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.—Disney World Instructions for the First-Time Visitor

Disney World Crowds in 2013: Spring Break 2013

By Dave Shute


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.


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.


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!



1 Jennifer { 07.25.12 at 9:18 am }

On your 2013 Crowd Calendar, you’ve rated the week of March 2 as Moderate-Plus, but on this 2013 Spring Break chart it looks like that week is pretty clear. Is there something else going on that would warrant a Moderate-Plus rating? I ask because that’s the week I went there for the first time with my son this past spring, and in terms of crowds and weather, it could not have been more perfect. We’re going again next year (yes, we’re addicts now ;-), and I’d love to go that week.

2 Dave { 07.25.12 at 12:15 pm }

Jennifer, that’s the toughest week to forecast of the whole year. Over the past few years with a later Easter I’ve had it with low crowds and as a recommended week. Crowds in 2012 were in fact more towards the moderate range, and I’m concerned with Easter 2013 a week earlier than Easter 2012 crowds will be in the high moderate range. But it’s not, as you note, from kid’s breaks–it’s from snowbirders taking their kids out of school…it may be in fact a great week, and I’m sure you’ll find other crowd calendars that say it is a will be…but I’m not willing to say it will be…

3 Jennifer { 07.25.12 at 12:41 pm }

The crowds were moderate that week this year??? WOW! Mind you, I had nothing to compare it with, but other than a couple of rides, we didn’t have to wait too long. If that’s the case then I think we’ll try a week you’ve predicted lower crowds instead. My kiddo has ADHD, so the shorter the lines, the better, and although he did really well, I think he’d be happier maybe the first or second week of April.

Thanks so much for all the fantastic information on this site; it’s REALLY helped me plan!!!

4 chris { 07.29.12 at 7:57 am }

Hi Dave,
We are panicing a bit after looking at your calander. We have booked to go to disney from 3.9.13. for a week. this week has a very high crowd rating but on the school calender it doest look like many schools are off this week. Will the high crowds be for the same reason you mentioned to Jennifer?? Or is it something to do with the college break?? We just wondered why it looks like it is going to be as busy a christmas!!!aaarrrggghhh. We are prepared for the worst but hoping for the best!!! Thanks a lot for you helping sorting our holiday out so far.

5 Dave { 07.29.12 at 9:00 am }

Hey Chris, that’s the third most common week for school spring breaks, and the typical time for snowbirds to start piling in as well. That’s why my crowd rating for it is so high…but it won’t be as busy as Christmas week (which really deserves a 13 on my crowd calendar!) and if I’m wrong, it’ll be less busy than I predict, not more…

6 Jenn { 08.02.12 at 1:59 pm }

Hello! Thank u for this great site 🙂
I plan to take my son to Disney after receiving my tax refund Feb. 2013. I wont have the extra $ to spend until I have that, so that leaves me with 2 questions. First, which week will be best overall to visit, crowds and rates both considered? (Disney dining plan offered free would be great too!) 🙂 Also, do you know what flexibility Disney offers on the final bill to paid in full? The last trip we took, it was $200 to book, and the total was to be paid I believe 90 days in advance of the trip. Im wondering if this is typical, as I will not have the balance until April. Any thoughts would be helpful! 🙂 Thank you in advance!

7 Dave { 08.02.12 at 6:00 pm }

Jenn there’s several different deal structures. The most flexible is to book “room only,” which requires a one-night deposit, the rest paid when you check in. You can also get your tickets when you check in.

For my 2013 week rankings, see this:

8 Lily { 08.03.12 at 11:05 pm }

Jenn, there is a $200 deposit due when you book and the rest is due 45 days before your arrival date. You can always book and hopefully you get FREE dining.

9 Dave { 08.04.12 at 5:16 pm }

Thanks Lily–but isn’t it different for a room-only–one night deposit, the rest due at check-in?

10 Maggie Palermo { 09.18.12 at 2:56 pm }

OOh this site is just what I needed. Planning to go to Disney during the March break in NY. 3/24-3/29. I was hesitant to book because I’m not sure If they are going to offer breaks on the Deluxe Resorts or Free Meal Plans during that time. Is everything typically full price at that time of year?

11 Dave { 09.19.12 at 6:25 am }

Hi Maggie! That’s one the the busiest 2 or three weeks of the year, and because of that is never discounted…

12 Joe { 09.20.12 at 3:15 pm }

We are headed there from April 7th to the 12th, according to the school schedule, it looks pretty good. Will this be a good time, or should we prepare for some long lines? How long after Easter do the parks stay crowded? Thanks, cool site!!

13 Dave { 09.21.12 at 7:54 am }

Hey Joe, and thanks! The Easter crowds are gone by the Sunday a week after. There’s some other kids on break the week of the 7th, but not many, so you should be fine!

14 Joe { 09.22.12 at 3:54 pm }

Thanks Dave. Good to know. We already booked, so now we will be on the lookout for some specials!! Hopefully we will get lucky and get a discount! It’s our first time going to Disney, looks like we will get lucky with the crowds!!

15 Dave { 09.23.12 at 8:03 am }

Have a great trip, Joe!

16 Dawn { 09.24.12 at 9:00 am }

Hi Dave,
I have been studying your Crowd Calculator with interest, and note your comments to the question above. We have visited Orlando from UK 3 times and always in late January to avoid the crowds. Wait time is rarely more than 20 mins on most rides except Harry Potter and we use fast pass where possible for Disney. For 2013 we are planning to visit Orlando 19th April for 2 weeks based on your information. We cant go Jan as my son has exams at school. Other than Presidents Day one year we have never experianced high crowds (we hate the long wait for rides) so just want to check before we make our booking that as Spring Break and Easter 2013 will be long gone by 19th April we will be booking at a quiet time for all the parks? We spend most of our time at Universal but have a day in each of the Disney Parks. Jan is too cold for water parks so want to visit them too and hope for abit more sunshine. Cheers. The Hawkins Famil

17 Dave { 09.24.12 at 1:17 pm }

Hi Dawn, I think that will be a great time to go!

18 Dawn { 09.25.12 at 8:43 am }

Thanks Dave I feel 100% confident in making the change and visiting end April now. Just one more thing, are the electric parade and fireworks at MK later than in Jan (7pm and 8pm if my memory is correct) and do the parks stay open later? or only for Magic Hours visitors? Cheers.

19 Dave { 09.25.12 at 9:54 am }

Hi Dawn! As sunset gets later, Wishes and the parade at MK, and Fantasmic at HS, have their times shift to later–see this for later April of this year: This results in MK and HS staying open a little later…

20 Albert { 09.25.12 at 10:55 am }

Hi Dave,
This will be my first visit to DWO with my wife and daughter (11) and need to know if booking from Feb 27 to Mar 6, 2013 is a good time to go? Excellent site and extremely helpful for planning our trip.

21 Dave { 09.25.12 at 5:12 pm }

Hi Albert! The first part of your period will be great. It’ll get more crowded beginning March 3, but it will still be manageable!

22 Dawn { 09.26.12 at 7:40 am }

Hi Dave, Thanks again for the new info. Brilliant. Can`t thank you enough for the instant replies.
Best Wishes from The Hawkins Family in UK.

23 Dave { 09.26.12 at 8:43 am }

Glad to help Dawn–come back here when you come home form your visit and let me know how it went!

24 Leigh { 09.27.12 at 9:42 pm }

Awesome website! We are planning our first trip to wdw for march 3-8 th. I am hoping for moderate crowds! I have a couple questions.. My daughters will be 5 and 20 months when we go. How many days should we spend in MK? And what days that week are better than others? Alsoour flight lands around 1 pm the day we get there should I bother getting passes for that day? Figure by the time we check in, get settled and explore the hotel it will be late…but then again my 5 yr old will be dying to go to the park! Thank u in advance!

25 Dave { 09.28.12 at 10:21 am }

Hi Leigh and thanks! For MK at that age, I’d plan two mornings, one late afternoon (for the 3p afternoon parade) and one evening (for the evening parade and fireworks.) The worst days at MK your period will be the 3rd, and 7th. That said, going to MK the 3rd will let you do both parades and the fireworks, and get on a few rides using FASTPASSES…

26 Michelle { 09.28.12 at 11:02 am }

Hi Dave, I am so glad we have found tout site! It is awesome, thanks for all the hard work you do 🙂 So my question is, we are planning. 7 day trip with 4 kids (ages 7-13) on April 17th – 24th 2013, I looked at the crowd’s and they look pretty good, will this be a good time to go, and How is the weather then? I am trying to get my parents to go(elderly) who have never been, and I didn’t want it to be over whelming for them …

27 Dave { 09.28.12 at 12:29 pm }

Michelle that’s a great time to go in 2013! Crowds are low, prices are moderate, and the weather is just perfect–warm enough to swim, not as hot as summer…

28 Dana { 10.04.12 at 10:02 pm }

Hi Dave,
I’m going to disney for a conference, hubby and dear daughter(3) will be coming along with mom! It’s her first trip and I’m beyond excited!! We arrive Feb 21st, in the parks 4 days from Friday 22nd- Monday the 25th, leaving tues 26th. I keep hearing about how crazy presidents week is. Will the crowds have thinned out by the end of the week? Being from Louisiana I had never even heard of presidents “week” being a school break. We were always only off the Monday

29 Dave { 10.05.12 at 8:30 am }

Hi Dana! You will likely see big crowds the 22nd and 23rd, but will be fine the rest of your days. See this:

I’ve learned over the years of researching school breaks for this site that they are much more varied than I would have guessed. For example, a lot of Northeastern schools have a mid-April spring break and a full week off for presidents day, while where I live the kids, like you, get a day off for presidents day, and in my town spring break always runs from Good Friday through the end of the next week…

30 jessica { 10.05.12 at 8:32 pm }

Hi! I am looking to book the week of April 1st to the 5th, its the only time for us to go and it will be the first family trip! Do you think it will be horribly busy? Also, is it the most reasonable to book through Disney themselves or triple A or another travel agency?

31 Dave { 10.06.12 at 8:07 am }

Hi Jessica, that will be horribly busy–see this If by reasonable, you mean cheaper, it won’t make much difference–prices skyrocket then and there aren’t any of deals…

32 Alissa Farley { 10.16.12 at 9:01 pm }

Your site was most helpful! Thank you – I operate a small girls summer adventure camp, I have have been trying to figure out what to expect as far as camper registrations for summer camp in February, March and April, you and your site have just helped me plan my own personal Spring Break Vacation – I will be vacationing March 22-31, 2013 because I know so many parents with kids will be at Disney World having fun, not online booking summer camp – very helpful, thanks for sharing. Alissa (a.k.a Alpengirl)

33 Dave { 10.17.12 at 9:23 am }

Hey Alissa, thanks–that’s a great use for the site I hadn’t thought of!

Of course most of Disney World has free wifi now, so they may be booking you while waiting in line for Space Mountain 🙂

34 Michele { 10.17.12 at 12:43 pm }

Hi Dave – quick question we have a gymnastics competition the weekend of February 15th – 17th at the Wide World of Sports (we are staying at Coronado Springs Resort) we live in Massachusetts and are planning on coming down the 14th and staying until the 19th – how crazy busy will it be and should we plan on going to Islands of Adventure on the 15th so the crowds won’t be as crazy? thank you!!

35 Dave { 10.17.12 at 1:39 pm }

Hi Michelle! You’ll have higher crowds than earlier in the month, but they won’t turn really bad until the 17th. I’d do as much as you can before then, and IOA will be best, I think, the 16th…see this:

36 Reanna { 11.05.12 at 12:16 pm }

Hello, I would like to know which week would be better , Feb. 23- Mar. 3 or Apr. 20- Apr. 28 ?

37 Dave { 11.05.12 at 12:26 pm }

Hey Reanna I have a very slight preference for your April date–see this:

38 Carly { 11.18.12 at 1:26 pm }

What about the week of march 17-22?

39 Dave { 11.19.12 at 7:02 am }

Hi Carly, see this at the very end of the page: “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!”

40 Heather { 11.20.12 at 2:08 pm }

We will be visiting Clearwater and may consider a day at Disney. Do many people go to the parks Easter Sunday?

41 Dave { 11.20.12 at 2:11 pm }

Hi Heather! Easter Sunday is one of the 4 or 5 busiest days of the year in the parks…

42 Heather { 11.20.12 at 2:22 pm }

Well, that’s good to know! We’ll try for April 1st or 2nd. Is one better than the other? Thanks for all your input! You really helped direct our trip last year, too! Happy Thanksgiving!

43 Dave { 11.21.12 at 9:34 am }

Hi Heather, I’m so glad the site helped, and happy thanksgiving to you, too! Both those days also stink, but either is better than Sunday. I have a slight preference for the 2nd, but it will vary a little depending on which park you intend to go to…for example, Epcot will be better the 1st.

44 jessica { 11.24.12 at 10:11 pm }

Hi Dave,
My husband and I were looking to come March 30- April 5. We have a 6 year old and a 1 year old. I want this is be a great experience with out crowds and lines espically with a baby. Do you see any chance of it possibly being ok or switch the dates? Thanks

45 Dave { 11.25.12 at 7:15 am }

Hi Jessica, that is one of the three or four most crowded weeks of 2013. See SO I’d switch the dates if you can!

46 Suzanne { 11.30.12 at 4:36 pm }

Hello Dave,
I just found your site about a month and it is so helpful!! We have decided to go the week of April the 5th -April 12th. Question, which park would you recommend for which day? It will be my husband and I, our two girls, 3 and 5 years old, and the grandparents. We arrive on the 5th, so no parks that day, thank goodness, since crowds levels are super high!!! Thank you!!

47 Dave { 12.01.12 at 11:01 am }

Hi Suzanne, and I’m glad the site is helping!

For kids that age, ypou’d want to focus on MK, and think of half a day at the opther parks, perhaps skipping Epcot entirely. See this:

The following are parks to avoid by day:

4/6 They will all be crowded. Epcot will be best.
4/7 Avoid MK
4/8 Avoid HK and HS
4/9 Avoid Epcot
4/10 Avoid AK
4/11 Avoid MK
4/12 Avoid Epcot

48 Colin Knibbs { 12.04.12 at 9:16 am }

Group of 5 guys going to Florida, either from the 11th March 2013 for a week ot from the 18th March for a week. Both of these fall in spring break period. How busy should we expect IOA, USF and Bush Gardens to be, should we rethink our dates or will we be ok during this period? Thanks.

49 Dave { 12.04.12 at 9:33 am }

Hi Colin! I’m forecasting both weeks to be wildly crowded in all of Florida. I may be wrong the week of the 18th–that may be better than I think–but if you can reschedule, I would…

50 Beth { 12.05.12 at 4:38 pm }

Hi Dave. I have booked our 2013 Disney World vacation for 2nd April – 16th April. I am quite concerned about the crowds during the first week of our stay and I’m not sure what to expect for the rest of our vacation. How much queuing will we do for rides and how bad will the crowds be around the parks? Thanks.

51 Dave { 12.06.12 at 7:19 am }

Hi Beth! I expect crowds will be quite bad through April 6, but will be fine thereafter. For some ideas on how to cope those first few days, see this: It’s written for the Christmas holidays, but applies to any high-crowd period…

52 Jerry { 12.09.12 at 12:54 pm }

March31-april 2 is it going to be as bad as it looks any idea on what park to go to on a specific day

53 Dave { 12.10.12 at 7:01 am }

Hi Jerry, yes it will be. The usual point is to avoid parks on days they have extra magic hours. MK has EMH every day, so that’s not much help for it; EMH at the other parks may be added, so it’s a little hard to predict now. No pakr will be good the 31st, but AK and HS will be a little better; the 1st and 2nd will be better at all parks than the 31st, and I’d shoot for MK the 2nd.

54 Carla { 12.13.12 at 4:06 pm }

Hi Dave
Your website is very interesting and helpful although now I am slightly concerned as me and my Husband have booked our trip for 8th – 20th March 2013 as I wanted to be there to celebrate my 30th Birthday! Would be interested to hear what your predictions are for this period. We are planning on covering the 4 Disney Theme parks, 2 Universal parks, Seaworld and Discovery Cove with a shopping day thrown in. I have been 4 times before but usually in October when the crowds are less….should we brace ourselves?!!!!!!

55 Dave { 12.14.12 at 9:56 am }

Hi Carla!

Yup, I’m looking at those weeks as pretty ugly…especially the first one. See this:

You should brace yourselves–but it’s a huge help that you know your way around, and know how to manage crowds–to show up before the parks open, to get on the most popular rides first, and then to use FASTPASSES. Plan on taking afternoons off especially at MK and Epcot…

56 Adaly418 { 12.29.12 at 9:21 am }

We are taking our 3 year old daughter to Disney for the first time march 1-8, 2013. We will be using the military park hopper which gives us 4 days at the parks. What parks would be best for which days? Thank you so much for your help!

57 Dave { 12.29.12 at 9:52 am }

Hi! With a kid that age, you’d want to focus on the Magic Kingdom, skip Epcot, and maybe spend a morning in each of the other two parks, hopping those days back to MK for the afternoon parade and/or evening parade and fireworks.

For MK your best dates will be 3/1, 3/5, 3/6, and 3/8
For Animal Kingdom, the best dates will be 3/5 and 3/7
For Hollywood Studios, the best days will be 3/1, 3/3, and 3/5 through 3/8.

Assuming that you will spend part of each day at MK (some days starting there, and others hopping), this suggests 3/1 at MK, 3/5 begin at AK and hop to MK, and 3/6 and 3/8 be at MK but choose one of these 2 days to begin at HS then hop to MK.

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58 Tammy { 12.29.12 at 12:23 pm }

We plan on being there from (Booked) Match 8-13th . . . From what I’ve read it’s going to be really packed =( Would we be better off going the weekend before??? This will be our first time so any recommendations on which parks etc. for a 2 yr old (boy) 10 yr old (boy) 12 yr old (girl) . . . We are staying at the Mystic Dunes Resort hopefully its a decent place . . . I hate booking some where I’ve never been . . . Any advice is helpful Thanks!!!!!

59 Dave { 12.29.12 at 6:02 pm }

Hi Tammy, I think the week before will be much better—see this:

I’m sorry but I don’t track hotels off site, so don’t know anything about the Mystic Dunes…

Let me know your final dates and I’ll advise on which parks to hit which days!

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60 Jillian { 01.05.13 at 2:03 pm }

We have a 13yo, 11yo, and 18 month old twins. Been to Disney many times but first with our twins. Our spring break is march 11-14, however we are thinking about booking around feb 28-march 4 and taking older kids out of school. Do you think the change of dates would be worth it since we will have little toddlers with us as well.? And is the weather war, enough for swimming? Thanks for your help!!

61 Dave { 01.06.13 at 10:04 am }

Hi Jillian, the earlier week will be much less crowded! So I’d go then for sure… Weather is variable that time of the year–see this

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62 Jillian { 01.06.13 at 2:48 pm }

Thank you!!

63 Dave { 01.07.13 at 6:44 am }

You bet, and have fun!

64 Tim { 01.07.13 at 8:14 am }

Great info! Less crowds Feb 24-March1, or March2-8….notable difference?

65 Dave { 01.07.13 at 10:28 am }

Thanks Tim! I’m seeing the earlier week as much less crowded. See this:

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66 Sam { 01.07.13 at 11:31 am }

I am looking to take my boys (9 & 12) to DW on April 2nd to April 7th. In one of your responses back in oct. 2012 to mom who asked if it would horrible busy during this time you stated YES and you said prices sky rocket at this time and there are no deals. Currently there is a spring deal starting April 2nd for 30% off some resorts does this mean it wont be as busy as expected due to their having this deal right after EASTER(march 31st) ?

67 Tim { 01.07.13 at 2:43 pm }

Why are the character meals and nice restaurants booked during low crowd times? Seems like its hard to get a good time even off season…. Thanks

68 Dave { 01.07.13 at 6:06 pm }

Hi Sam, that’s a great question. It will still be wildly busy that week. What’s happening is some families have Easter Monday off, so are checking out Monday or Tuesday. That yields rooms that are otherwise hard to fill, so you get the discount beginning April 2. Families that check in before Then can’t use it…

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69 Dave { 01.07.13 at 6:10 pm }

Hey Tim, that’s because “low crowd” is relative–there’s still more than a hundred thousand people around even on the low crowd days…

70 Mary { 01.08.13 at 12:04 pm }

Hi Dave—great web site! Wish I would have come across it before I booked our trip, but luckily, our week of 4/13 is #12 on your list of recommended weeks. Below is what we are planning for the week. Staying at Disney Beach Club Resorts (Club Level). Spoke with the concierge, and she said our plan is good but wanted to see if you have any suggestions. Traveling with a 4 1/2 year old. All meal reservations are character meals (we have the Disney Meal Plan & hopper passes).

4/12 – Arrive in afternoon (settle in, dinner at resort)
4/13 – Hollywood Studios (lunch reserved)
4/14 – MK (dinner reserved) – Concierge said Sun, Mon, and Tues are best to visit MK
4/15 – stay at resort (break between park days)/miniature golf
4/16 – AK (lunch reserved)
4/17 – Epcot/WaterPark/or anything else we missed (since our resort is right next to Epcot, I figure we can go there during evenings so won’t need to spend a full day there) – Dinner reservation
4/18 – home

71 Doug { 01.08.13 at 12:29 pm }

Hey Dave,

So it looks like we can only go to Orlando on March 31st through April 6th. We are looking at spending 1 day at Islands of Adventure and 1-day at Seaworld and the rest at WDW. Do you have any suggestions on timing with the days and the crowds. We were looking at Islands of adventure and Seaworld at the beginning or end of vacation.

72 Dave { 01.08.13 at 1:06 pm }

Well, Mary…in general the most crowded days at MK are Sat-Mon, and the best days are Tues and Weds, and in general you want to avoid parks on days they have extra magic hours, unless you plan to hop to (for the evening EMH) or hop away (from the am EMH)…so I guess I disagree with your concierge! So at minimum I’d flip your HS and MK days, and ideally I’d advise AK the 13th, HS the 14th and MK the 16th…

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73 Dave { 01.08.13 at 1:09 pm }

Hi Doug, I don’t have any great ideas to share. All the parks will be wildly crowded almost all the time you are there, with the 31st and 1st being the worst days. You want to avoid the Disney parks on days they have extra magic hours–but MK may have them every day…. See this for some other thoughts–not about Easter, but the same principles apply:

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74 Louise { 01.09.13 at 8:11 am } Hi Dave, I want to send my 17 year old son to Disney spring break for 3 nights. He will be with 3 friends. They are good kids. ( We parents want them in a safe contained place) Will they see other 16-17-18 years olds vacationing for spring break? They worry it is only for kids.

75 Dave { 01.09.13 at 9:00 am }

Louise, I’m not really sure, as I try to avoid the place over spring break! Sorry to not be much help…

76 Mafalda { 01.13.13 at 8:19 am }

Lamentablemente nuestra fecha en Disney es del 13 ( al mediodia) al 21 de FEBRERO…sabemos que seran días complicados y no nos gustan las muchedumbres. Necesito por favor un consejo, pienso en MK y IOA….que son los parques más populares…tengo el 14 y 15 antes del feriado…y pensaba en Epcot el domingo 17…pero no se a donde ir el 16, 18, 19 y 20…estoy DESESPERADA, fue un cambio de fecha de último momento por problemas laborales, mi idea inicial era ultima semana de ENERO…y ahora estoy atrapada en el dia de los presidentes….AUXILIO…..que hago??????

77 Dave { 01.13.13 at 10:45 am }

Can anyone translate this for me?

78 Anonymous { 01.13.13 at 1:57 pm }

Unfortunately our days at Disney are from the 13th mid-day to 21 February. We know that these are complicated days and we do not like crowds.

79 Ginette { 01.13.13 at 2:02 pm }

Unfortunately our dates at Disney are from the 13th mid-day to February 21st. We know that these days are complicated days and we do not like crowds. I need some assistance, I am thinking of magic kingdom and IOA which are the most popular parks. I have 14th and 15th prior to the holiday and I was thinking of going to Epcot on Sunday the 17th. However, I do not know where to go on the 16th 18th 19th and 20th. I’m desperate. I had to change my dates for work reasons. My initial idea was the last week of January. And now I am stuck with the Presidents’ Day holiday. What do I do?

80 Ginette { 01.13.13 at 2:04 pm }

Above is my translation. 🙂

81 Twtiie { 01.13.13 at 4:07 pm }

Hi Dave! This is an excellent site! I am taking my 12 year old daughter to Florida from the uk for our first ever trip! I notice though that our dates seem to be the busiest of the year? We arrive 28th march and leave 11th April 🙁 ….. Are we set to be queuing for the majority of our trip? And can you also recommend a site with the best deals on universal/Disney etc packages please? Cheers for your help in advance!!

82 Dave { 01.14.13 at 7:46 am }

Ginette, thanks so much for the translation!!!

Crowds will begin to build as early as the 15th. I’d do the afternoon and evening shows at MK the 13th–on your arrival day, IOA the 14th, MK the 15th and 16th. Epcot will be a better choice the 18th than the 17th, partly because there’s no other good park the 18th. On the 17th either HK or HS would be an OK choice. On the 19th avoid Epcot, on the 20th avoid AK, and on the 21st avoid MK.

On each day except for your arrival day be at the turnstiles well before the park opens, see rides that quickly build long lines first, then use FASTPASSES to work through the rest of the day…

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83 Dave { 01.14.13 at 7:54 am }

Hi Twtiie and thanks!

Yes, it will be wildly busy until the 6th. After that you’ll have a number of great days. Suggest that through the 6th you focus on early mornings and evenings at the parks, and take the afternoons off. After the 6th early mornings is still the best approach, but afternoons will be much better.

You won’t find much in the way of deals for such a busy time, but the bets place to look is here:

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84 Kristy { 01.14.13 at 11:14 pm }

Hi Dave: ) we have planned our trip for april 8th thru the 12th…does that seem to be a good time to go this year with the crowds becoming less? …it didnt look quite as bad from your chart. I also wondered with those dates I gave, which days would be best to visit magic kindom, animal kingdom, and epcot?

85 Maria Guzman { 01.15.13 at 12:35 am }

Dear Dave!
We already planned to travel from February 14th thru Monday 18th with my whole family from Ecuador – Southamerica, saddly we didn´t see your excellent website until now, so we just found out how busy it will get at Presidents´ Day.
We will be at the Disney Dream Cruise from february 10th till 14th, we will depart Canaveral Port at 8am.
Same day, february 14th, we where planning to get to Magic Kingdom, we are not sure what time we will arribe to MK from Port Canaveral. Time worries us a lot. Also it worries us how crowded MK will get, but seems that Valentines Day there will be a great experience!
February 15th, Island of Adventure. Cirque du Soleil at night.
February 16th, Busch Garden (we dont have any info about how crowded it will get that day).
February 17th, Universal Studios. My birthday also! 🙂

We will like to go to Animal K. or Sea World, but we dont know how to schedule it on our little visit time.

People recommended us to go to Lego Land, but the 7 adult on our group might get bored, what do u think?

Do you think we could visit 2 whole parks same day?

We are going with 3 little kids, 1, 2 and 4 years old, do you think our theme parks selection is alright for them?

What is the Fastpass and where could we buy it? What other tip do u recommend us to save time?

What time does the parks open and close?

What do you think about our schedule, what would you change for better?

Thanks so much for your time! You are welcome to visit us on ECUADOR anytime!!!
Muchas Gracias!!!

86 Dave { 01.15.13 at 7:15 am }

Hi Kristy, yup, crowds will be way down that week! See

“Best days” can be a little too constraining, so I like to give bad parks by day. So here’s that

4/8: avoid HS, AK, and Mk
4/9: avoid Epcot
4/10: avoid AK
4/11: avoid MK
4/12: avoid Epcot

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87 Dave { 01.15.13 at 8:29 am }

Hi Maria! A quick reaction: for kids the ages of yours, there’s hardly anything to do at either Busch Gardens, Islands of Adventure, or Universal Studios. At the Disney parks, there’s little for kids that age beyond the Magic Kingdom. (see this: ) So are you targeting the other parks because of the adults?

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88 Kristy { 01.15.13 at 10:28 pm }

Hi dave: ) thankyou for answering my question today! …We forgot to ask you one more thing. The reason we r going to disney is for our son’s birthday, he will be turning 4 years old, and we wondered what perks we can get for him with that? if there is any?

89 Maria Guzman { 01.15.13 at 11:18 pm }

Thanks for your answer, we saw the link, it is really helpful!
Yes, we are targeting the otrher parks for adults also, for the kids what other parks or activities would you recommend?
Thanks for your time! 🙂

90 Dave { 01.16.13 at 8:54 am }
91 Tina { 01.16.13 at 3:31 pm }

We are looking at booking a trip to WDW either the week of 2-24/3-3 or 3-3/3-10 ..Which of these weeks would you choose crowd wise ? We usually go in Jan.but are trying to avoid the large brazil groups this year .

92 Dave { 01.16.13 at 3:36 pm }

Tina, I think the earlier week will be much less crowded. See this:

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93 Sam { 01.17.13 at 1:44 pm }

Thanks for the response to my question on line 67, regarding my plans for april 2nd – 7th. 2013 Turns out I was mistaken and spring break for us is actually April 8th – 12th 2013. I am relieved now that we can avoid the Easter crowds, I see you have it as a #3 for crowds.
Thanks again really like this website. Very Helpful.

94 Dave { 01.17.13 at 1:48 pm }

Thanks, Sam, and that’s great news–have a fantastic trip and let me know how it goes!

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95 Val { 01.17.13 at 11:15 pm }

Hi Dave,
We are thinking about booking our trip for April 9th or April 18th. Either the All star music or All star sports resort. Which would you recommend and which week is better? also our kids are 6 and 9. Do you have an itinerary for mid-week that would suit them? Your advice is appreciated. Also, how do we book meal reservations in advance? We have meal plans.
Thanks. Val

96 Dave { 01.18.13 at 7:35 am }

Hi Val, I don’t have a mid-week itinerary but you can adapt one of my itineraries by starting it on your arrival day–e.g. if you arrive on a Wednesday, start with its “Wednesday” stuff.

I like both those weeks quite a lot, but have a slight preference for the later one–see this:

I’m not keen on either Sport or Music. Sports is slightly more convenient, but if you have to choose between the two, pick the theme that resonates best with your kids. See this for more:

For how to book meals, see topics B and C on any of my To-Do Lists–e.g. this one:

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97 Lilly { 01.18.13 at 12:08 pm }

Hi Dave, I just booked our first Disney trip for March 14-17. Should I reschedul?

98 Dave { 01.19.13 at 7:54 am }

Hi Lilly, I would if you can. There are many much better weeks of the year to visit! See

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99 Andy { 01.24.13 at 2:10 pm }

Hey Dave – you site is amazing and I can’t believe you actually answer all these questions!

In that light, I have another for you: I’m taking my new wife to WDW (Contemporary) for three days May 20-22 at the tail end of our honeymoon (after a week in the Bahamas!)

Two questions really: with so many kids entrenched in school during that time, why is the crowd level higher than the previous weeks? Also, the last time we went (Oct 2012) the crowds were projected to be low, but we ended up with about a thousand different Brazilian student touring groups in the parks with us – is there any way to plan for those? Have you taken those into account?

Thanks so much!

100 Dave { 01.24.13 at 3:02 pm }

Thanks Andy! The short answer is your dates should be fine.

The longer answer is that my crowd calendars cover a Saturday through the next Sunday, matching my recommended Carrillo dates, lengths of stay, and itineraries. So the forecast for the week beginning Amy 18 includes effects from the high crowd Memorial Day weekend.

Moreover, kids begin getting out of school in some districts in mid-May–see this:

I don’t explicitly attend to the school breaks of other countries, but may include that in the future. Canada and UK breaks have much more of an impact on WDW than Brazil, so I’d likely start there…

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101 Evan Murphy { 01.28.13 at 12:54 pm }

Hi Dave-
first thank you for this wonderful site- I have been googling all morning! Second we are the bad kind of parents who promote bad attendance and take the kids out of school for our Disney week. We are trying to decide between 4/12- 4/19 or 4/19- 4/26 what would you suggest?

102 Anon { 01.28.13 at 1:22 pm }

Dave, thank you for this!
Do you think the college spring break the first week of March will effect this much?
Im trying to decide for next year (which looks to be the same as this year except with a later Easter)
I was hoping Feb 22-Mar 8 but I was alerted to the fact March 2-8 is college spring break for a LOT of schools. (including Florida colleges)

Now Im thinking of switching to Feb 1-15 as that would guarantee lower crowds but iffy weather. Any input? Thanks

103 Dave { 01.29.13 at 6:22 am }

Hi Evan, and you are welcome! Both are good, but I like the second better–see this: And on the issue of the kids out of school–see this:

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104 Dave { 01.29.13 at 6:31 am }

Susan, no I don’t, as very few college kids go to WDW on break.

105 Laura { 02.01.13 at 10:51 pm }

I find that I can only travel to WDW during the crowded, expensive peak seasons because of my job. I purchased air fair in October for the week of March 22-29. I am now very worried about the crowds but we are committed to the dates. I read that some of the parks were closed due to capacity in December over the holiday weeks. Is that true? Has this ever happened during spring break weeks? We usually get to the parks when they open, leave from 1:00-5:00, and then go back to the park to close it down. This has worked well for us in the past. Do you suggest we just stay at the park to avoid being turned away? Any and all advice is appreciated!

106 Dave { 02.02.13 at 7:35 am }

Laura, spring break closures are much less common than Christmas seaosn closures, so you should be fine on that front. And your touring strategy is perfect!

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107 Dennis { 02.16.13 at 3:09 pm }

Hey Dave, Do you have the list of schools that you used (and their spring break dates)?

I’m trying to do an analysis as well and any info you had on your methods would be helpful!

108 Dave { 02.17.13 at 9:17 am }

Dennis, I don’t have them on this computer–I’ll have access to them on Tuesday, so if you come back then I can get them and put them up.

What I do is start with the top 100 school districts in the US by number of students.

However, this yields some states that send a lot of kids to WDW that are represented by just one district–e.g. Chicago for Illinois, Detroit for Michigan, while other states like Texas and California have tons of districts on the top 100 list. So I expand the list with about 75 more districts, the largest in each under-represented state, so that I end up with a better sample.

I then use the totality of my data on a state to represent the state as a whole (an analytical stretch….but I don’t know what other way to do it), and weight each state based on its proportionate visits to this website, as a proxy for WDW attendance (because I can’t get the proprietary data on actual visits to WDW by state, and otherwise I’d be de-facto weighting by the number of kids in my 175 targets, which makes no sense)

Does this help?

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109 Chiara { 02.21.13 at 8:00 am }

Hi Dave,
We’re planning to visit Disney, but we have only these dates available and I would like to know your advise in which one will be better: from 03/29/13-04/03/07 or from 05/22/13-05/27/13. We’re going with a 3yr old and 10yr old!!!

110 Dave { 02.21.13 at 9:05 am }

Hi Chiara, both weeks–being holiday weeks–are crowded, but the March/April period will be much worse! So if those are your only choices, do the May week…

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111 Ted Vaughn { 02.24.13 at 12:27 pm }

Super helpful info. We are in Tampa for a conference and only have Friday, 3/29 available to visit Disney World. Do you think the crowds will be so bad that we should NOT do it? We can also go Saturday, 3/30 – but I suspect that will be worse….and only plan to spend one day.

112 Dave { 02.24.13 at 4:40 pm }

Ted, given the cost of the tickets and the poor value you’ll get because of the crowds–which are all week long–I would skip it and save the money for a longer trip at a better time…while Friday will be better than Saturday, both will be just horrible.

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113 Jet Custodio { 02.27.13 at 10:26 am }

We are planning to visit Orlando from April 2 to 9. Do you think the crowds will be bad? Thanks!

114 Dave { 02.27.13 at 10:39 am }

Jet, yes, that will be one of the three or four most crowded weeks of the year, becasue mnay kids have the week after Easter off…

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115 Jet Custodio { 02.27.13 at 6:32 pm }

Thanks, Dave! Do you think it would be better to go on April 7 (Sunday) instead of April 4 or 5? Thanks, again! You’ve been very helpful!

116 Dave { 02.27.13 at 6:36 pm }

Thanks, Jet! Yes crowds will be way down as of April 7!

117 Scott { 02.28.13 at 5:17 pm }

Hi Dave,

Do you expect the crowds to be bad from March 21 -24? I see that you have these dates ranked very low in the weekly rankings.



118 Dave { 03.01.13 at 6:25 am }

Scott, I have that period rated as 10/high on my crowd calendar here That’s a tricky week to predcit, though, and it may be a little better, especially Thursday and Friday.

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119 Patty { 03.19.13 at 12:09 pm }

Hi Dave! Omg, I don’t know where to start,
after soooo many years me and my family are returning to Orlando for vacations, we will be arriving on march 24th, and leaving april 1st, i’m sooo excited, we’re traveling with my two sons (age 20 +) and my two nephews (age 12-19) i’m sure it’s gonna be amazing, we’re all super excited, but i don’t know how crowded it will be that week. It’s sunday trough sunday, what i’m trying to say is: does it get crowded even if its week days, not weekends??
And what about the weather?? We were thinking of paking really light because we want to go shopping too….. I hope you can help me 🙂 thanks so much.

120 Dave { 03.19.13 at 5:07 pm }

Well, Patty, I’m sorry to say that the week before Easter is one of the most crowded weeks of the year. I’ve got some thought son owe to cope here:

Late March weather can be all over the place, so I would pack for cooler evenings…see this:

121 Dana { 03.21.13 at 12:49 pm }

We are planning in going in 2014 after taxes come back. We have been to wdw two times already at the last week of march and the first week of April. I don’t think it was bad but I don’t know if it was large or low crowds. So Easter is April 20 in 2014. Should we plan to go the week of April 6th? Or a week or two after Easter? I want to avoid spring break, heavy Easter crowds and rain season. Suggestions??

122 Dave { 03.22.13 at 7:21 am }

Hi Dana, see the week ranked #13 here:

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123 Mike Scalise { 03.30.13 at 4:32 pm }

We are going to Disney World.. Yacht and Beach Club between April 12th and April 19th.. it looks like looking at your information and chart that it may be okay as far as crowds.. we have been to Disney before.. always in May and Disney is busy no matter what.. but it looks like April 12th thru the 19th may be okay… you agree??

124 Dave { 03.31.13 at 9:43 am }

Mike I agree, it’ll be fine then! See also

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125 Kay { 04.06.13 at 11:35 am }

Hi thanks for your advice here! My family is going April 20-28. Does this seem like a good week to you? Crowd levels?

126 Kay { 04.06.13 at 11:38 am }

Oh and also I’ve read Sunday is a light crowd day. Do you recommend Sunday for our MK day Le a day later in the week?

127 Dave { 04.06.13 at 5:43 pm }

Hi Kay! Yup, I have that as crowd level of 2/lower… see

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128 Dave { 04.06.13 at 5:47 pm }

Kay, Sunday is not a light crowd day, and is typically especially packed at MK.

The weekends (and Monday) are the busiest days at WDW because both short and long trips typically include them, and, other than Monday, they’re also the easiest days for locals to go. And MK typically has evening extra magic hour son Sundays–as it does your week–making it even more packed.

Your week Tuesday and Wednesday are the best choices–take a look at this for how I’d advise your week unfolding:

Hope this helps!

129 Kay { 04.06.13 at 7:50 pm }

Thanks!!! Would you recommend doing islands of adventure Sunday instead? Or just as crowded?

130 Kay { 04.06.13 at 7:59 pm }

Also since you have that week of 4/20 pretty low crowd wise do you think we would be ok Sunday anyway especially since we are experienced Disney goers and know exactly what we do and don’t want to do?

131 Clairee { 04.06.13 at 10:49 pm }

My adult daughter & I are going 4-21-26. We plan on Epcot 4-21, Hollywood Studios 4-22 amd MK 4-23. Does this sound like good planning? Will crowds be manageable?

132 Dave { 04.07.13 at 7:12 am }
133 Dave { 04.07.13 at 7:14 am }

Oh, good point. Kay. I’d go to MK on a Sunday myself with no hesitation–I’d be at the turnstiles 30 mins before opening, see first the rides that develop long lines, use FASTPASSES, and see lower-wait rides in the afternoon…

134 Dave { 04.07.13 at 7:18 am }

Hi Clairee! Crowds overall will be low then. But I’d flip Epcot and HS. Epcot is good either day, but, because of extra magic hours, HS will be more crowded the 22nd than it will be the 21st!

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135 Kay { 04.09.13 at 12:55 pm }

Hi again Dave. I’ve downloaded a wait time app and have been watching the wait times and see no discernible difference between today Tuesday and yesterday or Sunday. It seems so busy o me there still and I’m getting nervous!

136 Dave { 04.09.13 at 2:43 pm }

Kay, it’s not remotely as busy as it was last week. Disney World is always busy–it’s just some times are much more busy than others!

137 Kay { 04.09.13 at 5:41 pm }

Dave I’m going to drive you crazy! 🙂 my kids have once again changed their minds and are now lookin at Sea World. We haven’t been there yet (we are a Disney family ) do you have a suggested day?

138 Ruby { 04.09.13 at 9:21 pm }

Hey Dave,
Looking at a Disney trip on Friday, April 26th. We will have park hopper tickets. What two parks would you recommend for AM and PM? We love them all so are really not partial, just looking for the best experience with the least crowds. Many Thanks.

139 Dave { 04.10.13 at 3:04 pm }

Ruby, any park but Epcot would be a good choice. I’m not keen on two parks in a day–the ticket plus park hopper will cost you a ton, and by the time you get to the second park, lines will be long and fastpass return times will be late in the day…

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140 Dave { 04.10.13 at 3:30 pm }

Kay, see this–it says Harry Potter but is true for all the non-Disney parks:

141 Kay { 04.28.13 at 10:26 pm }

Well we just returned from our April 20-28 Disney trip and I’m dismayed at how wrong all the trip advisers have gotten the crowd level estimates. The parks were all packed all week. Wall to wall. LONG waits, LOTS of foreigners LOTS of rude people with strollers and on scooters. One man screamed at his baby to shut up and go to sleep. We shuffled through crowds at snails pace. Standing room only on monorails and buses. I have gone every couple of years for most of my life and can’t recall so many foreigners and rude people and horrendous crowds this time of year. We have discussed going in September next time and if that is also miserable we won’t be returning to Disney unfortunately. I’m sorry but Disney needs to limit the foreigners. I doubt this is what Walt had in mind when he designed the parks for Anerican families. The foreigners are HORRIBLE. They mob the rides, hold them up, barrel through crowds with strollers and stop mid walk way and refuse to move. Also the elderly people can be just as bad. Numerous times my children were sidelined by elderly people trying to get seats on rides and monorails. Very sad. 🙁

142 Dave { 04.29.13 at 9:32 am }
143 Jac { 05.24.13 at 9:02 pm }

I know this is 11 months early, but I’m planning my Disney trip for next year. I’d like to go in March or April (we’re flexible). Easter is 4/20/14. Which week do you think would be the best to go? We don’t want to go when it’s crowded (definitely not during Spring break!) and we love a great deal. Thanks!

144 Katie { 06.01.13 at 8:50 am }

If we plan to go ONE day over our spring break from March 15- 21st, are we better off choosing a weekend day like Sat. March 15th or Sun. March 16th versus a weekday starting on March 17th? I was just curious if there was a difference and if weekends were traditionally worse or better than a spring break weekday!


145 Dave { 06.02.13 at 8:07 am }

Katie, that will be a horrible week all throughout, but a mid-week day, like Tuesday or Wednesday, would be a little better than a weekend day…

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146 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:)

147 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:

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148 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.

149 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 and also this where I rank the week of the 5th as 12th best of the year..

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150 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!

151 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.

152 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!

153 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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