Disney World crowd calendar for the 2016-2017 school year

(Article last updated: August 15, 2016 to reflect WrestleMania dates in early April and correct cheerleading competition dates in early May)

Planning to visit Disney World sometime between August 2016 and July 2017?

I've got a Disney World crowd calendar of predicted crowd times based on school calendars of many of the biggest districts, holidays, cheerleading competitions, runDisney races, and years of experience being in the parks at all times of year.

Let's dive in...

Quick Disney World crowd calendar note

I used to do a Disney World crowd calendar for an entire calendar year at a time because the end of the year was so easy to predict, but with fall breaks and new runDisney events, it's not so simple anymore. Because of that, we're switching to a school calendar to increase the accuracy of the predictions.

Looking for the 2017-2018 version? You can find it at http://wdwprepschool.com/disney-world-crowd-calendar-for-the-2017-2018-school-year/

Click the graphic below to view the Disney World crowd calendar larger.

August 2016

  • August 1-14 - heavy summer crowds that are common in the summer continue for the first half of the month
  • August 15-21 - summer crowds start to decrease
  • August 22-31 - the last half of August enjoys light crowds as many school districts are back in session

Get more info on the August dashboard.

September 2016

  • September 1-5 - some light crowds appear through Labor Day
  • September 6-16 - very light crowds in the first part of September before the fall break crowds appear later in the month
  • September 17-30 - some light fall break crowds will start to appear in late September

Get more info on the September dashboard.

October 2016

While the Food and Wine Festival is going on at Epcot throughout the month of October, it doesn't necessarily create an overall surge in crowds at all of Disney World as much as it creates a surge of locals going to Epcot on the weekends. That's why I never recommend Epcot on the weekends during this time.

  • October 1-7 and October 11-16 - the days before and after Columbus Day weekend see heavy crowds due to lots of schools with scheduled fall breaks
  • October 8-10 - Columbus Day weekend
  • October 17-27 and 29-31 - after the fall break crowds leave, late October sees relatively light crowds for most of the last part of the month.
  • October 28 - local schools are out and many of them head to the parks

Get more info on the October dashboard.

November 2016

While the Food and Wine Festival takes place at Epcot for the beginning of November, it doesn't necessarily create an overall surge in crowds at all of Disney World as much as it creates a surge of locals going to Epcot on the weekends. That's why I never recommend Epcot on the weekends during this time.

  • November 1-2 - light crowds in early November before the race and Jersey Week
  • November 3-5 - the Wine and Dine Half Marathon sold out faster than just about any race and many hotels are sold out during these dates
  • November 6-13 - many schools in New Jersey have a couple of days off of school this week and families often take advantage and spend part or all of this week at Disney World in what's often called "Jersey Week." This time period also sees an influx of crowds for the Wine and Dine Half Marathon.
  • November 14-18 - light crowds just before the Thanksgiving crowds arrive
  • November 19-22 - Thanksgiving week is busy, but these days leading up to Thanksgiving aren't quite as busy as the last half of the week
  • November 23-27 - heavy Thanksgiving crowds
  • November 28-30 - crowds drop off significantly once the weekend after Thanksgiving has passed

Get more info on the November dashboard.

December 2016

  • December 1-16 - December begins with relatively light crowds before the peak holiday crowds arrive.
  • December 17-31 - very busy time at Disney World as people spend their days off of work/school to vacation at Disney World for the holidays

Get more info on the December dashboard.

January 2017

  • January 1-4 - the last bits of the holiday crowds will remain
  • January 5-8 - Marathon Weekend is January 4-8 where thousands of people show up to run 1 or more races
  • January 9-10 - Marathon Weekend has ended but attendees often linger for a couple of days to enjoy the parks
  • January 11-13 - light crowds between busier times
  • January 14-16 - a 3-day weekend due to Martin Luther King Day. Many people go to Disney World during this time expecting light crowds, but it's actually 1 of the busiest times I've ever seen.
  • January 17-31 - light crowds return for the end of the month

Get more info on the January dashboard.

February 2017

  • February 1-2 - light crowds kick off February
  • February 3-5 - dance competition will bring a slight influx of people to the parks
  • February 6-10 - a brief dip in crowds between competitions
  • February 11-12 - cheerleading competition will bring in a new batch of people
  • February 13-16 - slightly fewer crowds in between events
  • February 17 - the end of February will be pretty busy, with some school districts beginning their winter breaks on this day so crowds will start to arrive
  • February 18-20 - President's Day Weekend is very busy, especially with it overlapping so many longer winter breaks
  • February 21-23 - the heaviest crowds of President's Day Weekend will subside but some crowds will linger, and some will begin to show up for the Princess Half Marathon
  • February 24-26 - Princess Half Marathon and Mardi Gras crowds
  • February 27-28 - some Princess Half Marathon crowds will linger and Mardi Gras crowds will create moderate crowds all week

Get more info on the February dashboard.

March 2017

  • March 1-5 - Mardi Gras crowds and a cheerleading competition taking place March 3-5 will create some moderate crowds to start off March
  • March 6-10 - light crowds before the spring breakers start to arrive
  • March 11-26 - spring break crowds will show up during the last part of March, but not the heaviest spring break crowds which appear the week before Easter in April
  • March 27-31 - a break in the spring break crowds with hardly any school breaks scheduled during the last few days of March

Get more info on the March dashboard.

April 2017

  • April 1-7 - lighter crowds to start off April, just before the busy Easter crowds begin
  • April 8-16 - Easter week, one of the busiest weeks of the year at Disney World
  • April 17-26 - Disney World is usually busy the week after Easter, but we looked at dozens and dozens of the largest school districts and almost none of them have this week off in 2017, likely due to Easter falling so late in April
  • April 27-28 - moderate crowds due to local schools having some time off during this period
  • April 29-30 - April will finish off with light crowds

Get more info on the April dashboard.

May 2017

  • May 1-4 - light crowds as we enter May
  • May 5-7 - cheerleading competition will increase crowds a bit
  • May 8-24 - most of May enjoys light crowds until just before Memorial Weekend
  • May 25-26 - some school districts start their summers on these days and moderate crowds will appear in the parks
  • May 27-31 - Memorial Day Weekend

Get more info on the May dashboard.

June 2017

  • June 1-9 - the first part of June enjoys slightly lower summer crowds in this "shoulder season" before the heavy summer crowds begin in mid-June
  • June 10-30 - the heavy summer crowds begin

Get more info on the June dashboard.

July 2017

  • July 1-31 - the whole month is busy with summer crowds, but the parks get really busy around July 4, especially as people arrive to see the special fireworks that are usually shown for 2 nights

Get more info on the July dashboard.

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When do you plan to visit? Any questions about my Disney World crowd calendar? Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments.

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Sheila Campbell

Currently driving home from Disney (sitting in traffic) and wanted to report, with great disappointment, that the crowds at all 4 parks were HEAVY. The popular rides consistently had an hour or more wait time all day. Traveling between resort and parks took a good hour also. Last night at Epcot were lots of groups of tweens/teens from cheerleading teams, school bands and various school trips (per their tshirts). We stayed in a cabin at Ft. Wilderness 3/8 – 3/11

Mike

We went the March 1-5 and it was worse than some summer weeks. Unable to even travel around the park and the trains where closed so it was even worse. Saw people fighting in the middle of shoulder to shoulder crowds in Magic Kingdom. Was not fun. 2 hour wait on any ride worth riding.

Reya Sunshine

was there a particular event happening? I don’t see March as a high crowd month?

Dana

We were there as well and couldn’t believe the crowd level. We went the 5th-10th hoping to beat the spring break crowd, but were so disappointed in the crowds. We still had a great trip and made the most of it, but it was a shock to see so many people.

Sarah

We have come the past 5 years during this week 3/13-3/19 and this is the heaviest crowd we have ever seen. Not sure if the increase was beacuse of flights being cancelled with the blizzard and people extended their stay, but all 4 parks we’re packed. We Madelyn the best of it.

Charles Loucks

I know it’s very early but what would you say about crowd size November 5-13 2018?

Maria

Hi, we will be at DW March 11-12, going to Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom. Trying to decide which park to do which day. Is the crowd typically lower at Magic Kingdom lower on Sunday than Saturday, or with spring breaks starting do you think there will be any difference? Thanks!

Christine

Just got back from Disney (Feb 3 and 4th)and the crowds were WALL to WALL. It’s been 4 years since I went and early February is usually a quiet month. Do I just need to get used to overflowing urinals, long lines, and rude people running people over with strollers? Is the new normal summer crowds all year long?

Kate

We were there then, too. Is that what wall-to-wall looks like? I thought it was crowded, but not unbearably so. Some rides were walk on.

I am genuinely curious what the crowd levels actually arrived at because we are going back at a noutoriously busy time, and if feb 3/4 were truly wall to wall, then I think we might can manage.

Shannon Smith

Hi Shannon! My family will be visiting WDW from Feb. 22-27. Any advice on what we should pack? We are from Louisiana….so we come from CRAZY weather…80 one day, 50 the next. LOL

Beth Bates

We’ve decided to take our 2 1/2 year old son for his “spring break” from preschool the week of March 25 but the only hesitation I have is crowds. Do you think it’s a manageable week? Only doing half week so which half better in general? Or should we just delay the trip to the end of April when crowd calendar is more favorable. Husband and I have been many times and are looking forward to going and taking it easy with the kiddo and not the breakneck pace I usually insist on when it’s just us! 🙂

Kim

Hi I am planning on coming to Disney Feb 20th-26th.I know the 20th will be busy with the holiday but do u think the entire week will be really busy?also saw a the princess marathon is that week but Disney says that is before they open and should not affect crowds much.would appreciate your thoughts.My kids are on break that week but wondering if we just need to take them out for a few days.

Sheri Simpson

My daughter bought us Disney park tickets for Christmas. I have never been — I have wanted to go as long as I can remember, and now it’s finally happening! Our tickets are good through May 26. I homeschool my younger 2 children, so we don’t have to work around a school schedule. Looking for any help as to when would be the best time to make the most of this fantastic opportunity.

Hi Sheri! March is a lovely month to travel to Disney. I usually go during Spring Break for Texas which is one week earlier than most other states. I bet that if you go a week before us, you will enjoy lighter lines. The Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival starts on March 1st so you will be able to enjoy it. The weather is very nice during March in Lake Buena Vista, FL so you will be able to enjoy more time at the parks. Hope this helps. The week I was recommending is March 5-11.

Laura

Our family is planning a trip the week of Christmas, 2017. We have gone at least a dozen times, but our daughter-in-law has never been, and our nearly 4-yr old granddaughter will also be with us. We have never been during the holiday season so we are looking forward to the beauty of that. We have been several times during the summer and once during spring break. Will the crowds really be that much worse at Christmas? One friend who went at Christmas a couple of years ago said it was horrible, but another who went the week before Christmas this year said it was crowded, but not that bad. I am a teacher, and our daughter is still in college, so the off-peak times are not an option for us. Any suggestions as to must-sees for an almost 4-yr old, and any strategies for avoiding the biggest crowds at that time of year?

Aron

We just went after Christmas 2016 and it was really busy at Magic Kingdom. Some suggestions: if you can, wait to go until the evening. The park was ridiculously busy in the morning and afternoon, but 9-12 after the fireworks we got right on some really popular rides where the wait had been 1.5-2.5 hours before. Head to the park in the early evening/afternoon and shop and do the things that there aren’t really ever long lines for: The Tiki Room, Country Bear Jamboree, Hall of Presidents, Carousel of Progress and exploring the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse and Tom Sawyer’s Island(closes at 4pm) Also download the “Mydisneyexperience” app to your phone so you can check wait times for rides before you walk all the way to them and so you can reserve your fastpass choices early too. Everyone gets 3 fast passes where you reserve a time to go on a ride. YOu have to use all three before you get any more. So if one is at the end of the day, you won’t have a chance to schedule any more.

Melissa

Hi, wondering if any thoughts have changed about the week after Easter? I want to trust the predictions and plan a trip for that week, which is our spring break, but it still worries me a little that the other crowd predictor sites still have that week listed as one of the busiest. But if you think it’s still a safe bet with your in depth research, then I may take the plunge. We took our first trip last year in late Jan, which was amazing, so I’m sure anything will feel crowded in comparission. Thank you!!

Mary Louis Quinn

I’m wondering about that week and the following weekend too, especially with the Star Wars marathon which I believe is that week. I’m trying to book a last minute trip for a client and just trying to figure out April crowds.

Laura

Hi There!

Any predictions for November 2017? 🙂

Thank you!

Kirk Hilles

It really feels like Disney Crowds are getting far worse. We were there during the Columbus Day week (Hurricane drama too) and crowds were INSANE even later in the week well after the holiday. We’re talking about 210 minute waits (Yes, 3.5 Hour!) for 7 Dwarfs Mine Train and 2 Hour waits for several other rides ON A WEDNESDAY! Thank goodness we had FastPasses.

Even right now, crowds are claimed to be “light”, but according to Disney you have:
– Rock n Roller coaster: 105 Minutes
– Tower of Terror: 80 Minutes
– Frozen Ever After: 75 Minutes
– Toy Story: 65 Minute Wait
– Space Mountain: 65 Minutes
– Meet Tinker Bell: 55 Minutes
– Meet Rapunzel: 55 Minutes
– Star Tours: 50 Minutes
– Soarin: 50 Minutes

This is LIGHT??? Coworkers talk about walking-onto-rides in October in years past.

I seriously believe that we’ll just have to pick sometime in September and take the kids out of school in future years.

brian

We have been in September last 4 years and crowds are light and it’s more enjoyable for sure. However there is less going on. We going July 17th next year as cannot take kids out of school again.. hoping it’s not to bad.

Mark

We are headed there July 12-18 in 2017 as well. Fingers crossed for a happy trip. It’s all about expectations and trip planning. If you can get some Fast Pass reservations and zig when others zag, things should work out. Can’t wait!

Yaskara

Hello! I’m heading the parks for the 8th time in februrary 2017, and I guess I’m lucky. We’ve planned to hit Universal from Feb 1st to 5th, then we’re taking a cruise and will head to Disney World from Feb 13th to 20th. I planned on hitting the parks during the week (14-17) and 20th (I’m from Brazil and just later I found out it was a holiday, but that was the day I managed to get a dinning reservation for Be Our Guest). How low are you predicting the crowds gonna be during this in between week in a scale from 1-10? I’ve already done Disney World in peak June season and even New Years (2013-14) and survived, riding all rides I want, but as everyone I do enjoy a emptier park. Do you have any other tips for me planning? Thank you so much!

brian

The weather is cooler especially now the evenings. Epcot is usually busy in Feb with the flower and food and wine festivals. Other parks should be quiet.

Monica M.

Are crowds heavy days before the cheerleaders arrive? I’m planning my trip April 29-May 5 will crowds be bad?

Kate

Very interesting to see the break in the crowds during the last week in March. I’ve seen a few other crowd calendars and no one else is showing this – they all have it consistently busy. But I’m inclined to trust this with Easter being so late this year… Feel like it may be risky but worth it??

Kirk Hilles

I wouldn’t believe ANY light days that correspond to any somewhat common day off. There aren’t many “good” times to go to Disney anymore unless you take the kids off school.

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