September vs November vs December

I’d like to get some advice. My family and I have traveled to WDW in September of 2014, 2016, and 2018. We really love avoiding the crowds, but the heat has a bit much to take at times.

So now we are planning on a 2020 trip, hopefully for 7-10 days. We are looking at three possible timeframes: September after labor day, mid November (avoiding Jersey week and Thanksgiving), and early December (within first couple of weeks after Thanksgiving). My family includes four kids who will be 5-13 and pulling them out of school won’t be an issue. My family likes not waiting in line, swimming every day, real temps below 90, and Christmas decorations. I hate being cold.

So based on your experiences, what do you prefer or recommend? How would you rank those three months? Are the lower temps worth the higher crowds? Is the atmosphere that different with the Christmas decorations?

All feedback welcome.

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Out of those dates & with “heat” being a factor I’d go with the first week of December. The temps only get into the mid / low 70s - and the CLs are pretty manageable. The decorations are up and it’s a nice touch - especially the lights on Cinderella’s castle at night.

I do love going in Sept. after Labor day for the even lower crowds and better prices. However, you have to deal with Hurricane season

I’ve never been in November. So I can’t say…


I certainly believe that to be the case. I’m not into the heat at all. So far I’ve gone twice at Christmas and once in April.

Yes! It’s beautiful! Everything is so festive!

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I’ve gone November the week before the week of Thanksgiving and also the week after Thanksgiving. Both were great. I have never gone in September due to hurricane season so I can’t compare it to the other two.

I have been in September and December. I am returning this December but that trip is mainly focused on Universal. I know that people always talk about lower crowds in the beginning of December but on the weekends I found the crowds to be at the same level as Easter.

My vote is for mid November. Crowds are low in September, but it is extremely hot and humid. We have found crowds to be pretty high in December with temps too cool for swimming. I’m trying mid November this year and hoping for moderate crowds and weather. The Christmas decorations will be up in the parks by then and possibly some of the resorts too.

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I should say that MK will be decorated for Christmas by mid Nov. I’m not sure about the other parks because we aren’t going to the others this trip.

Here is a chart showing the average high/low temperatures and precipitation by month. If you want to swim everyday, the later you go, the less comfortable that will be (although the pools are heated so as long as you’re staying in the water it isn’t too bad).

November is the driest month of the year and the temps are a bit higher, so that’s when I’d go for the best weather, all else being equal.


Seems to me that swimming weather is pretty subjective. If you ask me, 72* is time to break out the sandals and sunscreen. :rofl: It depends what you’re leaving behind.


First of all, please stop copying me :crazy_face:
My family went in September 2014 and 2018. We had a trip planned for September 2016, but a baby due in July 2016 caused me to call an audible and reschedule to late January 2016 instead (on 6 weeks notice).

We are currently planning for mid-November 2020 or the first week of December (I’ve said it elsewhere in other threads, I’m not just messing with you!).

The weather in January was AMAZING! Highs ranging from high 60s to low 80s. Half the time we wore jeans due to low temps in the morning. I am definitely shooting for that again. I love the low crowds of September, but I think the crowds will be manageable in November/early December and any higher crowds will seem better because of the nice weather. Everything is more bearable when you aren’t sweating.

With the heated pools, swimming just depends on whether you are willing to do it. We only did one day in January, mostly because we were enjoying the cool weather and cooling off in the pool was not on our minds.

I also want to see Christmas decorations.

When I do decide on a date, I will not be sharing it so you can’t copy :rofl:

I don’t have much feedback to offer as we haven’t traveled to WDW during any of those months (April, January, and March). However, we DID go to the parks at the beginning of January about 10 years ago during a big cold snap. The Christmas decorations were still up and they were STUNNING! It felt so festive! If it were me, I’d lean toward the November date, but that’s just personal preference. Good luck deciding!

You got that right! Here in Phoenix we don’t start swimming till the high is routinely in the 90s or 100s around Memorial Day.


The first week of December used to be our first pick. Low crowds and less heat. Then the secret got out. Still, if you’re ok with rope drop first week of December should be fine, crowd wise.

Christmas decorations are over the top. When we started going in late January we were amazed at how empty the parks seemed with no Christmas decorations. Sure, September has the fall/Halloween decorations but it’s not the same.

As for temps for swimming. I don’t recall missing many days in late November (when Thanksgiving came early) or early December. We’ve had January and February visits that were tough to find any day all week warm enough for comfortable swimming.

I do recall one December trip that had a cold snap. Typhoon Lagoon didn’t open - high that day would not get above 55. We were at the campground that trip and the boat rides were beyond chilly. Many guests seemed to be wearing all their clothes, even sweatshirts as hats. We had come from cold weather and had coats, gloves and scarves. It seems as tho that cold didn’t last more than a couple of days. We ate at the Concourse Steakhouse and kept our coats on throughout the meal.

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We’ve often hit Pop Warner during the first week of December the last two years as well. I would do mid-November. Decorations are up for the holidays, better shot at consistent pool weather and not as hot as September.

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I’ve been multiple times the week after Thanksgiving in 2015 and 2016. I think crowds have gotten worse now during that time. My wife and I are going week before Thanksgiving week this year.

We LOVE going in December as they play Christmas music all over the parks, and decorations are fabulous. Going in early December, the weather is great, and you can definitely swim with kid’s at that time. Will let you know how crowds are in Mid November after the trip this year, but my vote is you go either Nov or Dec.

We also went in October of 2012. It was hot. We spent a day at the Water parks that year.

Back in 2017 I took a girls trip with my mom to celebrate her 80th birthday & to celebrate Thanksgiving/Christmas with my DD who was in the DCP at the time and wouldn’t be home for the holidays. We arrived the Sunday after Thanksgiving & didn’t have a park day. I did look at wait times which were busy. We did the parks that Monday thru Friday (including Universal for Harry Potter stuff) and with the exception of waiting for FOP (I couldn’t get FP) everything was manageable. Everything was decorated for Christmas and it was just beautiful. Although we didn’t use the pools,it was definitely warm enough to do so.I would definitely go again during that time.

Thanks Jeff for pulling the weather data. I think that an “Average” day is probably warm enough. Although the kids love swimming at night after the parks - and 55 is too cold even for a mid-westerner like me.

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Well we always rope drop - assuming I can get 4 children out the door on time. I have no problem with rope dropping and pulling extra fastpasses - I do that in September. I have a feeling though that doing those things in November or December don’t get you as far as they do in September.

Crowds getting worse since 2015 or 2016 is what I have been hearing. Which is one of the reason I started this thread. Too bad I can’t schedule my next trip to be December 2012, unless I find all the infinity stones before our next trip.

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If I may ask - to you and any one else who knows - how much less did you get done in November/ December than September? Its hard to really appreciate that difference.

As an example we went to MK on September 14, 2018. It was EMH, but also a party day - so the park was a really low crowd day. We rope dropped, used rider swap, and accomplished before leaving at 5pm to head to Kona.

Space Mountain X 2
Tomorrowland Speedway
Mad Tea Party X 2
Alice Meet and Greet
Its a Small World
BTMRR x 2 (ride swap)
Lunch at Harbour House
Splash Mountain x 2 (rider swap)
Pirates of the Carribean
Festival of Fantasy
Jungle Cruise
Met Merida
Haunted Mansion
Its a Small World (again)

Like - how much of that day is doable in November / December?

(Part of the fun of getting a lot done in one day at Magic Kingdom, is that our last day was a 2nd magic kingdom day. And on our 2nd MK day, it was super relaxed since we hit every major attraction already.)