July 2014 Walt Disney World Crowd Calendar

by josh on December 26, 2013

6/25/14 Update: Calendar updated with Extra Magic Hour changes throughout the month as listed here.

6/19/14 Update: Calendar updated with the changes listed here.

3/20/14 Update: Calendar updated with the changes listed here.

This is the Free July 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 two hours from the start time. For example, if you see AK:8am EP:9pm, that means the Animal Kingdom has a morning Extra Magic Hour from 8am-9am and Epcot has evening Extra Magic Hours from 9pm-12am.
  • The seventh line lists the Fantasmic show times at the Hollywood Studios.
  • The eighth line lists the start time of Main Street Electrical Parade (MSEP:) and Wishes Fireworks at Magic Kingdom(W:). For example, if you see, MSEP: 9pm & 11pm W: 10pm, it would mean that Main Street Electrical Parade begins at 9pm and 11pm and Wishes begins at 10pm.

The Calendar is also available in an easy to view and print PDF file, Here.

Click the image to enlarge it.

Tuesday July 1

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

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Not Recommended)

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Illuminations: 9pm

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 10pm (Recommended)

Fantasmic: 9pm and 10:30pm

Magic Kingdom: 9am – 12am (Recommended)

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

Animal Kingdom is the most recommended Park for a number of reasons. We don’t have special events, Extra Magic Hours, or anything specific drawing people toward it. Yesterday’s and tomorrow’s morning Extra Magic Hours will be more popular with Disney resort guests. We also have Fantasmic at Hollywood Studios attracting a lot of off-site and on-site visitors alike and it’s early enough in the week that many people on weeklong vacations will be saving Animal Kingdom for later in the week. Magic Kingdom will continue being popular with the long operating hours and both nighttime spectaculars. Overall, today, Friday, 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 and Festival of the Lion King do 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 in the afternoon. Plan to stay through close because waits will only get shorter as it gets later in the evening. Visit DinoLand after 6pm and Asia after 7pm to find much lower 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 combo will be a bigger draw and the addition of Fantasmic to every day this week spreads crowds out more evenly. Because of that, your touring plan is more important than which day you decide to visit the Studios. Arrive by 8:15am, head directly to Toy Story Mania, and then visit Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, and Great Movie Ride. Do this, and you’ll be in great shape for the rest of the day. Don’t arrive until 10am and you’ll end up with a 60+ minute waits at Toy Story Mania, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, and potentially Tower of Terror. After getting through the headliners, focus on the Studios’ stage shows and high capacity attractions like Backlot Tour and Star Tours. 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 planning to see the early show. It will still require you to arrive 20 minutes early (or you run the risk of Disney opening the reserved sections to the general population), but it’s better than the 60 minute wait that may be required to get decent seats without it. The Dining Package 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’d prefer not to spring for the show or it’s not available, plan to see the later show. It’s far less crowded because so many families have to leave early with young kids and there aren’t two large sections reserved for Dining Package users. The best seats are at least half way up in the middle sections. You’ll have a great view of the entire stage, what’s happening on the water, and won’t risk getting wet. Overall, it’s a recommended day because it would be better than yesterday or tomorrow, but what you do is more important than arriving on the “right” day.

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

Wednesday July 2

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

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

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

Fantasmic: 9pm and 10:30pm

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

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

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

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

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

Magic Kingdom is our best Park to visit as we come off two busier days. Tomorrow will be busier with the long hours of operation, evening Extra Magic Hour attracting resort guests, and 4th of July fireworks. Today, you’ll find lower waits, fewer people in the Park, and increased FastPass+ availability. Take advantage of the lowest crowds this week by arriving prior to Park opening and head straight for Fantasyland (Mine Train, Journey of the Little Mermaid, Ariel’s Grotto, Peter Pan’s Flight, Winnie the Pooh), the headlining Mountain rides (Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain), or other time sensitive attractions (Astro Orbiter, Tomorrowland Indy Speedway). You may also want to prioritize characters that will have 30+ minute standby waits without the ability to FastPass+ them in the afternoon. You’ll be able to accomplish a ton of attractions in a short amount of time if you make efficient use of the morning and use FastPass+ at the priority attractions later in the day. Consider a break from 1pm to 5pm or so to rest up for dinner, a few nighttime attractions, and the nighttime entertainment. This is the busiest and hottest part of the day and your time is best spent back at your resort relaxing.

Thursday July 3

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

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Most Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 10pm (Recommended)

Fantasmic: 9pm and 10:30pm

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

Evening Extra Magic Hours: 1am – 3am

Festival of Fantasy Parade: 12pm and 3:30pm, Main Street Electrical Parade: 10pm and 12am, Wishes Fireworks: none, America A Fourth of July Concert in the Sky Fireworks: 9pm

Animal Kingdom is a much better choice tomorrow when people will be drawn to the other Parks for the Independence Day festivities. Those people visiting Epcot, Hollywood Studios, or Magic Kingdom tomorrow will be looking to Disney’s least popular theme park because they can visit today and not miss any special nighttime entertainment. You can still have success if you arrive by 8:15am and tour efficiently in the morning, but the afternoon is going to be busier than most other days this week and it’s best avoided.

Epcot is the most recommended Park. Tomorrow will be much more crowded with the 4th of July festivities and evening Extra Magic Hours being extremely attractive to on-site and off-site visitors alike. Today, on-site guests are headed to Magic Kingdom for the special fireworks and evening Extra Magic Hours. With the high overall crowd level, it is still imperative that you arrive prior to Park opening and hit Test Track, Sum of All Thrills, Mission: Space, and Soarin’ first thing in the morning. If you arrive at 10am with everyone else, you’ll run into 60+ minute waits at Test Track and Soarin’ due to high popularity and lousy capacities. Move up to the World Showcase beginning with the water rides in Mexico and Norway as close to 11am as possible to stay ahead of the incoming crowds. It’s safe to return to Future World around 5pm when most people have begun moving up to World Showcase. As always, use FastPass+ at Soarin’ or Test Track if you’d like to experience them a second time in the afternoon or evening. If you’re willing to skip IllumiNations, you can also enter the line to Test Track or Soarin’ around 8:55pm to find short waits. Test Track also offers a single rider line with actual waits that are often shorter than standby or FastPass+. Overall, you can do very well at Epcot, but the afternoon is going to be busy with the high overall crowd level. Tour smart in the morning and consider taking a lengthy afternoon break and you’re in business.

Hollywood Studios comes recommended. The Extra Magic and special 4th of July fireworks at Magic Kingdom will do enough to pull people away. We also have a 4th of July celebration tomorrow that will prove to be more attractive. The only problem is the number of people planning to visit either Epcot or Magic Kingdom tomorrow. They will inevitably visit Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, or a water park/Downtown Disney today. You can do very well in the morning if you arrive by 8:15am and take care of Toy Story Midway Mania, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, and Great Movie Ride first thing in the morning. Once you get Toy Story and the Roller Coaster out of the way, you don’t have a ton to worry about for the rest of the day. Still, with the heat and high overall crowd level, touring in the morning is key. Take a lengthy afternoon break from 1pm to 5pm or so and return in the evening for some high capacity attractions, dinner, and Fantasmic.

Magic Kingdom is going to be very crowded with evening Extra Magic Hours and the Celebrate America Fireworks. We can assume Disney has scheduled evening Extra Magic Hours to help pull Disney resort guests away from the incredibly busy Independence Day itself. Unfortunately, July 3rd is not overwhelmingly less crowded than July 4th naturally and will be similarly crowded now that Disney resort guests are more likely to flock to the 3rd rather than the 4th. You can still have success in the early morning, from 8am – 11am, but we’re looking at a ton of people from 1pm – 11pm. Tonight would be a better night to see the Celebrate America Fireworks, but just marginally. With the 10pm Main Street Electrical Parade, a lot of people will be intent on setting up in a location where they can see both the Parade and Fireworks. That means they’ll be lining the sidewalks of Main Street and standing/sitting around the outskirts of The Hub area in front of Cinderella Castle. This way, they don’t have to move to be in position for the Parade. You can usually fill in on Main Street or inside the Hub about an hour before the Fireworks start, but people will begin staking out the best spots before 6pm. If at all possible, you’ll want to see the Electrical Parade on another night, though the 12am Parade will be significantly less crowded. Stake out a viewing spot in Frontierland or Liberty Square because those areas are less crowded than Main Street and offer a view that is just as good. Evening Extra Magic Hours will also be a good time to tour if you are eligible and able to stay out late. 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 have left by 1:30am and Fantasyland will be low on crowds. It’s not uncommon for Peter Pan’s Flight to have a 75 minute wait in the afternoon and a ten minute or less wait at the end of evening Extra Magic Hours. Save Journey of the Little Mermaid, Mine Train, Peter Pan, and Winnie the Pooh for the very end of the night. While you can have success today from 9am – 12pm and 11pm – 3am, the afternoon and evening are going to be extremely crowded. Main Street will be packed for the Celebrate America Fireworks and the first Electrical Parade at 10pm. While it’s a better day to visit than tomorrow, it should be avoided unless you’re intent on seeing the Fireworks or must visit on July 3rd or 4th.

Friday July 4

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

Epcot: 9am – 10pm (Not Recommended)

Evening Extra Magic Hours: 10pm – 12am

Illuminations: 10pm

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 12am (Not Recommended)

Fantasmic: 9pm and 10:30pm and 11pm

4th of July Fireworks: 10:20pm

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

Festival of Fantasy Parade: 12pm and 3:30pm, Main Street Electrical Parade: 10pm and 12am, Wishes Fireworks: none, America A Fourth of July Concert in the Sky Fireworks: 9pm

If you’re looking for the Park with the lowest crowds (relatively and literally), Animal Kingdom is it. With no special nighttime entertainment for Independence Day and the shortest operating hours, virtually everyone will be looking at visiting another Park. In past years, Animal Kingdom has offered a morning Extra Magic Hour to help lure Disney resort guests toward it, but those attempts largely failed. This year, it seems like Disney isn’t even bothering. You can have a ton of success from 9am – 11am and 6pm – 8pm. With the overall crowd level about as high as it gets, Animal Kingdom won’t be completely empty. You’ll still want to tour efficiently during one or both of the recommended times. As usual, that means visiting Kilimanjaro Safaris and Expedition Everest right after open or in the final hour of operation. Visit the high capacity shows and attractions in the afternoon. You could take a relaxing break and then head to the Contemporary to catch the Magic Kingdom fireworks or to a Park that offers entertainment.

Epcot will be very busy because the conventional wisdom is to head there on holidays. In addition, just about everyone who arrives at the Magic Kingdom after (if) it closes to capacity will be told to go to Epcot. Because Epcot has the most physical space to walk around, it’s somewhat true that it absorbs crowds better than the other Parks. However, there are really only two headlining rides– Soarin’ and Test Track. Soarin’ and Test Track will have waits that exceed 120 minutes for most of the day, with peak wait times of 180 or more minutes. You’ll either want to ride them immediately after Epcot opens in the morning or rely on FastPass+. The good news is that Epcot will not close due to overwhelming crowds like the Magic Kingdom may. For July 4th, IllumiNations features a special patriotic ending with an extra six minutes of fireworks. The show is spectacular, with fireworks shooting off from behind each country in the order that they ring in the New Year. During the day, Epcot will feature special performances by Voices of Liberty, Spirit of America Fife and Drum Corps, and Disney characters at the United States Pavilion in the World Showcase. Overall, you can have success at Epcot provided that you arrive early or aren’t interested in the headlining attractions, but it’s going to be very busy from 5pm through close.

Hollywood Studios has a special fireworks show at Mickey’s Sorcerer’s Hat at the end of Hollywood Boulevard. The show begins at 10:20pm and features fireworks shot off the top of the various buildings to a rock ‘n’ roll soundtrack. In 2013, the Studios’ house band Mulch, Sweat, and Shears played live to the Fireworks and we can expect them to do so again in 2014. Like the others, it’s a fantastic show. However, it’s widely underappreciated by the majority of Disney vacationers. Many people won’t have any idea that Hollywood Studios is offering a fireworks show of this caliber, which makes it the best choice to spend your day if you’re interested in seeing an Independence Day spectacular. While it will still be very crowded, it won’t be nearly as hectic as Magic Kingdom or Epcot. Because many of the Studios’ attractions are shows with high capacities, you won’t find yourself in any excruciatingly long lines, provided you get to Toy Story Mania, Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, and Great Movie Ride in the morning or with FastPass+. To ride Toy Story Mania without a 150-minute-plus wait, you’ll need to visit first thing or rely on FastPass+. With the long day and the heat, you’ll most likely want to take a break from 1pm to 5pm or so when crowds and temperatures peak. This will also help get everyone ready for a relatively late evening. The downside to that is that most people will be leaving immediately after the Fireworks, causing traffic jams and long waits at the buses and parking lot trams. If possible, hang out in the shops on Hollywood Boulevard for at least 30 minutes after the Fireworks. Grazing the stores in air-conditioning beats waiting in line during a humid Florida evening. If you can get to Fantasmic on another night, I don’t recommend trying to see it on July 4th. Chances are good you’ll want to line up along Hollywood Boulevard, about half way between Mickey’s Sorcerer’s Hat and the entrance, at least an hour before the fireworks begin. If you plan to see Fantasmic before the fireworks, you’ll be exiting the theater with about 9,000+ other people who also have plans to see the fireworks on Hollywood Boulevard. If you see Fantasmic after the fireworks, you’ll be entering Fantasmic with 5,000+ other people who want to see the 11ppm show. Overall, you can have success at Hollywood Studios if you arrive prior to Park opening, tour efficiently, take an afternoon break between 1pm and 5pm or so, and return in the evening for dinner, a couple of high capacity attractions or stage shows, and the fireworks. Arrive after 11am and you’ll find huge crowds, long lines, and uncomfortable heat. Consider the Animal Kingdom if you’re planning to sleep in or don’t care about seeing a fireworks display.

The Magic Kingdom features identical Independence Day firework displays on July 3rd and 4th. I recommend attending the July 3rd show because it will be slightly less crowded and you’ll be able to attend a second special Independence Day celebration on July 4th at either Epcot or Hollywood Studios. With that said, Magic Kingdom will still be incredibly crowded for the Fireworks Show on July 3rd. The Magic Kingdom’s Celebrate America Firework show is one of the best of the year, featuring panoramic fireworks shot from all around the Park. It’s a much more exciting, much more expensive, much more substantial show than you would see on any other night, other than perhaps New Year’s Eve. To guarantee admittance, you’ll want to arrive by 10am and stay in the Park for the entire day. Because it’s so crowded, it will be difficult to get on any attractions without waiting at least 30 minutes and all of the major FastPass+ attractions will likely have waits that exceed 100 minutes in the afternoon. The only time you’ll find reasonably short lines is during the first two hours of operation and potentially after 10pm. Visit the rides and characters that will have longer afternoon waits first thing in the morning and you’ll be in the best shape possible. Use FastPass+ in the late morning and afternoon when lines are longest. Most families will arrive later in the morning and they’ll leave soon after the Fireworks and Parade, leaving Fantasyland relatively uncrowded at the end of the night. Use FastPass+ as much as possible and you can find success, provided you take advantage of the early morning. Lines at the counter services will also be extremely long and it will be difficult to find seating. I recommend making reservations for sit-down meals at both lunch and dinner or eat at off-peak times. For counter service, try to have lunch before 11:30am and eat dinner before 5pm. If you’ll be doing sit-down meals, I recommend Liberty Tree Tavern for lunch and the Plaza Restaurant for dinner if you’re on a budget. Overall, it’s a lot of heat and a lot of crowds to put up with for the fireworks show. About 100,000 people do it every year, but it’s not pretty in most situations.

Fireworks aren’t offered at Downtown Disney.

Overall, I recommend seeing the Magic Kingdom’s special fireworks display on July 3rd and visiting Hollywood Studios on July 4th if you would like to see nighttime spectaculars both days. Crowds will be substantial at both Parks on both days, but there really is no way around that fact over Independence Day Weekend. The key is arriving prior to Park opening and then riding the headliners immediately. Use FastPass+ throughout the day and you’ll be able to find success. If you arrive after 11am at any of the Parks, you will find extremely long lines at the major rides. Save less popular rides and stage shows with high capacities for the afternoon when crowds are peaking or take a sizable afternoon break.

If you don’t want to brave the holiday crowds, but still want to see the Magic Kingdom fireworks, the best place to see them is the 4th floor observation deck at the Contemporary Resort. If the deck is crowded, walk up a few flights of stairs outside, where there’s more room to stand. Usually, the Polynesian Resort’s beach offers the best view, but it’s likely that Disney will close it to people not staying at the resort. . The Vacation Club construction limits the amount of space available to watch. If you are headed to the Polynesian, plan a dining reservation or arrive before 6pm for a higher chance at seeing the fireworks. The second best, and most underrated, spot is the ferry dock at the Ticket and Transportation Center. The view is almost as good as the Polynesian and if you park at the TTC, you can simply walk or take the tram to your car immediately after the fireworks and beat the rush to the parking lot. The boat dock at the Grand Floridian Resort also offers a good vantage point.

Saturday July 5

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

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Most Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

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

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Fantasmic: 9pm and 10:30pm

Magic Kingdom: 9am – 1am (Recommended)

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

Animal Kingdom is highly recommended for a variety of reasons. We don’t have Extra Magic Hours, special events, evening entertainment, or anything else to attract on-site or off-site visitors. Those leaving tomorrow after a traditional weeklong vacation are unlikely to visit Animal Kingdom on their last full day and most arriving today won’t head out to Animal Kingdom as their first destination. As always, you’ll be best off if you arrive prior to Park opening and head straight for Kilimanjaro Safaris and Expedition Everest. With the late night last night, very few people choosing to visit Animal Kingdom will arrive before 10:30am, freeing up the major attractions.

Epcot is the most recommended Park. Yesterday’s evening Extra Magic Hours will have been wildly popular with Disney resort guests and they will be nowhere near Epcot today, especially in the morning. Off-site guests reveling in the Independence Day festivities are unlikely to be anywhere other than bed at 8:15am. Take full advantage by arriving prior to Park opening and head straight to Test Track, Sum of All Thrills, Mission: Space, and Soarin’. To stay ahead of the crowds for as long as possible, move up through the World Showcase beginning at 11am with the water rides in Norway and Mexico. Return to Future World after 5pm to ride anything you skipped earlier in the day and to re-ride Soarin’ or Test Track with FastPass+. If you arrive later, plan to use FastPass+ for Soarin’ or Test Track. The Test Track single rider line is also a good idea and actual waits are often shorter than standby or FastPass+. Mission: Space and Character Spot see nominal waits before 11am and after 7pm and are not priorities in the grand scheme of things if you visit during a recommended part of the day. It’s also an excellent day to stay for IllumiNations and enjoy the World Showcase in the afternoon.

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

Magic Kingdom is recommended as we come off two significantly busier days for the July 4th holiday.

Sunday July 6

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 7pm (Recommended)

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

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

Fantasmic: 9pm and 10:30pm

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

Evening Extra Magic Hours: 12am – 2am

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

Animal Kingdom is recommended. We have evening Extra Magic Hours/Main Street Electrical Parade at Magic Kingdom luring a lot of Disney resort guests. Disney resort guests are more likely to visit Animal Kingdom tomorrow or Wednesday for morning Extra Magic Hour. With the longer than usual operating hours, you should be able to do just about everything the Park has to offer if you arrive prior to Park opening. Focus on riding Kilimanjaro Safaris and Expedition Everest as early as possible or use FastPass+. After getting those out of the way, move on to DinoLand USA or one of the more popular shows – either Finding Nemo the Musical or Festival of the Lion King and you’ll be set for the rest of the day. Keep in mind that crowds disperse in the afternoon and the last 90 minutes of operation will have much shorter waits than the afternoon. Visit DinoLand after 5pm and Asia after 6pm to find much lower waits than the afternoon. You also have an outstanding opportunity to Park Hop after the Park closes. You could head to Epcot for dinner and IllumiNations, Magic Kingdom for evening Extra Magic Hours, or Hollywood Studios for Fantasmic. Without Park Hopper, consider transferring to the Animal Kingdom Lodge for dinner and a look around the resort or take a trip out to Downtown Disney or the BoardWalk for dinner and shopping.

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

Hollywood Studios is the most recommended Park. Monday’s evening Extra Magic Hours will be more popular with the predictable Disney resort guests and we’re coming off a busier day yesterday with the morning Extra Magic Hour. We also have evening Extra Magic Hours, Main Street Electrical Parade, and Wishes at Magic Kingdom, all of which will be incredibly popular with Disney resort guests today. Finally, Sunday is a popular travel day and few people arriving will head out to the Studios for Fantasmic this evening. Those that arrived yesterday are also unlikely to begin their first full day at Hollywood Studios. Thus, today is less crowded than any other day this week. If you have other plans today, Tuesday and Friday are recommended. In order to find the shortest waits, you’ll need to arrive by 8:15am and head straight to Toy Story Mania. Because of its popularity and extremely limited capacity, Toy Story Mania almost always has afternoon waits of 60 or more minutes, even when crowds are relatively low and the Studios is recommended. When crowds are well above average, as they are today, afternoon waits will hit 90 to 120 minutes. There’s no way around that with its limited capacity and the even more limited number of things to do with kids. It’s always your top priority. The second attraction with the longest peak wait is Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, which should be ridden immediately after Toy Story Mania in the morning or with FastPass+. Other priorities are Tower of Terror and Star Tours, though FastPass+ are more plentiful at both attractions and standby waits are usually lower. After you get through these four headliners, it’s just a matter of arriving in time to see the various stage shows that run on a set schedule and getting over to the Studios’ high capacity attractions. You may also have characters to visit before lines get longer. While it’s officially a recommended day, arriving prior to Park opening and hitting the headliners first thing is more important than which day you pick. Arrive at 11am, no matter the recommendation or the overall crowd level, and you’ll be looking at long lines at Toy Story Mania and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster.

Magic Kingdom is not recommended, though the morning from 9am – 11am and the late evening from 11:30pm – 2am 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 1am 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 Mine Train, 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 July 7

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

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Most Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

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

Evening Extra Magic Hours: 8:30pm – 10:30pm

Fantasmic: 9pm and 10:30pm

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

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

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

Epcot is the most recommended Park. We don’t have Extra Magic Hours, special evening entertainment, or anything else that will draw people toward Epcot specifically. Disney resort guests will be more likely to visit tomorrow or Friday for Extra Magic Hours and off-site visitors on a weeklong vacation will be headed to the Magic Kingdom for their first full day at the world’s most popular theme park. Disney resort guests are more likely to head to Hollywood Studios or Animal Kingdom for the Extra Magic Hours. Still, it will be crowded with the above average overall crowd level. To have the most success, arrive prior to Park opening and head to Test Track, Sum of All Thrills, Mission: Space, and Soarin’ or follow one of the two-day compartmentalized touring plans. You’ll also be in the best shape if you’ve moved on to World Showcase by 12pm, beginning with the water rides in Mexico and Norway. 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. Disney sells the Extra Magic Hours program extremely well in its marketing materials and 75,000+ people are staying on property and have access every day over the bus summer. Guess where most of those are headed? The morning will be an okay time to tour, but crowds will increase around 11am as more and more Disney resort guests arrive. Tomorrow and Friday would be better if you can swing either of those dates. Unfortunately, I’m not too fond of evening Extra Magic Hours at Hollywood Studios. There are only a few attractions open and the waits for Toy Story Mania, Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, and Star Tours will likely be just as long as they were during the day, at least until 11:30pm when people begin to give up and exit. In addition, 9,000+ people will exit Fantasmic at 9:30 and again at 11pm, right as evening Extra Magic Hours gets underway. The Fantasmic Theater is located right on Sunset Boulevard, across from the entrances to Tower of Terror and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster. While not everyone seeing Fantasmic will be a Disney resort guest, many of them will be, and a ton will be headed to Tower of Tower and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster because they truly believe it’s the best time to get in line. Unfortunately, they’ll find themselves lined up with a few thousand of their new best friends. If you’re staying for evening Extra Magic Hours, your best bet is always to save these headlining attractions for the very end of the night and visit Toy Story Mania last. While you could theoretically have success if you arrive prior to Park opening and head straight for the headliners, the same will be true later in the week and you won’t have to deal with the significantly heavier afternoon and evening crowds.

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 summer 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, Wednesday, or Friday to visit because Magic Kingdom will be less crowded.

Tuesday July 8

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

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Not Recommended)

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Illuminations: 9pm

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 10pm (Recommended)

Fantasmic: 9pm and 10:30pm

Magic Kingdom: 9am – 12am (Recommended)

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

Animal Kingdom is the most recommended Park for a number of reasons. We don’t have special events, Extra Magic Hours, or anything specific drawing people toward it. Yesterday’s and tomorrow’s morning Extra Magic Hours will be more popular with Disney resort guests. We also have Fantasmic at Hollywood Studios attracting a lot of off-site and on-site visitors alike and it’s early enough in the week that many people on weeklong vacations will be saving Animal Kingdom for later in the week. Magic Kingdom will continue being popular with the long operating hours and both nighttime spectaculars. Overall, today and Saturday are the best days of the week to visit. To have the most success, arrive prior to Park opening and head straight for Kilimanjaro Safaris and Expedition Everest. You’ll have no trouble riding both with very low waits before 10am. Once you get through these two attractions, you have little to worry about other than trying to get to the scheduled shows. Finding Nemo does get busy during the afternoon shows, so try to see the first or last show of the day. You’ll also want to get to DinoLand USA before 10:30am to ride Primeval Whirl and DINOSAUR because those two attractions are popular. Still, they aren’t necessarily your top morning priorities. You should have no trouble experiencing most everything Animal Kingdom has to offer in one day, provided you arrive early in the morning, tour efficiently, use FastPass+ intelligently, and keep an eye on the time in order to see the scheduled stage shows. Finally, crowds disperse in the afternoon. Plan to stay through close because waits will only get shorter as it gets later in the evening. Visit DinoLand after 6pm and Asia after 7pm to find much lower 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 combo will be a bigger draw and the addition of Fantasmic to every day this week spreads crowds out more evenly. Because of that, your touring plan is more important than which day you decide to visit the Studios. Arrive by 8:15am, head directly to Toy Story Mania, and then visit Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, and Great Movie Ride. Do this, and you’ll be in great shape for the rest of the day. Don’t arrive until 10am and you’ll end up with a 60+ minute waits at Toy Story Mania, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, and potentially Tower of Terror. After getting through the headliners, focus on the Studios’ stage shows and high capacity attractions like Backlot Tour and Star Tours. 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 planning to see the early show. It will still require you to arrive 20 minutes early (or you run the risk of Disney opening the reserved sections to the general population), but it’s better than the 60 minute wait that may be required to get decent seats without it. The Dining Package 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’d prefer not to spring for the show or it’s not available, plan to see the later show. It’s far less crowded because so many families have to leave early with young kids and there aren’t two large sections reserved for Dining Package users. The best seats are at least half way up in the middle sections. You’ll have a great view of the entire stage, what’s happening on the water, and won’t risk getting wet. Overall, it’s a recommended day because it would be better than yesterday or tomorrow, but what you do is more important than arriving on the “right” day.

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

Wednesday July 9

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

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

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

Fantasmic: 9pm and 10:30pm

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

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

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

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

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

Magic Kingdom is our best Park to visit as we come off two busier days. Tomorrow will be busier with the morning Extra Magic Hour attracting resort guests. However, with the standardized operating schedule and plentiful evening entertainment, Magic Kingdom won’t be far and away less busy than other days this week. Still, today means lower waits, fewer people in the Park, and increased FastPass+ availability. Take advantage of the lowest crowds this week by arriving prior to Park opening and head straight for Fantasyland (Mine Train, Peter Pan’s Flight, Ariel’s Grotto, Journey of the Little Mermaid, Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh), the headlining Mountain rides (Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain), or other time sensitive attractions (Astro Orbiter, Tomorrowland Indy Speedway). You may also want to prioritize characters that will have 30+ minute standby waits without the ability to FastPass+ them in the afternoon. You’ll be able to accomplish a ton of attractions in a short amount of time if you make efficient use of the morning and use FastPass+ at the priority attractions later in the day. Consider a break from 1pm to 5pm or so to rest up for dinner, a few nighttime attractions, and the nighttime entertainment. This is the busiest and hottest part of the day and your time is best spent back at your resort relaxing.

Thursday July 10

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 8pm (Recommended)

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Most Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

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

Fantasmic: 9pm and 10:30pm

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

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

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

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

Epcot is the most recommended Park. Tomorrow’s evening Extra Magic Hours will be more attractive to Disney resort guests. We also have morning Extra Magic Hour and Main Street Electrical Parade pulling people towards Magic Kingdom and Fantasmic at Hollywood Studios continuing to draw crowds. Plan to arrive prior to Park opening and head straight to Test Track, Sum of All Thrills, Mission: Space, and Soarin’ or follow a more compartmentalized two-day touring plan if you prefer. If you arrive later, plan to use FastPass+ at Soarin or Test Track because they will have 60+ minute waits for most of the day after 10:30am due to popularity and relatively low capacities. Getting in line right before Park close will also result in a short wait if you can’t ride any other time. Move on to the World Showcase beginning around 11am if crowds begin to build in Future World, beginning with the water rides in Mexico and Norway. Return to Future World after 5pm if you have more to accomplish and to ride/re-ride the headliners with FastPass+. It’s also a great day to stay for dinner and IllumiNations.

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

The morning Extra Magic Hour at Magic Kingdom will lure a decent number of Disney resort guests, making the Park busier than either this past Tuesday or Wednesday. If you are Extra Magic Hours eligible, you can have success provided you take advantage of the extra hour by arriving no later than 7:40am and heading straight to Fantasyland or other open attractions. Move on to the headlining Mountain rides or character meet and greets when they open and you’ll be in excellent shape. However, you will find that crowds are heavier than recommended days in the afternoon. You’ll probably want to take a break from 1pm to 6pm or so and return in the evening to ride some major attractions with FastPass+, have dinner, see some high capacity attractions, and enjoy the evening spectaculars. Keep in mind that you would be much better off visiting on a recommended day if you aren’t Extra Magic Hours eligible or won’t arrive until 9:30am or later because it will be busier than recommended days from 11am onward.

Friday July 11

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 7pm (Recommended)

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Not Recommended)

Evening Extra Magic Hours: 9pm – 11pm

Illuminations: 9pm

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

Fantasmic: 9pm and 10:30pm

Magic Kingdom: 9am – 11pm (Recommended)

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

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

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

Hollywood Studios is the most recommended Park. We’re looking at a morning Extra Magic Hour tomorrow that will be more popular with Disney resort guests. With Fantasmic scheduled every night and the same operating hours offered every day, the Studios won’t be far and away less crowded than other days this week like it was when Fantasmic was scheduled less often. Nonetheless, we’re looking at fewer people in the Park, crowds that grow slower, increased FastPass+ availability, less congestion in common areas, and shorter waits at rides, shows, and restaurants. To have the most success, you’ll still want to arrive by 8:15am and head straight for Toy Story Mania, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, and Great Movie Ride. Because Toy Story Mania has such a limited capacity, wait times are almost always 60+ minutes in the afternoon. Expect waits to hit 60 to 120 minutes today with the high overall crowd level, despite the recommendation. You’ll want to make it your top priority. Your second priority is Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, which also sees long afternoon waits and limited FastPass+ availability. Tower of Terror and Star Tours should be easier to ride, but also remain priorities. If you can get these attractions done in the early morning, you’ll be in great shape for the rest of the day. The only other problem most people run into is trying to schedule all of the stage shows that run on a set schedule. You may also want to prioritize characters that will have longer afternoon waits. The Toy Story characters across from Toy Story Mania typically have the longest lines. Meet them first or right after riding Toy Story Mania to minimize waits as much as possible. Sofia the First in Animation Courtyard also sees long waits. She usually begins meeting at 9:30am, giving you time to take care of other priorities first. Phineas & Ferb tend to have the third longest lines in Hollywood Studios. They typically begin appearing at 9:30am, which means you’ll have time to take care of a few other things before heading over to visit Phineas & Ferb, which are located near Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano and across from the exit to Muppet Vision 3D. Check the week’s Times Guide to verify appearance times. Two other popular characters appear in the Animation Building in the Animation Courtyard. Sorcerer Mickey in particular has long afternoon waits and The Incredibles characters also tend to have decent lines. Since both characters meet indoors and their lines aren’t usually over 20 minutes long, you should be able to find them with decent waits later in the day if you have other morning priorities. Finally, you’ll find some characters in the morning near Mickey’s Sorcerer’s Hat that won’t appear later in the afternoon. Daisy Duck, Chip, Dale, Stitch, Goofy, and Pluto are all common, but no specific character is guaranteed to appear. For Fantasmic, consider the Fantasmic Dining Package that guarantees everyone on the reservation a seat in the reserved section of the theater if you’re interested in the first show. You’ll still need to arrive at least 20 minutes early, but it’s better than the 60+ minutes early you’ll need to arrive without the package. The Dining Package makes the most sense on the Disney Dining Plan because it only costs one table service credit (except at Hollywood Brown Derby, which still costs two credits as it would otherwise) and includes the appetizer. If the Package isn’t available or you don’t want to swing the extra cost, do whatever you can to see the second show. It will be far less crowded and you won’t need to deal with two large sections reserved for Dining Package users. As far as general seating is concerned, the best seats are about half way up in the center sections. Sit any closer and you run the risk of getting wet and it’s more difficult to see what’s happening on the water.

Magic Kingdom is recommended. Epcot will be a bigger draw with the sizable on-site contingent with evening Extra Magic Hours and we’re coming off a busier day with the morning Extra Magic Hour at Magic Kingdom yesterday. To have the most success, arrive prior to Park opening and head to Fantasyland or the headlining Mountain rides. Most people will want to start with the Mine Train, Peter Pan’s Flight, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Ariel’s Grotto, and Journey of the Little Mermaid. 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.

Saturday July 12

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

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Most Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

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

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Fantasmic: 9pm and 10:30pm

Magic Kingdom: 9am – 11pm (Recommended)

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

Animal Kingdom is highly recommended for a variety of reasons. We don’t have Extra Magic Hours, special events, evening entertainment, or anything else to attract on-site or off-site visitors. Those leaving tomorrow after a traditional weeklong vacation are unlikely to visit Animal Kingdom on their last full day and most arriving today won’t head out to Animal Kingdom as their first destination. As always, you’ll be best off if you arrive prior to Park opening and head straight for Kilimanjaro Safaris and Expedition Everest. Wait times will only get shorter in the late afternoon as people leave, so stay through close if you have more you’d like to accomplish.

Epcot is the most recommended Park. Yesterday’s evening Extra Magic Hours will have been wildly popular with Disney resort guests and they will be nowhere near Epcot today, especially in the morning. Take full advantage by arriving prior to Park opening and head straight to Test Track, Sum of All Thrills, Mission: Space, and Soarin’. To stay ahead of the crowds for as long as possible, move up through the World Showcase beginning at 11am with the water rides in Norway and Mexico. Return to Future World after 5pm to ride anything you skipped earlier in the day and to re-ride Soarin’ or Test Track with FastPass+. If you arrive later, plan to use FastPass+ for Soarin’ or Test Track. The Test Track single rider line is also a good idea and actual waits are often shorter than standby or FastPass+. Mission: Space and Character Spot see nominal waits before 11am and after 7pm and are not priorities in the grand scheme of things if you visit during a recommended part of the day. It’s also an excellent day to stay for IllumiNations and enjoy the World Showcase in the afternoon.

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

Magic Kingdom is recommended, which is uncommon for Saturdays for most of the year. However, with the standardized operating schedule, there won’t be a ton of people visiting specifically to see the nighttime entertainment or to experience longer operating hours because they’re offered every night. Locals are less likely to visit during the hot and busy summer and don’t contribute much to overall crowds. We will have people visiting one last time before returning home from a traditional weeklong vacation tomorrow, but that’s less of a concern with airfare prices dictating travel dates. South American crowds are also less swayed by days of the week. All in all, you can do well if you follow the tried and true advice. Arrive by 8:30am to take advantage of lower crowds, shorter waits, and cooler temperatures in the morning. Take a break from 1pm to 6pm or so when crowds and temperatures peak. Return in the evening for dinner, some high capacity attractions, and the nighttime entertainment. Use FastPass+ in the late morning and afternoon when waits are longest. If you’re skipping Wishes and/or the Electrical Parade, take advantage of lower waits at the major attractions. Visit Tomorrowland after 9pm and Fantasyland after 10pm to find much shorter waits than the afternoon. A Tuesday or Wednesday during the week would be less crowded, but today works fine if you arrive early and avoid the busy afternoon.

Sunday July 13

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

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

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

Fantasmic: 9pm and 10:30pm

Magic Kingdom: 9am – 11pm (Recommended)

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

Animal Kingdom is tentatively recommended now that it’s hosting a morning Extra Magic Hour. If you are Extra Magic Hours eligible, you can have a tremendous amount of success if you arrive by 7:40am and tour efficiently. You’ll find short waits nearly everywhere through 9:30am and be able to attend the first  and least crowded Festival of the Lion King or Finding Nemo show after moving through the priority attractions like Kilimanjaro Safaris, Expedition Everest, Adventurer’s Outpost Mickey and Minnie Meet, Primeval Whirl, and DINOSAUR. If you’re not eligible for Extra Magic Hours or plan to arrive after 9am, tomorrow and Tuesday would be easier touring experiences because you won’t have to contend with people already inside the Park before you’re even allowed to enter. Wait times decrease beginning around 3pm and the final two hours of the day see short waits. Visit DinoLand after 5pm and Asia after 6pm to find lower waits than the afternoon.

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

Hollywood Studios is the most recommended Park. Monday’s evening Extra Magic Hours will be more popular with the predictable Disney resort guests and we’re coming off a busier day yesterday with the morning Extra Magic Hour. Animal Kingdom will be more attractive to resort guests and Magic Kingdom will continue attracting people to the most popular theme park in the world with long hours and plentiful nighttime entertainment. Finally, Sunday is a popular travel day and few people arriving will head out to the Studios for Fantasmic this evening. Those that arrived yesterday are also unlikely to begin their first full day at Hollywood Studios. In order to find the shortest waits, you’ll need to arrive by 8:15am and head straight to Toy Story Mania. Because of its popularity and extremely limited capacity, Toy Story Mania almost always has afternoon waits of 60 or more minutes, even when crowds are relatively low and the Studios is recommended. When crowds are well above average, as they are today, afternoon waits will hit 90 to 120 minutes. There’s no way around that with its limited capacity and the even more limited number of things to do with kids. It’s always your top priority. The second attraction with the longest peak wait is Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, which should be ridden immediately after Toy Story Mania in the morning or with FastPass+. Other priorities are Tower of Terror and Star Tours, though FastPass+ are more plentiful at both attractions and standby waits are usually lower. After you get through these four headliners, it’s just a matter of arriving in time to see the various stage shows that run on a set schedule and getting over to the Studios’ high capacity attractions. You may also have characters to visit before lines get longer. While it’s officially a recommended day, arriving prior to Park opening and hitting the headliners first thing is more important than which day you pick. Arrive at 11am, no matter the recommendation or the overall crowd level, and you’ll be looking at long lines at Toy Story Mania and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster. If you have other plans today, Tuesday and Friday are recommended.

Magic Kingdom is recommended now that evening Extra Magic Hours are scheduled on Saturday instead of tonight. That means more people tying to stay out late last night and fewer people around in the morning when waits are short and crowds thin. The lack of Extra Magic Hours today won’t do anything to attract resort guests to Magic Kingdom. Of course, if you were already planning on visiting today, it also means no evening Extra Magic Hours. To have the most success, arrive by 8:20am and tour efficiently in the morning, use FastPass+ in the late morning and afternoon, and take a break around 1:30pm when crowds and temperatures peak. Return in the evening for dinner, some additional attractions, and the nighttime entertainment. Waits will be short at most attractions after 9pm. If you’re willing to skip the Electrical Parade and/or see Wishes away from Main Street, you can do very well visiting Tomorrowland with two hours to close and Fantasyland in the final hour. Plan to see the 11pm Electrical Parade in Frontierland or Liberty Square. Both areas are less crowded than Main Street and the later Parade is less crowded because so many families with young kids leave immediately after Wishes, if they even make it that long.

Monday July 14

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

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Most Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

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

Evening Extra Magic Hours: 8:30pm – 10:30pm

Fantasmic: 9pm and 10:30pm

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

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

Animal Kingdom is highly recommended. Hollywood Studios will be attracting the resort guest crowd with evening Extra Magic Hours and Magic Kingdom will be attracting many of the people that arrived over the weekend for a traditional weeklong vacation and naturally want to visit the most magical place on earth and the world’s most popular theme park on their first full day. Most guests will be saving Animal Kingdom, Disney’s least popular theme park, for later in the week with Wednesday being busiest.

Epcot is the most recommended Park. We don’t have Extra Magic Hours, special evening entertainment, or anything else that will draw people toward Epcot specifically. Disney resort guests will be more likely to visit tomorrow or Friday for Extra Magic Hours and off-site visitors on a weeklong vacation will be headed to the Magic Kingdom for their first full day at the world’s most popular theme park. Disney resort guests are more likely to head to Hollywood Studios for the Extra Magic Hours. Still, it will be crowded with the above average overall crowd level. To have the most success, arrive prior to Park opening and head to Test Track, Sum of All Thrills, Mission: Space, and Soarin’ or follow one of the two-day compartmentalized touring plans. You’ll also be in the best shape if you’ve moved on to World Showcase by 12pm, beginning with the water rides in Mexico and Norway. 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. Disney sells the Extra Magic Hours program extremely well in its marketing materials and 75,000+ people are staying on property and have access every day over the bus summer. Guess where most of those are headed? The morning will be an okay time to tour, but crowds will increase around 11am as more and more Disney resort guests arrive. Tomorrow and Friday would be better if you can swing either of those dates. Unfortunately, I’m not too fond of evening Extra Magic Hours at Hollywood Studios. There are only a few attractions open and the waits for Toy Story Mania, Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, and Star Tours will likely be just as long as they were during the day, at least until 11:30pm when people begin to give up and exit. In addition, 9,000+ people will exit Fantasmic at 9:30 and again at 11pm, right as evening Extra Magic Hours gets underway. The Fantasmic Theater is located right on Sunset Boulevard, across from the entrances to Tower of Terror and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster. While not everyone seeing Fantasmic will be a Disney resort guest, many of them will be, and a ton will be headed to Tower of Tower and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster because they truly believe it’s the best time to get in line. Unfortunately, they’ll find themselves lined up with a few thousand of their new best friends. If you’re staying for evening Extra Magic Hours, your best bet is always to save these headlining attractions for the very end of the night and visit Toy Story Mania last. While you could theoretically have success if you arrive prior to Park opening and head straight for the headliners, the same will be true later in the week and you won’t have to deal with the significantly heavier afternoon and evening crowds.

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 summer 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, Wednesday, or Friday to visit because Magic Kingdom will be less crowded.

Tuesday July 15

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

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Not Recommended)

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Illuminations: 9pm

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 10pm (Recommended)

Fantasmic: 9pm and 10:30pm

Magic Kingdom: 9am – 12am (Recommended)

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

Animal Kingdom is the most recommended Park for a number of reasons. We don’t have special events, Extra Magic Hours, or anything specific drawing people toward it. Tomorrow’s morning Extra Magic Hours will be more popular with Disney resort guests. We also have Fantasmic at Hollywood Studios attracting a lot of off-site and on-site visitors alike and it’s early enough in the week that many people on weeklong vacations will be saving Animal Kingdom for later in the week. Magic Kingdom will continue being popular with the long operating hours and both nighttime spectaculars. 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 in the afternoon. Plan to stay through close because waits will only get shorter as it gets later in the evening. Visit DinoLand after 6pm and Asia after 7pm to find much lower 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 combo will be a bigger draw and the addition of Fantasmic to every day this week spreads crowds out more evenly. Because of that, your touring plan is more important than which day you decide to visit the Studios. Arrive by 8:15am, head directly to Toy Story Mania, and then visit Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, and Great Movie Ride. Do this, and you’ll be in great shape for the rest of the day. Don’t arrive until 10am and you’ll end up with a 60+ minute waits at Toy Story Mania, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, and potentially Tower of Terror. After getting through the headliners, focus on the Studios’ stage shows and high capacity attractions like Backlot Tour and Star Tours. 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 planning to see the early show. It will still require you to arrive 20 minutes early (or you run the risk of Disney opening the reserved sections to the general population), but it’s better than the 60 minute wait that may be required to get decent seats without it. The Dining Package 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’d prefer not to spring for the show or it’s not available, plan to see the later show. It’s far less crowded because so many families have to leave early with young kids and there aren’t two large sections reserved for Dining Package users. The best seats are at least half way up in the middle sections. You’ll have a great view of the entire stage, what’s happening on the water, and won’t risk getting wet. Overall, it’s a recommended day because it would be better than yesterday or tomorrow, but what you do is more important than arriving on the “right” day.

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

Wednesday July 16

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

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 7am – 8am

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

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

Fantasmic: 9pm and 10:30pm

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

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

It’s the busiest day of the week at Animal Kingdom. The morning Extra Magic Hour will attract the bulk of the Disney resort crowd and there’s no evening Extra Magic Hours or special evening entertainment going on at the other Parks (since Main Street Electrical Parade and Fantasmic are scheduled most every night this week), which will cause a lot of off-site guests to visit as well. With both yesterday and tomorrow recommended, there’s no reason to visit today. However, if you are Extra Magic Hours eligible and able to arrive by 6:40am, you can have a tremendous amount of success from 7am – 9:30am. But the afternoon is going to be busier than any other day this week.

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

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

Magic Kingdom is our best Park to visit as we come off two busier days. Tomorrow will be busier with the morning Extra Magic Hour attracting resort guests. However, with the standardized operating schedule and plentiful evening entertainment, Magic Kingdom won’t be far and away less busy than other days this week. Still, today means lower waits, fewer people in the Park, and increased FastPass+ availability. Take advantage of the lowest crowds this week by arriving prior to Park opening and head straight for Fantasyland (Mine Train, Peter Pan’s Flight, Ariel’s Grotto, Journey of the Little Mermaid, Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh), the headlining Mountain rides (Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain), or other time sensitive attractions (Astro Orbiter, Tomorrowland Indy Speedway). You may also want to prioritize characters that will have 30+ minute standby waits without the ability to FastPass+ them in the afternoon. You’ll be able to accomplish a ton of attractions in a short amount of time if you make efficient use of the morning and use FastPass+ at the priority attractions later in the day. Consider a break from 1pm to 5pm or so to rest up for dinner, a few nighttime attractions, and the nighttime entertainment. This is the busiest and hottest part of the day and your time is best spent back at your resort relaxing.

Thursday July 17

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 8pm (Recommended)

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Most Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

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

Fantasmic: 9pm and 10:30pm

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

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

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

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

Epcot is the most recommended Park. Tomorrow’s evening Extra Magic Hours will be more attractive to Disney resort guests. We also have morning Extra Magic Hour and Main Street Electrical Parade pulling people towards Magic Kingdom and Fantasmic at Hollywood Studios continuing to draw crowds. Plan to arrive prior to Park opening and head straight to Test Track, Sum of All Thrills, Mission: Space, and Soarin’ or follow a more compartmentalized two-day touring plan if you prefer. If you arrive later, plan to use FastPass+ at Soarin or Test Track because they will have 60+ minute waits for most of the day after 10:30am due to popularity and relatively low capacities. Getting in line right before Park close will also result in a short wait if you can’t ride any other time. Move on to the World Showcase beginning around 11am if crowds begin to build in Future World, beginning with the water rides in Mexico and Norway. Return to Future World after 5pm if you have more to accomplish and to ride/re-ride the headliners with FastPass+. It’s also a great day to stay for dinner and IllumiNations.

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

The morning Extra Magic Hour at Magic Kingdom will lure a decent number of Disney resort guests, making the Park busier than either this past Tuesday or Wednesday. If you are Extra Magic Hours eligible, you can have success provided you take advantage of the extra hour by arriving no later than 7:40am and heading straight to Fantasyland or other open attractions. Move on to the headlining Mountain rides or character meet and greets when they open and you’ll be in excellent shape. However, you will find that crowds are heavier than recommended days in the afternoon. You’ll probably want to take a break from 1pm to 6pm or so and return in the evening to ride some major attractions with FastPass+, have dinner, see some high capacity attractions, and enjoy the evening spectaculars. Keep in mind that you would be much better off visiting on a recommended day if you aren’t Extra Magic Hours eligible or won’t arrive until 9:30am or later because it will be busier than recommended days from 11am onward.

Friday July 18

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 7pm (Recommended)

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Not Recommended)

Evening Extra Magic Hours: 9pm – 11pm

Illuminations: 9pm

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

Fantasmic: 9pm and 10:30pm

Magic Kingdom: 9am – 12am (Recommended)

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

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

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

Hollywood Studios is the most recommended Park. We’re looking at a morning Extra Magic Hour tomorrow that will be more popular with Disney resort guests. With Fantasmic scheduled every night and the same operating hours offered every day, the Studios won’t be far and away less crowded than other days this week like it was when Fantasmic was scheduled less often. Nonetheless, we’re looking at fewer people in the Park, crowds that grow slower, increased FastPass+ availability, less congestion in common areas, and shorter waits at rides, shows, and restaurants. To have the most success, you’ll still want to arrive by 8:15am and head straight for Toy Story Mania, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, and Great Movie Ride. Because Toy Story Mania has such a limited capacity, wait times are almost always 60+ minutes in the afternoon. Expect waits to hit 60 to 120 minutes today with the high overall crowd level, despite the recommendation. You’ll want to make it your top priority. Your second priority is Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, which also sees long afternoon waits and limited FastPass+ availability. Tower of Terror and Star Tours should be easier to ride, but also remain priorities. If you can get these attractions done in the early morning, you’ll be in great shape for the rest of the day. The only other problem most people run into is trying to schedule all of the stage shows that run on a set schedule. You may also want to prioritize characters that will have longer afternoon waits. The Toy Story characters across from Toy Story Mania typically have the longest lines. Meet them first or right after riding Toy Story Mania to minimize waits as much as possible. Sofia the First in Animation Courtyard also sees long waits. She usually begins meeting at 9:30am, giving you time to take care of other priorities first. Phineas & Ferb tend to have the third longest lines in Hollywood Studios. They typically begin appearing at 9:30am, which means you’ll have time to take care of a few other things before heading over to visit Phineas & Ferb, which are located near Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano and across from the exit to Muppet Vision 3D. Check the week’s Times Guide to verify appearance times. Two other popular characters appear in the Animation Building in the Animation Courtyard. Sorcerer Mickey in particular has long afternoon waits and The Incredibles characters also tend to have decent lines. Since both characters meet indoors and their lines aren’t usually over 20 minutes long, you should be able to find them with decent waits later in the day if you have other morning priorities. Finally, you’ll find some characters in the morning near Mickey’s Sorcerer’s Hat that won’t appear later in the afternoon. Daisy Duck, Chip, Dale, Stitch, Goofy, and Pluto are all common, but no specific character is guaranteed to appear. For Fantasmic, consider the Fantasmic Dining Package that guarantees everyone on the reservation a seat in the reserved section of the theater if you’re interested in the first show. You’ll still need to arrive at least 20 minutes early, but it’s better than the 60+ minutes early you’ll need to arrive without the package. The Dining Package makes the most sense on the Disney Dining Plan because it only costs one table service credit (except at Hollywood Brown Derby, which still costs two credits as it would otherwise) and includes the appetizer. If the Package isn’t available or you don’t want to swing the extra cost, do whatever you can to see the second show. It will be far less crowded and you won’t need to deal with two large sections reserved for Dining Package users. As far as general seating is concerned, the best seats are about half way up in the center sections. Sit any closer and you run the risk of getting wet and it’s more difficult to see what’s happening on the water.

Magic Kingdom is recommended. Epcot will be a bigger draw with the sizable on-site contingent with evening Extra Magic Hours and we’re coming off a busier day with the morning Extra Magic Hour at Magic Kingdom yesterday. To have the most success, arrive prior to Park opening and head to Fantasyland or the headlining Mountain rides. Most people will want to start with the Mine Train, Peter Pan’s Flight, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Ariel’s Grotto, and Journey of the Little Mermaid. 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.

Saturday July 19

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

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Most Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

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

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Fantasmic: 9pm and 10:30pm

Magic Kingdom: 9am – 11pm (Recommended)

Evening Extra Magic Hour: 11pm – 1am

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

Animal Kingdom is highly recommended for a variety of reasons. We don’t have Extra Magic Hours, special events, evening entertainment, or anything else to attract on-site or off-site visitors. Those leaving tomorrow after a traditional weeklong vacation are unlikely to visit Animal Kingdom on their last full day and most arriving today won’t head out to Animal Kingdom as their first destination. Tomorrow will be more attractive to Disney resort guests arriving earlier in the week with the morning Extra Magic Hour. As always, you’ll be best off if you arrive prior to Park opening and head straight for Kilimanjaro Safaris and Expedition Everest. Wait times will only get shorter in the afternoon, so stay through close if you have more you’d like to accomplish.

Epcot is the most recommended Park. Yesterday’s evening Extra Magic Hours will have been wildly popular with Disney resort guests and they will be nowhere near Epcot today, especially in the morning. Take full advantage by arriving prior to Park opening and head straight to Test Track, Sum of All Thrills, Mission: Space, and Soarin’. To stay ahead of the crowds for as long as possible, move up through the World Showcase beginning at 11am with the water rides in Norway and Mexico. Return to Future World after 5pm to ride anything you skipped earlier in the day and to re-ride Soarin’ or Test Track with FastPass+. If you arrive later, plan to use FastPass+ for Soarin’ or Test Track. The Test Track single rider line is also a good idea and actual waits are often shorter than standby or FastPass+. Mission: Space and Character Spot see nominal waits before 11am and after 7pm and are not priorities in the grand scheme of things if you visit during a recommended part of the day. It’s also an excellent day to stay for IllumiNations and enjoy the World Showcase in the afternoon.

Hollywood Studios is not recommended. The sizable Disney resort contingent numbers 75,000+ people. 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. With the limited number of popular rides available, the morning Extra Magic Hour only creates longer lines earlier in the day. While you can have success if you are Extra Magic Hours eligible and arrive by 7:15am, most people will want to visit another day. Tomorrow would be significantly better. Avoid it unless you can’t visit any other day or are certain you’ll arrive by 7:15am and plan to hit Toy Story Midway Mania, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, and Star Tours first thing in the morning.

Magic Kingdom remains recommended even with evening Extra Magic Hours attached, but the Park will be busy from 11:30am – 10pm like any other day this week. The evening Extra Magic Hours will cause resort guests to sleep in. The early morning through 11am will be excellent and the late night is also a great time to tour with few families able to stay out late enough to take advantage of the less-crowded time after Wishes. Plan to arrive by 8:20am and tour efficiently in the morning or try to stay through 1am because crowds will be light after 10pm. If you’re staying for Extra Magic Hours, focus on Adventureland, Frontierland, and Liberty Square in the first hour before ending the night in Fantasyland or Tomorrowland. Most guests staying will rush over to popular rides like Space Mountain and Peter Pan’s Flight right as evening Extra Magic Hours begin, keeping wait times relatively high for the first hour.

Sunday July 20

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

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

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

Fantasmic: 9pm and 10:30pm

Magic Kingdom: 9am – 12am (Recommended)

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

Animal Kingdom is tentatively recommended now that it’s hosting a morning Extra Magic Hour. If you are Extra Magic Hours eligible, you can have a tremendous amount of success if you arrive by 7:40am and tour efficiently. You’ll find short waits nearly everywhere through 9:30am and be able to attend the first  and least crowded Festival of the Lion King or Finding Nemo show after moving through the priority attractions like Kilimanjaro Safaris, Expedition Everest, Adventurer’s Outpost Mickey and Minnie Meet, Primeval Whirl, and DINOSAUR. If you’re not eligible for Extra Magic Hours or plan to arrive after 9am, tomorrow and Tuesday would be easier touring experiences because you won’t have to contend with people already inside the Park before you’re even allowed to enter. Wait times decrease beginning around 3pm and the final two hours of the day see short waits. Visit DinoLand after 5pm and Asia after 6pm to find lower waits than the afternoon.

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

Hollywood Studios is the most recommended Park. Monday’s evening Extra Magic Hours will be more popular with the predictable Disney resort guests and we’re coming off a busier day yesterday with the morning Extra Magic Hour. Animal Kingdom will be more attractive to resort guests and Magic Kingdom will continue attracting people to the most popular theme park in the world with long hours and plentiful nighttime entertainment. Finally, Sunday is a popular travel day and few people arriving will head out to the Studios for Fantasmic this evening. Those that arrived yesterday are also unlikely to begin their first full day at Hollywood Studios. In order to find the shortest waits, you’ll need to arrive by 8:15am and head straight to Toy Story Mania. Because of its popularity and extremely limited capacity, Toy Story Mania almost always has afternoon waits of 60 or more minutes, even when crowds are relatively low and the Studios is recommended. When crowds are well above average, as they are today, afternoon waits will hit 90 to 120 minutes. There’s no way around that with its limited capacity and the even more limited number of things to do with kids. It’s always your top priority. The second attraction with the longest peak wait is Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, which should be ridden immediately after Toy Story Mania in the morning or with FastPass+. Other priorities are Tower of Terror and Star Tours, though FastPass+ are more plentiful at both attractions and standby waits are usually lower. After you get through these four headliners, it’s just a matter of arriving in time to see the various stage shows that run on a set schedule and getting over to the Studios’ high capacity attractions. You may also have characters to visit before lines get longer. While it’s officially a recommended day, arriving prior to Park opening and hitting the headliners first thing is more important than which day you pick. Arrive at 11am, no matter the recommendation or the overall crowd level, and you’ll be looking at long lines at Toy Story Mania and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster. If you have other plans today, Tuesday and Friday are recommended.

Magic Kingdom is recommended now that evening Extra Magic Hours are scheduled on Saturday instead of tonight. That means more people tying to stay out late last night and fewer people around in the morning when waits are short and crowds thin. The lack of Extra Magic Hours today won’t do anything to attract resort guests to Magic Kingdom. Of course, if you were already planning on visiting today, it also means no evening Extra Magic Hours. To have the most success, arrive by 8:20am and tour efficiently in the morning, use FastPass+ in the late morning and afternoon, and take a break around 1:30pm when crowds and temperatures peak. Return in the evening for dinner, some additional attractions, and the nighttime entertainment. Waits will be short at most attractions after 9pm. If you’re willing to skip the Electrical Parade and/or see Wishes away from Main Street, you can do very well visiting Tomorrowland with two hours to close and Fantasyland in the final hour. Plan to see the 11pm Electrical Parade in Frontierland or Liberty Square. Both areas are less crowded than Main Street and the later Parade is less crowded because so many families with young kids leave immediately after Wishes, if they even make it that long.

Monday July 21

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

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Most Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

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

Evening Extra Magic Hours: 8:30pm – 10:30pm

Fantasmic: 9pm and 10:30pm

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

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

Animal Kingdom is highly recommended. Hollywood Studios will be attracting the resort guest crowd with evening Extra Magic Hours and Magic Kingdom will be attracting many of the people that arrived over the weekend for a traditional weeklong vacation and naturally want to visit the most magical place on earth and the world’s most popular theme park on their first full day. Most guests will be saving Animal Kingdom, Disney’s least popular theme park, for later in the week with Wednesday being busiest.

Epcot is the most recommended Park. We don’t have Extra Magic Hours, special evening entertainment, or anything else that will draw people toward Epcot specifically. Disney resort guests will be more likely to visit tomorrow or Friday for Extra Magic Hours and off-site visitors on a weeklong vacation will be headed to the Magic Kingdom for their first full day at the world’s most popular theme park. Disney resort guests are more likely to head to Hollywood Studios for the Extra Magic Hours. Still, it will be crowded with the above average overall crowd level. To have the most success, arrive prior to Park opening and head to Test Track, Sum of All Thrills, Mission: Space, and Soarin’ or follow one of the two-day compartmentalized touring plans. You’ll also be in the best shape if you’ve moved on to World Showcase by 12pm, beginning with the water rides in Mexico and Norway. 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. Disney sells the Extra Magic Hours program extremely well in its marketing materials and 75,000+ people are staying on property and have access every day over the bus summer. Guess where most of those are headed? The morning will be an okay time to tour, but crowds will increase around 11am as more and more Disney resort guests arrive. Tomorrow and Friday would be better if you can swing either of those dates. Unfortunately, I’m not too fond of evening Extra Magic Hours at Hollywood Studios. There are only a few attractions open and the waits for Toy Story Mania, Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, and Star Tours will likely be just as long as they were during the day, at least until 11:30pm when people begin to give up and exit. In addition, 9,000+ people will exit Fantasmic at 9:30 and again at 11pm, right as evening Extra Magic Hours gets underway. The Fantasmic Theater is located right on Sunset Boulevard, across from the entrances to Tower of Terror and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster. While not everyone seeing Fantasmic will be a Disney resort guest, many of them will be, and a ton will be headed to Tower of Tower and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster because they truly believe it’s the best time to get in line. Unfortunately, they’ll find themselves lined up with a few thousand of their new best friends. If you’re staying for evening Extra Magic Hours, your best bet is always to save these headlining attractions for the very end of the night and visit Toy Story Mania last. While you could theoretically have success if you arrive prior to Park opening and head straight for the headliners, the same will be true later in the week and you won’t have to deal with the significantly heavier afternoon and evening crowds.

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 summer 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, Wednesday, or Friday to visit because Magic Kingdom will be less crowded.

Tuesday July 22

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

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Not Recommended)

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Illuminations: 9pm

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 10pm (Recommended)

Fantasmic: 9pm and 10:30pm

Magic Kingdom: 9am – 1am (Recommended)

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

Animal Kingdom is the most recommended Park for a number of reasons. We don’t have special events, Extra Magic Hours, or anything specific drawing people toward it. Tomorrow’s morning Extra Magic Hours will be more popular with Disney resort guests. We also have Fantasmic at Hollywood Studios attracting a lot of off-site and on-site visitors alike and it’s early enough in the week that many people on weeklong vacations will be saving Animal Kingdom for later in the week. Magic Kingdom will continue being popular with the long operating hours and both nighttime spectaculars. 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 in the afternoon. Plan to stay through close because waits will only get shorter as it gets later in the evening. Visit DinoLand after 6pm and Asia after 7pm to find much lower 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 combo will be a bigger draw and the addition of Fantasmic to every day this week spreads crowds out more evenly. Because of that, your touring plan is more important than which day you decide to visit the Studios. Arrive by 8:15am, head directly to Toy Story Mania, and then visit Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, and Great Movie Ride. Do this, and you’ll be in great shape for the rest of the day. Don’t arrive until 10am and you’ll end up with a 60+ minute waits at Toy Story Mania, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, and potentially Tower of Terror. After getting through the headliners, focus on the Studios’ stage shows and high capacity attractions like Backlot Tour and Star Tours. 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 planning to see the early show. It will still require you to arrive 20 minutes early (or you run the risk of Disney opening the reserved sections to the general population), but it’s better than the 60 minute wait that may be required to get decent seats without it. The Dining Package 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’d prefer not to spring for the show or it’s not available, plan to see the later show. It’s far less crowded because so many families have to leave early with young kids and there aren’t two large sections reserved for Dining Package users. The best seats are at least half way up in the middle sections. You’ll have a great view of the entire stage, what’s happening on the water, and won’t risk getting wet. Overall, it’s a recommended day because it would be better than yesterday or tomorrow, but what you do is more important than arriving on the “right” day.

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

Wednesday July 23

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

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 7am – 8am

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

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

Fantasmic: 9pm and 10:30pm

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

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

It’s the busiest day of the week at Animal Kingdom. The morning Extra Magic Hour will attract the bulk of the Disney resort crowd and there’s no evening Extra Magic Hours or special evening entertainment going on at the other Parks (since Main Street Electrical Parade and Fantasmic are scheduled most every night this week), which will cause a lot of off-site guests to visit as well. With both yesterday and tomorrow recommended, there’s no reason to visit today. However, if you are Extra Magic Hours eligible and able to arrive by 6:40am, you can have a tremendous amount of success from 7am – 9:30am. But the afternoon is going to be busier than any other day this week.

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

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

Magic Kingdom is our best Park to visit as we come off two busier days. Tomorrow will be busier with the morning Extra Magic Hour attracting resort guests. However, with the standardized operating schedule and plentiful evening entertainment, Magic Kingdom won’t be far and away less busy than other days this week. Still, today means lower waits, fewer people in the Park, and increased FastPass+ availability. Take advantage of the lowest crowds this week by arriving prior to Park opening and head straight for Fantasyland (Mine Train, Peter Pan’s Flight, Ariel’s Grotto, Journey of the Little Mermaid, Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh), the headlining Mountain rides (Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain), or other time sensitive attractions (Astro Orbiter, Tomorrowland Indy Speedway). You may also want to prioritize characters that will have 30+ minute standby waits without the ability to FastPass+ them in the afternoon. You’ll be able to accomplish a ton of attractions in a short amount of time if you make efficient use of the morning and use FastPass+ at the priority attractions later in the day. Consider a break from 1pm to 5pm or so to rest up for dinner, a few nighttime attractions, and the nighttime entertainment. This is the busiest and hottest part of the day and your time is best spent back at your resort relaxing.

Thursday July 24

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 8pm (Recommended)

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Most Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

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

Fantasmic: 9pm and 10:30pm

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

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

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

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

Epcot is the most recommended Park. Tomorrow’s evening Extra Magic Hours will be more attractive to Disney resort guests. We also have morning Extra Magic Hour and Main Street Electrical Parade pulling people towards Magic Kingdom and Fantasmic at Hollywood Studios continuing to draw crowds. Plan to arrive prior to Park opening and head straight to Test Track, Sum of All Thrills, Mission: Space, and Soarin’ or follow a more compartmentalized two-day touring plan if you prefer. If you arrive later, plan to use FastPass+ at Soarin or Test Track because they will have 60+ minute waits for most of the day after 10:30am due to popularity and relatively low capacities. Getting in line right before Park close will also result in a short wait if you can’t ride any other time. Move on to the World Showcase beginning around 11am if crowds begin to build in Future World, beginning with the water rides in Mexico and Norway. Return to Future World after 5pm if you have more to accomplish and to ride/re-ride the headliners with FastPass+. It’s also a great day to stay for dinner and IllumiNations.

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

The morning Extra Magic Hour at Magic Kingdom will lure a decent number of Disney resort guests, making the Park busier than either this past Tuesday or Wednesday. If you are Extra Magic Hours eligible, you can have success provided you take advantage of the extra hour by arriving no later than 7:40am and heading straight to Fantasyland or other open attractions. Move on to the headlining Mountain rides or character meet and greets when they open and you’ll be in excellent shape. However, you will find that crowds are heavier than recommended days in the afternoon. You’ll probably want to take a break from 1pm to 6pm or so and return in the evening to ride some major attractions with FastPass+, have dinner, see some high capacity attractions, and enjoy the evening spectaculars. Keep in mind that you would be much better off visiting on a recommended day if you aren’t Extra Magic Hours eligible or won’t arrive until 9:30am or later because it will be busier than recommended days from 11am onward.

Friday July 25

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 7pm (Recommended)

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Not Recommended)

Evening Extra Magic Hours: 9pm – 11pm

Illuminations: 9pm

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

Fantasmic: 9pm and 10:30pm

Magic Kingdom: 9am – 12am (Recommended)

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

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

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

Hollywood Studios is the most recommended Park. We’re looking at a morning Extra Magic Hour tomorrow that will be more popular with Disney resort guests. With Fantasmic scheduled every night and the same operating hours offered every day, the Studios won’t be far and away less crowded than other days this week like it was when Fantasmic was scheduled less often. Nonetheless, we’re looking at fewer people in the Park, crowds that grow slower, increased FastPass+ availability, less congestion in common areas, and shorter waits at rides, shows, and restaurants. To have the most success, you’ll still want to arrive by 8:15am and head straight for Toy Story Mania, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, and Great Movie Ride. Because Toy Story Mania has such a limited capacity, wait times are almost always 60+ minutes in the afternoon. Expect waits to hit 60 to 120 minutes today with the high overall crowd level, despite the recommendation. You’ll want to make it your top priority. Your second priority is Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, which also sees long afternoon waits and limited FastPass+ availability. Tower of Terror and Star Tours should be easier to ride, but also remain priorities. If you can get these attractions done in the early morning, you’ll be in great shape for the rest of the day. The only other problem most people run into is trying to schedule all of the stage shows that run on a set schedule. You may also want to prioritize characters that will have longer afternoon waits. The Toy Story characters across from Toy Story Mania typically have the longest lines. Meet them first or right after riding Toy Story Mania to minimize waits as much as possible. Sofia the First in Animation Courtyard also sees long waits. She usually begins meeting at 9:30am, giving you time to take care of other priorities first. Phineas & Ferb tend to have the third longest lines in Hollywood Studios. They typically begin appearing at 9:30am, which means you’ll have time to take care of a few other things before heading over to visit Phineas & Ferb, which are located near Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano and across from the exit to Muppet Vision 3D. Check the week’s Times Guide to verify appearance times. Two other popular characters appear in the Animation Building in the Animation Courtyard. Sorcerer Mickey in particular has long afternoon waits and The Incredibles characters also tend to have decent lines. Since both characters meet indoors and their lines aren’t usually over 20 minutes long, you should be able to find them with decent waits later in the day if you have other morning priorities. Finally, you’ll find some characters in the morning near Mickey’s Sorcerer’s Hat that won’t appear later in the afternoon. Daisy Duck, Chip, Dale, Stitch, Goofy, and Pluto are all common, but no specific character is guaranteed to appear. For Fantasmic, consider the Fantasmic Dining Package that guarantees everyone on the reservation a seat in the reserved section of the theater if you’re interested in the first show. You’ll still need to arrive at least 20 minutes early, but it’s better than the 60+ minutes early you’ll need to arrive without the package. The Dining Package makes the most sense on the Disney Dining Plan because it only costs one table service credit (except at Hollywood Brown Derby, which still costs two credits as it would otherwise) and includes the appetizer. If the Package isn’t available or you don’t want to swing the extra cost, do whatever you can to see the second show. It will be far less crowded and you won’t need to deal with two large sections reserved for Dining Package users. As far as general seating is concerned, the best seats are about half way up in the center sections. Sit any closer and you run the risk of getting wet and it’s more difficult to see what’s happening on the water.

Magic Kingdom is recommended. Epcot will be a bigger draw with the sizable on-site contingent with evening Extra Magic Hours and we’re coming off a busier day with the morning Extra Magic Hour at Magic Kingdom yesterday. To have the most success, arrive prior to Park opening and head to Fantasyland or the headlining Mountain rides. Most people will want to start with the Mine Train, Peter Pan’s Flight, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Ariel’s Grotto, and Journey of the Little Mermaid. 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.

Saturday July 26

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

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Most Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

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

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Fantasmic: 9pm and 10:30pm

Magic Kingdom: 9am – 11pm (Recommended)

Evening Extra Magic Hours: 11pm – 1am

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

Animal Kingdom is highly recommended for a variety of reasons. We don’t have Extra Magic Hours, special events, evening entertainment, or anything else to attract on-site or off-site visitors. Those leaving tomorrow after a traditional weeklong vacation are unlikely to visit Animal Kingdom on their last full day and most arriving today won’t head out to Animal Kingdom as their first destination. As always, you’ll be best off if you arrive prior to Park opening and head straight for Kilimanjaro Safaris and Expedition Everest. Wait times will only get shorter in the afternoon, so stay through close if you have more you’d like to accomplish.

Epcot is the most recommended Park. Yesterday’s evening Extra Magic Hours will have been wildly popular with Disney resort guests and they will be nowhere near Epcot today, especially in the morning. Take full advantage by arriving prior to Park opening and head straight to Test Track, Sum of All Thrills, Mission: Space, and Soarin’. To stay ahead of the crowds for as long as possible, move up through the World Showcase beginning at 11am with the water rides in Norway and Mexico. Return to Future World after 5pm to ride anything you skipped earlier in the day and to re-ride Soarin’ or Test Track with FastPass+. If you arrive later, plan to use FastPass+ for Soarin’ or Test Track. The Test Track single rider line is also a good idea and actual waits are often shorter than standby or FastPass+. Mission: Space and Character Spot see nominal waits before 11am and after 7pm and are not priorities in the grand scheme of things if you visit during a recommended part of the day. It’s also an excellent day to stay for IllumiNations and enjoy the World Showcase in the afternoon.

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

Magic Kingdom remains recommended even with evening Extra Magic Hours attached, but the Park will be busy from 11:30am – 10pm like any other day this week. The evening Extra Magic Hours will cause resort guests to sleep in. The early morning through 11am will be excellent and the late night is also a great time to tour with few families able to stay out late enough to take advantage of the less-crowded time after Wishes. Plan to arrive by 8:20am and tour efficiently in the morning or try to stay through 1am because crowds will be light after 10pm. If you’re staying for Extra Magic Hours, focus on Adventureland, Frontierland, and Liberty Square in the first hour before ending the night in Fantasyland or Tomorrowland. Most guests staying will rush over to popular rides like Space Mountain and Peter Pan’s Flight right as evening Extra Magic Hours begin, keeping wait times relatively high for the first hour.

Sunday July 27

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

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

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

Fantasmic: 9pm and 10:30pm

Magic Kingdom: 9am – 11pm (Recommended)

Evening Extra Magic Hours: 11pm – 1am

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

Animal Kingdom is tentatively recommended now that it’s hosting a morning Extra Magic Hour. If you are Extra Magic Hours eligible, you can have a tremendous amount of success if you arrive by 7:40am and tour efficiently. You’ll find short waits nearly everywhere through 9:30am and be able to attend the first  and least crowded Festival of the Lion King or Finding Nemo show after moving through the priority attractions like Kilimanjaro Safaris, Expedition Everest, Adventurer’s Outpost Mickey and Minnie Meet, Primeval Whirl, and DINOSAUR. If you’re not eligible for Extra Magic Hours or plan to arrive after 9am, tomorrow and Tuesday would be easier touring experiences because you won’t have to contend with people already inside the Park before you’re even allowed to enter. Wait times decrease beginning around 3pm and the final two hours of the day see short waits. Visit DinoLand after 5pm and Asia after 6pm to find lower waits than the afternoon.

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

Hollywood Studios is the most recommended Park. Monday’s evening Extra Magic Hours will be more popular with the predictable Disney resort guests and we’re coming off a busier day yesterday with the morning Extra Magic Hour. Animal Kingdom will be more attractive to resort guests and Magic Kingdom will continue attracting people to the most popular theme park in the world with long hours and plentiful nighttime entertainment. Finally, Sunday is a popular travel day and few people arriving will head out to the Studios for Fantasmic this evening. Those that arrived yesterday are also unlikely to begin their first full day at Hollywood Studios. In order to find the shortest waits, you’ll need to arrive by 8:15am and head straight to Toy Story Mania. Because of its popularity and extremely limited capacity, Toy Story Mania almost always has afternoon waits of 60 or more minutes, even when crowds are relatively low and the Studios is recommended. When crowds are well above average, as they are today, afternoon waits will hit 90 to 120 minutes. There’s no way around that with its limited capacity and the even more limited number of things to do with kids. It’s always your top priority. The second attraction with the longest peak wait is Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, which should be ridden immediately after Toy Story Mania in the morning or with FastPass+. Other priorities are Tower of Terror and Star Tours, though FastPass+ are more plentiful at both attractions and standby waits are usually lower. After you get through these four headliners, it’s just a matter of arriving in time to see the various stage shows that run on a set schedule and getting over to the Studios’ high capacity attractions. You may also have characters to visit before lines get longer. While it’s officially a recommended day, arriving prior to Park opening and hitting the headliners first thing is more important than which day you pick. Arrive at 11am, no matter the recommendation or the overall crowd level, and you’ll be looking at long lines at Toy Story Mania and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster. If you have other plans today, Tuesday and Friday are recommended.

Magic Kingdom is recommended now that evening Extra Magic Hours are scheduled on Saturday instead of tonight. That means more people tying to stay out late last night and fewer people around in the morning when waits are short and crowds thin. The lack of Extra Magic Hours today won’t do anything to attract resort guests to Magic Kingdom. Of course, if you were already planning on visiting today, it also means no evening Extra Magic Hours. To have the most success, arrive by 8:20am and tour efficiently in the morning, use FastPass+ in the late morning and afternoon, and take a break around 1:30pm when crowds and temperatures peak. Return in the evening for dinner, some additional attractions, and the nighttime entertainment. Waits will be short at most attractions after 9pm. If you’re willing to skip the Electrical Parade and/or see Wishes away from Main Street, you can do very well visiting Tomorrowland with two hours to close and Fantasyland in the final hour. Plan to see the 11pm Electrical Parade in Frontierland or Liberty Square. Both areas are less crowded than Main Street and the later Parade is less crowded because so many families with young kids leave immediately after Wishes, if they even make it that long.

Monday July 28

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

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Most Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

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

Evening Extra Magic Hours: 10pm – 12am

Fantasmic: 9pm and 10:30pm

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

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

Animal Kingdom is highly recommended. Hollywood Studios will be attracting the resort guest crowd with evening Extra Magic Hours and Magic Kingdom will be attracting many of the people that arrived over the weekend for a traditional weeklong vacation and naturally want to visit the most magical place on earth and the world’s most popular theme park on their first full day. Most guests will be saving Animal Kingdom, Disney’s least popular theme park, for later in the week with Wednesday being busiest.

Epcot is the most recommended Park. We don’t have Extra Magic Hours, special evening entertainment, or anything else that will draw people toward Epcot specifically. Disney resort guests will be more likely to visit tomorrow or Friday for Extra Magic Hours and off-site visitors on a weeklong vacation will be headed to the Magic Kingdom for their first full day at the world’s most popular theme park. Disney resort guests are more likely to head to Hollywood Studios for the Extra Magic Hours. Still, it will be crowded with the above average overall crowd level. To have the most success, arrive prior to Park opening and head to Test Track, Sum of All Thrills, Mission: Space, and Soarin’ or follow one of the two-day compartmentalized touring plans. You’ll also be in the best shape if you’ve moved on to World Showcase by 12pm, beginning with the water rides in Mexico and Norway. 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. Disney sells the Extra Magic Hours program extremely well in its marketing materials and 75,000+ people are staying on property and have access every day over the bus summer. Guess where most of those are headed? The morning will be an okay time to tour, but crowds will increase around 11am as more and more Disney resort guests arrive. Tomorrow and Friday would be better if you can swing either of those dates. Unfortunately, I’m not too fond of evening Extra Magic Hours at Hollywood Studios. There are only a few attractions open and the waits for Toy Story Mania, Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, and Star Tours will likely be just as long as they were during the day, at least until 11:30pm when people begin to give up and exit. In addition, 9,000+ people will exit Fantasmic at 9:30 and again at 11pm, right as evening Extra Magic Hours gets underway. The Fantasmic Theater is located right on Sunset Boulevard, across from the entrances to Tower of Terror and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster. While not everyone seeing Fantasmic will be a Disney resort guest, many of them will be, and a ton will be headed to Tower of Tower and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster because they truly believe it’s the best time to get in line. Unfortunately, they’ll find themselves lined up with a few thousand of their new best friends. If you’re staying for evening Extra Magic Hours, your best bet is always to save these headlining attractions for the very end of the night and visit Toy Story Mania last. While you could theoretically have success if you arrive prior to Park opening and head straight for the headliners, the same will be true later in the week and you won’t have to deal with the significantly heavier afternoon and evening crowds.

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 summer 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, Wednesday, or Friday to visit because Magic Kingdom will be less crowded.

Tuesday July 29

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

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Not Recommended)

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Illuminations: 9pm

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 10pm (Recommended)

Fantasmic: 9pm and 10:30pm

Magic Kingdom: 9am – 11pm (Recommended)

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

Animal Kingdom is the most recommended Park for a number of reasons. We don’t have special events, Extra Magic Hours, or anything specific drawing people toward it. Tomorrow’s morning Extra Magic Hours will be more popular with Disney resort guests. We also have Fantasmic at Hollywood Studios attracting a lot of off-site and on-site visitors alike and it’s early enough in the week that many people on weeklong vacations will be saving Animal Kingdom for later in the week. Magic Kingdom will continue being popular with the long operating hours and both nighttime spectaculars. 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 in the afternoon. Plan to stay through close because waits will only get shorter as it gets later in the evening. Visit DinoLand after 5pm and Asia after 6pm to find much lower 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 combo will be a bigger draw and the addition of Fantasmic to every day this week spreads crowds out more evenly. Because of that, your touring plan is more important than which day you decide to visit the Studios. Arrive by 8:15am, head directly to Toy Story Mania, and then visit Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, and Great Movie Ride. Do this, and you’ll be in great shape for the rest of the day. Don’t arrive until 10am and you’ll end up with a 60+ minute waits at Toy Story Mania, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, and potentially Tower of Terror. After getting through the headliners, focus on the Studios’ stage shows and high capacity attractions like Backlot Tour and Star Tours. 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 planning to see the early show. It will still require you to arrive 20 minutes early (or you run the risk of Disney opening the reserved sections to the general population), but it’s better than the 60 minute wait that may be required to get decent seats without it. The Dining Package 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’d prefer not to spring for the show or it’s not available, plan to see the later show. It’s far less crowded because so many families have to leave early with young kids and there aren’t two large sections reserved for Dining Package users. The best seats are at least half way up in the middle sections. You’ll have a great view of the entire stage, what’s happening on the water, and won’t risk getting wet. Overall, it’s a recommended day because it would be better than yesterday or tomorrow, but what you do is more important than arriving on the “right” day.

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

Wednesday July 30

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

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

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

Fantasmic: 9pm and 10:30pm

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

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

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

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

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

Magic Kingdom is our best Park to visit as we come off two busier days. Tomorrow will be busier with the morning Extra Magic Hour attracting resort guests. However, with the standardized operating schedule and plentiful evening entertainment, Magic Kingdom won’t be far and away less busy than other days this week. Still, today means lower waits, fewer people in the Park, and increased FastPass+ availability. Take advantage of the lowest crowds this week by arriving prior to Park opening and head straight for Fantasyland (Mine Train, Peter Pan’s Flight, Ariel’s Grotto, Journey of the Little Mermaid, Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh), the headlining Mountain rides (Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain), or other time sensitive attractions (Astro Orbiter, Tomorrowland Indy Speedway). You may also want to prioritize characters that will have 30+ minute standby waits without the ability to FastPass+ them in the afternoon. You’ll be able to accomplish a ton of attractions in a short amount of time if you make efficient use of the morning and use FastPass+ at the priority attractions later in the day. Consider a break from 1pm to 5pm or so to rest up for dinner, a few nighttime attractions, and the nighttime entertainment. This is the busiest and hottest part of the day and your time is best spent back at your resort relaxing.

Thursday July 31

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 7pm (Recommended)

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Most Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

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

Fantasmic: 9pm and 10:30pm

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

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

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

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

Epcot is the most recommended Park. Tomorrow’s evening Extra Magic Hours will be more attractive to Disney resort guests. We also have morning Extra Magic Hour and Main Street Electrical Parade pulling people towards Magic Kingdom and Fantasmic at Hollywood Studios continuing to draw crowds. Plan to arrive prior to Park opening and head straight to Test Track, Sum of All Thrills, Mission: Space, and Soarin’ or follow a more compartmentalized two-day touring plan if you prefer. If you arrive later, plan to use FastPass+ at Soarin or Test Track because they will have 60+ minute waits for most of the day after 10:30am due to popularity and relatively low capacities. Getting in line right before Park close will also result in a short wait if you can’t ride any other time. Move on to the World Showcase beginning around 11am if crowds begin to build in Future World, beginning with the water rides in Mexico and Norway. Return to Future World after 5pm if you have more to accomplish and to ride/re-ride the headliners with FastPass+. It’s also a great day to stay for dinner and IllumiNations.

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

The morning Extra Magic Hour at Magic Kingdom will lure a decent number of Disney resort guests, making the Park busier than either this past Tuesday or Wednesday. If you are Extra Magic Hours eligible, you can have success provided you take advantage of the extra hour by arriving no later than 7:40am and heading straight to Fantasyland or other open attractions. Move on to the headlining Mountain rides or character meet and greets when they open and you’ll be in excellent shape. However, you will find that crowds are heavier than recommended days in the afternoon. You’ll probably want to take a break from 1pm to 6pm or so and return in the evening to ride some major attractions with FastPass+, have dinner, see some high capacity attractions, and enjoy the evening spectaculars. Keep in mind that you would be much better off visiting on a recommended day if you aren’t Extra Magic Hours eligible or won’t arrive until 9:30am or later because it will be busier than recommended days from 11am onward.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Paul December 27, 2013 at 12:55 am

Josh, Awesome guide.

This will be the third holiday we have used your crowd calendar. So glad we found it before our first wdw holiday in 2012. We have visited in easter before so this will be the first time at summer. We would be lost without your guide.

Do you have any good recommendations for Universal/IOA busy days guide?

Thanks.

Paul (Scotland UK)

Reply

josh December 27, 2013 at 1:03 am

I don’t think crowds vary from day to day enough that it’s necessary to have a crowd calendar for Universal. Generally speaking, I’d avoid Islands of Adventure on Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturdays as those days tend to be a bit busier. But it isn’t like you’re going to go to Universal Studios on July 19th and find it super crowded and July 20th will be a ghost town. There isn’t as much variability there as there is with Disney.

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Sharon L (UK) December 29, 2013 at 2:46 am

Thanks for this. I am not a newbie to wdw but his next trip is our 4th and first staying on site (SSR) with free dining plan so are definitely planning to use the August guide when it is up.

Reply

Dawn December 29, 2013 at 11:37 am

Josh,

When do you anticipate the August hours to be released?
I am eager to start planning and trying to figure out park days and dining!

Thanks!

Reply

josh December 29, 2013 at 11:38 am

Should be January 13th or 17th. More likely on the 17th.

Reply

NAK February 10, 2014 at 2:51 pm

Josh, is it normal that there Fantasmic is only running once each night during the summer? I seem to recall much of the last 3 summers (that’s my reference point) that there were typically 2 shows more often than not. Is it likely to change?

Reply

Tricia@RITravels March 5, 2014 at 10:15 am

Why are there two sets of $$$$ / $$? I’ve not seen that before and can’t make sense of it.

Thank you!

Reply

Anna April 5, 2014 at 8:08 am

I am considering a summer trip. Have never been in the summer but this year need to travel between June 7 and August 1. When I look at the crowd calendar, it looks like most of June has a 9 crowd rating and July is mostly an 8. My primary concern is crowds. Do you have any recommendation for a particular week?

Reply

Oles Pierre June 21, 2014 at 8:56 am

I will like to have the full schedule for the month of July 2014…. I residing in Orlando are, What would be my discount privilage?

Reply

Shauna June 23, 2014 at 8:23 pm

Disney website shows the Evening EMH for Magic Kingdom on Saturday, July 26th in lieu of Sunday, July 27th. Did this change?

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