Hello. I've been a fan for a long time and now I need help. I like to think that I know a lot about Disney, but I'm just not sure what to do this time. I teach; my husband works for a college and runs a camp in June.
I was very excited this year when a proposed calendar came out for the 2012-2013 school year and we had a break the first week of October. My vacation was planned...in my head =)
The proposed calendar is no longer proposed and it is lacking an October break. The fall break was scratched so that we could start later in August (terrible idea). Here's the question (finally)....I am considering a summer vacation from 8/9-8/16. Your crowd calendar looks nice, but the crowd calendar on touringplans.com looks horrible. I can't take crowds and the heat. I really have two options spring break (Easter week) or August...PLEASE SEND ADVICE! Thanks!
Christine, good to hear from you – there’s no shame in asking for help even if you’re a seasoned Walt Disney World traveler (even dear ol’ Dad reaches out for expertise from time to time!). You’ve come to the right place – we’ll look at the pros and cons of both Easter and August for your vacation to help determine which will work best for your family.
Hundreds of thousands of people are in the same boat as you – limited options for the dates of their vacations. The good news is that with a little research and planning, you’ll be a few steps ahead of the masses that descend on Walt Disney World at peak times. Much of your decision will come down to what your family is better prepared to deal with – intense heat or intense crowds.
Let’s start by looking at the average weather for your dates. In April, Orlando typically experiences temperatures from 60-83 degrees Fahrenheit and 2.7” of rain. In August, temperatures generally range from 74-92 degrees Fahrenheit and 7.1” of rain. August is a LOT hotter, with INTENSE humidity. If your family doesn’t handle heat well, you should definitely avoid this time of year.
To see how Orlando’s weather compares to your own in Louisville, you can visit weather.com and see a city by city analysis – this might help you to better understand what all those numbers mean compared to what you’re used to.
Now let’s consider crowds. Yes, Easter will have worse crowds than August. But not by much. As you can see from the Touringplans.com calendar (if you have a subscription), the crowds in early-mid August are projected to be very heavy – and the big difference here is that these crowds, though slightly smaller, will be hotter and subjected to almost daily rain showers. That’s not a recipe for happy crowds.
At either time, it will be crucial for you to have a great PLAN to tour the parks with to avoid the crowds where possible and make the most of your time. Your best bet is to show up at park opening before the heat and crowds get out of hand. You can use the FastPass system for major attractions, and take advantage of Extra Magic Hours if you’re staying on-site in a Disney resort hotel.
It was smart of you to visit touringplans.com and I’d highly recommend that once you select your vacation dates you go back and keep tabs on the projected crowd levels for each day of your trip, and read their suggested touring plans so you can spend the least amount of time in line and the most time enjoying your family. They have a neat Lines app too that will help you keep track of crowds in the park!
If making the right decision for your family is a toss up between crowds and heat, there is one final factor that you may want to consider, especially if you are staying on Disney property: price. Easter is a peak holiday time which means that prices are higher than in August, which is considered value season. Easter prices for a room start at $164 per night, and August prices start at $87 (that’s for Disney’s All Star Movies Resort).
Dad’s Bottom Line
Christine, if price is no object, you only have 2 factors to consider: crowds and heat. Think carefully about how each of these will affect your family (maybe even ask them which they’d prefer to deal with!), and make your decision based on that. In either case, be prepared to manage the crowds and be safety-smart in the heat, and you’ll have a magical vacation.