Spring has spring at Walt Disney World! Topiaries are coming to life at Epcot for the Flower and Garden Festival. Chocolate Easter eggs have started showing up at the Grand Floridian. Flowers are blooming and weather is heating up. We love spring at Walt Disney World! But if you’re planning to travel during Spring Break, be ready for the crowds. Here’s what you need to know about Spring Break crowds at Walt Disney World.
Spring Break Crowds at Walt Disney World
Spring Break is one of the busiest times of the year at Walt Disney World. April specifically tends to see the highest consistent crowds of any other month. Between cheer and dance competitions, college spring breakers, teachers who can only travel during Spring Break and families with school aged children, you can expect higher crowds during both March and April. While March tends to have a few moments of calm and less spring breakers, April can be downright brutal.
This makes everything more difficult at Walt Disney World. From snagging dining reservations to getting a virtual queue to just traveling to and from the Parks, higher crowds just make things more difficult. But never fear, we are here to share how to survive the Spring Break Crowds at Walt Disney World!
Park Reservations during Spring Break at Walt Disney World
As long as you’re not waiting until the last minute to make your Park Reservations during Spring Break, you should have no problem being able to make them. Let’s start by saying this. Disney has repeatedly stated that Park Reservations have helped reduce capacity. This gives the illusion that somehow the Parks will be less crowded. But that is in fact, not the case at all. Reducing crowds and reducing capacity are two entirely different things. And let’s be clear. Disney is not reducing crowds. They are simply lowering the capacity, which means that they are capping the number of guests who are allowed in. Disney rarely ever hit capacity pre-pandemic anyway, so it’s likely that you never experienced what it was like to be in a Park that hit capacity.
And if the last time you visited the Parks was 2018 or even 2019, then you will notice it is much more crowded now than it used to be. Disney has actually seen record breaking numbers in terms of crowds in the last year or so. So if you’re hoping that Park Reservations will be your saving grace during Spring Break and allow you to enjoy a less crowded Walt Disney World, just be aware that this is not the case.
Pack Your Patience
Of all the things you need to pack for your Walt Disney World vacation, patience should be the number one thing. If you’re not a patient person and you know this about yourself, I’d actually recommend not visiting Walt Disney World during Spring Break. You’ll be miserable and likely so will your traveling companions. It’s crowded. And a lot of people have no idea what they’re doing. Lines will be longer for everything. Just be ready for it and you’ll be fine.
If you’re traveling with smaller mouseketeers, bring along things that may help them pass the time in case of long waits. Small snacks and drinks are helpful, as are little coloring play packs or sticker books.
Skip the Parks
We have a love/hate relationship with the Disney Parks. We love them, but when they’re horribly crowded, they can be a little bit nighmarish for us. So we tend to find ourselves spending more and more time at the resorts. Which is also a great hack if you’re trying to save a little bit of money at Walt Disney World!
Just taking some time to get to know your resort is a great way to escape some of the crowds at Walt Disney World. You paid for the resort after all, so why not use it and all it has to offer? Check out the extra activities like Movies Under the Stars, try one of the resort lounges, spend time at one of the great pools or try a new restaurant while you’re there. Most guests do not use their resort enough in my opinion, but they’re not cheap! You might as well skip the parks one day and spend it at your resort enjoying everything it has to offer.
Or take some time to get to know another Disney resort! Whether you’re checking out a Skyliner Resort, a monorail resort or a resort on the Boardwalk, many of the Disney resorts are easy to get to. And they might just inspire you to book your next vacation there! The restaurants located at the resorts are often a little easier to get reservations at as well, so if you’re having a hard time finding reservations, the resorts are a great place to look.
Skipping the Parks gives you the opportunity to check out some of the other amazing things that Walt Disney World has to offer. Why not try out a Disney water park, or maybe one of the mini golf courses there? Disney Springs has some of the best restaurants at Walt Disney World, and there are always new things popping up there. These are all great ways to avoid the spring break crowds at Walt Disney World.
Have a Plan for your Disney Days
Have a plan! But make it flexible. Planning your Disney Days ahead of time can help you minimize foot traffic and fighting your way through the crowds. Make sure you have a vague idea of where you want to eat, what rides you want to ride, characters you want to meet and shows you want to see. Be sure to know how to get where you are going. If you are staying at Art of Animation or Pop Century, make sure you take a look at the Skyliner map to see how to get to Epcot or Hollywood Studios.
If you’re staying at a monorail resort, be sure to know when to switch monorails for Epcot. Hint: at the TTC, or 2nd stop from Magic Kingdom. Maybe you’ve made a dining reservation at a resort, like Toldeo, be sure you know how to get there! Most people have issues with getting around at Disney and end up wasting time either going to the wrong place or just being lost in general.
Don’t follow the Crowds
Remember how your mom used to tell you not to follow the crowd? Well, we’re gonna say it too. Don’t follow the crowds! First of all, if you follow the crowds, you’ll likely just be, well, crowded. Not only that, but you will find many people do not know what they’re doing at Walt Disney World. So if you see a random line that seems to have no rhyme or reason, it’s probably not a line that’s actually going to get you anything. If your gondola companions on the Skyliner start to randomly exit at Riviera before arriving at Epcot, just stay seated. Walt Disney World is confusing, and if you are following random people, it’s likely they don’t know what they’re doing.
Additionally, if you go the opposite direction of where everyone else is headed, then you’ll likely end up in an area that is much less crowded. Is everyone rope dropping Seven Dwarves Mine Train? Head to Peter Pan instead. Long lines are almost unavoidable during Spring Break at Walt Disney World, but you can definitely have a strategy to minimize them.
Use My Disney Experience tools
Get to know the My Disney Experience app before your trip! This is probably one of the most helpful things you can do for yourself to be prepared for your trip. The My Disney Experience app has so many tools to help navigate the parks, plan your day and make life easier. Mobile Order can save you tons of time. And in the busiest times, having a mobile order is the only way to get into some of the quick service restaurants.
Mobile Checkout can save you tons of time at select retail locations. And being able to check wait times before getting to a ride can save you a trip to the Haunted Mansion only to find out it’s a 75 minute wait. It will also let you know if a ride is down, again saving you the trip to find out on your own. Being able to see when the next bus will be arriving at your resort can be a huge help in the mornings when you’re trying to get to the Parks. And knowing whether or not there are early morning hours or deluxe after hours can help you plan your day.
Know what you’re doing before you leave your resort
While there’s nothing wrong with having some spontaneity at Walt Disney World, and we actually encourage it most of the time, having a plan and knowing what you’re doing is essential for surviving the spring break crowds. Yes, we already mentioned having a plan for your Disney day. But actually knowing what you’re doing goes hand in hand. Look at maps of the Park you’re visiting, learn how to get from one place to another and know what times parades and shows are that you want to see.
Allow more time for everything
When we say everything, we mean everything. Allow more time for transportation, for your food to be prepared, to be seated for your dining reservation. Allow more time for that Virtual Queue spot you made that morning at 7am. You need more time for everything when the crowds are higher. Don’t overplan your day because you will just be disappointed. As a rule, during the busiest times, you should only plan to be able to fit in 3 rides, 1 table service meal, 1 meet and greet and 1 parade or show. Now, you’ll likely be able to do much more than that! But prioritizing your top attractions will help keep everyone happy, even during the busiest of times.
Using Genie+ during Spring Break at Walt Disney World
Genie+ is not always our favorite thing. And it’s not always necessary. During Spring Break, there are still times it may not be necessary. But if your main goal is to ride rides, you definitely may want to consider it. Now, we realize this may not be realistic with the cost of Genie+ during peak periods. And so far, with the beginning of Spring Break, it has been running $29 per person per day. That cost can really add up quickly!
But knowing how to use Genie+ and getting the most out of it is super important during busy times like spring break. Stacking your ride selections and knowing which rides tend to sell out the fastest can help you get more for your money.
If you’re not planning to use Genie+, make sure you have a strategy! Disney is doable without Genie+, you just need a plan.
Know When to Join Virtual Queues
If you follow anyone in the Disney Instagram community, I’m sure you’ve seen people saying how easy it is to get in a Virtual Queue for Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind. This was definitely the case when we visited in January. At 3pm, there were often still spots for the Virtual Queue. During Spring Break, that is not the case! When we were there just at the very beginning of the Spring Break madness, virtual queue spots were already gone by around 1:15pm for the second drop. And for the first drop at 7am, virtual queue spots are usually gone within minutes.
With the opening of Tron in April, it will be even more important to make sure you know when the virtual queues open. For a refresher, they open at 7am and 1pm. Not at noon. Not if you keep refreshing it at random times of the day. 7am and 1pm. And for the 1pm drop, you need to have scanned into the Park already in order to get in the queue. If you are staying at a deluxe resort and have Extended Evening Theme Park Hours, there is one more drop for you at 6pm.
This system is confusing for a lot of people, so it’s important that you understand how it works!
How to Survive Spring Break Crowds at Walt Disney World
Spring Break at Walt Disney World can definitely be a fun time! But you need to have a plan, be patient and take time to get to know the ins and outs of your trip before going in order to have the best experience. Plan time away from the Parks, be prepared for long lines and just enjoy the fact that you’re at the happiest place on Earth!
How Spring Break Crowds can affect your experience at the Orlando International Airport
If you’re flying into MCO, or Orlando International Airport, for your Spring Break Trip to Walt Disney World, then there are a few things you need to know to keep your sanity! Much like Disney, the lines for everything will be much longer. Lines for TSA will be longer. Lines for food will be longer. Baggage Claim will take longer. Uber will be more expensive. So make sure you are prepared for these longer waits at the airport as well.
We personally love Sunshine Flyer for making transit to and from the airport and resorts quick and easy. But if you plan to use one of the Motorcoach services, just know that they will also plan for you to be at the airport earlier than usual.
If you’re able to travel with carry-on only, do that. Be sure to use TSA precheck if you have it. If you have a credit card that allows access to airport lounges, make sure you’re registered to use it. Anything that can help you at the airport will overall make your journey a bit smoother! Spring Break crowds can be crazy, but they don’t have to make you crazy!
Melanie Renee is a photographer, writer, designer and mom. Visiting Disney destinations since 2010, she is also an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner. When she's not creating her next coffee recipe, or designing apparel at Polka Dot Pixie Shop, she's seeking beautiful sunsets and planning her next trip .