As part of a survey to guest visiting the Walt Disney World Resort, Disney displayed a calendar to get feedback on how the survey participants would feel about a tiered ticketing system that displayed a Gold, Silver, and Bronze level of ticket pricing based on crowds at the theme parks. This is as close to there being an official crowd calendar being released from Disney World as we are going to get. Below is the calendar provided by Disney that we retrieved from WDWMagic from a forum post that we will highlight with our own observations below to help you with planning your trip to Disney World and Orlando’s other theme parks based on the crowd levels:
Orlando Local Guide Observations
Late August, September, and February are slow months
The best times to visit Walt Disney World from a crowd perspective is during the end of August when school is back in session and through the month of September where even the first two weekends are at a bronze level. February is a slower month as well.
January Crowds at Walt Disney World
During the month of January, we can see that the holiday traffic is still strong through that first weekend and then stays somewhat strong at a silver level due to the Disney Marathon activities taking place during that week.
Spring Break and Easter
The time around Spring Break and Easter have some of the busier times and can be trickier to plan for because Easter Sunday is during a different part of the month each year. It is best to look at the current seasonal pass blackout dates each year during this time to find out when the parks will be at their gold-level busiest that you can find in the “Import Information” section at the bottom of the page at the link above.
Christmas and Summer Crowds at Walt Disney World
If we were looking at a weather radar map of crowds at Walt Disney World, the summer period would be above the other gold-level periods at Orange on Walt Disney World’s map and during the week around Christmas and New Years Eve are when the crowds are at their peak in the red-level.
Universal Studios and SeaWorld Orlando Crowd Calendar Advice
The chart above applies to the Universal Studios and SeaWorld parks as well with the exception of that second week of January where these parks are not as impacted by the Disney Marathon and will be at a bronze level. Both Universal Studios and SeaWorld do not see the crowds like the Magic Kingdom Park but the Universal Studios Parks now get crowds equivalent to the other three Disney Parks with their Harry Potter attractions now open. SeaWorld Orlando gets the less amount of crowds of all of the parks. Click here to see the attendance figures of all of the Orlando theme parks in detail.
Final Word on Theme Park Crowds
When considering the best time to visit the theme parks in Orlando, the crowd level is only one item to take into consideration. With the larger crowds, Disney World and the other theme parks offer additional and seasonal entertainment options to keep guest happy that are not offered during the slower visits including the amount of characters available to meet and see. If your goal is to spend a lot of time riding the rides at the parks, then going when it is less crowded is your better option. If you want to see the bigger fireworks shows and special entertainment while getting a few rides in with your reserved fast pass, going when it is crowded has it’s benefits.
If you do decide to go to a Disney theme park during the times it is crowded, it is best to plan ahead and make dining reservations along with reserving your allotment of fast passes to get on the best rides with no waits. Currently you can get three fast passes for the best rides prior to your visit to the Disney theme parks. If you make a character dining reservation along with another non-character dining reservation during a busy period, you have just reserved five things you will be able to do already throughout the day upon your visit with little to no waits. Then plan on filling up the other time going on some of the less popular attractions during the peak times during the day like Fantasmic at the Magic Kingdom and watching the different parades, shows, and fireworks at night. If you are an early bird, you should still be able to get on the roller coasters pretty quickly when the park first opens without a fast pass. If you are a night owl and the Magic Kingdom is open until 11 pm or later, the rides in Fantasy Land are a lot shorter with all of the kids back at their hotels fast asleep.
Magic Kingdom Crowds During Christmas Video
Walt Disney World Map