This guide to March 2023 at Walt Disney World offers a free crowd calendar, weeks to visit & avoid, weather, ride refurbishments, and what’s new. All of this, plus info & tips for Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Animal Kingdom, and Hollywood Studios.
March 2023 will likely be a “tale of two seasons.” The beginning should be slow, with crowds subsiding after Presidents’ Day and Mardi Gras in late February 2023. Then later in March, colleges and many school systems in the country will take their spring break…and that means trips to Walt Disney World. If you’re somehow able to get past that (perhaps you’re an avid queue enthusiast, in which case 120-minute waits might be right up your alley), everything else about the month is solid.
While it’s always above-average in terms of crowds, parts of March 2023 won’t be as bad for a couple of reasons. First, because Easter isn’t until April 19, 2023. This means schools that plan their Spring Breaks around the Easter holiday won’t be off for Spring Break in March. However, many K-12 schools and colleges in the United States do have their Spring Breaks the last two weeks of March.
We’ll discuss the ramifications of Spring Break in the March 2023 crowd calendar section below. Here’s what else you need to know about the month at Walt Disney World, organized into convenient categories…
March Weather at Disney World
As far as the weather goes, March is the month when the weather starts to turn around and warm up. Temperatures rise over the course of the month, and although they are still on the cool side of mild, it’s usually quite comfortable. Sure, it can be abnormally cold or hot in March (definitely check the long term forecast before visiting as it really could be either), but you’re generally in for weather that’s almost ideal for touring the parks.
Lows at the beginning of the month are in the mid-50s and creep up towards the 60s by the end of the month. High temperatures range from 75 to 80 degrees. In looking at those numbers and the “comfortable” band on this page, you might think that it skews towards chilly. That can be true early in the morning and late at night, but keep in mind that you’ll be most active during the middle of the day when it’s warmest; personally, I prefer slightly cooler temperatures when I’m active, anyway.
The result is that I find March to be one of the better months of the year for weather in Florida, particularly towards the end of the month. At the beginning of the month you’re more likely to experience unseasonably cold weather, so I tend to avoid that. About the only downside to this mild weather is that it can make visiting water parks or spending much time in your resort hotel’s pool less appealing (or downright unappealing). This can be a bummer for those seeking a ‘tropical’ reprieve from winter in the North.
Being Michiganders, that’s exactly what my family wanted from our trips when I was growing up. I still remember an early March vacation during which my parents decided to stubbornly stick to our plans (I paint them as “stubborn” but the reality was probably that I was a bratty kid who insisted upon going) to visit Blizzard Beach. There was almost no one in the park, and we all spent the better park of the day wrapped in towels on our beach chairs.
I recall crossing the icebergs in Ski Patrol Training Camp and envisioning them as actual chunks of ice, which wasn’t that much of a stretch of the imagination at the time. I share all of this because you might not want to make concrete plans for the water parks or put too much weight in a hotel’s swimming pool when choosing a hotel or planning a March visit–you may not want to spend time at either.
March 2023 Disney World Special Events
While there is no Beer Bong World Championship (let alone more unsavory events) held at the ESPN Wild World of Sports, that’s perfectly fine, because the 2023 Epcot Flower & Garden Festival kicks off at the beginning of the month, running from early March 2023 until early Summer 2023.
Regardless of whether you’re into gardening (I’m not) this is event has the park looking lovely. The flower tapestry by the Imagination pavilion, between Future World and World Showcase is incredibly picturesque, as are the many topiaries around the park. There’s much more than that, all of which you can read about in our Guide to Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival.
Normally, March is the only month between January and April that does not have a runDisney event, which is good or bad depending upon your perspective. In March 2023, there will likely be a running event, with the runDisney Springtime Surprise Weekend at Walt Disney World being held towards the end of the month.
Park Hours for March are what we call the “new normal.” Walt Disney World has quietly been trimming normal operating hours and adding special hard ticket events pre-park opening, so you can now expect Magic Kingdom to close earlier most nights of the month. Nothing else noteworthy happening in March in terms of official events at Walt Disney World.
The project that will have the biggest impact on the guest experience is the massive reimagining at the front of EPCOT, replacing Future World with 3 new neighborhoods. This unprecedented overhaul will likely continue through 2023, and has led us to address the question Should You Visit Epcot? in a dedicated post. For most people, the answer will be yes, but it’s still worth going in with a realistic view of just how bad construction will be.
On the plus side, some of the Epcot additions will be open by March 2023. Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, Space 220, and Harmonious will all be open. It remains to be seen how much else has debuted. In Epcot, there’s also the Play Pavilion and Moana’s Journey of Water, among many other things.
Then there’s the TRON Lightcycle Run roller coaster at Magic Kingdom, which will open by March 2023 if we’re lucky, and sometime around the start of the summer season if we’re unlucky.
March 2023 DISNEY WORLD CROWD CALENDAR
We’ll start this free crowd calendar section with the same preface as other months—skip ahead a few paragraphs if you’ve already read it. Wondering why you don’t see a color-coded crowd calendar here? It’s because we don’t really trust them anymore and don’t think you should, either. If we just had a visual crowd calendar graphic here, many of you would only look at that and not read the accompanying explanation that covers what you might actually expect. That’d be doing you a disservice.
While they can be useful tools, crowd calendars are one small piece of a much larger puzzle. We no longer choose our own Disney travel dates based exclusively upon crowd calendars and we’d likewise discourage you from doing so. Crowd calendars are increasingly less reliable because of the way Disney manipulates attendance patterns, staffing, closures, and ride capacity.
Walt Disney World doesn’t release official attendance numbers, so crowd calendars utilize info like school schedules, airport traffic statistics, hotel pricing & occupancy, and other indicators as proxies for crowds. For years, this approach worked and made crowd calendars reliable. Walt Disney World attendance followed an identifiable pattern that tracked with the aforementioned proxies.
More recently, wait times don’t always reflect actual crowds because Disney has become adept and more sophisticated at manipulating both attendance and crowd flow. Think of this as the difference between the actual temperature and the “feels like” temperature, but with crowds. We can still actual crowd and attendance patterns, but not wait times. The latter are what most of you likely care about (the “feels like” crowds), but it’s more difficult to accurately forecast wait times via Walt Disney World crowd calendars.
Early March 2023 should be a great time to visit because it’s a lull in crowds. That wasn’t the case in 2022, which was because Mardi Gras fell at the beginning of the month, resulting in an influx of visitors from Louisiana and other areas of the South. Next year is unlikely to be a repeat of that due to Mardi Gras falling on February 21, 2023.
See our Guide to Mardi Gras Crowds at Walt Disney Worldfor further insight, plus just how bad things were last year. (Spoiler: really bad.) There’s a good chance those crowds won’t repeat themselves, as that was a confluence of (bad) circumstances–including the cancellation of Mardi Gras festivities in New Orleans–that resulted in an atypically bad year. With Mardi Gras returning, it’s likely fewer Louisianans and other Southerners will head to Florida during that break.
As such, our projection for the first week-plus of March 2023 seeing crowd levels in the 7/10 range. Specifically, March 1-10, 2023 will see the lowest wait times and attendance of the month.
In combing through various external calendars and resources, there’s next to nothingindicative of higher attendance those dates. The only potential justification is a couple of cheer events at ESPN Wide World of Sports, but that wouldn’t be enough to move the needle on crowds to that great of a degree.
This is more or less normal, reflecting the lull between the popular Presidents’ Day and Mardi Gras holidays in late February and the start of Spring Break season in mid-March. Weekends will be busier, especially when the weather is nice.
Things will get significantly worse starting March 11, 2023.
Both Osceola and Orange County, Florida are scheduled to have their Spring Breaks March 13-17, 2023. In addition to that, both have a student holiday on March 10, 2023. That alone will make that week plus the weekends before and after pretty busy. Our expectation is that Disney will extend hours that week, and crowds will be in the 9/10 neighborhood.
It would not surprise us if that ends up being the peak of Spring Break crowds and the following weeks get progressively better. Normally, more out of state tourists would descend upon Florida and Walt Disney World in the final two weeks of the month.
However, it appears that more large school districts have spring breaks in the middle of the month. Nevertheless, expect 7/10 or 8/10 crowd days the last two two full weeks of March 2023, continuing into April 2023.
No matter when you’re visiting in March 2023, we’d advise leveraging Genie+ and Lightning Lanes to beat the crowds. Everything you need to know, including ride priorities, strategy for avoiding pitfalls, maximizing your time saved & ride count, and much more is covered in our Guide to Genie+ and Lightning Lanes at Walt Disney World.
March PRICING & DISCOUNTS
As a result of Spring Breaks being fairly common in March, you typically won’t find much in the way of exceptional promotions. Last year, there was a nightly $20 to $100 off discount for select Walt Disney World hotels for March through early July 2022. This is the first time in a while that a general public special offer, and not just one for Annual Passholders or Floridians, has been released.
In the absence of discounts, March is above average in terms of pricing. For hotels, much of the month is peak season, which is exactly as expensive as it sounds. Only holiday pricing is worse. For tickets, the pricing is not as bad, but it’s still far from the off-season in terms of per-day pricing.
Overall, March is a tale of two months–but also a month on the rise. Normally, the last week of February/first week of March is one of the year’s “sweet spots” for planning a vacation. In fact, we love it so much that it’s our #2 week of the year on our rankings of Best & Worst Months to Visit Walt Disney World. It’s too early to say whether that’ll be the case again in March 2023, but we certainly hope so!
In addition to that, early March typically offers below average crowds, weather slightly on the cool side, and the start of the spring bloom with Flower & Garden Festival beginning. After that, March’s attractiveness deteriorates, but even later in the month, I still think the weather goes a long way to compensate for crowds.
Do you agree or disagree with our thoughts on March at Walt Disney World? Have you done Walt Disney World during Spring Break before? Do you think it’s a good or bad time to visit? Any questions? Hearing your feedback about your experiences is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts or questions below in the comments!