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We’ll set out for Wilderness Lodge to check out the holiday decorations, pool construction, merchandise, and Territory Lounge and then very briefly pop over to Magic Kingdom in between.

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Edit: Disney released some new renderings of the bungalows here: http://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/2014/12/new-details-announced-for-disneys-polynesian-villas-and-bungalows/

We’ll check in on Polynesian Village Resort construction, check out the holiday decorations, and grab sushi at Kona Cafe.

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December Disney World Merchandise Update

by josh on December 9, 2014

Following November’s merchandise update Part 1 and Part 2 along with the holiday merchandise update, we’ll follow up with another round of mostly new things:

If you’re having trouble locating a specific item, have specific requests about color or design, or don’t have plans to visit the theme parks any time soon, you can contact Lisa at lisa@theparkshopper.com for your personal shopping needs. She will pick up whatever it is you’re looking for, ensure that the items are exactly what you want, and ship them off to you for a nominal service charge. She comes with the website’s highest recommendation and I can assure you she will take care of you. Just shoot her an email to get started. There’s still time for Christmas!

Mouse Gear at Epcot:

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We’ll head out to Hollywood Studios on the afternoon of December 5th at 12:40pm. I can’t remember the last time I waited more than a minute or two to get into a Park with these Mickey tapstiles and RFID gig. The Studios in particular always seems to have far too many lines open. Not only are all lines open in front of us, but the bank on the far right is also operating with “literally” nobody interested.

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We’ll head out in the early evening of Friday December 5th to check on what Animal Kingdom has to offer this holiday season.

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I’m not sure anybody really cares, but since I have them handy, we’ll take a look at Thanksgiving Week wait times. Specifically, we’ll take a look at Monday, the busiest day of Thanksgiving Week with a crowd level of 9, which is the highest crowd level this website assigns without the risk of Magic Kingdom closing to capacity.

There is always some confusion with the crowd levels, which are on a scale of 1-10 with 1s being the least crowded days and 10s being days where one or more of the Parks may close to capacity. Crowd levels run on a bell curve so you see fewer 1s and 10s than you do 4s, 5s, and 6s. And the crowd calendar runs on a 12-month loop so crowd levels are compared only to the six months before and after a date in question.

I’ll often see people say, “There’s really no such thing as a 2 or 3 crowd level anymore, 5 is about the minimum.” That’s now how this website operates. There are, by definition, 1s, 2s, and 3s just like there are 8s, 9s, and 10s. It’s true that those 1s and 2s are more crowded than say…2009 in the middle of a worldwide recession. International visitation, particularly from South America, also tends to bump up crowds during “low crowd times” because they don’t run on the same schedule as domestic visitors. But it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to start the crowd calendar at a 5 and go up to a 15. And it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to start at 5 and go to 10 because then you really just have a crowd calendar that goes from 1 to 5. So we stick with the 1-10 scale, keeping in mind that a “2″ in 2014 is going to be considerably more crowded than a “5″ would have been back in 2010. That’s just the way things are right now with the Dow at 17,500 instead of 6,500 and strong international visitation helped by the fact everything is so much cheaper here for Brazilians.

Larger: http://www.easywdw.com/reports12/ak1124.jpg or you can download the Excel file at http://www.easywdw.com/reports12/wdw1121.xlsx

We have 8am openings at Animal Kingdom all week to help with the heavy overall crowds. Animal Kingdom came highly recommended and you’ll notice that there are no actual waits over 10 minutes until 9:30am, a full 90 minutes after the Park opens. Things ease again in the evening with no waits over 10 minutes after 6:30pm. Things are rough in the afternoon, but with no posted waits over 60 minutes at Everest or over 90 minutes at Safaris, today should prove to be very good compared to other days during the week. That’s going to be a bit less true with today’s (November 25th) weather. There was a tornado warning at the Parks around 10am and heavy rain has kept just about everyone away. If you’re visiting between now and about March, keep in mind that just about anything that includes animal viewing closes before dusk. This time of year, that means Kilimanjaro Safaris, Pangani Forest Exploration Trail, Maharajah Jungle Trek, and Rafiki’s Planet Watch/Wildlife Express Train close at 4:45pm. That tends to make those areas a little busier during the day because more people are squished into shorter operating hours.

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It’s been a while since we visited Epcot without the Food and Wine Festival as the focal point.

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This chart shows posted (purple) and actual (blue) waits from November 21st, a Friday Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party date with an 8am open and 7pm regular close. Wait times after 7pm are during the Christmas Party. With Magic Kingdom opening at 8am daily through January 2nd, the following chart is a good idea about what to expect should you be visiting on a Party date sometime before December 20th:

Larger: http://www.easywdw.com/reports12/mkwaits1121.jpg or the original Excel spreadsheet: http://www.easywdw.com/reports12/mkchristmasparty8amopen.xlsx

With an 8am open, expect the characters to begin greeting at the following times:

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The Polynesian Village Resort DVC etc. construction continues:

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Check it out if you’ve been looking!

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