Ask The Disney Moms: Best Days to Visit the Parks

Question for The Disney Moms: I was wondering if it was better to go to the Magic Kingdom and other Disney Parks on any certain days of the week?  I was thinking of booking our trip (flying in on Sunday) and going to the parks Monday-Wednesday and heading home Thursday.  Thinking that there would be a large(r) Thursday-Sunday crowd than Monday-Wednesday crowd.

Kudos to you for taking steps to plan your upcoming vacation!  Even a few plans will help to make your trip more enjoyable for everyone. A lot of different things go into “best” days to visit each of the parks including the weather, time of year you’re traveling and even the time of day you’re visiting the different parks at Walt Disney World.  Generally speaking if you’re traveling during the school year, week days should be less crowded.  Luckily for the kids who live close enough, Disney could be a field trip option for them so sometimes the “they’re in school” theory doesn’t apply.  If you’re traveling during a holiday break or the typical summer vacation, week days will likely be no less busy than any other day.  You will have a chance of running into a lot more local folks during the week than on a weekend.  The bonus of the local folks: they’re not usually in a rush to get from one attraction to the next.  They live nearby and can come back when things aren’t as busy if there’s something that’s too busy for them.

There are a couple of things I look at when trying to decide which days to spend in parks while I’m planning my family’s vacation:

  • Family “Must Dos” – if there’s a park we could skip, I don’t worry as much about trying to fit that one in, especially if it’s a short trip.  You’ll also want to see if those “must do” things are popular and require a FASTPASS.  If that’s the case, you may want to head to that park first to ensure you can either ride that attraction or get FASTPASSES for later in the day.
  • Travel Time – Depending on the time of year you’re visiting Disney will have different impacts on your trip.  Summer will be more crowded for sure so you may get less done each day in the parks then you might on a day in the fall.
  • Arrival Time – early risers will generally have a lot less people with them in the parks so for the first few hours in the morning, any park could be a “good” park to visit.
  • Weather – Be ready to arrange your park visits on the fly if needed.  If it rained last night and Wishes was cancelled, there’s a good chance people will come back tonight to see the show which means a potentially larger crowd.  Pack a few ponchos for brief rain showers during the day so you don’t have to leave the park when a light shower passes through the area.  It’s amazing how much the parks quiet down following a brief rain storm.
  • Touring Plans – I personally subscribe to Touring Plans.  This site (and app for your smart phone!) will tell you the “best” and “worst” parks as well as an overall crowd level for every day of the year.  Having information like this can be helpful as long as you keep in mind it’s not guaranteed to be 100% accurate.  Things can change at the drop of a hat but they are very good at keeping the site very up to date.  You can even “watch” your travel dates and be emailed if something changes on one of those days.

Overall, know what you want to see and be sure to hit those three to five things first.  That way anything else you get to do is a bonus.  Happy planning and traveling!

Lynn Wiltse lives five hours from the most magical place on Earth and is always planning a visit.  When she’s not writing for The Disney Moms or WDW Fan Zone, she’s managing The Disney Driven Life or writing for her own blog, My Pixie Dust Diary and planning the next  Disney trip.

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