The Best and Worst Times to Travel to Disney World in 2017!

 

For all of you advanced planners, we’ll talk about 2017 Disney World vacations! It’s never too early to start planning. Whether you wanted to save up for a big vacation or you’re just looking to try your first Disney adventure with your kids, it’s always a good time to research and plan a Disney vacation.  But when to go? Timing is everything.

First, ask yourself a few simple questions:

  • If I have kids, am I willing to take them out of school?
  • Do I have any blackout dates at work?
  • Are there any special events I want to attend? (i.e. Mickey’s Not to Scary Halloween Party, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party)
  • Do I want to be able to swim or go to water parks? (is temperature a factor)
  • Is it ok to miss a few headlining attractions due to routine maintenance?
  • Is cost a major factor in our vacation?
  • Is it ok if it’s H-O-T while we are there? Summers in Orlando can get pretty brutal)

All of these simple questions will help direct you to the best time of year to travel. As we start to talk about overall crowds and dollar values, please be aware that Disney World has become an increasingly popular destination. Yes, it has always been a popular travel destination for families, but whether it’s more international guests taking the opportunity to travel to the states or families just taking more frequent Disney World adventures, overall crowd attendance is up no matter what the time of year. If you’ve traveled more than once in the last 5 years, you’ll feel this increase in wait times and overall people milling around in the parks.

From year to year, the best times to go are fairly similar, but let’s break it down by month:

January – After you get past the New Year’s crowd which is typically gone by the 3rd or 4th of January, it’s a pretty slow time. Crowds increase during the Disney marathon which is typically the first weekend after the holidays pass. Both crowds and costs are low, however you may miss a few major attractions due to maintenance. Crowds do increase during MLK Jr. weekend as many children have at least one day off school. Weather is typically cool and you may need a light jacket. Swimming may be out. Although the pools are open and Disney pools are heated, it’s still too cold for these old bones when the highs are only in the low to mid 70s.

February – This is also a fairly good time of year. Crowds peak for the Princess Half Marathon weekend as well as President’s day weekend. Other than this time, crowds and costs continue to be low. As with January, you may need a light jacket. In 2014, the weather was unseasonably warm so off season travelers got to enjoy some warm Florida sun but in 2015, weather was unseasonably cold and jackets were a must! 2016 saw a middle ground in weather and much of the year was pleasant. The closer you get to March, the more the crowd level begins to increase. I was told by a cast member that every single room in every Disney resort was booked for Valentine’s Day last year, so if it’s a romantic destination for you, make sure you plan ahead!

fg1March – Ahhh, spring break season! While schools across the country all have different weeks for spring break, you’ll typically see spikes in crowds at last 1-2 weeks during the month. With Easter falling in mid-April next year, Spring Break season will likely start during the 3rd week of March this year but schools will never surprise me with how early spring break may fall! Weather begins to warm up at this time and very few attractions are closed during this time.  Epcot begins their annual Flower & Garden festival which runs through the end of May.

April – Spring break season continues.With Easter in mid-April this year, you’ll see peak spring break through the week of April 16th and then a drop in crowds and costs.  After spring break crowds wear down, both prices and costs decrease as the weather heats up! It’s not the lowest cost of the year, but it’s better than the peak prices! There’s a bit of a lull here as kids go back to school after spring break and before school lets out.

May – A few things to note for May travelers: the first two weeks of May are often a great time to travel in terms of crowds but it can start to get hot! Our most recent May adventure saw daytime highs in the 90s which made park touring a bit slower paced than it would be in the cooler months of January and February. Disney has continued to elaborate and extend the Epcot Flower & Garden Festival so it’s still a fun time to explore this free event. Lastly, Memorial Day weekend is a popular long weekend for guests and crowds may mildly increase during this time. Prices and crowds tend to be moderate as we get closer to the end of school year and finals. It’s a nice little window between spring break and end of school to enjoy trip! The weather is easily in the 80s and sometimes warmer, and it’s not typically very rainy. Not many attractions closed during this time.

June – June of 2015 saw a HUGE influx of travelers throughout the month (moreso than previous years with 8-10/10 crowds each day) with a bit of a dip in 2016. This may be related to some new attractions opening in late June that had guests delay their arrival date to explore the new offerings. Early in the month, the unofficial event “gay days” is held in one of Disney’s theme parks. It does increase the crowds of that park specifically, so be aware as you start to plan.  Along with increase in crowds comes increase in prices and heat. The summer months can be sweltering. Although June is not that bad, the remainder of the summer is hot, hot, hot!\

July – It’s one of the most popular times of year to travel to Disney. I can’t say that I’ve been there in July, but it’s a hot! Plan for an afternoon rain shower which is often welcomed in the humid Florida weather. It provides some relief. Fourth of July weekend is even more costly than the standard summer pricing. Crowds continue to peak during this month. Take a break from the parks and enjoy a water park!

August  – As summer ends, the crowds begin to dwindle. By the middle of the month, crowds resume their normal 5-6/10. The weather is still hot and you often have a pop up rain shower. Don’t be scared if you see a 30% chance of rain every day. No special events throughout the summer, and August finishes that trend. Toward the end of August, you’ll see value season pricing as back to school season really ramps up (even before Labor Day weekend). If your kids don’t return until after Labor Day weekend, this may be a unique time of year for you to travel!

September – After Labor Day passes, the some really low crowds and prices settle in. School is officially back in session and it can be somewhat rainy. The weather is still typically very warm (especially earlier in the month). By mid to late September, Epcot is geared up for the International Food & Wine Festival which runs through midNovember. September also brings Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. This special ticketed event at Magic Kingdom closes the park early and allows guests to enjoy a special themed party where costumes are not only allowed, but encouraged. Plus, meet special characters appear throughout the park and lines are incredibly short. This even runs through the end of October. Great discounts and special offers are typically available September through mid November. This is often the time of year with the best promotional rates as it continues to have the lowest attendance. Over the last two years, the end of September has trended up in crowds with the addition of many schools adding a fall break to their school schedule. The last of September has become a much busier time of year.

October ­– October has become the “new summer” in terms of crowd levels. Without the heat of summer, days off of school for Columbus day, the draw of Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival, and Halloween festivities, it’s a huge draw for crowds. 2015 saw an astronomical spike in crowds over the previous year and 2016 is shaping up to be a busy year again. This can also be attributed to later fall breaks for schools across the country. There still appears to be a pocket of time at the end of the month around Halloween that gives a little reprieve on overall crowd levels. Weather finally begins to cool again after a long, hot summer. Temps will very likely still remain in the 80s, but it’s not as humid.

November ­– The phenomenon known as “Jersey Week” happens in early November. Schools in New Jersey have a week long break in early November inflating crowds. This isn’t a huge jump in crowd levels, but it’s a factor in making your plans. The first week of November often has lower crowd levels as Disney removes all of the Halloween and Fall decor and starts to set up for the Christmas season. You’ll see shorter hours in Magic Kingdom as the transformation happens literally overnight. For families with little ones, it’s a nice way to enjoy comfortable temperatures, and allow them to see fireworks shows without staying way past bed time!  Additionally, Veteran’s Day is often a day off for students (November 11) PLUS the Wine & Dine RunDisney event. Between this time and the week of Thanksgiving is a great time to travel as crowd levels begin to dwindle.  As it gets closer to Thanksgiving, crowd will peak. Discounts stop the days surrounding Thanksgiving as it’s often another peak travel time with multiple days off of work and school. Discounts typically resume the Sunday after Thanksgiving and continue through mid December. Watch for Christmas decorations as Halloween items are removed. Around this time, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party also begins. Similar to its Halloween counterpart, Magic Kingdom closes early for special events and characters culminated with a holiday parade and fireworks.

December ­­- The last month of a year is a mixed bag of crowds and costs. The first Tips and Tricks for Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Partytwo and a half weeks finishes up the Christmas Party at Magic Kingdom. Decorations remain throughout the theme parks and resorts through the remainder of the year (and through the first few days of January). After the second full week of December, crowds begin to increase as families take their holiday vacation to Disney World. It’s the highest crowd levels of the year, and the prices match. Wait times during the days surrounding Christmas and New Years can often be measured in hours instead of minutes. While it’s a magical time of year, it’s not the best time to go the most magical place on earth. Around Christmas and New Years, no room discounts are available.

A free gift for your Disney vacation! The amazing and exciting Minnie Box! (subject to minimum vacation package)

A free gift for your Disney vacation! The amazing and exciting Minnie Box! (subject to minimum vacation package)

Ready to get started planning your 2017 Disney World vacation? Can you believe we can already price out and plan your adventure? Please contact me at any time for a free quote. The benefits to using an authorized Disney vacation planner include saving time before and during your vacation with itinerary planning which can help save you hours of standing in line each day. Plus you won’t have to watch for available discounts, research resorts, wake up early for dining reservations, or stay up late for FastPasses. The best part about using a travel planner instead of planning yourself? It’s totally FREE! Plus I’ll take away some of the stress and confusion of planning a Disney vacation (especially if it’s your first one!)It’s also a worry free vacation opportunity. I’ll walk through through all of the steps to the process with a few little insider tips along the way! If you already have your vacation planned and are interested in transferring your vacation, ask me how!

Friday Five: Our Top 5 Disney Souvenirs

Everyone’s top 5 Disney souvenirs might be different but here is a list of our favorite take home goodies:

  1. Everyone needs a set of Mickey Ears! I have my very first pair from when I was 6 years old and my latest pair (from Magical Vacations, LLC that I proudly earned) in my office today. You can get the original Mickey ears or show your special personality with a Star Wars R2D2 to Minnie Mouse or Winnie the Pooh ears!  There are so many designs to choose from that it can get overwhelming.  The cost starts at $13.95 (for a baby set of Mickey ears) and goes up from there – most are around $20.00 so not a bad price for a souvenir plus you can even have your hat monogrammed! They can be found at Magic Kingdom at The Chapeau on Main Street, Hollywood Studios at the Five and Dime, and in Epcot at Mouse Gear.
  2. My other annual souvenir is a Disney World Christmas ornament.  In fact the kid’s teachers get them often as Christmas gifts with a gift card and they LOVE them. One of my favorite places to get these is at Ye Old Christmas Shoppe (Magic Kingdom) and the Days of Christmas Shoppe in Disney Springs. These can be personalized as well if you’d like for a small cost but worth the memory every time we decorate the tree!
  3. All kids (and maybe some adults) need to have one autograph book/pen in their “memory box”. Character meals are our favorite times and places for these and are great mementos that are personalized by each Disney character that comes to your table. There is even a place for a photo to add once you are home. My daughter loves to look at hers every once and awhile. You could even save some money and create your own autograph book before you go with all the great scrapbooking materials out their now.  Be creative!sil
  4. One of my favorites is the silhouette drawing because my mother had them of my sisters and me and I grew up always seeing them, which brought back great memories each time I passed them on the wall.  Now, I have my two and mine on a wall in our master bedroom and they are so special to me. To capture the sweet innocence of a young child is just precious!   These great keepsakes take a short amount of time (less than 5 min for my two) and are only around $12 each.  You can get them on Main Street or Liberty Square in Magic Kingdom, France in Epcot, or Disney Springs.
  5. Pin trading is another one of my kid’s favorite keepsakes from Disney and it is so popular. You can buy a small starter set or just a few pins to begin with and put them on a lanyard, and then you trade with cast members and people around the parks.  Some are worth more money and are special editions. I have a friend that went on Ebay before their last trip and bought a huge bag for a fraction of the price to take and trade.

Ok – so I was arguing with my kids and we really have more than 5 so I’m just going to add one from each….Olivia says that the ride pictures are in her top 5 but I thought that was really just Memory Maker so not a souvenir but she made a good argument. The candid photos are one of our favorite things to pose for and we have a few in frames around the house!  Lastly, Jordan (my animal lover) says you can never have enough stuff animals and he does about every Disney character in some form. They can start at about $10.00 and go on up but everyone needs at least one Mickey and Minnie!

A free gift for your Disney vacation! The amazing and exciting Minnie Box! (subject to minimum vacation package)

A free gift for your Disney vacation! The amazing and exciting Minnie Box! (subject to minimum vacation package)

These are just a few keepsakes that you can get from Disney World to help make those magical memories last for a lifetime. I hope you get to make some soon and if you’d like to get started planning your Disney World vacation? Please contact me at any time for a free quote or use the form below. The benefits to using an authorized Disney vacation planner include saving time before and during your vacation with itinerary planning which can help save you hours of standing in line each day. Plus you won’t have to watch for available discounts, research resorts, wake up early for dining reservations, or stay up late for FastPasses. The best part about using a travel planner instead of planning yourself? It’s totally FREE! Plus I’ll take away some of the stress and confusion of planning a Disney vacation (especially if it’s your first one!) If you already have your vacation planned and are interested in transferring your vacation, please feel free to use the contact form below.

Cruising the High Seas on the Holidays – Disney Style!

I know nothing better than making magical memories with loved ones as you celebrate the holidays in a new and exciting way on a Disney cruise.  With unbelievable holiday parties, decorations, activities, unforgettable ports to explore and much more are now available on select itineraries.  Let’s take a look at the next four months and what Disney has in store for you and yours…

Halloween: Fall festivities await with the upcoming October this week you can start your Halloween spirit filled fun with “happy haunts on the High Seas!” Experience thrills and chills on select sailings now through the end of October 2015. Be sure to pack you costume!

You will find treats, tricks, magical mischief and spooky ambiances as you celebrate Halloween on the High Seas! Thrills and chills await you at every turn with Halloween-themed parties, entertainment and extravagant decorations—including an evolving Halloween Tree that spookily transforms throughout your cruise. Too cool!! Check out the special sailing dates below:

Ship Sail Dates
Disney Magic 10/4/2015 –10/28/2015
Disney Wonder 10/1/2015 –10/23/2015
Disney Dream 9/7/2015 –10/30/2015
Disney Fantasy 9/5/2015 –10/31/2015

You cam also find these additional special experiences included:

  • Mickey’s Mouse-querade Party, an atrium party scare-a-bration (in addition to Pirate Night) with ghoulish games, trick-or-treating*, dancing and some favorite Disney Pals in their Halloween attire”.
  • Haunted Stories of the Sea – a spooky storytelling experience.
  • Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas Sing and Scream, an interactive movie experience where you’re part of the action, followed by a rare visit and meet-and-greet with Jack and Sally.
  • Halloween-themed activities for tweens/teens, including pumpkin-carving and mask-making.
  • Halloween Isn’t Just for Kids – an adults-only party (finally!) that includes a costume contest and much more fun!

Thanksgiving: Thankful harvest and more while you enjoy traditional festivities on Thanksgiving day, including a delicious feast, football game showings and other holiday-inspired touches. Enjoy your most relaxing Thanksgiving yet with Disney Cruise Line. Just picture that on Thanksgiving Day, Disney will feature an array of Thanksgiving events, including:

  • A traditional turkey dinner with all the trimmings
  • Special football game showings
  • Holiday décor, including Thanksgiving towel animals – who doesn’t love those?!!!
  • Your beloved Disney Characters in holiday-themed costumes
  • Best of all, when you celebrate Thanksgiving with Disney Cruise Line, you can leave the cooking, cleaning and decorating to us—and enjoy more quality time together with loved ones as you sail from one spectacular port to the next.

Merry Christmas!: Make a new holiday tradition by enjoying family time together at sea. Onboard, you’ll find yourself submerged in an imaginative winter wonderland of our Very Merrytime Cruises. This holiday season, come celebrate at sea with Very MerryTime Cruises—a Disney Cruise Line event—available on sailings departing November through Christmas! Share seasonal splendor with loved ones as you enjoy a twist on holiday traditions. See sailing dates below:

Ship Sail Dates
Disney Magic 11/11/2015–12/23/2015
Disney Wonder 11/6/2015–12/24/2015
Disney Dream 11/9/2015–12/24/2015
Disney Fantasy 11/14/2015–12/19/2015

Holiday Cheer at Castaway Cay

A winter wonderland awaits you aboard each ship—as well as my favorite port – Castaway Cay! This island paradise is transformed with “snow” flurries, a Christmas tree and more. Be on the lookout for Mr. and Mrs. Snowman, dressed in their island apparel. Plus, the island’s tram is decorated to resemble a reindeer, complete with antlers and a tail. How fun!!!

Onboard Experiences

Once onboard the ship, discover a festive blend of holiday-themed entertainment, activities and decorations—with a life-sized gingerbread house, 24-foot Christmas tree, garlands, poinsettias, shimmering lights and so much more!

Other holiday activities include:

  • Deck the Deck Tropical Holiday Party, a celebration (in addition to Pirate Night), with candy-cane limbo, dancing and games.
  • Santa Claus meet-and-greet, an exciting opportunity to take family pictures and see Santa and his elves up close and personal!
  • Meet-and-Greets with some favorite Disney Characters, dressed in their holiday garb.
  • Holiday storytelling, with new and old tales about holidays at sea.
  • Tree Lighting Ceremony, where the big and little kids can help light the tree to kick off the holiday festivities.
  • Themed activities and crafts for kids—decorate stockings, make holiday cards, or even go on a holiday scavenger hunt! Yay!!
  • A life-sized gingerbread house made completely with edible ingredients—and the opportunity to make your own gingerbread house.
  • Holiday merchandise – fun and new merchandise is available for this event only here on aboard.
  • Teen/tween-only holiday parties—they will have their own fun in private celebrations where even the teens/tweens can hang out with new friends and have some holiday fun.

Plus, on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day (December 24 and 25), enjoy additional holiday fun below:

  • Cookies on Christmas Eve
  • Special holiday towel animals
  • Holiday caroling with the kids and crew
  • Religious Services
  • Special holiday surprise

New Year’s: Ring in the New Year with an outstanding celebration! Plus, enjoy an exciting start to the year as your cruise to incredible ports of call-including Disney’s our island paradise – Castaway Cay!  New Year’s Eve festivities include:

  • A special New Year’s Eve dinner menu
  • New Year’s Eve deck party
  • Holiday-themed giveaways, like hats, horns and much more
  • Meet-and-Greets with some of your favorite Disney Characters, dressed in their holiday apparel
  • Teen-only and tween-only holiday parties— they will have their own fun in private celebrations where even the teens/tweens can hang out with new friends and have some holiday fun.

So if you are wanting to sail with Jack and Sally and a few happy haunts, or dance with Mickey to Christmas carols, or even start the New Year with a fresh viewpoint as you sail from one captivating port of call to the next, enjoying Disney entertainment, activities and remarkable views along the way then please contact me at any time for a free quote or use the form below. The benefits to using an authorized Disney vacation planner include saving time before and during your vacation with itinerary planning and familiarizing yourself with your cruise ship. The best part about using a travel planner instead of planning yourself? It’s totally FREE! Plus I’ll take away some of the stress and confusion of planning a Disney vacation (especially if it’s your first one!) If you already have your vacation planned and are interested in transferring your vacation, ask me how!