choosing dates for disney

Quirky Quest For Mickey: We’re Going to Disney (And Universal Studios)!

Every child seems to dream of taking that magical vacation to Disney World and every parent wants to be able to grant that wish for them. We’ve discussed it for years but with a big family, we knew it would take a lot of research and careful planning. Ecstatic doesn’t even begin to describe how I feel to announce that our Disney dreams are finally becoming a reality! In 2019, The Quirky Mom Next Door family is going to Disney World (and also, Universal Studios)!

You may be wondering why I’m talking about next year when we’re barely into this year but as I said, Disney vacations require a lot of strategic planning and research, especially for a family of seven. Any vacation with little ones can be hectic but Disney World is a massive place composed of multiple parks and a seemingly endless amount of things to do. There’s a lot to figure out!

Traveling over 1,000 miles to trek across 40 miles of magical land with five kids under 12 can be expensive, time-consuming, and stressful. But I believe that if I put the right amount of time and effort into the planning process, it’ll make for a much more pleasant experience! From choosing dates to where to sleep at night and which dining reservations to make, there are a lot of things to look into. I could hire one of the twelve Disney planners we know but I think that half the fun is in the trip organizing! While I’m on this journey, I thought I’d share what I learn, so now begins my Disney planning series!

Step one: Choosing a date. First, I looked over multiple crowd calendars to discern the weeks and months in which the crowds are lessened. They all seem to vary slightly, that’s why I checked at least five after I had a date in mind! I did like the way that Your First Visit mapped things out for this. I also read through the comments to see the opinions of other travelers! Be sure to watch for the dates of floating holidays during your targeted year, such as Easter. Of course, I had to cross-reference this with weather charts and the Farmer’s Almanac to make sure that the weather wouldn’t be too hot or too cold for us. We wanted to avoid major holidays, even though their Christmas celebrations are out of this world!

Sometimes, you can’t avoid holidays. You want to see the wonderful celebrations and that’s when you can get off of work or the kids have off of school, it happens. My family was at Disney World through Easter Sunday when I was a kid and you know what, we still had a grand ole time!

Disney World 2001My mom doesn’t look like she’s having a grand ole time but I promise she did. I asked just to make sure. LOL.

It’s also important to check the lesser known and/or local events so that you’re not running into a time that may conflict. I noticed that Mouse Savers mentioned some of these things, like cheerleading championships. When my husband and I went to Universal Studios a few years ago, half of one of the parks and the CityWalk actually shut down for high school graduation and we had no idea ahead of time. It was still an awesome trip but we definitely missed out on some exciting things! Part of the reason we chose the Hard Rock Hotel in Orlando was because of its proximity to CityWalk and we lost access to it for one of our prime nights. These are things you can avoid with the right research!

Universal Studios

We looked for any dates the kids would be off of school and then checked out when colleges go on spring and summer breaks. Apparently, it’s common for New Jersey to have a teachers’ convention in November so kids are off for a couple of days. Well, I live here and I didn’t even notice that there was a specific timeframe this happens! I spent hours collecting information to choose our dates and with an entire notebook page full of scribbles like “President’s Day” and “74°”, I’d like to think that I chose wisely! I know we’ll have the best days ever no matter what!

What I gathered in my date research is that most sites love early December because the crowds are low but the Christmas programs are beautiful. For us, a potential low in the 50s would just be too cool for a vacation. Our family in Florida had just a touch of snow at the end of December this past year and we just wouldn’t want to chance it. I can’t even imagine how lovely it must be to combine the joy of Christmas with the magic of Disney but for now, that will remain in our imaginations!

When it comes to spring break crowds, I’ve seen a huge variety of suggestions. The thing about spring break is Easter can be really early or really late but then you have to coordinate with college spring break and I think there are some states that actually have an early break and then an Easter break! The weather seems moderate and it seems to coincide with some pretty springy festivals going on.

Overall, I think that you can find calm pockets throughout the year and each year will change. You have to decide what weather you’re comfortable with, like whether or not you’ll be going into water, and whether you want to risk hurricane seasons. No date is going to be perfect but I think you can definitely find a date that’s perfect for you!

Follow along with our Disney journey at #QuirkyQuestforMickey or here on the blog!

When is your favorite time to visit Disney World? Or if you haven’t yet, when are planning to?

10 thoughts on “Quirky Quest For Mickey: We’re Going to Disney (And Universal Studios)!

  1. This is a very informative post! Thank you for sharing all of this information! It makes everything a lot easier for me when considering a trip to Disney.

  2. Choosing when to visit Disney is hard. On the one hand it’s nice to go when crowds are smaller but then sometimes they shut down attractions or don’t do the fireworks during those times!

    1. That is a really good point, especially about the fireworks! I read that the most common times for ride closings are January and early February but I hadn’t encountered the fireworks! The fireworks seem like an absolutely essential thing to see!!

  3. We haven’t yet visited Disneyland, but have planned to go early next year as our kid will be 4.5years by then, big enough to enjoy the fun Disneyland has.

  4. Dude. I’ve never been to Disneyland. Even when I was a kid. I feel like that’s definitely a place I gotta put on my bucketlist, though. I mean… it is the happiest place on earth, right?

  5. Oh wow! I totally agree, every child’s dream to visit and witness Disney – my family and I had this visit last year but we’re planning another one together with my nieces.

  6. This is really helpful! I will definitely use this when choosing dates. I haven’t gone to Disneyland in a very long time, and Universal Studios I’ve been one time.

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