Disney News

The official start of Mickey’s Party season looks to begin about a week earlier than usual with the first Halloween Party scheduled on September 1st. Disney looks to have canceled the late August Party.

Disney also moved the evening Extra Magic Hours at Hollywood Studios from Monday to Sunday. You may remember that most Sundays originally had no Extra Magic Hours scheduled whatsoever, with Monday seeing a morning Extra Magic Hour at Animal Kingdom, in addition to evening EMH at both Hollywood Studios and Magic Kingdom. This will affect the recommendations around those dates. Expect Hollywood Studios to no longer be recommended on Sundays and be recommended on Mondays instead behind Epcot.

The full September operating schedule is available here: http://media.disneywebcontent.com/StaticFiles/ParkHours/WDWTravelAgent_september.pdf

The full October operating schedule is available here: http://media.disneywebcontent.com/StaticFiles/ParkHours/WDWTravelAgent_october.pdf

Sunday September 14:

  • Hollywood Studios Evening Extra Magic Hours added.

Monday September 15:

  • Hollywood Studios Evening Extra Magic Hours canceled.

Sunday September 21:

  • Hollywood Studios Evening Extra Magic Hours added.

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Disney made many changes to the August 2014 operating schedule. The full schedule is available here: http://media.disneywebcontent.com/StaticFiles/ParkHours/WDWTravelAgent_august.pdf. Click refresh after opening to make sure your browser has loaded the newest version of the document. As always, this is an “official” list of changes that will mirror DisneyWorld.com once they get around to updating.

One thing you’ll notice is that no changes were made to Hollywood Studios. In a future update, Disney should add a second Fantasmic and extend the close to 9:30pm or 10pm every night through August 23rd. The final week in August should see at least two extensions as well.

Disney also looks to have canceled whatever event was expected to close Magic Kingdom at 7pm on August 29th and extended the close from 7pm to 11pm with two Main Street Electrical Parades. Magic Kingdom remains recommended, but it’s going to be busier than it would have been had it kept the early close.

Friday August 1:

  • Magic Kingdom hours extended to 9am – 11pm. Second Main Street Electrical Parade added at 11pm, in addition to 9pm Parade.

Saturday August 2:

  • Magic Kingdom hours extended to 9am – 11pm. Second Main Street Electrical Parade added at 11pm, in addition to 9pm Parade.

Sunday August 3:

  • Magic Kingdom hours extended to 9am – 12am. Second Main Street Electrical Parade added at 11pm, in addition to 9pm Parade.

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Disney made a few changes to the May 2014 operating schedule. The changes are primarily Magic Kingdom open an hour later than originally scheduled. The full operating schedule is available here: http://media.disneywebcontent.com/StaticFiles/ParkHours/WDWTravelAgent_may.pdf

Thursday May 1:

Magic Kingdom hours extended to 9am – 11pm from 9am – 10pm. Second Main Street Electrical Parade added at 11pm, in addition to 9pm Parade.

Friday May 2:

Magic Kingdom hours extended to 9am – 11pm from 9am – 10pm. Second Main Street Electrical Parade added at 11pm, in addition to 9pm Parade.

Saturday May 3:

Magic Kingdom hours extended to 9am – 12am from 9am – 11pm.

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Disney released the initial operating hours for November 2014 at the usual link: http://media.disneywebcontent.com/StaticFiles/ParkHours/WDWTravelAgent_november.pdf. As always, this is the official schedule that will go live on DisneyWorld.com toward the end of the month. To get an idea about what to expect from the final schedule, see last year’s here.

November is one of the more interesting and varied months of the year with the Food and Wine Festival continuing to draw crowds, culminating in the extremely busy Jersey Week/Veterans Day/Wine and Dine Half Marathon Weekend of November 7th – 10th. The week of the 16th to 22nd is actually one of the best weeks of the year to visit with relatively low crowds, relatively inexpensive resort pricing, and warm temperatures. Thanksgiving remains one of the busier weeks of the year, though it’s slightly less busy than Easter or Christmas. Otherwise, the schedule looks like what we would expect with the first Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party date on November 7th.

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Edit: This link: https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/dining/epcot/after-hours/ explains the event.

Just a heads up that a yet-to-be-announced Wind Down event looks to be coming to Epcot beginning April 17th. Expected hours are 9:15pm – 11pm at the also yet-to-be-announced lounges. Word is Disney is looking to muster up the Pleasure Island/New Year’s Eve vibe in the World Showcase during Disney Springs construction. And…you know…continue selling alcohol at a 1000% markup without actually having to operate anything but the bars. There is likely no use in calling as nobody on the phone will have any idea what you’re talking about yet.

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As evident by the “9″ crowd levels on the March Crowd Calendar this week, we’re in the midst of some of the heaviest crowds of the year thus far. In fact, this past Monday had the highest attendance of the year so far and today (Wednesday) looks to be even worse. Disney has made several last-minute amendments to the next few days:

Animal Kingdom:

  • Thursday, March 27 – Park open has changed from 9:00am to 8:00am and Park close has changed from 7:00pm to 8:00pm
  • Friday, March 28 – Park close has been changed from 7:00pm to 8:00pm
  • For both days, Finding Nemo show added at 7pm; Rafiki’s Planet Watch close extended to 6pm; With the exception of Louie and Baloo, characters will appear for one additional hour after the stated end on the Times Guide. All food and beverage locations will stay open one additional hour.

Hollywood Studios:

  • Saturday, March 29- Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular added a 10:00am show; Beauty and the Beast-Live on Stage added a 10:30am show.

Magic Kingdom:

  • Wednesday, March 26 – Park close has changed from 12:00am to 1:00am
  • Thursday, March 27 – Park close has been changed from 12:00am to 1:00am

Magic Kingdom was also extended to 1am yesterday. Magic Kingdom’s parking lot closed to capacity yesterday and today. The website has otherwise received a number of amusing emails asserting that the crowd levels for this week are “off.”

It’s pretty easy, really. Virtually all of Florida is off for spring break this week.

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Big news for guests staying off-site. Beginning March 31st, any guest with valid theme park tickets may connect their tickets via My Disney Experience/DisneyWorld.com and make FastPass+ reservations up to 30 days in advance of their visit. On-site guests maintain some advantage being able to book 60 days in advance, but all experiences should remain available at the 30 day mark (as well as being available much closer to any given date). Off-site visitors will be able to use My Disney Experience app and mobile site to make or change FastPass+ reservations, rendering the (currently) busy kiosks largely irrelevant for any guest with an Android device or iPhone.

MagicBands will be available for purchase (expected price is $12.95 each), but they are not required to use FastPass+. The RFID-enabled ticket media is all that’s required.

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This is what we’re looking at for October. Click to enlarge or view as a prettier PDF. And if you don’t know what the numbers/letters mean, read the top of this post.

October sees average crowds for the most part with the International Food and Wine Festival at Epcot driving weekend crowds higher than they would be otherwise, also helped by long hours at Magic Kingdom. One potential mistake on the official operating schedule is October 4th when the Tower of Terror 10-miler is scheduled at 10pm in and around Hollywood Studios. I’m expecting Disney to switch the Animal Kingdom/Hollywood Studios morning Extra Magic Hours so Friday’s morning EMH is at the Studios and Saturday’s is at Animal Kingdom. Also expect Hollywood Studios to close at 6pm with no Fantasmic scheduled on Saturday the 4th so Disney has time to set up some infrastructure for the race. I’ve indicated this by crossing out the Fantasmic and the recommendations have the expected changes already built in.

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Disney updated the July 2014 operating schedule today. The full schedule is available here: http://media.disneywebcontent.com/StaticFiles/ParkHours/WDWTravelAgent_july.pdf. Click refresh on your browser to load the newest version. The changes are what we would expect from Disney and include later closes at Magic Kingdom in addition to a second Electrical Parade scheduled every night, and a second Fantasmic scheduled every night along with a 10pm close at Hollywood Studios. We also have a spattering of 8pm closes at Animal Kingdom. As always, an FAQ follows the dates below.

Tuesday July 1:

  • Hollywood Studios hours extended to 9am – 10pm from 9am – 8:30pm. Second Fantasmic added at 10:30pm, in addition to 9pm show.
  • Magic Kingdom hours extended to 9am – 11pm from 9am – 10pm. Second Main Street Electrical Parade added at 11pm, in addition to 9pm Parade.

Wednesday July 2:

  • Animal Kingdom hours extended to 9am – 8pm from 9am – 7pm.
  • Hollywood Studios hours extended to 9am – 10pm from 9am – 8:30pm. Second Fantasmic added at 10:30pm, in addition to 9pm show.
  • Magic Kingdom hours extended to 9am – 11pm from 9am – 10pm. Second Main Street Electrical Parade added at 11pm, in addition to 9pm Parade.

Thursday July 3:

  • Animal Kingdom hours extended to 9am – 8pm from 9am – 7pm.
  • Hollywood Studios hours extended to 9am – 10pm from 9am – 8:30pm. Second Fantasmic added at 10:30pm, in addition to 9pm show.
  • Magic Kingdom hours extended to 8am – 1am from 9am – 12am. Second Main Street Electrical Parade added at 12am, in addition to 10pm Parade.

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Just a couple changes outside of Easter Week, which now has 8am openings at Hollywood Studios.

Tuesday April 1:

Hollywood Studios hours extended to 9am – 9:30pm from 9am – 8pm. Second Fantasmic added at 10pm, in addition to 8:30pm show.

Sunday April 13:

Hollywood Studios hours extended to 8am – 9:30pm from 9am – 9:30pm.

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