If you've only been to Orlando during the summer or while your kids are on spring break, you're missing out. Sure, if you have children, it is easier to travel during their school vacations. But lots of people have the same sentiment, which means much bigger crowds and longer lines wherever you go. Most locals, in fact, steer clear of the theme parks during prime travel times of the year, especially during the summer when daily temperatures often approach 100 degrees. If you're able to, try to make it to Orlando during one of the following five periods, when crowds will be sparser, temperatures will be lower, and hotel prices will be reduced. On top of that, the theme parks tend to host special festivals and events during off times of the year, so you can often experience some unique things that simply aren't available in June, July, and August.
Mid-January through Mid-February
For roughly a month between Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and Washington’s birthday (also known as Presidents’ Day), Orlando's tourist scene is at its quietest. If you live in a cold climate, this could be the perfect time for a warm-weather getaway. Average daytime temperatures reach the low- to mid-70s, and theme park crowds tend to be sparse.
April through late May
There's another uncrowded period between spring break and summer vacation, with the exception of the week before and after Easter. Plus, spring in Orlando is usually temperate and sunny, making it a great time to visit. Come early for Epcot's popular International Flower & Garden Festival or Mardi Gras at Universal Studios, or visit in May for Star Wars Weekends at Disney's Hollywood Studios.
Mid-September through Mid-November
Soon after Labor Day, the blistering summer temperatures begin to fade, and the nights start to get cooler. With kids just back to school, the theme parks tend to be quieter too. This is the time to take advantage of Visit Orlando's Magical Dining Month ($33 prix fixe meals at Orlando's best restaurants all September long) as well as Epcot's hugely popular International Food & Wine Festival.
Mid-October through Halloween
Although this overlaps with the post-Labor Day period previously mentioned, the weeks leading up to Halloween are certainly worthy of their own category. Between Universal's thrilling, chilling and elaborate Halloween Horror Nights, the kid-friendly Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party at Disney World, and the Halloween Spooktacular at SeaWorld, there's truly something spooky for everyone.
Late November through mid-December
There's a brief lull between the Monday after Thanksgiving and the beginning of the school holiday breaks around the country, making this festive season the perfect time to visit Orlando. You'll avoid major crowds, but you'll get to see the theme parks all dressed up for the holidays. Don’t miss the parks’ special holiday events, such as the beloved Candlelight Processional at Epcot.