The Pros and Cons of Traveling to Walt Disney World in May

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TouringPlans is pleased to welcome guest author Douglas Ballard.

We have all asked that age-old question: “When should I take my Walt Disney World Vacation?”  You will get tons of advice from your friends, Google searches, YouTube videos, and that one Disney Super-Fan you happen to work with.  There will be amazing amounts of tips for every single month of the year, but rest assured May is one of the toughest to navigate without careful planning.  We here at TouringPlans have everything you need to make sure it goes well.

Butterfly Topiaries for EPCOT Flower and Garden

The Cons: May’s Holiday Weekends

When you look at May, you will notice that there are several dates that look super appealing to go to Walt Disney World.  There is the tempting three-day weekend that has Memorial Day as well as the weekend for celebrating Mother’s Day (because whose mother would not love to visit Mickey on her special day, right?).  The problem is that many people also have that same idea and they are also coming to the parks that day.

When you look at the TouringPlans Crowd Calendar (available with your TouringPlans subscription) for the month of May, for these two holidays we see the following:

Now while this may look like they should be a relatively light days on the Crowd Calendar’s scale of 1 to 10, remember that currently Disney is operating at lower capacity, has limited Cast Members working, restaurants operating with fewer tables, rides getting regular cleaning cycles, and ride vehicles as well as lines are being physically distanced in order to account for the global health crisis.  All of this is slowing Walt Disney World’s ability to accommodate guests and causing even small crowds to feel like big ones.

Space Mountain Extended Queue – March 15, 2021

If this were 2019, you would be crazy to not be in the parks with a crowd level of 5, especially on these specific days, but we need to remember that a crowd level of a 5 in 2021 feels more like a crowd level of 8 or 9 in 2019.  That kind of crowd is almost stifling, and you might not be able to get your Disney-Do list finished in a satisfying way.  These crowd level reports pictured above are actually the highest for the entire month; with the average being 3.7 for all of May.

So, if your only available time to go in May are these particular dates, it is recommended that you look elsewhere in your calendar to visit.

The Pros: May’s Wonderful Surprises

Yes, it is true that going to Walt Disney World during popular holidays might put a damper on traveling in May. What might surprise you is that in 2021, May is projected to have multiple crowd days at or below a level 3.  (To put that into perspective, according to the Crowd Calendar, June of 2021 is slated to have zero days below a level 4.)  This is a combination of schools being out of session along with the likelihood of Disney raising capacity levels. With crowds in the parks for Spring Break and Easter Vacation in late March through April, and dates like Mother’s Day and Memorial Day as targeted travel times, the smart traveler can avoid these crowds easily by picking dates in May that avoid these altogether. Those other dates in May can be the perfect time to travel to Walt Disney World.

Toy Story Land at Sunset 

Another surprising thing about May is that Florida weather can be somewhat pleasant before the summer weather patterns fully set in. The average temperatures in May according to the National Weather Service are 88° F / 69° F (31° C / 20° C) and there are only 6 days on average of rainy weather (compared to June which has 12).  This can make for a rather beautiful time to go and enjoy Florida, especially if you are not used to the sometimes-oppressive heat and humidity that Orlando can offer.

Is May Right for You?

May is a tough month to choose for your Walt Disney World vacation as it all depends on what you want to get out of your vacation.

If you only can travel on Memorial Day and you can handle a crowded park, then it might be worth it for you.  Give your plans a shot, the magic is still there even when it is busy at Walt Disney World.  Are you looking to enjoy a leisurely stroll around Magic Kingdom while not sweating through your favorite Donald Duck T-Shirt? Then you definitely want to look at some of those less crowded dates with the amazing weather May has to offer.

Whatever you choose, TouringPlans will help you easily travel to the Disney Parks in May!

Have you traveled in May before? What are the pros and cons that you’ve experienced? Let us know in the comments.

 

Douglas Ballard of Philadelphia, PA has been a Disney Enthusiast ever since the first time he went in 1987.  A lifelong Disney Parks Fan, Douglas travels to both coasts regularly to visit the magic with his wonderful Disney-loving wife of 20 years, to whom he proposed at Cinderella’s Royal Table.  Douglas loves planning Disney trips, and has even started a channel on YouTube dedicated to helping others have a great time in the parks.  “Carousel of Douglas” can be found on YouTube here:  https://www.youtube.com/c/DouglasBallard

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3 thoughts on “The Pros and Cons of Traveling to Walt Disney World in May

  • April 20, 2021 at 6:40 pm
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    My 20 year old daughter and I visited WDW from May 4-10, 2019. It was our 2nd visit ever to WDW since we are California residents with DLR so close. The crowds were very doable but if we hadn’t had FastPasses for our favorite rides there would have been more grumbling from both of us. MK was where we felt the crowds the most visiting it on Wed. & Thurs. of that week. We re-rode some of our favorite rides like Haunted Mansion and that when we realized that the stand by lines were quite long in our opinion. We didn’t have any issues booking dining reservations about 70 days out and even got the coveted Be Our Guest as a dinner choice…However, we were one and done with that. The heat and humidity were difficult on us coastal Californians. The humidity really got to us in the afternoon. At EPCOT, the cement and lack of shade wiped us out. Luckily we had a long late lunch planned at Marrakesh in Morocco. The parks closed too early when we were there. Just when the temperature and humidity lowered, it was time to leave the parks. It rained EVERY afternoon that week but most of the time, we happened to be indoors and realized it rained as we exited and everything was sopping wet. At AK, we had a tremendous downpour and was stuck under a tin roof in Asia while lightening lit up the sky. It was unnerving for us but it only lasted 10-15 minutes. We laughed as we watched a dad try to save his soft serve ice cream cones as he ran backwards to his family. All in all, we would go again in early May but not any later in the month. I don’t know how anyone can enjoy WDW in the dead of summer!

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    • April 21, 2021 at 2:19 pm
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      I was going to say the same thing. I went in May 2019 as part of a solo business trip, and that was the worst part of the trip – the love bugs were *everywhere*.

      Reply

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