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By the Numbers: March 2024

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It was the best of times … it was the worst of times … it was Spring Break season at Walt Disney World. And what a whirlwind it’s been (so far)! If you’ve read any of our crowd calendar retrospectives for 2022 or 2023, you can tell that March is often the bell-weather for how crowds will behave the rest of the summer. If predictions are spot-on in March, they tend to stay that way. If things are a little wild and unpredictable in March, they tend to stay that way through the summer. So what can we learn from this March? Let’s check out the numbers!

March 2024 Crowd Calendar Performance

How Touring Plans “predictions” performed compared to actual crowds

Well, hello there, wild ride! Keep in mind, this doesn’t give us information about the actual crowd levels themselves. We’ll see more about that later in this post. This just shows what happened compared to predictions. When crowds were lower than predicted, the day will show a negative number and have purple shading. When crowds were higher than predicted, the day will show a positive number and have orange shading. Anything within 1 crowd level we’ll call “close enough” and not shade either way.

What first stands out to me is that we don’t have any orange. No surprisingly large crowds. To be clear – there were still large crowds. Just not surprisingly large crowds. Any year that has an early Easter always “squishes” Spring Break crowds into the weeks surrounding that Easter holiday. So the last full week of March and the first week of April were and are crowded. But we expect that and can predict it in advance.

What did we not predict? That week of almost all purple. Missing by an overall 6 crowd levels is a very rare occurrence! What happened that week? A few things:

  1. The Florida Resident ticket offer ended, which means that any local families on Spring Break without Annual Passes had less of an incentive to visit the parks during their time off.
  2. The two lowest Annual Pass tiers (which have become increasingly popular with locals thanks to recent price increases at all tiers) were blocked out starting that week.
  3. But across the country, relatively few school districts were on Spring Break since it wasn’t a week surrounding Easter. We would consider that week to be a pretty early Spring Break nationally.

So most crowd inflation that was happening because of local visitors dropped out, and there wasn’t a huge influx of out-of-town Spring Break visitors either. It was a perfect storm (or a perfect calm before the storm).

March 2024 Crowd Levels

Overall WDW crowd levels by day in March 2024

This view of the month makes it startingly clear that March 16th-22nd was the perfect week for a Walt Disney World vacation!  The very first week of March had moderate crowds, and then things picked up as locals made their last visits before Annual Pass block-outs. Then the bottom dropped out and we saw the lowest crowds and wait times that we’ve seen since mid-September of last year! But after that glorious week was over, crowds came roaring back the week before the Easter holiday.

Park-specific crowd levels by day in March 2024

Thankfully, EPCOT and Animal Kingdom each only had two really bad days over the past month. Instead, most of the wait time troubles happened at Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios. In fact, Studios was the only park to hit the dreaded crowd level 10 more than once this month, and it did so on March 11th, 25th and 27th. It’s probably not done racking up the 10s either, based on how things are going in early April. But the trends here are pretty clear. If you want to escape the crowds and you don’t have a big preference about which park you go to, you’ll always fare better at EPCOT and Animal Kingdom.

Attraction Downtime March 2024

Overall capacity lost due to unexpected downtime at each park during March 2024

In good news, no crazy overall downtime issues happened in March. It’s a very rare month when Animal Kingdom has the most capacity lost due to downtime of any park. But we’ll take a “solid” month at Hollywood Studios!

Overall, the average downtime across all of WDW was 3.5% for March. This is below year-long historical averages, but is slightly higher than March 2022 or March 2023.

Overall Attraction Downtime

Several attractions had downtime that was significantly above average in March. Numbers in parentheses represent the capacity lost due to unexpected downtime this month:

Magic Kingdom: Space Mountain (11.4%), Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (8.1%), Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (7.5%)
EPCOT: Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure (8.3%), Test Track (7.0%)
Hollywood Studios: Rise of the Resistance (11.8%)
Animal Kingdom: Kali River Rapids (28%)

Kali River Rapids opened slightly earlier than expected this year, on March 16th. So downtime data is only from half of the month (which makes it a smaller sample size) – and there were some chilly mornings that kept it closed “unexpectedly”.

Rope Drop Attraction Downtime

Even more attractions had downtime problems at rope drop. Once again, numbers in parentheses represent the capacity lost due to unexpected downtime this month. This is just downtime in the first hour after the attraction is supposed to be open each morning:

Magic Kingdom: Space Mountain (17%), Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (13%), TTA PeopleMover (7%)
EPCOT: Journey Into Imagination (13%), The Seas (11%), Test Track (9%)
Hollywood Studios: Rise of the Resistance (23%), Slinky Dog Dash (15%), Runaway Railway (8%)
Animal Kingdom: Kali River Rapids (24%)

The parks with the biggest crowds and highest wait times all week also had the most rope drop downtime issues, which is a problem for savvy touring plan followers who try to beat the crowds. Right now, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and Space Mountain are the biggest rope drop draws in Magic Kingdom and both had poor rope drop weeks. But even more problematic was Hollywood Studios, where I always aim to rope drop Rise of the Resistance … which was unavailable a quarter of the time. Next I would default to Slinky Dog Dash … which was unavailable 15% of the time. And then I’d give up and head to Runaway Railway … except that it was having problems too. Ouch.

Kylo is high maintenance. (photo by Mike Sperduto)

Wait Times March 2024

Wait times at all attractions were highly variable throughout the month as crowd levels varied up and down. Let’s look at two specific examples for the attractions with the highest average wait times for the entire month.

Average wait times each day for Slinky Dog Dash at Hollywood Studios

Things don’t look as wild here as they did on those crowd level graphs. But still, the difference between an average posted wait of 60 minutes on March 22nd, and an average posted wait of 140 minutes just five days later is huge. An average posted wait of 60 minutes means that you could probably almost walk right on during early entry or in the evening. An average posted wait of 140 minutes means that in the middle of the day it probably hovered closer to three hours.

Average wait times each day for Flight of Passage at Animal Kingdom

Over at Animal Kingdom, the disparity is even more pronounced. Average posted wait times for the day peaked on March 11th at 142 minutes … and then bottomed out just a week later at 50 minutes. 50 minutes! That’s the kind of number we only see at this attraction in September. Even on a medium crowd day, the posted wait at Flight of Passage is above 50 minutes before early entry even ends.

Posted Wait Time Inflation

Throughout the month of March, we got over 4000 timed actual waits. With these waits we can compare what was posted when the visitor entered the standby line to how long they actually waited. This can help you make better decisions about things like whether or not you should hop into line at a given posted wait time, or if you need to trust the high posted wait times and buy Genie+ to avoid them … or not.

In March, actual wait times averaged 63% of what was posted when the visitor entered the queue. That means if the average posted wait at any attraction was 60 minutes, you could expect to wait less than 38 minutes instead. Or, for example, you have that 140 minute posted wait at Slinky Dog Dash. You should only expect to wait about 88 minutes. Still a lot, but almost an hour less than what was posted!

The attraction that had the most posted wait time inflation was Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin. We had over 100 timed waits in March from the standby queue at Buzz, and the actual wait times only averages 44% of what was posted. Less than half! That means if the posted wait time at Buzz was 30 minutes, you probably would have only waited 13 minutes instead.


Did you visit Walt Disney World in March? Which version of the crowds did you experience? Let me know in the comments!

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Becky Gandillon

Becky Gandillon was trained in biomedical engineering, but is now a full-time data and analytics nerd. She loves problem solving and travelling. She and her husband, Jeff, live in St. Louis with their two daughters and they have Disney family movie night every Saturday. You can follow her on LinkedIn: or instagram @raisingminniemes

4 thoughts on “By the Numbers: March 2024

  • Is this month-long retrospective replacing the week-long ones you used to do before you got busy with helping write the Unofficial Guide?

    • Undecided 🙂 But this month was worth reviewing!

  • We had an early spring break and got to enjoy low waits the week of March 17th! Low wait times during the day, hoodie weather, and a few after hours parties made for the most amazing week!! The highlight of the week was our first time riding slinky dog and we rode 3x in a row with less than 10 minute waits! That will never happen again!

    • Wow!! You crushed it. Glad it was a great week 🙂


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