By the co-author of The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2018, from the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook series ever. Paperback available on Amazon here. Kindle version available on Amazon here.—Disney World Instructions for the First-Time Visitor

The Week Beginning 12/29 Looks Worse, and the Week Beginning 12/15 Looks Better, Than I Thought They Would

By Dave Shute


I now have data from ~180 of the around ~200 school districts whose vacation calendars I track (more calendars than you’d think don’t come out until June or later), which is enough to say that

  • Crowds will be lower at the end of the week beginning 12/15/2012 than I thought they would, and
  • Crowds will be worse from January 2 2013 to January 6 2013 than I thought they would.

Specifically, many fewer districts than I had projected are taking off from 12/18 through 1/1, and are instead taking 12/22 though 1/6 off.  As a result, in 2012 crowds will be lower December 18, 19 and 20 than I’d been projecting, and they’ll be higher January 2 through January 6th 2013.

In terms of week rankings, the week beginning 12/15 is currently ranked as 18th best of 2012, and that beginning 12/29 is currently ranked as the 51st best of 2012 and the 52nd best of 2013. Both of these rankings are still about right.

However, the crowd levels I’m currently showing for these two weeks are wrong.

I’m showing right now 6 “moderate” the week of the 15th, and 7 “moderate-plus” the week of the 29th.  The week of the 15th should be 5 “moderate minus” and the week of the 29th 9 “high.”


Kids  on break don’t exceed 10% of possible kids until until Thursday 12/20, and don’t cross a third of kids until Friday the 21st. (See the image at the top.)

So holiday crowds at Walt Disney world won’t really start pouring in until the evening of the 19th, and won’t be really bad until Friday the 21st.  This is a couple of days later than I’d thought.


I’d expected things to be a complete zoo through Tuesday the 1st, but then to sharply decline the rest of the week.  Combining these two effects is what got me to a “7.”

However, a little more than half of kids are off through January 6.

I expect the preponderance of the families with the option to be at Disney World over the holidays either week to be there Christmas week, not New Year’s week, but that will still leave plenty of people in the parks through January 6.

Putting the first part of the week at an “11” and the second half at a “7” gives me my revised overall ranking of “9” high for crowd levels this week.

I’ll publish more on this next week, including how the data is handled, but wanted to get this heads up out now.



1 Maneesh { 09.18.12 at 11:42 am }

We land there from 1-5 Jan! First time visitors with 2 kids (6 and 4). I guess it will be just have to be! any specific tips?

2 Dave { 09.19.12 at 6:19 am }

Hi Maneesh! This is old, but the principles still apply:

3 Denise { 09.22.12 at 7:59 am }

Is there anything special going on for NYE in Epcot besides the usual fun, such as a “special concert” and where would be the best place to eat that night?

4 Dave { 09.22.12 at 10:40 am }
5 deborah friebe { 10.08.12 at 2:29 pm }

visiting jan 6-13. What to expect for crowds, closures etc. special events?

6 Dave { 10.08.12 at 5:43 pm }

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