Updated for 2017!
If you ever stood in a Disney World line, all sweaty and hot, primarily because summer room rates were cheaper than peak holiday times, then you just might be a Cheapskate Princess! Everybody and their Disney loving’ cousin has an opinion about when the best time is to visit Walt Disney World. What is best for your family may not be the best for another.
You may not mind standing in 120 minute plus lines, just as long as you are surrounded by the holiday magic of Disney at Christmas, but your friends may tell you that you are absolutely crazy to travel during holidays. Summer seems to be a reasonable time to take a vacation, but the question must be asked…
Should you take the family to Disney during the summer months?
You should visit Disney in the summer because…
School is out, so your kids won’t miss any class work.
It’s often easier to plan a vacation in the summer, when schedules can be a little more free and flexible, than fall through spring.
The parks often stay open later than other times of year.
Summer may be an easy time for you to take off work.
Early summer room rates can be lower than other times of year, like Spring Break and popular holidays.
You should not visit Disney in the summer because…
The parks may stay open later than other times of year, but why is that? Because the whole world is on summer break and probably in line in front of you, that’s why. The only way you’ll get to ride the majority of rides with big crowds is if the parks stay open late.
Lines are crazy compared to wait times for slower months like January and September. They are not as bad as Christmas, but stand-by waits can be 90 to 120 minutes long. While you can get additional Fastpass+ times after your initially scheduled three are used, you will find that many popular rides have no more availability.
Oh, Lordy, is it hot! Temps. will easily range in the upper 90s, and factoring in the Florida humidity, it will probably feel over 100 degrees in the sweltering afternoons.
Rain storms often crop up more frequently than other times a year.
If the heat and humidity doesn’t get to you, standing around in the rain just might. On one of our early June vacations, it rained six out of seven days. While this did keep the temperatures down, it kept our shoes wet and ponchos on our backs. Chances are you will get wet in the summer.
Is Christmas a better time to go? (Cue laughter!) That really depends on who you talk to and just how much you want to go to Disney.
A Summer Time Game Plan…
Most books written about vacationing at Disney suggest you get an early start, nap or swim in the afternoons, and go back in the parks for the cooler evenings.
I really do take a nap every day on vacation, and our family does summer-Disney with a variation on the traditional plan. We stay up LATE, just as late as we can make it. We sleep in until nearly noon, and then we goof around in the afternoons at Disney Springs, the water parks when we have annual passes, and the resorts on the monorail route. We go back to the theme parks around 5ish. This will require a flexible schedule, possibly park hopper/annual pass tickets, and the ability to both wake up and stay up late.
This works for our family, but it may not work so well for small children on a strict schedule. After five p.m., we hardly break a sweat, and I love the cool evenings at the parks with the soft lighting and neon colors.
Keri stopped by and left this comment regarding their summer vacation, “I just want to dissent from the usual anti-summer sentiment. We just got back and it honestly wasn’t a big deal. Of course, there are lines and it’s hot, but it’s still a lot of fun! I suppose if your kids have been at a non-peak time, then they might be bothered by the heat and the waits, but we did the parks from opening until close (or at least late) without going back to nap and our kids (9 and 4) did just fine.
My husband and I both work in the school system, so taking vacations during the school year isn’t really an option. I’m sure there are other families who have to do their vacations in the summer, and I feel like so many websites and blogs make it sound miserable to the point of not even being worth it. That was definitely not the case for us. We had an amazing trip and would not hesitate to go back in the summer!”
So summer at Disney will mean long lines, sun and sweat, and maybe some rain, but the major advantage is that your kids don’t miss any school or after school sports practices.
What do you think? Is summer the Disney vacation time for you?!
Thanks for stopping by, and we’ll see you checking your summer calendar, weighing the pros and cons of summer travel…
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Amanda Major is the creator of cheapskateprincess.com. She remembers her first visit to Magic Kingdom like it was yesterday, because she had a ham sandwich tucked in her shorts pocket. The whole family snuck in their lunch; you can’t make that kinda stuff up. 40 years worth of trips to Orlando later, she is still trying to save money on vacations.
Amanda is a Disney Vacation Club Member and Annual Pass holder. Her amazing husband, band director Carl Major, plus three teen children and two dogs keep her busy. Amanda teaches Leadership to high school seniors in the almost-coastal town of Foley, Alabama. Read about her cheapskating local vacations with this link. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, walking somewhere, or paddling a kayak. Life is indeed a blast.
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