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2014 Preview

2014 Preview

Are you dreaming of a vacation to Walt Disney World this year?  Maybe you are, but aren’t sure what time of the year to go.  Right now vacation packages are available to book through the end of 2014, but different times of the year offer different experiences.  Here are some events, holidays, and tips that may factor into your trip planning decision!

January

  • Marathon Weekend January 10-12
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day January 20
  • 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.
  • Weather can vary, be sure to check forecasts and pack accordingly.  Cold weather can close the only open water park.

February

  • President’s Day February 17
  • Princess Half Marathon February 21-23
  • Crowds higher around President’s Day, otherwise a slow month
  • Ride and hotel pool refurbishments common.  One water park closed for annual maintenance.
  • Weather can vary, be sure to check forecasts and pack accordingly.  Cold weather can close the only open water park.

March

  • Mardis Gras March 4
  • Epcot Flower & Garden Festival March 5-May 18
  • The entire month of March will see school break vacationers.  Go with a park touring plan.
  • Both water parks typically open by mid to late March.  An occasional cold snap could close them.
  • Weather starts to warm, but mornings and evenings may be chilly.

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April

  • Easter April 20
  • Epcot Flower & Garden Festival all month
  • Spring break and Easter vacationers through the first three weeks of the month.  Use a park touring plan. 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 to May 18
  • Star Wars Weekends May 16-18, May 23-25, May 30-June 1
  • Memorial Day May 26
  • A good time to travel before the summer season.  Star Wars Weekend will bring localized crowds to Hollywood Studios on weekends.
  • Weather is more consistently warm and humid.

June

  • Star Wars Weekend June 6-8, June 13-15 (This additional fifth weekend in June is new for 2014!)
  • Gay Days June 5-8 (off-site)
  • 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.

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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 1
  • Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party starts mid-month
  • Epcot International Food & Wine Festival starts the second to last weekend of September (Food & Wine starts one week earlier in 2014, covering the last two weekends of September.)
  • Crowds are historically low.  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.

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October

  • Tower of Terror 10-Miler October 3-4
  • Columbus Day October 13
  • Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party runs all month
  • One water park will close for annual maintenance at the end of October
  • Many school districts have fall breaks, making October a popular vacation time.  Anytime you plan to fly over a school break, buy flights early.  Since everyone in your area is also flying to their vacations, prices increase faster than other times of the year.
  • Weather in October is usually still warm, but mornings or nights may be chilly.

November

  • “Jersey Week” November 6-7 (includes days leading up to this school holiday)
  • Wine & Dine Half-Marathon November 8-9
  • Veterans Day November 11
  • Thanksgiving November 27
  • One water park closed for annual maintenance.  Cold weather can close the open water park.
  • Epcot Food & Wine Festival should end around Veterans Day
  • Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party may run into November 1st, then Halloween decorations go down and Christmas decorations go up.  Magic Kingdom should be ready for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party after approximately a week.
  • 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 near Thanksgiving.
  • Crowds are generally good in  November, with Thanksgiving being the first bump of holiday crowds.
  • Weather is more mild in November, with chilly mornings or evenings possible.  Check the forecast and pack appropriately.

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December

  • Christmas Day Parade Taping December 5-6 (unofficial guess)
  • Pop Warner football and cheer and dance championships December 6-13
  • Christmas & New Year’s Eve
  • One water park closed for annual maintenance.  Cold weather can close the open water park.
  • Christmas is in full swing around the Walt Disney World Resort in December.  The Christmas tree in Town Square will be installed after the parade taping the first weekend.
  • Starting after the third week of the month, school break will bring one of the busiest times at the resort.  Hotels may sell out and 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.  If you like cool weather, winter months offer your best bet.  September through December are festive times in the parks, and Flower & Garden Festival makes spring one of the prettiest times to visit Epcot.  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!

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