After thawing out from winter, we’ve learned that we absolutely need to schedule some warm weather fun during Tad and Lily's week off from school. So we frogs are quite hoppy to join in that annual rite of spring known as spring break. And more often than not, that means a trip to Disney! While we love visiting any time we can, spring break ranks just behind the weeks of Christmas and New Year's as the busiest time to visit Disney World. In 2021, things are running a bit differently because of COVID-19 health and safety measures. Because Disney is limiting capacity to 35 percent, the spring break season won't be as busy as previous years. However, we still expect it to be a busy time, with the possibility of parks running out of Disney Park Pass reservations. Currently, Disney's Hollywood Studios does not have availability for hotel guests and ticket holders during select days in March and April, so if you're hoping to sprinkle some pixie dust on your spring break, hop to buying your tickets and reserving your spots ASAP!
You can still have an amazing time even when there are more frogs in the pond, so to speak. But it does mean you need to have a plan! That's where this post comes in. We're going to be sharing our best tips so you will have an amazing time this spring break at Disney World. But first, let's talk a little bit about crowd predictions.
Spring Break Crowds at Disney World in 2021
Because this traditional week off from school is staggered throughout the U.S., it typically creates a spike in attendance at the theme parks over a period of a few weeks. For this reason, we've come to think of spring break as a season. While the start of the season is always early March, the end fluctuates, thanks to Easter. The date of the holiday changes every year, and many school districts adjust their spring break or give additional days off because of it. Typically when you have a later Easter, there is a longer, but overall less crowded. spring break season. Weekends will be busier than weekdays. For 2021, Easter falls on April 4, so there will be an overall shorter, but more crowded, spring break season, especially compared to 2019 when Easter fell on April 21.
Florida universities typically have spring breaks during the first week of March. This year, the public schools in Orange and Osceola Counties have spring break from March 15 to 19, so that week in particular may be busier due to locals being out of school.
We always recommend you check our Crowd Calendar for daily crowd levels and recommended parks, but you should especially do so if you are visiting Disney World over spring break in 2021. Now, onto our tips!
Tips for Visiting Disney World Over Spring Break in 2021
1. Arrive at the theme parks ahead of official opening
Our single-most important tip is to arrive early, especially during spring break. Arrive at all parks at least 45 minutes before rope drop and ride your favorite attractions in the first hour or two before the lines get too long. Make sure and check the park opening times, which you can see on our Crowd Calendar, because they can and do change.
Arriving early also helps with parking, if you plan to drive, as the parking lots fill sooner during peak seasons such as spring break. Know that closures are possible at the parks on the very busiest days, although likely on only the very busiest of days, such as Easter. Closures are done in phases, and they don't normally last all day. As guests leave the park, more are allowed to come in. Keep in mind also that moving between parks takes up a lot of time and can be tougher on little ones when there are more crowds to navigate.
In this particular year, you'll be guaranteed entry if you have a Disney Park Pass reservation. However, once Park Hopping hours start in the afternoon, the parks may reach (or have already reached) capacity and park hopping may be unavailable. Since park hopping's return, no parks have been ineligible for hopping yet, but as crowds pick up, that may change. You can call the capacity hotline at (407) 560-5000. If you are taking a Disney bus from one park to another, a cast member will scan your MagicBand or ticket to confirm both your eligibility to hop and the status of the park you're hopping to.
2. Follow our park plans and download our wait time app
In addition to using FastPass+ and arriving early, we recommend you at least have an idea of which attractions you want to visit in the parks. Lucky for you, we offer park plans for all of the Disney World, Universal Orlando Resort and SeaWorld Orlando theme parks so that you can experience the most in-demand attractions with the shortest durations first. Download the printable park plans from our site before you go, or use our app to follow or customize our plans! You can also use our free wait-time app for iPhone to check wait times for rides nearby instead of having to traverse the park.
3. Rent a car
While Disney World offers complimentary transportation, wait times can be long during peak times. Buses (boats, Disney Skyliner gondola capsules and monorail cars) can fill quickly, and you may find yourself waiting for a second or third bus before you can board. With limited capacity on Disney transportation, it may take longer than usual.
Having a rental or driving your own car gives you the convenience of going anywhere at any time. (Undercover Tourist conveniently offers car rentals, and you can save even more when you bundle your tickets and rental together!)
If you do drive yourself to the parks, know that parking booths don't open until about an hour before the parks are scheduled to open. If you arrive and see a line that isn't moving, don't worry! In our experience, once things open up, they move quickly. If you are a Walt Disney World Resort hotel guest, parking at the theme parks is free.
4. Eat breakfast at the hotel and pack your own drinks and snacks
Need a cup of Joe in the morning? We caffeine-fueled frogs get it. But get it before you get to the park, so you can spend those precious early hours on rides and not in the coffee line. You'll save more time if you eat ahead of time, and if you're eating breakfast off-site, you'll also potentially save more money. And when you bring your own snacks and drinks, you can avoid lines — as well as hunger and hydration meltdowns!
5. Avoid dining during "prime time"
Unless you've made Advance Dining Reservations, the restaurant crowds can be as busy as the attraction lines. You'll find the shortest lines during "off peak" hours, for example, before 11 a.m. or after 2 p.m. for lunch. Just remember to adjust your breakfast and snack times accordingly.
Oh, and just because you didn't make a dining reservation in advance doesn't mean you can't while you're on vacation. Check for openings on the days of your visit for last-minute openings due to other people's cancellations.
Did you know that you can plan your Mobile Order in advance? That's right! You can create your order and even select a pick up window as soon as you enter the park. For popular stops like Woody's Lunch Box, which book up quickly, this is even more important.
6. Review your safety plan
Crowds + tadpoles = sky-rocketing anxiety levels for parents. Review things like “what happens if we get separated” beforehand as a family. Take a look at Lily's tips for not getting lost at Disney for more hopful hints.
7. Take a break from the parks
If you or your little ones are completely frazzled by the afternoon, take a break from the parks completely. Let the kids have a swim or a nap and then decide if a trip in the evening — perhaps to the resort's entertainment and shopping areas such as Disney Springs or Disney’s BoardWalk — might be in order. We love factoring in one full afternoon for just pool time. If you're staying at Disney's Beach or Yacht Club Resorts or Disney's Art of Animation, which has multiple themed pools, you might want to plan even more pool time for your tadpoles.
Remember to look at your resort's entertainment schedule too — from Movies Under the Stars, to add-ons such as horseback riding or even tie-dye by the pool, there's plenty to do outside of the parks.
8. Pack your patience
The Grinch is great as long as he stays in his place at Universal's Islands of Adventure. Don’t let that old sourpuss take over your vacation! If you start to feel overwhelmed, take a deep breath and maybe a five-minute "time-out." It’s very important to bounce back from a melt-down ... yours or your kids'! In a time when some experiences may be modified or unavailable, this is especially important.
9. Don't sleep on nighttime entertainment
While fireworks are temporarily unavailable, Walt Disney World Resort hotel guests can stream a prerecorded version from their hotel rooms! Plus the Electrical Water Pageant has returned to Bay Lake resorts. If you'll be at Disney Springs, tadpoles will love the hourly volcano explosion at Rainforest Cafe, which is visible in the night sky every 30 minutes after dark (you don't have to be close to see it, either — and Lily prefers it that way!). There is also plenty of roaming entertainment at Disney Springs.
10. Be flexible with plans
While I love when a great plan comes together, I know when it’s OK to change course. Take occasional "temperature" checks of everyone's energy levels and attitudes. If you have to cut something short or go to a different park than you planned, don't sweat it. It’s about quality, not quantity.
Have a question about what to expect during spring break at Disney World in 2021, or a Disney World spring break tip to share? Share it with us in the comments below!
Related: Best Time to Visit Disney World