By the co-author of The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2017, from the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook series ever. Paperback available on Amazon here. Kindle version available on Amazon here. PDF version available on Gumroad here.



yourfirstvisit.net—Disney World Instructions for the First-Time Visitor



Pop Warner Week at Walt Disney World



By Dave Shute

THE MYTHS AND FACTS OF POP WARNER WEEK AT WALT DISNEY WORLD

Like Jersey Week, Pop Warner week is more of a mythological problem than a real one.

Pop Warner week is the period–for the last thirteen years, the first full week of December–when Disney hosts Pop Warner football and cheer and dance championships at its ESPN complex.

In 2017, it will be from the 2nd through the 9th, and in 2018, based on past practice, it will be from December 1st through December 8th.

As a result

  • Larger numbers than usual of loosely supervised adolescents loudly populate several of the resorts–typically the All-Star resorts, but also a moderate or two.
  • Evening crowds in the theme parks are a tad higher than they otherwise would be (the kids and their families compete during the day)

HOW MUCH TO WORRY ABOUT POP WARNER

Pop Warner has no material effect on Disney World theme park crowds.

Resorts (particularly the All-Star resorts) that the kids are in can be louder–much louder–and more boisterous than otherwise.

If you have attended a high-school football game, and watched the crowds of kids walking around, you’ll get a sense of the level of noise and horseplay that can ensue.

The horseplay sometimes shifts into fights.  Parents of teenage boys playing contact sports will not be surprised by this.

The key for first-time family visitors in a value or moderate resort during Pop Warner week is to request a quiet room far from the pools.  Families that have success with this should not see much impact from Pop Warner on their trip.

RELATED STUFF

35 comments

1 Late Night with the Mrs. | Mrs. Mommy MouseEars { 05.13.11 at 11:28 pm }

[…] wouldn’t have any issue being there and would have a bigger problem dealing with the Pop Warner crowds.  So, I have to go on hearsay.  I’ve found that Disboards.com has a lot of great […]

2 Greg Siciliano { 07.10.12 at 10:47 am }

Taking our young boys ages 1 and 3 the 1st week in december. Wouls you recommend a change in dates due to the football and cheer crowds or am i overreacting?

3 Dave { 07.10.12 at 12:07 pm }

Greg, if you can move to the week before or after, do it–otherwise it doesn’t really matter that much and I’d stick with what you have!

4 Anonymous { 09.08.12 at 2:25 pm }

We are trying to p,an a trip for December 2013. I have seen that people are speculating that Pop Warner will actually be December 7th-14th since Thanksgiving is so late next year. Is there any way to know for sure? Or do you know when Pop Warner posts their dates for the next year? Thanks!

5 Dave { 09.08.12 at 3:30 pm }

Hi, it’s possible, but as this page itself notes, I don’t think it Pop Warner week much matters. The Pop website is as useless as any I’ve seen for key dates…

Worth noting is that Thanksgiving was also quite late in 2002, 2003, and 2008 yet Pop Warner week was still the first full week of December those years too…

6 Anonymous { 10.24.12 at 1:21 pm }

Dave – in 2008, Pop Warner was the Dec. 7th-14th. It WAS pushed back a week due to Thanksgiving falling so late. Which makes sense, considering many families will not travel so close to the holiday, plus flight prices would be very high the Saturday after Thanksgiving as well, if they were going to arrive for the first full week of December. Have you been able to determine if PW 2013 will follow suit?

7 Dave { 10.24.12 at 2:15 pm }

Hi first you may be right! I am not sure by any means. But by first full week I meant beginning the first Sunday in December. That was December 7 2008… But I’ll see if I can find any other sources

8 Me { 11.18.12 at 5:36 pm }

Pop Warner cheer will be there the first week of dec

9 Dave { 11.19.12 at 7:10 am }

Hey Me, I’m also Me. Have fun!!

10 tracy { 02.24.13 at 11:29 am }

we are going to disney 11/30 to 12/7 with an autistic child. Will you have the free food plan then? How bad are the crowds?

11 Dave { 02.24.13 at 4:35 pm }

Hi Tracy, I’m just a guy woiht a website, so i don’t ever offer free food! Disney may, but I’m not optimistic–see this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2013/02/07/2013-free-dining-mymagic-implications-disneys-q1-2013-earnings-call/

That’s a great week with low crowds–see this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2011/09/19/2013-weeks-to-visit-walt-disney-world-ranked-in-order/

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12 Susan { 04.04.13 at 2:53 pm }

THANK YOU SO MUCH DAVE!! So glad you helped me, I was about to change my plans over this and I’m glad I did not!!

13 Dave { 04.04.13 at 3:46 pm }

That’s great, Susan!

14 Nicole { 05.28.13 at 11:52 am }

Hi Dave,
I used your site for our first disney trip a couple of years ago and we had an awesome vacation! We were planning to go again December 11-16, because I thought the prices and crowds would get higher the week of the 15th with most kids getting out of school on the 20th. Which do you think would be better? Unfortunately, going earlier is not an option for us. Thanks!

15 Dave { 05.29.13 at 6:41 am }

Hi Nicole, and I’m so glad the site helped! I think your dates of the 11-16 will be just fine! See this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2011/09/19/2013-weeks-to-visit-walt-disney-world-ranked-in-order/

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16 karen { 09.19.13 at 10:57 am }

Thank you for all the information when planning my trip, very helpful. I got bad information from the Disney Cast Member and they told me that Pop Warner was there the first week of Dec 2013, so I planned our 7 day vacation for the 2nd week. Now, I see it is the 2nd week. I was very upset but your comments made me feel better. I am taking a 5 year old so I don’t think there is going to be much longer lines for the attractions he will want to see. I also like you point out during the day they have competitions. Thank you for putting my mind at ease, I am locked into plane fares so did not have the option to change dates.

17 Dave { 09.19.13 at 5:12 pm }

Hi Karen, the dates of 2013 Pop were hard to predict–I had them wrong (that same week the cast member gave you) for a bit too. But, as you note, you should be fine anyway!!

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18 LacieM { 10.07.13 at 10:15 am }

I planned on going for a quick weekend, dec 13-16 and planned to visit magic kingdom on the 14th (the last day of the pop warner). Would it be less crowded because they are all leaving or do they tend to stay into that weekend?

19 Dave { 10.08.13 at 7:53 am }

Lacie, the 14th will be quite crowded at MK, but not becasue of Pop. It’s becasue that’s the only day in a stretch of 4 when MK is open after than 7 and presenting the evening program.

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20 Tim { 10.09.13 at 6:02 pm }

Dave,

What is your opinion on visiting Hollywood Studios on the day of the Pop Warner evening party? (assuming Wednesday 12/11?) I had originally planned on HS that day and MK on Friday 12/13. Would you recommend swapping the two days?

21 Dave { 10.10.13 at 7:41 am }

Tim, I think both your choices are great. They are both “short hours” days which means the parks will be less crowded…

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22 Tim { 10.10.13 at 9:13 am }

Thanks Dave…great site and very helpful!

23 Heather { 10.16.13 at 1:15 pm }

Dave,
We are going to Disney Dec 6-13th 2013. We have 4 Adults, no kids. What should we expect during Pop Warner regurading crowds within the parks and wait time on rides?

24 Dave { 10.17.13 at 10:00 am }

Heather, as noted above on this page, you should see no effect, expect possibly in the evenings.

However, you can still run into big crowds (unrelated to Pop Warner) if you go to the parks on on the wrong days. See this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2012/04/30/crowds-and-walt-disney-world/

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25 Chris { 05.28.16 at 8:47 am }

Know this is an old post, but looking for other thoughts. Did you go during Popwarner week? We just booked our trip any my 15 yr old is on the spectrum. 2 hours after it was booked I learned it was pop warner week. I’m at a loss.

26 Kelly B - Destinations In Florida { 05.28.16 at 1:16 pm }

I\’ve personally been during Pop Warner week and didn\’t notice a difference in the parks. You have to remember that while they do spend some time in the parks, they are there for their sporting events and spend much of their time with that.

27 Dave { 06.02.16 at 9:23 am }

Chris, yes I’ve been often during Pop Warner. As noted, it matters only at the hotels–it has little impact n the parks. What hotel are you in?

28 Melissa { 01.19.17 at 2:44 pm }

Hi Dave,

My family and I (2 adults, 2 boys (10&11)) are going to Disney for ten (10) days in Nov/Dec 2017. Should we leave earlier, like November 26th rather than November 30th to avoid more of the Pop Warner week? Also, we are looking to stay in either one of the All-Star hotels or the Coronado Resort. Which out of these would you suggest?

Thanks again,

Melissa

29 Dave { 01.21.17 at 6:10 am }

Melissa, by leave earlier do you mean arrive earlier? Pop Warner has little effect on the parks, but I would certainly avoid the All-Stars during it, as that’s where most of the kids stay. Coronado Springs is about $100 more per night, has less fun theming, but is superior in every other way.

30 Melissa { 01.23.17 at 10:43 am }

Thanks Dave.

Yes, I mean arrive earlier and finish our ten(10) day visit earlier in the week of Pop Warner.

31 Melissa { 01.23.17 at 10:48 am }

What date do people arrive for this year’s Pop Warner week? Maybe, we’ll switch hotels during our stay….

32 Melissa { 01.23.17 at 10:51 am }

.. start our visit at an All-Stars and then go to Coronado Springs. What do you think? Which All-Stars would you recommend?

33 Dave { 01.24.17 at 6:25 am }

Melissa, I’d imagine people start showing up late in the week before–in 2017 around Nov 30. Arriving 11/25 or 26, starting at an All-Star, and shifting to CS on 12/1 should work fine. All-Star Movies has the widest appeal, Music is the loveliest and quietest, and Sport will be the most raucous.

34 Kristy { 01.25.17 at 10:06 pm }

We stayed Nov/Dec 2016 at Caribbean Beach resort! Our first 4 days were amazing at the resort, however being from Canada we really knew nothing about the Pop Warner festivities until our resort was taken over by the participants and their families. Being a smaller family (only 3 of us) and our daughter only being 5 it was very overwhelming. The resort went from pleasant and quiet to overcrowded, loud until all hours of the night with early hair and makeup/ breakfast in the courtyard right outside our door very quickly. We didn’t experience any rudeness or anything it was just lots of screaming, excitement and busy feet moving everywhere! If you are good with that in your temporary home base then all the power to you, but we have made a mental note to not do that again for ourselves.

35 Dave { 01.26.17 at 12:49 pm }

Yup, Kristy, Pop Warner has little effect on the parks, but it does create major boisterousness at the All-Stars, Pop Century, and Caribbean Beach.

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