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 Spring Break Crowds in 2019



By Dave Shute

DISNEY WORLD SPRING BREAK CROWDS IN 2019

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, and into which every year I put a ton of time
  • The demand of snow-belters for a break from winter weather, which peaks in March, but is harder to forecast, 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 2019, on April 21, is very late in its possible range. President’s Day 2019 is in the middle of its possible range on February 18. As a result, my latest analysis (I’ll update my 2019 crowd calendar shortly) shows a good week in each of late February and early April, an OK week in early March, but mostly bad crowds throughout March and April 2019.

More specifically, 2019 spring break crowds at Walt Disney World will be

  • Bad Presidents Day Week
  • Fine the week beginning February 23rd
  • OK the week beginning March 2, but not as good as in my original draft forecast.  I’ve updated this based on co-author Josh’s work on easyWDW.com on 2017 and 2018 waits, and now have to call this a moderately crowded week, rather than a low crowd week
  • Bad the week beginning March 9th
  • Fairly bad the week beginning March 16
  • Bad the weeks beginning March 23 and March 30
  • Fine the week beginning April 6
  • Very bad the week beginning April 13
  • Bad the week beginning April 20
  • Fine after that until Memorial Day weekend

Note that you should treat my forecast for the week beginning April 6, 2019 with a bit of skepticism–if I’m wrong, it will be worse.

2019 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, sometimes 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. (I don’t see much of this shift in 2019.)

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 many of the same later March and early April 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 in these districts avoid taking their kids out of school the weeks right after a long President’s Day break.

The effect of the various dates in 2019 is to spread spring break weeks out, yielding not a whole lot of good times to visit between President’s day and the week after Easter.

ACTUAL 2019 SPRING BREAKS

The chart above illuminates this.

It’s based on data from a weighted sample including 270+ 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 this.)

Weekends are in black, except Easter, in red. Mardi Gras and President’s Day are also in red.

Once I revise my 2019 crowd calendar, it will show the following:

  • The week beginning February 9, 2019 will be crowded at the end as long weekends for Presidents Day begin Thursday February 14. Overall I give it a 5/moderate-minus rating–better earlier, worse later
  • Presidents Day week, the week beginning 2/16, 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 a little better later
  • The weeks beginning 2/23 has hardly any kids off and gets a ranking of 4 (low plus)
  • The week beginning March 2 has more kids on break than in recent years, and, Josh’s data shows, has become increasingly crowded.  I am shifting its ranking to 6/moderate
  • The week beginning March 9 both has a ton of kids on break (thanks, Texas and Ontario!) and is also attractive to snowbirds. It gets a 9/high crowd rating.
  • The week beginning 3/16 has fewer kids on break than the weeks that surround it, but is still attractive to snowbirds. I’m giving it a rating of 7/moderate-plus, a little better than in my draft forecast
  • The week beginning 3/23 has the highest percentage of kids on break so far in March 2019, and gets a crowd rating of 10/higher
  • The week beginning 3/30/18 also has lots of kids on break in 2019 and gets a crowd rating of 9/high.
  • The week beginning April 6, 2019, looks great, with hardly any kids on break. I’m giving it a crowd rating of 4/low-plus. If I am wrong, it will be worse, but is unlikely to exceed the “moderate crowd” range
  • The week before Easter, beginning April 13, 2019, will have the highest crowds yet in 2019, at 11/highest
  • The week following Easter, beginning April 20, has even more kids on break than I’d initially forecast, so it gets a 9/high rating
  • Crowds should then be fine April 27 and following until Memorial Day weekend

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16 comments

1 Krissi { 07.11.18 at 3:02 am }

Due to her position as a public school teacher, my sister has extremely limited possibilities for vacations dates. For our 2019 trip, we are debating between the week of March 23-30 or the week of Jun 1-8. We are relatively frequent visitors (about once every two years at this point) and tend to do poorly in the heat. Do you think the crowd difference between those two weeks is likely to be big enough for you to recommend one week over the other? Thanks!

2 Dave { 07.11.18 at 8:10 am }

Hi Krissi, it depends a bit on what you plan. If you are “sampling” your favorites and thus planning limited daily time in the parks, and are morning people and both eligible for and able to arrive before the beginning of morning EMH, you can make March work. If not, then I’d aim for June.

3 Marilyne { 07.11.18 at 9:50 pm }

So if I have to choose between march 7-14 or may 18-25..(the week before Memorial day)…? May I guess?

4 Dave { 07.12.18 at 2:13 pm }

Yeah, May, Marilyne.

5 Elizabeth { 07.28.18 at 6:39 am }

If we are deciding between that last week in March or the end of May, which do you recommend?

6 Dave { 07.28.18 at 10:17 am }

Hi Elizabeth! Crowds will be a hair lower in the May week–but either can work with careful planning, staying in an EMH eligible resort, and committing to early mornings.

You will see comparable prices early in the May week, and likely lower prices later (it varies a bit depending on where you stay).

Late May weather is more consistent–hot, humid, rainy. March weather varies from delightful to a bit cool, but it’s usually dry.

7 Tawna { 07.29.18 at 10:15 am }

First, and possibly only WDW trip here- looking at either Christmas break 2018 (dec 23-jan1) or march 11-17 2019-.

Recommendations?

Ps- this is awesome that you’ve done this and that you give actual thought out personal responses- thank you!!

8 Dave { 07.30.18 at 6:29 am }

Tawna, the December dates will be more wildly crowded, but bring with them wonderful xmas decorations and programs. The March dates will be a challenge, but not as much as December, and will have typically much better weather. Both will be expensive, but December will be worse.

I would pick March, but you will still need good plans, and will have more luck if your hotel is EMH eligible and you are able to get up and arrive at the parks sometimes even before 7a (that is arrive before then.)

And thanks for your PS!! It’s hard to count exactly (because I have deleted some old pages and their comments and also some old comments on still-live pages), but I have answered via the comments on this site around 15,000 questions!!

9 Adam { 08.04.18 at 9:48 am }

We are booked for Mar 9th-12th. We normally visit in October but last year it was 90 degrees so I figured we would try a different month. Did I mess up by choosing March? Will the crowds be crazy? At least the weather should be nice.

10 Dave { 08.05.18 at 11:57 am }

Adam, with a good plan, being willing to get up early, and–probably–being at an EMH-eligible resort, you can make it work. But it will be crowded…

11 Kristen { 09.11.18 at 8:28 pm }

Hello! You have the most spring break 2019 info I’ve seen! We went last year on April 21 and the weather was gorgeous. We want to go back in April 2019 for the same weather but a late Easter is really messing up my timeline! Do you think it would be better to go around April 5 or 6 for a week, or wait until late April and go on the 27th. I know there’s a Star Wars half marathon in early April and I’m afraid the 27 th into the first week of June may be getting too warm and rainy for us. I’m interested in low crowds but good weather, warm enough for swimming.

12 Dave { 09.12.18 at 7:12 am }

Kristen, I have the weeks about the same in terms of crowds. However, if I am wrong, it’ll be the earlier week where I am off–there is a risk of higher crowds that week.

13 Kristen { 09.11.18 at 8:29 pm }

Me again. I’m also wondering, with Easter on the 21, why most crowd calendars seem to think the weekend after Easter won’t be busy?

14 Dave { 09.12.18 at 7:14 am }

Kristen, I can’t speak to how others do things, as most don’t show their back up material the way I do, but it is true that in past years with late Easters, the week after Easter has been much better than the equivalent week with Easters that are earlier. However, my break data simply won’t let me draw that conclusion for 2019.

15 Dave { 09.12.18 at 7:10 pm }

We are going on march 3rd for a week. How should it be?

16 Dave { 09.13.18 at 5:24 pm }

Hi Dave, low to moderate crowds–much better than later in March!!

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