Why You Should Avoid Disney World on These 4 Weekends Every Year

Planning a Disney World vacation? Don’t overlook these sneaky dates that could complicate your time in the parks!

Spaceship Earth

One goal people often have when planning a trip to Disney World is to avoid excessive crowds, especially if they have some flexibility in their travel dates. In some cases, it can be relatively simple to anticipate busy days in the parks. For example, holidays, long weekends, and school breaks are pretty safe bets for major crowds. But even if you think you’ve done your best to plan a trip during a “slow” time of year, you may be overlooking these four important weekends!

What do four seemingly random weekends have in common that causes a huge spike in Disney World guests? Well fellow travelers, meet the runDisney events!

2021 runDisney Wine and Dine Start

Each year, runDisney hosts four race weekends in Disney World. There are multiple race distances available for both kids and adults, which can bring out tens of thousands of runners to participate in the weekend’s events. And that typically means tens of thousands more guests in the parks after the races conclude in the morning…so much for that “slow season” trip you thought you picked!

runDisney Banner

If you aren’t interested in participating in the runDisney events, you may want to avoid traveling on those weekends to avoid the influx of additional guests. And there is some good news on that front. The runDisney events are traditionally held around the same time each year — and the exact dates are announced months in advance — so you should have time to plan around them if you choose to steer clear!


When it comes to runDisney events, the crown jewel is the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend, which is held in early January. The dates for 2024 will be January 3-7.  If you’re trying to sneak in a trip between the crowds of New Year’s and Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend, beware that you may not have picked as slow of a time as you thought if your vacation overlaps with Marathon Weekend!

Marathon Weekend Runners

And that’s not the only winter runDisney event to keep an eye out for! The Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend also takes place during what might otherwise be a slow time for travel. It’s typically held in late February (the 2023 dates were February 23rd-26th).

© runDisney

Another runDisney staple is the Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend, which ties in with the EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival. This event is typically held in early November, with the 2023 dates being November 2nd-5th. This is another instance where you may think that you’re sneaking in between holidays, splitting Halloween and Thanksgiving. But don’t forget to check the runDisney schedule before you land on your dates if low crowds are your goal!

runDisney Start!

In the past, there has also been a springtime runDisney event which was themed after Star Wars. While this specific event has been discontinued, runDisney debuted a new event last year, the Springtime Surprise Weekend! The newest addition to the runDisney roster took place April 13-16, 2023.


If avoiding crowds is one of your main priorities in Disney World, the runDisney race weekends can throw an unexpected wrench into your time at the parks. Don’t forget to double-check the dates of the latest runDisney events before you book your next vacation and plan accordingly!

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3 Replies to “Why You Should Avoid Disney World on These 4 Weekends Every Year”

  1. I just found out about the springtime event and I have a trip booked that weekend. What if we push it a couple of days and go to the parks Sunday, April 3 through Tuesday, April 5? Will it still be crowded that Sunday? If so, what parks are leas crowded that day?

    1. Hi Jessica! It’s hard to say what the crowds are going to look like this year, unfortunately. We have seen a lot larger crowds than what we are used to with it being the 50th Anniversary coupled with travel restrictions being lifted.

  2. I had to rebook our sons 2020 Senior trip. We went January 4-8, 2022. NO WHERE on the Disney World website or app did I see ANYTHING about a marathon!! So unless your a runner how would you know there would be a marathon? I had planned this trip twice because of Covid 19 cancelling our original plans. So when I learned of the marathon (Thanks to AllEars👍🏻) we just worked around it. Was Crazy crowded even during a pandemic. So now I know, and tell everyone check the RunDisney website BEFORE you book your trip.