October 2014 Walt Disney World Crowd Calendar

by josh on March 29, 2014

8/14/14 Update: Hollywood Studios’ hours reduced on Tuesday October 7th to 9am-6pm.

7/16/14 Update: Crowd Calendar updated with the changes listed here. Slight recommendation changes around October 16 due to added Fantasmic.

6/27/14 Update: Crowd calendar updated with the changes listed here. Note the changes in Extra Magic Hours at Magic Kingdom.

5/20/14 Update: Hollywood Studios hours reduced and Fantasmic canceled on October 4th as listed here.

4/24/14 Update: Crowd Calendar updated with the changes listed here. Recommendations changed slightly on Sundays and Mondays due to change in Extra Magic Hours schedule.

This is the Free October 2014 Disney World Crowd Calendar that shows the Recommended Parks to Visit, Overall Crowd Level Estimation, Cost, Historic High/Low Temperature, Historic Chance of Precipitation, Extra Magic Hours Schedule, Fantasmic Show Times, Holidays, and Special Events.

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

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

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

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

Click the image to enlarge it.

Wednesday October 1

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 5pm (Recommended)

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Not Recommended)

Evening Extra Magic Hours: 9pm – 11pm

Illuminations: 9pm

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

Fantasmic: 8pm

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

Festival of Fantasy Parade: 3pm, Main Street Electrical Parade: 8pm, Wishes Fireworks: 9pm

Animal Kingdom remains recommended. Magic Kingdom will be more popular than yesterday with longer hours of operation, main Street Electrical Parade, and Wishes 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 or Hollywood Studios on Tuesday. But that’s a nominal concern, particularly with the average overall crowd level. To have the most success, arrive prior to Park opening and head straight for Kilimanjaro Safaris and Expedition Everest. You’ll have no trouble riding both with very low waits before 10am. Once you get through these two attractions, you have little to worry about other than trying to get to the scheduled shows. Finding Nemo and Festival of the Lion King do get busy during the afternoon shows, so try to see the first or last show of the day. You’ll also want to get to DinoLand USA before 10:30am to ride Primeval Whirl and DINOSAUR because those two attractions are popular. Still, they aren’t necessarily your top morning priorities. You should have no trouble experiencing most everything Animal Kingdom has to offer in one day, provided you arrive early in the morning, tour efficiently, use FastPass+ intelligently, and keep an eye on the time in order to see the scheduled stage shows. Finally, crowds disperse in the afternoon around 3pm. Plan to stay through close because waits will only get shorter as it gets later in the evening. Visit DinoLand after 3pm and Asia after 4pm to find much lower crowds than the afternoon.

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-10am. Most Disney resort guests will sleep in and arrive around 10:30am in anticipation of staying until around 10pm. 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 the most recommended Park with Magic Kingdom drawing more guests with the later close and Epcot being attractive to resort guests. To have the most success, you’ll still want to arrive by 8:15am and head straight for Toy Story Mania, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, and Star Tours. Because Toy Story Mania has such a limited capacity, wait times are almost always 60+ minutes in the afternoon, even with some of the lowest crowds of the year. You’ll want to make it your top priority. Your second priority is Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, which also sees long afternoon waits and limited FastPass+ availability. Tower of Terror and Star Tours should be easier to ride, but also remain priorities. If you can get these attractions done in the early morning, you’ll be in great shape for the rest of the day. The only other problem most people run into is trying to schedule all of the stage shows that run on a set schedule. You may also want to prioritize characters that will have longer afternoon waits. The Toy Story characters across from Toy Story typically meet beginning at 9am and have the longest afternoon waits. Sofia the First usually has the second longest waits and meets in Animation Courtyard beginning at 9:30am. Phineas & Ferb also see long lines. They typically begin appearing at 9:30am, which means you’ll have time to ride Toy Story Mania before heading over to the Toy Story characters and then over to Sofia or Phineas & Ferb, which are located near Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano and across from the exit to Muppet Vision 3D. Check the week’s Times Guide to verify appearance times. Two other popular characters appear in the Animation Building in the Animation Courtyard. Sorcerer Mickey in particular has long afternoon waits and The Incredibles characters also tend to have decent lines. Since both characters meet indoors and their lines aren’t usually over 20 minutes long, you should be able to find them with decent waits later in the day if you have other morning priorities. Finally, you’ll find some characters in the morning near Mickey’s Sorcerer’s Hat that won’t appear later in the afternoon. Daisy Duck, Donald Duck, Chip, Dale, Stitch, Goofy, and Pluto are all common, but no specific character is guaranteed to appear. For Fantasmic, consider the Fantasmic Dining Package that guarantees everyone on the reservation a seat in the reserved section of the theater. You’ll still need to arrive at least 20 minutes early, but it’s better than the 60+ minutes early you’ll need to arrive without the package. The Dining Package makes the most sense on the Disney Dining Plan because it only costs one table service credit (except at Hollywood Brown Derby, which still costs two credits as it would otherwise) and includes the appetizer. As far as general seating is concerned, the best seats are about half way up in the center sections. Sit any closer and you run the risk of getting wet and it’s more difficult to see what’s happening on the water.

Magic Kingdom is tentatively recommended, though this will be the third busiest day of the week there with the longer hours of operation and nighttime entertainment luring more casual vacationers in the middle of the week than usual. With no Electrical Parade scheduled until Saturday, today will be more popular than either of the next two days.  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 priorities 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 through Wishes.  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 6pm 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+ in the afternoon when waits peak.  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 and offer a similar view.

Thursday October 2

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

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Most Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 7:30pm (Not Recommended)

Fantasmic: 8pm

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

Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Festival of Fantasy 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.  We have few people headed to Magic Kingdom with the short hours of operation.  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 and Animal Kingdom hasn’t offered a morning Extra Magic Hour since Monday.  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. We’re going into another busy weekend, thanks to the guaranteed higher crowds for the International Food and Wine Festival. Fantasmic and Magic Kingdom’s morning Extra Magic Hour will also help pull people away today. Plus, yesterday’s evening Extra Magic Hours will have been wildly popular with Disney resort guests and they won’t be looking to return today, especially in the morning. All in all, today and next Monday are your best days of the week at Epcot. Take full advantage by arriving by 8:15am and head straight for Test Track, Sum of All Thrills, Mission: Space, and Soarin’. Head up to World Showcase beginning as close to 11am as possible to stay ahead of the incoming Food and Wine Festival crowds. Return to Future World after 5pm to find lower crowds there than the afternoon, keeping in mind that only Soarin’, Test Track, Spaceship Earth, Mission: Space, Character Spot, and The Seas continue operating after 7pm. Hit the other Future World attractions from 5pm – 7pm and then return to Soarin’ and Test Track after 8pm to find shorter waits, use FastPass+, or take advantage of single rider at Test Track. It’s also an excellent night to stay for IllumiNations.

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 tentatively 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 Not So Scary Halloween 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 October 3

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

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Epcot: 9am – 10pm (Not Recommended)

Illuminations: 10pm

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 7:30pm (Not Recommended)

Fantasmic: 8pm

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

Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party

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

Animal Kingdom is not currently recommended with the morning Extra Magic Hour scheduled. I am expecting Disney to swap today’s morning EMH with Hollywood Studios’ morning EMH tomorrow. Hollywood Studios is hosting the Tower of Terror 10-miler race tomorrow beginning at 10pm, which should necessitate the Studios closing at 6pm with no Fantasmic. It’s likely that Disney will swap the Extra Magic Hours so they aren’t pushing resort guests to visit on a day with shortened hours and no nighttime entertainment, like Saturday should end up being. If and when that change happens, Animal Kingdom will move to “recommended,” but Magic Kingdom remains overwhelmingly the best Park to visit.

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 not recommended. Magic Kingdom will not be a major draw with the short hours and lack of evening entertainment during regular Park hours and we only have a lowly morning Extra Magic Hour currently scheduled at Disney’s least popular theme park. I’m also expecting Disney to swap today’s morning EMH at Animal Kingdom with tomorrow’s at the Studios, so that the Studios will offer a morning Extra Magic Hour today. That will only make the Studios more crowded as it attracts additional Disney resort guests.

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 Not So Scary Halloween 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 lot of Disney resort guests will have visited yesterday for the morning Extra Magic Hour and the Electrical Parade. 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+ in the afternoon when wait times peak 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 would be ideal because both days will be less crowded than a Monday or Saturday. 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 are worth spending the day in heavier crowds.

Saturday October 4

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

Epcot: 9am – 10pm (Not Recommended)

Illuminations: 10pm

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

Tower of Terror 10-Miler

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

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

Evening Extra Magic Hours: 10pm – 12am

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

Animal Kingdom is not recommended. Disney currently has the morning Extra Magic Hour scheduled at Hollywood Studios. However, the Tower of Terror 10-Miler is scheduled to begin at 10pm outside the Studios. Last year, Disney switched up the Extra Magic Hours schedule this weekend so Animal Kingdom’s morning EMH would be scheduled today. I am expecting that pattern to continue this year. If and when it does, Animal Kingdom will end up being more crowded because the morning Extra Magic Hour and likelihood that the hours will be extended will make it busier than other recommended days during the week.

Epcot will be considerably busier than usual due to the incredibly popular International Food and Wine Festival. The event 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. Use FastPass+ in the late morning and afternoon when crowds and waits peak. 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 the only expressly recommended Park today with the expectation that Disney will move the morning Extra Magic Hour to Friday. With shorter hours, no Fantasmic, and so much going on elsewhere, very few people will have their eye on the Studios.  The reason for the short hours is the third annual Tower of Terror Run this evening.  Luckily, the race doesn’t start until 10pm and won’t have any effect on daytime crowds, other than to lower them during the day.  Still, you’ll find the most success if you arrive prior to Park opening and take care of Toy Story Midway Mania, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, and Star Tours first thing in the morning.  You may also want to prioritize some of the most popular character meet and greets.  In particular, the Toy Story characters that meet across from Toy Story Mania, Sofia the First in Animation Courtyard, and the Phineas/Ferb Meet and Greets are popular.  If you’d like to meet these characters, try to arrive about five minutes before they’re scheduled to appear or wait until the final hour that they’re scheduled to appear.  Because their capacities are basically one person/group at a time, we can expect decent waits (15 to 40 minutes), even when low crowds are expected.  Without Fantasmic, crowds will only decrease beginning around 3pm as there is no evening entertainment to keep people in the Park and very few people will be Park Hopping over in the afternoon or evening for a meal or the few attractions that the Studios offers.  Stay through 6pm if you have more you’d like to accomplish because lines will only get shorter.  As usual, save Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster and Toy Story Mania for last because their lines will dissipate slower.  Overall, this is one of the two least crowded days this week to visit, but you will run into lines at the headliners should you arrive at 10:30am with everyone else.  If you’d like to see Fantasmic, you could Park Hop over on a night where it’s scheduled or plan a second day at the Studios.

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, Disney added evening Extra Magic Hours, attracting even more resort guests. Yesterday will be much less crowded with the 7pm close and lack of nighttime entertainment. On top of that, Main Street Electrical Parade is only scheduled on a limited number of nights this week. Because the Parade is so popular, a lot of people will visit on a day that they can see it, like today. Yesterday, tomorrow, and next Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday will be much better days to tour, but you can have a moderate amount of success today if you arrive prior to 8:30am and head straight for the headlining or Fantasyland attractions. You may elect to prioritize another low capacity attraction or character instead. The afternoon will be busier than any other day this week and you’ll either want to take a break and return for the Electrical Parade and Wishes or visit the less popular attractions from 2pm – 6pm. The relatively late night is also a good time to tour with short waits at most attractions after 9pm. If you’re planning to visit during evening Extra Magic Hours, begin in Adventureland or Frontierland because most people will head straight for Tomorrowland or Fantasyland. Visit Tomorrowland or Fantasyland in the final hour to find shorter 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.

Sunday October 5

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 6pm (Recommended)

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Not Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 7:30pm (Not Recommended)

Evening Extra Magic Hours: 7:30pm – 9:30pm

Fantasmic: 8pm

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

Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party

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

Animal Kingdom is recommended. Disney resort guests are more likely to visit tomorrow for morning Extra Magic Hour and it’s unlikely anyone arriving over the weekend will begin their vacation with Disney’s least popular theme park. Despite the relatively short operating hours, you should be able to do just about everything the Park has to offer if you arrive prior to Park opening. Focus on riding Kilimanjaro Safaris and Expedition Everest as early as possible and/or use FastPass+. After getting those out of the way, move on to DinoLand USA or one of the more popular shows – either Finding Nemo the Musical or Festival of the Lion King and you’ll be set for the rest of the day. Keep in mind that crowds disperse in the afternoon around 3pm and the last hour of operation will only have diminishing waits. End the day in Asia with Kali River Rapids and Expedition Everest and waits will be nearly nonexistent.

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. Others will wait until Sunday to visit because they’re more interested in the special events scheduled that day. 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 which day you visit, 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. You can find success if you arrive by 8:15am 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 will be busy due to the evening Extra Magic Hours that are popular with Disney resort guests and the likelihood that the close will be extended, which will attract off-site guess as well. The morning will be an okay time to tour, but crowds will increase around 11am as more and more Disney resort guests arrive. Monday, Wednesday or Thursday would be better if you can swing any of those dates. Unfortunately, I’m not too fond of evening Extra Magic Hours at Hollywood Studios. There are only a few attractions open and the waits for Toy Story Mania, Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, and Star Tours will likely be just as long as they were during the day, at least until 9pm when people begin to give up and exit. In addition, 9,000+ people will exit Fantasmic at 8:30pm, right as evening Extra Magic Hours gets underway. The Fantasmic Theater is located right on Sunset Boulevard, across from the entrances to Tower of Terror and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster. While not everyone seeing Fantasmic will be a Disney resort guest, many of them will be, and a ton will be headed to Tower of Tower and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster because they truly believe it’s the best time to get in line. Unfortunately, they’ll find themselves lined up with a few thousand of their new best friends. If you’re staying for evening Extra Magic Hours, your best bet is always to save these headlining attractions for the very end of the night and visit Toy Story Mania last. While you could theoretically have success if you arrive prior to Park opening and head straight for the headliners, the same will be true later in the week and you won’t have to deal with the significantly heavier afternoon and evening crowds.

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 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. 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 like a truncated day, 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 when crowds peak, 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 the Halloween 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 ticket to get in line. There are no exceptions. Other than those minor inconveniences, this is going to be one of the three least crowded days of the week at Magic Kingdom.

Monday October 6

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

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Most Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

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

Fantasmic: 8pm

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

Festival of Fantasy Parade: 3pm, Main Street Electrical Parade: 9pm, 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 few people that just arrived over the weekend will be looking to visit Disney World’s least popular theme park. Still, there are better days to visit the Animal Kingdom than today, including tomorrow and Thursday. While the morning Extra Magic Hour is an excellent time to tour, it’s difficult to get out to the Animal Kingdom by 7:45am to take full advantage of it. If you’re staying at a Monorail Deluxe Resort, you’re looking at a 20+ minute drive to the Animal Kingdom, plus time for the bus to arrive – not to mention getting multiple people up and ready early in the morning with just one shower and limited space. At 6:30am. If you’re absolutely certain that you’ll arrive by 7:45am, then you can have a lot of success because the crowd level won’t be that high, but it will be busier in the afternoon than other recommended days this week due to a higher number of Disney resort guests than usual. You’re much better served holding off for a recommended day if you’re not going to arrive until 9am or later.

Epcot is the most recommended Park. We don’t have Extra Magic Hours, special evening entertainment, or anything else that will draw people toward Epcot specifically. Disney resort guests will be more likely to visit tomorrow or Wednesday for Extra Magic Hours and off-site visitors on a weeklong vacation will be headed to the Magic Kingdom for their first full day at the world’s most popular theme park. Disney resort guests are more likely to head to Animal Kingdom for the Extra Magic Hours. We’re also coming off a much busier weekend thanks to the Food and Wine Festival. To have the most success, arrive prior to Park opening and head to Test Track, Sum of All Thrills, Mission: Space, and Soarin’ or follow one of the two-day compartmentalized touring plans. With the Food and Wine Festival, World Showcase will remain much busier than it would be otherwise. Head up immediately at 11am to dodge most of the crowds. The evening will be busier than usual in World Showcase. Plan to return to Future World after 5pm to avoid the congestion. Just keep in mind that a lot of the Future World attractions close at 7pm. Usually, just Soarin, Test Track, Mission: Space, Spaceship Earth, The Seas with Nemo and Friends, and Character Spot continue to operate after 7pm. If Character Spot is on your itinerary, try to visit after 7pm when waits times are much lower than the afternoon. Overall, it’s a great day for Epcot and an excellent opportunity to spend time in both Future World and World Showcase.

Hollywood Studios is highly recommended as we come off a busier day with Extra Magic Hours. It’s also early enough in the week that most guests just arriving will be intent on visiting Magic Kingdom with its nighttime entertainment and long hours of operation. Tomorrow will be less crowded with the early close and lack of Fantasmic, but you won’t have an opportunity to see the very popular show. As always, it’s imperative that you arrive by 8:15am and take care of Toy Story Mania first thing. The Studios has a severely limited number of rides and wait times rise quickly even on the most recommended days with the lowest crowds.

Magic Kingdom is going to be busy today. Mondays are usually the second busiest day of the week at the Magic Kingdom, second to only Saturdays, for a variety of reasons. First, a lot of people travel over the weekend and visit Magic Kingdom on their first full day. In most instances, that day is Monday. Second, Mondays often feature longer hours, Wishes Fireworks, and Main Street Electrical Parade, when other days during the week have shorter operating hours and don’t offer the Electrical Parade. Anyone who wants to see the evening entertainment will have to visit on a day when it’s offered, like most Saturdays and Mondays.You can do okay if you arrive at the gate by 8:30am and tour efficiently in the morning, but 11am – 9pm is going to be busier than any day this week other than Saturday.

Tuesday October 7

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 6pm (Recommended)

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Not Recommended)

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Illuminations: 9pm

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

Fantasmic: none

Magic Kingdom: 9am – 10pm (Recommended)

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

Animal Kingdom is recommended. We don’t have special events, Extra Magic Hours, or anything specific drawing people toward it. It’s early enough in the week that many people on weeklong vacations will be saving Animal Kingdom for later in the week. The only problem is the fact that Hollywood Studios will be attracting fewer people with the early close and lack of Fantasmic, but that is a minor problem in the grand scheme of things. To have the most success, arrive prior to Park opening and head straight for Kilimanjaro Safaris and Expedition Everest. You’ll have no trouble riding both with very low waits before 10am. Once you get through these two attractions, you have little to worry about other than trying to get to the scheduled shows. Finding Nemo and Festival of the Lion King do get busy during the afternoon shows, so try to see the first or last show of the day. You’ll also want to get to DinoLand USA before 10:30am to ride Primeval Whirl and DINOSAUR because those two attractions are popular. Still, they aren’t necessarily your top morning priorities. You should have no trouble experiencing most everything Animal Kingdom has to offer in one day, provided you arrive early in the morning, tour efficiently, use FastPass+ intelligently, and keep an eye on the time in order to see the scheduled stage shows. Finally, crowds disperse in the afternoon around 3pm. Plan to stay through close because waits will only get shorter as it gets later in the evening. Visit DinoLand after 4pm and Asia after 5pm to find much lower waits than earlier in the afternoon. Tomorrow and Saturday are the two best days to visit.

Epcot is not recommended. We have the morning Extra Magic Hour attracting the majority of Disney resort guests and a lot of off-site visitors who will naturally visit Epcot after the Magic Kingdom yesterday. Skip it unless you can’t get there any other day or are certain you’ll arrive prior to 8am for the morning Extra Magic Hour and plan to either Park Hop elsewhere or take a break in the afternoon.

Hollywood Studios is the most recommended Park. Yesterday’s evening Extra Magic Hours/Fantasmic combo will be a much bigger draw, particularly with no Fantasmic scheduled today and a slightly earlier close. Magic Kingdom will be more popular with the late close and Wishes  and Epcot will be attracting the majority of the Disney resort crowd. To have the most success, arrive by 8:15am and head directly to Toy Story Mania, and then Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, and Great Movie Ride. Do this, and you’ll be in great shape for the rest of the day. Don’t arrive until 10am and you’ll end up with a 60+ minute waits at Toy Story Mania, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, and potentially Tower of Terror. After getting through the headliners, focus on the Studios’ stage shows and high capacity attractions like Backlot Tour and Star Tours. Popular characters like Woody/Buzz and Sofia the First may also be a morning priority. With the lack of nighttime entertainment, few people will be Park Hopping over in the afternoon. Stay through close because waits will be much shorter in the last two hours of operation than they were during the afternoon. In the last hour, hit Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, and finish with Toy Story Mania. Note that Fantasmic isn’t scheduled. If you’d like to see the show, tomorrow and Friday are the best days to visit.

Magic Kingdom is recommended today and it’s your best opportunity to visit and see Wishes in the evening. We’re coming off an extremely busy day with the long hours of operation, evening Extra Magic Hours, and Main Street Electrical Parade. If you’re looking for the absolute lowest crowds, a recommended Halloween Party date would be better, but you won’t have the opportunity to see Wishes in the evening. If you do visit today, take advantage of the relatively low crowds by arriving prior to Park opening and head straight for Fantasyland (Mine Train, Journey of the Little Mermaid, Peter Pan’s Flight, Winnie the Pooh), the headlining Mountain rides (Space Mountain, 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 priority attractions in the early afternoon or evening. 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.

Wednesday October 8

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

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Not Recommended)

Evening Extra Magic Hours: 9pm – 11pm

Illuminations: 9pm

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

Fantasmic: 8pm

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

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

Animal Kingdom is the most recommended Park for a number of reasons. We don’t have special events, Extra Magic Hours, or anything specific drawing people toward it. We also have Fantasmic at Hollywood Studios attracting a lot of off-site and on-site visitors alike and Epcot will be attracting the bulk of the resort crowd with the popular evening Extra Magic Hours. To have the most success, arrive prior to Park opening and head straight for Kilimanjaro Safaris and Expedition Everest. You’ll have no trouble riding both with very low waits before 10am. Once you get through these two attractions, you have little to worry about other than trying to get to the scheduled shows. Finding Nemo does get busy during the afternoon shows, so try to see the first or last show of the day. You’ll also want to get to DinoLand USA before 10:30am to ride Primeval Whirl and DINOSAUR because those two attractions are popular. Still, they aren’t necessarily your top morning priorities. You should have no trouble experiencing most everything Animal Kingdom has to offer in one day, provided you arrive early in the morning, tour efficiently, use FastPass+ intelligently, and keep an eye on the time in order to see the scheduled stage shows. Finally, crowds disperse in the afternoon around 3pm. Plan to stay through close because waits will only get shorter as it gets later in the evening. Visit DinoLand after 4pm and Asia after 5pm to find much lower waits than the afternoon.

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-10am. Most Disney resort guests will sleep in and arrive around 10:30am in anticipation of staying until around 10pm. 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 comes recommended with Magic Kingdom drawing more guests with the later close and Epcot being attractive to resort guests. The only problem is that we’re coming off a less busy day yesterday with the early close and lack of Fantasmic. Arriving prior to Park opening and touring efficiently is more important than picking the “right” day. To have the most success, you’ll still want to arrive by 8:15am and head straight for Toy Story Mania, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, and Star Tours. Because Toy Story Mania has such a limited capacity, wait times are almost always 60+ minutes in the afternoon, even with some of the lowest crowds of the year. You’ll want to make it your top priority. Your second priority is Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, which also sees long afternoon waits and limited FastPass+ availability. Tower of Terror and Star Tours should be easier to ride, but also remain priorities. If you can get these attractions done in the early morning, you’ll be in great shape for the rest of the day. The only other problem most people run into is trying to schedule all of the stage shows that run on a set schedule. You may also want to prioritize characters that will have longer afternoon waits. The Toy Story characters across from Toy Story typically meet beginning at 9am and have the longest afternoon waits. Sofia the First usually has the second longest waits and meets in Animation Courtyard beginning at 9:30am. Phineas & Ferb also see long lines. They typically begin appearing at 9:30am, which means you’ll have time to ride Toy Story Mania before heading over to the Toy Story characters and then over to Sofia or Phineas & Ferb, which are located near Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano and across from the exit to Muppet Vision 3D. Check the week’s Times Guide to verify appearance times. Two other popular characters appear in the Animation Building in the Animation Courtyard. Sorcerer Mickey in particular has long afternoon waits and The Incredibles characters also tend to have decent lines. Since both characters meet indoors and their lines aren’t usually over 20 minutes long, you should be able to find them with decent waits later in the day if you have other morning priorities. Finally, you’ll find some characters in the morning near Mickey’s Sorcerer’s Hat that won’t appear later in the afternoon. Daisy Duck, Donald Duck, Chip, Dale, Stitch, Goofy, and Pluto are all common, but no specific character is guaranteed to appear. For Fantasmic, consider the Fantasmic Dining Package that guarantees everyone on the reservation a seat in the reserved section of the theater. You’ll still need to arrive at least 20 minutes early, but it’s better than the 60+ minutes early you’ll need to arrive without the package. The Dining Package makes the most sense on the Disney Dining Plan because it only costs one table service credit (except at Hollywood Brown Derby, which still costs two credits as it would otherwise) and includes the appetizer. As far as general seating is concerned, the best seats are about half way up in the center sections. Sit any closer and you run the risk of getting wet and it’s more difficult to see what’s happening on the water.

Magic Kingdom is tentatively recommended, though this will be the third busiest day of the week there with the longer hours of operation and nighttime entertainment luring more casual vacationers in the middle of the week than usual. With no Electrical Parade scheduled until Saturday, today will be more popular than either of the next two days.  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 priorities 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 through Wishes.  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 6pm 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+ in the afternoon when waits peak.  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 and offer a similar view.

Thursday October 9

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

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Most Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 7:30pm (Not Recommended)

Fantasmic: 8pm

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

Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Festival of Fantasy 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.  We have few people headed to Magic Kingdom with the short hours of operation.  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 and Animal Kingdom hasn’t offered a morning Extra Magic Hour since Monday.  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. We’re going into another busy weekend, thanks to the guaranteed higher crowds for the International Food and Wine Festival. Fantasmic and Magic Kingdom’s morning Extra Magic Hour will also help pull people away today. Plus, yesterday’s evening Extra Magic Hours will have been wildly popular with Disney resort guests and they won’t be looking to return today, especially in the morning. All in all, today and next Monday are your best days of the week at Epcot. Take full advantage by arriving by 8:15am and head straight for Test Track, Sum of All Thrills, Mission: Space, and Soarin’. Head up to World Showcase beginning as close to 11am as possible to stay ahead of the incoming Food and Wine Festival crowds. Return to Future World after 5pm to find lower crowds there than the afternoon, keeping in mind that only Soarin’, Test Track, Spaceship Earth, Mission: Space, Character Spot, and The Seas continue operating after 7pm. Hit the other Future World attractions from 5pm – 7pm and then return to Soarin’ and Test Track after 8pm to find shorter waits, use FastPass+, or take advantage of single rider at Test Track. It’s also an excellent night to stay for IllumiNations.

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 tentatively 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 Not So Scary Halloween 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 October 10

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

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Epcot: 9am – 10pm (Not Recommended)

Illuminations: 10pm

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

Fantasmic: 8pm

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

Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party

Festival of Fantasy 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. 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 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. You can still make today work if you’re Extra Magic Hours and arrive by 7:30am to take advantage of it. But you’ll probably want to be on your way by 1pm when crowds are heavier.

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 yesterday would have been better. Most people will want to take advantage of some of the lowest crowds of the week at Magic Kingdom. Fortunately, Animal Kingdom will be pulling more Disney resort guests and Epcot will be incredibly popular for the International Food and Wine Festival. The Studios will be busier tomorrow with the morning Extra Magic Hour attracting resort guests. As always, it’s much more important to arrive by 8:15am and take care of Toy Story Mania and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster first thing than it is to simply “pick the right day” and show up at 11am. Even with the average overall crowd level and recommendation, Toy Story Mania will see 60+ minute waits in the afternoon and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster won’t be far behind. There’s no way around that with their limited capacities and the few number of rides in the Park. Arrive early and tour efficiently and you can do very well.

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 Not So Scary Halloween 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 lot of Disney resort guests will have visited yesterday for the morning Extra Magic Hour and the Electrical Parade. 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+ in the afternoon when wait times peak 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. This past Wednesday would be ideal because both days will be less crowded than a Monday or Saturday. 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 are worth spending the day in heavier crowds.

Saturday October 11

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

Epcot: 9am – 10pm (Not Recommended)

Illuminations: 10pm

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 7:30pm (Not Recommended)

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Fantasmic: 8pm

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

Evening Extra Magic Hours: 10pm – 12am

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

Animal Kingdom is the most recommended Park. We don’t have Extra Magic Hours, special events, evening entertainment, or anything else to attract on-site or off-site visitors. Those leaving tomorrow after a traditional weeklong vacation are unlikely to visit Animal Kingdom on their last full day and most arriving today won’t head out to Animal Kingdom as their first destination. We’re also coming off a morning Extra Magic Hour yesterday that will be much more popular with resort guests. Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios will be attracting the bulk of the resort crowd and Epcot will be far more popular with locals for the Food and Wine Festival. As always, you’ll be best off if you arrive prior to Park opening and head straight for Kilimanjaro Safaris and Expedition Everest. Wait times will only get shorter after 4pm, so stay through close if you have more you’d like to accomplish.  Head to DinoLand after 6pm and Asia after 7pm to find much lower waits than the afternoon.

Epcot will be considerably busier than usual due to the incredibly popular International Food and Wine Festival. The event 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. Use FastPass+ in the late morning and afternoon when crowds and waits peak. 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. The sizable Disney resort contingent numbers 75,000+ people. Because Disney sells the Extra Magic Hour program so well in its marketing materials, many of these Disney resort guests follow the Extra Magic Hours schedule because they think it’s Disney telling them where they belong each day. While you can have success if you are Extra Magic Hours eligible and arrive by 7:15am, most people will want to visit another day. Tomorrow would be significantly better. Avoid it unless you can’t visit any other day or are certain you’ll arrive by 7:15am and plan to hit Toy Story Midway Mania, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, and Star Tours first thing in the morning.

Saturdays are naturally the busiest day of the week at the Magic Kingdom. We have longer hours of operation, visiting locals, and a lot of vacationers who will be visiting the Magic Kingdom for a second time before returning home tomorrow. On top of that, Disney added evening Extra Magic Hours, attracting even more resort guests. Main Street Electrical Parade is only scheduled on a limited number of nights this week. Because the Parade is so popular, a lot of people will visit on a day that they can see it, like today. Yesterday will be much less crowded with the 7pm close and lack of nighttime entertainment. Yesterday, tomorrow, and next Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday will be much better days to tour, but you can have a moderate amount of success today if you arrive prior to 8:30am and head straight for the headlining or Fantasyland attractions. You may elect to prioritize another low capacity attraction or character instead. The afternoon will be busier than any other day this week and you’ll either want to take a break and return for the Electrical Parade and Wishes or visit the less popular attractions from 2pm – 6pm. The relatively late night is also a good time to tour with short waits at most attractions after 9pm. If you’re planning to visit during evening Extra Magic Hours, begin in Adventureland or Frontierland because most people will head straight for Tomorrowland or Fantasyland. Visit Tomorrowland or Fantasyland in the final hour to find shorter 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.

Sunday October 12

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

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Not Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

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

Fantasmic: 7:30pm

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

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

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

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. Others will wait until Sunday to visit because they’re more interested in the special events scheduled that day. 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 which day you visit, 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. You can find success if you arrive by 8:15am 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.  We also have Main Street Electrical Parade and Wishes at Magic Kingdom to draw people in that direction and a morning Extra Magic Hour at Animal Kingdom that will boost attendance slightly there.  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. With the higher overall crowd level due to the holiday, today will be busier than other days surrounding it with lower overall crowd levels, but the Studios still is the best choice today.  In order to find the shortest waits, you’ll need to arrive prior to Park opening and head straight to Toy Story Mania to ride and/or rely on FastPass+ later in the day.  Because of its popularity and extremely limited capacity, Toy Story Mania almost always has afternoon waits of 60 or more minutes.  It’s always your top priority.  The second attraction with the longest peak wait is Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, which should be ridden immediately after Toy Story Mania in the morning or with FastPass+.  Other priorities are Tower of Terror and Star Tours, though FastPass+ are more plentiful at both attractions and standby waits are usually lower.  After you get through these four headliners, it’s just a matter of arriving in time to see the various stage shows that run on a set schedule and getting over to the Studios’ high capacity attractions.  You may also have characters to visit before lines get longer.  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, Wednesday, and Thursday are also recommended.

Magic Kingdom is not recommended. The long operating hours and both nighttime spectaculars will attract on-site and off-site visitors alike and we only have a lowly morning Extra Magic Hour at Disney’s least popular theme park to otherwise attract resort guests. Few people will be looking to visit tomorrow with the 7pm close and lack of nighttime entertainment during regular Park hours. Now that evening Extra Magic Hours have moved to Saturday, you can do well in the morning from 9am-11am and in the final two hours of operation, but the afternoon from 11am-7pm will be considerably busier than recommended days during the week, especially tomorrow and Friday. With elevated crowds for the Columbus Day holiday, your time is best spent elsewhere, but Magic Kingdom still works with an intelligent touring plan.

Monday October 13

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

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 7pm (Not Recommended)

Evening Extra Magic Hours: 7pm – 9pm

Fantasmic: 7:30pm

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

Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party

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

Animal Kingdom is highly recommended. Hollywood Studios will be attracting the resort guest crowd and it’s early enough in the week that few people will be visiting Disney’s least favorite theme park this early in their vacation or over a short holiday trip. We’re also coming off a morning Extra Magic Hour yesterday that will be more attractive to resort guests.

Epcot is recommended though it isn’t the most recommended Park with Magic Kingdom drawing fewer people than usual. It’s also a national holiday, which will increase the numbers of adults in World Showcase for the Food and Wine Festival. Fortunately, 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 Epcot tomorrow or Friday for Extra Magic Hours. Still, with the limited number of attractions, it’s still more important to arrive by 8:15am and tour efficiently in the morning than it is to simply pick a recommended day. To have the most success, arrive prior to Park opening and head to Test Track, Sum of All Thrills, Mission: Space, and Soarin’ or follow one of the two-day compartmentalized touring plans. You’ll also be in the best shape if you’ve moved on to World Showcase by 12pm, beginning with the water rides in Mexico and Norway. Should you have more to accomplish in Future World, return after 5pm when most of the crowd has moved on to World Showcase. Just keep in mind that a lot of the Future World attractions close at 7pm. Usually, just Soarin, Test Track, Mission: Space, Spaceship Earth, The Seas with Nemo and Friends, and Character Spot continue to operate after 7pm. If Character Spot is on your itinerary, try to visit after 7pm when waits times are much lower than the afternoon. Overall, it’s a great day for Epcot and an excellent opportunity to spend time in both Future World and World Showcase.

Hollywood Studios will be busy due to the evening Extra Magic Hours that are popular with Disney resort guests and the likelihood that the close will be extended, which will attract off-site guess as well. The morning will be an okay time to tour, but crowds will increase around 11am as more and more Disney resort guests arrive. Unfortunately, I’m not too fond of evening Extra Magic Hours at Hollywood Studios. There are only a few attractions open and the waits for Toy Story Mania, Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, and Star Tours will likely be just as long as they were during the day, at least until 8:30pm when people begin to give up and exit. In addition, 9,000+ people will exit Fantasmic at 8pm, right as evening Extra Magic Hours gets underway. The Fantasmic Theater is located right on Sunset Boulevard, across from the entrances to Tower of Terror and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster. While not everyone seeing Fantasmic will be a Disney resort guest, many of them will be, and a ton will be headed to Tower of Tower and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster because they truly believe it’s the best time to get in line. Unfortunately, they’ll find themselves lined up with a few thousand of their new best friends. If you’re staying for evening Extra Magic Hours, your best bet is always to save these headlining attractions for the very end of the night and visit Toy Story Mania last. While you could theoretically have success if you arrive prior to Park opening and head straight for the headliners, the same will be true later in the week and you won’t have to deal with the significantly heavier afternoon and evening crowds.

While the traditional advice is to avoid Magic Kingdom on holidays, we don’t need to be too concerned about Columbus Day.  Most Florida school districts don’t even get a day off for it and it’s relatively rare for people to get a day off work.  We’re coming off an extremely popular day at Magic Kingdom yesterday, with longer hours of operation, evening Extra Magic Hours, and both evening spectaculars.  Today, we have Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and the 9am to 7pm hours that accompany it.  Historically, Columbus Day Monday is not busy in the least and there’s nothing this year to indicate that will change.  The abbreviated schedule will cause many people to wait until tomorrow, Wednesday or Saturday to visit and we shouldn’t see elevated crowds specifically due to the holiday.  I have no qualms about recommending it wholeheartedly.  As always, plan to arrive prior to Park opening, head to the most popular attractions immediately after Park opening, use FastPass+ in the afternoon, and visit the less popular attractions in the afternoon when lines to the headliners are longer.  9am – 10:30am in particular will see incredibly low crowd levels and afternoon crowds won’t be unmanageable.

Tuesday October 14

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

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Tentatively Recommended)

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Illuminations: 9pm

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

Fantasmic: 7:30

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

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

Animal Kingdom is highly recommended. We don’t have special events, Extra Magic Hours, or anything specific drawing people toward it. Sunday’s morning Extra Magic Hours will be more popular with Disney resort guests. It’s early enough in the week that many people on weeklong vacations will be saving Animal Kingdom for later in the week. A lot of people will also be visiting Magic Kingdom with the longer hours of operation and both nighttime spectaculars. To have the most success, arrive prior to Park opening and head straight for Kilimanjaro Safaris and Expedition Everest. You’ll have no trouble riding both with very low waits before 10am. Once you get through these two attractions, you have little to worry about other than trying to get to the scheduled shows. Finding Nemo and Festival of the Lion King do get busy during the afternoon shows, so try to see the first or last show of the day. You’ll also want to get to DinoLand USA before 10:30am to ride Primeval Whirl and DINOSAUR because those two attractions are popular. Still, they aren’t necessarily your top morning priorities. You should have no trouble experiencing most everything Animal Kingdom has to offer in one day, provided you arrive early in the morning, tour efficiently, use FastPass+ intelligently, and keep an eye on the time in order to see the scheduled stage shows. Finally, crowds disperse in the early afternoon around 4pm. Plan to stay through close because waits will only get shorter as it gets later in the evening. Visit DinoLand after 5pm and Asia after 6pm to find much lower waits than the afternoon.

Epcot is tentatively recommended because it’s the third best day of the week there. Tomorrow will be busier with the much more popular evening Extra Magic Hours and any weekend date will be significantly busier for the Food and Wine Festival. Magic Kingdom will be attracting more people than usual with the long hours of operation and Wishes.  If you’re eligible for morning Extra Magic Hour, you can have a tremendous amount of success if you arrive by 8:25am and head straight to Soarin’ or Test Track. If you’re not eligible or won’t be arriving until later, then Monday or Thursday would be significantly better because resort guests won’t have a head start.

Hollywood Studios is the most recommended Park. Yesterday’s evening Extra Magic Hours/Fantasmic combo will be a much bigger draw. We have Epcot attracting resort guests with the morning Extra Magic Hour and Magic Kingdom will be pulling a lot of people with the nighttime entertainment and longer hours of operation.

Magic Kingdom is not expressly recommended. With fewer people headed there yesterday with the short hours and lack of evening entertainment, today will look similar to the typical Monday. Mondays are usually busier due to the longer hours of operation, fact that a lot of people arrive over the weekend and want to visit the Most Magical Place on Earth on their first full day, and rarer evening entertainment. Since that isn’t offered on this particular Monday, Tuesday will be a fill-in. While Epcot will attract some on-site visitors with the morning Extra Magic Hour, it won’t do much to sway the off-site. If you can hold off until tomorrow, you’ll find a less crowded day and still be able to enjoy both nighttime spectaculars. You can still do well today if you arrive prior to Park opening, take care your priorities first thing, take an extended afternoon break from 1pm to 5pm or so, and return in the evening for dinner, some late night attractions, and the nighttime entertainment. But yesterday and this coming Friday are the least crowded days to visit. Take that into consideration.

Wednesday October 15

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

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Not Recommended)

Evening Extra Magic Hours: 9pm – 11pm

Illuminations: 9pm

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 7pm (Recommended)

Fantasmic: 7:30pm

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

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

Animal Kingdom is the most recommended Park for a number of reasons. We don’t have special events, Extra Magic Hours, or anything specific drawing people toward it. We also have Fantasmic at Hollywood Studios attracting a lot of off-site and on-site visitors alike and Epcot will be attracting the bulk of the resort crowd with the popular evening Extra Magic Hours. To have the most success, arrive prior to Park opening and head straight for Kilimanjaro Safaris and Expedition Everest. You’ll have no trouble riding both with very low waits before 10am. Once you get through these two attractions, you have little to worry about other than trying to get to the scheduled shows. Finding Nemo does get busy during the afternoon shows, so try to see the first or last show of the day. You’ll also want to get to DinoLand USA before 10:30am to ride Primeval Whirl and DINOSAUR because those two attractions are popular. Still, they aren’t necessarily your top morning priorities. You should have no trouble experiencing most everything Animal Kingdom has to offer in one day, provided you arrive early in the morning, tour efficiently, use FastPass+ intelligently, and keep an eye on the time in order to see the scheduled stage shows. Finally, crowds disperse in the early afternoon around 3pm. Plan to stay through close because waits will only get shorter as it gets later in the evening. Visit DinoLand after 5pm and Asia after 6pm to find much lower waits than the afternoon.

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-10am. Most Disney resort guests will sleep in and arrive around 10:30am in anticipation of staying until around 10pm. 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 comes recommended with Magic Kingdom drawing more guests with the later close and Epcot being attractive to resort guests. Arriving prior to Park opening and touring efficiently is more important than picking the “right” day. To have the most success, you’ll still want to arrive by 8:15am and head straight for Toy Story Mania, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, and Star Tours. Because Toy Story Mania has such a limited capacity, wait times are almost always 60+ minutes in the afternoon, even with some of the lowest crowds of the year. You’ll want to make it your top priority. Your second priority is Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, which also sees long afternoon waits and limited FastPass+ availability. Tower of Terror and Star Tours should be easier to ride, but also remain priorities. If you can get these attractions done in the early morning, you’ll be in great shape for the rest of the day. The only other problem most people run into is trying to schedule all of the stage shows that run on a set schedule. You may also want to prioritize characters that will have longer afternoon waits. The Toy Story characters across from Toy Story typically meet beginning at 9am and have the longest afternoon waits. Sofia the First usually has the second longest waits and meets in Animation Courtyard beginning at 9:30am. Phineas & Ferb also see long lines. They typically begin appearing at 9:30am, which means you’ll have time to ride Toy Story Mania before heading over to the Toy Story characters and then over to Sofia or Phineas & Ferb, which are located near Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano and across from the exit to Muppet Vision 3D. Check the week’s Times Guide to verify appearance times. Two other popular characters appear in the Animation Building in the Animation Courtyard. Sorcerer Mickey in particular has long afternoon waits and The Incredibles characters also tend to have decent lines. Since both characters meet indoors and their lines aren’t usually over 20 minutes long, you should be able to find them with decent waits later in the day if you have other morning priorities. Finally, you’ll find some characters in the morning near Mickey’s Sorcerer’s Hat that won’t appear later in the afternoon. Daisy Duck, Donald Duck, Chip, Dale, Stitch, Goofy, and Pluto are all common, but no specific character is guaranteed to appear. For Fantasmic, consider the Fantasmic Dining Package that guarantees everyone on the reservation a seat in the reserved section of the theater. You’ll still need to arrive at least 20 minutes early, but it’s better than the 60+ minutes early you’ll need to arrive without the package. The Dining Package makes the most sense on the Disney Dining Plan because it only costs one table service credit (except at Hollywood Brown Derby, which still costs two credits as it would otherwise) and includes the appetizer. As far as general seating is concerned, the best seats are about half way up in the center sections. Sit any closer and you run the risk of getting wet and it’s more difficult to see what’s happening on the water.

Magic Kingdom is tentatively recommended, though this will be the fourth busiest day of the week there with the longer hours of operation and nighttime entertainment luring more casual vacationers in the middle of the week than usual. With no Electrical Parade scheduled until Saturday, today will be more popular than either of the next two days.  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 priorities 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 through Wishes.  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 6pm 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+ in the afternoon when waits peak.  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 and offer a similar view.

Thursday October 16

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

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Highly Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 7pm (Not Recommended)

Fantasmic: 7:30pm

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

Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Festival of Fantasy 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.  We have few people headed to Magic Kingdom with the short hours of operation.  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 and Animal Kingdom hasn’t offered a morning Extra Magic Hour since Monday.  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. We’re going into another busy weekend, thanks to the guaranteed higher crowds for the International Food and Wine Festival. Fantasmic and Magic Kingdom’s morning Extra Magic Hour will also help pull people away today. Plus, yesterday’s evening Extra Magic Hours will have been wildly popular with Disney resort guests and they won’t be looking to return today, especially in the morning. All in all, today and next Monday are your best days of the week at Epcot. Take full advantage by arriving by 8:15am and head straight for Test Track, Sum of All Thrills, Mission: Space, and Soarin’. Head up to World Showcase beginning as close to 11am as possible to stay ahead of the incoming Food and Wine Festival crowds. Return to Future World after 5pm to find lower crowds there than the afternoon, keeping in mind that only Soarin’, Test Track, Spaceship Earth, Mission: Space, Character Spot, and The Seas continue operating after 7pm. Hit the other Future World attractions from 5pm – 7pm and then return to Soarin’ and Test Track after 8pm to find shorter waits, use FastPass+, or take advantage of single rider at Test Track. It’s also an excellent night to stay for IllumiNations.

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 tentatively 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 Not So Scary Halloween 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 October 17

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

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Epcot: 9am – 10pm (Not Recommended)

Illuminations: 10pm

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 7pm (Recommended)

Fantasmic: 7:30pm

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

Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party

Festival of Fantasy 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. 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 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. You can still make today work if you’re Extra Magic Hours and arrive by 7:30am to take advantage of it. But you’ll probably want to be on your way by 1pm when crowds are heavier.

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, but most people will want to take advantage of some of the lowest crowds of the week at Magic Kingdom. Fortunately, Animal Kingdom will be pulling more Disney resort guests and Epcot will be incredibly popular for the International Food and Wine Festival. The Studios will be busier tomorrow with the morning Extra Magic Hour attracting resort guests. As always, it’s much more important to arrive by 8:15am and take care of Toy Story Mania and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster first thing than it is to simply “pick the right day” and show up at 11am. Even with the average overall crowd level and recommendation, Toy Story Mania will see 60+ minute waits in the afternoon and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster won’t be far behind. There’s no way around that with their limited capacities and the few number of rides in the Park. Arrive early and tour efficiently and you can do very well.

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 Not So Scary Halloween 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 lot of Disney resort guests will have visited yesterday for the morning Extra Magic Hour and the Electrical Parade. 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+ in the afternoon when wait times peak 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. This past Wednesday would be ideal because both days will be less crowded than a Monday or Saturday. 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 are worth spending the day in heavier crowds.

Saturday October 18

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

Epcot: 9am – 10pm (Not Recommended)

Illuminations: 10pm

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 7pm (Not Recommended)

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Fantasmic: 7:30pm

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

Evening Extra Magic Hours: 10pm – 12am

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

Animal Kingdom is the most recommended Park. We don’t have Extra Magic Hours, special events, evening entertainment, or anything else to attract on-site or off-site visitors. Those leaving tomorrow after a traditional weeklong vacation are unlikely to visit Animal Kingdom on their last full day and most arriving today won’t head out to Animal Kingdom as their first destination. We’re also coming off a morning Extra Magic Hour yesterday that will be much more popular with resort guests. Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios will be attracting the bulk of the resort crowd and Epcot will be far more popular with locals for the Food and Wine Festival. As always, you’ll be best off if you arrive prior to Park opening and head straight for Kilimanjaro Safaris and Expedition Everest. Wait times will only get shorter after 4pm, so stay through close if you have more you’d like to accomplish.  Head to DinoLand after 6pm and Asia after 7pm to find much lower waits than the afternoon.

Epcot will be considerably busier than usual due to the incredibly popular International Food and Wine Festival. The event 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. Use FastPass+ in the late morning and afternoon when crowds and waits peak. 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. The sizable Disney resort contingent numbers 75,000+ people. Because Disney sells the Extra Magic Hour program so well in its marketing materials, many of these Disney resort guests follow the Extra Magic Hours schedule because they think it’s Disney telling them where they belong each day. While you can have success if you are Extra Magic Hours eligible and arrive by 7:15am, most people will want to visit another day. Tomorrow would be significantly better. Avoid it unless you can’t visit any other day or are certain you’ll arrive by 7:15am and plan to hit Toy Story Midway Mania, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, and Star Tours first thing in the morning.

Saturdays are naturally the busiest day of the week at the Magic Kingdom. We have longer hours of operation, visiting locals, and a lot of vacationers who will be visiting the Magic Kingdom for a second time before returning home tomorrow. On top of that, Disney added evening Extra Magic Hours, attracting even more resort guests. On top of that, Main Street Electrical Parade is only scheduled on a limited number of nights this week. Because the Parade is so popular, a lot of people will visit on a day that they can see it, like today. Yesterday will be much less crowded with the 7pm close and lack of nighttime entertainment. Yesterday, tomorrow, and next Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday will be much better days to tour, but you can have a moderate amount of success today if you arrive prior to 8:30am and head straight for the headlining or Fantasyland attractions. You may elect to prioritize another low capacity attraction or character instead. The afternoon will be busier than any other day this week and you’ll either want to take a break and return for the Electrical Parade and Wishes or visit the less popular attractions from 2pm – 6pm. The relatively late night is also a good time to tour with short waits at most attractions after 9pm. If you’re planning to visit during evening Extra Magic Hours, begin in Adventureland or Frontierland because most people will head straight for Tomorrowland or Fantasyland. Visit Tomorrowland or Fantasyland in the final hour to find shorter 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.

Sunday October 19

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 8pm (Recommended)

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Not Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 7pm (Not Recommended)

Evening Extra Magic Hours: 7pm – 9pm

Fantasmic: 7:30pm

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

Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party

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

Animal Kingdom is recommended. Disney resort guests are more likely to visit tomorrow for morning Extra Magic Hour and it’s unlikely anyone arriving over the weekend will begin their vacation with Disney’s least popular theme park. Despite the relatively short operating hours, you should be able to do just about everything the Park has to offer if you arrive prior to Park opening. Focus on riding Kilimanjaro Safaris and Expedition Everest as early as possible and/or use FastPass+. After getting those out of the way, move on to DinoLand USA or one of the more popular shows – either Finding Nemo the Musical or Festival of the Lion King and you’ll be set for the rest of the day. Keep in mind that crowds disperse in the early afternoon around 4pm and the last hour of operation will only have diminishing waits. End the day in Asia with Kali River Rapids and Expedition Everest and waits will be nearly nonexistent.

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. Others will wait until Sunday to visit because they’re more interested in the special events scheduled that day. 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 which day you visit, 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. You can find success if you arrive by 8:15am 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 will be busy due to the evening Extra Magic Hours that are popular with Disney resort guests and the likelihood that the close will be extended, which will attract off-site guess as well. The morning will be an okay time to tour, but crowds will increase around 11am as more and more Disney resort guests arrive. Monday, Wednesday or Thursday would be better if you can swing any of those dates. Unfortunately, I’m not too fond of evening Extra Magic Hours at Hollywood Studios. There are only a few attractions open and the waits for Toy Story Mania, Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, and Star Tours will likely be just as long as they were during the day, at least until 9pm when people begin to give up and exit. In addition, 9,000+ people will exit Fantasmic at 8pm, right as evening Extra Magic Hours gets underway. The Fantasmic Theater is located right on Sunset Boulevard, across from the entrances to Tower of Terror and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster. While not everyone seeing Fantasmic will be a Disney resort guest, many of them will be, and a ton will be headed to Tower of Tower and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster because they truly believe it’s the best time to get in line. Unfortunately, they’ll find themselves lined up with a few thousand of their new best friends. If you’re staying for evening Extra Magic Hours, your best bet is always to save these headlining attractions for the very end of the night and visit Toy Story Mania last. While you could theoretically have success if you arrive prior to Park opening and head straight for the headliners, the same will be true later in the week and you won’t have to deal with the significantly heavier afternoon and evening crowds.

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 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. 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 like a truncated day, 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 when crowds peak, 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 the Halloween 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 ticket to get in line. There are no exceptions. Other than those minor inconveniences, this is going to be one of the three least crowded days of the week at Magic Kingdom.

Monday October 20

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

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Most Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

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

Fantasmic: 7:30pm

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

Festival of Fantasy Parade: 3pm, Main Street Electrical Parade: 9pm, 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 few people that just arrived over the weekend will be looking to visit Disney World’s least popular theme park. Still, there are better days to visit the Animal Kingdom than today, including tomorrow and Thursday. While the morning Extra Magic Hour is an excellent time to tour, it’s difficult to get out to the Animal Kingdom by 7:45am to take full advantage of it. If you’re staying at a Monorail Deluxe Resort, you’re looking at a 20+ minute drive to the Animal Kingdom, plus time for the bus to arrive – not to mention getting multiple people up and ready early in the morning with just one shower and limited space. At 6:30am. If you’re absolutely certain that you’ll arrive by 7:45am, then you can have a lot of success because the crowd level won’t be that high, but it will be busier in the afternoon than other recommended days this week due to a higher number of Disney resort guests than usual. You’re much better served holding off for a recommended day if you’re not going to arrive until 9am or later.

Epcot is the most recommended Park. We don’t have Extra Magic Hours, special evening entertainment, or anything else that will draw people toward Epcot specifically. Disney resort guests will be more likely to visit tomorrow or Wednesday for Extra Magic Hours and off-site visitors on a weeklong vacation will be headed to the Magic Kingdom for their first full day at the world’s most popular theme park. Disney resort guests are more likely to head to Animal Kingdom for the Extra Magic Hour. We’re also coming off a much busier weekend thanks to the Food and Wine Festival. To have the most success, arrive prior to Park opening and head to Test Track, Sum of All Thrills, Mission: Space, and Soarin’ or follow one of the two-day compartmentalized touring plans. With the Food and Wine Festival, World Showcase will remain much busier than it would be otherwise. Head up immediately at 11am to dodge most of the crowds. The evening will be busier than usual in World Showcase. Plan to return to Future World after 5pm to avoid the congestion. Just keep in mind that a lot of the Future World attractions close at 7pm. Usually, just Soarin, Test Track, Mission: Space, Spaceship Earth, The Seas with Nemo and Friends, and Character Spot continue to operate after 7pm. If Character Spot is on your itinerary, try to visit after 7pm when waits times are much lower than the afternoon. Overall, it’s a great day for Epcot and an excellent opportunity to spend time in both Future World and World Showcase.

Hollywood Studios is highly recommended as we come off two busier days in a row with Extra Magic Hours. It’s also early enough in the week that most guests just arriving will be intent on visiting Magic Kingdom with its nighttime entertainment and long hours of operation.  As always, it’s imperative that you arrive by 8:15am and take care of Toy Story Mania first thing. The Studios has a severely limited number of rides and wait times rise quickly even on the most recommended days with the lowest crowds.

Magic Kingdom is going to be busy today. Mondays are usually the second busiest day of the week at the Magic Kingdom, second to only Saturdays, for a variety of reasons. First, a lot of people travel over the weekend and visit Magic Kingdom on their first full day. In most instances, that day is Monday. Second, Mondays often feature longer hours, Wishes Fireworks, and Main Street Electrical Parade, when other days during the week have shorter operating hours and don’t offer the Electrical Parade. Anyone who wants to see the evening entertainment will have to visit on a day when it’s offered, like most Saturdays and Mondays.You can do okay if you arrive at the gate by 8:30am and tour efficiently in the morning, but 11am – 9pm is going to be busier than any day this week other than Saturday.

Tuesday October 21

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

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Not Recommended)

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Illuminations: 9pm

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 7pm (Not Recommended)

Fantasmic: 7:30pm

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

Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party

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

Animal Kingdom is highly recommended for a number of reasons. We don’t have special events, Extra Magic Hours, or anything specific drawing people toward it. Yesterday’s morning Extra Magic Hour will be more popular with Disney resort guests. We also have Fantasmic at Hollywood Studios attracting a lot of off-site and on-site visitors alike and it’s early enough in the week that many people on weeklong vacations will be saving Animal Kingdom for later in the week. Overall, today and Saturday are the best days of the week to visit. To have the most success, arrive prior to Park opening and head straight for Kilimanjaro Safaris and Expedition Everest. You’ll have no trouble riding both with very low waits before 10am. Once you get through these two attractions, you have little to worry about other than trying to get to the scheduled shows. Finding Nemo and Festival of the Lion King do get busy during the afternoon shows, so try to see the first or last show of the day. You’ll also want to get to DinoLand USA before 10:30am to ride Primeval Whirl and DINOSAUR because those two attractions are popular. Still, they aren’t necessarily your top morning priorities. You should have no trouble experiencing most everything Animal Kingdom has to offer in one day, provided you arrive early in the morning, tour efficiently, use FastPass+ intelligently, and keep an eye on the time in order to see the scheduled stage shows. Finally, crowds disperse in the early afternoon around 3pm. Plan to stay through close because waits will only get shorter as it gets later in the evening. Visit DinoLand after 3pm and Asia after 4pm to find much lower waits than earlier in the afternoon.

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

Hollywood Studios is not expressly recommended. The short hours at Magic Kingdom will be a big turn off for many and off-site visitors in particular will be looking toward Fantasmic and Toy Story Mania after spending yesterday at Magic Kingdom. I’m looking towards tomorrow and Thursday as a significantly better days to visit and I would hold off until then if possible.

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. Yesterday will have been busy and tomorrow will also be busier, thanks to longer hours and evening entertainment. 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 either yesterday or tomorrow, despite the Park being open fewer hours. For maximum efficiency, arrive by 8:30am and use FastPass+ in the early afternoon when crowds and waits peak. 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.

Wednesday October 22

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 6pm (Recommended)

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Not Recommended)

Evening Extra Magic Hours: 9pm – 11pm

Illuminations: 9pm

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

Fantasmic: 7:30pm

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

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

Animal Kingdom remains recommended. Magic Kingdom will be more popular than yesterday with longer hours of operation, main Street Electrical Parade, and Wishes 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 or Hollywood Studios on Tuesday. But that’s a nominal concern, particularly with the average overall crowd level. To have the most success, arrive prior to Park opening and head straight for Kilimanjaro Safaris and Expedition Everest. You’ll have no trouble riding both with very low waits before 10am. Once you get through these two attractions, you have little to worry about other than trying to get to the scheduled shows. Finding Nemo and Festival of the Lion King do get busy during the afternoon shows, so try to see the first or last show of the day. You’ll also want to get to DinoLand USA before 10:30am to ride Primeval Whirl and DINOSAUR because those two attractions are popular. Still, they aren’t necessarily your top morning priorities. You should have no trouble experiencing most everything Animal Kingdom has to offer in one day, provided you arrive early in the morning, tour efficiently, use FastPass+ intelligently, and keep an eye on the time in order to see the scheduled stage shows. Finally, crowds disperse in the early afternoon around 3pm. Plan to stay through close because waits will only get shorter as it gets later in the evening. Visit DinoLand after 4pm and Asia after 5pm to find much lower crowds than the afternoon.

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-10am. Most Disney resort guests will sleep in and arrive around 10:30am in anticipation of staying until around 10pm. 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 the most recommended Park with Magic Kingdom drawing more guests with the later close and Epcot being attractive to resort guests. To have the most success, you’ll still want to arrive by 8:15am and head straight for Toy Story Mania, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, and Star Tours. Because Toy Story Mania has such a limited capacity, wait times are almost always 60+ minutes in the afternoon, even with some of the lowest crowds of the year. You’ll want to make it your top priority. Your second priority is Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, which also sees long afternoon waits and limited FastPass+ availability. Tower of Terror and Star Tours should be easier to ride, but also remain priorities. If you can get these attractions done in the early morning, you’ll be in great shape for the rest of the day. The only other problem most people run into is trying to schedule all of the stage shows that run on a set schedule. You may also want to prioritize characters that will have longer afternoon waits. The Toy Story characters across from Toy Story typically meet beginning at 9am and have the longest afternoon waits. Sofia the First usually has the second longest waits and meets in Animation Courtyard beginning at 9:30am. Phineas & Ferb also see long lines. They typically begin appearing at 9:30am, which means you’ll have time to ride Toy Story Mania before heading over to the Toy Story characters and then over to Sofia or Phineas & Ferb, which are located near Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano and across from the exit to Muppet Vision 3D. Check the week’s Times Guide to verify appearance times. Two other popular characters appear in the Animation Building in the Animation Courtyard. Sorcerer Mickey in particular has long afternoon waits and The Incredibles characters also tend to have decent lines. Since both characters meet indoors and their lines aren’t usually over 20 minutes long, you should be able to find them with decent waits later in the day if you have other morning priorities. Finally, you’ll find some characters in the morning near Mickey’s Sorcerer’s Hat that won’t appear later in the afternoon. Daisy Duck, Donald Duck, Chip, Dale, Stitch, Goofy, and Pluto are all common, but no specific character is guaranteed to appear. For Fantasmic, consider the Fantasmic Dining Package that guarantees everyone on the reservation a seat in the reserved section of the theater. You’ll still need to arrive at least 20 minutes early, but it’s better than the 60+ minutes early you’ll need to arrive without the package. The Dining Package makes the most sense on the Disney Dining Plan because it only costs one table service credit (except at Hollywood Brown Derby, which still costs two credits as it would otherwise) and includes the appetizer. As far as general seating is concerned, the best seats are about half way up in the center sections. Sit any closer and you run the risk of getting wet and it’s more difficult to see what’s happening on the water.

Magic Kingdom is tentatively recommended, though this will be the third busiest day of the week there with the longer hours of operation and nighttime entertainment luring more casual vacationers in the middle of the week than usual. With no Electrical Parade scheduled until Saturday, today will be more popular than either of the next two days.  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 priorities 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 through Wishes.  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 6pm 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+ in the afternoon when waits peak.  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 and offer a similar view.

Thursday October 23

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

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Most Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 7pm (Not Recommended)

Fantasmic: 7:30pm

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

Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Festival of Fantasy 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.  We have few people headed to Magic Kingdom with the short hours of operation.  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 and Animal Kingdom hasn’t offered a morning Extra Magic Hour since Monday.  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. We’re going into another busy weekend, thanks to the guaranteed higher crowds for the International Food and Wine Festival. Fantasmic and Magic Kingdom’s morning Extra Magic Hour will also help pull people away today. Plus, yesterday’s evening Extra Magic Hours will have been wildly popular with Disney resort guests and they won’t be looking to return today, especially in the morning. All in all, today and next Monday are your best days of the week at Epcot. Take full advantage by arriving by 8:15am and head straight for Test Track, Sum of All Thrills, Mission: Space, and Soarin’. Head up to World Showcase beginning as close to 11am as possible to stay ahead of the incoming Food and Wine Festival crowds. Return to Future World after 5pm to find lower crowds there than the afternoon, keeping in mind that only Soarin’, Test Track, Spaceship Earth, Mission: Space, Character Spot, and The Seas continue operating after 7pm. Hit the other Future World attractions from 5pm – 7pm and then return to Soarin’ and Test Track after 8pm to find shorter waits, use FastPass+, or take advantage of single rider at Test Track. It’s also an excellent night to stay for IllumiNations.

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 tentatively 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 Not So Scary Halloween 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 October 24

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

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Epcot: 9am – 10pm (Not Recommended)

Illuminations: 10pm

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 7pm (Recommended)

Fantasmic: 7:30pm

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

Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party

Festival of Fantasy 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. 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 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. You can still make today work if you’re Extra Magic Hours and arrive by 7:30am to take advantage of it. But you’ll probably want to be on your way by 1pm when crowds are heavier.

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. Most people will want to take advantage of some of the lowest crowds of the week at Magic Kingdom. Fortunately, Animal Kingdom will be pulling more Disney resort guests and Epcot will be incredibly popular for the International Food and Wine Festival. The Studios will be busier tomorrow with the morning Extra Magic Hour attracting resort guests. As always, it’s much more important to arrive by 8:15am and take care of Toy Story Mania and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster first thing than it is to simply “pick the right day” and show up at 11am. Even with the average overall crowd level and recommendation, Toy Story Mania will see 60+ minute waits in the afternoon and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster won’t be far behind. There’s no way around that with their limited capacities and the few number of rides in the Park. Arrive early and tour efficiently and you can do very well.

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 Not So Scary Halloween 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 lot of Disney resort guests will have visited yesterday for the morning Extra Magic Hour and the Electrical Parade. 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+ in the afternoon when wait times peak 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. This past Wednesday would be ideal because both days will be less crowded than a Monday or Saturday. 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 are worth spending the day in heavier crowds.

Saturday October 25

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

Epcot: 9am – 10pm (Not Recommended)

Illuminations: 10pm

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 7pm (Not Recommended)

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Fantasmic: 7:30pm

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

Evening Extra Magic Hours: 10pm – 12am

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

Animal Kingdom is the most recommended Park. We don’t have Extra Magic Hours, special events, evening entertainment, or anything else to attract on-site or off-site visitors. Those leaving tomorrow after a traditional weeklong vacation are unlikely to visit Animal Kingdom on their last full day and most arriving today won’t head out to Animal Kingdom as their first destination. We’re also coming off a morning Extra Magic Hour yesterday that will be much more popular with resort guests. Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios will be attracting the bulk of the resort crowd and Epcot will be far more popular with locals for the Food and Wine Festival. As always, you’ll be best off if you arrive prior to Park opening and head straight for Kilimanjaro Safaris and Expedition Everest. Wait times will only get shorter after 4pm, so stay through close if you have more you’d like to accomplish.  Head to DinoLand after 6pm and Asia after 7pm to find much lower waits than the afternoon.

Epcot will be considerably busier than usual due to the incredibly popular International Food and Wine Festival. The event 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. Use FastPass+ in the late morning and afternoon when crowds and waits peak. 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. The sizable Disney resort contingent numbers 75,000+ people. Because Disney sells the Extra Magic Hour program so well in its marketing materials, many of these Disney resort guests follow the Extra Magic Hours schedule because they think it’s Disney telling them where they belong each day. While you can have success if you are Extra Magic Hours eligible and arrive by 7:15am, most people will want to visit another day. Tomorrow would be significantly better. Avoid it unless you can’t visit any other day or are certain you’ll arrive by 7:15am and plan to hit Toy Story Midway Mania, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, and Star Tours first thing in the morning.

Saturdays are naturally the busiest day of the week at the Magic Kingdom. We have longer hours of operation, visiting locals, and a lot of vacationers who will be visiting the Magic Kingdom for a second time before returning home tomorrow. On top of that, Disney added evening Extra Magic Hours, attracting even more resort guests. On top of that, Main Street Electrical Parade is only scheduled on a limited number of nights this week. Because the Parade is so popular, a lot of people will visit on a day that they can see it, like today. Yesterday will be much less crowded with the 7pm close and lack of nighttime entertainment. Yesterday, tomorrow, and next Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday will be much better days to tour, but you can have a moderate amount of success today if you arrive prior to 8:30am and head straight for the headlining or Fantasyland attractions. You may elect to prioritize another low capacity attraction or character instead. The afternoon will be busier than any other day this week and you’ll either want to take a break and return for the Electrical Parade and Wishes or visit the less popular attractions from 2pm – 6pm. The relatively late night is also a good time to tour with short waits at most attractions after 9pm. If you’re planning to visit during evening Extra Magic Hours, begin in Adventureland or Frontierland because most people will head straight for Tomorrowland or Fantasyland. Visit Tomorrowland or Fantasyland in the final hour to find shorter 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.

Sunday October 26

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 8pm (Recommended)

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Not Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 7pm (Not Recommended)

Evening Extra Magic Hours: 7pm – 9pm

Fantasmic: 7:30pm

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

Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party

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

Animal Kingdom is recommended. Disney resort guests are more likely to visit tomorrow for morning Extra Magic Hour and it’s unlikely anyone arriving over the weekend will begin their vacation with Disney’s least popular theme park. Despite the relatively short operating hours, you should be able to do just about everything the Park has to offer if you arrive prior to Park opening. Focus on riding Kilimanjaro Safaris and Expedition Everest as early as possible and/or use FastPass+. After getting those out of the way, move on to DinoLand USA or one of the more popular shows – either Finding Nemo the Musical or Festival of the Lion King and you’ll be set for the rest of the day. Keep in mind that crowds disperse in the early afternoon around 3pm and the last hour of operation will only have diminishing waits. End the day in Asia with Kali River Rapids and Expedition Everest and waits will be nearly nonexistent.

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. Others will wait until Sunday to visit because they’re more interested in the special events scheduled that day. 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 which day you visit, 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. You can find success if you arrive by 8:15am 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 will be busy due to the evening Extra Magic Hours that are popular with Disney resort guests and the likelihood that the close will be extended, which will attract off-site guess as well. The morning will be an okay time to tour, but crowds will increase around 11am as more and more Disney resort guests arrive. Monday, Wednesday or Thursday would be better if you can swing any of those dates. Unfortunately, I’m not too fond of evening Extra Magic Hours at Hollywood Studios. There are only a few attractions open and the waits for Toy Story Mania, Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, and Star Tours will likely be just as long as they were during the day, at least until 9pm when people begin to give up and exit. In addition, 9,000+ people will exit Fantasmic at 8pm, right as evening Extra Magic Hours gets underway. The Fantasmic Theater is located right on Sunset Boulevard, across from the entrances to Tower of Terror and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster. While not everyone seeing Fantasmic will be a Disney resort guest, many of them will be, and a ton will be headed to Tower of Tower and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster because they truly believe it’s the best time to get in line. Unfortunately, they’ll find themselves lined up with a few thousand of their new best friends. If you’re staying for evening Extra Magic Hours, your best bet is always to save these headlining attractions for the very end of the night and visit Toy Story Mania last. While you could theoretically have success if you arrive prior to Park opening and head straight for the headliners, the same will be true later in the week and you won’t have to deal with the significantly heavier afternoon and evening crowds.

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 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. 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 like a truncated day, 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 when crowds peak, 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 the Halloween 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 ticket to get in line. There are no exceptions. Other than those minor inconveniences, this is going to be one of the three least crowded days of the week at Magic Kingdom.

Monday October 27

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

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Most Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

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

Fantasmic: 7:30pm

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

Festival of Fantasy Parade: 3pm, Main Street Electrical Parade: 9pm, 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 few people that just arrived over the weekend will be looking to visit Disney World’s least popular theme park. Still, there are better days to visit the Animal Kingdom than today, including tomorrow and Thursday. While the morning Extra Magic Hour is an excellent time to tour, it’s difficult to get out to the Animal Kingdom by 7:45am to take full advantage of it. If you’re staying at a Monorail Deluxe Resort, you’re looking at a 20+ minute drive to the Animal Kingdom, plus time for the bus to arrive – not to mention getting multiple people up and ready early in the morning with just one shower and limited space. At 6:30am. If you’re absolutely certain that you’ll arrive by 7:45am, then you can have a lot of success because the crowd level won’t be that high, but it will be busier in the afternoon than other recommended days this week due to a higher number of Disney resort guests than usual. You’re much better served holding off for a recommended day if you’re not going to arrive until 9am or later.

Epcot is the most recommended Park. We don’t have Extra Magic Hours, special evening entertainment, or anything else that will draw people toward Epcot specifically. Disney resort guests will be more likely to visit tomorrow or Wednesday for Extra Magic Hours and off-site visitors on a weeklong vacation will be headed to the Magic Kingdom for their first full day at the world’s most popular theme park. Disney resort guests are more likely to head to Animal Kingdom for the Extra Magic Hour. We’re also coming off a much busier weekend thanks to the Food and Wine Festival. To have the most success, arrive prior to Park opening and head to Test Track, Sum of All Thrills, Mission: Space, and Soarin’ or follow one of the two-day compartmentalized touring plans. With the Food and Wine Festival, World Showcase will remain much busier than it would be otherwise. Head up immediately at 11am to dodge most of the crowds. The evening will be busier than usual in World Showcase. Plan to return to Future World after 5pm to avoid the congestion. Just keep in mind that a lot of the Future World attractions close at 7pm. Usually, just Soarin, Test Track, Mission: Space, Spaceship Earth, The Seas with Nemo and Friends, and Character Spot continue to operate after 7pm. If Character Spot is on your itinerary, try to visit after 7pm when waits times are much lower than the afternoon. Overall, it’s a great day for Epcot and an excellent opportunity to spend time in both Future World and World Showcase.

Hollywood Studios is highly recommended as we come off two busier days in a row with Extra Magic Hours. It’s also early enough in the week that most guests just arriving will be intent on visiting Magic Kingdom with its nighttime entertainment and long hours of operation. As always, it’s imperative that you arrive by 8:15am and take care of Toy Story Mania first thing. The Studios has a severely limited number of rides and wait times rise quickly even on the most recommended days with the lowest crowds.

Magic Kingdom is going to be busy today. Mondays are usually the second busiest day of the week at the Magic Kingdom, second to only Saturdays, for a variety of reasons. First, a lot of people travel over the weekend and visit Magic Kingdom on their first full day. In most instances, that day is Monday. Second, Mondays often feature longer hours, Wishes Fireworks, and Main Street Electrical Parade, when other days during the week have shorter operating hours and don’t offer the Electrical Parade. Anyone who wants to see the evening entertainment will have to visit on a day when it’s offered, like most Saturdays and Mondays. Magic Kingdom will be significantly busier than the average crowd level indicates and is best avoided. You can do okay if you arrive at the gate by 8:30am and tour efficiently in the morning, but 11am – 9pm is going to be busier than any day this week other than Saturday.

Tuesday October 28

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

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Not Recommended)

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Illuminations: 9pm

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 7pm (Not Recommended)

Fantasmic: 7:30pm

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

Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party

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

Animal Kingdom is highly recommended for a number of reasons. We don’t have special events, Extra Magic Hours, or anything specific drawing people toward it. Yesterday’s morning Extra Magic Hour will be more popular with Disney resort guests. We also have Fantasmic at Hollywood Studios attracting a lot of off-site and on-site visitors alike and it’s early enough in the week that many people on weeklong vacations will be saving Animal Kingdom for later in the week. Overall, today and Saturday are the best days of the week to visit. To have the most success, arrive prior to Park opening and head straight for Kilimanjaro Safaris and Expedition Everest. You’ll have no trouble riding both with very low waits before 10am. Once you get through these two attractions, you have little to worry about other than trying to get to the scheduled shows. Finding Nemo and Festival of the Lion King do get busy during the afternoon shows, so try to see the first or last show of the day. You’ll also want to get to DinoLand USA before 10:30am to ride Primeval Whirl and DINOSAUR because those two attractions are popular. Still, they aren’t necessarily your top morning priorities. You should have no trouble experiencing most everything Animal Kingdom has to offer in one day, provided you arrive early in the morning, tour efficiently, use FastPass+ intelligently, and keep an eye on the time in order to see the scheduled stage shows. Finally, crowds disperse in the early afternoon around 3pm. Plan to stay through close because waits will only get shorter as it gets later in the evening. Visit DinoLand after 3pm and Asia after 4pm to find much lower waits than earlier in the afternoon.

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

Hollywood Studios is not expressly recommended. The short hours at Magic Kingdom will be a big turn off for many and off-site visitors in particular will be looking toward Fantasmic and Toy Story Mania after spending yesterday at Magic Kingdom. I’m looking towards tomorrow and Thursday as a significantly better days to visit and I would hold off until then if possible.

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. Yesterday will have been busy and tomorrow will also be busier, thanks to longer hours and evening entertainment. 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 either yesterday or tomorrow, despite the Park being open fewer hours. For maximum efficiency, arrive by 8:30am and use FastPass+ in the early afternoon when crowds and waits peak. 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.

Wednesday October 29

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 5pm (Recommended)

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Not Recommended)

Evening Extra Magic Hours: 9pm – 11pm

Illuminations: 9pm

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

Fantasmic: 7:30pm

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

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

Animal Kingdom remains recommended. Magic Kingdom will be more popular than yesterday with longer hours of operation, main Street Electrical Parade, and Wishes 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 or Hollywood Studios on Tuesday. But that’s a nominal concern, particularly with the average overall crowd level. To have the most success, arrive prior to Park opening and head straight for Kilimanjaro Safaris and Expedition Everest. You’ll have no trouble riding both with very low waits before 10am. Once you get through these two attractions, you have little to worry about other than trying to get to the scheduled shows. Finding Nemo and Festival of the Lion King do get busy during the afternoon shows, so try to see the first or last show of the day. You’ll also want to get to DinoLand USA before 10:30am to ride Primeval Whirl and DINOSAUR because those two attractions are popular. Still, they aren’t necessarily your top morning priorities. You should have no trouble experiencing most everything Animal Kingdom has to offer in one day, provided you arrive early in the morning, tour efficiently, use FastPass+ intelligently, and keep an eye on the time in order to see the scheduled stage shows. Finally, crowds disperse in the early afternoon around 3pm. Plan to stay through close because waits will only get shorter as it gets later in the evening. Visit DinoLand after 3pm and Asia after 4pm to find much lower crowds than the afternoon.

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-10am. Most Disney resort guests will sleep in and arrive around 10:30am in anticipation of staying until around 10pm. 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 the most recommended Park with Magic Kingdom drawing more guests with the later close and Epcot being attractive to resort guests. To have the most success, you’ll still want to arrive by 8:15am and head straight for Toy Story Mania, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, and Star Tours. Because Toy Story Mania has such a limited capacity, wait times are almost always 60+ minutes in the afternoon, even with some of the lowest crowds of the year. You’ll want to make it your top priority. Your second priority is Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, which also sees long afternoon waits and limited FastPass+ availability. Tower of Terror and Star Tours should be easier to ride, but also remain priorities. If you can get these attractions done in the early morning, you’ll be in great shape for the rest of the day. The only other problem most people run into is trying to schedule all of the stage shows that run on a set schedule. You may also want to prioritize characters that will have longer afternoon waits. The Toy Story characters across from Toy Story typically meet beginning at 9am and have the longest afternoon waits. Sofia the First usually has the second longest waits and meets in Animation Courtyard beginning at 9:30am. Phineas & Ferb also see long lines. They typically begin appearing at 9:30am, which means you’ll have time to ride Toy Story Mania before heading over to the Toy Story characters and then over to Sofia or Phineas & Ferb, which are located near Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano and across from the exit to Muppet Vision 3D. Check the week’s Times Guide to verify appearance times. Two other popular characters appear in the Animation Building in the Animation Courtyard. Sorcerer Mickey in particular has long afternoon waits and The Incredibles characters also tend to have decent lines. Since both characters meet indoors and their lines aren’t usually over 20 minutes long, you should be able to find them with decent waits later in the day if you have other morning priorities. Finally, you’ll find some characters in the morning near Mickey’s Sorcerer’s Hat that won’t appear later in the afternoon. Daisy Duck, Donald Duck, Chip, Dale, Stitch, Goofy, and Pluto are all common, but no specific character is guaranteed to appear. For Fantasmic, consider the Fantasmic Dining Package that guarantees everyone on the reservation a seat in the reserved section of the theater. You’ll still need to arrive at least 20 minutes early, but it’s better than the 60+ minutes early you’ll need to arrive without the package. The Dining Package makes the most sense on the Disney Dining Plan because it only costs one table service credit (except at Hollywood Brown Derby, which still costs two credits as it would otherwise) and includes the appetizer. As far as general seating is concerned, the best seats are about half way up in the center sections. Sit any closer and you run the risk of getting wet and it’s more difficult to see what’s happening on the water.

Magic Kingdom is tentatively recommended, though this will be the third busiest day of the week there with the longer hours of operation and nighttime entertainment luring more casual vacationers in the middle of the week than usual. With no Electrical Parade scheduled until Saturday, today will be more popular than either of the next two days.  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 priorities 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 through Wishes.  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 6pm 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+ in the afternoon when waits peak.  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 and offer a similar view.

Thursday October 30

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

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Most Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 7pm (Not Recommended)

Fantasmic: 7:30pm

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

Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Festival of Fantasy 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.  We have few people headed to Magic Kingdom with the short hours of operation.  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 and Animal Kingdom hasn’t offered a morning Extra Magic Hour since Monday.  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. We’re going into another busy weekend, thanks to the guaranteed higher crowds for the International Food and Wine Festival. Fantasmic and Magic Kingdom’s morning Extra Magic Hour will also help pull people away today. Plus, yesterday’s evening Extra Magic Hours will have been wildly popular with Disney resort guests and they won’t be looking to return today, especially in the morning. All in all, today and next Monday are your best days of the week at Epcot. Take full advantage by arriving by 8:15am and head straight for Test Track, Sum of All Thrills, Mission: Space, and Soarin’. Head up to World Showcase beginning as close to 11am as possible to stay ahead of the incoming Food and Wine Festival crowds. Return to Future World after 5pm to find lower crowds there than the afternoon, keeping in mind that only Soarin’, Test Track, Spaceship Earth, Mission: Space, Character Spot, and The Seas continue operating after 7pm. Hit the other Future World attractions from 5pm – 7pm and then return to Soarin’ and Test Track after 8pm to find shorter waits, use FastPass+, or take advantage of single rider at Test Track. It’s also an excellent night to stay for IllumiNations.

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 tentatively 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 Not So Scary Halloween 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 October 31

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

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Epcot: 9am – 10pm (Not Recommended)

Illuminations: 10pm

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 7pm (Recommended)

Fantasmic: 7:30pm

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

Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party

Festival of Fantasy 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. 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 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. You can still make today work if you’re Extra Magic Hours and arrive by 7:30am to take advantage of it. But you’ll probably want to be on your way by 1pm when crowds are heavier.

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. Most people will want to take advantage of some of the lowest crowds of the week at Magic Kingdom. Fortunately, Animal Kingdom will be pulling more Disney resort guests and Epcot will be incredibly popular for the International Food and Wine Festival. The Studios will be busier tomorrow with the morning Extra Magic Hour attracting resort guests. As always, it’s much more important to arrive by 8:15am and take care of Toy Story Mania and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster first thing than it is to simply “pick the right day” and show up at 11am. Even with the average overall crowd level and recommendation, Toy Story Mania will see 60+ minute waits in the afternoon and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster won’t be far behind. There’s no way around that with their limited capacities and the few number of rides in the Park. Arrive early and tour efficiently and you can do very well.

Magic Kingdom is our best choice as far as crowds are concerned even with the fact that it’s Halloween and the Party will be a sellout. 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 Not So Scary Halloween 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 lot of Disney resort guests will have visited yesterday for the morning Extra Magic Hour and the Electrical Parade. 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+ in the afternoon when wait times peak 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. This past Wednesday would be ideal because both days will be less crowded than a Monday or Saturday. 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 are worth spending the day in heavier crowds.

{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

Rob Huddleston March 29, 2014 at 12:52 pm

Oh, THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!! Josh, you just knew I was sitting here praying to see this for the afternoon with 2 boys asleep and the wife and I hoping to make some plans. You’re he man!

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Melinda March 29, 2014 at 3:07 pm

THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!

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RebeccaMcK March 29, 2014 at 5:26 pm

Thanks, Josh. Has the calendar PDF changed any since last time? I booked our trip last Sunday, based on what you posted a week ago or so (the last October article you posted). Planned our park days already – just wondered if anything is different now, thanks.

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RebeccaMcK March 29, 2014 at 6:52 pm

I see now there were a few changes (recommended parks) but only one that affects my plans – easy to change, no big deal.

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RuthS March 30, 2014 at 1:34 am

Hi Josh, thanks for your updates. Kept me up long into the night in the UK planning our end October holiday. One query I have noticed, on the 24th October HS is a recommended park however in your written report you say yesterday (23rd October) would be a better day to visit yet the 23rd is a NOT recommended park in your calendar! Can you clear that one up please? Thanks again for all your advise!!

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Eric Coultas March 31, 2014 at 10:59 am
Angi April 2, 2014 at 6:48 am

Wondered if you have revisited the first week in Oct, 5-10? The resorts are showing online to be pretty full that week, even without a discount of any sort. Many schools are on fall break. Do you foresee the crowds maybe being higher than you currently indicate based on current lack of room availability?

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Teresa April 4, 2014 at 6:40 pm

HELP! When I compare your crowd calendar to the undercovertourist they are different. In fact some days are opposite recommendations. I am planning my first trip to WDW and want to do it right. Advice please!

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Angi April 5, 2014 at 11:18 am

Teresa, the advice is to not compare and follow Josh’s. :)

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Mark April 21, 2014 at 5:20 am

We like to attend one of the “eat to the beat” concerts at Epcot in Oct. Most of these concerts are on the Friday or the weekend, right? Can find a recommended day for Epcot on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday during our stay period (Oct 19-30). Any advice?

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Kristy April 22, 2014 at 6:43 pm

These calendars and the day-by-day explanations are SO helpful. Thanks!! I’m looking forward to the November one to plan the last bit of my trip :)

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Ali April 24, 2014 at 6:27 am

I have a Fantasmic! dining package reservation for October 4th- would you recommend switching it?? Will it be cancelled because of the TOT run?

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Danelle April 24, 2014 at 6:59 am

According to the Travel Agent calendar, EMH at Hollywood Studios in October has been moved from Monday the 20th to Sunday the 19th.

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Jen May 2, 2014 at 7:48 pm

I see that after the EMH updates that the calendar picture and the daily entries differ in spots. For example, on the 27th the picture has AK and EP as recommended, but the written entry has HS and EP. Anyone know which was updated, the picture or the written entries? I’m thinking it is the written entries, but I just wanted to double check.

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Robyn May 3, 2014 at 3:18 pm

I am confused. On the calendar, it says 10/26 that HS is recommended, but in the text, HS is not recommended. The calendar says HS is not recommended on 10/27, but the text says it is. Which one should I go by?

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Joanne May 6, 2014 at 6:18 am

I have a couple of queries. You have evening EMH for DHS on 10/27, however I believe it is actually on 10/26? Also, in the write-up at the beginning, you state that evening EMH are 3 hours after the normal closing time. Didn’t this change to 2 hours or is it back to 3 again?

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Debbie May 6, 2014 at 6:37 am

Jen and Robyn: I was having the same questions……..glad I’m not the only one. I think the calendar is updated but the written recommendations haven’t been changed yet. Disney changed the EMH for HS and I think that is the change. Trying to be patient for the written update. Maybe I’m all wrong! Josh?

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Debbie May 6, 2014 at 9:00 am

Looks like it is matching up now, or I’m just going crazy!

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Robyn May 8, 2014 at 6:01 pm

@Debbie, you are not crazy; the discrepancies are fixed. Josh either noticed our comments or found them on his own.

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Brook May 22, 2014 at 7:15 pm

I noticed on the update that the hours have been reduced for HS on Oct.4. Could you tell me if EMH have been removed for that day and also if they have been added at a different park? Thanks

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Ron May 27, 2014 at 7:44 pm

I was thinking of coming in December instead, but if I end up coming in October like I really wanted to (even though I won’t be able to get into the restaurants i wanted), i need to know if I choose October 3rd to go to Magic Kingdom instead of October 1st, would the line for the new “mine train” ride be fairly short about 5:30 pm, or will all the massive crowds that will almost certainly pour in right at 4 pm for the halloween party jam it up too much? I really miss the days long passed when people could go to the park in late september/early october during the afternoon to enjoy the rides without having to fight with all of the halloween party crowds…

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Susan July 2, 2014 at 2:22 pm

Question about dining reservations at Epcot on a not recommended day: of 10/28, 10/29, 10/31, 11/2, 11/4, 11/5, which two evenings (or afternoons) would you recommend? Currently reserved on 10/29 for Les Chefs and 11/4 for Coral Reef (hoping for a view of the tank!)

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Brook July 17, 2014 at 8:05 pm

Could you please tell me if you still expect Disney to move the EMH on Oct 4th from HS and add it to AK? Thanks

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Sara August 8, 2014 at 12:09 pm

Looks like you have HS open to 7PM on Tuesday, October 7. Disney website lists it as closing at 6PM. Do you anticipate that they will change that schedule? Thanks for all of your helpful plans and tips!

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Karen August 11, 2014 at 4:43 pm

This is such a wonderful resource – thank you!!!!

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Heather August 24, 2014 at 7:14 pm

This is the most helpful crowd calendar ever. Thank you! Would you recommend MNSSHP Columbus Day night? We are thinking of taking a short trip, and this is the night we would like to do it. Other sites I have checked seem to be not agree on this particular night because the Columbus Day party last year sold out. What do you think?

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Dawn September 2, 2014 at 7:58 pm

Hi! You predict that the hours for Saturday Oct 4th will change in HS, do you know how far in advance they have changed them in the past? I am planning on it being my HS day but with no Fantasmic that night I may need to change my plans… Thanks in advance!

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Nigel September 13, 2014 at 5:51 am

Just to note that WDW published updated park hours for October on 9/12/14 – http://media.disneywebcontent.com/StaticFiles/ParkHours/WDWTravelAgent_october.pdf

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