Thanksgiving, Christmas break, mid-winter recess, spring break: these and a scattering of three-day weekends offer many New York City parents their only opportunity to get out of the city during the school year.
If you’re heading to Walt Disney World for a winter getaway, you’re not alone: attendance and crowd levels at the Orlando theme parks spikes during school holidays, especially around Thanksgiving, Christmas, and spring break. It’s still possible to have a good time during these busy time periods, or you can even beat the crowds if you tweak your days of travel and are willing (and able) to miss a few days of school and work.
Here’s how the New York City public school holidays stack up when you’re planning a trip to Walt Disney World. All dates are taken from the calendar at schools.nyc.gov.
Thanksgiving recess falls on November 28-December 1 (Thursday-Sunday). Thanksgiving Day and the days leading up to it are some of the busiest days Walt Disney World sees all year. Make the most of this holiday with a long weekend after the holiday, enjoying the parks Friday through Monday.
Winter recess runs from December 23, 2013 to January 1, 2014. The best way to tackle Christmas at Walt Disney World is to take a long trip and plan to visit the parks everyday, at least for the first part of the day and again in the evenings. With the Christmas decorations at every park and resort, the special holiday shows like Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Parade and Holiday Wishes fireworks at the Magic Kingdom, Holiday Illuminations at Epcot, the Jingle Jungle Parade at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, there will be something new to celebrate the season every day of your trip.
Mid-winter recess is February 17th-February 21st and offers a great opportunity to make a Florida getaway during a less-busy time of year. Although the Disney Princess Half Marathon weekend takes place at the end of this time period, the impact on attendance isn’t serious and there are even deals to be had this time of year. Check with your favorite travel agency that specializes in Disney to see if they have any special packages available during this week.
Spring recess will be April 14-April 22, 2014, with Easter Sunday falling on April 20th. Spring break at Walt Disney World is, quite simply, packed. The best way to utilize this time off school is to take a few days the week before and travel mid-week to mid-week, such as Wednesday to Wednesday, leaving the parks behind well before Easter weekend.
Long weekends fall on October 12-14, November 9-11, January 18-20, and May 24-26. Long weekends, although they provide another opportunity to get out of town without missing too much school, are generally shared with the rest of the country, and they’ll be busy as well. If you’re planning a trip over a holiday weekend, consider a mid-week to mid-week stay, and spend some time by the pool or enjoying other Disney recreation during the weekend itself.
If you absolutely can’t miss any school this year, planning your trip ahead will give you the best experience, especially when the parks are crowded. For more Disney trip advice, follow Natalie Reinert on Twitter and Facebook, and visit nataliekreinert.com for more information on planning the best Disney vacations.