04 April 2014 Crowd Calendar

April 2014 Walt Disney World Crowd Calendar

by josh on September 24, 2013

3/18/14 Update: Crowd Calendar updated with the changes listed here.

3/15/14 Update: Crowd Calendar updated with the changes to Easter Week listed here.

12/26/13 Update: Crowd Calendar updated with the changes listed here.

12/4/13 Update: Hollywood Studios’ Evening Extra Magic Hours on Monday April 28th moved to April 29th, causing some slight adjustments to the recommendations around those days.

This is the Free April 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.

Tuesday April 1

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

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

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Not Recommended)

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Illuminations: 9pm

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

Fantasmic: 8:30pm and 10pm

Magic Kingdom: 9am – 11pm (Recommended)

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

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

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

Hollywood Studios is recommended.  Yesterday’s evening Extra Magic Hours/Fantasmic combo will be a bigger draw and the addition of Fantasmic to every day this week spreads crowds out more evenly.  Because of that, your touring plan is more important than which day you decide to visit the Studios.  Arrive by 8:15am, head directly to Toy Story Mania, and then visit Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, and Star Tours.  Do this, and you’ll be in great shape for the rest of the day.  Don’t arrive until 10am and you’ll end up with a 60+ minute waits at Toy Story Mania, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, and potentially Tower of Terror.  After getting through the headliners, focus on the Studios’ stage shows and high capacity attractions like Backlot Tour and Great Movie Ride.  Popular characters may also be a morning priority.  You may want to take a break in the afternoon from 1pm to 5pm or so when crowds get heavier.  Return for dinner, some evening rides, and Fantasmic.  Finally, consider the Fantasmic Dining Package that guarantees everyone on the reservation a seat in the reserved section of the Hollywood Hills Theater if you’re interested in the first show.  It will still require you to arrive 20 minutes early (or you run the risk of Disney opening the reserved section to the general population), but it’s better than the 60 minute wait that may be required to get decent seats without it.  It makes the most sense if you’re also on the Disney Dining Plan because it costs the same one-table-service credit at Hollywood and Vine or Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano and two-table-service credits that you would use otherwise.  It also includes the appetizer, which is a nice bonus.  If you’re not interested in the Package or it’s unavailable, plan to see the second show. It is far less crowded due to the number of families with kids that are forced to leave earlier and you won’t have to deal with two large sections reserved for Dining Package users. Overall, it’s a recommended day because it would be better than yesterday or tomorrow, but what you do is more important than arriving on the “right” day.

Magic Kingdom is recommended and an excellent choice if you don’t want to wait until tomorrow to visit.  Epcot’s morning Extra Magic Hour will help draw crowds away and a lot of people will have visited yesterday for their first full day at Disney World.  Still, Magic Kingdom won’t be empty with the above average overall crowd level, same operating hours as other days this week, Main Street Electrical Parade, and Wishes.  It’s still more important to arrive prior to Park opening and head straight for Fantasyland or the headlining Mountain rides.  You may also want to fit other time-sensitive attractions like Tomorrowland Indy Speedway or Astro Orbiter in there as well, along with Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, and other quick attractions that will have decent afternoon waits like Astro Orbiter.  Consider taking a break from 1pm to 5pm or so when crowds are heaviest and wait times are longest to rest up for the evening entertainment.  For Main Street Electrical Parade, scout out a spot along the Parade route in Liberty Square or Frontierland for the 11pm Parade.  Both areas are significantly less crowded than Main Street and require a shorter wait.  If you’re trying to decide between today and tomorrow, then I would go with tomorrow because it’s in the middle of the week and even more people will be ready to visit another Park.  However, today will be nearly as good if you tour efficiently in the morning, take a restful break, and enjoy the Magic Kingdom’s nighttime spectaculars.

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