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Disney World through 2021

by Andy
(St. Louis, Missouri)

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“Dad, my family and I are planning on taking our new son to Disney World for his first trip in June 2019.” That’s so cool. “With Disney’s efforts seemingly ramping up in preparations for the Walt Disney World’s Anniversary, is guest satisfaction destined to be overlooked until the anniversary arrives? What do you anticipate the impact on crowds to be between now and the anniversary?”

The construction at Disney's Hollywood Studios is part of getting Disney World ready for 2021

The Backlot is looking a little rough these days – Photo by Brett Svenson

Andy, you’re correct. Disney is ramping things up for 2021. They even said this at the D23 Expo, when they made all of the announcements about what’s coming. They said they are doing a big push for the 50th birthday of Walt Disney World in 2021. October 2021, Walt Disney World turns 50. It’s going to be a big party.

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It’s something that has needed to be done for years. EPCOT, poor EPCOT, has needed a revamp for probably 15 years. Disney’s Hollywood Studios, they’re just totally redoing Disney’s Hollywood Studios for the most part. I think there aren’t now any attractions left that were there on opening day at Disney Hollywood Studios. Everything seems to be torn up over there.

Guest satisfaction? Yeah, it’s probably down some, especially at Hollywood Studios. It’s obvious there’s major construction going on. They closed the Backlot, they closed all of that back in the back for a good reason. Yes, temporarily, it’s going be a little rough.

I saw some pictures of the Caribbean Beach Resort this week, and it’s pretty bad. I don’t think I would suggest staying at the Caribbean Beach Resort right now. The main building has been destroyed. I mean you’re eating meals in a temporary buildings. The gift shop is now a food truck.

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I think I would avoid Caribbean Beach Resort until the main building gets redone. There’s a reason why Caribbean Beach Resort’s price is all the way down. Customer satisfaction at Caribbean Beach Resort way down, absolutely.

Now, on the other side of that, what’s coming is super-exciting. Super-exciting. You’ve got the Disney Skyliner (gondolas). Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, Toy Story Land. You’ve got the Ratatouille Ride. You’ve got the Guardians of the Galaxy ROLLER COASTER in EPCOT. You’ve got the new Missions Space Restaurant in EPCOT. You’ve got Pandora already open and Animal Kingdom. You’ve got TRON coming to the Magic Kingdom.

We’ve got all this stuff that’s been announced that’s coming and there’s more announcements to come. So, yeah, there’s going to be a lot of construction going on at Walt Disney World, but most of it, Disney is real good at hiding construction. It’s going to be tough in some places.

Hollywood Studios is about to get a lot better. By the time you go in June of 2019, Hollywood Studios will be pretty much transformed sometime around that. Sometime in 2019, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is going to open. In 2018, Toy Story Land will open next summer. So even though Hollywood Studios is down, by the time you get there, it’s going to be up. My guess is by the time you get there, it’s possible that the Guardians of the Galaxy Ride will be open in EPCOT. Maybe not because they’ve got some building construction to do, so maybe not, but there will be significant progress made by the time you get there in 2019 on the parks.

Now, I will say crowd-wise, like when Pandora opened, Animal Kingdom this year has been slammed. Crowds are way up in Animal Kingdom. Overall crowds, not so much, but the crowds in Animal Kingdom are up. That will happen next summer when Toy Story Land opens. Crowds will be up in Hollywood Studios. My guess is crowds overall next summer will be up, and that’s going to start a trend. The year after that, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opens. Sometime in there, Ratatouille will open. Guardians of the Galaxy will open, so you’ll see bigger crowds in EPCOT. Then you got the TRON roller coaster in the Magic Kingdom… You got all of these things opening over the next two years in Walt Disney World that is just going to ratchet up the crowds. 2021, going to be huge. It’s going to be huge.

I’m going to be there on October 2021. I know a lot of people will be. I will be making my hotel reservations the first day I can because they’re going to sell out. There are going to be people staying in Tampa and driving over just because there’s no hotels left in Orlando. It’s going to be huge. But 2019, the crowds won’t be much bigger than they are now. Might be a little bit, but I don’t see it being a big problem.

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Dad’s Bottom Line

The bottom line is, yes, there is construction going on. Disney is very good about separating construction from people, so customer satisfaction, I don’t see it going down a lot, except for in a couple of places. But what’s coming is big, huge. It’s going to be great. Crowds are going to bump up just because there are big things happening. That’s just the way it’s going to be.


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the fire pit at 'Ohana



Comments for

Aug 07, 2019 Prices in August 2021
by: Anonymous Me and my family are looking to go to Disney world in late august of 2021 and we’re not sure if we should go a different time because we worry the prices will get to high. Do you think the prices will get higher if so by how much or will they stay the same?
Thank you

Dad Answers

Disney is on a price increase kick. That might slow down after their earnings report yesterday, but every year for the last 15 or more years Disney has had a price increase. I expect up to 4 increases before August 2021.

Jul 24, 2019 Summer 2021/Summer 2022
by: Traci Hi there! I am turning 50 on October 7, 2021 and while I’d LOVE to celebrate my 50th at Disney World 6 days after it celebrates it’s 50th, we can only visit during the summer months. Would we be more likely to be part of the celebration events during summer 2021 or summer 2022? When did the 25th birthday celebration events begin and end?Thanks!

Dad Answers

I do think there will be a yearish long celebration for the 50th anniversary. It will probably start sometime mid 2021, but might start as late as October 1st. We just have no clue and looking at past history probably won’t help much.

Jul 21, 2019 2020 or 2021
by: Timothy Moles I am struggling with choosing either Dec 2020 or Dec 2021 to visit. This will be our third time down. We visit after Christmas and stay through New Years. I need some help in deciding which year. Do you have an opinion?

Dad Answers

There is no wrong answer here. Christmas at Disney World is the best time of the year. Go in 2020, 2021, 2022, it doesn’t matter. It will be great. There will probably be more of a celebration in 2021, and crowds might be a little bigger. More of the new stuff will be open, but 2020 won’t be bad at all.

Jul 18, 2019 Christmas dates
by: Kris I have a dilemma. Part of my family wants to see Halloween and do the party and the rest of us want to see Christmas decorations and do the Christmas party. I have looked up the dates for this year to try and get an idea. When do you think the last Halloween party will be in 2020 and the first Christmas party in November. Thanks Kris

Dad Answers

I think you might just get really lucky.

My guess is the last Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party will be on November 1st (Disney likes to have parties on Sunday Night. If they don’t do one on the 1st it will be October 31st, because they always have one on Halloween night.

They usually have the first Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party on Friday night, which is the 5th of November.

You can get both parties by staying one week.

Jul 07, 2019 Late August 2021 – A good idea?
by: NichUK Turning 50 in Jan 2021, I thought a 2021 visit to DisneyWorld would be a great family occasion. I am a teacher in the UK and I was aiming to go for the last two weeks of August when I know most American school return, making it a bit quieter. However, if the “celebrations” are ramping up to that point, would it be better to go in 2020 instead ?What do you think ?

Dad Answers

The celebration won’t matter. Late August will be slow either year.

Jul 06, 2019 2022
by: Edward Coming from the uk and because of cost approx 7k upwards i am planning to visit early dec reasoning is i can enjoy the 50th celebrations with lesser crowds and experience the revamped EPCOT alongside its 40th means being patient but worth the wait also my children will then be 13 and 6
Is this a good plan or go 2021 as will take 3 years to save for another visit

Dad Answers

I think it’s a fine plan. I would go in the first half of the year if you want to see the celebration.

Jul 05, 2019 Crowds in may 2020we are staying at the Polynesian May 1, 202- May 10,2020.
by: Anonymous We are staying at the Polynesian May 1, 2020 – May 10, 2020. My daughter’s 18th birthday and my husband’s 40th birthday are both on May 7 so we don’t want any other dates. I just want to know what to prepare myself for crowd wise at that time. Do you think they will have died down from star wars opening, or will they still be crazy? This will be our first visit so I want to be able to prepare myself. Thanks for your help!

Dad Answers

I would expect light to moderate crowds at that time. Check out the May crowd calendar at Dad’s May Disney World Crowds page.

Jul 05, 2019 April 2021
by: Jessica With Easter 2021 being early (4/4/2021) would weeks later In the month not be very crowded? (4/25-5/1)
Debating between February (beginning or end?) or last week of April or first week of May 2021

Dad Answers

Crowds go way down after Easter and stay light to moderate until mid June.

Jun 19, 2019 50th Anniversary
by: Anonymous We are looking to check in September 28th 2021 & be there are anniversary so when I can book room only?

Dad Answers

499 days before.

Jun 17, 2019 March or May 2020
by: Anonymous Looking to go in either early March or early May 2020… best time for low crowds and able to use hotel pools? Thanks!

Dad Answers

March is one of the busiest months of the year. The Spring Break crowds can be brutal. I’d suggest May.

Jun 07, 2019 When to visit 2021
by: Aimee We were planning to visit September 2021 however with the 50th celebration and the opening of Tron do you think crowd levels will be very heavy at this time and maybe May would be a better time to visit?

Dad Answers

Amiee, September is typically the slowest month of the year. It’s hard to fight against school calendars. Even if Tron opens in late August or early September I think it will still be a good time to go. Probably better than May.

May 29, 2019 January 2021
by: Kwright22 I’m planning on taking a large family vacation at the end of January 2021. I know they won’t release pricing for the parks until June 2020 but when can I make a hotel reservation? I thought I could do it earlier and then add park and dining. Is that correct? Thank you so much! Love your page!

Dad Answers

You can make hotel reservations at 499 days before arrival. Packages are usually released in June.

May 22, 2019 2021 Visit
by: Emma Jean Hello,My mom & are planning a visit in 2021 for my 30th birthday.
We went in July for my 25th and it was super hot and very crowded.
We are looking at End of February or End of April, as this is when I have vacation time.
Which do you think would be better?

Dad Answers

Either one is good. I’d probably go with the end of February. It’s cooler and the crowds should be smaller.

May 12, 2019 First timer
by: Amanda We would like to book sometime in May 2021 for our 20 yr anniversary and early birthday gift to my son. Will this be a good time to do this? How soon can I book these dates. First timer.

Dad Answers

May will be a great time to visit Walt Disney World. You will be able to book your trip in June of 2020. Stay tuned.

May 08, 2019 Birthday/anniversary question
by: Anonymous Wife and I born in 1971, same year my school, Liberty, opened, same year Starbucks started, and of course…the happiest place on earth…so for our 50th, we want to finally do the ‘stay at a disney resort for our disney vacay’.Thing is, we want to get disney 50th gear of course. Wife is a teacher, thus we usually go over spring break…should I plan for 2021 March/April or 2022 March/April…which, unfortunately…will make us 51…lol. Choice would be March/April 2021…but not if they won’t have the ‘stuff’ out yet. Thoughts?

Dad Answers

There is no way to tell yet when the 50th Anniversary celebration will be. It could run Jan 2020 through Dec 2020, or October 2020 through 2022, or just October 2020, or …

I’d pencil in the 2021 date if being there during the actual celebration is important.

May 06, 2019 Park Capacity
by: Tyler Should I worry about planning a huge trip to Disney during the Christmas holidays and not being able to get into parks due to parks being at max capacity? Time period is looking to be around December of 2021.

Dad Answers

If you are going the week of Christmas (Christmas Day to New Years Day) then yes, you should worry. Not just in 2021 but every year. Parks close due to capacity that week. Not every day but several days. The Magic Kingdom will start closing to new guests by around 10 am on Christmas Day.

Apr 30, 2019 April 2021 or April 2022?
by: Aileen Hey WDW Dad,We are trying to decide what year would be best to visit WDW. We are restricted by school holidays so whichever year we visit, it would need to be during the first two weeks in April. We will either go in 2021 or in 2022. We are trying to work out which will have the least ‘crazy busy’ crowds. Easter is early (4th April) in 2021 so we could go after the Easter Weekend. In 2022 it is late (18th) so we would be there in the week or so leading up to Easter. Which do you think would be best? Also I know these two Aprils are on either side of the Oct 21 anniversary – which do you think is likely to be least affected in terms of crowds for the celebrations and and new attractions? We would really appreciate your thoughts on this. Thanks in advance.

Dad answers

I think 2021 would probably be a little better. The later in the month the better.

Apr 24, 2019 Help my wallet not hurt
by: Anonymous Currently looking at booking a WDW trip for the 25th of December to the 2nd of January, 2021/2022 respectively. Can I expect the prices to be increased due to the fact that it will be Disney’s 50th that year?

Probably not

I don’t think you’ll see prices increase during that time period because of the 50th Anniversary celebration. However, Christmas week is always the most expensive and busiest week of the year by far. Always.

Apr 22, 2019 January 2020 or 2021?
by: Glen Zerby Planning a Disney World trip either Jan 5th – 11th 2020 OR Jan 3rd – 9th 2021. Will either of those still be considered part of the Christmas high season with high prices and large crowds? For reference, the 2021 calendar is the same as the 2016 calendar so maybe there is historical info from 2016. Those are the only weeks we can go. Thanks!

Dad Answers

First, no neither one of those will be Christmas season prices. As to crowds, January 5th crowds will be smaller than January 3rd crowds. Basically, the Monday after January 1st is when he crowds start to go away.

Apr 22, 2019 2022 v 2021
by: Mouse Do you think August 2022 will be busy was going to go 2021 but with the celebration thinking it will be hectic

Dad Answers

I think by August 2022 the 50th Anniversary Celebration will be pretty well wound down.

Apr 17, 2019 Which week for 2021
by: Kate We are going to head back to Disney World (and Universal) in 2021 for my oldest’s high school graduation gift. We would be going either the week of February 14 (so Presidents Day week) or the week of April 18 (two weeks after Easter that year). Crowd wise am I right to assume the April one will be better? We’ve always gone in January or September in the past so sort of dreading big crowds. (Although this past September in 2018 didn’t seem nearly as low as in the past.) Thanks so much for your input!!

The April 18th date should be not bad at all. Crowds after Spring Break are very manageable.

Apr 09, 2019 April or May 2020
by: Jess I am planning a WDW trip for late April or early May 2020 (post-Easter, which is April 12 in 2020). Initial thinking is to fly in on a Sunday and out on a Saturday, thereby avoiding most of the “weekend” crowds. Any thoughts on whether there will be a noticeable difference in crowd size between the last two weeks of April or the first week of May? Thanks!

Dad Answers

I don’t think there will be much difference between the last 2 weeks in April and the first week of May 2020. Maybe a little but not a lot.

Mar 26, 2019 November 2021 and 50 yra
by: Lisa Hello!
I was wondering what is the best time to go in November 2021. And do you think they will still be celebrating the 50 year celebration?
Thank you!

Dad Answers

The best week to go during November 2021 will be the 14th through the 21st. Yes, the 50th anniversary celebration will still be going on.

Mar 23, 2019 2020 0r 2021
by: Mike We are planning on taking our son, his wife and 3 kids to Disney World. What are your thoughts on crowds for February of 2020 or 2021?

Dad Answers

With the Star Wars crowds in 2020 I think I’d wait until 2021.

Mar 21, 2019 Disney Dining 2021
by: Rebecca How would you go about booking a Disney package with the free Disney Dining for the 50th Anniversary? Surely by the time the free dining comes out all availability will be gone if it is released in April 2020? Or maybe they will block those dates out anyways!

Dad Answers

You will be able to book a 2021 package (the 50th Anniversary is in 2021) in June of 2020. As for Free Dining, I’m not confident that it will be offered in 2021. In fact, I really doubt it. We’ll have to see what happens in 2020. (I don’t expect it in 2020 either.)

I can say that if you want to be there on October 1st (the 50th Anniversary date) Free Dining will not be offered.

Feb 19, 2019 March 2020 Crowds
by: Ali Thoughts on possibly “lighter” crowds on a trip March 22-28, 2020? After most college spring breaks and before Easter (April 12). Of course with the opening of Galaxy’s Edge the term “lighter” is relative.

Dad Answers

Lighter is a real relative term when it comes to Galaxy’s Edge. Yes, bookings are a little down (3-5 percent). That doesn’t translate into much when it comes to crowd levels.

Typically crowd levels stay high from the second week of March through Easter week. I don’t expect crowds to be down much at the end of the month.

Feb 07, 2019 2021 crowds
by: Anonymous Do you think that there will still be the typical “lower crowd” periods in 2021 like mid January- February, September early December? We’re wondering if we could go that year see the celebration but avoid the crowds.

Dad Answers

I do expect the crowds in the first half of the year to follow the typical patterns, but after September it will be a little crazy.

Feb 06, 2019 Solo Trip
by: Kate Hello, please can you advise me when the best time to visit the flower and garden festival would be in 2021?I am planning a 16 day solo visit and this will be my 1st visit to the festival.

I’m aware the dates have not been released but i’m struggling to find info advising on this matter.

Any advise would be gratefully received!

Thank you 😊

Dad Answers

Kate, I think anytime you can go would be a good time. That being said, I would avoid spring break time which is around the first of March through Easter week. I think the best time would be late April and early May.

Feb 02, 2019 October or December?
by: Anonymous We’ve decided to go to Disney for the first time in 2021 to coincide with our sons big 10 birthday. We are just realizing it will be the year of the 50th anniversary. His bday is early December. Do you think there will still be celebrations going on then? Or will we miss the crowds? For a first trip do you think we should try and go in October for the celebrations or stick to the first two-ish weeks in December as originally planned?

Dad Answers

Disney liked long celebrations. The last one at Disney World lasted 14 months. My guess is the 50th will go on for a year or more so you should be fine in either October or December.

Jan 31, 2019 WDW in July 2020
by: Anonymous We are going to be book for July 2020 week after the 4th. When is the best time to book with Disney? Summer 2019 or the winter 2020? TIA! We are a family of 4. My kids will be 9 and 6 when we go.

Dad Answers

There really is not best time to book, but the earlier the better. Package bookings will be available in mid-June 2019 for 2020. That’s when I would book.

Get in touch with our partners at Destinations to Travel and get started. They can help you get everything all set up.

Jan 28, 2019 WDW 50th Birthday
by: Anonymous I would like to plan a trip to WDW in May 2021.
Do you think the 50th Birthday celebration will begin by then?
Do you think Tron will be open then?

Thank You

Dad’s Answer

Tron, yes. The celebration… I don’t know. Probably, but we won’t know until late 2020 or so.

Jan 20, 2019 2021 trip
by: Crystal N With us already knowing we are going to Disney in 2021, I am trying to get the best time to go set. I just went for my 1st trip ever in 2018, the week of July 4th. Surprisingly I didn’t think the crowds were horrible. We will be taking my 5 year old (in 2021) step-son. Since we have set times with him. In 2021, Easter is April 4. Would you recommend 2 weeks prior to Easter or 2 weeks after Easter?

Dad Answers

After Easter for sure. Crowds before Easter are crazy (Spring Break) then they go away after Easter.

Jan 19, 2019 2020 trip with young kids
by: Krista C We are hoping to plan a trip to WDW in 2020. We will have 3 kids between 2 and 6 years old. When is the best time we should try to go? We don’t have to work around school. It my hubby can’t travel in the fall.

Dad Answers

If you can’t travel in the fall, I’d say go in February but not President’s Day week.

Dec 11, 2018 Family trip
by: Anonymous What week is best for Jan 2020 to Feb 2020
Thank you!

Dad Answers

it’s a little early for my 2020 predictions, but any week except for Martin Luther King or Presidents Day week should be really good.

Nov 27, 2018 2020 Trip?
by: Chrissy When do you recommend we start planning for our Thanksgiving 2020 visit. We’ll be staying 8 nights and there will be 11 of us in the group.

Dad Answers

I’m always planning, but you can book your trip starting next June-ish. So I would start in earnest, around April or so.

Oct 12, 2017 when do I need to start planing -going in 2021?
by: judy newton My daughter and myself are going to Disney in 2021. We are going to plan a 14 day visit there, we know the park only has a 9 day park ticket.Daughter will be 31 myself 72. and planning to stay at the All Star Sports.

We went to Disney in 2016 by accident we went when it was 45 anv. so we said we are going in 5 yrs. for the 50th.

So wondering do I need to plan more that a yr. away to make plans to attend. Is there going to be all the information ready more that a YEAR AWAY?

Dad Answers

Judy, it’s a little early to start actual planning for 2021. That being said, it’s not too early to think and dream about your trip.

This is going to sound a little self serving but buy some of the good Disney Guide books (like Dad’s” and enjoy.

Check out WDW Magazine where we’ve started a countdown to 2021.

Basically, dream and think for a while. You can’t make any reservations until sometime in 2019 (for room only). The package reservations will be announced in 2020.

You’ve got a couple of years to dream before it’s time to do anything planning wise.

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Comments 4

  1. We are planning a trip during Mardi Gras 2021. From 2/14-2/20….how do you think the crowds and pricing will be?

    1. Post

      Mardi Gras is always a fairly busy time. Not overwhelming, but busy. I don’t want to get too far ahead on looking at pricing until we see how long the coronavirus sticks around. If it goes into the fall and starts to look like it will affect 2021 visits, pricing may be low. We’ll have to see.

  2. Came from Italy.
    What do you think will be the best time during 2021 to visit wdw and enjoy the 50th annyversay celebration?
    Thanks F.

    1. Post


      If the 50th Anniversary celebration starts before October, September 2021 will be the best time to go. The first 3 weeks of September are typically the slowest time of the year at WDW.

      I’d probably say February 2022 would be the next slow time. I think the holiday season in 2021 is going to be crazy.

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