A trip to Disney World is magical and a must-do for many families, but it is no secret that it is also expensive. Still, did you know that it is cheaper to visit Disney World during some times of the year than others? The cost of visiting this wonderful destination tends to fluctuate significantly through the year, and going one season could cost half as much as going another time. Understanding the trends can help you save a lot of money. In this guide, we review the most expensive and Cheapest Time to Go to Disney World – generally and in 2022 and 2023 – and give you some money-saving tips for your trip.
The Least Expensive Time to Visit Disney World
The cheapest time to visit Disney World is between early January and February, around President’s weekend. This period offers lower hotel and ticket prices at any time of the year. After this, you can save some money by going to Disney World between August and September when there are smaller crowds and less demand. Early November and December are relatively cheaper periods, but to a lesser extent. Of course, many factors come into play when determining the most affordable time to visit Disney World, but these periods are a rule of thumb. Now, let’s get more specific.
Most Expensive Times to Visit Disney World
Disney World has been called many things, including the most magical place on Earth. But with this moniker comes some extreme prices. While you can still do Disney World on a budget no matter the time of year, you should avoid the following seasons if you want to save money. These are the most expensive times to visit Disney World:
Christmas and New Year’s
The Christmas-New Year holiday is historically the most expensive time to visit Disney World. A week before Christmas, ticket prices reach an all-year high and remain so until after New Year’s. Essentially, this is due to the increased demand and number of visitors compared to other times of the year.
In some instances, some months of the year that are typically cheaper can be very expensive due to special events. Prices tend to increase at Disney World if the location is hosting an event due to the increased demand for tickets and hotel rooms. In 2021, The Walt Disney World 50th Anniversary event caused ticket and hotel prices to skyrocket between September and October.
Spring Break is almost as expensive a time to visit Disney World as Christmas and New Year’s. Schools and colleges around the country are out, and many families plan their trips around this time, increasing the demand for hotels and tickets. This happens between March and April.
Holidays like Easter and Thanksgiving
After Christmas and New Year’s, national holidays are the most expensive time to visit Disney World. This includes days like Thanksgiving, Easter, Veteran’s Day, Columbus Day, and Memorial Day.
Marathon weekends usually fall between mid-February and mid-April. You should avoid this period as these events tend to draw in some crowds. However, if you like to attend marathons, the Walt Disney World Marathon in January is quite affordable.
Most Expensive 2022 Dates for Visiting Disney World
As you can see, the larger the crowd, the more expensive it is to visit Disney World. Consequently, some dates to avoid in 2022 and 2023 include:
- January 1 – New Year’s
- February 19 to February 27 – President’s Day and Marathon
- March 4 to April 21 – Easter and Spring Break
- May 27 to May 29 – Memorial Day
- October 7 to October 9 – Columbus Day
- November 3 to November 5 – Veterans Day
- November 19 to November 27 – Thanksgiving Week
- December 17 to December 31 – Christmas
Cheapest Times of the Year to Visit Disney World
As already established, the cheapest times of the year to visit Disney World are January, February, August, and September. You can also get some good days in November and December before the holidays. Here is a breakdown of why these months are more affordable than the rest of the year:
January and February
January and February offer the lowest hotel and ticket prices of the year. This is due to the low demand as more people go back to work and school after the holidays. That said, avoid President’s Day and Martin Luther King Jr. Day, as these could be a bit expensive.
August and September
Many students begin heading back to school around mid-August, which means there are less people visiting Disney World. This season – up to September – is also marked by hurricanes and scorching hot days, which forces Disney World to cut their prices to attract more visitors.
November and December Before the Holidays
November and December are holiday months, which means they are typically expensive times to visit Disney World. However, you can save money by going early in November before Thanksgiving and Veterans Day and early in December before Christmas.
Cheapest 2022 and 2023 Dates to Visit Disney World
Just as there are expensive dates on which to avoid going to Disney World, here are the best dates to visit the most magical place on earth in 2022:
- January 2 to January 5, January 9 to January 13, January 7 to February 9 – Winter Value Season
- February 27 to March 3 – Before Spring Break
- April 22 to May 26 – After Spring Break
- August 19 to September 1 – Summer Slow Season
- September 5 to September 15 – Summer/Fall Value Season
- October 10 to October 27, November 6 to November 21 – Fall Value Season
- November 28 to December 8 – Winter Value Season
Since most of these dates have passed, you can plan for the following in 2023:
- January 2 to January 5, January 8 to January 12, January 16 to February 8 – Winter Value Season
- February 26 to March 2 – Before Spring Break
- April 24 to May 25 – After Spring Break
- August 18 to August 31 – Summer Slow Season
- September 4 to September 14 – Summer/Fall Value Season
- October 9 to October 26, November 5 to November 20 – Fall Value Season
- November 27 to December 7 – Winter Value Season
Cheapest Days of the Week
The day of the week affects Disney World prices almost as much as the season. As a general rule, you want to avoid the weekend if you are on a budget. Disney resorts are cheapest from Monday through Wednesday and most expensive on Friday and Saturday nights. Thursday and Sunday nights, while cheaper than Friday and Saturday, can be more expensive than Monday through Wednesday. When it comes to park tickets, the cheapest prices are available from Monday to Thursday during most seasons. They cost the most on weekends unless there is a holiday on a weekday.
Factors That Affect Disney World Prices
Determining when Disney World prices will be at their lowest can be complicated. Disney World uses a complex pricing system, with prices determined by several factors, including day of the week, school breaks, special events, festivals, and holidays. Here are the factors you should consider when picking the cheapest times to have your trip:
Many Disney World goers worry about crowds almost as much as cost. If you prefer to avoid the crowds, the good news is that the cheapest time to visit Disney World is also when the crowds are thinnest. Most families visit when kids are on Spring or Summer break or home for the holidays, which means this is when the parks are most crowded. The high demand also means that this is when tickets and hotels cost the most. Disney World tends to reduce their prices during low-traffic seasons to attract guests.
While some months within a year are cheaper than other months within the same year, Disney World increases its ticket and hotel process every year. This means that January and February 2022 may be cheaper than August 2022 but more expensive than January and February 2021. It also means that postponing your trip may not be the money saver you think it is.
Disney World has a date-based ticketing system, where prices change depending on the day. You can familiarize yourself with these rates through Disney World’s online ticket calendar. Through the calendar, you can compare the cost of visiting on your preferred date to other days. This will help you find the cheapest dates.
Very few people want to visit Disney World during hot weather or hurricane season. Consequently, parks often lower their ticketing prices during these periods of the year to entice more guests.
Price Change by Year: Should You Postpone Your Trip?
As mentioned, Disney World prices change from year to year. This is why it is usually cheaper to visit as soon as you can because the prices will be higher the next year and you will have to revise your budget. For example, the lowest hotel rack rates for the Animal Kingdom Lodge in 2021 and 2022 were:
- $434 – January 2021
- $450 – January 2022
- $453 – August 2021
- $453 – September 2021
- $479 – December 2021
So while it was cheaper to go in January 2021 than August 2021 (by $13), going in January 2022 instead of August the previous year does not offer much savings ($3). This means that, while January is the cheapest time of the year to visit Disney World, the savings are only significant within the same year.
Picking the Cheapest Time for Hotels
You can make big savings on your hotel room by picking the best season to visit Disney World. Typically, hotel room rates vary significantly from value season to peak season, during which time prices can be as twice as the regular rates as Touring Plans notes. As with park prices, the cheapest time to book a Disney World hotel is in January, February, and September. This period is called “value season.”
For example, in 2021, hotel rates at Disney’s Pop Century were $168 per night during value season, $230 per night in summer season, and $343 per night in peak season. This means that staying here in value season instead of peak season would have saved you $175 per night. That said, not all Disney hotels use the same pricing patterns. Some don’t vary their prices across seasons as much as others.
Tips for Cutting Your Disney World Costs
One of the best ways to save money on your Disney World trip is to avoid buying tickets directly from Disney. Instead, buy from authorized discount sellers who often have offers that can save you between $50 to $70 per person depending on the type of ticket. Be careful, however, to only buy from authorized resellers like Get Away Today and Undercover Tourist to avoid getting scammed. Other ways to remain on budget during your Disney World visit include:
- Use a Disney Vacation Planner: Planning your trip through an authorized Disney Vacation Planner can help cut your costs. These free resources compare hotel and park rates, allowing you to get the best possible prices for your trip.
- Find Current Deals: In addition to finding the cheapest time to visit, keep an eye out for discount offers on vacation packages and hotel rooms. Sometimes, Disney offers large discounts that can be as much as 35 to 45 percent off on regular prices.
- Don’t Buy Water: Cut the expense of buying bottled water and get water for free at Disney World. Travel and Leisure suggests asking for a cup of ice water at any quick service restaurant in the parks.
- Don’t Get the Disney Dining Plan: The Disney dining plan is convenient, but it usually includes more food than you can eat. Using it means you will likely pay for food you will not eat.
- Avoid Park Hoppers: Park hoppers are an unnecessary added cost. Rather than buy them, visit one park per day and save an additional $65 per ticket.
The Cheapest Time to Go to Disney World is between the beginning of the year and President’s Day weekend. Past this weekend, your best bet is late August to Early September and a few dates in October, November, and December. Hotel prices change with the season, so pick the right hotel to avoid offsetting your savings. You can also save some money by avoiding park-hopping tickets, carrying your own water, avoiding the dinner platter, and more. In terms of total costs, the key is to avoid crowds.
Written by Liz Flynn
Read more posts by Liz Flynn