Disney World Crowd Calendar Updates For March 2019

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March is here and there is a lot to write about on this monthly update. We have new attractions to talk about, adjustments in capacity to old attractions and the continuing volatility of wait time patterns at Animal Kingdom.

Here’s a quick summary of what’s up:

  1. Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Train will open in Fall 2019. This will draw lots of guests to Disney’s Hollywood Studios which will inflate the wait times elsewhere at the park. This will be a popular ride for a long time, we think.
  2. Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge will open in late Fall. Once we have official dates, the Studios crowd level will jump to ’10’ on nearly every day.
  3. Slinky Dog Dash and Alien Swirling Saucers are now added to the list of attractions we use to assess crowd levels at The Studios.
  4. Tower of Terror will be operating at reduced capacity starting in the Spring and lasting through the end of Summer. This means wait times will go up significantly.
  5. Animal Kingdom posted wait times continue to be at record levels although not due to higher numbers of people in line. You can read more on that here.

Disney Hollywood Studios

This update depends a lot on our assumptions about opening dates for new attractions at Disney Hollywood Studios. We assume Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Train will open at Disney Hollywood Studios on September 1. By then, we also assume that Tower of Terror’s rotational refurbishment will be complete.

What to expect at Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge

Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge is slated to open in Fall 2019. We assume that means some time in the middle of December. When it opens, we expect to see Hollywood Studios expand its hours. A 7:00 a.m. Extra Magic Hour Morning every day with an 8:00 a.m. official park opening is likely. In the evening we expect an official park closing of 8:00 p.m. with a combination of evening events as well. Extra Magic Hour Evenings until 9:00 p.m. or 10:00 p.m. then perhaps special ticketed events or other premium access to the new land until midnight or 1:00 a.m. Regardless of what the park schedule looks like, you can expect a crowd level ’10’ every day at Hollywood Studios once the new land opens. We also expect to have a firm opening date announced some time in June at which point another update to the calendar will be in order.

Updates to Crowd Levels

Here is a look at average crowd level changes by park:

Magic Kingdom Epcot Hollywood Studios Animal Kingdom
March -0.1 0.2 -1.0 0.4
April -0.3 0.5 -0.8 -0.2
May 0.0 -0.1 0 0.4
June 0.1 0 0.2 0.7
July 1.5 0.4 0.5 0.9
August 0.2 0.1 0.1 0
September 0.3 0.6 1.9 0.2
October 0.5 0.1 -0.2 0.7
November 0.3 0.6 -0.2 0.3
December 0.6 0.5 0 0.4

 

Now let’s take a look month by month:

March

Early March sees a slight drop at some parks however there are enough schools out of session to keep crowd levels around ‘7’ or ‘8’, depending on the park. Mid-March crowd levels are going up slightly, in line with the trends we have seen so far in February. March 11 through 15 is going to be more crowded than initially thought. Not much changes in late March except for a couple days at Animal Kingdom where the crowd level goes up three points. This is in response to some strange wait time patterns that we have observed since January.

April

Only subtle changes to report for April, most days are the same or drop a point. Some days at the Studios are dropping more than that but not during the Easter rush between April 14 and April 20. Once Easter is complete, the majority of school districts are back in school until June so crowd levels are expected to be moderate until Memorial Day weekend.

May

May continues to be a great month to visit the resort. Crowd levels will remain moderate with this update. Some dates at Animal Kingdom that were in the bottom three levels have been bumped up. It is just not likely that we will see any ‘1’s and ‘2’s at that park until the volatility of wait times starts to diminish.

June

Again in June we see that Animal Kingdom is the only park with crowd levels going up significantly, although it only goes up by more than 2 points once in the month. Most dates in June don’t change on this update.

July

This update brings some increases to Magic Kingdom around July 4th. Last year we saw crowd level ‘7’s at that park before an after the Independence Day celebrations but we think with the holiday falling on a Thursday this year, ‘8’s and ‘9’s are more likely. Animal Kingdom sees some increases in July as well but only to bring it in line with the other three parks. Summer at Disney World used to be very busy but in the past two years a crowd level ‘7’ seems to be the average. We expect similar crowds this summer.

August

August crowd levels won’t change much on this update. The first half of the month will see moderate crowds while the second half will see some of the lightest crowds of the year.

September

Labor Day falls on Monday, September 1 this year. We think Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Train will open around that week. Accordingly, crowd levels at Hollywood Studios are going up. We think this attraction will be very popular. It should have wide appeal by age group and its location in the park draws large number of guests all day.

October

Although still listed as very crowded, some crowd levels around Columbus Day have dropped a point or two. Otherwise changes in October seem to be levelling out the four parks.

November

Crowd levels went up in November. Veterans Day (November 11) lands on a Monday this year so we think crowds will be substantial on the Saturday and Sunday leading up to the holiday. Thanksgiving falls on November 28, the latest that holiday can occur. This makes mid-November a decent time to visit if you want to avoid the summer heat and want manageable crowds.

December

We think the late Thanksgiving will mean lower than usual crowds in early December. Watch out for weekends in December though, in 2018 we saw some significant crowds on Saturdays and Sundays.

Fred Hazelton

Fred Hazelton maintains the crowd calendar, theme park wait time models and does hotel rate analysis for the Unofficial Guides. He's also done the models for the new mobile wait times product Lines. Fred Hazelton is a professional statistician living in Ontario, Canada. His email address is fred@touringplans.com. You can also follow him on Twitter: @DisneyStatsWhiz.

13 thoughts on “Disney World Crowd Calendar Updates For March 2019

  • March 3, 2019 at 7:47 pm
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    Do you expect M&MRT to be a tier 1 fp+? Will the GE rides become the only tier 1s when they open?

    Reply
    • March 3, 2019 at 11:01 pm
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      Yes, Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway will be tier 1 FastPass+. It is unlikely that Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge attractions will be the only tier 1 attractions. Disney will not want all tier 1 to be sold out. My guess M&MRR and Slinky Dog Dash will stay tier 1 after SW:GE opens.

      Reply
  • March 3, 2019 at 7:59 pm
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    Any chance you’ll be adding the TSL meet and greets – Woody/Jessie and Buzz to the attractions list. In reading about long wait times for them, I’d love to get a better sense of actual wait times.

    Reply
  • March 3, 2019 at 9:57 pm
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    I’ve been following the odd wait times you all have been reporting at Animal Kingdom as of late and wondering how these are reflected in the update Crowd Calendar. Are the new crowd predictions reflective of the increased posted waits by Disney, even though your on the ground efforts have shown that these are not quite accurate? For example, one of my AK days (3/28) increased from 6 to 9. Does this mean the posted waits will be inflated? The numbers of people (and thus the waits) are expected to be higher? Or the posted waits will be higher than previously expected but the actual waits may be more reasonable? This jump led to a completely new touring plan and I’m wondering how to interpret.

    Reply
    • March 3, 2019 at 11:06 pm
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      Yes. The new wait time models for The Animal Kingdom have incorporated the inflated wait times.

      Reply
  • March 4, 2019 at 3:53 am
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    The crowd level for Hollywood Studios has gone down to a 1 for May 1st. Does this reflect the fact it is the Hollywood Studios 30th birthday – do they not do anything special for the anniversaries, or is it not enough to draw a larger crowd?

    Reply
  • March 4, 2019 at 4:40 am
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    Thanks for the update. We plan to do Disney and Universal in the latter part of August. I’m just wondering how soon I should start planning which days we visit each park. There’s a lot to plan so I want to get on with it, but I don’t want to plan it all now only to find that the crowd calendar changes significantly nearer the time! Many thanks.

    Reply
    • March 4, 2019 at 10:35 am
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      No matter how hard you try, crowd levels will change dramatically on you! We go just assuming it’s going to be crowded no matter the day or park. Make rope drop, take advantage of morning EMH if you can, and have a good touring plan, and you will come out ahead. Seeing your crowd level change from a 2 to an 8 can be disappointing, but honestly, plan and you will be fine.

      Reply
  • March 4, 2019 at 5:51 am
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    It appears Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy opening at HS 3/31 didn’t affect crowds much. Are you guys expecting that this attraction won’t be super popular or just not popular enough to move the needle on overall HS crowd levels? Thanks

    Reply
    • March 4, 2019 at 1:38 pm
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      We do not expect that Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy will affect crowds at Hollywood Studios. If there is a bump in attendance on 3/31, those guests will be queuing up for the racing academy.

      Reply
  • March 4, 2019 at 10:43 am
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    I’ve noticing Toy Story Mania breaking down a lot in morning and being down for hours. Any insight into this? I have a FP for SDD and my plan suggests doing Alien first then TSM but I’m nervous about it breaking and thinking of doing this first. Any thoughts?

    Reply
  • March 4, 2019 at 12:40 pm
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    Can someone please remind me, when cl changes, how long til evaluate button on personalized tp’s reflect the new wait times? Or is it immediate? Thanks!

    Reply
    • March 4, 2019 at 1:35 pm
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      We typically update the attraction wait times a few days prior to publishing the Crowd Calendar updates. If you are not seeing a change when you evaluate a plan, but the crowd level changed, your plan was already using the update attraction predictions.

      Reply

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