Is it Packed: Disney World in February
February can be a tricky month to go to Disney World, for a few reasons. At first glance, it may seem like the perfect time. It has mild weather, not too hot, which might draw less people in.
But because it’s in the middle of winter, January and February do tend to be the least crowded months for the parks, but that’s only if you come during the right weeks.
Disney World Crowds in February: Best Days and Weeks?
Spring Break week for both high school and college can vary depending on the school, but generally, a lot of schools have a week long break in the middle of February. Because of this, a lot of families plan their vacations around that. So while you may be thinking about why this month might be perfect for you, a lot of other people are doing the same. Of course, it’s hard to really say when is the best time of year to go to Disney World, so we should look at the pros and cons of what February has to offer.
What if you really want to visit in February? While, many people look at “crowd calendars” to consider what weeks and days are busiest in order to plan their trip. While there are plenty of good sites with crowd calendars, Undercover Tourist has a great one that lists expected crowds on a scale of one to ten, as well as the hours of each park for that day (including Extra Magic Hours, which are only if you are also staying at a Walt Disney World resort), and if any special event is going on in the parks.
Generally, it’s smart to avoid Valentine’s Day, and the week following. First reason is because it’s a holiday, and people love to celebrate in special ways, which may include a visit to the Most Magical Place on Earth. But also, for schools that have a break in February, it usually falls around the second week of the month. That means that there will be a bunch of teenagers or college students running around the parks, increasing wait times and making it all together difficult to navigate the parks.
President’s Day, which is the third Monday in February, is popular for visitors since it creates a long weekend. Many people stay that whole weekend, taking advantage of that extra day off.
Near the end of the month, there is the runDisney Princess Half Marathon Weekend, and some years Mardi Gras week falls in the month of February, which is a very busy time for Walt Disney World, increasing prices and wait times. But on the other hand, if that’s not as much of a concern, this could be an extremely unique vacation, experiencing Disney World during their Mardi Gras celebration.
Ultimately, if you want to visit Walt Disney World in February, you should come either the first week of the month or the last. Those weeks are generally low to moderate crowds. Because of this, during the first week of February there can be more limited park hours, but with the shorter lines and Extra Magic Hours (if you are staying on property), it shouldn’t be a problem.
It terms of planning any week at Disney, it’s best to save the most popular parks at the moment, like Magic Kingdom, for a weekday. If you can avoid going into the parks from Friday to Monday, you are a lot more likely to find less crowds and low wait times. But if that’s not possible, save Epcot or Animal Kingdom for those days, as they are bigger parks, so they fill up more slowly than the others.
What’s the Weather Like?
February weather in Orlando, Florida can be unpredictable. It really depends on the trends of temperature that year, but expect highs to be in the mid-70s, and lows in the mid-50s. But even knowing the average range of temperatures, it can be a lot colder and a lot warmer, so it’s hard to really plan around that. Some people even swim in February.
The most important thing to keep in mind when packing clothes is what you can layer. It tends to be cold enough for a sweater in the morning, then hot in the afternoon, especially as you walk around the parks. And in the evening and at night it might be cold once again. With that variability, you need to be able to adapt on the fly. This can be especially important if you are with young kids. You would want to pack things like a hat or jacket for the whole trip to have on hand for the changing weather.
Walt Disney World has changed the way they sell tickets, moving to a date-based system. That means that prices for tickets are higher or lower depending on when you want to visit. So since February is a low season, this is a great benefit.
But on the other hand, if you want to visit in the middle of the month when it generally gets busier, the ticket price increase is another important thing to think about. This can become an even bigger difference when you consider add-ons like the Park Hopper feature (which I recommend getting). With this new system, February and the surrounding months might be the cheapest time to go to Disney World.
Navigating the Rides
Are you one of those people who like to plan everything, down to the last detail? While I assume that includes the rides you are going to be going on in the parks. If you are hoping to visit in February, that’s a good thing, because navigating the crowds and wait times can be difficult in this busy month. Let’s go over the most popular rides in each park, meaning, the ones that will probably have the longest lines.
Magic Kingdom’s Most Popular Rides:
- Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (Located in Fantasyland)
- Splash Mountain (Located in Frontierland)
- Space Mountain (Located in Tomorrowland)
- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (Located in Frontierland)
- Peter Pan’s Flight (Located in Fantasyland)
Epcot’s Most Popular Rides/Longest Lines:
Hollywood Studios Most Popular Rides:
- Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster starring Aerosmith
- Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
- Toy Story Mania
- Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run
- Slinky Dog Dash
Animal Kingdom Most Popular Rides:
Rides at Magic Kingdom
Now, the first thing you should do is decide which of these rides are must dos for you, and try to score a FastPass for them. If you can’t, there are still ways to get on them, but you have to be strategic. First, if you are staying at a Walt Disney World resort, take advantage of those Extra Magic Hours.
That is essential if you want to hit those super popular rides, like anything in Toy Story Land. A good choice is going to the parks as early as possible. If you get to Magic Kingdom right when it opens, you should head straight to Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. A lot of other people will have the same idea, so you can only hope that you get there right as the long like is forming, and not after it.
The three mountains of Magic Kingdom are usually high on the lists of people visiting Walt Disney World, so I won’t try to convince you to skip those. I definitely think they are worth riding. Space Mountain is usually the busiest of the three, though when the park’s super busy, all of them can have super long lines.
For Magic Kingdom, unless you have a FastPass, it’s hard to predict how busy these rides will be, as it all depends on the day. One tip for Magic Kingdom is to plan (if you can) to visit this park during the week, and not on the weekend, when it would be at its busiest. Save the other parks for then. Peter Pan’s Flight ends up with huge lines because it’s a slower loading ride. This is a great ride, but compared to the other ones on the list, it is one you can miss.
While you either wait for these lines to die down, or for your FastPass time to come around, there are plenty of other things to do in Magic Kingdom worth your time. A few other rides that can also have abnormally long lines on busy days are the Haunted Mansion, It’s A Small World, Jungle Cruise, and Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin. That last one is one of my personal favorite rides, and if you can’t manage to get on Toy Story Mania during your visit, this is a great alternative, with the same sort of ride mechanics and competition.
Of course, there are still many other rides in the park. The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh is another simple ride-through, but if you watch Winnie the Pooh as a kid, it’s a cute, nostalgic attraction.
Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor is really good if you are visiting with young children and teenagers, as it’s funny and interactive, so each time you go on is a new experience. Kids love feeling like they are influencing the rides in anyway, which is why Disney puts so much effort into making the queues interactive. Other rides you might want to check out are Tomorrowland Speedway, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Mickey’s Philarmagic.
Rides at Epcot
For Epcot, I have the same advice: try to get FastPass, but if you can’t, get to the park early, or watch the wait times. Epcot doesn’t have as many rides as the other parks, so people crowd to the most popular all throughout the day. But Epcot has a lot to offer in other ways.
Spending a day meandering around the World Showcase pavilions can fill you with happiness, and good food and drink. Maybe you get some chips and guacamole (and a Margarita for those over twenty-one) from the Mexico Pavilion, walk through the shops of Norway and China, and get gelato in Italy.
Any newer rides are bound to have longer waits, like Frozen Ever After. Unless you feel like you need to go on that ride, I would honestly say you could skip it. It’s a simple vehicle ride-through, where you see the story shown in the film. The technology looks great, but it’s nothing new. Out of all the rides at Epcot, the only one I’d label as a must do is Soarin’Around the World.
Rides at Hollywood Studios
With everything Hollywood Studios now has to offer, you definitely can’t do everything here in one day. While Toy Story Land and Galaxy’s Edge are amazing and have great rides, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror are still the best attractions here, and if you like thrill rides as much as I do, these are your must dos for this park.
Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster has a single rider line, which can be an easy way to get on the ride quickly, maybe even to ride it a few times in a row, though this option isn’t always available. Again, watch the wait times for all of these rides, as it can be unpredictable and change a lot throughout the day.
A few smaller attractions you should check out are Star Tours, which you can ride multiple times, as it shuffles through a few different ride experiences and locations in the Star Wars Universe, Muppet Vision 3D, a classic attraction usually with a very small wait time, and Beauty and the Beast — Live on Stage, one of Disney’s best stage shows they offer. There are fastpasses offered for these attractions, but don’t waste them here. Save them for the big rides.
Rides at Animal Kingdom
With the addition of Pandora, Animal Kingdom has expanded to include a few more major crowd pleasing rides. While Expedition Everest is still the signature ride of the park, standing tall over everything else physically, the new attractions are becoming must dos for anyone visiting Disney World.
Avatar Flight of Passage and Na’vi River Journey will continue to have long lines, so unless you want to stand in line for at least an hour, you should really try to get a FastPass for these, or save them for your next visit. Expedition Everest has a single rider line that can be as short as the FastPass wait time.
When considering all the rides here, the only ones that really deserve a FastPass are the ones mentioned above, and Kilimanjaro Safaris. Some other people might not agree with this, but this attraction has remained my favorite in Animal Kingdom for years, no matter what new stuff they add, and is one of my favorite rides in all of Disney World.
It’s why you’re coming to Animal Kingdom, to see the wild animals in their natural habitat. Because they are free roaming throughout the path of the vehicle, you never know exactly what you’re going to get.
One time we had to wait five minutes for a particularly lazy and unafraid giraffe to finish walking across the path. It was so close to us that I thought if I reached out I might be able to touch its nose (I didn’t, of course). It was an amazing experience.
Touringplans.com has a great wait time predictor generated each day, showing what they expect the wait times for each ride to be at every hour, including character meet and greets (definitely useful!). I recommend using the My Disney Experience app constantly during your stay, as it updates wait times in real time. Sometimes there might be a surprisingly short wait time at some of these rides, and it won’t last for long. So if you spot this on the app, you can run over and get on the ride before it gets too busy again.
Single Rider Lines
One way to be able to ride on some of the most popular rides is through the single rider lines. Right now there are only a few rides that offer this feature, though that’s subject to change.
These are Expedition Everest in Animal Kingdom, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster and Millenium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run at Hollywood Studios, and Test Track at Epcot. These lines are usually as quick as the FastPass + lines, though they aren’t guaranteed to be open during your visit.
Character Meet and Greets
For some, especially young children, meeting their favorite characters, maybe getting a picture and a signature, are an exciting part of their visit to Disney World. It’s a big part of the magic. But along with the rides, there can be huge lines for the set-up character experiences at the parks. If you have kids or are traveling with someone who this is really important to, then I recommend using one or two of your FastPasses for the meet and greets.
There are different characters positioned around all of the parks, with specific scheduled appearances, making it easy for you to plan around that. You can also find characters walking around the parks more, and it’s always nice to get a special moment with them while they are on their way to their scheduled meet and greet.
Epcot International Festival of the Arts
For February, the main event going on is Epcot International Festival of the Arts. It does not cost any additional fee beyond your park ticket. The festival debuted in 2017, and is quickly becoming a favorite for visitors, on par with Epcot Food and Wine Festival, which is held in the Fall, and Epcot Flower and Garden Festival, which takes place in the Spring.
Epcot International Festival of the Arts usually takes place during the first two months of the year, and it features Performing Arts, Visual Arts, and Culinary Arts.
The Culinary Arts are a big draw for people attending the festival. While you look at beautiful performances and the work of featured artists, Epcot’s World Pavilion hosts stands in each country featuring new and exciting food and drink. And since it’s the festival of the arts, the food is given extra care to look extraordinary.
Some artists featured in past festivals are Mary Blair and Herb Ryman, and there is a Disney on Broadway Concert Series showcasing performances by stars of current shows. There are interactive activities for guests, and many art demonstrations daily throughout the festival. Of course, there is also plenty of art for sale, so if you are looking for a new painting for your house, here’s your opportunity!
Even if you find you have to plan part of your trip during the busier times of the month, there are plenty of activities available around Walt Disney World besides the parks that you can take advantage of.
Disney Springs is filled with shops, great dining and entertainment, and can easily take one, if not two whole days to explore. Some of Disney World’s best restaurants can be found here, so you should look at the options here before booking reservations during your stay. Also, no matter where you stay, you can stop by all of Disney’s resorts and take a look around, as each offer unique shops and food that might interest you.
For example, Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter has amazing beignets that you can’t find at any other resort, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge has a great and very unique store to peruse. Then there’s also everything the city has to offer outside of Walt Disney World. You could take a trip to the Kennedy Space Center, visit one of the many art museums in the city, or maybe even go fishing!
Disney in February: Is it Worth it?
Though there are many different factors that affect your decision of when to plan your Walt Disney World vacation, February is one of the best times to try to visit, depending on the time of the month.
Considering everything here, February, especially the first week, is in Disney World’s low season. You’ll find low crowds and comfortable weather, and with extra planning for FastPasses and reservations, you can get to all the experiences you want to while you are here!
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