Disney News

Just a heads up that Disney changed the close at Hollywood Studios on Saturday October 24th from 7pm to 6pm and canceled the Fantasmic. Previously, the Studios was not recommended. It may change to “tentatively recommended” so long as you’re able to arrive by 7:25am to take advantage of the Extra Magic Hour. Daytime crowds should be relatively minimal with few people park hopping over in the afternoon and evening with no evening entertainment to keep them around and a very early close. Still, most people will want to stick with a day that was previously recommended higher.

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Disney made a few changes to the September 2015 operating schedule. Hollywood Studios will close at 9:30pm instead of 8pm each day through the 7th for the Frozen Summer Fun LIVE event. Epcot and Animal Kingdom also switch their Extra Magic Hours on September 20th and 23rd, which should affect the recommendations for that week. Here’s the full operating schedule: http://media.disneywebcontent.com/StaticFiles/ParkHours/WDWTravelAgent_september.pdf.

Tuesday September 1:

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

Wednesday September 2:

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

Thursday September 3:

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

Friday September 4:

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

Saturday September 5:

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

Sunday September 6:

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

Monday September 7:

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

Sunday September 20:

  • Animal Kingdom morning Extra Magic Hour canceled.
  • Epcot evening Extra Magic Hours added.

Wednesday September 23:

  • Epcot evening Extra Magic Hours canceled.
  • Animal Kingdom morning Extra Magic Hour added.

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Disney made the usual changes to the August 2015 operating schedule. I would expect to see more extensions at Animal Kingdom when Disney next updates the schedule – probably in the middle of July. The full operating schedule is available here: http://media.disneywebcontent.com/StaticFiles/ParkHours/WDWTravelAgent_august.pdf. An FAQ follows the list.

Saturday August 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-12am from 9am-10pm. Second Main Street Electrical Parade added at 11pm, in addition to 9pm Parade.

Sunday August 2:

  • 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-12am from 9am-10pm. Second Main Street Electrical Parade added at 11pm, in addition to 9pm Parade.

Monday August 3:

  • Animal Kingdom hours extended to 9am-7pm from 9am-6pm.
  • 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-12am from 9am-10pm. Second Main Street Electrical Parade added at 11pm, in addition to 9pm Parade.

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Disney extended the close at Hollywood Studios to 9:30pm from 8pm on April 17th and 22nd. A second Fantasmic show was also added at 10pm on both dates.

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Disney made another round of changes to the May operating schedule. The full operating schedule is available here: http://media.disneywebcontent.com/StaticFiles/ParkHours/WDWTravelAgent_may.pdf. Click “refresh” on your browser to load the newest version.

Friday May 1:

  • No changes.

Saturday May 2:

  • Magic Kingdom hours extended to 8am-12am from 9am-12am.

Sunday May 3:

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

Monday May 4:

  • No changes.

Tuesday May 5:

  • Animal Kingdom hours extended to 9am-7pm from 9am-6pm.
  • Magic Kingdom hours extended to 9am-12am from 9am-11pm.

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Disney updated the October operating schedule with the Extra Magic Hours for the first three days. You may or may not remember the initial schedule omitted which Parks would host Extra Magic Hours on October 1-3. The additions are as expected and already built into the month’s recommendations. The full operating schedule is available here: http://media.disneywebcontent.com/StaticFiles/ParkHours/WDWTravelAgent_october.pdf. Click “refresh” on your browser to load the newest version.

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The November 2015 Disney World operating schedule is now available at the usual link: http://media.disneywebcontent.com/StaticFiles/ParkHours/WDWTravelAgent_november.pdf. Always click “refresh” on these documents to load the newest version – some browsers don’t bother loading the newest version of documents with the same name.

The operating schedule is about what you would expect. I get a lot of questions about what the final operating schedule will look like, so you can check out 2014′s final schedule here: http://www.easywdw.com/reports13/november14.pdf. Epcot’s Extra Magic Hours are not listed for the first week in November. I expect to see them added in the future, though Disney is a very cheap company and they may instead omit the Extra Magic Hours to help cover the extra cost of the Park operating until 10pm on most Fridays and Saturdays during the Food and Wine Festival. You would expect all of those $5 6-ounce samples of Kirin to help the bottom line, but Disney has an odd way of accounting for things. Expect to see Epcot host its usual morning Extra Magic Hour on Tuesdays with evening Extra Magic Hours falling in the vacant space on Thursdays.

Speaking of Extra Magic Hours, it’s interesting that Disney is keeping the same schedule after the Food and Wine Festival concludes on November 16th. Historically, Disney has changed the Extra Magic Hours schedule during Food/Wine to help pull Disney resort guests toward less-crowded weekdays. Epcot usually hosts morning Extra Magic Hour on Tuesdays and evening Extra Magic Hours on Fridays. During the Festival, Disney has historically moved evening Extra Magic Hours to Wednesdays. This year, they moved evening Extra Magic Hours from Fridays to Thursdays and also moved the morning Extra Magic Hour at Magic Kingdom from Thursdays to Mondays, in addition to moving the morning Extra Magic Hour at Animal Kingdom from Sundays to Fridays. We may see the switch back to the “normal” schedule once the Mickey’s Party season concludes. Or we might not as the Extra Magic Hours schedule follows the same pattern for Thanksgiving, when no Christmas Parties are scheduled.

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A Few Newsworthy Notes…

by josh on April 4, 2015

Disney continues to allow guests visiting Magic Kingdom through April 12th to book a 4th FastPass+ in advance, so long as they set up their FP+ no earlier than two days in advance. Guests who have already booked FastPass+ for dates through the 12th will be assigned a 4th low priority FastPass+ experience, which can then be modified to the attraction and time of your choice. The two attractions currently being assigned are it’s a small world and Journey of the Little Mermaid. This is basically an attempt to lower waits at the kiosks for 4th, 5th, etc. FP+ users.

Disney announced the celebrity lineup for Star Wars Weekends at the Disney Parks Blog here. Several shows are available as Tier 1 FastPass+ selections for guests staying at Disney resorts. Only the first four weekends are available for booking with the whole 60-day window thing. The shows this year will be presented in the same theater as Beauty and the Beast rather than the air-conditioned Premier Theater. If there’s a show you really want to see and FP+ is available, I would go ahead and book it. Lines for the popular shows are very long and when a show is full, it’s full. Because shows are Tier 1 FP+, you would have to select a single show over Toy Story Mania or Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster.

You have the rare opportunity to meet me, Dave Shute, and Jim Korkis during my one contractually obligated meet and greet of the year on April 20th. We’ll be outside Liberty Inn at Epcot from 7pm through whenever it looks like nobody is actually going to show up. Lisa will be there to help ease what are usually very awkward conversations. We’ll be signing copies of our guidebook, “The easy Guide to Your First Walt Disney World Visit,” but if history is any indication of the future, we’ll sign just about anything else. I will also mention that the book is currently the cheapest I’ve ever seen it and still includes the complimentary Kindle download included with a print purchase.

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Be Our Guest Breakfast Official

by josh on March 16, 2015

Disney officially announced a “test” of breakfast at Be Our Guest Restaurant today: http://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/2015/03/new-breakfast-starts-march-20-at-be-our-guest-restaurant-in-the-magic-kingdom-at-walt-disney-world-resort/. Reservations open March 17th with breakfast being served for the first time on March 20th. The rest runs daily from 8am-10am through June 18th.

It will be interesting to see if people eating early get an advantage in moving to either Princess Fairytale Hall or Seven Dwarfs Mine Train before anyone from the main entrance has a chance to get back there. Both attractions are much closer to Be Our Guest in New Fantasyland than they are to the front of the Park. The prix fixe aspect is interesting as well – breakfast is expected to cost $19.99 per adult and $11.99 per child, which is significantly more expensive than any quick service breakfast, most table service breakfasts, and most breakfast buffets without characters (The Wave and Captain’s Grille, for example). Breakfast is expected to include beverages and a pastry basket. On the other hand, 20 bucks per adult is significantly less expensive than character breakfasts at Crystal Palace ($26.99/adult $14.99/child) or Cinderella’s Royal Table ($~55/adults $~33/kids). Breakfast was originally going to be an a la carte affair, but doing things like this will maximize revenue and guarantee people aren’t just hanging out inside the quick service for 30 minutes without ordering anything before hauling it over to Mine Train at 8:45am.

The website will hopefully secure a reservation and grab breakfast there early next week, after they get a chance to work out the initial wrinkles. The blogs tend to visit on the first day and come away with problems that are never seen again. We should have a better idea about what to expect next Tuesday or Wednesday. As far as whether you should try to secure a Be Our Guest breakfast for a date sometime in the future…my recommendation would be to book it tomorrow if you think there’s a chance you’ll do it. If it sucks, you can easily cancel it online, via the app, or by phone.

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Disney made some changes to Magic Kingdom’s operating schedule over the first week in September. With Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party officially kicking off on September 15th, Disney has extended the close from 7pm to 10pm and added Electrical Parades and Wishes to most dates over the first week. It wouldn’t surprise me to see the dates in question revert back to 10pm closes in the future, but if you want to be certain that you can attend a Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, you would want to schedule your vacation to include September 15th or a Party date sometime thereafter. A preview of the updated crowd calendar follows the list of changes:

Tuesday September 1:

  • Magic Kingdom hours extended to 9am-10pm from 9am-7pm. Main Street Electrical Parade added at 9pm. Wishes added at 10pm.

Wednesday September 2:

  • Magic Kingdom hours extended to 9am-10pm from 9am-9pm.

Thursday September 3:

  • No changes.

Friday September 4:

  • Magic Kingdom hours extended to 9am-10pm from 9am-7pm. Main Street Electrical Parade added at 9pm. Wishes added at 10pm.

Saturday September 5:

  • No changes.

Sunday September 6:

  • No changes.

Monday September 7:

  • Magic Kingdom hours extended to 9am-10pm from 9am-7pm. Main Street Electrical Parade added at 9pm. Wishes added at 10pm.

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A pretty PDF calendar is available here: http://www.easywdw.com/sept15-v3.pdf. A few changes were necessary with the extended closes and additional nighttime entertainment. If you’ve already set up the perfect dining reservations with the perfect itinerary, you don’t necessarily need to change your whole plan of attack with the low overall crowd level. Those with some flexibility might want to change a couple things.

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