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







Spring Break 2011 at Walt Disney World



By Dave Shute

For Spring Break 2012, click here.

OVERVIEW: DISNEY WORLD DURING THE 2011 SPRING BREAK SEASON

As I noted previously here, Disney World Spring Break 2011 is a little different because of how late Easter is–April 24, as late as it has happened since 1943.

Disney World Spring Break crowds are driven by three factors. 

  • The least important is college spring break dates, which will peak the first two full weeks of March 2011.
  • Next is the wish for Northerners to get out of the cold, which begins over President’s Day weekend and continues through March
  • Most important is the timing of school kids’s Spring Break dates.

I’ve recently analyzed 2011 public school spring breaks (March to May) for 135 school districts covering more than ten million kids. 

Based on that and other data, this page highlights the best and worst weeks to visit Walt Disney World during Spring Break 2011.

See also 2011 Weeks to Visit Walt Disney World, Ranked in Order.

SCHOOL SPRING BREAKS AND THEIR LIKELY EFFECTS ON 2011 WALT DISNEY WORLD CROWDS

I weighted the actual Spring Break dates and enrollment of these school districts based on proportionate visits from their geography to Walt Disney World (using as a proxy for this their percent of this site’s visits, since Disney does not release that information). 

The many school districts that had both March and Easter breaks were included for both periods.

I then indexed the results so that the peak (Easter weekend) was set at 1.0, and made a chart out of them.

Some observations;

As usual, the peak period will be Easter Weekend and the week before it.

Because Easter is so late, many school districts that normally do Spring Break the week after Easter are doing something else in 2011. 

However, enough districts have a three or four day weekend including Easter Monday that I can’t recommend the week beginning 4/23.  That said, those who arrive Wednesday April 27 or later that week should miss most of the Easter crowds.

March breaks are all over the place.  Many schools with March breaks also have an additional 3 or 4 day Easter weekend. The week of March 12th will be the March peak for crowding

Particularly good weeks will be those beginning March 5, April 2, and April 9.  Of these, the best will likely be the week of April 9, as hardly any kids are on break this week.

THE WEEKS OF SPRING BREAK 2011 AT WALT DISNEY WORLD

The following is based on this site’s 2011 Weeks to Visit Walt Disney World, Ranked in Order.  Weeks in bold are recommended weeks.

Arrival: February 26, 2011 Week Rank: 10. Comments: Crowds: Lowest of year; Prices: Values/Moderates: Moderate plus; Deluxes: Moderate; Notes:

Arrival: March 5, 2011 Week Rank: 11. Comments: Crowds: Low to moderate; Prices: Values/Moderates: High; Deluxes: Moderate; Notes:

Arrival: March 12, 2011 Week Rank: 40. Comments: Crowds: High; Prices: Values/Moderates: Near Highest; Deluxes: High; Notes:

Arrival: March 19, 2011 Week Rank: 28. Comments: Crowds: Moderate plus; Prices: Values/Moderates: High; Deluxes: Near Highest; Notes:

Arrival: March 26, 2011 Week Rank: 27. Comments: Crowds: Moderate plus; Prices: Values/Moderates: Near Highest; Deluxes: High; Notes:

Arrival: April 2, 2011 Week Rank: 15. Comments: Crowds: Moderate; Prices: Values/Moderates: Near Highest; Deluxes: High; Notes:

Arrival: April 9, 2011 Week Rank: 12. Comments: Crowds: Lowest of year; Prices: Values/Moderates: Near Highest; Deluxes: High; Notes:

Arrival: April 16, 2011 Week Rank: 44. Comments: Easter 4/24 Crowds: Near highest; Prices: Values/Moderates: Highest of year; Deluxes: Near Highest; Notes:

Arrival: April 23, 2011 Week Rank: 43. Comments: Easter 4/24 Crowds: Near highest; Prices: Values/Moderates: Highest of year; Deluxes: Near Highest; Notes:

Arrival: April 30, 2011 Week Rank: 5. Comments: Crowds: Lowest of year; Prices: Values/Moderates: Moderate plus; Deluxes: Moderate; Notes:

MORE ON WHEN TO GO TO WALT DISNEY WORLD

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58 comments

1 Best Times to Visit Disney World | Destinations in Florida Travel { 08.03.10 at 9:27 am }

[…] The results of this are reflected in many pages on my site yourfirstvisit.net, especially Spring Break 2011 at Walt Disney World. […]

2 Marianne { 10.09.10 at 2:01 pm }

Hi: Nice work on this! I have a question about the week starting March 26. (This is the start of my son’s school break.) It looks from your chart as though that last week of March will have lower crowds than the week of April 2. So why is April 2 recommended, but not March 26? Also, if we did come the week after March 26 (say, arriving midweek on Wednesday and coming home on Tuesday of the first week in April) would we have better luck with the crowds?

Thanks!

3 Dave { 10.09.10 at 3:12 pm }

Marianne–it’s because 1. other things go into my crowd calendar (here: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2010/09/12/disney-crowd-calendar-2/ ) than just kid spring break schedules, and 2. because other things go into my rankings (here: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2009/11/20/2011-weeks-to-visit-walt-disney-world-ranked-in-order/ ) than just crowds.

That said, the early March and early April spring break weeks of 2011 are inordinately hard to predict. If I’m wrong, its that the week of 4/2 will be more crowded than I think it will be–which would make it look just like the week of 3/26.

Your thought of mid week arrivals and departures is a good one. Among other things, you avoid a weekend–which is when crowds peak!

4 Marianne { 10.09.10 at 6:07 pm }

Dave:

Thanks. That makes sense. And thanks too for the links.

5 Matthew { 10.11.10 at 1:57 pm }

Hi, me and my fiance are heading to disney for our honeymoon april 4th to 18th 2011. Is there anything in particular you would recommend doing? (already got curque du soleil booked). Also for these weeks would you still recommend making dining reservations? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

6 Dave { 10.11.10 at 2:14 pm }

Re dining reservations, absolutely.

I’m not an expert on honeymoon stuff, but if you search Disney Honeymoons you should find some great sites.

An experienced travel agent may be able to help as well…

7 Tina { 01.18.11 at 11:57 am }

Hi- we are going to Disney April 14th-April 17th. How do the first couple days look as far as crowds? We had planned on Epcot on Thurs 14th, Animal Kingdom Friday 15th and maybe Disney in the evening on Saturday 16th? And the resort pool during the day the 16th. We go home the 17th.

8 Dave { 01.18.11 at 12:19 pm }

Hi Tina, I am predicting crowds will be low the 14th and 15th, start to build the 16th, and really take off beginning the 17th.

Your overall approach sounds fine!

9 Karnisha { 01.19.11 at 10:24 pm }

Hi, Dave. We are planning to visit Disney for a week starting April 16th. After reading all of the data on your site, I am throughly TERRIFIED! I picked those days because it is the only time that my family can really be together, and we have been putting this trip off for various reasons since forever. I am really afraid that my family won’t enjoy themselves, and this whole thing will be a waste of hard-earned money. Do you think we should reschedule, and wait until a better time? Thanks so much!

10 Dave { 01.20.11 at 8:43 am }

Karnisha, what a great question.

If it were me, the short answer is that I’d cancel in a heartbeat. The crowds are so large that you have to work really hard to have even a sub-par trip.

This assumes that it doesn’t cost too much to cancel, in terms of lost hotel room deposits and change fees on non-refundable airfares. However, if you are aimed at a moderate or deluxe hotel, you might save so much from going during a different price season that you are still economically better off cancelling.

It also assumes that your next best alternative date is materially better. For example, if your only other option is early or mid-July…well, that’s better, but not materially so. If you can take your kids out of school–which almost anyone but school teachers can–than that’s the thing to do. That opens all kinds of wonderful dates.

11 Santiago { 01.28.11 at 6:58 pm }

Dear David,

My brother and I are going to Disneyworld on March 18 to 25th.
How are the crowds on that days ?? Is this the worst weak ?
I´m planning to visit Epcot on Saturday 19 and Animal Kingdom on Sunday 20 because during the weekend I suppose that most of the people will go to MGM and Magic Kingdom , is that rigth?
Please tell me something to calm down!!!

Thank you very much !!

Santiago (from Argentina)

12 Santiago { 01.28.11 at 7:04 pm }

which is the weak that most of the american and canadian schools have spring break ??

13 Dave { 01.29.11 at 8:37 am }

Santiago, I can’t speak for Canada, but in the US the week with the highest proportion of kids on Spring Break is the week before Easter–in 2011 that’s the week beginning April 16.

14 Dave { 01.29.11 at 8:40 am }

Santiago, I’m calling for crowds to be “moderate plus” during your period–bad, but not horrible.

It’s not the busiest week of Spring Break! In 2011, that’s the week beginning 4/16.

Your plan sounds fine in general, but I don’t forecast for days or best parks. The best source for that material is http://touringplans.com

15 Santiago { 01.29.11 at 5:19 pm }

Thank you very much David for your help !!
I feel more quiet now !

Santiago

16 Lisa { 01.29.11 at 11:37 pm }

Hi, David. I am one of those school teachers you mentioned. The ONLY time my family can reasonably visit is during the Easter Break. I’m going for it because we are so excited for our children. The only other time we could visit would be in the summer when it will be too hot for us – July, really, because with all the snow on the east coast we won’t even get out of school until the end of June. Any thoughts or well wishes?

17 Dave { 01.30.11 at 4:50 pm }

Lisa you have all my well wishes!

Take a look at the Easter itinerary…links to it are on this page http://yourfirstvisit.net/2010/10/06/easter-2011-at-walt-disney-world/

Pay attention to Disney’s calendars, as earlier opens than currently posted are common at Easter–and the best way to beat the crowds is to show up at the turnstiles st least 30 mins before opening…see this for Disney operating hours: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2010/03/30/walt-disney-world-hours-of-operation/

18 Jim { 02.12.11 at 9:05 pm }

I have been to Disney World at every busy time of the year and always had a great time. The main key is to be waiting at the park gate when it opens in the morning. You will get on the rides with no problem until the crowds built later in the morning. It works everytime.

19 Dave { 02.12.11 at 11:08 pm }

Right on, Jim! The same approach works during the less-busy times of the year even better…and you will see it in all this site’s itineraries…

20 Drew { 02.15.11 at 5:11 pm }

Hello! Thank you for this wonderful resource. I was planning a trip for me and the wife to WDW around 23 April, but then I learned that was Easter weekend this year… I guess it’s not the best idea to go then, right?? So then my question is: Would it be better to go the first week in April (around the 2-9) or the last (starting around the 30th)? Our schedule is pretty flexible, but I would like to go before it gets TOO hot, and avoid the Spring Break crowds as much as possible.

It’s been ten years since I was in the College Program, and my wife has never been! We are due to visit!

21 Dave { 02.15.11 at 6:04 pm }

Hey Drew! What fun to go back after the College Program, and to be able to introduce your wife to WDW!

I like April 30 much more than April 2. See 2011 Weeks to Visit Ranked in Order.

22 Tricia { 02.20.11 at 9:09 pm }

Hi Dave
It’s our first time to Orlando going to be there on the 31st March till the 7th April! Do you think there will be many young kids on spring break then? Our plans are Seaworld Fri 1st,Universal Sun 3rd,Islands of Adventure on Mon 4th! Do you think this is a good plan and are they the right days to visit each place! We plan on getting the express pass to universal&Islands of Adventure!
Also any idea how hot it normally is that time of year????
Thanks 🙂

23 Dave { 02.21.11 at 9:33 am }

Hi Tricia!

First, it will be moderately crowded during your period. See Spring Break 2011.

Second, see this for typical temps: Orlando temperatures

Third, I’m sorry, but I don’t know enuf about Seaworld and Universal crowd patterns to be able to give you advice on which days and which parks.

24 Steve { 02.22.11 at 3:46 pm }

Hi Dave,Me and my family arrive mar,12 and leave mar,18 on a scale one to ten with ten the worst how are the crowds ???????
Thanks Dave.Steve

25 Dave { 02.22.11 at 4:41 pm }

Steve–I’m calling the crowding level of that week “high.” On a scale of one to ten, 8 or 9. If you aren’t using one of the itineraries on this site, get ones from Touringplans.com.

26 Maurene { 02.23.11 at 12:43 am }

Hi Dave, Our school is one of the few that actually starts their break the week after easter. We are planning on flying in on Monday 25th of April and leaving May 1st. I was thinking (and hoping) that most people would be leaving on that date , as it seems like most schools have to go back by then. What do you think of my plan. I was thinking of Animal Kindom the initial day and holding off on Epcot and Magic kingdom until weeks end. Ugh I am confused!

27 Dave { 02.23.11 at 8:18 am }

Hi Maurene!

Unfortunately, lots of schools have breaks after Easter–though certainly not as many as before Easter.

I don’t expect crowds to drop until Wednesday the 27th or Thursday the 28th.

Epcot holds crowds the best, and the Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom the worst. So I’d start with Epcot and the Studios and hold the other two til Thursday and later.

28 Bill { 03.02.11 at 12:10 pm }

Dave, Just stumbled onto your site. Trying to convince my wife that April 24-30 is much better in terms of crowds than April 17-23. Do you see much difference between the 2 weeks (ie. one week is 50% better in terms of crowds than the other?) Thanks!

29 Dave { 03.02.11 at 12:13 pm }

Hi Bill!

Yeah, I do. While crowds the first half of the April 24 week will be as bad as those the week of the 17th, crowds in the second half of the April 24 week will be much lower than they are any time during the week of the 17-23.

30 Tanya { 03.03.11 at 4:02 pm }

I am trying to decide between 2 weeks to go to WDW. March 22-29 or June 6-13. Any advice? Advantages/disadvantages?
Thanks 🙂

31 Dave { 03.03.11 at 6:09 pm }

Hi Tanya!

It’s a bit of a coin flip. I don’t recommend either week. Both weeks will be uncomfortably crowded.

I rank the March week a little better than the June week, but not a whole lot. The June week will be hotter, cheaper, and maybe a little more crowded than the March week. This last point on crowding is really why I rank the March week higher, but Spring Break is very hard to forecast, and if I am wrong, it will be more crowded than I think.

32 Tanya { 03.03.11 at 6:21 pm }

Thank you very much. I figured it would be a coin toss. Thought I might beat the summer crowd by going early June.
Thanks.

33 Dave { 03.03.11 at 6:29 pm }

You will beat the highest level of summer crowds in early June…but it’s still pretty crowded!!

34 Maura { 03.07.11 at 11:00 am }

Hello Dave! This is a fabulous site, and so helpful for planning. I booked a short Disney getaway for this May (Wed, May 4th thru Sat, May 7th, 2011) for my boyfriend and I. We have been to Disney almost every year, but always have chosen the Jan/Feb months in the past to AVOID the crowds & long lines – Our #1 Goal! We are avoiding the weekend all together, so hoping this helps..Do you anticipate low lines and most of the Spring Break crowds will be gone by that week? We are so excited to experience Disney in warmer spring weather as well! Once agin, thank you for putting in the time to report on all these stats 🙂

35 Dave { 03.07.11 at 12:09 pm }

Hi Maura, and thanks for the kind words!!

Your dates should be wonderful–I have that week ranked as the 5th best week of the year. See 2011 Weeks to Visit Ranked in Order.

36 Eric { 03.07.11 at 4:53 pm }

My Orlando dates are the 9th of April – 17th of April. Disney Parks Any time Sun(10) thru Fri(15) any recommendations of which parks will be best what days and what to expect as far as crowds.
Thanks

37 Dave { 03.07.11 at 5:13 pm }

Hi Eric!

I am expecting that week to be the least crowded of the spring break weeks.

Regarding park recommendations, see Which Parks Which Days. If you let me know whether you are staying at a Disney resort hotel or not, I may be able to give you more specific help!

Note that Disney will be updating April hours later this month, which may affect my recommendations as well…

38 Eric { 03.07.11 at 7:11 pm }

Dave,

No- I am not staying at A Disney Resort. So any and all recommendations appreciated.

Thanks for all your help and for putting together such a great site!

39 Dave { 03.07.11 at 7:59 pm }

OK Eric, here’s what I get: 4/10 Studios, including Fantasmic; 4/11 Epcot, but leave before Illuminations; 4/12 Animal Kingdom; 4/13 Magic Kingdom including Wishes and evening parade; 4/14 sleep in then to Epcot including Illuminations; 4/15 Magic Kingdom.

These are based on the following estimates:

Studios: Days showing Fantasmic: 4/10, 12 and 14. Days to avoid it: 4/11. Likely least crowded days: 4/13, 15, but with no Fantasmic

Epcot: Days with Illuminations: All. Days to avoid it: 4/12, 4/15. Likely least crowded days: 4/11, 13, 14

Animal Kingdom: Days to avoid it: 4/10, 4/11, 4/13. Likely least crowded days: 4/12, 4/14, 4/15

Magic Kingdom: Wishes and Evening Parade: Every day. Days to avoid it: 4/10, 4/11, 4/14. Likely least crowded days: 4/12, 4/13

The only hard part of this is the Studios…you have to see Fantasmic, but the park is always crowded on Fantasmic nights…so I put it first, crowds will seem much better after that!

40 Wendy { 03.23.11 at 11:11 am }

Hi-
Love the info on the site. We are planning an over night trip with our children 2 & 4. We were wondering if we should even attempt the week of April 9, 2011- or just wait until September? Any advice would be most appreciated.

41 Dave { 03.23.11 at 5:58 pm }

Wendy–Spring Break has been a little wierd so far. Some weeks that should have been lgiht were heavy, and this past week, which should have been heavy, has been moderate. I think that the April 9 week will be terrific, but if you want to be certain to avoid crowds, go for September. It’s also much cheaper, since its in hurricane season.

42 Wendy { 03.23.11 at 10:36 pm }

Thanks. Any certain day during that week you would recommend? (Magic Kingdom)

43 Ann { 03.23.11 at 11:37 pm }

1st family trip to disney world with our 3 young childer (2, 6 and 8) arriving mon 4/25 and leaving mon 5/2…..assuming mon 4/25 will be a resort / pool day after long drive and high crowds the day after easter, here are the parks we would like to visit. Advice please on the days / order of parks based on crowds.
Sea World, Animal Kingdom, Magic Kingdom (at least 2 days) and we could do just evenings if those might be less crowded times. Based on the ages of our children, not sure if Epcot or Universal would be appropriate for them? Thank you so much for your help!

44 Dave { 03.24.11 at 8:10 am }

Hi Wendy! See Which Parks Which Days.

45 Dave { 03.24.11 at 8:16 am }

Hi Ann!

I need to know if you are staying at a WDW resort or not, as morning extra magiic hours affect this, and you are eligible for them if you are at a WDW resort (and a few other) and not otherwise.

Basics: the only ways to avoid massive crowds through Thursday is to be at the park an hour befrtoe it opens…so you probably do want to go Monday morning to a park, and knoxk off after it becomes too crowded–whihc could be anytime between 10a and 1p.

Concur that given the ages of your kids Universal is out. Epcot and the Hollywood Studios tend to be less interesting to kids the age of yours, esp. the 2yo, as well. That leaves Sea World, Animal Kingdom, and Magic Kingdom. Becasue of the crowds, think in terms of early morings–eg 3 mornings at MK, one at AK, two at Sea World…

See also Which Parks Which Days and http://yourfirstvisit.net/2011/03/16/coping-with-march-and-april-crowds-at-walt-disney-world/

46 Denise { 03.30.11 at 10:10 am }

My family is excited to take our third trip to WDW arriving at Fort Wilderness on April 3 and checking out on April 8. My children are 12, 10, and my two year old turns three on April 7 (this is her first trip!). What can we expect for wait times on rides? We have the park hopper option, and reservations made for one table restaurant per day. Do you have advice as to which park would be best each day?

47 Dave { 03.30.11 at 11:13 am }

Hi Denise!

I’m expecting that week to be moderately crowded–not horrible, not great. However, Spring Break, so far, has been hard to predict–some weeks have been lighter than I thought, and some heavier. Kepp your fingers crossed!

For which park which day, see Which Parks Which Days.

48 Marcus { 04.05.11 at 10:33 am }

We leave tomorrow (4/6/2011) for a quick 3-day stay. We plan to visit HS, MK, AK and leave out EP this time. I have used your info in planning our visit and wanted to thank you. I hope I have chosen wisely and that the crowd levels will be bearable. We were planning to go during the days prior to Easter, but fortunately we were able to reschedule. Thanks again!!

49 Dave { 04.05.11 at 2:55 pm }

Marcus, you are welcome, and have a great visit. I fear the crowds will be higher than I had hoped, but they’ll still be better than the days before Easter! Have a great trip and let me know how it goes! Dave

50 Marcus { 04.11.11 at 11:52 am }

Dave, we just got back (4/10/2011) from our 3-day trip. Just to let you know how things went…well, I’m probably not a good judge of crowds as I think that no matter when you can go, WDW will always be crowded. During our trip, we visited HS, MK, AK in that order. We left out EP as we were only there for three days. There were a lot of high school students that were there apparently on “band trips”. Most seemed to be well-behaved as far as teens go. We made the most of our fast passes and were able to do everything we wanted and them some. Most lines seemed to be tolerable with waits throughout the day usually around 30min with exception of Peter Pan, Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, Rockin Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror, but with fast passes we were easily able to ride these attractions multiple times. Here’s the deal…more and more school systems are detaching Spring Break from Easter. It’s very sad, but true. I fear eventually, if not already, that March and April will be high traffic months with the attendance prior to and after Easter leveling out somewhat. No more will there be “good times” to visit in March or April. My best guess is that crowds were somewhere around 7-8 out of 10 each day we where there. Hope this helps! – Marcus

51 Dave { 04.11.11 at 11:58 am }

Thanks Marcus, this is really helpful especially as I turn to refining my 2102 weeks to visit rankings!

52 Marcus { 04.11.11 at 1:55 pm }

Dave, glad that I could return the favor of helpful info! – Marcus

53 Jamie { 09.09.11 at 5:23 pm }

Hi!
My family was thinking of going the day after Easter. This is really the only time possible that we can go. How bad will the crowds be? Going a different time isnt an option; it’s going this time or not going at all!
Thanks!

54 Dave { 09.10.11 at 3:01 pm }

Jamie the crowds will be very bad.

They may moderate towards the end of the week, but right now I doubt it–see this on Spring Break 2012 for why http://yourfirstvisit.net/2011/07/11/disney-world-crowds-in-2012-spring-break-2012/

By “not going at all” do you mean this year? What about next year? Some new fun stuff will be opening in late 2012 and 2013…and I’d do a lot to avoid those crowds, inlcuding waiting…

55 leo { 01.04.12 at 11:18 pm }

Aloha dave from hawaii. We are planning to go to WDW for our first time. We get there march 12 and stay for a week. How are the crowds and is it do-able? Thx for the awesome site.

56 Dave { 01.05.12 at 8:10 am }

Hi Leo! Note that the page you are on is for 2011. My 2012 spring break page is here: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2011/09/28/spring-break-2012-at-walt-disney-world/ Your week will be one of the busiest of the year, as a ton of kids are on break then…

57 anne { 02.16.12 at 1:41 pm }

I Love Mickey Minnie

58 Dave { 02.16.12 at 1:45 pm }

🙂

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