September 2014 Walt Disney World Crowd Calendar

by josh on March 3, 2014

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: Crowd Calendar updated with the changes listed here.

4/24/14 Update: Crowd Calendar updated with the changes listed here. Recommendations on Sundays and Mondays changed beginning September 14th due to the revised Extra Magic Hours schedule.

This is the Free September 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.

Monday September 1

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

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

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

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

Fantasmic: 8:30pm and 10pm

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

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

Animal Kingdom will be moderately more popular than recommended days due to the morning Extra Magic Hour that will attract a decent number of Disney resort guests. Mondays at the Animal Kingdom aren’t wildly popular because of the fact that morning Extra Magic Hours aren’t as popular as evening Extra Magic Hours and because it’s early in the week and 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 Epcot tomorrow or Friday for Extra Magic. 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 longer-than-usual operating hours, 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 10:30pm when people begin to give up and exit. In addition, 9,000+ people will exit Fantasmic at 9pm and again at 10:30pm, 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 closes at 7pm and doesn’t offer either nighttime spectacular during regular Park hours for the first Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. This will deter the majority of casual vacationers who prefer to visit when the Park is open later and the fireworks are scheduled during regular hours, even if they don’t plan to take advantage of either. Many guests equate longer hours to a better value for their money. Unfortunately, the heavier crowds that show up on those days lead to longer lines at rides, stores, and quick services, in addition to increased congestion in walkways and fuller shows. I can assure you that a 9am – 7pm day at Magic Kingdom is plenty long and you’ll be able to get more done in those 10 hours than you possibly could hope to on a non-recommended day with 9am – 10pm hours because wait times are so much shorter park-wide. If you’re looking to extend your day, consider taking the monorail or boat to one of the Deluxe resorts. The Wave, Kona Café, ‘Ohana, and Whispering Canyon are all fun casual table service restaurants. For a nicer (and more expensive) meal, consider California Grill, Citricos, or Artist Point. Otherwise, stay through 7pm because crowds will only dissipate with few people Park Hopping over in the afternoon. Just about everyone arriving for the Halloween Party will congregate on Main Street waiting for the Party or head to a character to get in line. Save Fantasyland for after 6pm to find lower waits than any part of the day other than the first hour. With only one day at the Park, you’ll need to decide whether putting up with heavier crowds and longer lines is worth seeing the nighttime entertainment.

Tuesday September 2

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

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Not Recommended)

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Illuminations: 9pm

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

Fantasmic: 8:30pm

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

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. Yesterday’s and tomorrow’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 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 the afternoon.

Epcot is not recommended. Disney is extremely good at selling the Extra Magic Hours program in its marketing materials. Even people that have no idea what “Soaring” is and think they’ll be riding the monorail from Animal Kingdom to Epcot know about Extra Magic Hours. Even when overall crowds are low, like they are here in September, Disney still enjoys 85% occupancy over 25,000 rooms resort-wide. And guess where a lot of those 75,000+ people are going to be headed? While Fantasmic at Hollywood Studios helps, it shouldn’t pull enough people away to make a discernible difference in wait times. Skip it unless you can’t get there any other day or are certain you’ll arrive prior to 8am for the morning Extra Magic Hour and plan to either Park Hop elsewhere or take a break in the afternoon.

Hollywood Studios is highly recommended. Yesterday’s evening Extra Magic Hours/Fantasmic combo will be a much bigger draw. Today, Magic Kingdom will be more popular with the late close and both nighttime spectaculars 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. While it’s a recommended day, it’s still more important to arrive early and tour efficiently than it is to pick the “right” day, even when overall crowds are low.

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 contingent. 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 and tomorrow will be less crowded overall. Take that into consideration.

Wednesday September 3

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

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

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

Fantasmic: 8:30pm

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

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

It’s the busiest day of the week at Animal Kingdom. The morning Extra Magic Hour will attract the bulk of the Disney resort crowd and there’s no evening Extra Magic Hours or special evening entertainment going on at the other Parks, which will cause a lot of off-site guests to visit as well. With both yesterday and tomorrow recommended, there’s no reason to visit today. However, if you are Extra Magic Hours eligible and able to arrive by 7:30am, you can have a tremendous amount of success from 8am – 10am. But the afternoon is going to be busier than any other day this week.

Epcot is recommended. We’re coming off a popular morning Extra Magic Hour yesterday and most Disney resort guests will be waiting to either return or visit for their first time this Friday. Disney resort guests are more likely to head to Animal Kingdom. Plan to arrive by 8:15am and head straight to Test Track, Sum of All Thrills, Mission: Space, and Soarin’. You may also want to take a more compartmentalized two-day approach, which gives you the benefit of enjoying the lowest possible crowds in both Future World and World Showcase each day. Plan to use FastPass+ at Soarin’ or Test Track later in the day when waits are longer. The single rider line at Test Track often has an actual wait shorter than standby or FastPass+, so consider that as an option. You may also want to get in line for Soarin’ or Test Track right before Epcot closes to find shorter waits than the afternoon, but only if you’re willing to give up seeing IllumiNations. Mission: SPACE should have nominal waits before 11am or after 7pm and is a lower priority. If you’re planning just one day in Epcot, try to move up through the World Showcase right at 11am, beginning with the boat rides in Mexico and Norway. These are the only two attractions in World Showcase that will see wait times. Return to Future World after 5pm to visit any attractions that you skipped in the morning. Keep in mind that some Future World attractions close at 7pm. Expect Ellen’s Energy Adventure, Journey into Imagination with Figment, Captain EO, Living with the Land, Circle of Life, and both Innoventions buildings to accept their last guests of the day at 7pm. Overall, it’s a good day to visit Epcot and a fine day to stay for dinner and IllumiNations, provided you tour efficiently in the morning.

Hollywood Studios is the most recommended Park. Animal Kingdom will be more popular with resort guests and Magic Kingdom will continue drawing crowds with the longer hours of operation and both nighttime spectaculars.

Magic Kingdom is recommended, though it will be busier than Monday or Friday with the later close, Electrical Parade, and Wishes. Still, this is your best opportunity this week to see both nighttime spectaculars. Plan to arrive by 8:30am and hit Fantasyland or other priorities first thing. Take a break from 1pm to 5pm or so when crowds and temperatures peak. Return in the evening for dinner, some nighttime attractions, and Wishes. If you’re not planning to see the Electrical Parade and Wishes, hit Tomorrowland after 8pm and Fantasyland after 9pm to enjoy much shorter waits than the afternoon. You can do very well, but the afternoon will be moderately busy and is best avoided if possible.

Thursday September 4

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 5pm (Recommended)

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Most Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

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

Fantasmic: 8:30pm

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

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

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

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

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

Hollywood Studios is highly recommended. We’re looking at a morning Extra Magic Hour on Saturday that will be more popular with Disney resort guests. Today, Magic Kingdom is attractive with long hours, morning Extra Magic Hour, Main Street Electrical Parade, and Wishes. To have the most success, you’ll still want to arrive by 8:15am and head straight for Toy Story Mania, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, and Star Tours. Because Toy Story Mania has such a limited capacity, wait times are almost always 60+ minutes in the afternoon and FastPass+ are largely unavailable even in low crowds. 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.

The morning Extra Magic Hour at Magic Kingdom will lure a lot of Disney resort guests and we also have a popular Electrical Parade that won’t be scheduled tomorrow. Combined, this will make Magic Kingdom significantly busier than tomorrow or this past Monday. You can have success provided you take advantage of the morning Extra Magic Hour by arriving no later than 7:30am and heading straight to Fantasyland or other open attractions in Tomorrowland. Move on to the headlining Mountain rides or character meet and greets when they open and you’ll be in excellent shape. However, you will find that crowds are heavier than recommended days in the afternoon. You’ll probably want to take a break from 1pm to 5pm or so and return in the evening to ride some major attractions with FastPass+, have dinner, see some high capacity attractions, and enjoy the evening spectaculars. Keep in mind that you would be much better off visiting on a recommended day if you aren’t Extra Magic Hours eligible or won’t arrive until 10am or later because it will be busier than recommended days from 11am onward.

Friday September 5

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 5pm (Recommended)

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Not Recommended)

Evening Extra Magic Hours: 9pm – 11pm

Illuminations: 9pm

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 8pm (Recommended)

Fantasmic: 8:30pm

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

Nighty of Joy

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

Animal Kingdom is recommended with the low overall crowd level, but it’s not the best day of the week there. Most will want to take advantage of the lowest crowds of the week at Magic Kingdom.

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

Hollywood Studios is 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, Epcot will be pulling a lot of people with evening Extra Magic Hours. 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 low 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. We have the Night of Joy tonight, which is an after-hours contemporary Christian Concert Party. There will be standing-room-only stages set up throughout the Park and several of the major attractions will remain open. Because it is a separate ticketed event, Night of Joy does not adversely affect daytime crowds until about 5:30pm. In fact, it actually helps because the 9am to 7pm operating hours will cause a lot of people to head to a different Park because many people equate fewer operating hours to less value for the price. Plus, people attending the Night of Joy will either visit another Park during the day or simply rest up and wait for the concert to begin. While the lack of the Wishes fireworks show and Main Street Electrical Parade is unfortunate, the low crowd level makes today an excellent opportunity to visit the most popular attractions with the shortest waits possible. Today will be the least crowded day of the week and you should take advantage of that, especially if you can Park Hop over to the Magic Kingdom when Wishes and the Main Street Electrical Parade are offered on another night. Don’t be too concerned about having “only ten hours in the Park” either. It’s plenty of time to have a full day and you’ll actually be able to get more done than you would yesterday, despite the Park being open fewer hours, just because lines will be so much shorter and it will be easier and more enjoyable to move about the Park. After the Park closes, consider taking the monorail to the Contemporary, Polynesian, or Grand Floridian for dinner. There are a lot of great restaurants and you’ll be able to take the bus back to your resort from the Magic Kingdom afterward because Disney will be running buses through at least 2am to transport Night of Joy participants to their resorts. Finally, there is one caveat. Buses and buses full of local kids will begin arriving at the Transportation/Ticket Center around 4pm because those attending the Night of Joy can use their tickets to enter Magic Kingdom beginning at 4pm. This makes the monorail and ferry boats extremely crowded from the Ticket/Transportation Center to Magic Kingdom from 4pm to 7pm. You won’t run into any trouble transferring from Magic Kingdom back to the Transportation/Ticket Center because the kids won’t be traveling in that direction, but it’s worth pointing out that you won’t want to be Park Hopping over to Magic Kingdom after around 3:30pm because waits can hit an hour on the monorail. Otherwise, 9am – 5:30pm is going to be great and it won’t be too bad from 5:30pm – 7pm either.

Saturday September 6

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 5pm (Recommended)

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Most Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

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

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Fantasmic: 8:30pm

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

Night of Joy

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

Animal Kingdom is recommended for a variety of reasons. We don’t have Extra Magic Hours, special events, evening entertainment, or anything else to attract on-site or off-site visitors. Those leaving tomorrow after a traditional weeklong vacation are unlikely to visit Animal Kingdom on their last full day and most arriving today won’t head out to Animal Kingdom as their first destination. Tomorrow will be busier with the morning Extra Magic Hour attracting resort guests. Hollywood Studios will be attracting the bulk of the resort crowd with the morning Extra Magic Hour. As always, you’ll be best off if you arrive prior to Park opening and head straight for Kilimanjaro Safaris and Expedition Everest. Wait times will only get shorter after 4pm, so stay through close if you have more you’d like to accomplish.

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

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

Magic Kingdom is highly recommended, which is odd for a Saturday in September (or just about any month for that matter). Usually we have longer operating hours and the Main Street Electrical Parade scheduled on Saturday. However, today the Magic Kingdom closes at 7pm and doesn’t offer either the Main Street Electrical Parade or Wishes due to the Night of Joy contemporary Christian “rock concert.”  This is a separately ticketed event and it doesn’t adversely affect daytime crowds because the concert starts after the Magic Kingdom closes to the general public, at least until around 5:30pm when concert goers begin to arrive. In fact, crowds will actually be lower than most other days this week because so few people plan to visit the Magic Kingdom when it’s “only” open from 9am to 7pm and doesn’t offer special evening entertainment. Other than yesterday, today will be the least crowded day of the week at the Magic Kingdom and it’s an excellent opportunity to ride the headlining and Fantasyland attractions with minimal waits. Ideally, you could Park Hop over to the Magic Kingdom in the evening to see the Main Street Electrical Parade and Wishes on another night or at least visit on a second day when those shows are available. Today, focus on arriving early and visit the Fantasyland, the headlining attractions early in the morning or with FastPass+ throughout the day. After the Park closes, consider taking the monorail to the Contemporary, Polynesian, or Grand Floridian for dinner. There are a lot of great restaurants and you’ll be able to take the bus back to your resort from the Magic Kingdom afterward because Disney will be running buses through at least 2am to transport Night of Joy participants to their resorts. Finally, there is one caveat. Buses and buses full of local kids will begin arriving at the Transportation/Ticket Center around 4pm because those attending the Night of Joy can use their tickets to enter Magic Kingdom beginning at 4pm. This makes the monorail and ferry boats extremely crowded from the Transportation/Ticket Center to Magic Kingdom from 4pm to 7pm. You won’t run into any trouble transferring from Magic Kingdom back to the Ticket/Transportation Center because the kids won’t be traveling in that direction, but it’s worth pointing out that you won’t want to be Park Hopping over to Magic Kingdom after around 3:30pm because waits can hit an hour on the monorail.

Sunday September 7

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

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

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

Fantasmic: 8:30pm

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 3pm and Asia after 4pm to find lower waits than the afternoon.

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

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

Magic Kingdom is not recommended. We’re coming off two weekend days in a row with short hours and no nighttime spectaculars. Today will be significantly busier because so many casual vacationers prefer to visit when they have the option of seeing the Electrical Parade and Wishes, in addition to the longer operating hours. The morning Extra Magic Hour at Animal Kingdom, Disney’s least popular theme park, will do little to pull people away. As usual, you can do well from 9am-11am, but the afternoon through close will be significantly busier than either of the last two days.

Monday September 8

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

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Most Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

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

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

Fantasmic: 8:30pm and 10pm

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

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

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

Epcot is the most recommended Park. We don’t have Extra Magic Hours, special evening entertainment, or anything else that will draw people toward Epcot specifically. Disney resort guests will be more likely to visit tomorrow or 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 Hollywood Studios or Animal Kingdom for the Extra Magic Hours. 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 longer-than-usual operating hours, 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 10:30pm when people begin to give up and exit. In addition, 9,000+ people will exit Fantasmic at 9pm and again at 10:30pm, 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. Wednesday or Thursday would be better if you can swing either of those dates.

Magic Kingdom is going to be busy today. Mondays are usually the second busiest day of the week at the Magic Kingdom, second to only Saturdays, for a variety of reasons. First, a lot of people travel over the weekend and visit Magic Kingdom on their first full day. In most instances, that day is Monday. Second, Mondays often feature longer hours, Wishes Fireworks, and Main Street Electrical Parade, when other days during the week have shorter operating hours and don’t offer the Electrical Parade. Anyone who wants to see the evening entertainment will have to visit on a day when it’s offered, like most Saturdays and Mondays.  You could have success in the morning from 9am to 11am or so, but you’re much better off waiting until tomorrow or Wednesday to visit for the entire day.

Tuesday September 9

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

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Not Recommended)

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Illuminations: 9pm

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

Fantasmic: 8:30pm

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. Sunday’s morning Extra Magic Hour will be more popular with Disney resort guests and we have another coming up on Friday. 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 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. Tonight is the first night of Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, which is 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 and Thursday 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. Thursday 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 Sunday 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 September 10

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 5pm (Recommended)

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Not Recommended)

Evening Extra Magic Hours: 9pm – 11pm

Illuminations: 9pm

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

Fantasmic: 8:30pm

Magic Kingdom: 9am – 10pm (Recommended)

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 and both nighttime spectaculars and Epcot’s extremely popular evening Extra Magic Hours will help pull Disney resort guests in that direction. The only problem is the fact that it’s a bit later in the week and we’ll have some off-site visitors who arrived on Sunday and visited Magic Kingdom on Monday and Epcot on Tuesday. But that’s a nominal concern, particularly with the low 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 prior to Park opening and head straight for Toy Story Mania, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, and Star Tours. Because Toy Story Mania has such a limited capacity, wait times are almost always 60+ minutes in the afternoon, 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 recommended today and it’s your best opportunity to visit and see both nighttime spectaculars. We also have a morning Extra Magic Hour tomorrow that will be more attractive to Disney resort guests. While the 10pm close is later than yesterday or Friday, it’s also in the middle of the week and Epcot will be pulling more people away with evening Extra Magic Hours. If you’re looking for the absolute lowest crowds, yesterday or Friday would be better, but you won’t have the opportunity to see the nighttime entertainment during regular hours. 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, the Electrical Parade, and Wishes. If you’re not interested in the entertainment, visit Tomorrowland after 8pm and Fantasyland after 9pm to find much lower crowds than the afternoon.

Thursday September 11

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 5pm (Recommended)

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Most Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

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

Fantasmic: 8:30pm

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

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

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

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

Epcot is the most recommended Park as we come off two days in a row with Extra Magic Hours that will be more attractive to resort guests. We also have morning Extra Magic Hour and Main Street Electrical Parade pulling people towards Magic Kingdom and Fantasmic at Hollywood Studios continuing to draw crowds. Plan to arrive by 8:!5am and head straight to Test Track, Sum of All Thrills, Mission: Space, and Soarin’ or follow a more compartmentalized two-day touring plan if you prefer. If you arrive later, plan to rely on FastPass+ at Soarin’ or Test Track because they will have 60+ minute waits for most of the day after 10:30am due to popularity and relatively low capacities. Test Track’s single rider line usually has shorter waits than either standby or FastPass+. Move on to the World Showcase beginning around 11am if crowds begin to build in Future World, beginning with the water rides in Mexico and Norway. Return to Future World after 5pm if you have more to accomplish and to ride/re-ride the headliners with FastPass+. It’s also a great day to stay for dinner and IllumiNations.

Hollywood Studios is highly recommended. We’re looking at a morning Extra Magic Hour on Saturday that will be more popular with Disney resort guests. Today, Magic Kingdom is overwhelmingly attractive with long hours, morning Extra Magic Hour, Main Street Electrical Parade, and Wishes. To have the most success, you’ll still want to arrive by 8:15am and head straight for Toy Story Mania, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, and Star Tours. Because Toy Story Mania has such a limited capacity, wait times are almost always 60+ minutes in the afternoon and FastPass+ are largely unavailable even in low crowds. 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.

The morning Extra Magic Hour at Magic Kingdom will lure a lot of Disney resort guests . The hours are also far longer than tomorrow, causing more casual vacationers to choose today. Combined, this will make Magic Kingdom significantly busier than yesterday or tomorrow. You can have success provided you take advantage of the morning Extra Magic Hour by arriving no later than 7:30am and heading straight to Fantasyland or other open attractions in Tomorrowland. Move on to the headlining Mountain rides or character meet and greets when they open and you’ll be in excellent shape. However, you will find that crowds are heavier than recommended days in the afternoon. You’ll probably want to take a break from 1pm to 5pm or so and return in the evening to ride some major attractions with FastPass+, have dinner, see some high capacity attractions, and enjoy the evening spectaculars. Keep in mind that you would be much better off visiting on a recommended day if you aren’t Extra Magic Hours eligible or won’t arrive until 10am or later because it will be busier than recommended days from 11am onward.

Friday September 12

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

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

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

Fantasmic: 8:30pm

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 and not a lot going on at the other Parks. It’s also late enough in the week that many Disney vacationers will already have had an opportunity to visit the other Parks and they’ll naturally save Animal Kingdom for later in the week. With no special evening entertainment scheduled 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.

Epcot is recommended, though yesterday would have been better. While we don’t have Extra Magic Hours, special events, or anything specific attracting people to Epcot specifically, we have to be wary of Magic Kingdom’s short operating schedule causing people to look elsewhere. When Walt Disney World’s most popular theme park isn’t a crowd magnet, casual visitors will inevitably head to one of the other three major theme parks, one of the water parks, or Downtown Disney. That means we’ll have a decent number of people put off by Magic Kingdom’s short hours and will instead visit Epcot with its 9am to 9pm day and IllumiNations. However, Animal Kingdom will be popular with morning Extra Magic Hour to attract Disney resort guests and Hollywood Studios will be busy with decent hours of operation and Fantasmic. You can have a ton of success with the low overall crowd level by arriving prior to Park opening and heading straight for Test Track, Sum of All Thrills, Mission: Space, and Soarin’. To stay ahead of the crowds for as long as possible, move up through World Showcase beginning at 11am with Gran Fiesta Tour in Mexico and Maelstrom in Norway. Return to Future World after 5pm when most people will have moved up through World Showcase if you have more you’d like to do, keeping in mind that Innoventions, University of Energy, the Imagination Pavilion, Living with the Land, and Circle of Life close at 7pm. It’s also a great night to stay for dinner and IllumiNations.

Hollywood Studios is not recommended. We have short hours and no evening entertainment during regular Park hours at Magic Kingdom, Disney World’s most popular theme park. As usual, short hours and no evening entertainment are also offered at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. While Animal Kingdom will be popular with Disney resort guests, a lot of off-site visitors will be saving the Studios and Fantasmic for tonight. While there’s nothing specific drawing people towards the Studios in particular, we can still expect to be busier than any of the past three days. It should be avoided unless you can’t visit another day.

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 was the best day to see the Electrical Parade and Wishes. 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. With the low overall crowd level, Wednesday would be an okay day to spend the entire day at Magic Kingdom, but waits will be longer than today.

Saturday September 13

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

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Highly Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

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

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Fantasmic: 8:30pm

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

Evening Extra Magic Hours: 11pm-1am

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

Animal Kingdom is 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. The morning Extra Magic Hour at Hollywood Studios and evening Extra Magic Hours at Magic Kingdom will be pulling the majority of the sizable resort contingent. 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, ending the day in Asia with Kali River Rapids and Expedition Everest.

Epcot is recommended and it’s your best choice if you have other plans for Animal Kingdom. Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios will be attracting the majority of off-site and on-site visitors with long hours and plentiful evening entertainment. The only problem is we haven’t had Extra Magic Hours since the middle of the week, but that’s a nominal concern overall. Take full advantage by arriving prior to Park opening and head straight to Test Track, followed by Sum of All Thrills, Mission: Space, and Soarin’. If Character Spot is a priority, visit after 7pm when waits will be shorter than the afternoon and you won’t have to waste precious morning time. It’s also an excellent day to stay for IllumiNations and enjoy the World Showcase in the afternoon because a lot of people will have their eyes on the Electrical Parade and Fantasmic.

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. Yesterday or Monday 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. 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 September 14

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 7pm (Recommended)

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

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

Evening Extra Magic Hours: 9pm – 11pm

Fantasmic: 8pm and 9:30pm

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 Animal Kingdom 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. With decent operating hours, you should be able to do just about everything the Park has to offer if you arrive prior to Park opening. Focus on riding Kilimanjaro Safaris and Expedition Everest as early as possible or use FastPass+. After getting those out of the way, move on to DinoLand USA or one of the more popular shows – either Finding Nemo the Musical or Festival of the Lion King and you’ll be set for the rest of the day. Keep in mind that crowds disperse in the afternoon and the last 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 remains recommended with the low overall crowd level and Hollywood Studios pulling resort guests. Most people will want to take advantage of lower crowds at Magic Kingdom and wait until Monday to visit when more is going on elsewhere.  You can still do perfectly well by arriving prior to Park opening and heading straight for Soarin’ or Test Track. Use FastPass+ at the other and you’ll have taken care of the headliners in Future World. Move up through World Showcase as close to 11am as possible and you’re set for the day.

Hollywood Studios will be busy due to the evening Extra Magic Hours that are popular with Disney resort guests and the longer-than-usual operating hours, 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 9pm when people begin to give up and exit. In addition, 9,000+ people will exit Fantasmic at 8:30pm and again at 10pm, 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. Monday, Wednesday or Thursday would be better if you can swing any of those dates.

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. This coming Wednesday would be the least crowded day to take in the Electrical Parade and Wishes as well as enjoy the Magic Kingdom as it gets dark. If you’re planning just one day at Magic Kingdom, then you’ll need to weigh whether you’re willing to put up with heavier crowds in order to enjoy both nighttime spectaculars. While the 7pm close may seem 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 September 15

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 – 9pm (Not Recommended)

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

Animal Kingdom will be moderately more popular than recommended days due to the morning Extra Magic Hour that will attract a decent number of Disney resort guests. Mondays at the Animal Kingdom aren’t wildly popular because of the fact that morning Extra Magic Hours aren’t as popular as evening Extra Magic Hours and because it’s early in the week and 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 Magic Kingdom or Animal Kingdom for the Extra Magic Hours. 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 is highly recommended as we come off two days in a row with Extra Magic Hours. Tomorrow will be busier with the short hours at Magic Kingdom sending most casual vacationers to Epcot or or Hollywood Studios. 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. Don’t be fooled by the relatively low overall crowd level. Magic Kingdom will be significantly busier than the low 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 September 16

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

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Not Recommended)

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Illuminations: 9pm

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 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 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 and Thursday 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. Thursday 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 September 17

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 (Recommended)

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 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 on Tuesday. But that’s a nominal concern, particularly with the low 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. 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 prior to Park opening and head straight for Toy Story Mania, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, and Star Tours. Because Toy Story Mania has such a limited capacity, wait times are almost always 60+ minutes in the afternoon, 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 recommended today and it’s your best opportunity to visit and see both nighttime spectaculars. We also have a morning Extra Magic Hour tomorrow that will be more attractive to Disney resort guests. While the 9pm close is later than yesterday or Friday, it’s also in the middle of the week and Epcot will be pulling more people away with evening Extra Magic Hours. If you’re looking for the absolute lowest crowds, yesterday or Friday would be better, but you won’t have the opportunity to see the nighttime entertainment during regular hours. 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, the Electrical Parade, and Wishes. If you’re not interested in the entertainment, visit Tomorrowland after 7pm and Fantasyland after 8pm to find much lower crowds than the afternoon.

Thursday September 18

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

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Tentatively Recommended)

Food and Wine Festival Booth Soft Open Likely

Illuminations: 9pm

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

Fantasmic: 8pm

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

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Festival of Fantasy Parade: 3pm, Main Street Electrical Parade: 8pm and 10pm, Wishes Fireworks: 9pm

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

Epcot is recommended, but the evening is going to be busy. In past years, the Food and Wine Festival booths have opened the day before the official start of the Festival as a quasi-soft-opening for cast members. Anyone is welcome to attend and enjoy the Festival offerings, but World Showcase will be full of (increasingly obnoxious) groups of 18 to 22 year olds beginning around 5pm and continuing through IllumiNations. The morning remains an excellent time to tour and Future World will be fine from 5pm – 9pm. Epcot will also be less crowded today than any day this weekend, which is part of why it remains recommended. Just be aware that there will be a lot of teenagers and 20-somethings in World Showcase interested in swearing and drinking after 5pm and plan accordingly. It is otherwise an excellent preview to the Festival with short lines at the booths.

Hollywood Studios is highly recommended. We’re looking at a morning Extra Magic Hour on Saturday that will be more popular with Disney resort guests. Today, Magic Kingdom is overwhelmingly attractive with long hours, a morning Extra Magic Hour, Main Street Electrical Parade, and Wishes. To have the most success, you’ll still want to arrive by 8:15am and head straight for Toy Story Mania, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, and Star Tours. Because Toy Story Mania has such a limited capacity, wait times are almost always 60+ minutes in the afternoon and FastPass+ are largely unavailable even in low crowds. 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.

The morning Extra Magic Hour at Magic Kingdom will lure a lot of Disney resort guests and we also have a rare Electrical Parade scheduled. . The hours are also far longer than tomorrow, causing more casual vacationers to choose today. Combined, this will make Magic Kingdom significantly busier than either of the last two days or tomorrow. You can have success provided you take advantage of the morning Extra Magic Hour by arriving no later than 7:30am and heading straight to Fantasyland or other open attractions in Tomorrowland. Move on to the headlining Mountain rides or character meet and greets when they open and you’ll be in excellent shape. However, you will find that crowds are heavier than recommended days in the afternoon. You’ll probably want to take a break from 1pm to 5pm or so and return in the evening to ride some major attractions with FastPass+, have dinner, see some high capacity attractions, and enjoy the evening spectaculars. Keep in mind that you would be much better off visiting on a recommended day if you aren’t Extra Magic Hours eligible or won’t arrive until 10am or later because it will be busier than recommended days from 11am onward.

Friday September 19

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

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Epcot: 9am – 10pm (Not Recommended)

First day of the Food and Wine Festival

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, the first day of the Food and Wine Festival is going to be busy with visiting locals and those concluding a weeklong vacation. 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 low 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 or next 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 Thursday, after spending the majority of your day at a Park with lower crowds. Either way, focus on getting the most popular attractions out of the way today and return to the Magic Kingdom for the nighttime spectaculars on another date. With only one day to spend at the Magic Kingdom, you’ll need to decide whether seeing Wishes and the Main Street Electrical Parade are worth spending the day in heavier crowds. With the low overall crowd level, Wednesday would be an okay day to spend the entire day at Magic Kingdom, but waits will be longer than today.

Saturday September 20

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

Epcot: 9am – 10pm (Not Recommended)

Illuminations: 10pm

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

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Fantasmic: 8pm and 9:30pm

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

Evening Extra Magic Hours: 11pm – 1am

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

Animal Kingdom is 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 4pm and Asia after 5pm 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. The later close than most other days this week will attract off-site visitors as well. While you can have success if you are Extra Magic Hours eligible and arrive by 7:15am, most people will want to visit another day. Monday 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 September 21

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 7pm (Recommended)

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Not Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

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

Evening Extra Magic Hours: 9pm – 11pm

Fantasmic: 8pm and 9:30pm

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 afternoon 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 longer-than-usual operating hours, 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 10pm when people begin to give up and exit. In addition, 9,000+ people will exit Fantasmic at 8:30pm and again at 10pm, 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. This coming Thursday would be the least crowded day to take in the Electrical Parade and Wishes as well as enjoy the Magic Kingdom as it gets dark. If you’re planning just one day at Magic Kingdom, then you’ll need to weigh whether you’re willing to put up with heavier crowds in order to enjoy both nighttime spectaculars. While the 7pm close may seem 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 September 22

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: 8pm and 10pm, Wishes Fireworks: 9pm

Animal Kingdom will be moderately more popular than recommended days due to the morning Extra Magic Hour that will attract a decent number of Disney resort guests. Mondays at the Animal Kingdom aren’t wildly popular because of the fact that morning Extra Magic Hours aren’t as popular as evening Extra Magic Hours and because it’s early in the week and 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 days in a row with Extra Magic Hours. Tomorrow will be busier with the short hours at Magic Kingdom sending most casual vacationers to Epcot or or Hollywood Studios. 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. Don’t be fooled by the relatively low overall crowd level. Magic Kingdom will be significantly busier than the low 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 September 23

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

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Tentatively Recommended)

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Illuminations: 9pm

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 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 afternoon. Plan to stay through close because waits will only get shorter as it gets later in the evening. Visit DinoLand after 5pm and Asia after 6pm to find much lower waits than earlier in 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. If you’re eligible for morning Extra Magic Hour, you can have a tremendous amount of success if you arrive by 7:25am 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 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 and Thursday 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. Thursday 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 September 24

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 6pm (Recommended)

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Not Recommended)

Evening Extra Magic Hours: 9pm – 11pm

Illuminations: 9pm

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

Fantasmic: 8pm and 9:30pm

Magic Kingdom: 9am – 9pm (Recommended)

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 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 low 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. 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. While we’re sometimes concerned about Parks that are open later, that’s not the case today. The second Fantasmic makes it easier to see the show or enjoy short waits in the evening and fewer people will be in attendance early. 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 if you’re interested in the first show. You’ll still need to arrive at least 20 minutes early, but it’s better than the 60+ minutes early you’ll need to arrive without the package. The Dining Package makes the most sense on the Disney Dining Plan because it only costs one table service credit (except at Hollywood Brown Derby, which still costs two credits as it would otherwise) and includes the appetizer. If you’re not interested in the Package or it’s not available, plan to attend the second Fantasmic because it will be far less crowded with all the families that need to leave early. You also won’t have to fight two large sections reserved for Dining Package users. As far as general seating is concerned, the best seats are about half way up in the center sections. Sit any closer and you run the risk of getting wet and it’s more difficult to see what’s happening on the water.

Magic Kingdom is recommended today and it’s your best opportunity to visit and see both nighttime spectaculars. We also have a morning Extra Magic Hour tomorrow that will be more attractive to Disney resort guests. While the 9pm close is later than yesterday or Friday, it’s also in the middle of the week and Epcot will be pulling more people away with evening Extra Magic Hours. If you’re looking for the absolute lowest crowds, yesterday or Friday would be better, but you won’t have the opportunity to see the nighttime entertainment during regular hours. 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, the Electrical Parade, and Wishes. If you’re not interested in the entertainment, visit Tomorrowland after 7pm and Fantasyland after 8pm to find much lower crowds than the afternoon.

Thursday September 25

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

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Most Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

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

Fantasmic: 8pm

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

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Festival of Fantasy Parade: 3pm, Main Street Electrical Parade: 8pm and 10pm, Wishes Fireworks: 9pm

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

Epcot is 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. It’s also an excellent night to stay for IllumiNations.

Hollywood Studios is recommended. We’re looking at a morning Extra Magic Hour on Saturday that will be more popular with Disney resort guests. Today, Magic Kingdom is overwhelmingly attractive with long hours, a morning Extra Magic Hour, Main Street Electrical Parade, and Wishes. To have the most success, you’ll still want to arrive by 8:15am and head straight for Toy Story Mania, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, and Star Tours. Because Toy Story Mania has such a limited capacity, wait times are almost always 60+ minutes in the afternoon and FastPass+ are largely unavailable even in low crowds. 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.

The morning Extra Magic Hour at Magic Kingdom will lure a lot of Disney resort guestsy. The hours are also far longer than tomorrow, causing more casual vacationers to choose today. Combined, this will make Magic Kingdom significantly busier than either of the last two days or tomorrow. You can have success provided you take advantage of the morning Extra Magic Hour by arriving no later than 7:30am and heading straight to Fantasyland or other open attractions in Tomorrowland. Move on to the headlining Mountain rides or character meet and greets when they open and you’ll be in excellent shape. However, you will find that crowds are heavier than recommended days in the afternoon. You’ll probably want to take a break from 1pm to 5pm or so and return in the evening to ride some major attractions with FastPass+, have dinner, see some high capacity attractions, and enjoy the evening spectaculars. Keep in mind that you would be much better off visiting on a recommended day if you aren’t Extra Magic Hours eligible or won’t arrive until 10am or later because it will be busier than recommended days from 11am onward.

Friday September 26

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 6pm (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 low 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. With the low overall crowd level, Wednesday would be an okay day to spend the entire day at Magic Kingdom, but waits will be longer than today.

Saturday September 27

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 5pm (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 – 11pm (Not Recommended)

Festival of Fantasy Parade: 3pm, Main Street Electrical Parade: 9pm and 11pm, 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 4pm and Asia after 5pm 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 September 28

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 5pm (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 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. The morning will be an okay time to tour, but crowds will increase around 11am as more and more Disney resort guests arrive. Monday or Wednesday 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 September 29

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

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

Animal Kingdom will be moderately more popular than recommended days due to the morning Extra Magic Hour that will attract a decent number of Disney resort guests. Mondays at the Animal Kingdom aren’t wildly popular because of the fact that morning Extra Magic Hours aren’t as popular as evening Extra Magic Hours and because it’s early in the week and 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 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. Don’t be fooled by the relatively low overall crowd level. Magic Kingdom will be significantly busier than the low 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 September 30

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

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Tentatively Recommended)

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Illuminations: 9pm

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

Fantasmic: 8pm

Magic Kingdom: 9am – 9pm (Recommended)

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

Animal Kingdom is the most recommended Park. We don’t have special events, Extra Magic Hours, or anything specific drawing people toward it. Yesterday’s 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 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 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. If you’re eligible for morning Extra Magic Hour, you can have a tremendous amount of success if you arrive by 7:25am 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 not expressly recommended. Epcot’s lowly morning Extra Magic Hour won’t be attracting a ton of resort guests with tomorrow’s more popular evening Extra Magic Hours on the horizon. While it’s true Hollywood Studios offered evening Extra Magic Hours last night, it won’t be particularly popular with Magic Kingdom attracting so many people with its own set of evening Extra Magic Hours, in addition to the nighttime entertainment and later close. There’s nothing specific attracting people to the Studios and you can still do just fine by arriving by 8:15am and heading straight for Toy Story Mania, but tomorrow will be less crowded. Most people will want to take advantage of better days elsewhere.

Magic Kingdom is recommended today and it’s your second best opportunity to visit and see both nighttime spectaculars. We’re coming off a busier day yesterday with the evening Extra Magic Hours attracting resort guests and Thursday will be busier with the morning Extra Magic Hour. Tomorrow will be slightly less crowded because it’s in the middle of the week and Epcot will be pulling even more people with evening Extra Magic Hours. If you’re looking for the absolute lowest crowds, Friday would be better, but you won’t have the opportunity to see the nighttime entertainment during regular hours. 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, the Electrical Parade, and Wishes. If you’re not interested in the entertainment, visit Tomorrowland after 7pm and Fantasyland after 8pm to find much lower crowds than the afternoon.

 

{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Kitty March 4, 2014 at 3:00 am

Thanks for this Josh, really helps with the planning, we’ve always done the odd evening EMH at MK before, because we like being in the park late, but you’ve got me rethinking it for this trip…

Michael March 4, 2014 at 5:27 am

Hi Josh, I noticed you mentioned the parade at AK. I thought it was stopping by sometime in the summer. Will they bring it back by September? If so, my wife will give you a big kiss because it is her favorite parade.

Candice March 4, 2014 at 7:47 am

Thanks Josh!

Aristol March 4, 2014 at 10:21 am

Thank you very much Josh

Sarah March 4, 2014 at 12:37 pm

Thanks so much, Josh. This helps me make our plans.

siskaren March 4, 2014 at 1:07 pm

Michael,
The calendar is listing a parade at AK because an official announcement has not been made regarding the last date for the parade.

Keri W. March 4, 2014 at 4:15 pm

Thanks so much, Josh! Putting the final tweaks on our plans based on your advice.

sghm March 5, 2014 at 11:56 am

Thanks so much, Josh!

Brandi Gregory March 5, 2014 at 7:00 pm

When you talk about the crowds the week of 9/14-9/19…we are currently planning to hit the parks you don’t recommend :/. Wondering if you can compare them to President’s Holiday Week and a week in July because that is what we experienced our last 2 trips. If the crowds don’t compare then we may take our chances:). Thanks a million for all the hard work!

Kimberly Howard March 6, 2014 at 10:11 am

Hey. Any word on when we will know the crowds for October? Love this site!

Megan March 10, 2014 at 6:30 pm

Really how bad are the crowds going to be the second week? It says all 1s 2s and 3s. I was down last Dec (The 9th to the 16th) and I believe it was all 4s and maybe even some 5s. I am trying to plan out right now but with the not recommended days it is making it hard to get all done that I want to. Any suggestions? Are the crowds going to compare to what I experienced last Dec? Thanks this is a great help!

Lara March 18, 2014 at 6:14 pm

Hi Josh,
We are coming from NZ for once in a lifetime trip (kids 9,7 and 5). We will be there in October and will do Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. Should we also do Wishes and Electrical Parade one night or is the MNSSHP going to be repeating this?
Thanks
Lara

Tami April 22, 2014 at 1:40 pm

Hi Josh, am I missing something??
On the Disney website they are showing evening magic hours on September 28th at Hollywood Studio’s but your calendar doesn’t indicate that. Just wondering if that would change your recommendations for September 28th?

Sharon R May 4, 2014 at 7:21 pm

Hi Josh,
FYI, per Disney’s site: “Embark on a grand culinary adventure as you’re welcomed into a food and wine lover’s paradise—September 19 to November 10, 2014! ”
(Above, you have it beginning Sept 26)
Thanks for all the awesome info!!

Sharon R May 4, 2014 at 7:44 pm

Hi Josh,
Oops! The comment I just made above was meant for your “Disney World Calendar of Crowds, Cost, Weather, Events” page, in the September 2014 section. Sorry, I will add it there.

steve r May 7, 2014 at 7:53 pm

How will free dining affect the crowds at the end of September?

Rebecca May 28, 2014 at 11:10 am

Hi Josh! I was wondering about the crowd level at Typhoon Lagoon on Labor Day? Thanks!

Kelly June 4, 2014 at 2:47 pm

@Lara…I see your comment was several months ago, but to answer your question Magic Kingdom will NOT do the Electrical Parade and the “normal” Wishes on the evening of the MNSSHP, but will do a Halloween themed parade and HalloWishes. I recommend seeing the traditional Wishes & parade on an alternate night for your once in a lifetime trip, as they are definitely worth seeing. Have fun!

Melissa June 5, 2014 at 6:01 am

Josh, I have conflicting issues with your calendar and disneys. you say on 9/2 Fantasmic is at 830, I based my day on that and was able to purchase the Famtasmic Pkg on disneys site. Then it was brought to my attention that Disneys calendar doesnt have Fantasmic AND someone called Disney and they said there was no Fantasmic..blah… blah… help me.. LOL I know disneys messes this stuff up, but why would they let me book a package that wasnt going to happen? Thanks in advance for any help. Im new to your site and the forum so I can head over there too.

Marina June 22, 2014 at 4:52 pm

Hi, i see differences between the media.disneywebcontent calendar and the one in the main web site. Especially regarding evenings extra magic hours for Magic Kingdom. Which one you think is right?
Thanks!

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