I’m not sure anybody really cares, but since I have them handy, we’ll take a look at Thanksgiving Week wait times. Specifically, we’ll take a look at Monday, the busiest day of Thanksgiving Week with a crowd level of 9, which is the highest crowd level this website assigns without the risk of Magic Kingdom closing to capacity.

There is always some confusion with the crowd levels, which are on a scale of 1-10 with 1s being the least crowded days and 10s being days where one or more of the Parks may close to capacity. Crowd levels run on a bell curve so you see fewer 1s and 10s than you do 4s, 5s, and 6s. And the crowd calendar runs on a 12-month loop so crowd levels are compared only to the six months before and after a date in question.

I’ll often see people say, “There’s really no such thing as a 2 or 3 crowd level anymore, 5 is about the minimum.” That’s now how this website operates. There are, by definition, 1s, 2s, and 3s just like there are 8s, 9s, and 10s. It’s true that those 1s and 2s are more crowded than say…2009 in the middle of a worldwide recession. International visitation, particularly from South America, also tends to bump up crowds during “low crowd times” because they don’t run on the same schedule as domestic visitors. But it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to start the crowd calendar at a 5 and go up to a 15. And it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to start at 5 and go to 10 because then you really just have a crowd calendar that goes from 1 to 5. So we stick with the 1-10 scale, keeping in mind that a “2″ in 2014 is going to be considerably more crowded than a “5″ would have been back in 2010. That’s just the way things are right now with the Dow at 17,500 instead of 6,500 and strong international visitation helped by the fact everything is so much cheaper here for Brazilians.

Larger: http://www.easywdw.com/reports12/ak1124.jpg or you can download the Excel file at http://www.easywdw.com/reports12/wdw1121.xlsx

We have 8am openings at Animal Kingdom all week to help with the heavy overall crowds. Animal Kingdom came highly recommended and you’ll notice that there are no actual waits over 10 minutes until 9:30am, a full 90 minutes after the Park opens. Things ease again in the evening with no waits over 10 minutes after 6:30pm. Things are rough in the afternoon, but with no posted waits over 60 minutes at Everest or over 90 minutes at Safaris, today should prove to be very good compared to other days during the week. That’s going to be a bit less true with today’s (November 25th) weather. There was a tornado warning at the Parks around 10am and heavy rain has kept just about everyone away. If you’re visiting between now and about March, keep in mind that just about anything that includes animal viewing closes before dusk. This time of year, that means Kilimanjaro Safaris, Pangani Forest Exploration Trail, Maharajah Jungle Trek, and Rafiki’s Planet Watch/Wildlife Express Train close at 4:45pm. That tends to make those areas a little busier during the day because more people are squished into shorter operating hours.

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It’s been a while since we visited Epcot without the Food and Wine Festival as the focal point.

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This chart shows posted (purple) and actual (blue) waits from November 21st, a Friday Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party date with an 8am open and 7pm regular close. Wait times after 7pm are during the Christmas Party. With Magic Kingdom opening at 8am daily through January 2nd, the following chart is a good idea about what to expect should you be visiting on a Party date sometime before December 20th:

Larger: http://www.easywdw.com/reports12/mkwaits1121.jpg or the original Excel spreadsheet: http://www.easywdw.com/reports12/mkchristmasparty8amopen.xlsx

With an 8am open, expect the characters to begin greeting at the following times:

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The Polynesian Village Resort DVC etc. construction continues:

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Check it out if you’ve been looking!

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Edit: December Crowd Calendar Updated (majorly).

Magic Kingdom will be opening at 8am daily from November 30 through December 12. That’s in addition to daily 8am openings from December 13-31 as listed here.

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Just a heads up for those who have interest, Google Play is offering the Awesome Mix Vol. 1 from Guardians of the Galaxy free here: https://play.google.com/store/music/album/Various_Artists_Guardians_Of_The_Galaxy_Awesome_Mi?id=Btmdbtfzel2mdiai5ewdjd5nqui&hl=en. You can also go to Google Play and search for “Awesome Mix Vol. 1″ if you prefer.

Track list:

No. Title Artist(s) Length
1. “Hooked on a Feeling” Blue Swede 2:52
2. “Go All the Way” Raspberries 3:21
3. “Spirit in the Sky” Norman Greenbaum 4:02
4. “Moonage Daydream” David Bowie 4:41
5. “Fooled Around and Fell in Love” Elvin Bishop 4:35
6. “I’m Not in Love” 10cc 6:03
7. “I Want You Back” The Jackson 5 2:58
8. “Come and Get Your Love” Redbone 3:26
9. “Cherry Bomb” The Runaways 2:17
10. “Escape (The Piña Colada Song)” Rupert Holmes 4:37
11. “O-o-h Child” Five Stairsteps 3:13
12. “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell 2:29
Total length:
44:35

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This is what we’re looking at for June. 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.

June is one hot and busy month. Crowds come from a number of sources. Domestically, most schools are out for a lengthy summer vacation and many families choose to visit Disney World for their annual summer vacation. Internationally, South America is expected to make up more than 25% of total attendance in June. European and Canadian attendance is also near its highest levels of the year.

Unfortunately, as crowds increase to levels never before seen, Disney continues to eliminate Extra Magic Hours and shorten regular operating hours. Two years ago, Disney canceled the Friday set of evening Extra Magic Hours at Magic Kingdom, in addition to shortening every set of evening Extra Magic Hours from three hours to two. The year before that, they eliminated Magic Kingdom’s Tuesday morning Extra Magic Hour. That boils down to the same number of Extra Magic Hours over the busy summer as guests visiting in September or late January would experience. That contributes to even heavier afternoon crowds as more people are squeezed into a smaller window.

A summer trip is still more than doable, but touring efficiently in the morning and/or staying through Park close is all the more important.There is less variability in daily crowd levels during the summer than any other period, thanks to few driving forces and operating hours/evening entertainment that are nearly uniform across the entire three months. When the Parks are open the same number of hours every day and offer the same evening entertainment options every night, casual vacationers aren’t reliably steered to Magic Kingdom or Hollywood Studios on certain days. Add South America and their variable arrival days and there is not much variance in daily crowd levels. That’s the reality of the situation. Recommended days will still see lower crowds, but the fluctuations are not as great as the fall or winter, particularly during the Mickey’s Party season.

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Disney made their first batch of March 2015 operating schedule changes. The full schedule is available here: http://media.disneywebcontent.com/StaticFiles/ParkHours/WDWTravelAgent_march.pdf. Click “Refresh” if your browser doesn’t load the newest version.

Sunday March 1:

  • Magic Kingdom hours extended to 9am-11pm from 9am-10pm. Second Main Street Electrical Parade added at 11pm, in addition to 9pm Parade.

Monday March 2:

  • Magic Kingdom hours extended to 9am-10pm from 9am-9pm. Second Main Street Electrical Parade added at 10pm, in addition to 8pm Parade.

Tuesday March 3:

  • Magic Kingdom hours extended to 9am-10pm from 9am-9pm. Second Main Street Electrical Parade added at 10pm, in addition to 8pm Parade.

Wednesday March 4:

  • Magic Kingdom hours extended to 9am-10pm from 9am-9pm.

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Just a couple changes to the first couple days in January. The complete operating schedule is available here: http://media.disneywebcontent.com/StaticFiles/ParkHours/WDWTravelAgent_january.pdf.

Thursday January 1:

  • Animal Kingdom hours extended to 8am-6pm from 9am-6pm.
  • Hollywood Studios hours extended to 8am-10pm from 9am-10pm. Third Fantasmic added at 10pm, in addition to 6:30pm and 8pm shows.
  • Magic Kingdom hours extended to 8am-1am from 9am-1am. Note that the Festival of Fantasy Parade returns on January 1st.

Friday January 2:

  • Animal Kingdom hours extended to 8am-7pm from 9am-7pm.
  • Hollywood Studios hours extended to 8am-10pm from 9am-10pm. Third Fantasmic added at 10pm, in addition to 6:30pm and 8pm shows.
  • Magic Kingdom hours extended to 8am-1am from 9am-1am.

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