This is the third in a series of posts about some of the big things I wish I knew before taking the first trip. If your planning your first trip, spend some of your research on these biggies.
When to Go – Avoiding the Crowds
We didn’t give a lot of thought to when we would go on our first trip. Well, there was some thought in that we had small kids that were in school and we didn’t want them to miss any school. When you have kids and you don’t want to pull them out of school, you are restricted on the dates you can make your trip. As a Disney Vacation Club member, there is a point chart that’s organized by dates. The most popular times
have the highest point value. You have to use more points during the busiest times at the resort. Picking a time of year when there are fewer people at the parks can be a good strategy so you can avoid the long ride lines. For instance, the full months of January and September are the least crowded and the first part of December. The last weeks of December and the April school vacation week are the most crowded. One caution is that even if January is one of the lower crowd times of the year, Disney World is always busy. It’s more of a level of busy. Christmas time is mega busy while January is mildly busy. Even in January, you’ll want to deploy crowd avoiding strategies. 🙂 If your booking for Christmas time, you’ll need to book way in advance for your resort and restaurants. Look ahead at least 6 months and possibly longer. With DVC, we can book 11 months out for Bay Lake Tower and it’s recommended for Christmas time.
Let’s just state the obvious. It’s HOT in Central Florida in the Summer. I mean if your a Northerner like me, the heat in Florida is tough. For our first DVC trip a couple years ago, we went in August. It was just the only time in our whole family’s schedule that we could go. I remember the first walk through Adventure Land in Magic Kingdom and we looked at each other at the same time and said, “Holy Cow! It’s HOT!” You just can’t go at the full Commando pace when it’s that hot. I think we’ve been to WDW a couple times when the weather man said we’re “breaking records”. The trick is to drink lots of water and stay in AC as much as
possible. We ask for cups of ice and carry our own water. It’s free for the asking at all the counter service restaurants. In January, you can hit some cold days. It’s hit or miss. Sometimes the Arctic JetStream attacks Florida and your wearing jackets. On the good side, when there’s extreme weather one way or the other, the crowds are less. 🙂 We’ve been at all times of year and it’s usually a balance of schedule vs. best time to go. Regardless of the weather, you can still find ways to enjoy your trip.
WDW runs many kinds of special events during the year. We’ve been fortunate to enjoy many of these over the years. For your first trip, it may not be a big deal to plan for a special event. There will be so many things to explore regardless of special events. One of our trips was at Christmas time and we stayed right through the New Year. Disney is really special at Christmas time. The decorations are amazing and everywhere. Disney Studios has a great light decoration display down one of the city streets that is unbelievable just for starters. We went to EPCOT for New Years and the fireworks were over the top. They had more music bands and dance parties. Disney World knows how to celebrate.
I really like the two of the festivals WDW does in the Spring and Fall at EPCOT. In the Spring, they do the Flower and Garden festival and in the fall it’s the Food and Wine. Both festivals have extra food booths. Food exploring is one of my favorite activities at WDW. The other addition at the festivals are more musical acts and I enjoy checking out some of the special concerts held over at the American Pavilion. The extra events just make my trip just a little more special. If I were to choose a favorite time to go considering all variables, I would choose October. In October, I could enjoy Food and Wine festival at EPCOT and the Halloween party at Magic Kingdom, Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. We did this on one trip and had a blast at the Halloween Party. Many people dressed up in costumes and we collected candy at the park till 1 am. The decorations and special parade were great. October is a good time for cooler weather and crowds are manageable.
The bottom line is trying to balance low crowd times with weather, events and your schedule. Again, do your research and find what’s the best balance of these factors for you. Either way, you can manage all of these situations the more you know.
Part 1 – Introduction
Part 2 – Location
Part 3 – Time of Year
Part 4 –
Part 5 –