By the co-author of The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2017, from the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook series ever. Paperback available on Amazon here. Kindle version available on Amazon here. PDF version available on Gumroad here.



yourfirstvisit.net—Disney World Instructions for the First-Time Visitor







Itinerary Changes for March 2013

By Dave Shute

Families arriving March 2, 9 and 16 should be able to use the Autumn-Winter-Spring Itinerary without changes.

Families arriving the week before Easter should use the Summer Itinerary as their starting point, but note the following actual and possible changes:

  • Multiple extra morning Extra Magic Hours are already on the books for this week, so some arrival times will have to be advanced by an hour.
  • Changes in opening times to 8a are also common this week–which means that if  a park changes opening to 8 and also has morning EMH, EMH will being at 7a.

Check in with Disney’s operating calendars starting in early March 2013 for such changes, and check now and then up until the night before you visit a park!

The Summer Itinerary with the above possible and actual changes likely will also work for the week beginning March 30, but double check here in late September 2012 to be sure…



25 comments

1 Russ { 01.02.13 at 3:47 pm }

Hi,

Firstly a fantastic site for first timers like ourselves. Thank you.

Getting a little lost with the mass of info. We’re arriving Saturday 30th March 2013 and leaving on 13th April. Can you suggest the best way to work an itinerary taking account we will also be visiting universal during the 2 weeks.

Thankyou

2 Dave { 01.02.13 at 5:48 pm }

Russ, the first half of your visit will be wildly crowded, but the second half will be great. Are your dates flexible at all–so that you could arrive–and depart–even a few days later?

For the issues with the first week, see this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2012/07/25/disney-world-crowds-2013-spring-break-2013/

Get back to me with your response, and I’ll share itinerary thoughts then…

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3 Russ { 01.02.13 at 7:46 pm }

Dave,

Thanks for the response. Unfortunately I am completely fixed due to other commitments. I am having to fly in and out of the USA via Miami international (actually arriving Friday afternoon) so have to factor the drive in which may mean I decide to stop overnight in Miami depending how i feel after the flight. So likely arrive at AoA Saturday morning.

Forgot to say the kids will be 14 and 9.

Again thanks for any assistance.

4 Dave { 01.03.13 at 7:14 am }

Russ, got it. My answer is a little complicated, so get back to me if I confuse you!

Think of the second week as using largely this itinerary: http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/basic-itinerary/alternative-itineraries/itineraries-for-the-rest-of-the-year/v2-of-2009-autumn-winter-spring-itinerary/

The first week, you will be fine in the mornings at Disney so long as you arrive at the turnstiles WELL before opening. So take the Sunday and Monday of the second week itinerary (AK and HS) and spread them over two mornings each in your first week (with an evening return one of your HS days for Fantasmic).

That then frees Sun and Mon of week 2 for Universal. Universal is best Sat-Tues, as that’s when everyone goes to WDW…

Am I making sense??

5 Heather Morrow { 01.03.13 at 10:03 am }

Hi!! We are arriving March 9th 2013 and staying until March 16th. Can you please suggest what day we do what park? Things we should def. not miss. We are purchasing the 4 day Military Hopper Passes. We have Chef Mickey Booked March 14th 8:20am. Thanks so much for you help.

6 Heather Morrow { 01.03.13 at 10:13 am }

Also let me add, this is our first trip!!

7 Dave { 01.03.13 at 3:12 pm }

Heather, that’s a really crowded time at WDW…do you have any other date possibilities? If not, let me know the ages of your kids and I’ll suggest better and worse days..

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8 Russ { 01.03.13 at 6:05 pm }

Dave,

Thank you for guidance. Gratefully received

Best regards

Russ

9 Dave { 01.03.13 at 6:38 pm }

Have a great visit, Russ, and come back here when you are done and tell me how it went! Dave

10 Heather Morrow { 01.11.13 at 9:53 am }

Hi Dave,

No, we have to stick with those dates. Our house is already booked. Ages of kids are 18 Months, 2, 7, 8 and 11. We have a couple different families coming together! Wide range of ages. Any advice would be great!

Thanks,
Heather

11 Dave { 01.11.13 at 12:25 pm }

OK, Heather! The least busy days will be the 12th through the 15th. You have to decide how many days to spend in each park. With kids the ages of those, skipping Epcot is reasonable, so I’d advise tow days at MK and one each at AK and HS. The problem is your Chef Mickey reservation–Chef Mickey’s is right by MK, but that’s not a good day at MK. I’d do MK the 12th and 13th, AK the 14th, and HS the 15th.

For the best of the rides and the don’t miss stuff, see this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2011/03/09/the-comprehensive-guide-to-walt-disney-world-rides-and-attractions/

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12 Carroll { 01.12.13 at 6:25 pm }

We are bringing an 16 year old female exchange student from Austria and our 17 year old daughter to Disney World camping in Ft Wilderness driving from KY. We can come the first or last of the week of our spring break March 31-April 8. We can afford 3 or 4 days then will go on or come from Nicevielle where my sisiter lieves to introduce her to the Gulf. Any suggestions as to which part of the week would be better to visit with teens. This is not our first vist to Disney World but our first during spring break. Thank you so much

13 Paige { 01.12.13 at 10:56 pm }

Thanks for the great info! We are first timers going during the peak time of the year. My son and I are off school at the same time for break and it is the only time we can go. My husband and I are very nervous! Can you I’ve us some pointers on how to navigate the busiest time of the year? Thank you in advance for your help! We are going March 24-29th.

14 Dave { 01.13.13 at 10:41 am }

Hi Carroll! It will be wildly busy up until the 6th or so, so as much as you can, delay visiting the parks until the 7th and 8th, which will be much better, and try to avoid them until the 4th…For the days before the 7th, see also
http://yourfirstvisit.net/2012/12/04/coping-disney-world-holiday-crowds/—written for Xmas, not Easter, but the same principles apply

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15 Dave { 01.13.13 at 10:43 am }

Hi Paige, I will–but first let me know how old your son is, and whether or not you are staying in a Disney hotel, as both will make a difference…

http://www.mousesavers.com/walt-disney-world-vacation-discounts-and-deals/disney-world-ticket-pass-discounts/

16 Paige { 01.15.13 at 9:35 pm }

Thanks Dave-

Our son is 8 years old and we are staying at a moderate resort in disney. We have 4 day park hopper passes (monday-Thursday) and have quick service dining. Thank you for taking the time to answer-it is appreciated more than you know!!!

17 Dave { 01.16.13 at 8:50 am }

Hi Paige, at that age, you can skip Epcot, and spend two “days” at MK and one each at AK and HS. However, because you have hoppers the way to do it is to split up your days. The basic approach is when you can to begin the day at a park that has morning extra magic hours, take the afternoon off, and then return to a park for its evening activities that does not have any EMH. (This won’t work that well at AK, as it has no evening activities.)

Based on the current schedule–and emh may be added–do AK the 24th, begin at MK the 25th and hop to HS, do MK the 26th, and spend the 27th at HS.

See also this–not about Easter, and about a longer trip, but with some key pointers: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2012/12/04/coping-disney-world-holiday-crowds/

18 Jennifer Pratt { 01.26.13 at 11:41 pm }

Hi-
We are all arriving March 29 & will have our 18 year old daughter with us until April 1, then just our 5 and 8 year old children until the 6th. We know it will be incredibly busy, but we are only able to travel on those days. We are staying in my parents condo for most of our time, but are staying at the Dolphin for the first 1-2 nights, and we are considering Pop Century for a night at the end of our trip. We are thinking we’ll have 7 day park hopper for the 4 of us that will be there the whole time, but not sure if hopping is the best idea during this time, and not sure what type of ticket to get our 18 year old. She definitely wants to go to Magic Kingdom & Hollywood Studios. We are thinking about doing the hoop dee doo review after she leaves ( she doesn’t seem to be interested). What is our best plan for the parks and meals?

19 Dave { 01.27.13 at 6:00 am }

Hi Jennifer, first if you want Hoop, book it ASAP–it can book up 5-6 months ahead, especially during busy times.

With one exception Park hoppers make little sense during such busy times, as you waste time hopping and then arrive at a park whihc already has tow hour lines and empty FASTPASS dispensers. One goo use of them , tho, is to go to evening shows at a different park you spent the day at. This may make sense depending on your 18yo’s interests. For example, if she has three evenings wiht you, given her interest you’d spend two days at MK and one at HS, and would see Mk’s evening parade and fireworks one evening, HS’s Fantasmic another evening, and on one of your MK days, you could hop to see Epcot’s Illuminations–just a short walk from the Dolphin.

Key to managing your overall trip will be taking advantage of morning extra Magic hours on your Dolphin and Pop days (you are entitled to them from day of check in to day of check out). If you are at the turnstiles before morning EMH begins, you’ll have a couple of hours of relatively low-crowd ride visiting to see the rides that build crowds most quickly, and can FASTPASS those you don’t get to. See any of my itineraries for examples of how this works. (Find them here: http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/basic-itinerary/alternative-itineraries/ )

None of my itineraries fits you at all, what with the constraints imposed by your 18yo, the overall length of your trip, and your dates (which cross over two different operating calendars), so you’d need to adapt them so heavily that it’d be better to start over. See this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/how-long-to-stay/other-trip-lengths/designing-your-own-walt-disney-world-itinerary/designing-your-own-itinerary-continued/ Take a look at the links including my full itineraries, put some thoughts together, and get back to me with them…

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20 Teresa { 03.13.13 at 11:10 am }

Hi 🙂 I know its a horrible time, but we will be staying at the Port Orleans resort from 3/24-3/28. (ONLY time we could go!) We have 3 days for Disney and plan to visit one park each of those days, no hopper. We plan to see AK, MK, and HS on 3/25, 3/26, 3/27. Based on use of EMH and the crowds for those parks, would you please recommend what days we should visit each of those parks. I have breakfast booked at 1900 Park Fare on 3/28…one last “Hoorah!” on our way out. I want to make the most of the trip and our days there. Children are 18, 10, 1. I plan to stay with the 1yr old while the other two enjoy most of the attractions (rides)…which I’m fine with, giving me opportunities for pics as I’m not much of a coaster rider! 🙂
Thank you for any and all advice. This site has already been helpful.

21 Dave { 03.14.13 at 8:22 am }

Hi Teresa, do AK the 25th, HS the 26th, and MK the 27th. For why–and for more hints–see this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2013/03/14/the-common-sense-guide-to-easter-week-at-walt-disney-world/

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22 Monique { 03.15.13 at 10:51 pm }

Hello my family and I are going to Orlando through make a wish and staying at give kids the world village. This will be my son’s first trip to Disney and other parks. We will be in Orlando from March 25 2013 to March 31. We have a 3 day Disney Park Hopper pass 2 day IOA/Universal and 1 day SeaWorld. My son, who is 12 yrs old, has a really short attention span and gets bored very easily( ADHD & developmentally delayed). Since we only have 3 days at Disney parks should we A) try to do 2 parks like Epcot & Animal Kingdom in 1 day or B) should we skip one park all together? Also the Pass doesn’t have to be used on consecutive days so should we spilt it up between Disney and IOA? I’m really getting nervous about this whole vacation.

23 Dave { 03.16.13 at 7:26 am }

Monique, that’s a wildly crowded time to be in Orlando. See this for ideas and help: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2013/03/14/the-common-sense-guide-to-easter-week-at-walt-disney-world/ The days that are just horrible at Disney will be a little better at Universal and Seaworld…

I wouldn’t do two parks in a day. The lines will just build while you are traveling…I’d skip a park, and maybe two parks–devoting two days to MK, and one to one of the other three Disney parks…tell me a little about his interests and I can help you pick which Disney park to skip…Does he love animals? The thought of world travel? Old movies? Science?

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24 Monique { 03.18.13 at 2:11 am }

Hi Dave
I think I forgot we all get Fastpasses for all the rides or something to t hat effect and he will be in wheelchair( he is physically able to walk but not for distances it requires to get around parks). The Make A Wish ppl told me just to make sure he wears his button everyday we’re in a park. I was trying to look at the crowd forecast for the different days and figure out which days are going to be bad at Disney, still working on that.
As far as interests, his main interest is rides he’s saying now but he’s also the nervous type, he’s never really been on a roller coaster so I was thinking of starting with one of the mountains and seeing how he handles them. He likes some animals, mostly water related animals so SeaWorld will take care of that I think.
My family that frequently visits Disney and it’s parks suggest skipping Epcot and/or Animal Kingdom. He doesn’t understand a lot of concepts as well so like world travel and old movies and even some science is boring to him. He really needs to be moving at all times kinda and since I have not been to any of the Disney Parks since I was his age or younger I can not remember half of it.

25 Dave { 03.18.13 at 7:54 am }

Hi Monique, from what you’ve said, I’d agree with your family’s insight that skipping Epcot and AK is the right call!

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