Our guide to March 2020 at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure offers a free crowd calendar, days to visit & avoid, weather, seasonal events, and new attraction openings & closures. We’ll discuss the opening of Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, and make a recommendation as to whether you should visit.
March is usually the month that Disneyland emerges from its winter slumber. Usually, January and February are the slowest months of the year, with chilly weather, rain, an emphasis on refurbishments, and fewer guests because it’s Southern California’s off-season for tourism.
Spring Breaks begin in March, albeit to not as great of an extent as April. The month starts slow, gradually picking up crowds as the weather gets nicer, fewer refurbishments are on the schedule, and more non-local vacationers arrive for their Spring Break. Of course, as with January and February, the opening of Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance could throw a monkey wrench into what happens in March 2020, making this less of a “normal” year…
As you might know, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance opens on January 17, 2020. This is the blockbuster attraction of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, and there’s intense speculation that many locals have held off on their first visits to the new land until its flagship ride debuted.
The question for March 2020 is essentially whether crowds will remain high over a month and a half after Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance debuts at Disneyland. This is something we’ll address in the crowd calendar section below, but our expectation is that it’ll have the biggest impact on weekend and school holidays, especially if a boarding pass system is still in use.
With that backdrop set, here’s what you can expect in March 2020 at Disneyland & Disney California Adventure in terms of the crowd calendar, weather, refurbishment, special events, closures and new attractions…
March Weather at Disneyland
Southern California’s weather is typically excellent in March. During the middle of the day, temperatures are usually in the mid-60s to low 70s, with the average high being 71°F and the average low being 52°F. Daily highs rarely fall below 60°F or exceed 82°F and daily lows are seldom below 44°F or above 57°F
The evenings are still chilly, but that’s true pretty much year round in Southern California. The crisp air makes it feel even colder at night, and we also recommend packing jeans plus a light jacket for March trips, at the very least (more warm clothing is always better than less–it’s deceptively cold).
March marks the end of Southern California’s rainy season–to the extent that it has one. Rain is far more possible early in the month (15-18% daily chance of precipitation towards the beginning of the month) than it is later. By the final week of March, there’s only a 10% daily chance of rain.
March is generally a pretty sunny month, and over the course of the month, the length of the daytime dramatically increases (and by extension, typical hours of sunlight). The marine layer is also less of a problem during March, which can’t be said for the months that follow. All in all, March is a great time to visit California (and by extension, Disneyland) in terms of weather. It’s not always warm, but it’s not hot either!
Special Events & What’s New or Closed
The main special event during March at Disneyland Resort is the 2020 Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival. This runs from February 28 to April 21, 2020, and is a celebration packed with entertainment, cooking demos, celeb chef sightings, and food booths to taste your way around the Golden State.
We’re big fans of DCA’s Food & Wine Festival. Sure, the portions are sometimes meager and the prices sky-high, but we’ve also found that the quality is generally superior to its counterpart at Epcot. There are also some really tasty and interesting dishes, and the Sip & Savor Pass is a good way to bring costs down and try higher-priced items without there being so much sticker shock.
On the ‘new stuff’ front, Disneyland will debut the new Magic Happens daytime parade on February 28, 2020. That means March 2020 is the first full month of this highly-anticipated daytime parade led by Mickey Mouse and featuring an energetic score including music from Frozen 2 and other films, and a new theme song co-composed by singer-songwriter Todrick Hall.
There’s also Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. This blockbuster attraction of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge won’t be brand new in March 2020, but it’ll still be pretty new by then. We hope to have a ride guide and FAQ ready to prepare you with strategy for your visit well before March rolls around.
In terms of March 2020 attraction closures, we have what’s possibly a partial list on our 2020 Disneyland Refurbishment Calendar. That should be pretty close to final for March, but don’t be surprised if another ride or two is added as the month draws nearer.
March 2020 Disneyland Crowd Calendar
Disneyland crowd calendars for specific dates are no longer highly reliable due to changes in attendance trends, the new Disney Flex Annual Pass, ticket promotions, the boarding group system for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, and other factors. General trends are easier, but it’s difficult to say a particular day will have low, moderate, or heavy crowds–which is why we’ve eliminated our color-coded Disneyland crowd calendars.
As such, our crowd calendar exists of some best & worst date ranges that should be used as an approximation for patterns–not something you rely heavily upon when booking a trip to Disneyland. While other sites offer numerical crowd calendars for specific dates months or more in advance, we’d be weary of putting too much weight on those. There are simply too many inconsistent variables for Disneyland crowd calendars to be reliable so far in advance.
With that said, our methodology is based upon historic wait time information, anecdotal observations, special events, school schedules, dynamic ticket prices, and more. Second, expect Disney California Adventure crowds to almost always track Disneyland crowds–with a few exceptions–albeit with a proportionately lower number of guests.
For the most part, March is a pretty simple month in terms of predicting crowds. There are no major US holidays, and the only school break that’s significant is Orange County School District beginning its Spring Break on March 30, 2020, which will spike crowds the final two days of the month. (Los Angeles County doesn’t have its Spring Break until April 6-10, 2020.)
In a normal year, March starts out slowly. The first two weeks are still part of the winter off-season, and there are low crowds during the weekdays. The month gets progressively busier towards the end, and the last two weeks start seeing Spring Break crowds as non-local markets and some schools in surrounding states (namely Utah and Nevada) start having their Spring Breaks.
In terms of specific dates we recommend for visiting, March 2-5, 2020 will be the ideal range. These are followed closely by March 9-12, 2020. Both set of weekdays should see low crowds, especially from rope drop to 5 pm. The debut of the Magic Happens parade could spike things a bit, but we’re not really expecting that. Beginning March 14, 2020, you should expect above average crowds, with the final week of the month seeing heavy crowds.
Due to a mix of the SoCal Resident Ticket Special offer and the likelihood that Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance will be using a first-come, first-served boarding pass system, weekends will be far worse than weekdays in March 2020. If you’re a tourist who can do something else on weekends, we’d highly recommend that. Go to the beach or Los Angeles–traffic is always better on weekends, making the drive easier.
It’s important to underscore that these crowd calendar predictions are our best guesses, and are making some assumptions about how Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance crowds will play out. As noted above, we’re expecting the primary impact to be on weekends if the boarding pass system is still in use. By March, locals will realize they need to arrive at rope drop in order to score a coveted spot in the virtual queue, and they’re best option for that is the weekends. This might actually reduce the number of locals arriving post-work as compared to a normal March.
Nevertheless, one of the greatest difficulties with forecasting Disneyland crowd calendars is that so much of the audience lives in Los Angeles and Orange Counties, meaning they are not planning their trips to Disneyland months in advance. Many people are visiting on a whim, and can make last-minute trips if enticed by marketing, deals, or special entertainment.
March Pricing & Discounts
Disney has released the 2020 Southern California Resident Disneyland Ticket Deals (plus other hotel & kids discounts) and there are no blockout dates for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, Easter, Spring Break, or any other days/weeks that are typically busy. The entirety of March 2020 is included in the ticket offer, as are select dates for the hotel discount.
In general, the first half of March is an inexpensive time of visit in terms of off-site hotel prices. We rank our favorite (and least favorite) hotels in the area in our Disneyland Area Hotel Rankings & Reviews post. Check out discounted hotel + ticket vacation packages on Get Away Today to save money on off-site hotels.
Irrespective of whether our moderate and higher crowd predictions for March turn out to be accurate, we still recommend an efficient itinerary for Disneyland and Disney California Adventure. While a ton of emphasis is placed on the Disneyland crowd calendar above, rope dropping the parks and using an efficient touring plan matters far more than choosing the “right” day to visit.
Overall, March is “below average” on our 2020 Best and Worst Months to Visit Disneyland, but that doesn’t mean the entire month is a bad time to visit. To the contrary, if you aim for the beginning of March, you should find temperate weather, fewer refurbishments, and relatively low crowds–especially on weekdays.
Once again, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance will be the wildcard in terms of crowds, but it’s also joined in March 2020 by the new Magic Happens daytime parade. These two new offerings could upend our predictions, but we suspect their impact will disproportionately impact weekends, leaving weekdays the first two weeks of the month as a great time to visit Disneyland. Disney California Adventure should be even less crowded!
If you’re preparing for a Disneyland trip, check out our other planning posts, including how to save money on Disneyland tickets, our Disney packing tips, tips for booking a hotel (off-site or on-site), where to dine, and a number of other things, check out our comprehensive Disneyland Vacation Planning Guide!
Have you visited Disneyland in March? If you’re a local, do you agree that the beginning of the month is a better time to visit than late March? Any predictions of your own to offer in terms of 2020 crowds at Disneyland? Any questions? Hearing 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!