When is the best time to visit DL? I know WDW but DL is a new creature in my vacation planning world. Any and ALL help would be great! TIA!!
I just went this year in late February. Crowds were manageable. DL gets more locals so it is always more crowded on weekends. With that being said , fireworks and fantasmic are not always shown during the week in the slow periods. I say anytime you get the chance to go. I loved being in Walt's park. Carsland was amazing also. Enjoy!
Loved the Halloween seasons for the Mansion and Space Mountain layovers.
I would say in the fall, low crowds, cooler weather, pumpkin fall treats, and fall decor
I get this question ALL THE TIME, and my answer is always--it depends. Each time of year has it's pros and cons. Early fall (September) and January-February have the lowest crowds generally, but also the most refurbs and shortest hours. The refurbs can really impact the wait times like this last spring. The refurbs made days that should have been less than a 4 have wait times consistent with 8-9 crowds. The shorter hours also means you have less time to do everything, and less early morning time (when RD is at 8, you can get a ton done before 10:30 when the locals start arriving, when RD is 10, you don't have that advantage because the locals will be there too) to get the headliners in before the crowds. You also only get F! and FW on weekends, so if you want to see these, you have to schedule at least one weekend day and if the winds or other weather conditions are poor, and they get cancelled, you're out of luck. You won't have another chance to see them.
Christmas and Halloween have the best decorations, and those decorations can really add to the magic. My nephew's family went when the Christmas decorations were up and happened to be in line for IASW when the Christmas lights came on. It was the most magical part of their trip. They kids were in awe. My niece-in-law actually started to cry, it was so magical, but depending on when you go it can be really crowded. The last 2 weeks of December has crazy, busy crowds. Usually the best times to go for Christmas decorations are the full week before Thanksgiving or the week after Thanksgiving. The Halloween parties have made October more busy than previous, but DL is way slow on the day of a Halloween party.
The summer is not as crowded as it used to be. It's hot, but with all the AP blockouts, it can be slower than spring. The hours are long, and you can get a lot done in the early hours, and everyhing is usually running at full capacity, and all the shows are available every day, but you'll also sweat a lot.
Early spring has great weather, but the crowds can be high and you can run into refurbs.
I also want to address this idea that weekends are much busier at DLR. That was certainly the case 10+ years ago. Then I used to tell people to look at the blockout calender and avoid any day that was blocked out for deluxe. That was when the number of AP's numbered around 250K. Things have changed dramatically. Now with over 1 million AP's and the the price of those AP's going up, up, up many locals have downgraded their AP. I know tell people the slowest days are the days that only the PAP is valid, which is usually Saturday. The tourists come for multiple days, so they may be at the parks say Thursday through Saturday, those numbers won't change that much, what changes is the locals. If all the AP's are valid on Thursday and Friday, but only one type of AP is valid on Saturday, then Saturday is going to have fewer people, which is exactly what I have seen happen. Saturday has been the best day of the week to go this summer. Sundays have been horrible, but with the cancellation of new Southern California AP, which are valid on Sunday, those crowds have thinned somewhat. Now I tell people to look at the block out calendar and go when the most AP's are blocked and to NOT go right before or after a major blockout of southern California passes ie first week of June (select AP), 3rd week of June (So Cal AP), or 3rd week of August (all blockouts are lifted).
So when is the best time to go to DLR? What is most important to you: good weather, having everything open, magic, low crowds...? It's not as easy a question to answer as it used to be. There really is very few if any uncrowded days at DLR now days.
Is it comparable to WDW in mid-April? We are going right in the middle of the month in 2015.
Thanks for the informative post! My dates are non-negotiable, but at least I'll know what to expect.
Haven't been to WDW in April but this past March to Easter were very busy. DL's 60th anniversary events start in Spring, no details yet. Disboards has 2014 events/school break schedule that may help get an idea. http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3221444
Well, it might not be the best time to visit crowd-wise, but it's probably the only chance we will have while our kids are still young, so we will just have to deal! Maybe they will have converted to FP+ by then? Or is that not even on the horizon?
Thanks @BellesRose2K. You really are the DL Liner expert!
FP+ & magic bands not on the horizon yet. Will know when they add wifi to the parks.
This has been helpful. My family had a wonderful trip to DLR this past May. Although a few attractions were undergoing a refurb, there was still many great things to do. Even got to meet some great liners at a meet and greet! We all loved it and now are trying to decide for Halloween or Christmas time for 2015. Coming from the East Coast and with a child in school, the only fall long weekend is Labor Day. Seems like from this string of posts that early Sept. has short park days. Hmmmm...decisions, decisions!! DH and DD really want to go to the DLR Halloween Party.
Actually @moorparknay15 puts me to shame. She is the real expert. I still learn things from her.
Thanks, Rose. 😃
The beautiful thing about DL is there is no bad weather. Summer can be hot if a heat wave. But seriously nice almost daily. what was said above about blackouts is so true. My husband and I noted Fourth of July was way quieter this year then ever... Next year we are thinking of an unheard of summer trip! Personally I believe oct>dec to be optimal because the holiday decor and haunted mansion are not to be missed!! But truly- you won't go wrong except if weekends got blacked out for a while and you go to first not blacked out weekend. Then eek!