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.



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Disney World Crowds in 2019



By Dave Shute

2019 CROWDS AT WALT DISNEY WORLD

The chart lower on the page shows my draft forecasts for 2019 crowds by week at Walt Disney World. 

I’ll revise these 2019 Disney World crowd forecasts in the summer of 2018, when the full set of school schedules is out.  The week I am most concerned to get full school break data on is that beginning 4/6/19, which looks good at the moment but may change as more data comes in.

The other point some would argue I’ve not sufficiently built in to this calendar is the impact of the opening of the new Star Wars land Galaxy’s Edge in Disney’s Hollywood Studios in 2019.

There’s no formal opening date for this land — “late 2019” is the rumor. I expect it to unfold much like Harry Potter did at Universal–with crushing crowds in the actual land, but not a huge spillover effect on the other parks–or even the rest of Hollywood Studios. If I’m wrong, expect to see an increase of a point or two in the crowd levels after it opens.

THE 2019 DISNEY WORLD DRAFT CROWD CALENDAR

Dates in the Disney World Crowd Calendar are the beginning of the week, and the forecast covers the recommended Saturday-Sunday 9 day stays from that beginning.

(For 2018 Disney World crowds, click here.)

Crowd levels are ranked by week from 1-11 in the following way:

1: Lowest of the year

2: Lower

3: Low

4: Low-plus

5: Moderate-minus

6: Moderate

7: Moderate-plus

8: High-minus

9: High

10: Higher

11: Highest

HOW TO INTERPRET THE 2018 DISNEY WORLD CROWD CALENDAR

Dates are the beginning of the week.

As is the case in every good Disney World crowd calendar, the forecasts are about wait times on rides–not about how crowded the areas outside the rides might be.

The “low crowd” weeks–those colored green, and rated 1-4–represent the only crowd levels a family visiting for the first time, and unsure if it will ever return, should consider.

However, lower crowds, especially lowest crowds, do not always mean a better week. The lowest weeks are often best avoided by first timers who may never return because they are in the peak hurricane or the ride closure seasons.

The “moderate crowd” weeks–those in black and rated 5-7–have crowd levels I would not particularly recommend to first time visitors, though the crowds can be managed with careful planning. However, I’d go during such weeks myself with no hesitation, and think these levels are OK for returning visitors who don’t need to see everything and already know how to work Walt Disney World.

The “high crowd” weeks–those in red, rated 8-11–should be avoided by everyone. They aren’t, which is why they are so high.

MY DISNEY WORLD CROWD CALENDAR GOES UP TO “11”

The influence of the Unofficial Guide  and TouringPlans.com has led almost all Disney World crowd calendars to top out at 10.

However, I’ve always thought that the really nastiest weeks of the year deserved an 11 for emphasis.

So, in homage to Spinal Tap, I assigned 11 to “highest.”

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14 comments

1 Jeff { 10.07.17 at 6:47 pm }

Dave – any idea what month Star Wars land will be opening up?

2 Dave { 10.08.17 at 9:58 am }

Jeff, here’s what CEO Bob Iger said in September about the timing of the two Star Wars lands:

“…both open up in calendar ’19: one will be in fiscal ’19; the other one is likely to be in early fiscal ’20.”

Translated, that means “likely” in October-December 2019.

3 Julie { 01.02.18 at 2:18 pm }

We were looking at the last week in March 2019 since Easter is so late next year. Do you still estimate the crowds to be so large without the Good Friday/Easter holiday? I was expecting a dip in the projections for the end of March. Thanks!

4 Dave { 01.02.18 at 3:26 pm }

Julie, the short answer is that I will be re-forecasting based on actual school break data this summer, so check back then. The long answer is that many schools have calendar-based breaks (that is, they break roughly the same week each year) rather than Easter-based breaks, and there’s a lot of these that traditionally break at the end of March.

5 Laurie { 01.26.18 at 6:25 pm }

Hi there….my family and I are planning a trip to Disney World next April 2019. We were looking at hopefully going around April 16 to April 30. This will be our first time to visit Orlando. Is this a good time to visit there? We can only visit during the month of April. Any input you could give me would be greatly appreciated. Thank you

6 Dave { 01.27.18 at 1:58 pm }

Hi Laurie, the late Easter in 2019 will make later April much worse than usual. Heavy crowds will persist through the 20th, and better, but still ugly, crowds, for the next few days. I don’t really recommend later April 2019 until the 27th. See this for a bunch of much better options.

7 Kerry { 01.26.18 at 11:27 pm }

Hi. We were thinking of going our spring break 2019 which unfortunately falls the week before Easter April 15-19. Is the week before Easter usually packed no matter which month it falls in?

8 Dave { 01.27.18 at 1:59 pm }

Kerry, yes it is–although the week before Easter in late April is not as bad as it is in early April or March Easters, it is still very rough.

9 Jay { 01.31.18 at 2:14 pm }

I have used another well known website with a crowd calendar (and I trust those numbers) and their stats tends to differ greatly with the week before Christmas than your site. We typically go the week after Thanksgiving but in 2019 we feel we might need to wait until the week before Christmas (we will have a college traveler and need to make sure they are winter break) which you rank #2. The other site is listing crowd forecasts in the 7-10 range for every park. (This also mirrors your 2018 ranking vs their site). Can you elaborate on why the week before Christmas is so highly rated by your site?

10 Dave { 02.01.18 at 12:36 pm }

Hi Jay, in 2019, with the Wednesday Xmas, hardly any school-age kids will be on break before 12/21/2019, and parents are loth to take their kids out of school right before a long break. So I am not seeing much in the way of heavy crowds. However, always during the party season, which park you go to which day can make a huge difference, so (assuming that the Xmas party and EMH have a similar schedule to recent years) e.g. December 18 could be a 10 at MK, and December 17 an 8 at Epcot.

My crowd calendars are not easy to directly compare to others. First, they are for weeks, and not days. Second, they assume you go to the right parks on the right days and use rope drop and FastPass+ judiciously–i.e., you follow one of my itineraries. Third, they are ordinal, rather than cardinal. Fourth, I force myself to use the entire range of 1-11. And finally, I consider all crowds up to “average” to be “low”–this is because I define a low crowd week operationally–that is, one I would recommend to first time visitors who may never return. High crowd weeks are the opposite (ones I would recommend they shy away from) and I try to put as few weeks in the wishy-washy “moderate” category as I can…

11 Alesia { 02.04.18 at 4:36 am }

Another site has March 25-April 3, listed as low crowds. You predict heavy volume. Any idea why there is such a discrepancy?

12 Dave { 02.05.18 at 8:45 am }

Alesia, the short answer is that I will be re-forecasting these crowds in the summer, when all the public school spring break calendars for 2019 are out.

The longer answer is that forecasting early April before these calendars are out in a year with a very late Easter is very hard, as the schools that take “calendar-based” breaks don’t necessarily do the exact same weeks every year. So for example Michigan as of 2018 has moved its statewide spring break from the first week of April to the last week of March. WHile that sounds good for the dates you are asking about, it may be that another state (or set of large districts) is moving the other way, and no one will know for sure until the full calendar is out.

Over the years I’ve been forecasting that have late Easters, I have more commonly under-forecasted crowds than over-forecasted them for that week, so I have put up a conservative estimate until a fuller data set leads me to confirm or change the forecast.

13 Brett Sherman { 02.14.18 at 8:35 pm }

We are looking to do our second visit to Disney and plan to stay at a Disney Resort. Based on our school schedule, the options are the week of August 19th 2018, or the week before Easter 2019. Neither ideal, but what would you recommend?

14 Dave { 02.15.18 at 11:37 am }

Brett, I’d do almost anything to avoid the week before Easter. The only thing it has going for it compared to your August choice is weather–August can be quite miserable, and you will also be in the peak of the hurricane season.

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