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Disney World Crowds in 2013: Spring Break 2013



By Dave Shute

DISNEY WORLD SPRING BREAK CROWDS: THE PRINCIPLES

Walt Disney World Spring Break crowds are governed by two and a quarter factors:

  • Public school Spring Break calendars, which are still largely framed around Easter
  • The demand of snow-belters for a break from winter weather, which peaks in March, and
  • The quarter factor, the date of President’s day.  Later President’s Days (which can range from February 15 to February 21) tend to make the first part of March better

An early Easter combines the first two factors, making for more than the usual horrible crowds in March but a great April; a late Easter spreads the first two factors out, yielding some good later March and early April weeks.

Easter 2013, on March 31, is early in the possible range. President’s Day 2013, on February 18th, is in the middle of its possible range.

As a result, 2013 Spring Break crowds at Walt Disney World will be fine the last week of February, iffy the first week of March, and  bad from March 9 through April 6, with the peak crowds (rated 11 on my 2013 crowd calendar) happening the weeks beginning March 9, March 23, and March 30.

2013 PUBLIC SCHOOL SPRING BREAKS AND THEIR EFFECTS ON WALT DISNEY WORLD CROWDS

Although more and more school districts are moving away from an Easter-centered Spring Break, the plurality of kids still have the week before Easter off, and the next biggest group some or all of the week following Easter.

As a result, the single biggest factor determining better and worse Spring Break weeks at Walt Disney World is the date of Easter–which can range from March 22 to April 25.

A later Easter has a couple of different effects: first, it spreads out the dates of breaks for school districts that don’t frame their breaks around Easter, and second, if particularly late, will push districts that typically take the week after Easter off into the week before Easter instead, to keep from compressing their May academic calendars.  We saw this in 2011.

An earlier Easter has the opposite effects.  Districts that traditionally try to take the week after Easter off will be able to do so, and districts that don’t base their calendars on Easter will be largely  compressed into a couple of March weeks.

(The compression point partly comes from only just so much March to go around, but also from the fact that such school districts don’t like taking the week before the traditional Easter break off, as it will lead into a set of political discussions (“If we could take that week off, why not slip it a week and take before week of Easter off? What do you have against Easter??”) that they don’t want to revisit.)

The date of President’s Day–which can range from February 15 to February 21–also has an effect. Because many districts both have a spring break and also take the week of  President’s Day off, the later President’s Day is, the better early March will be–as parents  avoid taking their kids out of school the weeks after a long President’s Day break.

The effect of the various dates in 2013 is to compress 2013 school spring breaks into three weeks: those beginning March 9, March 23, and March 30.

 ACTUAL 2013 SPRING BREAKS

The chart to the right illuminates this.

It’s based on data from a weighted sample including almost 175 of the largest relevant US public school districts.

(Click it to enlarge it; when it opens, click it again to enlarge it more.)

More kids are on break the week before Easter than any other week; the week after Easter and the week beginning 3/9 are the next highest break weeks.  I’ve rated each of these 11/highest crowds in my 2013 crowd calendar.

Next to no kids are on break between the week after President’s Day and March 10. I rate the week beginning February 23 2/lower crowds. This is a recommended week. The week beginning March 2 is rated 7/moderate-plus crowds.

The week beginning March 16 has many fewer kids on break than the three weeks rated highest/11.  However, because of the snowbelt effect, I’ve rated it 10/higher crowds.  It may turn out better than this…but I wouldn’t bet on it!

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153 comments

1 Renee { 07.11.13 at 3:47 pm }

What about fall? We went last year in early September and it was WALL TO WALL people and half the rides were shut down…SO DISAPPOINTED! and it was our first trip to Disneyworld and my kids waited hours to get on a ride. The employees even looked exhausted. They told us it was Brazilian Spring Break??? Do you have any suggestions for us if we try again? Thanks for the heads up! Love your site:)

2 Dave { 07.12.13 at 8:51 am }

Renee…ummm…September is in fact one of the least crowded months at WDW. It’s still possible though to run into lousy crowds then–check this out and see if it applies to your experience: https://yourfirstvisit.net/2012/04/30/crowds-and-walt-disney-world/

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3 Jaime { 10.09.13 at 12:46 am }

I’m also planning a family trip for April 2014. I have 2 little kids who will be 2 and 4 (please know grandparents live in Fl or else we probably wouldnt take them so early to Disney World) Easter is 4/20/14 so I thought I would be safe and book for the week of april 3-10th now after reading your blog I’m scared that I can still get caught up in horrible crowds. Please help, should I beg the owners of the rental property to move our dates or do you think we might be ok? We haven’t purchased our flights yet.

4 Dave { 10.09.13 at 12:56 pm }

Jaime, I think you will be OK April 6 and after, which I rate it as low crowd. See https://yourfirstvisit.net/2012/10/07/disney-world-crowds-2014/ and also this https://yourfirstvisit.net/2012/10/15/2014-weeks-visit-walt-disney-world-ranked-order/ where I rank the week of the 5th as 12th best of the year..

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5 mark { 02.28.14 at 6:53 am }

Hi Dave, loving your site and info!! we are from Northern Ireland, UK and I’m planning & saving ahead for 2015 our 1st trip to WDW Florida! Kids aged 19, 11 & 7. Would really appreciate your quick advice –
A 2 week trip – my options to go are basically:
1) between weeks 1-3 in February
2) 2nd week of easter week (our schools tend to have 2 weeks off here) and week after.

keen to also use pools/water parks – but I’m guessing Feb will be least busy crowd time?

Many thanks!

6 Dave { 02.28.14 at 7:23 am }

Mark–I can’t quite interpret your target dates, but in February 2015, there will be massive crowds between 2/12 and 2/21, but the parks will be great before and after then. Crowds will then return beginning March 8, and the parks will be very crowded from then until April 10. Peak crowds over this period will be from March 28 through April 9.

7 mark { 02.28.14 at 10:07 am }

Many thanks Dave!
to clarify then – for a 2 week trip in 2015 – which of these would you advise:

Feb 14 – 28
Feb 15 – Mar 1
April 10 – 24

Thanks a million!

8 Dave { 02.28.14 at 12:38 pm }

Mark–your April 2015 dates are best by far. Lower crowds, and a better chance for the water parks!

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