Planning a Disney World trip for 2020 or 2021?
If you choose your dates wisely, you can avoid peak crowd times which means you'll spend less time in lines and more time having fun.
To help you do that, we've got a Disney World crowd calendar of predicted crowds based on the school schedules of many of the biggest districts, holidays, runDisney races, ticket prices, and years of experience being in the parks at all times of the year.
Let's dive in...
UPDATE: What about 2021 (and beyond)?
Many people (ourselves included!) plan their Disney World trips years in advance.
As you can imagine, recent events have made it even more difficult to compile the necessary information and data needed for accurate crowd predictions.
With times as unsettled as they are, we know that many of you are looking for something to look forward to. For lots of people, one of those things is planning a Disney World vacation.
While we wait for more information from Disney regarding the re-opening of the parks, here are a some things you can do now if you're trying to choose dates for a 2021 (or even 2020) Disney World vacation:
- Some dates will always be busy - no matter what. These include any holidays where schools and businesses typically close (Easter, Christmas, President's Day, etc.). Expect the heaviest crowds if you must travel during those times.
- It may be some time before we know too much about regularly scheduled runDisney, cheer, and dance competitions. But in general, those tend to occur around the same time of the year (like "first weekend" of a certain month, etc.). You can see where those were scheduled to occur in 2020 in the graphic below and make note of those same time periods if you're looking ahead into 2021 as possibly busy dates. If that's when you think you'll be traveling, make sure you read the detailed info below for tips.
- Flexibility will be key. Use the 2020 calendar to get a rough idea on a couple different traditionally "good" times for you to travel in 2021, but keep in mind that everything is very fluid right now. Just like we tell you when visiting the parks: stay flexible. If you can, wait to book things that aren't easily refundable (like flights and tickets).
How it works
Simply put, crowd calendars are predictions for just how busy the Walt Disney World Resort will be on any given day.
Our calendars have been fine tuned over many (many!) years and hundreds of park days.
And, we use not only historical data but also current crowd trends to put together our predictions and what results are easy-to-follow calendars that use colors to help you identify the best (and worst!) times to visit the Walt Disney World Resort.
Monthly crowd calendars & daily recommended parks
In addition to the yearly information below, we also publish monthly crowd calendars that include daily recommended parks, refurbishment and closure information, park and entertainment hours, plus the dates you'll need to know for booking both Advanced Dining Reservations and FastPass+ reservations.
These handy (& free!) calendars are published roughly 6 1/2 months out and are easily customized to display the exact information you need, including daily recommendations for:
- Magic Kingdom
- Hollywood Studios
- Animal Kingdom
Plus operating information (hours, refurbishments & closures, etc.) for:
- Disney Springs
- Blizzard Beach
- Typhoon Lagoon
We recommend you use the information on this page to guide you as you select your travel dates and then use the monthly crowd calendars linked below each month to help you plan your individual days.
The handpicked team of agents at Perfect Story Travel can help you out. Fill out the info below to get started.
- January 1-5 - heavy crowds remain as many school districts are still on break
- January 6-12 - moderate crowds return for Marathon Weekend where thousands of people show up to run 1 or more races
- January 13-16 - a little break between the busy times
- January 17-20 - heavy crowds return with the UCA & UDA College Cheerleading and Dance Team National Championship taking place and the 3-day weekend due to Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
- January 21-23* - light crowds return for a few days
- January 24-27* - moderate crowd levels as Pro Bowl fans arrive for the weekend
- January 28-30* - a little break in crowds
- January 31 - moderate surge in crowds as the National Dance Team Championship takes place
*WDW Prep School favorite time to visit
Find out which parks are recommended each day (plus lots more info) on the January crowd calendar.
- February 1-2 - moderate surge in crowds as the National Dance Team Championship takes place
- February 3-6 - light crowds between cheer/dance events
- February 7-9 - moderate crowd levels during the National High School Cheerleading Championship
- February 10-13 - break in the crowds before the long holiday weekend
- February 14 - some crowds start to appear for the long weekend and the Twirl Mania competition
- February 15-17 - Heavy crowds due to President's Day Weekend & Twirl Mania
- February 18 - slight dip in crowds between the holiday and the upcoming race
- February 19-23 - some President's Day Weekend crowds remain and Princess Half Marathon crowds appear to make it a moderately busy time
- February 24-28 - finishing out the month with moderate to heavy crowds due to the Mardi Gras holiday and the Contest of Champions (dance competition)
Find out which parks are recommended each day (plus lots more info) on the February crowd calendar.
- March 1-12* - the first few weeks of March should be moderately busy due to a combination of guests attending the Contest of Champions National Dance Competition, UCA International All Star Championship, AmeriCheer & AmeriDance International Championship, as well as some districts having spring break
- March 13-31 -spring break crowds and cheer competition crowds increase as the month progresses
*WDW Prep School favorite time to visit
Find out which parks are recommended each day (plus lots more info) on the March crowd calendar.
- April 1-2 - crowds remain moderate as we move closer to Easter
- April 3-4 - Easter crowds begin to arrive
- April 5-12 - busy spring break time the week before Easter
- April 13-19 - crowds decrease slightly however they remain heavy due to lingering Easter crowds and people attending the Star Wars Half Marathon
- April 20-29* - moderate crowds due to cheer & dance competition
- April 30 - heavy crowds due to The Summit cheer competition
*WDW Prep School favorite time to visit
Find out which parks are recommended each day (plus lots more info) on the April crowd calendar.
- May 1-3 - heavy crowds due to The Summit cheer competition
- May 4-7 - moderate to light crowds between competitions
- May 8-10 - heavy crowds during the D2 Summit Championship cheer competition
- May 11-20 - light to moderate crowds return before most schools wrap up for the year
- May 21-31 - heavy crowds due to Memorial Day weekend and summer break starting for many schools
Find out which parks are recommended each day (plus lots more info) on the May crowd calendar.
- June 1-30 - summer used to be super busy, but crowds have been dispersed a bit differently in recent years, so expect heavy crowd levels in June, but not as busy as in past years
Find out which parks are recommended each day (plus lots more info) on the June crowd calendar.
- July 1 - heavy crowds to start off the month before July 4 crowds arrive
- July 2-5 - the busiest time in the summer is over July 4 when people visit to enjoy the impressive fireworks
- July 6-31 - summer used to be super busy, but crowds have been dispersed a bit differently in recent years, so expect fairly busy crowds throughout most of July, but not as busy as in past years
Find out which parks are recommended each day (plus lots more info) on the July crowd calendar.
- August 1-9 - moderate crowds that are common in the summer continue for the first half of the month
- August 10-23 - summer crowds start to decrease as some districts return to school
- August 24-27 - crowds dip even more before the anticipated start to Food and Wine
- August 28-30 - moderate crowds for the first weekend of the Food and Wine Festival
- August 31 - light crowds return before the Labor Day holiday
Find out which parks are recommended each day (plus lots more info) on the August crowd calendar.
- September 1-3 - light crowds remain before the Labor Day holiday
- September 4-7 - heavy crowds for the Labor Day holiday
- September 8-30* - light crowds as many schools are now in session
*WDW Prep School favorite time to visit
Find out which parks are recommended each day (plus lots more info) on the September crowd calendar.
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 crowd levels at all of Disney World as much as it creates a surge of locals going to Epcot on the weekends. That's why Epcot on the weekends isn't recommended during this time.
- October 1-2 - the first few days of October should be light crowds before fall school breaks begin
- October 3-8 - moderate crowds slowly increasing as the holiday weekend approaches
- October 9-13 - peak Columbus Day holiday crowd levels
- October 14-28 - some schools have fall breaks scheduled in mid-October so expect moderate crowds
- October 29-31 - heavy crowds return for the (anticipated) Wine and Dine Half Marathon and the upcoming "Jersey Week" which is when many schools in New Jersey have a couple of days off of school and families often take advantage and spend part or all of this week at Disney World
Find out which parks are recommended each day (plus lots more info) on the October crowd calendar.
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 Epcot on the weekends isn't recommended during this time.
- November 1-6 - heavy to moderate crowds continue due to the Wine & Dine 1/2 and "Jersey Week" which is when many schools in New Jersey have a couple of days off of school and families often take advantage and spend part or all of this week at Disney World
- November 7-14 - heavy crowds for the Veterans Day holiday
- November 15-19 - moderate crowds return
- November 20-21 - Thanksgiving crowds begin to arrive
- November 22-27 - very heavy Thanksgiving crowd levels
- November 28-29 - Thanksgiving crowds begin to let up
- November 30 - moderate crowds to close out the month
Find out which parks are recommended each day (plus lots more info) on the November crowd calendar.
- December 1-16 - moderate crowds appear in the first part of December for Pop Warner events, plus crowds in early December have increased over the last few years as people travel to see Disney World for the holiday offerings
- December 17-18 - holiday crowds begin to build
- December 19-31 - very busy time as people use their days off of work/school to vacation at Disney World for the holidays
Find out which parks are recommended each day (plus lots more info) on the December crowd calendar.
Crowd Calendar at a glance (graphic)
Want to see the crowd calendar in graphic form? Check it out below!
Important Disney World crowd calendar notes
What about changes to the way things operate (queues, shows, etc.)?
This is a biggie - it is very likely that the way people move and are disbursed through the parks will change. Just like we now see inside of our local grocery stores, we do expect to see some tweaks to the way crowds will be managed inside of the parks.
The queues and attractions and shows were all designed to hold lots (and LOTS) of guests.
Because we have all witnessed the parks utilizing that capacity to the fullest, if it changes it will take awhile to adapt to what that looks like and means for wait times.
Basically, all those changes will mean we will all need to re-learn what "busy" looks like, at least for now.
Remember: The crowd calendar information above isn't a comparison to how busy things are compared to LAST year. Instead, they are a reference for you to figure out the best (or least-busiest) times to travel compared to the other months in the current year.
How opening and closings affect crowds
As you can imagine, anytime something major opens or something popular closes the crowds in the parks are heavily impacted.
In 2020 there are several new attractions and nighttime shows that we predict will do just that.
In general, the parks where the attraction or show is located will see the largest impact, but it isn't unusual for all the parks to see a temporary surge in crowds.
So, keep this in mind when noting the crowd levels below.
Crowd levels are fluid from year to year. What was considered "moderate" in years past is not the same thing that is considered "moderate" now; it is simply "moderate" when compared to the rest of the year (going forward).
Here are the openings and closures we think will have an impact on the overall crowds in the months ahead:
Rise of the Resistance opening
December 5, 2019
Yes this technically takes place in 2019 but we expect the impacts on the crowds to continue into 2020. Look for the heavier-than-normal crowds to continue at Hollywood Studios.
Check our 7 tips for Rise of the Resistance to learn all there is to know about this amazing new attraction.
Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway
March 4, 2020
While this attraction isn't on the same level as Rise of the Resistance, expect the crowds at Hollywood Studios to increase slightly for a few days around this opening.
Remy's Ratatouille Adventure
Epcot is playing host to lots of new stuff over the upcoming years and this brand new attraction will definitely invite a surge of crowds.
We are still awaiting an official opening date but look for crowds to be heavy at Epcot if traveling during that time.
Epcot Forever final performance and HarmonioUS begins
We are still anxiously awaiting the premier date for this new nighttime show but much like when Illuminations: Reflections of Earth wrapped up, once the dates are announced you should plan for higher-than-anticipated crowds at Epcot if traveling during that time.
Best times to go
First of all, it is important to keep in mind that no matter when you go there is guaranteed to be lots of people at Disney World. It is always at the top of the lists for most popular family vacation destinations for a reason.
However, there are some times of the year that are better than others.
Our 5 favorite times to visit Walt Disney World in 2020
What about competitions and runDisney races?
During the slower times of the year you'll often find that Disney World hosts lots of competitions. While it is true that the competitions can bring the crowds, because the visitors are spending part of their time competing the majority of the impact is typically felt at the host resorts and not necessarily in the theme parks.
If you are planning to visit during the time of the year that a cheer, dance, or other sporting event competition is taking place, we recommend trying to avoid booking a room at one of the host resorts. The primary host resorts are typically all 3 of the All-Star Resorts (All-Star Sports, All-Star Movies, and All-Star Music).
There is also sometimes some overflow into the moderates, primarily Caribbean Beach and Coronado Springs, however, the main impacts (like crowded buses and busy food courts) are guaranteed to be felt at the 3 All-Star Resorts.
Does that mean you will never find competitors in the other resorts? No. But you'll definitely find them in the ones listed above.
runDisney races, on the other hand, tend to bring in far greater crowds that stay at all levels of resorts and since the competitions occur outside of the normal park operating hours, the impact is more wide-spread. That doesn't mean a trip will be ruined if a race is occurring while you are there, it is just something to be aware of.
Need more info to help you plan?
Get our 64-page Quick Start Guide that guides you through the 6 step planning process and provides a worksheet you can fill out along the way.
When do you plan to visit? Any questions about our Disney World crowd calendar?
Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments, but please don't ask us to compare to crowd calendars from other sites. We've explained the reasoning behind our calendar here and won't be commenting on how other sites do things.