What to Expect: 2018 Walt Disney World

Picking the dates of your Walt Disney World vacation is one the first decisions you’ll make.  If you’re not sure when you’d like to travel and would like an easy overview to help you decide, you’re in the right place!  Already selected your trip dates and want a little more insight into that time of the year?  Scroll down to find out more!

(Event dates accurate as of 8/2017. Some events have not released 2018 dates and will be updated as more info becomes available.)

January

  • Marathon Weekend January 3-7
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day January 15
  • Pro Bowl in Orlando Jan 28
  • Festival of the Arts in Epcot starting January 12. New for 2018, this occurs all week with special entertainment on the weekends.
  • Crowds higher through the first weekend after New Year’s and around MLK Day
  • Ride and hotel pool refurbishments common.  One water park closed for annual maintenance.
  • Blizzard Beach closed through January 6.  Typhoon Lagoon closes January 7.
  • Weather can vary, be sure to check forecasts and pack accordingly.  Cold weather, 50s and below, can close the only open water park.

February

  • Mardis Gras February 13
  • President’s Day February 19
  • Princess Half Marathon February 22-25
  • Festival of the Arts in Epcot ends February 19. New for 2018, this occurs all week with special entertainment on the weekends.
  • Crowds higher around Mardis Gras and President’s Day, otherwise a slow month.
  • Ride and hotel pool refurbishments common.  One water park, Typhoon Lagoon, closed for annual maintenance.
  • Weather can vary, be sure to check forecasts and pack accordingly.  Cold weather, 50s and below, can close the only open water park.

March

  • Epcot Flower & Garden Festival begins
  • Spring break crowds most of the month.  Go with a park touring plan.
  • Both water parks typically open by mid-March.  An occasional cold snap could close them.
  • Weather starts to warm, but mornings and evenings may be chilly.

grand floridian master bedroom

April

  • Easter April 1
  • Epcot Flower & Garden Festival all month
  • Star Wars Half Marathon – The Dark Side April 19-22
  • Spring break crowds into early April.  Otherwise, mid to late April will bring a short slow down before summer break.
  • Weather typically warm, but be sure to check forecasts before leaving home.

May

  • Epcot Flower & Garden Festival continues
  • Memorial Day May 38
  • A good time to travel before the summer season.
  • Weather is more consistently warm and humid.

June

  • Most schools end the year in late May/early June, ushering in the summer vacation season.
  • Highs can reach the 90s.  Stay hydrated, wear sunscreen, and take afternoon breaks to swim or relax in your room’s air conditioning.  Rain showers are common.

 

July

  • July 4th
  • The 4th of July holiday brings the largest crowds of the month.  Fireworks are shown in three parks, so you won’t miss out.
  • Heat and humidity continues.  Afternoon rain showers are common.  Pack ponchos or umbrellas to keep you dry if you are caught in a shower.  They can bring heavy rain and may last a short while or a few hours.  Lightning can close some rides and pools.

August

  • No notable holidays or events
  • Schools gradually go back in session around mid-month.  Crowds taper the closer you get to September.
  • Weather remains hot, humid, and with a chance of rain.

September

  • Labor Day September 3
  • Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party in Magic Kingdom
  • Epcot International Food & Wine Festival begins
  • Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party will affect Magic Kingdom crowd patterns, as the park closes at 7 for parties a few nights a week.
  • Although hurricane season spans several months, September is the month most often associated with hurricanes for Walt Disney World.  Typically hurricanes in the area bring extra rain and winds to central Florida, but the biggest impact may be travel disruption at your home or between your home and Orlando.

October

  • Columbus Day October 8
  • Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party runs all month in Magic Kingdom
  • Epcot International Food & Wine Festival runs all month
  • One water park closes mid-October for annual maintenance
  • Many school districts have fall breaks, making October a popular vacation time.  Anytime you plan to fly over a school break, buy flights early.  Everyone in your area is also flying to their vacations to maximize time, so prices can increase faster than other times of the year.
  • Weather in October is usually still warm, but mornings or nights may be chilly.

November

  • Wine & Dine Half-Marathon early November
  • “Jersey Week”  (includes days leading up to this school holiday)
  • Veterans Day November 11
  • Epcot Food & Wine Festival ends mid- November
  • Thanksgiving November 22
  • Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party ends and Halloween decorations go down and Christmas decorations go up.  Magic Kingdom will be ready for the first Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party on the first full week.  Christmas Party continues throughout the month, briefly pausing the week of Thanksgiving.
  • Decorations at Epcot, Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom and hotels start to go up all month.  Epcot begins Christmas celebrations (storytellers, Candlelight Processional, IllumiNations holiday tag) after Thanksgiving.  Deluxe hotel trees and gingerbread features should be installed by Thanksgiving.
  • Crowds are mild in  November, with Thanksgiving being the first bump of holiday crowds.
  • One water park closed for annual maintenance.  Cold weather, 50s and below, can close the open water park.
  • Weather is more mild in November, with chilly mornings or evenings possible.  Check the forecast and pack appropriately.

dreamlights on cinderella castle through christmas tree

December

  • Pop Warner football and cheer and dance championships early December
  • Christmas & New Year’s Eve
  • One water park closed for annual maintenance.  Cold weather, 50s and below, can close the open water park.
  • Christmas is in full swing around the Walt Disney World Resort in December.  Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party ends December 22.  During Christmas week the special parade and fireworks run during regular park hours.
  • Starting just before Christmas, school break will bring one of the busiest times at the resort.  Parks may reach near capacity, causing temporary closure of park admission.  If you travel over Christmas and New Year’s, go with a plan and make good use of your mornings.
  • Weather is mild, with some cold possible.  Always check forecasts before packing.

We hope this guide helps you as you think about when to take your Walt Disney World vacation.  As a general rule of thumb, any time school is out, the parks are busier.  If you aren’t bound by school schedules, try to avoid holidays. RunDisney events can cause hotels to sell out of rooms earlier than they otherwise would, so don’t wait to book if you’re participating in a race or traveling over one.

If you like cool weather, winter months offer your best bet at mild temperatures. Winter weather can be very temperamental, so it’s important to check forecasts for hot or cold spells before packing.  Summer weather is notoriously hot, humid and rainy, so be prepped to take plenty of breaks and stay hydrated.

September and October are increasingly popular times to visit the parks and are a fun way to welcome the fall.  Christmas celebrations in November and December makes this one of the most magical times to visit Walt Disney World.  Flower & Garden Festival makes spring a wonderful time to roam Epcot and enjoy its extraordinarily beautiful atmosphere.

Maybe you’ve visited the parks already, and are looking for some new experiences on your next trip.  Whatever you’re looking for, we’re happy to help you plan your next Walt Disney World vacation!  Submit your Quote Request today!