Anniversary Trip! When should we go? (Hot weather VS Crowds)


Sep 24, 2016
My husband and I are planning an anniversary trip in 2019. This will be our first time returning to WDW since our Disneymoon in 2016 and I'm really excited!

The whole Star Wars opening has thrown a real wrench into my works though. I was initially planning to return for 2 weeks in early December. However, after reading a couple threads about the increased (and insane) crowd levels anticipated, I'm now (strongly) considering other dates.

We plan to stay on-site this time and generally prefer cooler weather and low crowd levels (don't we all?). We'll be spending about 4 to 5 days at Universal Studios as well.

Here are some dates I'm looking at:

Option 1 : 1 Dec - 14 Dec
Best weather + Christmas decorations = <3 However, I'm really concerned about the SPIKE in crowd levels. GE should have hit by this time so what once was a nice calm before the Christmas storm might become The Storm itself.

Option 2 : Any 2 weeks in September
This feels like the most do-able of the summer months. The weather is not going to be ideal, but the lower crowd levels are quite tempting. Not to mention cheaper prices overall (although we missed Free Dining since I wasn't looking at September at that time. :laughing:

Also, this means that we could spend a night or two at HHN.

But hurricanes. : /

Option 3: Late Oct / Early - Mid November

Slightly cooler weather than Sept (and maybe we'll squeeze in a last minute HHN). And maybe we'll get to see some early Christmas decorations. Only, GE might open around this time and then the joke would really be on us.


I feel like the only guarantee to avoid that dratted GE opening is to go in September. I feel like that's the only way to get lower crowd levels. However, the weather is really not going to be ideal holiday weather.

Late Oct / early Nov seems like a risky compromise. The weather *might* be cooler and GE *might* not be open yet.

Dec seems like an impossible dream.since it feels like GE would definitely be open by then. Then again, if GE opens in Oct, *perhaps* things would be less crazy in Dec compared to Nov and we'd still get our lovely cold weather? (Although from what I'm reading, the crowds would likely persist well into 2020).


Oh what a kerfuffle. :snooty: Advice, please?


Jul 30, 2011
FWIW, during the *expected* heavy crowd seasons, Disney seems to be doing a better job of staffing. So while it may be busier in those typically crowded times, the wait times may not be as bad as you would expect.

It does seem like your priority is to avoid crowds rather than avoiding high temps. In your case, with your specific wants, I'd strike December from the list. Even if GE does open before then, there won't be any reprieve from the crowds. It's more likely to open then based on common thought around here. Not to mention it's busy in December anyway. So that leaves high crowds with potential cooler weather in October (the last 3 years for us have been high crowds/warm-to-hot weather) or hot weather and low(er) crowds in September. In which case, I think early September is your best bet.

Speaking for myself now, I would prefer to go when it's cooler and deal with slightly heavier crowds. Being from Alabama, it's not my ideal vacation to go from hot/humid to super-hot/humid. So I would personally be looking at late October or mid-December. But my emphasis of avoidance is more on hot temps and less on crowds; probably a 60/40 split.

This is all just an opinion. Be prepared; you're going to get several more. ;)
Either way, you'll have a good time, I'm sure.
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DIS Veteran
Feb 21, 2001
Although SWGE will pack DHS, if that park isn't your focus I wouldn't rule out those weeks. But those weeks are crazy busy at Disney without

I'd go with October, the weather is usually quite nice with the humidity gone, no Christmas decorations but if you hit late October the Halloween decorations will be up and they are lovely too. Not to mention MNSSHP if you are interested in that event.

Happy Anniversary!
  • shh

    DIS Veteran
    Dec 10, 2013
    As a Floridian for decades, I just want you to realize - Sept is often the hottest, most humid month of the year - more so than June/July, which surprises many people - even those from the southeastern US. It's also a rainy month. I have annual passes to both WDW and UO and won't go anywhere near any of the parks in Sept.

    Don't get me wrong - many go and have a great time. I don't want to discourage you! :-) You're right in that the crowds will be lower. As long as you go in prepared for the higher humidity, it won't catch you by surprise.

    I'm always going to prioritize cooler temps over everything else. I'd rather deal with crazy crowds in comfortable weather - I'm a lot more patient. :D


    DIS Veteran
    Nov 21, 2011
    I would pick the dates that appeal to you most and just go then. I honestly think the fear of huge, overall WDW crowds with the opening of SWGE is a bunch of hype. While DHS may be more crowded, I don't think the other parks will be more crowded than usual. Crowds at WDW ebb and flow with the school vacation patterns in the US. No US schools are closing so people can go to SWGE.


    DIS Veteran
    Jan 22, 2014
    Everyone's weather tolerance is different.....I am a Florida native and a wimp. The September heat and humidity would completely detract from the fun for me. I would opt for the possibility of high crowd levels and just be prepared to adjust plans, maximize FP etc.

    FSU Girl

    DIS Veteran
    Oct 20, 2016
    I like it better when it's colder there, sweating and roasting in the summer sun isn't very fun for me, but I have gone all throughout the year. When is your actual anniversary? I like making special trips on the actual dates. If you want to avoid Star Wars I think aiming for early November would help avoid that, I think it'll open closer to Thanksgiving. For low crowds September will probably be your best bet. When I went over Labor Day weekend it was the least crowded I had seen in a long while.

    Just be aware that Hurricane season does go until the end of November so storms are possible any time then, just less likely the further you get into October. Room only rooms could be good for this since you can cancel up to 5 days before your stay so if you do see a storm will be hitting you could rearrange to a different date.
  • Klayfish

    DIS Veteran
    May 19, 2016
    This will be whatever you are most comfortable with. December, besides being more crowded, can also be cold. We were there for Xmas 2017 and it was in the 40s. To me, a cold WDW isn't any fun, at all. I'd much rather go in the summer. I'm sure SWGE will pack HS, but not sure it'll make all the parks a mob scene.

    Only you can decide if you'd let the chance of a hurricane stop you from going. It definitely wouldn't stop us.


    Feb 11, 2019
    To be honest, I don’t plan our trips around “crowds” anymore. Disney is almost always busy and crowd calendars aren’t very accurate anymore (in my experience). As soon as people think they’ve found a “slow” time, they all book for then, and it’s no longer slow. What I find has the biggest effect on my overall enjoyment of a trip is the weather! Cooler temperatures make crowds more tolerable and the average park-goer less cranky lol. Sept is very hot. So I would personally vote for later in the year - but that’s just me!

    WIll C

    May 19, 2018
    My wife and I are cool weather people (from PacNW). We went for our first time last Sept/Oct and the heat was miserable for us. I think that ruined so much of it for us and we had to spend a lot of time inside. It was nice to have the nightly events (MNSSHP and evening magic hour) but we were pushed for time and it took a lot away.
    We're going in 2 weeks now in Feb/March and hoping the temp will be a lot more to our liking. I'm sure it will be busy but it was as well last year. Taking more time with cooler temps will make it a lot better for us.


    Wishing upon a star
    Dec 1, 2010
    We usually go in Sept (HHN) and in early Dec for a conference. Sept last year was hot, hot, hot. No a lot of rain. Dec on the other hand was cold and I am from the North. Rooms are booking up fast however in anticipation of SWGE. Good luck and Happy Anniversary!
  • armerida

    DIS Veteran
    Mar 21, 2018
    We love September for low crowds - the weeks after Labor Day are the emptiest I've ever seen Disney! Weather is definitely hot, maybe even hotter than August, but we head out early and take long pool breaks.


    DIS Veteran
    Jun 21, 2008
    We go at the end of August, so not much of a difference in heat or crowds. I love it at that time of year! We've never been during December, but I can tell you that I'd take the heat of the summer over the crowds of Feb break and Spring break. We always take a break during the day and go back at night. Totally do-able.


    DIS Veteran
    Sep 19, 2011
    We've gone 2/3 of those times.

    We used to go every year for Christmas. This was our last year, which was unfortunately fitting because we lost dad three weeks ago.

    I'll try and be brief, as I can go on for hours about Christmas at Disney. I'll just type out a quick opinion then list the pros and cons.

    December Dates
    Mickey's Very Merry is going on during this time. Never been. Planned on going next year but it always looks so cool. A lot of the entertainment carries over into Christmas week, so what we have experienced is totally worth the upcharge. I'd say plan one day where you stay at the resort or go to Disney Springs, then go at night. People always hear "Christmas" and think crowds, but mid-December will be nowhere near Christmas week. Free dining (if offered) may bring in the crowds, but I wouldn't worry too much. It won't be anymore crowded than October dates.

    - The most magical time of the year. Everywhere is decorated. The Deluxe resorts have incredible decorations; 3/4 of the parks all have Christmas decorations; there's Christmas music being played everywhere.
    - You'll walk away with amazing photos. Only during Christmas can you get a photo with the castle covered in icicle lights.
    - Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party

    - Crowds - yeah, it'll be a little more crowded
    - Price - tends to be a bit pricier, but nowhere near Christmas week
    - Weather: it could be 80 degrees and sunny one day, then 40 and cold the next. You sorta need to pack for everything. We tend to leave our afternoons open in case it's a nice day, that way we don't feel guilty about skipping the parks the hang by the pool.

    We went during Halloween and loved it. MNSSHP was a lot of fun, albeit crowded. We stayed at Poly. It was cool because it was a big family trip - 10 of us went (including 2 little ones). Some days were mild; others were a little chilly. It did get pretty cold one night.

    - MK has a lot of cool decorations
    - Won't be too hot; shouldn't be too cold. You'll be wearing layers at some points, but it's comfortable to roam the parks.
    - Food and Wine is a really fun festival
    - You can see Halloween decorations, then some of the Christmas decorations

    - Could be crowded. Halloween was a lot more crowded than we expected
    - Only MK is really decorated. We were underwhelmed by the rest of the parks
    - You may miss out on some of the Christmas decorations and get FOMO when you see that you "missed XYZ decorations by a few days!"

    Not much experience traveling during September. One word of advice: it's hurricane season and this could totally derail your plans.

    Side note:
    Have you considered spring time? We went for the last two Easters and loved it. Even my dad who was getting sick of Disney loved it. The weather was perfect; Flower and Garden is (IMO) the best festival; and it's not quite as crowded.


    DIS Veteran
    Oct 16, 2017
    I honeymooned late September/early October so if that's an option, I'd look into that. I remember it being warm, but I don't think it was super humid.

    My friend went this year in the week after Labor Day, I think, it was hot as the sun and she melted, but I think the crowds were at a decently low level.


    Sep 24, 2016
    Wow, thank you guys so much for all the replies and advice!

    I was actually quite set on a September trip - until I decided to take a walk in the middle of the day. It was 32°C (around 89°F, I think) and Humid. I almost died after 15 minutes in the sun and I think that's only a patch on what WDW in Sept would be for me. :scared: So, Sept's kinda shelved. I actually don't mind the heat that much, but the humidity is what kills me. I think low crowds in the heat sounded a lot more attractive while I was surfing the net in an air-conditioned room.

    Right now, I'm toying with the idea of either mid / late Oct or even mid November. The weather seems more bearable in Oct, at least it won't be as humid. November is pretty tempting because my birthday is on 12 Nov and our wedding anniversary is on 19 Nov. I figured that even if the crowds are INSANE, we'd still be at Disney on those two dates.

    Thank you all for the clarity! :cloud9: :flower2:I think it's all going to be down to how much the flights / rooms / tix will cost.


    Apr 5, 2011
    I know you’ve ruled out September, but that has been our favorite time to go—-low crowds and no lines! I actually found the July heat to be much more unbearable. That said, we’ve also really enjoyed October and November. October will have Halloween decorations and Dec. Christmas. We did MNSSHP for the first time this fall and LOVED it!


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