Site News

Here’s what we’re looking at for July 2014. Click to enlarge and if you don’t know what the numbers/letters mean, read the top of this post.

July is similar to June in a lot of ways. Every day is going to be hot and crowded wherever you decide to go. But a summer trip is more than doable with early morning/late evening touring and a solid plan of attack. Final operating hours are also longer than most other times of year. Expect 11pm and 12am closes at Magic Kingdom with two Electrical Parades nightly. Hollywood Studios should close at 10pm nightly with two Fantasmic shows. Animal Kingdom should remain open until 8pm. Epcot sees its usual 9am – 9pm day.

This year, daily crowds are expected to be a bit lower than June with fewer visitors from South America and Europe. Still, foreign attendance is expected to remain at record levels. Couple that with heavy domestic attendance and we are talking about some busy afternoons. Off-site crowds tend to dominate the Parks over the summer with fewer guests staying on-site than any other three-month stretch. That may seem counter-intuitive considering the high overall crowd levels, but Deluxe resorts in particular see occupancy rates under 60% in July. Fast forward to October and Deluxe resort occupancy rates soar to above 90%. Still, crowds are lower in October and other months because fewer people visit from off-site. MyMagic+ and FastPass+ should not affect on-site occupancy rates at this time.

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Disney World June 2014 Crowd Calendar Preview

by josh on November 21, 2013

Here’s what we’re looking at for June 2014. Click to enlarge and if you don’t know what the numbers/letters mean, read the top of this post. The following is available in a PDF here.

June’s current operating schedule is available here. You can view June 2013′s final schedule to get an idea about what to expect from the final schedule here.

June is a hot and busy month at Walt Disney World. 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. Last year, 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.

Questions remain about the FastPass+ roll out and what that will end up looking like for all guests. Disney continues to provide few answers. Hopefully clarity will come sooner rather than later, but we have several uncertain months ahead.

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December 2013′s Crowd Calendar was updated with the changes posted on Monday. There weren’t any changes to the recommendations and only one day (the 18th) had a bump in crowd levels.

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This is the preliminary crowd calendar for April 2014. Click to enlarge:

If you have no idea what the numbers and letters mean, the top of this post explains it.

Spring break season extends into April, culminating in some of the heaviest crowds of the year over Easter week. The week before is considerably less crowded.  The week after is also less crowded. If you can hold off on your vacation until the last week of April moving into May, you’ll be in much better shape. The first week in March is also considerably less crowded. On the plus side, temperatures and weather are considerably nicer than the summer with similar operating hours and plentiful evening entertainment.

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Below is a rough estimate of what we’re looking at for January 2014.  I don’t have any crowd predictions from Disney for these dates yet and 2014 resort rates are also unavailable.  On the resort rate front, the only thing that might change is January 1st – 4th.  Disney has historically charged Value season pricing, but demand is high enough that they could charge more and still fill the rooms.  Otherwise, most of January should remain Value season with slightly higher pricing during the Marathon and Martin Luther King Jr. Weekend.  Crowd levels and recommendations may change slightly before the Calendar is “finalized,” which should be in the next few days.

Click the image to enlarge or view a cleaner looking PDF file here.  If you have no idea what the numbers/letters/symbols mean, read the top of this post.

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Server Problems

by josh on June 14, 2013

Site was down most of the day due to the host disabling it. You may have seen an access forbidden page since this mornining:

Hello,

Unfortunately we were forced to suspend a script or stop a service within your VPS container due to overall system load on the hardware node.

During our investigation we found that your container was consuming an inordinate amount of resources to the point of affecting other customers on the hardware node.

Though VPS services are far less restrictive on resources than our Shared and Reseller services, it is still considered a shared service as actions of any customer has the potential to affect other customers.

Looking at your running processes, we show the following processes are of issue.

( These may be long running processes consuming large amounts of CPU resources or I/O resources which is causing issue for other containers. )

/home/auctioq7/public_html/easywdw

Please advise what changes if any can be made to your configuration to alleviate the resources contention that your container is generating.

blah blah blah.

After flipping out and threatening said host via The Twitter, things are back as terrible as they’ve always been.

Hopefully some changes will increase performance and I’ll research moving the website to a dedicated server.

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Live Disney World wait times are now available on the site at http://www.easywdw.com/waits.  You can point your Internet browser or mobile device to that page and quickly see what the current wait times are at the various attractions – no login or subscription required.  Brad Rosenbaum created the script and Matthew Turk helped out with the style.  Matt is also the designer and illustrator behind the Cheat Sheet maps.  Brad had emailed me a couple of questions before his trip earlier this month.  I emailed him back and he included a link to the wait times script he was working on a couple emails later.  I knew I had to have it.  And here it is.  I cannot take any credit for it.

The page is intentionally minimalistic with an emphasis on quick loading times.  Click a Park.

[click to continue reading..]

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Below is what I think we’re looking at for November:

Click the image to enlarge or click here for a more attractive PDF file. If you have no idea what any of the letters and numbers mean, read the top of this post, which explains it.

The full November 2013 operating schedule is available here.  The Crowd Calendar and recommendations should look familiar to last year.  See this post for some thoughts on visiting in November.

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HUGE CROWD CALENDAR UPDATES

by josh on April 6, 2013

Just kidding.

But Disney will be “celebrating” Animal Kingdom’s 15th anniversary on Monday April 22nd.  The morning Extra Magic Hour that was originally scheduled on Monday the 22nd has moved to Sunday the 21st.  Animal Kingdom remains recommended on the 21st, but it would be more important to arrive early (and ideally during the 8am – 9am morning Extra Magic Hour where you’d be able to accomplish a ton) or stay through close.  I’m not expecting Animal Kingdom’s 15th anniversary to attract a ton of people.  Considering Disney only had a short parade featuring the usual characters and not much else for Magic Kingdom’s 40th, Animal Kingdom’s celebration budget is probably in the neighborhood of $35.  Still, it’s worth noting.

It’s likely that Disney will be offering another 24-hour day at Magic Kingdom on Friday May 24th to kick off their Monstrous Summer promotion.  I’m on the record as saying it’s 85% likely.  Should that come to pass, Magic Kingdom will no longer be recommended on the 24th and would instead be recommended on Saturday the 25th.  With Memorial Day Weekend crowds, overall crowds will already be high.  Another 24-hour promotion would only serve to increase those crowds, particularly coupled with Star Wars Weekends.  Since the 24-hour day has not been confirmed or announced, I’ve left the recommendations intact.  If you are visiting over Memorial Day, it’s worth taking into consideration that the schedule may be changed.

Disney has indeed canceled Hollywood Studios’ 3pm Parade and Disney Channel Rocks.  There will be no afternoon Parade moving forward and there are no current plans to add a new one.

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Below is what I think we’re looking at for October:

Click the image to enlarge or click here for a more attractive PDF file.  If you have no idea what any of the letters and numbers mean, read the top of this post, which explains it.

On one hand, October is a pretty easy month to plan.  For the most part, crowds are slightly below average to average.  Picking Magic Kingdom days is easy if you’re willing to forgo seeing the Electrical Parade and/or Wishes.  But Mickey’s Halloween Party closes Magic Kingdom at 7pm on three to four nights each week.  That pushes a ton of people to the days with longer hours and nighttime entertainment, which makes seeing the Electrical Parade and Wishes that much more difficult because the only options will be more crowded than the overall crowd level suggests.  Magic Kingdom is recommended on Wednesdays throughout the month, but those days are going to be significantly busier than Party dates, including Thursday Party dates with a morning Extra Magic Hour attached.  Expect Disney to extend the close on most Party dates to 8am – 7pm when they update the operating schedule, eliminating the benefit of those 8am breakfasts.  Those 8am opens will be more common in the first two weeks of the month.  Expect Disney to extend the hours on Saturdays all the way to 8am – 12am with two Electrical Parades.

The Food & Wine Festival also creates problems.  Friday, Saturday, and some Sunday nights can be downright uncomfortable with massive crowds in World Showcase.  The effect on Future World is not as intense, but the “newly imagined” Test Track should pull crowds.  Mondays and Thursdays are your best days to visit Epcot.  To have the most success, you’ll want to be on your way up to World Showcase right at 10:45am with plans to return to Future World as soon as 5pm.  You shouldn’t run into any major problems with that plan of attack.

Other wrinkles include Columbus Day on Monday the 14th.  Columbus Day really isn’t a big deal.  The Florida schools here don’t get a day off and longer breaks over the holiday are less common.  Fall Breaks over the first full week in October (7th – 11th) will actually bring in more people.  Local school breaks on the 18th, 21st, and 25th are the reason for the bumps in the overall crowd level on those dates.

Fantasmic isn’t scheduled on three Saturdays during the month.  Fantasmic won’t be scheduled on October 5th due to the Tower of Terror 10-Miler race.  Disney may add Fantasmic on the other two Saturdays as we get closer to October, but the Studios would remain the best Park to visit.

Overall, October is a pretty good month to visit with Mickey’s Halloween Parties and the Food & Wine Festival.  It’s still extremely hot in Florida, particularly during the first three weeks.  Luckily, rain is less common than September and the summer months.  An October trip is more than doable with diligent planning and the right expectations.

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