Crowd Levels at Disney World in March
March is a beautiful time to visit Disney World. The weather is pleasant, spring is in full bloom, and Epcot is decked out for its annual Flower and Garden Festival. Indeed, March can be a gorgeous time to enjoy the parks without having to worry about the Florida heat. In terms of crowd levels, a March vacation can either be a hit or a miss depending on when in March you plan to visit.
The month of March means Spring Break is right around the corner for many schools across the country, and that means a larger influx of guests to the parks. Regardless of whether you manage to skip the Spring Break crowds or not, there are still several ways to ensure you are spending the least amount of time waiting in lines and getting the most out of your vacation.
The spring crowds are best avoided by scheduling your stay either before or after Spring Break. The first week of March is usually the slowest time of the month and would be the most ideal for skipping long lines. The second and third weeks are going to be the busiest and would be best to avoid if possible. The last week of the month can be rather shifty depending on if the Easter holiday falls anywhere near the end of the month.
If it does, then the crowds will continue to be fairly high throughout the end of the month and the start of April. I would highly recommend checking out a Disney World Crowd Calendar online prior to your vacation for the most accurate estimate of crowd levels. Generally speaking, the earlier in March you plan to visit, the lighter crowd the levels will be.
Weather in March
The weather in Orlando in March tends to be mild and comfortable. You can expect the highs to be in the upper 70s to lower 80s, with lows only reaching the 50s. I would highly recommend packing a jacket, as the mornings and evenings tend to be rather chilly.
The cooler winter weather is still very evident in the earlier part of the month and will warm up as it progresses. It may be a little too cold to enjoy the waterparks during the start of the month, so it is best to avoid booking waterpark tickets until you know for sure if the weather is going to be warm enough. On the plus side, there are very few rainy days in March, so the weather will be perfect for walking around the parks.
The nice weather will definitely attract more people to the parks, so having a game plan prior to your visit will greatly assist in diminishing wait times. One of the most important things to know before hitting the parks is which attractions draw the biggest crowds, and how best to schedule your activities to avoid hitting the crowds as much as possible.
Getting a Fast Pass Reservation
Guests are highly encouraged to take advantage of Disney’s FastPass system. It is the quickest and easiest way to greatly cut down on waiting in lines. Guests receive three FastPasses a day to be redeemed in the same park. Currently, every park apart from Magic Kingdom uses a tier system for FastPass selections.
Tier one options are the big-ticket attractions, the rides that usually have the longest wait times. Tier two attractions are less sought after. Guests may choose one attraction from tier one and two from tier two. After you use up all three passes, you receive one more FastPass at a time until the day is over.
Guests who stay on property can make their FastPass reservations up to sixty days in advance while anyone staying off property can make theirs thirty days in advanced. There are a limited number of passes for each attraction, so you’re going to want to make your reservations as early as possible to ensure you are getting the best use. There are many rides that with wait times well over a hundred minutes, so strategically using your FastPasses is important. Here are some of the rides that you should highly consider booking FastPasses for.
1. Passage of Flight in Animal Kingdom– Pandora is one of the newest additions to the parks, so of course FastPasses for its attractions are going to be well coveted. Crowds are going to flock to Pandora as soon as Animal Kingdom opens, and there really is no good time to catch this ride with low wait times, so obtaining a Fastpass is going to be your best option.
2. Toy Story Midway Mania in Hollywood Studios- The wait time easily reaches well over a hundred minutes just minutes after the park opens. Arguably one of the most popular attractions Hollywood Studios has to offer, it is highly recommended to try to snag a FastPass if this experience is important to your party.
3. Seven Dwarfs Mine Train in Magic Kingdom– The newest roller coaster in Magic Kingdom remains one of the most popular FastPass choices for the park.
4. Test Track in Epcot– Test Track and Soarin’ are Future World’s two big attractions and draw the biggest crowds. The lines for Test Track hardly go down throughout the day, making it a great FastPass option.
5. Rockin Roller Coaster in Hollywood Studios- This ride usually has lines well over a hundred minutes, although there are times when waits reach as low as twenty-five minutes if timed correctly.
6. Frozen Ever After in Epcot- Frozen is one of the most popular Disney movies of recent times, so it’s no surprise that this ride based off the movie is one of the most popular in the parks. Kids and adults alike will enjoy the adventure through Arendell, rivaling this attraction with Epcot’s more thrill-based rides such as Soarin’ and Test Track.
The best way to get the most out of your FastPass reservations is by starting your reservations around midday and scheduling them back to back. This gets rid of your first three FastPasses quickly and allows you to make more day-of reservations. Many popular attractions run out of day of FastPasses, so it is in your best interest to pre-book your FastPasses for the most popular attractions in advance and make day-of reservations for less popular attractions.
Plan Your Day Properly
Planning your day in the parks around the crowds may not be the easiest task in the world, but it is well worth your time and efforts to avoid ridiculously long wait times and make the most of your time in the parks. Taking into consideration a number of factors, the best schedule for visiting the Disney World Parks is as followed
Magic Kingdom is the only park that does not operate under a tiered FastPass system. This allows for just a little more flexibility when it comes to planning your trip. In addition to Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, I would also highly recommend saving a FastPass for Peter Pan’s Flight. Lines grow quickly and often stay long throughout the day, and a FastPass is really one of the only ways to experience this classic ride without waiting for at least an hour. Skipping out on parades is also a great way to cut down on wait times. Before the big parade of the day starts, make your way over to Frontierland to experience Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain with some of the shortest wait times of the day.
Hollywood Studios has three attractions that usually make everybody’s “must-do” list; Toy Story Midway Mania, Tower of Terror, and Rockin’ Roller Coaster. However, the tier system prevents choosing both Toy Story and Rockin’ Roller Coaster. If both attractions are important to your party, then book your tier one fastpass for Toy Story Midway Mania.
If you catch Rockin’ Roller Coaster right when the park opens, wait times can usually be pretty tolerable. There is also a single rider lane that will take a few minutes off the wait. In addition, day of passes for Rockin’ Roller Coaster are usually fairly easy to come by, so once all three of your FastPasses have been used up for the day, book a day-of FastPass for this ride.
Pandora is the newest addition to Animal Kingdom, bringing with it two new rides. Passage of Flight and Na’vi’s River Journey easily draw the highest wait times of the park. Book your FastPass reservations for either of those and save your tier two passes for Kilimanjaro Safari and Expedition Everest. Arrive to the park as soon as it opens to hit Kali River Rapids and Dinosaur with short wait times.
Epcot’s future world opens two hours before World Showcase. Try to arrive at the park as soon as Future World opens, and immediately head for Spaceship Earth and Mission Space while everyone else flocks towards Soarin’ or Test Track. Epcot arguably has the best tier one FastPass options, with a choice between Test Track, Soarin’ and Frozen Ever After.
Your best option here would be to book a FastPass for Frozen Ever After and try to score day of passes for Test Track and Soarin’. By the time World Showcase opens, wait times are going to stay rather high throughout the day, so be sure to take advantage of the Future World attractions while they’re still low.
Many people will assume that taking advantage of Extra Magic Hours will allow them an extra hour of park time to hit their favorite attractions once more with short waits, but in most cases, Extra Magic Hours are best avoided, as most guests staying on property will have this mindset as well.
The park offering Extra Magic Hours will usually be the most crowded park of the day, so I would recommend avoiding it if at all possible. The exception here is occasionally, Magic Kingdom offers Extra Magic Hours until 3am. Hardly anyone is going to want to stay in the parks that late, and wait times really are lower during this time. I would plan on taking the next day off from the parks though, as you are going to be exhausted by the next morning.
Flower and Garden Festival
Epcot’s ever popular Flower and Garden Festival draws crowds each year with their extravagant topiaries. Starting in early March and lasting until May, admission into The Flower and Garden Festival comes included with your Epcot park tickets, however there are also a number of experience, such as the outdoor kitchens, that cost extra. Seeing the beauty of the parks is breathtaking, and definitely worth the hassle of the Spring Break crowds.
In addition, experiencing the topiaries earlier on ensures that they are at their most picture perfect. On select weekends, Epcot offers a free concert as part of the Flower and Garden festival. Bands such as Simple Plan, and Foghat will make appearances, so these weekends are going to draw even more visitors to the park, so try to avoid Epcot during these times if you do not care about the concerts.
March is a beautiful time to visit Disney World, just as long as you’re careful to avoid the Spring Break rush that usually happens in the middle of the month. Enjoy the slow start of the month and take advantage of the shorter wait times. I also cannot stress enough just how helpful FastPasses are, so don’t forget to take advantage of them and book your selections as soon as possible.
Proper FastPass selections will ensure you never have to wait the one hundred plus minutes for a big-name attraction. I also highly suggest having the My Disney Experience app downloaded to your smartphone for while you’re in the parks. It’s a great way to pull up wait times right from your phone in real time.
You can also make edits to your FastPass reservations from the app and book day of passes once you’ve used up all three of your reservations. This keeps you from having to wait in lines to use the kiosks stationed around the parks and gives you the freedom to make changes to your schedule no matter where in the parks you may be.
If you’re looking for the least crowded time of the month to visit the parks, the first week is going to be the best time to go to Disney World. As long as you try to avoid the Spring Break crowds, then it’ll be a warm, comfortable trip. It is still best, however, to make your dining and FastPass reservations as early as possible to ensure you’re getting your top choices. Also, be careful not to get caught up in the Easter crowds.
Crowd calendars can be found online and will help you out a ton as you begin to look at possible dates. And know that regardless of how crowded the parks are, that there are ways to navigate them and have a successful Disney vacation that the whole family will enjoy.
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