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.



yourfirstvisit.net—Disney World Instructions for the First-Time Visitor



Disney World Spring Break Crowds in 2018



By Dave Shute

DISNEY WORLD SPRING BREAK CROWDS IN 2018

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

  • Public school Spring Break calendars, which are still largely framed around Easter but vary more than you might think
  • 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 can spread the first two factors out, yielding some good early March and early April weeks.

Easter 2018, on April 1, is early in its possible range. President’s Day 2018, is late, on February 19. As a result, my 2018 crowd calendar shows (mostly) bad March crowds but (mostly) good April crowds.

More specifically, 2018 Spring Break crowds at Walt Disney World will be

  • Bad Presidents Day Week
  • Fine the weeks beginning February 24th and March 3rd
  • Very bad the week beginning March 10th
  • Bad the week beginning March 17
  • Very bad the weeks beginning March 24 and March 31
  • Fine April 7 and later.

2018 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 weeks before Easter or following Easter off.

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.  

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 date of President’s Day–which can range from February 15 to February 21–also has an effect. Because many northeastern 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 2018 is to compress most school spring breaks into just four weeks beginning March 10 and continuing until the end of the week beginning March 31.

ACTUAL 2018 SPRING BREAKS

The chart above illuminates this.

It’s based on data from a weighted sample including 280 of the largest relevant US public school districts. 15.3 million kids–about a third of US school kids–are in the database, and they are weighted based on propensity to go to Disney World.

(For how the database is built, see the this. Weekends are in black, except Easter, in red. Holidays (Mardi Gras and President’s Day) are also in red. Click the image to enlarge it.)

My 2018 Disney World crowd calendar shows this:

  • The week beginning February 10, 2018 has a minor bump early from the small number of kids with Mardi Gras off, and a larger bump later as long weekends for Presidents Day begin Thursday February 15. Overall I give it a 5/moderate-minus rating–better earlier, worse later
  • Presidents Day week, the week beginning 2/17, has high crowds through Tuesday and pretty high crowds the rest of the week. Overall it gets a crowd ranking of 8/high-minus, worse earlier in the week and better later
  • The weeks beginning 2/24 and 3/3 have hardly any kids on break and get crowd ratings of 4 (low plus) for the week of the 24th and 3/low for the week of the 3rd
  • The week beginning March 10 both has a ton of kids on break (thanks, Texas!) and is also attractive to snowbirds. It gets a 10/higher crowd rating.
  • The week beginning 3/17 has fewer kids on break than the weeks that surround it, but is still attractive to snowbirds. I’m giving it a rating of 8/high-minus crowds.
  • The week beginning 3/24 is the week before Easter and will be a zoo, as it usually is, and gets a crowd rating of 11/highest.
  • The week after Easter (beginning 3/31/18) has even more kids on break in 2018 than the week before and also gets a crowd rating of 11/highest.
  • The week beginning April 7, 2018, will be much better than I had thought. I’m now giving it a crowd rating of 5/moderate-minus. If I am wrong–it happens–this week will be better than I am forecasting
  • The rest of April will be just fine.

Kelly B Can Help You Book Your Trip

Follow yourfirstvisit.net on Facebook or Twitter or Pinterest!!

RELATED STUFF

13 comments

1 L { 07.17.17 at 10:37 am }

Wow! Thinking of changing my last-week-of-April trip to the week of April 9th…I had wanted to get to WDW earlier anyway. Thanks for all of the work that went into this!

2 Dave { 07.19.17 at 11:02 am }

Thanks L!!

3 Pam { 08.15.17 at 9:54 am }

So excited that we have a 2nd week of April break!!! Do you think prices will drop for that week at all, or will deals be released closer to the date? We are doing a package and staying at Pop Century.

4 Dave { 08.15.17 at 5:04 pm }

Pam see this for April pricing. A deal for ~15% off may come late this year or in early 2018 for then.

5 Patrick { 08.22.17 at 12:26 pm }

As I said on another comment, thank you for taking the time to sample this! I was beginning to question my dates of March 4-9. Hopefully the crowds will be relatively low and not scare my partner off of enjoying Disney.

6 Steve { 08.30.17 at 12:43 pm }

Thank you for compiling all that data (must have taken you ages) and making it so easily understandable! Especially as someone from outside the US who has no idea what or when Spring Breaks are and just wants to know when in April it’ll be less crowded this year.

7 Dave { 08.31.17 at 8:38 am }

Thanks Steve, yes this is a remarkable pain. My niece helps wm with the data collection…

8 Claire { 10.08.17 at 3:43 pm }

Wow, thanks for the detailed overview! Unfortunately we’re already locked into our trip to Orlando 3/12-3/17 – it was the only week that would accommodate both my work schedule and my family’s school schedules. We are 6 adults and it’s been a while since any of us have visited the parks. We’ll be staying onsite and I’ve already got pretty detailed FastPass/touring plans worked up. Any more advice on how to avoid the worst of the crowds? My sister went the exact same week in March 5 years ago and said the crowds then were fine. Is it just different holiday timing that would affect the crowds?

Thanks for all your insights. Love the site!

9 Dave { 10.09.17 at 8:22 am }

Hi Claire, and thanks!! The general rule of thumb is that good plans, well-executed, beat high crowds most of the time most of the year, so you should be OK. Crowds were high that week in 2012, so I can’t really comment on your sister’s experience.

10 Jackie Smithnosky { 10.10.17 at 11:40 am }

What do the holiday season crowds look like?

11 Dave { 10.11.17 at 6:53 am }
12 MH { 11.17.17 at 1:13 pm }

Thank you – very helpful!!

13 Dave { 11.17.17 at 1:43 pm }

Glad to help, MH!

Leave a Comment | Ask a Question | Note a Problem

My response to questions and comments will be on the same page as the original comment, likely within 24-36 hours . . . I reserve the right to edit and delete comments as I choose . . . All rights reserved. Copyright 2008-2017 . . . Unless otherwise noted, all photos are by me--even the ones in focus--except for half a dozen from my niecelets . . . This site is entirely unofficial and not authorized by any organizations written about in it . . . All references to Disney and other copyrighted characters, trademarks, marks, etc., are made solely for editorial purposes. The author makes no commercial claim to their use . . . Nobody's perfect, so follow any advice here at your own risk.