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Spring Break 2014 Crowds at Walt Disney World

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The spring crowd levels at Disney World vary from year to year. The variation is driven by when Easter is and how schools plan their spring breaks. Different school districts use different rules when scheduling their spring breaks. Some school districts have a fixed week each year, and others adjust spring break based on Easter and Passover. Some school districts have the Friday before and/or the Monday after Easter off. When Easter is early, the spring break season is early and short. This causes the crowd levels to be higher, but for only a short time period. When Easter is late, the spring break season is spread out and has less effect on crowd levels. In 2014, Easter is late (April 20), so the spring break season is spread out. Once Easter is over, so are the spring crowds.

Crowd levels are inversely related to the percentage of children in school: when most schools are on a break, high wait times are found in the parks. We track the school schedules for the 100 largest school districts, and these schedules go into our Crowd Calendar models. The chart below shows the percentage of students in session and how the numbers change year to year.

Schools in Session 2011-2014

Another thing that is going to lower the crowd levels is the snow fall from winter. Many school system lost school days and are having to make up the snow days. Some are choosing to shorten or cancel their spring breaks or Easter breaks. The chart above does not include the effect of schools’ make-up days.

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Steve Bloom

By helping continue to reach the most accurate crowd level predictions, Steve finally found a way to meld his training in statistical analysis with a lifelong passion for Disney. He first visited the Magic Kingdom in 1972, just a few months after it opened. Now he enjoys frequent trips with his two kids. At age four his son insisted on wearing cowboy boots to reach the height requirement for Test Track, and his daughter believes that a smoked turkey leg and Dole Whip make a perfectly balanced meal. Even though she doesn't quite get it, Steve's wife is supportive of his Disney activities.

8 thoughts on “Spring Break 2014 Crowds at Walt Disney World

  • Steve, some of the previous data published by Josh shows that on average wait times are up considerably for non-headliners, probably due to FP+. People are reporting on social media, boards, etc, they feel like the crowds are much higher than previous years because wait times are way up from their previous experience …

    Do you think the wait times really are up, while crowd levels by your prediction shouldn’t be up ? Other than 16 – 21 it looks like just about average ????

    Do you think this is a mis-perception of crowd levels ? Or are wait times higher ? If so, any speculation on the cause ?

  • Looks like the latest Easter, from 2011, had a little bit of a lingering effect. Like maybe the day or two after Easter was still busy?

    • The lingering effect are from school districts that have the Monday after Easter off. For whatever reason, less schools in 2014 are having the Monday off.

  • Were the crowd estimators adjusted due to the spring break schedules or was that already factored in?

    • The 2014 spring break schedules are already factored in. The school schedules are a good predictor for the crowd calendar.

  • Oh I so hope you are right! We are going the Tuesday after Easter. Other crowd calendars are saying that week will still suck, just not as much as the week before Easter. I guess we’ll see :/

  • Love this chart, as it shows about 90% of kids in school during OUR Spring Break!! Which seems about right, as I got a notice about a week or so ago that you lowered the Crowd Level for a few days during our trip!! Happy Dance!!

  • The crowds are up, if last Wednesday and Saturday are any indication. One thing that has changed is a *very large* increase in the number of school bands. Prior to about 2006, Spring seemed to be the time of choice for bands to visit and perform at WDW. Noticed a very few last year and a lot of bands this year. Also add in the folks at the NCAA tournament games here in Orlando.


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