Vacation Kingdom Know How: WDW Planning- When

Photo by Disney

2018 dates are about to open up for Walt Disney World vacation bookings, so it’s time to get planning! We’re going to be running down each step in the planning process over the next month or so, so let’s get started!

Photo by Disney

The first thing to consider when you will be visiting. Sometimes this depends on if you have school age kids, sometimes it’s if when you can get off work for vacation, sometimes it’s simply if you have a holiday or event you’d like to enjoy.

Due to these factors, summertime, spring break and Christmas break tend to be heavy on the crowds (the worst being Christmas week and New Year’s Eve).  As you can imagine, prices go up with on property rooms and park tickets are higher on the tiered system.

Photo by Disney

With the holidays brings seasonal parties and crowds as well. Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party now starts at the end of September and runs to the first week of November.  This extra ticketed event includes a fun parade, show and trick or treating around the Magic Kingdom plus some of the attractions are open.  The Very Merry Christmas Parade is a similar event with a parade, show and cookies, hot chocolate, cider and even more  yummy treats.  The Christmas party starts as soon as the Halloween party ends in November to the end of December. If you’re wanting to be in the parks for either of these holidays, check the party dates on Disney’s site (as of today, the Halloween dates have been posted).

Flower and Garden Festival (Photo by Disney)

There are also festivals that take place throughout the year that bring in crowds, especially on weekends. The Flower and Garden Festival runs from the Spring Break time frame at Epcot to (almost) the beginning of summer.  In fall, the Food and Wine Festival takes over Epcot with a larger focus on the food. This past year, the park added the Festival of the Arts on weekends at the beginning of the year and I have a feeling it will expand to during weekdays due to the popularity.


Alongside the festivals and holiday events, RunDisney hosts a handful of races throughout the year that also pack in the crowds. If you have flexible calendar and are looking for low crowds, I suggest skipping these weekends.  However, if you are interested in walking and running, the RunDisney races are known as super fun and rewarding races to take part in.

Photo by @TheFloridaFoxy

Besides crowds and events, weather can be a factor in picking dates for a Disney World vacation.  Simply put, Florida in the summer gets hot and humid and rainy.  It’s by no means undoable (summer is the busiest season), but know going into a June/July/August visit, the weather can be rough.  If you decide to go with a summer trek to the World, make sure to check out our lists of items for dealing with the heat and tips for rainy days at WDW.

The hubs and I in Florida “winter gear”- aka jeans and a hoodie- the first week of January

The temps start being more comfortable in October through April (in this writer’s opinion).  Personally, the first week of the year is perfection.  It was much warmer than in my native Tennessee and at night, a hoodie did the trick for a comfy stroll around Disney Springs. The temperature can take a dive down this time, but by keeping an eye on the Orlando weather a week or two before you head out you can pretty accurately plan what you will need to take.

And let me say one thing about discounts: Disney does put out discounts on packages sometimes, sometimes they put out room only discounts. There is also the fabled Free Dining promotion that generally pops up for fall visitors. Generally speaking, if you are looking for a discount, they will be offered when the rooms aren’t full.  More than likely you will not run into a good deal until you hit when kids have started back to school or the beginning part of the year (except for RunDisney weekends). It’s all in how many people are booked vs. how much is left to sell.

So now that you’ve decided when you would like to visit Walt Disney World, your next step is deciding Where to stay…stay tuned for that post soon.  Until then, do you have any other factors that you consider when picking your dates to go on a WDW vacation?

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Jenny Buchanan is JLB Nerdy. She writes on her blog,, is a member of the cast on Tom Morrow’s Mouse, a Disney podcast and loves cats but refuses to own one personally. She currently lives in Tennessee but a large portion of her heart is in Orlando, where she and her husband are moving in 2018. Besides Disney, she enjoys coffee, writing, being silly with her husband, Losson, and nerding out over random things.

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