This is what we’re looking at for September. 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. The full operating schedule is available here.
Labor Day is Monday September 7th this year, which is later than usual, but it shouldn’t have much of an effect on crowd levels early on in the month. If you’re flexible with your dates, waiting until after Labor Day just means more kids in school and lower crowds at the Parks. Things pick up a bit going into the last week and into October with the Food and Wine Festival driving crowds, but overall crowds remain below average for the most part. The first three weeks in October are busier.
This is what we’re looking at for August. 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. The full operating schedule is available here.
The first two weeks are more of the same from July – above average crowds and very hot temperatures along with a high chance of precipitation. The heat and rain continue through the end of the month and into September, but crowds dip beginning the 18th and drop to below average levels from the 25th. Labor Day falls all the way to September 7th in 2015, but that shouldn’t have much of an impact on end-of-month crowds moving into September. The first week in September would see slightly lower crowds than the last week in August and September 9th to 16th should be the least crowded 8-day stretch of the year.
This is what we’re looking at for July. 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. The full operating schedule is available here.
July is straightforward for the most part with the same operating hours/entertainment/Extra Magic Hours schedule most weeks. One of the two exceptions is the first week with Independence Day falling on the first Saturday. The July 4th holiday alters the Extra Magic Hours schedule a bit and adds the Celebrate America fireworks at Magic Kingdom on the 3rd and 4th, in addition to the holiday tag at the end of IllumiNations at Epcot and the fireworks at Hollywood Studios on the 4th. The other exception is the lack of Fantasmic and early close at the Studios on July 15th, which alters the recommendations a bit that week as well.
July otherwise sees high temperatures, a lot of precipitation, and largely heavy crowds. The good news(?) is that as crowds increase during what was traditionally referred to as the “off-season,” peak summer crowds have also come down in turn. We’re still talking about above average crowds, but it’s not as bad as it would have been three or four years ago. Crowds go down a bit the later in July you go as South America is less of a concern.
You’ll also notice the price differences at the resorts throughout the month. During the summer, Value and Moderate prices are actually among the highest of the year, which is why you see the “$$$$ | $” underneath each date. the “$$$$” refers to the relatively high cost at the Values/Moderates and the relatively low price at the Deluxes, which come down even further beginning July 12th. We can assume pricing is structured this way because summer is busiest with families on a budget looking at less expensive accommodations. Prices at the cheaper Values/Moderates go up with demand and prices at the Deluxes come down a bit to be more attractive to families with a little extra spending money.
“The easy Guide to your First Walt Disney World Visit 2015” is now available. Amazon is running a site-wide sale through November 30th that offers 30% off any print book when you input code: HOLIDAY30. More discount info and a direct link to the book is available here.
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This is what we’re looking at for June. 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. The full operating schedule is available here.
June is one hot and busy month. Crowds come from a number of sources. Domestically, most schools are out for a lengthy summer vacation and many families choose to visit Disney World for their annual summer vacation. Internationally, South America is expected to make up more than 25% of total attendance in June. European and Canadian attendance is also near its highest levels of the year.
Unfortunately, as crowds increase to levels never before seen, Disney continues to eliminate Extra Magic Hours and shorten regular operating hours. Two years ago, Disney canceled the Friday set of evening Extra Magic Hours at Magic Kingdom, in addition to shortening every set of evening Extra Magic Hours from three hours to two. The year before that, they eliminated Magic Kingdom’s Tuesday morning Extra Magic Hour. That boils down to the same number of Extra Magic Hours over the busy summer as guests visiting in September or late January would experience. That contributes to even heavier afternoon crowds as more people are squeezed into a smaller window.
A summer trip is still more than doable, but touring efficiently in the morning and/or staying through Park close is all the more important.There is less variability in daily crowd levels during the summer than any other period, thanks to few driving forces and operating hours/evening entertainment that are nearly uniform across the entire three months. When the Parks are open the same number of hours every day and offer the same evening entertainment options every night, casual vacationers aren’t reliably steered to Magic Kingdom or Hollywood Studios on certain days. Add South America and their variable arrival days and there is not much variance in daily crowd levels. That’s the reality of the situation. Recommended days will still see lower crowds, but the fluctuations are not as great as the fall or winter, particularly during the Mickey’s Party season.
This is what we’re looking at for May. 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. The full operating schedule is available here.
The earlier in the month you visit, the lower the crowds and temperatures will be. Resort prices also rise dramatically over Memorial Day Weekend, but are otherwise right around average.
Star Wars Weekends look to return May 15th based on the schedule of the last few years and the switch in the Extra Magic Hours schedule. Saturday’s usual morning Extra Magic Hour on Saturdays moves to Wednesday as to not attract resort guests over what are already very busy days with the Star Wars festivities. See Star Wars Weekends 2014 Strategy, Characters, Fireworks, Crowds, Merchandise, etc. for advanced tips on what to expect from the event.
Magic Kingdom closes at 7pm on May 31st (on the calendar you’ll see the day listed in the top left) for a private event at 7pm.
If you’re looking for color-coded maps, suggested touring plans, FastPass+ priority, information on best viewing locations for nighttime spectaculars, expected wait times based on crowd level, etc. you’ll need to look no further than the website’s Cheat Sheets, which were updated today with recent changes.
At Animal Kingdom, FastPass+ kiosk locations were updated.
At Epcot, Maelstrom is gone.
At Hollywood Studios, the Frozen Sing-Along was added and Backlot Tour and American Idol Experience were removed.
At Magic Kingdom, FastPass+ kiosk locations were changed.
Wait times, FastPass+ priority, and touring plans were adjusted based on the current trends.
As always, the best place for specific question is the forums.
Good news on the character front as Brad has added several Meet and Greet wait times to http://www.easywdw.com/waits, including Anna and Elsa at Fairytale Hall, Mickey and Tinker Bell at Town Square, and Mickey and Minnie at Adventurers Outpost. You can pull up /waits during Park hours to see what posted wait times look like at the attractions without having to open Disney’s cumbersome mobile app. Waits is updated every five minutes all day, every day.
Potentially good news as the website will be making its first scheduled appearance this weekend. You can come and say hi to me and Dave and get your copy of the highest rated Walt Disney World Guidebook of all time signed. We will be at:
Epcot on Saturday August 16th outside Liberty Tree Inn in the United States Pavilion from 2pm to around 3pm.
Magic Kingdom on Sunday August 17th at Tomorrowland Terrace from 5pm to about 6pm.
We look forward to seeing you if you can make it!
I will be appearing live on the WDW News Today Radio Show tomorrow, July 3rd, around 9pm EST. You can listen along online by visiting www.1520wbzw.com via web browser or mobile device by clicking the “Listen Live” button at the top of the page. If you find yourself in the Central Florida area, the station is AM 1520 WBZW. The show begins at 8pm and runs through 11pm. In addition to wisdom that will most likely change your life, we will be giving away:
- A signed copy of The easy Guide to Your First Walt Disney World Visit 2014 to three lucky callers.
- Lunch hosted by Josh for you and up to three guests at the Magic Kingdom table service restaurant of your choice on a mutually agreeable date (basically any day outside of July 14-August 14 and December 20-January 7) to one lucky caller.
- The red carpet treatment of planning to one lucky winner: Tell Josh what you want to do and he’ll help you plan your vacation, create custom Cheat Sheet maps and touring plans, and even meet you in person one day during your trip and walk you through it (if you want).
You may call in during the show (July 3rd between 8pm and 11pm with my appearance beginning somewhere around 9pm) at 407-774-8255. I look forward to hearing from you!