February 2014 Walt Disney World Crowd Calendar

by josh on August 17, 2013

2/8/14 Update: Magic Kingdom hours extended to 9am – 1am on Friday February 28th. Rating lowered to “Recommended” from “Highly Recommended.” It remains the best day that week to see the Electrical Parade.

1/13/14 Update: Crowd Calendar updated with the changes listed here.

12/17/13 Update: Animal Kingdom hours extended to 9am – 7pm on February 28th.

11/23/13 Update: Crowd Calendar updated with the changes listed here.

11/11/13 Update: Disney moved Epcots morning Extra Magic Hour from Tuesday February 4th to Monday February 3rd, causing some slight alterations in the recommendations that week.

10/30/13 Update: Crowd Calendar updated with the changes listed here.

This is the Free February 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.

Saturday February 1

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

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

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Most Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

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

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Fantasmic: 7pm and 8:30pm

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

Celebrate a Dream Come True Parade: none, Main Street Electrical Parade: 8pm and 10pm, Wishes Fireworks: 9pm

Animal Kingdom comes highly recommended.  We don’t have Extra Magic Hours or special events to attract Disney vacationers of any sort.  Magic Kingdom will be attracting significant crowds with its long hours of operation and both nighttime spectaculars and Hollywood Studios will be popular with the morning Extra Magic Hour and Fantasmic.  We also had two morning Extra Magic Hours earlier in the week and another on Monday to appeal to the sizable Disney resort contingent.  To take full advantage of the low crowd level, 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 concern is getting to Finding Nemo the Musical.  You would be in the best shape if you could get to the first or last show of the day as well as over to DinoLand USA before 10:30am when lines begin to build at DINOSAUR and Primeval Whirl.  You may also want to prioritize characters that have long afternoon waits by arriving about five minutes before the characters appear.  Finally, keep in mind that crowds disperse shortly after the 3:45pm Parade. Stay through close because waits will only decrease after 6pm. To find the shortest waits, hit DinoLand from 6pm to 7pm and finish up in Asia with Kali River Rapids and Expedition Everest.

Epcot is the most recommended Park.  It’s a particularly excellent day to see IllumiNations and have dinner in the World Showcase because Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios 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 two day compartmentalized plans.  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.  Keep in mind that both Innoventions buildings, the Imagination Pavilion, Universe of Energy, Living with the Land, and Circle of Life close at 7pm.  The 5pm to 7pm timeframe is an excellent opportunity to do Journey into Imagination with Figment, Captain EO, Ellen’s Energy Adventure, Sum of All Thrills, anything in Innoventions, Circle of Life, Living with the Land, and anything else other than the major headliners.  If you’re interested in re-riding Soarin’ and Test Track, plan to rely on FASTPASS because standby wait times for both will most likely continue to be 45+ minutes from 5pm – 8pm.  Alternatively, you can elect to get in line for a headliner right before Park close and ride with a shorter wait than any other time of the day outside of the first 30 minutes of operation.  As long as you’re in line by 9pm, Disney will let you ride regardless of the posted wait.

Hollywood Studios is not recommended, thanks to the morning Extra Magic Hour that will entice on-site visitors and the later close and second Fantasmic, which will attract off-site visitors as well.  On top of that, the Studios is hosting a major team dance event at Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular, which will only serve to increase the number of people in the Park. While the dancers and their families don’t have a significant impact on wait times, they do crowd the Echo Lake area and increase lines for food and merchandise.    You can have success from 8am – 10am if you are Extra Magic Hours eligible, but the afternoon and evening are going to be busier than just about any day this week.  Avoid it unless you can’t visit any other day or plan to arrive by 7:15am to take advantage of low crowds in the morning.

Saturdays are naturally the busiest day of the week at the Magic Kingdom.  We have longer 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.  On top of that, Main Street Electrical Parade is only scheduled on a limited number of nights this week.  Because the Parade is so popular, a lot of people will visit on a day that they can see it, like today.  All of this makes me hesitant about recommending the Magic Kingdom, despite a lack of Extra Magic Hours.  Yesterday and next Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday will be much better days to tour, but you can have a moderate amount of success today if you arrive prior by 8:30am and head straight for the headlining or Fantasyland attractions.  You may elect to prioritize another low capacity attraction or character instead.  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 February 2

Superbowl Sunday

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 8pm (Recommended)

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

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 7pm (Most Recommended)

Fantasmic: 7pm

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

Evening Extra Magic Hours: 10pm – 12am

Celebrate a Dream Come True Parade: none, Main Street Electrical Parade: 7pm, Wishes Fireworks: 8pm

Animal Kingdom comes recommended.  We don’t have Extra Magic Hours or special events to attract people.  The only problem is the Superbowl, which will cause some people to pick Animal Kingdom because they consider it to be a “half day Park” anyway.  But with low overall crowds and most locals staying home, the Superbowl is a nominal concern.  Still, the early morning, from 9am – 10:30am, is always the best time to tour. Standby waits are guaranteed to be short as few people are able to make it out to Animal Kingdom by rope drop.  And once they do, they get bogged down with The Oasis, Tree of Life, and other things.  Ideally, plan to arrive prior to Park opening and focus on riding Kilimanjaro Safaris and Expedition Everest as early as possible or plan to use 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 Musicaand you’ll be set for the rest of the day.  If you have young children or otherwise have interest, plan to visit the most popular characters by lining up for them about five minutes before they’re scheduled to appear.  People rarely get in lines when characters aren’t present because most people visiting have no idea which characters will be meeting.  If you don’t end up arriving prior or close to Park opening, plan to stay through close because wait times will only ease after the Parade.  With no evening entertainment to keep people around and restaurants that are vastly underrated, few people Park Hop in the afternoon.  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 again today.  We have a lot going on at the other Parks and nothing specific to draw crowds to Epcot.  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 and a lot of people will have plans to be elsewhere for the Big Game.  Despite the strong 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 a more compartmentalized two-day plan.  Despite the recommendation, you’ll still run into 60+ minute waits at Test Track and Soarin’ in the afternoon.  There’s just no way around that because both attractions are popular and have limited capacities.  Thankfully, you’ll be well on your way to the other Future World attractions and World Showcase before those waits increase.  If you don’t arrive early in the morning, plan to rely on FASTPASS at Soarin’ and/or Test Track. Do your best to move up to World Showcase right at 11am to stay ahead of crowds for as long as possible.  Consider returning to Future World after 5pm when crowds decrease there and begin to creep up into World Showcase.

Hollywood Studios is the most recommended Park.  It was virtually “dead” on Super Bowl Sunday each of the last three years.  The only minor inconvenience is going to be the Dance Team Championships, which take place at Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular.  The dancers are not particularly disruptive in Park because the venue itself is small, but it does mean Indiana Jones won’t be offered this weekend.  If the Stunt Spectacular is a must see, you’ll want to look to a recommended day during the week.  The dancers are also headed to a private event at the Studios after hours.  This event will not impact crowds negatively.  In fact, the dancers not participating today are more likely to head elsewhere, knowing they’ll visit the Studios after the regular close. In addition, we’re coming off a popular morning Extra Magic Hour and later close yesterday.  Take advantage by arriving prior to Park opening and heading straight for Toy Story Mania, Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, and Star Tours.  Make Toy Story Mania your priority because it will have the longest afternoon waits.  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 tend to have the longest waits.  Because they usually begin appearing at 9:15am, you’ll have time to collect FASTPASSes for Toy Story, ride Toy Story, and then get in line for the characters around 9:10am.  Phineas & Ferb usually have the second longest lines in Hollywood Studios.  They typically begin appearing at 9:30am, which means you’ll have time to ride Toy Story Mania and potentially meet Buzz and Woody before heading over to visit Phineas & Ferb, which are located near Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano and across from the exit to Muppet Vission 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.  Minnie Mouse, Daisy Duck, Chip, Dale, Friends of Winnie the Pooh, Goofy, and Pluto are all common, but no specific character is guaranteed to appear.  Overall, you can do well at the Studios if you arrive by 8:20am and tour intelligently, but you’re looking at long lines and heavier crowds if you don’t arrive until 10:30am with everyone else.

Magic Kingdom comes tentatively recommended.  Most Sundays, Magic Kingdom isn’t recommended because the evening Extra Magic Hours attract so many resort guests, making the Park busier than recommended weekdays.  While Magic Kingdom is not your best choice today, the Superbowl will pull away most locals, freeing it up in the afternoon and evening.  With the low overall crowd level and the dance competition at Hollywood Studios pulling away almost everyone staying at the All Star and Caribbean Beach Resorts (the two resorts where participants receive package discount rates), Magic Kingdom will be more than manageable.  Still, arriving prior to Park opening is more important than picking the “right day.”  You’ll have the most success if you arrive by 8:30am and take care of your priorities first thing.  That may be Enchanted Tales with Belle, Journey of the Little Mermaid, Ariel’s Grotto, and Peter Pan’s Flight or you may elect to head to Tomorrowland first for Space Mountain and Indy Speedway or another character.  Expect the evening to be busier as people Park Hop from other Parks that close earlier and people head out after the game. While this coming Tuesday and Wednesday are much better days to visit, you can certainly make Magic Kingdom work today.  Crowds will be moderate at worst from 11am – 3pm or so.

Monday February 3

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 – 7pm (Most Recommended)

Fantasmic: 7pm

Magic Kingdom: 9am – 10pm (Not Recommended)

Celebrate a Dream Come True Parade: none, Main Street Electrical Parade: 7pm, Wishes Fireworks: 8pm

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 highly recommended and your best choice if you have other plans for Hollywood Studios.  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 with Disney moving the evening Extra Magic Hours to Wednesday. Animal Kingdom will be more popular with resort guests and Magic Kingdom will be drawing crowds with the Electrical Parade and late close. As always, it’s imperative that you arrive by 8:15am and take care of Toy Story Mania and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster first thing. Even with the recommendation and relatively low crowd level, those two attractions have long waits after 10am and FASTPASSes are hard to come by.

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. Each of the next two days will be less attractive without the Electrical Parade scheduled.  You could have success in the morning from 9am to 11am or so, but you’re much better off waiting until tomorrow or Wednesday 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 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, the headlining Mountain rides, or another priority.  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. Today is the best day of the week to see the 7pm Parade. This Thursday’s 9pm Parade will be less crowded, but the Park will be busier the rest of the day with the higher overall crowd level and morning Extra Magic Hour drawing resort guests.

Tuesday February 4

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 5pm (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 – 7pm (Recommended)

Fantasmic: 7pm

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

Celebrate a Dream Come True Parade: none, Main Street Electrical Parade: none, Wishes Fireworks: 8pm

Animal Kingdom is the most recommended Park.  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 “only” being open eight hours, 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 5pm 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 by 7:30am, 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 recommended, though this coming Thursday and Friday would be better.  With decent operating hours of operation every day and Fantasmic scheduled every night this week, the Studios won’t be far and away less crowded on “recommended days,” compared to “not recommended days,” like it was when Fantasmic was scheduled less often.  Nonetheless, you can expect peak wait times to be lower, crowds to build slower, FASTPASSes to be more plentiful, and waits to be lower than days that aren’t recommended.  Overall, this will be a day with “slightly below average” crowds at the Studios specifically, as compared to other days this week. Tomorrow will be more popular with the evening Extra Magic Hours and later close.  To have the most success, arrive prior to Park opening and head straight to Toy Story Midway Mania and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster.  Toy Story Mania in particular has wait times that almost always hit 60+ minutes in the afternoon and FASTPASSes that are in limited supply.  Make it your morning priority.  Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster also sees long afternoon waits and limited FASTPASS availability.  Plan to head there right after Toy Story Mania or rely on FASTPASS later in the day.  The other two attractions with decent lines are Tower of Terror and Star Tours.  Luckily, they have higher capacities and aren’t as popular.  You’ll still want to ride before 10:30am or plan to use FASTPASS later in the day.  Expect Star Tours’ waits to peak in the 20 minute range while Tower of Terror usually hits 30 to 50 minutes depending on the number of elevators operating.  Once you get through those four attractions, it’s really just a matter of getting over to the high capacity rides and shows that run on a set schedule.  It’s unlikely you’ll run into much of a line at Backlot Tour or Great Movie Ride, but fitting in the various stage shows can be tricky because they have a tendency to start and end at the same time.  You may also want to make a popular character a morning priority.  Check your Times Guide and plan to arrive at as many characters as possible about five minutes before they’re scheduled to appear.  Overall, you can have a lot of success if you arrive prior to Park opening and take care of the headlining attractions first thing.  For Fantasmic, I recommend the Fantasmic Dining Package, which guarantees everyone on the reservation a seat in the reserved section of the Theater or you can opt to use FASTPASS+.  The 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.  It also includes the appetizer, which you normally wouldn’t receive on the Dining Plan.  You’ll still need 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’s better than the 60 minute wait you’re looking at to score decent seats together without the Package.

Magic Kingdom is highly recommended and an excellent choice if you don’t want to wait until tomorrow to visit.  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.  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 return in the evening for Wishes and some late night attractions.

Wednesday February 5

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 5pm (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: 7pm and 8:30pm

Evening Extra Magic Hours: 8pm – 10pm

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

Celebrate a Dream Come True Parade: none, Main Street Electrical Parade: none, Wishes Fireworks: 8pm

It’s a busier than average day at Animal Kingdom with the morning Extra Magic Hour attracting a lot of Disney resort guests. It’s also later in the week, which means people arriving over the weekend for a traditional weeklong vacation will be ready to visit one of the less popular theme parks after spending Monday at Magic Kingdom and Tuesday at Epcot. With both yesterday and tomorrow recommended, there’s no reason to visit today.

It’s an above-average day at Epcot.  Evening Extra Magic Hours will drive people to Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom will be more popular with the morning Extra Magic Hour.  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.  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 will be busy due to the evening Extra Magic Hours that are popular with Disney resort guests. It’s incredibly rare to have evening Extra Magic Hours on a Wednesday and the fact that it’s in the middle of the week and the close is extended will only add to the Disney resort guest crowds.  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.

Magic Kingdom is our best Park to visit today for the exact same reasons it was recommended yesterday.  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.

Thursday February 6

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 5pm (Recommended)

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

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Most Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 7pm (Highly Recommended)

Fantasmic: 7pm

Magic Kingdom: 9am – 10pm (Not Recommended)

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Celebrate a Dream Come True Parade: none, Main Street Electrical Parade: 7pm and 9pm, Wishes Fireworks: 8pm

Animal Kingdom is recommended.  We’re coming off a popular day there yesterday, thanks to the morning Extra Magic Hour that will draw a lot of Disney resort guests.  Today, we have morning Extra Magic Hour/Main Street Electrical Parade attracting crowds toward the Magic Kingdom.  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.  Also consider arriving for the popular characters about five minutes before they’re scheduled to appear to cut down on wait times.  Rely on FASTPASSes for 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.  After completing your itinerary, you may want to Park Hop to Magic Kingdom for Wishes and Main Street Electrical Parade, Hollywood Studios for Fantasmic, or Epcot for dinner and IllumiNations.  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 4:15pm onward.  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 the most recommended Park.  We have morning Extra Magic Hour and Main Street Electrical Parade attracting on-site and off-site visitors alike to Magic Kingdom.  Disney resort guests are much more likely to visit tomorrow for evening Extra Magic Hours.  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 rely on FASTPASS at Test Track and Soarin’.  Both will have 45+ minute waits for most of the day after 10am due to their 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.  Keep in mind that Innoventions, Universe of Energy, Captain EO, Journey into Imagination with Figment, Living with the Land, and Circle of Life usually close at 7pm.  Hit those attractions from 5pm to 7pm to find shorter waits than the 1pm to 4pm timeframe.  Return to Test Track and Soarin’ after 8pm to find the shortest waits outside of 9am – 10am.  It’s also a great day to stay for dinner and IllumiNations.

Hollywood Studios is highly recommended.  While it’s later in the week, Magic Kingdom will be a much bigger draw with morning Extra Magic Hour and Main Street Electrical Parade drawing off-site and on-site visitors alike. We’re also coming off a busier day yesterday with evening Extra Magic Hours. Tomorrow is also recommended with evening Extra Magic Hours at Epcot on Friday and Saturday’s morning Extra Magic Hour at the Studios proving more popular.  Still, touring efficiently is more important than “picking the right day,” especially at Hollywood Studios.  That means arriving by 8:15am and taking care of Toy Story Mania, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, and Star Tours first thing in the morning or with FASTPASS throughout the day.  Toy Story Mania will hit 60+ minutes in the afternoon due to its limited capacity.  Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster also sees decent afternoon waits, likely in the 30-50 minute range, with FASTPASSes that are harder to obtain.  Plan to head there second or rely on FASTPASS later in the day.  You may also want to prioritize the Toy Story, Phineas and Ferb, or Sorcerer Mickey characters by arriving about five minutes before they first appear.  The Toy Story characters, located right across the way from Toy Story Mania, are easy to meet at 9:15am if you head over after riding.  Visiting Sorcerer Mickey in the Animation Building in the last hour he’s scheduled to appear is best.  In addition, characters appear at Mickey’s Sorcerer’s Hat in the early morning that won’t appear during any other part of the day.  Usually, Minnie, Pluto, Chip, Dale, Donald, Daisy, Piglet, and Tigger appear, but no specific characters are guaranteed.  Overall, you can do well at the Studios if you arrive early and tour efficiently, but afternoon crowds will be decent.  Arrive at 10:30am with everyone else and you’re looking at long lines at Toy Story Mania and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster.  You can still enjoy the various shows, but it’s going to be more difficult to experience those two attractions.  Thankfully, Tower of Terror and Star Tours see shorter waits and additional FASTPASS availability.  Still, Tower of Terror will hit 30-40 minutes in the afternoon and Star Tours should see 20 minute waits.

The morning Extra Magic Hour at Magic Kingdom will lure a lot of Disney resort guests and we also have the first Main Street Electrical Parade since Monday.  Combined, this will make Magic Kingdom significantly busier than either of the last two days or tomorrow.  You can have success provided you take advantage of the morning Extra Magic Hour by arriving no later than 7:30am 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 recommended days in the afternoon.  You’ll probably want to take a break from 1pm to 5pm 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 10am or later because it will be busier than recommended days from 11am onward.  Tonight is your best opportunity this week to see Main Street Electrical Parade, but the Magic Kingdom will still be busy.  If you are planning to see the Parade, I recommend scouting out a spot along the Parade route in Frontierland or Liberty Square.  Both locations are significantly less crowded than Main Street and offer a view that is just as good.  To enjoy the Electrical Parade with the least possible hassle, plan to visit a recommended Park in the morning, take an afternoon break, and then visit Magic Kingdom in the evening for dinner and the nighttime spectaculars.

Friday February 7

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

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

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Not Recommended)

Evening Extra Magic Hours: 9pm – 11pm

Illuminations: 9pm

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 7pm (Most Recommended)

Fantasmic: 7pm

Magic Kingdom: 9am – 11pm (Recommended)

Celebrate a Dream Come True Parade: none, Main Street Electrical Parade: 7pm and 9pm, Wishes Fireworks: 8pm

Animal Kingdom is highly recommended. Magic Kingdom will remain crowded with the long hours of operation and both nighttime spectaculars and Epcot’s evening Extra Magic Hours are always popular and will draw a lot of Disney resort guests.  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 average crowd level and the fact that Animal Kingdom remains Disney’s least popular major theme park. While we’re occasionally worried about longer operating hours attracting guests, that’s less of a problem with Animal Kingdom and will make the early and relatively late hours that much less crowded.  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 close, saving DinoLand for after 6pm and Asia for after 7pm.

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 have the extremely popular evening Extra Magic Hours luring Disney resort guests to Epcot today and Hollywood Studios’ morning Extra Magic Hour tomorrow will prove popular. Magic Kingdom will be drawing sizable crowds with the long operating hours and both nighttime spectaculsrs.  To have the most success, arrive by 8:15am and head straight for Toy Story Mania, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, and Star Tours.  Once you get through these attractions in the morning or with FASTPASS, you have little to worry about for the rest of the day, other than trying to get to the Studios’ various high capacity attractions and stage shows that run on a set schedule.  For Fantasmic, you’ll want to arrive about 60 minutes early to guarantee good seats together.  If that sounds like it’s about 30 minutes too long, consider the Fantasmic Dining Package that guarantees everyone on the reservation a seat in the reserved section of the Fantasmic theater.  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.  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 recommended, though it loses its “most recommended” status with the elongated hours and addition of two Electrical Parades. Luckily, 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. Tomorrow will be busier with the higher overall crowd level and even later close.  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. Save Fantasyland for after 10pm when most families will be long gone.

Saturday February 8

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

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

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Most Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 10pm (Not Recommended)

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Fantasmic: 7pm and 8:30pm

Magic Kingdom: 9am – 1am (Not Recommended)

Celebrate a Dream Come True Parade: none, Main Street Electrical Parade: 9pm and 11pm, Wishes Fireworks: 10pm

Animal Kingdom comes highly recommended.  We don’t have Extra Magic Hours or special events to attract Disney vacationers of any sort.  Magic Kingdom will be attracting significant crowds with its long hours of operation and both nighttime spectaculars and Hollywood Studios will be popular with the morning Extra Magic Hour, late close, and two Fantasmic shows.  We also had two morning Extra Magic Hours earlier in the week and another on Monday to appeal to the sizable Disney resort contingent.  You can have a tremendous amount of luck from 8am – 10am and 6pm to 8pm when crowds will be lowest. To take full advantage of the relatively low crowd level, 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 concern is getting to Finding Nemo the Musical.  You would be in the best shape if you could get to the first or last show of the day as well as over to DinoLand USA before 10:30am when lines begin to build at DINOSAUR and Primeval Whirl.  You may also want to prioritize characters that have long afternoon waits by arriving about five minutes before the characters appear.  Finally, keep in mind that crowds disperse shortly after the 3:45pm Parade. Return to DinoLand after 6pm and Asia after 7pm to find much shorter waits than the afternoon.

Epcot is the most recommended Park.  It’s a particularly excellent day to see IllumiNations and have dinner in the World Showcase because Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios 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 two day compartmentalized plans.  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.  Keep in mind that both Innoventions buildings, the Imagination Pavilion, Universe of Energy, Living with the Land, and Circle of Life close at 7pm.  The 5pm to 7pm timeframe is an excellent opportunity to do Journey into Imagination with Figment, Captain EO, Ellen’s Energy Adventure, Sum of All Thrills, anything in Innoventions, Circle of Life, Living with the Land, and anything else other than the major headliners.  If you’re interested in re-riding Soarin’ and Test Track, plan to rely on FASTPASS because standby wait times for both will most likely continue to be 45+ minutes from 5pm – 8pm.  Alternatively, you can elect to get in line for a headliner right before Park close and ride with a shorter wait than any other time of the day outside of the first 30 minutes of operation.  As long as you’re in line by 9pm, Disney will let you ride regardless of the posted wait.

Hollywood Studios is not recommended, thanks to the morning Extra Magic Hour that will entice on-site visitors, the much later close than any other day this week, and the addition of a second Fantasmic.  On top of that, the Studios is hosting a major cheerleading event at Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular, which will only serve to increase the number of people in the Park.  While the cheerleaders and their families don’t have a significant impact on wait times, they do crowd the Echo Lake area and increase lines for food and merchandise.  You can have success from 8am – 10am if you are Extra Magic Hours eligible, but the afternoon and evening are going to be busier than just about any day this week.  Avoid it unless you can’t visit any other day or plan to arrive by 7:15am to take advantage of low crowds 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. That’s particularly true with fewer people visiting on Tuesday and Wednesday with the earlier close and lack of the Electrical Parade.  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 is also a great time to tour with the Park clearing out shortly after Wishes. If you can stay through 1am, you’ll find that crowds and wait times decrease as close approaches. Save Tomorrowland for after 11pm and Fantasyland for after 12am to find much shorter waits than the afternoon.

Sunday February 9

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

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

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

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

Fantasmic: 7pm and 8:30pm

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

Evening Extra Magic Hours: 11pm – 1am

Celebrate a Dream Come True Parade: none, Main Street Electrical Parade: 9pm and 11pm, Wishes Fireworks: 10pm

Animal Kingdom comes recommended.  We don’t have Extra Magic Hours or special events to attract people.  The early morning, from 8am – 10am, is always the best time to tour. Standby waits are guaranteed to be short as few people are able to make it out to Animal Kingdom by rope drop.  And once they do, they get bogged down with The Oasis, Tree of Life, and other things.  Ideally, plan to arrive prior to Park opening and focus on riding Kilimanjaro Safaris and Expedition Everest as early as possible or plan to use 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.  If you have young children or otherwise have interest, plan to visit the most popular characters by lining up for them about five minutes before they’re scheduled to appear.  People rarely get in lines when characters aren’t present because 99.9% of the people visiting have no idea which characters will be meeting.  If you don’t end up arriving prior or close to Park opening, plan to stay through close because wait times will only ease after the Parade.  With no evening entertainment to keep people around and restaurants that are vastly underrated, few people Park Hop in the afternoon.  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 again today.  We have a lot going on at the other Parks and nothing specific to draw crowds to Epcot.  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 strong 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 a more compartmentalized two-day plan.  Despite the recommendation, you’ll still run into 60+ minute waits at Test Track and Soarin’ in the afternoon.  There’s just no way around that because both attractions are popular and have limited capacities.  Thankfully, you’ll be well on your way to the other Future World attractions and World Showcase before those waits increase.  If you don’t arrive early in the morning, plan to rely on FASTPASS at Soarin’ and/or Test Track. Do your best to move up to World Showcase right at 11am to stay ahead of crowds for as long as possible.  Consider returning to Future World after 5pm when crowds decrease there and begin to creep up into World Showcase.

Hollywood Studios is the most recommended Park.  We’re sandwiched in between yesterday’s moderately popular morning Extra Magic Hour and tomorrow’s extremely popular evening Extra Magic Hours.  The only problem is the dance competition, which brings several thousand dancers and their families to the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular and surrounding Echo Lake area.  Luckily, the dancers have virtually no effect on wait times, but they can make quick service lines longer and cause some crowding issues outside the Star Tours area.  You may want to plan your meal away from Backlot Express and be prepared for some congestion outside Star Tours, but the dancers are not a problem outside of those two things. Despite the recommendation, it’s still essential that you arrive by 8:20am and head straight for Toy Story Mania, Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, and Star Tours.  Make Toy Story Mania your priority because it will have 60+ minute afternoon waits.  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 tend to have the longest waits.  Because they usually begin appearing at 9:15am, you’ll have time to ride Toy Story and then get in line for the characters around 9:10am.  Phineas & Ferb usually have the second longest lines in Hollywood Studios.  They typically begin appearing at 9:30am, which means you’ll have time to ride Toy Story Mania and potentially meet Buzz and Woody before heading over to visit Phineas & Ferb, which are located near Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano and across from the exit to Muppet Vission 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. Plan to visit in the last hour they’re scheduled to appear.  Finally, you’ll find some characters in the morning near Mickey’s Sorcerer’s Hat that won’t appear later in the afternoon.  Minnie Mouse, Daisy Duck, Chip, Dale, Friends of Winnie the Pooh, Goofy, and Pluto are all common, but no specific character is guaranteed to appear. See the 8:30pm Fantasmic because it will be far less crowded than the earlier show. Despite bring after the official close, anyone is welcome to stay and there will be plenty of buses on hand after to transfer guests back to their resorts.  Overall, you can do well at the Studios if you arrive by 8:20am, but you’re looking at long lines and heavier crowds if you don’t arrive until 10:30am with everyone else.

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 11:30pm and Fantasyland will be low on crowds.  It’s not uncommon for Peter Pan’s Flight to have a 60 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 February 10

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

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

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Highly Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

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

Evening Extra Magic Hours: 8pm – 10pm

Fantasmic: 7pm and 8:30pm

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

Celebrate a Dream Come True Parade: none, Main Street Electrical Parade: 7pm and 9pm, Wishes Fireworks: 8pm

Animal Kingdom is the most recommended Park now that the morning Extra Magic Hour has moved to tomorrow. It’s also early enough in the week that casual vacationers that arrived over the weekend will be saving Disney World’s least popular theme park for later in the week. Hollywood Studios will be attracting the bulk of the Disney resort crowded and Magic Kingdom will be popular with the long operating hours and both nighttime spectaculars. As always, you’ll be in the best shape with an 8:30am arrival with plans to hit Kilimanjaro Safaris and Expedition Everest first thing.

Epcot is highly recommended and your best choice if you have other plans for Animal Kingdom.  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 will be busy due to the evening Extra Magic Hours that are popular with Disney resort guests and the later close than most other days this week, which will cause off-site guests to visit as well.  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, Thursday, 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.  Tomorrow would be less crowded and Wednesday is the best day of the week to visit. 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 or Wednesday to visit because Magic Kingdom will be less crowded.

Tuesday February 11

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

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

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

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Not Recommended)

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Illuminations: 9pm

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 7pm (Most Recommended)

Fantasmic: 7pm

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

Celebrate a Dream Come True Parade: none, Main Street Electrical Parade: 7pm and 9pm, Wishes Fireworks: 8pm

Animal Kingdom is not recommended due to the change in the Extra Magic Hours schedule that brings an unusual Tuesday EMH at Animal Kingdom today. Disney sells the Extra Magic Hours schedule so well in its marketing materials that most Disney resort guests believe its Disney’s way of telling them where they belong each day. With on-site guests numbering 75,000+, you can imagine how much of an impact the Extra Magic Hours schedule has on a Park with average daily attendance around 30,000. While the morning Extra Magic Hour itself is an outstanding time to tour, it’s difficult to make it out to Animal Kingdom by 7:30am to take advantage of it. And with the limited number of rides and attractions with lines, you can do just as well, if not better, during a regular day. You can have a tremendous amount of success if you’re Extra Magic Hours eligible, certain you’ll arrive by 7:30am, and plan to leave around 1pm when crowds peak, but there are better days during the week to visit. Tomorrow will prove to be busier, so stick with today if your only options are today and tomorrow.

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 by 7:30am, 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 the most recommended Park.  We’re coming off a busy day yesterday for evening Extra Magic Hours/later close/two Fantasmic shows and have morning Extra Magic Hour pulling Disney resort guests to two different Parks today.  To have the most success, arrive prior to Park opening and head straight to Toy Story Midway Mania and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster.  Toy Story Mania in particular has wait times that almost always hit 60+ minutes in the afternoon and FASTPASSes that are in limited supply.  Make it your morning priority.  Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster also sees long afternoon waits and limited FASTPASS availability.  Plan to head there right after Toy Story Mania or rely on FASTPASS later in the day.  The other two attractions with decent lines are Tower of Terror and Star Tours.  Luckily, they have higher capacities and aren’t as popular.  You’ll still want to ride before 10:30am or plan to use FASTPASS later in the day.  Expect Star Tours’ waits to peak in the 20 minute range while Tower of Terror usually hits 30 to 50 minutes depending on the number of elevators operating.  Once you get through those four attractions, it’s really just a matter of getting over to the high capacity rides and shows that run on a set schedule.  It’s unlikely you’ll run into much of a line at Backlot Tour or Great Movie Ride, but fitting in the various stage shows can be tricky because they have a tendency to start and end at the same time.  You may also want to make a popular character a morning priority.  Check your Times Guide and plan to arrive at as many characters as possible about five minutes before they’re scheduled to appear.  Overall, you can have a lot of success if you arrive prior to Park opening and take care of the headlining attractions first thing.  For Fantasmic, I recommend the Fantasmic Dining Package, which guarantees everyone on the reservation a seat in the reserved section of the Theater.  It 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.  It also includes the appetizer, which you normally wouldn’t receive on the Dining Plan. You’ll still need 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’s better than the 60 minute wait you’re looking at to score decent seats together without the Package.

Magic Kingdom is highly recommended and an excellent choice if you can only visit one day and want to see the Electrical Parade.  Epcot’s and Animal Kingdom’s morning Extra Magic Hours will help draw crowds away and a lot of people will have visited yesterday for their first full day at Disney World. With the late close and addition of two Electrical Parades, Magic Kingdom will remain crowded.  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.  Tomorrow is the least crowded day of the week at Magic Kingdom, thanks to the lack of the Electrical Parade, slightly lower overall crowd level, and earlier close. If you’re willing to go without seeing the Electrical Parade to enjoy lower crowds, tomorrow’s your day.

Wednesday February 12

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 – 7pm (Not Recommended)

Fantasmic: 7pm

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

Celebrate a Dream Come True Parade: none, Main Street Electrical Parade: none, Wishes Fireworks: 8pm

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 (when it’s scheduled less often) or Main Street Electrical Parade.  When none of that is available, they’ll default to the Animal Kingdom.  Tomorrow is significantly better and yesterday was also better, even with the morning Extra Magic Hour also attached.

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.  Fantasmic and Toy Story Midway Mania will also be more popular at Hollywood Studios in addition to the morning Extra Magic Hour at Animal Kingdom.  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.  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.

With no Electrical Parade at Magic Kingdom, no evening Extra Magic Hours anywhere, and a lowly morning Extra Magic Hour at Disney’s least popular theme park, Hollywood Studios is going to be busier than recommended days during the week.  While the addition of Fantasmic to every night this week makes each specific show less appealing, we still need to be concerned about the lack of attractive forces elsewhere.  Plus, it’s later in the week, which means most people on a weeklong vacation will already have visited Magic Kingdom and Epcot and they’ll be looking to spend a day at one of Disney World’s less popular theme parks.  With nothing specific drawing people to the Studios, it’s not going to be crazy crowded, but it is going to be busier than other recommended days during the week and should be avoided if possible.  With Magic Kingdom being incredibly popular tomorrow with the morning Extra Magic Hour and Electrical Parade, the Studios would be a much better choice tomorrow.

Magic Kingdom is our best Park to visit. It’s the only day this week when the Electrical Parade isn’t offered, which will cause fewer people to visit. There’s also an earlier close that will cause casual vacationers to look to another date as well.  A lot of people equate longer operating hours with being able to accomplish more over the course of the day. Unfortunately, the opposite is often true as longer hours lead to heavier crowds. And in turn, wait times go up with more people in the Park, in addition to increased congestion in common areas and longer lines at quick services, restaurants, stores, etc. Finally, 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.  The overall crowd level is also going up beginning tomorrow, resulting in heavier crowds every day until the end of next week, regardless of the recommendation.  Take advantage of the lowest crowds 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. Head back to Fantasyland in the final hour to find shorter waits than the afternoon if you need to ride/re-ride anything over there, saving Peter Pan’s Flight for last.

Thursday February 13

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 6pm (Recommended)

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

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Most Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 7pm (Highly Recommended)

Fantasmic: 7pm

Magic Kingdom: 9am – 10pm (Not Recommended)

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Celebrate a Dream Come True Parade: none, Main Street Electrical Parade: 7pm and 9pm, Wishes Fireworks: 8pm

Animal Kingdom is recommended.  We’re coming off two popular days in a row, thanks to the morning Extra Magic Hour that will draw a lot of Disney resort guests.  Today, we have morning Extra Magic Hour/Main Street Electrical Parade attracting crowds toward the Magic Kingdom.  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.  Also consider arriving for the popular characters about five minutes before they’re scheduled to appear to cut down on wait times.  Rely on FASTPASSes for 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.  After completing your itinerary, you may want to Park Hop to Magic Kingdom for Wishes and Main Street Electrical Parade, Hollywood Studios for Fantasmic, or Epcot for dinner and IllumiNations.  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 4:45pm onward.  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 the most recommended Park.  We have morning Extra Magic Hour and Main Street Electrical Parade attracting on-site and off-site visitors alike to Magic Kingdom.  Disney resort guests are much more likely to visit tomorrow for evening Extra Magic Hours.  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 rely on FASTPASS at Test Track and Soarin’.  Both will have 45+ minute waits for most of the day after 10am due to their 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.  Keep in mind that Innoventions, Universe of Energy, Captain EO, Journey into Imagination with Figment, Living with the Land, and Circle of Life usually close at 7pm.  Hit those attractions from 5pm to 7pm to find shorter waits than the 1pm to 4pm timeframe.  Return to Test Track and Soarin’ after 8pm to find the shortest waits outside of 9am – 10am.  It’s also a great day to stay for dinner and IllumiNations.

Hollywood Studios is highly recommended.  While it’s later in the week, Magic Kingdom will be a much bigger draw with morning Extra Magic Hour and Main Street Electrical Parade drawing off-site and on-site visitors alike. Tomorrow is also recommended with evening Extra Magic Hours at Epcot on Friday and Saturday’s morning Extra Magic Hour at the Studios proving more popular.  Still, touring efficiently is more important than “picking the right day,” especially at Hollywood Studios.  That means arriving by 8:15am and taking care of Toy Story Mania, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, and Star Tours first thing in the morning or with FASTPASS throughout the day.  Toy Story Mania will hit 60+ minutes in the afternoon due to its limited capacity.  Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster also sees decent afternoon waits, likely in the 30-50 minute range, with FASTPASSes that are harder to obtain.  Plan to head there second or rely on FASTPASS later in the day.  You may also want to prioritize the Toy Story, Phineas and Ferb, or Sorcerer Mickey characters by arriving about five minutes before they first appear.  The Toy Story characters, located right across the way from Toy Story Mania, are easy to meet at 9:15am if you head over after riding.  Visiting Sorcerer Mickey in the Animation Building in the last hour he’s scheduled to appear is best.  In addition, characters appear at Mickey’s Sorcerer’s Hat in the early morning that won’t appear during any other part of the day.  Usually, Minnie, Pluto, Chip, Dale, Donald, Daisy, Piglet, and Tigger appear, but no specific characters are guaranteed.  Overall, you can do well at the Studios if you arrive early and tour efficiently, but afternoon crowds will be decent.  Arrive at 10:30am with everyone else and you’re looking at long lines at Toy Story Mania and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster.  You can still enjoy the various shows, but it’s going to be more difficult to experience those two attractions.  Thankfully, Tower of Terror and Star Tours see shorter waits and additional FASTPASS availability.  Still, Tower of Terror will hit 30-40 minutes in the afternoon and Star Tours should see 20 minute waits.

The morning Extra Magic Hour at Magic Kingdom will lure a lot of Disney resort guests and we’re coming off a less crowded day with the lack of the Electrical Parade. Combined, this will make Magic Kingdom significantly busier than yesterday.  With the overall crowd level going up this weekend today isn’t a terrible day if you’re just arriving for a trip that extends through the weekend and/or into next week.  The lower overall crowd level today means fewer people inside Magic Kingdom, regardless of whether Magic Kingdom is recommended over the next few days.  That’s the reality when 50,000+ more people are choosing a theme park to visit.  You can have success provided you take advantage of the morning Extra Magic Hour by arriving no later than 7:30am 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 recommended days in the afternoon.  You’ll probably want to take a break from 1pm to 5pm 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 10am or later because it will be busier than recommended days from 11am onward.  As long as that non-recommended day is in the past.  If you are planning to see the Parade, I recommend scouting out a spot along the Parade route in Frontierland or Liberty Square for the 9pm Parade.  Both locations are significantly less crowded than Main Street and offer a view that is just as good.  To enjoy the Electrical Parade with the least possible hassle, plan to visit a recommended Park in the morning, take an afternoon break, and then visit Magic Kingdom in the evening for dinner and the nighttime spectaculars.

Friday February 14

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 6pm (Recommended)

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

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Not Recommended)

Evening Extra Magic Hours: 9pm – 11pm

Illuminations: 9pm

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

Fantasmic: 7pm and 8:30pm

Magic Kingdom: 9am – 1am (Highly Recommended)

Celebrate a Dream Come True Parade: none, 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.  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 6pm because waits will only decrease from 4:30pm 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 have the extremely popular evening Extra Magic Hours luring Disney resort guests to Epcot today and Hollywood Studios’ morning Extra Magic Hour tomorrow will prove popular. Magic Kingdom will also be popular with the long hours, both nighttime spectaculars, and the fact that it’s the world’s most popular theme park.  To have the most success, arrive by 8:15am and head straight for Toy Story Mania, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, and Star Tours.  Once you get through these attractions in the morning or with FASTPASS, you have little to worry about for the rest of the day, other than trying to get to the Studios’ various high capacity attractions and stage shows that run on a set schedule.  For Fantasmic, you’ll want to arrive about 60 minutes early to guarantee good seats together if you’re interested in the first show.  If that sounds like it’s about 30 minutes too long, consider the Fantasmic Dining Package that guarantees everyone on the reservation a seat in the reserved section of the Fantasmic theater.  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. The 8:30pm Fantasmic will be less crowded if you’re not interested in the Package or it’s unavailable. Despite being scheduled after the Park “officially” closes, everyone is welcome to stay for the late show and there will be plenty of buses waiting to take guests back to their resorts after it concludes.  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 highly recommended with the overall crowd level going up so much over the weekend. If you’re just beginning your trip, Magic Kingdom is an excellent choice as it will be less crowded than any day this weekend with the President’s Day Weekend crowds. If your trip is concluding, you may want to hit Magic Kingdom hard earlier in the week when overall crowds are lower. There are two excellent times to tour today – 9am to 11am and 10pm to 1am. The afternoon will be very crowded with the above average overall crowd level. There’s no way around that when we’re talking about heavy holiday crowds. If you arrive early, hit the priorities on your itinerary first thing and then move on to the high capacity shows and attractions in the afternoon. Avoid 1pm to 7pm if you can because crowds and waits will be longest. That time is best spent back at your resort. If you can’t arrive early, try to stay through close. Crowds decrease substantially after Wishes because so many families leave with tired kids. Visit Tomorrowland after 11pm and Fantasyland after 12am to find much shorter waits than the afternoon. You can do well if you tour early or late, but the afternoon is going to be busy. Plan accordingly.

Saturday February 15

Animal Kingdom: 8am – 9pm (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: 7pm and 8:30pm

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

Celebrate a Dream Come True Parade: none, Main Street Electrical Parade: 9pm and 11pm, Wishes Fireworks: 10pm

Animal Kingdom comes highly recommended.  We don’t have Extra Magic Hours or special events to attract Disney vacationers of any sort.  Magic Kingdom will be attracting significant crowds with its long hours of operation and both nighttime spectaculars and Hollywood Studios will be popular with the morning Extra Magic Hour and Fantasmic.  We also had two morning Extra Magic Hours earlier in the week and another on Monday to appeal to the sizable Disney resort contingent. The longer hours at Animal Kingdom are less of a concern, particularly with no evening entertainment to keep people around and restaurants that are underrated. You can have a tremendous amount of success from 8am – 10am and/or 7pm to 9pm when crowds will be lowest.  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 concern is getting to Finding Nemo the Musical.  You would be in the best shape if you could get to the first or last show of the day as well as over to DinoLand USA before 10:30am when lines begin to build at DINOSAUR and Primeval Whirl.  You may also want to prioritize characters that have long afternoon waits by arriving about five minutes before the characters appear.  You could also opt for a late arrival where you hit the high capacity shows and attractions in the afternoon and then move to the headliners at night. Make sure to check your Times Guide to see when the last Safari departs – it will be before sunset. Hit DinoLand after 7pm and Asia after 8pm to find much shorter waits than the afternoon. There should be virtually no waits after 8pm.

Epcot is the most recommended Park.  It’s a particularly excellent day to see IllumiNations and have dinner in the World Showcase because Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios 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 two day compartmentalized plans.  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.  Keep in mind that both Innoventions buildings, the Imagination Pavilion, Universe of Energy, Living with the Land, and Circle of Life close at 7pm.  The 5pm to 7pm timeframe is an excellent opportunity to do Journey into Imagination with Figment, Captain EO, Ellen’s Energy Adventure, Sum of All Thrills, anything in Innoventions, Circle of Life, Living with the Land, and anything else other than the major headliners.  If you’re interested in re-riding Soarin’ and Test Track, plan to rely on FASTPASS because standby wait times for both will most likely continue to be 45+ minutes from 5pm – 8pm.  Alternatively, you can elect to get in line for a headliner right before Park close and ride with a shorter wait than any other time of the day outside of the first 30 minutes of operation.  As long as you’re in line by 9pm, Disney will let you ride regardless of the posted wait.

Hollywood Studios is not recommended, thanks to the morning Extra Magic Hour that will entice on-site visitors and the later close, which will attract off-site visitors as well.  With only six rides operating, it doesn’t take much for wait times to skyrocket and we’re talking about a lot more than just a couple thousand extras with the high overall crowd level. You can have success from 8am – 10am if you are Extra Magic Hours eligible, but the afternoon and evening are going to be busier than just about any day this week.  Avoid it unless you can’t visit any other day or plan to arrive by 7:15am to take advantage of low crowds in the morning.

Magic Kingdom is not recommended.  We’re smack dab in the middle of a very busy President’s Day Weekend, which means a ton of people will be visiting for a short weekend trip.  We’ve also got a lot of “locals” in town with the Monday holiday.  Add in the long hours of operation and both nighttime spectaculars and you have a recipe for a very busy day. With that said, there are still two great times to tour – 8am to 10am and 10:30pm to 1am will see low crowds and short waits.  You can still have success if you arrive prior to Park opening and take care of your morning priorities first thing, but you’re looking at sizable crowds from 11am through 10pm.  Visit if you must, but be aware that touring efficiently is going to be much more important than this past Tuesday, Wednesday, or even Thursday with the much lower overall crowd level.  Plan to take a break from 1pm to 6pm or so to rest up for dinner, some nighttime attractions, and the evening entertainment.  Crowds will be especially heavy during that timeframe.  Save Tomorrowland for after 10pm and Fantasyland for after 11pm to find much shorter waits than the afternoon.

Sunday February 16

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

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

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 10pm (Most Recommended)

Fantasmic: 7pm and 8:30pm

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

Evening Extra Magic Hours: 1am – 3am

Celebrate a Dream Come True Parade: none, Main Street Electrical Parade: 9pm and 11pm, Wishes Fireworks: 10pm

Animal Kingdom comes highly recommended.  We don’t have Extra Magic Hours or special events to attract people.  The early morning, from 8am – 10am, is always the best time to tour. Standby waits are guaranteed to be short as few people are able to make it out to Animal Kingdom by rope drop.  And once they do, they get bogged down with The Oasis, Tree of Life, and other things. The late close also affords a great opportunity to stay late. Crowds will be much lower than the afternoon after 7pm as there’s no evening entertainment to keep guests around like at the other Parks. As an added bonus, Animal Kingdom is pretty lit up at night and it’s relatively rare for guests to have an opportunity to experience it.  Ideally, plan to arrive prior to Park opening and focus on riding Kilimanjaro Safaris and Expedition Everest as early as possible or plan to use 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.  If you have young children or otherwise have interest, plan to visit the most popular characters by lining up for them about five minutes before they’re scheduled to appear.  People rarely get in lines when characters aren’t present because 99.9% of the people visiting have no idea which characters will be meeting.  If you don’t end up arriving prior or close to Park opening, plan to stay through close because wait times will only ease after the Parade.  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 again today.  We have a lot going on at the other Parks and nothing specific to draw crowds to Epcot.  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 strong 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 a more compartmentalized two-day plan.  Despite the recommendation, you’ll still run into 60+ minute waits at Test Track and Soarin’ in the afternoon.  There’s just no way around that because both attractions are popular and have limited capacities.  Thankfully, you’ll be well on your way to the other Future World attractions and World Showcase before those waits increase.  If you don’t arrive early in the morning, plan to rely on FASTPASS at Soarin’ and/or Test Track. Do your best to move up to World Showcase right at 11am to stay ahead of crowds for as long as possible.  Consider returning to Future World after 5pm when crowds decrease there and begin to creep up into World Showcase.

Hollywood Studios is the most recommended Park.  We’re sandwiched in between yesterday’s moderately popular morning Extra Magic Hour and tomorrow’s extremely popular evening Extra Magic Hours.  Magic Kingdom will be pulling most resort guests with its incredibly popular evening Extra Magic Hours. Despite the recommendation, it’s still essential that you arrive by 8:20am and head straight for Toy Story Mania, Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, and Star Tours.  Make Toy Story Mania your priority because it will have 60+ minute afternoon waits.  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 tend to have the longest waits.  Because they usually begin appearing at 9:15am, you’ll have time to ride Toy Story and then get in line for the characters around 9:10am.  Phineas & Ferb usually have the second longest lines in Hollywood Studios.  They typically begin appearing at 9:30am, which means you’ll have time to ride Toy Story Mania and potentially meet Buzz and Woody before heading over to visit Phineas & Ferb, which are located near Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano and across from the exit to Muppet Vission 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. Plan to visit in the last hour they’re scheduled to appear.  Finally, you’ll find some characters in the morning near Mickey’s Sorcerer’s Hat that won’t appear later in the afternoon.  Minnie Mouse, Daisy Duck, Chip, Dale, Friends of Winnie the Pooh, Goofy, and Pluto are all common, but no specific character is guaranteed to appear. Stay for the second Fantasmic because it will be less crowded than the first. 9pm to 10pm will also see lower waits at the attractions than the afternoon. If you’d like one last ride on Toy Story Mania, get in line around 9:55pm. Everyone in line will be allowed to ride no matter what the posted wait time is and there will be plenty of buses out front to shuttle guests back to their resorts.  Overall, you can do well at the Studios if you arrive by 8:20am, but you’re looking at long lines and heavier crowds if you don’t arrive until 10:30am with everyone else.

Magic Kingdom is going to be very busy today and tomorrow.  Sometimes, I mark Magic Kingdom “green” for “tentatively recommended in the morning and late evening” when it’s hosting evening Extra Magic Hours on Sundays.  However, the high overall crowd level and Monday holiday complicate things quite a bit.  While the morning will be an excellent time to tour through 11am or so and the late evening will also see lower crowds, it’s still going to be significantly busier than Tuesday or Wednesday.  This past Friday was also highly recommended.  When we have a Monday holiday, the Sunday before is often the busiest day of the week at Magic Kingdom when it’s hosting evening Extra Magic Hours and Main Street Electrical Parade.  While you can have a lot of success from 8am – 11am and in the late evening once Disney extends the close, the afternoon is going to be very crowded.  If you do visit, plan to hit the major attractions hard early in the morning and consider taking a break or visiting the least popular attractions in the afternoon.  A sizable break to rest up for Main Street Electrical Parade, Wishes, and evening Extra Magic Hours would also make a lot of sense.  For evening Extra Magic Hours, begin in Adventureland and Frontierland before moving up to Liberty Square and over to Tomorrowland.  Most people start in Fantasyland and Tomorrowland and crowds will thin out considerably in both areas in the last hour.  Save Peter Pan’s Flight, Winnie the Pooh, and Journey of the Little Mermaid for the very end of the night.  Finally, for Main Street Electrical Parade, scout out spots along the Parade route in Frontierland or Liberty Square for the second Parade.  These areas are significantly less crowded than Main Street and require a shorter wait. Crowds will be low after 11pm and only decrease as it gets later in the evening because so many families leave after Wishes with tired kids. You can do very well in the late night hours if you can stay up.

Monday February 17

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

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 7am – 8am

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

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Most Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 10pm (Not Recommended)

Evening Extra Magic Hours: 10pm – 12am

Fantasmic: 7pm and 8:30pm

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

Celebrate a Dream Come True Parade: none, Main Street Electrical Parade: 7pm 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 6:45am 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 5:30am.  If you’re absolutely certain that you’ll arrive by 6:45am, 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 the Main Street Electrical Parade.  Still, it will be crowded with the high overall crowd level for the holiday.  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, Thursday, 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.

Magic Kingdom will be busy again today.  It’s a national holiday, we’ll have a decent number of people arriving for a weeklong vacation on Sunday and they’ll naturally visit the Most Magical Place on Earth on their first full day, and we have long operating hours, Main Street Electrical Parade, and Wishes like other days during the week.  I’m looking towards tomorrow and Wednesday as being significantly less crowded. You can do very well from 8am – 11am and 10pm – 1am when crowds are thinner, but the afternoon is best spent back at your resort.

Tuesday February 18th

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

Fantasmic: 7pm and 8:30pm

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

Celebrate a Dream Come True Parade: none, 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.  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. Hit DinoLand after 6pm and Asia after 7pm to find shorter waits than the afternoon.

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/long hours 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 prior to Park opening, 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 Star Tours.  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 7pm 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 not available, try to see the second show. It’s far less crowded 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 highly recommended, though tomorrow will be less crowded.  Wednesdays are historically the least crowded day of the week at the Magic Kingdom due to the natural progression of weeklong vacationers that visit Magic Kingdom early and late on their trip. It’s also one more day removed from the heavier President’s Day Weekend crowds.  You can still have a lot of success if you visit today, especially with morning Extra Magic Hour at Epcot drawing Disney resort guests away and Fantasmic’s popularity with both on- and off-site visitors.  However, some of the smartest vacationers know that it’s a good idea to skip Magic Kingdom on national holidays and they’ll be visiting today instead.  That won’t be as much of an issue tomorrow. With the long operating hours, you can have a tremendous amount of success from 8am – 10:30am or 10:30pm – 1am.  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.  See the later Parade in Frontierland or Liberty Square because it will be far less crowded than the first. Stay through close, saving Tomorrowland for after 11pm and Fantasyland for after 12am, to find much shorter waits than the afternoon.

Wednesday February 19th

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 – 8pm (Not Recommended)

Fantasmic: 7pm and 8:30pm

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

Celebrate a Dream Come True Parade: none, Main Street Electrical Parade: 7pm and 9pm, Wishes Fireworks: 8pm

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.  While Hollywood Studios will continue being popular with Fantasmic and Magic Kingdom will still be crowded with the high overall crowd level, these facts won’t make Animal Kingdom much less crowded.  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 well attended by Disney resort guests and they won’t be looking to return today.  Disney resort guests are more likely to head to Animal Kingdom today and the addition of a second Fantasmic and longer hours 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 followed by 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 FASTPASSes throughout the day for Test Track, Soarin’ and Mission Space (in that order) if you’d like to ride any of them a second time.  The Single Rider line for Test Track is a good choice with waits that are often shorter than the FASTPASS return line.  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.  Return to Future World after 5pm to visit any attractions that you skipped in the morning.  Keep in mind that most Future World attractions close at 7pm.  Usually only Soarin’, Test Track, Mission Space, Seas with Nemo and Friends, and Spaceship Earth continue operating from 7pm – 9pm.  Visit Character Spot after 7pm to find waits much shorter than the afternoon.  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 today for the exact same reasons it was recommended yesterday.  We also have a morning Extra Magic Hour tomorrow that will be more attractive to Disney resort guests and they won’t be visiting today as well.  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 popular characters that don’t offer FASTPASS.  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.  You’ll also want to strongly consider taking an afternoon break when crowds peak to rest up for the evening.  See the second Electrical Parade in Frontierland or Liberty Square because the later Parade is less crowded and those areas see less dense crowds. Hit Tomorrowland after the Parade and Fantasyland after 10pm to find shorter waits than the afternoon.

Thursday February 20th

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 7pm (Recommended)

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

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Most Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 7pm (Highly Recommended)

Fantasmic: 7pm

Magic Kingdom: 9am – 10pm (Not Recommended)

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Celebrate a Dream Come True Parade: none, Main Street Electrical Parade: 7pm and 9pm, Wishes Fireworks: 8pm

Animal Kingdom is 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/Main Street Electrical Parade attracting crowds toward the Magic Kingdom.  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.  Also consider arriving for the popular characters about five minutes before they’re scheduled to appear to cut down on wait times.  Rely on FASTPASSes for 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.  After completing your itinerary, you may want to Park Hop to Magic Kingdom for Wishes and Main Street Electrical Parade, Hollywood Studios for Fantasmic, or Epcot for dinner and IllumiNations.  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 5pm onward.  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 the most recommended Park.  We have morning Extra Magic Hour and Main Street Electrical Parade attracting on-site and off-site visitors alike to Magic Kingdom.  Disney resort guests are much more likely to visit tomorrow for evening Extra Magic Hours.  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 rely on FASTPASS at Test Track and Soarin’.  Both will have 60+ minute waits for most of the day after 10am due to their 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.  Keep in mind that Innoventions, Universe of Energy, Captain EO, Journey into Imagination with Figment, Living with the Land, and Circle of Life usually close at 7pm.  Hit those attractions from 5pm to 7pm to find shorter waits than the 1pm to 4pm timeframe.  Return to Test Track and Soarin’ after 8pm to find the shortest waits outside of 9am – 10am.  It’s also a great day to stay for dinner and IllumiNations.

Hollywood Studios is highly recommended.  While it’s later in the week, Magic Kingdom will be a much bigger draw with morning Extra Magic Hour and Main Street Electrical Parade drawing off-site and on-site visitors alike. Tomorrow is also recommended with evening Extra Magic Hours at Epcot on Friday and Saturday’s morning Extra Magic Hour at the Studios proving more popular.  Still, touring efficiently is more important than “picking the right day,” especially at Hollywood Studios.  That means arriving by 8:15am and taking care of Toy Story Mania, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, and Star Tours first thing in the morning or with FASTPASS throughout the day.  Toy Story Mania and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster will still hit 60+ minutes in the afternoon due to limited capacities.  You may also want to prioritize the Toy Story, Phineas and Ferb, or Sorcerer Mickey characters by arriving about five minutes before they first appear.  The Toy Story characters, located right across the way from Toy Story Mania, are easy to meet at 9:15am if you head over after riding.  Visiting Sorcerer Mickey in the Animation Building in the last hour he’s scheduled to appear is best.  In addition, characters appear at Mickey’s Sorcerer’s Hat in the early morning that won’t appear during any other part of the day.  Usually, Minnie, Pluto, Chip, Dale, Donald, Daisy, Piglet, and Tigger appear, but no specific characters are guaranteed.  Overall, you can do well at the Studios if you arrive early and tour efficiently, but afternoon crowds will be decent.  Arrive at 10:30am with everyone else and you’re looking at long lines at Toy Story Mania and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster.  You can still enjoy the various shows, but it’s going to be more difficult to experience those two attractions.  Thankfully, Tower of Terror and Star Tours see shorter waits and additional FASTPASS availability.  Still, Tower of Terror will hit 30-40 minutes in the afternoon and Star Tours should see 20 minute waits.

The morning Extra Magic Hour at Magic Kingdom will lure a decent number of Disney resort guests, making the Park busier than yesterday or tomorrow from 11am onward.  The fact that we should 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.  Nonetheless, 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 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 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 10am or later because the afternoon will be busier.

Friday February 21

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 7pm (Recommended)

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

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Not Recommended)

Cinderella Royal Family 5K

Evening Extra Magic Hours: 9pm – 11pm

Illuminations: 9pm

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 7pm (Most Recommended)

Fantasmic: 7pm

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

Celebrate a Dream Come True Parade: none, Main Street Electrical Parade: 7pm and 9pm, Wishes Fireworks: 8pm

Animal Kingdom is recommended.  Epcot’s evening Extra Magic Hours are always popular and will draw a lot of Disney resort guests.  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 7pm 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.  There is also a 5k race that begins and ends outside Epcot in the morning.  While it won’t impact crowds much, it does mean more people will be around for rope drop.  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 have the extremely popular evening Extra Magic Hours luring Disney resort guests to Epcot today and Hollywood Studios’ morning Extra Magic Hour tomorrow will prove popular. Magic Kingdom will continue drawing significant crowds with the long hours of operation and both nighttime spectaculars.  To have the most success, arrive by 8:15am and head straight for Toy Story Mania, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, and Star Tours.  Once you get through these attractions in the morning or with FASTPASS, you have little to worry about for the rest of the day, other than trying to get to the Studios’ various high capacity attractions and stage shows that run on a set schedule.  For Fantasmic, you’ll want to arrive about 60 minutes early to guarantee good seats together.  If that sounds like it’s about 30 minutes too long, consider the Fantasmic Dining Package that guarantees everyone on the reservation a seat in the reserved section of the Fantasmic theater.  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.  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 highly recommended. It’s a better choice today than yesterday or tomorrow and is thus, recommended. With the higher overall crowd level, it will be busier than just about any day next week.  Next Tuesday and Wednesday are the best days to visit since February 12th because of the lower overall crowd level. But if your trip started earlier this week and is coming to an end, today is a good bet.  To have the most success, arrive by 8:30am and head straight for Fantasyland, the headlining attractions, or another priority.  Most people with kids will want to take care of Enchanted Tales with Belle, Journey of the Little Mermaid, and Ariel’s Grotto first thing in the morning.  You should have no trouble getting a lot of attractions done throughout the morning and the Park won’t be particularly busy for the rest of the day.  Still, plan to use FASTPASS and focus on the less popular attractions from 1pm to 5pm when crowds will be at their highest level.  Return in the evening for dinner, some additional rides with FASTPASS, high capacity attractions, and the nighttime entertainment. Stay through close because waits after 9pm will be lower than any time between 12pm and 8pm.

Saturday February 22

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

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

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Not Recommended)

Disney Enchanted 10K

Illuminations: 9pm

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

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Fantasmic: 7pm and 8:30pm

Magic Kingdom: 9am – 1am (Not Recommended)

Celebrate a Dream Come True Parade: none, Main Street Electrical Parade: 9pm and 11pm, Wishes Fireworks: 10pm

Animal Kingdom is the only expressly recommended Park.  Tomorrow is the beginning of the return to the non-peak operating schedule, which means shorter hours of operation at all four major theme parks and a limited number of Main Street Electrical Parades scheduled each week.  Those arriving for a short Princess Marathon Weekend vacation are more likely to visit Magic Kingdom today or Monday, in anticipation of running their race tomorrow.  Hollywood Studios will be popular with the morning Extra Magic Hour and later close than tomorrow or either of the last two days.  And Epcot has a Marathon event that will attract additional people. While we’re somewhat concerned about longer operating hours at the other Parks, it’s less of an issue at Animal Kingdom.  The vast majority of casual vacationers consider Animal Kingdom a “half day Park,” which means they arrive around 10am and stay through the afternoon Parade, ultimately leaving between 4:15pm and 5pm regardless of when Animal Kingdom closes.  There isn’t nighttime entertainment to keep people around like there is at the other Parks and few people stick around to dine at the (underrated) restaurants, like a lot of people do at Epcot.  That leaves 9am – 10:30am and 6pm – 8pm as excellent times to tour.  We also had two morning Extra Magic Hours earlier in the week and another on Monday to appeal to the sizable Disney resort contingent.  To take full advantage of the relatively low crowd level, 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 concern is getting to Finding Nemo the Musical.  You would be in the best shape if you could get to the first or last show of the day as well as over to DinoLand USA before 10:30am when lines begin to build at DINOSAUR and Primeval Whirl.  You may also want to prioritize the most popular characters by arriving five minutes before they’re scheduled to 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.

Epcot is normally recommended on Saturdays.  However, there are a few mitigating factors contributing to its “not recommended” status.  First, Epcot is hosting the expanded Enchanted 10k race.  Although the race begins and ends outside Epcot and does not include theme park admission, we can still expect a sizable number of participants to stick around for Epcot’s opening.  You may remember that I’m not as concerned about a similar race over Marathon Weekend in January.  This is because February’s Princess races are more female-oriented, with fewer men participating than if it had a more innocuous theme and title.  In recent years, Epcot is much less busy on the Saturday of the Family Run in January than it is during the Saturday run in February and we can expect that trend to continue this coming year.  The fact that it’s a Saturday also allows more locals to take part, even if it does begin early.  Finally, Disney is also hosting a “Princess Half Marathon Breakfast” that runs up until 9am.  Expect a good portion of people enjoying this breakfast to stick around Epcot as well. This coming Monday will be a much better day to visit without any complications from the marathon events.  This past Thursday was also highly recommended.  If you are headed to Epcot today, keep in mind that more people than usual will be at rope drop and it may be difficult parking due to the race course.  Overall, you can still have success if you arrive early and visit Test Track and Soarin’ first thing in the morning or rely on FASTPASS, but it’s going to be more difficult than recommended days and crowds will be noticeably heavier, particularly until 3pm.

Hollywood Studios is not recommended with two Fantasmic shows, a later close, and morning Extra Magic Hour.  The sizable Disney resort contingent numbers 85,000+ people during a popular marathon weekend 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.  The later close is appealing to anyone that equates longer hours with being able to do more in the Parks.  Of course, the exact opposite is what ends up happening because the additional people cause lines to be longer at attractions, quick services, restaurants, and stores.  In addition, FASTPASSes will be in shorter supply, peak wait times will be higher, and shows are more likely to fill to capacity, in turn causing you to show up earlier and wait longer.  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.  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 not recommended with the long hours of operation and both nighttime spectaculars.  While it’s true we’ve enjoyed long hours and both nighttime spectaculars nightly over the last few weeks, we’re headed back to the abbreviated entertainment schedule and non-peak operating hours.  Beginning tomorrow, Main Street Electrical Parade will only be scheduled on a limited number of nights and the operating hours will be shortened.  This makes today’s long hours and Main Street Electrical Parade more appealing to those who are just arriving for the Marathon and others arriving later this week.  We have a big Marathon event tomorrow and a lot of those participants will only be in Disney World for a short time.  Because Magic Kingdom is the most popular theme park in the world, particularly with Disney World running aficionados, we can expect it to be significantly busier than recommended days.  This coming Tuesday and (particularly) Wednesday will be significantly less crowded and yesterday also would have been a better day to visit.

Sunday February 23

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

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

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Tentatively Recommended)

Princess Half Marathon

Illuminations: 9pm

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 7pm (Most Recommended)

Fantasmic: 7pm

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

Evening Extra Magic Hours: 11pm – 1am

Celebrate a Dream Come True Parade: none, Main Street Electrical Parade: 7pm and 9pm, Wishes Fireworks: 8pm

Animal Kingdom is recommended again today.  We don’t have anything drawing people towards it, tomorrow’s morning Extra Magic Hour will be more popular with Disney resort guests, and it’s far enough away from the Marathon that crowds and traffic shouldn’t be affected much.  Still, if you’re coming from the Magic Kingdom or Epcot areas, you may run into minor traffic problems before 9am.  It shouldn’t be much of a concern overall, especially if you are coming from off-site, an Animal Kingdom area resort, or a Downtown Disney area resort.  The relatively short hours also guarantee few Marathon runners and their families will be arriving later in the afternoon.   You also have a decent opportunity to Park Hop after the Park closes.  You could head to Epcot for dinner and IllumiNations, Magic Kingdom for a few late night attractions, Wishes, and 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. Despite the relatively short day, you should be able to do just about everything the Park has to offer if you arrive close to Park opening.  Focus on riding Kilimanjaro Safaris and Expedition Everest as early as possible or plan to rely on FASTPASS later in the day (or both).  After getting those out of the way, move on to DinoLand USA or or Finding Nemo the Musical.  To be in the best shape, make it over to DinoLand USA before 10:30am when crowds begin to build at Primeval Whirl and DINOSAUR.  Finally, keep in mind that crowds disperse after the 3:45pm Parade.  Wait should only decrease in the final hour of operation.  Return to DinoLand and Expedition Everest then, especially if you don’t arrive until later in the morning or afternoon.  Check your Times Guide to verify when Kilimanjaro Safaris and the other attractions featuring animals close – it may be earlier than the rest of the Park.

Epcot is tentatively recommended, though waiting until tomorrow to visit would lead to fewer complications.  We have the Princess Half Marathon this morning, which starts and ends at Epcot.  Although the event begins at 5:45am, it won’t end completely until a little after 9am.  Because the runners have the right of way and the race goes through World Showcase and Future World, driving to Epcot, parking, and moving around the Park in the early morning may be difficult.  This will be mitigated somewhat if you ride Disney transportation or walk to Epcot from an Epcot area resort because the bus drivers will be well apprised of alternative routes and you won’t have to deal with any detours.  By 10am, Epcot won’t look much different than any other day.  We don’t need to be too concerned about runners sticking around to tour Epcot immediately after the race and their families won’t be much of an issue either.  Still, you’ll want to visit later in the week if you’re flexible because there won’t be any transportation or logistical problems in arriving at or touring Epcot.  As usual, you’ll have the most success if you arrive by 8:15am and take care of Test Track, Sum of All Thrills, Mission: Space, and Soarin’ first thing in the morning or follow a more compartmentalized two-day plan.

Hollywood Studios is the most recommended Park.  We’re sandwiched in between yesterday’s moderately popular morning Extra Magic Hour and tomorrow’s extremely popular evening Extra Magic Hours. Despite the recommendation, it’s still essential that you arrive by 8:20am and head straight for Toy Story Mania, Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, and Star Tours.  Make Toy Story Mania your priority because it will have 60+ minute afternoon waits.  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 tend to have the longest waits.  Because they usually begin appearing at 9:15am, you’ll have time to ride Toy Story and then get in line for the characters around 9:10am.  Phineas & Ferb usually have the second longest lines in Hollywood Studios.  They typically begin appearing at 9:30am, which means you’ll have time to ride Toy Story Mania and potentially meet Buzz and Woody before heading over to visit Phineas & Ferb, which are located near Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano and across from the exit to Muppet Vission 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. Plan to visit in the last hour they’re scheduled to appear.  Finally, you’ll find some characters in the morning near Mickey’s Sorcerer’s Hat that won’t appear later in the afternoon.  Minnie Mouse, Daisy Duck, Chip, Dale, Friends of Winnie the Pooh, Goofy, and Pluto are all common, but no specific character is guaranteed to appear.  Overall, you can do well at the Studios if you arrive by 8:20am, but you’re looking at long lines and heavier crowds if you don’t arrive until 10:30am with everyone else.

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 11:30pm and Fantasyland will be low on crowds.  It’s not uncommon for Peter Pan’s Flight to have a 60 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 February 24

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 6pm (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 – 8pm (Not Recommended)

Evening Extra Magic Hours: 8pm – 10pm

Fantasmic: 7pm and 8:30pm

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

Celebrate a Dream Come True Parade: none, Main Street Electrical Parade: 7pm and 9pm, Wishes Fireworks: 8pm

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 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 will be busy due to the evening Extra Magic Hours that are popular with Disney resort guests and the later close and second Fantasmic that will be attractive to off-site visitors.  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, Thursday, 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.

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 three 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 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, the headlining Mountain rides, or another priority.  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. This coming Friday would be a better day to catch the Electrical Parade.

Tuesday February 25

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 6pm (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 – 7pm (Recommended)

Fantasmic: 7pm

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

Celebrate a Dream Come True Parade: none, Main Street Electrical Parade: none, Wishes Fireworks: 8pm

Animal Kingdom is the most recommended Park.  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 “only” being open nine hours, 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 6pm 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 by 7:30am, 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 recommended, though this coming Thursday and Friday would be better.  While it’s true that we’re coming off a busy day yesterday for evening Extra Magic Hours, a decent number of Disney resort guests will ignore it in order to visit Magic Kingdom first on a standard weeklong vacation.  The Extra Magic Hours schedule also doesn’t do much to sway the off-site contingent.  With decent operating hours of operation every day and Fantasmic scheduled every night this week, the Studios won’t be far and away less crowded on “recommended days,” compared to “not recommended days,” like it was when Fantasmic was scheduled less often.  Nonetheless, you can expect peak wait times to be lower, crowds to build slower, FASTPASSes to be more plentiful, and waits to be lower than days that aren’t recommended.  Overall, this will be a day with “slightly below average” crowds at the Studios specifically, as compared to other days this week.  To have the most success, arrive prior to Park opening and head straight to Toy Story Midway Mania and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster.  Toy Story Mania in particular has wait times that almost always hit 60+ minutes in the afternoon and FASTPASSes that are in limited supply.  Make it your morning priority.  Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster also sees long afternoon waits and limited FASTPASS availability.  Plan to head there right after Toy Story Mania or rely on FASTPASS later in the day.  The other two attractions with decent lines are Tower of Terror and Star Tours.  Luckily, they have higher capacities and aren’t as popular.  You’ll still want to ride before 10:30am or plan to use FASTPASS later in the day.  Expect Star Tours’ waits to peak in the 20 minute range while Tower of Terror usually hits 30 to 50 minutes depending on the number of elevators operating.  Once you get through those four attractions, it’s really just a matter of getting over to the high capacity rides and shows that run on a set schedule.  It’s unlikely you’ll run into much of a line at Backlot Tour or Great Movie Ride, but fitting in the various stage shows can be tricky because they have a tendency to start and end at the same time.  You may also want to make a popular character a morning priority.  Check your Times Guide and plan to arrive at as many characters as possible about five minutes before they’re scheduled to appear.  Overall, you can have a lot of success if you arrive prior to Park opening and take care of the headlining attractions first thing.  For Fantasmic, I recommend the Fantasmic Dining Package, which guarantees everyone on the reservation a seat in the reserved section of the Theater.  It 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.  It also includes the appetizer, which you normally wouldn’t receive on the Dining Plan.  You’ll still need 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’s better than the 60 minute wait you’re looking at to score decent seats together without the Package.

Magic Kingdom is highly recommended and an excellent choice if you don’t want to wait until tomorrow to visit.  Epcot’s morning Extra Magic Hours 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.  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 return in the evening for Wishes and some late night attractions.

Wednesday February 26

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 – 7pm (Not Recommended)

Fantasmic: 7pm

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

Celebrate a Dream Come True Parade: none, Main Street Electrical Parade: none, Wishes Fireworks: 8pm

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 (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.  Yesterday’s morning Extra Magic Hour will have been moderately attended by Disney resort guests and they won’t be looking to return today.  Fantasmic and Toy Story Midway Mania will also be more popular at Hollywood Studios.  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.  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.

With no Electrical Parade at Magic Kingdom, no evening Extra Magic Hours anywhere, and a lowly morning Extra Magic Hour at Disney’s least popular theme park, Hollywood Studios is going to be busier than recommended days during the week.  While the addition of Fantasmic to every night this week makes each specific show less appealing, we still need to be concerned about the lack of attractive forces elsewhere.  Plus, it’s later in the week, which means most people on a weeklong vacation will already have visited Magic Kingdom and Epcot and they’ll be looking to spend a day at one of Disney World’s less popular theme parks.  With nothing specific drawing people to the Studios, it’s not going to be crazy crowded, but it is going to be busier than other recommended days during the week and should be avoided if possible.  With Magic Kingdom being incredibly popular tomorrow with the morning Extra Magic Hour and Electrical Parade, the Studios would be a much better choice tomorrow.

Magic Kingdom is our best Park to visit today for the exact same reasons it was recommended yesterday.  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.

Thursday February 27th

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 7pm (Recommended)

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

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Most Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 7pm (Highly Recommended)

Fantasmic: 7pm

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

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Celebrate a Dream Come True Parade: none, Main Street Electrical Parade: 7pm and 9pm, Wishes Fireworks: 8pm

Animal Kingdom is 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/Main Street Electrical Parade attracting crowds toward the Magic Kingdom.  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.  Also consider arriving for the popular characters about five minutes before they’re scheduled to appear to cut down on wait times.  Rely on FASTPASSes for 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.  After completing your itinerary, you may want to Park Hop to Magic Kingdom for Wishes and Main Street Electrical Parade, Hollywood Studios for Fantasmic, or Epcot for dinner and IllumiNations.  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 5pm onward.  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 the most recommended Park.  We have morning Extra Magic Hour and Main Street Electrical Parade attracting on-site and off-site visitors alike to Magic Kingdom.  Disney resort guests are much more likely to visit tomorrow for evening Extra Magic Hours.  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 rely on FASTPASS at Test Track and Soarin’.  Both will have 45+ minute waits for most of the day after 10am due to their 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.  Keep in mind that Innoventions, Universe of Energy, Captain EO, Journey into Imagination with Figment, Living with the Land, and Circle of Life usually close at 7pm.  Hit those attractions from 5pm to 7pm to find shorter waits than the 1pm to 4pm timeframe.  Return to Test Track and Soarin’ after 8pm to find the shortest waits outside of 9am – 10am.  It’s also a great day to stay for dinner and IllumiNations.

Hollywood Studios is highly recommended.  While it’s later in the week, Magic Kingdom will be a much bigger draw with morning Extra Magic Hour and Main Street Electrical Parade drawing off-site and on-site visitors alike. Tomorrow is also recommended with evening Extra Magic Hours at Epcot on Friday and Saturday’s morning Extra Magic Hour at the Studios proving more popular.  Still, touring efficiently is more important than “picking the right day,” especially at Hollywood Studios.  That means arriving by 8:15am and taking care of Toy Story Mania, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, and Star Tours first thing in the morning or with FASTPASS throughout the day.  Toy Story Mania will hit 60+ minutes in the afternoon due to its limited capacity.  Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster also sees decent afternoon waits, likely in the 30-50 minute range, with FASTPASSes that are harder to obtain.  Plan to head there second or rely on FASTPASS later in the day.  You may also want to prioritize the Toy Story, Phineas and Ferb, or Sorcerer Mickey characters by arriving about five minutes before they first appear.  The Toy Story characters, located right across the way from Toy Story Mania, are easy to meet at 9:15am if you head over after riding.  Visiting Sorcerer Mickey in the Animation Building in the last hour he’s scheduled to appear is best.  In addition, characters appear at Mickey’s Sorcerer’s Hat in the early morning that won’t appear during any other part of the day.  Usually, Minnie, Pluto, Chip, Dale, Donald, Daisy, Piglet, and Tigger appear, but no specific characters are guaranteed.  Overall, you can do well at the Studios if you arrive early and tour efficiently, but afternoon crowds will be decent.  Arrive at 10:30am with everyone else and you’re looking at long lines at Toy Story Mania and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster.  You can still enjoy the various shows, but it’s going to be more difficult to experience those two attractions.  Thankfully, Tower of Terror and Star Tours see shorter waits and additional FASTPASS availability.  Still, Tower of Terror will hit 30-40 minutes in the afternoon and Star Tours should see 20 minute waits.

The morning Extra Magic Hour at Magic Kingdom will lure a lot of Disney resort guests and we also have the first Main Street Electrical Parade since Monday.  Combined, this will make Magic Kingdom significantly busier than either of the last two days or tomorrow.  You can have success provided you take advantage of the morning Extra Magic Hour by arriving no later than 7:30am 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 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 10am or later because it will be busier than recommended days from 11am onward.  Tomorrow is a better day to see the Electrical Parade because there’s no Extra Magic Hour complication.

Friday February 28th

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 7pm (Recommended)

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

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Not Recommended)

Evening Extra Magic Hours: 9pm – 11pm

Illuminations: 9pm

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

Fantasmic: 7pm and 8:30pm

Magic Kingdom: 9am – 1am (Recommended)

Celebrate a Dream Come True Parade: none, Main Street Electrical Parade: 7pm and 9pm, Wishes Fireworks: 8pm

Animal Kingdom is recommended.  While we would be better off if Magic Kingdom offered Main Street Electrical Parade and longer hours, Epcot’s evening Extra Magic Hours are always popular and will draw a lot of Disney resort guests.  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 low overall crowd level and 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 7pm 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 have the extremely popular evening Extra Magic Hours luring Disney resort guests to Epcot today and Hollywood Studios’ morning Extra Magic Hour tomorrow will prove popular. Magic Kingdom will continue to pull crowds with the long hours of operation and both nighttime spectaculars.  To have the most success, arrive by 8:15am and head straight for Toy Story Mania, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, and Star Tours.  Once you get through these attractions in the morning or with FASTPASS, you have little to worry about for the rest of the day, other than trying to get to the Studios’ various high capacity attractions and stage shows that run on a set schedule.  For Fantasmic, you’ll want to arrive about 60 minutes early to guarantee good seats together.  If that sounds like it’s about 30 minutes too long, consider the Fantasmic Dining Package that guarantees everyone on the reservation a seat in the reserved section of the Fantasmic theater.  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.  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 recommended. It’s a better choice today than yesterday or tomorrow and is thus, recommended. It’s also the best day this week to see the Electrical Parade, though both this past Tuesday and Wednesday will be less crowded and better options if you’re willing to forgo seeing the Parade in order to enjoy the lowest crowds possible. With the very late close, a late arrival with plans to stay through 1am will also works. 10pm – 1am will see crowds that only get lower as it gets later in the evening. To have the most success, arrive by 8:30am and head straight for Fantasyland, the headlining attractions, or another priority.  Most people with kids will want to take care of Fantasyland first thing in the morning.  You should have no trouble getting a lot of attractions done throughout the morning.  Still, plan to use FastPass+ and focus on the less popular attractions from 1pm to 5pm when crowds will be at their highest level.  Return in the evening for dinner, some additional rides with FASTPASS, high capacity attractions, and the nighttime entertainment. The second Electrical Parade will be less crowded than the first and the fewest guests see the Parade in Frontierland and Liberty Square, making it a good spot. Stay through close because waits after 10pm will be lower than any time between 12pm and 8pm.

{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

mike August 18, 2013 at 6:27 pm

Thanks josh suprisingly i think im gonna miss the superbowl and do a bunch of walkon attractions

James September 24, 2013 at 9:02 am

I understand park hours have recently changed for Feb 1st. Does this affect your predictions?

Adam October 21, 2013 at 11:37 am

Sorry to be a pain, when do you expect to have the February 2014 calander updated based on the changes you mention in this post:
http://www.easywdw.com/news/february-2014-disney-world-operating-schedule-changes/

Thanks!!

Dani Sanchez October 27, 2013 at 9:15 am

We went for the first time to WDW as a family during the 2013 SuperBowl weekend! We had a blast and used this website as a reference to plan for our trip. I had been once before to WDW when I was a teenager during Spring Break, and all I remember was being very hot and having to wait in very long lines. This time around (Jan.31- Feb.4), the weather was perfect (we even wore our jackets at night) and we did not have to wait very long at all. In fact, the most we waited was at Magic Kingdom for 30 minutes for Space Mountain, and 35 minutes at Epcot for Mission: Space!!! Also, we went to Hollywood studios on Saturday, Feb. 2 when the Park was hosting a Cheer competition. We noticed that HS was definitely more crowded/active while we roamed around but the lines where not as long as we had expected with all the traffic! Although I love your park recommendations, I would say that if you go during this time of the year it would be more beneficial (if you have base ticket/NO hopper) to attend the park with EXTRA MAGIC HOURS, as the parks are really not that crowded, the wait time is minimum, and you have those 2 extra hours!! We loved our experience so much that we are headed back again during SuperBowl weekend in 2014!!!

Jeanna October 27, 2013 at 2:46 pm

I was wondering that very same thing @Dani!

Josh, what do you think? I’m wondering especially for Sunday when so few people will be there due to the Super Bowl? Since we are driving in that morning and won’t get a full day in whichever park we to go, we aren’t sure which one would be best.

Adam October 30, 2013 at 3:44 pm

Thanks for the update!!!!

Micah October 30, 2013 at 4:32 pm

Thanks!!!!

jim November 1, 2013 at 9:13 am

We have already made plans on going Feb 3 to Feb 7. With the changes to the times at WDW. How bad will the crowns be now and do you know why they changed them? Was is the cheerleading that is on both weekends?
Thanks Jim

Jeanna November 3, 2013 at 7:28 am

Thanks for the update!!! You’re awesome!!

Adam November 4, 2013 at 8:49 am
Adam November 4, 2013 at 8:49 am

That should help you out, not they.

jim November 4, 2013 at 8:15 pm

Thanks. That gave me some great insight.

Colleen November 8, 2013 at 3:31 pm

Hi! I noticed that since your 10/30 update, Disney has added morning EMH for Epcot on Monday the 3rd…how will this affect your recommendations? Thank you!

jim November 9, 2013 at 5:50 am

Yes, and there is not EMH on the 4th.

MC November 9, 2013 at 4:56 pm

Hi, the PDF file is February 2013 not the 2014 version.

Christie December 3, 2013 at 7:01 pm

Confused as to why February 10th has spring breakers descending on the park. Who has spring break in February?

Adam December 4, 2013 at 8:29 am

Christie, My family is headed to WDW in February so I have been doing more research than normal. Long story short, I think the spring break wording is a typo. It doesn’t change the fact that MK is not recommended on Mondays. Hopefully Josh will chime in and confirm.

Chelsea December 30, 2013 at 5:30 am

There is a cheer competition at ESPN Feb 28 – March 2. Do you see that having a large impact on crowds for the week of Feb 23? Thanks!

Adam December 30, 2013 at 1:32 pm

Hey Chelsea, Check this link out. It might be of some help until Josh gives you an answer.

http://www.easywdw.com/news/2011-high-school-national-cheerleading-championship-at-disney-world-info/

It’s an old link but it provides some useful information.

Sarah December 31, 2013 at 1:16 pm

Josh, I just realized that the race-related breakfast is on Friday, Feb. 21 after the 5K, rather than on Saturday the 22nd as you mention it in the post. I really don’t see Epcot on the 22nd being a bad day based on the 10K – I think people are less likely to immediately tour Epcot that morning than they did when it was a 5K on Saturday.

Liz M February 12, 2014 at 10:29 am

Hi. Just to let you know we went to AK on Monday, Feb. 10 and were unpleasantly surprised to run into huge groups of cheerleaders everywhere. The park was much more crowded than we anticipated. I guess there was some high school national event around that time we didn’t know about. You might want to take this into account for your crowd calendar in the future, as we thought we were going during the “light” period.

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