A bit of background:
Myself (DW45), DH42, DD10 and DD6 are embarking on a two week odyssey in March 2020, with split stays sandwiching a 7 day cruise (non-Disney and affordable). We are DVCing at Wilderness Lodge beforehand and Boardwalk on the back end. Great experiences with David’s and the DVC Rental Store. We will have the DDP because we always come out ahead given our love of character meals or the premium one credit table meals. Will also splurge at Cali Grill Brunch off-plan.
Predicted crowd levels in early March are fairly moderate and typical of what we’ve experienced historically. Will focus on MK and monorail resorts during this period. May also scoot over to HS then. The mid-March crowd levels are another kettle of fish with crowds predicted to be huge and historical data showing the actuals to be at that level last year.
While I keep hoping this is an anomaly, I suspect that BIG crowds will be our reality. Consequently, my planning strategy for these four days includes indulging in early morning magic hours at Fantasyland (presuming there is availability), extra magic hour mornings, 08:00 BOG reso to be strategically positioned for rope drop, visiting DS and other resorts on the property as well as a general touring strategy of getting the heck out of the parks by noon and not returning until after supper.
With all this said, am wondering if any Liners have advice on how we can better navigate these crowds? My DDs will really struggle if the Parks get too crowded for their comfort. I don’t want the magic to become a nightmare scenario for them. We are all about fun!
Over the years, I have become quite adept at managing FPs and ensuring almost no line-ups, but am concerned that FP availability in park (and once the first three are used), will be an issue. I’d love to hear from those of you who have experienced these big crowds and found a way to make the best of them!
Your plan sounds great! That is how we handled the crowds in the past and did fine. This year my DD has requested no RD’s so we are doing only DAH and evening extra magic hours. I’l be making TP’s and hoping for the best!
I did CL 10s in MK and AK for MLK weekend in 2018. Despite CLs, I still had no trouble at all getting the SDFPs I wanted. We left the park for dinner on our MK day so that was a nice break right after the parade.
I will say the only major difference I noticed was the amount of time we should have allowed to get a spot for fireworks and parades. Definitely stake out a bit earlier. Other than that I didn’t feel the crowd in AK, other than right around mid afternoon. I also didn’t feel the crowd at MK other than through the jammed up area by IASW and then down by JC. Didn’t really noticed how many people were in the park until they all gathered on Main St for the parade and, later, HEA.
FYI – A common misconception about Crowd Levels is that they are an indicator of the number of people in each park. However, they are an indicator of average queue waits at the park.
A CL 1 can feel like a CL 4 in terms of park capacity, but the queues may be moving quickly. Conversely, you can be in a CL 9 park that feels like a CL 5 because the streets aren’t packed. However, all the queues are super long.
This is a perfect strategy. The evenings with the fireworks crowd will be crowded still but the afternoons are the worst on high CL days. You can also schedule TS meals for early afternoon to get away from the crowd while still enjoying park time.
We did one day at MK on what I believe was a CL9 or 10 day in March 2016. I will echo the advice above about rope drop. We hit all the major rides before lunch, had plenty of time to find a spot for the parade and got tons (10+) of same day fastpasses. Hardly waited in line for anything. The only spots where we felt crowded were over near Splash and BTMRR and as we were leaving during the Main Street Electrical parade.
CL10 day in March is nothing like a CL10 day during Christmas week. That’s when we last went. Early mornings are usually great ways of handling crowds and so is leaving late morning and coming back. The only time we have had trouble with crowds (not wait times) was the first week of April down the bottle-neck called Main Street in MK; it was quite overwhelming for DH and I think it sounds like you have a great strategy and will do fine.
I can’t speak about additional FPs since I don’t ride a lot of rides.