January 2016 Walt Disney World Crowd Calendar

1/17/16 Update: Confirmed changes for January 31st. See date below.

1/3/16 Update: Hollywood Studios hours extended to 10pm on 1/5 and 1/6.

12/28/15 Update: Crowd calendar updated with the changes listed here.

12/3/15 Update: Crowd calendar updated with the changes listed here.

9/25/15 Update: Crowd calendar updated with the changes listed here.

This is the Free January 2016 Disney World Crowd Calendar that shows the Recommended Parks to Visit, Overall Crowd Level Estimation, Cost, Historic High/Low Temperature, Historic Chance of Precipitation, Extra Magic Hours Schedule, Fantasmic Show Times, Holidays, and Special Events.

Make sure you first read my month-by-month overview of visiting Disney World, located here. The overview will give you an idea of what to expect in terms of cost, crowds, weather, and special events on a broader scale. Once you figure out when you would like to visit, you can move on to this more detailed look.

Here’s a quick explanation of how to read the calendar and what the numbers mean. It may seem like it’s a little long, but you’ll only need to read the explanation once.

  • The first line in each box is the date.
  • The second line shows the cost to book a room at a Disney-owned resort. $ = Value Season, $$ = Regular Season, $$$ = Summer Season, $$$$ = Peak Season, and $$$$$ = Holiday Season. Occasionally there will be a + or – after the $$$ to show that the cost is slightly higher or lower than usual, but not by enough to raise it another $ notch.
  • The third line is the average high and low temperature and the chance of precipitation. All data is based on the last 15 years. I wouldn’t read too much into the precipitation percentages for each day because just one or two additional days of rain in the last 15 years can raise the percentage substantially. I included it so you can look at the precipitation trends throughout the month(s) and take it into consideration when deciding when to book your vacation. For a broader overview of the month, read the month-by-month overview I linked to above.
  • The fourth line is an estimation of the overall crowd level. A “5″ refers to average crowds. Numbers above 5 refer to a larger than average overall crowd level and numbers below 5 refer to lower than average overall crowds. A day with an overall crowd level of “1″ means that the crowds are expected to be the absolute lowest of the year and a “10″ means crowds are expected to be at their largest of the year. In other words, the overall crowd level estimation will give you an idea of how many people are in the four major theme parks. Individual theme parks can have smaller or larger crowds than the overall estimation, which is where the theme park recommendations come in.
  • The fifth line shows the theme parks I recommend visiting in green and the theme parks I recommend avoiding in red. There is also a | sign that splits up the recommended and not recommended Parks for the color blind or those printing in black and white (the Parks to the left of the | sign are recommended). I use the usual abbreviations for the Parks; AK is the Animal Kingdom, EP is Epcot, HS is Hollywood Studios, and MK is the Magic Kingdom. In addition to the colors, the Park on the far left is the most recommended Park to visit that day. The Park second to the left is the second most recommended and so on. For example, if the line reads AK EP | HS MK then the Animal Kingdom is the most recommended and Epcot is the second most recommended. On the other side of the | sign, Hollywood Studios is not recommended and the Magic Kingdom is expressly not recommended even more. If possible, I would strongly recommend you visit the Park that is most recommended each day. Please read below the calendar for an overview of how I’ve selected the recommended Parks and also a day-by-day explanation.
  • The sixth line lists which Parks have Extra Magic Hours and at what time they start. Morning Extra Magic Hour lasts one hour and usually starts at 8am. Evening Extra Magic Hours last two hours from the start time. For example, if you see AK:8am EP:9pm, that means the Animal Kingdom has a morning Extra Magic Hour from 8am-9am and Epcot has evening Extra Magic Hours from 9pm-11pm.
  • The seventh line lists the Fantasmic show times at the Hollywood Studios.
  • The eighth line lists the start time of Main Street Electrical Parade (MSEP:) and Wishes Fireworks at Magic Kingdom(W:). For example, if you see, MSEP: 9pm & 11pm W: 10pm, it would mean that Main Street Electrical Parade begins at 9pm and 11pm and Wishes begins at 10pm.

The Calendar is also available in an easy to view and print PDF file, Here.

Click the image to enlarge it.

Friday January 1

Animal Kingdom:  8am-8pm (Recommended)

Epcot: 8am – 9pm  (Tentatively Recommended for Morning Touring)

Evening Extra Magic Hours: 9pm-11pm

Illuminations: 9pm

Hollywood Studios: 8am-11pm (Highly Recommended)

Fantasmic: 7pm and 8:30pm

Star Wars Fireworks: 11pm

Magic Kingdom: 8am-1am (Most Recommended)

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 7am-8am

Festival of Fantasy Parade: 12pm and 3:30pm, Main Street Electrical Parade: 9:30pm and 11:30pm, Wishes Fireworks: 8pm

Animal Kingdom is recommended, though yesterday would have been significantly better with so much going on elsewhere. Today is still fine with an early arrival and/or intelligent FastPass+ selections. New Year’s Day tends to be a late arriving bunch, so the Park may not clear out as much as usual after 5pm. Still, waits are reliably shorter in DinoLand after 6pm and in Asia after 7pm. Stick around until close to ride Expedition Everest last thing at night. With a 7:30am arrival, you can have a tremendous amount of success through 11am.

Epcot is tentatively recommended for those that can take advantage of the early morning. With the 8am open, you’ll want to arrive no later than 7:20am or so with plans to visit Soarin’ or Test Track first thing. The afternoon will be busier than tomorrow as the wary New Year’s crowd arrives in the late morning and early afternoon as Disney resort guests flock to the Park with evening Extra Magic Hours. Expect long waits continuing through at least 10pm for evening Extra Magic Hours. Evening Extra Magic Hours can be pleasant so long as you hold off on either Soarin’ or Test Track for the very end of the night. World Showcase will see light crowds as will most other Future World attractions during the EMH.

Hollywood Studios is highly recommended as we come off a busier day yesterday with the New Year’s Eve festivities. With the 8am open, you can have a tremendous amount of success through 10am with a 7:15am arrival. You can do very well in the early morning, but with such a limited number of rides, waits will be very long in the afternoon with the high overall crowd level. Consider taking a break in the afternoon when crowds peak and return in the evening for dinner, some late night rides after waits drop, the second Fantasmic, and the Star Wars fireworks.

Magic Kingdom is the most recommended Park as we come off two of the busiest days of the year. Epcot will be a bigger draw with the sizable on-site contingent with evening Extra Magic Hours. If you’re eligible for Extra Magic Hours, do everything you can do arrive by 6:30am and begin the day with the priority attractions in Fantasyland or Tomorrowland. If you’re not eligible, plan to arrive by 7:30am and consider hitting Frontierland or Adventureland first as those Lands won’t be open for Extra Magic Hours and you won’t be behind the resort crowds.Also consider prioritizing the most popular characters that don’t offer FastPass+. The late night hours are also a great time to tour, particularly if you’re skipping the nighttime spectaculars. Consider a lengthy break from 1pm to 7pm or so when crowds peak and return in the evening for dinner, the nighttime spectaculars, and late night rides.

Saturday January 2

Animal Kingdom: 8am – 8pm (Recommended)

Epcot: 9am – 8pm – 9pm (Most Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

Hollywood Studios: 8am-11pm (Recommended)

Fantasmic: 7pm and 8:30pm

Star Wars Fireworks: 11pm

Magic Kingdom: 8am – 1am (Not Recommended)

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 7am – 8am

Festival of Fantasy Parade: 12pm and 3:30pm, Main Street Electrical Parade: 9:30pm and 11:30pm, Wishes Fireworks: 8pm

Animal Kingdom is recommended for a variety of reasons. We don’t have Extra Magic Hours, special events, evening entertainment, or anything else to attract on-site or off-site visitors. Those leaving tomorrow after a traditional weeklong vacation are unlikely to visit Animal Kingdom on their last full day and most arriving today won’t head out to Animal Kingdom as their first destination. There’s also nothing specific pulling people to AK. As always, you’ll be best off if you arrive prior to Park opening and head straight for Kilimanjaro Safaris and Expedition Everest. With the 8am open, you can accomplish a ton through 10am. Crowds also die down in the evening with low waits in DinoLand after 6pm and in Asia after 7pm. Stay through close if you have more you’d like to accomplish.

Epcot is the most recommended Park. Yesterday’s evening Extra Magic Hours will have been wildly popular with Disney resort guests and they will be nowhere near Epcot today, especially in the morning. Take full advantage by arriving prior to Park opening and head straight to Test Track, Sum of All Thrills, Mission: Space, and use FastPass+ at Soarin’. With the 8am open, that means arriving no later than 7:20am, To stay ahead of the crowds for as long as possible, move up through the World Showcase beginning at 11am. Return to Future World after 5pm to ride anything you skipped earlier in the day and to re-ride Soarin’ or Test Track with FastPass+. If you arrive later, plan to use FastPass+ for Soarin’ or Test Track. The Test Track single rider line is also a good idea and actual waits are often shorter than standby or FastPass+. Mission: Space and Character Spot see nominal waits before 10:30am and after 7pm and are not priorities in the grand scheme of things if you visit during a recommended part of the day. It’s also an excellent day to stay for IllumiNations and enjoy the World Showcase in the afternoon (relatively speaking).

Hollywood Studios is recommended and if you’re just arriving, you may want to take advantage of an opportunity to see the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights in the evening. Tomorrow will be more popular with Disney resort guests with the morning Extra Magic Hour attracting the thousands of people who equate Extra Magic Hours with where they think Disney is telling them to do. As always, what you do is more important than which day you do it. In order to find the shortest waits, you’ll need to arrive by 7:15am and head straight to Toy Story Mania. Because of its popularity and extremely limited capacity, Toy Story Mania almost always has afternoon waits of 60 or more minutes, even when crowds are relatively low and the Studios is recommended. There’s no way around that with its limited capacity and the even more limited number of things to do with kids. Expect waits in the triple digits today. It’s always your top priority. The second attraction with the longest peak wait is Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, which should be ridden immediately after Toy Story Mania in the morning or with FastPass+. Other priorities are Tower of Terror and Star Tours, though FastPass+ are more plentiful at both attractions and standby waits are usually lower. After you get through these four headliners, it’s just a matter of arriving in time to see the various stage shows that run on a set schedule and getting over to the Studios’ high capacity attractions. You may also have characters to visit before lines get longer. See the second Fantasmic and then enjoy the Star Wars fireworks if you can. While it’s officially a recommended day, arriving prior to Park opening and hitting the headliners first thing is more important than which day you pick. Arrive at 11am, no matter the recommendation or the overall crowd level, and you’ll be looking at long lines at Toy Story Mania and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster.

Magic Kingdom is not recommended with the continued long operating hours, Christmas entertainment, and the lack of attractive forces elsewhere. You can still do well with an arrival 45 minutes before rope drop or after 10pm, but the afternoon remains busier than yesterday. We’ll have a lot of people visiting the Most Magical Place on Earth for one last try before heading home tomorrow, in addition to a new batch of people arriving that want to see the Christmas fireworks and parade. While Magic Kingdom is not recommended tomorrow either, the overall crowd level will be lower and in turn, attendance will be lower. If you’re looking at visiting today or tomorrow then I would go with tomorrow, especially if you can stay late. The morning will be similarly crowded with people visiting one last time before heading home. Consider a lengthy afternoon break when crowds peak and return in the evening for dinner, some late night rides, and the nighttime spectaculars and you can do well.

Sunday January 3

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 8pm (Most Recommended)

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Highly Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 11pm (Not Recommended)

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am-9am

Fantasmic: 7pm and 8:30pm

Star Wars Fireworks: 11pm

Magic Kingdom: 9am – 11pm (Not Recommended)

Festival of Fantasy Parade: 3pm, Main Street Electrical Parade: 9pm and 11pm, Wishes Fireworks: 10pm

Animal Kingdom is the most recommended Park. Disney resort guests are more likely to visit tomorrow for morning Extra Magic Hour and it’s unlikely anyone arriving over the weekend will begin their vacation with Disney’s least popular theme park. You should be able to do just about everything the Park has to offer if you arrive prior to Park opening. Focus on riding Kilimanjaro Safaris and Expedition Everest as early as possible and/or use FastPass+. After getting those out of the way, move on to DinoLand USA or one of the more popular shows – either Finding Nemo the Musical or Festival of the Lion King and you’ll be set for the rest of the day. Keep in mind that crowds disperse in the afternoon around 6pm and the last two hours of operation will only see diminishing waits. End the day in Asia with Kali River Rapids and Expedition Everest and waits will be nearly nonexistent.

Epcot is highly recommended with Magic Kingdom proving more popular with the long hours of operation and Hollywood Studios proving popular with the morning Extra Magic Hour and Osborne Lights. To have the most success, arrive prior to opening and head straight to Test Track, Sum of All Thrills, Mission: Space, and Soarin’ with FastPass+ or follow one of the touring plans. Single Rider at Test Track is also a good option and will often result in a shorter wait than the standby or FastPass+ lines. It’s more important to arrive early and take care of the headliners first thing than it is to pick the “right” day. You’ll run into lines at the headliners in Future World if you don’t arrive until 10:30am with everyone else. To stay ahead of the crowds for the longest amount of time, move up through the World Showcase beginning at 11am. Return to Future World after 5pm to see anything you missed, keeping in mind Innoventions East and Ellen’s Energy Adventure close at 7pm. If you’re interested in re-riding Soarin’ or Test Track, plan to use FastPass+, single rider at Test Track, or get in line around 8:55pm.

Hollywood Studios is not recommended. The sizable Disney resort contingent numbers 75,000+ people. Because Disney sells the Extra Magic Hour program so well in its marketing materials, many of these Disney resort guests follow the Extra Magic Hours schedule because they think it’s Disney telling them where they belong each day. It’s also the last night of the Osborne Lights, which will bring in a lot of locals in the evening. While you can have success if you are Extra Magic Hours eligible and arrive by 7:15am, most people will want to visit another day. Avoid it unless you can’t visit any other day or are certain you’ll arrive by 7:15am and plan to hit Toy Story Midway Mania, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, and Tower of Terror first thing in the morning. Yesterday was a better day to visit with fewer complications touring in the morning. Note that today is likely the last day of the Osborne Spectacle of Dancing Lights and you may want to end your day there if you won’t have another opportunity to see it.

Magic Kingdom is not recommended with the extended hours and the last day of the extremely heavy Christmas/New Years crowds. Tomorrow is better with the lower overall crowd level and this coming Tuesday will be significantly less busy and by far the best day to visit since December 18th. You can still make today work by arriving no later than 8:20am and touring efficiently in the morning. Take advantage of FastPass+ in the late morning and early afternoon and you’re in great shape. Take a break from 1pm to 6pm or so and return in the evening for dinner, some late night attractions, the Electrical Parade and Wishes.

Monday January 4

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 6:30pm (Not Recommended)

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am-9am

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Highly Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 10pm (Most Recommended)

Fantasmic: 7pm and 8:30pm

Star Wars Fireworks: 10pm

Magic Kingdom: 9am – 11pm (Not Recommended)

Festival of Fantasy Parade: 3pm, Main Street Electrical Parade: 9pm and 11pm, Wishes Fireworks: 10pm

Animal Kingdom is not recommended with the morning Extra Magic Hour attracting resort guests and complicating morning touring. If you are Extra Magic Hours eligible and certain that you can arrive by 7:30am to take advantage of it, then you can have a tremendous amount of success touring before 10am, but the afternoon is going to be busier than recommended days. Tomorrow is significantly better for those planning to arrive after 8am.

Epcot is highly recommended with Magic Kingdom proving more popular with the nighttime entertainment and long operating hours and Animal Kingdom attracting resort guests. Tomorrow will be more popular with resort guests for evening Extra Magic Hours. To have the most success, arrive prior to opening and head straight to Test Track, Sum of All Thrills, and Mission: Space or follow one of the touring plans. Single Rider at Test Track is also a good option and will often result in a shorter wait than the standby or FastPass+ lines. It’s more important to arrive early and take care of the headliners first thing than it is to pick the “right” day. You’ll run into lines at the headliners in Future World if you don’t arrive until 10:30am with everyone else. To stay ahead of the crowds for the longest amount of time, move up through the World Showcase beginning at 11am. Return to Future World after 5pm to see anything you missed, but make sure you check your Times Guide because some attractions close at 7pm, including both Innoventions buildings  and Ellen’s Energy Adventure. If you’re interested in re-riding Test Track, plan to use FastPass+, single rider at Test Track, or get in line around 8:55pm.

Hollywood Studios is the most recommended Park. Magic Kingdom will be attractive with the long hours of operation and both nighttime spectaculars and Animal Kingdom will be attracting a sizable number of resort guests with the morning Extra Magic Hour. We’re also coming off a morning Extra Magic Hour yesterday that will prove more popular with resort guests. In order to find the shortest waits, you’ll need to arrive by 8:15am and head straight to Toy Story Mania. Because of its popularity and extremely limited capacity, Toy Story Mania almost always has afternoon waits of 60 or more minutes, even when crowds are relatively low and the Studios is recommended. There’s no way around that with its limited capacity and the even more limited number of things to do with kids. It’s always your top priority. The second attraction with the longest peak wait is Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, which should be ridden immediately after Toy Story Mania in the morning or with FastPass+. Other priorities are Tower of Terror, Great Movie Ride, and Star Tours, though FastPass+ are more plentiful at both attractions and standby waits are usually lower. After you get through these four headliners, it’s just a matter of arriving in time to see the various stage shows that run on a set schedule and getting over to the Studios’ high capacity attractions. You may also have characters to visit before lines get longer.  See the second Fantasmic and then the Star Wars fireworks if you can. While it’s officially a recommended day, arriving prior to Park opening and hitting the headliners first thing is more important than which day you pick. Arrive at 11am, no matter the recommendation or the overall crowd level, and you’ll be looking at long lines at Toy Story Mania and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster.

Magic Kingdom is not recommended with the extended hours and both nighttime spectaculars. The morning Extra Magic Hour at Disney World’s least popular theme park will help pull away a few thousand people, but won’t do much to ease Magic Kingdom crowds. Tomorrow will be significantly less busy. You can still make today work by arriving no later than 8:20am and touring efficiently in the morning. Take advantage of FastPass+ in the late morning and early afternoon and you’re in great shape. Take a break from 1pm to 6pm or so and return in the evening for dinner, some late night attractions, the Electrical Parade and Wishes.

Tuesday January 5

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 6:30pm (Recommended)

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Not Recommended)

Evening Extra Magic Hours: 9pm-11pm

Illuminations: 9pm

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 10pm (Recommended)

Fantasmic: 7pm and 9pm

Star Wars Fireworks: 8pm

Magic Kingdom: 9am – 9pm (Most Recommended)

Festival of Fantasy Parade: 3pm, Main Street Electrical Parade: 7pm and 9pm, Wishes Fireworks: 8pm

Animal Kingdom is recommended. We don’t have special events, Extra Magic Hours, or anything specific drawing people toward it. Yesterday’s morning Extra Magic Hour will be more popular with Disney resort guests. It’s early enough in the week that many people on weeklong vacations will be saving Animal Kingdom for later in the week. To have the most success, arrive prior to Park opening and head straight for Kilimanjaro Safaris and Expedition Everest. You’ll have no trouble riding both with very low waits before 10am. Once you get through these two attractions, you have little to worry about other than trying to get to the scheduled shows. Finding Nemo and Festival of the Lion King do get busy during the afternoon shows, so try to see the first or last show of the day. You’ll also want to get to DinoLand USA before 10:30am to ride Primeval Whirl and DINOSAUR because those two attractions are popular. Still, they aren’t necessarily your top morning priorities. You should have no trouble experiencing most everything Animal Kingdom has to offer in one day, provided you arrive early in the morning, tour efficiently, use FastPass+ intelligently, and keep an eye on the time in order to see the scheduled stage shows. Finally, crowds disperse around 4:30pm. Plan to stay through close because waits will only get shorter as it gets later in the evening. Visit DinoLand with two hours to close and Asia in the final hour to find much lower crowds than the afternoon, ending the day with Expedition Everest.

Epcot is not recommended. Disney is extremely good at selling the Extra Magic Hours program in its marketing materials. Even people that have no idea what “Soaring” is and think they’ll be riding the monorail from Animal Kingdom to Epcot know about Extra Magic Hours. Even when overall crowds are low, Disney still enjoys 85% occupancy over 25,000 rooms resort-wide. And guess where a lot of those 75,000+ people are going to be headed? The increased crowds lead to longer lines, heavier congestion in common areas, and an overall less pleasant touring experience. With that said, you can still do well from 9am-11am. Most Disney resort guests will sleep in and arrive around 10:30am in anticipation of staying through IllumiNations. The morning will be a decent time to tour Epcot, but you’ll probably want to Park Hop elsewhere after lunch or you’ll be stuck in significantly larger-than-usual crowds. You might also consider an afternoon break from 2pm-6pm when crowds will be at their largest. You could then return in the early evening for dinner and Extra Magic Hours. Alternatively, you could also Park Hop over in the evening for Extra Magic Hours, provided you’re aware of how busy it will be. With Extra Magic Hours only being two hours now, wait times at Test Track won’t ease much until after 10:15pm. However, other attractions will see nominal waits and it’s a great time to take in Epcot’s natural ambiance and hit a few of the less popular/high capacity attractions. Skip Illuminations if you’ll be here on another night because it will be more crowded than usual. Overall, there’s no reason to visit Epcot today because crowds will be higher than just about any other day during the week and waits at Test Track will be just as long as they were during the day until at least 10pm.

Hollywood Studios is recommended. Epcot will prove popular with evening Extra Magic Hours and there’s nothing specific attracting people with Fantasmic scheduled every night along with similar operating hours. Keep in mind that what you do is far more important than which day you do it. To have the most success, arrive by 8:15am and head directly to Toy Story Mania, and then Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror. Do this, and you’ll be in great shape for the rest of the day. Don’t arrive until 10am and you’ll end up with 60+ minute waits at Toy Story Mania along with 30+ minutes at Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster and potentially Tower of Terror. After getting through the headliners, focus on the Studios’ stage shows and high capacity attractions like Muppet Vision 3D. Popular characters like Woody/Buzz, Darth Vader/Chewbacca, and Sofia the First may also be a morning priority. If you can, see the Star Wars fireworks followed by the second Fantasmic. Waits will also be short at most attractions after 8pm. While it’s a recommended day, it’s still more important to arrive early and tour efficiently than it is to pick the “right” day, even when overall crowds are low.

Magic Kingdom is the most recommended Park. Tomorrow will prove more popular with Disney resort guests with evening Extra Magic Hours. With the somewhat standardized operating schedule and Main Street Electrical Parade and Wishes scheduled nightly, today won’t be far and away less crowded than other days, but it presents the best opportunity to enjoy the lowest waits and crowds possible. Like any other day, arriving by 8:20am with an efficient touring plan is the key to a successful day, in addition to intelligent FastPass+ usage beginning as early as around 10am. Either visit the least popular/highest capacity attractions in the afternoon or consider a break back at your resort. Return in the evening for dinner, a few attractions, and the nighttime Spectaculars. If you have no interest in Main Street Electrical Parade/Wishes, visit Tomorrowland or Fantasyland in the final hour to find much shorter waits than the afternoon, ending the night at either Peter Pan’s Flight or Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. Remember that you can get in line for any attraction right up until the stated closing time, regardless of posted waits, which are usually exaggerated at the end of the night. I recommend getting in line for Mine Train just a couple minutes before close to minimize the wait as much as possible.

Wednesday January 6

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 6:30pm (Recommended)

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Most Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 10pm (Recommended)

Last night of Osborne Lights

Fantasmic: 7pm and 9pm

Star Wars Fireworks: 8pm

Magic Kingdom: 9am – 9pm (Not Recommended)

Evening Extra Magic Hours: 9pm – 11pm

Festival of Fantasy Parade: 3pm, Main Street Electrical Parade: 7pm and 9pm, Wishes Fireworks: 8pm

Animal Kingdom is recommended, though it isn’t the best day of the week there. But with Magic Kingdom attracting so many Disney resort guests with the evening Extra Magic Hours, it still works provided you arrive prior to opening and tour efficiently in the morning, followed by intelligent FastPass+ choices in the afternoon when crowds peak. Stay through close because waits will only drop in the last hour. Consider ending the day in Asia at Expedition Everest to find waits that are largely nonexistent.

Epcot is the most recommended Park. We’re in between yesterday’s evening Extra Magic Hours and tomorrow’s morning Extra Magic Hour, both of which will be more popular with resort guests. Today, Magic Kingdom will prove overwhelmingly popular with evening Extra Magic Hours and both nighttime spectaculars. Take full advantage by arriving by 8:15am and head straight for Test Track, Sum of All Thrills, and Mission: Space. Head up through World Showcase as close to 11am as possible to beat the crowds to as many Pavilions as possible. While traditional lines are not much of a concern at the attractions, lower crowds mean an easier touring experience in all other facets. Return to Future World after 5pm to find lower crowds there than the afternoon, keeping in mind that only Test Track, Spaceship Earth, Mission: Space, Character Spot, Turtle Talk, and The Seas usually continue operating after 7pm. Hit the other Future World attractions from 5pm – 7pm and then return to Test Track after 8pm to find shorter waits, use FastPass+, or take advantage of single rider. It’s also an excellent night to stay for IllumiNations.

Hollywood Studios is recommended. Magic Kingdom will be overwhelmingly popular with evening Extra Magic Hours and both nighttime spectaculars. As always, what you do is more important than which day you do it. In order to find the shortest waits, you’ll need to arrive by 8:15am and head straight to Toy Story Mania. Because of its popularity and extremely limited capacity, Toy Story Mania almost always has afternoon waits of 60 or more minutes, even when crowds are relatively low and the Studios is recommended. There’s no way around that with its limited capacity and the even more limited number of things to do with kids. It’s always your top priority. The second attraction with the longest peak wait is Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, which should be ridden immediately after Toy Story Mania in the morning or with FastPass+. Other priorities are Tower of Terror, Great Movie Ride, and Star Tours, though FastPass+ are more plentiful at both attractions and standby waits are usually lower. After you get through these four headliners, it’s just a matter of arriving in time to see the various stage shows that run on a set schedule and getting over to the Studios’ high capacity attractions. You may also have characters to visit before lines get longer. If you can, see the Star Wars fireworks followed by the second Fantasmic. Waits will also be short at most attractions after 9pm. While it’s officially a recommended day, arriving prior to Park opening and hitting the headliners first thing is more important than which day you pick. Arrive at 11am, no matter the recommendation or the overall crowd level, and you’ll be looking at long lines at Toy Story Mania and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster.

Magic Kingdom is going to be busy with both nighttime spectaculars and the incredibly popular evening Extra Magic Hours pulling a ton of resort guests. On the plus side, Main Street Electrical Parade is scheduled every day this month, which means nobody will be visiting specifically to see the Parade when it isn’t scheduled on other nights. If you do visit today, your best plan of attack is arriving before 8:30am with plans to head to the priority attractions on your itinerary first thing. Take an afternoon break from 1pm to 5pm or so to rest up for the evening. This is the busiest part of the day and you’re better off relaxing at your resort than you are waiting 45 minutes to ride Pirates of the Caribbean. Head back in the evening for dinner, some late night attractions, and the nighttime entertainment. The best place to see the Electrical Parade is in Liberty Square or Frontierland because they’re less popular than Main Street and the second Parade will be significantly less crowded than the first. If you’re planning to visit during evening Extra Magic Hours, begin in Adventureland or Frontierland because most people will head straight for Tomorrowland or Fantasyland. Visit Tomorrowland or Fantasyland in the final hour to find shorter waits. While it is possible to have a decent day here if you arrive early and tour efficiently, there are much less crowded days to visit during the week, including yesterday and tomorrow.

Thursday January 7

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 5:30pm (Not Recommended)

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Not Recommended)

Walt Disney World 5K Race

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Illuminations: 9pm

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 8pm (Recommended)

Fantasmic: 7pm

Star Wars Fireworks: 8pm

Magic Kingdom: 9am – 9pm (Most Recommended)

Festival of Fantasy Parade: 3pm, Main Street Electrical Parade: 7pm and 9pm, Wishes Fireworks: 8pm

Animal Kingdom is not explicitly recommended, though it isn’t the worst day of the week to visit. There isn’t anything specific attracting anyone, but there isn’t anything unique going on elsewhere, which means more people than usual will default to Disney’s least popular theme park. Epcot’s morning Extra Magic Hour will help pull some Disney resort guests, but morning Extra Magic Hours are much less popular than evening Extra Magic Hours and it’s late enough in the week that most people on standard weeklong vacations will be interested in visiting Disney’s less popular Parks. Most people will want to take advantage of one of the two best days of the week to visit Magic Kingdom. But you can still do very well with an arrival prior to Park opening and an efficient touring plan or a late arrival with plans to stay through close to take advantage of short waits in the evening. Average and peak waits will just be a bit longer than recommended days.

Epcot is not recommended with the morning Extra Magic Hour attracting a lot of Disney resort guests and in turn complicating morning touring. While most of the resort guests that do visit will arrive after their extra hour has ended, they will still fill the Park and clog up lines from 10:30am through close. You can do well if you truly arrive by 7:25am and move quickly through the open attractions, but most people will want to sleep in an extra hour and take advantage of one of the better days of the week to visit Magic Kingdom. Average and peak waits will be considerably higher than they were yesterday or tomorrow.

Hollywood Studios is recommended. Tomorrow’s evening Extra Magic Hours will be a bigger draw with Disney resort guests. Keep in mind that with the mostly standardized schedule every day, and Fantasmic scheduled every night, that crowds won’t be overwhelmingly lower today compared to other days this week. Because of that, your touring plan is more important than which day you decide to visit. Arrive by 8:15am, head directly to Toy Story Mania, and then visit Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster, and Tower of Terror. Do this, and you’ll be in great shape for the rest of the day. Don’t arrive until 10am and you’ll end up with a 60+ minute waits at Toy Story Mania, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, and potentially Tower of Terror. After getting through the headliners, focus on the Studios’ stage shows and high capacity attractions like Muppet Vision 3D. Popular characters may also be a morning priority. You may want to take a break in the afternoon from 1pm to 5pm or so when crowds get heavier. Return for dinner, some evening rides, and Fantasmic. Finally, consider the Fantasmic Dining Package that guarantees everyone on the reservation a seat in the reserved section of the Hollywood Hills Theater if you’re planning to see the show. It will still require you to arrive 20 minutes early (or you run the risk of Disney opening the reserved sections to the general population), but it’s better than the 60 minute wait that may be required to get decent seats without it. The Dining Package makes the most sense if you’re also on the Disney Dining Plan because it costs the same one-table-service credit at Hollywood and Vine or Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano and two-table-service credits that you would use otherwise at Hollywood Brown Derby. It also includes the appetizer, which is a nice bonus. The best seats are otherwise at least half way up in the middle sections. You’ll have a great view of the entire stage, what’s happening on the water, and won’t risk getting wet. Then enjoy the Star Wars fireworks. Overall, it’s a recommended day because it would be better than tomorrow, but what you do is more important than arriving on the “right” day.

Magic Kingdom is the most recommended Park and this is one of the two best days of the week to visit. We’re in between yesterday’s evening Extra Magic Hours and tomorrow’s morning Extra Magic Hour, both of which will be more popular with the 75,000+ Disney resort guests that predictably visit the Park with Extra Magic Hours because they believe it’s Disney’s way of telling them where they belong each day. With the mostly standardized operating schedule and Main Street Electrical Parade and Wishes scheduled nightly, today won’t be overwhelmingly less crowded than other days during the week, but we can reliably expect fewer people and considerably lower average and peak waits. As always, plan to arrive no later than 8:20am with an efficient touring plan in hand, whether you want to begin in Frontierland with Big Thunder Mountain and Splash Mountain, Fantasyland for Mine Train and Peter Pan’s Flight, or Tomorrowland for Space Mountain and Buzz Lightyear. You may also want to prioritize a character that doesn’t offer FastPass+. Begin using FP+ as early as around 10am to maximize future selections. Consider an afternoon break from around 1pm to around 5pm to rest up for the evening and return for dinner, some late night rides, Wishes, and the second Main Street Electrical Parade. If you have no interest in Main Street Electrical Parade or Wishes, visit Tomorrowland or Fantasyland in the last hour of operation to find much lower waits than the afternoon.

Friday January 8

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 6pm (Highly Recommended)

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Most Recommended)

Walt Disney World 10K Race

Illuminations: 9pm

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 9pm (Not Recommended)

Evening Extra Magic Hours: 9pm-11pm

Fantasmic: 7pm and 9pm

Star Wars Fireworks: 8pm

Magic Kingdom: 9am – 9pm (Not Recommended)

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Festival of Fantasy Parade: 3pm, Main Street Electrical Parade: 7pm and 9pm, Wishes Fireworks: 8pm

Animal Kingdom is highly recommended and sees the fewest complications of any Park today. Hollywood Studios and Magic Kingdom will be attracting the majority of Disney resort guests and Epcot has a minor complication with the 10K race ending near the entrance. As always, you’ll have the most success arriving prior to Park opening and using an efficient touring plan that probably starts at Kilimanjaro Safaris or Expedition Everest. Crowds drop in the afternoon with relatively short waits in DinoLand with two hours to close and in Asia with an hour to close. Consider ending the day with Expedition Everest where waits should be largely nonexistent.

Epcot is the most recommended Park as we come off a more popular day yesterday with the morning Extra Magic Hour attracting resort guests. Hollywood Studios and Magic Kingdom will be attracting most of the resort crowd, which opens up Epcot for an excellent day. While the 10K race does end in the parking lot around 8am, it shouldn’t cause any serious complications to morning touring and by the time 9:15am rolls around, the effects will be largely nonexistent. Still, with exactly two rides most people are interested in, you’ll want to arrive no later than 8:15am with plans to head to Test Track immediately after Park open. With two days to tour, you can easily compartmentalize the Park by touring one side each day. With one day, try to tour Future World through 11am, then head up to World Showcase to tour with light crowds until around 5pm. Then return to Future World to finish what you want to do there, starting with Living with the Land, Circle of Life, Disney Pixar Shorts, Journey into Imagination with Figment, Ellen’s Energy Adventure, and Innoventions East and then move on to the likes of Mission: SPACE, The Seas with Nemo, Turtle Talk, and Character Spot. Either head back to World Showcase for dinner and IllumiNations or continue touring Future World with dinner at Sunshine Seasons. Waits at Test Track will be nearly nonexistent if you get in line around 8:55pm or you can still finish the night out with IllumiNations.

Hollywood Studios will be busy due to the evening Extra Magic Hours that are popular with Disney resort guests and the addition of a second Fantasmic, which will attract off-site guess as well. The morning will be an okay time to tour, but crowds will increase around 11am as more and more Disney resort guests arrive. Unfortunately, I’m not too fond of evening Extra Magic Hours at Hollywood Studios. There are only a few attractions open and the waits for Toy Story Mania, Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, and Star Tours will likely be just as long as they were during the day, at least until 10pm when people begin to give up and exit. In addition, 9,000+ people will exit Fantasmic at 7:30pm and again at 9:30pm, right as evening Extra Magic Hours gets underway. The Fantasmic Theater is located right on Sunset Boulevard, across from the entrances to Tower of Terror and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster. While not everyone seeing Fantasmic will be a Disney resort guest, many of them will be, and a ton will be headed to Tower of Tower and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster because they truly believe it’s the best time to get in line. Unfortunately, they’ll find themselves lined up with a few thousand of their new best friends. If you’re staying for evening Extra Magic Hours, your best bet is always to save these headlining attractions for the very end of the night and visit Toy Story Mania last. While you could theoretically have success if you arrive prior to Park opening and head straight for the headliners, the same will be true other days this week and you won’t have to deal with the significantly heavier afternoon and evening crowds. Yesterday or tomorrow would be significantly better.

The morning Extra Magic Hour at Magic Kingdom will lure a decent number of Disney resort guests, making the Park busier than yesterday or this past Tuesday. You can still have success provided you take advantage of the morning Extra Magic Hour by arriving no later than 7:30am and heading straight to Fantasyland or other open attractions in Tomorrowland. Move on to the headlining Mountain rides or character meet and greets when they open and you’ll be in excellent shape. However, you will find that crowds are heavier than recommended days in the afternoon. You’ll probably want to take a break from 1pm to 5pm or so and return in the evening to ride some major attractions with FastPass+, have dinner, see some high capacity attractions, and enjoy the evening spectaculars. Keep in mind that you would be much better off visiting on a recommended day if you aren’t Extra Magic Hours eligible or won’t arrive until 10am or later because it will be busier than recommended days from 11am onward.  Finally, note that today should see lower average and peak waits than tomorrow due to the higher overall crowd level and local visitors pushing up attendance. If you’re not Extra Magic Hours eligible and plan to visit today, your best plan of attack is starting in Adventureland or Frontierland because those attractions won’t open until 9am and guests already inside the Park won’t have much of an advantage.

Saturday January 9

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 8pm (Not Recommended)

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Recommended)

Walt Disney World Half Marathon

Illuminations: 9pm

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 8:30pm (Most Recommended)

Fantasmic: 7pm and 9pm

Star Wars Fireworks: 8pm

Magic Kingdom: 9am – 11pm (Not Recommended)

Festival of Fantasy Parade: 3pm, Main Street Electrical Parade: 9pm and 11pm, Wishes Fireworks: 10pm

The Half Marathon is a minor concern in most situations, though it will adversely affect travel around Epcot and Magic Kingdom before 9am. The course does not run through or near Hollywood Studios, but it will still be a hassle for those driving from the Magic Kingdom or Epcot areas to get out to the Studios or Animal Kingdom because the Half Marathon route includes roads connecting the two areas. This is especially true if you’re traveling from the Magic Kingdom area to Animal Kingdom for morning Extra Magic Hour because you’ll run into the Marathon throughout that drive. Today and tomorrow are two days you may want to take Disney transportation, even if you have your own car, because the bus drivers will be well apprised of detours and alternate routes to move around the runners who will have the right of way on the streets. The Half Marathon should clear out by 9:30am or so and travel should not be affected whatsoever after 10am. To a point, you may want to visit whichever Park is most easily accessible to your resort. If you’re staying at a Magic Kingdom area resort (Contemporary, Polynesian, Grand Floridian, Wilderness Lodge, Ft. Wilderness), consider at least beginning your day at Magic Kingdom. If you’re staying at an Epcot area resort (BoardWalk Inn, Yacht Club, Beach Club, Swan, Dolphin), consider heading to Hollywood Studios or Epcot, and if you’re staying at an Animal Kingdom area resort (Animal Kingdom Lodge, All Stars, Coronado Springs), consider heading to Animal Kingdom.

Animal Kingdom is not recommended with the morning Extra Magic Hour attracting resort guests and complicating morning touring. If you are Extra Magic Hours eligible and certain that you can arrive by 7:30am to take advantage of it, then you can have a tremendous amount of success touring before 10am, but the afternoon is going to be busier than recommended days. Stay through close if you do visit because waits will still drop off significantly after 6pm. Yesterday and tomorrow are significantly better for those planning to arrive after 8am.

The Half Marathon is a minor inconvenience in the grand scheme of things. The race begins at 5:30am and most racers will have crossed the finish line outside Epcot by 9am. However, the final miles are inside Epcot and you may see some last minute racers along with various Marathon paraphernalia around the Park. To avoid this entirely, you’ll want to visit this past Thursday or this coming Monday when the Marathon won’t be an issue whatsoever. Yesterday will also look like more of a “normal” day inside Epcot. Still, you shouldn’t have much trouble getting to Epcot. Magic Kingdom area resort guests can easily take the Monorail in and road closures/delays are kept to a minimum after 8am. Arrive by 8:20am and you should have no trouble hitting Test Track, Sum of All Thrills, and Mission: Space. Most Marathon runners will be headed back to their resorts after the race for a shower and breakfast and their families are likely to join them. In 2015, the Half Marathon was not a major inconvenience. With the full Marathon tomorrow, we can expect additional inconveniences because runners will be inside Epcot all morning.

Hollywood Studios is the most recommended Park as we come off a busier day with evening Extra Magic Hours attached.  Magic Kingdom will be attractive with the long hours of operation and both nighttime spectaculars and Animal Kingdom will be attracting a sizable number of resort guests with the morning Extra Magic Hour. In order to find the shortest waits, you’ll need to arrive by 8:15am and head straight to Toy Story Mania. Because of its popularity and extremely limited capacity, Toy Story Mania almost always has afternoon waits of 60 or more minutes, even when crowds are relatively low and the Studios is recommended. There’s no way around that with its limited capacity and the even more limited number of things to do with kids. It’s always your top priority. The second attraction with the longest peak wait is Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, which should be ridden immediately after Toy Story Mania in the morning or with FastPass+. Other priorities are Tower of Terror, Great Movie Ride, and Star Tours, though FastPass+ are more plentiful at both attractions and standby waits are usually lower. After you get through these four headliners, it’s just a matter of arriving in time to see the various stage shows that run on a set schedule and getting over to the Studios’ high capacity attractions. You may also have characters to visit before lines get longer. See the Star Wars fireworks followed by the second Fantasmic if you can. While it’s officially a recommended day, arriving prior to Park opening and hitting the headliners first thing is more important than which day you pick. Arrive at 11am, no matter the recommendation or the overall crowd level, and you’ll be looking at long lines at Toy Story Mania and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster.

Saturdays are naturally the busiest day of the week at the Magic Kingdom. We have longer hours of operation, visiting locals, and a lot of vacationers who will be visiting the Magic Kingdom for a second time before returning home tomorrow. Runners planning to run tomorrow’s marathon are also most likely to visit Disney World’s most popular theme park on their free day before the race. The morning Extra Magic Hour at Disney’s least popular theme park will pull a few thousand people away, but not enough to make up for everything else bringing people in. A Tuesday or Thursday would be significantly better. With that said, you can have a moderate amount of success today if you arrive prior to 9am and head straight for the headlining or Fantasyland attractions. The afternoon will be busier than any other day this week and you’ll either want to take a break and return for the Electrical Parade and Wishes or visit the less popular attractions from 2pm – 6pm. It’s easiest to see Main Street Electrical Parade in Frontierland or Liberty Square because the majority of people flock to Main Street. See the second Parade because it will be much less crowded than the first.

Sunday January 10

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 5:30pm (Most Recommended by Far)

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Tentatively Recommended)

Walt Disney World Marathon

Illuminations: 9pm

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 8pm (Recommended for Morning Extra Magic Hour)

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Fantasmic: 7pm

Star Wars Fireworks: 8pm

Magic Kingdom: 9am – 9pm (Recommended)

Festival of Fantasy Parade: 3pm, Main Street Electrical Parade: 7pm and 9pm, Wishes Fireworks: 8pm

This is a tricky morning to plan because there will be a fair amount of road closures and delays throughout the morning and early afternoon as well as roped off areas in all four major theme parks for the Disney World Marathon. While the Marathon officially begins at 5:30am, it’s a 26 mile race with a minimum 16-minute-per-mile pace, meaning it lasts about seven hours. That means people will still be crossing the finish line in the Epcot parking lot at 12:30pm as well as running along major roadways and throughout the theme parks all morning. If you are staying on Disney property, I recommend visiting whichever theme park is closest to your resort. Travel by boat or monorail if possible. If you’re planning a lazy morning during your vacation, you may want to make this it. A late start and a sit down breakfast at your resort may be just the ticket to get everyone well rested and excited to continue their Disney World “vacation.”  You’ll be in great shape if you do arrive at any of the theme parks by 8:25am (7:25am at Hollywood Studios) and tour efficiently in the morning. You may want to consider Disney buses even if you normally drive because there will be road closures and your usual route may be convoluted with detours. The bus driver will know their route and get you where you’re headed as efficiently as possible. Of all the theme parks, Magic Kingdom is the most unaffected by the race because most runners will have moved through it by 9am when the Park opens. Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, and Epcot will all see roped off pathways and runners throughout the day. Epcot is most affected because the race ends there and goes through Future World and the World Showcase. Expect to see runners from 9am through 1pm, but they aren’t very disruptive inside the theme park itself.

Animal Kingdom is the most recommended Park by far. We’re coming off a popular morning Extra Magic Hour yesterday and have another tomorrow, but of which will be more popular with Disney resort guests. It’s also unlikely anyone arriving over the weekend will begin their vacation with Disney’s least popular theme park and the Park won’t be attracting many on a short trip for the marathon events. You should be able to do just about everything the Park has to offer if you arrive prior to Park opening. Focus on riding Kilimanjaro Safaris and Expedition Everest as early as possible or use FastPass+. After getting those out of the way, move on to DinoLand USA or one of the more popular shows – either Finding Nemo the Musical or Festival of the Lion King and you’ll be set for the rest of the day. Keep in mind that crowds disperse in the afternoon and the last hour of operation will only have diminishing waits. End the day in Asia with Kali River Rapids and Expedition Everest and waits will be nearly nonexistent.

Epcot is tentatively recommended. The marathon runs through and ends in Epcot’s parking lot, which means runners are going to be inside until about 1pm. Since they run in designated lanes, they aren’t too disruptive and you should have no trouble doing whatever you like on your itinerary. The main problem is getting there. From the Magic Kingdom area resorts, you can easily take the Epcot Monorail. From the Epcot area resorts, you can easily walk or take the boat to the International Gateway entrance. From the other resorts, I recommend Disney transportation. They’ll be able to deal with the various road closures and delays better than you and your GPS. If you’re looking to avoid the hassle altogether, you’ll want to save Epcot for tomorrow or this upcoming Wednesday or Friday. After about 11am, road closures are much less of an issue and you shouldn’t run into any marathon runners after about 1:30pm. As always, the best plans include an arrival prior to Park opening with a first stop at Test Track’.

Hollywood Studios is recommended if you’re eligible for Extra Magic Hours and able to arrive by 7:20am to take advantage of it. This is one of the most lightly attended Extra Magic Hours of the year at the Studios due to so much resort occupancy going to runners and their families. That means relatively few people will have interest in the extra hour because they’ll be busy with the race. You can do very well in the early morning beginning with Toy Story Mania before heading to Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror. Those that aren’t eligible or those planning to arrive after 9am are best served visiting Animal Kingdom. With the few rides available at the Studios, waits will remain long after 10:30am and you’ll be at a distinct disadvantage with a thousand or more people in the Park before you’re even eligible to enter. Those skipping Fantasmic will have an easier time finding a spot for the Star Wars fireworks. Keep that in mind either way.

Magic Kingdom is recommended though most people will want to wait until Tuesday to visit if they can. Today will see average crowds with the average overall crowd level and so many runners and their families visiting after the marathon concludes. You can still do very well with an arrival prior to Park opening and an efficient touring plan, but the afternoon will see moderate crowds that will only get heavier as it gets later in the day.

Monday January 11

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 5pm (Not Recommended)

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am-9am

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Highly Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 8pm (Most Recommended)

Fantasmic: 7pm

Star Wars Fireworks: 8pm

Magic Kingdom: 9am – 8pm (Not Recommended)

Festival of Fantasy Parade: 3pm, Main Street Electrical Parade: 7pm, Wishes Fireworks: 8pm

Animal Kingdom is not recommended with the morning Extra Magic Hour attracting resort guests and complicating morning touring. If you are Extra Magic Hours eligible and certain that you can arrive by 7:30am to take advantage of it, then you can have a tremendous amount of success touring before 10am, but the afternoon is going to be busier than recommended days. Tomorrow is significantly better for those planning to arrive after 8am.

Epcot is highly recommended with Magic Kingdom proving more popular with those that arrived over the weekend and Animal Kingdom attracting resort guests. Tomorrow will be more popular with resort guests for evening Extra Magic Hours. To have the most success, arrive prior to opening and head straight to Test Track, Sum of All Thrills, and Mission: Space and follow one of the touring plans. Single Rider at Test Track is also a good option and will often result in a shorter wait than the standby or FastPass+ lines. It’s more important to arrive early and take care of the headliners first thing than it is to pick the “right” day. You’ll run into lines at the headliners in Future World if you don’t arrive until 10:30am with everyone else. To stay ahead of the crowds for the longest amount of time, move up through the World Showcase beginning at 11am. Return to Future World after 5pm to see anything you missed, keeping in mind that both Innoventions buildings and Ellen’s Energy Adventure close at 7pm. If you’re interested in re-riding Test Track, plan to use FastPass+, single rider, or get in line around 8:55pm.

Hollywood Studios is the most recommended Park. Magic Kingdom will be popular with those that arrived over the weekend and want to visit the Most Magical Place on Earth on their first full day and Animal Kingdom will be attracting a sizable number of resort guests with the morning Extra Magic Hour. We’re also coming off a morning Extra Magic Hour yesterday that will prove more popular with resort guests. In order to find the shortest waits, you’ll need to arrive by 8:15am and head straight to Toy Story Mania. Because of its popularity and extremely limited capacity, Toy Story Mania almost always has afternoon waits of 60 or more minutes, even when crowds are relatively low and the Studios is recommended. There’s no way around that with its limited capacity and the even more limited number of things to do with kids. It’s always your top priority. The second attraction with the longest peak wait is Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, which should be ridden immediately after Toy Story Mania in the morning or with FastPass+. Other priorities are Tower of Terror, Great Movie Ride, and Star Tours, though FastPass+ are more plentiful at both attractions and standby waits are usually lower. After you get through these four headliners, it’s just a matter of arriving in time to see the various stage shows that run on a set schedule and getting over to the Studios’ high capacity attractions. You may also have characters to visit before lines get longer. Those skipping Fantasmic will have a better opportunity at finding a spot for the Star Wars fireworks. While it’s officially a recommended day, arriving prior to Park opening and hitting the headliners first thing is more important than which day you pick. Arrive at 11am, no matter the recommendation or the overall crowd level, and you’ll be looking at long lines at Toy Story Mania and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster.

Magic Kingdom is not recommended due to how naturally popular it is with those that arrived over the weekend. The morning Extra Magic Hour at Disney World’s least popular theme park will help pull away a few thousand people, but won’t do much to ease Magic Kingdom crowds. Tomorrow will be significantly less busy. You can still make today work by arriving no later than 8:20am and touring efficiently in the morning. Take advantage of FastPass+ in the late morning and early afternoon and you’re in great shape. Take a break from 1pm to 6pm or so and return in the evening for dinner, some late night attractions, the Electrical Parade and Wishes.

Tuesday January 12

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 5pm (Recommended)

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Not Recommended)

Evening Extra Magic Hours: 9pm-11pm

Illuminations: 9pm

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 8pm (Recommended)

Fantasmic: 7pm

Star Wars Fireworks: 8pm

Magic Kingdom: 9am – 8pm (Most Recommended)

Festival of Fantasy Parade: 3pm, Main Street Electrical Parade: 7pm, Wishes Fireworks: 8pm

Animal Kingdom is recommended. We don’t have special events, Extra Magic Hours, or anything specific drawing people toward it. Yesterday’s morning Extra Magic Hour will be more popular with Disney resort guests. It’s early enough in the week that many people on weeklong vacations will be saving Animal Kingdom for later in the week. To have the most success, arrive prior to Park opening and head straight for Kilimanjaro Safaris and Expedition Everest. You’ll have no trouble riding both with very low waits before 10am. Once you get through these two attractions, you have little to worry about other than trying to get to the scheduled shows. Finding Nemo and Festival of the Lion King do get busy during the afternoon shows, so try to see the first or last show of the day. You’ll also want to get to DinoLand USA before 10:30am to ride Primeval Whirl and DINOSAUR because those two attractions are popular. Still, they aren’t necessarily your top morning priorities. You should have no trouble experiencing most everything Animal Kingdom has to offer in one day, provided you arrive early in the morning, tour efficiently, use FastPass+ intelligently, and keep an eye on the time in order to see the scheduled stage shows. Finally, crowds disperse around 3pm. Plan to stay through close because waits will only get shorter as it gets later in the evening. Visit DinoLand after 3pm and Asia after 4pm to find much lower waits than the afternoon.

Epcot is not recommended. Disney is extremely good at selling the Extra Magic Hours program in its marketing materials. Even people that have no idea what “Soaring” is and think they’ll be riding the monorail from Animal Kingdom to Epcot know about Extra Magic Hours. Even when overall crowds are low, Disney still enjoys 85% occupancy over 25,000 rooms resort-wide. And guess where a lot of those 75,000+ people are going to be headed? The increased crowds lead to longer lines, heavier congestion in common areas, and an overall less pleasant touring experience. With that said, you can still do well from 9am-11am. Most Disney resort guests will sleep in and arrive around 10:30am in anticipation of staying through IllumiNations. The morning will be a decent time to tour, but you’ll probably want to Park Hop elsewhere after lunch or you’ll be stuck in significantly larger-than-usual crowds. You might also consider an afternoon break from 2pm-6pm when crowds will be at their largest. You could then return in the early evening for dinner and Extra Magic Hours. Alternatively, you could also Park Hop over in the evening for Extra Magic Hours, provided you’re aware of how busy it will be. With Extra Magic Hours only being two hours now, wait times at Test Track won’t ease much until after 10:15pm. However, other attractions will see nominal waits and it’s a great time to take in Epcot’s natural ambiance and hit a few of the less popular/high capacity attractions. Skip Illuminations if you’ll be here on another night because it will be more crowded than usual. Overall, there’s no reason to visit Epcot today because crowds will be higher than just about any other day during the week and waits at Test Track will be just as long as they were during the day until at least 10pm.

Hollywood Studios is recommended. Epcot will prove popular with evening Extra Magic Hours and there’s nothing specific attracting people with Fantasmic scheduled every night along with similar operating hours. Keep in mind that what you do is far more important than which day you do it. To have the most success, arrive by 8:15am and head directly to Toy Story Mania, and then Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror. Do this, and you’ll be in great shape for the rest of the day. Don’t arrive until 10am and you’ll end up with 60+ minute waits at Toy Story Mania along with 30+ minutes at Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster and potentially Tower of Terror. After getting through the headliners, focus on the Studios’ stage shows and high capacity attractions like Muppet Vision 3D. Popular characters like Woody/Buzz, Darth Vader/Chewbacca, and Sofia the First may also be a morning priority. Those skipping Fantasmic will have the best opportunity to find a spot for the Star Wars fireworks. While it’s a recommended day, it’s still more important to arrive early and tour efficiently than it is to pick the “right” day, even when overall crowds are low.

Magic Kingdom is the most recommended Park. Tomorrow will prove more popular with Disney resort guests with evening Extra Magic Hours. With the somewhat standardized operating schedule and Main Street Electrical Parade and Wishes scheduled nightly, today won’t be far and away less crowded than other days, but it presents the best opportunity to enjoy the lowest waits and crowds possible. Like any other day, arriving by 8:20am with an efficient touring plan is the key to a successful day, in addition to intelligent FastPass+ usage beginning as early as around 10am. Either visit the least popular/highest capacity attractions in the afternoon or consider a break back at your resort. Return in the evening for dinner, a few attractions, and the nighttime Spectaculars. If you have no interest in Main Street Electrical Parade/Wishes, visit Tomorrowland or Fantasyland in the final hour to find much shorter waits than the afternoon, ending the night at either Peter Pan’s Flight or Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. Remember that you can get in line for any attraction right up until the stated closing time, regardless of posted waits, which are usually exaggerated at the end of the night. I recommend getting in line for Mine Train just a couple minutes before close to minimize the wait as much as possible.

Wednesday January 13

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 5pm (Recommended)

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Most Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 8pm (Recommended)

Fantasmic: 7pm

Star Wars Fireworks: 8pm

Magic Kingdom: 9am – 8pm (Not Recommended)

Evening Extra Magic Hours: 8pm – 10pm

Festival of Fantasy Parade: 3pm, Main Street Electrical Parade: 7pm, Wishes Fireworks: 8pm

Animal Kingdom is recommended, though it isn’t the best day of the week there. But with Magic Kingdom attracting so many Disney resort guests with the evening Extra Magic Hours, it still works provided you arrive prior to opening and tour efficiently in the morning, followed by intelligent FastPass+ choices in the afternoon when crowds peak. Stay through close because waits will only drop in the last hour. Consider ending the day in Asia at Expedition Everest to find waits that are largely nonexistent.

Epcot is the most recommended Park. We’re in between yesterday’s evening Extra Magic Hours and tomorrow’s morning Extra Magic Hour, both of which will be more popular with resort guests. Today, Magic Kingdom will prove overwhelmingly popular with evening Extra Magic Hours and both nighttime spectaculars. Take full advantage by arriving by 8:15am and head straight for Test Track, Sum of All Thrills, and Mission: Space. Head up through World Showcase as close to 11am as possible to beat the crowds to as many Pavilions as possible. While traditional lines are not much of a concern at the attractions, lower crowds mean an easier touring experience in all other facets. Return to Future World after 5pm to find lower crowds there than the afternoon, keeping in mind that only Test Track, Spaceship Earth, Mission: Space, Character Spot, Turtle Talk, and The Seas usually continue operating after 7pm. Hit the other Future World attractions from 5pm – 7pm and then return to Test Track after 8pm to find shorter waits, use FastPass+, or take advantage of single rider at Test Track. It’s also an excellent night to stay for IllumiNations.

Hollywood Studios is recommended. Magic Kingdom will be overwhelmingly popular with evening Extra Magic Hours and both nighttime spectaculars. As always, what you do is more important than which day you do it. In order to find the shortest waits, you’ll need to arrive by 8:15am and head straight to Toy Story Mania. Because of its popularity and extremely limited capacity, Toy Story Mania almost always has afternoon waits of 60 or more minutes, even when crowds are relatively low and the Studios is recommended. There’s no way around that with its limited capacity and the even more limited number of things to do with kids. It’s always your top priority. The second attraction with the longest peak wait is Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, which should be ridden immediately after Toy Story Mania in the morning or with FastPass+. Other priorities are Tower of Terror, Great Movie Ride, and Star Tours, though FastPass+ are more plentiful at both attractions and standby waits are usually lower. After you get through these four headliners, it’s just a matter of arriving in time to see the various stage shows that run on a set schedule and getting over to the Studios’ high capacity attractions. You may also have characters to visit before lines get longer. Those skipping Fantasmic will have a better opportunity to find a spot for the Star Wars fireworks. While it’s officially a recommended day, arriving prior to Park opening and hitting the headliners first thing is more important than which day you pick. Arrive at 11am, no matter the recommendation or the overall crowd level, and you’ll be looking at long lines at Toy Story Mania and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster.

Magic Kingdom is going to be busy with both nighttime spectaculars and the incredibly popular evening Extra Magic Hours pulling a ton of resort guests. On the plus side, Main Street Electrical Parade is scheduled every day this month, which means nobody will be visiting specifically to see the Parade when it isn’t scheduled on other nights. If you do visit today, your best plan of attack is arriving before 8:30am with plans to head to the priority attractions on your itinerary first thing. Take an afternoon break from 1pm to 5pm or so to rest up for the evening. This is the busiest part of the day and you’re better off relaxing at your resort than you are waiting 45 minutes to ride Pirates of the Caribbean. Head back in the evening for dinner, some late night attractions, and the nighttime entertainment. The best place to see the Electrical Parade is in Liberty Square or Frontierland because they’re less popular than Main Street. If you’re planning to visit during evening Extra Magic Hours, begin in Adventureland or Frontierland because most people will head straight for Tomorrowland or Fantasyland. Visit Tomorrowland or Fantasyland in the final hour to find shorter waits. While it is possible to have a decent day here if you arrive early and tour efficiently, there are much less crowded days to visit during the week, including yesterday and tomorrow.

Thursday January 14

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 5pm (Not Recommended)

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Not Recommended)

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Illuminations: 9pm

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 8pm (Recommended)

Fantasmic: 7pm

Star Wars Fireworks: 8pm

Magic Kingdom: 9am – 8pm (Most Recommended)

Festival of Fantasy Parade: 3pm, Main Street Electrical Parade: 7pm, Wishes Fireworks: 8pm

Animal Kingdom is not explicitly recommended, though it isn’t the worst day of the week to visit. There isn’t anything specific attracting anyone, but there isn’t anything unique going on elsewhere, which means more people than usual will default to Disney’s least popular theme park. Epcot’s morning Extra Magic Hour will help pull some Disney resort guests, but morning Extra Magic Hours are much less popular than evening Extra Magic Hours and it’s late enough in the week that most people on standard weeklong vacations will be interested in visiting Disney’s less popular Parks. Most people will want to take advantage of one of the two best days of the week to visit Magic Kingdom. But you can still do very well with an arrival prior to Park opening and an efficient touring plan or a late arrival with plans to stay through close to take advantage of short waits in the evening. Average and peak waits will just be a bit longer than recommended days.

Epcot is not recommended with the morning Extra Magic Hour attracting a lot of Disney resort guests and in turn complicating morning touring. While most of the resort guests that do visit will arrive after their extra hour has ended, they will still fill the Park and clog up lines from 10:30am through close. You can do well if you truly arrive by 7:25am and move quickly through the open attractions, but most people will want to sleep in an extra hour and take advantage of one of the better days of the week to visit Magic Kingdom. Average and peak waits will be considerably higher than they were yesterday or tomorrow.

Hollywood Studios is recommended. Tomorrow’s evening Extra Magic Hours will be a bigger draw with Disney resort guests. Keep in mind that with the mostly standardized schedule every day, and Fantasmic scheduled every night, that crowds won’t be overwhelmingly lower today compared to other days this week. Because of that, your touring plan is more important than which day you decide to visit. Arrive by 8:15am, head directly to Toy Story Mania, and then visit Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster, and Tower of Terror. Do this, and you’ll be in great shape for the rest of the day. Don’t arrive until 10am and you’ll end up with a 60+ minute waits at Toy Story Mania, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, and potentially Tower of Terror. After getting through the headliners, focus on the Studios’ stage shows and high capacity attractions like Muppet Vision 3D. Popular characters may also be a morning priority. You may want to take a break in the afternoon from 1pm to 5pm or so when crowds get heavier. Return for dinner, some evening rides, and Fantasmic. Finally, consider the Fantasmic Dining Package that guarantees everyone on the reservation a seat in the reserved section of the Hollywood Hills Theater if you’re planning to see the show. It will still require you to arrive 20 minutes early (or you run the risk of Disney opening the reserved sections to the general population), but it’s better than the 60 minute wait that may be required to get decent seats without it. The Dining Package makes the most sense if you’re also on the Disney Dining Plan because it costs the same one-table-service credit at Hollywood and Vine or Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano and two-table-service credits that you would use otherwise at Hollywood Brown Derby. It also includes the appetizer, which is a nice bonus. The best seats are otherwise at least half way up in the middle sections. You’ll have a great view of the entire stage, what’s happening on the water, and won’t risk getting wet. Keep in mind that those skipping Fantasmic will have a better opportunity to see the Star Wars fireworks. Overall, it’s a recommended day because it would be better than tomorrow, but what you do is more important than arriving on the “right” day.

Magic Kingdom is the most recommended Park and this is one of the two best days of the week to visit. We’re in between yesterday’s evening Extra Magic Hours and tomorrow’s morning Extra Magic Hour, both of which will be more popular with the 75,000+ Disney resort guests that predictably visit the Park with Extra Magic Hours because they believe it’s Disney’s way of telling them where they belong each day. With the mostly standardized operating schedule and Main Street Electrical Parade and Wishes scheduled nightly, today won’t be overwhelmingly less crowded than other days during the week, but we can reliably expect fewer people and considerably lower average and peak waits. As always, plan to arrive no later than 8:20am with an efficient touring plan in hand, whether you want to begin in Frontierland with Big Thunder Mountain and Splash Mountain, Fantasyland for Mine Train and Peter Pan’s Flight, or Tomorrowland for Space Mountain and Buzz Lightyear. You may also want to prioritize a character that doesn’t offer FastPass+. Begin using FP+ as early as around 10am to maximize future selections. Consider an afternoon break from around 1pm to around 5pm to rest up for the evening and return for dinner, some late night rides, and the nighttime spectaculars. If you have no interest in Main Street Electrical Parade or Wishes, visit Tomorrowland or Fantasyland in the last hour of operation to find much lower waits than the afternoon.

Friday January 15

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 5:30pm (Highly Recommended)

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Most Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 8:30pm (Not Recommended)

Evening Extra Magic Hours: 8:30pm-10:30pm

Fantasmic: 7pm and 9pm

Star Wars Fireworks: 8pm

Magic Kingdom: 9am – 12am (Not Recommended)

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Festival of Fantasy Parade: 3pm, Main Street Electrical Parade: 9pm and 11pm, Wishes Fireworks: 10pm

Animal Kingdom is highly recommended. Hollywood Studios and Magic Kingdom will be attracting the majority of Disney resort guests and there’s nothing specific attracting people today. Tomorrow will be more popular with the morning Extra Magic Hour attracting resort guests. As always, you’ll have the most success arriving prior to Park opening and using an efficient touring plan that probably starts at Kilimanjaro Safaris or Expedition Everest. Crowds drop in the afternoon with relatively short waits in DinoLand with two hours to close and in Asia with an hour to close. Consider ending the day with Expedition Everest where waits should be largely nonexistent.

Epcot is the most recommended Park as we come off a more popular day yesterday with the morning Extra Magic Hour attracting resort guests. Hollywood Studios and Magic Kingdom will be attracting most of the resort crowd, which opens up Epcot for an excellent day. Still, with exactly two rides most people are interested in, you’ll want to arrive no later than 8:15am with plans to head to Test Track immediately after Park open. With two days to tour, you can easily compartmentalize the Park by touring one side each day. With one day, try to tour Future World through 11am, then head up to World Showcase to tour with light crowds until around 5pm. Then return to Future World to finish what you want to do there, starting with Living with the Land, Circle of Life, Disney Pixar Shorts, Journey into Imagination with Figment, Ellen’s Energy Adventure, and Innoventions East  and then move on to the likes of Mission: SPACE, The Seas with Nemo, Turtle Talk, and Character Spot. Either head back to World Showcase for dinner and IllumiNations or continue touring Future World with dinner at Sunshine Seasons. Waits at Test Track will be nearly nonexistent if you get in line around 8:55pm or you can still finish the night out with IllumiNations.

Hollywood Studios will be busy due to the evening Extra Magic Hours that are popular with Disney resort guests and the addition of a second Fantasmic, which will attract off-site guess as well. The morning will be an okay time to tour, but crowds will increase around 10am as more and more Disney resort guests arrive. Unfortunately, I’m not too fond of evening Extra Magic Hours at Hollywood Studios. There are only a few attractions open and the waits for Toy Story Mania, Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, and Star Tours will likely be just as long as they were during the day, at least until 9:30pm when people begin to give up and exit. In addition, 9,000+ people will exit Fantasmic at 7:30pm and again at 9:30pm, right as evening Extra Magic Hours gets underway. The Fantasmic Theater is located right on Sunset Boulevard, across from the entrances to Tower of Terror and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster. While not everyone seeing Fantasmic will be a Disney resort guest, many of them will be, and a ton will be headed to Tower of Tower and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster because they truly believe it’s the best time to get in line. Unfortunately, they’ll find themselves lined up with a few thousand of their new best friends. If you’re staying for evening Extra Magic Hours, your best bet is always to save these headlining attractions for the very end of the night and visit Toy Story Mania last. While you could theoretically have success if you arrive prior to Park opening and head straight for the headliners, the same will be true other days this week and you won’t have to deal with the significantly heavier afternoon and evening crowds. Yesterday or tomorrow would be significantly better.

The morning Extra Magic Hour at Magic Kingdom will lure a decent number of Disney resort guests, making the Park busier than yesterday or this past Tuesday. You can still have success provided you take advantage of the morning Extra Magic Hour by arriving no later than 7:30am and heading straight to Fantasyland or other open attractions in Tomorrowland. Move on to the headlining Mountain rides or character meet and greets when they open and you’ll be in excellent shape. However, you will find that crowds are heavier than recommended days in the afternoon. You’ll probably want to take a break from 1pm to 5pm or so and return in the evening to ride some major attractions with FastPass+, have dinner, see some high capacity attractions, and enjoy the evening spectaculars. Keep in mind that you would be much better off visiting on a recommended day if you aren’t Extra Magic Hours eligible or won’t arrive until 10am or later because it will be busier than recommended days from 11am onward. Finally, note that today should see lower average and peak waits than tomorrow due to the higher overall crowd level and local visitors pushing up attendance. If you’re not Extra Magic Hours eligible and plan to visit today, your best plan of attack is starting in Adventureland or Frontierland because those attractions won’t open until 9am and guests already inside the Park won’t have much of an advantage. The late night is also a great time to tour with short waits at most attractions after 10pm. If you do visit, consider visiting Tomorrowland with two hours to close and Fantasyland in the final hour to find much shorter waits than the afternoon.

Saturday January 16

Animal Kingdom: 8am – 8pm (Not Recommended)

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 7am – 8am

Epcot: 8am – 9pm (Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

Hollywood Studios: 8am – 10pm (Most Recommended)

Fantasmic: 7pm and 9pm

Star Wars Fireworks: 8pm

Magic Kingdom: 8am – 12am (Not Recommended)

Festival of Fantasy Parade: 3pm, Main Street Electrical Parade: 9pm and 11pm, Wishes Fireworks: 10pm

Animal Kingdom is not recommended with the morning Extra Magic Hour attracting resort guests and complicating morning touring. If you are Extra Magic Hours eligible and certain that you can arrive by 6:30am to take advantage of it, then you can have a tremendous amount of success touring before 10am, but the afternoon is going to be busier than recommended days. Yesterday and tomorrow are significantly better for those planning to arrive after 8am.

Epcot is recommended, though yesterday would have been better with more going on elsewhere. With the unusual 8am open, you can have a tremendous amount of success hitting Test Track, Sum of All Thrills, and Mission: Space first thing in the morning if you arrive no later than 7:25am. Try to move up to World Showcase as close to 11am as possible to beat the crowds and return to Future World after 5pm after most casual vacationers have moved up for dinner and IllumiNations.

Hollywood Studios is the most recommended Park as we come off a busier day with evening Extra Magic Hours attached. Tomorrow will also be busier with morning Extra Magic Hour.  Today, Magic Kingdom will be attractive with the long hours of operation and both nighttime spectaculars and Animal Kingdom will be attracting a sizable number of resort guests with the morning Extra Magic Hour. In order to find the shortest waits, you’ll need to arrive by 7:15am and head straight to Toy Story Mania. Because of its popularity and extremely limited capacity, Toy Story Mania almost always has afternoon waits of 60 or more minutes, even when crowds are relatively low and the Studios is recommended. There’s no way around that with its limited capacity and the even more limited number of things to do with kids. It’s always your top priority. The second attraction with the longest peak wait is Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, which should be ridden immediately after Toy Story Mania in the morning or with FastPass+. Other priorities are Tower of Terror, Great Movie Ride, and Star Tours, though FastPass+ are more plentiful at both attractions and standby waits are usually lower. After you get through these four headliners, it’s just a matter of arriving in time to see the various stage shows that run on a set schedule and getting over to the Studios’ high capacity attractions. You may also have characters to visit before lines get longer. See the Star Wars fireworks followed by the second Fantasmic if you can. While it’s officially a recommended day, arriving prior to Park opening and hitting the headliners first thing is more important than which day you pick. Arrive at 10am, no matter the recommendation or the overall crowd level, and you’ll be looking at long lines at Toy Story Mania and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster.

Saturdays are naturally the busiest day of the week at the Magic Kingdom. We have longer hours of operation, visiting locals, and a lot of vacationers who will be visiting the Magic Kingdom for a second time before returning home tomorrow. The morning Extra Magic Hour at Disney’s least popular theme park will pull a few thousand people away, but not enough to make up for everything else bringing people in. A Tuesday or Thursday would be significantly better. With that said, you can have a moderate amount of success today if you arrive no later than 7:30am and head straight for the headlining or Fantasyland attractions. The afternoon will be busier than any other day this week and you’ll either want to take a break and return for the Electrical Parade and Wishes or visit the less popular attractions from 2pm – 6pm. It’s easiest to see Main Street Electrical Parade in Frontierland or Liberty Square because the majority of people flock to Main Street. Stay through close if you can because waits will only decrease as it gets later to Park close.

Sunday January 17

Animal Kingdom: 8am – 8pm (Most Recommended)

Epcot: 8am – 9pm (Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

Hollywood Studios: 8am – 10pm (Not Recommended)

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 7am – 8am

Fantasmic: 7pm and 9pm

Star Wars Fireworks: 8pm

Magic Kingdom: 9am – 12am (Recommended)

Festival of Fantasy Parade: 3pm, Main Street Electrical Parade: 9pm and 11pm, Wishes Fireworks: 10pm

Animal Kingdom is the most recommended Park. We’re coming off a popular morning Extra Magic Hour yesterday and have another tomorrow, but of which will be more popular with Disney resort guests. It’s also unlikely anyone arriving over the weekend will begin their vacation with Disney’s least popular theme park and the Park won’t be attracting many on a short trip for the Martin Luther King. Jr. holiday. You should be able to do just about everything the Park has to offer if you arrive prior to Park opening, particularly with the 8am open that very few people will make. Focus on riding Kilimanjaro Safaris and Expedition Everest as early as possible or use FastPass+. After getting those out of the way, move on to DinoLand USA or one of the more popular shows – either Finding Nemo the Musical or Festival of the Lion King and you’ll be set for the rest of the day. Keep in mind that crowds disperse in the afternoon and the last 2+ hour of operation will only see diminishing waits. You may also consider a late arrival. End the day in Asia with Kali River Rapids and Expedition Everest and waits will be nearly nonexistent.

Epcot is recommended, though it isn’t necessarily the best day of the week there. A Wednesday or Friday would be better with more attracting casual visitors to other Parks. Still, Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios will be attracting the majority of off-site and on-site visitors with long hours and plentiful evening entertainment. Take full advantage by arriving prior to Park opening, which means no later than 7:30am with the regular 8am open, and head straight to Test Track, followed by Sum of All Thrills, and Mission: Space. If Character Spot is a priority, visit after 7pm when waits will be shorter than the afternoon and you won’t have to waste precious morning time. It’s also an excellent day to stay for IllumiNations and enjoy the World Showcase in the afternoon because a lot of people will have their eyes on the Electrical Parade and Fantasmic.

Hollywood Studios is not recommended. The sizable Disney resort contingent numbers 75,000+ people. Because Disney sells the Extra Magic Hour program so well in its marketing materials, many of these Disney resort guests follow the Extra Magic Hours schedule because they think it’s Disney telling them where they belong each day. While you can have success if you are Extra Magic Hours eligible and arrive by 6:15am, most people will want to visit another day. With the 7am-8am EMH, you can do well if you truly arrive no later than 6:30am to take advantage of the full hour. Avoid it unless you can’t visit any other day or are certain you’ll arrive by 7:15am and plan to hit Toy Story Midway Mania, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, and Star Tours first thing in the morning. Yesterday was a better day to visit with fewer complications touring in the morning.

Magic Kingdom is recommended though most people will want to wait until Tuesday to visit if they can. Today will see above average crowds with the above average overall crowd level for the holiday, in addition to visiting locals. The morning Extra Magic Hour will help lure away some Disney resort guests, but that won’t have a major impact on wait times. But the Park is better today than it was yesterday or will be tomorrow, and is thus recommended. You can still do very well with an arrival prior to Park opening and an efficient touring plan, but the afternoon will see moderate crowds that will only get heavier as it gets later in the day. Waits do drop off after 9pm, so stay through 12am if you can, visiting Tomorrowland after 10pm and Fantasyland after 11pm.

Monday January 18

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 8pm (Not Recommended)

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am-9am

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Highly Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 8:30pm (Most Recommended)

Fantasmic: 7pm and 9pm

Star Wars Fireworks: 8pm

Magic Kingdom: 9am – 12am (Not Recommended)

Festival of Fantasy Parade: 3pm, Main Street Electrical Parade: 9pm and 11pm, Wishes Fireworks: 10pm

Animal Kingdom is not recommended with the morning Extra Magic Hour attracting resort guests and complicating morning touring. If you are Extra Magic Hours eligible and certain that you can arrive by 7:30am to take advantage of it, then you can have a tremendous amount of success touring before 10am, but the afternoon is going to be busier than recommended days. Waits also drop off in the evening with short waits returning at most operating attractions after 6pm. Tomorrow is significantly better for those planning to arrive after 8am.

Epcot is highly recommended with Magic Kingdom proving more popular with those that arrived over the weekend and Animal Kingdom attracting resort guests. Tomorrow will be more popular with resort guests for evening Extra Magic Hours. To have the most success, arrive prior to opening and head straight to Test Track, Sum of All Thrills, and Mission: Space or follow one of the touring plans. Single Rider at Test Track is also a good option and will often result in a shorter wait than the standby or FastPass+ lines. It’s more important to arrive early and take care of the headliners first thing than it is to pick the “right” day. You’ll run into lines at the headliners in Future World if you don’t arrive until 10:30am with everyone else. To stay ahead of the crowds for the longest amount of time, move up through the World Showcase beginning at 11am. Return to Future World after 5pm to see anything you missed, keeping in mind both Innoventions Buildings and Ellen’s Energy Adventure close at 7pm. If you’re interested in re-riding Test Track, plan to use FastPass+, use single rider, or get in line around 8:55pm.

Hollywood Studios is the most recommended Park. Magic Kingdom will be popular with those that arrived over the weekend and want to visit the Most Magical Place on Earth on their first full day and Animal Kingdom will be attracting a sizable number of resort guests with the morning Extra Magic Hour. We’re also coming off a morning Extra Magic Hour yesterday that will prove more popular with resort guests. In order to find the shortest waits, you’ll need to arrive by 8:15am and head straight to Toy Story Mania. Because of its popularity and extremely limited capacity, Toy Story Mania almost always has afternoon waits of 60 or more minutes, even when crowds are relatively low and the Studios is recommended. There’s no way around that with its limited capacity and the even more limited number of things to do with kids. It’s always your top priority. The second attraction with the longest peak wait is Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, which should be ridden immediately after Toy Story Mania in the morning or with FastPass+. Other priorities are Tower of Terror, Great Movie Ride, and Star Tours, though FastPass+ are more plentiful at both attractions and standby waits are usually lower. After you get through these four headliners, it’s just a matter of arriving in time to see the various stage shows that run on a set schedule and getting over to the Studios’ high capacity attractions. You may also have characters to visit before lines get longer.  See the Star Wars fireworks followed by the second Fantasmic if you can. While it’s officially a recommended day, arriving prior to Park opening and hitting the headliners first thing is more important than which day you pick. Arrive at 11am, no matter the recommendation or the overall crowd level, and you’ll be looking at long lines at Toy Story Mania and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster.

Magic Kingdom is not recommended due to the number of people that will arrive over the weekend and naturally want to visit the Most Magical Place on Earth on their first full day. It’s also a national holiday with a higher overall crowd level, which will make the Park busier than any of the next few days. The morning Extra Magic Hour at Disney World’s least popular theme park will help pull away a few thousand people, but won’t do much to ease Magic Kingdom crowds. Tomorrow will be significantly less busy. You can still make today work by arriving no later than 8:20am and touring efficiently in the morning. Take advantage of FastPass+ in the late morning and early afternoon and you’re in great shape. Take a break from 1pm to 6pm or so and return in the evening for dinner, some late night attractions, the Electrical Parade and Wishes. Waits will drop off significantly after 10pm. Visit Tomorrowland with two hours to close and Fantasyland with one hour to close to find significantly lower crowds than the afternoon.

Tuesday January 19

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 5pm (Recommended)

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Not Recommended)

Evening Extra Magic Hours: 9pm-11pm

Illuminations: 9pm

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 8pm (Recommended)

Fantasmic: 7pm

Star Wars Fireworks: 8pm

Magic Kingdom: 9am – 11pm (Most Recommended)

Festival of Fantasy Parade: 3pm, Main Street Electrical Parade: 7pm and 9pm, Wishes Fireworks: 8pm

Animal Kingdom is recommended. We don’t have special events, Extra Magic Hours, or anything specific drawing people toward it. Yesterday’s morning Extra Magic Hour will be more popular with Disney resort guests. It’s early enough in the week that many people on weeklong vacations will be saving Animal Kingdom for later in the week. To have the most success, arrive prior to Park opening and head straight for Kilimanjaro Safaris and Expedition Everest. You’ll have no trouble riding both with very low waits before 10am. Once you get through these two attractions, you have little to worry about other than trying to get to the scheduled shows. Finding Nemo and Festival of the Lion King do get busy during the afternoon shows, so try to see the first or last show of the day. You’ll also want to get to DinoLand USA before 10:30am to ride Primeval Whirl and DINOSAUR because those two attractions are popular. Still, they aren’t necessarily your top morning priorities. You should have no trouble experiencing most everything Animal Kingdom has to offer in one day, provided you arrive early in the morning, tour efficiently, use FastPass+ intelligently, and keep an eye on the time in order to see the scheduled stage shows. Finally, crowds disperse around 3pm. Plan to stay through close because waits will only get shorter as it gets later in the evening. Visit DinoLand after 3pm and Asia after 4pm to find much lower waits than the afternoon.

Epcot is not recommended. Disney is extremely good at selling the Extra Magic Hours program in its marketing materials. Even people that have no idea what “Soaring” is and think they’ll be riding the monorail from Animal Kingdom to Epcot know about Extra Magic Hours. Even when overall crowds are low, Disney still enjoys 85% occupancy over 25,000 rooms resort-wide. And guess where a lot of those 75,000+ people are going to be headed? The increased crowds lead to longer lines, heavier congestion in common areas, and an overall less pleasant touring experience. With that said, you can still do well from 9am-11am. Most Disney resort guests will sleep in and arrive around 10:30am in anticipation of staying through IllumiNations. The morning will be a decent time to tour, but you’ll probably want to Park Hop elsewhere after lunch or you’ll be stuck in significantly larger-than-usual crowds. You might also consider an afternoon break from 2pm-6pm when crowds will be at their largest. You could then return in the early evening for dinner and Extra Magic Hours. Alternatively, you could also Park Hop over in the evening for Extra Magic Hours, provided you’re aware of how busy it will be. With Extra Magic Hours only being two hours now, wait times at Test Track won’t ease much until after 10:15pm. However, other attractions will see nominal waits and it’s a great time to take in Epcot’s natural ambiance and hit a few of the less popular/high capacity attractions. Skip Illuminations if you’ll be here on another night because it will be more crowded than usual. Overall, there’s no reason to visit Epcot today because crowds will be higher than just about any other day during the week and waits at  Test Track will be just as long as they were during the day until at least 10pm.

Hollywood Studios is recommended. Epcot will prove popular with evening Extra Magic Hours and there’s nothing specific attracting people with Fantasmic scheduled every night along with similar operating hours. Keep in mind that what you do is far more important than which day you do it. To have the most success, arrive by 8:15am and head directly to Toy Story Mania, and then Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror. Do this, and you’ll be in great shape for the rest of the day. Don’t arrive until 10am and you’ll end up with 60+ minute waits at Toy Story Mania along with 30+ minutes at Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster and potentially Tower of Terror. After getting through the headliners, focus on the Studios’ stage shows and high capacity attractions like Muppet Vision 3D. Popular characters like Woody/Buzz, Darth Vader/Chewbacca, and Sofia the First may also be a morning priority. Those skipping Fantasmic will have the best opportunity to find spots for the Star Wars fireworks. While it’s a recommended day, it’s still more important to arrive early and tour efficiently than it is to pick the “right” day, even when overall crowds are low.

Magic Kingdom is the most recommended Park. Tomorrow will prove more popular with Disney resort guests with evening Extra Magic Hours. With the somewhat standardized operating schedule and Main Street Electrical Parade and Wishes scheduled nightly, today won’t be far and away less crowded than other days, but it presents the best opportunity to enjoy the lowest waits and crowds possible. Like any other day, arriving by 8:20am with an efficient touring plan is the key to a successful day, in addition to intelligent FastPass+ usage beginning as early as around 10am. Either visit the least popular/highest capacity attractions in the afternoon or consider a break back at your resort. Return in the evening for dinner, a few attractions, and the nighttime Spectaculars. See the second Electrical Parade if you can because it will be much less crowded than the first. If you have no interest in Main Street Electrical Parade/Wishes, visit Tomorrowland or Fantasyland in the final hour to find much shorter waits than the afternoon, ending the night at either Peter Pan’s Flight or Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. Remember that you can get in line for any attraction right up until the stated closing time, regardless of posted waits, which are usually exaggerated at the end of the night. I recommend getting in line for Mine Train just a couple minutes before close to minimize the wait as much as possible.

Wednesday January 20

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 5pm (Recommended)

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Most Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 8pm (Recommended)

Fantasmic: 7pm

Star Wars Fireworks: 8pm

Magic Kingdom: 9am – 9pm (Not Recommended)

Evening Extra Magic Hours: 9pm – 11pm

Festival of Fantasy Parade: 3pm, Main Street Electrical Parade: 7pm and 9pm, Wishes Fireworks: 8pm

Star Wars Fireworks: 8pm

Animal Kingdom is recommended, though it isn’t the best day of the week there. But with Magic Kingdom attracting so many Disney resort guests with the evening Extra Magic Hours, it still works provided you arrive prior to opening and tour efficiently in the morning, followed by intelligent FastPass+ choices in the afternoon when crowds peak. Stay through close because waits will only drop in the last hour. Consider ending the day in Asia at Expedition Everest to find waits that are largely nonexistent.

Epcot is the most recommended Park. We’re in between yesterday’s evening Extra Magic Hours and tomorrow’s morning Extra Magic Hour, both of which will be more popular with resort guests. Today, Magic Kingdom will prove overwhelmingly popular with evening Extra Magic Hours and both nighttime spectaculars. Take full advantage by arriving by 8:15am and head straight for Test Track, Sum of All Thrills, and Mission: Space. Head up through World Showcase as close to 11am as possible to beat the crowds to as many Pavilions as possible. While traditional lines are not much of a concern at the attractions, lower crowds mean an easier touring experience in all other facets. Return to Future World after 5pm to find lower crowds there than the afternoon, keeping in mind that only Test Track, Spaceship Earth, Mission: Space, Character Spot, Turtle Talk, and The Seas usually continue operating after 7pm. Hit the other Future World attractions from 5pm – 7pm and then return to Test Track after 8pm to find shorter waits, use FastPass+, or take advantage of single rider at Test Track. It’s also an excellent night to stay for IllumiNations.

Hollywood Studios is recommended. Magic Kingdom will be overwhelmingly popular with evening Extra Magic Hours and both nighttime spectaculars. As always, what you do is more important than which day you do it. In order to find the shortest waits, you’ll need to arrive by 8:15am and head straight to Toy Story Mania. Because of its popularity and extremely limited capacity, Toy Story Mania almost always has afternoon waits of 60 or more minutes, even when crowds are relatively low and the Studios is recommended. There’s no way around that with its limited capacity and the even more limited number of things to do with kids. It’s always your top priority. The second attraction with the longest peak wait is Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, which should be ridden immediately after Toy Story Mania in the morning or with FastPass+. Other priorities are Tower of Terror, Great Movie Ride, and Star Tours, though FastPass+ are more plentiful at both attractions and standby waits are usually lower. After you get through these four headliners, it’s just a matter of arriving in time to see the various stage shows that run on a set schedule and getting over to the Studios’ high capacity attractions. You may also have characters to visit before lines get longer. Those skipping Fantastic will have the best opportunity to find spots for the Star Wars fireworks. While it’s officially a recommended day, arriving prior to Park opening and hitting the headliners first thing is more important than which day you pick. Arrive at 11am, no matter the recommendation or the overall crowd level, and you’ll be looking at long lines at Toy Story Mania and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster.

Magic Kingdom is going to be busy with both nighttime spectaculars and the incredibly popular evening Extra Magic Hours pulling a ton of resort guests. On the plus side, Main Street Electrical Parade is scheduled every day this month, which means nobody will be visiting specifically to see the Parade when it isn’t scheduled on other nights. If you do visit today, your best plan of attack is arriving before 8:30am with plans to head to the priority attractions on your itinerary first thing. Take an afternoon break from 1pm to 5pm or so to rest up for the evening. This is the busiest part of the day and you’re better off relaxing at your resort than you are waiting 45 minutes to ride Pirates of the Caribbean. Head back in the evening for dinner, some late night attractions, and the nighttime entertainment. The best place to see the Electrical Parade is in Liberty Square or Frontierland because they’re less popular than Main Street and the second Parade will be significantly less crowded than the first. If you’re planning to visit during evening Extra Magic Hours, begin in Adventureland or Frontierland because most people will head straight for Tomorrowland or Fantasyland. Visit Tomorrowland or Fantasyland in the final hour to find shorter waits. While it is possible to have a decent day here if you arrive early and tour efficiently, there are much less crowded days to visit during the week, including yesterday and tomorrow.

Thursday January 21

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 5pm (Not Recommended)

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Not Recommended)

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Illuminations: 9pm

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 8pm (Recommended)

Fantasmic: 7pm

Star Wars Fireworks: 8pm

Magic Kingdom: 9am – 8pm (Most Recommended)

Festival of Fantasy Parade: 3pm, Main Street Electrical Parade: 7pm, Wishes Fireworks: 8pm

Animal Kingdom is not explicitly recommended, though it isn’t the worst day of the week to visit. There isn’t anything specific attracting anyone, but there isn’t anything unique going on elsewhere, which means more people than usual will default to Disney’s least popular theme park. Epcot’s morning Extra Magic Hour will help pull some Disney resort guests, but morning Extra Magic Hours are much less popular than evening Extra Magic Hours and it’s late enough in the week that most people on standard weeklong vacations will be interested in visiting Disney’s less popular Parks. Most people will want to take advantage of one of the two best days of the week to visit Magic Kingdom. But you can still do very well with an arrival prior to Park opening and an efficient touring plan or a late arrival with plans to stay through close to take advantage of short waits in the evening. Average and peak waits will just be a bit longer than recommended days.

Epcot is not recommended with the morning Extra Magic Hour attracting a lot of Disney resort guests and in turn complicating morning touring. While most of the resort guests that do visit will arrive after their extra hour has ended, they will still fill the Park and clog up lines from 10:30am through close. You can do well if you truly arrive by 7:25am and move quickly through the open attractions, but most people will want to sleep in an extra hour and take advantage of one of the better days of the week to visit Magic Kingdom. Average and peak waits will be considerably higher than they were yesterday or tomorrow.

Hollywood Studios is recommended. Tomorrow’s evening Extra Magic Hours will be a bigger draw with Disney resort guests. Keep in mind that with the mostly standardized schedule every day, and Fantasmic scheduled every night, that crowds won’t be overwhelmingly lower today compared to other days this week. Because of that, your touring plan is more important than which day you decide to visit. Arrive by 8:15am, head directly to Toy Story Mania, and then visit Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster, and Tower of Terror. Do this, and you’ll be in great shape for the rest of the day. Don’t arrive until 10am and you’ll end up with a 60+ minute waits at Toy Story Mania, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, and potentially Tower of Terror. After getting through the headliners, focus on the Studios’ stage shows and high capacity attractions like Muppet Vision 3D. Popular characters may also be a morning priority. You may want to take a break in the afternoon from 1pm to 5pm or so when crowds get heavier. Return for dinner, some evening rides, and Fantasmic. Finally, consider the Fantasmic Dining Package that guarantees everyone on the reservation a seat in the reserved section of the Hollywood Hills Theater if you’re planning to see the show. It will still require you to arrive 20 minutes early (or you run the risk of Disney opening the reserved sections to the general population), but it’s better than the 60 minute wait that may be required to get decent seats without it. The Dining Package makes the most sense if you’re also on the Disney Dining Plan because it costs the same one-table-service credit at Hollywood and Vine or Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano and two-table-service credits that you would use otherwise at Hollywood Brown Derby. It also includes the appetizer, which is a nice bonus. The best seats are otherwise at least half way up in the middle sections. You’ll have a great view of the entire stage, what’s happening on the water, and won’t risk getting wet. Keep in mind that those skipping the show altogether will have the best opportunity to find spots for the Star Wars fireworks. Overall, it’s a recommended day because it would be better than tomorrow, but what you do is more important than arriving on the “right” day.

Magic Kingdom is the most recommended Park and this is one of the two best days of the week to visit. We’re in between yesterday’s evening Extra Magic Hours and tomorrow’s morning Extra Magic Hour, both of which will be more popular with the 75,000+ Disney resort guests that predictably visit the Park with Extra Magic Hours because they believe it’s Disney’s way of telling them where they belong each day. With the mostly standardized operating schedule and Main Street Electrical Parade and Wishes scheduled nightly, today won’t be overwhelmingly less crowded than other days during the week, but we can reliably expect fewer people and considerably lower average and peak waits. As always, plan to arrive no later than 8:20am with an efficient touring plan in hand, whether you want to begin in Frontierland with Big Thunder Mountain and Splash Mountain, Fantasyland for Mine Train and Peter Pan’s Flight, or Tomorrowland for Space Mountain and Buzz Lightyear. You may also want to prioritize a character that doesn’t offer FastPass+. Begin using FP+ as early as around 10am to maximize future selections. Consider an afternoon break from around 1pm to around 5pm to rest up for the evening and return for dinner, some late night rides, and the nighttime spectaculars. If you have no interest in Main Street Electrical Parade or Wishes, visit Tomorrowland or Fantasyland in the last hour of operation to find much lower waits than the afternoon.

Friday January 22

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 5:30pm (Highly Recommended)

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Most Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 8pm (Not Recommended)

Evening Extra Magic Hours: 8pm-10pm

Fantasmic: 7pm

Star Wars Fireworks: 8pm

Magic Kingdom: 9am – 10pm (Not Recommended)

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Festival of Fantasy Parade: 3pm, Main Street Electrical Parade: 7pm and 9pm, Wishes Fireworks: 8pm

Animal Kingdom is highly recommended. Hollywood Studios and Magic Kingdom will be attracting the majority of Disney resort guests and there’s nothing specific attracting people today. Tomorrow will be more popular with the morning Extra Magic Hour attracting resort guests. As always, you’ll have the most success arriving prior to Park opening and using an efficient touring plan that probably starts at Kilimanjaro Safaris or Expedition Everest. Crowds drop in the afternoon with relatively short waits in DinoLand with two hours to close and in Asia with an hour to close. Consider ending the day with Expedition Everest where waits should be largely nonexistent.

Epcot is the most recommended Park as we come off a more popular day yesterday with the morning Extra Magic Hour attracting resort guests. Hollywood Studios and Magic Kingdom will be attracting most of the resort crowd, which opens up Epcot for an excellent day. Still, with exactly two rides most people are interested in, you’ll want to arrive no later than 8:15am with plans to head to Test Track immediately after Park open. With two days to tour, you can easily compartmentalize the Park by touring one side each day. With one day, try to tour Future World through 11am, then head up to World Showcase to tour with light crowds until around 5pm. Then return to Future World to finish what you want to do there, starting with Living with the Land, Circle of Life, Disney Pixar Shorts, Journey into Imagination with Figment, Ellen’s Energy Adventure, and both Innoventions buildings and then moving on to the likes of Mission: SPACE, The Seas with Nemo, Turtle Talk, and Character Spot. Either head back to World Showcase for dinner and IllumiNations or continue touring Future World with dinner at Sunshine Seasons. Waits at Test Track will be nearly nonexistent if you get in line around 8:55pm or you can still finish the night out with IllumiNations.

Hollywood Studios will be busy due to the evening Extra Magic Hours that are popular with Disney resort guests and the addition of a second Fantasmic, which will attract off-site guess as well. The morning will be an okay time to tour, but crowds will increase around 10am as more and more Disney resort guests arrive. Unfortunately, I’m not too fond of evening Extra Magic Hours at Hollywood Studios. There are only a few attractions open and the waits for Toy Story Mania, Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, and Star Tours will likely be just as long as they were during the day, at least until 9:30pm when people begin to give up and exit. In addition, 9,000+ people will exit Fantasmic at 7:30pm and again at 9:30, right as evening Extra Magic Hours gets underway. The Fantasmic Theater is located right on Sunset Boulevard, across from the entrances to Tower of Terror and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster. While not everyone seeing Fantasmic will be a Disney resort guest, many of them will be, and a ton will be headed to Tower of Tower and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster because they truly believe it’s the best time to get in line. Unfortunately, they’ll find themselves lined up with a few thousand of their new best friends. If you’re staying for evening Extra Magic Hours, your best bet is always to save these headlining attractions for the very end of the night and visit Toy Story Mania last. While you could theoretically have success if you arrive prior to Park opening and head straight for the headliners, the same will be true other days this week and you won’t have to deal with the significantly heavier afternoon and evening crowds. Yesterday or tomorrow would be significantly better.

The morning Extra Magic Hour at Magic Kingdom will lure a decent number of Disney resort guests, making the Park busier than yesterday or this past Tuesday. You can still have success provided you take advantage of the morning Extra Magic Hour by arriving no later than 7:30am and heading straight to Fantasyland or other open attractions in Tomorrowland. Move on to the headlining Mountain rides or character meet and greets when they open and you’ll be in excellent shape. However, you will find that crowds are heavier than recommended days in the afternoon. You’ll probably want to take a break from 1pm to 5pm or so and return in the evening to ride some major attractions with FastPass+, have dinner, see some high capacity attractions, and enjoy the evening spectaculars. Keep in mind that you would be much better off visiting on a recommended day if you aren’t Extra Magic Hours eligible or won’t arrive until 10am or later because it will be busier than recommended days from 11am onward. Finally, note that today should see lower average and peak waits than tomorrow due to the higher overall crowd level and local visitors pushing up attendance. If you’re not Extra Magic Hours eligible and plan to visit today, your best plan of attack is starting in Adventureland or Frontierland because those attractions won’t open until 9am and guests already inside the Park won’t have much of an advantage.

Saturday January 23

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 7pm (Not Recommended)

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 8pm (Most Recommended)

Fantasmic: 7pm

Star Wars Fireworks: 8pm

Magic Kingdom: 9am – 12am (Not Recommended)

Festival of Fantasy Parade: 3pm, Main Street Electrical Parade: 8pm and 10pm, Wishes Fireworks: 9pm

Animal Kingdom is not recommended with the morning Extra Magic Hour attracting resort guests and complicating morning touring. If you are Extra Magic Hours eligible and certain that you can arrive by 7:30am to take advantage of it, then you can have a tremendous amount of success touring before 10am, but the afternoon is going to be busier than recommended days. Yesterday and tomorrow are significantly better for those planning to arrive after 8am.

Epcot is recommended, though yesterday would have been better with more going on elsewhere. Still, arrive by 8:20am and you should have no trouble hitting Test Track, Sum of All Thrills, and Mission: Space first thing in the morning or whatever else you plan to do. Try to move up to World Showcase as close to 11am as possible to beat the crowds and return to Future World after 5pm after most casual vacationers have moved up for dinner and IllumiNations.

Hollywood Studios is the most recommended Park as we come off a busier day with evening Extra Magic Hours attached. Tomorrow will also be busier with morning Extra Magic Hour.  Today, Magic Kingdom will be attractive with the long hours of operation and both nighttime spectaculars and Animal Kingdom will be attracting a sizable number of resort guests with the morning Extra Magic Hour. In order to find the shortest waits, you’ll need to arrive by 8:15am and head straight to Toy Story Mania. Because of its popularity and extremely limited capacity, Toy Story Mania almost always has afternoon waits of 60 or more minutes, even when crowds are relatively low and the Studios is recommended. There’s no way around that with its limited capacity and the even more limited number of things to do with kids. It’s always your top priority. The second attraction with the longest peak wait is Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, which should be ridden immediately after Toy Story Mania in the morning or with FastPass+. Other priorities are Tower of Terror, Great Movie Ride, and Star Tours, though FastPass+ are more plentiful at both attractions and standby waits are usually lower. After you get through these four headliners, it’s just a matter of arriving in time to see the various stage shows that run on a set schedule and getting over to the Studios’ high capacity attractions. You may also have characters to visit before lines get longer. Those skipping Fantasmic will have the best opportunity to find spots for the Star Wars fireworks. While it’s officially a recommended day, arriving prior to Park opening and hitting the headliners first thing is more important than which day you pick. Arrive at 10am, no matter the recommendation or the overall crowd level, and you’ll be looking at long lines at Toy Story Mania and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster.

Saturdays are naturally the busiest day of the week at the Magic Kingdom. We have longer hours of operation, visiting locals, and a lot of vacationers who will be visiting the Magic Kingdom for a second time before returning home tomorrow. The morning Extra Magic Hour at Disney’s least popular theme park will pull a few thousand people away, but not enough to make up for everything else bringing people in. A Tuesday or Thursday would be significantly better. With that said, you can have a moderate amount of success today if you arrive prior to 9am and head straight for the headlining or Fantasyland attractions. The afternoon will be busier than any other day this week and you’ll either want to take a break and return for the Electrical Parade and Wishes or visit the less popular attractions from 2pm – 6pm. It’s easiest to see Main Street Electrical Parade in Frontierland or Liberty Square because the majority of people flock to Main Street. The second Parade will also be significantly less crowded than the first. The late night is also a great time to tour with short waits at most attractions after 9pm. Visit Tomorrowland with two hours to close and Fantasyland in the final hour to find much lower waits than the afternoon.

Sunday January 24

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 8pm (Most Recommended)

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 8:30pm (Not Recommended)

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Fantasmic: 7pm and 9pm

Star Wars Fireworks: 8pm

Magic Kingdom: 9am – 11pm (Recommended)

Festival of Fantasy Parade: 3pm, Main Street Electrical Parade: 8pm and 10pm, Wishes Fireworks: 9pm

Animal Kingdom is the most recommended Park. We’re coming off a popular morning Extra Magic Hour yesterday and have another tomorrow, but of which will be more popular with Disney resort guests. It’s also unlikely anyone arriving over the weekend will begin their vacation with Disney’s least popular theme park. You should be able to do just about everything the Park has to offer if you arrive prior to Park opening. Focus on riding Kilimanjaro Safaris and Expedition Everest as early as possible or use FastPass+. After getting those out of the way, move on to DinoLand USA or one of the more popular shows – either Finding Nemo the Musical or Festival of the Lion King and you’ll be set for the rest of the day. Keep in mind that crowds disperse in the afternoon and the 2+ hours of operation will only see diminishing waits. You may also consider a late arrival. End the day in Asia with Kali River Rapids and Expedition Everest and waits will be nearly nonexistent.

Epcot is recommended, though it isn’t necessarily the best day of the week there. A Wednesday or Friday would be better with more attracting casual visitors to other Parks. Still, Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios will be attracting the majority of off-site and on-site visitors with long hours and plentiful evening entertainment. Take full advantage by arriving prior to Park opening and head straight to Test Track, followed by Sum of All Thrills, and Mission: Space. If Character Spot is a priority, visit after 7pm when waits will be shorter than the afternoon and you won’t have to waste precious morning time. It’s also an excellent day to stay for IllumiNations and enjoy the World Showcase in the afternoon because a lot of people will have their eyes on the Electrical Parade and Fantasmic.

Hollywood Studios is not recommended. The sizable Disney resort contingent numbers 75,000+ people. Because Disney sells the Extra Magic Hour program so well in its marketing materials, many of these Disney resort guests follow the Extra Magic Hours schedule because they think it’s Disney telling them where they belong each day. While you can have success if you are Extra Magic Hours eligible and arrive by 7:15am, most people will want to visit another day. Avoid it unless you can’t visit any other day or are certain you’ll arrive by 7:15am and plan to hit Toy Story Midway Mania, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, and Star Tours first thing in the morning. Yesterday was a better day to visit with fewer complications touring in the morning.

Magic Kingdom is recommended though most people will want to wait until Tuesday to visit if they can. Today will see above average crowds with the average overall crowd level, in addition to an increased number of locals able to visit on the weekend. Saturday is a more common arrival day than it once was and many casual vacationers prefer to start their trip at the Most Magical Place on Earth and the most popular theme park on the planet. The morning Extra Magic Hour will help lure away some Disney resort guests, but that won’t have a major impact on wait times. You can still do very well with an arrival prior to Park opening and an efficient touring plan, but the afternoon will see moderate crowds that will only get heavier as it gets later in the day.

Monday January 25

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 5pm (Not Recommended)

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am-9am

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Highly Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 8pm (Most Recommended)

Fantasmic: 7pm

Star Wars Fireworks: 8pm

Magic Kingdom: 9am – 9pm (Not Recommended)

Festival of Fantasy Parade: 3pm, Main Street Electrical Parade: 7pm and 9pm, Wishes Fireworks: 8pm

Animal Kingdom is not recommended with the morning Extra Magic Hour attracting resort guests and complicating morning touring. If you are Extra Magic Hours eligible and certain that you can arrive by 7:30am to take advantage of it, then you can have a tremendous amount of success touring before 10am, but the afternoon is going to be busier than recommended days. Tomorrow is significantly better for those planning to arrive after 8am.

Epcot is highly recommended with Magic Kingdom proving more popular with those that arrived over the weekend and Animal Kingdom attracting resort guests. Tomorrow will be more popular with resort guests for evening Extra Magic Hours. To have the most success, arrive prior to opening and head straight to Test Track, Sum of All Thrills, and Mission: Space,with FastPass+ or follow one of the touring plans. Single Rider at Test Track is also a good option and will often result in a shorter wait than the standby or FastPass+ lines. It’s more important to arrive early and take care of the headliners first thing than it is to pick the “right” day. You’ll run into lines at the headliners in Future World if you don’t arrive until 10:30am with everyone else. To stay ahead of the crowds for the longest amount of time, move up through the World Showcase beginning at 11am. Return to Future World after 5pm to see anything you missed, but keep in mind Innoventions East and Ellen’s Energy Adventure close at 7pm. If you’re interested in re-riding Test Track, plan to use FastPass+, single rider, or get in line around 8:55pm.

Hollywood Studios is the most recommended Park. Magic Kingdom will be popular with those that arrived over the weekend and want to visit the Most Magical Place on Earth on their first full day and Animal Kingdom will be attracting a sizable number of resort guests with the morning Extra Magic Hour. We’re also coming off a morning Extra Magic Hour yesterday that will prove more popular with resort guests. In order to find the shortest waits, you’ll need to arrive by 8:15am and head straight to Toy Story Mania. Because of its popularity and extremely limited capacity, Toy Story Mania almost always has afternoon waits of 60 or more minutes, even when crowds are relatively low and the Studios is recommended. There’s no way around that with its limited capacity and the even more limited number of things to do with kids. It’s always your top priority. The second attraction with the longest peak wait is Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, which should be ridden immediately after Toy Story Mania in the morning or with FastPass+. Other priorities are Tower of Terror, Great Movie Ride, and Star Tours, though FastPass+ are more plentiful at both attractions and standby waits are usually lower. After you get through these four headliners, it’s just a matter of arriving in time to see the various stage shows that run on a set schedule and getting over to the Studios’ high capacity attractions. You may also have characters to visit before lines get longer. Those skipping Fantasmic will have the best opportunity to find spots for the Star Wars fireworks. While it’s officially a recommended day, arriving prior to Park opening and hitting the headliners first thing is more important than which day you pick. Arrive at 11am, no matter the recommendation or the overall crowd level, and you’ll be looking at long lines at Toy Story Mania and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster.

Magic Kingdom is not recommended due to the number of people that will arrive over the weekend and naturally want to visit the Most Magical Place on Earth on their first full day. The morning Extra Magic Hour at Disney World’s least popular theme park will help pull away a few thousand people, but won’t do much to ease Magic Kingdom crowds. Tomorrow will be significantly less busy. You can still make today work by arriving no later than 8:20am and touring efficiently in the morning. Take advantage of FastPass+ in the late morning and early afternoon and you’re in great shape. Take a break from 1pm to 6pm or so and return in the evening for dinner, some late night attractions, the Electrical Parade and Wishes.

Tuesday January 26

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 5pm (Recommended)

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Not Recommended)

Evening Extra Magic Hours: 9pm-11pm

Illuminations: 9pm

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 8pm (Recommended)

Fantasmic: 7pm

Star Wars Fireworks: 8pm

Magic Kingdom: 9am – 8pm (Most Recommended)

Festival of Fantasy Parade: 3pm, Main Street Electrical Parade: 7pm, Wishes Fireworks: 8pm

Animal Kingdom is recommended. We don’t have special events, Extra Magic Hours, or anything specific drawing people toward it. Yesterday’s morning Extra Magic Hour will be more popular with Disney resort guests. It’s early enough in the week that many people on weeklong vacations will be saving Animal Kingdom for later in the week. To have the most success, arrive prior to Park opening and head straight for Kilimanjaro Safaris and Expedition Everest. You’ll have no trouble riding both with very low waits before 10am. Once you get through these two attractions, you have little to worry about other than trying to get to the scheduled shows. Finding Nemo and Festival of the Lion King do get busy during the afternoon shows, so try to see the first or last show of the day. You’ll also want to get to DinoLand USA before 10:30am to ride Primeval Whirl and DINOSAUR because those two attractions are popular. Still, they aren’t necessarily your top morning priorities. You should have no trouble experiencing most everything Animal Kingdom has to offer in one day, provided you arrive early in the morning, tour efficiently, use FastPass+ intelligently, and keep an eye on the time in order to see the scheduled stage shows. Finally, crowds disperse around 3pm. Plan to stay through close because waits will only get shorter as it gets later in the evening. Visit DinoLand after 3pm and Asia after 4pm to find much lower waits than the afternoon.

Epcot is not recommended. Disney is extremely good at selling the Extra Magic Hours program in its marketing materials. Even people that have no idea what “Soaring” is and think they’ll be riding the monorail from Animal Kingdom to Epcot know about Extra Magic Hours. Even when overall crowds are low, Disney still enjoys 85% occupancy over 25,000 rooms resort-wide. And guess where a lot of those 75,000+ people are going to be headed? The increased crowds lead to longer lines, heavier congestion in common areas, and an overall less pleasant touring experience. With that said, you can still do well from 9am-11am. Most Disney resort guests will sleep in and arrive around 10:30am in anticipation of staying through IllumiNations. The morning will be a decent time to tour, but you’ll probably want to Park Hop elsewhere after lunch or you’ll be stuck in significantly larger-than-usual crowds. You might also consider an afternoon break from 2pm-6pm when crowds will be at their largest. You could then return in the early evening for dinner and Extra Magic Hours. Alternatively, you could also Park Hop over in the evening for Extra Magic Hours, provided you’re aware of how busy it will be. With Extra Magic Hours only being two hours now, wait times at Test Track won’t ease much until after 10:15pm. However, other attractions will see nominal waits and it’s a great time to take in Epcot’s natural ambiance and hit a few of the less popular/high capacity attractions. Skip Illuminations if you’ll be here on another night because it will be more crowded than usual. Overall, there’s no reason to visit Epcot today because crowds will be higher than just about any other day during the week and waits at Test Track will be just as long as they were during the day until at least 10pm.

Hollywood Studios is recommended. Epcot will prove popular with evening Extra Magic Hours and there’s nothing specific attracting people with Fantasmic scheduled every night along with similar operating hours. Keep in mind that what you do is far more important than which day you do it. To have the most success, arrive by 8:15am and head directly to Toy Story Mania, and then Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror. Do this, and you’ll be in great shape for the rest of the day. Don’t arrive until 10am and you’ll end up with 60+ minute waits at Toy Story Mania along with 30+ minutes at Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster and potentially Tower of Terror. After getting through the headliners, focus on the Studios’ stage shows and high capacity attractions like Muppet Vision 3D. Popular characters like Woody/Buzz, Darth Vader/Chewbacca, and Sofia the First may also be a morning priority. Those skipping Fantasmic will have the best opportunity to find spots for the Star Wars fireworks. While it’s a recommended day, it’s still more important to arrive early and tour efficiently than it is to pick the “right” day, even when overall crowds are low.

Magic Kingdom is the most recommended Park. Tomorrow will prove more popular with Disney resort guests with evening Extra Magic Hours. With the somewhat standardized operating schedule and Main Street Electrical Parade and Wishes scheduled nightly, today won’t be far and away less crowded than other days, but it presents the best opportunity to enjoy the lowest waits and crowds possible. Like any other day, arriving by 8:20am with an efficient touring plan is the key to a successful day, in addition to intelligent FastPass+ usage beginning as early as around 10am. Either visit the least popular/highest capacity attractions in the afternoon or consider a break back at your resort. Return in the evening for dinner, a few attractions, and the nighttime Spectaculars. If you have no interest in Main Street Electrical Parade/Wishes, visit Tomorrowland or Fantasyland in the final hour to find much shorter waits than the afternoon, ending the night at either Peter Pan’s Flight or Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. Remember that you can get in line for any attraction right up until the stated closing time, regardless of posted waits, which are usually exaggerated at the end of the night. I recommend getting in line for Mine Train just a couple minutes before close to minimize the wait as much as possible.

Wednesday January 27

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 5pm (Recommended)

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Most Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 8pm (Recommended)

Fantasmic: 7pm

Star Wars Fireworks: 8pm

Magic Kingdom: 9am – 8pm (Not Recommended)

Evening Extra Magic Hours: 8pm – 10pm

Festival of Fantasy Parade: 3pm, Main Street Electrical Parade: 7pm, Wishes Fireworks: 8pm

Animal Kingdom is recommended, though it isn’t the best day of the week there. But with Magic Kingdom attracting so many Disney resort guests with the evening Extra Magic Hours, it still works provided you arrive prior to opening and tour efficiently in the morning, followed by intelligent FastPass+ choices in the afternoon when crowds peak. Stay through close because waits will only drop in the last hour. Consider ending the day in Asia at Expedition Everest to find waits that are largely nonexistent.

Epcot is the most recommended Park. We’re in between yesterday’s evening Extra Magic Hours and tomorrow’s morning Extra Magic Hour, both of which will be more popular with resort guests. Today, Magic Kingdom will prove overwhelmingly popular with evening Extra Magic Hours and both nighttime spectaculars. Take full advantage by arriving by 8:15am and head straight for Test Track, Sum of All Thrills, and Mission: Space. Head up through World Showcase as close to 11am as possible to beat the crowds to as many Pavilions as possible. While traditional lines are not much of a concern at the attractions, lower crowds mean an easier touring experience in all other facets. Return to Future World after 5pm to find lower crowds there than the afternoon, keeping in mind that only Test Track, Spaceship Earth, Mission: Space, Character Spot, Turtle Talk, and The Seas usually continue operating after 7pm. Hit the other Future World attractions from 5pm – 7pm and then return to Test Track after 8pm to find shorter waits, use FastPass+, or take advantage of single rider. It’s also an excellent night to stay for IllumiNations.

Hollywood Studios is recommended. Magic Kingdom will be overwhelmingly popular with evening Extra Magic Hours and both nighttime spectaculars. As always, what you do is more important than which day you do it. In order to find the shortest waits, you’ll need to arrive by 8:15am and head straight to Toy Story Mania. Because of its popularity and extremely limited capacity, Toy Story Mania almost always has afternoon waits of 60 or more minutes, even when crowds are relatively low and the Studios is recommended. There’s no way around that with its limited capacity and the even more limited number of things to do with kids. It’s always your top priority. The second attraction with the longest peak wait is Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, which should be ridden immediately after Toy Story Mania in the morning or with FastPass+. Other priorities are Tower of Terror, Great Movie Ride, and Star Tours, though FastPass+ are more plentiful at both attractions and standby waits are usually lower. After you get through these four headliners, it’s just a matter of arriving in time to see the various stage shows that run on a set schedule and getting over to the Studios’ high capacity attractions. You may also have characters to visit before lines get longer. Those skipping Fantasmic will have the best opportunity to find spots for the Star Wars fireworks. While it’s officially a recommended day, arriving prior to Park opening and hitting the headliners first thing is more important than which day you pick. Arrive at 11am, no matter the recommendation or the overall crowd level, and you’ll be looking at long lines at Toy Story Mania and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster.

Magic Kingdom is going to be busy with both nighttime spectaculars and the incredibly popular evening Extra Magic Hours pulling a ton of resort guests. On the plus side, Main Street Electrical Parade is scheduled every day this month, which means nobody will be visiting specifically to see the Parade when it isn’t scheduled on other nights. If you do visit today, your best plan of attack is arriving before 8:30am with plans to head to the priority attractions on your itinerary first thing. Take an afternoon break from 1pm to 5pm or so to rest up for the evening. This is the busiest part of the day and you’re better off relaxing at your resort than you are waiting 45 minutes to ride Pirates of the Caribbean. Head back in the evening for dinner, some late night attractions, and the nighttime entertainment. The best place to see the Electrical Parade is in Liberty Square or Frontierland because they’re less popular than Main Street. If you’re planning to visit during evening Extra Magic Hours, begin in Adventureland or Frontierland because most people will head straight for Tomorrowland or Fantasyland. Visit Tomorrowland or Fantasyland in the final hour to find shorter waits. While it is possible to have a decent day here if you arrive early and tour efficiently, there are much less crowded days to visit during the week, including yesterday and tomorrow.

Thursday January 28

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 5pm (Not Recommended)

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Not Recommended)

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Illuminations: 9pm

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 8pm (Recommended)

Fantasmic: 7pm

Star Wars Fireworks: 8pm

Magic Kingdom: 9am – 8pm (Most Recommended)

Festival of Fantasy Parade: 3pm, Main Street Electrical Parade: 7pm, Wishes Fireworks: 8pm

Animal Kingdom is not explicitly recommended, though it isn’t the worst day of the week to visit. There isn’t anything specific attracting anyone, but there isn’t anything unique going on elsewhere, which means more people than usual will default to Disney’s least popular theme park. Epcot’s morning Extra Magic Hour will help pull some Disney resort guests, but morning Extra Magic Hours are much less popular than evening Extra Magic Hours and it’s late enough in the week that most people on standard weeklong vacations will be interested in visiting Disney’s less popular Parks. Most people will want to take advantage of one of the two best days of the week to visit Magic Kingdom. But you can still do very well with an arrival prior to Park opening and an efficient touring plan or a late arrival with plans to stay through close to take advantage of short waits in the evening. Average and peak waits will just be a bit longer than recommended days.

Epcot is not recommended with the morning Extra Magic Hour attracting a lot of Disney resort guests and in turn complicating morning touring. While most of the resort guests that do visit will arrive after their extra hour has ended, they will still fill the Park and clog up lines from 10:30am through close. You can do well if you truly arrive by 7:25am and move quickly through the open attractions, but most people will want to sleep in an extra hour and take advantage of one of the better days of the week to visit Magic Kingdom. Average and peak waits will be considerably higher than they were yesterday or tomorrow.

Hollywood Studios is recommended. Tomorrow’s evening Extra Magic Hours will be a bigger draw with Disney resort guests. Keep in mind that with the mostly standardized schedule every day, and Fantasmic scheduled every night, that crowds won’t be overwhelmingly lower today compared to other days this week. Because of that, your touring plan is more important than which day you decide to visit. Arrive by 8:15am, head directly to Toy Story Mania, and then visit Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster, and Tower of Terror. Do this, and you’ll be in great shape for the rest of the day. Don’t arrive until 10am and you’ll end up with a 60+ minute waits at Toy Story Mania, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, and potentially Tower of Terror. After getting through the headliners, focus on the Studios’ stage shows and high capacity attractions like Muppet Vision 3D. Popular characters may also be a morning priority. You may want to take a break in the afternoon from 1pm to 5pm or so when crowds get heavier. Return for dinner, some evening rides, and Fantasmic. Finally, consider the Fantasmic Dining Package that guarantees everyone on the reservation a seat in the reserved section of the Hollywood Hills Theater if you’re planning to see the show. It will still require you to arrive 20 minutes early (or you run the risk of Disney opening the reserved sections to the general population), but it’s better than the 60 minute wait that may be required to get decent seats without it. The Dining Package makes the most sense if you’re also on the Disney Dining Plan because it costs the same one-table-service credit at Hollywood and Vine or Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano and two-table-service credits that you would use otherwise at Hollywood Brown Derby. It also includes the appetizer, which is a nice bonus. The best seats are otherwise at least half way up in the middle sections. You’ll have a great view of the entire stage, what’s happening on the water, and won’t risk getting wet. Keep in mind that those skipping Fantasmic will have a better opportunity to find a spot for the Star Wars fireworks. Overall, it’s a recommended day because it would be better than tomorrow, but what you do is more important than arriving on the “right” day.

Magic Kingdom is the most recommended Park and this is one of the two best days of the week to visit. We’re in between yesterday’s evening Extra Magic Hours and tomorrow’s morning Extra Magic Hour, both of which will be more popular with the 75,000+ Disney resort guests that predictably visit the Park with Extra Magic Hours because they believe it’s Disney’s way of telling them where they belong each day. With the mostly standardized operating schedule and Main Street Electrical Parade and Wishes scheduled nightly, today won’t be overwhelmingly less crowded than other days during the week, but we can reliably expect fewer people and considerably lower average and peak waits. As always, plan to arrive no later than 8:20am with an efficient touring plan in hand, whether you want to begin in Frontierland with Big Thunder Mountain and Splash Mountain, Fantasyland for Mine Train and Peter Pan’s Flight, or Tomorrowland for Space Mountain and Buzz Lightyear. You may also want to prioritize a character that doesn’t offer FastPass+. Begin using FP+ as early as around 10am to maximize future selections. Consider an afternoon break from around 1pm to around 5pm to rest up for the evening and return for dinner, some late night rides, and the nighttime spectaculars. If you have no interest in Main Street Electrical Parade or Wishes, visit Tomorrowland or Fantasyland in the last hour of operation to find much lower waits than the afternoon.

Friday January 29

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 5:30pm (Highly Recommended)

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Most Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 8:30pm (Not Recommended)

Evening Extra Magic Hours: 8:30pm-10:30pm

Fantasmic: 7pm and 9pm

Star Wars Fireworks: 8pm

Magic Kingdom: 9am – 11pm (Not Recommended)

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Festival of Fantasy Parade: 3pm, Main Street Electrical Parade: 9pm and 11pm, Wishes Fireworks: 10pm

Animal Kingdom is highly recommended. Hollywood Studios and Magic Kingdom will be attracting the majority of Disney resort guests and there’s nothing specific attracting people today. Tomorrow will be more popular with the morning Extra Magic Hour attracting resort guests. As always, you’ll have the most success arriving prior to Park opening and using an efficient touring plan that probably starts at Kilimanjaro Safaris or Expedition Everest. Crowds drop in the afternoon with relatively short waits in DinoLand with two hours to close and in Asia with an hour to close. Consider ending the day with Expedition Everest where waits should be largely nonexistent.

Epcot is the most recommended Park as we come off a more popular day yesterday with the morning Extra Magic Hour attracting resort guests. Hollywood Studios and Magic Kingdom will be attracting most of the resort crowd, which opens up Epcot for an excellent day. Still, with exactly two rides most people are interested in, you’ll want to arrive no later than 8:15am with plans to head to Test Track immediately after Park open. With two days to tour, you can easily compartmentalize the Park by touring one side each day. With one day, try to tour Future World through 11am, then head up to World Showcase to tour with light crowds until around 5pm. Then return to Future World to finish what you want to do there, starting with Living with the Land, Circle of Life, Disney Pixar Shorts, Journey into Imagination with Figment, Ellen’s Energy Adventure, and both Innoventions buildings and then move on to the likes of Mission: SPACE, The Seas with Nemo, Turtle Talk, and Character Spot. Either head back to World Showcase for dinner and IllumiNations or continue touring Future World with dinner at Sunshine Seasons. Waits at Test Track will be nearly nonexistent if you get in line around 8:55pm or you can still finish the night out with IllumiNations.

Hollywood Studios will be busy due to the evening Extra Magic Hours that are popular with Disney resort guests and the addition of a second Fantasmic, which will attract off-site guess as well. The morning will be an okay time to tour, but crowds will increase around 10am as more and more Disney resort guests arrive. Unfortunately, I’m not too fond of evening Extra Magic Hours at Hollywood Studios. There are only a few attractions open and the waits for Toy Story Mania, Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, and Star Tours will likely be just as long as they were during the day, at least until 8:30pm when people begin to give up and exit. In addition, 9,000+ people will exit Fantasmic at 7:30pm and again at 9:30pm, right as evening Extra Magic Hours gets underway. The Fantasmic Theater is located right on Sunset Boulevard, across from the entrances to Tower of Terror and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster. While not everyone seeing Fantasmic will be a Disney resort guest, many of them will be, and a ton will be headed to Tower of Tower and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster because they truly believe it’s the best time to get in line. Unfortunately, they’ll find themselves lined up with a few thousand of their new best friends. If you’re staying for evening Extra Magic Hours, your best bet is always to save these headlining attractions for the very end of the night and visit Toy Story Mania last. While you could theoretically have success if you arrive prior to Park opening and head straight for the headliners, the same will be true other days this week and you won’t have to deal with the significantly heavier afternoon and evening crowds. Yesterday or tomorrow would be significantly better.

The morning Extra Magic Hour at Magic Kingdom will lure a decent number of Disney resort guests, making the Park busier than yesterday or this past Tuesday. The later close will also attract more off-site guests than any day other than tomorrow. You can still have success provided you take advantage of the morning Extra Magic Hour by arriving no later than 7:30am and heading straight to Fantasyland or other open attractions in Tomorrowland. Move on to the headlining Mountain rides or character meet and greets when they open and you’ll be in excellent shape. However, you will find that crowds are heavier than recommended days in the afternoon. You’ll probably want to take a break from 1pm to 5pm or so and return in the evening to ride some major attractions with FastPass+, have dinner, see some high capacity attractions, and enjoy the evening spectaculars. Keep in mind that you would be much better off visiting on a recommended day if you aren’t Extra Magic Hours eligible or won’t arrive until 10am or later because it will be busier than recommended days from 11am onward. Finally, note that today should see lower average and peak waits than tomorrow due to the higher overall crowd level and local visitors pushing up attendance. If you’re not Extra Magic Hours eligible and plan to visit today, your best plan of attack is starting in Adventureland or Frontierland because those attractions won’t open until 9am and guests already inside the Park won’t have much of an advantage.

Saturday January 30

Animal Kingdom: 8am – 6:30pm (Not Recommended)

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 7am – 8am

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 8:30pm (Most Recommended)

Fantasmic: 7pm and 9pm

Star Wars Fireworks: 8pm

Magic Kingdom: 8am – 1am (Not Recommended)

Festival of Fantasy Parade: 3pm, Main Street Electrical Parade: 9pm and 11pm, Wishes Fireworks: 10pm

Animal Kingdom is not recommended with the morning Extra Magic Hour attracting resort guests and complicating morning touring. If you are Extra Magic Hours eligible and certain that you can arrive by 6:30am to take advantage of it, then you can have a tremendous amount of success touring before 10am, but the afternoon is going to be busier than recommended days. Yesterday and tomorrow are significantly better for those planning to arrive after 8am.

Epcot is recommended, though yesterday would have been better with more going on elsewhere. Still, arrive by 8:20am and you should have no trouble hitting Test Track, Sum of All Thrills, and Mission: Space first thing in the morning or whatever else you plan to do. Try to move up to World Showcase as close to 11am as possible to beat the crowds and return to Future World after 5pm after most casual vacationers have moved up for dinner and IllumiNations.

Hollywood Studios is the most recommended Park as we come off a busier day with evening Extra Magic Hours attached. Tomorrow will also be busier with morning Extra Magic Hour.  Today, Magic Kingdom will be attractive with the long hours of operation and both nighttime spectaculars and Animal Kingdom will be attracting a sizable number of resort guests with the morning Extra Magic Hour. In order to find the shortest waits, you’ll need to arrive by 8:15am and head straight to Toy Story Mania. Because of its popularity and extremely limited capacity, Toy Story Mania almost always has afternoon waits of 60 or more minutes, even when crowds are relatively low and the Studios is recommended. There’s no way around that with its limited capacity and the even more limited number of things to do with kids. It’s always your top priority. The second attraction with the longest peak wait is Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, which should be ridden immediately after Toy Story Mania in the morning or with FastPass+. Other priorities are Tower of Terror, Great Movie Ride, and Star Tours, though FastPass+ are more plentiful at both attractions and standby waits are usually lower. After you get through these four headliners, it’s just a matter of arriving in time to see the various stage shows that run on a set schedule and getting over to the Studios’ high capacity attractions. You may also have characters to visit before lines get longer. If you can, see the Star Wars fireworks followed by the second Fantasmic. While it’s officially a recommended day, arriving prior to Park opening and hitting the headliners first thing is more important than which day you pick. Arrive at 10am, no matter the recommendation or the overall crowd level, and you’ll be looking at long lines at Toy Story Mania and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster.

Saturdays are naturally the busiest day of the week at the Magic Kingdom. We have longer hours of operation, visiting locals, and a lot of vacationers who will be visiting the Magic Kingdom for a second time before returning home tomorrow. The morning Extra Magic Hour at Disney’s least popular theme park will pull a few thousand people away, but not enough to make up for everything else bringing people in. A Tuesday or Thursday would be significantly better. With that said, you can have a lot of success with the 8am open if you truly arrive no later than 7:30am and head straight for the headlining or Fantasyland attractions. The afternoon will be busier than any other day this week and you’ll either want to take a break and return for the Electrical Parade and Wishes or visit the less popular attractions from 2pm – 6pm. It’s easiest to see Main Street Electrical Parade in Frontierland or Liberty Square because the majority of people flock to Main Street. See the second Electrical Parade because it will be much less crowded than the first. The late night is also a great time to tour with short waits at most attractions after 10pm. Visit Tomorrowland with two hours to close and Fantasyland in the final hour to find much lower waits than the afternoon.

Sunday January 31

Animal Kingdom: 8am – 6:30pm (Most Recommended)

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 8pm (Not Recommended)

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Fantasmic: 7pm and 9pm

Star Wars Fireworks: 8pm

Magic Kingdom: 9am – 11pm (Recommended)

Festival of Fantasy Parade: 3pm, Main Street Electrical Parade: 8pm and 10pm, Wishes Fireworks: 9pm

Animal Kingdom is the most recommended Park. We’re coming off a popular morning Extra Magic Hour yesterday and have another tomorrow, but of which will be more popular with Disney resort guests. It’s also unlikely anyone arriving over the weekend will begin their vacation with Disney’s least popular theme park. You should be able to do just about everything the Park has to offer if you arrive prior to Park opening. With the 8am open, you can have a tremendous amount of success between 8am and 9am with virtually no waits anywhere.  Focus on riding Kilimanjaro Safaris and Expedition Everest as early as possible or use FastPass+. After getting those out of the way, move on to DinoLand USA or one of the more popular shows – either Finding Nemo the Musical or Festival of the Lion King and you’ll be set for the rest of the day. Keep in mind that crowds disperse in the afternoon and the last hour of operation will only have diminishing waits. End the day in Asia with Expedition Everest and waits will be nearly nonexistent.

Epcot is recommended, though it isn’t necessarily the best day of the week there. A Wednesday or Friday would be better with more attracting casual visitors to other Parks. Still, Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios will be attracting the majority of off-site and on-site visitors with long hours and plentiful evening entertainment. Take full advantage by arriving prior to Park opening and head straight to Test Track, followed by Sum of All Thrills, and Mission: Space’. If Character Spot is a priority, visit after 7pm when waits will be shorter than the afternoon and you won’t have to waste precious morning time. It’s also an excellent day to stay for IllumiNations and enjoy the World Showcase in the afternoon because a lot of people will have their eyes on the Electrical Parade and Fantasmic.

Hollywood Studios is not recommended. The sizable Disney resort contingent numbers 75,000+ people. Because Disney sells the Extra Magic Hour program so well in its marketing materials, many of these Disney resort guests follow the Extra Magic Hours schedule because they think it’s Disney telling them where they belong each day. While you can have success if you are Extra Magic Hours eligible and arrive by 7:15am, most people will want to visit another day. Avoid it unless you can’t visit any other day or are certain you’ll arrive by 7:15am and plan to hit Toy Story Midway Mania, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, and Star Tours first thing in the morning. Yesterday was a better day to visit with fewer complications touring in the morning.

Magic Kingdom is recommended though most people will want to wait until Tuesday to visit if they can. Today will see above average crowds with the above average overall crowd level, in addition to an increased number of locals able to visit on the weekend. Saturday is a more common arrival day than it once was and many casual vacationers prefer to start their trip at the Most Magical Place on Earth and the most popular theme park on the planet. The morning Extra Magic Hour will help lure away some Disney resort guests, but that won’t have a major impact on wait times. You can still do very well with an arrival prior to Park opening and an efficient touring plan, but the afternoon will see moderate crowds that will only get heavier as it gets later in the day. See the second Electrical Parade if you can because it will be much less crowded than the first.

Comments

  1. Andy says

    Thanks Josh!

    This will be my first January attending WDW (Usually go September and early December).
    What type of impact is the marathon going to do to Epcot and/or the other parks. I’m planning on going against the grain on the 7th and hit epcot for the EMH morning hours (plan on being out of future world by 11- because, well… you know why). And my little kiddos aren’t much for the world showcase- too young, so I can avoid that for this trip.

    But again- wanted to get your opinion and experience on which parks are effected and how.

    • Micah says

      The 5k day shouldn’t be much different than any other EMH morning due to the race getting done so early. Maybe will have some transportation delays to get there… but shouldn’t be too bad.

      We went to Epcot on the Half Marathon day (Saturday) this past January, and it took a lot longer to get to Epcot than normal because the had to bus us to the TTC, and then monorail from there… but once we were in the park the wait times were actually very low (since everyone else had a hard time getting there too).

  2. Lauren says

    So with touring plans for Jan, just stick with the regular hints that you’ve already helpfully provided?

  3. Angie says

    Another site 😉 has DHS closing at 5:00 on Jan. 28. Any idea if this is the case? I was planning on that being our HS day and doing Fantasmic that night.

  4. Kris says

    Am I doing something wrong? When I click on the .pdf of the calendar – I am only seeing the 1st page – essentially covering January 1st and 2nd. I need the last couple of days and into February – which also only seems to print the first week.
    What am I doing wrong?
    Thank you!

  5. Danielle says

    I’m desperately trying to find out if the Christmas Parade, Holiday Wishes fireworks, Elsa castle lighting will still be going on this Sunday the 3rd of January.

    I’ve been reading here that it’ll go on through the weekend and I planned my trip based on that. But nothing on the Disney site is giving me any hope. I know they are always out of the loop. I just could use some guidance.

  6. Superchikk says

    It could be just post-Christmas haze, but the actual calendar is not showing up for me. When I click it or the link to the PDF, I’m redirected to the home page. Help me, Josh. You’re my only hope!

  7. Scobon says

    Any idea why mk is open from 8-1 on the 30th ? That seems a little long for late January even for a Saturday. Also do you have a chart of wait times from MLK weekend last year?

  8. Dan says

    Looking at the waiting times today 1/11/2016; I can easily say it is not a level “1” day.

    Something has changed about the second week of January…I wish the South American economies would hurry up and collapse …I’m guessing that’s what is causing the longer lines…or maybe everyone is getting smart, reading this blog and trying to hit up “Level 1” days.

  9. Cary says

    Just wondering when you guys will release December 2016 calendar? We love using these to plan our trips.

  10. Melanie says

    I wanted to thank you for this wonderful site! Every single time I go to Disney I print out your crowd/times calendar and use it to plan my Disney vacations. We are planning a trip for the first week in January of 2017. I saw it was the same week as the Disney marathon. Since I have never been to Disney during the marathon time I have no clue on what to expect for the park crowds at that time. So I am eagerly awaiting the January 2017 calendar and was curious as to when it will be out? Again thank you so so much for all your help!!! Truly is the best calendar to plan our Disney trips!

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