1. Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend
RunDisney events take place throughout the year, but the largest event in the series that brings in the most crowds comes just after the New Year on the first full weekend in January. As far as crowded weeks in the parks go, these crowds are fairly easy to navigate and predict where most of them will be as you can always view the schedule for the races. The bigger issue you may run into in terms of crowds during this week is actually with the resorts. Runners have incentives to book rooms at certain resorts for race-day transportation, so you may find that if you book last-minute your usual resort may be full.
2. February School Vacation Week
The actual week varies by location of the schools, so plan on two weeks in February being a busy time in the parks. As you would imagine, school vacation week is often the only time of year that families with school-aged children can take a vacation, so the parks are packed. On top of that February is a time of year when guests are arriving from northern states to get away from the cold temps for a week.
3. Spring Break
This week again varies by the college, but it usually runs from the last week of February through the second week of March. Disney is less of a spring break destination than other locales, so if you happen to be taking your vacation during this time you will experience some crowds but it will not be nearly as bad as school vacation week or other holidays.
4. April School Vacation Week
Another standard school vacation week comes in April, and while any school vacation week will always be crowded this one shifts a bit from year to year depending on when Easter falls. When Easter falls next to a school vacation week people are more likely to travel with the extra days off. If you have kids in school and are looking for a time to go, as early as possible in June or in August can be a good (albeit humid) alternative to avoid some crowds.
5. Memorial Day Weekend
Guests who work the standard Monday through Friday schedule often take advantages of days they already have off from work to use less vacation time and plan a trip. Memorial Day Weekend can be one of the busiest as the weather is beautiful, and while the parks are crowded it does not compare to school vacation week or the next week…
6. 4th of July Week
It goes without saying that 4th of July is one of the most popular weeks to take a vacation anywhere, nevermind to the Walt Disney World Resort. 4th of July Week is not always a constant flow of wall-to-wall people in the parks (like Christmas week can be) but you should bring your patience if you celebrate this holiday in the parks because you’re fighting heat and humidity along with the crowds.
7. Labor Day Weekend
Labor Day weekend (or the full week for those folks who plan vacations around holidays) is one of the “quietest” holiday weekends at the parks. Many families are too busy getting their kids back to school to take a vacation, and while it’s the most crowded part of September it can be a safe bet in terms of crowds if you want to work your vacation time around the holiday.
8. Thanksgiving Week
Thanksgiving week is one time of year that guests often severely underestimate the crowds. Think 4th of July Week but with slightly cooler and more comfortable weather. Many families have plenty of time off from school and work to make a trip this week fit everyone’s schedules, and unfortunately many of them come to the parks thinking they will be quiet and that everyone will be home with their families. If you come this week, be sure to reserve a spot for Thanksgiving dinner early, and plan to work meals around the lunch and dinner rushes.
9. Christmas Week
Christmas week is the busiest week of the year at Walt Disney World. The Magic Kingdom hits capacity at least once or twice during the week each year, and there are areas of the park that will look like a sea of people. If you are able to leave work or school, earlier in December offers the same festive atmosphere with only a fraction of the crowds. If not, you should still go Christmas week if you want to spend the holidays in the parks, just be prepared to change up your usual routine in the parks based on crowds and pack your patience for the longer than usual lines.
10. New Year’s Eve Week
Christmas week is the peak of crowds at Walt Disney World, and the amount of guests in the park stays steady through the New Year before dropping down by January 2nd or 3rd. Celebrating New Year’s Eve in the parks is another magical experience than can make for a memorable vacation despite the crowds, but like Christmas week you’ll just want to make sure you have your patience ready to go for longer than usual waits.