Disneyland and Disney World are iconic theme parks that attract visitors from around the world. To make the most of your trip and minimize wait times, it's important to avoid peak crowd periods.
In this article:
Which Dates Are Most Crowded at Disney?
Both Disneyland and Walt Disney World experience high attendance during certain times of the year. In this article, we will explore dates to avoid at Disneyland and Disney World and tips to ensure a more relaxed and enjoyable visit. Avoiding these dates can allow you to experience shorter wait times, fewer crowds, and a more immersive and magical experience at both resorts!
Spring Break (March and April)
Spring break is another peak period at both Disneyland and Disney World. Schools across the country have breaks in March or April, resulting in increased attendance. Easter Sunday may also fall into spring break for some schools, which can contribute to even more crowds. If possible, schedule your trip outside of the spring break season to enjoy shorter lines and a more pleasant experience.
Saturdays and Sundays are naturally busier days at both Disneyland and Disney World, as local visitors and weekend travelers flock to the parks. With kids out of school and some adults out of work, the weekends allow guests to visit the parks without disrupting their schedules. If your schedule allows, opt for a weekday visit when the crowds tend to be smaller, especially earlier in the week like Monday or Tuesday.
Major Holidays & the Weeks Leading Up
Both Disneyland and Disney World are significantly crowded during major holidays, such as Christmas, New Year's Day, Easter, Thanksgiving, and Independence Day. These holidays coincide with school breaks and family vacations, leading to large crowds and long wait times. One fact that may surprise guests is that the weeks before and after these holidays are also extremely crowded. For some holidays, like Christmas or Thanksgiving, schools get multiple days off, which contributes to longer Disney Trips for guests. Be wary when planning a trip near any major holidays and make sure to pay attention to school calendars too!
June, July, and August are the peak months for summer vacations, and both parks are bustling with visitors during this time. Families take advantage of the school break to visit the park with their children, leading to higher attendance.
Not to mention, this is an extremely hot season in California and Florida, which may make your trip less enjoyable and make pools and water parks much more packed! If you do plan to visit during the summer, try going earlier, late May or early June, or later in the season like late August. Consider planning your trip for the shoulder seasons of spring or fall to avoid the summer rush.
Both Disneyland and Disney World host special events throughout the year, which can result in increased attendance. Examples include festivals, marathons, and themed celebrations. Race weekends at Disney World tend to make the parks extremely crowded and even shut down some roads. After Hour events may cut your park day shorter and cause a rush of guests mid-day.
Make sure to stay updated with the official park websites to learn about upcoming events during your trip and plan your visit accordingly. Try not to go to the parks on those big event days, and if your trip coincides with one of these, maybe take a pool or hotel day!
National Days Off
Certain national holidays, such as Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Presidents' Day, offer extended weekends. With the opportunity to extend their Disney trip without missing school or work, many families choose to go on these weekends and even on the holidays themselves. Like for other major holidays, try to plan your visit on a non-holiday weekend to avoid the surge in visitors, and if you are visiting internationally, make sure you are aware of national holidays which may impede your trip.
Disney Park Anniversary Dates
Anniversary celebrations for significant attractions or the park itself can attract additional crowds. In recent years, with Disney World's 50th Anniversary, EPCOT's 40th, and the company's 100th, we have seen the crowds on these popular days more than ever.
This is mostly to celebrate these events in the parks but also because of exclusive merch and other special offerings. Pay attention to the official park websites for any anniversary events or promotions that may lead to increased attendance. Keep in mind that both EPCOT and Magic Kingdom opened on October 1st, so that is always a very popular day to visit the parks.
If you want to experience the anniversary without the crowds, try visiting a couple days later. After EPCOT's 40th anniversary, much of the merchandise was still available afterwards without the wait to even enter the gift shop!
Another tip is to visit another park on these specific anniversary dates! For example, Animal Kingdom may not be as popular on EPCOT's 40th Anniversary, so it allows you to experience the park without all the crowds.
Much like anniversary dates, opening dates for new experiences at the parks can bring in a ton of crowds! For example, the opening for new attractions like TRON Lightcycle Run or new restaurants and experiences like firework shows may gather in a large crowd. Make sure to stay up to date with opening dates and try to avoid them unless you are actively trying to be present for the new experience for yourself!
School Breaks in Local Areas
Research the school breaks in the regions surrounding Disneyland and Disney World, as local school vacations can impact attendance levels. Many local guests may have annual passes and go to parks whenever they have days off. Avoiding these dates can help you navigate smaller crowds and shorter wait times!
This one is only applicable to Walt Disney World, but the Walt Disney World hurricane season from around April-October makes it very risky to visit the parks. In recent years, there have been several park closures due to incoming hurricanes. To avoid this hassle, make sure you are staying up-to-date regarding storms around your Disney trip. Some storms just bring horrible weather, while others are so strong they can cause a park closure. With those strong storms, Disney may allow guests to cancel or reschedule their trips, which may aid in your park planning. If you can avoid these months, I would recommend it. If not, make sure you are always watching storms heading towards Florida.
TIP: Off-Season Weeks
Identify the off-season weeks when attendance at the parks tends to be lower. These periods usually occur when schools are in session and families are less likely to plan vacations. Try going on a weekday in September or early February, when crowds may not be so heavy. By visiting during these off-peak times, you can enjoy a more relaxed and uncrowded experience. Be sure to check out our Disneyland crowd calendar and Disney World crowd calendar for more information!
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