So you've scrimped and saved. You've eaten Spaghetti-0s for months. You've gone without your morning latte at Starbucks, and you've built up a nice little stash of money. What are you gonna do next? Look directly into the camera and say, "I'm going to Disney World!"

But halt, eager Mouseketeer. A great Disney vacation requires more planning than most other vacations because of the sheer vastness of what dear icy Walt has left to offer. So get your mouse ears ready (if you don't have any mouse ears, feel free to catch a mouse and glue him on your head) and let's start planning.



Disney World has peak and off-peak times of the year:

  • Highest Attendance:
    Presidents' week in February
    Mid-March through Late April (Spring Break)
    Memorial Day weekend
    Mid-June through Labor Day
    Thanksgiving Day and weekend
    Christmas week through New Year's Day

  • Moderate Attendance:
    After Presidents' week in February through early March
    Late April through early June (except Memorial Day weekend)
    The first part of Thanksgiving week

  • Lowest Attendance:
    January (except New Year's Day) until just prior to Presidents' week in February
    The week following Labor Day until just prior to Thanksgiving week
    The week following Thanksgiving until the week prior to Christmas

As you can see, peak times are generally during the summer and holidays because they coincide with kiddie vacations. During these peak times, the parks are crazy crowded, but that's counterbalanced with longer park hours and more attractions. During off-peak times, the lines will be shorter, but stuff may be closed.


Right off the bat, let us warn you that Disney stuff is very expensive. Including travel, lodging, food, souvenirs, and Valium, your trip can cost anywhere from $800 to $2000 per person, and the price can go much higher if you splurge for the best of the best. Even the food at the parks will cost $15 per person per meal. A four-day stay is usually the suggested minimum if you want to see the parks without rushing through them at breakneck speed. Don't forget that you are going to be spending MORE money than you think (cash disappears in Disney World faster than the trash).