When is off season for WDW???

Discussion in 'Theme Parks Attractions and Strategies' started by LVdisneyChick, Sep 22, 2009.

  1. LVdisneyChick

    LVdisneyChick Mouseketeer

    Jun 29, 2008
    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.
  2. squirrel

    squirrel DIS Veteran<font color=deeppink>

    Aug 19, 1999
    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.
  3. Avatar


    to hide this advert.
  4. fla4fun

    fla4fun DIS Veteran

    Nov 12, 2006
    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.
  5. hookedonears

    hookedonears Louisianan

    Jul 22, 2008
    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.
  6. Darcy03231

    Darcy03231 DIS Veteran

    Nov 1, 2006
    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)
  7. RMulieri

    RMulieri DIS Veteran

    Jul 5, 2001
    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
  8. CdnCarrie

    CdnCarrie DIS Veteran

    Aug 17, 2009
  9. HerdOHuds

    HerdOHuds <font color=red>Minnie is really just Mickey, but

    Feb 5, 2008
    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.
  10. laceemouse

    laceemouse laceemouse

    Apr 20, 2003
    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:thumbsup2
  11. RMulieri

    RMulieri DIS Veteran

    Jul 5, 2001
    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
  12. Darcy03231

    Darcy03231 DIS Veteran

    Nov 1, 2006
    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?
  13. shafke

    shafke Morituri Nolumus Mori

    Feb 18, 2002
    I think off season now lasts for a couple of hours on the 2nd Tuesday of Sept. ;)
  14. TillyMarigold

    TillyMarigold DIS Veteran

    Mar 23, 2009
    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.
  15. Damien2213

    Damien2213 Mouseketeer

    Aug 24, 2009
    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...
  16. mickeyluv'r

    mickeyluv'r DIS Veteran

    Feb 14, 2005
    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.
  17. klwdisney

    klwdisney DIS Veteran

    Feb 1, 2000
    You don't have to pay extra for Fastpass at WDW though?
  18. Damien2213

    Damien2213 Mouseketeer

    Aug 24, 2009
    Yeah the Q-Bot System at Dollywood cost extra but oh boy does it make life so much easier. When you first pick yours up you can schedule seating for any show you want to go to that day and then you just pick the ride you want to reserve and you will be beeped at that time. When you go through the q-bot line they scan it and you pick your next ride right then and there. At the end of the day you turn your q-bot back in. Personally I liked it better than FP. It makes you pick one attraction at a time there fore evening things out a little more and like I said you never are going to have people using non-valid fastpasses...
  19. g-dad66

    g-dad66 DIS Veteran

    Feb 22, 2009
    From the reports on the DIS during the past year, I would say that September is pretty clearly the month with the lightest-crowds now -- especially the first couple of weeks.

    School has just started most places, and not many parents want to pull the kids out during the first 2 or 3 weeks.
  20. dburg30

    dburg30 Ferb, I know what we're going to do today! Yes, I

    Jun 15, 2007
    If the marketing department at Disney does their job right there isnt a 'slow' time. If you go and look at the DVC point charts and look at the dates for the 'adventure' season, that is the 'cheapest' time for DVC rentals and will go along with the 'slow' dates that WDW has. Just use any of them, here is animal kingdoms


    It is funny to NOT see 4th of July in the premier season though.. Or thanksgiving, or the other 'big' summer holidays.. Granted they are almost in premier.

    so the 'slowest' time SHOULD be
    Jan 1-31
    Sep 1-30
    Dec 1-14


    Oct 1-31
    Nov 1-23
    Nov 27-30
    Dec 15-23


    Feb 1-15
    May 1-31
    June 1-10
    Aug 16-31


    Feb 16-28
    Mar 1- 27
    Apr 11-30
    June 11-30
    July 1-31
    Aug 1-15
    Nov 24-26

    then the PREMIERE season..

    March 28-31
    April 1-10
    Dec 24-31
  21. llrain

    llrain <font color=green>Has a one-way ticket to the funn

    May 22, 2003
    Agreed, there are no more "off seasons"
    Disney has done a wicked job making sure of that.

Share This Page