How to Deal with Walt Disney World Crowds

THESE are the heavy crowd levels you’d like to avoid, right? We agree that there’s nothing like walking right on a popular attraction with no wait or wandering around a rather empty area of a park… That’s why we created our new and improved WDW Crowd Calendars—and why we compiled fresh tips of ours—so you can have the most enjoyable, crowd-free experiences possible at WDW.

Crowds in Toy Story Land
Photo by Marisa Alvarado | Instagram: @behindtheearswdw

WDW Crowd Calendars

Our path to discovering how to best deal with Walt Disney World crowds starts with our most informative crowd-related planning tool: our WDW Crowd Calendars. You can see all of our crowd calendars in greater detail here, or click on the name of each month below to visit the corresponding page for that month.

2021 Disney World Crowd Calendars
Photos by Marisa Alvarado | Instagram: @behindtheearswdw

Dad’s Guide to WDW Crowd Calendar Disclaimer

This calendar is based on historical facts as we know them today, and personal experiences. Walt Disney World is an ever-changing destination and you might find the crowds, weather, or seasonal experiences to be different from what we’ve predicted.

The Best Time to Visit Walt Disney World

One of the most common questions we receive is “when’s the best time to visit Walt Disney World?” While we each have our list of reasons why we believe a certain time of year might be best from past experience, we’re here to help you find out when is the best time for you to visit Walt Disney World.

This can depend on a number of factors—how important it is for you to avoid crowds, what holiday is your favorite, when you’re able to go (when you’re able to take off of work and when your little ones are off from school), your tolerance of hot weather, etc.

In no particular order, here are my top 5 times of the year to visit WDW:

  • Mid-late January
  • Early March
  • Mid-late October
  • Mid November
  • Early-mid December
Germany Pavilion at EPCOT
Photo by Marisa Alvarado | Instagram: @behindtheearswdw

The Worst Time to Visit Walt Disney World

Just as we shared some suggestions for when you should go to Walt Disney World, we’d now like to some suggestions on when you should not go to Walt Disney World.

Taking the 3 key elements of our WDW Crowd Calendars into account, in no particular order, here are my top 5 worst times of the year to visit Walt Disney World:

  • Early January (New Year’s Eve)
  • Late March (Spring Break)
  • Early April (Spring Break)
  • Early September (Labor Day Weekend)
  • Late December (Christmas)
Jingle Bell, Jingle Bam!
Photo by Marisa Alvarado | Instagram: @behindtheearswdw

Planning Tools and Strategies

There are 2 extremely helpful planning tools that can help you craft a seamless crowd-avoiding strategy for your WDW vacations: FastPass+ and Extra Magic Hours. But unfortunately, as WDW continues to move towards fully reopening after the COVID-related closures, neither of which is offered at this time.

In 2013, the FastPass system went digital and became FastPass+. Now, you make and manage your FastPass+ reservations in advance through MyDisneyExperience (accessible as a mobile app and through Walt Disney World’s official website). When you’re at WDW, you use your MagicBand to scan at the FastPass+ checkpoints, which checks to make sure you have a valid FastPass+ reservation, and then grants you entry into the queue.

Utilizing FastPass+ is an absolute must in order to avoid waiting very long in the standby queue for some of the most popular attractions.

See more about FastPass+ here.

Extra Magic Hours is a program that allows guests staying at a WDW resort hotel to experience the parks for an additional hour (or 2), before or after normal operating hours.

For example, the Magic Kingdom is scheduled to open at 9:00am, and there are morning Extra Magic Hours at 8:00am. Disney resort guests can enter the park at 8:00am and get an hour head start!

The crowds during Extra Magic Hours are usually really light (by far the lightest you’ll find at any point in the day).

See more about Extra Magic Hours here.

Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway FastPass+
Photo by Tatjana Lazar | Instagram: @tatjana.land

You Ain't Never Had a Friend Like These!

Even the most seasoned WDW-traveling veterans need help planning their visits from time to time.

Luckily, several years ago, I sought assistance from an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner, Earmarked Agency, Destinations to Travel. A full-service travel agency specializing in Disney destinations, I was (and continue to be) blown away by how knowledgeable and dedicated their team of agents are.

Once I asked them to plan one trip for me, I was instantly hooked, and have yet to plan a trip without their help since then.

They’d be happy to help you decide when the best time for you to visit WDW really is, and create the most perfect plan for your trip (beautifully organized, with enough room to be spontaneous). Reach out to Destinations to Travel here—and let them know Danny sent you!

Danny McBride, Chief Magic Officer at Dad's Guide to WDW, and Shannon Bonadurer, Owner at Destinations to Travel
Danny McBride, Chief Magic Officer at Dad's Guide to WDW, and Shannon Bonadurer, Owner at Destinations to Travel
Debating Disney Tonight