By the co-author of the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook ever -- The easy Guide to Your First Walt Disney World Visit.—Disney World Instructions for the First-Time Visitor

Disney World Crowds: Christmas 2014 and New Years 2014/2015

By Dave Shute


Holiday 2014-2015 Crowds at Disney World from yourfirstvisit.netDisney World usually sees its highest crowds and prices of the year in the later third of December and the beginning of January, in the week that includes Christmas, and the next week that includes New Year’s Eve.

This is for a pretty basic reason: kids are out of school these weeks.

However, not every school district has the same break schedule.

In 2014/2015, more kids are out  New Year’s week than early in Christmas week, but there’s still plenty enough on break Christmas week to wildly crowd the parks…


Most years, there two typical sorts of breaks:

  • Long breakers–districts that take at least 2 full weeks (and three weekends) off
  • Short breakers–districts that take off as close to only December 24 to January 1 as they can

In 2014, a Thursday Christmas, and the patterning of school breaks around it, will make it easy for many families to head to Walt Disney World either week.

But the Thursday New Years Day results in next to no schools re-opening Friday January 2 for a one-day week.  Wouldn’t be prudent.

So almost all kids will be off all of New Years week, and unlike some years–like 2013–both weeks will be really lousy all week long.


Christmas and New Year's Crowds at Disney World from

The chart above illuminates this.

It’s based on data from a weighted sample including more than 160 of the largest relevant US public school districts.

(For how the database is built, see this.)

The weekends are in black and the two holidays–Christmas and New Year’s Day–in red.  Click the image enlarge it.

You can see that many breaks begin Saturday the 20th, with hardly any kids on break before then, but almost 30% of kids are still in school the first two weekdays of Christmas week. By Christmas Eve, though, everyone is out, and pretty much everybody stays out of school through January 4, 2015.  A few–very few–breaks continue past January 4.

So I’m classing both weeks as 11/highest crowds, but of the two, New Year’s week will be a little worse.

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1 Kristi { 08.03.14 at 12:21 pm }

Hi Dave! So… does this mean you’re getting closer to releasing the 2016 info? :)

2 Dave { 08.03.14 at 1:19 pm }

Every day that passes I get closer, Kristi! But there’s still a ton of 2015 work to do before then…

3 Kristi { 08.03.14 at 9:23 pm }

Ok, I’ll try to be patient and enjoy my Disney memories until I can start planning for a return trip in 2016. :)

4 Dave { 08.05.14 at 8:54 am }


5 Michelle { 08.05.14 at 5:48 pm }

We are planning on going down to Disney for Christmas and New Years. We are staying from Dec 24-Jan 5. a 13 day trip. I did not see an Itinerary that would help me with all the crowds and how to best manage our families FastPass+. We have a 2 year old and a 7 year old. We do not plan to spend every day in Disney Parks but we are looking for the best way to spend our disney time. Help! :)

6 Dave { 08.06.14 at 9:42 am }

Michelle, the closest I have is this: It’s not a tight fit to your dates, but you can move things around–but check both EMH (try to avoid EMH days, altho that will be ahrd at MK) and also note that you’ll see many 8a openings when the itinerary assumes 9a.

You could also use the daily plans for each park in our book as an alternative: The easy Guide to Your First Walt Disney World Visit

7 Marnie { 08.19.14 at 4:37 pm }

Every trip we take, we plan it around scheduled breaks/vacations from school. More precisely, we take our kids OUT of school and go to WDW before most of the other schools let out for breaks. This year, we arrive on December 12th and leave on December 19th. Missing a week of school is WELL worth missing the ridiculous crowds.

Thanks for the graph. I hadn’t seen one based on school breaks.

8 Dave { 08.20.14 at 6:50 am }

I’m with you, Marnie…

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