I had many families at Disney over the break - dozens of people using Optimal Magic planning for their Disney World and Disneyland trips. Busy at Disney means busy for Optimal Magic, as well! Happily, my customers had a 100% success rate over the break (I've added several testimonials from them to my website). No long lines, and a lot of happy memories. In fact, I think, even with the crazy long lines, things worked out better for my customers than they expected! How so? It all comes down to the other visitors to Disney parks at the same time (the "competition" so to speak).
I have a theory - at Christmas, in addition to having tons of people, you have more "Hard Core Researchers" than usual. Why? I think it's because a large number of Christmastime tourers are repeat visitors for that time frame - it may be the only time they can get off, or it's a family tradition, or whatever. If you visit during an extremely busy time over and over, you're more likely to want to learn strategies to cope with the huge crowds. More "Hard Core Researchers" means we have to work even harder to stay at the top of the pyramid and avoid the lines.
Compare this with Spring Break. You still have a ton of people, but, because the busiest weeks of Spring Break vary from year to year, it won't be the same people year after year. That means more clueless masses, and fewer hard-core researchers.
- Crowd levels in the morning grow quickly at Christmas Break. It's slower over Spring Break, so the early morning lines aren't as bad.
- Crowd levels in the evening stay high over Christmas Break. They die down a bit more over Spring Break.
- Fastpass return times aren't as far out in the future over Spring Break. An attraction that may have a 3 hour return time for Spring Break during the busiest time of day (say "Under the Sea") would have a six hour return time over Christmas
Most importantly, if you HAVE to visit during a peak touring time (and if you have kids in school, you may well have to), pick Spring Break over Christmas! The crowds (and prices, unfortunately) are similarly huge, but the experience for smart tourers is so much better! You'll be able to do everything you want and then some, and have a terrific time doing it!
Also, the huge success of Optimal Magic clients during Spring Break 2013 reaffirms my statement I've made in the past that it doesn't really matter when you visit Disney - if you have the proper plan, you can skip the long lines, do everything you want to do, and have a terrific time! You may not be able to visit every major attraction at all four Disney World parks in one day during Spring Break, but you'll have a terrific time and do everything you want to do without the waits!
And finally - as you probably know, summer is also extremely crowded at Disney World. If you're visiting over the summer, please let me know! Many of the plans and tips for Spring Break apply for summer, but not all of them. The makeup of people visiting over the summer is once again different from Christmas or Spring Break