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When Should We Go to Disney/Universal?

Updated: Feb 19, 2021

There are multiple factors you need to consider when planning a trip to Disney World and Universal Studios. These factors can greatly affect your vacation if you aren’t prepared for them.


Crowds

To start, it can be a little tricky if planning a trip with kids because the busier times of the year at the theme parks coincide with the times of the year that kids are not in school…hence why they are busy. So, unless you are willing to take the kids out of school for vacation, you may have to endure bigger crowds and longer lines. Long holiday weeks and weekends are very busy…possibly even more so than in the summer months. In my experience, late January/early February is the least busy time to visit the parks. The less busy times of the year are also cheaper as far as park tickets and hotels. Generally, weekdays are much less busy than weekends.


Special Events

You should also consider when special events are happening in the parks. These events do bring larger crowds, but they are also really fun and could be a big draw for you and your family.


Disney’s Epcot has several festivals throughout the year:


· The International Festival of the Arts usually runs from the beginning of January to late February or early March. This festival showcases some amazing art from a variety of artists and performers. It also offers many artistic food creations from different countries’ booths all over World Showcase. The food is both beautiful and delicious.


· The International Flower and Garden Festival typically runs from early March to late June or early July. This festival offers up beautiful topiaries shaped like Disney characters and lovely plant and butterfly gardens. This festival also has a concert series for guests to jam out to and lots of fun food tastings with a focus on plant-based options.


· The International Food & Wine Festival usually runs from late August to late November. This festival boasts a tasting tour around the world where guests can sample global cuisine and beverages from six continents. This festival also exhibits different cultures and innovative cooking techniques from around the world. The food booths also have recommended wine pairings for their food offerings. This is a foodie must-do.


· The International Festival of the Holidays runs from late November to the end of December. This festival celebrates various holiday traditions and food from around the world. One of the most special aspects of this festival is the Candlelight Processional that presents the story of Christmas narrated by different celebrities each night accompanied by a 50-piece orchestra and full choir. And, of course, there are lot of holiday food options.


Disney World and Universal Studios Florida also put on several special holiday events throughout the year. All the parks are also decked out in awesome decorations during these times.


Halloween –


Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party (separately ticketed event) at Magic Kingdom offers unlimited trick or treating throughout the park for the kiddos along with fun fireworks and spooky parades. They even have allergy-friendly treats. Guests can also come dressed up in costumes. All the Disney parks will also have special Halloween-themed treats that are available for daytime park guests as well as the separately ticketed event. This event runs from late August to the end of October.

  • Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights (separately ticketed event) is a spectacular haunted house attraction that is geared more for adults and older kids who like scary things. Universal pulls out all the stops in the creation of the haunted houses with super scary characters and theming and is a must-do for anyone who loves scary Halloween things. In addition to the haunted houses, they also have fun shows and scare zones with characters walking around.

Christmas –

  • Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party (separately ticketed event) at Magic Kingdom has special characters that only come out during the party and a unique firework show. There are special stage shows and holiday parades as well. There are also dance parties and character entertainment for the kids. The Disney parks will also have special holiday-themed treats that are available for all daytime park guests as well as the separately ticketed event in Magic Kingdom.

  • Grinchmas is located in the Seuss Landing area of Universal’s Islands of Adventure. You can enjoy a retelling of the classic Grinch tale starring the Grinch himself and with music by Mannheim Steamroller. You can also get the Grinch’s autograph.

Mardi Gras –

  • Universal Studios also holds a Mardi Gras special event that runs during the February/March timeframe and does not require a separate ticket to attend. The park has booths set up for different food offerings inspired by international Carnaval celebrations.


Weather

Another consideration is the weather. Florida summers are very hot and humid so, if the idea of standing in long lines in the hot Florida sun makes you want to melt, you may want to avoid June through August. I have found the winter months to be very nice as far as weather because most of the time the temperatures are still warm but are not overly hot. You may also want to avoid September/October due to hurricane season. If weather doesn’t really bother you, this may work in your favor as long as you pack a poncho/raingear for wet days or wear layers for cold days. Some water rides may be closed during the colder winter months so, if you are a big fan of water rides, maybe avoid this time of year.


To sum it up, Disney World and Universal Studios are going to be a blast no matter what time of year you visit but you definitely want to think ahead to be prepared. Even when the parks are busier, there are tips and tricks to make the most out of your visits.


Live your travel life to its fullest!




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