November 2013 Walt Disney World Crowd Calendar

by josh on April 23, 2013

11/10/13 Update: Animal Kingdom close extended to 6pm on November 11th. Animal Kingdom open moved to 8am on Sunday November 24th.

10/16/13 Update: Crowd Calendar updated with the changes listed here.

This is the Free November 2013 Disney World Crowd Calendar that shows the Recommended Parks to Visit, Overall Crowd Level Estimation, Cost, Historic High/Low Temperature, Historic Chance of Precipitation, Extra Magic Hours Schedule, Fantasmic Show Times, Holidays, and Special Events.

Make sure you first read my month-by-month overview of visiting Disney World, located here. The overview will give you an idea of what to expect in terms of cost, crowds, weather, and special events on a broader scale. Once you figure out when you would like to visit, you can move on to this more detailed look.

Here’s a quick explanation of how to read the calendar and what the numbers mean. It may seem like it’s a little long, but you’ll only need to read the explanation once.

  • The first line in each box is the date.
  • The second line shows the cost to book a room at a Disney-owned resort. $ = Value Season, $$ = Regular Season, $$$ = Summer Season, $$$$ = Peak Season, and $$$$$ = Holiday Season. Occasionally there will be a + or – after the $$$ to show that the cost is slightly higher or lower than usual, but not by enough to raise it another $ notch.
  • The third line is the average high and low temperature and the chance of precipitation. All data is based on the last 15 years. I wouldn’t read too much into the precipitation percentages for each day because just one or two additional days of rain in the last 15 years can raise the percentage substantially. I included it so you can look at the precipitation trends throughout the month(s) and take it into consideration when deciding when to book your vacation. For a broader overview of the month, read the month-by-month overview I linked to above.
  • The fourth line is an estimation of the overall crowd level. A “5″ refers to average crowds. Numbers above 5 refer to a larger than average overall crowd level and numbers below 5 refer to lower than average overall crowds. A day with an overall crowd level of “1″ means that the crowds are expected to be the absolute lowest of the year and a “10″ means crowds are expected to be at their largest of the year. In other words, the overall crowd level estimation will give you an idea of how many people are in the entire Disney World complex, including the four major theme parks, water parks, Downtown Disney, golf courses, resorts, etc. Individual theme parks can have smaller or larger crowds than the overall estimation, which is where the theme park recommendations come in.
  • The fifth line shows the theme parks I recommend visiting in green and the theme parks I recommend avoiding in red. There is also a | sign that splits up the recommended and not recommended Parks for the color blind or those printing in black and white (the Parks to the left of the | sign are recommended). I use the usual abbreviations for the Parks; AK is the Animal Kingdom, EP is Epcot, HS is Hollywood Studios, and MK is the Magic Kingdom. In addition to the colors, the Park on the far left is the most recommended Park to visit that day. The Park second to the left is the second most recommended and so on. For example, if the line reads AK EP | HS MK then the Animal Kingdom is the most recommended and Epcot is the second most recommended. On the other side of the | sign, Hollywood Studios is not recommended and the Magic Kingdom is expressly not recommended even more. If possible, I would strongly recommend you visit the Park that is most recommended each day. Please read below the calendar for an overview of how I’ve selected the recommended Parks and also a day-by-day explanation.
  • The sixth line lists which Parks have Extra Magic Hours and at what time they start. Morning Extra Magic Hour lasts one hour and usually starts at 8am. Evening Extra Magic Hours last three hours from the start time. For example, if you see AK:8am EP:9pm, that means the Animal Kingdom has a morning Extra Magic Hour from 8am-9am and Epcot has evening Extra Magic Hours from 9pm-12am.
  • The seventh line lists the Fantasmic show times at the Hollywood Studios.
  • The eighth line lists the start time of Main Street Electrical Parade (MSEP:) and Wishes Fireworks at Magic Kingdom(W:). For example, if you see, MSEP: 9pm & 11pm W: 10pm, it would mean that Main Street Electrical Parade begins at 9pm and 11pm and Wishes begins at 10pm.

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

Click the image to enlarge it.

Friday November 1

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 5pm (Not Recommended)

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

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

Epcot: 9am – 10pm (Not Recommended)

Illuminations: 10pm

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 7:30pm (Recommended)

Fantasmic: 7:30pm

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

Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party

Celebrate a Dream Come True Parade: 3pm, Main Street Electrical Parade: none, Wishes Fireworks: none

Animal Kingdom is not recommended today, thanks to the morning Extra Magic Hour that will attract enough Disney resort guests to make it busier than recommended days and relatively few people headed to Magic Kingdom with the short operating hours.  If you are Extra Magic Hours eligible, you can have a ton of success if you arrive by 7:30am to take advantage of it.  However, crowds are going to be heavier than recommended days from 10am through at least 4pm.  You can certainly “beat” these crowds if you tour intelligently in the early morning, but it’s going to be difficult to get out to Animal Kingdom in time to take advantage of it unless you’re coming from the All Star Resorts, Animal Kingdom Lodge, or Coronado Springs Resort.  You’re looking at about a 20 minute drive out from the Monorail Deluxe Resorts and 15 minutes from most others, plus the time it takes for the bus to arrive.  Not to mention getting multiple people bathed and clothed with one shower and limited space.  Most people will want to take advantage of the lowest crowds of the week at Magic Kingdom.

Epcot isn’t recommended, though it will be less busy than either of the next two days.  If you’re trying to decide between today, tomorrow, and Sunday, then today would be best.  However Fridays, particularly in World Showcase in the evening, are crowded.  Most people will want to take advantage of the lower crowds at Magic Kingdom because it’s going to be much, much, much busier there tomorrow.  If you are headed to Epcot today, you’ll want to arrive before Park opening and take care of Test Track, Sum of All Thrills, Mission: Space, and Soarin’ first thing in the morning.  Plan to move up through World Showcase right at 11am if you have business up there, whether it be the attractions and shopping or the Food and Wine Festival booths.  Crowds in World Showcase are only going to get larger as it gets later in the day.  Plan to return to Future World at or before 5pm to avoid the heavy congestion in World Showcase.  Overall, there are going to be a lot of people in Epcot, but you can “beat” them by arriving early and touring efficiently.  If possible, try to see IllumiNations on another night because crowds will be thick in World Showcase from 5pm through close.

Hollywood Studios is recommended, though this past Monday or Wednesday would have been better days to visit.  The problems are the lowly morning Extra Magic Hour at Disney’s least popular theme park and the short hours of operation at Magic Kingdom.  Nonetheless, the Studios remains your second best choice with Animal Kingdom drawing Disney resort guests and Epcot being much more popular with locals and visitors that want to get a head start on the Food & Wine Festival.  Tomorrow’s morning Extra Magic Hour and what will most likely turn out to be longer hours of operation will also be more popular with off-site visitors.  Like most days, you can do well if you arrive by 8:20am and take care of Toy Story Midway Mania and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster first thing in the morning, but you’ll be looking at long lines at the headliners if you arrive at 10:30am with everyone else.  Tour efficiently and you’ll have plenty of success.

Magic Kingdom is the best Park to visit, despite the truncated operating schedule and lack of both Main Street Electrical Parade and Wishes. Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party is scheduled tonight.  It’s a separately ticketed event that begins at 7pm and runs through 12am.  Because the hours are “so short” and there’s no evening entertainment during the regular day, most Disney vacationers will plan to visit on another day.  Today is an excellent opportunity to visit the Fantasyland and headlining attractions with minimal waits as well as visit the popular characters and whatever else you’d like to experience.  Because waits are shorter and the crowd level is so much lower, you’ll actually be able to accomplish more during the day today than you would on another day when the hours are much longer.  For maximum efficiency, arrive prior to Park opening and use FASTPASS throughout the day.  Consider a second day at the Magic Kingdom to see the Main Street Electrical Parade and Wishes or ideally Park Hop over in the evening on a night that it’s available.  Wednesday is the best day of the week to see the Main Street Electrical Parade at night, but that isn’t saying a whole lot when your other options are a busy Monday and Saturday.  Finally, Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party does feature the special HalloWishes fireworks spectacular at 9:30pm above Cinderella Castle.  This show is viewable from a variety of locations around Disney property.  My favorite is the Polynesian Resort’s beach, which is directly across from the Magic Kingdom.  The 4th floor observatory at the Contemporary Resort is another excellent location.  The boat launch and marina at the Grand Floridian also offer pretty good views, though less direct angles.  The boat dock at the Transportation and Ticket Center also offers an underrated view and it makes for the easiest exit if you’re driving because you’re already at the parking lot.  The soundtrack is easiest to hear at the Contemporary, Transportation and Ticket Center, and Polynesian in that order.  You might consider taking the monorail or boat to one of the Monorail Deluxe resorts for dinner after the Magic Kingdom closes at 7pm and then get into position to enjoy the fireworks around 9:20pm at one of the previously mentioned locations.  You can then transfer back to the Magic Kingdom and take a resort bus back to your resort or hop in your car and head wherever you like.  Each of the Deluxe resorts have pretty good quick service locations too, so you can also eat on the cheap if you prefer and look around the resort(s) for a while until HalloWishes begins.  In a perfect world, I would hit Kona Café for dinner and enjoy HalloWishes from the Polynesian’s beach.

Saturday November 2

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

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

Epcot: 9am – 10pm (Not Recommended)

Illuminations: 10pm

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

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Fantasmic: 7:30pm and 9pm

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

Celebrate a Dream Come True Parade: 3pm, Main Street Electrical Parade: 8pm and 10pm, Wishes Fireworks: 9pm

Animal Kingdom is the only expressly recommended Park.  We don’t have Extra Magic Hours or special events to attract Disney vacationers of any sort and yesterday’s morning Extra Magic Hour will have been more popular with Disney resort guests.  Magic Kingdom will be attracting significant crowds with its long hours of operation and both nighttime spectaculars, Hollywood Studios will be popular with the morning Extra Magic Hour and Fantasmic, and Epcot will be extremely crowded for the Food and Wine Festival.  We also have another morning Extra Magic Hour tomorrow to appeal to the sizable Disney resort contingent. While we’re sometimes concerned about long hours attracting guests to Animal Kingdom, that’s much less of a concern when so much is going on elsewhere.  To take full advantage of the low crowd level, arrive prior to Park opening and head straight to Kilimanjaro Safaris and Expedition Everest.  Get those two attractions out of the way early and the only real concerns are getting to Festival of the Lion King and Finding Nemo the Musical.  You would be in the best shape if you could get to the first or last show of the day as well as over to DinoLand USA before 10:30am when lines begin to build at DINOSAUR and Primeval Whirl.  You may also want to prioritize the characters with long afternoon waits by arriving just before they first appear.  Use FASTPASS throughout the day and you should have no trouble experiencing just about everything Animal Kingdom has to offer in just one day.  Finally, keep in mind that crowds disperse shortly after the 3:45pm Parade and it’s usually a great time to return to the major attractions from 6pm through close. Alternatively, you might plan a late arrival, where you arrive sometime in the afternoon. Grab a FASTPASS for Kilimanjaro Safaris when you arrive. Do the anytime attractions and shows like It’s Tough to Be A Bug, Maharajah Jungle Trek, Rafiki’s Planet Watch, etc. Use the Safaris FASTPASS and then visit DinoLand from 6pm to 7pm and Asia in the final hour to find the shortest waits.

Epcot will be considerably busier than usual due to the incredibly popular International Food and Wine Festival.  The Festival attracts tons of locals, especially in the afternoon and evening in the World Showcase where the majority of the Food and Wine events take place.  Although the effect on Future World and the headlining attractions isn’t as great, we’re still much better off waiting until Monday to visit.  Expect incredibly heavy crowds from 1pm through IllumiNations.  If you can’t visit Epcot any other day, make sure you arrive prior to Park opening and visit Test Track, Sum of All Thrills, Mission Space, and Soarin’ immediately in the morning or follow a touring plan.  Move up through the Mexico and Norway Pavilions in the World Showcase at 11am if you can’t get to the World Showcase on another day.  The World Showcase will be buzzing from 1pm through close and it will be very difficult to move around with the heavier crowds, even if the attractions won’t necessarily be that much busier than usual.  Try to move through World Showcase as quickly as possible and then return to Future World.  If you’re trying to decide between visiting Epcot on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday, I would recommend Friday and then Sunday over Saturday.

Hollywood Studios is not recommended, thanks to the morning Extra Magic Hour that will attract Disney resort guests and the later close and second Fantasmic that will attract off-site visitors. You can have success from 8am – 10am if you are Extra Magic Hours eligible, but the afternoon and evening are going to be busier than just about any day this week.  Avoid it unless you can’t visit any other day or plan to arrive by 7:30am to take advantage of low crowds in the morning.

Saturdays are naturally the busiest day of the week at the Magic Kingdom.  We have longer hours of operation, visiting locals, and a lot of vacationers who will be visiting the Magic Kingdom for a second time before returning home tomorrow.  On top of that, Main Street Electrical Parade is only scheduled on three nights this week.  Because the Parade is so popular, a lot of people will visit on a day that they can see it, like today.  All of this makes me hesitant about recommending the Magic Kingdom, despite a lack of Extra Magic Hours.  Yesterday, tomorrow and next Tuesday and Wednesday will be much better days to tour, but you can have a moderate amount of success today if you arrive prior to 9am and head straight for the headlining or Fantasyland attractions.  The afternoon will be busier than any other day this week and you’ll either want to take a break and return for the Electrical Parade and Wishes or visit the less popular attractions from 2pm – 6pm. The late night is also a great time to tour with low crowds from 10pm through 1am that will only dissipate as it gets later in the evening. Save Tomorrowland for after 11pm and Fantasyland for after 12am to find the shortest waits. 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. The afternoon and early evening, from 2pm to 8pm, are best spent back at your resort relaxing.

Sunday November 3

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

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

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

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Not Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

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

Fantasmic: 7pm

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

Celebrate a Dream Come True Parade: 3pm, Main Street Electrical Parade: 8pm, Wishes Fireworks: 9pm

We have an odd Sunday morning Extra Magic Hour at Animal Kingdom today.  Although it shouldn’t have a substantial impact on crowd levels, there are still plenty of other opportunities to visit Animal Kingdom when it will have low crowds.  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 until Monday, Tuesday, or Saturday if you’re not going to arrive until 9am or later.  While Animal Kingdom is officially “not recommended,” crowds won’t be significantly higher than other days during the week, but the morning Extra Magic Hour does complicate things a bit and you’ll definitely find more people in the Park throughout the day.

Epcot will be busy again for the International Food and Wine Festival.  Many locals know how busy Saturdays are and they wait until Sunday to visit.  Because the Food and Wine Festival runs every day during the week, there’s really no benefit to visiting over the weekend if you have flexibility in your choices, unless you’re planning to attend a special event or workshop that is only offered on the weekend.  For most locals, visiting on the weekend is much more convenient than trying to swing a weekday visit.  While World Showcase will be slammed from 2pm through close, the effect on Future World is not as great.  You can find success if you arrive prior to 9am and head straight for Test Track, Sum of All Thrills, Mission Space, and Soarin’ but you would be much better off waiting until tomorrow to visit when you won’t need to worry as much about Food and Wine crowds.  The World Showcase will be busier than usual in the afternoon and evening.

Hollywood Studios is the most recommended Park.  We’re in between yesterday’s morning Extra Magic Hour and tomorrow’s evening Extra Magic Hours, both of which will be more popular with Disney resort guests.  Animal Kingdom will be more attractive to Disney resort guests today and Magic Kingdom has a relatively late close and both nighttime spectaculars.  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 the days immediately around it.  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 and extremely limited FASTPASS availability.  It’s always your top priority.  The second attraction with the longest peak wait is Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, which should be ridden immediately after Toy Story Mania in the morning or with FASTPASS.  Other priorities are Tower of Terror and Star Tours, though FASTPASSes are more plentiful at both attractions and standby waits are usually lower.  After you get through these four headliners, it’s just a matter of arriving in time to see the various stage shows that run on a set schedule and getting over to the Studios’ high capacity attractions.  You may also have characters to visit before lines get longer.  For Fantasmic, you’ll want to arrive about 60 minutes early to guarantee good seats together.  If that sounds like it’s about 30 minutes too long, consider the Fantasmic Dining Package that guarantees everyone on the reservation a seat in the reserved section of the Fantasmic theater.  It will still require you to arrive at least 20 minutes early, or you run the risk of Disney opening the reserved section up to the general population, but it saves the stress of having to decide when it’s time to line up and decreases the overall wait.  The Fantasmic Dining Package makes the most sense on the Disney Dining Plan because it costs the same one table service credit at Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano or Hollywood & Vine and two table service credits at Hollywood Brown Derby that you would pay otherwise.  Plus, it includes the appetizer, which you normally wouldn’t receive on the Disney Dining Plan. While it’s officially a recommended day, arriving prior to Park opening and hitting the headliners first thing is more important than which day you pick.  Arrive at 11am, no matter the recommendation or the overall crowd level, and you’ll be looking at long lines at Toy Story Mania and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster.  This coming Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday are also recommended.

Magic Kingdom is tentatively recommended now that Disney extended the close to 10pm and added the Electrical Parade at 8pm and 10pm. That makes today a great opportunity to see the Parade, but it comes with heavier crowds due to the number of people that will visit to see the Parade.  This coming Tuesday and Wednesday would both be less crowded. As usual, you’ll have the most success by arriving prior to Park opening and taking care of your morning priorities first thing. See the 10pm Parade in Liberty Square or Frontierland to minimize waits. The later Parade is much less crowded because so many families leave immediately after Wishes. Leaving after the second Parade will also make your exit smoother as the vast majority of people will already be on your way. Still, take your time heading to the entrance – it’s a great time to take pictures with fewer people around.

Monday November 4

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

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

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Most Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

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

Evening Extra Magic Hours: 8pm – 10pm

Fantasmic: 7pm and 8:30pm

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

Celebrate a Dream Come True Parade: 3pm, Main Street Electrical Parade: 8pm and 10pm, Wishes Fireworks: 9pm

Animal Kingdom is highly recommended today.  We’re coming off a decently popular morning Extra Magic Hour yesterday and there’s nothing specific to draw people toward Animal Kingdom.  It’s also very early in the week and people arriving over the weekend for a traditional weeklong vacation won’t be looking to visit Animal Kingdom until much later in the week.  In addition, Hollywood Studios will be attracting a ton of Disney resort guests and Magic Kingdom will be very popular with longer hours and the only Electrical Parade in sight. To have the most success, arrive prior to Park opening and head straight for Kilimanjaro Safaris and Expedition Everest.  Get these two biggies out of the way and you’re in good shape for the rest of the day.  The first and last Festival of the Lion King and Finding Nemo the Musical shows are the least popular.  Plan to see those shows if possible because you won’t need to arrive as far ahead of time as the prime shows in the afternoon.  DINOSAUR and Primeval Whirl in DinoLand USA are relatively popular rides.  Get there before 10:30am if possible.  Posted waits should be 20 minutes or less throughout the day and the actual wait time is often less.  Finally, crowds do dissipate after the 3:45pm Parade and it’s usually a good time to return to the major attractions from 4:15pm through close.  Hang around through close if you didn’t arrive early or would like to have one more ride with a relatively short standby wait.  Still, the morning is always the best time to tour because FASTPASSes are plentiful and waits are guaranteed to be short.

Epcot is our best Park to visit.  The last three days will have been extremely crowded with the Food and Wine Festival crowds pouring in from 11am onward and staying through close.  While the effect on the major Future World attractions isn’t as great as one might expect, wait times will be noticeably higher throughout the afternoon, FASTPASSes will go quicker, and World Showcase will be packed, making it difficult to walk from Pavilion to Pavilion.  Today, 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 Wednesday for Extra Magic Hours and on-site/off-site visitors will be headed to the Magic Kingdom today because they naturally prefer to visit it on their first full day of a weeklong vacation.  Hollywood Studios will be more popular with Disney resort guests with the popular evening Extra Magic Hours.  All of this combines to make this the best day of the week to visit Epcot.  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 compartmentalized two-day touring plans.  To stay ahead of the crowds for as long as possible, move up to the World Showcase beginning at 11am with the water rides in Mexico and Norway.  This is even more important with the Food and Wine Festival in full swing.  While Festival crowds won’t be anywhere close to what they were this weekend, we’ll still have a lot more people in World Showcase than we would otherwise.  Once you get through Gran Fiesta Tour and Maelstrom, you shouldn’t run into any appreciable waits at the other World Showcase Pavilions, but the promenade will only get more congested.  If you have more to accomplish in Future World, return after 5pm to visit any non-headlining attractions.  Most people will have moved up through World Showcase by this time, decreasing crowds and waits.  If you’d like to ride Soarin’ or Test Track again in the afternoon or evening,  plan to rely on FASTPASS because standby waits will be long.  Check your Times Guide to see which Future World attractions remain open past 7pm.  It’s usually just Test Track, Soarin’, Character Spot, Spaceship Earth, Mission: Space, and The Seas.  Finally, it’ an excellent day to stay for dinner and IllumiNations.

Hollywood Studios will be busy due to the evening Extra Magic Hours that are popular with Disney resort guests and the later close, making the Park more popular with off-site visitors 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.  Because of that, there’s really no reason to head in that direction today.  Plus, there are only a few attractions open during evening Extra Magic Hours 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 until after 8:30pm when people begin to give up and exit.  Fantasmic also dumps 9,000+ people on Sunset Boulevard at 7:30pm and again at 9pm, which is right next to Tower of Terror and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster.  Guess where most of those people will be headed?  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.  Still, the Studios is going to be swamped, relatively speaking, and yesterday, tomorrow, or Wednesday would be much better days to visit.

Magic Kingdom is going to be busy today.  Mondays are usually the second busiest day of the week at the Magic Kingdom, second to only Saturdays, for a variety of reasons.  First, a lot of people travel over the weekend and visit Magic Kingdom on their first full day.  In most instances, that day is Monday.  Second, Mondays often feature longer hours, Wishes Fireworks, and Main Street Electrical Parade, when other days during the week have shorter operating hours and don’t offer the Electrical Parade.  Anyone who wants to see the evening entertainment will have to visit on a day when it’s offered, like most Saturdays and Mondays.  You could have success in the morning from 9am to 11am or so, but you’re much better off waiting until tomorrow, Wednesday, or Friday to visit.  Friday will see the lowest crowds of the week during the day.  If you are headed to Magic Kingdom, despite these warnings, you’ll want to arrive prior to 9am and head straight for Fantasyland, the headlining Mountain rides, or another priority.  You’ll be able to accomplish quite a bit in the first two hours, but crowds will be heavy from 11am through close.  You’ll either want to take an afternoon break when crowds are at their heaviest or move on to the less popular attractions.  After your break, return to Magic Kingdom in the evening for dinner, some additional attractions, and the nighttime entertainment.

Tuesday November 5

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 5pm (Recommended)

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

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Not Recommended)

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Illuminations: 9pm

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

Fantasmic: 7pm

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

Celebrate a Dream Come True Parade: 3pm, Main Street Electrical Parade: none, Wishes Fireworks: 9pm

Animal Kingdom is recommended.  We don’t have special events, Extra Magic Hours, or anything specific drawing people toward it. The only problem is that we don’t have a morning Extra Magic Hour on either side of us like we normally do on most Tuesdays.  Luckily, it’s early enough in the week that many people on weeklong vacations will be saving Animal Kingdom for later in the week. This past or coming Saturday would be your best day of the week to visit.  To have the most success, arrive prior to Park opening and head straight for Kilimanjaro Safaris and Expedition Everest.  Once you get through these two attractions, you have little to worry about other than trying to get to the scheduled shows.  Finding Nemo and Festival of the Lion King do get busy during the afternoon, 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 and you can easily use FASTPASS if need arises.  Despite “only” being open eight hours, you can still see most of what the Animal Kingdom has to offer in one day, provided you arrive early in the morning, tour efficiently, use FASTPASS in the afternoon when lines are longer, 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 return to any favorites from 4:15pm through close when waits will be shorter than the afternoon.

Epcot isn’t recommended due to the morning Extra Magic Hour that will attract Disney resort guests, lack of long hours and evening entertainment elsewhere, and the natural progression of weeklong Disney vacationers that will naturally head to Epcot after the Magic Kingdom yesterday.  While the morning Extra Magic Hour will be an excellent time to tour, Epcot will get progressively busier as more and more Disney resort guests arrive.  You could have success if you arrive at 7:30am, head straight for the headliners, and move up to the World Showcase around 11am, but afternoon crowds will be heavier than recommended days and you’ll likely want to Park Hop elsewhere or take a break around 2pm.  Yesterday and Thursday are the best days to visit this week.  Luckily we do have evening Extra Magic Hours tomorrow, which will be even more popular with Disney resort guests, but Epcot will still be busier than recommended days.  If you’re trying to decide between today, tomorrow, or a day over the weekend, I would go with today as it will be the least crowded overall.

Hollywood Studios is the most recommended Park.  We’re coming off a busy day yesterday with evening Extra Magic Hours.  Today, we have morning Extra Magic Hour at Epcot attracting Disney resort guests and it’s earlier in the week, which means people on a weeklong vacation are less likely to visit Disney’s third most popular theme park.  Magic Kingdom will be a decent draw with the 10pm close and Wishes.  With Fantasmic scheduled nightly, the Studios won’t be far and away less crowded than other days this week.  It’s still imperative to arrive prior to Park opening in order to ride Toy Story Mania and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster with short waits.  Arrive at 10:30am with everyone else and you’ll find 60+ minute waits at Toy Story Mania and FASTPASS return times that are already into the late afternoon.  To have the most success, arrive by 8:20am and head straight to Toy Story Mania, followed by Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, and Star Tours.  Get through these attractions early in the morning or with FASTPASS and you have little to worry about for the rest of the day, other than keeping an eye on the time to make all of those scheduled stage shows.  Use FASTPASS throughout the day and you should have no trouble riding any of the major attractions a second time.  Toy Story Mania remains your top priority.  You may also want to prioritize the Toy Story, Phineas and Ferb, or Sorcerer Mickey characters.  In addition, characters appear at Mickey’s Sorcerer’s Hat in the early morning that won’t appear during any other part of the day.  Usually, Minnie, Pluto, Chip, Dale, Donald, Daisy, Piglet, and Tigger appear, but no specific characters are guaranteed.  For Fantasmic, consider the Fantasmic Dining Package that guarantees everyone on the reservation a seat in the reserved section of the Fantasmic theater.  It will still require you to arrive at least 30 minutes early, or you run the risk of Disney opening the reserved section up to the general population, but it saves the stress of having to decide when it’s time to line up and decreases the overall wait.  The Fantasmic Dining Package makes the most sense on the Disney Dining Plan because it costs the same one table service credit at Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano or Hollywood & Vine and two table service credits at Hollywood Brown Derby that you would pay otherwise.  Plus, it includes the appetizer, which you normally wouldn’t receive on the Disney Dining Plan.  Without the Package, you’ll need to be prepared to arrive a full hour early in order to secure decent seats together.  While it’s officially a recommended day, arriving prior to Park opening and hitting the headliners first thing is more important than which day you pick.  Arrive at 11am, no matter the recommendation or the overall crowd level, and you’ll be looking at long lines at Toy Story Mania and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster.

Magic Kingdom is recommended as we come off a very popular day with the Electrical Parade.  Epcot’s morning Extra Magic Hour will attract Disney resort guests and a lot of people will have visited yesterday for their first full day at Disney World.  To have the most success, arrive prior to Park opening and head straight for Fantasyland or the headlining Mountain rides.  Most people with kids will want to start with Enchanted Tales with Belle, Journey of the Little Mermaid, and Ariel’s Grotto.  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 Wishes.  If you’re trying to decide between today and tomorrow then I would go with Wednesday.  It’s in the middle of the week and benefits from Epcot’s evening Extra Magic Hours.  This Friday will be the least crowded day of the week, but Magic Kingdom closes at 7pm and you won’t have an opportunity to see Wishes during regular Park hours.

Wednesday November 6

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

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

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Not Recommended)

Evening Extra Magic Hours: 9pm – 11pm

Illuminations: 9pm

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 7pm (Recommended)

Fantasmic: 7pm

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

Celebrate a Dream Come True Parade: 3pm, Main Street Electrical Parade: none, Wishes Fireworks: 9pm

Animal Kingdom is highly recommended.  Fantasmic at Hollywood Studios will continue to draw crowds and Epcot’s extremely popular evening Extra Magic Hours will help pull Disney resort guests in that direction.  The only problem is the fact that it’s a bit later in the week and we’ll have some off-site visitors who arrived on Sunday and visited Magic Kingdom on Monday and Epcot on Tuesday.  Some of them will invariably be headed to Animal Kingdom, but there isn’t much we can do about that.  It remains a better option than the others.  To have the most success today, you’ll want to arrive by 8:30am and head straight for Kilimanjaro Safaris and Expedition Everest.  Grab a FASTPASS for whichever you enjoy more and head to DinoLand USA for Dinosaur, Primeval Whirl, and TriceraTop Spin or to one of the two most popular stage shows – Finding Nemo the Musical or Festival of the Lion King.  You may also want to prioritize characters that have long afternoon waits. If you have more you’d like to accomplish, stay through 7pm because a lot of people leave shortly after the Parade. Save DinoLand for after 5pm and Asia for after 6pm to find the shortest waits possible. After you complete your itinerary, you might consider Park Hopping over to Epcot for evening Extra Magic Hours, dinner and Illuminations, Hollywood Studios for Fantasmic, or Magic Kingdom for a few evening attractions and Wishes.  Without Park Hopper, consider transferring to the Animal Kingdom Lodge for dinner at one of their three excellent restaurants – Boma, Sanaa, or Jiko.  The resort is amazing and there is a fun and free public observatory where you can look at the same private savannas that many guests are paying a premium to have right outside their rooms.  Nighttime trips to Downtown Disney and the BoardWalk are also popular and both have great dining and shopping “opportunities.”  Of course, an extended break back at your resort is always a good idea as well.

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 an excellent 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.  The last hour of Extra Magic Hours is always the least crowded, so plan to stay until 11pm and head back to Soarin’ and Test Track after 10pm.  Skip Illuminations if you’ll be here on another night because it will be more crowded than usual.

Hollywood Studios is recommended, thanks to Epcot being a bigger draw with evening Extra Magic Hours.  Tomorrow would be slightly better with Magic Kingdom being a bigger draw.  You can certainly make today work by following the usual advice, which is to arrive by 8:20am and take care of Toy Story Mania and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster first thing in the morning.  After that, your other two priorities are Tower of Terror and Star Tours.  No matter which day you elect to visit the Studios, arriving early is the key.

Magic Kingdom is recommended today and it’s your best opportunity to visit and see Wishes in the evening.  We also have a morning Extra Magic Hour tomorrow that will be more attractive to Disney resort guests and an Electrical Parade that will appeal to off-site visitors as well.  If you’re looking for the absolute lowest crowds, Friday would be better, but you won’t have the opportunity to see Wishes in the evening and Magic Kingdom closes at 7pm for the first Christmas Party.  If you do visit today, take advantage of the relatively low crowds by arriving prior to Park opening and head straight for Fantasyland (Enchanted Tales with Belle, Journey of the Little Mermaid, Ariel’s Grotto, Winnie the Pooh), the headlining Mountain rides (Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain, Splash Mountain), or other time sensitive attractions (Astro Orbiter, Tomorrowland Indy Speedway).  Popular characters that don’t offer FASTPASS may also be a priority.  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 taking a break from 1pm to 5pm or so when crowds and wait times peak.  Return in the evening for dinner, some late night attractions, and Wishes.  Overall, Magic Kingdom is an excellent choice, especially if you’d like to see Wishes and only plan to visit Magic Kingdom one day.

“Jersey Week” “officially” begins today.  Jersey Week is based around a two day teachers’ conference that closes most/all of the New Jersey public schools on Thursday and Friday.  Some number of people extend their vacations by taking kids out of school early and travel to Walt Disney World.  It’s not necessarily as big of a deal as some might lead on, but you’ll definitely notice a greater number of people from New Jersey than usual.  Coupled with the Wine and Dine Half Marathon and Veteran’s Day, it’s going to be a busy weekend.

Thursday November 7

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 7pm (Recommended)

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

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Most Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

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

Fantasmic: 7pm

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

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Celebrate a Dream Come True Parade: 3pm, Main Street Electrical Parade: 8pm and 10pm, Wishes Fireworks: 9pm

Animal Kingdom is recommended.  Disney resort guests are more likely to visit tomorrow for the morning Extra Magic Hour.  Today, we have morning Extra Magic Hour/Main Street Electrical Parade attracting.  You’ll find the most success if you arrive prior to Park opening and head straight to Kilimanjaro Safaris and Expedition Everest.  If you’re not riding the thrill rides (Expedition Everest, Dinosaur, Primeval Whirl), you’ll want to attend the first showing of Festival of the Lion King and/or Finding Nemo because those shows will be popular in the afternoon.  Also consider heading over to the most popular characters just before they make their first appearance.  Use FASTPASSes for attractions you either want to ride again or couldn’t make it to in the morning and you should be able to do just about everything the Animal Kingdom has to offer.  After completing your itinerary, you may want to Park Hop to Magic Kingdom for Wishes and Main Street Electrical Parade, Hollywood Studios for Fantasmic, or Epcot for dinner and IllumiNations.  Keep in mind that crowds disperse shortly after the 3:45pm Parade.  Stay through close if there’s more that you want to accomplish because wait times will only decrease from 4:15pm onward.  Without Park Hopper, consider transferring to the Animal Kingdom Lodge for dinner at one of its excellent restaurants.  There’s also a public observatory where you can gaze out at the Animal Kingdom Lodge’s private savannas and enjoy the same view many guests are paying a premium to have right outside their balconies.  A trip to Downtown Disney or the BoardWalk for dinner and shopping also makes a lot of sense.

Epcot is the most recommended Park as we come off two days in a row with Extra Magic Hours that will be more attractive to 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. And we’re looking at four much busier days in the future with the holiday and last weekend of the extremely popular Food and Wine Festival.  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 Test Track and/or Soarin’.  Soarin’ and Test Track will have 40+ minute waits for most of the day after 10am 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 highly recommended.  We’re looking at a morning Extra Magic Hour on Saturday that will be more popular with Disney resort guests.  With Fantasmic scheduled every night and the similar operating hours offered every day, the Studios won’t be far and away less crowded than other days this week like it was when Fantasmic was scheduled less often.  Nonetheless, we’re looking at fewer people in the Park, crowds that grow slower, increased FASTPASS availability, less congestion in common areas, and shorter waits at rides, shows, and restaurants.  To have the most success, you’ll still want to arrive 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 FASTPASSes are extremely limited.  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.  Phineas & Ferb tend to have the longest lines in Hollywood Studios.  They typically begin appearing at 9:30am, which means you’ll have time to ride Toy Story Mania 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.  Minnie Mouse, Daisy Duck, Chip, Dale, Friends of Winnie the Pooh, Goofy, and Pluto are all common, but no specific character is guaranteed to appear.  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 30 minutes early, but it’s better than the 60+ minutes early you’ll need to arrive without the package.  It makes the most sense on the Disney Dining Plan because it only costs one table service credit (except at Hollywood Brown Derby, which still costs two credits as it would otherwise) and includes the appetizer.  As far as general seating is concerned, the best seats are about half way up in the center sections, but be prepared to arrive an hour early for those seats.  Sit any closer and you run the risk of getting wet and it’s more difficult to see what’s happening on the water.  Note that tomorrow is the first night of the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights.  If your trip ends soon and you want to see them, then it may be wiser to wait until tomorrow to visit.

The morning Extra Magic Hour at Magic Kingdom will lure a lot of Disney resort guests and we also have the first Main Street Electrical Parade since Monday.  Combined, this will make Magic Kingdom significantly busier than either of the last two days or tomorrow.  You can have success provided you take advantage of the morning Extra Magic Hour by arriving no later than 7:40am 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.  That way you’ll miss the busiest and hottest part of the day.  Keep in mind that you would be much better off visiting on a recommended day if you aren’t Extra Magic Hours eligible or won’t arrive until 10am or later because it will be busier than recommended days from 11am onward.  Tonight is your best opportunity this week to see Main Street Electrical Parade, but the Magic Kingdom will still be busy.  If you are planning to see the Parade, I recommend scouting out a spot along the Parade route in Frontierland or Liberty Square for the 10pm Parade.  Both locations are significantly less crowded than Main Street and offer a view that is just as good.  To enjoy the Electrical Parade with the least possible hassle, plan to visit a recommended Park in the morning, take an afternoon break, and then visit Magic Kingdom in the evening for dinner and the nighttime spectaculars.

Friday November 8

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

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

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

Epcot: 9am – 10pm (Not Recommended)

Illuminations: 10pm

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 8pm (Recommended)

Fantasmic: 6:30pm and 8pm

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

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party

Celebrate a Dream Come True Parade: 3pm, Main Street Electrical Parade: none, Wishes Fireworks: none

Animal Kingdom is not recommended today, thanks to the morning Extra Magic Hour that will attract Disney resort guests and not a lot going on at the other Parks.  It’s also late enough in the week that many Disney vacationers will already have had an opportunity to visit the other Parks and they’ll naturally save Animal Kingdom for later in the week.  With no special evening entertainment scheduled (since Fantasmic is scheduled every night this week) and no evening Extra Magic Hours to speak of, a lot of people will have Animal Kingdom on their minds.  With so many recommended days during the week, there’s really no reason to visit today.  If you are visiting today, you can do very well from 8am – 11am, but that’s about it.

Epcot isn’t recommended, though it will be less busy than either of the next two days.  If you’re trying to decide between today, tomorrow, and Sunday, then today would be best.  However, Fridays are still busy with visiting locals and those concluding a weeklong vacation.  The short hours at Magic Kingdom and Extra Magic Hour at Disney World’s least popular theme park don’t help either.  Most people will want to take advantage of the lower crowds at Magic Kingdom because it’s going to be much, much, much busier tomorrow.  If you are headed to Epcot today, you’ll want to arrive before Park opening and take care of Soarin’, Sum of All Thrills, and Mission: Space first thing in the morning.  Plan to move up through World Showcase right at 11am if you have business up there, whether it be the attractions and shopping or the Food and Wine Festival booths.  Crowds in World Showcase are only going to get larger as it gets later in the day and locals get off work.  Plan to return to Future World at or before 5pm to avoid the nighttime congestion in World Showcase.  Overall, there are going to be a lot of people in Epcot, but you can “beat” them by arriving early and touring efficiently.

Hollywood Studios is not expressly recommended, but it’s your best choice if you have other plans for Magic Kingdom.  There are two major problems.  First, Magic Kingdom isn’t going to be attracting a ton of people with the short hours and lack of entertainment during regular theme park hours.  That means people are going to be looking at the other three theme parks to visit.  Second, we only have a morning Extra Magic Hour at Disney’s least popular theme park to draw the predictable Disney resort crowd.  While it will invariably attract thousands of people, it won’t attract as many as evening Extra Magic Hours or Extra Magic Hours at one of the more popular theme parks.  Luckily, the Studios is hosting a morning Extra Magic Hour tomorrow that will be more popular with resort guests.  You’ll be okay if you arrive prior to Park opening, tour efficiently, and use FASTPASS throughout the day.  You could also arrive later and visit the high capacity shows and attractions without much trouble.

Magic Kingdom is our best choice as far as crowds are concerned.  This may seem like an odd statement, considering that the operating hours are just 9am to 7pm, but that’s precisely why crowds will be so low.  The great majority of Disney vacationers would prefer to visit the Parks when the hours are longer because it seems like more time in the Parks equates to higher value for your money.  That seems logical considering the cost to enter the Parks is the same, regardless if Magic Kingdom is open from 7am to 1am or 9am to 7pm.  However, crowds are so much lower on Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party days that you’ll actually be able to get more done in a shorter amount of time.  Most off-site vacationers will hold off until tomorrow for the longer hours, Main Street Electrical Parade, and Wishes and a decent number of Disney resort guests will have visited yesterday for the morning Extra Magic Hour (or will also wait until tomorrow).  All of this leaves us with ample opportunity to get on the headlining and Fantasyland rides with minimal waits.  As always, you’ll find the most success if you arrive prior to opening and head straight for Space/Big Thunder/Splash Mountains, Fantasyland, or other priority.  You’ll be able to accomplish a tremendous amount between 9am – 11am.   Use FASTPASS throughout the day and you should be able to do just about every major ride and many of the secondary attractions as well.  If you would also like to see the Main Street Electrical Parade and Wishes, consider spending a second day at the Magic Kingdom when those nighttime spectaculars are scheduled.  Thursday was the best day of the week to see the entertainment, but it’s still going to be significantly more crowded than a Party date.  Ideally, you would Park Hop over to the Magic Kingdom in the afternoon or evening on Thursday, after spending the majority of your day at a Park with lower crowds.  Either way, focus on getting the most popular attractions out of the way today and return to the Magic Kingdom for the nighttime spectaculars on another date.  With only one day to spend at the Magic Kingdom, you’ll need to decide whether seeing Wishes and the Main Street Electrical Parade is worth spending the day in heavier crowds.  If you’re looking to extend your day without adding Park Hopper or splurging on Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, you have a few options.  First, you can very easily transfer to the Contemporary, Polynesian, or Grand Floridian resorts for dinner.  From these resorts, you can also see the Holiday Wishes Fireworks show that begins at 9:30pm.  The best is the Polynesian Resort’s Beach, which has a direct view of Cinderella Castle and has the music piped in on speakers.  My second favorite view is from the 4th floor observation deck at the Contemporary Resort, where the music is also piped in.  If there are a lot of people outside on the deck, look to the stairs on your left or right.  You can walk up a few floors and stand on the public balconies that overlook the same area.  The view from the boat dock at the Ticket and Transportation Center is also good and relatively easy to get to.  Simply take the Ferry or Monorail over from Magic Kingdom.  At the Grand Floridian, the best views are at the marina outside Gasparilla Grill and the boat dock that services Magic Kingdom.  You can also view the Fireworks show from the beach at Fort Wilderness, though that resort is a bit out of the way by bus or boat.  Because Disney will be running the Resort Monorail through 12:30am and running buses to and from Magic Kingdom until at least 1am to transport Party guests, you can very easily visit the resorts for free, see the Holiday Wishes Fireworks show from a recommended location, and return to your resort at your convenience.  In a perfect world, I would schedule dinner at Kona Café at the Polynesian or The Wave at the Contemporary around 7:30pm.  I’d enjoy a leisurely dinner, tour the resort a bit, and then head out for the Fireworks.

Saturday November 9

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

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

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Not Recommended)

Wine and Dine Half Marathon

Illuminations: 9pm

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

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Fantasmic: 6:30pm and 8pm

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

Evening Extra Magic Hours: 12am – 2am

Celebrate a Dream Come True Parade: 3pm, Main Street Electrical Parade: 8pm and 10pm, Wishes Fireworks: 9pm

Animal Kingdom is the only expressly recommended Park.  The morning Jingle Jungle Marathon that begins at 7am is a bit of a concern, but it’s still your best choice.  The race starts at 7am and will be long over by 9am.  The problem is the number of people that will arrive, run the race, and then stick around for opening.  It’s going to mean more people in the Park at opening than there would be otherwise, but it will still be more than manageable over the course of the day.  Yesterday’s morning Extra Magic Hour will be more popular with Disney resort guests and we have a lot going on elsewhere. Magic Kingdom is going to be attracting a ton of people with the longer operating hours, Main Street Electrical Parade, Wishes, and evening Extra Magic Hours.  Hollywood Studios will be busy with the morning Extra Magic Hour to attract Disney resort guests.  Epcot is going to be incredibly crowded with the Food and Wine Festival and Marathon.  Animal Kingdom is overwhelmingly your best choice.  To have the most success, arrive prior to Park opening and head straight for Kilimanjaro Safaris and Expedition Everest.  Once you get through these two attractions, you have little to worry about other than trying to get to the scheduled shows.  Finding Nemo and Festival of the Lion King do get busy during the afternoon shows, so try to see the first or last show of the day.  You’ll also want to get to DinoLand USA before 10:30am to ride Primeval Whirl and DINOSAUR because those two attractions are popular.  Still, they aren’t necessarily your top morning priorities and you can easily use FASTPASS if need arises.  Finally, crowds disperse shortly after the 3:45pm Parade.  Plan to return to any favorites from 5:30pm through close when waits will be shorter than the afternoon.

Epcot will be considerably busier than usual due to the incredibly popular International Food and Wine Festival and the addition of the after-hours Marathon.  The Marathon specifically won’t bring in a ton of people, but it will only add to already heavy crowds.  The Food and Wine Festival attracts tons of locals, especially in the afternoon and evening in the World Showcase where the majority of the Food and Wine events take place.  Although the effect of the Food and Wine Festival crowds on Future World and the headlining attractions isn’t as great, we’re still much better off waiting until Tuesday or Wednesday (ideally) to visit.  Expect incredibly heavy crowds from 1pm through IllumiNations.  If you can’t visit Epcot any other day, make sure you arrive prior to Park opening and visit Test Track, Sum of All Thrills, Mission Space, and Soarin’ in the morning or follow a touring plan.  Move up through the Mexico and Norway Pavilions in the World Showcase at 11am if you can’t get to the World Showcase on another day.  The World Showcase will be buzzing from 1pm through close and it will be very difficult to move around with the heavier crowds, even if the attractions won’t necessarily be that much busier than usual.  If you’re trying to decide between visiting Epcot on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday, I would recommend Friday and then Sunday over Saturday.

Hollywood Studios is not recommended, thanks to the morning Extra Magic Hour that will attract enough Disney resort guests to cause wait times to be much longer than recommended days.  With Toy Story Mania’s hourly capacity under 1,000 riders and a total of six rides in the Park, it doesn’t take many more people to increase wait times substantially.  You can have success from 8am – 11am if you are Extra Magic Hours eligible, but the afternoon and evening are going to be busier than just about any day this week.  Avoid it unless you can’t visit any other day or plan to arrive by 7:30am to take advantage of low crowds in the morning.  With Magic Kingdom attracting so many people, you can have a viable day at the Studios.  But tomorrow would be considerably better.

Whoa nelly.  Saturdays are naturally the busiest day of the week at the Magic Kingdom.  We have longer hours of operation, visiting locals, and a lot of vacationers who will be visiting the Magic Kingdom for a second time before returning home tomorrow.  On top of that, Main Street Electrical Parade is only scheduled on three nights this week.  Because the Parade is so popular, a lot of people will visit on a day that they can see it, like today.  AND THEN ON TOP OF THAT, we also have the extremely popular evening Extra Magic Hours at Magic Kingdom to attract Disney resort guests.  As if Disney needed to do anything to increase already naturally heavy crowds.  It’s by the far the busiest day of the week at Magic Kingdom, especially with the higher overall crowd level for the holiday, marathon, and New Jersey crowds.  However, you can have a moderate amount of success today if you arrive prior to 9am and head straight for the headlining or Fantasyland attractions.  The afternoon will be busier than any other day this week and you’ll want to take a break from 2pm to at least 7pm when crowds peak.  You can also do very well in the late evening, particularly after 10pm when most families are already gone.  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. .  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 and Fantasyland will be nearly desolate.  Save Journey of the Little Mermaid and Winnie the Pooh for the very end of the night.  Stay through close because crowds will only get lower as it gets later in the evening.  Magic Kingdom is also hosting evening Extra Magic Hours tomorrow.  Sunday will see lower crowds if you’re trying to decide between tonight and tomorrow.

Sunday November 10

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 7pm (Recommended)

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

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Not Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

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

Fantasmic: 6:30pm and 8pm

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

Evening Extra Magic Hours: 12am – 2am

Celebrate a Dream Come True Parade: 3pm, Main Street Electrical Parade: 8pm and 10pm, Wishes Fireworks: 9pm

Animal Kingdom is recommended, though yesterday would have been better in most scenarios.  While there should actually be fewer people in Animal Kingdom today, your other choices yesterday weren’t as good.  Most people will want to take advantage of the much lower crowds at Hollywood Studios and both Magic Kingdom and Epcot will be less crowded than yesterday, even if they aren’t expressly recommended.  To have success, plan to arrive prior to Park opening and head straight for Kilimanjaro Safaris and Expedition Everest.  After those two attractions, head to DinoLand USA for Primeval Whirl and DINOSAUR, Festival of the Lion King, or the most popular characters.  You shouldn’t run into any problems if you use FASTPASS throughout the day to re-ride Everest or the Safaris if they’re of interest.  Crowds disperse shortly after the 3:45pm Parade, making 5:30pm through close an excellent time to visit the major attractions as well.

Epcot isn’t recommended due to heavier than usual crowds for the Food and Wine Festival.  Locals tend to visit primarily on Saturdays, but Sundays are also popular, especially on holiday weekends like this one.  While a lot of Marathon runners and their families will be sleeping in after a late night, we can expect some to show up later in the afternoon for one of the two last opportunities to hit the food/wine booths.  In addition, Magic Kingdom will be more popular yesterday than today, causing a lot of casual vacationers to hit Magic Kingdom on Saturday and Epcot today.  If you need to visit one day over the weekend, Friday would be best, followed by Sunday.  As far as overall crowds are concerned, we’re much better off waiting until Tuesday or Wednesday (ideally), when we don’t need to be as concerned about locals and the Food/Wine Festival is over.  If you do visit today, arrive as early in the morning as possible and head straight for the most popular attractions.  Try to move up to the Mexico and Norway Pavilions by 11am to stay in front of the Food and Wine Festival crowds that will only increase as it gets later in the day.

Hollywood Studios is the most recommended Park today.  We’re in between yesterday’s popular morning Extra Magic Hour and tomorrow’s even more popular evening Extra Magic Hours.  While the addition of Fantasmic to almost every day this week keeps crowds somewhat static from day to day, today is the best day of the week to visit with Magic Kingdom and Epcot being so much more popular.  Like any other day, it’s more important to arrive prior to Park opening and take care of Toy Story Midway Mania and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster than it is to simply pick the “right day.”  Once you get through the two headliners, you have little to worry about for the rest of the day, particularly if you get to Tower of Terror and Star Tours right after.  After that, it’s just a matter of making to the Studios’ high capacity shows and attractions.  You may also want to prioritize characters that will have longer afternoon waits.  The Toy Story characters across from Toy Story Midway Mania tend to have the longest waits in Hollywood Studios.  Phineas & Ferb are also popular. They greet guests near Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano and across from the exit to Muppet Vision 3D.  Check the week’s Times Guide to verify appearance times.  Two other popular characters appear in the Animation Building in the Animation Courtyard.  Sorcerer Mickey in particular has long afternoon waits and The Incredibles characters also tend to have decent lines.  Since both characters meet indoors and their lines aren’t usually over 20 minutes long, you should be able to find them with decent waits later in the day if you have other morning priorities.  Finally, you’ll find some characters in the morning near Mickey’s Sorcerer’s Hat that won’t appear later in the afternoon.  Minnie Mouse, Daisy Duck, Chip, Dale, Friends of Winnie the Pooh, Goofy, and Pluto are all common, but no specific character is guaranteed to appear.  For Fantasmic, I highly recommend 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 6:30pm show.  On the Disney Dining Plan, it costs the same one table service credit at Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano or Hollywood & Vine that you would pay without the Package.  At Hollywood Brown Derby, the cost is the same two credits.  In addition to the Fantasmic tickets, you also receive an appetizer, which you wouldn’t normally receive on the Dining Plan.  Out of pocket, it “makes sense” if you order the more expensive items on the menu and take advantage of the relatively stress-free way to see Fantasmic.   If you’re not interested in the Package or it’s no longer available, see the 8pm show. It will be less crowded than the first and only require an arrival of 15 to 30 minutes to score seats together. As far as general seating is concerned, the best seats are about half way up in the middle sections, but be prepared to arrive an hour or more early for those seats.  Any closer and you run the risk of getting wet and it’s more difficult to see what’s happening on the water.  Overall, it’s a great day to visit the Studios, but you’ll still want to arrive early and tour efficiently to have the most success.

We have rare back-to-back evening Extra Magic Hours at Magic Kingdom.  Today would be less crowded than yesterday, but will still be significantly busier than any of the next five days.  Part of that is due to the heavier crowds for the holiday and marathon this weekend.  You can do well in the morning from 8am – 10am and from 10pm – 2am, but the afternoon is going to be busy.  This past Friday would have been significantly less crowded and tomorrow will also be less crowded, despite the Veteran’s Day holiday.

Monday November 11

Veteran’s Day

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

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

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

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Not Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

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

Evening Extra Magic Hours: 8pm – 10pm

Fantasmic: 6:30pm and 8pm

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

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party

Celebrate a Dream Come True Parade: 3pm, Main Street Electrical Parade: none, Wishes Fireworks: none

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 one of the more popular theme parks regardless of the Extra Magic Hours schedule.  Still, there are better days to visit the Animal Kingdom than today, including tomorrow, 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 not recommended with the Food and Wine Festival continuing through today.  The Festival will only cause crowds to be heavier.  You can still make Epcot work, but it’s going to be even more important to arrive prior to Park opening and take care of Test Track, Sum of All Thrills, Mission: Space, and Soarin’ first thing.  Move up to World Showcase beginning right at 11am to dodge the crowds as much as possible, whether you’re interested in the attractions/Pavilions themselves or the Food/Wine booths.  This would also make a good half day if you want to get out of dodge around 2pm when World Showcase begins to swell.  Tomorrow will be less crowded, particularly if you’re Extra Magic Hours eligible and arrive by 7:30am.  If you’re not Extra Magic Hours eligible, the morning today will be slightly better because you’ll have a better opportunity to get to Test Track or Soarin’ early, but it’s going to be much busier from 11am through close.  This coming Wednesday is really the next ideal day and Thursday is also highly recommended if you can put Epcot off until then.

Hollywood Studios will be busy due to the evening Extra Magic Hours that are popular with Disney resort guests.  The short hours at Magic Kingdom will also cause a lot of people to look elsewhere and they’ll find the Studios’ longer hours of operation and plentiful evening entertainment to be extremely attractive.  The morning will be an okay time to tour, but crowds will increase around 11am as more and more Disney resort guests arrive.  Because of that, there’s really no reason to head in that direction today.  Plus, there are only a few attractions open during evening Extra Magic Hours 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 until after 10pm when people begin to give up and exit.  Fantasmic also dumps 9,000+ people on Sunset Boulevard at 7pm and again at 8:30pm, which is right next to Tower of Terror and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster.  Guess where most of those people will be headed?  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.  Still, the Studios is going to be swamped, relatively speaking, and yesterday or tomorrow would be better.  Thursday will be the least crowded day of the week to visit, but the 4pm close is awfully early.

Magic Kingdom is the most recommended Park.  While we avoid Magic Kingdom on most holidays throughout the year, Veterans Day isn’t a big draw, especially with the short hours of operation and more popular Thanksgiving holiday coming up in about two weeks.  We’re also coming off a very busy weekend with the Marathon/Jersey Week/Last Weekend of the Food and Wine Festival crowds.  While Mondays are ordinarily poplar with those on a traditional weeklong vacation, the lack of evening entertainment will be enough to sway a lot of them to visit another Park.  Stay right up until 7pm if you like because crowds will actually decrease after 5pm as more and more people leave for dinner or another destination.  As always, you’ll find the most success if you arrive prior to opening and head straight for Space/Big Thunder/Splash Mountains or Fantasyland.  You’ll be able to plow through an amazing number of attractions between 9am – 11am with light crowds everywhere you go.  Use FASTPASS throughout the day and you should be able to do just about every major ride and many of the secondary attractions as well.  If you would also like to see the Main Street Electrical Parade and Wishes, consider spending a second day at the Magic Kingdom when those nighttime spectaculars are scheduled.  Wednesday is the best day of the week to see the entertainment, but it’s still going to be significantly more crowded than a Party date.  Ideally, you would Park Hop over to the Magic Kingdom in the afternoon or evening on Wednesday, after spending the majority of your day at a Park with lower crowds.  Either way, focus on getting the most popular attractions out of the way today and return to the Magic Kingdom for the nighttime spectaculars on another date.  With only one day to spend at the Magic Kingdom, you’ll need to decide whether seeing Wishes and the Main Street Electrical Parade is worth spending the day in heavier crowds.  If you’re looking to extend your day without adding Park Hopper or splurging on Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, you have a few options.  First, you can very easily transfer to the Contemporary, Polynesian, or Grand Floridian resorts for dinner.  From these resorts, you can also see the Holiday Wishes Fireworks show that begins at 9:30pm.  The best is the Polynesian Resort’s Beach, which has a direct view of Cinderella Castle and has the music piped in on speakers.  My second favorite view is from the 4th floor observation deck at the Contemporary Resort, where the music is also piped in.  If there are a lot of people outside on the deck, look to the stairs on your left or right.  You can walk up a few floors and stand on the public balconies that overlook the same area.  The view from the boat dock at the Ticket and Transportation Center is also good and relatively easy to get to.  Simply take the Ferry or Monorail over from Magic Kingdom.  At the Grand Floridian, the best views are at the marina outside Gasparilla Grill and the boat dock that services Magic Kingdom.  You can also view the Fireworks show from the beach at Fort Wilderness, though that resort is a bit out of the way by bus or boat.  Because Disney will be running the Resort Monorail through 12:30am and running buses to and from Magic Kingdom until at least 1am to transport Party guests, you can very easily visit the resorts for free, see the Holiday Wishes Fireworks show from a recommended location, and return to your resort at your convenience.  In a perfect world, I would schedule dinner at Kona Café at the Polynesian or The Wave at the Contemporary around 7:30pm.  I’d enjoy a leisurely dinner, tour the resort a bit, and then head out for the Fireworks.

Tuesday November 12

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

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

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Tentatively Recommended)

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Illuminations: 9pm

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 8pm (Recommended)

Fantasmic: 6:30pm

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

Celebrate a Dream Come True Parade: 3pm, Main Street Electrical Parade: 8pm and 10pm, Wishes Fireworks: 9pm

Animal Kingdom is the most recommended Park.  We don’t have special events, Extra Magic Hours, or anything specific drawing people toward it.  The morning Extra Magic Hours on both sides will be more popular with Disney resort guests.  It’s also early enough in the week that many people on weeklong vacations will be saving Animal Kingdom for later in the week.  Finally, we have a popular morning Extra Magic Hour at Disney World’s second most popular theme park and popular evening entertainment/longer hours of operation at Magic Kingdom to help pull people away.  To have the most success, arrive prior to Park opening and head straight for Kilimanjaro Safaris and Expedition Everest.  Once you get through these two attractions, you have little to worry about other than trying to get to the scheduled shows.  Despite “only” being open eight hours, you can still see most of what the Animal Kingdom has to offer in one day, provided you arrive early in the morning, tour efficiently, use FASTPASS in the afternoon, 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 return to any favorites from 4:15pm through close when waits will be shorter than the afternoon.

Epcot is tentatively recommended as we come off of a very crowded four day weekend with the holiday and the conclusion of the Food and Wine Festival.  If you’re Extra Magic Hours eligible, you can have a ton of success if you hit Test Track and Soarin’ first thing in the morning and then move over to Sum of All Thrills and Mission: SPACE.  The morning Extra Magic Hour will bring in a moderate number of Disney resort guests, but not enough to make it busier than the last four days.  Magic Kingdom will be a bigger draw with the evening entertainment and slightly longer hours of operation.  If possible, tomorrow will be less crowded, particularly if you’re not Extra Magic Hours eligible or can’t arrive until 9am or later.

Hollywood Studios is recommended.  We’re coming off a busy day yesterday with the evening Extra Magic Hours and it’s early enough in the week that most casual vacationers will be intent on visiting Magic Kingdom and Epcot.  Despite the recommendation, it’s still imperative to arrive prior to Park opening in order to ride Toy Story Mania and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster with short waits.  Arrive at 10:30am with everyone else and you’ll find 60+ minute waits at Toy Story Mania and FASTPASS return times that are already into the late afternoon.  To have the most success, arrive by 8:30am and head straight to Toy Story Mania, followed by Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, and Star Tours.  Get through these attractions early in the morning or with FASTPASS and you have little to worry about for the rest of the day, other than keeping an eye on the time to make all of those scheduled stage shows.  Use FASTPASS throughout the day and you should have no trouble riding any of the major attractions a second time.  Toy Story Mania is your top priority because FASTPASSes are extremely limited.  You may also want to prioritize the Toy Story, Phineas and Ferb, or Sorcerer Mickey characters.  In addition, characters appear at Mickey’s Sorcerer’s Hat in the early morning that won’t appear during any other part of the day.  Usually, Minnie, Pluto, Chip, Dale, Donald, Daisy, Piglet, and Tigger appear, but no specific characters are guaranteed.  For Fantasmic, consider the Fantasmic Dining Package that guarantees everyone on the reservation a seat in the reserved section of the Fantasmic theater.  It will still require you to arrive at least 30 minutes early, or you run the risk of Disney opening the reserved section up to the general population, but it saves the stress of having to decide when it’s time to line up and decreases the overall wait.  The Fantasmic Dining Package makes the most sense on the Disney Dining Plan because it costs the same one table service credit at Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano or Hollywood & Vine and two table service credits at Hollywood Brown Derby that you would pay otherwise.  Plus, it includes the appetizer, which you normally wouldn’t receive on the Disney Dining Plan.  Without the Package, you’ll need to be prepared to arrive a full hour early in order to secure decent seats together.  While it’s officially a recommended day, arriving prior to Park opening and hitting the headliners first thing is more important than which day you pick.  Arrive at 11am, no matter the recommendation or the overall crowd level, and you’ll be looking at long lines at Toy Story Mania and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster.

Magic Kingdom is not recommended.  With Mickey’s Christmas Party yesterday, today basically functions as your usual Monday, which is almost always an avoided day at Magic Kingdom due to the number of people that arrive on Sunday for a weeklong vacation and naturally head to Magic Kingdom on their first full day.  Sorry that sentence was so long.  Most casual vacationers prefer to visit Magic Kingdom when it’s open later and offers evening entertainment.  That’s perfectly reasonable as you may be spending thousands of dollars to visit Walt Disney World and you want to see the million dollar shows.  However, that does come with increased crowds because so many other people feel the same way.  The fact that we’re coming off such an unpopular day doesn’t help either.  Tomorrow would be a better day to visit Magic Kingdom if you are interested in Wishes.  While Epcot’s morning Extra Magic Hour will prove popular, it won’t be as popular as Friday’s evening Extra Magic Hours.  Yesterday along with this coming Thursday and Friday would be less crowded.  Tomorrow is recommended if you’d like to experience the nighttime spectaculars.  With that said, you can have a lot of success today if you arrive prior to Park opening and take care of whatever you deem most important first thing.  That may be a popular character, the Fantasyland Attractions, Astro Orbiter, or whatever else. Use FASTPASS in the late morning, take an afternoon break from 1pm to 5pm or so to rest up for the nighttime entertainment, and return in the evening to enjoy the spectaculars.  However, the afternoon is going to be busy and nighttime crowds will also be heavy. Plan to see the 10pm Parade if you do visit because it will be far less crowded and lead to an easier exit.

Wednesday November 13

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 5pm (Not Recommended)

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

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

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Most Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 8pm (Recommended)

Fantasmic: 6:30pm and 8pm

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

Celebrate a Dream Come True Parade: 3pm, Main Street Electrical Parade: 8pm, Wishes Fireworks: 9pm

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 to send guests in two different directions.  While the nighttime entertainment at Magic Kingdom helps, it won’t pull enough people away to make Animal Kingdom less crowded than other days during the week.  Avoid it unless you’re certainly that you’ll arrive by 7:40am to take advantage of the Extra Magic Hour or simply can’t visit another day.

Epcot is the most recommended Park and the best day to visit since last Thursday.  We have Main Street Electrical Parade pulling people towards Magic Kingdom and Fantasmic at Hollywood Studios continuing to draw crowds.  Animal Kingdom will also be popular with Disney resort guests.  Plan to arrive prior to Park opening and head straight to Test Track, Sum of All Thrills, Mission: Space, and Soarin’ or follow a more compartmentalized two-day touring plan if you prefer.  If you arrive later, plan to rely on FASTPASS at Test Track and Soarin’.  Both will have 60+ minute waits for most of the day after 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 recommended.   We have a popular day at Magic Kingdom with the evening entertainment and Animal Kingdom will be more attractive to Disney resort guests.  Despite the recommendation, it’s still imperative to arrive prior to Park opening in order to ride Toy Story Mania and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster with short waits.  Arrive at 10:30am with everyone else and you’ll find 60+ minute waits at Toy Story Mania.  To have the most success, arrive by 8:20am and head straight to Toy Story Mania, followed by Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, and Star Tours.  Get through these attractions early in the morning or with FASTPASS and you have little to worry about for the rest of the day, other than keeping an eye on the time to make all of those scheduled stage shows.  Use FASTPASS throughout the day and you should have no trouble riding any of the major attractions a second time.  Toy Story Mania is your top priority.  Also consider prioritizing the Toy Story character meet across from Toy Story Midway Mania or Phineas/Ferb in the Streets of America if you have interest in meeting either.  Both characters will see afternoon waits in the 20 to 45 minute range and they don’t offer FASTPASS.  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 tentatively recommended, though this will be the fourth busiest day of the week there.  We have longer hours of operation and a very rare Main Street Electrical Parade scheduled at 8pm.  Anyone who wants to see Main Street Electrical Parade and doesn’t have Park Hopper (and many that do) will have to spend most of their day at the Magic Kingdom in order to see the Parade at night.  While the Magic Kingdom may be busier than other days this week, many people do want to see the Parade and Wishes Fireworks show and this is your best opportunity to do both.  Ideally, you would Park Hop over to Magic Kingdom in the late afternoon or early evening, after spending the majority of your day at a Park that’s recommended higher.  This way, you can enjoy short lines and low crowds and still see the Magic Kingdom’s nighttime spectaculars.  Without Park Hopper, you’ll want to arrive prior to 9am and head straight for the most popular attractions on your itinerary.  The 9am to 11am timeframe is always the best time to tour, regardless of overall crowd level or what day you visit.  You’ll be able to get a lot done in those first two or three hours, but crowds will begin to build around 11am and will continue to be moderately heavy until the end of the night.  Plan to move on to some of the less popular attractions in the afternoon and/or take a lengthy afternoon break when crowds are at their highest.  You can then return to the Magic Kingdom around 5pm for dinner, Main Street Electrical Parade, and Wishes.  This is always the second best plan of attack (second to only the evening Park Hop) when you’re trying to see evening shows that aren’t scheduled often enough.  Overall, Magic Kingdom is recommended if you tour during the recommended times and make efficient use of the morning and FASTPASS.  It will be more crowded in the afternoon than several other days this week.  You’ll want to visit on a Mickey’s Party date if all you care about is low crowds.  For the Main Street Electrical Parade, I recommend staking out a spot along the Parade route in Frontierland or Liberty Square.  Both areas are significantly less crowded than Main Street.  You can then move to Main Street for Wishes.  Both Thursday (even with the morning Extra Magic Hour) and Friday will be less crowded.  Friday is the best day of the week to visit.

Thursday November 14

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

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

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Not Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 4pm (Most Recommended)

Fantasmic: none

Magic Kingdom: 9am – 7pm (Recommended)

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Celebrate a Dream Come True Parade: 3pm, Main Street Electrical Parade: none, Wishes Fireworks: none

Animal Kingdom is not recommended.  While it’s true we’re coming off a popular day yesterday thanks to the morning Extra Magic Hour, it won’t do much to sway the sizable off-site contingent interested in visiting after first going to Magic Kingdom, Epcot, and Hollywood Studios earlier in the week.  Since Animal Kingdom is Disney World’s least favorite theme park and the most likely to be pushed back, people tend to visit when there’s less going on elsewhere.  We don’t have evening entertainment at Magic Kingdom this evening and the short hours won’t be attracting anyone.  Magic Kingdom’s morning Extra Magic Hour won’t have its usual effect because so many Disney resort guests will see the 7pm close and ignore the Extra Magic Hour.  Hollywood Studios will not be attracting large crowds with the 4pm close.  With several recommended days around us, there’s really no reason to chance Animal Kingdom.  With nothing specific attracting guests, you can still have success should you not be able to schedule Animal Kingdom on a recommended day.  Arrive prior to opening, take care of Kilimanjaro Safaris and Expedition Everest first thing or use FASTPASS, and get over to DinoLand before 10:30am and you should be golden.  But crowds and waits will be higher than recommended days.

Epcot is not recommended.  Magic Kingdom will not be drawing sizable crowds with the 7pm close.  The Studios will also be seeing low crowds with the 4pm close and lack of Fantasmic and we don’t have the more popular evening Extra Magic Hours scheduled anywhere.  With that said, there is nothing specific attracting crowds toward Epcot and you can still do very well if you arrive by 8:30am and take care of your priorities first thing in the morning.

Hollywood Studios is our best Park to visit and you can expect to find the lowest crowds and shortest wait times of the entire month, thanks to the short hours and lack of evening entertainment.  Very few people will consider visiting the Studios when it closes at 4pm.  You can have a tremendous amount of success from 9am – 11am.  The only downside is that the hours are so short and there won’t be as big of a drop off in the early evening as there is when the Studios closes at 6pm and doesn’t offer Fantasmic.  Still, stay through 4pm because you’ll be able to get one last ride on whatever you desire.  Your basic plan should remain the same.  Plan to arrive at 8:20am and head straight for Toy Story Midway Mania, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, and Star Tours.  It’s hard to say what the entertainment/character schedule will look like, since the early close is somewhat unprecedented.  Watch the site for updates as the date draws closer.  Afterwards, you have an excellent opportunity to Park Hop elsewhere.  It would also be a good opportunity to do Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.

The Magic Kingdom is recommended today, which is rare for a day with a morning Extra Magic Hour attached.  However, the 9am to 7pm operating schedule and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party in the evening make the Magic Kingdom significantly less crowded.  While the Extra Magic Hours schedule is a major deciding factor for Disney resort guests because many of them feel like it’s Disney’s way of dictating where they belong each day, the short hours will be a bigger turn off.  Over the past several years, Thursdays with a morning Extra Magic Hour and a 7pm close have not been much busier than other Mickey’s Party dates over the course of the week.  Days with longer hours of operation and nighttime entertainment remain much more popular.  In other words, the morning Extra Magic Hour will attract some Disney resort guests, but the short hours of operation and Fantasmic at Hollywood Studios will cause many of them to head elsewhere.  Off-site visitors are much more likely to visit on Saturday.  If you are Extra Magic Hours eligible, you can have a huge amount of success if you arrive by 7:40am and head straight for Fantasyland.  You should have no trouble riding all Fantasyland attractions in the first hour and you can move to the headlining Mountain rides or popular characters after that.  If you aren’t Extra Magic Hours eligible or don’t arrive until after 9am, head straight for Fantasyland or Tomorrowland where you should find short standby waits and plenty of FASTPASS availability.  Tomorrow will be slightly less crowded overall.  If you’re not Extra Magic Hours eligible or don’t plan to arrive until after 9am, then Friday would be the better choice.

Friday November 15

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 5pm (Recommended)

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

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Not Recommended)

Evening Extra Magic Hours: 9pm – 11pm

Illuminations: 9pm

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

Fantasmic: 6:30pm and 8pm

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

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party

Celebrate a Dream Come True Parade: 3pm, Main Street Electrical Parade: none, Wishes Fireworks: none

Animal Kingdom is recommended, though it isn’t the best day of the week there.  Most people will want to take advantage of the lower crowds at Magic Kingdom, but Animal Kingdom is certainly a viable alternative.  If you’re trying to decide whether to visit Magic Kingdom/Animal Kingdom today or tomorrow, then I would go with Magic Kingdom today and Animal Kingdom tomorrow.  That way, locals are much less of a concern.  The main problem with Animal Kingdom is that Magic Kingdom closes at 7pm and doesn’t offer evening entertainment of any kind during regular Park hours.  Most casual vacationers will avoid it because of that and they’ll naturally head to one of the other three major theme parks.  Luckily, Epcot’s evening Extra Magic Hours are always popular and will draw a lot of Disney resort guests.  Hollywood Studios will remain busy with the decent operating hours and Fantasmic.  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/DINOSAUR, visit the characters, or see the first Festival of the Lion King and/or 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 5pm because waits will only decrease from 4:15pm 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 an excellent 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.  The last hour of Extra Magic Hours is always the least crowded, so plan to stay until 11pm and head back to Soarin’ and Test Track after 10pm.  Skip Illuminations if you’ll be here on another night because it will be more crowded than usual.

Hollywood Studios is not expressly recommended.  The major problem is the early close and lack of evening entertainment at Magic Kingdom.  When Magic Kingdom isn’t attracting a lot of people, we can have 30,000+ people looking to visit a different theme park.  Epcot will be more popular with Disney resort guests with the evening Extra Magic Hours, but that won’t do much to sway the sizable off-site contingent.  We’re also coming off an extremely unpopular day yesterday with the 4pm close.  You can certainly make today work by following the tried and true advice.  Arrive prior to Park opening and head straight for Toy Story Midway Mania and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster.  You may also want to prioritize the Toy Story characters across from Toy Story Mania or Phineas/Ferb near Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano because wait times can hit 30+ minutes and FASTPASS isn’t an option.  Your other two ride priorities are Tower of Terror and Star Tours, but both are easier to FASTPASS in the afternoon and won’t see wait times anywhere near as high as Toy Story or Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster.

Magic Kingdom is our best choice as far as crowds are concerned.  This may seem like an odd statement, considering that the operating hours are just 9am to 7pm, but that’s precisely why crowds will be so low.  The great majority of Disney vacationers would prefer to visit the Parks when the hours are longer because it seems like more time in the Parks equates to higher value for your money.  That seems logical considering the cost to enter the Parks is the same, regardless if Magic Kingdom is open from 8am to 1am or 9am to 7pm.  However, crowds are so much lower on Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party days that you’ll actually be able to get more done in a shorter amount of time.  Most off-site vacationers will hold off until tomorrow for the longer hours, Main Street Electrical Parade, and Wishes and a decent number of Disney resort guests will have visited yesterday for the morning Extra Magic Hour (or will also wait until tomorrow).  All of this leaves us with ample opportunity to get on the headlining and Fantasyland rides with minimal waits.  As always, you’ll find the most success if you arrive prior to opening and head straight for Space/Big Thunder/Splash Mountains or Fantasyland.   Use FASTPASS throughout the day and you should be able to do just about every major ride and many of the secondary attractions as well.  If you would also like to see the Main Street Electrical Parade and Wishes, consider spending a second day at the Magic Kingdom when those nighttime spectaculars are scheduled.  Wednesday was the best day of the week to see the entertainment, but it’s still going to be significantly more crowded than a Party date.  Ideally, you would Park Hop over to the Magic Kingdom in the afternoon or evening on Wednesday, after spending the majority of your day at a Park with lower crowds.  Either way, focus on getting the most popular attractions out of the way today and return to the Magic Kingdom for the nighttime spectaculars on another date.  With only one day to spend at the Magic Kingdom, you’ll need to decide whether seeing Wishes and the Main Street Electrical Parade is worth spending the day in heavier crowds.  If you’re looking to extend your day without adding Park Hopper or splurging on Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, you have a few options.  First, you can very easily transfer to the Contemporary, Polynesian, or Grand Floridian resorts for dinner.  From these resorts, you can also see the Holiday Wishes Fireworks show that begins at 9:30pm.  The best is the Polynesian Resort’s Beach, which has a direct view of Cinderella Castle and has the music piped in on speakers.  My second favorite view is from the 4th floor observation deck at the Contemporary Resort, where the music is also piped in.  If there are a lot of people outside on the deck, look to the stairs on your left or right.  You can walk up a few floors and stand on the public balconies that overlook the same area.  The view from the boat dock at the Ticket and Transportation Center is also good and relatively easy to get to.  Simply take the Ferry or Monorail over from Magic Kingdom.  At the Grand Floridian, the best views are at the marina outside Gasparilla Grill and the boat dock that services Magic Kingdom.  You can also view the Fireworks show from the beach at Fort Wilderness, though that resort is a bit out of the way by bus or boat.  Because Disney will be running the Resort Monorail through 12:30am and running buses to and from Magic Kingdom until at least 1am to transport Party guests, you can very easily visit the resorts for free, see the Holiday Wishes Fireworks show from a recommended location, and return to your resort at your convenience.  In a perfect world, I would schedule dinner at Kona Café at the Polynesian or The Wave at the Contemporary around 7:30pm.  I’d enjoy a leisurely dinner, tour the resort a bit, and then head out for the Fireworks.

Saturday November 16

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

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

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Most Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

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

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Fantasmic: 6:30pm and 8pm

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

Celebrate a Dream Come True Parade: 3pm, Main Street Electrical Parade: 8pm and 10pm, Wishes Fireworks: 9pm

Animal Kingdom comes recommended yet again, though visiting Epcot makes more sense in most situations.  We don’t have Extra Magic Hours, special events, or longer hours of operation to attract Disney vacationers of any sort.  Hollywood Studios will be popular with Disney resort guests and Magic Kingdom will pull significant crowds with the longer hours of operation and both nighttime spectaculars.  To take full advantage of the low crowd level, arrive prior to Park opening and follow one of the Animal Kingdom touring plans.  You’ll be able to get a ton done between 9am – 10:30am and be in a great position to get over to the first Festival of the Lion King and/or Finding Nemo Musical shows.  Those shows do get popular in the afternoon, so seeing them in the early morning means you’ll have better seats and won’t have to show up as early.  If you don’t arrive early, visit DinoLand with two hours to close and Asia in the final hour, finishing up with Expedition Everest.  A lot of people leave after the 3:45pm Parade and the attractions have shorter waits in the evening than they did in the afternoon.

Epcot is our best Park to visit.  Last night’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 early and head straight to Test Track, Sum of All Thrills, Mission: Space, and Soarin’ or follow a more compartmentalized two-day plan.  It’s also an excellent day to stay for IllumiNations and enjoy the World Showcase in the afternoon.  To have the most success, move up through World Showcase beginning around 11am.  That will put you well ahead of the crowds until at least 3pm and you’ll be among the first people to enter each of the World Showcase Pavilions, until you make it to the American Adventure.

Hollywood Studios is not recommended, thanks to the morning Extra Magic Hour that will attract Disney resort guests. You can have success from 8am – 10am if you are Extra Magic Hours eligible, but the afternoon and evening are going to be busier than just about any day this week.  Avoid it unless you can’t visit any other day or plan to arrive by 7:30am to take advantage of low crowds in the morning.

Saturdays are naturally the busiest day of the week at the Magic Kingdom.  We have longer hours of operation, visiting locals, and a lot of vacationers who will be visiting the Magic Kingdom for a second time before returning home tomorrow.  On top of that, Main Street Electrical Parade is only scheduled on four nights this week.  Because the Parade is so popular, a lot of people will visit on a day that they can see it, like today.  All of this makes me hesitant about recommending the Magic Kingdom, despite a lack of Extra Magic Hours.  Yesterday and tomorrow would be much better days to tour, but you can have a moderate amount of success today if you arrive prior to 9am and head straight for the headlining or Fantasyland attractions.  The afternoon will be busier than any other day this week and you’ll either want to take a break and return for the Electrical Parade and Wishes or visit the less popular attractions from 2pm – 6pm.  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.  The crowd level at Magic Kingdom in particular will be much higher than the overall crowd level indicates.

Sunday November 17

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

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

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

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

Evening Extra Magic Hours: 8pm – 10pm

Fantasmic: 6:30pm and 8pm

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

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party

Celebrate a Dream Come True Parade: 3pm, Main Street Electrical Parade: none, Wishes Fireworks: none

Animal Kingdom is highly recommended.  Hollywood Studios will be crowded with evening Extra Magic Hours.  Disney resort guests are more likely to visit Animal Kingdom tomorrow or Wednesday for morning Extra Magic Hour.  Despite “only” having nine hours at the Animal Kingdom during the day, you should be able to do just about everything the Park has to offer if you arrive close to Park opening.  Focus on riding Kilimanjaro Safaris and Expedition Everest as early as possible or use FASTPAS later in the day (or both).  After getting those out of the way, move on to DinoLand USA or one of the more popular shows – either Finding Nemo the Musical or Festival of the Lion King and you’ll be set for the rest of the day.  Keep in mind that crowds disperse shortly after the 3:45pm Parade and 4:15pm – 5pm will have shorter waits than the afternoon.  You also have a great opportunity to Park Hop after the Park closes.  You could head to Epcot for dinner and IllumiNations 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 if you need a day there.  Hollywood Studios will be attracting a lot of people for Fantasmic and evening Extra Magic Hours.  The only downside to visiting Epcot is the fact that Magic Kingdom isn’t going to be popular with short hours and lack of evening entertainment.  I’m looking towards tomorrow as a better day to visit Epcot, though today is also above average.  You will have the most success if you arrive prior to opening and head straight to Test Track, Sum of All Thrills, Mission: Space, and Soarin’ or follow a more compartmentalized two-day plan.  It’s also a great day to stay for dinner, Illuminations, and the Candlelight Processional.  Most people will want to take advantage of the lower crowds at Magic Kingdom and put off Epcot for tomorrow.

Hollywood Studios will be busy due to the evening Extra Magic Hours that are popular with Disney resort guests.  The short hours at Magic Kingdom will also cause a lot of people to look elsewhere and they’ll find the Studios’ longer hours of operation and plentiful evening entertainment to be extremely attractive.  The morning will be an okay time to tour, but crowds will increase around 11am as more and more Disney resort guests arrive.  Because of that, there’s really no reason to head in that direction today.  Plus, there are only a few attractions open during evening Extra Magic Hours 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 until after 9:30pm when people begin to give up and exit.  Fantasmic also dumps 9,000+ people on Sunset Boulevard at 7pm and again at 8:30pm, which is right next to Tower of Terror and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster.  Guess where most of those people will be headed?  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.  Still, the Studios is going to be swamped, relatively speaking, and tomorrow or Wednesday would be much better days to visit.

Magic Kingdom is the most recommended Park.  The short hours and lack of evening entertainment will cause a lot of casual vacationers to head elsewhere.  We’re in between yesterday’s very popular longer hours of operation/both nighttime spectaculars and have a similar schedule tomorrow with evening Extra Magic Hours attached.  On top of that, Sunday is a major travel day for those on a standard weeklong Disney vacation.  With the early close, virtually none of them will start out with an abbreviated day at Magic Kingdom.  Few people that arrived on Saturday will also visit a theme park with a seemingly short day and no nighttime spectaculars.  Tomorrow will also be significantly more crowded.  If you’re looking to visit Magic Kingdom over two days, then you may want to visit on a Mickey’s Party date and another day where you can enjoy the nighttime spectaculars.  This coming Wednesday would be the least crowded day to take in the Electrical Parade and Wishes as well as enjoy the Magic Kingdom as it gets dark.  If you’re planning just one day at Magic Kingdom, then you’ll need to weigh whether you’re willing to put up with heavier crowds in order to enjoy both nighttime spectaculars.  While the 7pm close may seem a bit truncated, I can assure you that ten hours is a long time to spend in a theme park.  If you arrive by 8:40am, you’ll be able to accomplish an amazing number of attractions in a short period of time if you head straight for Fantasyland or other important attractions, use FASTPASS in the afternoon, and visit the less popular attractions in the afternoon.  Crowds will only diminish from 4pm to 6pm as people leave for dining reservations and other activities.  Around 6pm you will begin to see an influx of people arriving for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, but they tend to congregate on Main Street waiting for their Party to begin, rather than heading for the attractions.  Stay through 7pm because wait times will only decrease from their afternoon highs as it gets closer to 7pm.  One thing about staying through 7pm is that at exactly 7pm (and possibly a couple of minutes before), the special characters will begin appearing for the Party.  If you’re not planning to do the Party and have kids, you may want to leave around 6:30pm.  Otherwise, your children may encounter a bunch of characters that they won’t be allowed to visit because you must have a Party bracelet to get in line.  There are no exceptions.  Other than those minor inconveniences, this is going to be one of the two least crowded days of the week at Magic Kingdom.  If short lines are a priority, today and Friday are the best days to visit.

Monday November 18

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 5pm (Not Recommended)

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

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

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Highly Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

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

Fantasmic: 6:30pm

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

Evening Extra Magic Hours: 10pm – 12am

Celebrate a Dream Come True Parade: 3pm, Main Street Electrical Parade: 8pm, Wishes Fireworks: 9pm

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.  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.  Or earlier.  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 until Tuesday or Friday if you’re not going to arrive until 9am or later.

Epcot is highly recommended.  It would be the “best Park” if not for the complications regarding Hollywood Studios and Fantasmic.  It’s an excellent choice.  With no special events, Extra Magic Hours, or special evening entertainment, there’s nothing to draw people toward Epcot today.  Most Disney resort guests will hold off until tomorrow for morning Extra Magic Hour and we have a lot of people headed to Magic Kingdom for evening Extra Magic Hours and Main Street Electrical Parade.  To have the most success, arrive prior to Park opening and head to Test Track, Sum of All Thrills, Mission: Space, and Soarin’ or follow one of the compartmentalized two-day touring plans.  To stay ahead of the crowds for as long as possible, move up to the World Showcase beginning at 11am with the water rides in Mexico and Norway.  Once you get through Gran Fiesta Tour and Maelstrom, you shouldn’t run into any appreciable waits at the other World Showcase Pavilions.  If you have more to accomplish in Future World, return after 5pm to visit any non-headlining attractions.  Most people will have moved up through World Showcase by this time, decreasing crowds and waits.  If you’d like to ride Soarin’ and Test Track again in the afternoon or evening, plan to rely on FASTPASS.  Check your Times Guide to see which Future World attractions remain open past 7pm – it’s usually only Soarin’, Test Track, Mission: Space, Spaceship Earth, Character Spot. and The Seas with Nemo and Friends.  Finally, it’ an excellent day to stay for dinner and IllumiNations.

Hollywood Studios is the most recommended Park.  We’re coming off two popular days in a row at the Studios due to the Extra Magic Hours that attract the predictable Disney resort contingent.  To have 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 FASTPASSes are extremely limited.  You’ll want to make it your top priority.  Your second priority is Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, which also sees long afternoon waits and FASTPASSes that are limited.  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.  You may also want to prioritize the Toy Story, Phineas and Ferb, or Sorcerer Mickey characters.  In addition, characters appear at Mickey’s Sorcerer’s Hat in the early morning that won’t appear during any other part of the day.  Usually, Minnie, Pluto, Chip, Dale, Donald, Daisy, Stitch, Piglet, and Tigger appear, but no specific characters are guaranteed.  The only other problem most people run into is trying to schedule all of the stage shows that run on a set schedule.  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 30 minutes early, but it’s better than the 60+ minutes early you’ll need to arrive without the package.  It makes the most sense on the Disney Dining Plan because it only costs one table service credit (except at Hollywood Brown Derby, which still costs two 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 middle sections, but be prepared to arrive an hour early for those seats.  Any closer and you run the risk of getting wet and it’s more difficult to see what’s happening on the water.  Overall, it’s one of the two best days of the week to visit the Studios and see Fantasmic, but you’ll still want to arrive early and tour efficiently to have the most success.  This Wednesday is also recommended if you have other plans.

Magic Kingdom is going to be busy today.  Mondays are usually the second busiest day of the week at the Magic Kingdom, second to only Saturdays, for a variety of reasons.  First, a lot of people travel over the weekend and visit Magic Kingdom on their first full day.  In most instances, that day is Monday.  Second, Mondays often feature longer hours, Wishes Fireworks, and Main Street Electrical Parade, when other days during the week have shorter operating hours and don’t offer the Electrical Parade.  Anyone who wants to see the evening entertainment will have to visit on a day when it’s offered, like most Saturdays and Mondays.  Finally, we have evening Extra Magic Hours, which will attract the majority of Disney resort guests (not that they really needed another reason to head here anyway).  While this Saturday should prove to be busier, especially with the incoming Thanksgiving Crowds, today is going to be a close second.  You could have success in the morning from 9am to 11am or so, but you’re much better off waiting until tomorrow, Wednesday, Thursday, or even Friday to visit.  Wednesday will be the best day this week to see Wishes and Main Street Electrical Parade and Tuesday will be substantially less crowded overall.  If you are headed to Magic Kingdom, despite these warnings, you’ll want to arrive prior to 9am and head straight for Fantasyland or the headlining Mountain rides.  You’ll be able to accomplish quite a bit in the first two hours, but crowds will be heavy from 11am until around 10pm.  You’ll either want to take an afternoon break when crowds are at their heaviest or move on to the less popular attractions.  After your break, return to Magic Kingdom in the evening for dinner, the nighttime shows, and Extra Magic Hours.  If you are staying for Extra Magic Hours, begin in Adventureland because most people will head to Tomorrowland and Fantasyland first.  Next, move up through Frontierland and Liberty Square on your way to Tomorrowland.  Save Fantasyland for last because most families will have left by 11pm and Fantasyland will be low on crowds.  For the Main Street Electrical Parade, stake out a spot along the Parade route in Frontierland or Liberty Square.  Both locations offer a great view and will be substantially less crowded than Main Street.  Even so, it will likely be necessary to find your spots about 20 minutes early or you risk being a few rows back.

Tuesday November 19

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

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

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Not Recommended)

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Illuminations: 9pm

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 8pm (Recommended)

Fantasmic: 6:30pm

Magic Kingdom: 9am – 9pm (Recommended)

Celebrate a Dream Come True Parade: 3pm, Main Street Electrical Parade: none, Wishes Fireworks: 9pm

Animal Kingdom is the most recommended Park.  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.  It’s also early enough in the week that many people on weeklong vacations will be saving Animal Kingdom for later in the week. Today and Saturday are the best days this week to visit.  To have the most success, arrive prior to Park opening and head straight for Kilimanjaro Safaris and Expedition Everest.  Once you get through these two attractions, you have little to worry about other than trying to get to the scheduled shows and potentially arriving just before the popular characters first appear.  Finding Nemo and Festival of the Lion King do get busy during the afternoon, 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 and you can easily use FASTPASS if need arises. Even with “only” eight hours to tour, you should have no trouble accomplishing most of what the 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 return to any favorites from 4:15pm through close when waits will be shorter than the afternoon if you have more to accomplish or couldn’t arrive early.

Epcot is not recommended.  We have the morning Extra Magic Hour attracting a decent number of Disney resort guests that choose the theme park they’re going to visit based on the Extra Magic Hours schedule.  Because a lot of Disney resort guests choose to visit Epcot twice over the course of the week, they tend to visit on Tuesdays and Fridays.  While Magic Kingdom’s evening Extra Magic Hours will prove popular, it won’t do enough to make Epcot less crowded than recommended days during the week.  Skip it unless you can’t get there any other day or you’re certain that you’ll arrive prior by 7:30am for the morning Extra Magic Hour and plan to either Park Hop elsewhere or take a break in the afternoon.

Hollywood Studios is recommended, though tomorrow would be better.  Epcot will be more popular with resort guests and it’s still early in the week, which means a lot of casual vacationers will be putting off Disney World’s third most popular theme park for later in the week.  Tomorrow, resort guests will be eying Animal Kingdom with the morning Extra Magic Hour and Magic Kingdom will be a bigger draw with the Electrical Parade.  With nothing specific attracting guests to the Studios, you can do well provided you follow the usual advice.  Arrive prior to Park opening and take care of Toy Story Mania and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster.

Magic Kingdom is recommended, though this past Sunday and this coming Friday would be better.  However, today is the best day of the week to visit and see Wishes in the evening and you also have the benefit of the 9pm close and lower overall crowd level.  To have the most success, arrive prior to Park opening and head straight for Fantasyland or the headlining Mountain rides.  Most people with kids will want to start with Enchanted Tales with Belle, Journey of the Little Mermaid, and Ariel’s Grotto.  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 Wishes.

Wednesday November 20

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 5pm (Not Recommended)

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

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

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Highly Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

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

Fantasmic: 6:30pm

Magic Kingdom: 9am – 9pm (Tentatively Recommended for Nighttime Entertainment)

Celebrate a Dream Come True Parade: 3pm, Main Street Electrical Parade: 8pm, Wishes Fireworks: 9pm

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 to send guests in two different directions.  While the nighttime entertainment at Magic Kingdom helps, it won’t pull enough people away to make Animal Kingdom less crowded than other days during the week.  Avoid it unless you’re certainly that you’ll arrive by 7:40am to take advantage of the Extra Magic Hour or simply can’t visit another day.

Epcot is highly recommended and your best choice if you have other plans for Hollywood Studios.  We have the Main Street Electrical Parade pulling people towards Magic Kingdom and Fantasmic at Hollywood Studios continuing to draw crowds.  Animal Kingdom will also be more popular with Disney resort guests  Plan to arrive prior to Park opening and head straight to Test Track, Sum of All Thrills, Mission: Space, and Soarin’ or follow a more compartmentalized two-day touring plan if you prefer.  If you arrive later, plan to rely on FASTPASS at Test Track and Soarin’.  Both will have 60+ minute waits for most of the day after 10am due to their popularities 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.  Magic Kingdom will be a bigger draw with longer hours of operation and Main Street Electrical Parade/Wishes.  Animal Kingdom will be more popular with Disney resort guests with the morning Extra Magic Hour.  Hollywood Studios is going to be busier each of the next two days with the shorts hours of operation and lack of evening entertainment at Magic Kingdom.  Despite the recommendation, it’s still imperative to arrive prior to Park opening in order to ride Toy Story Mania and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster with short waits.  Arrive at 10:30am with everyone else and you’ll find 60+ minute waits at Toy Story Mania and FASTPASS return times that are already into the late afternoon and evening.  To have the most success, arrive by 8:30am and head straight to Toy Story Mania, followed by Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, and Star Tours.  Get through these attractions early in the morning or with FASTPASS and you have little to worry about for the rest of the day, other than keeping an eye on the time to make all of those scheduled stage shows.  Use FASTPASS throughout the day and you should have no trouble riding any of the major attractions a second time.  Toy Story Mania remains your top priority.  Also consider prioritizing the Toy Story character meet across from Toy Story Midway Mania or Phineas/Ferb in the Streets of America if you have interest in meeting either.  Both characters will see afternoon waits in the 20 to 45 minute range and they don’t offer FASTPASS.  For Fantasmic, you’ll want to arrive about 60 minutes early to guarantee good seats together.  If that sounds like it’s about 30 minutes too long, consider the Fantasmic Dining Package that guarantees everyone on the reservation a seat in the reserved section of the Fantasmic theater.  It will still require you to arrive at least 30 minutes early, or you run the risk of Disney opening the reserved section up to the general population, but it saves the stress of having to decide when it’s time to line up and decreases the overall wait.  The Fantasmic Dining Package makes the most sense on the Disney Dining Plan because it costs the same one table service credit at Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano or Hollywood & Vine and two table service credits at Hollywood Brown Derby that you would pay otherwise.  Plus, it includes the appetizer, which you normally wouldn’t receive on the Disney Dining Plan.  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 tentatively recommended, though this will be the third busiest day of the week there.  We have longer hours of operation and a very rare Main Street Electrical Parade scheduled at 8pm.  Monday will be busier with the evening Extra Magic Hours and this Saturday will be much busier with the longer hours of operation and both nighttime spectaculars.  Anyone who wants to see Main Street Electrical Parade and doesn’t have Park Hopper (and many that do) will have to spend most of their day at the Magic Kingdom in order to see the Parade at night.  While the Magic Kingdom may be busier than other days this week, many people do want to see the Parade and Wishes Fireworks show and this is your best opportunity to do both.  Ideally, you would Park Hop over to Magic Kingdom in the late afternoon or early evening, after spending the majority of your day at a Park that’s recommended higher.  This way, you can enjoy short lines and low crowds and still see the Magic Kingdom’s nighttime spectaculars.  Without Park Hopper, you’ll want to arrive prior to 9am and head straight for the most popular attractions on your itinerary.  The 9am to 11am timeframe is always the best time to tour, regardless of overall crowd level or what day you visit.  You’ll be able to get a lot done in those first two or three hours, but crowds will begin to build around 11am and will continue to be moderately heavy until the end of the night.  Plan to move on to some of the less popular attractions in the afternoon and/or take a lengthy afternoon break when crowds are at their highest.  You can then return to the Magic Kingdom around 5pm for dinner, Main Street Electrical Parade, and Wishes.  This is always the second best plan of attack (second to only the evening Park Hop) when you’re trying to see evening shows that aren’t scheduled often enough.  Overall, Magic Kingdom is recommended if you tour during the recommended times and make efficient use of the morning and FASTPASS.  It will be more crowded in the afternoon than several other days this week.  You’ll want to visit on a Mickey’s Party date if all you care about is low crowds.  For the Main Street Electrical Parade, I recommend staking out a spot along the Parade route in Frontierland or Liberty Square.  Both areas are significantly less crowded than Main Street.  You can then move to Main Street for Wishes.  For good viewing locations on Main Street for the Parade, you’ll need to arrive before 7pm and stay through 9pm to see both the Parade and Fireworks.  It’s usually easier to find Parade viewing locations in Frontierland about 10 minutes before the Parade begins and then move over to Main Street afterwards.  Tomorrow would be less crowded overall, even with the morning Extra Magic Hour complication.  Friday would be better than either day.

Thursday November 21

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 5pm (Not Recommended)

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

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Most Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

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

Fantasmic: 6:30pm

Magic Kingdom: 9am – 7pm (Recommended)

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Celebrate a Dream Come True Parade: 3pm, Main Street Electrical Parade: none, Wishes Fireworks: none

Animal Kingdom is not expressly recommended, though it won’t be a terrible day there.  The morning Extra Magic Hour at Magic Kingdom won’t draw nearly the same number of people as usual with the short hours of operation and lack of evening entertainment during regular Park hours.  We also don’t have evening Extra Magic Hours scheduled anywhere.  You can still do well by arriving prior to Park opening and taking care of the main priorities first thing in the morning, but it will be busier than the many recommended days during the week.  Most people will want to take advantage of the better days at Epcot or Magic Kingdom.

Epcot is our most recommended Park.  Disney resort guests will be looking to tomorrow’s evening Extra Magic Hours and most off-site visitors will have visited earlier in the week.  The only problem is the lack of evening entertainment at Magic Kingdom.  With the morning Extra Magic Hour there as well, we will have more Disney resort guests than usual looking to visit one of the other theme parks.  Luckily, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom will see the brunt of that.  Plan to arrive prior to Park opening and head straight to Test Track, Sum of All Thrills, Mission: Space, and Soarin’.  You may also want to take a more compartmentalized two-day approach, which gives you the benefit of enjoying the lowest possible crowds in both Future World and World Showcase each day.  Rely on FASTPASS throughout the day for Soarin’, Test Track, and Mission Space (in that order) if you’d like to ride any of them a second time.  If you’re planning just one day in Epcot, try to move up through the World Showcase 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.  Luckily, FASTPASSes for Maelstrom are plentiful and you’ll be able to grab FASTPASSes with a return time of just 40 minutes in the future in case the posted wait time is 20+ minutes or you’d like to ride two or three times in the late afternoon or evening.  Return to Future World after 5pm to visit any attractions that you skipped in the morning.  Most people will have moved on to World Showcase.  Keep in mind that most Future World attractions close at 7pm.  Usually only Soarin’, Test Tack, Mission Space, Spaceship Earth, Character Spot, and The Seas with Nemo and Friends continue operating from 7pm – 9pm.  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.

With no evening entertainment at Magic Kingdom, short hours at Magic Kingdom, no evening Extra Magic Hours anywhere, and nothing special happening at Epcot or Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios is going to be busier than recommended days during the week.  Plus, it’s later in the week, which means most people on a weeklong vacation will already have visited Magic Kingdom and Epcot and they’ll be looking to spend a day at one of Disney World’s less popular theme parks.  With nothing specific drawing people to the Studios, it’s not going to be crazy crowded, but it is going to be busier than other recommended days during the week and should be avoided if possible.

Magic Kingdom is recommended today, which is rare for a day with a morning Extra Magic Hour attached.  However, the 9am to 7pm operating schedule and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party in the evening make the Magic Kingdom significantly less crowded.  While the Extra Magic Hours schedule is a major deciding factor for Disney resort guests because many of them feel like it’s Disney’s way of dictating where they belong each day, the short hours will be a bigger turn off.  Over the past several years, Thursdays with a morning Extra Magic Hour and a 7pm close have not been much busier than other Mickey’s Party dates over the course of the week.  Days with longer hours of operation and nighttime entertainment remain much more popular.  In other words, the morning Extra Magic Hour will attract some Disney resort guests, but the short hours of operation and Fantasmic at Hollywood Studios will cause many of them to head elsewhere.  Off-site visitors are much more likely to visit on a Monday, Wednesday, and/or Saturday.  If you are Extra Magic Hours eligible, you can have a huge amount of success if you arrive by 7:40am and head straight for Fantasyland or other priorities.  You should have no trouble riding all Fantasyland attractions in the first hour and you can move to the headlining Mountain rides or popular characters after that.  If you aren’t Extra Magic Hours eligible or don’t arrive until after 9am, head straight for Fantasyland or Tomorrowland where you should find short standby waits at most attractions.  Tomorrow will be slightly less crowded overall.  If you’re not Extra Magic Hours eligible or don’t plan to arrive until after 9am, then Friday would be the better choice.

Friday November 22

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 5pm (Recommended)

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

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Not Recommended)

Evening Extra Magic Hours: 9pm – 11pm

Illuminations: 9pm

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

Fantasmic: 6:30pm

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

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party

Celebrate a Dream Come True Parade: 3pm, Main Street Electrical Parade: none, Wishes Fireworks: none

Animal Kingdom is recommended, though it isn’t the best day of the week there.  Most people will want to take advantage of the lower crowds at Magic Kingdom, but Animal Kingdom is certainly a viable alternative.  If you’re trying to decide whether to visit Magic Kingdom/Animal Kingdom today or tomorrow, then I would go with Magic Kingdom today and Animal Kingdom tomorrow.  That way, locals are much less of a concern.  The main problem with Animal Kingdom is that Magic Kingdom closes at 7pm and doesn’t offer evening entertainment of any kind during regular Park hours.  Most casual vacationers will avoid it because of that and they’ll naturally head to one of the other three major theme parks.  Luckily, Epcot’s evening Extra Magic Hours are always popular and will draw a lot of Disney resort guests.  Hollywood Studios will remain busy with the decent operating hours and Fantasmic.  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/DINOSAUR, visit the characters, or see the first Festival of the Lion King and/or 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 5pm because waits will only decrease from 4:15pm 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 an excellent 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.  The last hour of Extra Magic Hours is always the least crowded, so plan to stay until 11pm and head back to Soarin’ and Test Track after 10pm.  Skip Illuminations if you’ll be here on another night because it will be more crowded than usual.

Hollywood Studios is not expressly recommended.  The major problem is the early close and lack of evening entertainment at Magic Kingdom.  When Magic Kingdom isn’t attracting a lot of people, we can have 30,000+ people looking to visit a different theme park.  Epcot will be more popular with Disney resort guests with the evening Extra Magic Hours, but that won’t do much to sway the sizable off-site contingent.  With nothing specific attracting guests to the Studios, you can certainly make today work by following the tried and true advice.  Arrive prior to Park opening and head straight for Toy Story Midway Mania and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster.  You may also want to prioritize the Toy Story characters across from Toy Story Mania or Phineas/Ferb near Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano because wait times can hit 30+ minutes and FASTPASS isn’t an option.  Your other two ride priorities are Tower of Terror and Star Tours, but both are easier to FASTPASS in the afternoon and won’t see wait times anywhere near as high as Toy Story or Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster.

Magic Kingdom is our best choice as far as crowds are concerned.  This may seem like an odd statement, considering that the operating hours are just 9am to 7pm, but that’s precisely why crowds will be so low.  The great majority of Disney vacationers would prefer to visit the Parks when the hours are longer because it seems like more time in the Parks equates to higher value for your money.  That seems logical considering the cost to enter the Parks is the same, regardless if Magic Kingdom is open from 8am to 1am or 9am to 7pm.  However, crowds are so much lower on Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party days that you’ll actually be able to get more done in a shorter amount of time.  Most off-site vacationers will hold off until tomorrow for the longer hours, Main Street Electrical Parade, and Wishes and a decent number of Disney resort guests will have visited yesterday for the morning Extra Magic Hour (or will also wait until tomorrow).  All of this leaves us with ample opportunity to get on the headlining and Fantasyland rides with minimal waits.  As always, you’ll find the most success if you arrive prior to opening and head straight for Space/Big Thunder/Splash Mountains or Fantasyland.   Use FASTPASS throughout the day and you should be able to do just about every major ride and many of the secondary attractions as well.  If you would also like to see the Main Street Electrical Parade and Wishes, consider spending a second day at the Magic Kingdom when those nighttime spectaculars are scheduled.  Wednesday was the best day of the week to see the entertainment, but it’s still going to be significantly more crowded than a Party date.  Ideally, you would Park Hop over to the Magic Kingdom in the afternoon or evening on Wednesday, after spending the majority of your day at a Park with lower crowds.  Either way, focus on getting the most popular attractions out of the way today and return to the Magic Kingdom for the nighttime spectaculars on another date.  With only one day to spend at the Magic Kingdom, you’ll need to decide whether seeing Wishes and the Main Street Electrical Parade is worth spending the day in heavier crowds.  If you’re looking to extend your day without adding Park Hopper or splurging on Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, you have a few options.  First, you can very easily transfer to the Contemporary, Polynesian, or Grand Floridian resorts for dinner.  From these resorts, you can also see the Holiday Wishes Fireworks show that begins at 9:30pm.  The best is the Polynesian Resort’s Beach, which has a direct view of Cinderella Castle and has the music piped in on speakers.  My second favorite view is from the 4th floor observation deck at the Contemporary Resort, where the music is also piped in.  If there are a lot of people outside on the deck, look to the stairs on your left or right.  You can walk up a few floors and stand on the public balconies that overlook the same area.  The view from the boat dock at the Ticket and Transportation Center is also good and relatively easy to get to.  Simply take the Ferry or Monorail over from Magic Kingdom.  At the Grand Floridian, the best views are at the marina outside Gasparilla Grill and the boat dock that services Magic Kingdom.  You can also view the Fireworks show from the beach at Fort Wilderness, though that resort is a bit out of the way by bus or boat.  Because Disney will be running the Resort Monorail through 12:30am and running buses to and from Magic Kingdom until at least 1am to transport Party guests, you can very easily visit the resorts for free, see the Holiday Wishes Fireworks show from a recommended location, and return to your resort at your convenience.  In a perfect world, I would schedule dinner at Kona Café at the Polynesian or The Wave at the Contemporary around 7:30pm.  I’d enjoy a leisurely dinner, tour the resort a bit, and then head out for the Fireworks.

Saturday November 23

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

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

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Most Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

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

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Fantasmic: 6:30pm and 8pm

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

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

Animal Kingdom comes highly recommended.  We don’t have Extra Magic Hours or special events to attract Disney vacationers of any sort.  Magic Kingdom will be attracting significant crowds with its long hours of operation and both nighttime spectaculars and Hollywood Studios will be popular with the morning Extra Magic Hour and Fantasmic.  We also had two morning Extra Magic Hours earlier in the week and another on Monday to appeal to the sizable Disney resort contingent.  To take full advantage of the low crowd level, arrive prior to Park opening and head straight to Kilimanjaro Safaris and Expedition Everest.  Get those two attractions out of the way early and the only real concerns are getting to Festival of the Lion King and Finding Nemo the Musical.  You would be in the best shape if you could get to the first or last show of the day as well as over to DinoLand USA before 10:30am when lines begin to build at DINOSAUR and Primeval Whirl.  You may also want to prioritize characters that will have longer afternoon waits.  Finally, keep in mind that crowds disperse shortly after the 3:45pm Parade and it’s usually a great time to return to the major attractions from 5:30pm through close.

Epcot is our best Park to visit.  Last night’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 followed by Sum of All Thrills, Mission: Space, and Soarin’.  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 incoming crowds for as long as possible.  It’s also an excellent day to stay for IllumiNations and enjoy the World Showcase in the afternoon.

Hollywood Studios is not recommended, thanks to the morning Extra Magic Hour that will attract Disney resort guests.  You can have success from 8am – 10am if you are Extra Magic Hours eligible, but the afternoon and evening are going to be busier than just about any day this week.  Avoid it unless you can’t visit any other day or plan to arrive by 7:30am to take advantage of low crowds in the morning.

Saturdays are naturally the busiest day of the week at the Magic Kingdom.  We have longer hours of operation, visiting locals, and a lot of vacationers who will be visiting the Magic Kingdom for a second time before returning home tomorrow.  On top of that, Main Street Electrical Parade is only scheduled on three nights this week.  Because the Parade is so popular, a lot of people will visit on a day that they can see it, like today.  All of this makes me hesitant about recommending the Magic Kingdom, despite a lack of Extra Magic Hours.  Any of the last six days would have been less crowded.  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.  On the positive side, we are moving into a much busier week where we’ll see the Electrical Parade and Wishes scheduled every night.  Unfortunately, that doesn’t do us a whole lot of good today, especially with the higher overall crowd level.  If you are just arriving, you may want to visit Magic Kingdom today.  With the higher overall crowd level next week for Thanksgiving, each of the next seven days will be busier. If you’re just arriving, you may want to take advantage of the relatively low crowds at Magic Kingdom, even if it’s busier than any day in November thus far.

Sunday November 24

Animal Kingdom: 8am – 8pm (Recommended)

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

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

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

Fantasmic: 6:30pm and 8pm

Magic Kingdom: 8am – 1am (Tentatively Recommended in the Early Morning or Late Evening)

Evening Extra Magic Hours: 1am – 3am

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

Animal Kingdom is recommended again today.  The morning, from 8am – 10am, will be a particularly excellent time to tour.  Arrive prior to Park opening and head straight to Kilimanjaro Safaris and Expedition Everest or visit the touring plans section for more tips.  After that, head to DinoLand USA for Primeval Whirl and DINOSAUR.  As long as you get there by 10:30am, you shouldn’t run into waits longer than 10 minutes.  You may also want to prioritize characters that will have longer afternoon waits.  If you don’t arrive early in the morning, plan to stay until close and return to the headliners after 6:30pm.  A lot of people leave shortly after the 3:45pm Parade and the waits at Expedition Everest, Kilimanjaro Safaris, Dinosaur, Primeval Whirl, and others usually have significantly shorter waits than they would in the mid-afternoon.  Plan to stay through 8pm if you have more to accomplish or didn’t arrive until later in the morning, even if afternoon crowds seem thick.  Also check your Times Guide to see if Kilimanjaro Safaris will close prior to the rest of the Park.  It often does in November, depending on temperatures and sunlight.  After you complete your itinerary, you could Park Hop to Magic Kingdom for Main Street Electrical Parade, Wishes, and evening Extra Magic Hours or Hollywood Studios for Fantasmic.  Without Park Hopper, consider transferring to Animal Kingdom Lodge for dinner and a look at its amazing savannas at the public observatory.

Epcot is also recommended.  We have a lot going on at the other Parks and nothing specific to draw crowds to Epcot.  It’s a particularly excellent day to see IllumiNations and have dinner in the World Showcase because both Hollywood Studios and Magic Kingdom offer popular evening entertainment.  Despite the strong recommendation, you will still have the most success if you arrive prior to opening and head straight to Test Track, Sum of All Thrills, Mission: Space, and Soarin’ or follow a more compartmentalized two day touring plan.  With the crowd level well above average, Epcot won’t be empty, despite the high recommendation and you’ll still want to arrive early and tour efficiently.  If Future World seems to be getting crowded by 11am, move up through the World Showcase as soon as it opens, beginning with the water rides in Mexico and Norway.  If you have more to accomplish in Future World, return after 5pm to visit any non-headlining attractions.  Most people will have moved up through World Showcase by this time, decreasing crowds and waits.  If you’d like to ride Soarin or Test Track again in the afternoon or evening, plan to rely on FASTPASS.  Check your Times Guide to see which Future World attractions remain open past 7pm – it’s usually only Spaceship Earth, Mission: Space, Test Track, Soarin’, Character Spot, and The Seas.

Hollywood Studios is the most recommended Park because Magic Kingdom will be a big draw for on-site and off-site visitors alike.  We also have the popular evening Extra Magic Hours/Fantasmic combo that will be popular with Disney resort guests tomorrow and a morning Extra Magic Hour yesterday that will also be more popular.  However, the addition of Fantasmic to every night this week helps standardize crowds and the Studios won’t be far and away less busy than other days this week because it still features Fantasmic and similar operating hours.  Ultimately, touring efficiently is more important than picking the right day, but today is your best opportunity this week to find lower crowds and shorter waits.  If you do visit the Studios today (or any day), you’ll want to arrive prior to Park opening and head straight to Toy Story Mania, followed by Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, and Star Tours.  You’ll be in good shape if you can get these attractions out of the way early in the morning or with FASTPASS in the early afternoon.  Other than those four headliners, it’s really just a matter of arriving in time to see the shows that run on a set schedule and getting over to the Studios’ high capacity attractions like Backlot Tour and Great Movie Ride.  You may also want to prioritize the Toy Story, Phineas and Ferb, or Sorcerer Mickey characters.  In addition, characters appear at Mickey’s Sorcerer’s Hat in the early morning that won’t appear during any other part of the day.  Usually, Minnie, Pluto, Chip, Dale, Donald, Daisy, Stitch, Piglet, and Tigger appear, but no specific characters are guaranteed.  You’ll be in quite a bit of trouble if you don’t show up until 10am, especially if your intention is to ride the headliners.  The easiest way to see Fantasmic is to book the Fantasmic Dining Package, which guarantees everyone on the reservation a seat in the reserved section of the Theater.  While it will still require you to arrive at least 30 minutes prior to the start of the show, it will still be considerably less than the 60+ minute wait you can expect without the Package.  The Dining Package makes the most sense on the Disney Dining Plan because it costs the same number of credits as a regular meal at Hollywood & Vine or Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano (one credit) and Hollywood Brown Derby (two credits).  On top of the Fantasmic tickets, you’ll also receive an appetizer, which normally wouldn’t be included with the Disney Dining Plan.  If the Package isn’t available or you prefer not to spring for the additional cost, plan to stay for the 8pm Fantasmic.  The second Fantasmic is always considerably less crowded and will only require you to arrive 20-30 minutes early to secure decent seats.  For the best seats about half way up in the middle section, you’ll still want to arrive about an hour early. Overall, it’s a recommended day at the Studios, but it’s still imperative that you arrive early and head straight to Toy Story Mania.  Toy Story Mania will see wait times of 80+ minutes in the afternoon and FASTPASS return times will already be into the afternoon  by 10am.  There’s simply no way around this.  Tour efficiently in the morning and you can beat the crowds.  You may also want to plan a break from 1pm – 5pm or so depending on your itinerary and who’s in your group.  Arrive back in the evening for dinner, some late night rides, and Fantasmic.

Magic Kingdom will be busy from 11am though 10pm today due to the evening Extra Magic Hours that are so popular with Disney resort guests and the number of people arriving yesterday and today for a week long Thanksgiving week vacation.  The two best times to tour will be 8am to 11am and 11:30pm through 3am.  Many Disney resort guests will sleep in and arrive later in the day, in anticipation of staying for part of evening Extra Magic Hours (if they even make it that long).  While this frees the Park up for us to enjoy in the morning, we need to be sure that we’ll actually arrive by 7:30am to take advantage of the low crowds.  If you’re not planning to arrive until 10:30am along with everyone else, you’ll be running into heavier crowds than Tuesday or Wednesday of this week.  The late evening Extra Magic Hours are also in our favor because many families will leave soon after Wishes, which causes Fantasyland and Tomorrowland to be less busy late at night.  Plan to visit during at least one of the two best time slots.  You’ll want to skip the Magic Kingdom from 1pm to 6pm or plan to visit the less popular attractions in the afternoon if lines are too long.  Both the morning crowd and evening crowd will be in full force during that time period, making it busier than any other part of the day.  For the Main Street Electrical Parade, stake out a spot along the Parade route in Frontierland or Liberty Square for the 11pm Parade.  Both spots are less popular than Main Street and require a shorter wait to get a good view.  The second Parade is also significantly less crowded than the first.  If you visit the Magic Kingdom in the morning, head straight to Fantasyland, the headlining Mountain rides, or whatever characters/attractions you deem most important on your itinerary.  If you visit during Extra Magic Hours, begin in Adventureland because most people will head to Tomorrowland and Fantasyland first.  Next, move up through Frontierland and Liberty Square on your way to Tomorrowland.  Save Fantasyland for last because most families will be long gone from the Park by 1am and Fantasyland will be low on crowds.  It’s not uncommon for Peter Pan’s Flight to have a 60 minute wait in the afternoon and a ten minute or less wait at the end of evening Extra Magic Hours.  Save Journey of the Little Mermaid, Peter Pan and Winnie the Pooh for the very end of the night.

Monday November 25

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

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 7am – 8am

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

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Most Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

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

Evening Extra Magic Hours: 10pm – 12am

Fantasmic: 6:30pm and 8pm

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

Celebrate a Dream Come True 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 extremely difficult to get out to the Animal Kingdom by 6:45am to take full advantage of it.  If you’re staying at a Monorail Deluxe Resort, you’re looking at a 20+ minute drive to the Animal Kingdom, plus time for the bus to arrive – not to mention getting multiple people up and ready early in the morning with just one shower and limited space.  At 5:30am.  If you’re absolutely certain that you’ll arrive by 6:45am, then you can have a huge amount of success because the crowd level won’t be that high, but it will be busier in the afternoon than other recommended days this week due to a higher number of Disney resort guests than usual.  You’re much better served holding off for a recommended day if you’re not going to arrive until 9am or later.

Epcot is the only expressly recommended Park.  We don’t have Extra Magic Hours, special evening entertainment, or anything else that will draw people toward Epcot specifically.  Disney resort guests will be more likely to visit tomorrow or Friday for Extra Magic Hours and off-site visitors on a weeklong vacation will be headed to the Magic Kingdom for the Main Street Electrical Parade.  To have the most success, arrive prior to Park opening and head to Test Track, Sum of All Thrills, Mission: Space, and Soarin’ or follow a more compartmentalized two-day touring plan.  Plan to rely on FASTPASS at Soarin’ and Test Track if you’re planning to ride in the afternoon or evening.  Despite the recommendation, Test Track and Soarin’ will still see 60+ minute waits for most of the day.  Plan to move up through World Showcase at 11am, beginning with the water rides in Norway and Mexico, in order to stay ahead of the crowds for as long as possible.  Return to Future World after 5pm to re-ride the headliners with FASTPASS and ride any of the other Future World attractions you skipped previously.  It’s an excellent time to do Ellen’s Energy Adventure, Captain EO, Journey into Imagination with Figment, Living with the Land, Circle of Life, anything in Innoventions, etc.  Keep in mind that many of the non-headlining Future World attractions close at 7pm.  It’s also an excellent day to stay for IllumiNations and enjoy the World Showcase in the afternoon.

Hollywood Studios will be busy due to the evening Extra Magic Hours that are popular with Disney resort guests and Fantasmic that will keep crowds heavy all day.  The morning will be an okay time to tour, but crowds will increase substantially around 11am as more and more Disney resort guests arrive. I’m looking towards Tuesday or Thursday as better days to visit and yesterday was also highly recommended.  Because of that, there’s really no reason to head in that direction today.  Plus, there are only a few attractions open during evening Extra Magic Hours 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 after 11pm when people begin to give up and exit.  Remember, the Hollywood Hills Theater where Fantasmic is shown is located right on Hollywood Boulevard, across from Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror.  There are going to be 9,000+ people, most of them Disney resort guests, funneling out of the theater to these two attractions and Toy Story Mania at 7pm and again at 8:30pm.  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 and get out by 1pm or 2pm, but it’s going to be busy from 11am through 10pm and you’re in trouble if you don’t arrive until 10:30am or later.

It’s going to be an extremely busy day at Magic Kingdom today, despite the lack of Extra Magic Hours and the fact that we have Main Street Electrical Parade and Wishes scheduled every night this week.  The problem is that a lot of people travel over the weekend and naturally head to Magic Kingdom on their first full day, regardless of what’s going on at the other Parks.  That’s partially why Disney usually schedules Extra Magic Hours at Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios on Mondays.  It’s an effort to pull people away from where they would naturally go.  It does help, but not enough that Magic Kingdom won’t be incredibly busy, especially with the high overall crowd level for Thanksgiving Week.  If possible, try to put the Magic Kingdom off until tomorrow.  If you do end up going to the Magic Kingdom today, you can have success if you arrive by 7:30am and head straight for Fantasyland and the headlining Mountain rides, but you’ll want to move on to the less popular attractions by 11am and make use of FASTPASS whenever possible.  Consider taking a break in the afternoon and returning in the evening for the nighttime Parade, Wishes, and some late night rides.  Plan to catch the 11pm Electrical Parade in Frontierland or Liberty Square because both areas are much less crowded than Main Street and the second Parade is significantly less crowded than the first.  The late night is also a great time to tour. Most families leave soon after Wishes, making the Park much less crowded and causing waits at the major Fantasyland attractions to be much shorter from 10pm through close. Plan to visit Tomorrowland after 11pm and Fantasyland after 12am to find the shortest waits in the evening.

Tuesday November 26

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

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

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Not Recommended)

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Illuminations: 9pm

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 10pm (Recommended)

Fantasmic: 6:30pm and 8pm

Magic Kingdom: 8am – 1am (Recommended)

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

Animal Kingdom is our best Park to visit today.  We have Fantasmic attracting a lot of off-site and on-site visitors, morning Extra Magic Hour at Epcot luring Disney resort guests, and the Magic Kingdom is a big draw in and of itself.  To take full advantage of the relatively low crowd level, arrive prior to Park opening and head to Kilimanjaro Safaris and Expedition Everest first thing.  After that, head to DinoLand USA for Primeval Whirl and DINOSAUR and you won’t have anything to worry about for the rest of the day.  Use FASTPASS throughout the day to ride the headliners in the afternoon when waits will be longer.  You’ll be able to accomplish a ton before 10am and be ready for the first Festival of the Lion King and Finding Nemo shows, which are always the least crowded.  You may also want to prioritize characters that will have long afternoon wiats.  If you can’t get to Animal Kingdom early, stay through 8pm.  A lot of people leave soon after the 3:45pm Parade and the major attractions have much shorter lines in the last hour of operation.  The 7pm-8pm hour will be a great time to return to Expedition Everest, Kali River Rapids, and others.  Check your Times Guide to see when Kilimanjaro Safaris and the animal exhibits close – it may be earlier than the rest of the Park.  After you complete your itinerary, you might consider Park Hopping over to Epcot for dinner and Illuminations, Hollywood Studios for Fantasmic, or Magic Kingdom for a few evening attractions, Main Street Electrical Parade, and Wishes.  Without Park Hopper, consider transferring to the Animal Kingdom Lodge for dinner at one of their three excellent restaurants – Boma, Sanaa, or Jiko.  The resort is amazing and there is a fun and free public observatory where you can look at the same private savannas that many guests are paying a premium to have right outside their rooms.  Nighttime trips to Downtown Disney and the BoardWalk are also popular and both have great dining and shopping “opportunities.”  Because Animal Kingdom is recommended so highly on Thanksgiving, you may want to hit Magic Kingdom today and wait for Thursday for Animal Kingdom.

Epcot isn’t recommended due to the morning Extra Magic Hour that will attract Disney resort guests and the natural progression of weeklong Disney vacationers that will naturally head to Epcot after the Magic Kingdom yesterday.  The Fantasmic at Hollywood Studios helps pull off-site visitors away, but not so much that Epcot will be noticeably less crowded.  While the morning Extra Magic Hour will be an excellent time to tour, Epcot will get progressively busier as more and more Disney resort guests arrive.  You could have success if you arrive at 7:30am, head straight for the headliners, and move up to the World Showcase around 11am, but afternoon crowds will be heavier than recommended days and you’ll likely want to Park Hop elsewhere or take a break around 2pm.  A lot of Disney resort guests think that Disney dictates where they should go each day with the Extra Magic Hours schedule.  Even though this isn’t true, it doesn’t stop thousands upon thousands of Disney resort guests from visiting the Extra Magic Hours Park, even though they have no intention of arriving in time to take advantage of their extra hour.  Yesterday, tomorrow, and Saturday are the best days of the week to visit.

Hollywood Studios is recommended.  Yesterday’s evening Extra Magic Hours/Fantasmic combo will be a bigger draw and the addition of Fantasmic to every day this week spreads crowds out more evenly.  Because of that, your touring plan is more important than which day you decide to visit the Studios.  Arrive by 8:15am, head directly to Toy Story Mania, and then visit Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, and Star Tours.   Do this, and you’ll be in great shape for the rest of the day.  Don’t arrive until 10am and you’ll end up with a 60+ minute wait at Toy Story Mania and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster.  The other headliners will also be busy from 10am through close.  After getting through the headliners, focus on the Studios’ stage shows and high capacity attractions like Backlot Tour and Great Movie Ride.

Magic Kingdom comes recommended today.  A lot of people will have visited yesterday and they’ll be looking toward Thursday to return for Thanksgiving and the morning Extra Magic Hour.  We have Fantasmic at Hollywood Studios and morning Extra Magic Hour at Disney World’s second most popular theme park to attract people away from the Magic Kingdom.  Take advantage by arriving prior to Park opening and head straight for Fantasyland, the headlining Mountain rides, or whatever time-sensitive characters/attractions on your itinerary you deem most important.  Despite the recommendation, you’ll still want to make efficient use of the morning, use FASTPASS in the afternoon, and either visit the less popular attractions in the afternoon or take an afternoon break.  We’re still in the midst of a very busy week and Magic Kingdom will be far from empty.  If you arrive early, use FASTPASS efficiently, take a lengthy afternoon break, and rest up for the evening entertainment, you’ll be in the best shape possible. Plan to see the 11pm Electrical Parade in Frontierland or Liberty Square because those areas are much less crowded and the later Parade is much less popular. After, head to Tomorrowland and close out the night with Fantasyland to find the shortest waits outside of the early morning

Wednesday November 27

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

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 7am – 8am

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

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Highly Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

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

Fantasmic: 6:30pm and 8pm

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

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

It’s the busiest day of the week at Animal Kingdom.  The morning Extra Magic Hour will attract the bulk of the Disney resort crowd and there’s no evening Extra Magic Hours or special evening entertainment (since Main Street Electrical Parade and Fantasmic are scheduled every night this week) going on at the other Parks, which will cause a lot of off-site guests to visit as well.  Most people prefer to visit the other Parks when they’re open longer, offer evening Extra Magic Hours, or have rare evening entertainment.  When none of that is available, they’ll default to the Animal Kingdom.  Plus, a lot of people will be headed to Magic Kingdom or Epcot tomorrow for Thanksgiving, which means they’ll be headed elsewhere today.  With both yesterday and tomorrow recommended, there’s no reason to visit today unless you’re Extra Magic Hours eligible, absolutely certain that you’ll arrive by 6:40am, and plan to leave by noon.

It’s an above-average day at Epcot.  Yesterday’s morning Extra Magic Hour will have been moderately attended by Disney resort guests and they won’t be looking to return today.  We’ll also have a decent number planning to visit tomorrow for Thanksgiving.  This past Monday and this coming Saturday are the best days to visit, though today is also recommended if it fits into your schedule better.  If you do go, plan to arrive as early as possible and either follow a touring plan or head straight to Test Track, followed by Sum of All Thrills, Mission Space, and Soarin’ or follow a more compartmentalized two-day plan.  You’ll be in good shape if you’ve moved to the World Showcase by 12pm, starting with the boat rides in Mexico and Norway.  It’s a good day to see IllumiNations and have dinner in World Showcase, but it will still be busy with the high overall crowd level.

Hollywood Studios is not recommended.  It won’t necessarily be far and away busier than other days this week, but it has a few things working against it.  For one, we don’t have evening Extra Magic Hours scheduled anywhere and only a morning Extra Magic Hour at Disney World’s least popular theme park.  Second, a lot of people will be heading to Magic Kingdom or Epcot tomorrow and they’ll naturally visit another Park today.  While Animal Kingdom will be popular with Disney resort guests, we also need to be concerned about the sizable off-site contingent that would prefer to see Fantasmic and ride Toy Story Mania.  All in all, the Studios will be busier than yesterday or tomorrow and you’ll want to visit on one of those days if you’re flexible with your itinerary.  If you already have today selected, you can still have success if you arrive by 8:15am and take care of Toy Story Mania and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster first thing, but it’s going to be crowded in the late morning through close.

Magic Kingdom is the most recommended Park, even though it will be far from empty with the high overall crowd level.  Tomorrow will be much busier for the Extra Magic Hour and the fact that people naturally visit Magic Kingdom on major holidays.  This week, smart touring trumps picking the “right” Park to visit.  You’ll want to arrive prior to Park opening, head straight for the priorities on your list, and rely on FASTPASS at the major attractions in the afternoon.  Most people will want to start with Enchanted Tales with Belle, Peter Pan’s Flight, or a priority in Tomorrowland like Astro Orbiter or Space Mountain.  If you do that and visit on a recommended day, you’ll find shorter lines and easier touring than you would in any other scenario.  If you arrive around noon and want to ride Space Mountain in the standby line, you’re going to run into long waits no matter which day you visit.  There’s simply no way around that when the overall crowd level is so high.  I also recommend taking an afternoon break back at your resort to relax, enjoy each other’s company, and hop in the pools (weather permitting).  Return in the evening for dinner, some late night attractions, to enjoy Wishes, and see the 11pm Main Street Electrical Parade in Frontierland or Liberty Square.  Many families leave soon after the first Parade and Wishes and lines in Fantasyland will be much shorter than they were in the afternoon.  If you couldn’t get to Fantasyland (or other popular attractions) in the early morning, plan to stick around to close and hit Journey of the Little Mermaid, Peter Pan, Winnie the Pooh, Dumbo, Barnstormer and others after 11:30pm.  Remember that Disney will let you get in line and ride any attraction so long as you enter the queue by the stated close.

Thursday November 28

Thanksgiving

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

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

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Not Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 8pm (Recommended)

Fantasmic: 6:30pm and 8pm

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

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 7am – 8am

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

Animal Kingdom is the most recommended Park today.  Animal Kingdom is always the least crowded Park (both literally and relatively) on major holidays like Thanksgiving, Easter, and Christmas.  It doesn’t exactly “feel” festive and most people naturally would prefer to visit the “most magical place on earth.”  Others will have heard how well Epcot handles large crowds and they’ll head in that direction instead.  All in all, few people will be considering Animal Kingdom and it is by far your best choice as far as crowds are concerned.  Take advantage by arriving prior to Park opening and heading straight for Kilimanjaro Safaris and Expedition Everest (or follow a touring plan).  You should have no problem riding both multiple times during the day, especially with the help of FASTPASS in the late morning and afternoon.  If you don’t arrive early in the morning, use FASTPASS and/or head to the headliners you missed or would like to ride again after 6:30pm.  A lot of people leave after the 3:45pm Parade, which lowers waits at just about every attraction until close.  There are also a few holiday touches, including Mickey’s Jingle Jungle Parade and the Christmas trees in Camp Minnie-Mickey.  After you complete your itinerary, I would recommend heading to a resort for dinner rather than trying to Park Hop elsewhere.  You could theoretically head to Hollywood Studios for Fantasmic, Epcot for dinner and IllumiNations, or Magic Kingdom for Main Street Electrical Parade, Wishes, and some late night rides, but all three Parks will be very crowded in the late afternoon and evening.  It would be more relaxing to transfer to a nearby resort for dinner.  You might consider heading to Animal Kingdom Lodge for dinner at one of their three excellent restaurants – Sanaa, Jiko, and Boma.  Mara, the resort’s quick service, is also well above average and a cheaper alternative.  There’s also plenty to see and do at the Animal Kingdom Lodge, including a visit to the amazing public observatory where you can look out at the same private savannas that guests of the resort are paying $300+ a night to enjoy from their balconies.  You can also book a reservation at one of Animal Kingdom’s table service restaurants right up until 8pm.  Disney will run buses for at least 90 minutes after close, making it easy to return to your resort or another destination should you stay for a late dinner.

Epcot will be busy today, despite the fact that there’s nothing special going on.  Casual Disney advice is to head to Epcot on holidays because it handles crowds better than the other Parks.  While it’s true that there is physically more space in Epcot to stand than the other Parks, there are really only two major headlining attractions and a few upper-tier attractions in Epcot.  Because of this, the lines at Soarin’ and Test Track will be extremely long (120+ minutes most of the day) and other attractions that are usually empty will see significant waits.  Imagine a 15 or 20 minute wait for Journey into Imagination and 40 minutes for The Seas with Nemo and Friends.  Because of the limited number of attractions, you’ll also see a ton of people milling about Future World and World Showcase.  While you could have success if you arrive by 8:15am and head straight to Soarin’ or Test Track, there are much less crowded days available.

Hollywood Studios is recommended today because of the popularity of Magic Kingdom and Epcot. The addition of Fantasmic to every night this week also makes tonight’s show significantly less attractive because there are so many opportunities to visit.  People won’t visit the Studios in order to see Fantasmic, but will default to it when they aren’t interested in visiting Epcot or Magic Kingdom. We also have a much earlier close than other nights this week, which will be unattractive as well. Unfortunately, we’d probably be better off with the 10pm close because it would allow two extra hours in the evening to hit the attractions and visit Osborne Lights. Animal Kingdom remains the best choice, but Hollywood Studios is not a bad choice if you have other plans for the animals.  As always, you’ll have the most success if you arrive by 8:15am and head straight for Toy Story Mania, Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, and Star Tours. You’re in good shape after you get through these four rides because most of the Studios’ other attractions are high capacity stage shows and rides.  Like any other day when crowds are this heavy, you’ll run into lines and waits if you don’t arrive until after 10am.  You can still have success if you use FASTPASS and visit the less popular attractions in the afternoon, but the standby waits are going to be long, despite the recommendation.  There’s just no way around that on a major holiday.  If you’re planning to see Fantasmic, you’ll want to consider the Fantasmic Dining Package that will guarantee everyone on the reservation a seat in the reserved section of the theater if you’re planning to see the 6:30pm show.  If you’re not interested in the Fantasmic Dining Package or it isn’t available, wait for the second show because it will require a shorter wait.  Still, plan to arrive 30 minutes early for the second show to secure good seats together.  For the first show, you’ll want to arrive 30 minutes early with the Package or 60+ minutes without it.  Finally, consider taking a break in the afternoon from 1pm – 5pm when crowds are at their highest and return around 5pm for dinner, Fantasmic, and some rides with FASTPASS.  Toy Story Mania and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster FASTPASS return times should be well into the afternoon and evening earlier in the day.

Like most major holidays, Magic Kingdom will be extremely crowded today.  Unless you plan to arrive prior to Park opening for some early rides or merely want to visit for the ambiance, Magic Kingdom will be expressly not recommended.  This will be one of the busiest days of the year and we obviously don’t want to be caught in crowds of that magnitude.  Like any day this week, you can have success if you arrive prior to opening and head straight for Fantasyland or Space/Splash/Big Thunder Mountains, but crowds will be heavy from 11am through 11pm.  Tomorrow will be much less crowded and I would highly recommend holding off until then.

Friday November 29

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

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

Epcot: 9am – 9:30pm (Not Recommended)

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

Illuminations: 9:30pm

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 10pm (Recommended)

Fantasmic: 6:30pm and 8pm

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

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

It’s another excellent day at the Animal Kingdom.  If you haven’t yet made it, today is your day.  While we are sometimes apprehensive about visiting this late in the week, people will be much more likely to be headed to Epcot for the Candlelight Processional, evening Extra Magic Hours, and Holiday IllumiNations or Hollywood Studios for Fantasmic.  To take full advantage, arrive prior to Park opening and head straight to Kilimanjaro Safaris and Expedition Everest.  Get those two attractions out of the way early and head over to DinoLand USA for Primeval Whirl and DINOSAUR.   After that, you’ll be in excellent shape to get over to the first Festival of the Lion King and Finding Nemo the Musical shows of the morning.  These are always the least crowded shows of the day.  You may want to prioritize characters that have long afternoon waits as well.  Use FASTPASS throughout the day and you should have no trouble experiencing just about everything Animal Kingdom has to offer in just one day.  Finally, keep in mind that crowds disperse shortly after the 3:45pm Parade and it’s usually a great time to return to the major attractions from 6:45pm through close.  Check your Times Guide to see if Kilimanjaro Safaris will close down before the rest of the Park.  It often does in November, depending on sunlight and the weather.

The morning from 9am to 11am will be fine at Epcot, but it will begin to get more and more crowded as it gets later in the day.  The evening Extra Magic Hours will cause a lot of Disney resort guests to sleep in, especially if they were battling the crowds at the Magic Kingdom all day yesterday.  Nonetheless, they will begin showing up around 10am and more and more of them will trickle in throughout the late morning and early afternoon.  Epcot will be extremely busy tonight because of the Extra Magic Hours and the first night of the popular Candlelight Processional show.  Epcot will be significantly less crowded tomorrow and I would strongly recommend waiting until then to visit.  If for some reason you must visit Epcot today, you will want to arrive by 8:15am and head straight to Soarin’ or Test Track after Epcot opens.  In order to stay ahead of the incoming crowds, you’ll want to move on to the World Showcase when it opens at 11am, beginning with Mexico and Norway.  See the touring plans section for additional tips.  For evening Extra Magic Hours, expect waits at Soarin’ and Test Track to be just as long as they were in the afternoon, up until at least 11pm.  Many of the other attractions will be much less busy, but evening Extra Magic Hours are not a good time to visit the major headliners.  Occupy your time with Captain EO, Finding Nemo, American Adventure, and others until 11pm when lines at Soarin’ and Test Track should ease.  Just to reiterate, Epcot will be more crowded today after 11am than any day this week other than potentially Thanksgiving day.  Avoid it if you can schedule it on any other day.

The Hollywood Studios is recommended today, though yesterday would have been better.  Epcot’s evening Extra Magic Hours will be a big draw and Magic Kingdom will continue to attract crowds, even if it will be better there than it has been over the last few days.  Most people will want to take advantage of the lower crowds yesterday or plan to wait until next Monday, but today also works.  Even with the recommendation, you’ll still have the most success if you arrive prior to Park opening and head straight for Toy Story Mania, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, and Star Tours first thing in the morning.  After you get through those attractions, it’s just a matter of hitting the various stage shows that run on a set schedule, getting to the character meet and greets, and visiting the other high capacity attractions.  For Fantasmic, I always recommend the Fantasmic Dining Package, which guarantees everyone on the reservation a seat in the reserved section of the Fantasmic theater if you’re planning to see the 6:30pm show.  While it still requires you to arrive at least 30 minutes early, it’s better than the 60+ minutes you’re looking at without the Package.  On the Disney Dining Plan, you can book the Fantasmic Dining Package for one table service credit at Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano or Hollywood & Vine and for two table service credits at Hollywood Brown Derby, which is the same cost as it would be otherwise.  It also includes the appetizer, which is a nice bonus.  Of you don’t want to Package or it’s no longer available, I highly recommend holding off for the second Fantasmic, which is always less popular.  You’ll want to arrive 30 minutes early to secure decent seats together, but it’s more comfortable wait and the seats will ultimately be better.  With a party of two adults, you may be able to sneak in right before the show begins and find good spots, but that’s more difficult with kids or larger parties.  Finally, consider taking an afternoon break when crowds peak from 1pm to 5pm or so.  Arriving early and touring efficiently is more important than picking the “right day.”  Plan to visit the Studios when you can do both.

If you haven’t been able to make it to the Magic Kingdom yet, today is a great day to do so.  A lot of people will have visited yesterday and the long lines and giant crowds will cause them to look elsewhere for relief.  Today is also Black Friday, one of the biggest shopping days of the year and many Florida locals will be out shopping rather than visiting the Parks.  Despite the recommendation, Magic Kingdom will still be busy with the high overall crowd level.  You’ll want to visit Fantasyland or the headlining Mountain rides first thing in the morning and use FASTPASS efficiently throughout the day.  Plan to visit the less popular attractions in the afternoon.  The 11pm – 1am timeframe is also an excellent opportunity to visit Tomorrowland, Fantasyland, or other popular attractions).  Many families leave after the first Main Street Electrical Parade and Wishes, which lowers crowds in Fantasyland and the other lands late at night.  If you couldn’t get to Journey of the Little Mermaid, Peter Pan and Winnie the Pooh early in the morning, return after 12am.  As usual, the second Main Street Electrical Parade will be less popular than the first.  Plan to stake out a spot along the Parade route in Frontierland or Liberty Square at least 10 minutes before the Parade is scheduled to begin.  Overall, Magic Kingdom is going to continue to be busy, but you can “beat” the crowds by arriving early and touring efficiently, using FASTPASS in the late morning and evening , taking an afternoon break when crowds peak, and returning in the evening for dinner, some additional rides, and the nighttime spectaculars.

Saturday November 30

Animal Kingdom: 8am – 8pm (Recommended)

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

Epcot: 9am – 9:30pm (Most Recommended)

Illuminations: 9:30pm

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

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Fantasmic: 6:30pm and 8pm

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

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

Animal Kingdom comes recommended yet again, though visiting Epcot makes more sense in most situations.  We don’t have Extra Magic Hours, special events, or longer hours of operation to attract Disney vacationers of any sort.  Hollywood Studios will be popular with Disney resort guests and Magic Kingdom will continue to pull substantial crowds.  To take full advantage of the low crowd level, arrive prior to Park opening and follow one of the Animal Kingdom touring plans.  You’ll be able to get a ton done between 8am – 10am and be in a great position to get over to the first Festival of the Lion King and/or Finding Nemo Musical shows.  Those shows do get popular in the afternoon, so seeing them in the early morning means you’ll have better seats and won’t have to show up as early.  If you don’t arrive early, head back to Expedition Everest, Kilimanjaro Safaris, DINOSAUR, Primeval Whirl, and others after 6:30pm.  A lot of people leave after the 3:45pm Parade and the attractions have shorter waits in the evening than they did in the afternoon.

Epcot is our best Park to visit.  Last night’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 early and head straight to Test Track, Sum of All Thrills, Mission: Space, and Soarin’ or follow a more compartmentalized two-day touring plan.  It’s also an excellent day to stay for IllumiNations and enjoy the World Showcase in the afternoon.  World Showcase will be busier in the evening for the first weekend of the Candlelight Processional, but there’s no way around that this week.  To have the most success, move up through World Showcase beginning around 11am.  That will put you well ahead of the crowds until at least 3pm and you’ll be among the first people to enter each of the World Showcase Pavilions, until you make it to the American Adventure.

Hollywood Studios is not recommended.  While the addition of Fantasmic to every night this week makes each show less appealing, it also makes today’s morning Extra Magic Hour more attractive to Disney resort guests because they’ll also have the opportunity to see Fantasmic and enjoy the same operating hours as most other days next week.  Because most Disney resort guests will be arriving later in the morning, you can still have success if you are Extra Magic Hours eligible, arrive by 7:20am, and head straight to Toy Story Mania, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, and Star Tours.  However, you’re in trouble if you arrive at 10am with everyone else.  Make full use of the morning and you don’t necessarily need to change your plans, but it’s going to be busier than recommended days in the afternoon and you’ll likely want to take a sizeable afternoon break from 1pm to 5pm or so to rest up for Fantasmic, after arriving early in the morning.  Luckily, Magic Kingdom will be attracting a lot of people and Epcot will be more popular with locals, so it won’t be a terrible day.  Still, this coming Monday would be better.

It’s another busier than usual day at Magic Kingdom.  Although we had long hours, Main Street Electrical Parade, and Wishes scheduled every day this week, we won’t next week.  Plus, a lot of people who are visiting for Thanksgiving will be leaving tomorrow and they’ll want to head back to Magic Kingdom for one last go around.  You can have success if you arrive prior to Park opening and head straight for the most popular attractions, but you’re better off waiting until tomorrow when crowds will be substantially lower, both at Magic Kingdom and resort wide.

 

{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

marshallj April 23, 2013 at 1:39 pm

5 stars -This website keeps getting better and better.

Eric April 23, 2013 at 2:13 pm

Thanks Josh – as usual, we appreciate your incredible attention to detail!

I am a big fan of your late afternoon arrival to Animal Kingdom strategy, and wonder what you think about doing a micro-version of that at Epcot during their evening EMH?

Let’s assume that you are not interested in Illuminations – could you cherry-pick Future World for an hour or two leading into Illuminations, and then stack Soarin’, Test Track, and the Character Spot during the 30-45 minutes that everyone is jockeying for viewing positions, watching Illuminations, and then dealing with the outflow of crowds from World Showcase?

I would expect that wait times would jump again as quickly as 15-20 minutes after Illuminations is over, but by that point you’d be in the clear, right?

Any thoughts?

Mike April 23, 2013 at 2:22 pm

Josh, Great work! Two questions:
1) How busy was MK last year on Veteran’s day or historically on Monday Vet days?
2) Will Epcot really be that crowded on Thu 11/14? I get early DHS close will divert some, but it is the day before popular Fri Epcot EMH and later in the week when many are going to AK, DHS, or back to MK for EMH.

Bree April 24, 2013 at 2:56 am

HAHA. Here I was all excited to see the November 2013 calendar and then I realized that I’ll be there the first week of December since Thanksgiving is so late. Thanks for all you do though. I’ll still work with last year’s calendar for prelim plans for now and wait for December :)

Chris April 24, 2013 at 5:30 am

Josh, when does MK start showing the Holiday parade and fireworks on non MVMCP days?

tricia April 24, 2013 at 6:04 am

Josh, Thanks a bunch….Great info as always! Disney here we come :)

Anonymous April 24, 2013 at 6:31 am

the week of the 16th..
i read osbourne lights start at 6 .. but fantasmic starts at 6:30.. with the park having a 8 close time…
I guess it is not possible to see both attractions?

judy April 24, 2013 at 9:07 am

Ananymous- just go to The Osborne Festival of the Dancing Lights after Fantasmic!. Fantasmic! isn’t that long.

Anonymous April 24, 2013 at 9:19 am

to judy:
Thanks. .. so its pretty much just lights, no show to start it off, etc?
any idea on how long Fantasmic is.. ?

Anonymous April 30, 2013 at 12:02 pm

Josh – great site, your tips are great and I love reading your updates everyday. In general, are there days you recommend going to the water parks on. I’m thinking weekdays are better than weekends but any other insight on a particular day(s) of the week that are better?

tamara May 14, 2013 at 10:21 am

Josh, Wondering why you are not expecting 2 F! the week of Thanksgiving. Weren’t there 2 each night during Thanksgiving week 2012?

Shawna May 16, 2013 at 3:08 pm

question for Mon Nov 18 and Tues Nov 19…should we do Epcot on Monday and HS on Tuesday? I know it could go either way,…but just curious how you would do it…we are definitely doing MK on Sunday and will probably not do AK at all,..if so it won’t be till later in the week… Input anyone? TIA!!

Leah May 20, 2013 at 10:27 am

I’m curious if I can still access the Nov crowd calendar for 2012? Would like to compare the crowd rating from the week we went last year to the week we are going this year.
Thanks for all you do!

Robyn May 23, 2013 at 6:07 am

Hi Josh,
On Saturday, November 30th, the calendar shows AK as the most recommended park. The text says Epcot is the most recommended park. Which should I go by?

Vicki July 2, 2013 at 6:56 am

I love your site Josh! It’s awesome! We are going for 3 weeks in November/December with Thanksgiving week being the middle week of our trip. I have planned my days around your recommendations and on Thanksgiving week have 3 ‘free’ days including Thanksgiving day but I am wondering what the average crowd level per your most recommended parks are this week? I see the overall crowd levels are at 9 so would it be safe to assume that the most recommended park crowd levels will be somewhere around 6? Or is it basically a 9 across the board and I am just being a numpty?

K July 30, 2013 at 7:37 am

Any idea when we might see updated park hours for November? Disney doesn’t seem inclined to share, huh?

Paul August 1, 2013 at 10:40 pm

Will ride wait times be a lot lower during parades and fireworks between Wed 11/27 through Sat. 12/1? We will have seen parades and fireworks earlier in the week and no need to see again. Good time to get on rides? Thanks.

Nanette October 14, 2013 at 8:57 pm

I just printed out your PDF for November to help with a client’s itinerary. Lots of great info. The only thing I noticed is that there are two showings of Fantasmic as well as two showings of the Main Street Electrical Parade on certain nights. I got that information right from the Disney site. I wanted to share with you! Thanks for your hard work in putting these crowd calendars together!!!

marcy November 1, 2013 at 7:40 pm

I gotta tell ya, you’re a genius. We went to MK today – 11/1. It’s a Halloween Party night. We went at Rope Drop and got an *insane* amount of stuff done. The longest wait we had was – GET THIS – 10 minutes for Ariel’s Grotto at 9:30am.

We rode Dumbo, Barnstormer, met Ariel at the Grotto, saw the show in front of Cinderella’s Castle, met all 4 princesses at Fairytale Hall. Met Tiana, had a waffle at Sleepy Hollow (ummm *hello* nutella on a waffle??? yum). Strolled over to Adventureland and rode Pirates of the Caribbean, saw the Jack Sparrow show (my daughter made a great pirate up on stage!!), had lunch at some burrito place, headed to Frontierland and rode Spash Mountain (both with FP, one paper, one FP+), met Woody and Jessie, and rode Big Thunder Mtn with paper FP.

We never rushed, we never were frustrated with crowds, we relaxed in the shade a lot. And we were done by 2pm. Plenty of time to head back to Pop and relax before dinner. I cannot thank you enough. We had a PERFECT DAY.

MAF November 13, 2013 at 5:48 am

Love this site. We are here now and DHS is now opening at 8am tomorrow (Nov14) with the early close of 4pm. Also lots of “warnings” about two special events happening on property on that day and that traffic may be bad so they are recommending guests to take Disney transportation. Curious as to what the special events are?

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