02 February 2014 Crowd Calendar

2/8/14 Update: Magic Kingdom hours extended to 9am – 1am on Friday February 28th. Rating lowered to “Recommended” from “Highly Recommended.” It remains the best day that week to see the Electrical Parade.

1/13/14 Update: Crowd Calendar updated with the changes listed here.

12/17/13 Update: Animal Kingdom hours extended to 9am – 7pm on February 28th.

11/23/13 Update: Crowd Calendar updated with the changes listed here.

11/11/13 Update: Disney moved Epcots morning Extra Magic Hour from Tuesday February 4th to Monday February 3rd, causing some slight alterations in the recommendations that week.

10/30/13 Update: Crowd Calendar updated with the changes listed here.

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

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

Click the image to enlarge it.

Saturday February 1

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

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

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Most Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

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

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Fantasmic: 7pm and 8:30pm

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

Celebrate a Dream Come True Parade: none, Main Street Electrical Parade: 8pm and 10pm, Wishes Fireworks: 9pm

Animal Kingdom comes highly recommended.  We don’t have Extra Magic Hours or special events to attract Disney vacationers of any sort.  Magic Kingdom will be attracting significant crowds with its long hours of operation and both nighttime spectaculars and Hollywood Studios will be popular with the morning Extra Magic Hour and Fantasmic.  We also had two morning Extra Magic Hours earlier in the week and another on Monday to appeal to the sizable Disney resort contingent.  To take full advantage of the low crowd level, arrive prior to Park opening and head straight to Kilimanjaro Safaris and Expedition Everest.  Get those two attractions out of the way early and the only real concern is getting to Finding Nemo the Musical.  You would be in the best shape if you could get to the first or last show of the day as well as over to DinoLand USA before 10:30am when lines begin to build at DINOSAUR and Primeval Whirl.  You may also want to prioritize characters that have long afternoon waits by arriving about five minutes before the characters appear.  Finally, keep in mind that crowds disperse shortly after the 3:45pm Parade. Stay through close because waits will only decrease after 6pm. To find the shortest waits, hit DinoLand from 6pm to 7pm and finish up in Asia with Kali River Rapids and Expedition Everest.

Epcot is the most recommended Park.  It’s a particularly excellent day to see IllumiNations and have dinner in the World Showcase because Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios will be attracting most of the nighttime crowd.  Despite the recommendation, you will still have the most success if you arrive prior to opening and head straight to Test Track, Sum of All Thrills, Mission: Space, and Soarin’ or follow one of the two day compartmentalized plans.  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.  Keep in mind that both Innoventions buildings, the Imagination Pavilion, Universe of Energy, Living with the Land, and Circle of Life close at 7pm.  The 5pm to 7pm timeframe is an excellent opportunity to do Journey into Imagination with Figment, Captain EO, Ellen’s Energy Adventure, Sum of All Thrills, anything in Innoventions, Circle of Life, Living with the Land, and anything else other than the major headliners.  If you’re interested in re-riding Soarin’ and Test Track, plan to rely on FASTPASS because standby wait times for both will most likely continue to be 45+ minutes from 5pm – 8pm.  Alternatively, you can elect to get in line for a headliner right before Park close and ride with a shorter wait than any other time of the day outside of the first 30 minutes of operation.  As long as you’re in line by 9pm, Disney will let you ride regardless of the posted wait.

Hollywood Studios is not recommended, thanks to the morning Extra Magic Hour that will entice on-site visitors and the later close and second Fantasmic, which will attract off-site visitors as well.  On top of that, the Studios is hosting a major team dance event at Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular, which will only serve to increase the number of people in the Park. While the dancers and their families don’t have a significant impact on wait times, they do crowd the Echo Lake area and increase lines for food and merchandise.    You can have success from 8am – 10am if you are Extra Magic Hours eligible, but the afternoon and evening are going to be busier than just about any day this week.  Avoid it unless you can’t visit any other day or plan to arrive by 7:15am to take advantage of low crowds in the morning.

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

[click to continue reading..]

{ 21 comments }