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.





Category — Disney World Crowds

Christmas Breaks in 2019 and Disney World Crowds

DISNEY WORLD CROWDS FROM LATER DECEMBER 2019 TO EARLY JANUARY 2020

Disney World sees its highest crowds and prices of the year in the later third of December and the beginning of January, in the weeks around Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

This is for a pretty basic reason: kids are out of school then. However, not every school district has the same break schedule.

In 2019, as always, there’s more kids out the week between Christmas and New Year’s than before or after.

However, because of the Wednesday Christmas, there’s not a lot of kids out the week before Christmas week–fewer than we’ve seen some recent years.

Crowds will be massive by December 21, 2019, and will be at their worst between 12/24/2019 and 1/1/2020.

More schools are taking two week breaks over the holidays in the 2019-2020 school year, so the week after New Years in 2020 has many kids still on break. Thus I expect Disney World to be heavily crowded through January 5, 2020. [Read more →]

April 9, 2019   No Comments

Fall Breaks in 2019 and Disney World Crowds

As explained here, where I cover when kids go back to school, I am kicking off my annual school calendar analysis early this year.

In this post, I am covering fall breaks.

Fall breaks as I define them analytically are periods when kids have at least a three day weekend, after Labor Day and before Veterans Day.

These off days can be for any reasons–they can be labeled as a “Fall Break,” can be simply a three day (or longer) weekend for Columbus Day, or simply can be an artifact of a teacher’s workday/”Professional Development” day being scheduled before or after a weekend. [Read more →]

April 8, 2019   No Comments

End of Summer 2019 Crowds at Walt Disney World

Every year, with the help of one of my niecelets, I collect the calendars for the upcoming school year for about 15 million US schoolkids—about a third of the US schoolkid population.

I weight these calendars, by state, based on the respective contribution of that state to this website’s visits, graphically analyze them, and use the results to note how the ability of kids to be easily out of school can affect Walt Disney World crowds.

I usually do this work in June, for the simple reason that while some school districts have no trouble posting their calendars for the next three or four years, some districts in some particular states—and yes, I am glaring at you, Michigan, and a bit at you, New Jersey—have problems getting out the next school years’ calendar even by early June.

This year, the niecelet and I launched this work early, as while I had no idea that Star Wars would partially in late August, I did suspect we would get an opening date before my traditional June presentation of this work.

The niecelet turned over to me her first pass through the ~280 districts we track at the end February (we track the 100 largest school districts, regardless of location, and then another 179 large districts mostly east of the Rockies, in states that contribute most of the visitors to this site), and we had then calendars for about 64% of the districts that schooled 69% of the 15.4 million kids we track.

By early April, I declared in victory on this early round of data collection, with calendars for 90% of districts and 89% of kids—13.7 million–in hand. I’ll am now publishing a series on the results of this work, and after the series is out, will be revising the second half of my 2019 crowd calendar.

This first one is about when summer 2019 school breaks end. [Read more →]

April 7, 2019   No Comments

Disney World Crowds in 2020

2020 CROWDS AT WALT DISNEY WORLD

The chart lower on the page shows my draft forecasts for 2020 crowds by week at Walt Disney World.

I will update this forecast at least once, in the summer of 2019, and may update it again after that.

2020 will be an interesting year at Disney World, with crowds from the new land Galaxy’s Edge dominating the news early in the year, but after that other new rides opening and Disney World beginning its 50th anniversary celebration later in the year.

More on 2020 at Walt Disney World is here. For 2019 Disney World crowd forecasts, see this.
[Read more →]

January 13, 2019   38 Comments

Disney World Summer Crowds in 2019

DISNEY WORLD 2019 SUMMER CROWDS: THE PRINCIPLES

Walt Disney World summer crowds recently have been governed by three factors:

  • Public school summer break calendars, which have start and end dates more varied than you might think
  • The block-out dates of the “Silver” annual passes that have a high penetration among locals
  • The beginning of the peak of the hurricane season, in mid-August

BLOCK OUT DATES

Disney changed block out policies on certain annual passes that are highly valued by locals in 2015, in time to affect the summer of 2016.  All of July, most of June, and some of August were blocked out in the popular (because lower cost) Silver Pass in 2016 and 2017. Crowds both summers were lower than expected, likely largely because of this.

For 2018, the planned early June block out was lifted through June 29, and June 2018 saw higher crowds (according to the historical data on TouringPlans.com) than June 2017. The higher crowds may disappear now that the block out dates are back, and they may or may not appear next year.

For the summer of 2019, the Silver Pass block out dates begin June 3.  If the summer of 2019 is like 2016 and 2017, you may see as a result lower crowds–more at the moderate level–than I forecast below.  I’ll keep my eye on this s the summer of 2018 unfolds and update this if necessary. You will, however, still be in Florida in the heat, humidity, and rain of summer–and I can’t possibly recommend that…

So…back to the other two drivers of summer crowds–school breaks and the peak of the hurricane season.

Pretty much all kids are off all of July. As a result, July is typically the busiest summer month, and during it, the week that includes the 4th of July the busiest week.

Varied dates for when summer breaks begin means June can start well, and then build to high crowd levels.

August has the opposite pattern, beginning with high crowds, but, through the combination of a trickle turning to a flood of back-to-school dates, and savvy travelers avoiding the peak of the hurricane season, it ends quite un-crowded.

Families that can only visit in the summer (for example, school teachers) should go as early in June or as late in August as their schedules permit. [Read more →]

July 1, 2018   2 Comments

Disney World Spring Break Crowds in 2019

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 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.

My revised 2019 Crowd Calendar shows 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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June 24, 2018   24 Comments