Based on current Disney crowd calendars, the best times to visit Disney World in 2022 are January and September, right after kids have returned to school from both summer and winter break. Determining the best time of year to visit the Disney theme parks is dependent on a variety of factors, including when kids go back to school, the debut of new attractions, specially ticketed events, weather patterns, holidays and so much more.
Read more: Best Disney World Crowd Calendars
Best Times to Visit Walt Disney World in 2022
Before we dive into the different factors, here are the best times to visit Disney World in 2022:
- Second and last week in January
- First and second week of February
- First week of March
- Last week in April
- Weekdays in the first half of May
- Second half of August
- Weekdays in October and November (minus the week of Thanksgiving)
What’s Happening in 2022?
Disney World is currently celebrating its 50th Anniversary Celebration. During this time, guests can see Mickey Mouse and his closest pals dressed in their celebratory, “EARidescent” outfits, experience new character cavalcades, and a brand new firework show called Enchantment.
In addition to the park’s 18th month-long celebration, 2022 will see the return of Fantasmic, the Festival of Fantasy parade on March 9th, Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire on February 25th, and Finding Nemo: The Big Blue…and Beyond. Furthermore, Disney is debuting the new Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser, a two-night immersive experience that takes guests inside the world of Star Wars on March 1st.
This is, of course, in addition to annual events such as the Festival of the Arts (January 14, 2022 – February 21, 2022), Flower and Garden Festival (March 2 – July 4, 2022), Food and Wine Festival (July 14 – November 19, 2022), and Festival of the Holidays (date not yet announced) which are increasingly becoming more popular year by year. Guests will also be flocking to Epcot and Magic Kingdom for the debut of Tron Lightcycle Power Run and Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind, scheduled to debut later this year.
These factors can significantly impact attendance levels both at certain parks and the property as a whole.
When Should You NOT Go to Disney?
First and foremost, if you want to avoid the crowds, do not (and I repeat, do not) visit the parks during the holiday season – but especially not on Christmas Day. Attendance level is usually at an all-time high on Christmas Day and I’ve been at Magic Kingdom when it shut down to outside guests who weren’t already staying on Disney World property.
Furthermore, if you visit on Christmas Day, expect to be in a human funnel. On Christmas Day 2017, I was simply trying to get to Liberty Square but was stuck in Fantasyland for about an hour. Granted, the COVID-19 pandemic did alleviate this slightly considering attendance levels are not always what they used to be, but if you hate crowds and exaggerated wait times, avoid the parks from the Thanksgiving to New Year’s celebrations.
If you want to minimize your risk of crowds, you should also avoid the early summer months from June through August. Since many kids are doing remote schooling, families do have more options to visit at other times of the year, however, summer is always going to be one of the most popular – and busiest – times of the year to visit both due to the season and the beautiful weather.
You should also avoid late the parks from the second week in March all the way through the last week in April, as attendance skyrockets due to the Easter holiday and spring break. Guests should also be wary of President’s Day weekend, as people will flock to the parks to celebrate the long weekend.
What Month Has the Best Weather?
Weather-wise, nothing beats March through May. The weather is usually in the high 80s, but cooler in the morning and evenings.
What Month Has the Worst Weather?
This answer will depend on you and what you can tolerate. Traditionally speaking, the worst time to visit Disney World is in June, which is Florida’s rainy month. While there are plenty of things to do in the parks when it rains, certain outdoor rides will close and you may not be able to enjoy as much pool time at your resort as you’d like. So, if you want to make the most out of your day, try to avoid Florida’s rainy season as best you can. This doesn’t mean it won’t rain (it’s Florida, after all, and it usually rains every day), but it won’t be as prolonged as other months.
However, if you don’t mind a little rain but absolutely hate humidity and high heat, avoid August like the plague. It’s not uncommon for temperatures to be in the upper 90s.
You should also keep in mind the risks associated with visiting Walt Disney World during Florida’s hurricane season – June through November. Depending on the weather patterns, booking a trip during this time of year is always at risk of cancelations or park closures if a severe storm approaches the area or makes flying too dangerous.
What Disney Park is Usually the Most Crowded?
Because of what it offers and the age ranges it tends to, Magic Kingdom is usually the most crowded park. In fact, approximately seven million people visited Magic Kingdom in 2020 alone. That being said, levels of park attendance will vary depending on certain factors.
For example, Magic Kingdom hit capacity on October 1, 2021 – the park’s 50th-anniversary celebration. However, different parks tend to be busier on certain days. A lot of this usually had to do with when each park hosted their Extra Magic Hours, however, this amenity has since been replaced by what’s referred to as “Early Theme Park Entry” and “Extended Evening Hours.”
Extended Evening Hours are only available to guests staying at Deluxe resorts of Deluxe Villa resorts, such as Animal Kingdom Lodge, Wilderness Lodge, Boardwalk Inn, Old Key West, and Grand Floridian. Per Disney’s website, guests can currently view Extended Evening Hours up until the second week of April. For those staying at these resorts, they can stay in the park up to two hours after closing, depending on the day, at either Magic Kingdom, Epcot, or Hollywood Studios.
Early Theme Park Entry, on the other hand, is available to all Disney World guests, regardless of the resort they’re staying at. This grants guests an additional half-hour before park opening to shop, dine and ride their favorite attractions before extending the park to outside guests. Right now, the dates for these vary, but you’ll be able to view them on the Disney Resort channel in your resort or through your My Disney Experience app.
That being said, guests should avoid going to the Magic Kingdom on a Monday, as this is usually the first day of vacation for many families, as well as their preferred park for starting their trip. In most cases, Epcot is the most crowded on weekends, especially during festival season when a lot of locals will be visiting.
Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom are most crowded on the weekend, with Thursday usually being the best day to visit.
What Disney Park is Usually Least Crowded?
Typically speaking, it used to be Epcot. However, since the park pretty much has a festival going on every month of the year, that’s not really the case anymore. Speaking simply in terms of popularity and things to see and do, Animal Kingdom usually ranks last on the list. Not to say it’s not a fun park, but since Epcot always has a festival, Magic Kingdom has the most rides, and Hollywood Studios has Galaxy’s Edge, Animal Kingdom doesn’t offer as much as the other parks. Even though the addition of Pandora has been great for boosting attendance, it’s not as popular anymore since it’s been around since 2017.
Plus, another reason why Animal Kingdom seems less crowded is because of how open it is. Unlike the other parks, crowds are able to disperse easier in Animal Kingdom. So even if it is crowded, it won’t feel as cramped as let’s say Magic Kingdom or Hollywood Studios.
What Time of Day is Least Busy?
In most cases, the first hour after opening is the least busy on account of many families sleeping in or finishing up their breakfast reservations before heading over to the parks. Use this time to ride your favorite ride with minimal wait times.
Park attendance picks up between 10:00 am and noon, so be prepared for a huge surge of crowds if you arrive at rope drop. The parks thin out a bit more around dinner time.
How Can I Still Have a Good Time at Disney When It’s Really Busy?
This is the Most Magical Place on Earth, so of course, you can still have fun even if it’s really crowded. First and foremost, accept that the parks will be busy and that you will be standing in line often. I know it seems like simple advice, but for many of my trips, I’ve looked forward to all of the good things about Disney – the rides, the snacks, the castle pics – only to get aggravated by the bad things I forgot exist like long lines, hot weather, and never being able to find a place to sit.
So, by realizing that these things ARE going to happen on your trip can help you get mentally prepared so you’re not thrown into chaos.
The best advice I can share though is to do what you want on your trip, not what you THINK you have to do. Oftentimes, because a trip to Disney is so expensive, vacationers want to fit as much as possible into their itineraries, but keep in mind that this is not what your Disney World vacation is supposed to be about. Rather, it’s about taking time off work or school, laughing, being together, and making memories. So, if you want to rest by the pool or skip the parks or only can fit in three of the major rides you wanted, remember that it’s okay. By doing what you want, it takes the pressure off your shoulders so you can be more in the moment and enjoy everything the day ahead of you will bring.
Tips for Maximizing Your Time During Busy Days at Disney
If you’re visiting Disney World during a busy time of year, here are some tips to help you maximize your time:
- If you’re staying on Disney property, utilize early park access. By doing this, I’ve been able to ride three or four major rides before the park even opens to outside guests.
- Stick to one section of the park at a time. Even though it’s a small world may only be a five-minute wait, it probably won’t be by the time you hoof it all the way from Tomorrowland. Remember, these wait times fluctuate all the time, so if you want to maximize your time in the park, ride everything you want in one section before moving to another to minimize how much time you waste walking from one side of the park to the other.
- Utilize Disney Genie’s Lightning Lane for those can’t-miss rides. While paying for a ride you previously didn’t have to is still controversial among many, it can significantly cut down your wait time. Case and point, the wait time for Rise of the Resistance in Hollywood Studios still reaches four hours during peak periods; choosing to wait in line means you’ll miss out on a lot of other rides and activities you wanted to do during your day.
- Ignore the fireworks. Crowds gather around Cinderella Castle during the fireworks, making it a perfect time to squeeze in additional rides for about an hour. Keep in mind you’ll still be able to see the fireworks while you’re walking around, especially on certain rides such as Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.
- Utilize lunchtime to your advantage. Many families with young children stop down for lunch or likewise, go back to their hotel to use the pool or rest up before returning for dinner reservations and fireworks. Use this time to try and ride some of the more age-friendly rides such as Pirates, it’s a small world, and Peter Pan’s Flight.
Even if the parks are crowded, there are still plenty of ways to enjoy your time at the Disney parks. Do you have a preferred time of year to visit? Let us know in the comments and don’t forget to follow us on Instagram for more Disney tips and tricks.
As a self-proclaimed Mouseketeer, Courtney Dercqu is a fan of all things Disney. Between decorating her desk with souvenirs from the park, to making unique mouse ears and having a dedicated Disney Instagram, Courtney is a true believer in the magic of a Walt Disney World vacation. Having had more than 200 articles published on various content, Courtney’s excited to share her knowledge and experience with everyone! Be sure to follow her on Instagram for all the Disney magic.