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

November 2015 is similar to 2014 for the most part, though there are some major differences. The first is the Extra Magic Hours schedule, which departs quite a bit from past years with Magic Kingdom hosting morning Extra Magic Hour on Mondays (historically it’s been Thursdays) and evening Extra Magic Hours on Wednesdays (historically it’s been Saturdays and before that Sundays), and Animal Kingdom moves one of its morning Extra Magic Hours from Sundays to Fridays. That schedule continues after the Food and Wine Festival concludes on the 16th and into the week of Thanksgiving, with its long operating hours and lack of Mickey’s Christmas Parties.

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Just a heads up that Disney changed the close at Hollywood Studios on Saturday October 24th from 7pm to 6pm and canceled the Fantasmic. Previously, the Studios was not recommended. It may change to “tentatively recommended” so long as you’re able to arrive by 7:25am to take advantage of the Extra Magic Hour. Daytime crowds should be relatively minimal with few people park hopping over in the afternoon and evening with no evening entertainment to keep them around and a very early close. Still, most people will want to stick with a day that was previously recommended higher.

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Disney made a few changes to the September 2015 operating schedule. Hollywood Studios will close at 9:30pm instead of 8pm each day through the 7th for the Frozen Summer Fun LIVE event. Epcot and Animal Kingdom also switch their Extra Magic Hours on September 20th and 23rd, which should affect the recommendations for that week. Here’s the full operating schedule: http://media.disneywebcontent.com/StaticFiles/ParkHours/WDWTravelAgent_september.pdf.

Tuesday September 1:

  • Hollywood Studios hours extended to 9am-9:30pm from 9am-8pm.

Wednesday September 2:

  • Hollywood Studios hours extended to 9am-9:30pm from 9am-8pm.

Thursday September 3:

  • Hollywood Studios hours extended to 9am-9:30pm from 9am-8pm.

Friday September 4:

  • Hollywood Studios hours extended to 9am-9:30pm from 9am-8pm.

Saturday September 5:

  • Hollywood Studios hours extended to 9am-9:30pm from 9am-8pm.

Sunday September 6:

  • Hollywood Studios hours extended to 9am-9:30pm from 9am-8pm.

Monday September 7:

  • Hollywood Studios hours extended to 9am-9:30pm from 9am-8pm.

Sunday September 20:

  • Animal Kingdom morning Extra Magic Hour canceled.
  • Epcot evening Extra Magic Hours added.

Wednesday September 23:

  • Epcot evening Extra Magic Hours canceled.
  • Animal Kingdom morning Extra Magic Hour added.

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Disney made the usual changes to the August 2015 operating schedule. I would expect to see more extensions at Animal Kingdom when Disney next updates the schedule – probably in the middle of July. The full operating schedule is available here: http://media.disneywebcontent.com/StaticFiles/ParkHours/WDWTravelAgent_august.pdf. An FAQ follows the list.

Saturday August 1:

  • Hollywood Studios hours extended to 9am-10pm from 9am-8:30pm. Second Fantasmic added at 10:30pm, in addition to 9pm show.
  • Magic Kingdom hours extended to 9am-12am from 9am-10pm. Second Main Street Electrical Parade added at 11pm, in addition to 9pm Parade.

Sunday August 2:

  • Hollywood Studios hours extended to 9am-10pm from 9am-8:30pm. Second Fantasmic added at 10:30pm, in addition to 9pm show.
  • Magic Kingdom hours extended to 9am-12am from 9am-10pm. Second Main Street Electrical Parade added at 11pm, in addition to 9pm Parade.

Monday August 3:

  • Animal Kingdom hours extended to 9am-7pm from 9am-6pm.
  • Hollywood Studios hours extended to 9am-10pm from 9am-8:30pm. Second Fantasmic added at 10:30pm, in addition to 9pm show.
  • Magic Kingdom hours extended to 9am-12am from 9am-10pm. Second Main Street Electrical Parade added at 11pm, in addition to 9pm Parade.

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Disney extended the close at Hollywood Studios to 9:30pm from 8pm on April 17th and 22nd. A second Fantasmic show was also added at 10pm on both dates.

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Disney made another round of changes to the May operating schedule. The full operating schedule is available here: http://media.disneywebcontent.com/StaticFiles/ParkHours/WDWTravelAgent_may.pdf. Click “refresh” on your browser to load the newest version.

Friday May 1:

  • No changes.

Saturday May 2:

  • Magic Kingdom hours extended to 8am-12am from 9am-12am.

Sunday May 3:

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

Monday May 4:

  • No changes.

Tuesday May 5:

  • Animal Kingdom hours extended to 9am-7pm from 9am-6pm.
  • Magic Kingdom hours extended to 9am-12am from 9am-11pm.

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Disney updated the October operating schedule with the Extra Magic Hours for the first three days. You may or may not remember the initial schedule omitted which Parks would host Extra Magic Hours on October 1-3. The additions are as expected and already built into the month’s recommendations. The full operating schedule is available here: http://media.disneywebcontent.com/StaticFiles/ParkHours/WDWTravelAgent_october.pdf. Click “refresh” on your browser to load the newest version.

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The November 2015 Disney World operating schedule is now available at the usual link: http://media.disneywebcontent.com/StaticFiles/ParkHours/WDWTravelAgent_november.pdf. Always click “refresh” on these documents to load the newest version – some browsers don’t bother loading the newest version of documents with the same name.

The operating schedule is about what you would expect. I get a lot of questions about what the final operating schedule will look like, so you can check out 2014′s final schedule here: http://www.easywdw.com/reports13/november14.pdf. Epcot’s Extra Magic Hours are not listed for the first week in November. I expect to see them added in the future, though Disney is a very cheap company and they may instead omit the Extra Magic Hours to help cover the extra cost of the Park operating until 10pm on most Fridays and Saturdays during the Food and Wine Festival. You would expect all of those $5 6-ounce samples of Kirin to help the bottom line, but Disney has an odd way of accounting for things. Expect to see Epcot host its usual morning Extra Magic Hour on Tuesdays with evening Extra Magic Hours falling in the vacant space on Thursdays.

Speaking of Extra Magic Hours, it’s interesting that Disney is keeping the same schedule after the Food and Wine Festival concludes on November 16th. Historically, Disney has changed the Extra Magic Hours schedule during Food/Wine to help pull Disney resort guests toward less-crowded weekdays. Epcot usually hosts morning Extra Magic Hour on Tuesdays and evening Extra Magic Hours on Fridays. During the Festival, Disney has historically moved evening Extra Magic Hours to Wednesdays. This year, they moved evening Extra Magic Hours from Fridays to Thursdays and also moved the morning Extra Magic Hour at Magic Kingdom from Thursdays to Mondays, in addition to moving the morning Extra Magic Hour at Animal Kingdom from Sundays to Fridays. We may see the switch back to the “normal” schedule once the Mickey’s Party season concludes. Or we might not as the Extra Magic Hours schedule follows the same pattern for Thanksgiving, when no Christmas Parties are scheduled.

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Part 2, which covers food options and reviews of Mara, Jiko, and Sanaa, in addition to the pool bars and a look at resort merchandise, is available by clicking here.

This review is sponsored by by DVC Magic Resales at www.dvcmagicresales.com (they used their DVC points to book the room and in exchange will also be posting this review and reviews of the other properties). If you’re looking to buy into the Disney Vacation Club or purchase more points for less than you’d pay Disney directly, they’re a great choice. They also take excellent care of those looking to sell their contracts independently.

Past reviews:

I’ll admit that I may have lied back in the Wilderness Lodge review when I said it was my favorite Disney resort to visit. Depending on the day and which way the wind is blowing, my favorite is sometimes Animal Kingdom Lodge (AKL). There’s just so much to see and do there – from the savanna viewing, to the fantastic restaurants and lounges, to the exquisitely detailed public spaces, there’s nothing else quite like it.

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This review continues from Part 1, which introduces the resort, includes a walkthrough of a 1-bedroom villa, and covers the various resort activities like swimming and safaris.

The Food

Animal Kingdom Lodge’s culinary landscape rivals the best of Disney’s resorts. It would be hard to argue that it’s better than Grand Floridian on the high end, with Victoria & Albert’s and Citricos among the best restaurants on property, but that’s the only real exception. And when you add Sanaa over Grand Floridian Cafe, The Mara over Gasparilla Grill, and Victoria Falls over Mizner’s (arguably), you could make a real argument that Animal Kingdom Lodge offers Disney’s best overall food and beverage. Let’s take a look at what it has to offer, whether you’re staying on property or visiting from an area resort.

The Mara, AKL’s principal quick service, is located down this covered path behind the main building, and extending out toward the Uzima pool.

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