April 2014 Walt Disney World Crowd Calendar

by josh on September 24, 2013

3/18/14 Update: Crowd Calendar updated with the changes listed here.

3/15/14 Update: Crowd Calendar updated with the changes to Easter Week listed here.

12/26/13 Update: Crowd Calendar updated with the changes listed here.

12/4/13 Update: Hollywood Studios’ Evening Extra Magic Hours on Monday April 28th moved to April 29th, causing some slight adjustments to the recommendations around those days.

This is the Free April 2014 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 entire Disney World complex, including the four major theme parks, water parks, Downtown Disney, golf courses, resorts, etc. 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 three 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-12am.
  • 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.

Tuesday April 1

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 7pm (Most Recommended)

Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade: 3:45pm

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Not Recommended)

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Illuminations: 9pm

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 9:30pm (Highly Recommended)

Fantasmic: 8:30pm and 10pm

Magic Kingdom: 9am – 11pm (Recommended)

Festival of Fantasy Parade: 3pm, Main Street Electrical Parade: 9pm and 11pm, Wishes Fireworks: 10pm

Animal Kingdom is the most recommended Park for a number of reasons.  We don’t have special events, Extra Magic Hours, or anything specific drawing people toward it.  Yesterday’s and tomorrow’s morning Extra Magic Hours will be more popular with Disney resort guests.  We also have Fantasmic at Hollywood Studios attracting a lot of off-site and on-site visitors alike and it’s early enough in the week that many people on weeklong vacations will be saving Animal Kingdom for later in the week. Magic Kingdom will continue being popular with the long operating hours and both nighttime spectaculars.  Overall, today and Saturday are the best days of the week to visit.  To have the most success, arrive prior to Park opening and head straight for Kilimanjaro Safaris and Expedition Everest.  You’ll have no trouble riding both with very low waits before 10am.  Once you get through these two attractions, you have little to worry about other than trying to get to the scheduled shows.  Finding Nemo does get busy during the afternoon shows, so try to see the first or last show of the day.  You’ll also want to get to DinoLand USA before 10:30am to ride Primeval Whirl and DINOSAUR because those two attractions are popular.  Still, they aren’t necessarily your top morning priorities.  You should have no trouble experiencing most everything Animal Kingdom has to offer in one day, provided you arrive early in the morning, tour efficiently, use FASTPASS intelligently, and keep an eye on the time in order to see the scheduled stage shows.  Finally, crowds disperse shortly after the 3:45pm Parade.  Plan to stay through close because waits will only get shorter as it gets later in the evening, but be sure to check the departure time of the last Kilimanjaro Safari. It may be earlier than the rest of the Park.  The last hour is an excellent opportunity to visit DinoLand and Expedition Everest in light crowds.

Epcot is not recommended.  We have the morning Extra Magic Hour attracting the majority of Disney resort guests and a lot of off-site visitors who will naturally visit Epcot after the Magic Kingdom yesterday.  While Fantasmic at Hollywood Studios helps, it shouldn’t pull enough people away to make a discernible difference in wait times.  Skip it unless you can’t get there any other day or are certain you’ll arrive prior to 8am for the morning Extra Magic Hour and plan to either Park Hop elsewhere or take a break in the afternoon.

Hollywood Studios is recommended.  Yesterday’s evening Extra Magic Hours/Fantasmic combo will be a bigger draw and the addition of Fantasmic to every day this week spreads crowds out more evenly.  Because of that, your touring plan is more important than which day you decide to visit the Studios.  Arrive by 8:15am, head directly to Toy Story Mania, and then visit Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, and Star Tours.  Do this, and you’ll be in great shape for the rest of the day.  Don’t arrive until 10am and you’ll end up with a 60+ minute waits at Toy Story Mania, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, and potentially Tower of Terror.  After getting through the headliners, focus on the Studios’ stage shows and high capacity attractions like Backlot Tour and Great Movie Ride.  Popular characters may also be a morning priority.  You may want to take a break in the afternoon from 1pm to 5pm or so when crowds get heavier.  Return for dinner, some evening rides, and Fantasmic.  Finally, consider the Fantasmic Dining Package that guarantees everyone on the reservation a seat in the reserved section of the Hollywood Hills Theater if you’re interested in the first show.  It will still require you to arrive 20 minutes early (or you run the risk of Disney opening the reserved section to the general population), but it’s better than the 60 minute wait that may be required to get decent seats without it.  It makes the most sense if you’re also on the Disney Dining Plan because it costs the same one-table-service credit at Hollywood and Vine or Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano and two-table-service credits that you would use otherwise.  It also includes the appetizer, which is a nice bonus.  If you’re not interested in the Package or it’s unavailable, plan to see the second show. It is far less crowded due to the number of families with kids that are forced to leave earlier and you won’t have to deal with two large sections reserved for Dining Package users. Overall, it’s a recommended day because it would be better than yesterday or tomorrow, but what you do is more important than arriving on the “right” day.

Magic Kingdom is recommended and an excellent choice if you don’t want to wait until tomorrow to visit.  Epcot’s morning Extra Magic Hour will help draw crowds away and a lot of people will have visited yesterday for their first full day at Disney World.  Still, Magic Kingdom won’t be empty with the above average overall crowd level, same operating hours as other days this week, Main Street Electrical Parade, and Wishes.  It’s still more important to arrive prior to Park opening and head straight for Fantasyland or the headlining Mountain rides.  You may also want to fit other time-sensitive attractions like Tomorrowland Indy Speedway or Astro Orbiter in there as well, along with Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, and other quick attractions that will have decent afternoon waits like Astro Orbiter.  Consider taking a break from 1pm to 5pm or so when crowds are heaviest and wait times are longest to rest up for the evening entertainment.  For Main Street Electrical Parade, scout out a spot along the Parade route in Liberty Square or Frontierland for the 11pm Parade.  Both areas are significantly less crowded than Main Street and require a shorter wait.  If you’re trying to decide between today and tomorrow, then I would go with tomorrow because it’s in the middle of the week and even more people will be ready to visit another Park.  However, today will be nearly as good if you tour efficiently in the morning, take a restful break, and enjoy the Magic Kingdom’s nighttime spectaculars.

Wednesday April 2

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 8pm (Not Recommended)

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade: 3:45pm

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 9:30pm (Not Recommended)

Fantasmic: 8:30pm and 10pm

Magic Kingdom: 9am – 11pm (Most Recommended)

Festival of Fantasy Parade: 3pm, Main Street Electrical Parade: 9pm and 11pm, Wishes Fireworks: 10pm

It’s the busiest day of the week at Animal Kingdom.  The morning Extra Magic Hour will attract the bulk of the Disney resort crowd and there’s no evening Extra Magic Hours or special evening entertainment going on at the other Parks (since Main Street Electrical Parade and Fantasmic are scheduled every night this week), which will cause a lot of off-site guests to visit as well.  With both yesterday and tomorrow recommended, there’s no reason to visit today.  However, if you are Extra Magic Hours eligible and able to arrive by 7:40am, you can have a tremendous amount of success from 8am – 10am. But the afternoon is going to be busier than any other day this week.

Epcot is recommended.  We’re coming off a popular morning Extra Magic Hour yesterday and most Disney resort guests will be waiting to either return or visit for their first time this Friday.  Disney resort guests are more likely to head to Animal Kingdom today and the addition of Fantasmic means a decent number of off-site guests will be headed to Hollywood Studios as well.  In most scenarios, I recommend heading to Magic Kingdom today to take advantage of the lower crowd level there and holding off on Epcot until tomorrow.  However, Epcot works fine today too, provided you follow my broken-record advice – arrive prior to Park opening and head straight to Test Track, Sum of All Thrills, Mission: Space, and Soarin’.  You may also want to take a more compartmentalized two-day approach, which gives you the benefit of enjoying the lowest possible crowds in both Future World and World Showcase each day.  Use FASTPASS later in the day at Soarin’ or Test Track if you’d like to ride a second time.  The single rider line at Test Track often has an actual wait shorter than standby or FASTPASS, so consider that as an option.  You may also want to get in line for Soarin’ or Test Track right before Epcot closes to find shorter waits than the afternoon, but only if you’re willing to give up seeing IllumiNations.  Mission: SPACE should have nominal waits before 11am or after 7pm.  If you’re planning just one day in Epcot, try to move up through the World Showcase right at 11am, beginning with the boat rides in Mexico and Norway.  These are the only two attractions in World Showcase that will see wait times and lines are short before 12pm and after 7:30pm.  Return to Future World after 5pm to visit any attractions that you skipped in the morning.  Keep in mind that some Future World attractions close at 7pm.  Expect Ellen’s Energy Adventure, Journey into Imagination with Figment, Captain EO, Living with the Land, Circle of Life, and both Innoventions buildings to accept their last guests of the day at 7pm.  Overall, it’s a good day to visit Epcot and a fine day to stay for dinner and IllumiNations, provided you tour efficiently in the morning.

Hollywood Studios is not recommended.  A lot of casual vacationers on a weeklong vacation will arrive on Sunday and naturally visit Magic Kingdom and Epcot on their first two full days.  By Wednesday and Thursday, they’ll be ready to try Animal Kingdom or Hollywood Studios.  While Animal Kingdom will draw a decent number of Disney resort guests, the morning Extra Magic Hour won’t do much to lure the sizeable off-site contingent.  With no special evening entertainment elsewhere and no extended operating hours, many off-site guests will default to Hollywood Studios.  Because of that, I can’t recommend it.  Keep in mind that the Studios won’t be far and away busier than recommended days because we don’t have anything specific attracting people towards it.  You can still have success if you tour efficiently in the morning, take an afternoon break, and return in the evening for dinner, Fantasmic, and some late night rides.  However, you will find heavier crowds and longer waits than recommended days – it just won’t be the night and day difference that we saw when Fantasmic was scheduled less often.

Magic Kingdom is our best Park to visit as we come off two busier days.  Tomorrow will be busier with the morning Extra Magic Hour attracting resort guests.  On the downside, we do have similar operating hours every day this week.  Ideally, we’d see an earlier close tonight, which would result in fewer people visiting on a day that they assume they would be able to do less over the course of a shorter day.  On the plus side, you do have the advantage of seeing both nighttime spectaculars and the relatively late close.  And if you’re not partaking in the evening entertainment, crowds at the attractions will be lighter after 8:30pm.  Take advantage of the lowest crowds this week by arriving prior to Park opening and head straight for Fantasyland (Enchanted Tales with Belle, Journey of the Little Mermaid, Ariel’s Grotto, Peter Pan’s Flight, Winnie the Pooh), the headlining Mountain rides (Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain), or other time sensitive attractions (Astro Orbiter, Tomorrowland Indy Speedway).  You may also want to prioritize characters that will have 30+ minute standby waits without the ability to FASTPASS them in the afternoon.  You’ll be able to accomplish a ton of attractions in a short amount of time if you make efficient use of the morning and use FASTPASS at the major attractions throughout the day.  Consider a break from 1pm to 5pm or so to rest up for dinner, a few nighttime attractions, and the nighttime entertainment.  As usual, the lowest Parade crowds are found in Liberty Square and Frontierland for the 11pm Parade, where the view is just as good as Main Street.

Thursday April 3

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 8pm (Recommended)

Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade: 3:45pm

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Most Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 9:30pm (Not Recommended)

Fantasmic: 8:30pm and 10pm

Magic Kingdom: 9am – 11pm (Not Recommended)

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Festival of Fantasy Parade: 3pm, Main Street Electrical Parade: 9pm and 11pm, Wishes Fireworks: 10pm

Animal Kingdom and Epcot are our best choices.  We’re coming off a popular day at Animal Kingdom yesterday, thanks to the morning Extra Magic Hour that will draw a lot of Disney resort guests.  Today, we have morning Extra Magic Hour attracting crowds toward the Magic Kingdom and Fantasmic continuing to keep Hollywood Studios crowded.  All in all, you can have a lot of success if you arrive by 8:30am and take care of Kilimanjaro Safaris and Expedition Everest first thing in the morning.  After getting those two attractions out of the way, head over to DinoLand USA for Primeval Whirl and DINOSAUR, over to the popular character greetings, or over to Finding Nemo the Musical.  Finding Nemo does get crowded later in the day and the first show is always the least crowded and will require the shortest wait to get good seats.  If you arrive later, you may need to rely on FASTPASS at Kilimanjaro Safaris and Expedition Everest.  Expedition Everest also has a “single rider line” that is usually short if you’re willing to split the group up.  You’ll find it to the right of the standby line. Kali River Rapids is also a priority when temperatures are higher because of its limited capacity.  Use FASTPASS or visit before 10:30am or after 5:30pm to get around the 40+ minute afternoon waits.  Plan to stay through close if you couldn’t get to the headliners earlier in the day or if you’d like to return to any other attractions because crowds only dissipate after the 3:45pm Parade and more and more people leave.  Return to DinoLand after 6pm and Asia after 7pm to find much shorter waits than the afternoon.  Overall, it’s a great day to visit Animal Kingdom if you need a day there.  If you’re looking to extend your day, you may want to book a dinner reservation right around Park close.  Disney will run buses for at least 90 minutes after Park close to get you back to your Disney resort and most restaurants accept bookings right up until close.  You may also want to visit the BoardWalk or Downtown Disney, both of which are popular dining/shopping destinations.  Of course, you can also Park Hop over to Magic Kingdom for the nighttime entertainment, Epcot for IllumiNations, or Hollywood Studios for Fantasmic.  If you do plan to head elsewhere, you’ll most likely want to take a sizable afternoon break.

Epcot is the most recommended Park.  Tomorrow’s evening Extra Magic Hours will be more attractive to Disney resort guests.  We also have morning Extra Magic Hour and Main Street Electrical Parade pulling people towards Magic Kingdom and Fantasmic at Hollywood Studios continuing to draw crowds.  Plan to arrive prior to Park opening and head straight to Test Track, Sum of All Thrills, Mission: Space, and Soarin’ or follow a more compartmentalized two-day touring plan if you prefer.  If you arrive later, plan to use FASTPASS at Soarin or Test Track because they will have 60+ minute waits for most of the day after 10:30am due to popularity and relatively low capacities.  Move on to the World Showcase beginning around 11am if crowds begin to build in Future World, beginning with the water rides in Mexico and Norway.  Return to Future World after 5pm if you have more to accomplish and to ride/re-ride the headliners with FASTPASS.  It’s also a great day to stay for dinner and IllumiNations.

Hollywood Studios is not recommended.  While the morning Extra Magic Hour will help draw Disney resort guests toward Magic Kingdom, it won’t be as big of a draw as when Magic Kingdom offers Main Street Electrical Parade and Wishes less often.  With Main Street Electrical Parade, Wishes, and similarly long hours every day this week, Magic Kingdom will only be marginally more crowded today.  We also don’t have the more popular evening Extra Magic Hours scheduled anywhere.  I’m looking towards tomorrow as being less crowded, thanks to the popular evening Extra Magic Hours at Epcot and the fact that the morning Extra Magic Hour on Saturday will be more attractive to Disney resort guests.  Like yesterday, there’s nothing specific drawing people towards Hollywood Studios, which means it won’t be far and away busier than non-recommended days during the week.  However, you will find higher crowds and longer waits in the afternoon.  Most people will want to take advantage of the lower crowds at Epcot and hold off on Hollywood Studios until tomorrow.

The morning Extra Magic Hour at Magic Kingdom will lure a decent number of Disney resort guests, making the Park busier than either this past Tuesday or Wednesday.  The fact that we have Main Street Electrical Parade scheduled every night this week certainly “helps” distribute crowds more evenly, even though the Disney resort crowd will predictably visit when Extra Magic Hours are scheduled.  Today won’t be far and away busier than other days this week and you can have success provided you take advantage of the morning Extra Magic Hour by arriving no later than 7:40am and heading straight to Fantasyland or other open attractions.  Move on to the headlining Mountain rides or character meet and greets when they open and you’ll be in excellent shape.  However, you will find that crowds are heavier than recommended days in the afternoon.  You’ll probably want to take a break from 1pm to 6pm or so and return in the evening to ride some major attractions with FASTPASS, have dinner, see some high capacity attractions, and enjoy the evening spectaculars.  Keep in mind that you would be much better off visiting on a recommended day if you aren’t Extra Magic Hours eligible or won’t arrive until 9:30am or later because it will be busier than recommended days from 11am onward.

Friday April 4

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 8pm (Recommended)

Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade: 3:45pm

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Not Recommended)

Evening Extra Magic Hours: 9pm – 11pm

Illuminations: 9pm

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 9:30pm (Most Recommended)

Fantasmic: 8:30pm and 10pm

Magic Kingdom: 9am – 12am (Recommended)

Festival of Fantasy Parade: 3pm, Main Street Electrical Parade: 9pm and 11pm, Wishes Fireworks: 10pm

Animal Kingdom is recommended.  Epcot’s evening Extra Magic Hours are always popular and will draw a lot of Disney resort guests and Magic Kingdom will remain the world’s most popular theme park with long hours of operation and both nighttime spectaculars.  The only problem is that it’s late in the week, which means most people on a weeklong vacation will have made it to the other more popular theme parks.  A lot of people naturally save Animal Kingdom for later in the week because they’re more interested in Magic Kingdom, Epcot, and Hollywood Studios.  But that is a minor concern with the fact that Animal Kingdom remains Disney’s least popular major theme park.  To have the most success, arrive prior to Park opening and take care of Kilimanjaro Safaris and Expedition Everest first thing.  After that, move on to DinoLand USA for Primeval Whirl and DINOSAUR or visit the characters and Finding Nemo the Musical. Keep in mind that crowds disperse after the 3:45pm Parade.  If you couldn’t get to some of the attraction earlier in the day, stay through until 8pm because waits will only decrease from 5pm through close.

We’ll want to avoid Epcot.  Its evening Extra Magic Hours will lure the majority of Disney resort guests, which will lengthen waits times at the attractions for the entire afternoon and evening.  Epcot is almost always at its busiest and lines are the longest when it has evening Extra Magic Hours.  This is due to the fact that many Disney resort guests head to whichever Park has Extra Magic Hours, even if they don’t plan to take advantage of them.  Without Park Hopper, Disney resort guests must stay in the Park with Extra Magic Hours for the entire day.  The increased crowds lead to longer lines, heavier congestion in common areas, and an overall less pleasant touring experience.  I would urge you to visit a different Park.  If you want to head to Epcot today, despite my strong objections, your best chance to ride the headlining rides is from 9am-11am.  Most Disney resort guests will sleep in and arrive around lunch in anticipation of staying until 10-11pm.  The morning will be a decent time to tour Epcot, but you’ll probably want to Park Hop elsewhere after lunch or you’ll be stuck in significantly larger-than-usual crowds.  You might also consider an afternoon break from 2pm-6pm when crowds will be at their largest.  You could then return in the early evening for dinner and Extra Magic Hours.  Alternatively, you could also Park Hop over in the evening for Extra Magic Hours, provided you’re aware of how busy it will be.  With Extra Magic Hours only being two hours now, wait times at Soarin’ and Test Track won’t ease much until after 10:30pm.  However, other attractions will see nominal waits and it’s a great time to take in Epcot’s natural ambiance and hit a few of the less popular/high capacity attractions.  Skip Illuminations if you’ll be here on another night because it will be more crowded than usual.  Overall, there’s no reason to visit Epcot today because crowds will be higher than any other day during the week and waits at Soarin’ and Test Track will be just as long as they were during the day until at least 10:30pm.

Hollywood Studios is the most recommended Park.  We’re looking at a morning Extra Magic Hour tomorrow that will be more popular with Disney resort guests.  With Fantasmic scheduled every night and the same operating hours offered every day, the Studios won’t be far and away less crowded than other days this week like it was when Fantasmic was scheduled less often.  Nonetheless, we’re looking at fewer people in the Park, crowds that grow slower, increased FASTPASS availability, less congestion in common areas, and shorter waits at rides, shows, and restaurants.  To have the most success, you’ll still want to arrive by 8:15am and head straight for Toy Story Mania, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, and Star Tours.  Because Toy Story Mania has such a limited capacity, wait times are almost always 60+ minutes in the afternoon and FASTPASSes are unavailable.  Expect waits to hit 60 to 90 minutes today.  You’ll want to make it your top priority.  Your second priority is Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, which also sees long afternoon waits and limited FASTPASS availability.  Tower of Terror and Star Tours should be easier to ride, but also remain priorities.  If you can get these attractions done in the early morning, you’ll be in great shape for the rest of the day.  The only other problem most people run into is trying to schedule all of the stage shows that run on a set schedule.  You may also want to prioritize characters that will have longer afternoon waits.  The Toy Story characters across from Toy Story Mania typically see the longest waits. Since they begin meeting at 9:15am, it’s easy to ride the attraction first and get in line for the characters immediately after. Sofia in Animation Courtyard sees long waits and begins meeting at 9:30am. Get in line by 9:25am if she’s of interest or wait for her afternoon set. Phineas & Ferb tend to have the third longest lines in Hollywood Studios.  They typically begin appearing at 9:30am near Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano and across from the exit to Muppet Vision 3D.  Check the week’s Times Guide to verify appearance times.  Two other popular characters appear in the Animation Building in the Animation Courtyard.  Sorcerer Mickey in particular has long afternoon waits and The Incredibles characters also tend to have decent lines.  Since both characters meet indoors and their lines aren’t usually over 20 minutes long, you should be able to find them with decent waits later in the day if you have other morning priorities.  Finally, you’ll find some characters in the morning near Mickey’s Sorcerer’s Hat that won’t appear later in the afternoon.  Daisy Duck, Chip, Dale, Goofy, and Pluto are all common, but no specific character is guaranteed to appear.  For Fantasmic, consider the Fantasmic Dining Package that guarantees everyone on the reservation a seat in the reserved section of the theater if you’re interested in the first show.  You’ll still need to arrive at least 30 minutes early, but it’s better than the 60+ minutes early you’ll need to arrive without the package.  It makes the most sense on the Disney Dining Plan because it only costs one table service credit (except at Hollywood Brown Derby, which still costs two credits as it would otherwise) and includes the appetizer. Otherwise, do whatever you can to see the 10pm show because it will be far less crowded.  As far as general seating is concerned, the best seats are about half way up in the center sections.  Sit any closer and you run the risk of getting wet and it’s more difficult to see what’s happening on the water.

Magic Kingdom is highly recommended.  Epcot will be a bigger draw with the sizable on-site contingent with evening Extra Magic Hours and we’re coming off a busier day with the morning Extra Magic Hour at Magic Kingdom yesterday.  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 Enchanted Tales with Belle, Journey of the Little Mermaid, and Ariel’s Grotto in New Fantasyland along with Peter Pan’s Flight and The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.   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 relatively late night hours are also a great time to tour, particularly if you’re skipping the nighttime spectaculars. Hit Tomorrowland after 10pm and Fantasyland after 11pm to find waits much shorter than the afternoon.

Saturday April 5

Animal Kingdom: 8am – 8pm (Highly Recommended)

Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade: 3:45pm

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Most Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 9:30pm (Not Recommended)

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Fantasmic: 8:30pm and 10pm

Magic Kingdom: 9am – 12am (Not Recommended)

Festival of Fantasy Parade: 3pm, Main Street Electrical Parade: 9pm and 11pm, Wishes Fireworks: 10pm

Animal Kingdom is highly recommended for a variety of reasons.  We don’t have Extra Magic Hours, special events, evening entertainment, or anything else to attract on-site or off-site visitors.  Those leaving tomorrow after a traditional weeklong vacation are unlikely to visit Animal Kingdom on their last full day and most arriving today won’t head out to Animal Kingdom as their first destination.  As always, you’ll be best off if you arrive prior to Park opening and head straight for Kilimanjaro Safaris and Expedition Everest.  Wait times will only get shorter after the 3:45pm Parade, so stay through close if you have more you’d like to accomplish. Visit DinoLand after 6pm and Asia after 7p to find much shorter waits than the afternoon. With a limited number of attractions and the high overall crowd level, the afternoon will still be busy.  Plan to see shows, visit the least popular attractions, and rely on FASTPASS at the major attractions between 12pm and 5pm.

Epcot is the most recommended Park.  Yesterday’s evening Extra Magic Hours will have been wildly popular with Disney resort guests and they will be nowhere near Epcot today, especially in the morning.  Take full advantage by arriving prior to Park opening and head straight to Test Track, Sum of All Thrills, Mission: Space, and Soarin’.  To stay ahead of the crowds for as long as possible, move up through the World Showcase beginning at 11am with the water rides in Norway and Mexico.  Return to Future World after 5pm to ride anything you skipped earlier in the day and to re-ride Soarin’ or Test Track with FASTPASS.  The Test Track single rider line is also a good idea and actual waits are often shorter than standby or FASTPASS.  Mission Space and Maelstrom are much easier to FASTPASS if necessary and standby waits are also much shorter.  It’s also an excellent day to stay for IllumiNations and enjoy the World Showcase in the afternoon.

Hollywood Studios is not recommended.  The sizable Disney resort contingent numbers 75,000+ people during the busy spring break season.  Because Disney sells the Extra Magic Hour program so well in its marketing materials, many of these Disney resort guests follow the Extra Magic Hours schedule because they think it’s Disney telling them where they belong each day.  While you can have success if you are Extra Magic Hours eligible and arrive by 7:15am, most people will want to visit another day.  Tomorrow would be significantly better.  Avoid it unless you can’t visit any other day or are certain you’ll arrive by 7:15am and plan to hit Toy Story Midway Mania, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, and Star Tours first thing in the morning.

Saturdays are naturally the busiest day of the week at the Magic Kingdom.  We have visiting locals and a lot of vacationers who will be visiting the Magic Kingdom for a second time before returning home tomorrow.  With the standard operating schedule this week, Magic Kingdom won’t be overwhelmingly more crowded today, but the afternoon in particular will “feel” more crowded than any other day this week.  While the morning Extra Magic Hour at Hollywood Studios helps, it won’t pull enough people away to make Magic Kingdom less crowded than a recommended Tuesday or Wednesday.  All of this makes me hesitant about recommending the Magic Kingdom, despite a lack of Extra Magic Hours.  You can have a moderate amount of success today if you arrive prior to 9am and head straight for the headlining or Fantasyland attractions.  The afternoon will be busier than any other day this week and you’ll either want to take a break and return for the Electrical Parade and Wishes or visit the less popular attractions from 2pm – 6pm.  The late night, from 10pm to 12am, will also see low waits at the attractions. While it is possible to have a decent day here if you arrive early and tour efficiently, there are much less crowded days to visit during the week.

Sunday April 6

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 8pm (Recommended)

Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade: 3:45pm

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Highly Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 8pm (Most Recommended)

Fantasmic: 8:30pm

Magic Kingdom: 9am – 11pm (Not Recommended)

Evening Extra Magic Hours: 11pm – 1am

Festival of Fantasy Parade: 3pm, Main Street Electrical Parade: 9pm and 11pm, Wishes Fireworks: 10pm

Animal Kingdom is recommended.  We have evening Extra Magic Hours/Main Street Electrical Parade at Magic Kingdom luring a lot of Disney resort guests.  Disney resort guests are more likely to visit Animal Kingdom tomorrow or Wednesday for morning Extra Magic Hour.  With the longer than usual operating hours, you should be able to do just about everything the Park has to offer if you arrive prior to Park opening.  Focus on riding Kilimanjaro Safaris and Expedition Everest as early as possible or use FASTPASS.  After getting those out of the way, move on to DinoLand USA or Finding Nemo the Musical and you’ll be set for the rest of the day.  Keep in mind that crowds disperse shortly after the 3:45pm Parade and the last 90 minutes of operation will have much shorter waits than the afternoon.  Visit DinoLand after 6pm and Asia after 7pm to find much shorter waits than the afternoon. You also have an outstanding opportunity to Park Hop after the Park closes.  You could head to Epcot for dinner and IllumiNations, Magic Kingdom for evening Extra Magic Hours, or Hollywood Studios for Fantasmic.  Without Park Hopper, consider transferring to the Animal Kingdom Lodge for dinner and a look around the resort or take a trip out to Downtown Disney or the BoardWalk for dinner and shopping.

Epcot is recommended as well.  It’s a particularly excellent day to see IllumiNations and have dinner in the World Showcase because Magic Kingdom will be attracting most of the nighttime crowd.  Despite the recommendation, you will still have the most success if you arrive prior to opening and head straight to Test Track, Sum of All Thrills, Mission: Space, and Soarin’ or follow one of the touring plans.  Single Rider at Test Track is also a good option and will often result in a shorter wait than the standby or FASTPASS lines.  It’s more important to arrive early and take care of the headliners first thing than it is to pick the “right” day.  You’ll run into lines at the headliners in Future World if you don’t arrive until 10:30am with everyone else.  To stay ahead of the crowds for the longest amount of time, move up through the World Showcase beginning at 11am with the water rides in Norway and Mexico.  Return to Future World after 5pm to see anything you missed, but make sure you check your Times Guide because some attractions close at 7pm, including Captain EO, Journey into Imagination with Figment, Living with the Land, Circle of Life, both Innoventions buildings, and Ellen’s Energy Adventure.  If you’re interested in re-riding Soarin’ or Test Track, plan to use FASTPASS, single rider at Test Track, or get in line around 8:55pm.

Hollywood Studios is the most recommended Park.  Tomorrow’s evening Extra Magic Hours will be more popular with the predictable Disney resort guests.  We also have evening Extra Magic Hours, Main Street Electrical Parade, and Wishes at Magic Kingdom, all of which will be incredibly popular with Disney resort guests.  Finally, Sunday is a popular travel day and few people arriving will head out to the Studios for Fantasmic this evening.  Those that arrived yesterday are also unlikely to begin their first full day at Hollywood Studios, especially with an earlier close than most days around it.  Thus, today is less crowded than any other day this week.  If you have other plans today, this coming Tuesday and Friday are also recommended.  This past Friday was also recommended.  In order to find the shortest waits, you’ll need to arrive by 8:15am and head straight to Toy Story Mania.  Because of its popularity and extremely limited capacity, Toy Story Mania almost always has afternoon waits of 60 or more minutes, even when crowds are relatively low and the Studios is recommended.  It’s always your top priority.  The second attraction with the longest peak wait is Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, which should be ridden immediately after Toy Story Mania in the morning or with FASTPASS.  Other priorities are Tower of Terror and Star Tours, though FASTPASSes are more plentiful at both attractions and standby waits are usually lower.  After you get through these four headliners, it’s just a matter of arriving in time to see the various stage shows that run on a set schedule and getting over to the Studios’ high capacity attractions.  You may also have characters to visit before lines get longer.  While it’s officially a recommended day, arriving prior to Park opening and hitting the headliners first thing is more important than which day you pick.  Arrive at 11am, no matter the recommendation or the overall crowd level, and you’ll be looking at long lines at Toy Story Mania and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster.

Magic Kingdom is not recommended, though the morning from 9am – 11am and the late evening from 10:30pm – 1am will both be good times to tour.  However, the afternoon will be busy enough that you won’t want to risk it unless you’re absolutely certain that you’ll take advantage of one or both of the recommended touring times and can’t visit on a “more recommended” day.  Most Disney resort guests who will be headed to the Magic Kingdom will sleep in and arrive around 11am, in anticipation of staying until around 10pm.  If you arrive prior to 9am, you can have a lot of success visiting the Fantasyland attractions and headlining Mountain rides.  However, the Park will be busy from 12pm to 10pm as the bulk of Disney resort guests arrive en masse and stay through the evening entertainment.  You’ll either want to take a break, Park Hop elsewhere, or plan to visit some of the less popular attractions for that time slot.  The relatively late night Extra Magic Hours are also recommended.  If you are staying for Extra Magic Hours, begin in Adventureland because most people will head to Tomorrowland and Fantasyland first.  Next, move up through Frontierland and Liberty Square on your way to Tomorrowland.  Save Fantasyland for last because most families will be long gone from the Park by 12am and Fantasyland will be low on crowds.  It’s not uncommon for Peter Pan’s Flight to have a 70 minute wait in the afternoon and a ten minute or less wait at the end of evening Extra Magic Hours.  Save Peter Pan, Winnie the Pooh, and Journey of the Little Mermaid for the very end of the night.  You’ll find lower crowds on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday of this coming week, but the morning and late night will both be good times to tour if you need an additional day at Magic Kingdom.

Monday April 7

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 7pm (Not Recommended)

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade: 3:45pm

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Most Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 9:30pm (Not Recommended)

Evening Extra Magic Hours: 9:30pm – 11:30pm

Fantasmic: 8:30pm and 10pm

Magic Kingdom: 9am – 11pm (Not Recommended)

Festival of Fantasy Parade: 3pm, Main Street Electrical Parade: 9pm and 11pm, Wishes Fireworks: 10pm

Animal Kingdom will be moderately more popular than recommended days due to the morning Extra Magic Hour that will attract a decent number of Disney resort guests.  Mondays at the Animal Kingdom aren’t wildly popular because of the fact that morning Extra Magic Hours aren’t as popular as evening Extra Magic Hours and because it’s early in the week and many people who travel over the weekend will be heading to the Magic Kingdom regardless of the Extra Magic Hours schedule.  Still, there are better days to visit the Animal Kingdom than today, including tomorrow, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.  While the morning Extra Magic Hour is an excellent time to tour, it’s difficult to get out to the Animal Kingdom by 7:45am to take full advantage of it.  If you’re staying at a Monorail Deluxe Resort, you’re looking at a 20+ minute drive to the Animal Kingdom, plus time for the bus to arrive – not to mention getting multiple people up and ready early in the morning with just one shower and limited space.  At 6:30am.  If you’re absolutely certain that you’ll arrive by 7:45am, then you can have a lot of success because the crowd level won’t be that high, but it will be busier in the afternoon than other recommended days this week due to a higher number of Disney resort guests than usual.  You’re much better served holding off for a recommended day if you’re not going to arrive until 9am or later.

Epcot is the only expressly recommended Park.  We don’t have Extra Magic Hours, special evening entertainment, or anything else that will draw people toward Epcot specifically.  Disney resort guests will be more likely to visit tomorrow or Friday for Extra Magic Hours and off-site visitors on a weeklong vacation will be headed to the Magic Kingdom for their first full day at the world’s most popular theme park.  Still, it will be crowded with the above average overall crowd level.  To have the most success, arrive prior to Park opening and head to Test Track, Sum of All Thrills, Mission: Space, and Soarin’ or follow one of the two-day compartmentalized touring plans.  You’ll also be in the best shape if you’ve moved on to World Showcase by 12pm.  Should you have more to accomplish in Future World, return after 5pm when most of the crowd has moved on to World Showcase.  Just keep in mind that a lot of the Future World attractions close at 7pm.  Usually, just Soarin, Test Track, Mission: Space, Spaceship Earth, The Seas with Nemo and Friends, and Character Spot continue to operate after 7pm.  If Character Spot is on your itinerary, try to visit after 7pm when waits times are much lower than the afternoon.  Overall, it’s a great day for Epcot and an excellent opportunity to spend time in both Future World and World Showcase.

Hollywood Studios will be busy due to the evening Extra Magic Hours that are popular with Disney resort guests.  The morning will be an okay time to tour, but crowds will increase around 11am as more and more Disney resort guests arrive.  Yesterday, tomorrow, and Friday would all be better days to visit.  Evening Extra Magic Hours at the Studios aren’t usually much of a success for people because there are only a few attractions open and the waits for Toy Story Mania, Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, and Star Tours will likely be just as long as they were during the day, especially now that Extra Magic Hours have been reduced to two hours.  If you’re staying for evening Extra Magic Hours, your best bet is always to save these headlining attractions for the very end of the night and visit Toy Story Mania last.  You can have a moderate amount of success if you arrive early, but with several recommended days coming up, there’s really no reason to press your luck.

It’s going to be a busy day at Magic Kingdom even without Extra Magic Hours to lure Disney resort guests.  First, a lot of people are arriving for a weeklong spring break vacation.  They travel over the weekend and naturally head to the Magic Kingdom on Monday for their first full day.  With the mostly standardized operating schedule this week and nighttime entertainment featured every night, it won’t be overwhelmingly busier compared to tomorrow or Wednesday.  If you are headed to Magic Kingdom despite the warning, you can still have a successful and fun day if you arrive prior to Park opening and head straight to Fantasyland, the headlining Mountain rides, or whatever you feel is most important on your itinerary.  You may want to take an afternoon break from 1pm to 6pm or so to rest up for the nighttime spectaculars.  Still, you’re much better off waiting until Tuesday, Wednesday, or Friday to visit because Magic Kingdom will be less crowded.

Tuesday April 8

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 7pm (Most Recommended)

Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade: 3:45pm

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Not Recommended)

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Illuminations: 9pm

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 8pm (Highly Recommended)

Fantasmic: 8:30pm

Magic Kingdom: 9am – 11pm (Recommended)

Festival of Fantasy Parade: 3pm, Main Street Electrical Parade: 9pm and 11pm, Wishes Fireworks: 10pm

Animal Kingdom is the most recommended Park for a number of reasons.  We don’t have special events, Extra Magic Hours, or anything specific drawing people toward it.  Yesterday’s and tomorrow’s morning Extra Magic Hours will be more popular with Disney resort guests.  We also have Fantasmic at Hollywood Studios attracting a lot of off-site and on-site visitors alike and it’s early enough in the week that many people on weeklong vacations will be saving Animal Kingdom for later in the week. Magic Kingdom will continue being popular with the long operating hours and both nighttime spectaculars.  Overall, today and Saturday are the best days of the week to visit.  To have the most success, arrive prior to Park opening and head straight for Kilimanjaro Safaris and Expedition Everest.  You’ll have no trouble riding both with very low waits before 10am.  Once you get through these two attractions, you have little to worry about other than trying to get to the scheduled shows.  Finding Nemo does get busy during the afternoon shows, so try to see the first or last show of the day.  You’ll also want to get to DinoLand USA before 10:30am to ride Primeval Whirl and DINOSAUR because those two attractions are popular.  Still, they aren’t necessarily your top morning priorities.  You should have no trouble experiencing most everything Animal Kingdom has to offer in one day, provided you arrive early in the morning, tour efficiently, use FASTPASS intelligently, and keep an eye on the time in order to see the scheduled stage shows.  Finally, crowds disperse shortly after the 3:45pm Parade.  Plan to stay through close because waits will only get shorter as it gets later in the evening, but be sure to check the departure time of the last Kilimanjaro Safari. It may be earlier than the rest of the Park.  The last hour is an excellent opportunity to visit DinoLand and Expedition Everest in light crowds.

Epcot is not recommended.  We have the morning Extra Magic Hour attracting the majority of Disney resort guests and a lot of off-site visitors who will naturally visit Epcot after the Magic Kingdom yesterday.  While Fantasmic at Hollywood Studios helps, it shouldn’t pull enough people away to make a discernible difference in wait times.  Skip it unless you can’t get there any other day or are certain you’ll arrive prior to 8am for the morning Extra Magic Hour and plan to either Park Hop elsewhere or take a break in the afternoon.

Hollywood Studios is recommended.  Yesterday’s evening Extra Magic Hours/Fantasmic combo will be a bigger draw and the addition of Fantasmic to every day this week spreads crowds out more evenly.  Because of that, your touring plan is more important than which day you decide to visit the Studios.  Arrive by 8:15am, head directly to Toy Story Mania, and then visit Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, and Star Tours.  Do this, and you’ll be in great shape for the rest of the day.  Don’t arrive until 10am and you’ll end up with a 60+ minute waits at Toy Story Mania, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, and potentially Tower of Terror.  After getting through the headliners, focus on the Studios’ stage shows and high capacity attractions like Backlot Tour and Great Movie Ride.  Popular characters may also be a morning priority.  You may want to take a break in the afternoon from 1pm to 5pm or so when crowds get heavier.  Return for dinner, some evening rides, and Fantasmic.  Finally, consider the Fantasmic Dining Package that guarantees everyone on the reservation a seat in the reserved section of the Hollywood Hills Theater if you’re interested in the first show.  It will still require you to arrive 20 minutes early (or you run the risk of Disney opening the reserved section to the general population), but it’s better than the 60 minute wait that may be required to get decent seats without it.  It makes the most sense if you’re also on the Disney Dining Plan because it costs the same one-table-service credit at Hollywood and Vine or Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano and two-table-service credits that you would use otherwise.  It also includes the appetizer, which is a nice bonus.  Overall, it’s a recommended day because it would be better than yesterday or tomorrow, but what you do is more important than arriving on the “right” day.

Magic Kingdom is recommended and an excellent choice if you don’t want to wait until tomorrow to visit.  Epcot’s morning Extra Magic Hour will help draw crowds away and a lot of people will have visited yesterday for their first full day at Disney World.  Still, Magic Kingdom won’t be empty with the above average overall crowd level, same operating hours as other days this week, Main Street Electrical Parade, and Wishes.  It’s still more important to arrive prior to Park opening and head straight for Fantasyland or the headlining Mountain rides.  You may also want to fit other time-sensitive attractions like Tomorrowland Indy Speedway or Astro Orbiter in there as well, along with Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, and other quick attractions that will have decent afternoon waits like Astro Orbiter.  Consider taking a break from 1pm to 5pm or so when crowds are heaviest and wait times are longest to rest up for the evening entertainment.  For Main Street Electrical Parade, scout out a spot along the Parade route in Liberty Square or Frontierland for the 11pm Parade.  Both areas are significantly less crowded than Main Street and require a shorter wait.  If you’re trying to decide between today and tomorrow, then I would go with tomorrow because it’s in the middle of the week and even more people will be ready to visit another Park.  However, today will be nearly as good if you tour efficiently in the morning, take a restful break, and enjoy the Magic Kingdom’s nighttime spectaculars.

Wednesday April 9

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 7pm (Not Recommended)

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade: 3:45pm

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 8pm (Not Recommended)

Fantasmic: 8:30pm

Magic Kingdom: 9am – 11pm (Most Recommended)

Festival of Fantasy Parade: 3pm, Main Street Electrical Parade: 9pm and 11pm, Wishes Fireworks: 10pm

It’s the busiest day of the week at Animal Kingdom.  The morning Extra Magic Hour will attract the bulk of the Disney resort crowd and there’s no evening Extra Magic Hours or special evening entertainment going on at the other Parks (since Main Street Electrical Parade and Fantasmic are scheduled every night this week), which will cause a lot of off-site guests to visit as well.  With both yesterday and tomorrow recommended, there’s no reason to visit today.  However, if you are Extra Magic Hours eligible and able to arrive by 7:40am, you can have a tremendous amount of success from 8am – 10am. But the afternoon is going to be busier than any other day this week.

Epcot is recommended.  We’re coming off a popular morning Extra Magic Hour yesterday and most Disney resort guests will be waiting to either return or visit for their first time this Friday.  Disney resort guests are more likely to head to Animal Kingdom today and the addition of Fantasmic means a decent number of off-site guests will be headed to Hollywood Studios as well.  In most scenarios, I recommend heading to Magic Kingdom today to take advantage of the lower crowd level there and holding off on Epcot until tomorrow.  However, Epcot works fine today too, provided you follow my broken-record advice – arrive prior to Park opening and head straight to Test Track, Sum of All Thrills, Mission: Space, and Soarin’.  You may also want to take a more compartmentalized two-day approach, which gives you the benefit of enjoying the lowest possible crowds in both Future World and World Showcase each day.  Plan to use FASTPASS at Soarin’ or Test Traclif you’d like to ride a second time.  The single rider line at Test Track often has an actual wait shorter than standby or FASTPASS, so consider that as an option.  You may also want to get in line for Soarin’ or Test Track right before Epcot closes to find shorter waits than the afternoon, but only if you’re willing to give up seeing IllumiNations.  Mission: SPACE should have nominal waits before 11am or after 7pm.  If you’re planning just one day in Epcot, try to move up through the World Showcase right at 11am, beginning with the boat rides in Mexico and Norway.  These are the only two attractions in World Showcase that will see wait times. Visit before 12pm or after 7:30pm to minimize waits.  Return to Future World after 5pm to visit any attractions that you skipped in the morning.  Keep in mind that some Future World attractions close at 7pm.  Expect Ellen’s Energy Adventure, Journey into Imagination with Figment, Captain EO, Living with the Land, Circle of Life, and both Innoventions buildings to accept their last guests of the day at 7pm.  Overall, it’s a good day to visit Epcot and a fine day to stay for dinner and IllumiNations, provided you tour efficiently in the morning.

Hollywood Studios is not recommended.  A lot of casual vacationers on a weeklong vacation will arrive on Sunday and naturally visit Magic Kingdom and Epcot on their first two full days.  By Wednesday and Thursday, they’ll be ready to try Animal Kingdom or Hollywood Studios.  While Animal Kingdom will draw a decent number of Disney resort guests, the morning Extra Magic Hour won’t do much to lure the sizeable off-site contingent.  With no special evening entertainment elsewhere and no extended operating hours, many off-site guests will default to Hollywood Studios.  Because of that, I can’t recommend it.  Keep in mind that the Studios won’t be far and away busier than recommended days because we don’t have anything specific attracting people towards it.  You can still have success if you tour efficiently in the morning, take an afternoon break, and return in the evening for dinner, Fantasmic, and some late night rides.  However, you will find heavier crowds and longer waits than recommended days – it just won’t be the night and day difference that we saw when Fantasmic was scheduled less often.

Magic Kingdom is our best Park to visit as we come off two busier days.  Tomorrow will be busier with the morning Extra Magic Hour attracting resort guests.  On the downside, we do have similar operating hours.  Ideally, we’d see an earlier close tonight, which would result in fewer people visiting on a day that they assume they would be able to do less over the course of a shorter day.  On the plus side, you do have the advantage of seeing both nighttime spectaculars and the relatively late close.  And if you’re not partaking in the evening entertainment, crowds at the attractions will be lighter after 9:30pm.  Take advantage of the lowest crowds this week by arriving prior to Park opening and head straight for Fantasyland (Enchanted Tales with Belle, Journey of the Little Mermaid, Ariel’s Grotto, Peter Pan’s Flight, Winnie the Pooh), the headlining Mountain rides (Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain), or other time sensitive attractions (Astro Orbiter, Tomorrowland Indy Speedway).  You may also want to prioritize characters that will have 30+ minute standby waits without the ability to FASTPASS them in the afternoon.  You’ll be able to accomplish a ton of attractions in a short amount of time if you make efficient use of the morning and use FASTPASS at the major attractions throughout the day.  Consider a break from 1pm to 5pm or so to rest up for dinner, a few nighttime attractions, and the nighttime entertainment.  As usual, the lowest Parade crowds are found in Liberty Square and Frontierland for the 11pm Parade, where the view is just as good as Main Street If you’re skipping the entertainment, visit Tomorrowland after 9pm and Fantasyland after 10pm to find much shorter waits than the afternoon.

Thursday April 10

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 8pm (Recommended)

Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade: 3:45pm

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Most Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 9:30pm (Not Recommended)

Fantasmic: 8:30pm and 10pm

Magic Kingdom: 9am – 11pm (Not Recommended)

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Festival of Fantasy Parade: 3pm, Main Street Electrical Parade: 9pm and 11pm, Wishes Fireworks: 10pm

Animal Kingdom and Epcot are our best choices.  We’re coming off a popular day at Animal Kingdom yesterday, thanks to the morning Extra Magic Hour that will draw a lot of Disney resort guests.  Today, we have morning Extra Magic Hour attracting crowds toward the Magic Kingdom and Fantasmic continuing to keep Hollywood Studios crowded.  All in all, you can have a lot of success if you arrive prior to Park opening and take care of Kilimanjaro Safaris and Expedition Everest first thing in the morning.  After getting those two attractions out of the way, head over to DinoLand USA for Primeval Whirl and DINOSAUR, over to the popular character greetings, or over to Finding Nemo the Musical.  Finding Nemo does get crowded later in the day and the first show is always the least crowded and will require the shortest wait to get good seats.  If you arrive later, you may need to rely on FASTPASS at Kilimanjaro Safaris and Expedition Everest.  Expedition Everest also has a “single rider line” that is usually short if you’re willing to split the group up.  You’ll find it to the right of the standby line. Kali River Rapids is also a priority when temperatures are higher because of its limited capacity.  Use FASTPASS or visit before 10:30am or after 5:30pm to get around the 40+ minute afternoon waits.  Plan to stay through close if you couldn’t get to the headliners earlier in the day or if you’d like to return to any other attractions because crowds only dissipate after the 3:45pm Parade and more and more people leave.  Return to DinoLand after 6pm and Asia after 7pm to find much shorter waits than the afternoon.  Overall, it’s a great day to visit Animal Kingdom if you need a day there.  If you’re looking to extend your day, you may want to book a dinner reservation right around Park close.  Disney will run buses for at least 90 minutes after Park close to get you back to your Disney resort and most restaurants accept bookings right up until close.  You may also want to visit the BoardWalk or Downtown Disney, both of which are popular dining/shopping destinations.  Of course, you can also Park Hop over to Magic Kingdom for the nighttime entertainment, Epcot for IllumiNations, or Hollywood Studios for Fantasmic.  If you do plan to head elsewhere, you’ll most likely want to take a sizable afternoon break.

Epcot is the most recommended Park.  Tomorrow’s evening Extra Magic Hours will be more attractive to Disney resort guests.  We also have morning Extra Magic Hour and Main Street Electrical Parade pulling people towards Magic Kingdom and Fantasmic at Hollywood Studios continuing to draw crowds.  Plan to arrive prior to Park opening and head straight to Test Track, Sum of All Thrills, Mission: Space, and Soarin’ or follow a more compartmentalized two-day touring plan if you prefer.  If you arrive later, plan to use FASTPASS at Soarin or Test Track because they will have 60+ minute waits for most of the day after 10:30am due to popularity and relatively low capacities.  Move on to the World Showcase beginning around 11am if crowds begin to build in Future World, beginning with the water rides in Mexico and Norway.  Return to Future World after 5pm if you have more to accomplish and to ride/re-ride the headliners with FASTPASS.  It’s also a great day to stay for dinner and IllumiNations.

Hollywood Studios is not recommended.  While the morning Extra Magic Hour will help draw Disney resort guests toward Magic Kingdom, it won’t be as big of a draw as when Magic Kingdom offers Main Street Electrical Parade and Wishes less often.  With Main Street Electrical Parade, Wishes, and similarly long hours every day this week, Magic Kingdom will only be marginally more crowded today.  We also don’t have the more popular evening Extra Magic Hours scheduled anywhere.  I’m looking towards tomorrow as being less crowded, thanks to the popular evening Extra Magic Hours at Epcot and the fact that the morning Extra Magic Hour on Saturday will be more attractive to Disney resort guests.  Like yesterday, there’s nothing specific drawing people towards Hollywood Studios, which means it won’t be far and away busier than non-recommended days during the week.  However, you will find higher crowds and longer waits in the afternoon.  Most people will want to take advantage of the lower crowds at Epcot and hold off on Hollywood Studios until tomorrow.

The morning Extra Magic Hour at Magic Kingdom will lure a decent number of Disney resort guests, making the Park busier than either this past Tuesday or Wednesday.  The fact that we have Main Street Electrical Parade scheduled every night this week certainly “helps” distribute crowds more evenly, even though the Disney resort crowd will predictably visit when Extra Magic Hours are scheduled.  Today won’t be far and away busier than other days this week and you can have success provided you take advantage of the morning Extra Magic Hour by arriving no later than 7:40am and heading straight to Fantasyland or other open attractions.  Move on to the headlining Mountain rides or character meet and greets when they open and you’ll be in excellent shape.  However, you will find that crowds are heavier than recommended days in the afternoon.  You’ll probably want to take a break from 1pm to 6pm or so and return in the evening to ride some major attractions with FASTPASS, have dinner, see some high capacity attractions, and enjoy the evening spectaculars.  Keep in mind that you would be much better off visiting on a recommended day if you aren’t Extra Magic Hours eligible or won’t arrive until 9:30am or later because it will be busier than recommended days from 11am onward.

Friday April 11

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 8pm (Recommended)

Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade: 3:45pm

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Not Recommended)

Evening Extra Magic Hours: 9pm – 11pm

Illuminations: 9pm

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 9:30pm (Most Recommended)

Fantasmic: 8:30pm and 10pm

Magic Kingdom: 9am – 11pm (Recommended)

Festival of Fantasy Parade: 3pm, Main Street Electrical Parade: 9pm and 11pm, Wishes Fireworks: 10pm

Animal Kingdom is recommended.  Epcot’s evening Extra Magic Hours are always popular and will draw a lot of Disney resort guests and Magic Kingdom will remain the world’s most popular theme park with long hours of operation and both nighttime spectaculars.  The only problem is that it’s late in the week, which means most people on a weeklong vacation will have made it to the other more popular theme parks.  A lot of people naturally save Animal Kingdom for later in the week because they’re more interested in Magic Kingdom, Epcot, and Hollywood Studios.  But that is a minor concern with the fact that Animal Kingdom remains Disney’s least popular major theme park.  To have the most success, arrive prior to Park opening and take care of Kilimanjaro Safaris and Expedition Everest first thing.  After that, move on to DinoLand USA for Primeval Whirl and DINOSAUR or visit the characters and Finding Nemo the Musical. Keep in mind that crowds disperse after the 3:45pm Parade.  If you couldn’t get to some of the attraction earlier in the day, stay through until 8pm because waits will only decrease from 5pm through close.

We’ll want to avoid Epcot.  Its evening Extra Magic Hours will lure the majority of Disney resort guests, which will lengthen waits times at the attractions for the entire afternoon and evening.  Epcot is almost always at its busiest and lines are the longest when it has evening Extra Magic Hours.  This is due to the fact that many Disney resort guests head to whichever Park has Extra Magic Hours, even if they don’t plan to take advantage of them.  Without Park Hopper, Disney resort guests must stay in the Park with Extra Magic Hours for the entire day.  The increased crowds lead to longer lines, heavier congestion in common areas, and an overall less pleasant touring experience.  I would urge you to visit a different Park.  If you want to head to Epcot today, despite my strong objections, your best chance to ride the headlining rides is from 9am-11am.  Most Disney resort guests will sleep in and arrive around lunch in anticipation of staying until 10-11pm.  The morning will be a decent time to tour Epcot, but you’ll probably want to Park Hop elsewhere after lunch or you’ll be stuck in significantly larger-than-usual crowds.  You might also consider an afternoon break from 2pm-6pm when crowds will be at their largest.  You could then return in the early evening for dinner and Extra Magic Hours.  Alternatively, you could also Park Hop over in the evening for Extra Magic Hours, provided you’re aware of how busy it will be.  With Extra Magic Hours only being two hours now, wait times at Soarin’ and Test Track won’t ease much until after 10:30pm.  However, other attractions will see nominal waits and it’s a great time to take in Epcot’s natural ambiance and hit a few of the less popular/high capacity attractions.  Skip Illuminations if you’ll be here on another night because it will be more crowded than usual.  Overall, there’s no reason to visit Epcot today because crowds will be higher than any other day during the week and waits at Soarin’ and Test Track will be just as long as they were during the day until at least 10:30pm.

Hollywood Studios is the most recommended Park.  We’re looking at a morning Extra Magic Hour tomorrow that will be more popular with Disney resort guests.  With Fantasmic scheduled every night and the same operating hours offered every day, the Studios won’t be far and away less crowded than other days this week like it was when Fantasmic was scheduled less often.  Nonetheless, we’re looking at fewer people in the Park, crowds that grow slower, increased FASTPASS availability, less congestion in common areas, and shorter waits at rides, shows, and restaurants.  To have the most success, you’ll still want to arrive by 8:15am and head straight for Toy Story Mania, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, and Star Tours.  Because Toy Story Mania has such a limited capacity, wait times are almost always 60+ minutes in the afternoon and FASTPASSes are unavailable.  Expect waits to hit 60 to 90 minutes today.  You’ll want to make it your top priority.  Your second priority is Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, which also sees long afternoon waits and limited FASTPASS availability.  Tower of Terror and Star Tours should be easier to ride, but also remain priorities.  If you can get these attractions done in the early morning, you’ll be in great shape for the rest of the day.  The only other problem most people run into is trying to schedule all of the stage shows that run on a set schedule.  You may also want to prioritize characters that will have longer afternoon waits.  The Toy Story characters across from Toy Story Mania typically see the longest waits. Since they begin meeting at 9:15am, it’s easy to ride the attraction first and get in line for the characters immediately after. Sofia in Animation Courtyard sees long waits and begins meeting at 9:30am. Get in line by 9:25am if she’s of interest or wait for her afternoon set. Phineas & Ferb tend to have the third longest lines in Hollywood Studios.  They typically begin appearing at 9:30am near Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano and across from the exit to Muppet Vision 3D.  Check the week’s Times Guide to verify appearance times.  Two other popular characters appear in the Animation Building in the Animation Courtyard.  Sorcerer Mickey in particular has long afternoon waits and The Incredibles characters also tend to have decent lines.  Since both characters meet indoors and their lines aren’t usually over 20 minutes long, you should be able to find them with decent waits later in the day if you have other morning priorities.  Finally, you’ll find some characters in the morning near Mickey’s Sorcerer’s Hat that won’t appear later in the afternoon.  Daisy Duck, Chip, Dale, Goofy, and Pluto are all common, but no specific character is guaranteed to appear.  For Fantasmic, consider the Fantasmic Dining Package that guarantees everyone on the reservation a seat in the reserved section of the theater if you’re interested in the first show.  You’ll still need to arrive at least 30 minutes early, but it’s better than the 60+ minutes early you’ll need to arrive without the package.  It makes the most sense on the Disney Dining Plan because it only costs one table service credit (except at Hollywood Brown Derby, which still costs two credits as it would otherwise) and includes the appetizer. Otherwise, do whatever you can to see the 10pm show because it will be far less crowded.  As far as general seating is concerned, the best seats are about half way up in the center sections.  Sit any closer and you run the risk of getting wet and it’s more difficult to see what’s happening on the water.

Magic Kingdom is highly recommended.  Epcot will be a bigger draw with the sizable on-site contingent with evening Extra Magic Hours and we’re coming off a busier day with the morning Extra Magic Hour at Magic Kingdom yesterday.  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 Enchanted Tales with Belle, Journey of the Little Mermaid, and Ariel’s Grotto in New Fantasyland along with Peter Pan’s Flight and The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.   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 relatively late night hours are also a great time to tour, particularly if you’re skipping the nighttime spectaculars. Hit Tomorrowland after 10pm and Fantasyland after 11pm to find waits much shorter than the afternoon.

Saturday April 12

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 8pm (Highly Recommended)

Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade: 3:45pm

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Most Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 9:30pm (Not Recommended)

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Fantasmic: 8:30pm and 10pm

Magic Kingdom: 9am – 12am (Not Recommended)

Festival of Fantasy Parade: 3pm, Main Street Electrical Parade: 9pm and 11pm, Wishes Fireworks: 10pm

Animal Kingdom is highly recommended for a variety of reasons.  We don’t have Extra Magic Hours, special events, evening entertainment, or anything else to attract on-site or off-site visitors.  Those leaving tomorrow after a traditional weeklong vacation are unlikely to visit Animal Kingdom on their last full day and most arriving today won’t head out to Animal Kingdom as their first destination.  As always, you’ll be best off if you arrive prior to Park opening and head straight for Kilimanjaro Safaris and Expedition Everest.  Wait times will only get shorter after the 3:45pm Parade, so stay through close if you have more you’d like to accomplish.  With a limited number of attractions and the high overall crowd level, the afternoon will still be busy.  Plan to see shows, visit the least popular attractions, and rely on FASTPASS at the major attractions between 12pm and 5pm.

Epcot is the most recommended Park.  Yesterday’s evening Extra Magic Hours will have been wildly popular with Disney resort guests and they will be nowhere near Epcot today, especially in the morning.  There’s also a morning Extra Magic Hour to appeal to the sizable on-site contingent tomorrow.  Take full advantage by arriving prior to Park opening and head straight to Test Track, Sum of All Thrills, Mission: Space, and Soarin’.  To stay ahead of the crowds for as long as possible, move up through the World Showcase beginning at 11am with the water rides in Norway and Mexico.  Return to Future World after 5pm to ride anything you skipped earlier in the day and to re-ride Soarin’ or Test Track with FASTPASS.  If you arrive later, plan to use FASTPASS for Test Track, Soarin’ or Test Track. Standby waits will be 60+ minutes most of the day. The Test Track single rider line is also a good idea and actual waits are often shorter than standby or FASTPASS.  Mission is much easier to FASTPASS if necessary and standby waits are also much shorter before 11am and after 7pm. Character Spot is best visited after 7pm when waits are shorter.  It’s also an excellent day to stay for IllumiNations and enjoy the World Showcase in the afternoon.

Hollywood Studios is not recommended.  The sizable Disney resort contingent numbers 75,000+ people during the busy spring break season.  Because Disney sells the Extra Magic Hour program so well in its marketing materials, many of these Disney resort guests follow the Extra Magic Hours schedule because they think it’s Disney telling them where they belong each day.  While you can have success if you are Extra Magic Hours eligible and arrive by 7:15am, most people will want to visit another day.  Tomorrow would be significantly better.  Avoid it unless you can’t visit any other day or are certain you’ll arrive by 7:15am and plan to hit Toy Story Midway Mania, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, and Star Tours first thing in the morning.

Saturdays are naturally the busiest day of the week at the Magic Kingdom.  We have visiting locals and a lot of vacationers who will be visiting the Magic Kingdom for a second time before returning home tomorrow.  With the standard operating schedule this week, Magic Kingdom won’t be overwhelmingly more crowded today, but the afternoon in particular will “feel” more crowded than any other day this week.  While the morning Extra Magic Hour at Hollywood Studios helps, it won’t pull enough people away to make Magic Kingdom less crowded than a recommended Tuesday or Wednesday.  All of this makes me hesitant about recommending the Magic Kingdom, despite a lack of Extra Magic Hours.  You can have a lot of success if you arrive prior to Park opening and head straight for the headlining or Fantasyland attractions.  The afternoon will be busier than any other day this week and you’ll either want to take a break and return for the Electrical Parade and Wishes or visit the less popular attractions from 2pm – 6pm.  While it is possible to have a decent day here if you arrive early and tour efficiently, there are much less crowded days to visit during the week.

Sunday April 13

Animal Kingdom: 8am – 9pm (Highly Recommended)

Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade: 3:45pm

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Not Recommended)

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Illuminations: 9pm

Hollywood Studios: 8am – 9:30pm (Most Recommended)

Fantasmic: 8:30pm and 10pm

Magic Kingdom: 8am – 1am (Not Recommended)

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 7am – 8am

Evening Extra Magic Hours: 1am – 3am

Festival of Fantasy Parade: 12pm and 3pm, Main Street Electrical Parade: 10pm and 12am, Wishes Fireworks: 9pm

Animal Kingdom is highly recommended.  We have morning Extra Magic Hour/evening Extra Magic Hours/Main Street Electrical Parade at Magic Kingdom and morning Extra Magic Hour at Epcot luring a lot of Disney resort guests.  These are Disney World’s two most popular theme parks and the Extra Magic Hours will only make them more attractive to the sizable Disney resort contingent that thinks the Extra Magic Hours schedule is Disney dictating where they “belong” each day.  Disney resort guests are more likely to visit Animal Kingdom on Wednesday for morning Extra Magic Hour.  With the long day, there are two great times to tour.  The early morning, from 8am – 10am, is always preferable because standby waits that are guaranteed to be low.  The end of the day, from 7:30pm – 9pm, will also see lower crowds and shorter waits than the afternoon.  Ideally, plan to arrive prior to Park opening and focus on riding Kilimanjaro Safaris and Expedition Everest as early as possible or rely on FASTPASS later in the day (or both).  After getting those out of the way, move on to DinoLand USA for Primeval Whirl and DINOSAUR or Finding Nemo the Musical and you’ll be set for the rest of the day.  You may also want to prioritize the most popular characters by arriving at their Meet and Greets about five minutes before they’re scheduled to appear.  For those arriving later in the day, plan to stay through until 9pm and return to the major headliners after 6:30pm when standby waits are lower than the afternoon.  Check your Times Guide to see when the last safari leaves – it will likely be before 7pm.  Take note of that if you’re interested in riding late.  With the high overall crowd level for the Easter holiday, Animal Kingdom will be far from empty.  Take advantage of one or both of the less crowded times of day, use FASTPASS as much as possible in the late morning and afternoon, and tour efficiently and you should have an excellent day.   You also have an outstanding opportunity to Park Hop after the Park closes or you finish your itinerary.  You could head to Epcot for dinner and IllumiNations, Magic Kingdom for evening Extra Magic Hours, or Hollywood Studios for Fantasmic.  Without Park Hopper, consider transferring to the Animal Kingdom Lodge for dinner and a look around the resort or take a trip out to Downtown Disney or the BoardWalk for dinner and shopping.

Epcot is not recommended.  The morning Extra Magic Hour will attract a decent number of Disney resort guests.  While many of them will fail to arrive for their extra hour, they will show up nonetheless later in the morning.  While the Extra Magic Hour itself is an excellent time to tour, the additional crowds in the late morning, afternoon, and evening will increase waits time for the rest of the day and most likely erase any benefit you enjoyed from 8am – 9am.  Park Hopping elsewhere in the afternoon is always an option, but then you arrive in a Park at the busiest part of the day during some of the heaviest crowds of the year.  We’re actually better off waiting until tomorrow to visit, when we straddle today’s morning Extra Magic Hour and Tuesday’s even more popular evening Extra Magic Hours.  Tomorrow, we’ll enjoy low crowds in the morning and won’t have to worry about an influx of Disney resort guests arriving throughout the morning and early afternoon.  If you do end up visiting today, it’s imperative that you actually arrive by 7:15am to take full advantage of the morning Extra Magic Hour and head straight to Soarin, Test Track, and Mission: Space.  Try to move up through the World Showcase beginning at 11am with the water rides in Mexico and Norway and you’ll put yourself in the best position to minimize waits and have a pleasant day.

Hollywood Studios is the most recommended Park now.  We’re in between yesterday’s morning Extra Magic Hour and tomorrow’s morning Extra Magic Hour, both of which will be more popular with Disney resort guests.  We also have morning Extra Magic Hour/evening Extra Magic Hours/Main Street Electrical Parade/ Wishes at Magic Kingdom and morning Extra Magic Hour at Epcot, all of which will be incredibly popular with Disney resort guests and those that arrived for a weeklong Easter break vacation today or yesterday.  Finally, Sunday is a popular travel day and few people arriving will head out to the Studios for Fantasmic this evening.  Those that arrived yesterday are also unlikely to begin their first full day at Hollywood Studios.  In order to find the shortest waits, you’ll need to arrive by 7:15am and head straight to Toy Story Mania.  Because of its popularity and extremely limited capacity, Toy Story Mania almost always has afternoon waits of 60 or more minutes even when crowds are low and the Studios is recommended. On a day like today, triple digit afternoon waits are guaranteed, despite the recommendation.  It’s always your top priority.  The second attraction with the longest peak wait is Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, which should be ridden immediately after Toy Story Mania in the morning or with FASTPASSes later in the day.  Other priorities are Tower of Terror and Star Tours, though FASTPASSes are more plentiful at both attractions and standby waits are usually much lower, in the 30-50 minute range in the afternoon.  After you get through these four headliners, it’s just a matter of arriving in time to see the various stage shows that run on a set schedule and getting over to the Studios’ high capacity attractions.  You may also want to prioritize characters that will have longer afternoon waits.  The Toy Story characters across from Toy Story Midway Mania tend to have the longest waits in Hollywood Studios.  They begin meeting at 9:15am, giving you enough time to ride Toy Story Mania before getting in line. Sofia the First in Animation Courtyard also sees long waits. Phineas & Ferb are also popular. They greet guests near Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano and across from the exit to Muppet Vision 3D.  Check the week’s Times Guide to verify appearance times.  Two other popular characters appear in the Animation Building in the Animation Courtyard.  Sorcerer Mickey in particular has long afternoon waits and The Incredibles characters also tend to have decent lines.  Since both characters meet indoors and their lines aren’t usually over 20 minutes long, you should be able to find them with decent waits later in the day if you have other morning priorities.  Finally, you’ll find some characters in the morning near Mickey’s Sorcerer’s Hat that won’t appear later in the afternoon.  Daisy Duck, Chip, Dale, Goofy, Pluto, and Stitch are all common, but no specific character is guaranteed to appear.   For Fantasmic, consider the Fantasmic Dining Package that guarantees everyone on the reservation a seat in the reserved section of the Fantasmic theater if you’re planning to attend the 8:30pm show.  It will still require you to arrive at least 30 minutes early, or you run the risk of Disney opening the reserved section up to the general population, but it saves the stress of having to decide when it’s time to line up and decreases the overall wait.  The Fantasmic Dining Package makes the most sense on the Disney Dining Plan because it costs the same one table service credit at Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano or Hollywood & Vine and two table service credits at Hollywood Brown Derby that you would pay otherwise.  Plus, it includes the appetizer, which you normally wouldn’t receive on the Disney Dining Plan.  If you’re not interested in the Dining Package or it’s no longer available, do everything you can to see the 10pm Fantasmic.  It’s significantly less crowded because so many families leave earlier and you won’t have to deal with two large sections roped off for Dining Package guests.  You should be able to arrive 30 minutes early and find good seats, which is much better than the 60+ minutes required for the 8:30pm Fantasmic.  While it’s officially a recommended day, arriving prior to Park opening and hitting the headliners first thing is more important than which day you pick.  Arrive at 11am, no matter the recommendation or the overall crowd level, and you’ll be looking at long lines at Toy Story Mania and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster.

While there are two excellent times to tour Magic Kingdom today, 11am – 10pm is going to be extremely busy.  We have a ton of people arriving yesterday and today for a weeklong Disney vacation and they’ll want to visit Magic Kingdom right off the bat.  That’s primarily why we have the 7am – 3am operating hours if you include the Extra Magic Hours for Disney resort guests.  Disney is expecting a ton of people and the extended operating hours will at least help lower crowds in the early morning and late evening.  While 7am – 10:30am and 11pm – 3am will be excellent times to tour, the afternoon is going to be uncomfortably crowded.  If you tour efficiently in the early morning and/or late evening then you can have success, but you’ll want to take a sizable afternoon break and plan to visit some of the least popular attractions and high capacity shows in the afternoon and early evening.  Overall, this coming Tuesday and Wednesday will be less crowded.  If you are headed to Magic Kingdom today, you’ll either want to take advantage of the 7am – 10am and/or 11pm -3am timeframe or have reasonable expectations about wait times and crowd levels.  It’s going to be extremely busy, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t have a great time.

Monday April 14

Animal Kingdom: 8am – 9pm (Highly Recommended)

Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade: 3:45pm

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Most Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

Hollywood Studios: 8am – 9:30pm (Not Recommended)

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 7am – 8am

Fantasmic: 8:30pm and 10pm

Magic Kingdom: 8am – 1am (Not Recommended)

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 7am – 8am

Festival of Fantasy Parade: 12pm and 3pm, Main Street Electrical Parade: 10pm and 12am, Wishes Fireworks: 9pm

Animal Kingdom is highly recommended for a number of reasons.  We don’t have special events, Extra Magic Hours, or anything specific drawing people toward it.  It’s also early enough in the week that most people on a weeklong Easter break vacation won’t be interested in visiting Disney’s least popular theme park until later in the week.  We also have morning Extra Magic Hour/Fantasmic at Hollywood Studios attracting a lot of off-site and on-site visitors alike. Magic Kingdom will also be attracting a lot of people.  Overall, today and Friday are the best days of the week to visit, though Tuesday and Thursday would also be fine.  To have the most success, arrive prior to Park opening and head straight for Kilimanjaro Safaris and Expedition Everest.  Once you get through these two attractions, move on to DinoLand USA for Primeval Whirl and DINOSAUR or Finding Nemo the Musical.  Nemo does get busy during the afternoon, so try to see the first or last show of the day. Use FASTPASSes for the major attractions throughout the day and you should have no trouble getting on any of the headliners a second or third time.  The single rider line at Expedition Everest is also a good way to ride with short waits.  Finally, crowds begin to disperse after the 3:45pm Parade.  If you don’t arrive early, plan to stay through until close as wait times will only decrease from 6:30pm onward.  Overall, it’s one of the best days of the week to visit Animal Kingdom, but it will still be relatively busy with the high overall crowd level.  Arrive early and tour efficiently and you shouldn’t run into much trouble.

Epcot is the most recommended Park.  We’re in between yesterday’s morning Extra Magic Hour and tomorrow’s evening Extra Magic Hours, both of which will be more popular with Disney resort guests.  Disney is also pushing Disney resort guests toward Hollywood Studios with morning Extra Magic Hour/Fantasmic and Magic Kingdom will naturally be busier because of the number of people that travel over the weekend and naturally visit the most magical place on earth first thing on their weeklong trip.  You can have a lot of success if you arrive prior to Park opening and head straight for Test Track, Sum of All Thrills, Mission Space, and Soarin’.  Use FASTPASS at Soarin’ or Test Track and you should have no problem riding either a second time in the afternoon.  However, you’ll run into trouble at the headliners if you don’t arrive until 10:30am or later, despite the recommendation.  With only two major attractions to attract the “where are the rides” crowd, Soarin’ and Test Track are going to have 90+ minute waits for most of the day after 10:30am.  There’s no way around that.  Plan to arrive prior to Park opening or use FASTPASSes for Test Track or Soarin’.  To stay ahead of the crowds for as long as possible, move up through the World Showcase beginning at 11am with the water rides in Mexico and Norway.  If you have more to do in Future World, try returning after 5pm when most people have moved on to World Showcase.  Keep an eye on your Times Guide to see which attractions close at 7pm.  Finally, visit Character Spot after 7pm to find shorter waits than the afternoon without wasting precious morning touring time.  It’s also a great night for dinner and IllumiNations.  All in all, it’s one of the best days of the week to visit Epcot, but you’ll want to arrive early if you’re interested in the major Future World attractions.

Hollywood Studios is not recommended, thanks to the morning Extra Magic Hour that will attract enough Disney resort guests and in turn increase wait times and make common areas more congested.  While most Disney resort guests won’t arrive in time to take advantage of their extra hour, they’ll continue pouring in throughout the morning.  If you are Extra Magic Hours eligible and are certain that you’ll arrive by 6:15am, you can have a tremendous amount of success if you arrive for the full Extra Magic Hour and head straight to Toy Story Mania, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, and Star Tours.  However, you’re much better off waiting until tomorrow to visit if you’re not Extra Magic Hours eligible or don’t plan to arrive until 9am or later.  While the Extra Magic Hour itself is an excellent time to tour, the arrival of more Disney resort guests will increase wait times enough in the late morning and afternoon to offset most any benefit.  The increased crowds will also lead to longer lines at quick service locations and require you to arrive earlier for major stage shows among other inconveniences. All in all, tomorrow or Thursday would be better days to visit unless you plan to arrive ay 6:15am and be on your way out by 1pm.

Magic Kingdom is going to be busy today.  We have a lot of people arriving over the weekend for an Easter week trip and they’ll be looking to visit Magic Kingdom on their first full day.  The morning Extra Magic Hour, long hours of operation, Main Street Electrical Parade, and Wishes aren’t a concern like they are for much of the year because we have a similar schedule every day this week.  Nonetheless, the fact that it’s a Monday during a holiday week is enough for us to want to steer clear.  However, with the high overall crowd level, Magic Kingdom is going to be busy every day this week.  Arriving prior to Park opening (at 7:30am for Disney resort guests and 7:30am for off-site guests) and taking care of the Fantasyland, the headlining Mountain rides (Big Thunder, Space, Splash Mountain), or whatever attractions on your itinerary you deem most important is more important than simply picking the “right day.”  However, tomorrow, Wednesday, and Thursday would all be less crowded and I highly recommend waiting to visit until one or more of those days if you can.  If you do visit today, do your best to arrive prior to opening, take care of the most important attractions first, use FASTPASS efficiently, and take a sizable afternoon break and you’ll be in good shape.

Tuesday April 15

Animal Kingdom: 8am – 9pm (Recommended)

Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade: 3:45pm

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Not Recommended)

Evening Extra Magic Hours: 9pm – 11pm

Illuminations: 9pm

Hollywood Studios: 8am – 9:30pm (Highly Recommended)

Fantasmic: 8:30pm and 10pm

Magic Kingdom: 8am – 1am (Most Recommended)

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 7am – 8am

Festival of Fantasy Parade: 12pm and 3pm, Main Street Electrical Parade: 10pm and 12am, Wishes Fireworks: 9pm

Animal Kingdom comes recommended.  We don’t have Extra Magic Hours, special events, or anything else to attract Disney vacationers of any sort. While we do have longer hours than most other days throughout the year, we have similar operating hours every day this week, which doesn’t make the 9pm close a concern whatsoever.  It’s also still early in the week and most people on a weeklong vacation will be saving Animal Kingdom for later in the week.  Epcot will see the brunt of the crowds.  To take full advantage, arrive prior to Park opening and head straight to Kilimanjaro Safaris and Expedition Everest.  Get those two attractions out of the way early and the only real concerns are getting over to DinoLand USA for Primeval Whirl and DINOSAUR before 10:30am and arriving in time for Finding Nemo the Musical. Because Finding Nemo can get busy in the afternoon, try to see the first or last shows of the day if you can.  Otherwise, arrive about 20 minutes early to secure good seats.  You may also want to prioritize the character Meet and Greets by arriving to meet the characters about five minutes before they’re scheduled to first appear.  Use FASTPASS throughout the day and you should have no trouble experiencing just about everything Animal Kingdom has to offer in just one day.  Finally, crowds do disperse after the 3:45pm Parade and wait times will only decrease after 6:30pm and be lowest from 8pm to 9pm.

We’ll want to avoid Epcot.  Its evening Extra Magic Hours will lure the majority of Disney resort guests, which will lengthen waits times at the attractions for the entire afternoon and evening.  Epcot is almost always at its busiest and lines are the longest when it has evening Extra Magic Hours.  This is due to the fact that many Disney resort guests head to whichever Park has Extra Magic Hours, even if they don’t plan to take advantage of them.  Without Park Hopper, Disney resort guests must stay in the Park with Extra Magic Hours for the entire day.  The increased crowds lead to longer lines, heavier congestion in common areas, and an overall less pleasant touring experience.  I would urge you to visit a different Park.  If you want to head to Epcot today, despite my strong objections, your best chance to ride the headlining rides is from 9am-11am.  Most Disney resort guests will sleep in and arrive around lunch in anticipation of staying until 10-11pm.  The morning will be a decent time to tour Epcot, but you’ll probably want to Park Hop elsewhere after lunch or you’ll be stuck in significantly larger-than-usual crowds.  You might also consider an afternoon break from 2pm-6pm when crowds will be at their largest.  You could then return in the early evening for dinner and Extra Magic Hours.  Alternatively, you could also Park Hop over in the evening for Extra Magic Hours, provided you’re aware of how busy it will be.  With Extra Magic Hours only being two hours now, wait times at Soarin’ and Test Track won’t ease much until after 10:30pm.  However, other attractions will see nominal waits and it’s a great time to take in Epcot’s natural ambiance and hit a few of the less popular/high capacity attractions.  Skip Illuminations if you’ll be here on another night because it will be more crowded than usual.  Overall, there’s no reason to visit Epcot today because crowds will be higher than any other day during the week and waits at Soarin’ and Test Track will be just as long as they were during the day until at least 10:30pm.

Hollywood Studios is highly recommended.  However, we have the same operating hours and entertainment schedule as every other day this week.  This means the Studios won’t be far and away less busy than other days during the week like it can be when Fantasmic is scheduled less often or we have variable hours.  Instead of honing in on a non-Fantasmic day, we have to look at days where the most is going on at the other Parks.  Today, we have the very popular evening Extra Magic Hours at Epcot and it’s earlier in the week, which means people are less likely to visit Disney’s third most popular theme park.  We also had a moderately popular morning Extra Magic Hour yesterday and the Studios is hosting its even more popular evening Extra Magic Hours tomorrow night.  All of this translates to an “above average” day, at least considering the high overall crowd level.  Despite the recommendation, it’s still imperative to arrive prior to Park opening in order to ride Toy Story Mania and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster with short waits.  Arrive at 10:30am with everyone else and you’ll find 80+ minute waits at Toy Story Mania.  To have the most success, arrive by 7:15am and head straight to Toy Story Mania, followed by Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, and Star Tours.  Get through these attractions early in the morning or with FASTPASS and you have little to worry about for the rest of the day, other than keeping an eye on the time to make all of those scheduled stage shows.  Toy Story Mania is your top priority. For Fantasmic, consider the Fantasmic Dining Package that guarantees everyone on the reservation a seat in the reserved section of the Fantasmic theater if you’re planning to see the 8:30pm show.  It will still require you to arrive at least 30 minutes early, or you run the risk of Disney opening the reserved section up to the general population, but it saves the stress of having to decide when it’s time to line up and decreases the overall wait.  The Fantasmic Dining Package makes the most sense on the Disney Dining Plan because it costs the same one table service credit at Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano or Hollywood & Vine and two table service credits at Hollywood Brown Derby that you would pay otherwise.  Plus, it includes the appetizer, which you normally wouldn’t receive on the Disney Dining Plan.  If the Dining Package isn’t available or you’d prefer not to use it, I highly recommend waiting to see the 10pm Fantasmic.  The second Fantasmic of the night is always less crowded than the first, especially when it’s this late at night.  You also won’t have to deal with two large sections roped off for Dining Package users because their reserved tickets are only good for the first show.  While it’s officially a recommended day, arriving prior to Park opening and hitting the headliners first thing is more important than which day you pick.  Arrive at 11am, no matter the recommendation or the overall crowd level, and you’ll be looking at long lines at Toy Story Mania and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster.

Magic Kingdom is the most recommended Park.  Epcot’s evening Extra Magic Hours will help pull away Disney resort guests and a lot of people that arrived over the weekend for a weeklong Easter break vacation will have moved on to a different theme park.  Still, Magic Kingdom will be far from empty with the high overall crowd level, long hours of operation, Main Street Electrical Parade, and Wishes.  There’s simply no way around that fact when the overall crowd level is this high.  It’s still more important to arrive prior to Park opening and head straight for Fantasyland (Mine Train, Journey of the Little Mermaid, Peter Pan’s Flight, Winnie the Pooh) or the headlining Mountain rides (Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain, Splash Mountain).  You may also want to fit other time-sensitive attractions like Tomorrowland Indy Speedway or Astro Orbiter in there as well, along with Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin and other quick attractions that will have decent afternoon waits.  We have a 7am – 8am morning Extra Magic Hour every day this week. If you’re coming from off-site or a resort that doesn’t participate in Extra Magic Hours, it means you’ll find people inside the Magic Kingdom before you’re allowed to enter every day.  If you’re eligible, you’ll want to do everything you can to arrive by 6:34am. You’ll be able to accomplish a tremendous amount. If you’re not eligible, you can still do well from 8am – 10:30am if you arrive by 7:30am. Do your best to arrive as early as possible because it’s the best way to see the attractions and rides with the shortest possible waits.  You may also want to prioritize the most popular character Meet and Greets.  Check your Times Guide to see when the characters begin appearing and plan to arrive at least ten minutes early.  Come 11am, Magic Kingdom will be busy with the high overall crowd level.  This is much less of a concern if you’ve already hit the Park hard and moved on to the less popular and high capacity attractions.  Consider taking a break from 1pm to 6pm or so when crowds are heaviest and wait times are longest to rest up for the evening entertainment.  For Main Street Electrical Parade, scout out a spot along the Parade route in Liberty Square or Frontierland for the 12am Parade.  Both areas are significantly less crowded than Main Street and require a shorter wait.  The second Parade is always much less attended than the first.  If you’re not a morning person, plan to stay through 1am.  Crowds will only get lower after 10pm.  Save Fantasyland for after 12am because most families will be long gone.  Magic Kingdom will also be the most recommended Park tomorrow, so you may want to hold off until then if you have other plans today.  If you’re trying to decide between today and tomorrow, then I would go with tomorrow because it’s in the middle of the week and even more people will be ready to visit another Park.  However, today will be nearly as good if you tour efficiently in the morning, take a restful break, and enjoy the Magic Kingdom’s nighttime spectaculars.

Wednesday April 16

Animal Kingdom: 8am – 9pm (Not Recommended)

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 7am – 8am

Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade: 3:45pm

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Highly Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

Hollywood Studios: 8am – 10pm (Not Recommended)

Evening Extra Magic Hours: 10pm – 12am

Fantasmic: 8:30pm and 10pm

Magic Kingdom: 8am – 1am (Most Recommended)

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 7am – 8am

Festival of Fantasy Parade: 12pm and 3pm, Main Street Electrical Parade: 10pm and 12am, Wishes Fireworks: 9pm

It’s the busiest day of the week at Animal Kingdom.  While the evening Extra Magic Hours at Hollywood Studios will also be attractive to Disney resort guests, Animal Kingdom will attract enough people to make it busier than any other day this week.  Animal Kingdom is technically the “largest Disney theme park by total land,” but it also has the fewest attractions and the smallest area where guests can actually walk around.  Only a few thousand more people than average increases wait times considerably and overall crowds are so high that we’re talking about far more than just a few thousand extra people.  With recommended days all around us, you’ll want to visit during another day unless you’re absolutely certain that you’ll arrive by 6:40am to take advantage of the full morning Extra Magic Hour and plan to exit around 1pm when crowds peak.  Most Disney resort guests won’t arrive in time to take advantage of their Extra Magic Hour, but they’ll stream in throughout the morning.  This causes longer wait times from 11am through close, longer lines at the quick service locations and restaurants, more congestion in common areas, and an overall less pleasant touring experience.  Avoid it if you can.

Epcot is highly recommended.  We’re coming off a popular evening Extra Magic Hours yesterday and we have another tomorrow – both of which will be much more popular with Disney resort guests.  Disney resort guests are more likely to head to Animal Kingdom for morning Extra Magic Hour or Hollywood Studios for the popular evening Extra Magic Hours/Fantasmic combo.  Epcot will also be recommended on Friday and Saturday if you’re planning to visit Magic Kingdom today.  If you visit Epcot, plan to arrive prior to Park opening and head straight to Test Track, Sum of All Thrills, Mission: Space, and Soarin’.  You may also want to take a more compartmentalized two-day approach, which gives you the benefit of enjoying the lowest possible crowds in both Future World and World Showcase each day.  Use FASTPASS at Test Track, Soarin’ or Mission Space if you’d like to ride any of them a second time.  If you’re planning just one day in Epcot, try to move up through the World Showcase as early as possible, beginning with the boat rides in Mexico and Norway.  These are the only two attractions in World Showcase that will see wait times.  Overall, it’s a good day to visit Epcot and a fine day to stay for dinner and IllumiNations, provided you tour efficiently in the morning.

Hollywood Studios will be busy due to the evening Extra Magic Hours that are popular with Disney resort guests and Fantasmic which attracts off-site visitors and keeps crowds heavy throughout the evening.  The morning will be an okay time to tour, but crowds will increase around 10am as more and more Disney resort guests arrive. Yesterday and tomorrow would be better days to visit because we don’t have the Extra Magic Hours complications.  Because of that, there’s really no reason to head in the Studios’ direction today.  I’m not too fond of evening Extra Magic Hours at Hollywood Studios either.  There are only a few attractions open and the waits for Toy Story Mania, Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, and Star Tours will likely be just as long as they were during the day, at least until 11pm when people begin to give up and exit.  In addition, 9,000+ people will exit Fantasmic at 9:00pm and 10:30pm, right as evening Extra Magic Hours begins.  The Fantasmic Theater is located right on Sunset Boulevard, across from the entrances to Tower of Terror and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster. While not everyone seeing Fantasmic will be a Disney resort guests, many of them will be, and a ton will be headed to Tower of Tower and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster because they truly believe it’s the best time to get in line.  Unfortunately, they’ll find themselves lined up with a few thousand of their new best friends.  If you’re staying for evening Extra Magic Hours, your best bet is always to save these headlining attractions for the very end of the night and visit Toy Story Mania last.  While you could theoretically have success if you arrive prior to Park opening and head straight for the headliners, the same will be true later in the week and you won’t have to deal with the significantly heavier afternoon and evening crowds.

Magic Kingdom is our best Park to visit today for the exact same reasons it was recommended yesterday.  Take advantage by arriving prior to Park opening and head straight for Fantasyland (Mine Train, Journey of the Little Mermaid, Peter Pan’s Flight, Winnie the Pooh), the headlining Mountain rides (Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain), or other time sensitive attractions (Astro Orbiter, Tomorrowland Indy Speedway).  Because Magic Kingdom opens at 7am to Disney resort guests, that means arriving by 6:40am if you are Extra Magic Hours eligible or 7:30am if you’re not.  Since Disney has scheduled a morning Extra Magic Hour at Magic Kingdom every day this week to help deal with the heavy overall crowds, there’s no way around the early morning unless you want to arrive later and actually deal with those heavier crowds yourself.  You’ll be able to accomplish a ton of attractions in a short amount of time if you make efficient use of the morning and use FASTPASS at the major attractions throughout the day.  If you’re arriving for Extra Magic Hours, keep in mind that some attractions may not be operating until 8am.  Plan to visit Fantasyland first, where most attractions will be operating, and then move on to the Mountain rides right at 8am.  With the staggering overall crowd level, Magic Kingdom won’t be empty.  But we’re looking at more of a “7” at the Magic Kingdom in particular, which is less crowded than other days this week.  Still, the morning is the best time to tour and you’ll run into trouble if you don’t arrive until 10:30am with everyone else.  For Main Street Electrical Parade, I highly recommend staking out a spot along the Parade route in Frontierland or Liberty Square for the 12am Parade.  Both locations are much less crowded than Main Street and offer a view that is just as good.  The later Electrical Parade is also significantly less crowded than the first, particularly when it’s this late at night.  If you aren’t planning to arrive early, try to stay through 1am.  Crowd levels will be low after 10pm because so many families leave after Wishes, if they even make it that far.  Hit Tomorrowland after 10pm and then Fantasyland after 11pm and you’ll find significantly shorter lines than any time after 10am.

Thursday April 17

Animal Kingdom: 8am – 9pm (Recommended)

Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade: 3:45pm

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Not Recommended)

Evening Extra Magic Hours: 9pm – 11pm

Illuminations: 9pm

Hollywood Studios: 8am – 9:30pm (Most Recommended)

Fantasmic: 8:30pm and 10pm

Magic Kingdom: 8am –1am (Recommended)

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 7am – 8am

Festival of Fantasy Parade: 12pm and 3pm, Main Street Electrical Parade: 10pm and 12am, Wishes Fireworks: 9pm

Animal Kingdom is recommended today.  We’re coming off a popular day at Animal Kingdom yesterday, thanks to the morning Extra Magic Hour that will draw a ton of Disney resort crowds.  Today, we have a very popular evening Extra Magic Hours at Epcot and Magic Kingdom will continue to draw heavy crowds as it will most every day this week.  The only problem is that it’s later in the week and a decent number of off-site and on-site visitors will be looking to visit Animal Kingdom after spending time at Magic Kingdom and Epcot earlier on their weeklong vacation.  This is a nominal concern overall and while we’re looking at dense crowds with the heavy overall crowd level, Animal Kingdom will be less busy than non-recommended days.  With the extended operating hours, there are two excellent times to tour – 8am – 10am and 6:30pm – 9pm.  As always, you’ll find the most success if you arrive prior to Park opening and head straight to Kilimanjaro Safaris and Expedition Everest.  If you’re not riding the thrill rides (Expedition Everest, DINOSAUR, Primeval Whirl), you’ll want to attend the first showing of Finding Nemo because it will be popular in the afternoon.  Use FASTPASS at attractions you either want to ride again or couldn’t make it to in the morning and you should be able to do just about everything the Animal Kingdom has to offer.  Keep in mind that crowds disperse shortly after the 3:45pm Parade.  Stay through close if there’s more that you want to accomplish because wait times will only decrease from 6:30pm onward.  Save Expedition Everest for the very end of the day.  Check your Times Guide to see when the last Kilimanjaro Safari leaves – it will likely be before the rest of the theme park closes due to darkness.  Head over to Kilimanjaro about 30 minutes before the last safari leaves if you’d like to ride again or weren’t able to earlier in the day.  After completing your itinerary, you may want to Park Hop to Magic Kingdom for the Main Street Electrical Parade, Hollywood Studios for the 10pm Fantasmic, or Epcot for dinner, IllumiNations, and evening Extra Magic Hours.  Without Park Hopper, consider transferring to the Animal Kingdom Lodge for dinner at one of its excellent restaurants.  There’s also a public observatory where you can gaze out at the Animal Kingdom Lodge’s private savannas and enjoy the same view many guests are paying a premium to have right outside their balconies.  A trip to Downtown Disney or the BoardWalk for dinner and shopping also makes a lot of sense.

Epcot is going to be popular again with the evening Extra Magic Hours that most Disney resort guests simply can’t resist.  Two extra exclusive hours in the Park without all that off-site riff-raff?  While it might seem like a good deal at first inspection, there are a number of problems with Epcot when it’s hosting evening Extra Magic Hours.  As far as the two “extra” evening hours, you should take into consideration the fact that 85,000+ people qualify to attend Extra Magic Hours on any given day, so it’s not nearly as exclusive of a perk as some might lead on.  Second, Epcot really only has two major attractions that remain popular – Soarin’ and Test Track.  These two rides will see wait times that are just as long, if not longer, than during the afternoon of a recommended day.  We’re talking 60+ minute waits at Soarin’ and 45+ minute waits at Test Track until at least 10:30pm.  Evening Extra Magic Hours are great if you want to enjoy Epcot’s nighttime ambiance or ride some of the lesser attractions, but it’s not a good opportunity to ride the major attractions.  Also, staying out that late will make it very difficult to get out to Epcot prior to opening tomorrow, when you’ll be able to enjoy short standby lines in the morning.  As far as the daytime hours are concerned, so many more Disney resort guests visit during the day in order to “take advantage” of their extra time at night, that crowds are almost always higher during the day as well.  Overall, there’s really no upside to visiting Epcot unless you arrive by 8:15am and leave around 1pm before the Disney resort crowds arrive en masse.  The afternoon and evening will be much busier than a recommended day.  Avoid it if you’re interested in minimizing waits and crowds.

Hollywood Studios is the most recommended Park.  The addition of Fantasmic to every night this week will help even out crowds, making the difference between “recommended” and “not recommended” days blurrier.  The best days to visit Hollywood Studios become days when the most is going on elsewhere, particularly in the evening.  We have the popular evening Extra Magic Hours drawing Disney resort guests toward Epcot and Magic Kingdom will continue to draw sizable crowds with the high overall crowd level and morning Extra Magic Hour.  We also have a moderately popular morning Extra Magic Hour to entice Disney resort guests tomorrow and we’re coming off a very popular evening Extra Magic Hours last night.  Disney resort guests are much more likely to visit on one of these days.  Despite the recommendation, it’s still imperative to arrive by 7:15am in order to ride Toy Story Mania and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster with short waits.  Arrive at 10:30am with everyone else and you’ll find 90+ minute waits at both attractions already.  To have the most success, arrive by 7:15am and head straight to Toy Story Mania, followed by Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, and Star Tours.  Get through these attractions early in the morning or with FASTPASS and you have little to worry about for the rest of the day, other than keeping an eye on the time to make all of those scheduled stage shows.  You may also want to prioritize characters that will have longer afternoon waits.  Check the week’s Times Guide to verify appearance times.  You’ll find some characters in the morning near Mickey’s Sorcerer’s Hat that won’t appear later in the afternoon.  Daisy Duck, Chip, Dale, Stitch, Goofy, and Pluto are all common, but no specific character is guaranteed to appear.  Use FASTPASSes throughout the day and you should have no trouble riding any of the major attractions a second time.  For Fantasmic, you have two good choices.  If you’re interested in the 8:30pm show, I highly recommend taking advantage of the Fantasmic Dining Package.  This guarantees everyone on the reservation a seat in the reserved section of the theater.  While it will still require you to arrive about 30 minutes early or you risk Disney opening up the reserved section to the general population, it’s a lot better than the 60+ minute wait you’re looking at without the Package.  If you’re not interested in the Package or it isn’t available, I highly recommend holding out for the 10pm show.  It will be significantly less crowded and you’re only looking at a 20-30 minute wait to secure decent seats together.  Still, you’ll want to arrive 45+ minutes early if you’d like prime seats in the center sections.  It’s better than the 90+ minute wait for the 8:30pm show.  I recommend sitting about half way up so you don’t get wet and have ample view of the water in front of the stage.   Overall, it’s an excellent day to visit the Studios, but touring efficiently in the morning is much more important than picking the “right” day.

Magic Kingdom comes recommended, though crowds will continue to be heavy.  There’s simply no way around that fact when we have a high overall crowd level, morning Extra Magic Hour scheduled, and long operating hours with abundant evening entertainment every day.  We’re not going to see a night and day difference in crowd levels compared to other non-recommended days during the week, but we’re looking at crowds and wait times that will be lower overall.  For that reason, it makes it a better opportunity to visit.  We also have evening Extra Magic Hours at Epcot this evening that will be popular with Disney resort guests and we have the more popular evening Extra Magic Hours at Magic Kingdom tomorrow.  If you are Extra Magic Hours eligible and have the ability to arrive by 6:40am, you can have a tremendous amount of success between 7am – 10:30am.  Head straight to Fantasyland for the morning Extra Magic Hour and then over to the other major attractions once they open at 9am.  If you’re not Extra Magic Hours eligible or don’t arrive until 8am or later, you’ll still find short lines in Fantasyland and the Mountain rides (Splash, Space, Big Thunder) through about 9:45am.  You’ll probably look around for most of that morning and think that this website is nuts for having such a high overall crowd level.  However, crowds will begin rolling in around 10am and afternoon wait times will be long at all major attractions.  Use FASTPASS for anything you’d like to ride again or had to skip in the morning, visit the less popular attractions in the late morning and early afternoon, and consider an afternoon break from 1pm – 6pm or so when crowds are heaviest and wait times are highest.  Return in the evening for dinner, some high capacity attractions, and the nighttime spectaculars.  For the Electrical Parade, find a viewing location in Frontierland or Liberty Square because both areas offer a view that is just as good as Main Street and don’t require the hefty waits.  Hold out for the 12am Parade because it will be significantly less crowded than the 9pm Parade.  Finally, stay through 1am if you’re not planning to arrive early because wait times will only get lower as more and more people leave. Visit Tomorrowland after 10pm and Fantasyland after 11pm to experience much shorter waits than the afternoon.

Friday April 18

Animal Kingdom: 8am – 8pm (Most Recommended)

Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade: 3:45pm

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Highly Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

Hollywood Studios: 8am – 9:30pm (Not Recommended)

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 7am – 8am

Fantasmic: 8:30pm and 10pm

Magic Kingdom: 8am – 1am (Not Recommended)

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 7am – 8am

Evening Extra Magic Hours: 1am – 3am

Festival of Fantasy Parade: 12pm and 3pm, Main Street Electrical Parade: 10pm and 12am, Wishes Fireworks: 9pm

Animal Kingdom is the most recommended Park.  We have a lot going on elsewhere, including a popular morning Extra Magic Hour/Fantasmic combo at Hollywood Studios and morning/evening Extra Magic Hours at Magic Kingdom.  Despite the high recommendation, you’ll need to keep in mind that the overall crowd level is high and Animal Kingdom has a very limited number of attractions.  It’s important than you either arrive prior to Park opening and take care of Kilimanjaro Safaris, Expedition Everest, Primeval Whirl, and DINOSAUR first thing in the morning or rely on FASTPASS later in the day.  If you aren’t able to arrive early, standby waits will only decrease after 6:30pm because a lot of people leave soon after the 3:45pm Parade.  Still, with long lines in the afternoon and a lot of people sleeping in and arriving later in the morning, Animal Kingdom will continue to be busy throughout the early evening.  Your best bet is always to arrive prior to Park opening because standby lines are guaranteed to be short.  Other than those four major attractions, your only other concerns are fitting in Kali River Rapids at some point during the day (you’ll likely get soaking wet) and making it to Finding Nemo the Musical.  Try to see the first or last shows of the day and you’ll be in good shape.  Otherwise, prepare to arrive 25 minutes early for Finding Nemo.  You may also want to prioritize the character Meet and Greets Overall, it’s an excellent day to visit Animal Kingdom considering the high overall crowd level, but it will still be busy.  Tour efficiently in the morning or stay through close and you can have a lot of success.  But you won’t want to find yourself in the standby line for Kilimanjaro Safaris, Expedition Everest, Primeval Whirl, or Kali River Rapids between 10:30am – 5pm because waits will be long.

Epcot is highly recommended.  We’re coming off a very popular evening Extra Magic Hours last night and we can be sure that very few Disney resort guests will be visiting today as well, especially in the morning.  Hollywood Studios and Magic Kingdom will be attracting the brunt of the Disney resort crowd.  Take advantage by arriving prior to Park opening and heading straight to Test Track, Sum of All Thrills, Mission: Space, and Soarin’.  To stay ahead of crowds for the longest amount of time possible, head up to World Showcase beginning with the water rides in the Mexico and Norway Pavilions at 11am.  If you don’t arrive early, you’ll need to rely on FASTPASS at Soarin’ or Test Track because standby waits will easily be 45+ minutes by 9:30am.  There’s no way around that when the overall crowd level is so high.  Plan to arrive prior to Park opening, visit the headliners first, and move up through the World Showcase as early as possible and you’ll be in good shape.  Visit Character Spot after 7pm to find shorter waits than the afternoon and avoid wasting precious morning touring time in line.  It’s also an excellent night to stay for dinner and IllumiNations.

Hollywood Studios is not recommended.  We have a moderately popular morning Extra Magic Hour that will appeal to Disney resort guests, long hours of operation, and two Fantasmic shows in the evening.  While we have long hours and two Fantasmic shows every day this week, the fact that Disney resort guests can “take advantage” of their morning Extra Magic Hour and enjoy the same long hours/Fantasmic means many of them will choose to visit today.  It’s also later in the week and many people in town will be on a weeklong Easter break vacation.  Because many of them prefer to visit the more popular theme parks early in their vacation, we’ll have a decent number saving the Studios for later in the week.  Even so, the Studios won’t be far and away busier than non-recommended days during the week.  If you are Extra Magic Hours eligible and you’re certain that you’ll arrive by 6:15am, then you can have a lot of success if you take care of Toy Story Mania, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, and Star Tours first thing in the morning.  If you’re not Extra Magic Hours eligible or won’t be arriving before 7:30am, then I would stick to a recommended day.  Both yesterday and tomorrow will be less crowded overall and you won’t have to deal with additional Disney resort guests.

Magic Kingdom is not recommended.  We have evening Extra Magic Hours to attract Disney resort guests, long hours of operation, and plentiful evening entertainment to go along with the morning Extra Magic Hour that is scheduled every day this week.  There are still two great times to tour – 7am to 10:30am in particular and 12am – 3am for evening Extra Magic Hours.  However, the afternoon and evening will be much more crowded than recommended days and you’ll want to avoid it unless you’re Extra Magic Hours eligible and able to make it to one or both of the recommended times of day.  Disney resort guests will begin arriving en masse at 10am and will continue to take the Park over through the 9pm Main Street Electrical Parade and Wishes.  Unless you plan to arrive by 7:30am, take care of Fantasyland and the headliners in the morning, take a sizable afternoon break, and return in the evening for the nighttime spectaculars, I recommend visiting on a recommended day.  Theoretically, you could also have success from 12am – 3am if you can stay out that late, but it would make it nearly impossible to be at rope drop the following morning when crowds will be low and standby wait times will be just as short or shorter than tonight.  If you are staying for Extra Magic Hours, begin in Adventureland because most people will head to Tomorrowland and Fantasyland first.  Next, move up through Frontierland and Liberty Square on your way to Tomorrowland.  Save Fantasyland for last because most families will be long gone from the Park by 1am and Fantasyland will be low on crowds.  It’s not uncommon for Peter Pan’s Flight to have a 75 minute wait in the afternoon and a ten minute or less wait at the end of evening Extra Magic Hours.  Save Mine Train, Peter Pan, Journey of the Little Mermaid, and Winnie the Pooh for the very end of the night.

Saturday April 19

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 8pm (Not Recommended)

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade: 3:45pm

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 9:30pm (Recommended)

Fantasmic: 8:30pm and 10pm

Magic Kingdom: 9am – 12am (Most Recommended)

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Festival of Fantasy Parade: 12pm and 3pm, Main Street Electrical Parade:10pm and 12am, Wishes Fireworks: 9pm

It’s another very busy day at Animal Kingdom.  The morning Extra Magic Hour will attract the bulk of the Disney resort crowd and there’s no evening Extra Magic Hours or special evening entertainment (since Fantasmic and Main Street Electrical Parade are scheduled every day this week) going on at the other Parks, which will cause a lot of off-site guests to visit as well.  We’ll also have a ton of people looking to visit Magic Kingdom and Epcot tomorrow for Easter and they’ll naturally visit one of the “lesser” theme parks today.  Many Disney resort guests will be looking at Animal Kingdom and the sizable off-site contingent will be split between Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, and to a lesser extent, Epcot.  With both yesterday and tomorrow highly recommended, there’s no reason to visit today.

Epcot comes recommended, though yesterday would have been better.  While we don’t have Extra Magic Hours or anything specific drawing visitors of any variety, we do need to be concerned about the number of people that will be heading to Magic Kingdom for Easter tomorrow and will naturally visit a different theme park today.  Luckily, a surprising number of people will be planning to visit Epcot tomorrow because they heard that it handles crowds better than the other theme parks because it “has the most space.”  That makes today recommended, but arriving prior to Park opening, taking care of the most popular attractions first thing in the morning, and using FASTPASS efficiently throughout the day is more important than merely “picking the right day.”  Plan to arrive no later than 8:15am and head straight for Test Track, Sum of All Thrills, Mission: Space, and Soarin’.  Once you get through those attractions, you have little to worry about for the rest of the. Plan to ride Soarin’ or Test Track with FASTPAS later in the day because the standby lines will be long all day after 10am.  Using FASTPASS at Soarin’ may make more sense because Test Track offers a single rider line with waits that are typically shorter than standby or FASTPASS. To stay ahead of the incoming crowds for as long as possible, head up through the World Showcase at 11am beginning with the water rides in Norway and Mexico.  Return to Future World after 5pm if you couldn’t get to Living with the Land, Ellen’s Energy Adventure, Journey into Imagination with Figment, and other less popular or high capacity Future World attractions earlier in the day.  Just make sure you check your Times Guide to see which Future World attractions will stay open past 7pm.  It’s usually just Soarin’, Test Track, Mission: Space, Spaceship Earth, The Seas with Nemo and Friends, and Character Spot.  Visiting Character Spot after 7pm is best because waits are shorter and you won’t be wasting precious morning touring time. It’s also an above average day to stay for dinner and IllumiNations.  Overall, you can have a lot of success if you tour efficiently, but it’s still going to be busy in the afternoon with the high overall crowd level.

Hollywood Studios comes recommended, though this past Thursday would have been considerably better if you have flexibility in your schedule.  As previously mentioned, the major problem is the number of people that will be headed to Epcot or Magic Kingdom tomorrow for Easter and will naturally visit another theme park today.  Luckily, we did have a decently popular morning Extra Magic Hour yesterday at the Studios and today’s morning Extra Magic Hour at Animal Kingdom will attract a lot of Disney resort guests in that direction.  In most situations, I recommend heading to Magic Kingdom today and saving Hollywood Studios or Animal Kingdom for tomorrow.  However, it’s much more important to arrive prior to Park opening and take care of Toy Story Mania, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, and Star Tours (in that order) first thing in the morning than it is to simply pick the “right” day.  Toy Story Mania routinely has waits that exceed 60 minutes in the afternoon, regardless of crowd level and recommendation.  We can expect Toy Story Mania to have wait times in the triple digits every afternoon this week – there’s just no way around that with its limited capacity and heavy overall crowds.  You’ll want to head there immediately after Park opening or rely on FASTPASS later in the day.  Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster also sees long peak waits and FASTPASSes that are in limited supply.  Thanks to higher capacities, Tower of Terror and Star Tours have wait times that increase slower and FASTPASSes that are more plentiful.  Still, you’ll want to ride as early in the morning as possible or you’ll find 30+ minute waits at Star Tours and 60+ at Tower of Terror in the afternoon. Overall, you can have a lot of success today if you tour efficiently, but keep in mind that standby waits at the major attractions are going to be long from 10:30am through close.

Magic Kingdom is the most recommended Park.  A lot of people will be saving it for Easter tomorrow and we’re in between yesterday’s evening Extra Magic Hours and tomorrow’s evening Extra Magic Hours.  Both of those days will be more popular with the large Disney resort guest contingent, not that Easter really needed to do anything else to draw crowds.  If you are Extra Magic Hours eligible, you can have a ton of success if you arrive by 7:40am to visit Fantasyland first thing and then move on to the headlining attractions once they open at 8am.  Even if you’re not Extra Magic Hours eligible, arrive by 8:30am and you can still have a lot of success.  The Park will begin to get more and more crowded as the morning moves along.  There’s no way around that fact when crowd levels are so high. Use FASTPASS for any attractions you’d like to visit later in the day or weren’t able to make it to in the morning.  Plan to visit the less popular attractions from 11am through at least 7pm and consider taking a sizable afternoon break from 1pm to 6pm to rest up for the evening entertainment.  Return around 7pm for dinner, a few high capacity attractions, and the nighttime entertainment.  All in all, you can have a lot of success if you arrive early and tour efficiently, but the afternoon and evening are going to be busy, like they will be every day this week.  Plan accordingly.

Sunday April 20

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 8pm (Highly Recommended)

Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade: 3:45pm

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Not Recommended)

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Illuminations: 9pm

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 8pm (Most Recommended)

Fantasmic: 8:30pm

Magic Kingdom: 9am – 11pm (Not Recommended)

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Evening Extra Magic Hours: 11pm – 1am

Festival of Fantasy Parade: 3pm, Main Street Electrical Parade: 9pm and 11pm, Wishes Fireworks: 10pm

Animal Kingdom is highly recommended.  We have morning Extra Magic Hour/evening Extra Magic Hours/Main Street Electrical Parade at Magic Kingdom and morning Extra Magic Hour at Epcot luring a lot of Disney resort guests.  These are Disney World’s two most popular theme parks and the Extra Magic Hours will only make them more attractive to the sizable Disney resort contingent that thinks the Extra Magic Hours schedule is Disney dictating where they “belong” each day.  Disney resort guests are more likely to visit Animal Kingdom on Wednesday for morning Extra Magic Hour.  With the long day, there are two great times to tour.  The early morning, from 9am – 10:30am, is always preferable because standby waits that are guaranteed to be low.  The end of the day, from 6:30pm – 8pm, will also see lower crowds and shorter waits than the afternoon.  Ideally, plan to arrive prior to Park opening and focus on riding Kilimanjaro Safaris and Expedition Everest as early as possible or rely on FASTPASS later in the day (or both).  After getting those out of the way, move on to DinoLand USA for Primeval Whirl and DINOSAUR or Finding Nemo the Musical and you’ll be set for the rest of the day.  You may also want to prioritize the most popular characters by arriving at their Meet and Greets about five minutes before they’re scheduled to appear.  For those arriving later in the day, plan to stay through until 8pm and return to the major headliners after 6:30pm when standby waits are lower than the afternoon.  Check your Times Guide to see when the last safari leaves – it will likely be before 7pm.  Take note of that if you’re interested in riding late.  With the high overall crowd level for the Easter holiday, Animal Kingdom will be far from empty.  Take advantage of one or both of the less crowded times of day, use FASTPASS as much as possible in the late morning and afternoon, and tour efficiently and you should have an excellent day.   You also have an outstanding opportunity to Park Hop after the Park closes or you finish your itinerary.  You could head to Epcot for dinner and IllumiNations, Magic Kingdom for evening Extra Magic Hours, or Hollywood Studios for Fantasmic.  Without Park Hopper, consider transferring to the Animal Kingdom Lodge for dinner and a look around the resort or take a trip out to Downtown Disney or the BoardWalk for dinner and shopping.

Epcot is not recommended.  The morning Extra Magic Hour will attract a decent number of Disney resort guests.  While many of them will fail to arrive for their extra hour, they will show up nonetheless later in the morning.  While the Extra Magic Hour itself is an excellent time to tour, the additional crowds in the late morning, afternoon, and evening will increase waits time for the rest of the day and most likely erase any benefit you enjoyed from 8am – 9am.  Park Hopping elsewhere in the afternoon is always an option, but then you arrive in a Park at the busiest part of the day during some of the heaviest crowds of the year.  We’re actually better off waiting until tomorrow to visit, when we straddle today’s morning Extra Magic Hour and Tuesday’s even more popular evening Extra Magic Hours.  Tomorrow, we’ll enjoy low crowds in the morning and won’t have to worry about an influx of Disney resort guests arriving throughout the morning and early afternoon.  If you do end up visiting today, it’s imperative that you actually arrive by 7:15am to take full advantage of the morning Extra Magic Hour and head straight to Soarin, Test Track, and Mission: Space.  Try to move up through the World Showcase beginning at 11am with the water rides in Mexico and Norway and you’ll put yourself in the best position to minimize waits and have a pleasant day.

Hollywood Studios is the most recommended Park now.  We’re in between yesterday’s morning Extra Magic Hour and tomorrow’s morning Extra Magic Hour, both of which will be more popular with Disney resort guests.  We also have morning Extra Magic Hour/evening Extra Magic Hours/Main Street Electrical Parade/ Wishes at Magic Kingdom and morning Extra Magic Hour at Epcot, all of which will be incredibly popular with Disney resort guests and those that arrived for a weeklong Easter break vacation today or yesterday.  Finally, Sunday is a popular travel day and few people arriving will head out to the Studios for Fantasmic this evening.  Those that arrived yesterday are also unlikely to begin their first full day at Hollywood Studios.  In order to find the shortest waits, you’ll need to arrive prior to Park opening and head straight to Toy Story Mania.  Because of its popularity and extremely limited capacity, Toy Story Mania almost always has afternoon waits of 60 or more minutes even when crowds are low and the Studios is recommended. On a day like today, triple digit afternoon waits are guaranteed, despite the recommendation.  It’s always your top priority.  The second attraction with the longest peak wait is Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, which should be ridden immediately after Toy Story Mania in the morning or with FASTPASSes later in the day.  Other priorities are Tower of Terror and Star Tours, though FASTPASSes are more plentiful at both attractions and standby waits are usually much lower. Expect Star Tours to hit 40 minutes and Tower of Terror should peak north of 60.  After you get through these four headliners, it’s just a matter of arriving in time to see the various stage shows that run on a set schedule and getting over to the Studios’ high capacity attractions.  You may also want to prioritize characters that will have longer afternoon waits.  The Toy Story characters across from Toy Story Midway Mania tend to have the longest waits in Hollywood Studios. Sofia the First in Animation Courtyard also sees long waits. Phineas & Ferb are also popular. They greet guests near Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano and across from the exit to Muppet Vision 3D.  Check the week’s Times Guide to verify appearance times.  Two other popular characters appear in the Animation Building in the Animation Courtyard.  Sorcerer Mickey in particular has long afternoon waits and The Incredibles characters also tend to have decent lines.  Since both characters meet indoors and their lines aren’t usually over 20 minutes long, you should be able to find them with decent waits later in the day if you have other morning priorities.  Finally, you’ll find some characters in the morning near Mickey’s Sorcerer’s Hat that won’t appear later in the afternoon.  Daisy Duck, Chip, Dale, Stitch, Goofy, and Pluto are all common, but no specific character is guaranteed to appear.   For Fantasmic, consider the Fantasmic Dining Package that guarantees everyone on the reservation a seat in the reserved section of the Fantasmic.  It will still require you to arrive at least 20 minutes early, or you run the risk of Disney opening the reserved section up to the general population, but it saves the stress of having to decide when it’s time to line up and decreases the overall wait.  The Fantasmic Dining Package makes the most sense on the Disney Dining Plan because it costs the same one table service credit at Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano or Hollywood & Vine and two table service credits at Hollywood Brown Derby that you would pay otherwise.  Plus, it includes the appetizer, which you normally wouldn’t receive on the Disney Dining Plan. Without the Package, arrive at least 60 minutes early to secure seats together.  While it’s officially a recommended day, arriving prior to Park opening and hitting the headliners first thing is more important than which day you pick.  Arrive at 11am, no matter the recommendation or the overall crowd level, and you’ll be looking at long lines at Toy Story Mania and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster.

While there are two excellent times to tour Magic Kingdom today, 11am – 10pm is going to be extremely busy.  We have a ton of people arriving yesterday and today for a weeklong Disney vacation and they’ll want to visit Magic Kingdom right off the bat.  That’s primarily why we have the 8am – 2am operating hours if you include the Extra Magic Hours for Disney resort guests.  Disney is expecting a ton of people and the extended operating hours will at least help lower crowds in the early morning and late evening.  While 8am – 10:30am and 12am – 2am will be excellent times to tour, the afternoon is going to be uncomfortably crowded.  If you tour efficiently in the early morning and/or late evening then you can have success, but you’ll want to take a sizable afternoon break and plan to visit some of the least popular attractions and high capacity shows in the afternoon and early evening.  Overall, this coming Tuesday and Wednesday will be less crowded.  If you are headed to Magic Kingdom today, you’ll either want to take advantage of the 8am – 10am and/or 12am -2am timeframe or have reasonable expectations about wait times and crowd levels.  It’s going to be extremely busy, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t have a great time.

Monday April 21

Animal Kingdom: 8am – 8pm (Highly Recommended)

Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade: 3:45pm

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Most Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 9:30pm (Not Recommended)

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Fantasmic: 8:30pm and 10pm

Magic Kingdom: 9am – 11pm (Not Recommended)

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Festival of Fantasy Parade: 3pm, Main Street Electrical Parade: 9pm and 11pm, Wishes Fireworks: 10pm

Animal Kingdom is highly recommended for a number of reasons.  We don’t have special events, Extra Magic Hours, or anything specific drawing people toward it.  It’s also early enough in the week that most people on a weeklong Easter break vacation won’t be interested in visiting Disney’s least popular theme park until later in the week.  We also have morning Extra Magic Hour/Fantasmic at Hollywood Studios attracting a lot of off-site and on-site visitors alike. Magic Kingdom will also be attracting a lot of people.  Overall, today and Friday are the best days of the week to visit, though Tuesday and Thursday would also be fine.  To have the most success, arrive prior to Park opening and head straight for Kilimanjaro Safaris and Expedition Everest.  Once you get through these two attractions, move on to DinoLand USA for Primeval Whirl and DINOSAUR or Finding Nemo the Musical.  Afternoon shows do get busy, so try to see the first or last show of the day. Use FASTPASSes for the major attractions throughout the day and you should have no trouble getting on any of the headliners a second or third time.  The single rider line at Expedition Everest is also a good way to ride with short waits.  Finally, crowds begin to disperse after the 3:45pm Parade.  If you don’t arrive early, plan to stay through until close as wait times will only decrease from 6:30pm onward.  Overall, it’s one of the best days of the week to visit Animal Kingdom, but it will still be relatively busy with the high overall crowd level.  Arrive early and tour efficiently and you shouldn’t run into much trouble.

Epcot is the most recommended Park.  We’re in between yesterday’s morning Extra Magic Hour and tomorrow’s evening Extra Magic Hours, both of which will be more popular with Disney resort guests.  Disney is also pushing Disney resort guests toward Hollywood Studios with morning Extra Magic Hour/Fantasmic and Magic Kingdom will naturally be busier because of the number of people that travel over the weekend and naturally visit the most magical place on earth first thing on their weeklong trip.  You can have a lot of success if you arrive prior to Park opening and head straight for Test Track, Sum of All Thrills, Mission Space, and Soarin’.  Use FASTPASS at Soarin’ or Test Track and you should have no problem riding either a second time in the afternoon. Choosing Soarin’ may make more sense because Test Track offers a single rider line that usually has waits shorter than either standby or FASTPASS.  However, you’ll run into trouble at the headliners if you don’t arrive until 10:30am or later, despite the recommendation.  With only two major attractions to attract the “where are the rides” crowd, Soarin’ and Test Track are going to have 90+ minute waits for most of the day after 10:30am.  There’s no way around that.  Plan to arrive prior to Park opening or use FASTPASS at Test Track or Soarin’.  To stay ahead of the crowds for as long as possible, move up through the World Showcase beginning at 11am with the water rides in Mexico and Norway.  If you have more to do in Future World, try returning after 5pm when most people have moved on to World Showcase.  Keep an eye on your Times Guide to see which attractions close at 7pm.  Finally, visit Character Spot after 7pm to find shorter waits than the afternoon without wasting precious morning touring time.  It’s also a great night for dinner and IllumiNations.  All in all, it’s one of the best days of the week to visit Epcot, but you’ll want to arrive early if you’re interested in the major Future World attractions.

Hollywood Studios is not recommended, thanks to the morning Extra Magic Hour that will attract enough Disney resort guests and in turn increase wait times and make common areas more congested.  While most Disney resort guests won’t arrive in time to take advantage of their extra hour, they’ll continue pouring in throughout the morning. While the Extra Magic Hour itself is an excellent time to tour, the arrival of more Disney resort guests will increase wait times enough in the late morning and afternoon to offset most any benefit.  The increased crowds will also lead to longer lines at quick service locations and require you to arrive earlier for major stage shows among other inconveniences. All in all, tomorrow or Thursday would be better days to visit unless you plan to arrive by 7:15am and be on your way out by 1pm.

Magic Kingdom is going to be busy today.  We have a lot of people arriving over the weekend for an Easter week trip and they’ll be looking to visit Magic Kingdom on their first full day.  The morning Extra Magic Hour, long hours of operation, Main Street Electrical Parade, and Wishes aren’t a concern like they are for much of the year because we have a similar schedule through Wednesday.  Nonetheless, the fact that it’s a Monday during a holiday week is enough for us to want to steer clear.  However, with the high overall crowd level, Magic Kingdom is going to be busy every day this week.  Arriving prior to Park opening (at 7:30am for Disney resort guests and 8:30am for off-site guests) and taking care of the Fantasyland, the headlining Mountain rides (Big Thunder, Space, Splash Mountain), or whatever attractions on your itinerary you deem most important is more important than simply picking the “right day.”  However, tomorrow, Wednesday, and Thursday would all be less crowded and I highly recommend waiting to visit until one or more of those days if you can.  If you do visit today, do your best to arrive prior to opening, take care of the most important attractions first, use FASTPASS efficiently, and take a sizable afternoon break and you’ll be in good shape.

Tuesday April 22

Animal Kingdom: 8am – 8pm (Recommended)

Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade: 3:45pm

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Not Recommended)

Evening Extra Magic Hours: 9pm – 11pm

Illuminations: 9pm

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 9:30pm (Highly Recommended)

Fantasmic: 8:30pm and 10pm

Magic Kingdom: 9am – 11pm (Most Recommended)

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Festival of Fantasy Parade: 3pm, Main Street Electrical Parade: 9pm and 11pm, Wishes Fireworks: 10pm

Animal Kingdom comes recommended.  We don’t have Extra Magic Hours, special events, or anything else to attract Disney vacationers of any sort. While we do have longer hours than most other days throughout the year, we have similar operating hours on both sides, which doesn’t make the 8pm close a concern whatsoever.  It’s also still early in the week and most people on a weeklong vacation will be saving Animal Kingdom for later in the week.  Epcot will see the brunt of the crowds.  To take full advantage, arrive prior to Park opening and head straight to Kilimanjaro Safaris and Expedition Everest.  Get those two attractions out of the way early and the only real concerns are getting over to DinoLand USA for Primeval Whirl and DINOSAUR before 10:30am and arriving in time for Finding Nemo the Musical.  Try to see the first or last shows of the day if you can.  Otherwise, arrive about 20 minutes early for Nemo.  You may also want to prioritize the character Meet and Greets by arriving to meet the characters about five minutes before they’re scheduled to first appear.  Use FASTPASS throughout the day and you should have no trouble experiencing just about everything Animal Kingdom has to offer in just one day.  Finally, crowds do disperse after the 3:45pm Parade and wait times will only decrease after 6:30pm and be lowest from 7pm to 8pm.

We’ll want to avoid Epcot.  Its evening Extra Magic Hours will lure the majority of Disney resort guests, which will lengthen waits times at the attractions for the entire afternoon and evening.  Epcot is almost always at its busiest and lines are the longest when it has evening Extra Magic Hours.  This is due to the fact that many Disney resort guests head to whichever Park has Extra Magic Hours, even if they don’t plan to take advantage of them.  Without Park Hopper, Disney resort guests must stay in the Park with Extra Magic Hours for the entire day.  The increased crowds lead to longer lines, heavier congestion in common areas, and an overall less pleasant touring experience.  I would urge you to visit a different Park.  If you want to head to Epcot today, despite my strong objections, your best chance to ride the headlining rides is from 9am-11am.  Most Disney resort guests will sleep in and arrive around lunch in anticipation of staying until 10-11pm.  The morning will be a decent time to tour Epcot, but you’ll probably want to Park Hop elsewhere after lunch or you’ll be stuck in significantly larger-than-usual crowds.  You might also consider an afternoon break from 2pm-6pm when crowds will be at their largest.  You could then return in the early evening for dinner and Extra Magic Hours.  Alternatively, you could also Park Hop over in the evening for Extra Magic Hours, provided you’re aware of how busy it will be.  With Extra Magic Hours only being two hours now, wait times at Soarin’ and Test Track won’t ease much until after 10:30pm.  However, other attractions will see nominal waits and it’s a great time to take in Epcot’s natural ambiance and hit a few of the less popular/high capacity attractions.  Skip Illuminations if you’ll be here on another night because it will be more crowded than usual.  Overall, there’s no reason to visit Epcot today because crowds will be higher than any other day during the week and waits at Soarin’ and Test Track will be just as long as they were during the day until at least 10:30pm.

Hollywood Studios is highly recommended.  We have the very popular evening Extra Magic Hours at Epcot and it’s earlier in the week, which means people are less likely to visit Disney’s third most popular theme park.  We also had a moderately popular morning Extra Magic Hour yesterday and the Studios is hosting its even more popular evening Extra Magic Hours tomorrow night.  All of this translates to an “above average” day, at least considering the high overall crowd level.  Despite the recommendation, it’s still imperative to arrive by 8:15am in order to ride Toy Story Mania and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster with short waits.  Arrive at 10:30am with everyone else and you’ll find 80+ minute waits at Toy Story Mania and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster.  To have the most success, arrive by 8:15am and head straight to Toy Story Mania, followed by Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, and Star Tours.  Get through these attractions early in the morning or with FASTPASS and you have little to worry about for the rest of the day, other than keeping an eye on the time to make all of those scheduled stage shows.  Take advantage of FASTPASS throughout the day and you should have no trouble riding any of the major attractions a second time.  Toy Story Mania is your top priority. For Fantasmic, consider the Fantasmic Dining Package that guarantees everyone on the reservation a seat in the reserved section of the Fantasmic theater if you’re planning to see the 8:30pm show.  It will still require you to arrive at least 30 minutes early, or you run the risk of Disney opening the reserved section up to the general population, but it saves the stress of having to decide when it’s time to line up and decreases the overall wait.  The Fantasmic Dining Package makes the most sense on the Disney Dining Plan because it costs the same one table service credit at Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano or Hollywood & Vine and two table service credits at Hollywood Brown Derby that you would pay otherwise.  Plus, it includes the appetizer, which you normally wouldn’t receive on the Disney Dining Plan.  If the Dining Package isn’t available or you’d prefer not to use it, I highly recommend waiting to see the 10pm Fantasmic.  The second Fantasmic of the night is always less crowded than the first, especially when it’s this late at night.  You also won’t have to deal with two large sections roped off for Dining Package users because their reserved tickets are only good for the first show.  While it’s officially a recommended day, arriving prior to Park opening and hitting the headliners first thing is more important than which day you pick.  Arrive at 11am, no matter the recommendation or the overall crowd level, and you’ll be looking at long lines at Toy Story Mania and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster.

Magic Kingdom is the most recommended Park.  Epcot’s evening Extra Magic Hours will help pull away Disney resort guests and a lot of people that arrived over the weekend for a weeklong Easter break vacation will have moved on to a different theme park.  Still, Magic Kingdom will be far from empty with the high overall crowd level, long hours of operation, Main Street Electrical Parade, and Wishes.  There’s simply no way around that fact when the overall crowd level is this high.  It’s still more important to arrive prior to Park opening and head straight for Fantasyland (Enchanted Tales with Belle, Journey of the Little Mermaid, Peter Pan’s Flight, Winnie the Pooh) or the headlining Mountain rides (Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain, Splash Mountain).  You may also want to fit other time-sensitive attractions like Tomorrowland Indy Speedway or Astro Orbiter in there as well, along with Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin and other quick attractions that will have decent afternoon waits.  Do your best to arrive as early as possible because it’s the best way to see the attractions and rides with the shortest possible waits.  You may also want to prioritize the most popular character Meet and Greets.  Check your Times Guide to see when the characters begin appearing and plan to arrive at least ten minutes early.  Come 11am, Magic Kingdom will be busy with the high overall crowd level.  This is much less of a concern if you’ve already hit the Park hard and moved on to the less popular and high capacity attractions.  Consider taking a break from 1pm to 6pm or so when crowds are heaviest and wait times are longest to rest up for the evening entertainment.  For Main Street Electrical Parade, scout out a spot along the Parade route in Liberty Square or Frontierland for the 11pm Parade.  Both areas are significantly less crowded than Main Street and require a shorter wait.  The second Parade is always much less attended than the first.  Stay through 11pm because waits will only decrease as it gets later. If you’re skipping the entertainment, visit Tomorrowland after 9pm and Fantasyland after 10pm to experience much shorter waits than the afternoon. If you’re trying to decide between today and tomorrow, then I would go with tomorrow because it’s in the middle of the week and even more people will be ready to visit another Park.  However, today will be nearly as good if you tour efficiently in the morning, take a restful break, and enjoy the Magic Kingdom’s nighttime spectaculars.

Wednesday April 23

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 8pm (Not Recommended)

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade: 3:45pm

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Highly Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 9:30pm (Not Recommended)

Evening Extra Magic Hours: 9:30pm – 11:30pm

Fantasmic: 8:30pm and 10pm

Magic Kingdom: 9am – 11pm (Most Recommended)

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Festival of Fantasy Parade: 3pm, Main Street Electrical Parade: 9pm and 11pm, Wishes Fireworks: 10pm

It’s the busiest day of the week at Animal Kingdom.  While the evening Extra Magic Hours at Hollywood Studios will also be attractive to Disney resort guests, Animal Kingdom will attract enough people to make it busier than any other day this week.  Animal Kingdom is technically the “largest Disney theme park by total land,” but it also has the fewest attractions and the smallest area where guests can actually walk around.  Only a few thousand more people than average increases wait times considerably and overall crowds are so high that we’re talking about far more than just a few thousand extra people.  With recommended days all around us, you’ll want to visit during another day unless you’re absolutely certain that you’ll arrive by 6:40am to take advantage of the full morning Extra Magic Hour and plan to exit around 1pm when crowds peak.  Most Disney resort guests won’t arrive in time to take advantage of their Extra Magic Hour, but they’ll stream in throughout the morning.  This causes longer wait times from 11am through close, longer lines at the quick service locations and restaurants, more congestion in common areas, and an overall less pleasant touring experience.  Avoid it if you can.

Epcot is highly recommended.  We’re coming off a popular evening Extra Magic Hours yesterday that will be much more popular with Disney resort guests.  Disney resort guests are more likely to head to Animal Kingdom for morning Extra Magic Hour or Hollywood Studios for the popular evening Extra Magic Hours/Fantasmic combo.  Epcot will also be recommended later in the week if you’re planning to head to Magic Kingdom today.  If you visit Epcot, plan to arrive prior to Park opening and head straight to Test Track, Sum of All Thrills, Mission: Space, and Soarin’.  You may also want to take a more compartmentalized two-day approach, which gives you the benefit of enjoying the lowest possible crowds in both Future World and World Showcase each day.  Use FASTPASS at Test Track or Soarin’ if you’d like to ride any either a second time.  Test Track also has a single rider line with actual waits that are often shorter than standby or FASTPASS. If you’re planning just one day in Epcot, try to move up through the World Showcase as early as possible, beginning with the boat rides in Mexico and Norway.  These are the only two attractions in World Showcase that will see wait times.  Overall, it’s a good day to visit Epcot and a fine day to stay for dinner and IllumiNations, provided you tour efficiently in the morning.

Hollywood Studios will be busy due to the evening Extra Magic Hours that are popular with Disney resort guests and Fantasmic which attracts off-site visitors and keeps crowds heavy throughout the evening.  The morning will be an okay time to tour, but crowds will increase around 11am as more and more Disney resort guests arrive. Yesterday and tomorrow would be better days to visit because we don’t have the Extra Magic Hours complications.  Because of that, there’s really no reason to head in the Studios’ direction today.  I’m not too fond of evening Extra Magic Hours at Hollywood Studios either.  There are only a few attractions open and the waits for Toy Story Mania, Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, and Star Tours will likely be just as long as they were during the day, at least until 11pm when people begin to give up and exit.  In addition, 9,000+ people will exit Fantasmic at 9:00pm and 10:30pm, right as evening Extra Magic Hours begins.  The Fantasmic Theater is located right on Sunset Boulevard, across from the entrances to Tower of Terror and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster. While not everyone seeing Fantasmic will be a Disney resort guests, many of them will be, and a ton will be headed to Tower of Tower and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster because they truly believe it’s the best time to get in line.  Unfortunately, they’ll find themselves lined up with a few thousand of their new best friends.  If you’re staying for evening Extra Magic Hours, your best bet is always to save these headlining attractions for the very end of the night and visit Toy Story Mania last.  While you could theoretically have success if you arrive prior to Park opening and head straight for the headliners, the same will be true later in the week and you won’t have to deal with the significantly heavier afternoon and evening crowds.

Magic Kingdom is our best Park to visit today for the exact same reasons it was recommended yesterday. This Friday is the best day of the week to visit with the lower overall crowd level and lack of an Extra Magic Hour complication. Take that into consideration if you’re planning a first or second day there.  Today, take advantage of the above average day by arriving prior to Park opening and head straight for Fantasyland (Enchanted Tales with Belle, Journey of the Little Mermaid, Peter Pan’s Flight, Winnie the Pooh), the headlining Mountain rides (Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain), or other time sensitive attractions (Astro Orbiter, Tomorrowland Indy Speedway).  Because Magic Kingdom opens at 8am to Disney resort guests, that means arriving by 7:30am if you are Extra Magic Hours eligible or 8:30am if you’re not.  Since Disney has scheduled a morning Extra Magic Hour at Magic Kingdom every day over the last week and a half, so there’s no way around the early morning unless you want to arrive later and actually deal with those heavier crowds yourself.  You’ll be able to accomplish a ton of attractions in a short amount of time if you make efficient use of the morning and use FASTPASS at the major attractions throughout the day.  If you’re arriving for Extra Magic Hours, keep in mind that some attractions may not be operating until 9am.  Plan to visit Fantasyland first, where most attractions will be operating, and then move on to the Mountain rides right at 9am.  With the high overall crowd level, Magic Kingdom won’t be empty.  But we’re looking at more of a “6” at the Magic Kingdom in particular, which is less crowded than other days surrounding the Easter holiday.  Still, the morning is the best time to tour and you’ll run into trouble if you don’t arrive until 10:30am with everyone else.  For Main Street Electrical Parade, stake out a spot along the Parade route in Frontierland or Liberty Square for the 11pm Parade.  Both locations are much less crowded than Main Street and offer a view that is just as good.  The later Electrical Parade is also significantly less crowded than the first, particularly when it’s this late at night.  If you aren’t planning to arrive early, try to stay through 11pm.  If you’re skipping the evening entertainment, hit Tomorrowland after 9pm and then Fantasyland after 10pm and you’ll find significantly shorter lines than any other time after 10am.

Thursday April 24

Animal Kingdom: 8am – 8pm (Highly Recommended)

Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade: 3:45pm

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 9:30pm (Most Recommended)

Fantasmic: 8:30pm and 10pm

Magic Kingdom: 9am – 11pm (Not Recommended)

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Celebrate a Dream Come True Parade: 3:30pm, Main Street Electrical Parade: 9pm and 10pm, Wishes Fireworks: 10pm

Animal Kingdom is highly recommended. We’re coming off a popular day at Animal Kingdom yesterday, thanks to the morning Extra Magic Hour that will draw a lot of Disney resort guests.  Today, we have morning Extra Magic Hour attracting crowds toward the Magic Kingdom.  All in all, you can have a lot of success if you arrive by 7:30am and take care of Kilimanjaro Safaris and Expedition Everest first thing in the morning.  After getting those two attractions out of the way, head over to DinoLand USA for Primeval Whirl and DINOSAUR, over to the popular character greetings, or over to Finding Nemo the Musical.  Finding Nemo does get crowded later in the day and the first show is always the least crowded and will require the shortest wait to get good seats. You can have a tremendous amount of success from 8am – 10am when waits and crowds are low. If you arrive later, you may need to rely on FASTPASS at Kilimanjaro Safaris and Expedition Everest.  Expedition Everest also has a “single rider line” that is usually short if you’re willing to split the group up.  Plan to stay through close if you couldn’t get to the headliners earlier in the day or if you’d like to return to any other attractions because crowds only dissipate after the 3:45pm Parade and more and more people leave.  Visit DinoLand after 6pm and Asia after 7pm to find much shorter waits than the afternoon. Overall, it’s a great day to visit Animal Kingdom if you need a day there.  If you’re looking to extend your day, you may want to book a dinner reservation right around Park close.  Disney will run buses for at least 90 minutes after Park close to get you back to your Disney resort and most restaurants accept bookings right up until close.  You may also want to visit the BoardWalk or Downtown Disney, both of which are popular dining/shopping destinations.  Of course, you can also Park Hop over to Magic Kingdom for the nighttime entertainment, Epcot for IllumiNations, or Hollywood Studios for Fantasmic.

Epcot is recommended, though we’d be a lot better off if evening Extra Magic Hours was scheduled tomorrow. Fortunately, Magic Kingdom will be popular with the morning Extra Magic Hour. With the lingering high overall crowd level, it’s imperative that you arrive prior to Park opening and head straight to Test Track, Sum of All Thrills, Mission: Space, and Soarin’ or follow a more compartmentalized two-day touring plan if you prefer. By 10am, Test Track and Soarin’ will have 60+ minute waits that will continue through the evening.  If you arrive later, plan to use FastPass at Soarin’ or Test Track.  Single rider is also an option at Test Track and often has actual waits shorter than standby or FASTPASS. Move on to the World Showcase beginning around 11am if crowds begin to build in Future World, beginning with the water rides in Mexico and Norway.  Return to Future World after 5pm if you have more to accomplish and to ride/re-ride the headliners with FASTPASS.  Visit Character Spot after 7pm when waits are low. It’s also a great day to stay for dinner and IllumiNations.

Hollywood Studios is the most recommended Park.  We’re looking at a morning Extra Magic Hour tomorrow that will be more popular with Disney resort guests and yesterday’s evening Extra Magic Hours will also prove more popular.  With Fantasmic scheduled every night, the Studios won’t be far and away less crowded than other days this week like it was when Fantasmic was scheduled less often.  Nonetheless, we’re looking at fewer people in the Park, crowds that grow slower, increased FASTPASS availability, less congestion in common areas, and shorter waits at rides, shows, and restaurants.  To have the most success, you’ll still want to arrive by 8:15am and head straight for Toy Story Mania, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, and Star Tours.  Because Toy Story Mania has such a limited capacity, wait times are almost always 60+ minutes in the afternoon and FastPass availability is extremely limited.  Expect waits to hit 80 to 100 minutes today.  You’ll want to make it your top priority.  Your second priority is Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, which also sees long afternoon waits and limited FASTPASS availability.  Tower of Terror and Star Tours should be easier to ride, but also remain priorities.  If you can get these attractions done in the early morning, you’ll be in great shape for the rest of the day.  The only other problem most people run into is trying to schedule all of the stage shows that run on a set schedule.  You may also want to prioritize characters that will have longer afternoon waits. The Toy Story Characters tend to have the longest waits.  They’re easiest to meet in the morning immediately after riding Toy Story because they first appear at 9:15am and waits are short first thing.  Check the week’s Times Guide to verify appearance times.  Two other popular characters appear in the Animation Building in the Animation Courtyard.  Sorcerer Mickey in particular has long afternoon waits and The Incredibles characters also tend to have decent lines. Plan to meet them in the final hour they meet.  Finally, you’ll find some characters in the morning near Mickey’s Sorcerer’s Hat that won’t appear later in the afternoon.  Daisy Duck, Chip, Dale, Stitch, Goofy, and Pluto are all common, but no specific character is guaranteed to appear.  All in all, you can do well, but arriving prior to Park opening and using FastPass wisely is of the utmost importance at Hollywood Studios in particular.

The morning Extra Magic Hour at Magic Kingdom will lure a decent number of Disney resort guests, making the Park busier than tomorrow. However, we have had a morning Extra Magic Hour every day for the last ten days or so and the overall crowd level is lower today. This makes today the least crowded day to visit since April 11th. But it’s also the least crowded day in about two weeks for the other Parks too, which is why they’re recommended. Magic Kingdom is best saved for tomorrow when the Extra Magic Hour complication doesn’t bother us.  You can have success provided you take advantage of the morning Extra Magic Hour by arriving no later than 7:40am and heading straight to Fantasyland or other open attractions in Tomorrowland.  Move on to the headlining Mountain rides or character meet and greets when they open and you’ll be in excellent shape.  However, you will find that crowds are heavier than tomorrow in the afternoon and evening.  You’ll probably want to take a break from 1pm to 6pm or so and return in the evening to ride some major attractions with FASTPASS, have dinner, experience some high capacity attractions, and enjoy the evening spectaculars.  Keep in mind that you would be much better off visiting tomorrow if you aren’t Extra Magic Hours eligible or won’t arrive until 9:30am or later because it will be busier than recommended days from 11am onward.

Friday April 25

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 7pm (Recommended)

Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade: 3:45pm

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 9:30pm (Not Recommended)

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Fantasmic: 8:30pm and 10pm

Magic Kingdom: 9am – 11pm (Most Recommended)

Celebrate a Dream Come True Parade: 3:30pm, Main Street Electrical Parade: 9pm and 11pm, Wishes Fireworks: 10pm

Animal Kingdom is recommended.  Hollywood Studios will be more popular with the predictable Disney resort guest contingent with the morning Extra Magic Hour luring a ton of people. Animal Kingdom will be busier tomorrow because it’s hosting a morning Extra Magic Hour.  You can have a lot of success if you arrive prior to Park opening and take care of Kilimanjaro Safaris and Expedition Everest first thing in the morning.  After getting those two attractions out of the way, head over to DinoLand USA for Primeval Whirl and DINOSAUR, over to the most popular character greetings, or over to Finding Nemo.  Finding Nemo does get crowded later in the day and the first show is always the least crowded and will require the shortest wait to get good seats.  If you arrive later, you may need to rely on FASTPASS at Kilimanjaro Safaris and Expedition Everest.  Expedition Everest also has a “single rider line” that is usually short if you’re willing to split the group up.  Plan to stay through close if you couldn’t get to the headliners earlier in the day or if you’d like to return to any other attractions because crowds only dissipate after the 3:45pm Parade and more and more people leave.  Because Animal Kingdom doesn’t offer anything in the way of special evening entertainment, few people Park Hop over in the afternoon and evening.  Save Everest and Kilimanjaro Safaris for the last hour of operation if you’d like to experience them again or couldn’t make it over earlier in the day.  Overall, it’s a great day to visit Animal Kingdom if you need a day there.  If you’re looking to extend your day, you may want to book a dinner reservation right around Park close.  Disney will run buses for at least 90 minutes after Park close to get you back to your Disney resort and most restaurants accept bookings right up until close.  You may also want to visit the BoardWalk or Downtown Disney, both of which are popular dining/shopping destinations.  Of course, you can also Park Hop over to Magic Kingdom for the nighttime entertainment, Epcot for IllumiNations or Hollywood Studios for Fantasmic.  If you do plan to head elsewhere, you’ll most likely want to take a sizable afternoon break.  It’s a long day and the heat won’t help.

Epcot is recommended again, which is rare for a Friday because it normally hosts Extra Magic Hours.  Take full advantage by arriving prior to Park opening and head straight to Test Track, Sum of All Thrills Mission: Space, and Soarin’. Visit Character Spot after 7pm to avoid longer afternoon waits.  To stay ahead of the crowds for as long as possible, move up through the World Showcase beginning at 11am with the water rides in Norway and Mexico.  Return to Future World to ride anything you skipped earlier in the day and to re-ride Soarin’ and Test Track with FASTPASS.  If you arrive after 10am, you’ll need to rely on FASTPASS at Soarin’ or Test Track or be prepared to wait in 60 minute standby lines, despite the recommendation.  There’s no way around that due to the popularity of both attractions and their limited capacities. Test Track offers a single rider line that often has actual waits shorter than standby or FASTPASS and is a viable option if you’re willing to split up your party. It’s also an excellent day to stay for IllumiNations and enjoy the World Showcase in the afternoon.

Hollywood Studios is not recommended.  The sizable Disney resort contingent numbers 85,000+ people during a busy week like this one.  Because Disney sells the Extra Magic Hour program so well in its marketing materials, many of these Disney resort guests follow the Extra Magic Hours schedule because they think it’s Disney telling them where they belong each day.  While you can have success if you are Extra Magic Hours eligible and arrive by 7:15am, most people will want to visit another day.  Tomorrow and Sunday would be significantly better.  Avoid it unless you can’t visit any other day or are certain you’ll arrive by 7:15am and plan to hit Toy Story Midway Mania, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, and Star Tours first thing in the morning.

Magic Kingdom is the most recommended Park as the overall crowd level is a little lower and we don’t have Extra Magic Hours or special evening entertainment drawing crowds.  Despite the recommendation, today will be far from empty with the above average overall crowd level, decent hours of operation, Main Street Electrical Parade, and Wishes.  It’s still more important to arrive prior to Park opening and head straight for Fantasyland (Enchanted Tales with Belle, Journey of the Little Mermaid, Ariel’s Grotto, Peter Pan, Winnie the Pooh), the headlining Mountain rides (Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain, Splash Mountain), or a more compartmentalized two-day plan.  You may also want to fit other time-sensitive attractions like Tomorrowland Indy Speedway or Astro Orbiter in there as well, along with Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, and other quick attractions that will have decent afternoon waits.  Consider taking a break from 1pm to 5pm or so when crowds are heaviest and wait times are longest to rest up for the evening entertainment.  For Main Street Electrical Parade, scout out a spot along the Parade route in Liberty Square or Frontierland where crowds are lower.  See the 11pm Parade because it will be much less crowded than the first due to all the families that leave immediately after Wishes. If you’re not interested in the entertainment, visit Tomorrowland after 9pm and Fantasyland after 10pm to find much shorter waits than the afternoon.

Saturday April 26

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 6pm (Not Recommended)

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade: 3:45pm

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 8pm (Most Recommended)

Fantasmic: 8:30pm

Magic Kingdom: 9am – 11pm (Not Recommended)

Celebrate a Dream Come True Parade: 3:30pm, Main Street Electrical Parade: 9pm and 11pm, Wishes Fireworks: 10pm

Animal Kingdom is not recommended.  The morning Extra Magic Hour will attract the bulk of the Disney resort crowd and there’s no evening Extra Magic Hours or special evening entertainment going on at the other Parks, which will cause a lot of off-site guests to visit as well.  Most people prefer to visit the other Parks when they’re either open longer or have special evening entertainment like Fantasmic (when it’s scheduled less often) or Main Street Electrical Parade.  When none of that is available, they’ll default to the Animal Kingdom.  With both yesterday and tomorrow recommended, there’s no reason to visit today.

It’s an above-average day at Epcot. The only problem is we aren’t coming off an Extra Magic Hours day and there won’t be another until Tuesday.  The trick to touring Epcot is getting through Test Track, Soarin’, Sum of All Thrills, and Mission: Space first thing in the morning or with FASTPASS. Once you’ve taken care of those four attraction, you’re golden. Most people will want to start with Test Track, Sum of All Thrills, and Mission: Space and use FASTPASS at Soarin’. With two days, you can focus on Test Track and Future World East one day and Soarin’ and Future World West on another. That minimizes walking and waiting. You’ll be in good shape if you’ve moved to the World Showcase by 12pm, starting with the boat rides in Mexico and Norway.  If you can’t arrive early, plan to rely on FASTPASS at Soarin’ or Test Track.  You can also hop in line right before 9pm to ride with a shorter wait than any part of the day outside 9am – 9:15am. Test Track also offers a single rider line with actual waits that are typically shorter than standby or FASTPASS.

Hollywood Studios is the most recommended Park as we come off a crowded day yesterday with the morning Extra Magic Hour that’s sure to attract the sizable on-site contingency. Today, we don’t have anything specific attracting people to the Studios. Still, arriving prior to Park opening and taking care of Toy Story Mania, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, and Tower of Terror is the most important thing. Plan to arrive by 8:15am and take care of those three attractions and you’re in excellent shape. Arrive later and you’ll find 60+ minute waits at Toy Story Mania and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster. There’s no way around that fact when those attractions have limited capacities and the Studios operates with exactly six rides. If you’re arriving late, you may need to rely on FASTPASS at Toy Story or Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster and at Tower of Terror and Star Tours or Great Movie Ride. Tomorrow is also recommended if you have other plans today.

Saturdays are naturally the busiest day of the week at the Magic Kingdom.  We have long hours of operation, visiting locals, and a lot of vacationers who will be visiting the Magic Kingdom for a second time before returning home tomorrow from their traditional Easter week vacation.  While the morning Extra Magic Hour at Animal Kingdom helps, it won’t pull enough people away to make Magic Kingdom less crowded than a recommended Tuesday or Wednesday.  We enjoyed long hours of operation every day over the last couple of weeks, but that changes tomorrow with fewer Electrical Parades and shorter hours.  Those finishing up vacations or just arriving will see today’s long hours and plentiful evening entertainment extremely attractive.  All of this makes me hesitant about recommending the Magic Kingdom, despite a lack of Extra Magic Hours.  You can have a moderate amount of success today if you arrive prior to 9am and head straight for the headlining or Fantasyland attractions.  The afternoon will be busier than any other day next week and you’ll either want to take a break and return for the Electrical Parade and Wishes or visit the less popular attractions from 2pm – 6pm.  While it is possible to have a decent day here if you arrive early and tour efficiently, there are much less crowded days to visit during the week.

Sunday April 27

Animal Kingdom: 8am – 8pm (Most Recommended)

Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade: 3:45pm

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 9:30pm (Recommended)

Fantasmic: 8:30pm and 10pm

Magic Kingdom: 9am – 11pm (Not Recommended)

Evening Extra Magic Hours: 11pm – 1am

Festival of Fantasy Parade: 3pm, Main Street Electrical Parade: 9pm and 11pm, Wishes Fireworks: 10pm

Animal Kingdom is the most recommended Park.  We don’t have Extra Magic Hours or special events to attract anyone.  Magic Kingdom will remain popular with its evening Extra Magic Hours and nighttime spectaculars. And we’re in between a morning Extra Magic Hour yesterday and another tomorrow, both of which will be popular with the sizable on-site contingency.  Ideally, plan to arrive by 7:30am and focus on riding Kilimanjaro Safaris and Expedition Everest as early as possible or rely on FASTPASS later in the day (or both).  After getting those out of the way, move on to DinoLand USA for Primeval Whirl and DINOSAUR or Finding Nemo the Musical and you’ll be set for the rest of the day.  You may also want to prioritize characters before they get popular.  If you don’t end up arriving prior or close to Park opening, plan to stay through close.  Wait times will only decrease after the Parade as people invariably head to the exit.  Save Everest for last for the shortest waits possible.  Take advantage of one or both of the less crowded times of day, use FASTPASS as much as possible in the late morning and afternoon, and tour efficiently and you should have an excellent day.

Epcot is recommended as well.  It’s a particularly excellent day to see IllumiNations and have dinner in the World Showcase because Magic Kingdom will be attracting most of the nighttime crowd.  Despite the recommendation, you will still have the most success if you arrive prior to opening and head straight to Test Track, Sum of All Thrills, Mission: Space, and Soarin’ or follow one of the touring plans.  Single Rider at Test Track is also a good option and will often result in a shorter wait than the standby or FASTPASS lines.  It’s more important to arrive early and take care of the headliners first thing than it is to pick the “right” day.  You’ll run into lines at the headliners in Future World if you don’t arrive until 10:30am with everyone else.  To stay ahead of the crowds for the longest amount of time, move up through the World Showcase beginning at 11am with the water rides in Norway and Mexico.  Return to Future World after 5pm to see anything you missed, but make sure you check your Times Guide because some attractions close at 7pm, including Captain EO, Journey into Imagination with Figment, Living with the Land, Circle of Life, both Innoventions buildings, and Ellen’s Energy Adventure.  If you’re interested in re-riding Soarin’ or Test Track, plan to use FASTPASS, single rider at Test Track, or get in line around 8:55pm.

Hollywood Studios is recommended, though not as highly now that Monday’s evening Extra Magic Hours have moved to Tuesday.  Fortunately, we have evening Extra Magic Hours, Main Street Electrical Parade, and Wishes at Magic Kingdom, all of which will be incredibly popular with Disney resort guests.  Sunday is also a popular travel day and few people arriving will head out to the Studios for Fantasmic this evening.  Those that arrived yesterday are also unlikely to begin their first full day at Hollywood Studios.  In order to find the shortest waits, you’ll need to arrive by 8:15am and head straight to Toy Story Mania.  Because of its popularity and extremely limited capacity, Toy Story Mania almost always has afternoon waits of 60 or more minutes, even when crowds are relatively low and the Studios is recommended.  It’s always your top priority.  The second attraction with the longest peak wait is Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, which should be ridden immediately after Toy Story Mania in the morning or with FASTPASS.  Other priorities are Tower of Terror and Star Tours, though FASTPASSes are more plentiful at both attractions and standby waits are usually lower.  After you get through these four headliners, it’s just a matter of arriving in time to see the various stage shows that run on a set schedule and getting over to the Studios’ high capacity attractions.  You may also have characters to visit before lines get longer.  While it’s officially a recommended day, arriving prior to Park opening and hitting the headliners first thing is more important than which day you pick.  Arrive at 11am, no matter the recommendation or the overall crowd level, and you’ll be looking at long lines at Toy Story Mania and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster.

Magic Kingdom is not expressly recommended, thanks to the evening Extra Magic Hours that will attract enough Disney resort guests to make it busier than this coming Tuesday or Wednesday.  However, the overall crowd level is significantly lower than the last couple of weeks.  If you’re finishing up your trip, you may want to visit Magic Kingdom today because it will still be less crowded than any day since April 11th.  It remains “not recommended” due to being busier than most of the days in front of us as well as the fact that the other Parks will be even less crowded.  You can still do very well if you arrive by 8:30am and head straight for the priorities on your itinerary. The Park will also empty out a bit as it gets later in the evening. If you’re staying for evening Extra Magic Hours, plan to stay through the end, leaving Fantasyland for after 11pm when waits are shortest.

Monday April 28

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 6pm (Not Recommended)

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade: 3:45pm

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Highly Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 9:30pm (Most Recommended)

Fantasmic: 8:30pm and 10pm

Magic Kingdom: 9am – 11pm (Not Recommended)

Festival of Fantasy Parade: 3pm, Main Street Electrical Parade: 9pm and 11pm, Wishes Fireworks: 10pm

Animal Kingdom will be moderately more popular than recommended days due to the morning Extra Magic Hour that will attract a decent number of Disney resort guests.  Mondays at the Animal Kingdom aren’t wildly popular because of the fact that morning Extra Magic Hours aren’t as popular as evening Extra Magic Hours and because it’s early in the week and many people who travel over the weekend will be heading to the Magic Kingdom regardless of the Extra Magic Hours schedule.  Still, there are better days to visit the Animal Kingdom than today, including tomorrow.  While the morning Extra Magic Hour is an excellent time to tour, it’s difficult to get out to the Animal Kingdom by 7:45am to take full advantage of it.  If you’re staying at a Monorail Deluxe Resort, you’re looking at a 20+ minute drive to the Animal Kingdom, plus time for the bus to arrive – not to mention getting multiple people up and ready early in the morning with just one shower and limited space.  At 6:30am.  If you’re absolutely certain that you’ll arrive by 7:45am, then you can have a lot of success because the crowd level won’t be that high, but it will be busier in the afternoon than other recommended days this week due to a higher number of Disney resort guests than usual.  You’re much better served holding off for a recommended day if you’re not going to arrive until 9am or later.

Epcot is highly recommended.  We don’t have Extra Magic Hours, special evening entertainment, or anything else that will draw people toward Epcot specifically.  Disney resort guests will be more likely to visit tomorrow or Friday for Extra Magic Hours and off-site visitors on a weeklong vacation will be headed to the Magic Kingdom for the Main Street Electrical Parade.  To have the most success, arrive prior to Park opening and head to Test Track, Sum of All Thrills, Mission: Space, and Soarin’ or follow one of the two-day compartmentalized touring plans.  You’ll also be in the best shape if you’ve moved on to World Showcase by 12pm.  Should you have more to accomplish in Future World, return after 5pm when most of the crowd has moved on to World Showcase.  Just keep in mind that a lot of the Future World attractions close at 7pm.  Usually, just Soarin, Test Track, Mission: Space, Spaceship Earth, The Seas with Nemo and Friends, and Character Spot continue to operate after 7pm.  If Character Spot is on your itinerary, try to visit after 7pm when waits times are much lower than the afternoon.  Overall, it’s a great day for Epcot and an excellent opportunity to spend time in both Future World and World Showcase.

Hollywood Studios is the most recommended Park now that evening Extra Magic Hours have moved to tomorrow. Tomorrow will be much busier with evening Extra Magic Hours attracting thousands of resort guests. It’s also early enough in the week that most guests just arriving will be intent on visiting Magic Kingdom with its nighttime entertainment and long hours of operation. As always, it’s imperative that you arrive by 8:15am and take care of Toy Story Mania first thing. The Studios has a severely limited number of rides and wait times rise quickly even on the most recommended days with the lowest crowds.

Magic Kingdom is going to be busy today.  Mondays are usually the second busiest day of the week at the Magic Kingdom, second to only Saturdays, for a variety of reasons.  First, a lot of people travel over the weekend and visit Magic Kingdom on their first full day.  In most instances, that day is Monday.  Second, Mondays often feature longer hours, Wishes Fireworks, and Main Street Electrical Parade, when other days during the week have shorter operating hours and don’t offer the Electrical Parade.  Anyone who wants to see the evening entertainment will have to visit on a day when it’s offered, like most Saturdays and Mondays.  Main Street Electrical Parade is only scheduled on select nights this week and it will attract a lot of people.  You could have success in the morning from 9am to 11am or so, but you’re much better off waiting until tomorrow, Wednesday, or Friday to visit for the entire day.  If you would like to see the Main Street Electrical Parade, your best bet is always an evening Park Hop over to the Magic Kingdom so that you can spend the majority of your day at a recommended Park with low crowds and still have the opportunity to enjoy Magic Kingdom’s nighttime spectaculars.  For optimal Parade viewing, find a spot along the Parade route in Frontierland or Liberty for the second Parade because those areas are much less crowded than Main Street, offer a view that is just as good, and require less of a wait to get a good spot.  Without Park Hopper, you’ll want to arrive prior to Park opening and head straight for Fantasyland or the headlining Mountain rides.  Consider taking an afternoon break and then return in the evening around 5pm for dinner and the shows.  If you’re spending two days at Magic Kingdom during the week, you may want to make one of those days a Parade day and then plan a second recommended day to hit the headliners and popular attractions.  If you do that, use FASTPASS throughout the day today and spend as much time as possible on the less popular and high capacity attractions.

Tuesday April 29

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 6pm (Highly Recommended)

Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade: 3:45pm

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Not Recommended)

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Illuminations: 9pm

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 9:30pm (Not Recommended)

Evening Extra Magic Hours: 9:30pm – 11:30pm

Fantasmic: 8:30pm

Magic Kingdom: 9am – 10pm (Most Recommended)

Festival of Fantasy Parade: 3pm, Main Street Electrical Parade: none, Wishes Fireworks: 9pm

Animal Kingdom is highly recommended.  We’re in between yesterday’s and tomorrow’s morning Extra Magic Hours, each of which will be more attractive to Disney resort guests.  It’s also early enough in the week that most people arriving for a weeklong vacation will be saving Animal Kingdom, Disney’s least popular theme park, for later in the week.  There’s simply nothing drawing people to Animal Kingdom with its short hours of operation, lack of Extra Magic Hours, and no special events/nighttime entertainment. To have the most success, arrive as early in the morning as possible and head to Kilimanjaro Safaris and Expedition Everest first thing.  After that, head to DinoLand USA for Primeval Whirl and DINOSAUR or over to one of the major stage shows and you won’t have anything to worry about for the rest of the day. You may also want to prioritize the most popular characters.  Despite the relatively short day, you should be able to do most of the Animal Kingdom’s attractions if you arrive prior to Park opening, use FASTPASS efficiently, and make good use of your time.  If you don’t arrive until 10am or later, plan to rely on FASTPASS at Expedition Everest and/or Kilimanjaro Safaris.  Use those FASTPASSes during the day and return to the major attractions after 4pm.  A lot of people leave after the 3:45pm Parade, causing lines to be much shorter in the final hour of operation, especially with the early close and very few people Park Hopping in the afternoon and early evening.

Epcot isn’t recommended due to the morning Extra Magic Hour that will attract Disney resort guests, lack of long hours and evening entertainment elsewhere, and the natural progression of weeklong Disney vacationers that will naturally head to Epcot after the Magic Kingdom yesterday.  While the morning Extra Magic Hour will be an excellent time to tour, Epcot will get progressively busier as more and more Disney resort guests arrive.  You could have success if you arrive at 7:45am, head straight for the headliners, and move up to the World Showcase around 11am, but afternoon crowds will be heavier than recommended days and you’ll likely want to Park Hop elsewhere or take a break around 2pm.  Yesterday and Thursday are the best days to visit this week.  This Friday will be the busiest day of the week.

Hollywood Studios is not recommended now that evening Extra Magic Hours will be attracting the bulk of the sizable on-site contingent. 75,000+ people have access to Extra Magic Hours on any given day and Disney is very good at advertising the “perk” for staying on-site. This causes thousands of people to head to the Extra Magic Hours designated Park because they believe it’s Disney’s way of telling them where they belong each day. The morning will be relatively quiet and you can do very well from 9am – 11am if you arrive by 8:15am and tour efficiently in the morning, but 10am – 9pm is going to be busier than any other day this week. It’s best avoided. Tomorrow will be significantly less crowded with the early close and lack of Fantasmic.

Magic Kingdom is the most recommended Park as we come of a busier day yesterday with both nighttime spectaculars.  Epcot’s morning Extra Magic Hours and Hollywood Studios’ evening Extra Magic Hours and Fantasmic will help draw crowds away and a lot of people will have visited yesterday for their first full day at Disney World. The lack of Main Street Electrical Parade will also keep people from choosing today to visit.  Still, it’s more important to arrive prior to Park opening and head straight for Fantasyland (Enchanted Tales with Belle, Journey of the Little Mermaid, Ariel’s Grotto, Peter Pan, Winnie the Pooh), the headlining Mountain rides (Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain, Splash Mountain), or other priorities.  You may want to fit other time-sensitive attractions like Tomorrowland Indy Speedway or Astro Orbiter in there as well, along with Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, and other quick attractions that will have decent afternoon waits.  Characters that will have long lines in the afternoon and don’t offer FASTPASS are also a priority.  Consider taking a break from 1pm to 5pm or so when crowds are heaviest and wait times are longest to rest up for the evening entertainment.

Wednesday April 30

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 6pm (Not Recommended)

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade: 3:45pm

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 6pm (Most Recommended)

Fantasmic: none

Magic Kingdom: 9am – 10pm (Highly Recommended)

Festival of Fantasy Parade: 3pm, Main Street Electrical Parade: none, Wishes Fireworks: 10pm

It’s the busiest day of the week at Animal Kingdom.  The morning Extra Magic Hour will attract the bulk of the Disney resort crowd and there’s no evening Extra Magic Hours or special evening entertainment going on at the other Parks, which will cause a lot of off-site guests to visit as well.  Most people prefer to visit the other Parks when they’re either open longer or have special evening entertainment like Fantasmic or Main Street Electrical Parade.  When none of that is available, they’ll default to the Animal Kingdom.  With both yesterday and tomorrow recommended, there’s no reason to visit today.

It’s an above-average day at Epcot.  Yesterday’s morning Extra Magic Hour will have been moderately attended by Disney resort guests and they won’t be looking to return today.  I’m looking toward tomorrow as having lower crowds and shorter waits, thanks to morning Extra Magic Hour attracting people to Magic Kingdom and the addition of Main Street Electrical Parade. Hollywood Studios will also be busier with longer hours and Fantasmic tomorrow.  However, today won’t be terrible by any means.  Plan to arrive as early as possible and either follow a touring plan or head straight to Test Track, Sum of All Thrills, Mission Space, and Soarin’.  You’ll be in good shape if you’ve moved to the World Showcase by 12pm, starting with the boat rides in Mexico and Norway.

Hollywood Studios is the most recommended Park and will see the lowest crowds of the week there.  The short hours and lack of evening entertainment will be a big turnoff to any casual vacationer that equates longer hours of operation with additional access to the attractions.  Unfortunately, that doesn’t usually turn out to be the case.  The increased crowds lead to increased waits at attractions and characters, longer lines at restaurants and quick services, additional congestion in common areas, and you’ll need to arrive sooner for shows. On a day like today, which won’t be attractive in the least, we’ll see lower crowds, shorter lines, and a much more pleasant overall touring experience.  That equals being able to do considerably more in a shorter amount of time.  The lack of evening entertainment also means fewer people will stick around in the evening.  So many people already consider Hollywood Studios to be a “half day Park,” that we’ll see a ton of people leave as early as 2pm.  It also means virtually no one will be Park Hopping over in the afternoon or evening.  Stay through close because crowds and wait times will only decrease from their afternoon peaks if you have more you’d like to accomplish.  If Disney ends up adding Fantasmic and extending the close, the Studios would move to “Recommended” behind Magic Kingdom and Epcot.

Magic Kingdom is highly recommended and the best Park to visit if you have other plans for the Studios.  We also have a morning Extra Magic Hour that will attract off-site visitors and an Electrical Parade that will attract off-site visitors tomorrow.  This coming Saturday will be busy for the same reasons.  Take advantage by arriving prior to Park opening and head straight for Fantasyland (Enchanted Tales with Belle, Journey of the Little Mermaid, Ariel’s Grotto, Peter Pan’s Flight, Winnie the Pooh), the headlining Mountain rides (Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain, Splash Mountain), or other time sensitive attractions (Astro Orbiter, Tomorrowland Indy Speedway).  You may also want to prioritize characters that will have 30+ minute standby waits without the ability to FASTPASS them in the afternoon.  You’ll be able to accomplish a ton of attractions in a short amount of time if you make efficient use of the morning and use FASTPASS at the major attractions throughout the day.  Consider a break from 1pm to 5pm or so to rest up for dinner, a few nighttime attractions, and Wishes.

{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

George September 24, 2013 at 3:41 pm

Thanks, Josh! Already looking forward to our April trip, and we haven’t even started our late-September trip yet! :)

mike September 24, 2013 at 4:53 pm

Must be nice to be you

Jenny September 25, 2013 at 6:02 am

we arrive the 19th!!! cant wait for the rest of the week’s suggestions :) wahoo!

Vicki September 25, 2013 at 12:49 pm

Thanks Josh! Looks like (as I guessed) we don’t have to change up our family’s standard which parks/which days system. But the in the park part? Oi vey! A 2 year hiatus and everything is changed and changing!

Margot Garofalo September 29, 2013 at 7:35 am

When will you post the rest of April’s crowd predictions?

Lisa October 2, 2013 at 7:30 am

This is so very helpful! We arrive 4/20/13 through 4/26/13. I look forward to your park recommendations/plan for that week. Thanks again for providing such detailed information!

Alyssa October 5, 2013 at 5:19 pm

When are you going to extend the calendar after the 19th of April?

Lisa October 6, 2013 at 4:47 pm

Hi there…. we also arrive on 4/19 and are very much looking forward to hearing the rest of your predictions!

Thanks for all the hard work you put into this information, we really appreciate it!

Sandy October 7, 2013 at 5:46 pm

This is great very interesting we arrive April 26th would love to read the rest of the month.

Molly October 8, 2013 at 11:09 am

We are arriving on the 27th of April and staying that entire week. I am new to this site -and am curoius when you will be posting the rest of your predictions for this month?

Amy October 9, 2013 at 5:05 am

Thanks for all your helpful info. Looking forward to the rest of April.

Jenny October 16, 2013 at 6:14 am

Waiting so patiently for the rest of April :)

Jeanine October 18, 2013 at 5:52 pm

Thank you for the rest of April! You made me feel a lot better about the parks and days we’ve chosen to do!

Dawn H October 19, 2013 at 8:37 am

Josh I was looking at Disney’s operating schedule and the close times are different than what you have here? Shoud I expect to see changes/updates here or on Disney’s site?

josh October 19, 2013 at 10:23 am

For what dates? And what specifically is different?

Jenny October 19, 2013 at 4:08 pm

thanks sooooo much!!!!!!

Dawn H October 19, 2013 at 7:15 pm

Sorry Josh, I dont know WHAT I was looking at, but now it all matches up.!! .. I thought I saw MK on the 22nd, EMH @ 7am….rather than eight, and then AK was closing at 5 on the 29th rather than your 6pm…I figured they messed up…guess it was ME who messed up…my apologies!!! and thanks for getting back to me

Kim November 2, 2013 at 9:00 am

Hi Josh!
First thanks for all your hard work.
On April 19th Wishes is scheduled on the Disney Website as 9:00pm. You have it scheduled for 10:00pm. I was hoping to get tickets for The Dessert Party that night. Will the time change?
Also you have extra magic hours for Easter Sunday from 12:00am to 3:00am. As of now Disney has EMHpm as 10:00-12:00am. Do you believe Disney will change the hours?

Thanks again.

John December 2, 2013 at 11:47 am

Looks like you need to revise all references to Festival of the Lion King from January through June as it is closed for refurb, as you already know.

John December 2, 2013 at 11:48 am

Also, my family will hit every “Most Recommended” from you from April 6-9. We’re in Epcot, April 6-7 and AK April 8.

Tammy December 30, 2013 at 8:09 am

when you give a crowd level rating of 7 on 4/4/14 and then it goes down to a 6 on 4/5/14
how significant of a drop in crowds will this really be? I was trying to get a general idea so I can use this information in order to pick the park that would be best to visit with 3 kids and on what day……

Julie January 7, 2014 at 1:12 am

Thanks for all the useful information! This is an amazing resource and we will be using it diligently for our April 25-May 3 vacation.

Jen January 11, 2014 at 1:33 pm

Thanks so much for the always-helpful information, it’s our go-to planning tool! In your opinion do you think there really will be no Fantasmic! on Wednesday 4/30/14 or do you think it may have been accidentally omitted from the disneywebcontent site and will later be corrected? We’re trying to plan around Characterpalooza and had 4/30 as our ideal HS day but if there really won’t be a Fantasmic! then it seems unlikely there would be a Characterpalooza so we’d want to shuffle around our dates/times.

Anonymous January 15, 2014 at 4:31 pm

Why does April 19th dip all the way down to a 7? Is that because it is considered a big travel day (first week people going home, second week people coming in) ?

Jessica February 20, 2014 at 1:39 pm

Why isn’t there a Celebrate A Dream Come True parade between April 27th and May 1st? They seem so sporadic. I’m bummed that there isn’t one. :-(

Karol February 27, 2014 at 8:41 am

I have been going to Disney World at Easter for the past five years, and I have never seen the parade and Wishes schedule that they have listed this year for the week before Easter. Every other week for March and April, when there are two parades, the first is at 9:00, Wishes is at 10:00 and the second parade is at 11:00. Why is this week (and this week only) different this year with Wishes at 9:00 and the parades at 10:00 and midnight? It just seems really strange.

Darcy March 7, 2014 at 7:13 am

Josh, with April 30 being the media event for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, do you expect Magic Kingdom to busier than expected? We plan to spend the majority of the day there with the majority of our time in Fantasyland. Having never been to Disney during a media event, I have no idea what to expect.

Karol March 15, 2014 at 7:18 am

Josh, I noticed that on the Disney web site, they have extended the hours at Magic Kingdom the week before Easter (April 13th – 18th) to 8:00am to 1:00am with EMH @ 7:00am. Will you be updating your calendar to match? Unfortunately, they have not changed the crazy nighttime entertainment schedule for that week. We are doing the Wishes Dessert Party that week and I am highly upset that they do not have the “Celebrate the Magic” show scheduled just prior to Wishes. This is the only week on the current calendar where this is the case.

hamburgler March 23, 2014 at 2:55 pm

they won’t extend the hours at HS on 30th from 6pm – corporate event. McD’s are in town

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