The Orlando theme parks, like all vacation destinations, have peak seasons. The peak-iest of these seasons are the Fourth of July week and the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day. That’s when Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando are madhouses and lines at some attractions can stretch far enough that you could watch the entirety of the movie “Gone with the Wind” while waiting for a ride with time to spare.
Yes, there are tips on how to best navigate the parks during the most crowded days, but wouldn’t you rather just vacation during a time when the walkways are not quite so packed with other people?
For instance, if you want to visit Walt Disney World during the holidays so you can take in all of the festive decorations or experience Macy’s Holiday Parade at Universal Orlando, there’s a calm before the storm in early December. Since most people try and coordinate vacations with their kids’ school breaks, most travelers don’t consider it a viable time. Use that to your advantage then, especially if you don’t have kids to worry about.
If you have kids, then seriously weigh out how much they’ll reasonably miss at school if they take a few days off in early December. Will they miss the Napoleon part of World History and for the rest of their lives be dumbfounded by all of the height jokes? They probably won’t have that big of a hole punched in their education; but the choice is up to you.
Just know that if you choose to avoid the Holiday crush, you will enjoy shorter wait times, and as a result you’ll get to experience more of the parks during your visit. Wait times carve a lot of time out of your vacation, and when you’re staring down five hour waits, that’s half a day’s vacation.
Other off-season times such as January can be a possibility, especially if you have a lot of holiday planning and shopping to get done in December. In fact, after Christmas, the theme parks don’t really pick up again until Spring Breakers seek sun and fun in March. Then there’s a lull in June before the summer crowds descend in force on Central Florida in July. Also, September is great, especially if you don’t have kids and therefore don’t have to worry about the beginning of the school year.
And ironically, the off-season months for the parks showcases some of the more moderate weather Florida has to offer. January never gets near as cold as it does in the North, and it’s mostly doled out in cold snaps rather than one brutal, frigid slog. June starts to heat up a bit, but it’s certainly better than the suffocating humidity in July.
It’s just good advice for any planned getaway to do your best to avoid the “usual” times people take family trips. Your vacation time is precious. Spend it wisely.