The Jones Family Guide to Planning Your Walt Disney World Holiday (When To Go)

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This week we’re looking at the “when” part of planning your holiday at the House of Mouse. To read week one, click here!

Most of us have restrictions of some kind which bear heavily upon the decision making process when figuring out when to travel; children in school and work being at the top of the list. Not many of us have complete freedom to pick when to visit.

Our wedding for instance needed to take place in the Summer holidays as I was teaching full time.  Naturally the Summer holidays are a very busy time when most of us British folks head out to Walt Disney World.  It’s the only time in the year that we can spend more than ten days comfortably abroad without worrying about getting back, getting through the jet lag and unpacking in time for school starting.

The Americans head to WDW at slightly different times for the same reasons.  American schools have their Summer vacation mid June to mid August (meaning that the end of August has quite low crowds as we discovered),  and Spring break which is mid March to mid April. Other busy periods include (but are not limited to) Presidents Day in February, Thanksgiving in November and of course Christmas and New Year.

Disneyland Paris at Christmas, 2008

These are all busy times in Walt Disney World. Busy means bigger queues.  Bigger queues mean more waiting and less doing, therefore if you can avoid the crowds then it’s best to do so of course.


When we visited for our Disney Fairytale Wedding planning session in February 2008, the crowds were so light that we queued for less than five minutes at any of the rides.  In early August that same year it was a different story altogether.  This time we’re going in late October through to November (as I have some days in lieu and neither of the boys are in school yet) and the crowds should be pretty light at that time of year.


The crowds aren’t the only factor to consider though ~ think about the weather in Florida at the time of year you’re hoping to visit.  Will it be too hot for members of your party?  Are you hoping to experience Florida sunshine at its most sweltering?  I’ve created a rough guide to the temperatures (in degrees fahrenheit) that you can expect to encounter below. I’m no meteorologist though, these aren’t set in weather-forecasting stone.



Cost will also undoubtedly be a factor in your decision making, with the price of flights and hotel stays fluctuating throughout the course of the year.  Our direct flights in February of 2008 with Virgin Atlantic were just under £300 each.  In August our indirect flights via Washington Dulles with United Airlines were up to £800 for the same trip.  This October’s flights with Virgin cost us £1,500 for three seats (two adults, one child…Baby Dragon is sitting on our lap) flying direct to Orlando International Airport (MCO).  Again, over the Summer period, flight prices are higher.


If you decide to stay onsite at a Walt Disney World Resort, the Disney year is split into seasons, and priced accordingly:

Value Season (least expensive, least busy)
Regular Season
Summer Season
Fall Season
Peak Season 
Holiday Season

Note that there are also higher prices for Friday and Saturday night stays and each night of your stay is priced differently according to the day of the week and the season it falls under. Below are the seasons for 2013.

So are you doomed if you travel in the popular holiday timeslots?

Not at all!  For those of you who are forced into the Summer holiday category, there are steps that you can take to maximise your enjoyment (but that’s another post).  We had an amazing time and barely noticed the crowds throughout August, and the weather was exactly as we hoped for a Summer break.  Ultimately, given the choice we’d rather be in Disney during the busiest time of the year than not be at Disney at all, no doubt about it!

Coming up next week…. Staying Onsite!

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One Comment

  1. We went to WDW in August, so the weather was quite warm. We went to the parks first thing in the morning, came back to our lodging for lunch (much cheaper), then went for a swim in the pool after lunch and lazed around the pool, and little ones had a nap. We then went back into the parks around 4pm. This worked best for us as we got to spend plenty of time in the parks without getting too frazzled.

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