Mid-January 2018…and it’s off season: It’s 9am and hardly anyone here! Sunny and 70 degrees.
When you think of a Disney World vacation, you might immediately think about huge crowds, hot rainy weather, and high prices. That makes sense. That is the typical summertime Disney experience that guests experience.
However, it isn’t like that all the time. Disney World is so much more fun during the “Slow” aka “Off” Season!
When is the “Slow Season” at Disney World?
While there are no official definitions, most people say that there are generally three slow seasons at Disney World, which mostly take place when kids are in school:
January to mid-March (after the Christmas and New Year’s rush, but before the spring break rush)
After Easter until mid-May (before school gets out for the summer)
Labor Day to mid-November (before the Thanksgiving rush begins)
That being said, Disney is getting better and better about increasing the crowds during the slow seasons. They run , the Walt Disney World Marathon in January, The International Arts Festival at Epcot Jan-Feb., the International Flower and Garden Festival in March-May, the Expedition Everest Challenge in May, and the extended Epcot International Food and Wine Festival in August-November now.
See how these events and festivals line up with the slow seasons to bring in more people?
January 2018: We needed jackets at Epcot. It was very cool all week.
What are the benefits of going to Disney World during the Slow Season?
1 – Weather
Unless you live in the topics, Florida will probably be warmer than your home town in the winter months. Usually the winter weather in Florida is really nice. It may be cool in the early morning and evening, but it typically warms up during the day into the 70s when the sun comes out.
However, Central Florida has a sub-tropical climate, not a tropical climate. That means in can get cool, and there are occasionally even a few days in the dead of winter (usually towards the end of January) when it comes close to freezing (32 degrees) overnight. In the end, you might have to wear a hat and gloves, at least during certain parts of certain days.
But, you won’t be melting under a broiling sun in 90+ temps! And, it’s the dry season, so it’s much less likely to rain and there are rarely thunderstorms. In the summer months, June-August, you can expect afternoon thunderstorms every day!
2 – Slower Pace
When crowds are smaller, they also tend to move more slowly. You might experience a somewhat laid-back vibe with less energy and hustle. You might have to accept a less energized environment.
But, you are much less likely to have to listen to over-stimulated crying children in the evening. The parades and firework shows are all earlier in the evening. It gets darker earlier, so all the evening activities start earlier, typically around 6pm. As the parks close earlier, there’s no feeling of having to stay until midnight to see it all.
3 – Shorter Operating Hours
During the slow times of the year, the parks may close much earlier than you would expect. Some parks, especially Disney’s Animal Kingdom, will close as early at 6pm. In addition, Disney generally tends to schedule refurbishments during the slower seasons. You might find that some of your favorite attractions are down for repairs.
It might also be too cool to visit either of the water parks (Typhoon Lagoon, Blizzard Beach) and they close if the daytime forecast is for temps below 65 degrees.
That’s the downside.
The upside is that the lines for attractions will generally be much shorter so that you can see and do more even when the parks are open for fewer hours.
You probably won’t need FastPasses, or if you do want them, they won’t be all gone by 10am like they are in the summer.
You will probably have a much easier time getting Advanced Dining Reservations. You might even be able to walk into some table service restaurants without a reservation at all, if you can imagine that! (Totally impossible in the summertime!)
Plus, the prices for everything from air fare to hotels to car rentals to Disney menu prices are all significantly lower in the off season. It might mean you can spend a few extra days at Disney World or buy a few more Disney gifts! 🙂
The Best Times to Visit Disney World 2019 are:
Weekdays in January (minus the week of New Year’s Day and the days around MLK Day, Jan 21st)
Weekdays in February (minus the days around President’s Day, Monday, Feb 18th )
The first two weeks in March
Weekdays the second half of April after Easter (Sunday, April 21st)
Weekdays in May before Memorial Day weekend (Monday, May 27th)
Weekdays the first week of June
The first half of September after Labor Day (Monday, Sept 2nd); weekdays for the remainder of September and October, avoid Columbus Day weekend (Monday, October 14th)
Weekdays in early and mid-November (minus the week of Thanksgiving, Thursday, Nov. 28th)
Weekdays during the first two weeks of December
Easter Week 2018, 8am: Guests pouring into MK and struggling to get down Main Street USA. Bad, bad, bad! 😦
The Worst Times to Visit Disney World in 2019: Listen Up People!!!
MLK weekend: Jan. 19 – 21, 2019
President’s Day weekend: Feb. 16 – Feb. 18, 2019
Spring Break : March 9 – March 31, 2019
Easter Weeks: April 13 – April 28, 2019
Memorial Day weekend: May 25 – 27, 2019
Summer: June 8 – August 31, 2019
4th of July week: June 30 – July 7, 2019
Labor Day weekend: August 31 – Sept. 2, 2019
Columbus Day weekend: Oct. 12 – Oct. 14, 2019
Halloween week: Oct. 27 – Nov. 3, 2019
Veteran’s Day weekend: Nov. 9 – Nov. 11, 2019
Week around Nov. 20th: New Star Wars Land opens at DHS
Thanksgiving week: Nov. 21 – Dec. 1, 2019
Christmas week through the first week of the New Year: Dec. 21, 2019 – Jan. 5, 2020
Spring Break 2018: Fantasyland is packed. Extremely long wait times for all rides.
Lions and Tigers and Strollers, Oh My!
This is not Caroline’s first time in the Disney College Program. Along with her sister, she was previously accepted into the program a few years earlier. Back in Colorado, Caroline was wishing for a little more pixie dust to brighten up her life. On a whim, she decides to apply to the exclusive Disney Alumni Summer Program.
Now that she’s back, things get wild.
Wild, as in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, where Caroline is assigned to work in Stroller Rental. While not the most glamorous position in the park, it’s often ground zero for humanity at its best and at its worst.
While Caroline makes many “Magical Moments” for deserving guests whose pixie dust has gone temporarily sideways, she also receives magical moments of her own through the friendships she makes, going to Disney cast member exclusive events, and all the spectacular dining opportunities at Disney World.
Caroline tells all – from the ins and outs of Disney’s secret training class called Traditions; to learning how to be a happy cast member during on-the-job training; to what it’s like to interact with fellow cast members and the guests who are ready to explore the most magical place on earth.
Join Caroline as she takes you on a wild ride through her adventures in Disney’s Animal Kingdom. But be careful, it’s a jungle out there!
Available now at Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle formats. Published by Theme Park Press.
Book link on Amazon.com: Adventures in the Animal Kingdom
About the Author:
Caroline’s love for all things Disney, and desire to grow up to be a Disney princess, is the reason she always wanted to work for Disney. Her dream came true working as a cast member at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
Caroline is the co-author of the book, Two Girls and a Mouse Tale, about her adventures working at Disney World with her sister.
She is currently a 7th grade middle school Social Studies teacher in Colorado.
Daily blog link: https://collinsrace1.wordpress.com/