Deciding when to visit Walt Disney World
By Steven Hoffman
By Tricia Hoadley
You've been saving up for awhile now and decided that you are finally going to take the vacation that you've been dreaming of. You're taking the family to Walt Disney World! After the initial excitement of finally taking this first step wears off, you realize that you don't even know where to begin when it comes to planning.
One of the first things that you need to choose is when to visit. This decision can be a daunting one since you will probably be taking several factors into consideration, such as time off from work and/or school, the weather, crowd levels, and pricing. You may have to drive or fly, find transportation in the area, and a place to stay. Prices for all of these things vary greatly from one season to the next.
The summer break can be a great time to visit Disney since the kids are already out of school and the parks stay open for longer, plus you may only be able to take vacation from work at this time, but keep in mind that a lot of people are already thinking the same thing. Prices tend to be higher, it will likely be more crowded, and if you've been to Florida in the summer before, you already know that it can be sweltering hot and humid as well. Luckily, there are things to keep in mind that can help you to make the most of your visit and enjoy your time so that you don't end up with a family of sticky, sunburnt, unruly complainers that just make you want to go home.
The theme parks are the least crowded first thing in the morning - because who wants to get up early when you are on vacation? Just like the saying goes, the early bird gets the worm. The lines will more than likely be the shortest at park opening. Get there as the park has rope drop, ride as many rides as you can in the first couple of hours, use your fastpasses, and then head back to your hotel. Mid-day will be the hottest and most crowded time to be in the parks. Use this time to relax at your hotel, take a swim in the pool, grab a bite to eat, and enjoy some free time. Once it gets later and the sun isn't right above your head making you sweat down through your socks, head back to the parks. At this point, the families with younger kids that stayed in the park throughout the afternoon will be exhausted and cranky and about to head back to the hotel. You will get the chance to get on the rides with shorter lines again.
Heading to Florida during the winter can be a nice getaway as well, especially if you are trying to escape a colder climate. The upside to visiting in the off-months is that the crowds are usually lower, the weather is more mild, and the prices are less expensive. Flights tend to be cheaper after the Christmas and New Year holidays are over, and you can usually find some great hotel deals as well. But keep in mind that during the winter months, when it is less crowded, the park hours are cut down quite a bit. That is also when Walt Disney World refurbishes any rides that are due for maintenance, so you may have less time and opportunity to ride everything you'd like to. Then there is the weather. If you are from a cold climate, a breezy 50-degree day may be comfortable to you, but lots of people head to Florida to escape the cold. Walt Disney World keeps all of their pools at a comfortable 82 degrees, but that doesn't mean that you're going to want to hop out of the water and jump onto the water slide or sit on a beach chair soaking wet in 50-degree weather.
No matter when you decide to visit, there's no such thing as a bad time to be in Walt Disney World. You really just need to take into consideration what is best for your family and work from there.