May 2014 Walt Disney World Crowd Calendar

by josh on October 23, 2013

5/13/14 Update: Crowd calendar updated with the changes listed here.

5/9/14 Update: Epcot Evening Extra Magic Hours canceled on May 23rd and added to Hollywood Studios. The recommendations on that date changed slightly.

4/21/14 Update: Crowd Calendar updated with the changes listed here.

3/18/14 Update: On May 24rd, Main Street Electrical Parade moved to 11pm and 1am with Wishes at 9pm.

3/15/14 Update: Crowd calendar updated with 24-hour day at Magic Kingdom on the 23rd.

2/8/14 Update: Crowd calendar updated with the changes to Hollywood Studios listed here.

1/15/14 Update: Crowd Calendar updated with the changes listed here.

This is the Free May 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.

Click the image to enlarge it.

Thursday May 1

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 6pm (Recommended)

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

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Most Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 11pm (Not Recommended)

25th Anniversary

Fantasmic: 8:30pm and 10pm

Special Fireworks: 9:30pm

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

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

Hollywood Studios is celebrating its 25th anniversary today. While it may be a fun day to visit for the various celebrations and activities, it will be significantly busier than any other day this week. If you’re looking to visit on a day with lower crowds and an easier time moving around the Park, this is not it.

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. We’re also coming off two days in a row without the Main Street Electrical Parade. Because so many people want to see the Parade, they’ll naturally wait to visit today. 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 May 2

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 8pm (Recommended)

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

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Not Recommended)

Evening Extra Magic Hours: 9pm – 11pm

Illuminations: 9pm

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

Fantasmic: 8:30pm and 10pm

Magic Kingdom: 9am – 11pm (Recommended)

Mine Train Ride Dedication

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 after the 3:45pm Parade. If you couldn’t get to some of the attraction earlier in the day, stay through until 8pm because waits will only decrease from 6pm through close. Hit DinoLand after 6pm and Asia after 7pm to find the shortest waits outside of the first hour.

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 most days, 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 prior to Park opening and head straight for Toy Story Mania, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, and Star Tours. Because Toy Story Mania has such a limited capacity, wait times are almost always 60+ minutes in the afternoon and FastPass+ are unavailable. Expect waits to hit 60 to 90 minutes today. You’ll want to make it your top priority. Your second priority is Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, which also sees long afternoon waits and limited FastPass+ availability. Tower of Terror and Star Tours should be easier to ride, but also remain priorities. If you can get these attractions done in the early morning, you’ll be in great shape for the rest of the day. The only other problem most people run into is trying to schedule all of the stage shows that run on a set schedule. You may also want to prioritize characters that will have longer afternoon waits. The Toy Story characters across from Toy Story Mania typically 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. The wrinkle is that this is the official dedication of the new Seven Dwarfs Mine Train attraction. The dedication will not have a substantial impact on overall crowd levels over the course of the day, but the media event will close parts of New Fantasyland until around 12pm. It’s extremely unlikely that this will be the first day the attraction operates, which also reduces its appeal. The exact schedule is not yet available. Guests with flexibility should plan early mornings in Fantasyland on Tuesday or Wednesday with plans to visit Frontierland, Adventureland, Liberty Square, and Fantasyland attractions like it’s a small world, Peter Pan’s Flight, and others in that area. Overall, Magic Kingdom will be less crowded with lower wait times today than yesterday or tomorrow, but there may be some complications for those planning to visit New Fantasyland early. The main website will be updated with the Times Guide when it becomes available.

Saturday May 3

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

Expedition Everest Challenge

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

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Most Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

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

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Fantasmic: 8:30pm and 10pm

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

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

Animal Kingdom is highly recommended for a variety of reasons. We don’t have Extra Magic Hours, special events, evening entertainment, or anything else to attract on-site or off-site visitors. Those leaving tomorrow after a traditional weeklong vacation are unlikely to visit Animal Kingdom on their last full day and most arriving today won’t head out to Animal Kingdom as their first destination. As always, you’ll be best off if you arrive prior to Park opening and head straight for Kilimanjaro Safaris and Expedition Everest. Wait times will only get shorter after the 3:45pm Parade, so stay through close if you have more you’d like to accomplish. The Expedition Everest Challenge is scheduled this evening at 10pm, which is three hours after regular Park close. The event does not adversely affect daytime crowds.

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 is much easier to FastPass+ if necessary and standby waits are also much shorter. It’s also an excellent day to stay for IllumiNations and enjoy the World Showcase in the afternoon.

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

Saturdays are naturally the busiest day of the week at the Magic Kingdom. We have longer hours of operation, visiting locals, and a lot of vacationers who will be visiting the Magic Kingdom for a second time before returning home tomorrow. On top of that, Main Street Electrical Parade is scheduled on a limited number of nights. Because the Parade is so popular, a lot of people will visit on a day that they can see it, like today. All of this makes me hesitant about recommending the Magic Kingdom, despite a lack of Extra Magic Hours. Yesterday and next Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday will be much better days to tour, but you can have a moderate amount of success today if you arrive prior by 8:30am and head straight for the headlining or Fantasyland attractions. You may elect to prioritize another low capacity attraction or character instead. The afternoon will be busier than any other day this week and you’ll either want to take a break and return for the Electrical Parade and Wishes or visit the less popular attractions from 2pm – 6pm. While it is possible to have a decent day here if you arrive early and tour efficiently, there are much less crowded days to visit during the week.

Sunday May 4

Animal Kingdom: 8am – 8pm (Recommended)

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

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

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

Fantasmic: 9pm

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

Evening Extra Magic Hours: 11pm – 1am

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

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

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

Hollywood Studios is the most recommended Park. Tomorrow’s evening Extra Magic Hours will be more popular with the predictable Disney resort guests. We also have evening Extra Magic Hours, Main Street Electrical Parade, and Wishes at Magic Kingdom, all of which will be incredibly popular with Disney resort guests. Finally, Sunday is a popular travel day and few people arriving will head out to the Studios for Fantasmic this evening. Those that arrived yesterday are also unlikely to begin their first full day at Hollywood Studios. Thus, today is less crowded than any other day this week. If you have other plans today, this coming Tuesday and Friday are also recommended. This past Friday was also recommended. In order to find the shortest waits, you’ll need to arrive by 8:15am and head straight to Toy Story Mania. Because of its popularity and extremely limited capacity, Toy Story Mania almost always has afternoon waits of 60 or more minutes, even when crowds are relatively low and the Studios is recommended. It’s always your top priority. The second attraction with the longest peak wait is Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, which should be ridden immediately after Toy Story Mania in the morning or with FastPass+. Other priorities are Tower of Terror and Star Tours, though 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 10:30pm – 1am will both be good times to tour. However, the afternoon will be busy enough that you won’t want to risk it unless you’re absolutely certain that you’ll take advantage of one or both of the recommended touring times and can’t visit on a “more recommended” day. Most Disney resort guests who will be headed to the Magic Kingdom will sleep in and arrive around 11am, in anticipation of staying until around 10pm. If you arrive prior to 9am, you can have a lot of success visiting the Fantasyland attractions and headlining Mountain rides. However, the Park will be busy from 12pm to 10pm as the bulk of Disney resort guests arrive en masse and stay through the evening entertainment. You’ll either want to take a break, Park Hop elsewhere, or plan to visit some of the less popular attractions for that time slot. The relatively late night Extra Magic Hours are also recommended. If you are staying for Extra Magic Hours, begin in Adventureland because most people will head to Tomorrowland and Fantasyland first. Next, move up through Frontierland and Liberty Square on your way to Tomorrowland. Save Fantasyland for last because most families will be long gone from the Park by 11:30pm and Fantasyland will be low on crowds. It’s not uncommon for Peter Pan’s Flight to have a 60 minute wait in the afternoon and a ten minute or less wait at the end of evening Extra Magic Hours. Save Peter Pan, Winnie the Pooh, and Journey of the Little Mermaid for the very end of the night. You’ll find lower crowds on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday of this coming week, but the morning and late night will both be good times to tour if you need an additional day at Magic Kingdom.

Monday May 5

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

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

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

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Most Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

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

Evening Extra Magic Hours: 10pm – 1am

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

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

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

It’s going to be a busy day at Magic Kingdom even without Extra Magic Hours to lure Disney resort guests. First, a lot of people are arriving for a weeklong 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 May 6

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

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

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Not Recommended)

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Illuminations: 9pm

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

Fantasmic: 9pm

Magic Kingdom: 9am – 11pm (Recommended)

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

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

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

Hollywood Studios is recommended. Yesterday’s evening Extra Magic Hours/Fantasmic combo will be a bigger draw and the addition of Fantasmic to every day this week spreads crowds out more evenly. Because of that, your touring plan is more important than which day you decide to visit the Studios. Arrive prior to Park opening, head directly to Toy Story Mania, and then visit Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, and Star Tours. Do this, and you’ll be in great shape for the rest of the day. Don’t arrive until 10am and you’ll end up with a 60+ minute waits at Toy Story Mania, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, and potentially Tower of Terror. After getting through the headliners, focus on the Studios’ stage shows and high capacity attractions like Backlot Tour and Great Movie Ride. Popular characters may also be a morning priority. You may want to take a break in the afternoon from 1pm to 5pm or so when crowds get heavier. Return for dinner, some evening rides, and Fantasmic. Finally, consider the Fantasmic Dining Package that guarantees everyone on the reservation a seat in the reserved section of the Hollywood Hills Theater. You may also want to use FASTPAS+ to reduce the wait. 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. 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 average overall crowd level, same operating hours as other days this week, Main Street Electrical Parade, and Wishes. It’s still more important to arrive prior to Park opening and head straight for Fantasyland or the headlining Mountain rides. You may also want to fit other time-sensitive attractions like Tomorrowland Indy Speedway or Astro Orbiter in there as well, along with Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, and other quick attractions that will have decent afternoon waits like Astro Orbiter. Consider taking a break from 1pm to 5pm or so when crowds are heaviest and wait times are longest to rest up for the evening entertainment. For Main Street Electrical Parade, scout out a spot along the Parade route in Liberty Square or Frontierland. 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. At the moment, Wednesday is the only day without Main Street Electrical Parade scheduled and it will be the least busy day there because of it.

Wednesday May 7

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

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

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

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

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

Fantasmic: 9pm

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

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

It’s the busiest day of the week at Animal Kingdom. The morning Extra Magic Hour will attract the bulk of the Disney resort crowd and there’s no evening Extra Magic Hours or special evening entertainment going on at the other Parks (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 FastPass+ throughout the day for Test Track, Soarin’, or Mission Space if you’d like to ride any of them a second time. The single rider line at Test Track often has an actual wait shorter than standby or FastPass+, so consider that as an option. You may also want to get in line for Soarin’ or Test Track right before Epcot closes to find shorter waits than the afternoon, but only if you’re willing to give up seeing IllumiNations. Mission: SPACE should have nominal waits before 11am or after 7pm. If you’re planning just one day in Epcot, try to move up through the World Showcase right at 11am, beginning with the boat rides in Mexico and Norway. These are the only two attractions in World Showcase that will see wait times. 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. At the moment, today is the only day this week without the Electrical Parade scheduled. Casual vacationers that want to see the Parade will skip visiting today, in addition to all the people that will be visiting another Park because they visited earlier in the week. Take advantage of the lowest crowds this week by arriving prior to Park opening and head straight for Fantasyland (Enchanted Tales with Belle, Journey of the Little Mermaid, Ariel’s Grotto, Peter Pan’s Flight, Winnie the Pooh), the headlining Mountain rides (Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain), or other time sensitive attractions (Astro Orbiter, Tomorrowland Indy Speedway). You may also want to prioritize characters that will have 30+ minute standby waits without the ability to FastPass+ them in the afternoon. You’ll be able to accomplish a ton of attractions in a short amount of time if you make efficient use of the morning and use FastPass+ at the major attractions throughout the day. Consider a break from 1pm to 5pm or so to rest up for dinner, a few nighttime attractions, and Wishes. If you’re planning to see Wishes on another night, visit Tomorrowland after 9pm and Fantasyland after 10pm to find much shorter waits than the afternoon.

Thursday May 8

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 6pm (Recommended)

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

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Most Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

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

Fantasmic: 9pm

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

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

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

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

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

Hollywood Studios is not recommended. While the morning Extra Magic Hour will help draw Disney resort guests toward Magic Kingdom, it won’t be as big of a draw as when Magic Kingdom offers Main Street Electrical Parade and Wishes less often. With Main Street Electrical Parade, Wishes, and similarly long hours 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. We’re also coming off a day without the Main Street Electrical Parade. Because so many people want to see the Parade, they’ll naturally wait to visit today. 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 May 9

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 7pm (Recommended)

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

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Not Recommended)

Evening Extra Magic Hours: 9pm – 11pm

Illuminations: 9pm

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

Fantasmic: 9pm

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 after the 3:45pm Parade. If you couldn’t get to some of the attraction earlier in the day, stay through until 7pm because waits will only decrease from 5pm through close.

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

Hollywood Studios is the most recommended Park. We’re looking at a morning Extra Magic Hour tomorrow that will be more popular with Disney resort guests and a later close that will be popular with everyone else. With Fantasmic scheduled every night and the same operating hours offered most days, 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 prior to Park opening and head straight for Toy Story Mania, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, and Star Tours. Because Toy Story Mania has such a limited capacity, wait times are almost always 60+ minutes in the afternoon and FastPass+ are unavailable. Expect waits to hit 60 to 90 minutes today. You’ll want to make it your top priority. Your second priority is Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, which also sees long afternoon waits and limited FastPass+ availability. Tower of Terror and Star Tours should be easier to ride, but also remain priorities. If you can get these attractions done in the early morning, you’ll be in great shape for the rest of the day. The only other problem most people run into is trying to schedule all of the stage shows that run on a set schedule. You may also want to prioritize characters that will have longer afternoon waits. The Toy Story characters across from Toy Story Mania tend to have the longest waits. Visit first thing or right after riding Toy Story Mania because they appear right at 9am. Sofia the First meets beginning at 9:30am in Animation Courtyard and also sees long waits. Visit immediately after or plan to arrive ten minutes before her afternoon set to minimize waits. Phineas & Ferb tend to have the third longest lines in Hollywood Studios. They typically begin appearing at 9:30am as well. Head over after or in place of Sofia. They’re 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. 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. As far as general seating is concerned, the best seats are about half way up in the center sections. Sit any closer and you run the risk of getting wet and it’s more difficult to see what’s happening on the water.

Magic Kingdom is highly recommended. Epcot will be a bigger draw with the sizable on-site contingent with evening Extra Magic Hours and we’re coming off a busier day with the morning Extra Magic Hour at Magic Kingdom yesterday. To have the most success, arrive prior to Park opening and head to Fantasyland or the headlining Mountain rides. Most people will want to start with Enchanted Tales with Belle, Journey of the Little Mermaid, and Ariel’s Grotto in New Fantasyland along with Peter Pan’s Flight and The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.  You may have other time sensitive attractions on your itinerary like Astro Orbiter or Tomorrowland Indy Speedway as well. While these aren’t “the most popular” or “headlining” attractions, they are still morning priorities because they have guaranteed uncomfortable waits from 10am onward. Also consider prioritizing the most popular characters that don’t offer FastPass+. The relatively late night hours are also a great time to tour, particularly if you’re skipping the nighttime spectaculars. Visit Tomorrowland after 10pm and Fantasyland after 11pm to find waits shorter than any time outside of the first hour of operation.

Saturday May 10

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

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

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Most Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

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

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Fantasmic: 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 for a variety of reasons. We don’t have Extra Magic Hours, special events, evening entertainment, or anything else to attract on-site or off-site visitors. Those leaving tomorrow after a traditional weeklong vacation are unlikely to visit Animal Kingdom on their last full day and most arriving today won’t head out to Animal Kingdom as their first destination. As always, you’ll be best off if you arrive prior to Park opening and head straight for Kilimanjaro Safaris and Expedition Everest. Wait times will only get shorter after the 3:45pm Parade, so stay through close if you have more you’d like to accomplish.

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 is much easier to FastPass+ if necessary and standby waits are also much shorter. It’s also an excellent day to stay for IllumiNations and enjoy the World Showcase in the afternoon.

Hollywood Studios is not recommended. The sizable Disney resort contingent numbers 75,000+ people. 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. We also have longer operating hours than most other days this week, which will attract off-site visitors as well. While you can have success if you are Extra Magic Hours eligible and arrive by 7:15am, most people will want to visit another day. Tomorrow would be significantly better. Avoid it unless you can’t visit any other day or are certain you’ll arrive by 7:15am and plan to hit Toy Story Midway Mania, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, and Star Tours first thing in the morning.

Saturdays are naturally the busiest day of the week at the Magic Kingdom. We have longer hours of operation, visiting locals, and a lot of vacationers who will be visiting the Magic Kingdom for a second time before returning home tomorrow. All of this makes me hesitant about recommending the Magic Kingdom, despite a lack of Extra Magic Hours. Yesterday and next Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday will be much better days to tour, but you can have a moderate amount of success today if you arrive prior by 8:30am and head straight for the headlining or Fantasyland attractions. You may elect to prioritize another low capacity attraction or character instead. The afternoon will be busier than any other day this week and you’ll either want to take a break and return for the Electrical Parade and Wishes or visit the less popular attractions from 2pm – 6pm. While it is possible to have a decent day here if you arrive early and tour efficiently, there are much less crowded days to visit during the week.

Sunday May 11

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 7pm (Recommended)

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

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

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

Fantasmic: 9pm

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

Evening Extra Magic Hours: 11pm – 1am

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

Animal Kingdom is recommended. We have evening Extra Magic Hours/Main Street Electrical Parade at Magic Kingdom luring a lot of Disney resort guests. Disney resort guests are more likely to visit Animal Kingdom tomorrow or Saturday for morning Extra Magic Hour. With the longer than usual operating hours, you should be able to do just about everything the Park has to offer if you arrive prior to Park opening. Focus on riding Kilimanjaro Safaris and Expedition Everest as early as possible or use FastPass+. After getting those out of the way, move on to DinoLand USA or Finding Nemo the Musical and you’ll be set for the rest of the day. Keep in mind that crowds disperse shortly after the 3:45pm Parade and the last 90 minutes of operation will have much shorter waits than the afternoon. 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. Tuesday’s evening Extra Magic Hours will be more popular with the predictable Disney resort guests. We also have evening Extra Magic Hours, Main Street Electrical Parade, and Wishes at Magic Kingdom, all of which will be incredibly popular with Disney resort guests 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, tomorrow and Thursday are recommended. In order to find the shortest waits, you’ll need to arrive prior to Park opening and head straight to Toy Story Mania. Because of its popularity and extremely limited capacity, Toy Story Mania almost always has afternoon waits of 60 or more minutes, even when crowds are relatively low and the Studios is recommended. It’s always your top priority. The second attraction with the longest peak wait is Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, which should be ridden immediately after Toy Story Mania in the morning or with FastPass+. Other priorities are Tower of Terror and Star Tours, though 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 10:30pm – 1am will both be good times to tour. However, the afternoon will be busy enough that you won’t want to risk it unless you’re absolutely certain that you’ll take advantage of one or both of the recommended touring times and can’t visit on a “more recommended” day. Most Disney resort guests who will be headed to the Magic Kingdom will sleep in and arrive around 11am, in anticipation of staying until around 10pm. If you arrive prior to 9am, you can have a lot of success visiting the Fantasyland attractions and headlining Mountain rides. However, the Park will be busy from 12pm to 10pm as the bulk of Disney resort guests arrive en masse and stay through the evening entertainment. You’ll either want to take a break, Park Hop elsewhere, or plan to visit some of the less popular attractions for that time slot. The relatively late night Extra Magic Hours are also recommended. If you are staying for Extra Magic Hours, begin in Adventureland because most people will head to Tomorrowland and Fantasyland first. Next, move up through Frontierland and Liberty Square on your way to Tomorrowland. Save Fantasyland for last because most families will be long gone from the Park by 11:30pm and Fantasyland will be low on crowds. It’s not uncommon for Peter Pan’s Flight to have a 60 minute wait in the afternoon and a ten minute or less wait at the end of evening Extra Magic Hours. Save Peter Pan, Winnie the Pooh, and Journey of the Little Mermaid for the very end of the night. You’ll find lower crowds on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday of this coming week, but the morning and late night will both be good times to tour if you need an additional day at Magic Kingdom.

Monday May 12

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

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

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

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Most Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

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

Fantasmic: 9pm

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

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

Animal Kingdom will be moderately more popular than recommended days due to the morning Extra Magic Hour that will attract a decent number of Disney resort guests. Mondays at the Animal Kingdom aren’t wildly popular because of the fact that morning Extra Magic Hours aren’t as popular as evening Extra Magic Hours and because it’s early in the week and many people who travel over the weekend will be heading to the Magic Kingdom regardless of the Extra Magic Hours schedule. Still, there are better days to visit the Animal Kingdom than today, including tomorrow and Wednesday. 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. Still, it will be crowded with the average overall crowd level. To have the most success, arrive prior to Park opening and head to Test Track, Sum of All Thrills, Mission: Space, and Soarin’ or follow one of the two-day compartmentalized touring plans. You’ll also be in the best shape if you’ve moved on to World Showcase by 12pm. Should you have more to accomplish in Future World, return after 5pm when most of the crowd has moved on to World Showcase. Just keep in mind that a lot of the Future World attractions close at 7pm. Usually, just Soarin, Test Track, Mission: Space, Spaceship Earth, The Seas with Nemo and Friends, and Character Spot continue to operate after 7pm. If Character Spot is on your itinerary, try to visit after 7pm when waits times are much lower than the afternoon. Overall, it’s a great day for Epcot and an excellent opportunity to spend time in both Future World and World Showcase.

Hollywood Studios is recommended. The usual evening Extra Magic Hours are scheduled tomorrow and this weekend will be much, much busier for Star Wars Weekends. Visit if you have other plans for Epcot.

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 May 13

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

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

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Not Recommended)

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Illuminations: 9pm

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

Evening Extra Magic Hours: 10pm – 12am

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. Yesterday’s morning Extra Magic Hour will be more popular with Disney resort guests and we have another to attract them this Saturday. We also have Fantasmic and evening Extra Magic Hours 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 Friday are the best days to visit. To have the most success, arrive prior to Park opening and head straight for Kilimanjaro Safaris and Expedition Everest. You’ll have no trouble riding both with very low waits before 10am. Once you get through these two attractions, you have little to worry about other than trying to get to the scheduled shows. Finding Nemo does get busy during the afternoon shows, so try to see the first or last show of the day. You’ll also want to get to DinoLand USA before 10:30am to ride Primeval Whirl and DINOSAUR because those two attractions are popular. Still, they aren’t necessarily your top morning priorities. You should have no trouble experiencing most everything Animal Kingdom has to offer in one day, provided you arrive early in the morning, tour efficiently, use FastPass+ intelligently, and keep an eye on the time in order to see the scheduled stage shows. Finally, crowds disperse shortly after the 3:45pm Parade. Plan to stay through close because waits will only get shorter as it gets later in the evening, but be sure to check the departure time of the last Kilimanjaro Safari. It may be earlier than the rest of the Park. The last hour is an excellent opportunity to visit DinoLand and Expedition Everest in light crowds.

Epcot is not recommended. We have the morning Extra Magic Hour attracting the majority of Disney resort guests and a lot of off-site visitors who will naturally visit Epcot after the Magic Kingdom yesterday. While Fantasmic and evening Extra Magic Hours 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 will be busy due to the evening Extra Magic Hours that are popular with Disney resort guests and the longer hours than most other days this week that will be popular with off-site guests. The morning will be an okay time to tour, but crowds will increase around 11am as more and more Disney resort guests arrive. Yesterday, tomorrow, and Thursday would all be better days to visit. Evening Extra Magic Hours at the Studios aren’t usually much of a success for people because there are only a few attractions open and the waits for Toy Story Mania, Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, and Star Tours will likely be just as long as they were during the day, especially now that Extra Magic Hours have been reduced to two hours. If you’re staying for evening Extra Magic Hours, your best bet is always to save these headlining attractions for the very end of the night and visit Toy Story Mania last. Keep in mind that while this coming Friday, Saturday, and Sunday are marked “not recommended,” all three days will be significantly busier than today with the Star Wars Weekends crowds. If you’re trying to decide between today and any day this weekend, and don’t care about the Star Wars festivities, then today would be significantly less crowded with shorter wait times.

Magic Kingdom is recommended. Epcot’s morning Extra Magic Hour and Hollywood Studios’ evening Extra Magic Hours will help draw crowds away and a lot of people will have visited yesterday for their first full day at Disney World. Still, Magic Kingdom won’t be empty with the average overall crowd level, same operating hours as most 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. 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. At the moment, Wednesday is the only day without Main Street Electrical Parade scheduled and it will be the least busy day there because of it.

Wednesday May 14

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 6pm (Recommended)

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

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

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

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Fantasmic: 9pm

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

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

Animal Kingdom is recommended today, though yesterday would have been better. The only problem today is that it’s later in the week, which means a lot of casual vacationers on a weeklong vacation will be looking to visit Hollywood Studios or Animal Kingdom after spending the last two days at Magic Kingdom and Epcot. Luckily, we have morning Extra Magic Hour and Fantasmic luring Disney resort guests to Hollywood Studios, which will be much more popular. In most scenarios, you’ll want to take advantage of the lower crowds (relatively speaking) at Magic Kingdom and visit Animal Kingdom another day, but today works just fine if it fits into your itinerary better. As always, plan to arrive prior to Park opening and take care of Kilimanjaro Safaris and Expedition Everest right off the bat. If you arrive later, plan to use FastPass+ or visit them in the standby line after 5pm when crowds will die down. The “single rider line” at Expedition Everest is also a good choice should your group be willing to split up. Overall, you can have a lot of success today if you tour smart and arrive early, but afternoon crowds will be decent.

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 Hollywood Studios today with the morning Extra Magic Hour. 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 FastPass+ throughout the day for Test Track, Soarin’, or Mission Space if you’d like to ride any of them a second time. The single rider line at Test Track often has an actual wait shorter than standby or FastPass+, so consider that as an option. You may also want to get in line for Soarin’ or Test Track right before Epcot closes to find shorter waits than the afternoon, but only if you’re willing to give up seeing IllumiNations. Mission: SPACE should have nominal waits before 11am or after 7pm. If you’re planning just one day in Epcot, try to move up through the World Showcase right at 11am, beginning with the boat rides in Mexico and Norway. These are the only two attractions in World Showcase that will see wait times. 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, thanks to the morning Extra Magic Hour that will attract the bulk of the Disney resort crowd. Disney sells the Extra Magic Hours program extremely well in its marketing materials and over 25,000 rooms have access on any given day. Of those 75,000+ people, you can guarantee the Extra Magic Hour is going to attract a ton of people, even if they don’t begin to arrive until well after the Extra Hour concludes. We also have a lot of people visiting after heading to Magic Kingdom on Monday and Epcot on Tuesday. Today won’t be as busy as Friday, Saturday, or Sunday for Star Wars Weekends, though. If your choices are today or any day this weekend, you’ll want to go with today, unless you’d like to experience the Star Wars festivities. If you do visit today and are Extra Magic Hours eligible, you’ll want to do whatever you can to arrive by 7:15am. The morning, from 8am – 10am, will be great, but it’s going to be busy from then on. Try to get there early and take care of Toy Story Mania, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, and Tower of Terror before 9:30am. Once you get through those attractions, you’re set for the rest of the day. However, you’re going to run into a lot of people and long lines if you don’t arrive until later in the day. With both yesterday and tomorrow recommended, you have better options on either side.

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. At the moment, today is the only day this week without the Electrical Parade scheduled. Casual vacationers that want to see the Parade will skip visiting today, in addition to all the people that will be visiting another Park because they visited earlier in the week. Take advantage of the lowest crowds this week by arriving prior to Park opening and head straight for Fantasyland (Enchanted Tales with Belle, Journey of the Little Mermaid, Ariel’s Grotto, Peter Pan’s Flight, Winnie the Pooh), the headlining Mountain rides (Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain), or other time sensitive attractions (Astro Orbiter, Tomorrowland Indy Speedway). You may also want to prioritize characters that will have 30+ minute standby waits without the ability to FastPass+ them in the afternoon. You’ll be able to accomplish a ton of attractions in a short amount of time if you make efficient use of the morning and use FastPass+ at the major attractions throughout the day. Consider a break from 1pm to 5pm or so to rest up for dinner, a few nighttime attractions, and Wishes. If you’re planning to see Wishes on another night, visit Tomorrowland after 9pm and Fantasyland after 10pm to find much shorter waits than the afternoon.

Thursday May 15

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

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

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Highly Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

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

Fantasmic: 9pm

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

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

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

Animal Kingdom is not expressly recommended, though it isn’t going to be wildly busier than other recommended days this week. There are a few problems. First, there’s no mid-week morning Extra Magic Hour to lure Disney resort guests. While Monday’s will prove decently popular, Wednesdays are much more popular because casual vacationers tend to arrive on Sunday and visit Magic Kingdom and Epcot first. By Wednesday and Thursday, they’re looking towards Disney’s two less popular theme parks. Second, we don’t have evening Extra Magic Hours scheduled anywhere. Magic Kingdom will be attracting a lot of people with the morning Extra Magic Hour and the Electrical Parade, but we’d be better off if there was another Park attracting on-site visitors. Finally, Star Wars Weekends are scheduled this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Because a lot of people want to visit the Studios on one or more of those days, they’ll be looking to head somewhere else today. You can still do well at Animal Kingdom by arriving at 8:30am and taking care of Kilimanjaro Safaris and Expedition Everest first thing. If you can’t arrive early, stay through close because wait times will only diminish after 4:45pm. Save Safaris and Everest for the end of the day if you elect to arrive late. Both tomorrow and Sunday would be significantly better days to visit and most people will want to take advantage of lower crowds at Epcot or Hollywood Studios.

Epcot is highly recommended. 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. Plan to arrive prior to Park opening and head straight to Test Track, Sum of All Thrills, Mission: Space, and Soarin’ or follow a more compartmentalized two-day touring plan if you prefer. If you arrive later, plan to use FastPass+ at Soarin or Test Track because they will have 60+ minute waits for most of the day after 10:30am due to popularity and relatively low capacities. Move on to the World Showcase beginning around 11am if crowds begin to build in Future World, beginning with the water rides in Mexico and Norway. Return to Future World after 5pm if you have more to accomplish and to ride/re-ride the headliners with FastPass+. It’s also a great day to stay for dinner and IllumiNations.

Hollywood Studios is the most recommended Park. We’re going into an incredibly busy weekend with the Star Wars festivities on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. We’re also coming off a popular day yesterday with the morning Extra Magic Hour attracting a lot of Disney resort guests. While today will see decent waits with the limited number of rides, it remains a much better choice than the much busier weekend. To have the most success, you’ll still want to arrive prior to Park opening and head straight for Toy Story Mania, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, and Star Tours. Because Toy Story Mania has such a limited capacity, wait times are almost always 60+ minutes in the afternoon and FastPass+ are unavailable. Expect waits to hit 60 to 90 minutes today. You’ll want to make it your top priority. Your second priority is Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, which also sees long afternoon waits and limited FastPass+ availability. Tower of Terror and Star Tours should be easier to ride, but also remain priorities. If you can get these attractions done in the early morning, you’ll be in great shape for the rest of the day. The only other problem most people run into is trying to schedule all of the stage shows that run on a set schedule. You may also want to prioritize characters that will have longer afternoon waits. The Toy Story characters across from Toy Story Mania tend to have the longest waits. Visit first thing or right after riding Toy Story Mania because they appear right at 9am. Sofia the First meets beginning at 9:30am in Animation Courtyard and also sees long waits. Visit immediately after or plan to arrive ten minutes before her afternoon set to minimize waits. Phineas & Ferb tend to have the third longest lines in Hollywood Studios. They typically begin appearing at 9:30am as well. Head over after or in place of Sofia. They’re 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. 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. 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.

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. We’re also coming off a day without the Main Street Electrical Parade. Because so many people want to see the Parade, they’ll naturally wait to visit today. 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.

How Star Wars Weekend Affects Touring and Crowds

Star Wars Weekends is an annual event that takes place inside of the Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World during regular theme park hours. The cost to attend is included in your admission to the Park (which is the same as any other day). The festivities only take place in Hollywood Studios and don’t officially change anything at the other three major theme parks. Hollywood Studios will be noticeably more crowded during these weekends because of their popularity with the out-of-town Star Wars community and locals who are interested in participating in the festivities. If you have no interest in Star Wars and don’t want to take part in or see any of the shows or characters, then you will want to avoid Hollywood Studios on the Friday, Saturday, and Sunday of any Star Wars Weekend, regardless of when they are scheduled. Officially on the Crowd Calendar, Hollywood Studios will not be recommended during Star Wars Weekends because the Studios will be significantly more crowded. If your intention is to see the attractions with the shortest waits possible, Star Wars Weekends are not for you. However, if you enjoy Star Wars or would like to participate in the festivities, you may want to spend at least part of your day at the Studios. Sunday is usually the least crowded day.

Each weekend, there are three Star Wars “celebrities” of varying (mostly low) levels of popularity.

In addition, there will be a lot of character meet and greets with people dressed up like famous Star Wars characters, including Mickey Mouse as a Jedi and Minnie Mouse as Princess Leia. You’ll also see Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker, Boba Fett, and other classics, including my favorite, Darth Goofy. Luckily, Jar Jar Binks usually skips the event due to the amount of violence commonly directed towards him. Disney is family friendly after all. There will also be a Star Wars motorcade parade, question and answer sessions, autograph opportunities, trivia challenges, dance parties, and limited edition merchandise.

If you want a specific celebrity autograph, you will likely need to arrive at the Studios gate by 6am to get in line for a FastPass+. Autograph sessions are very limited and only those with FastPass+ will be guaranteed access to the celebrity signing. There is usually a “standby” line as well, but you always run the risk of getting left out. The celebrities themselves would most likely want to take the time to meet you and sign an autograph (with the exception of Anthony Daniels, who doesn’t), but their schedules for the event are tight. You will also want to arrive very early for the first Friday of Star Wars Weekends if the limited edition merchandise is of interest. If autographs aren’t important and you just want to be on hand for the other events, I would still recommend arriving an hour early in order to get a FastPass+ for Toy Story Mania or to run over to a character line. FastPass+ will go fast and it won’t take long for the FastPass+ return times to be well into the evening. Consider scheduling a relaxing sit-down lunch in the middle of the day to get off your feet and relax a bit. May and June are hot and almost all of the activities take place outside. If you would like to have a sit-down meal during Star Wars Weekend, you will want to make your dining reservations as soon as possible.

Keep in mind that many of the usual character opportunities will be replaced by Star Wars characters during Star Wars Weekends. If your child is easily frightened, they may also be scared by the number of “bad guys” walking around for the event. There will be plenty of Storm Troopers, Darth Vaders, and other villains milling about and they can be intimidating if you and your kids are not expecting it. During weekdays (Monday – Thursday), everything at Hollywood Studios goes back to “normal.”

Star Wars Weekends are a lot of fun for everyone with even a casual interest in Star Wars. If your time is limited and you care more about the rides, you’ll want to visit the Studios on a weekday – preferably a recommended one without Extra Magic Hours. If you have some time to spare and enjoy Star Wars, consider visiting the Studios during a Weekend.

Friday May 16

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

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

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Not Recommended)

Evening Extra Magic Hours: 9pm – 11pm

Illuminations: 9pm

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

Fantasmic: 9pm and 10:30pm

Symphony in the Stars: 9:45pm

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

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

Animal Kingdom is the most recommended Park. Epcot’s evening Extra Magic Hours are always popular and will draw a lot of Disney resort guests and Hollywood Studios’ Star Wars Weekends event will be hugely popular. 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 after the 3:45pm Parade. If you couldn’t get to some of the attraction earlier in the day, stay through until 7pm because waits will only decrease from 5pm through close.

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

Hollywood Studios is not recommended because of the Star Wars Weekend complication. The event will make the Studios significantly busier from open to close today than any day earlier in the week. If you’re looking to visit the Studios one day this weekend to take advantage of the event, I would actually go with Sunday. While it might seem counterintuitive to visit on an actual weekend day, the fact is that Sunday is historically the least crowded day of the first weekend. With the limited edition merchandise and the fact that it’s the “first one,” the Friday of the first Weekend is still very busy. Because the merchandise is so popular and people will be arriving early to get their celebrity autograph FastPass+, you can also expect the turnstiles to be very crowded before 7am. Disney may open the Studios early to help counteract the heavy crowds as they did the past three years. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to say whether that will actually happen again this year. If you are visiting, I recommend arriving no later than 7am. It’s quite early, which is part of the reason why Hollywood Studios isn’t recommended. With the 8am open, you should be able to meet at least one popular character with a short wait and possibly two before it’s time to move on to the less popular characters. You could also ride Toy Story Mania, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, and Star Tours relatively easily if that’s the route you take. However, it’s going to be extremely crowded from 10am onward. Avoid it unless you’re willing to put up with the heavier crowds in order to enjoy the event.

Magic Kingdom is highly recommended. Epcot will be a bigger draw with the sizable on-site contingent with evening Extra Magic Hours and we’re coming off a busier day with the morning Extra Magic Hour at Magic Kingdom yesterday. Hollywood Studios will also be wildly popular with Star Wars Weekends. To have the most success, arrive prior to Park opening and head to Fantasyland or the headlining Mountain rides. Most people will want to start with Enchanted Tales with Belle, Journey of the Little Mermaid, and Ariel’s Grotto in New Fantasyland along with Peter Pan’s Flight and The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.  You may have other time sensitive attractions on your itinerary like Astro Orbiter or Tomorrowland Indy Speedway as well. While these aren’t “the most popular” or “headlining” attractions, they are still morning priorities because they have guaranteed uncomfortable waits from 10am onward. Also consider prioritizing the most popular characters that don’t offer FastPass+. The relatively late night hours are also a great time to tour, particularly if you’re skipping the nighttime spectaculars. Visit Tomorrowland after 9pm and Fantasyland after 10pm to find shorter waits than anytime outside the first hour of operation.

Saturday May 17

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

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

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

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Most Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

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

Fantasmic: 9pm and 10:30pm

Symphony in the Sky: 9:45pm

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

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

Animal Kingdom is going to be busier than recommended days due to the morning Extra Magic Hour that will be popular with Disney resort guests. A lot of Disney resort guests see the Extra Magic Hours schedule as Disney’s means of telling them where they “belong” each day. While very few Disney resort guests will actually arrive by 7:30am to take advantage of their perk, they will undoubtedly stream in throughout the morning, ultimately making the Park much busier from 11am through close. You’ll want to avoid it unless you’re absolutely certain that you’ll arrive by 7:30am and plan to leave around 1pm. The 8am – 9:30am timeframe will be incredibly quiet with short waits everywhere. Alternatively, you could arrive later and stay through close.

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 is much easier to FastPass+ if necessary and standby waits are also much shorter. It’s also an excellent day to stay for IllumiNations and enjoy the World Showcase in the afternoon.

Hollywood Studios is not recommended. It’s going to be extremely crowded for the first Saturday of Star Wars Weekends. Both yesterday and tomorrow would be less crowded and any weekday would be significantly less crowded, including Monday with evening Extra Magic Hours attached. I don’t recommend visiting the Studios today unless you’re intent on “taking advantage” of the Star Wars Weekend festivities. If you do go, plan to arrive prior to Park opening and immediately head for one of the more popular character meet and greets or Toy Story Mania. You could have success by arriving no later than 7am, but it’s going to be a zoo from 10am through close.

Magic Kingdom is not recommended due to the number of visitors that will visit on their last day before returning home tomorrow. We also have visiting locals and a later close than other days this week, which will attract off-site visitors as well. With late closes most nights and nighttime entertainment every night, Magic Kingdom won’t be that much worse than other days during the week and remains your best choice if you’re not planning to visit Epcot. Waits will be particularly short from 9am – 11am and 10pm – 1am.

Sunday May 18

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

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

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Highly Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

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

Fantasmic: 9pm and 10:30pm

Symphony in the Sky: 9:45pm

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 the most recommended Park. We have evening Extra Magic Hours/Main Street Electrical Parade at Magic Kingdom luring a lot of Disney resort guests. We’re coming off a popular morning Extra Magic Hour yesterday and have another tomorrow – both of which will be more popular with Disney resort guests. In relatively low crowds, you should be able to do just about everything the Park has to offer if you arrive prior to Park opening. Focus on riding Kilimanjaro Safaris and Expedition Everest as early as possible or use FastPass+. After getting those out of the way, move on to DinoLand USA or Finding Nemo the Musical you’ll be set for the rest of the day. Keep in mind that crowds disperse shortly after the 3:45pm Parade and the last 90 minutes of operation will have much shorter waits than the afternoon. Visit DinoLand after 6pm and Asia after 7pm to find the shortest waits of the day outside of the early morning, You also have an outstanding opportunity to Park Hop after the Park closes. You could head to Epcot for dinner and IllumiNations or Magic Kingdom for evening Extra Magic Hours. Hollywood Studios is going to be busy and it’s not an ideal day to see 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 and Hollywood Studios will be attracting most of the nighttime crowd. Despite the recommendation, you will still have the most success if you arrive prior to opening and head straight to Test Track, Sum of All Thrills, Mission: Space, and Soarin’ or follow one of the 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 continues to be “not recommended” due to the popularity of Star Wars Weekends and the heavier crowds that come with it. If you’d like to experience the event, today is the best day to do so. To get an autograph FastPass+ for the most popular celebrity visiting, you’ll need to arrive at least two hours prior to Park opening (and possibly three or more hours early). If you’re happy getting an autograph from anyone, cutting it closer to an hour early should be sufficient. Like all things, earlier is always better. Worst case scenario – I can just sign any name you want. If you’re planning to have a child participate in Jedi Training Academy or one of the other activities, you’ll want to take care of that immediately after Park opening (and before getting in line for a character). Spaces fill fast. If you’re interested in the Star Wars character meet and greets, you’ll want to head over to one of the most popular characters first thing. In past years, Chewbacca and Darth Vader have had the longest lines, and waits hit 30+ minutes just after the Studios opens and often top 90 minutes in the afternoon. Lines for most characters will be long from 9am through close – there’s no magical time to find shorter lines, but you can expect peak waits from 10:30am – 5pm when the Studios is at its most crowded. You should be able to get to one or two of the most popular characters early in the morning before moving on to some of the less popular characters in the late morning and afternoon. As far as the other Star Wars activities are concerned, I highly recommend the shows that take place in the Premier Theater throughout the day. These shows are hosted by or feature the various “celebrities” attending the event. More importantly perhaps, the Premier Theater is air-conditioned and offers comfortable seating for shows that generally last 30 to 45 minutes. I’m not a huge Star Wars fan, but have always enjoyed the various shows and it’s a great way to rest up and get off your feet. In recent years, many of the presentations have focused on the Star Wars animated series, The Clone Wars, and often delve into topics like voice acting and animation styles. It’s interesting stuff. It can be difficult to work in the various attractions, while also juggling the various Star Wars activities. Unless you ride in the first hour, you’ll most likely want to rely on FastPass+ at Toy Story Mania, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, and/or another priority attraction. You’ll also need to show up for the various “normal” stage shows a bit earlier than usual – particularly for Beauty and the Beast. Indiana Jones and Lights, Motors, Action! usually have the capacity to handle the additional crowds, though afternoon Indiana Jones shows may fill to capacity. Overall, your best plan of attack would be to focus on the Star Wars related activities today and then visit on a second, recommended day to hit most of the attractions. That way, you can take advantage of the lower crowds when you want to ride the major attractions and hit the Star Wars characters, merchandise, and other activities in the morning when lines will be shortest.

Magic Kingdom is not recommended, though the morning from 9am – 11am and the late evening from 11pm – 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 12:30am 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 May 19

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

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

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

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Most Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 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 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 and Wednesday. 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 average overall crowd level. To have the most success, arrive prior to Park opening and head to Test Track, Sum of All Thrills, Mission: Space, and Soarin’ or follow one of the two-day compartmentalized touring plans. You’ll also be in the best shape if you’ve moved on to World Showcase by 12pm. Should you have more to accomplish in Future World, return after 5pm when most of the crowd has moved on to World Showcase. Just keep in mind that a lot of the Future World attractions close at 7pm. Usually, just Soarin, Test Track, Mission: Space, Spaceship Earth, The Seas with Nemo and Friends, and Character Spot continue to operate after 7pm. If Character Spot is on your itinerary, try to visit after 7pm when waits times are much lower than the afternoon. Overall, it’s a great day for Epcot and an excellent opportunity to spend time in both Future World and World Showcase.

Hollywood Studios will be busy due to the evening Extra Magic Hours that are popular with Disney resort guests and the longer operating hours than most other days this week, which will attract off-site guess as well. The morning will be an okay time to tour, but crowds will increase around 11am as more and more Disney resort guests arrive. It’s true that today will be less crowded than any of the last three days due to the extremely popular Star Wars Weekend event. If you’re not interested in visiting the Studios for the Star Wars festivities and must visit sometime between last Friday and today, then today would be your best choice. Tomorrow and Thursday 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 10:30pm 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. Overall, today is the least crowded day since last Thursday, but that isn’t saying much considering how busy the weekend will be.

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

Tuesday May 20

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

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

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Not Recommended)

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Illuminations: 9pm

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

Fantasmic: 9pm

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

Epcot is not recommended. We have the morning Extra Magic Hour attracting the majority of Disney resort guests and a lot of off-site visitors who will naturally visit Epcot after the Magic Kingdom yesterday. 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 the most recommended Park as we look forward to Star Wars Weekends on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Each of these days will be significantly busier than today because of the popularity of the event with locals and vacationers alike. That isn’t to say today won’t be relatively crowded, but it’s your best opportunity to visit the Studios with lower crowds than this weekend and other non-recommended days. A lot of people will be putting off the Studios for this weekend so that they can experience the event. Others won’t be interested in visiting this early in their vacation and Disney resort guests are more likely to visit yesterday for evening Extra Magic Hours or tomorrow for morning Extra Magic Hour. To have the most success, you’ll still want to arrive prior to Park opening and head straight for Toy Story Mania, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, and Star Tours. Because Toy Story Mania has such a limited capacity, wait times are almost always 60+ minutes in the afternoon and FastPass+ are unavailable. Expect waits to hit 60 to 90 minutes today. You’ll want to make it your top priority. Your second priority is Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, which also sees long afternoon waits and limited FastPass+ availability. Tower of Terror and Star Tours should be easier to ride, but also remain priorities. If you can get these attractions done in the early morning, you’ll be in great shape for the rest of the day. The only other problem most people run into is trying to schedule all of the stage shows that run on a set schedule. You may also want to prioritize characters that will have longer afternoon waits. The Toy Story characters across from Toy Story Mania tend to have the longest waits. Visit first thing or right after riding Toy Story Mania because they appear right at 9am. Sofia the First meets beginning at 9:30am in Animation Courtyard and also sees long waits. Visit immediately after or plan to arrive ten minutes before her afternoon set to minimize waits. Phineas & Ferb tend to have the third longest lines in Hollywood Studios. They typically begin appearing at 9:30am as well. Head over after or in place of Sofia. They’re 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. 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. 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’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 average overall crowd level, same operating hours as most 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 May 21

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 7pm (Recommended)

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

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

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

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

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

Animal Kingdom is recommended today, though yesterday would have been better. The only problem today is that it’s later in the week, which means a lot of casual vacationers on a weeklong vacation will be looking to visit Hollywood Studios or Animal Kingdom after spending the last two days at Magic Kingdom and Epcot. Luckily, we have morning Extra Magic Hour and Fantasmic luring Disney resort guests to Hollywood Studios, which will be much more popular. In most scenarios, you’ll want to take advantage of the lower crowds (relatively speaking) at Magic Kingdom and visit Animal Kingdom another day, but today works just fine if it fits into your itinerary better. As always, plan to arrive prior to Park opening and take care of Kilimanjaro Safaris and Expedition Everest right off the bat. If you arrive later, plan to use FastPass+ or visit them in the standby line after 5pm when crowds will die down. The “single rider line” at Expedition Everest is also a good choice should your group be willing to split up. Overall, you can have a lot of success today if you tour smart and arrive early, but afternoon crowds will be decent.

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 Hollywood Studios today with the morning Extra Magic Hour. 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 FastPass+ throughout the day for Test Track, Soarin’, or Mission Space if you’d like to ride any of them a second time. The single rider line at Test Track often has an actual wait shorter than standby or FastPass+, so consider that as an option. You may also want to get in line for Soarin’ or Test Track right before Epcot closes to find shorter waits than the afternoon, but only if you’re willing to give up seeing IllumiNations. Mission: SPACE should have nominal waits before 11am or after 7pm. If you’re planning just one day in Epcot, try to move up through the World Showcase right at 11am, beginning with the boat rides in Mexico and Norway. These are the only two attractions in World Showcase that will see wait times. 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, thanks to the morning Extra Magic Hour that will attract a lot of Disney resort guests and the later close than most other days this week. We also have a lot of people visiting after heading to Magic Kingdom on Monday and Epcot on Tuesday. Today won’t be as busy as Friday, Saturday, or Sunday for Star Wars Weekends, though. If your choices are today or any day this weekend, you’ll want to go with today, unless you’d like to experience the Star Wars festivities. If you do visit today and are Extra Magic Hours eligible, you’ll want to do whatever you can to arrive by 7:15am. The morning, from 8am – 10am, will be great, but it’s going to be busy from then on. Try to get there early and take care of Toy Story Mania, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, and Tower of Terror before 9:30am. Once you get through those attractions, you’re set for the rest of the day. However, you’re going to run into a lot of people and long lines if you don’t arrive until later in the day. With both yesterday and tomorrow recommended, you have better options on either side.

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 (Enchanted Tales with Belle, Journey of the Little Mermaid, Ariel’s Grotto, Peter Pan’s Flight, Winnie the Pooh), the headlining Mountain rides (Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain), or other time sensitive attractions (Astro Orbiter, Tomorrowland Indy Speedway). You may also want to prioritize characters that will have 30+ minute standby waits without the ability to FastPass+ them in the afternoon. You’ll be able to accomplish a ton of attractions in a short amount of time if you make efficient use of the morning and use FastPass+ at the major attractions throughout the day. Consider a break from 1pm to 5pm or so to rest up for dinner, a few nighttime attractions, and Wishes. If you’re planning to see the Electrical Parade and Wishes on another night, visit Tomorrowland after 9pm and Fantasyland after 10pm to find much shorter waits than the afternoon.

Thursday May 22

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

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

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Highly Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

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

Fantasmic: 9pm

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

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

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

Animal Kingdom is not expressly recommended, though it isn’t going to be wildly busier than other recommended days this week. There are a few problems. First, there’s no mid-week morning Extra Magic Hour to lure Disney resort guests. While Monday’s will prove decently popular, Wednesdays are much more popular because casual vacationers tend to arrive on Sunday and visit Magic Kingdom and Epcot first. By Wednesday and Thursday, they’re looking towards Disney’s two less popular theme parks. Second, we don’t have evening Extra Magic Hours scheduled anywhere. Magic Kingdom will be attracting a decent number of people with the morning Extra Magic Hour and the Electrical Parade, but we’d be better off if there was another Park attracting on-site visitors. Finally, Star Wars Weekends are scheduled this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Because a lot of people want to visit the Studios on one or more of those days, they’ll be looking to head somewhere else today. You can still do well at Animal Kingdom by arriving at 8:30am and taking care of Kilimanjaro Safaris and Expedition Everest first thing. If you can’t arrive early, stay through close because wait times will only diminish after 4:45pm. Save Safaris and Everest for the end of the day if you elect to arrive late. Both tomorrow and Sunday would be significantly better days to visit and most people will want to take advantage of lower crowds at Epcot or Hollywood Studios.

Epcot is highly recommended. 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. Plan to arrive prior to Park opening and head straight to Test Track, Sum of All Thrills, Mission: Space, and Soarin’ or follow a more compartmentalized two-day touring plan if you prefer. If you arrive later, plan to use FastPass+ at Soarin or Test Track because they will have 60+ minute waits for most of the day after 10:30am due to popularity and relatively low capacities. Move on to the World Showcase beginning around 11am if crowds begin to build in Future World, beginning with the water rides in Mexico and Norway. Return to Future World after 5pm if you have more to accomplish and to ride/re-ride the headliners with FastPass+. It’s also a great day to stay for dinner and IllumiNations.

Hollywood Studios is the most recommended Park. We’re going into an incredibly busy weekend with the Star Wars festivities on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. We’re also coming off a popular day yesterday with the morning Extra Magic Hour attracting a lot of Disney resort guests. While today will see decent waits with the limited number of rides, it remains a much better choice than the much busier weekend. To have the most success, you’ll still want to arrive prior to Park opening and head straight for Toy Story Mania, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, and Star Tours. Because Toy Story Mania has such a limited capacity, wait times are almost always 60+ minutes in the afternoon and FastPass+ are unavailable. Expect waits to hit 60 to 90 minutes today. You’ll want to make it your top priority. Your second priority is Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, which also sees long afternoon waits and limited FastPass+ availability. Tower of Terror and Star Tours should be easier to ride, but also remain priorities. If you can get these attractions done in the early morning, you’ll be in great shape for the rest of the day. The only other problem most people run into is trying to schedule all of the stage shows that run on a set schedule. You may also want to prioritize characters that will have longer afternoon waits. The Toy Story characters across from Toy Story Mania tend to have the longest waits. Visit first thing or right after riding Toy Story Mania because they appear right at 9am. Sofia the First meets beginning at 9:30am in Animation Courtyard and also sees long waits. Visit immediately after or plan to arrive ten minutes before her afternoon set to minimize waits. Phineas & Ferb tend to have the third longest lines in Hollywood Studios. They typically begin appearing at 9:30am as well. Head over after or in place of Sofia. They’re 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. 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. 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.

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. However, with the standardized operating schedule and nightly evening entertainment, today won’t be overwhelmingly busier than recommended days. 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.

How Star Wars Weekend Affects Touring and Crowds

Star Wars Weekends is an annual event that takes place inside of the Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World during regular theme park hours. The cost to attend is included in your admission to the Park (which is the same as any other day). The festivities only take place in Hollywood Studios and don’t officially change anything at the other three major theme parks. Hollywood Studios will be noticeably more crowded during these weekends because of their popularity with the out-of-town Star Wars community and locals who are interested in participating in the festivities. If you have no interest in Star Wars and don’t want to take part in or see any of the shows or characters, then you will want to avoid Hollywood Studios on the Friday, Saturday, and Sunday of any Star Wars Weekend, regardless of when they are scheduled. Officially on the Crowd Calendar, Hollywood Studios will not be recommended during Star Wars Weekends because the Studios will be significantly more crowded. If your intention is to see the attractions with the shortest waits possible, Star Wars Weekends are not for you. However, if you enjoy Star Wars or would like to participate in the festivities, you may want to spend at least part of your day at the Studios. Sunday is usually the least crowded day.

Each weekend, there are three Star Wars “celebrities” of varying (mostly low) levels of popularity.

In addition, there will be a lot of character meet and greets with people dressed up like famous Star Wars characters, including Mickey Mouse as a Jedi and Minnie Mouse as Princess Leia. You’ll also see Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker, Boba Fett, and other classics, including my favorite, Darth Goofy. Luckily, Jar Jar Binks usually skips the event due to the amount of violence commonly directed towards him. Disney is family friendly after all. There will also be a Star Wars motorcade parade, question and answer sessions, autograph opportunities, trivia challenges, dance parties, and limited edition merchandise.

If you want a specific celebrity autograph, you will likely need to arrive at the Studios gate by 6am to get in line for a FastPass+. Autograph sessions are very limited and only those with FastPass+ will be guaranteed access to the celebrity signing. There is usually a “standby” line as well, but you always run the risk of getting left out. The celebrities themselves would most likely want to take the time to meet you and sign an autograph (with the exception of Anthony Daniels, who doesn’t), but their schedules for the event are tight. You will also want to arrive very early for the first Friday of Star Wars Weekends if the limited edition merchandise is of interest. If autographs aren’t important and you just want to be on hand for the other events, I would still recommend arriving an hour early in order to get a FastPass+ for Toy Story Mania or to run over to a character line. FastPass+ will go fast and it won’t take long for the FastPass+ return times to be well into the evening. Consider scheduling a relaxing sit-down lunch in the middle of the day to get off your feet and relax a bit. May and June are hot and almost all of the activities take place outside. If you would like to have a sit-down meal during Star Wars Weekend, you will want to make your dining reservations as soon as possible.

Keep in mind that many of the usual character opportunities will be replaced by Star Wars characters during Star Wars Weekends. If your child is easily frightened, they may also be scared by the number of “bad guys” walking around for the event. There will be plenty of Storm Troopers, Darth Vaders, and other villains milling about and they can be intimidating if you and your kids are not expecting it. During weekdays (Monday – Thursday), everything at Hollywood Studios goes back to “normal.”

Star Wars Weekends are a lot of fun for everyone with even a casual interest in Star Wars. If your time is limited and you care more about the rides, you’ll want to visit the Studios on a weekday – preferably a recommended one without Extra Magic Hours. If you have some time to spare and enjoy Star Wars, consider visiting the Studios during a Weekend.

Friday May 23

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

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

Epcot: 9am – 12am (Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

Hollywood Studios: 8am – 11pm (Not Recommended)

Evening Extra Magic Hours: 11pm – 1am

Fantasmic: 9pm and 10:30pm

Symphony in the Sky: 9:45pm

Magic Kingdom: 6am – 6am (Recommended From 6am – 6pm)

24 Hour Day

Festival of Fantasy Parade: 3pm, Main Street Electrical Parade: 11pm and 1am, Wishes Fireworks: 9pm

Animal Kingdom is the most recommended Park. Magic Kingdom is pulling people away with the 24-hour thing and Hollywood Studios’ Star Wars Weekends event will be hugely popular. Epcot will be attractive with the unusually late close. 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 after the 3:45pm Parade. If you couldn’t get to some of the attraction earlier in the day, stay through until 8pm because waits will only decrease from 6pm through close. Visit DinoLand after 6pm and Asia after 7pm to find the shortest waits outside of the two hours of operation.

Epcot is recommended now that its Extra Magic Hours have shifted to Hollywood Studios. It will be busier than most days before it with the elevated overall crowd level and the fact that it’s open later than just about any other day of the year. Still, the morning will be more than manageable with an 8:15am arrival and an efficient morning touring plan. Most people will want to visit Soarin’ or Test Track first thing and then use FP+ for the other later in the day. The later close should increase FP+ availability as well. Expect crowds to thin a bit in the evening after 9pm as more and more people leave for a late night at Magic Kingdom.

Hollywood Studios is not recommended because of the Star Wars Weekend complication. The event will make the Studios significantly busier from open to regular close today than any weekday earlier in the week. If you’re looking to visit the Studios one day this weekend to take advantage of the event, today is the best day with the Monday holiday bringing in more people than usual on Sunday. The late night Extra Magic Hours are also a viable time to visit the priority attractions since it’s so late in the evening and most of the nightowls will be in Magic Kingdom. To get an autograph FastPass+ for the most popular celebrity visiting, you’ll need to arrive at least two hours prior to Park opening (and possibly three or more hours early). If you’re happy getting an autograph from anyone, cutting it closer to an hour early should be sufficient. Like all things, earlier is always better. Worst case scenario – I can just sign any name you want. If you’re planning to have a child participate in Jedi Training Academy or one of the other activities, you’ll want to take care of that immediately after Park opening (and before getting in line for a character). Spaces fill fast. If you’re interested in the Star Wars character meet and greets, you’ll want to head over to one of the most popular characters first thing. In past years, Chewbacca and Darth Vader have had the longest lines, and waits hit 30+ minutes just after the Studios opens and often top 90 minutes in the afternoon. Lines for most characters will be long from 9am through close – there’s no magical time to find shorter lines, but you can expect peak waits from 10:30am – 5pm when the Studios is at its most crowded. You should be able to get to one or two of the most popular characters early in the morning before moving on to some of the less popular characters in the late morning and afternoon. As far as the other Star Wars activities are concerned, I highly recommend the shows that take place in the Premier Theater throughout the day. These shows are hosted by or feature the various “celebrities” attending the event. More importantly perhaps, the Premier Theater is air-conditioned and offers comfortable seating for shows that generally last 30 to 45 minutes. I’m not a huge Star Wars fan, but have always enjoyed the various shows and it’s a great way to rest up and get off your feet. In recent years, many of the presentations have focused on the Star Wars animated series, The Clone Wars, and often delve into topics like voice acting and animation styles. It’s interesting stuff. It can be difficult to work in the various attractions, while also juggling the various Star Wars activities. Unless you ride in the first hour, you’ll most likely want to rely on FastPass+ at Toy Story Mania, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, and/or another priority attraction. You’ll also need to show up for the various “normal” stage shows a bit earlier than usual – particularly for Beauty and the Beast. Indiana Jones and Lights, Motors, Action! usually have the capacity to handle the additional crowds, though afternoon Indiana Jones shows may fill to capacity. Overall, your best plan of attack would be to focus on the Star Wars related activities today and then visit on a second, recommended day to hit most of the attractions. That way, you can take advantage of the lower crowds when you want to ride the major attractions and hit the Star Wars characters, merchandise, and other activities in the morning when lines will be shortest. Expect short waits during evening Extra Magic Hours if you can stay up that late.

Magic Kingdom is recommended with reservation. 6am – 6pm will see light crowds. The novelty of these 24-hour days is the late night from 7pm – 6am with 9pm – 1am being busiest. Daytime crowds, particularly from 6am – 10am, will be light with low waits at most attractions. Parking at the Transportation/Ticket Center will be difficult after 7pm with the possibility that the parking lot will close and guests will be sent to Epcot to park and then wait for and take the monorail to the TTC. And then wait for and take the monorail or ferry from there. Expect gridlock after 9pm in the Park. It is a fun atmosphere for park veterans, but it’s not an ideal situation with young kids or those looking to experience the attractions with the shortest waits possible.

Saturday May 24

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

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 7am – 8am

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

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Most Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

Hollywood Studios: 8am – 11pm (Not Recommended)

Fantasmic: 9pm and 10:30pm

Symphony in the Sky: 9:45pm

Magic Kingdom: 9am – 12am (Recommended)

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

Animal Kingdom is going to be busier than recommended days due to the morning Extra Magic Hour that will be popular with Disney resort guests. A lot of Disney resort guests see the Extra Magic Hours schedule as Disney’s means of telling them where they “belong” each day. While virtually zero resort guests will actually arrive by 6:30am to take advantage of their perk, they will undoubtedly stream in throughout the morning, ultimately making the Park much busier from 10am through close. You’ll want to avoid it unless you’re absolutely certain that you’ll arrive by 6:45am and plan to leave around 1pm. The 7am – 9:30am timeframe will be incredibly quiet with short waits everywhere, but the rest of the day will be busier. With recommended days all around, most people will prefer the extra hour of sleep.

Epcot is the most recommended Park. We’re coming off an extremely long and hot day yesterday and few people will be anywhere near Epcot’s entrance early in the morning. There’s also significantly more going on elsewhere. Take full advantage by arriving no later than 8:15am and heading 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 is much easier to FastPass+ if necessary and standby waits are also much shorter. It’s also an excellent day to stay for IllumiNations and enjoy the World Showcase in the afternoon.

Hollywood Studios is not recommended. It’s going to be extremely crowded for the second Saturday of Star Wars Weekends. Yesterday would be less crowded and any weekday would be significantly less crowded, including Monday with evening Extra Magic Hours attached. This past Thursday was overwhelmingly a better day to visit. I don’t recommend visiting the Studios today unless you’re intent on “taking advantage” of the Star Wars Weekend festivities. If you do go, plan to arrive no later than 7am. It’s going to be a zoo from 10am through close.

Magic Kingdom is recommended despite being a Saturday of a holiday weekend. We’re coming off the 6am – 6pm 24-hour day and few people will be arriving early and touring efficiently in the morning. Very few will be sticking around from last night. With the elevated overall crowd level, Magic Kingdom will be far from empty, but it remains the third best day of the week there. Wait for a Tuesday or Wednesday for the lowest possible crowds this week.

Sunday May 25

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

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

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Highly Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

Hollywood Studios: 8am – 11pm (Not Recommended)

Fantasmic: 9pm and 10:30pm

Symphony in the Sky: 9:45pm

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

Evening Extra Magic Hours: 1am – 3am

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

Animal Kingdom is the most recommended Park. We have evening Extra Magic Hours/Main Street Electrical Parade at Magic Kingdom luring a lot of Disney resort guests. We’re coming off a popular morning Extra Magic Hour yesterday and have another tomorrow – both of which will be more popular with Disney resort guests. You should be able to do just about everything the Park has to offer if you arrive prior to Park opening. Very few people arrive by 7:30am to take advantage of the early close and the Park will be more or less empty through 9am, even with heavier afternoon crowds. Focus on riding Kilimanjaro Safaris and Expedition Everest as early as possible or use FastPass+. After getting those out of the way, move on to DinoLand USA or Finding Nemo the Musical and you’ll be set for the rest of the day. Keep in mind that crowds disperse shortly after the 3:45pm Parade and the last 90 minutes of operation will have much shorter waits than the afternoon. A late arrival works if you plan the anytime attractions until around 6pm and then move to the major attractions after that. Check your Times Guide to see when the last Kilimanjaro Safari leaves. It will be around dusk with the late close. Visit DinoLand after 7pm and Asia after 8pm to find waits shorter than any other time other than first thing in the morning. You also have an outstanding opportunity to Park Hop after the Park closes. You could head to Epcot for dinner and IllumiNations or Magic Kingdom for evening Extra Magic Hours. Hollywood Studios is going to be busy and it’s not an ideal day to see 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 and Hollywood Studios will be attracting most of the nighttime crowd. Tomorrow will be busier with the evening Extra Magic Hours. 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 not recommended with the horrendous Star Wars Weekends crowds.

Magic Kingdom is not recommended, though the morning from 9am – 11am and the late evening from 11pm – 3am 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 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 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 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 May 26

Memorial Day

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

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 7am – 8am

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

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 (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 and Wednesday. While the morning Extra Magic Hour is an excellent time to tour, it’s virtually impossible for most people to get out to the Animal Kingdom by 6:45am to take full advantage of it. If you’re staying at a Monorail Deluxe Resort, you’re looking at a 20+ minute drive to the Animal Kingdom, plus time for the bus to arrive – not to mention getting multiple people up and ready early in the morning with just one shower and limited space. At 5:30am. If you’re absolutely certain that you’ll arrive by 6:30am, 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 no longer recommended with the recently added evening Extra Magic Hours attracting the bulk of the resort crowd. If you’re already planning to visit, it’s not necessary to wildly change your itinerary, but touring efficiently in the morning by arriving no later than 8:20am and taking care of either Soarin’ or Test Track first thing becomes more important unless you want to run the risk of long waits or are planning a day without the headlining attractions. Use FP+ throughout the day to guarantee short afternoon waits and move up to World Showcase as close to 11am as possible beginning with the water rides in Mexico and Norway to stay ahead of the crowds for as long as possible. If you’re flexible, choosing a more-recommended day would be best, but Epcot can still work.

Hollywood Studios is the most recommended Park as we come off an incredibly busy weekend with the Star Wars event. Disney rescheduled its evening Extra Magic Hours that were originally scheduled today for this past Friday, opening up today. Animal Kingdom and Epcot will be busier with Extra Magic Hours and Magic Kingdom remains more popular with the long hours, plentiful evening entertainment, and the fact that it’s a Monday and guests arriving over the weekend are more likely to head to the most magical place on earth early in their trip. Despite being recommended, the Studios only offers six rides, three of which are extremely popular and have relatively limited capacities. It’s essential to arrive by 8:15am and bang out Toy Story Mania, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, and Tower of Terror or plan to rely on FastPass+ later in the day. Expect Toy Story and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster to see peak waits of 90+ minutes. There’s no way around that with above average crowds. Do whatever you can to see the 10:30pm Fantasmic because it will be significantly less crowded than the earlier show.

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 May 27

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

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

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Not Recommended)

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Illuminations: 9pm

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 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 highly recommended and your best choice if you have other plans for Hollywood Studios. We don’t have special events, Extra Magic Hours, or anything specific drawing people toward it. Yesterday’s morning Extra Magic Hour will be more popular with Disney resort guests and we have another coming up on Saturday that will also appeal to that crowd. It’s also 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 Friday are the best days of the week to visit. To have the most success, arrive prior to Park opening and head straight for Kilimanjaro Safaris and Expedition Everest. You’ll have no trouble riding both with very low waits before 10am. Once you get through these two attractions, you have little to worry about other than trying to get to the scheduled shows. Finding Nemo does get busy during the afternoon shows, so try to see the first or last show of the day. You’ll also want to get to DinoLand USA before 10:30am to ride Primeval Whirl and DINOSAUR because those two attractions are popular. Still, they aren’t necessarily your top morning priorities. You should have no trouble experiencing most everything Animal Kingdom has to offer in one day, provided you arrive early in the morning, tour efficiently, use FastPass+ intelligently, and keep an eye on the time in order to see the scheduled stage shows. Finally, crowds disperse shortly after the 3:45pm Parade. Plan to stay through close because waits will only get shorter as it gets later in the evening, but be sure to check the departure time of the last Kilimanjaro Safari. It may be earlier than the rest of the Park. Visit DinoLand after 6pm and Asia after 7pm to find the lowest waits outside of the first two hours.

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. 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 the most recommended Park as we look forward to Star Wars Weekends on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Each of these days will be significantly busier than today because of the popularity of the event with locals and vacationers alike. That isn’t to say today won’t be relatively crowded, but it’s your best opportunity to visit the Studios with lower crowds than this weekend and other non-recommended days. A lot of people will be putting off the Studios for this weekend so that they can experience the event. Others won’t be interested in visiting this early in their vacation and Disney resort guests are more likely to visit yesterday for evening Extra Magic Hours or tomorrow for morning Extra Magic Hour. To have the most success, you’ll still want to arrive by 8:15am and head straight for Toy Story Mania, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, and Star Tours. Because Toy Story Mania has such a limited capacity, wait times are almost always 60+ minutes in the afternoon and FastPass+ are unavailable. Expect waits to hit 60 to 90 minutes today. You’ll want to make it your top priority. Your second priority is Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, which also sees long afternoon waits and limited FastPass+ availability. Tower of Terror and Star Tours should be easier to ride, but also remain priorities. If you can get these attractions done in the early morning, you’ll be in great shape for the rest of the day. The only other problem most people run into is trying to schedule all of the stage shows that run on a set schedule. You may also want to prioritize characters that will have longer afternoon waits. The Toy Story characters across from Toy Story Mania tend to have the longest waits. Visit first thing or right after riding Toy Story Mania because they appear right at 9am. Sofia the First meets beginning at 9:30am in Animation Courtyard and also sees long waits. Visit immediately after or plan to arrive ten minutes before her afternoon set to minimize waits. Phineas & Ferb tend to have the third longest lines in Hollywood Studios. They typically begin appearing at 9:30am as well. Head over after or in place of Sofia. They’re 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 you’re not interested in the Package or it’s not available, plan to see the second show. Because it’s so late and there are no sections reserved for Dining Package users, it’s much less crowded. As far as general seating is concerned, the best seats are about half way up in the center sections. Sit any closer and you run the risk of getting wet and it’s more difficult to see what’s happening on the water.

Magic Kingdom is 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 most 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 May 28

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 7pm (Recommended)

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

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

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

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Fantasmic: 9pm and 10:30pm

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

Official Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Opening

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

Animal Kingdom is recommended today, though yesterday would have been better. The only problem today is that it’s later in the week, which means a lot of casual vacationers on a weeklong vacation will be looking to visit Hollywood Studios or Animal Kingdom after spending the last two days at Magic Kingdom and Epcot. Luckily, we have morning Extra Magic Hour and Fantasmic luring Disney resort guests to Hollywood Studios, which will be much more popular. In most scenarios, you’ll want to take advantage of the lower crowds (relatively speaking) at Magic Kingdom and visit Animal Kingdom another day, but today works just fine if it fits into your itinerary better. As always, plan to arrive prior to Park opening and take care of Kilimanjaro Safaris and Expedition Everest right off the bat. If you arrive later, plan to use FastPass+ or visit them in the standby line after 5pm when crowds will die down. The “single rider line” at Expedition Everest is also a good choice should your group be willing to split up. Overall, you can have a lot of success today if you tour smart and arrive early, but afternoon crowds will be decent.

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 Hollywood Studios today with the morning Extra Magic Hour. 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 FastPass+ throughout the day for Test Track, Soarin’, or Mission Space if you’d like to ride any of them a second time. The single rider line at Test Track often has an actual wait shorter than standby or FastPass+, so consider that as an option. You may also want to get in line for Soarin’ or Test Track right before Epcot closes to find shorter waits than the afternoon, but only if you’re willing to give up seeing IllumiNations. Mission: SPACE should have nominal waits before 11am or after 7pm. If you’re planning just one day in Epcot, try to move up through the World Showcase right at 11am, beginning with the boat rides in Mexico and Norway. These are the only two attractions in World Showcase that will see wait times. 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, thanks to the morning Extra Magic Hour that will attract more on-site guests than any other day this week. We also have a lot of people visiting after heading to Magic Kingdom on Monday and Epcot on Tuesday. Today won’t be as busy as Friday, Saturday, or Sunday for Star Wars Weekends, though. If your choices are today or any day this weekend, you’ll want to go with today, unless you’d like to experience the Star Wars festivities. If you do visit today and are Extra Magic Hours eligible, you’ll want to do whatever you can to arrive by 7:15am. The morning, from 8am – 10am, will be great, but it’s going to be busy from then on. Try to get there early and take care of Toy Story Mania, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, and Tower of Terror before 9:30am. Once you get through those attractions, you’re set for the rest of the day. However, you’re going to run into a lot of people and long lines if you don’t arrive until later in the day. With both yesterday and tomorrow recommended, you have better options on either side.

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. Seven Dwarfs Mine Train already saw its dedication and media event early in the month and today’s official opening in the middle of the week shouldn’t attract many locals. It’s also likely that the attraction will be testing most of the day over the days leading up to today’s opening, lessening its impact. 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 major attractions throughout the day. Consider a break from 1pm to 5pm or so to rest up for dinner, a few nighttime attractions, and Wishes. If you’re planning to see the Electrical Parade and Wishes on another night, visit Tomorrowland after 10pm and Fantasyland after 11pm to find much shorter waits than the afternoon.

Thursday May 29

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

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

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Highly Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 10pm (Most 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 is not expressly recommended, though it isn’t going to be wildly busier than other recommended days this week. There are a few problems. First, there’s no mid-week morning Extra Magic Hour to lure Disney resort guests. While Monday’s will prove decently popular, Wednesdays are much more popular because casual vacationers tend to arrive on Sunday and visit Magic Kingdom and Epcot first. By Wednesday and Thursday, they’re looking towards Disney’s two less popular theme parks. Second, we don’t have evening Extra Magic Hours scheduled anywhere. Magic Kingdom will be attracting a decent number of people with the morning Extra Magic Hour and the Electrical Parade, but we’d be better off if there was another Park attracting on-site visitors. Finally, Star Wars Weekends are scheduled this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Because a lot of people want to visit the Studios on one or more of those days, they’ll be looking to head somewhere else today. You can still do well at Animal Kingdom by arriving at 8:30am and taking care of Kilimanjaro Safaris and Expedition Everest first thing. If you can’t arrive early, stay through close because wait times will only diminish after 4:45pm. Save Safaris and Everest for the end of the day if you elect to arrive late. Both tomorrow and Sunday would be significantly better days to visit and most people will want to take advantage of lower crowds at Epcot or Hollywood Studios.

Epcot is highly recommended. 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. Plan to arrive prior to Park opening and head straight to Test Track, Sum of All Thrills, Mission: Space, and Soarin’ or follow a more compartmentalized two-day touring plan if you prefer. If you arrive later, plan to use FastPass+ at Soarin or Test Track because they will have 60+ minute waits for most of the day after 10:30am due to popularity and relatively low capacities. Move on to the World Showcase beginning around 11am if crowds begin to build in Future World, beginning with the water rides in Mexico and Norway. Return to Future World after 5pm if you have more to accomplish and to ride/re-ride the headliners with FastPass+. It’s also a great day to stay for dinner and IllumiNations.

Hollywood Studios is the most recommended Park. We’re going into an incredibly busy weekend with the Star Wars festivities on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. We’re also coming off a popular day yesterday with the morning Extra Magic Hour attracting a lot of Disney resort guests. While today will see decent waits with the limited number of rides, it remains a much better choice than the much busier weekend. To have the most success, you’ll still want to arrive prior to Park opening and head straight for Toy Story Mania, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, and Star Tours. Because Toy Story Mania has such a limited capacity, wait times are almost always 60+ minutes in the afternoon and FastPass+ are unavailable. Expect waits to hit 60 to 90 minutes today. You’ll want to make it your top priority. Your second priority is Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, which also sees long afternoon waits and limited FastPass+ availability. Tower of Terror and Star Tours should be easier to ride, but also remain priorities. If you can get these attractions done in the early morning, you’ll be in great shape for the rest of the day. The only other problem most people run into is trying to schedule all of the stage shows that run on a set schedule. You may also want to prioritize characters that will have longer afternoon waits. The Toy Story characters across from Toy Story Mania tend to have the longest waits. Visit first thing or right after riding Toy Story Mania because they appear right at 9am. Sofia the First meets beginning at 9:30am in Animation Courtyard and also sees long waits. Visit immediately after or plan to arrive ten minutes before her afternoon set to minimize waits. Phineas & Ferb tend to have the third longest lines in Hollywood Studios. They typically begin appearing at 9:30am as well. Head over after or in place of Sofia. They’re 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 you’re not interested in the Package or it’s not available, plan to see the later show. It will be far less crowded because it’s too late for most families and there aren’t two large sections reserved for Dining Package guests. 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.

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. However, with the standardized operating schedule and nightly evening entertainment, today won’t be overwhelmingly busier than recommended days. 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.

How Star Wars Weekend Affects Touring and Crowds

Star Wars Weekends is an annual event that takes place inside of the Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World during regular theme park hours. The cost to attend is included in your admission to the Park (which is the same as any other day). The festivities only take place in Hollywood Studios and don’t officially change anything at the other three major theme parks. Hollywood Studios will be noticeably more crowded during these weekends because of their popularity with the out-of-town Star Wars community and locals who are interested in participating in the festivities. If you have no interest in Star Wars and don’t want to take part in or see any of the shows or characters, then you will want to avoid Hollywood Studios on the Friday, Saturday, and Sunday of any Star Wars Weekend, regardless of when they are scheduled. Officially on the Crowd Calendar, Hollywood Studios will not be recommended during Star Wars Weekends because the Studios will be significantly more crowded. If your intention is to see the attractions with the shortest waits possible, Star Wars Weekends are not for you. However, if you enjoy Star Wars or would like to participate in the festivities, you may want to spend at least part of your day at the Studios. Sunday is usually the least crowded day.

Each weekend, there are three Star Wars “celebrities” of varying (mostly low) levels of popularity.

In addition, there will be a lot of character meet and greets with people dressed up like famous Star Wars characters, including Mickey Mouse as a Jedi and Minnie Mouse as Princess Leia. You’ll also see Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker, Boba Fett, and other classics, including my favorite, Darth Goofy. Luckily, Jar Jar Binks usually skips the event due to the amount of violence commonly directed towards him. Disney is family friendly after all. There will also be a Star Wars motorcade parade, question and answer sessions, autograph opportunities, trivia challenges, dance parties, and limited edition merchandise.

If you want a specific celebrity autograph, you will likely need to arrive at the Studios gate by 6am to get in line for a FastPass+. Autograph sessions are very limited and only those with FastPass+ will be guaranteed access to the celebrity signing. There is usually a “standby” line as well, but you always run the risk of getting left out. The celebrities themselves would most likely want to take the time to meet you and sign an autograph (with the exception of Anthony Daniels, who doesn’t), but their schedules for the event are tight. You will also want to arrive very early for the first Friday of Star Wars Weekends if the limited edition merchandise is of interest. If autographs aren’t important and you just want to be on hand for the other events, I would still recommend arriving an hour early in order to get a FastPass+ for Toy Story Mania or to run over to a character line. FastPass+ will go fast and it won’t take long for the FastPass+ return times to be well into the evening. Consider scheduling a relaxing sit-down lunch in the middle of the day to get off your feet and relax a bit. May and June are hot and almost all of the activities take place outside. If you would like to have a sit-down meal during Star Wars Weekend, you will want to make your dining reservations as soon as possible.

Keep in mind that many of the usual character opportunities will be replaced by Star Wars characters during Star Wars Weekends. If your child is easily frightened, they may also be scared by the number of “bad guys” walking around for the event. There will be plenty of Storm Troopers, Darth Vaders, and other villains milling about and they can be intimidating if you and your kids are not expecting it. During weekdays (Monday – Thursday), everything at Hollywood Studios goes back to “normal.”

Star Wars Weekends are a lot of fun for everyone with even a casual interest in Star Wars. If your time is limited and you care more about the rides, you’ll want to visit the Studios on a weekday – preferably a recommended one without Extra Magic Hours. If you have some time to spare and enjoy Star Wars, consider visiting the Studios during a Weekend.

Friday May 30

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

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

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Not Recommended)

Evening Extra Magic Hours: 9pm – 11pm

Illuminations: 9pm

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

Fantasmic: 9pm and 10:30pm

Symphony in the Sky: 9:45pm

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

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

Animal Kingdom is the most recommended Park. Epcot’s evening Extra Magic Hours are always popular and will draw a lot of Disney resort guests and Hollywood Studios’ Star Wars Weekends event will be hugely popular. To have the most success, arrive prior to Park opening and take care of Kilimanjaro Safaris and Expedition Everest first thing. After that, move on to DinoLand USA for Primeval Whirl and DINOSAUR or visit the characters and Finding Nemo the Musical. Keep in mind that crowds disperse after the 3:45pm Parade. If you couldn’t get to some of the attraction earlier in the day, stay through until 7pm because waits will only decrease from 5pm through close.

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

Hollywood Studios is not recommended because of the Star Wars Weekend complication. The event will make the Studios significantly busier from open to close today than any weekday earlier in the week. If you’re looking to visit the Studios one day this weekend to take advantage of the event, I would actually go with Sunday. While it might seem counterintuitive to visit on an actual weekend day, the fact is that Sunday is historically the least crowded day of the weekend. This is most likely due to the number of people that want to visit on the first day and the number of people that use Sunday as a travel day. Expect Disney to open the Park no later than 7:30am with the official 8am opening. If you do visit, plan to arrive no later than 6:45am. It’s quite early, which is part of the reason why Hollywood Studios isn’t recommended. You should be able to meet at least one popular character with a short wait and possibly two before it’s time to move on to the less popular characters. You could also ride Toy Story Mania, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, and Star Tours relatively easily if that’s the route you take. However, it’s going to be extremely crowded from 10am onward. Avoid it unless you’re willing to put up with the heavier crowds in order to enjoy the event.

Magic Kingdom is highly recommended. Epcot will be a bigger draw with the sizable on-site contingent with evening Extra Magic Hours and we’re coming off a busier day with the morning Extra Magic Hour at Magic Kingdom yesterday. Hollywood Studios will also be wildly popular with Star Wars Weekends. 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 Mine Train Journey of the Little Mermaid, and Ariel’s Grotto in New Fantasyland along with Peter Pan’s Flight and The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.  You may have other time sensitive attractions on your itinerary like Astro Orbiter or Tomorrowland Indy Speedway as well. While these aren’t “the most popular” or “headlining” attractions, they are still morning priorities because they have guaranteed uncomfortable waits from 10am onward. Also consider prioritizing the most popular characters that don’t offer FastPass+. The relatively late night hours are also a great time to tour, particularly if you’re skipping the nighttime spectaculars. Visit Tomorrowland after 10pm and Fantasyland after 11pm to find much shorter waits than the afternoon.

Saturday May 31

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

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

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

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Most Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

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

Fantasmic: 9pm and 10:30pm

Symphony in the Sky: 9:45pm

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

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

Animal Kingdom is going to be busier than recommended days due to the morning Extra Magic Hour that will be popular with Disney resort guests. A lot of Disney resort guests see the Extra Magic Hours schedule as Disney’s means of telling them where they “belong” each day. While very few Disney resort guests will actually arrive by 7:30am to take advantage of their perk, they will undoubtedly stream in throughout the morning, ultimately making the Park much busier from 11am through close. You’ll want to avoid it unless you’re absolutely certain that you’ll arrive by 7:30am and plan to leave around 1pm. The 8am – 9:30am timeframe will be incredibly quiet with short waits everywhere. Alternatively, you could arrive later and stay through close.

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 is much easier to FastPass+ if necessary and standby waits are also much shorter. It’s also an excellent day to stay for IllumiNations and enjoy the World Showcase in the afternoon.

Hollywood Studios is not recommended. It’s going to be extremely crowded for the third Saturday of Star Wars Weekends. Both yesterday and tomorrow would be less crowded and any weekday would be significantly less crowded, including Monday with evening Extra Magic Hours attached. I don’t recommend visiting the Studios today unless you’re intent on “taking advantage” of the Star Wars Weekend festivities. If you do go, plan to arrive no later than 6:45am. It’s going to be a zoo from 10am through close.

Magic Kingdom is not recommended due to the number of visitors that will visit on their last day before returning home tomorrow, in addition to local visitors that can only visit on weekends. With late closes most nights and nighttime entertainment every night, Magic Kingdom won’t be that much worse than other days during the week and remains your best choice if you’re not planning to visit Epcot.

{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

Dawn H October 23, 2013 at 5:44 pm

Hey Josh
Now that I have things sorted out Im in a bit of a quandary. I am trying to get in a night to see Fantasmic, I had thought to do it on 4/30..when they add it (or is it IF they add it?), but then today I switched it to May 1st (before you posted this). HS is a non recommended park on the 1st and I have MK scheduled for Friday.
Can you give me an idea of the chances that Fantasmic will be added on 4/30 …historically speaking?

josh October 23, 2013 at 5:47 pm

Just depends on whether there’s a private event scheduled that night. If there isn’t, they should add Fantasmic and extend the close.

Dawn H October 23, 2013 at 5:53 pm

thanks Josh, you’re the best! Ü

Patty57 October 24, 2013 at 3:55 am

Looks like a little uptick in crowds from the preliminary crowd calendar at the time I’m thinking of going. That’s too bad.

brandi October 24, 2013 at 4:44 am

link to May-v3.pdf is broken

gnarly dude

Lara October 25, 2013 at 7:36 am

When do you expect the June 2014 calendar to be out?

Ann October 25, 2013 at 1:06 pm

Do you think that there will be a “May the 4th Be With You” celebration at HS on 5/4/14?

josh October 25, 2013 at 1:09 pm

The operating schedule for June should come out next month, probably on November 14th or 18th.

Doubt there will be another May 4th event.

Robyn October 27, 2013 at 3:32 pm

Don’t forget, there is going to be a whole weekend long celebration for the Studios’ 25th. Details haven’t come out yet, but they have said all the parks are going to be involved in some way with the main celebration taking place on May 1, which is the day the park actually opened.

Could greatly affect crowd levels.

Michelle November 12, 2013 at 12:55 pm

Hey Josh, I just wanted to add that it looks as if the Expedition Everest Challenge will be at Animal Kingdom on May 3, 2014. I don’t know if that affects anything at all.

Craig November 17, 2013 at 10:51 am

You list ‘Celebrate a Dream Come True Parade: 3pm’, but the TA calendar says ‘Day Parade: None’. Do you anticipate a new afternoon parade by the end of May?

Tabitha December 11, 2013 at 6:34 pm

Will “may the 4th be with you” be going on at HS this year? Was wondering since it was listed as the most reccomended park on the 4th. Last year it was packed on may 4th, just checking since i don’t want to make that mistake again.

Melissa January 10, 2014 at 12:14 pm

I see the Celebrate a Dream Come True parade on your calendar for May 31, 2014, but when I was making my schedule on “my Disney experience” it is not listed. Is that something they will add to their schedule closer to the date or does that definitely mean there will not be one that day?

Caroline January 10, 2014 at 5:16 pm

Hi Josh, do you answer specific questions?
I know that neither of these days are recommended, but those are my only options.
For an afternoon and evening at MK, which would you pick, Thursday May 15 or Sunday May 18?
We are staying offsite and plan 3 days at WDW (we have park hoppers). Here is my plan:
Wed May 14: full day MK
Thur May 15: AM HS (JTA for my son)
PM either Epcot or MK
Sun May 18: AM HS Star Wars Weekends
PM either Epcot or MK
One of those afternoons will be Epcot and the other one MK, what would you do?
Thank you so much, your website is a huge help planning my vacation :)

Wanda February 19, 2014 at 2:53 pm

Just read a rumor of MK being open 24 hours May 23? Would It MK still be ok if we we’re go from 600 AM and out by 300?

Bob March 17, 2014 at 12:08 pm

So for the 24 Hour Day May 23rd, I see the calendar is edited to reflect a partial recommendation/not recommendation. How do you think the 24 Hour Day will affect the crowds at Epcot though and its evening Extra Magic Hours? Any thoughts would be appreciated! Thanks!

Valerie March 19, 2014 at 10:30 am

Josh,
Any updates if HS will be doing “May the 4th be with you” this year? This could highly affect my plans.
Thanks!

Robyn March 25, 2014 at 9:27 am

Hi Josh,
I noticed you haven’t mentioned anything or updated anything for Magic Kingdom, given that it looks like Seven Dwarves mine train is having their media event April 30-May 2. With this event, it probably means that the mine train will be open starting May 3 to the public and I doubt it will have Fastpass+ right away. Do you expect that will increase crowds for that whole first week of May? Thanks for staying current on all these updates!

Ashley March 29, 2014 at 6:37 pm

I ditto Robyn. There’s all this talk of a Seven Dwarves Mine Train dedication ceremony the morning of Friday, May 2. That was the day we planned to be in MK, but not if the crowds are going to be ridiculously huge with long lines for everything all day. Now thinking of switching MK to Monday, May 5 & Tuesday, May 6. Thoughts? Thanks!

Chantel March 31, 2014 at 9:43 am

Do you think that Anna and Elsa moving to the magic kingdom will greatly increase fantasyland crowds in mid may? We will be in the world 5/14/14 until 5/18/14 and it will be my 5 yr olds first trip and I haven’t been in 16 yrs.
Our plan for now is
Wed 5/14 MK about 2 pm to close focusing on Adventureland and Frontierland and then liberty square before the fireworks (if we hold up that long after traveling in the am)
Thurs 5/15 HS 8:05 character breakfast at Hollywood and Vine, then off to toy story mania, after we finish in HS park hop to Epcot for illuminations and dinner (we will probably walk as my son only naps on the move in the car or stroller at this point napping in the hotel will not happen)
Fri Am in MK for Fantasyland and tomorrowland (only TL attractions we plan to see are buzz lightyear and monster’s inc, then a pool, nap or water park break) before going to Epcot for Evening extra magic hours and an 8:25 Askersus reservation
Sat 5/17 Animal Kingdom for morning extra magic hours, planning a break from about 12:00-3:00 and then having an early night after AK closes
Sun 5/18 10:40 am breakfast at O’hana (so we can pack and check out before heading out for the day, then the monorail to MK or Epcot to finish up things we didn’t see on the earlier days in the week and back to our hotel to get the magical express at about 3:30

I know it is an ambitious schedule with a 5 yr old in tow but between constantly watching disney channel and talking to friends that have been to disney recently he knows about a lot more of what’s is the parks than the average kid that hasn’t been to Disney before.

I know that extra magic hours are not usually recommended but I feel like we have to maximize our time in the parks. We have to park hopper tickets with the water parks and more upgrade.

Any thoughts about higher crowd levels caused by Star Wars weekends and the opening of 7 Dwarfs Mine Train (so excited we maybe able to ride it, but hoping it doesn’t cause a Fantasyland bottle neck)

Thanks so much and this website is invaluable!

Chantel March 31, 2014 at 6:51 pm

Also just scored Sat night Boma Reservations! (It was here or Tony’s Town Square for the Main st electrical parade, but Food won out over entertainment)

Gina May 3, 2014 at 5:36 am

Josh, hope you are able to update May with your thoughts/predictions about how the opening of 7DMT is going to affect the last week! Our original plan was EP on Mon 5/26, AK on Tue 5/27, MK on Wed 5/28, EP on Thu 5/29, HS on Fri 5/30 (for SWW), DTD or resort on Sat 5/31 (we depart from MCO at 8:40p, so have a pretty good amount of time available). Because of 7DMT, I added a 6th day of tickets so we can go back to the parks on Sat 5/31. We could change and do MK on Tue 5/27 to avoid big 5/28 crowd and go back to MK on Sat 5/31 to catch 7DMT or we could keep MK on 5/28 and go back on 5/31… I currently have FPP for 7DMT on both 5/28 and 5/31. What would you do? Thanks if you can help!!

Monica May 4, 2014 at 6:56 am

Please answer Ms. Gina (above me). I have the same concerns. My Mk day is the 28 and really I can’t change it due to it being my only full day. This is a short trip 3 days and 2 nights, however, I would like to know if you think there will be an extreme influx in people around the park or just locals and hoppers stopping by to fastpass the train and get outa there!

Molly May 11, 2014 at 3:56 pm

Josh – At some point, WDW changed the PM EMHs on Memorial Day from HS to Epcot. Also, some of the MK closing times have been extended an hour or two later that last week of May. You might want to update the calendar.

Ivy May 15, 2014 at 11:09 am

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