Five Reasons Why August is a Great Time to Visit Orlando’s Theme Parks

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I know, some of you are giving that title some side-eye. You’re thinking: “Isn’t August in Florida hotter than the surface of the sun?” Well, there might be some truth to that — but it’s also a great time to score discounts, have a more relaxed vacation, and beat the crowds.

I’ve taken regular vacations at Disney World (and occasionally Universal Orlando) in August since 2009. Here are the things that make this month a winner for me.

Lower Crowds

After the first week of August, crowds start going down, down, down. Who doesn’t want to visit when there aren’t as many people in the parks?

Average Crowd Level Jun-Aug, 2018-22
Observed levels used for 2018 and 2019; forecasted levels are used for 2022

Weekly averages for Disney World are shown above, but Universal has a similar trend. In the first couple of weeks, crowds start to slack off from June and July levels. If you’re able to visit after local schools go back in session (looking at you, New Englanders), you’ll find the parks empty out even more.

Special Events

Every year, EPCOT holds Festivals in the World Showcase area, with themed booths offering tasting-size dishes. Elsewhere Halloween and Christmas events, Mardi Gras, and other seasonal offerings can bring some extra sparkle to your vacation.

This roasted porchetta was my personal favorite from the 2021 Food & Wine Festival

In the past these events rarely overlapped the summer months, which were busy anyway. But for the last couple of years, EPCOT’s famous Food & Wine Festival has begun in late July. At the Magic Kingdom Halloween in the summer might feel a little strange, but last year’s Boo Bash parties started on August 10.

The Weather is Reliable

OK, yes, reliably HOT. It’s true that you’ll have to take some precautions against melting in the heat, and if you have polar bears in your family this might be a deal-breaker. But there are upsides.

1 — When it (reliably) thunderstorms in the afternoon, you’ll need to decide. Do you want to be on

♦ Team leave the park to nap?

or

♦ Team stay in the park with shorter lines when everyone else leaves to nap?

2 — Summer clothes take up less space in your suitcases. Fewer baggage fees and more room for souvenirs! (Summer fabrics also tend to wash well in the sink and dry quickly, letting you bring fewer outfits).

3 — Plenty of people at the pools. If you’re a parent, you know this means your kids can find other kids to play with, giving you some real downtime.

As hot as it is during the day, in the summer the parks can be a delight at night and won’t leave you quite as liquid as my friends in the picture.  And since it isn’t yet the off-season, they’re still open well into the evening hours.

You Can Take Your Time

If you have kids, or you vacation with people who have kids, the school schedule rules. Unless you homeschool your choices are usually:

  • Take a whole week at Christmas or Easter (huge crowds).
  • Pull your kids out of school.
  • Latch onto a 3-day weekend and try to cram everything in.

In August you can take a whole week, and it won’t be the same week that everyone else is taking. Or you can choose a different way to zig when everyone else is zagging: do a four-day trip from Monday to Thursday when costs are lower and crowds are too.

One strategy to deal with the heat, and to have a more relaxing vacation, is to come for a week and do half-days in the parks. Longer park hours in the summer let you choose mornings or evenings while skipping the worst of the midday heat, and the lower crowds mean you’ll get more done when you are in the parks.

Do some relaxing on your vacation – spend the hot afternoons at the pool instead of in the parks.

Adding days to your tickets costs more, but the math may be more favorable than you think. At Disney World, the average cost for the first four days is over $100 a day. For the fifth day? An extra $40, and the 6th day is only $20 or so. If those extra days let you skip the $85 park hopper and still get your fill of the parks, you’re breaking even. Did I mention that your August ticket will already be $40-$90 cheaper than if you came at Easter?

At Universal Orlando, the lowest tier 2-park Annual Pass ($399) compares favorably to a 5-day ticket ($365-$385 in August) and in 2022 blockouts end on July 31. If you come every year and you pick your dates right, you could use the same AP on both trips.

Savings

I’ve already mentioned that August is one of the least expensive months for tickets. It’s also one of the least expensive months for hotel rooms; only January is cheaper.

Average Rack Rate 2022 Disney Hotels
Least expensive room at each hotel chosen as the price point (dots). The green column shows the average across all resorts. Prices based on 2022 rack rates.

The average rate for August in the chart above ranges from $172 at All Star Movies to $784 at the Grand Floridian. But wait, there’s more!  Discounts of 15-30% are routinely available at this time of year. If Moderates are your style and you can plan well in advance, renting points for DVC in August can let you move up to Deluxe for the same money.

Let’s Recap

  • Crowds are low, but off-season refurbs haven’t begun and the parks are still open well into the evening.
  • Some special events that didn’t used to extend to the summer months are starting in early August.
  • The weather is hot — but forewarned is forearmed, and there are some positives.
  • No clashing with school schedules means that you can spread out your park time and have a vacation that feels like you actually took a break.
  • Tickets and lodging are less expensive than many other times of the year, and discounts are often available.

Sound good? Our Touring Plans Travel Agents can help you book at either Disney or Universal.  Want to line it all up yourself? Our vacation planning tools can help you save time and money.

Have you vacationed in Orlando in August?  Would you vacation in Orlando in August?  Let us know in the comments!

 

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Jennifer Heymont

Jennifer Heymont has a background in math and biology, but since she couldn't pick between the two she ended up in Data Science where she gets to do both. She lives just north of Boston with her husband, kids, and assorted animal members of the family. Although it took three visits for the Disney bug to "take", she now really wishes she lived a lot closer to the Parks.

12 thoughts on “Five Reasons Why August is a Great Time to Visit Orlando’s Theme Parks

  • March 1, 2022 at 3:55 pm
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    We’ve been going for a week in the 2nd half of August for several years – 2017, 18, 19 and 21. There are lower crowds, the heat’s not that bad, there are plenty of places with AC (rides, shops and eateries), and the pools are always ready to go. Next favorite time is September but not with a school-age kid.

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    • March 1, 2022 at 7:51 pm
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      Hey Len, I’m definitely with you. But I feel like there’s a wide spectrum of opinions here. 😉

      Reply
  • March 1, 2022 at 6:54 pm
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    We first visited WDW in August of my 37th year on planet Earth. Young and fit. Never, never, never again.

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    • March 1, 2022 at 7:56 pm
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      I think you speak for many. I’m one of those people who’s always freezing in the winter, so it’s not too surprising that I don’t find August so awful. But other members of my family are looking forward to our divorce from the school schedule in a few years. 🙂

      Reply
  • March 1, 2022 at 8:13 pm
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    Shhhhhh 🙂 … as a spouse of a teacher in the upper left of the country, I’m really (selfishly) looking forward to smaller crowds. Especially given the crowds seen in recent days.

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    • March 2, 2022 at 7:21 pm
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      😉 Have a great vacation!

      Reply
  • March 1, 2022 at 10:19 pm
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    We used to go to WDW in August when our daughters were at school – sometimes for the whole of August. We noticed that it was a lot quieter the last 2 weeks in August than the first two. However, coping with the humidity was extremely difficult for us coming from the U.K. Now we are retired and the times we go to WDW go on our own (without school age children) we would never choose to go in August. Maybe because schools in the U.K. are out all August, the flights are much more expensive in August and it’s much busier than in September for example. Of course August and September are in the hurricane season and we have been here when hurricanes have struck which can be very frightening experiences depending on how close the hurricanes get.

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    • March 2, 2022 at 7:22 pm
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      We’ve been at other times of the year, but rarely for more than a long weekend. We’re definitely looking forward to being where you are where other months are an option sometimes. Only a few more years …

      Reply
  • March 2, 2022 at 6:41 pm
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    You forgot to mention hurricane season. I went in September 2017 for the low crowds and had to leave early because of Hurricane Irma. I know there isn’t always a hurricane this time of year, but this is when it’s most likely to happen.

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    • March 2, 2022 at 7:19 pm
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      Hey Link, this a great point but I think really belongs in a September article. Of the 8 times in history that Disney has closed or closed early for hurricanes, only one occurred prior to Aug. 31. So August trips are mostly hurricane free! (To be fair, even if they won’t be coming to Disney hurricanes in other areas may impact travel — but still preferentially in September).

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      • March 2, 2022 at 9:24 pm
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        Hurricane Erin (August 1995) was probably a tropical storm by the time it got to WDW. I don’t remember if the parks closed early but we were in the campground around 5pm and were told we had to leave. And they opened late the next day. So a pretty minor disruption but I always wondered why it never got mentioned.

  • March 4, 2022 at 7:30 am
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    This is timely, as we are doing our first August trip this year in the 3rd week. Thanks for reassurance! Usually we do October, but with High school it’s no longer an option

    Reply

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