a trip to WDW in December? Visit our guide to weather in December.
Visit all of the Parks
If you usually don’t, the holiday season is the time to visit all four of Disney World’s theme parks. Since all are decorated for the holiday season, you’ll be in awe of the decorations you can find. Our favorites include EPCOT and Magic Kingdom for their classic trees and designs. Of course, if you’re looking for more unique holiday decorations, Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios offer some amazing touches you really can’t find anywhere else!
Learn more about visiting Walt Disney World during the holidays (and what you can expect!):