Walt Disney World vacation planning is going to look a bit different, at least for the time being, and knowing the best time to visit Walt Disney World just got a little bit trickier.
If you’re thinking about planning to visit Walt Disney World in 2020 or 2021, here are some things to keep in mind.
It may seem odd that on a post all about choosing when to visit WDW that we’d start by talking about our opinions on who should and should not plan to visit right now.
For us, it is the giant elephant in the room because we love Walt Disney World and we’re surrounded by so many of you that love the parks, too.
But as much as we love it (and miss it), we want people to be safe and we definitely want to keep the Cast Members (who will be working hard to provide the best experience for guests as possible) safe, too.
So when people ask us if they should go it is tricky and it truly comes down to your own personal level of risk, but here’s our thoughts:
If this is a once-in-a-lifetime trip, especially if you are traveling with little ones or small children – then as sad as we are to say it, postponing your vacation to late 2021 or 2022 may be the right decision.
For many people, Disney World is something they’ll do just once.
And while we love helping first-time visitors plan their dream vacations, we would never want to encourage people to take their dream vacation now while they can’t get the full Walt Disney World experience complete with things like characters and fireworks and parades.
But, if you are a frequent visitor and you:
- don’t mind that things won’t look “normal” and that some attractions and things like character interactions won’t be happening,
- are willing to wear a mask whenever you are out in public spaces,
- are not traveling with young kids that may struggle with the mask requirements,
- and you feel personally comfortable with travel (including any restrictions you may find when traveling from or returning to your home),
then at least planning a Walt Disney World vacation right now may not be a bad idea.
Planning your vacation
The entire planning process for Walt Disney World vacations is changing – at least for the time being.
Make sure you review the planning process and that you’ve verified Disney Park Pass reservation availability before you finalize non-refundable travel components like flights.
When is the best time to visit Walt Disney World?
We don’t have all the answers or data yet, but we’ve begun compiling some information to help people that are starting to plan.
But, as you can imagine, things are constantly changing, which means you’ll likely find that we’ll be updating our information on a regular basis.
What we know, what we don't know, and what we *think* we know
What we know:
- No FastPasses, Extra Magic Hours, and Park Hopping (at least for the foreseeable future) paired with the new Disney Park Pass reservation system means that we will likely see the crowds more evenly distributed between the parks than ever before.
- All of the parks will have a maximum capacity – and that capacity will start off relatively low compared to what any of us have ever seen in the parks before (outside of maybe special events like the old After Hours events).
- Capacity numbers for the parks and resorts will be adjusted according to guidelines and recommendations.
- Hollywood Studios will remain popular.
What we don’t know:
- When capacity numbers will be increased.
- When casual travelers (outside of the Disney parks fan base) will feel safe enough to begin traveling in numbers large enough to impact overall crowds.
What we think:
- As we get further away from opening, crowd numbers will increase. For example, August this year will see far less visitors than August next year.
- Some holidays (especially those further out) may still remain popular, meaning the parks have a higher likelihood of reaching capacity over those dates.
Flexibility will be key. Keep in mind that everything is very fluid right now.
Just like we tell you when visiting the parks: the key to not getting overly stressed while planning your vacation during these unprecedented times is to stay flexible.
We are working to update our Crowd Calendar with the information we know, but before you get too far into choosing dates make sure you review the travel considerations below.
Things to keep in mind when planning
In the early opening weeks and months, everybody (including the hard-working Cast Members) will be busy learning and re-learning procedures, new and old.
If you are considering traveling during this time, be sure to pack some extra patience and willingness to do things differently than you might have done in the past.
Hollywood Studios will still remain popular, but the decrease in available attractions (since their shows will not be operating) means their capacity will be far less than the other parks. The same is true to a lesser extent for Animal Kingdom.
If these parks are important to you, double check their availability before booking.
Weather has always been a factor when planning Disney World trips, but the heat is especially something to consider now that masks will be required.
Be sure you test your endurance wearing masks in situations as close as possible to what you’ll find if visiting during this time of the year.
The further away you get from opening day, the stronger the likelihood you’ll also see demand increase and hopefully, we’ll also see safety policies and procedures refined and perfected, as well.
Disney has confirmed that Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party has been cancelled, but no word yet on whether or not the traditional holiday offerings (including Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party and the Candlelight Processional) will be held.