Presidents Day Weekend vs Half Marathon Weekend

Thndrmtnrdr

Member
Original Poster
My family and I visited WDW in Feb. last year during the Princess Half Marathon Weekend. We did not think the crowds were that bad as our other trips are Columbus Day weekend and the week before Christmas. However, this year we returned the same weekend of the Princess Half Marathon and were shocked at the crowds.

I would like to know thoughts from others who have visited during either of these weekends regularly as we are actually considering Presidents Day Weekend next year due to amount of days off.
 

Kukeel

New Member
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Us too! We were there 5 days around Presidents Weekend, and couldn’t believe the crowds! We go every year, at varying times of year, and this was definitely the most crowded I’ve seen it.
 

Weather_Lady

Well-Known Member
We were there from February 17-23 this year.

Per touringplans.com, observed crowds in all 4 parks were 10/10 the entire President's Day Weekend (2/15-16) and for President's Day itself, and remained high (average of 9/10) for the rest of the week.

For the Princess Half Marathon the next weekend, crowd levels ranged from 8-10 out of 10. We didn't really see any noticeable difference in the crowds from one day to another or one park to another at any point during the week -- they were all crowded, every day. Note that anyone wanting to visit or leave the Magic Kingdom on Sunday, 2/23 (the day of the half marathon) via car or bus had to put up with a 1+-hour traffic delay which lasted from early morning through lunchtime, and reduced the roads around the Magic Kingdom to total gridlock.

In short, regardless of which end of the week you look at, I'd expect the parks to be extremely crowded, and Disney will presumably, as it has for the last few years, NOT make any increase to park hours or add any extra magic hours to the holiday week to compensate.

My advice would be to just visit when it's most convenient for you, but adjust expectations ahead of time! My family still had a great time, but we had to rely more heavily on rope drops and EMH to get things done, and sacrifice a few of our usual must-dos, to compensate for the higher crowds, longer wait times, shorter park hours, and dearth of "day-of 4th FP+" availability.

If we had our druthers (we didn't, as our arrival/departure days were dictated by lower flight costs alone), we'd probably have arrived on Saturday or Sunday (during the President's Day weekend -- yes, it would have been crowded, but so was every other day that week), and left the following Saturday to avoid the transportation messes caused by the half marathon on Sunday.
 
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Greenlawler

Well-Known Member
We were there the same week, and have done both several times.

There were three conditions from what I understood that caused the parks to be so packed as compared to previous late February's...

1. The parks are just more crowded
2. Louisiana schools were out all week instead of a long weekend for Mardi Gras (literally every fourth person was wearing purple)
3. (small impact) CM's were getting to come into DHS for the preview of the new ride.

But I do think it's just the new reality for now.

I would compare this years late February crowds to the heavy "Fall Break" crowds that have developed. Those last week of September/Early October.

However as someone who has been the week before Christmas numerous times......you must have went years and years ago.
 

Thndrmtnrdr

Member
Original Poster
Thanks for the reply.

We always have a great time regardless of the crowds and I agree about the transportation nightmare on Sunday. We almost missed our flight last year so this year planned accordingly. The one thing I fell is a little consistent with the Marathon weekend is the evening crowds dwindle earlier than other times. I would like to think this has to do with needed rest for the walks/runs.


We have been going the week before Christmas and Columbus Day weekend for the last 8 years. The Christmas time visits have seen all kinds of crowd levels with this last year being the least crowded. Columbus Day seems to be more steady level of which I do not consider awful but February this year trumped everything. Even the restaurants we had reservations for were packed compared to Feb. 2019 when most were 3/4 full tops. I agree this is probably the new norm and we have our ways of dealing with the crowds. I was just curious to hear from people with actual experience since the Feb. timeframe is new. Thanks again for the replies.
 
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