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Old 09-22-2009, 12:21 AM   #1
LVdisneyChick
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Question When is off season for WDW???

I know, this thread probably is around every two weeks. I go to DL on a yearly basis so i am aware of crowd levels. I am trying to figure out the best time to go to WDW. How long is needed to see the 4 main parks? It wont be for awhile (atleast 2011.) Any tips, hints or links would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 09-22-2009, 12:54 AM   #2
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Off-Season is when the resorts have value season (the lowest prices).

If you have young children I would plan a 10 day or so trip. Depends on if this is you one time kind of trip or if you might get back in a few years. I think 2 days at each park is nice and then a day or two of rest. Some will say that AK or HS are only half day parks, but I don't think so.

I have been to WDW a few times and still haven't seen everything, especially in Epcot.
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Old 09-22-2009, 04:20 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by squirrel View Post
I have been to WDW a few times and still haven't seen everything, especially in Epcot.
I've been to WDW nearly 100 times (not counting day trips) and I still haven't seen everything either. I swear - I will get to Tom Sawyer's Island in the next year no matter what!

There aren't really as many slow seasons at WDW any more, because the marketing department has become very savvy at bringing the guests in with different package deals. The slowest time in my opinion is the first two to three weeks in September, right after the kids go back to school. Yes, it's during hurricane season, yes it's still hot like summer, but even with free dining, you can typically walk on most rides with little to no wait at all. Early December used to be slow, but it's more like regular season these days. January also used to be slow, but between the Disney marathon, and MLK weekend, it can also be busier than it used to be. If it were me, I'd try to plan for September.
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Old 09-22-2009, 07:54 AM   #4
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Off season is between closing time and opening time each evening. There is no off season at WDW anymore. If you want the least crowded times to go.
1) Don't go the week before, or week after national holidays.
2) Don't go during spring break period - March-April.
3) Don't go during the summer. May 15 - September 15.
4) Don't go on weekends. - too many LOCALS.
5) Don't go duing the first 3 weeks of October.
That should pretty much give you your answer.

Last edited by hookedonears; 09-22-2009 at 08:23 AM.
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Old 09-22-2009, 08:21 AM   #5
Darcy03231
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While there's no real "low" season anymore the following are weeks I've been and the crowds have been light to moderate:

Last week of April
First week in May
Third week of October
First two weeks of December
January through the first two weeks of February (excluding MLK weekend)
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Old 09-22-2009, 08:42 AM   #6
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There is no real off season anymore. Value season is lower rates and LESS crowds, but not dead.The best times are : End of August-Sept
after Thanksgiving till week BEFORE Christmas.Avoid when schools are out, summer, spring break, and holidays
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Old 09-22-2009, 09:22 AM   #7
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www.mousesavers.com gives you all the various seasons.
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Old 09-22-2009, 09:31 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darcy03231 View Post
While there's no real "low" season anymore the following are weeks I've been and the crowds have been light to moderate:

Last week of April
First week in May
Third week of October
First two weeks of December
January through the first two weeks of February (excluding MLK weekend)
We fell into the 'slow season' idea last December. I would argue that it wasn't slow at all. We went to a Tuesday night MVMCP (from advice from TGM and Unofficial Guide) and they were SOLD OUT! The rest of the time I would say the crowds were moderate to heavy-the only exception being the day we had a morning downpour. At least AK was pretty empty after that rain.

As other posters have said, slow times are difficult to find. Good luck.
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Old 09-22-2009, 09:38 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HerdOHuds View Post
We fell into the 'slow season' idea last December. I would argue that it wasn't slow at all. We went to a Tuesday night MVMCP (from advice from TGM and Unofficial Guide) and they were SOLD OUT! The rest of the time I would say the crowds were moderate to heavy-the only exception being the day we had a morning downpour. At least AK was pretty empty after that rain.

As other posters have said, slow times are difficult to find. Good luck.
Agree 100% We were in Orlando last Thanksgiving at an offsite timeshare. We did Thanksgiving with family and several days at US (which was DEAD!) Then we did a couple of WDW days the week AFTER Thanksgiving. I have never seen so many people at Epcot in my life! I know it was probably stragglers left from Thanksgiving, and maybe the next week in December would be slower, but man it was a MOB scene.
"Slow time" at WDW is a relative term. No matter when you go plan for crowds, book ADRs, and have a plan. Even when people say rides were "walk on" they are not talking about the big name rides. AND, with things like Wishes and Fantasmic not being every night those things can be jammed with people year round.
Go when it is value season but don't plan on NO crowds, ever!
You need at least a week, MK and Epcot definitely need 2 days each
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Old 09-22-2009, 10:39 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HerdOHuds View Post
We fell into the 'slow season' idea last December. I would argue that it wasn't slow at all. We went to a Tuesday night MVMCP (from advice from TGM and Unofficial Guide) and they were SOLD OUT! The rest of the time I would say the crowds were moderate to heavy-the only exception being the day we had a morning downpour. At least AK was pretty empty after that rain.

As other posters have said, slow times are difficult to find. Good luck.
I agree 100% .I used to go to WDW every December during the first week following Thanksgiving.It was a ghost town..Each year it has gotten more and more crowded so now it is more average crowds.I feel sorry for people that go thinking WDW will be dead those weeks.It can be quite busy
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Old 09-22-2009, 10:56 AM   #11
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I agree 100% .I used to go to WDW every December during the first week following Thanksgiving.It was a ghost town..Each year it has gotten more and more crowded so now it is more average crowds.I feel sorry for people that go thinking WDW will be dead those weeks.It can be quite busy
Ok, now you guys are scaring me! Its been a couple of years since we went in December (and it definitely was a slower time of year then), but I have a trip planned the first week of December this year thinking that was a good time to go. Are the crowds as bad as spring break/summer?
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Old 09-22-2009, 10:59 AM   #12
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I think off season now lasts for a couple of hours on the 2nd Tuesday of Sept.
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Old 09-22-2009, 11:11 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Darcy03231 View Post
Ok, now you guys are scaring me! Its been a couple of years since we went in December (and it definitely was a slower time of year then), but I have a trip planned the first week of December this year thinking that was a good time to go. Are the crowds as bad as spring break/summer?
Not even close.

We were just there for a value season visit (week after Labor Day) and the peak waits at the most popular attractions (Toy Story Mania was the worst we saw, at 50; Peter Pan was consistently 40 so we FastPassed it) were 40-50 minutes, but we never waited more than 15 minutes for any attraction and didn't even have to use a couple of our FastPasses. One day Expedition Everest was a walk-on most of the day; they didn't even have the regular line open, everyone just went through the FP line. If you know how to use FastPasses and don't want to only ride the absolute most popular attractions, value season is very do-able ... just not as completely empty as it used to be.

Considering that over spring break there were reports of 3-hour waits for TSM, I'd say value season is definitely NOT as busy as spring break.
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Old 09-22-2009, 11:51 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by hookedonears View Post
Off season is between closing time and opening time each evening. There is no off season at WDW anymore. If you want the least crowded times to go.
1) Don't go the week before, or week after national holidays.
2) Don't go during spring break period - March-April.
3) Don't go during the summer. May 15 - September 15.
4) Don't go on weekends. - too many LOCALS.
5) Don't go duing the first 3 weeks of October.
That should pretty much give you your answer.
This is some good advice though most people are going to have trouble avoiding the weekend one way or the other. My advice on that one is to have your first day be a Sunday and go from there. I like starting on Sunday and heading out on Saturday. I find no matter what time you go in you miss most of the crowd that way. You can't do much about the weekends. I find the early hour park is your friend on the weekend. It seems there are people with annual passes that go almost every weekend but they don't usually get to the park till later.

One thing that was missed here is special events, that can be anything from a seasonal parade/special night attraction to the Marathon ran in January. There is the Flower and Garden at Epcot and then the Wine Festival. All those things bring in more people. Add Free Dining to all that and you get a pretty good idea when to go. There are just a handful of weeks there are no Holidays before or after, no special events, and no promos and no promos is never a safe bet. Remember while an empty park may be Heaven to you Disney wants to fill their parks year round.

Something else worth mentioning is Times. If you go in Value Season you will get early closing times. I think pretty much (with the exception of EMH) the latest closing time is around 9:00 or so and that forces pretty much everyone to the same park if there is evening EMH. So whereas during Spring Break EMH evening can be a blessing, it can work against you in the value season.

The main thing to remember is the best case scenario you can put yourself in is to follow the guidelines mentioned and be at the early EMH park at rope drop. If you get on an early morning schedule you can have all your meals earlier than most guests. This allows you to eat in peace and take advantage of the attractions when everyone else is eating. You would be amazed in the evening how much the attraction times fall for a short time while everyone is battling to get table service. Follow all this and you should have a decent trip with reduced crowds and plenty of time to ride what you want.

Oh and don't let me forget fastpast. If you notice Stand-bys going up in time get to the nearest FP station. Though I'm not a huge fan of FP because it is a broken system (Dollywoods Q-Bot owns FP 100X over and on that system it is impossible to use two year old fast passes to gain access to rides) it is your best options for rides like Soarin' and Toy Story Mania when lines are long...plus you don't have to pay extra for fastpass...
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Old 09-22-2009, 11:57 AM   #15
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Every time of year has pros and cons. The seasons that are designated as 'value season' by Disney are that way for a reason.

September's one example. It's hot, it's hurricane season, and most folks don't want to pull their kids out of school during the very start of the school year. Plus, even if there's no hurricane, there is almost certainly going to be rain and thunderstorms.

Christmas is the highest of high seasons. I suppose some would say it's a magical way to spend the holiday - but the prices are crazy high, the crowds are crazy high, and the weather can be rather cold. You're also mixing a traditionally uber-religious holiday with uber-commercialization. Outdoors in the cold all day is not my ideal time to go. Cold temps continue in January - along with lots of ride rehabs. But you'll get low prices and low crowds.

Spring brings mostly high crowds, and fairly high prices, but the parks inthe spring are just lovely. Being nice and warm after acold winter feels great. then you come home to spring- longer days and warmer weather...It's a good way to minimize the post-Disney blues.

October is also pretty nice- moderate prices, reduced hours , F& Wine Festival (depending on how you feel about intoxicated guests all over Epcot), but also reduced park hours and LOTS of Halloween parties (They require paid admission, which adds up, otherwise you're shut out of MK most nights.) You come home to late fall/winter.

Generally school vacations are going to be more crowded and more expensive: any holiday and summer. You've also got to look at average weather for each month. Disney special events: races, festivals, etc.

I've been in most of the months of the year: Feb, Mar, April, May, July, Aug, Spet, early Oct, November, early Dec. January and June hold no appeal for me. Again I say, every time of year has pros and cons. There's a price for lower crowds, and that price can be steep.
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