Spring break ranks just behind the weeks of Christmas and New Year's as the busiest time to visit Disney World and the Orlando theme parks. Because the traditional week off from school is staggered throughout the U.S., it creates a spike in attendance at the theme parks over a period of a few weeks. Hence, we've come to think of spring break as a season. With Easter falling later this spring, it means that the "spring break season" will be longer. For 2015, the season unofficially begins March 7 and ends April 12 with Easter on April 5. 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 during this time.
While there will be lots of frogs in the pond, so to speak, those of you visiting Disney World during spring break 2015 need not despair! Here are a few tips that can make a big difference in your visit.
Tip #1 - Arrive early.
Our single-most important tip is to arrive early, especially during spring break. Arrive at the parks about 45 minutes before rope-drop and ride your favorites in the first hour or two before the lines get really long. This 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 the closure to new guests are done in phases, 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.
Tip #2 - Take advantage of FastPass+
Disney World's FastPass+ service lets you pre-book attractions up to 60 days or 30 days in advance, depending on whether you are staying onsite or not. You get three rides or entertainment selections per day from any one park. If you will be visiting Disney World during spring break 2015, you definitely want to book those rides as soon as you can! And make sure to buy your tickets far enough in advance so that you can book your FastPass+ selections when your reservation window opens. You'll find full details on FastPass+ inside our MyMagic+ Guide.
Tip #3 - Follow a touring plan & 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, preferably a touring plan. Lucky for you, we offer 1-day touring plans for all of the Disney World, Universal Orlando Resort and SeaWorld Orlando theme parks so you experience the most in-demand attractions with the shortest durations first. You can use our wait time app to check wait times of rides nearby instead of having to traverse the park.
Tip #3 - Rent a car.
While Disney World offers complimentary transportation, wait times can be long during peak times. Buses (or boats, or monorail cars) can fill quickly, and you may find yourself waiting for a second or third bus before you can board. Having a rental or driving your own car gives you the convenience of going anywhere at any time. (Undercover Tourist conveniently offers car rental through Alamo for a deep savings when you buy your tickets from us.)
Tip #4 – Eat breakfast beforehand & pack your own drinks and snacks.
This will save you time and money. If you rent a car or drive your own, it's easier to find breakfast foods and eat at your hotel. If you're on property, most of the resort gift shops have breakfast foods available for purchase that are cheaper than eating a full sit-down breakfast. And when you bring your own snacks and drinks, you can avoid lines — as well as hunger and hydration meltdowns!
Tip #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 an ADR 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.
Tip #6 – Review your safety plan.
Crowds + tadpoles (children) = sky-rocketing anxiety levels for parents. Review things like “what happens if we get separated” beforehand. Take a look at Lily’s Safety Strategies for more safety tips.
Tip 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 Downtown Disney or Disney’s BoardWalk Entertainment District — might be in order.
Tip #8 – Pack your patience.
The Grinch™ is great as long as he stays in his place at Islands of Adventure. Don’t let him take over your vacation. If you start to feel overwhelmed, just take a deep breath and maybe a 5 minute “time-out.” It’s very important to bounce back from a melt-down…yours or your kids’!
Tip #9 - Watch the fireworks from outside the parks.
Magic Kingdom fireworks shows are viewable from the Disney’s Contemporary Resort, the beaches at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground, Grand Floridian Resort and Disney’s Polynesian Resort, the Ticket and Transportation Center, and on the boat ride between Magic Kingdom and Fort Wilderness. Epcot fireworks can be seen from the bridge that connects Disney’s BoardWalk Entertainment District and the Yacht & Beach Club. (They’re also viewable on Undercover Tourist’s YouTube channel!)
Tip #10 – Be flexible.
While I love when a great plan comes together, I know when it’s OK to alter that plan and 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 Disney World Spring Break 2015? Have a survival strategy when theme park crowds are at their highest? Share in comments below!
Hoppy spring break!
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