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Thread: April vs. August

  1. #1
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    April vs. August

    We've been to WDW three times during the last six years and each time we went in mid-August. We found the crowds manageable with sufficient planning. The obvious problem was the heat. We've been exploring going in April during spring break, which falls during the week before Easter (we'd go Saturday to Saturday, leaving for home the day before Easter). I know this is an extremely busy time for WDW and the prices are a bit higher than in mid-August. I was wondering if anyone has thoughts on whether going in April at this time is manageable with the larger crowd sizes compared to mid-August. In other words, would you trade the heat of August for cooler weather but larger crowds? We are good at using FP and ADRs, but is it a lot harder to ride buses to the parks, eat at QSRs, or pick up additional FP reservations once your initial three are used up? Thanks for any advice.

  2. #2
    Senior Member nolarookie's Avatar
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    In April the weather is more unpredictable. You could have cool days, really hot days, really rainy all week, so you’d have to pack for a lot of different possibilities. In August, it’ll be hot and will likely rain in the afternoon, easier packing.

    Another consideration is the week you are considering is one of the busiest, if not the busiest week in terms of crowds. And as a result one of the higher priced weeks.

    I live in the south, and I’m accustomed to the hot weather, so I’d pick August, if given the choice between the those two time periods—specifically the week before Easter. Although, I will definitely concede that it is a lot more pleasant to go to WDW at cooler times.
    Brandi

  3. #3
    Senior Member mgarbowski's Avatar
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    I've been multiple times the week after Easter, plus multiple times President's Day week, and even Christmas week, but my first August trip is upcoming imminently. So I cannot offer a comparison, but it might help to hear the view from the opposite direction. As you note, school break weeks are busy, and more expensive. I gave up trying to get anything good with a 4th FP+, though others who are more persistent report success. Most restaurants are booked long in advance, but if you need to want to book something or make a change late, you will find something if you are flexible, and cancellations pop up all the time. I've seen a table service restaurant take walk-ups at noon 2 days after Christmas -- they apparently had so much capacity they were even calling out to passers-by. Don't count on it, but it happens. As far as I can tell, buses are buses. They come about every 20 minutes no matter what in all seasons. Sometimes you wait 3 minutes, and sometimes one is late and you wait 30. I've noticed they sometimes come more often at peak hours (like the morning trip to RD) though you can't count on that, and if you stay at a resort with multiple stops, sometimes -- though not often -- a bus can be full by the time it gets to you. The only time I saw that was a Christmas week in the evening going to Disney Springs. Several park buses came by before 1 DS did, and we were able to get on because of where we were on the loop at Caribbean Beach, but other at later stops missed out. And I don't even think the crowd had much to do with it. Something just went wrong, I expect, and a bus was skipped or delayed, and that can happen at any time.

    But those weeks are definitely manageable. Plan ahead, have reasonable expectations, and go with the flow. Don't expect anything that is not prebooked, but opportunities will arise. Keep your eyes open, check the app for short wait times, or FP+ openings, or what have you, and be flexible. You will enjoy it. We switched not because we could not take the crowds any more but because our daughters' school breaks no longer match up, making summer the only option outside of Christmas week, and we decided to try something different.

    Facing the opposite tradeoff from you, I expect I will enjoy the lower crowds and, I hope, a bit more opportunity for spontaneity. We have planned for and will deal with the heat. As long as I focus on the upsides and not the negative tradeoffs, I'm sure I will be delighted with the change and I expect the same will work for you. Mix it up, try something a bit different, and remember what Yogi Berra said about a popular restaurant: "Nobody goes there any more. It's too crowded."
    Mark
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  4. #4
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    I've been in August twice (plus Universal and SeaWorld trips, also August), but not April. So I also only have one side of the equation to offer. It seems to me that if you've been a couple of times, know what you're doing, and have a good grasp of the trade-offs involved, you can have a great trip at any time. Personally, at this point I would not hesitate to go during a busy time if that's what worked best for my family, although given the choice I prefer summer for a variety of reasons. To paraphrase Mark, plan for and deal with the negatives and enjoy the positives.

  5. #5
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    I've done summer (though July, not August) at both Disney and Universal, and I've done peak crowd weeks (Easter, Christmas, P-Week) at Disney. You can avoid crowds. You can't avoid heat. If the latter is likely to be a problem, then go with April.

    The caveat to that: we did one summer week a while back that was just water parks and resort touring. That was really great. But we did not so much as set a foot in a theme park.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Anne's Avatar
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    We did the week before Easter and July (with real feel in the 100s) this year. I'd take the crowds over heat every time for a family trip. Epcot was empty and lines non-existent in July but that doesn't really matter if everyone is hot and cranky and just wants to go back to the pool.

    It all depends on your individual heat tolerance. If it were just me on a solo trip I'd be fine with the heat. But factor in cranky family and I'd rather deal with crowds.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anne View Post
    We did the week before Easter and July (with real feel in the 100s) this year. I'd take the crowds over heat every time for a family trip. Epcot was empty and lines non-existent in July but that doesn't really matter if everyone is hot and cranky and just wants to go back to the pool.

    It all depends on your individual heat tolerance. If it were just me on a solo trip I'd be fine with the heat. But factor in cranky family and I'd rather deal with crowds.

    100x this!
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  8. #8
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    Heat is a big factor. It sounds like your family can handle it but our April trips have had lovely enjoyable weather. Invigorating vs demoralizing, lol.

    For us, the most important consideration between the 2 months would be our party's dedication to rope drop. To navigate crowds and still get much done hassle-free, you'll need to RD most days of an April trip. If planningto hitting both RDs and nite FWs, you'd probably need some afternoon breaks/naps to avoid burnout.

    I think with the later summer hours and smaller crowds you can do just fine in August rolling into the park 10am+ with FPs to go.
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