Historic Walt Disney World Attendance Levels
In the early 1990s you might have been able to walk into Walt Disney World’s Frontierland at the Magic Kingdom first thing in the morning in late-January and not see another guest. Those days are long gone, and depending how you look at it, this could be part of the fun or a major annoyance.
But even though times have changed and it seems crowds do nothing but grow, there do remain some generally better times to go to Walt Disney World and some times to avoid when it comes to crowds.
You want crowds? Go to Walt Disney World:
- During Spring Break and other school vacations. Your kid is on break? Or you’re a teacher looking to get away? Guess who else is calling Florida home for a week: everyone else’s kids and teachers, too!
- During special events and promotions. Holiday celebrations are perhaps the biggest draw of the year. If you’ve been in the World for the winter holidays, New Year’s Eve, or Thanksgiving week, you know it can be overwhelmingly busy, with crowds resulting in phased closures to maintain safety.
Walt Disney World Seasons
Note that while Disney World seems to be busier than ever, Disney does still delineate low-, moderate-, and high-crowd seasons. Here’s what Disney says about its crowd seasons.
- January (except New Year’s Day) until just prior to Presidents’ Week in February
- The week following Labor Day until the week prior to Thanksgiving
- The week following Thanksgiving until mid-December
- After Presidents’ week in February through early March
- Late April through early June (except around Easter and Memorial Day weekend)
- Columbus Day Weekend (October)
- The first part of Thanksgiving week
- Presidents’ week in February
- Mid March through Late April (Easter and “Spring Break”)
- Memorial Day weekend
- Mid-June through Labor Day
- Thanksgiving Day and weekend
- Christmas week through New Year’s Day
Date-Based Pricing and Promotions
If you’re trying to get a better picture of what Disney expects for crowds on specific dates, you can consider the costs associated with date-based pricing.
Date-based pricing essentially results in lower per-day ticket prices on days when Disney anticipates lower crowds (and likewise higher prices when they anticipate higher crowds). Whether this is a deterrent to keep the crowds at bay during busy times or an appeal to get guests to come when crowds are lighter, it can be a useful tool if your plans are flexible.
You can also gauge anticipated crowds in a more general way based on the dates assigned to certain promotions or discounts. Often Disney will release special promotions for periods when they might otherwise see thinner crowds. You can browse all of Disney’s discounts here to see what dates are included in particular promotions.
Park Closures in 2020
Of course, with the unprecedented park closures of 2020, guests may very well experience very different crowd levels than have been historically encountered. As of this update, Disney has not officially announced how its domestic Parks will manage crowds, whether Parks will require social distancing, or how technologies might impact queues.
While nothing has officially been announced, changes are expected, and we’ll update you every step of the way.