top of page
  • Writer's pictureAnna Wildish

When Should You Plan the Perfect Disney Vacation in 2021?

Updated: Aug 25, 2023

Disney World family vacation

Physical distancing. Social distancing. Unprecedented times. Now more than ever. All phrases that can take a hike in 2021. Am I right?

(Ugh, that last one is like nails on a chalk board to me.)

The one phrase I hope makes a huge comeback in 2021: Recreational Travel!

Especially to my favorite destinations: Disney World and Disneyland.

With the vaccine’s arrival, we can finally see the light at the end of this long, dark, COVID tunnel.

While we will need to practice masking and social distancing for a while longer, that shouldn't stop you from looking ahead and planning your family vacations now. With Disney’s generous cancellation policy and small $200 deposit, there is no reason not to.

Plus, you’ll want to get a head start on booking your trip. Traveling to Disney is going to be in BIG demand once restrictions are lifted. I am already seeing a big jump in folks planning Disney World vacations.

But when is the best time to go? The answer to this question is different for everyone. It depends on your priorities and personal calendar.

Not to worry. I can help you narrow down the perfect time.

Pandemic concerns aside, below I’ve listed the pros and cons of going to Disney World and Disneyland for every season of the year.

You can use this list to narrow down the best timeframe for your family’s perfect Disney vacation. Then contact me to start booking your trip!

While Disneyland’s official reopening remains a mystery, Disney World is open and thriving. I expect it to continue to run its usual festivals with some modifications for health and safety. (Update: Disneyland is open!!!)

If circumstances change, you can count on me to keep track of them. I will keep you updated on the ones that affect your trip so you can plan accordingly.

Now let's get down to exploring the best time to visit Disney in 2021!

Epcot Disney World Family Vacation

Winter (Jan- Feb)

Reasons It’s the Perfect Time

Weather is Cooler

You’ll need a sweatshirt and pants most likely. If you are someone who hates the heat and humidity, winter is the perfect time for you to visit Disney.

Crowds May be Lower

I say may be because it seems like the word got out and lots of people went to Disney last winter. Disneyland still tends to have lower crowds in the winter though, especially during the week.

Honestly, there isn’t a downtime at Disney anymore. I say go in with the mindset that it will be crowded, and then you’ll be pleasantly surprised when it’s not.

Epcot’s New Facelift

Epcot is getting some work done! The construction walls recently came down at the front of the park, unveiling its brand-new entrance. Check out the pictures here. Isn’t she beautiful?

Fun Festivals Take Place

Epcot International Festival of the Arts is taking place January 8 – February 22, 2021.

You’ll experience special live performances, global cuisine, view works of art from visiting artists, and participate in interactive art experiences like a gigantic paint-by-number mural. You can also learn to draw some of your favorite Disney characters.

Oh, and no Epcot festival would be complete without a scavenger hunt. “Figment’s Brush with the Masters” will have you helping Figment learn about art in a scavenger hunt around World Showcase.

Disneyland does fun things for the Chinese New Year. However, I do not expect Disneyland will be open this upcoming winter.

Reasons It is Not the Perfect Time

Weather is Cooler

Maybe you like it when its warmer. It is cooler this time of year, which makes lounging by the pool unappealing. While the pools are heated, hanging out by the pool might not be something you’ll want to do. (But if you are kid, who cares! Anyone else’s kids like that, or just mine?)

Attraction Refurbishments

Historically, Disney has used this slower period to do refurbishments on some of your favorite attractions.

For example, Kali River Rapids at Disney World’s Animal Kingdom is slated for a wintertime closure. The Riverboat and Tom Sawyer Island at Magic Kingdom are also getting a facelift. This list could change at any time of course.

Park Hours are Reduced

Right now, park hours are reduced because of COVID (or non-existent if you are Disneyland). In normal times park hours are shorter this time of year anyway. Not to this year’s extent, but something to consider if planning a wintertime visit in years to come.

Need to take Kids out of School

Although I’m guessing your kids would put this up in the reasons TO go to Disney in the winter.

Spring (March-May)

Reasons it’s the Perfect Time

Weather is Amazing!

This may be my favorite time to go, weather wise. It is warmer but the humidity is typically low enough that it’s not completely miserable at the parks. That means you’ll want to plan a rest day in the middle of your trip to take advantage of your awesome Disney hotel pool.

More Fun Festivals

The Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival, my favorite Epcot festival is taking place March 3- July 5, 2021. At this festival you can enjoy delicious, garden-fresh cuisine while viewing beautiful topiaries made to look like your favorite Disney characters.

This year kids can also take part in Spike’s Pollen Nation Exploration, a fun scavenger hunt starring Spike the honeybee.

I had the pleasure of experiencing this fun festival last spring and have plans to return this year. Those topiaries are full of Disney magic. They are fun, colorful, and so impressive. You must see them!

Disneyland usually has the ever-popular Food & Wine Festival this time of year. But again, I’m not confident Disneyland will be open in time for Spring.

Reasons It’s Not the Perfect Time

Crowds Increasing

Crowds start going up, especially for Spring Break and Easter. Disneyland can be a MAD HOUSE for Spring Break. Not to mention flight prices can skyrocket this time of year.

Summer (June-August)

Reasons It’s the Perfect Time

School’s Out!

No need to worry about missing school. You can take all the time you need.

Increased Park Hours

Park Hours are longer so you can take advantage of those long summer days.

Who knows what COVID will be doing this summer, so its hard to say if park hours will increase by then. But historically speaking summertime boasts the longest park hours of the year. You can fill those warm summer nights with churros and riding Space Mountain to your hearts content.

Plus, you can take in the parks in all their nighttime glory. Pandora at Animal Kingdom at night is not to be missed.

Park Refurbishments at a Minimum

Unless there are surprise maintenance issues, most of the attractions should be up and running.

Reasons It’s Not the Perfect Time

It's HOT!

So so hot and humid. You may want to spend most of your time at the pool rather than the parks.

Crowds are Up

If school is out, you can bet park attendance will be up.

Taken at Disneyland in 2018

Fall (September – October)

Reasons It’s the Perfect Time

Disney World Fall Family Vacation
October 2020

Halloween Décor!

Fall time at Disneyland and Disney World is one of my favorite times to go. They decorate the parks, release special treats, and the characters dress up. You’ll even get to see some special characters that only come out during the fall. (I’m looking at you Jack Skellington.)

Over at Disneyland in California they change every detail of the Haunted Mansion over to a Nightmare Before Christmas theme and it is AMAZING. They even handmake a giant gingerbread house and place it in the middle of the table in the ballroom scene. The gingerbread house is a different theme every year and is not to be missed. (You can read more about this, and other reasons why Disneyland is amazing at Halloween time here.)

Both Disneyland and Disney World host special family friendly Halloween parties were you can dress up, trick or treat, and enjoy special parades and shows exclusive to the specially ticketed event. We shall see if Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party at Disney World and the Oogie Boogie Bash in Disneyland take place in 2021. Fingers crossed!

Epcot Food & Wine Festival

Epcot’s most popular festival takes place in the fall: The International Food & Wine Festival!

As you can guess from the name, during this festival you can sip wine and savor special cuisine from around the world while enjoying special entertainment.

There are activities for kids as well of course. But if you are looking for a fun destination to have a girls trip, this is it. I love EPCOT. I love it even more when I’m there with just my girlfriends and glass of wine.

It's Disney World 50th Anniversary

Disney World celebrates its 50th anniversary on September 30, 2021. Details have yet to be announced, but you can bet there have lots of special things planned. I can't wait to hear all about it!

Reasons It’s Not the Perfect Time

Hurricane Season

This one is specific to Florida, but September is usually when most hurricanes happen. While you can’t predict the future if one will happen during your travel dates, it is something to keep in mind.

Fall Break for Many

Disneyland and Disney World are top destinations for folks during fall school break. That coupled with all the special Fall décor and activities, crowds will be up most weeks.

Holidays (November – December)

Reason’s It’s the Perfect Time

Holiday décor!

Can you imagine a better place to celebrate the holidays than at the Most Magical or Happiest Place on Earth?

Like during Halloween, Disney decks out the parks and hotels in all the holiday wonderment you can imagine. Real, giant gingerbread houses. Towering Christmas trees. Specialty holiday treats. Minnie and Mickey dressed in their holiday finest. It’s all there. They even make it snow on Main Street USA. I mean, there are tv specials about it!

Disney World has a special holiday party as well. Like the Halloween themed parties, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is a specially ticketed event that gives you a chance to experience special holiday activities at Magic Kingdom that you can’t see any other time. Fingers crossed those return for 2021.

Holiday Festivals

Epcot gets dressed up for the Holidays as well with Epcot’s Festival of the Holidays. Like Epcot’s other festivals, there are special décor, cuisine, Holiday entertainment, and activities.

There is also the Candlelight Processional, a moving show where a celebrity guest narrates the Christmas story with a 50-piece orchestra and a full choir. I haven’t had the pleasure of seeing this in person, but it is on my list of must dos. It looks amazing.

Weather is Cooler

If you hate the heat, like I do, this is the perfect time to visit. I love being able to hit Disneyland and Disney World with jeans and a light sweatshirt.

Reason's It's Not the Perfect Time

High Crowds

This time of year, you can expect big time crowds, especially the week of Thanksgiving and the week between Christmas and New Year’s.

In years past both Disneyland and Magic Kingdom at Disney World have hit capacity. And I’m talking pre-COVID capacity. Imagine wall to wall people. Yikes.

Higher Price Tag

This is a popular time to travel, so all the costs associated with it go up. Flight prices are up, your hotel room will be more expensive, and you'll be paying peak-time park ticket prices.

Still not sure the best time to go?

As a travel agent I can help you pinpoint the perfect timeframe for you. Then I can get the perfect vacation package locked in with just a $200 refundable deposit.

My services are completely free. Click here to schedule your Magical Vacation Discovery Call or submit your quote request here.

Let’s start planning that 2021 Disney vacation!

I am a travel agent with Magical Vacation Planner. I make it easier for you to plan an unforgettable vacation with your family. Click here to schedule a Magical Vacation Discovery Call to learn more and get your free, no-obligation quote.

Or head here to request access to my exclusive Disney Vacation Planning Vault, full of worksheets and resources you can use to plan your next Disney vacation.



bottom of page