Planning a Disney World vacation can be stressful, especially if there is only one month out of the year you can visit. This post will provide you with all the information you need to know about going to Disney World in April, so you can have one thing to worry about when planning your trip to the happiest place on Earth.
There is no getting around the fact that Orlando, Florida is a hot place. Unfortunately, April is no exception. Though it is cooler than the summer months, the high temperatures ride around the 85º F mark, give or take a degree, and the low reaches around the upper 50s. Compared to the scorching 90º F average high in June, July, and August, the mid-80s will feel like a breeze.
Florida and rain also go hand in hand. April, though, experiences less rain than the summer months with about ten days seeing rain. The humidity is also lower which is a huge plus. Nothing is worse than when it is hot and muggy outside. Hot and dry air isn’t always the most pleasant, but at least it doesn’t feel like you’re walking through a layer of water vapor.
It’s helpful to understand how crowd traffic works at Disney World to get a better idea of how to avoid it. Firstly, you can always rely on times when school’s out to be busier than when it’s in session. This means months like June through August, December through January, and (unfortunately) April, are all periods when families visit the park in drones. Vacation times are mostly the same across the country, so these are times you can always count on to be busy.
Luckily, there are some weeks in April that have fewer crowds. Because the week leading up to Easter is so busy from spring breakers, the week after Easter sees a decline in crowds. Of course, if you have kids who go to school and their spring break doesn’t extend passed Easter, then planning for this week may be difficult. If you were really pressed to go the week after Easter, though, you could, theoretically, take your child out for another week of spring break. That’s up to your discretion as a parent. Just know their teachers might not like that very much.
In addition to spring break, another event in April creates a roadblock for visiting Disney with small crowds: the Star Wars Half Marathon. If you’re running the marathon, then you really can’t avoid the crowds, because, well, you are the crowd! If you aren’t running, then maybe plan on going before the race starts. Coincidentally, that week is usually the week after Easter. It’s almost like they planned it.
Apart from the week after Easter, the last week of the month fluctuates between low and moderate numbers. Between these two week, the week after Easter may be better if your child has any testing at the end of the school year. The end of April is a busy time for students, so to avoid any unnecessary stress that may come from missing class, the week after Easter is the best choice for families with kids.
Quality of the Experience
The whole point of planning your trip early is to maximize the fun you have at Disney and to minimize waiting in lines. That’s why it’s best to take a closer look at which parks are busiest on which days.
Here’s a list of when each park is its busiest:
- Animal Kingdom: Wednesday and Friday through Sunday
- Epcot: Friday through Tuesday
- Hollywood Studios: Thursday and Saturday through Tuesday
- Magic Kingdom: Wednesday and Friday through Monday
You’ll notice that the busiest times are generally over the weekend. Sunday is usually the absolute busiest day to go to any of the parks. With this in mind, meticulous planning can help you navigate through the parks in April. Its busy weeks are the weeks before Easter and during the Star Wars Half Marathon. Because Easter will always fall on a Sunday, you can guarantee that it’ll be the busiest day of the month. If you plan your trip for only the weekdays the week after Easter, you can avoid the weekend crowds.
Let’s break it down:
Saturday/Sunday: Do your traveling. Use the weekend for getting to and from Disney World. That way, you have all the weekdays to visit the parks, and you’ll avoid the heaviest crowd days.
Monday: Start at Animal Kingdom. Animal Kingdom is a big enough park that you’ll be able to spend the whole day there. This is the only park with a low traffic day on Monday, so take advantage!
Tuesday: Magic Kingdom. By far, Magic Kingdom is the most popular park. It can be a difficult park to maneuver with huge amounts of people, so you want to make sure you go when its not as busy so you can actually enjoy your visit.
Wednesday: Go to Epcot. Epcot has so many beautiful sights and it would be a shame to rush through without getting a good look at all the countries in the World Showcase because of all the crowds. Wednesday in general sees fewer people across the board, but Epcot’s less busy days conflict with the other parks.
Thursday: Your choice! All of the parks except for Hollywood Studios, in general, are good choices for Thursday. If you feel like you couldn’t do everything you wanted at one of the parks earlier in the week, use Thursday to make up for it.
Friday: Hollywood Studios. This is the only park with fewer people on Friday, so, naturally, it’s the best choice for your Friday.
This schedule allows you to visit every park at least once. If you do decide to go to Disney World the week after Easter, this means you’ll be traveling Easter Sunday, so if it’s important for your family to celebrate the holiday at home, then the last week in April is a better choice for you.
Beat the Lines
Now that we’ve established the best days to go to each park, the lines for rides and attractions can be addressed.
Lines put a damper on anyone’s day, especially when you could be using the time you spend in line to have another magical experience elsewhere. The more popular rides—Splash Mountain, Rockin’ Roller Coaster, Peter Pan’s Flight, etc.—have wait times that exceed 30 minutes most of the day. The best way to ensure your wait time isn’t too extreme is to get there early. The peak wait times for most rides falls between 12:00 pm and 2:00 pm, so working around those times for the more popular rides will save you a lot of time.
Attractions and rides geared toward younger kids generally have wait times that range from 15 to 25 minutes. These are rides like the Mad Tea Cups, Dumbo’s Flight, and the Barnstormer. Save these kinds of rides for the 12:00 pm to 2:00 pm timeframe. You’ll be able to capitalize on the low wait times and really pack in as many experiences as you can.
Splash Mountain averages a 75-minute wait time, while Seven Dwarfs hovers around the 90-minute mark. If you can’t get to these rides first thing in the morning, it may be best to skip out on them. The wait times are just too much; before you know it half the day will be gone!
Meeting characters usually takes about 30 to 45 minutes. It’s best to limit meet-and-greets to one per day, if you attend any at all. Characters walk around the park, so you’re sure to bump into them throughout your day. Unless you’re really itching to meet someone in particular, then it’s best for your schedule to go without the meet-and-greets.
Though these times apply year-round, they especially apply to April. The holidays inflate wait times, so visiting the park at the peak holiday times in April will make your wait times much longer. Again, avoid Easter if you can. Though you may think this advice is worn out at this point, it will really impact the quality of your trip.
April isn’t usually the cheapest time to go to Disney World, but if you play your cards right, you can maneuver around the inflated holiday prices. Following the weekday schedule is already a great start. Weekends are busy, which means they are expensive. Limiting your vacation to weekdays will drop your cost. That being said, Easter weekend is the most expensive time to go to Disney in April. It is in your best interest to avoid Easter weekend at all costs.
Because April also hosts the Star Wars Half Marathon, you can expect that week to have higher prices despite it being a weekday event. Again, if you’re running in the race, it’ll be hard to avoid both crowds and costs, but there are certainly ways to spend less. Arriving at the park for race day and maybe one or two days before or after can help you cut down on the cost. Going to a grocery store and preparing your own food will also help with saving money.
Disney’s food can get expensive if you eat there exclusively for three days, so finding a way to eat outside of Disney will help you stay on budget. The Quick Service Dining Plan is the cheapest option, averaging around the $50 mark, if you do want to go with Disney dining. Prices are always subject to change, though, so keep that in mind and be sure to double-check the prices when you book your trip.
Your best bet to cut costs is to stick to a weekday schedule and avoid the holiday and marathon as best you can.
April: Is it Worth It?
All in all, April can be a great month to visit Disney World, if you know how to get around the crowds. If you’re dead set on traveling to the parks during Easter weekend, then you will have to navigate the crowds. The same goes for the marathon; if you’re running in the race, you’ll unfortunately have to deal with higher costs and more people.
However, if you and your family aren’t interested in the week before Easter nor the marathon, then you’ll be able to forgo the crowds and enjoy your time in the parks with relatively few people and lower wait times. Ensuring your trip to Disney is the most fun it can be lies in how you schedule your time there. By following the daily schedule above, and understanding the general rules of thumb concerning line wait times, you’re sure to have a great time at the most magical place on Earth.
Even if you do go to Disney during the busier weeks in April, you can still avoid some of the longer lines by hitting the popular rides early, then making your way through the calmer rides and attractions as the day progresses. And as far as costs go, there’s always ways to get a memorable experience at Disney on a budget. Keeping your extraneous food costs to a minimum will really help to bring down your overall cost. Meal plans can be a great money saver but look at all your options—inside and outside Disney—before deciding on a plan.
Overall, any time is a good time to visit Disney World. The parks are meant to be experienced all year round, so you’re sure to have a fun time whenever you decide to go. Just remember, a well-planned trip can make a good vacation a great one!
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