The dates provided are according to Walt Disney World and based on history. There are 7 levels. One is the best and 7 is the worst level for crowds and prices. This is the best information we have to help you plan accordingly.
There is a big difference between what we consider to be crowded versus “Disney Crowded”. Don’t look for slow times at WDW, anymore. You need to look for “less busy times”. Disney may consider it to be a “slow time”, but that is because their rooms have not sold out. And, this is how Disney prices their tickets, resort nightly rates, dining, etc. Supply and demand. The more demand, the higher the prices. As always, plan for the worst and hope for the best.
Be sure to look at dates for each year. What used to be best is now one of the worsts. Dates are shifting. Months are shifting exponentially each year. It’s rather intriguing to see the shift every year.
These are the worst times in 2023, which are considered to be level 7 out of 7 levels:
- April 2 – April 9
- December 24 – December 31
Some people don’t have a choice and only have some of these dates to choose from. I.E., Teachers. These dates are considered Level 6 out of 7 levels:
- February 16 – February 28 (Spring Break)
- March 1 – April 1 (Spring Break)
- April 10 – April 30 (Spring/Easter Break)
- November 22 – 24 (Thanksgiving)
October went up another level this year. It used to be level 3, but has gone up 2 levels over the last couple of years. The same for November. Popular months have shifted over the years. Still very busy, but not as bad as levels 6 and 7. Level 5 out of 7:
- October 1 – November 21
- November 25 – November 30
I cannot emphasize enough that “Disney slow” is so different from our version of slow. During Food & Wine Festival, it is not recommended to go to Epcot Friday through Monday. Try to go to Epcot Tuesday – Thursday. If you must choose one of the other days, choose Friday or Monday.
Here are the weeks in 2023 that are considered to be “slow” (Disney resort rooms not sold out and less expensive tickets, nightly resort rates, etc.) according to Disney (levels 1-4):
January–All month. (Level 2 of 7) (Tip: plan after marathon weekend and avoid holiday weekend.)
February–1 – 15 (Level 4 of 7)
May–1 – 14 (level 2 of 7) (Avoid holiday weekend.)
May 15 – June 10 (Level 3 of 7)
June 11 – August 31 (Level 4 of 7)
September–All month. (Level 1 of 7) (Avoid holiday weekend.)
December–1 – 23 (Level 3 of 7)
These are the worst times in 2024, which are considered to be level 7 out of 7 levels:
- March 24 – 31
- December 24 – 31
Other really busy times
The date below are not recommended, in addition to the above dates, and are considered Level 6 out of 7 levels:
- February 16 – February 29 (Spring Break)
- March 1 – March 23 (Spring Break)
- April 1 – 30 (Spring/Easter Break)
- November 27 – 29 (Thanksgiving)
These dates are still very busy, but not as bad as levels 6 and 7. Still not recommended to go to WDW during these dates, either. Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival is very popular. Level 5 out of 7:
- October 1 – November 26
- November 30
The remaining weeks for 2024 are listed below. Level 4 of 7 is still very crowded, but not nearly as bad as levels 5, 6 or 7. The level 3 of 7 is almost “empty” according to Disney, but still very crowded to us. Level 1 of 7 is prime time to go to Walt Disney World. Please remember that our version of slow is very different from “Disney slow”. But, trust me, all of the weeks below are WAY better than any of the weeks on levels 5, 6 and 7.
Another very important thing to remember is that the weekends are never really that good year-round (especially holiday weekends). **Some weeks listed below include holidays, which will be busier than the slowest times, but, certainly, not the crazy, busy times like Christmas and Spring/Easter breaks. The weekdays are always best in the weeks below.
With all of that being said, here are the weeks that are considered to be “slow” (and less expensive) according to Disney (levels 1 – 4):
January–All month. **(Level 2 of 7) (Tip: Best to plan after marathon weekend and avoid holiday weekend.)
February 1 – 15 (Level 4 of 7)
May 1 – 14 (Level 2)
May 15 – 31 **(Level 3 of 7. Avoid holiday weekend.)
June 1 – 10 (Level 3 of 7)
June 11 – 30 (Level 4 of 7)
July–All Month. **(Level 4 of 7. Avoid holiday.)
August–All Month. (Level 4 of 7)
September–All Month. **(Level 1 out of 7. Avoid holiday weekend.)
December 1 – 23 (Level 3 of 7)
Final Thoughts, Tips and Personal Experiences
Be mindful of holiday weekends like Memorial Day, Martin Luther King Jr, Labor Day, etc. They can be more crowded than usual, but not too busy to change your vacation. You may just want to avoid the Magic Kingdom on the weekend and go on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday. And, avoid Epcot Friday-Monday during Food & Wine Festival.
In my opinion, the first week in January is pretty busy, too, because of people who are still there from Christmas week and upcoming marathon weekend. There is a significant drop in crowds from the holidays, but the rooms are packed with runners from all over the world and there is a boat load of traffic.
“Plan for the worst and hope for the best” is the best advice I can give you and the best way to go about planning your Walt Disney World vacation regardless of the time of year you decide to go. Known slow times have turned into the most busy times on certain years, because hurricanes or some force of nature caused thousands of guests to reschedule their trip, which is out of the norm, but it can happen.
You could plan to go during a level 1, but it could be more busy than normal, because of some prior change. Be prepared. This way, you will be pleasantly happy with lower crowds than you expected instead of being overwhelmed with many more people than you expected. Most importantly, pack your patience and have a magical time!