Every year, more people visit Walt Disney World than any other vacation resort in the world. The average number in attendance is somewhere around 58 million visitors annually, which is nearly 159,000 people per day. The parks don’t see the same number in attendance every single day, of course — the exact size of the crowd is going to vary day to day and season by season. There is so much to do at Disney World that most aspiring vacationers might have a long list of attractions to check off their bucket list. If that’s you, you might not want to be navigating your family or vacation group through enormous crowds on some of the busiest days of the year as you try to see and do everything you came to. Here are some days/seasons that are statistically busier than others.
Spring Break Season
Many educational institutions typically schedule some time off for spring break, which means there are a lot of students and faculty out of classes and looking for something to do during the span of mid-February through mid-April. What better way to let your kids burn off some stagnant energy built up after two-thirds of the school year than to book a trip to the most magical place on Earth? Indeed, spring break brings large crowds, making it one of the busiest times of year to visit Disney World.
School’s out for summer! Similar to the spring break season, June to August brings more open travel availability for students and teachers. During this season, you can expect parks to be crowded, and you'll also havev to deal with the high temperatures and humidity of summer in Florida. To avoid the peak crowds (and temperatures), try to plan your park time for first thing in the morning, late afternoon, and early evening, or outside the window of 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. You can take an afternoon break for lunch, a power nap, or even book tickets for a scheduled stage show attraction before heading back out to enjoy the thrill rides in the park. Many Disney theme parks also offer “After Hours” experiences where you can enjoy the same classic attractions in a different light while being in the park at a less-busy hour of the day.
Early December − Busier After Hours
Each year in December, Universal Orlando Resort Hotels host around 64 football teams competing in the Pop Warner Super Bowl and over 400 cheerleading squads for the National Cheer & Dance Championships. The athletes spend days competing and then go to Disney World “after hours” to unwind with some non-competitive, good old-fashioned fun. This doesn’t affect the crowd level too much during the day, but keep in mind it will be busier than usual if you had planned to see some after-dark attractions. The exact dates are different year to year, but if you’re planning a December visit, this might be an event to take note of.
It’s also worth mentioning here that there are a variety of other cheerleading and dance competitions hosted by Disney hotels in the first half of the year. These might not always contribute to crowd sizes in Disney World parks but may influence the noise level of your accommodations for your visit; they may be worth checking before booking your stay.
While Walt Disney World park passes make for the ultimate stocking stuffers for your loved ones, they also create one of Disney World’s busiest seasons from December 26th through the 31st. It’s priceless to see your kids light up upon learning you’re whisking them away for the adventure of their lives the day after Christmas to see all their favorite characters in larger-than-life forms while making lifelong memories. All that to say, if the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day is really the best time for your family to visit, go for it! Just be mentally prepared for long lines and big crowds – make all reservations (including food orders) well in advance to help your visit go as smoothly as possible.
Busiest Disney World Holidays
In addition to Christmas and New Year’s, other holidays such as Easter, the Fourth of July, and Thanksgiving are also extremely popular holidays that draw larger crowds, especially when there is a three-day weekend attached. Walt Disney World parks often have unique events in the spirit of each holiday, which can be fun to experience to change up your normal traditions. Again, just be mentally prepared to be part of a larger-than-usual crowd.
Are the Busy Seasons Right for You?
If you enjoy the hustle and bustle of a larger crowd, then you might enjoy being at Disney World during some of the more popular days of the year. Everyone is there with the same goal of having fun while enjoying a little extra magic, and the energy of that many people still creates a unique Disney experience in its own way. However, if you prefer to visit during a less busy park day, you have a general idea of what days or times of year to avoid. Before booking your trip, just do a bit of homework and find out if the park hotels are hosting any special groups or events during the time you’d like to visit so you can adjust your plans if necessary. Whichever crowd size you prefer, proper planning can ensure you have the best Walt Disney World Experience possible.
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