Preview of Easter Crowds at Walt Disney World

by Fred Hazelton, contributing writer

The period between Christmas Day and New Year's Day is the busiest time of the year at Walt Disney World, by far. Among all the other remaining holidays on the calendar, Easter is the busiest. This year, Easter Sunday falls on March 27, 2016, only the second time since 2008 that Easter appears in the month of March. It is easy to predict the extreme crowds that we see during the Christmas holiday every December because the dates don't change year-to-year but Easter is more complicated.

Preview of Easter Crowds at Walt Disney World in 2016. Infograph by Fred Hazelton.

If you look at the school schedules for the fifty largest school districts in the United States you will see that Spring Break can be scheduled anytime between mid-March and late-April. Couple that with the fact that Easter is a rotating holiday, and predicting crowds gets complicated. Easter crowds do have one thing in common with Christmas crowds though: the busiest days of the holiday period are not the holidays themselves.

December 25 is crowded at Disney World, but it pales in comparison to the extreme crowds we see every year between December 27 and December 31. The Saturday and Sunday of Easter weekend are very busy but the most crowded days of the Easter season are the Tuesday through Thursday preceding the holiday. Like Christmas, families that travel during a holiday season seem less likely to visit a theme park on the holiday itself as they celebrate with friends and family.

This year, Easter falls early in the calendar. That means guests of Walt Disney World should expect extreme crowds between March 21 and April 1, especially at Magic Kingdom. The parks open early and close late, which allows the savvy guest extra time to complete optimal touring of the attractions. If you plan to visit during the Easter holiday, consider visiting on Easter weekend itself. The parks will be packed but the wait times will be a few minutes shorter than what we will see during the week.