This is the Free January 2016 Disney World Crowd Calendar that shows the Recommended Parks to Visit, Overall Crowd Level Estimation, Cost, Historic High/Low Temperature, Historic Chance of Precipitation, Extra Magic Hours Schedule, Fantasmic Show Times, Holidays, and Special Events.
Make sure you first read my month-by-month overview of visiting Disney World, located here. The overview will give you an idea of what to expect in terms of cost, crowds, weather, and special events on a broader scale. Once you figure out when you would like to visit, you can move on to this more detailed look.
Here’s a quick explanation of how to read the calendar and what the numbers mean. It may seem like it’s a little long, but you’ll only need to read the explanation once.
- The first line in each box is the date.
- The second line shows the cost to book a room at a Disney-owned resort. $ = Value Season, $$ = Regular Season, $$$ = Summer Season, $$$$ = Peak Season, and $$$$$ = Holiday Season. Occasionally there will be a + or – after the $$$ to show that the cost is slightly higher or lower than usual, but not by enough to raise it another $ notch.
- The third line is the average high and low temperature and the chance of precipitation. All data is based on the last 15 years. I wouldn’t read too much into the precipitation percentages for each day because just one or two additional days of rain in the last 15 years can raise the percentage substantially. I included it so you can look at the precipitation trends throughout the month(s) and take it into consideration when deciding when to book your vacation. For a broader overview of the month, read the month-by-month overview I linked to above.
- The fourth line is an estimation of the overall crowd level. A “5″ refers to average crowds. Numbers above 5 refer to a larger than average overall crowd level and numbers below 5 refer to lower than average overall crowds. A day with an overall crowd level of “1″ means that the crowds are expected to be the absolute lowest of the year and a “10″ means crowds are expected to be at their largest of the year. In other words, the overall crowd level estimation will give you an idea of how many people are in the four major theme parks. Individual theme parks can have smaller or larger crowds than the overall estimation, which is where the theme park recommendations come in.
- The fifth line shows the theme parks I recommend visiting in green and the theme parks I recommend avoiding in red. There is also a | sign that splits up the recommended and not recommended Parks for the color blind or those printing in black and white (the Parks to the left of the | sign are recommended). I use the usual abbreviations for the Parks; AK is the Animal Kingdom, EP is Epcot, HS is Hollywood Studios, and MK is the Magic Kingdom. In addition to the colors, the Park on the far left is the most recommended Park to visit that day. The Park second to the left is the second most recommended and so on. For example, if the line reads AK EP | HS MK then the Animal Kingdom is the most recommended and Epcot is the second most recommended. On the other side of the | sign, Hollywood Studios is not recommended and the Magic Kingdom is expressly not recommended even more. If possible, I would strongly recommend you visit the Park that is most recommended each day. Please read below the calendar for an overview of how I’ve selected the recommended Parks and also a day-by-day explanation.
- The sixth line lists which Parks have Extra Magic Hours and at what time they start. Morning Extra Magic Hour lasts one hour and usually starts at 8am. Evening Extra Magic Hours last two hours from the start time. For example, if you see AK:8am EP:9pm, that means the Animal Kingdom has a morning Extra Magic Hour from 8am-9am and Epcot has evening Extra Magic Hours from 9pm-11pm.
- The seventh line lists the Fantasmic show times at the Hollywood Studios.
- The eighth line lists the start time of Main Street Electrical Parade (MSEP:) and Wishes Fireworks at Magic Kingdom(W:). For example, if you see, MSEP: 9pm & 11pm W: 10pm, it would mean that Main Street Electrical Parade begins at 9pm and 11pm and Wishes begins at 10pm.
The Calendar is also available in an easy to view and print PDF file, Here.
Click the image to enlarge it.
Friday January 1
Animal Kingdom: 9am – 7pm (8am-7pm likely) (Recommended)
Epcot: 9am – 9pm (8am-9pm likely) (Tentatively Recommended for Morning Touring)
Evening Extra Magic Hours: 9pm-11pm
Hollywood Studios: 9am – 8pm (8am-10pm likely) (Highly Recommended)
Fantasmic: 8:30pm (and 10pm likely)
Magic Kingdom: 9am – 11pm (8am-1am likely) (Most Recommended)
Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmastime Parade: (and 12:30pm likely) 3pm, Main Street Electrical Parade: 10:15pm (and 12:15am likely), Wishes Fireworks: 9pm
Animal Kingdom is recommended, though yesterday would have been significantly better with so much going on elsewhere. Today is still fine with an early arrival and/or intelligent FastPass+ selections. New Year’s Day tends to be a late arriving bunch, so the Park may not clear out as much as usual after 5pm. Still, waits are reliably shorter in DinoLand after 5pm and in Asia after 6pm. Stick around until close to ride Expedition Everest last thing at night.
Epcot is tentatively recommended for those that can take advantage of the early morning. Disney moved the open to 8am last year and may do so this year and you’ll want to be prepared for that possibility. With a 9am open, plan to arrive no later than 8:15am. With an 8am open, you’ll want to arrive no later than 7:20am or so with plans to visit Soarin’ or Test Track first thing. The afternoon will be busier than tomorrow as the wary New Year’s crowd arrives in the late morning and early afternoon as Disney resort guests flock to the Park with evening Extra Magic Hours. Expect long waits continuing through at least 10pm for evening Extra Magic Hours. Evening Extra Magic Hours can be pleasant so long as you hold off on either Soarin’ or Test Track for the very end of the night. World Showcase will see light crowds as will most other Future World attractions.
Hollywood Studios is highly recommended as we come off a busier day yesterday with the New Year’s Eve festivities. It’s very likely that the open will move to 8am and you will want to plan to arrive no later than 7:15am to take advantage of that. You can do very well in the early morning, but with such a limited number of rides, waits will be very long in the afternoon with the high overall crowd level. Consider taking a break in the afternoon when crowds peak and return in the evening for dinner, some late night rides after waits drop, and the second Fantasmic (which isn’t yet scheduled, but assuredly will as we get closer to the date).
Magic Kingdom is the most recommended Park as we come off two of the busiest days of the year. Epcot will be a bigger draw with the sizable on-site contingent with evening Extra Magic Hours. To have the most success, arrive prior to Park opening and head to Fantasyland or the headlining Mountain rides. Most people will want to start with the priorities in Fantasyland or Tomorrowland. You may have other time sensitive attractions on your itinerary like Astro Orbiter or Tomorrowland Indy Speedway as well. While these aren’t “the most popular” or “headlining” attractions, they are still morning priorities because they have guaranteed uncomfortable waits from 10am onward. Also consider prioritizing the most popular characters that don’t offer FastPass+. The late night hours are also a great time to tour, particularly if you’re skipping the nighttime spectaculars. Consider a lengthy break from 1pm to 7pm or so when crowds peak and return in the evening for dinner, the nighttime spectaculars, and late night rides.
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