The Seasons of Walt Disney World

by admin on May 4, 2016

 

“When is the best time to visit Walt Disney World?” This is the question I get most often when discussing vacation plans. Usually, the answer has to do with crowd levels and the weather. The way to beat the heat and the crowds is to visit in the cooler months when school is in session. However, that is not always possible and there is more to consider beyond the crowds and the heat (or lack thereof). Check out the seasonal events at Walt Disney World highlighted below and decide when you want to visit! Or, make it a goal to visit during a different season for each future trip.

SeasonsofWD

Summer

While most people who know anything about Disney will tell you not to go in the summer, it often cannot be avoided as children are out of school and most people have vacation time to use. So, if you visit in the summertime, look for these events in addition to the numerous year round offerings in the parks and Disney Springs. And, check out my tips for dealing with the summer heat at Disney.

  • June
    • Sounds Like Summer Concert Series at EPCOT: free with park admission.
    • 2016’s summer theme is Star Wars (Awaken Summer) so look for Star Wars themed entertainment and activities in place of the Frozen theme from last summer.
    • Gay Days (not a Disney sponsored event) usually occur the first week of June. You won’t see this on the Disney schedule since it’s a private organization that organizes the events but they do schedule specific events in specific parks each day for the attendees. Your travel agent can help you locate information to plan your park days around the crowds.
    • To accommodate greater crowds, look for later park hours and more parade and entertainment offerings on the schedule when you arrive.
  • July
    • Sounds Like Summer Concert Series at EPCOT-free with park admission.
    • 2016’s summer theme is Star Wars (Awaken Summer) so look for Star Wars themed entertainment and activities in place of the Frozen theme from last summer.
    • To accommodate greater crowds, look for later park hours and more parade and entertainment offerings on the schedule when you arrive.
    • 4th of July: Spectacular Fireworks shows at multiple theme parks. Magic Kingdom usually displays the special fireworks on July 3rd as well.
  • August
    • 2016’s summer theme is Star Wars (Awaken Summer) so look for Star Wars themed entertainment and activities in place of the Frozen theme from last summer.
    • To accommodate greater crowds, look for later park hours and more parade and entertainment offerings on the schedule when you arrive.

Fall

While Fall used to be one of the least crowded seasons, the secret seems to be out about the lower crowds and great deals on rooms and packages. September is still a month of lower crowd levels but October is getting more and more crowded each year. No matter which month you choose in the Fall season, you will enjoy a variety of seasonal events and of course the ever popular fall décor (Mickey pumpkins are my favorite!)

FallWD

  • September
    • Night of Joy: a multi-night event featuring top Christian artists in Concert. Special Ticket required for concert attendance. In the past, this event took place at the Magic Kingdom but has now been moved to ESPN Wide World of Sports to accommodate the growing crowds/interest.
    • Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party is a special ticketed event at Magic Kingdom on select nights. It’s a costume party with the whole Disney gang including trick or treating, villain meet and greets, and a special parade led by the headless horseman.
    • EPCOT International Food and Wine Festival (included in park admission): World Showcase features special food booths, demonstrations, and a special concert series during this tasty event.
  • October
    • Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party is a special ticketed event at Magic Kingdom on select nights. It’s a costume party with the whole Disney gang including trick or treating, villain meet n greets, and a special parade led by the headless horseman.
    • EPCOT International Food and Wine Festival (included in park admission). World Showcase features special food booths, demonstrations, and a special concert series during this tasty event.
  • November
    • EPCOT International Food and Wine Festival (included in park admission). World Showcase features special food booths, demonstrations, and a special concert series during this tasty event.
    • Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon: A Run Disney event that coincides with EPCOT’s food and wine festival. Note: It’s the only Run Disney nighttime race and could bring greater crowds especially to EPCOT during the race event.
    • College Basketball Tournament at ESPN Wide World of Sports during Thanksgiving Week.
    • Holiday happenings begin in late November (see Holiday events below)
    • ABC films the Christmas Day parade in November. Dates vary so check with your travel agent for specifics.

Holiday Time

Holiday Decorations- need I say more? This is, in my opinion, the most magical time at Walt Disney World with the convergence of Disney Magic and Christmas Magic. There is something very special about the Holiday Season at Disney! Avoid Thanksgiving Week and Christmas Week if you are avoiding crowds. Read my tips on conquering New Year’s Eve at Disney for a great way to ring in the New Year!

holidaytimeWD

  • Candlelight Processional at EPCOT (included in Park Admission): Hear choirs from all over the country perform Christmas hymns and watch a celebrity guest read the Christmas Story at the American Pavilion.
  • Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party: This is a special ticket event on select nights at the Magic Kingdom. Enjoy character meet and greets, hot cocoa and cookies, snow on main street, and holiday themed parades and fireworks.
  • Holidays around the World: Experience holiday entertainment and dining options in each of the World Showcase Pavilions.
  • Cinderella’s Castle decorated in Christmas lights: It’s breathtaking! A great spot for a family Christmas card picture.
  • Holiday Decorations at Resorts and Parks: A life-sized gingerbread house (with edible shingles for sale), Christmas trees taller than you’ve ever seen, and even visits from Santa. Wander to your hearts content – it’s a Christmas lover’s dream come true. Oh, and the best holiday music anywhere!
  • New Year’s Eve brings big celebrations in each park. Usually, the events are scheduled for December 30th and 31st, attend on the 30th for lower crowds. The fireworks at Magic Kingdom and EPCOT are not to be missed.

Winter

These months are much cooler (sometimes actually cold!) and offer some of the lowest crowds of the year.

  • January
    • The Holiday events stick around through the first week or so of the new year.
    • Walt Disney World Marathon is the biggest Run Disney Event of the year, expect larger crowds during this event.
  • February
    • Disney’s Princess Half Marathon Weekend is another Run Disney Event that will bring some higher than usual crowds for this time of year.
    • Black History Month is celebrated at the American Pavilion in EPCOT.

Spring

Spring Break season makes these months more crowded but still more pleasant weather and lower crowds than summertime – and a lot of fun events to check out.

SpringWD

  • March
    • Seasons of the Force at Hollywood Studios: Star Wars themed entertainment, characters, and more. Included with Park Admission.
    • Atlanta Braves Spring Training at ESPN Wide World of Sports.
    • EPCOT International Flower and Garden Festival (included with park admission): Meet and hear from HGTV personalities, learn more about gardening from the experts, take lots of photos of the amazing topiaries, and enjoy snacks from around the world in the outdoor kitchens.
    • Patrick’s Day Celebrations at Raglan Road in Disney Springs.
  • April
    • EPCOT International Flower and Garden Festival (included with park admission): Meet and hear from HGTV personalities, learn more about gardening from the experts, take lots of photos of the amazing topiaries, and enjoy snacks from around the world in the outdoor kitchens.
    • Seasons of the Force at Hollywood Studios: Star Wars themed entertainment, characters, and more. Included with Park Admission.
    • Star Wars – the Dark Side Half Marathon: A Run Disney Event. Expect higher crowds at the parks during the event.
    • Animal Kingdom celebrates Earth Day every year. Check the times guide in the park or on your My Disney Experience app for more details.
  • May
    • EPCOT International Flower and Garden Festival (included with park admission): Meet and hear from HGTV personalities, learn more about gardening from the experts, take lots of photos of the amazing topiaries, and enjoy snacks from around the world in the outdoor kitchens.
    • Seasons of the Force at Hollywood Studios: Star Wars themed entertainment, characters, and more. Included with Park Admission.

As you can see, any season is a good season at Disney! This guide was written in Spring 2016 and is likely to change as Disney updates calendars each year. Always check with your travel agent for the most updated event info and to help you plan the best time for your visit.

Aleshia Sokoloski, Travel Planner affiliated with Travel with the Magic

Specializing in Universal Resorts and Disney Vacations including Disneyland, Walt Disney World, Adventures by Disney, and Disney Cruise Line.

Email me, Call me at 1-800-670-4312 ext. 139 or
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