Disney made the first round of operating schedule updates for April yesterday. The full operating schedule is available here: http://media.disneywebcontent.com/StaticFiles/ParkHours/WDWTravelAgent_april.pdf. Click “refresh” to load the newest version. I would expect a lot more changes to the schedule, particularly around Easter through the 11th.

The only changes that will likely impact the recommendations are the Extra Magic Hours changes on the 27th and 28th. Unless there’s a mitigating factor, I would expect Epcot and the Studios to switch their recommendations on those dates so that the Studios is recommended on the 27th and not the 28th. Epcot would end up being non-recommended on the 27th and recommended on the 28th.

Wednesday April 1:

  • Hollywood Studios hours extended to 9am-9:30pm from 9am-8pm. Second Fantasmic added at 10pm, in addition to 8:30pm show.

Thursday April 2:

  • Animal Kingdom hours extended to 9am-8pm from 9am-7pm.
  • Hollywood Studios hours extended to 9am-9:30pm from 9am-8pm. Second Fantasmic added at 10pm, in addition to 8:30pm show.

Friday April 3:

  • Hollywood Studios hours extended to 9am-9:30pm from 9am-8pm. Second Fantasmic added at 10pm, in addition to 8:30pm show.

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Disney made a few changes to a few dates in January and February. These changes shouldn’t affect crowd levels or recommendations, with the exception of January 23, which saw some minor changes with the addition of two Electrical Parades at Magic Kingdom.

Thursday January 1:

  • Animal Kingdom hours extended to 8am-7pm from 6am-6pm.

Friday January 2:

  • Animal Kingdom hours extended to 8am-8pm from 8am-7pm.

Saturday January 3:

  • Animal Kingdom hours extended to 8am-7pm from 9am-7pm.

Monday January 12:

  • Magic Kingdom hours extended to 9am-9pm from 9am-8pm.

Thursday January 15:

  • Magic Kingdom hours extended to 9am-9pm from 9am-8pm.

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This is what we’re looking at for July. Click to enlarge or view as a prettier PDF. And if you don’t know what the numbers/letters mean, read the top of this post. The full operating schedule is available here.

July is straightforward for the most part with the same operating hours/entertainment/Extra Magic Hours schedule most weeks. One of the two exceptions is the first week with Independence Day falling on the first Saturday. The July 4th holiday alters the Extra Magic Hours schedule a bit and adds the Celebrate America fireworks at Magic Kingdom on the 3rd and 4th, in addition to the holiday tag at the end of IllumiNations at Epcot and the fireworks at Hollywood Studios on the 4th. The other exception is the lack of Fantasmic and early close at the Studios on July 15th, which alters the recommendations a bit that week as well.

July otherwise sees high temperatures, a lot of precipitation, and largely heavy crowds. The good news(?) is that as crowds increase during what was traditionally referred to as the “off-season,” peak summer crowds have also come down in turn. We’re still talking about above average crowds, but it’s not as bad as it would have been three or four years ago. Crowds go down a bit the later in July you go as South America is less of a concern.

You’ll also notice the price differences at the resorts throughout the month. During the summer, Value and Moderate prices are actually among the highest of the year, which is why you see the “$$$$ | $” underneath each date. the “$$$$” refers to the relatively high cost at the Values/Moderates and the relatively low price at the Deluxes, which come down even further beginning July 12th. We can assume pricing is structured this way because summer is busiest with families on a budget looking at less expensive accommodations. Prices at the cheaper Values/Moderates go up with demand and prices at the Deluxes come down a bit to be more attractive to families with a little extra spending money.

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The July 2015 Disney World operating schedule is available at the usual link: http://media.disneywebcontent.com/StaticFiles/ParkHours/WDWTravelAgent_july.pdf. Click “refresh” on your browser if it’s still loading 2014.


We’ll set out for Wilderness Lodge to check out the holiday decorations, pool construction, merchandise, and Territory Lounge and then very briefly pop over to Magic Kingdom in between.

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Edit: Disney released some new renderings of the bungalows here: http://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/2014/12/new-details-announced-for-disneys-polynesian-villas-and-bungalows/

We’ll check in on Polynesian Village Resort construction, check out the holiday decorations, and grab sushi at Kona Cafe.

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December Disney World Merchandise Update

by josh on December 9, 2014

Following November’s merchandise update Part 1 and Part 2 along with the holiday merchandise update, we’ll follow up with another round of mostly new things:

If you’re having trouble locating a specific item, have specific requests about color or design, or don’t have plans to visit the theme parks any time soon, you can contact Lisa at lisa@theparkshopper.com for your personal shopping needs. She will pick up whatever it is you’re looking for, ensure that the items are exactly what you want, and ship them off to you for a nominal service charge. She comes with the website’s highest recommendation and I can assure you she will take care of you. Just shoot her an email to get started. There’s still time for Christmas!

Mouse Gear at Epcot:

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We’ll head out to Hollywood Studios on the afternoon of December 5th at 12:40pm. I can’t remember the last time I waited more than a minute or two to get into a Park with these Mickey tapstiles and RFID gig. The Studios in particular always seems to have far too many lines open. Not only are all lines open in front of us, but the bank on the far right is also operating with “literally” nobody interested.

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We’ll head out in the early evening of Friday December 5th to check on what Animal Kingdom has to offer this holiday season.

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Disney confirmed the Star Wars Weekends dates today:

  • Weekend I: May 15-17, 2015
  • Weekend II: May 22-24, 2015
  • Weekend III: May 29-31, 2015
  • Weekend IV: June 5-7, 2015
  • Weekend V: June 12-14, 2015

In addition, the Star Wars character meals are returning daily beginning May 4th and expected to run through June 14th. Sci-Fi offers breakfast beginning at 8am. The cost is $49.99 for Adults and $31.99 for Kids ages 3-9. Last year, guests received photos with Darth Vader and Boba Fett out front with stormtroopers and jawas visiting tableside. Hollywood & Vine is a Star Wars character meal for dinner beginning daily at 4:15pm. Last year included pictures with Ewok Chip and Dale out front, in addition to Jedi Mickey, Leia Minnie, Darth Goofy, and Stormtrooper Donald visiting tableside. Cost is $57.99 for adults and $34.99 for kids. All meals are two credits on the Disney Dining Plan.

Last year’s reviews were mixed, but Disney seemed to get the hang of it as time passed and service improved. Meals can be good values if you cherish the pictures and it will save you some time. Getting in line for Darth Vader in the afternoon will result in a 90+ minute wait. Boba is usually around 45 minutes and there’s no guarantee you’ll meet him instead of Jango because they switch out in the same line.

More information on the event is available here: Star Wars Weekends 2014 Strategy, Characters, Fireworks, Crowds, Merchandise, etc.

Meals can be booked by calling 407-939-5277 or using Disney’s online reservation system.