May at Disney World starts off with low crowds that pick up for the busy summer travel season, which unofficially kicks off Memorial Day weekend.
Here's what you need to know:
How our Crowd Calendars Work
Ready to dive in? Jump down to the May Crowd Calendar
1. For each day of the month, we tell you on a scale of 1-10 how busy the entire Walt Disney World Resort is when compared to other days of the year.
2. Then, for each park, you'll see the park hours and any special events that are planned.
3. We also track refurbishments and closings (which you can toggle on and off).
4. We have a handy feature that allows you to automatically add your Advanced Dining Reservation date to your calendar.
5. And, one of the most useful features is the ability to be able to print the calendar so that you can have a paper copy for planning (or to just use as a backup).
What order should you visit the parks?
Depending on the length of your trip, here's how many days we recommend for each park:
When it comes time to decide which days are best for each park, here are some general things to keep in mind:
- Hollywood Studios is consistently the first park to reach capacity, primarily because of popular attractions like Rise of the Resistance and Slinky Dog Dash.
- Magic Kingdom is the most popular park overall. It is also the park most first-time visitors think of when they think "Disney World". Saturdays are the busiest, with mid-week typically the least busy.
- Epcot hosts nearly year-round festivals, and those festivals are popular with both out-of-state visitors as well as with locals. And, since a lot of what the festivals are famous for are alcohol and food, the areas around the Festival Booths can be a lot busier (and a bit rowdier) than what you'd find during the daytime hours on the weekdays. If that isn't the vibe you are looking for, you may want to skip Epcot during the nighttime on Friday and Saturdays.
- Even with the new Park Pass system, Animal Kingdom remains one of the "easiest" parks to fit into a trip. You should be able to plug it in wherever it makes the most sense for you.
We go into a lot more detail in our guide on The Best Days to Visit Each Park.
Planning for Disney World in May
Disney publishes its park hours about 75 days in advance, but those hours can (and very often do) change.
Note: This used to be about 180 days in advance, but since the reopening, they have transitioned to a roughly 75-day window.
As the dates get closer, it isn't unusual for Disney to tweak either the opening or closing times. And during especially busy times of the year, they may change both.
That means to avoid having your plans sidetracked, you'll definitely want to keep checking the park hours - including while on your trip.
When it comes to park hours - in general - the heavier the crowds, the longer the parks will be open during the day. Of course, that also means that the parks will be open fewer hours of the day during less busy times of the years.
In May, that means that you'll typically find the parks open longer over Memorial Day.
- Guide to Magic Kingdom Park Hours
- Guide to Epcot Park Hours
- Guide to Hollywood Studios Park Hours
- Guide to Animal Kingdom Park Hours
PRICES AND DISCOUNTS
If you are looking for a good deal, May is a pretty good time to find one.
Disney doesn't offer discounts to be nice, they do it to fill hotel rooms and for them. Since early May is typically a less busy time of the year, that means you can often find good discounts for those dates.
International Flower and Garden Festival
Epcot never looks more lovely than during the Flower and Garden Festival, which means May is the perfect time for a visit to this iconic park.
Taking place in the spring (and sometimes early summer) this festival brings dozens of larger-than-life topiaries as well as plenty of food and drink options inspired by all things botanical.
50th Anniversary Celebration
Walt Disney World is celebrating 50 years!
Extending all the way from October 1, 2021 until April 1, 2023, this celebration will offer guests the opportunities for new experiences, entertainment, and of course merchandise and treats.
Complete Guide to the 50th Anniversary at Walt Disney World
Even though May isn't even officially "summer" yet, you can expect it to be warm and even hot.
During May, the temperatures will range from lows in the upper 60s to highs in the upper 80s.
And, by the end of the month, expect those highs to creep into the 90s.
May is also the start of the rainy season. The further into the month you go, the more likely you'll run into the typical midday showers that central Florida is known for.
We recommend that you come prepared with ponchos, multiple pairs of shoes (in case one pair gets wet), and umbrellas just in case.
Swimming in May
By May, you'll find that the pools will be one of the most popular places to be.
In addition to the pools at the resorts, Disney's 2 water parks will also see their attendance numbers increase.
If swimming is a must-do and you are worried about the crowds, consider starting your day at the pool and head to the parks later in the day. Most people reverse that plan which means the pools can get quite busy by the end of the day.
WHAT TO WEAR
When packing for Disney World in May, most people will be comfortable wearing whatever they typically wear in the summer (shorts, capri pants, etc.).
One place where you might get cold, however, is inside some restaurants and attractions.
And in fact, even during the hottest months we keep a light jacket in our park bag because coming out of the sun into an air-conditioned space is sometimes too cold for our liking.
If you're the kind of person that finds sitting under the AC to be too much, you might want to consider tossing in a light jacket, too.
REFURBISHMENTS AND CLOSURES
While routine refurbishments aren't typically scheduled in May, you'll likely still run into a few attractions that are closed.
We keep track of those on the calendar below.
To see what will be closed on your trip, toggle the "attraction closings" tab.
At this time, no major new attraction, restaurant, or show is scheduled to open in May.
TIPS FOR DISNEY WORLD IN MAY
- The sun can be quite intense, even if the temps aren't, so don't forget to wear your sunscreen.
- Keep checking for discounts. Even if you've already booked discounts can still be applied.
- Memorial Day crowds can be heavy, but the days before and after typically aren't bad since not all schools are out by then.
- The beginning of May is a lovely time to visit and if you can plan a trip before most schools are out you'll find the crowds to be quite manageable.