Timing your trip to Disney World can have a huge impact on the cost, crowds, weather and overall enjoyment of your trip. For this post I’m going to focus on the times of year that will keep costs the lowest with a secondary look at the crowd levels during those times. The highest variable costs for your Disney trip will be
the hotels and flights – costs of both fluctuate greatly during the year.
The second variable to finding the cheapest time to go are examining the crowd levels at the parks because everyone knows that time = money. Even though it is magical to be in Disney around Christmas, the magic quickly fades when you’re stuck in wall-to-wall crowds and you see your hotel bill for staying during the peak holiday period. I’d rather spend my time enjoying all of the attractions than waiting in all of the queues.
You’ll see that the cheapest times pretty much correspond to the off-season when most people are at work and kids are in school. This is simple supply & demand, when there is a higher demand for hotel rooms and flights the higher the cost will be for those items.
Because of the lower crowd levels during the off season Disney tends to run additional promotions during these slower times of year to encourage people to come visit. We have seen in the past free dining plan and higher discounted room offers during certain times of the off season.
Flights to leisure destinations like Orlando tend to decrease in price during the winter months due to the less demand for those flights. During the summer months flights to Orlando are much more expensive because they are in a higher demand from families traveling there for their vacations.
I’ve outlined 5 great times of year that you should be planning your trips for which will also be some of the cheapest times to go as well.
A general tip that I always mention especially when staying on Disney property is to always best to arrive on a Sunday, Monday or Tuesday. Disney always charges more for Friday and Saturday nights because they’re more popular nights at the resorts. By avoiding Friday and Saturday nights you’ll save yourself some money on hotel!
1. Early October
One of my favorite events takes place during this time of year – The Epcot International Food and Wine Festival. All of the countries around Epcot, including some additional ones setup special stands to sell food and drinks that you wouldn’t normally get. Food demonstrations, celebrity chefs and special cultural shows also take place during the festival making it a great time of year to visit.
Pair that great event with lower crowds, great weather and the fall rate season you have the setup for one of my favorite times of year to visit!
One weekend you do want to avoid though is the Columbus Day weekend when crowds increase slightly because of the holiday as well as room rates taking a jump for that one weekend. Outside of that you’re in Fall, less expensive resort season for the Disney hotels.
2. Late January/Early February
Late January and early February are also some of my favorite times to head down to Orlando. By this time the holiday crowds are long gone, the marathon weekend is over and kids are back in school – a perfect time to visit! Just be sure to keep your trip after the Martin Luther King Holiday to avoid the elevated crowds and prices.
While the rest of the country is frozen in the middle of the winter months, Orlando’s climate is a much warmer place to be but there could be a few cool days here and there. Late January into early February is value season at the value resorts which means cheap rates.
Crowds during this time of year are at some of the lowest levels of the entire year allowing you to hit all of the attractions with minimal wait times.
Because crowds are are the lowest levels during this time of year Disney schedules many attraction rehabs so a couple may be closed. Water parks may also close down on days where it is too cold to have an enjoyable day.
3. Early September
A surprisingly cheap time to head to WDW is early September after labor day weekend. By this time of year all of the kids head back to school leaving the crowd levels nice and light for touring. The weather during September begins to finally cool down but will still be on the warmer and slightly humid side.
Early September is value2 season at the value resorts with prices just slightly higher than value season but not by much.
The only potential issue to look out for during this time of year is hurricane season. Central Florida is for the most part protected from the worst of the storms but anything that comes through could lead to a few rainy days and flight delays.
4. Early December
Many people think that December is a crazy time to visit Disney World because of the holiday celebrations (which is true around Christmas). Just before the crazy rush of the holiday season at the parks, early December is great time to enjoy some cheaper rates, lower crowds and good weather.
An added perk of being at WDW during this time is that you’ll get the enjoy all of the amazing holiday decorations and festivities such as Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party for the early weekends depending on the schedule.
Keep an eye on dates that you’ll be booking – the season switches from Fall (cheap) to Holiday (very expensive) seasons on December 12th 2014. Around that time is also when crowds begin to pick up for the holiday season which means you’ll want to be out of there by December 11th for 2014.
5. Early November
Similar to Early October, early November is also a very good time of year to visit with the added perk of the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival which continues until November 10th this year. The fall value resort season continues until November 21st which keeps rooms cheap.
As you get towards the third week of November crowds begin to pick up in preparation for the Thanksgiving holiday so for this time of year I would stick to the first two weeks as a better time to go.
The off season times provide excellent value when planning your trip to Disney World. The combination of cooler weather, lighter crowds and cheaper prices make the five times of the year outlined above the best times to go hands down. I know many people are constrained by work and school scheduels which forces them to attend during the summer or holiday periods. I’ll be doing a follow up to take a look at minimizing the costs if you must go during a peak period.
With all of that said and done let’s face it – there is never a bad time to visit Disney World! What is your favorite time of year to go??