By the co-author of The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2019, the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook series ever.

Available on Amazon here.





Disney World Crowds in 2019



By Dave Shute

2019 CROWDS AT WALT DISNEY WORLD

The chart lower on the page shows my forecasts for 2019 crowds by week at Walt Disney World. Updated in early July 2018, I may need to update it again, particularly for the last quarter, as more news about the new Star Wars land comes out.

There’s no formal opening date yet for this land — “late fall 2019” is current plan. 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 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 2019 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. 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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59 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.

15 Kayla { 04.04.18 at 4:40 pm }

Hey there Dave,
Great site! I am planning a Disney World Honeymoon for the week of April 7, 2019- April 14, 2019. According to your forecast, will this be an okay time? Luckily we will be leaving the week before Easter, so we *should* avoid most of those crowds. I’m wondering if you think some Spring Breakers will be lingering that week. Seeing images of what WDW looks like this week is giving me MAJOR anxiety…. trying to avoid that if at all possible. Thanks!

16 Dave { 04.05.18 at 7:58 am }

Hi Kayla, note images from next week and you should be reassured! But do note that my 2019 forecast is a draft, and I’ll be updating it in the summer…

17 Mike { 04.15.18 at 9:34 am }

Dave,

Given Im a solo traveler my schedule is pretty flexible. I visited in early February of 2017 and it was perfect. The weather was not too hot or cold, lower resort prices, and low crowds. I was planning on a return trip in February of 2019, but have heard stories of extreme crowds this past February. Does your information tell you that there was a difference in February of 17 and 18. If you think 18 was worse for crowds, do you think it was an anomoly or will February 19 be similar to 18.

18 Dave { 04.15.18 at 10:05 am }

Mike, the belief is that Disney reduced capacity before President’s Day in 2018, and hence the longer waits. There’s no way to know what they learned from that, and hence whether or not 2019 will see a similar set of issues. My guess is no, and we will get a clue in May–if May is OK, then they aren’t repeating what they did in Jan and early Feb…

19 Ashley { 04.16.18 at 4:50 pm }

First time visiting Disney World. We are going June1-June 8. Kids last day of school is May 31.
Is this a good time for first time Disney? Kids are 15,12,6

20 Dave { 04.17.18 at 8:35 am }

Hi Ashley! See this.

21 Brad { 04.26.18 at 4:58 pm }

We are going to book a trip for 4-6-19 to 4-12-19, based on your calendar predictions above this seems like the best choice in April of 2019. This is not our first trip we went in April 2013 and had zero waits and in 2017 on May 7-12 before school was out and the lines and crowds were really bad. Do you think the week in April above will be safe from spring breakers and Easter break for school kids? I also see this is before the annual Cheerleading competitions in late April which has to also be a plus, just wanted your opinion for crowds that week. Thanks.

22 Brad { 04.26.18 at 5:06 pm }

Sorry, for tho most part I see you have addressed this concern for the week in question already in prior posts. I will keep checking for your updated information once you recieve the data you need. Thanks.

23 Dave { 04.27.18 at 9:15 am }

OK Brad!

24 Susie { 05.14.18 at 1:56 pm }

If I am reading your 2019 crowd predictor calander correctly, we could expect awful crowd levels for a January 1 – 5, 2019 visit? Was hoping that as it was after the holiday season more or less that crowd levels would be better?

25 Dave { 05.15.18 at 7:15 am }

Hi Susie, first I’ll be revising that calendar in June, so things may change.

But the 2018 Tuesday Christmas leads me to forecast that for most of the kids that have two full weeks off, their breaks will go from 12/22 through 1/6. About half of US schookids have two week breaks, thus my forecast is that the parks will be mobbed through 1/6.

As I noted, once I have the full data set of 2018-2019 breaks, in June, I’ll have a sharper opinion on this.

26 Cooper { 05.30.18 at 5:11 pm }

Hello! my sister and some friends of mine are looking at a Disney trip sometime in may like the 21-27th or something like that. I see the week of 6/1 it is significantly less busy. is that what you would suggest doing? waiting until that week to visit? or what is your suggestion.

27 Dave { 05.31.18 at 6:47 am }

Cooper, while both weeks will be busy, yes I would avoid the week that includes Memorial Day if you can.

28 Robert { 06.09.18 at 3:07 pm }

hello! my family and I are going on a trip in 2019 around mid may to early June. we just saw that the Great Movie Ride as been closed in Hollywood Studios. I also saw that they are in the process of making a new ride that includes mickey and Minnie. online it says open in 2019. Do you know when Disney generally opens new rides? is it during the end of a fiscal year? or have you heard any news relating to the new ride at Hollywood Studios?

Thank you!

29 Dave { 06.10.18 at 8:40 am }

Robert, there’s neither news yet nor a pattern. Toy Story Land will open at Hollywood Studios at the end of this month, the new Star Wars Land will open there in latev 2019, but there’s been no dates released for Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway

30 Kimberly { 06.21.18 at 11:54 am }

Hello~ I was wondering if you could help me make a decision on dates for our next Disney trip. We have complete flexibility of when we go and my biggest factor, only one really, is avoiding crowds. This past year we were in the parks from January 29th-Feb 2nd. We used a different crowd calendar for that trip. According to that calendar it was supposed to be the least busy of the year but it did not feel that way at all. I know every year the least busy days get more and more crowded but no way could that have been accurate. My question is should we try to go this September either week of 9/1 or 9/15 or last week in November or one of the first two weeks in December or would it make a big enough difference in crowd to wait until 2/2 as I see you have that listed as the least busy time of 2019…and you did as well for 2018 so I sure wish I had used your calendar for our last trip. Thank you so much!

31 Dave { 06.22.18 at 9:42 am }

Kimberly, everyone–including me–had late Jan/early Feb 2018 wrong. It seems Disney reduced capacity over that period, perhaps as an experiment. No one knows if such will happen again in 2019, but when I publish my updated crowd calendar (which should be soon), I will still be forecasting low crowds.

After I update my crowd calendar, September right after Labor Day will be the lowest crowd period in 2019

32 James DeFalco { 06.28.18 at 9:06 am }

Dave,

My Family and I are looking at the week of Jan 13 thru Jan 18. We are not sure what the “true” impacts of the Marathon weekend are and how that Friday before MLK day will be. Do you generally have any insight on this? We will be coming in on Saturday and were debating on taking the Monday as a rest day or Sunday to avoid the marathon crowds. What are your thoughts on this? Looking forward to the updated calendar.

33 Dave { 06.30.18 at 3:04 pm }

James, the marathon has next to no impact on crowds. What it does it clots up the roadways, fills the hotels (which are almost always filled) etc.

34 Vicky { 07.10.18 at 3:54 pm }

We are planning our first trip to DisneyWorld in many years. We will be there January 23-31 2019. What impact is ProBowl going to have on us? I hope this will still be a moderate crowd time..

35 Dave { 07.11.18 at 8:06 am }

Vicky, in 2018 crowds were supriringinly heavy in later January and early February, for the first time in years. No one knows exactly why–but there’s some good reasons to believe that it was because of Disney operational decisions–that is, it was in Disney’s control–so the expectation is that this will be fixed and all will be fine then. But be sure you have good FastPass+ choices and good daily plans, just in case.

36 Liz { 07.15.18 at 3:14 pm }

Hi!! My family and I are planning to go to Disney World on January 26-2 of February. Is that a food time to go? I’m just asking because of the higher crowds this year in that time, we went this year the last week of March and it was CRAZY, we don’t want to face big crowds again. Thx for the help!

37 Dave { 07.16.18 at 9:53 am }

Liz, the bets are that the issues in January and early Feb this year were mostly because of operational choices Disney made that it won’t likely repeat. That said, we won’t know for sure until we see what happens. Focus on having really good plans, and you should be OK!

38 Shannon { 07.20.18 at 3:40 pm }

We are planning on staying at AKL January 26th till February 2nd 2019. Why is that week so low on your crowd calendar? Great site : )

39 Dave { 07.22.18 at 12:21 pm }

Shannon, that’s been a low-crowd period for decades, largely because since it is either at the end or near the beginning of the semester, it’s hard for parents to take their kids out of school. Oddly, in 2018 crowds were unexpectedly heavy then, but the belief is this is because Disney took too much capacity out, in an experiment which it is hoped that it will not repeat.

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