It’s Spring Break’s Busiest Week at Disney World!

It’s the peak of spring break season at Walt Disney World, and will likely be the busiest week of the first half of the year. This crowd report shares wait time data, photos from the parks, and thoughts on what’s likely to happen next with numbers at Walt Disney World heading into spring break season.

To quickly recap, attendance has been high over the last couple of months–just as it was two winters ago before the parks closed. We’ve gone over that in a number of recent crowd reports, culminating in February being the busiest month in the last two years at Walt Disney World.

Suffice to say, March 2022 is giving last month a run for its money. While it’s not worse yet, this month’s peak week has yet to occur, and thus hasn’t skewed the data upwards. Obviously, we won’t know which ends up being worse until this month ends. It’s going to be a close “race.”

Consider consulting our 2022 Walt Disney World Crowd Calendars when choosing your travel dates. These don’t offer as granular of predictions as a lot of other crowd calendars, but that’s because that level of specificity simply is not possible in the current environment. We’d rather make credible forecasts than inaccurately thorough ones.

But we get ahead of ourselves with a forward-looking forecast, let’s dig into wait times and see to what’s up with March 2022 crowds for the first half of the month at Walt Disney World…

Let’s start with a high level look at monthly wait time averages across the entirety of Walt Disney World. (All graphs and wait time stats courtesy of Thrill-Data.com.)

As of today (March 14, 2022), February is “holding off” this month to maintain its status as the busiest month in the last two years at Walt Disney World. It currently has a 1 minute lead, 45 v. 44 minutes on average.

If you break it down by week, you can also see how crowds have been lower thus far in the first two weeks of March 2022 than last month.

That final line–the highest of them all–is this week thus far, meaning it’s today only.

Once we get into individual days, the graph becomes difficult to read–but you can still see the spike over the Presidents’ Day weekend towards the far right and again today. The average wait time right now (as of 11 am on March 14, 2022) is 57 minutes. If that number holds, today will tie February 20 and 22 as the busiest day of the last two years at Walt Disney World.

Suffice to say, March 2022 should overtake February as the busiest month after this week, but the question will be whether this week’s wait times are high enough to offset what should be lower numbers the last two weeks of the month. My guess is yes.

For park by park analysis, we’ll start with Magic Kingdom.

Magic Kingdom wait times have not been nearly as bad during the first half of March 2022 as they were in the second half of February. After hitting 10/10 the first few days of the month crowd levels have ranged from 7/10 to 9/10 every day since (minus today).

Here are the specific averages for the month:

  • Seven Dwarfs Mine Train: 99 minutes
  • Peter Pan’s Flight: 79 minutes
  • Jungle Cruise: 77 minutes
  • Splash Mountain: 67 minutes
  • Space Mountain: 62 minutes
  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad: 57 minutes
  • Haunted Mansion: 57 minutes
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: 51 minutes

Minus Jungle Cruise, which remains stubbornly elevated for reasons that don’t make complete sense, all of those wait times are lower than last month.

It’s a similar story at Animal Kingdom.

There, wait times have fallen considerably from their late February peaks. Still, the range has been 7/10 to 9/10 this month, with one day last week randomly posting a 4/10.

Avatar Flight of Passage has averaged 100 minutes and Na’vi River Journey is doing 71 minutes, which are actually right in line with holiday season highs and last month. Kilimanjaro Safaris is at 51 minutes, while Dinosaur is averaging 34 minutes and Kali River Rapids is at 30 minutes. The few other attractions in Animal Kingdom are all below 17 minutes.

Also relevant here is that Expedition Everest is down for refurbishment until at least the end of April 2022. In another park, this would displace guests and result in higher waits elsewhere. To some extent, that’s probably happening. However, with so few rides in Animal Kingdom, it’s more likely that people are just finishing the park faster and leaving earlier. That would also explain some of the drop-off in average wait times.

We continue along to Epcot.

Again, nothing here even remotely on par with Presidents’ Day weekend. Although the 2022 Epcot Flower & Garden Festival is now underway, that hasn’t really moved the needle on these crowd levels. The last couple of weeks are all over the place, ranging from 3/10 to 9/10, with an average of 8/10.

Again, these crowd reports measure wait times, which are not conclusive of attendance. They’re an imperfect measure of raw attendance or crowds–yadda yadda yadda–but the best measure that exists.

Epcot is notorious for higher “feels like” crowds in World Showcase during festivals and on weekends and evenings. Weekends are busier for drinking and evenings are busier for people Park Hopping over to watch Harmonious. In short, people show up for things other than attractions, so that elevated attendance isn’t picked up by wait time data.

As for specific attraction wait times at Epcot, here’s what we have for the first half of March 2022:

  • Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure: 81 minutes
  • Frozen Ever After: 78 minutes
  • Test Track: 62 minutes
  • Soarin’ Around the World: 40 minutes
  • Mission Space: 25 minutes

Finally, there’s Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

If you follow these crowd reports, something might look a little different about this graph. Check out the tallest red line on the very far right. That’s today, and it’s so much busier than every other day that it has skewed the scale. As of 10:58 am, the average wait time is 85 minutes, which is significantly higher than the previous record of 72 minutes on February 23.

A couple of things are important to note here. First, Hollywood Studios wait times peak earlier than any other park, meaning that an average daily reading taken at 10:58 am is going to be at or around the daily high. This number should fall as the day goes on. My bet is that it still ends up being the worst day of the year (so far), but not by this wide of a margin.

Second, those now-yellow lines next to it are still 10/10 days. See the above weekly graph–each of the last 4 weeks were all 10/10 on the crowd calendar at DHS. Today is just a much worse 10/10, so far.

Here’s a look at live wait times as of 11 am at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance went down (or at least was first reported as down in My Disney Experience) at 10:59 am. I know this because I was waiting for the clock to strike 11 am before taking this screenshot. The wait time was 195 minutes prior to the closure.

Above is a look at wait times as of 12:30 pm, moments before this post was published. Already you can see that wait times are starting to fall, minus Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. (That’ll remain elevated due to the post-downtime backlog of Individual Lightning Lane guests.)

Suffice to say, it’s going to be an absolutely brutal peak Spring Break week at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Our condolences if you’re doing DHS this week–you truly deserve an “I Survived…” shirt or something of that sort. Pack your patience and do everything possible to beat the crowds.

Here are March attraction numbers for Disney’s Hollywood Studios:

  • Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance: 147 minutes
  • Twilight Zone Tower of Terror: 123 minutes
  • Slinky Dog Dash: 109 minutes
  • Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster: 82 minutes
  • Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway: 78 minutes
  • Millennium Falcon Smugglers Run: 77 minutes
  • Toy Story Mania: 79 minutes
  • Alien Swirling Saucers: 43 minutes
  • Star Tours – The Adventures Continue: 30 minutes

Keep in mind that these are averages, not daily highs. They’re the middle-of-the-road numbers from March.

The total average time it would take to do all 9 of those rides is 768 minutes, which is up from 681 minutes last month. That’s almost 13 hours, or more than the full operating day, from opening until closing, to do the entire ride lineup at DHS. No time for bathroom breaks, eating, stage shows, or even walking between attractions.

This is why Genie+ is probably worth it at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, even if you’re only able to knock out 3-4 headliners with it. That’s the likely scenario given that Slinky Dog Dash is gone within seconds and Millennium Falcon Smugglers Run fills up in under 2 hours after that. From our perspective, spending $16 per person to save 3+ hours on vacation is worth it. (Read about My Day Using Genie+ Lightning Lanes in Peak Crowds at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.)

There’s a reason why we call Disney’s Hollywood Studios the most frustrating park at Walt Disney World. The ride roster is too top heavy, with an insufficient supporting lineup. Thankfully, stage shows and entertainment have largely returned, but it’s still easy to be overwhelmed by the wait times at DHS.

Know what you’re getting yourself into and have a savvy strategy for DHS more than any other park at Walt Disney World. That makes the experience so much better. To that point, follow our Speed Strategy for Genie+ Selections and DHS Lightning Lane Ride Ranks to max out your Genie+ count at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Looking forward, you can expect more of the same for the coming week. As covered in our March 2022 Crowd Calendar for Walt Disney World, both Osceola and Orange County, Florida have their Spring Breaks March 14-18, 2022. It’s not just those nearby counties, either–several of the largest districts in Florida (and throughout the South) are off this week. That’s to say nothing of the Midwest and Northeast, which are the biggest sources of tourists to Walt Disney World.

Our preliminary prediction was that this week would be at least 9/10 on the crowd calendar. It’s probably a safe bet to pencil in a 10/10, with the bigger question being whether this week surpasses Presidents’ Day for busiest of the year (and by extension, busiest of the last two years). While most of the last two years has been graded on a curve due to attendance limits, Walt Disney World is approaching “normal” Spring Break crowd territory again. (This week will not be the busiest in 3 years–reservations are still meaningfully impacting wait times, even if it doesn’t always feel like it.)

Speaking of Disney Park Pass availability, there’s not much of it. Availability has only worsened since we last reported on it. There’s now zero Disney Park Pass availability for this entire week.

It’s possible some dates will be reallocated from APs (given that those sales have been paused since last holiday season and the AP calendar is wide open) and refilled, but that will only worsen crowds if it happens.

Consistent with that totally unavailable calendar, you can’t even buy Walt Disney World park tickets for this week.

Theme park tickets are starting to sell out and Disney Park Pass reservations are also filling up fast for next week, with only Epcot having availability several days. Things are better the following week and in early April 2022, but Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios are already unavailable some days.

It’ll be interesting to see what happens with Disney Park Pass availability next week and beyond. Normally, nearer dates will faster, as many guests don’t make reservations until the last minute. We’re still holding out a sliver of hope that there’s a reprieve from the crowds during the last two weeks of March, but that’s looking increasingly unlikely. Expect 9/10 averages–maybe worse.

With that said, it’s entirely possible that Walt Disney World has set a lower cap for these peak weeks or will not reallocate from Annual Passholders. We’ve seen that happen in the past, most recently around Christmas and New Year’s Eve, which were totally unavailable but not nearly as crowded as Thanksgiving. Don’t bank on that happening, but it’s a possibility.

Even when Walt Disney World is busy, it’s still possible to have a satisfying and productive day in the park. To that end, we just published Genie+ v. Savvy Standby Strategy at Walt Disney World, which is the result of extensive ‘testing’ we’ve done this month to determine the best and worst ways to beat the crowds during the peak of Spring Break 2022. We put a lot of work into that, and it should be incredibly useful for planning, while not being too overwhelming. (Also, some of the results are surprising, as paying more to skip the lines is not always the best course of action.)

For more granular, step-by-step advice, be sure to use our Walt Disney World Itineraries for plans of attack, with options now with and without Genie+ and Lightning Lanes. Speaking of which, we have a ~4,500 word  Guide to Genie+ at Walt Disney World & Lightning Lane FAQ for those who want to thoroughly master the new paid FastPass system.

Ultimately, it’s not just this week that’s going to end up being busy. The next month-plus will have high wait times throughout Walt Disney World, with only a few potential reprieves. The crowd situation shouldn’t get much better, at least not consistently, until after Easter. You should already have Tax Day on your calendar…consider that a cause for celebration, as that’s when things should improve.

In the meantime, pack your patience and arm yourself with savvy strategy if you’re visiting Walt Disney World this spring break season or through Easter. It is going to be very busy with “feels like” crowds and wait times among the highest we’ve ever seen in the last two years, yet again.

Planning a Walt Disney World trip? Learn about hotels on our Walt Disney World Hotels Reviews page. For where to eat, read our Walt Disney World Restaurant Reviews. To save money on tickets or determine which type to buy, read our Tips for Saving Money on Walt Disney World Tickets post. Our What to Pack for Disney Trips post takes a unique look at clever items to take. For what to do and when to do it, our Walt Disney World Ride Guides will help. For comprehensive advice, the best place to start is our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide for everything you need to know!

YOUR THOUGHTS

Predictions on crowds for spring break season? Think that this week will be the busiest week of the year (so far) at Walt Disney World? If you’ve visited in prior months during the last year, how did crowds compare between then and now? What did you think of the wait times? Any parks or times of day noticeably worse than the others? Do you agree or disagree with anything in our report? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback–even when you disagree with us–is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!

23 Responses to “It’s Spring Break’s Busiest Week at Disney World!”
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