January 2017 Disney World Crowd Calendar

This is the Free January 2017 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, and Nighttime Spectacular Showtimes.

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 due to special event pricing, 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 and wait times. 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 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 and Nighttime SPectacular show times at Hollywood Studios.
  • The eighth line lists the start time of the Wishes Fireworks (W:) and Once Upon A Time Castle Projection Show (OUAT:) at Magic Kingdom. For example, if you see, W: 9pm OUAT: 9:45pm, it would mean that Wishes begins at 9pm and Once Upon A Time begins at 9:45pm.

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

Click the image to enlarge it.

Above is what we’re looking at for January. The current operating schedule is available here: https://media.disneywebcontent.com/StaticFiles/ParkHours/WDW_TAC_2017Jan.pdf. and those times can be confirmed at DisneyWorld.com here: https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/calendars/ by changing the date at the top.

Sunday January 1

4 Park Crowd Level: 8 out of 10.

Heavy holiday crowds continue into the New Year though with most schools resuming January 3rd, this should be most guests’ last or second to last day. With many out late the night before, any Park works today provided you arrive prior to Park opening and tour efficiently. Now that Holidays Around the World are over, Epcot makes the most sense with Hollywood Studios also seeing low morning crowds. Things will pick up with above average wait times after 11am. Those just arriving will only find lower crowds later in the week with a dramatic drop at Magic Kingdom beginning Tuesday.

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 7pm (Recommended)

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Expected Average Wait: 25 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

On-site visitors: The morning Extra Magic Hour is of virtually no consequence given how few people will be up and at ’em at 7am this morning. Those that can arrive by 7:50am to take advantage of it are in luck though afternoon wait times will linger later into the afternoon with what will be a late arriving crowd.

Off-site visitors: The morning Extra Magic Hour complicates morning touring as you will be at a slight disadvantage, but it shouldn’t have much effect whether you want to rope drop at 9am or plan on a late arrival. This will be a quiet morning.

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Most Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

Expected Average Wait: 35 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

We’re coming off the hangover that is the busiest day of the year at Epcot, but we return to the regular 9am – 9pm schedule without the Holiday IllumiNations tag or any of the holiday festivities. Local visitors should not have a substantial impact, though wait times will be above average given the holiday crowds.

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 8pm (Recommended)

Fantasmic: 7pm, Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular Fireworks: 7:45pm

Expected Average Wait: 50 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

Nothing specific attracting anyone to the Studios though afternoon wait times will be high given the crowd level and lack of rides.

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

Wishes Fireworks: 9pm, Once Upon A Time Castle Projection Show: 9:45pm

Expected Average Wait: 40 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

Those just arriving may want to hold off on Magic Kingdom until a more-recommended weekday when wait times will be considerably less. But we’re coming off two of the busiest days of the year that will have capped off the busiest week of 2016. That means today’s lower wait times will be attractive to anyone heading out today or tomorrow. Still, touring smart from 9am-11am and/or 9pm-11pm is imperative as wait times will continue to be intolerable at the majority of attractions come noon.

Monday January 2

4 Park Crowd Level: 6 out of 10.

With most domestic schools back in session tomorrow and the start of Value Season at the Disney resorts, this should be the last day of the holiday season that we see above average crowds until things pick up again on Friday for the major marathon events.

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 7pm (Most Recommended)

Expected Average Wait: 22 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

We’re coming off a morning Extra Magic Hour yesterday and it’s unlikely that anybody leaving today will end their trip at a park that still isn’t offering Rivers of Light. Those that arrived over the weekend should also hold off on visiting Disney’s least popular theme park until at least tomorrow, opening up today. It’s also a great day for a late arrival with wait times dropping significantly after 5pm.

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Not Explicitly Recommended)

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Illuminations: 9pm

Expected Average Wait: 35 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

On-site visitors: Those that can arrive by 7:30am will find success touring during the EMH without FastPass+ bogging down standby wait times and fewer people at rope drop than usual. Afternoon waits will be a smidgen higher than recommended days, but not so much that it makes the Park “feel” much more crowded than other days. A late arrival for some attractions, dinner, and IllumiNations is also fine.

Off-site visitors: This is not an ideal rope drop for those that aren’t eligible for the morning Extra Magic Hour as anybody inside the Park will be headed to Frozen, Soarin’, and Test Track. Soarin’ will still be viable at 9am, but Frozen will already be rough and Test Track doesn’t have the capacity to keep up with the number of people interested in riding come 9:15am. Still, a late arrival is fine and those relying on FastPass+ or visiting the anytime attractions/World Showcase can still put together a fine day.

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 8pm (Recommended)

Fantasmic: 7pm, Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular Fireworks: 7:45pm

Expected Average Wait: 40 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

Hollywood Studios doesn’t have anything attracting anyone to it specifically with Fantasmic and the Star Wars Fireworks scheduled every night this month, in addition to the consistent operating hours. What you do will end up being more important than the day you do it with easy touring in the first hour and after 6:30pm. If you’re not interested in Fantasmic or Galactic Spectacular, you’ll have Toy Story Mania more or less to yourself after 7:30pm with short waits at other attractions as well.

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

Wishes Fireworks: 9pm, Once Upon A Time Castle Projection Show: 9:45pm

Expected Average Wait: 40 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

We should see elevated wait times with the number of people spending the last day of their holiday trip at Magic Kingdom. Still, wait times will be much lower than any day between December 25th and 31st and you may find that visiting Magic Kingdom makes sense in your specific situation. The fact that wait times will be considerably lower tomorrow doesn’t mean a whole lot if you’re at the airport. The 8am-10am time frame is your friend and you should be able to get more done during those two hours than you would from 9am-11am yesterday. Wait times will be short from 9pm to 12am as well. But the afternoon is best avoided unless you’re planning on collecting additional FastPass+ selections via the app or kiosk in between visiting the less popular attractions.

Tuesday January 3

4 Park Crowd Level: 4 out of 10.

Heavy crowds have continued further into the new year over the last few years, but with New Year’s Eve falling on a Saturday this year, things should ease up considerably by today. Expect below average crowds.

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

Expected Average Wait: 24 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

For whatever reason, Animal Kingdom wait times have been consistently higher on Tuesdays than you might expect. The culprit is likely reduced staffing since attendance is typically only marginally higher. With the below average crowd level, Animal Kingdom will be just fine today if you need to visit or were already planning on going. But afternoon wait times will be a bit higher – the early morning and after 5:30pm will be just fine though.

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Not Explicitly Recommended)

Evening Extra Magic Hours: 9pm – 11pm

Illuminations: 9pm

Expected Average Wait: 25 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

On-site visitors: When Epcot is hosting evening Extra Magic Hours, there is typically a slight uptick in average wait times over the course of the day, which translates to the Park being “not recommended” since you could experience shorter waits and lower crowds on another day. That’s partially offset by lower wait times at secondary attractions during the evening Extra Magic Hours themselves and the fact that attractions like Living with the Land and Journey into Imagination with Figment don’t close at 7pm like they normally do. Soarin’, Test Track, and Frozen Ever After typically see relatively high wait times during the first hour of the EMH, but wait times after 10:15pm are typically much shorter. If you’re staying for evening Extra Magic Hours, consider visiting secondary attractions or enjoying World Showcase from 9pm to 10pm and then hit the headliners in the last hour. Frozen Ever After is best when you get in line around 10:55pm as Disney will allow anyone in line before 11pm to ride regardless of how long the line is, but you do risk the attraction going down. It may be worth the risk to ride with a relatively short wait, particularly if you have another opportunity to ride.

Off-site visitors: Rope drop crowds and wait times will be similar to other days this week before 11am, but afternoon wait times and crowds will be heavier than recommended days with a similar crowd level due to the number of Disney resort guests streaming in throughout the late morning and afternoon. The day is still more than doable with an efficient touring plan and intelligent FastPass+ choices, but those not planning on taking advantage of the evening EMH may want to pick a day with shorter waits and fewer people in the Park. Dinnertime crowds will be heavier, but not necessarily prohibitive.

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 8pm (Recommended)

Fantasmic: 7pm, Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular Fireworks: 7:45pm

Expected Average Wait: 40 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

Touring will be a bit more complicated towards the end of the week with the Extra Magic Hours and Marathon crowds, making days earlier this week better choices. Still, your day will go similarly no matter which day you visit as long as you can execute a smart touring plan. That’s particularly important here at the Studios with its few rides. Afternoon waits will be on the long side, but today is more than doable if you have other plans for Magic Kingdom.

Magic Kingdom: 9am – 10pm (Most Recommended)

Wishes Fireworks: 8pm, Once Upon A Time Castle Projection Show: 8:45pm

Expected Average Wait: 30 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

This should prove to be the least crowded day since December 22nd. However, with decent operating hours and both nighttime spectaculars scheduled, today will still see average overall wait times. That includes peak waits of 60+ minutes at rides like Peter Pan’s Flight, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Space Mountain, and the like. But the morning is more than manageable and waits will drop again after 8pm. Tomorrow will see heavier crowds and similar wait times with the evening Extra Magic Hours attached.

Wednesday January 4

4 Park Crowd Level: 4 out of 10.

Overall crowds continue to be below average as we’re in between the holiday rush of the end of last year and an uptick over the coming weekend with the Marathon events.

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 7pm (Most Recommended)

Expected Average Wait: 18 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

Wednesdays usually see the lowest wait times of the week at Animal Kingdom as Magic Kingdom draws the majority of Disney resort guests. It is a bit curious that waits are noticeably lower on Wednesdays than Tuesdays or Thursdays, but that’s how it’s been shaping up. As always, 9am-11am and 5pm-7pm are your friends.

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Highly Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

Expected Average Wait: 23 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

We’re coming off two straight days with Extra Magic Hours, which should help push most Disney resort guests to visit earlier in the week. This weekend will also see some complications with many of the Marathon events taking place inside and around Epcot. Today is well above average.

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 8pm (Recommended)

Fantasmic: 7pm, Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular Fireworks: 7:45pm

Expected Average Wait: 40 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

This is another adequate day to visit the Studios with no overt complications to speak of. Each of the next two days should see higher attendance with the morning and evening Extra Magic Hours attached. Staffing should be good enough that wait times are slightly lower today and you don’t have to wake up early or stay late to take advantage of the better wait times.

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

Evening Extra Magic Hours: 10pm – 12am

Wishes Fireworks: 8pm, Once Upon A Time Castle Projection Show: 8:45pm

Expected Average Wait: 32 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

On-site visitors: With what are usually cool temperatures, the relatively late night evening Extra Magic Hours should be an excellent time to tour for those that can stay out until 12am. Expect short waits at most attractions after 9pm. As always, save Peter Pan’s Flight and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train for after 11:15pm if you can and focus on other attractions earlier in the evening. Most rides should be walk-ons by 10pm. The morning is also a great time to tour, though the afternoon will see decent wait times.

Off-site visitors: The morning will go like most others with a similar number of people present at rope drop, but wait times after 11am will be a bit higher than other recommended days. Crowds for the nighttime entertainment will also be heavier than recommended days. Today can still work, but a Tuesday or Thursday would be easier sailing.

Thursday January 5

4 Park Crowd Level: 4 out of 10.

While the runDisney 5K takes place at Epcot this morning at 6am, it should not impact daytime crowd levels or the morning experience at Epcot. Wait times are approaching average levels overall.

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

Expected Average Wait: 22 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

Animal Kingdom’s wait times have been higher on Thursdays during the “off-season” over the last year, perhaps due to lower staffing. The day is still more than manageable, but most guests will want to key in on a better day at Magic Kingdom before heavier crowds and longer wait times take over this weekend.

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Highly Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

Expected Average Wait: 22 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

With some complications surrounding the Marathon in and around Epcot this weekend, today marks the easiest day to visit until next Monday. Afternoon waits at the headliners will still be 45+ minutes, but it’s more than doable with fewer people than average present.

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

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Fantasmic: 7pm, Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular Fireworks: 7:45pm

Expected Average Wait: 42 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

On-site visitors: You can accomplish more on a morning Extra Magic Hour day than a regular opening if you actually arrive by 7:30am and take advantage of it. But only plan on visiting if you are pretty certain that you can accomplish that as you’ll be at a disadvantage if you’re inside the Park any later than 8am. Afternoon waits will be slightly higher than more-recommended days, but it isn’t like a 50-minute posted wait at Toy Story Mania is that much worse than a 45-minute wait. The evening should be similarly crowded.

Off-site visitors: A late arrival will be similar to most other days, but this is a really lousy rope drop situation in most scenarios as 2,000+ Disney resort guests will already be inside the Park by 9am, even if they don’t get there until closer to 8:45am. They’ll be clogging up lines and increasing wait times before you have any hope of arriving at a priority. It’s fine if you’re just interested in shows or lunch or something though.

Magic Kingdom: 9am – 10pm (Most Recommended)

Wishes Fireworks: 9pm, Once Upon A Time Castle Projection Show: 9:45pm

Expected Average Wait: 28 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

We’re in between yesterday’s evening Extra Magic Hours and tomorrow’s morning Extra Magic Hour, which makes today see fewer complications for off-site visitors and those unable to arrive very early or stay very late. Still, with similar operating hours and the same nighttime entertainment, the Park will be far from empty even given a below average overall crowd level. The early morning and after 8pm are the two best times to tour.

Friday January 6

4 Park Crowd Level: 5 out of 10.

The 10k runDisney race takes place at Epcot beginning at 5:30am this morning. It should not adversely affect morning crowds or afternoon wait times at Epcot or the other Parks and morning transportation should be unaffected.

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 7pm (Most Recommended)

Expected Average Wait: 16 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

We’re in business at Animal Kingdom with tomorrow’s morning Extra Magic Hour pushing resort guests to Saturday and the same operating hours as every other day this week. Those arriving for the Marathon are unlikely to begin their stay by visiting Animal Kingdom. Crowds and wait times are below average.

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

Expected Average Wait: 23 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

With nothing attracting anyone to Epcot specifically and the morning’s race over well before the Park opens, Epcot makes more sense today than it does over the weekend. Expect average wait times.

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

Evening Extra Magic Hours: 8pm – 10pm

Fantasmic: 7pm, Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular Fireworks: 7:45pm

Expected Average Wait: 45 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

On-site visitors: If it’s a cold night, crowds will thin considerably after 8:30pm. If it’s warmer, expect on-site guests to linger around for a while longer as the 8pm-10pm time frame isn’t necessarily late enough for most people to naturally head to the exit because it’s time for bed. Those that stay for the evening EMH will have the most success if they save Toy Story Mania, Tower of Terror, and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster for the final hour. Ride Star Tours a couple of times along with The Great Movie Ride from 8pm to 9pm or see Voyage of the Little Mermaid or Muppet Vision 3D. Actual waits should be under 20 minutes at all attractions by 9:15pm.

Off-site visitors: The morning will be similar to other days this week, so if you have in mind to arrive by 8:15am and tour from 9am-1pm or something before heading out then you’ll be just fine. Afternoon crowds will be heavier with more people in the Park, but wait times shouldn’t suffer excessively as capacity is ramped up at variable capacity attractions like Great Movie Ride and Star Tours. Still, shows will be a bit busier and FastPass+ harder to come by. You can still do just fine with a smart touring plan, but other recommended days should offer a better afternoon experience and the nighttime spectaculars will be considerably busier than days without evening Extra Magic Hours.

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

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Wishes Fireworks: 9pm, Once Upon A Time Castle Projection Show: 9:45pm

Expected Average Wait: 25 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

On-site visitors: Fantasyland and Tomorrowland are open during the morning EMH and the hour is a good opportunity to visit several of the headlining Fantasyland attractions in a short amount of time, particularly without FastPass+ to bog down standby waits. On-site visitors able to arrive by 7:30am may want to consider visiting, particularly if they can be elsewhere from 1pm to 7pm when wait times are a bit higher than recommended days. The evening shouldn’t be appreciably busier than other days during the week, though the weather may come into play.

Off-site visitors: This is not an ideal rope drop as thousands of Disney Resort guests will have a head start. But if you need to visit today, starting in Frontierland, Adventureland, or Liberty Square is viable and Tomorrowland won’t be too bad either. Most Fantasyland attractions are best skipped until the evening or with FastPass+. Afternoon crowds will be heavier than recommended days, but wait times shouldn’t be adversely affected with a ramp up in staffing.

Saturday January 7

4 Park Crowd Level: 6 out of 10.

Crowds are slightly above average with a lot of people in town for the Marathon events this weekend though the impact is less than you might expect given the high Disney resort occupancy. Expect to see a lot of people around the resorts and Disney Springs, but only a slight uptick in wait times and theme park crowds.

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: 9am – 7pm (Not Recommended)

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am-9am

Expected Average Wait: 25 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

On-site visitors: Ordinarily, we wouldn’t expect the morning Extra Magic Hour at Animal Kingdom to have an appreciable effect on wait times, but Saturdays at the Park have far and away seen higher wait times than any other day during the week. If you can make it here by 7:45am then you can do very well before 10am, but expect surprisingly long wait times from 11am-5pm.

Off-site visitors: Those visiting for regular rope drop will be at a disadvantage and wait times will be higher than recommended days in the afternoon. Most other days this week are better, but intelligent FastPass+ usage and staying through close can make the day work.

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

Expected Average Wait: 25 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

Wait times have been below average at Epcot on Marathon Saturday each of the last five years. Morning touring shouldn’t be compromised though the parking lot may be busier than usual. Consider taking the bus or monorail or boat or enter through International Gateway if available. There is little cause for concern once you reach the entrance.

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

Fantasmic: 7pm, Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular Fireworks: 7:45pm

Expected Average Wait: 40 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

We’re coming off two straight days with Extra Magic Hours, each of which should prove slightly more popular with Disney resort guests. The Half Marathon should also have less of an impact than Epcot or Magic Kingdom. However, with the same operating hours/nighttime entertainment as every other night and exactly five rides, decent afternoon wait times will materialize. Take advantage of the first morning hour and/or the last 90 minutes of operation. With Fantasmic and Star Wars Fireworks attracting so many people, the headliners will see short waits after 6:30pm and there will be just a handful of people in line at Toy Story Mania after 7:30pm.

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

Wishes Fireworks: 9pm, Once Upon A Time Castle Projection Show: 9:45pm

Expected Average Wait: 27 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

While the expected average wait isn’t much higher than other recommended days during the week, there will be a lot more people in the Park, which will make other facets of the day a bit more difficult to enjoy. The lack of an 8am open or later close also doesn’t help as heavier crowds will be condensed into the same operating hours as other days during the week. Still, 9am-11am and 8pm-10pm will be good times to tour and your day could go just about as swimmingly as other days during the week with an intelligent plan.

Sunday January 8

4 Park Crowd Level: 4 out of 10.

Despite thousands and thousands of people participating in this morning’s Marathon, the impact on theme park crowds and waits times is minimal.

However, 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 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: 9am – 7:30pm (Most Recommended)

Expected Average Wait: 17 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

Animal Kingdom makes a lot of sense. We’re in between two morning Extra Magic Hours that are more popular with Disney resort guests and the Park is far enough away from Epcot that runners and traffic should be less of an issue. Waits should be below average.

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Not Explicitly Recommended)

Evening Extra Magic Hours: 9pm – 11pm

Illuminations: 9pm

Expected Average Wait: 27 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

There are some complications with the Marathon running through the Park, but it shouldn’t be a major problem once you’re inside the gates. Disney has attached the evening Extra Magic Hours to give runners that get a late start a couple more hours in the Park and we can expect crowds and waits to steadily increase throughout the afternoon and evening. Morning touring should be similar to most others this week and shouldn’t necessarily be avoided if you can get here without incident via Disney transportation. But expect longer waits than recommended days from 3pm through close.

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 8pm (Recommended)

Fantasmic: 7pm, Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular Fireworks: 7:45pm

Expected Average Wait: 35 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

It’s another decent day at the Studios with the same operating hours and nighttime entertainment as every other day this week. There’s nothing specifically attracting visitors and with sections of the Park walled off, many die hard Disney fans on short Marathon vacations are likely to skip visiting.

Magic Kingdom: 9am – 8pm (Recommended)

Once Upon A Time Castle Projection Show: 7:30pm, Wishes Fireworks: 8pm

Expected Average Wait: 25 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

Wait times should prove to be lower than either yesterday or tomorrow and below average overall. The earlier close may make seeing Once Upon A Time and Wishes easier for those with children (or adults) that have trouble staying out late. On the other hand, those able to stay out until 10pm may want to consider Saturday when they’ll be able to take advantage of two hours of shorter waits after 8pm. Today, evening crowds should stick around until close.

Monday January 9

4 Park Crowd Level: 4 out of 10.

There may be some lingering crowds from the weekend Marathon, but we’re still at below average levels.

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 7:30pm (Not Recommended)

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Expected Average Wait: 20 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

On-site visitors: Those able to arrive by 7:45am may want to take advantage of nonexistent waits during the morning Extra Magic Hour and short waits continuing through 10am. The afternoon will see a slight uptick as more Disney resort guests fill the Park, but it will still be more than manageable with an intelligent touring plan and FastPass+. Wait times may linger a bit later into the evening, but expect short waits everywhere after 5:30pm.

Off-site visitors: A late arrival would be fine with the below average overall crowd level, but afternoon waits will be slightly longer than a recommended day later in the week. This obviously isn’t a great day for a regular rope drop as there will be some Disney resort guests in the Park before 9am, but it shouldn’t be that detrimental. It can come together, but it’s going to take some more work and you’ll end up waiting a few more minutes in line throughout the day.

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Most Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

Expected Average Wait: 24 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

There are no Marathon complications like there were this weekend and we’re coming off evening Extra Magic Hours yesterday, which will prove more popular with Disney resort guests. Expect below average wait times with nothing specific attracting anyone to Epcot.

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

Fantasmic: 7pm, Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular Fireworks: 7:45pm

Expected Average Wait: 42 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

It’s a bit curious that the Studios wait times are so much longer on Mondays than most other days during the week, including those with Extra Magic Hours attached. But casual vacationers continue to swarm the Park that they expect to see the strongest Star Wars presence. Longer wait times may also be indicative of reduced staffing earlier in the week.

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

Once Upon A Time Castle Projection Show: 7:30pm, Wishes Fireworks: 8pm

Expected Average Wait: 29 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

Mondays typically see higher waits at Magic Kingdom due to the number of people that travel over the weekend and elect to visit the Most Magical Place on Earth on their first full day. While wait times will be higher than recommended days later in the week with a similar crowd level, the day won’t be unmanageable overall with a similar rope drop experience and similar crowds for the evening spectaculars. Expect average to slightly above average waits from 11am-7pm.

Tuesday January 10

4 Park Crowd Level: 2 out of 10.

Crowds drop off significantly during the week as we enjoy some of the lowest crowds of the year.

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 7:30pm (Not Explicitly Recommended)

Expected Average Wait: 17 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

For whatever reason, Animal Kingdom wait times have been consistently higher on Tuesdays than you might expect. The culprit is likely reduced staffing since attendance is typically only marginally higher. With the below average crowd level, Animal Kingdom will be just fine today if you need to visit or were already planning on going. But afternoon wait times will be a bit higher – the early morning and after 5:30pm will be just fine though.

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Highly Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

Expected Average Wait: 20 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

With nothing specific attracting anyone to Epcot with the usual 9am-9pm operating hours, there’s no reason to avoid Epcot with the low overall crowd level.

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

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Fantasmic: 7pm, Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular Fireworks: 7:45pm

Expected Average Wait: 35 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

On-site visitors: You can accomplish more on a morning Extra Magic Hour day than a regular opening if you actually arrive by 7:30am and take advantage of it. But only plan on visiting if you are pretty certain that you can accomplish that as you’ll be at a disadvantage if you’re inside the Park any later than 8am. Afternoon waits will be slightly higher than more-recommended days, but it isn’t like a 50-minute posted wait at Toy Story Mania is that much worse than a 45-minute wait. The evening should be similarly crowded.

Off-site visitors: A late arrival will be similar to most other days, but this is a really lousy rope drop situation in most scenarios as 2,000+ Disney resort guests will already be inside the Park by 9am, even if they don’t get there until closer to 8:45am. They’ll be clogging up lines and increasing wait times before you have any hope of arriving at a priority. It’s fine if you’re just interested in shows or lunch or something though.

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

Once Upon A Time Castle Projection Show: 7:30pm, Wishes Fireworks: 8pm

Expected Average Wait: 26 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

Tomorrow’s evening Extra Magic Hours should prove more popular with Disney resort guests and we’re coming off of what is historically the second busiest day of the week at Magic Kingdom. With the same operating hours and evening entertainment as surrounding days and a relatively unpopular morning Extra Magic Hour at Hollywood Studios, Magic Kingdom will still see decent afternoon wait times at the headlining attractions. But it’s a better day than most others to visit the world’s most popular theme park.

Wednesday January 11

4 Park Crowd Level: 1 out of 10.

Crowds drop off significantly during the week as we enjoy some of the lowest crowds of the year.

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 7:30pm (Highly Recommended)

Expected Average Wait: 12 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

Wednesdays usually see the lowest wait times of the week at Animal Kingdom as Magic Kingdom draws the majority of Disney resort guests. It is a bit curious that waits are noticeably lower on Wednesdays than Tuesdays or Thursdays, but that’s how it’s been shaping up. As always, 9am-11am and 5:30pm-7:30pm are your friends.

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Most Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

Expected Average Wait: 20 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

Tomorrow will be more popular with Disney resort guests and we don’t have any of the complications that come with visiting Epcot on a weekend during the new Arts Festival. This is one of the two easiest days to visit this week with some of the lowest wait times.

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 8pm (Recommended)

Fantasmic: 7pm, Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular Fireworks: 7:45pm

Expected Average Wait: 30 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

This is another adequate day to visit the Studios with no overt complications to speak of. Tomorrow should see slightly higher attendance and longer wait times to go with it. Still, take advantage of low waits in the first hour of operation as well as after 6:30pm.

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

Evening Extra Magic Hours: 8pm – 10pm

Once Upon A Time Castle Projection Show: 7:30pm, Wishes Fireworks: 8pm

Expected Average Wait: 25 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

On-site visitors: The rope drop and early morning experience should be similar to most other days this week with a slight uptick in the afternoon as Disney resort guests arrive to see the nighttime entertainment and potentially stay for evening Extra Magic Hours. With the EMH running from 8pm-10pm, it isn’t late enough to dissuade the majority of people from attending, but wait times should be shorter than most of the day with the lack of FastPass+. If the weather is relatively cool, crowds and waits will also be lower. With the low overall crowd level and better staffing, today will be just fine most of the day.

Off-site visitors: Expect heavier crowds for the nighttime entertainment as Disney resort guests head in late for evening Extra Magic Hours, but the morning will be similar to other days this week and the afternoon will be far from unmanageable. One potential bonus is that fewer people will be heading to the buses/boats/monorails immediately after Wishes and Once Upon A Time since many will be staying for at least a couple of rides during the EMH. It’s not the “best” day to visit, but it’s not going to be bad enough that it’s worth specifically avoiding if you need to visit.

Thursday January 12

4 Park Crowd Level: 3 out of 10.

Crowds remain decidedly below average heading into the weekend but there is a slight uptick.

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 7:30pm (Not Explicitly Recommended)

Expected Average Wait: 16 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

Animal Kingdom’s wait times have been higher on Thursdays during the “off-season” over the last year, perhaps due to lower staffing. The day is still more than manageable, but most guests will want to key in on a better day at Magic Kingdom before heavier crowds and longer wait times take over this weekend.

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Not Explicitly Recommended)

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Illuminations: 9pm

Expected Average Wait: 22 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

On-site visitors: Those that can arrive by 7:30am will find success touring during the EMH without FastPass+ bogging down standby wait times and fewer people at rope drop than usual. Afternoon waits will be a smidgen higher than recommended days, but not so much that it makes the Park “feel” much more crowded than other days. A late arrival for some attractions, dinner, and IllumiNations is also fine.

Off-site visitors: This is not an ideal rope drop for those that aren’t eligible for the morning Extra Magic Hour as anybody inside the Park will be headed to Frozen, Soarin’, and Test Track. Soarin’ will still be viable at 9am, but Frozen will already be rough and Test Track doesn’t have the capacity to keep up with the number of people interested in riding come 9:15am. Still, a late arrival is fine and those relying on FastPass+ or visiting the anytime attractions/World Showcase can still put together a fine day.

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 8pm (Recommended)

Fantasmic: 7pm, Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular Fireworks: 7:45pm

Expected Average Wait: 33 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

Hollywood Studios doesn’t have anything attracting anyone to it specifically with Fantasmic and the Star Wars Fireworks scheduled every night this month, in addition to the consistent operating hours. What you do will end up being more important than the day you do it with easy touring in the first hour and after 6:30pm. If you’re not interested in Fantasmic or Galactic Spectacular, you’ll have Toy Story Mania more or less to yourself after 7:30pm with short waits at other attractions as well.

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

Once Upon A Time Castle Projection Show: 7:30pm, Wishes Fireworks: 8pm

Expected Average Wait: 25 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

We’re in between yesterday’s evening Extra Magic Hours and tomorrow’s morning Extra Magic Hour, which makes today see fewer complications for off-site visitors and those unable to arrive very early or stay late. Still, with similar operating hours and the same nighttime entertainment, the Park will be far from empty even given a below average overall crowd level. The early morning is your best bet though evening crowds won’t approach “crazy.”

Friday January 13

4 Park Crowd Level: 3 out of 10.

Despite the Monday holiday, the Friday that precedes it sees surprisingly light crowds. Whatever Park you visit today will be considerably less crowded than any time over the next three days. So even though Magic Kingdom isn’t explicitly recommended today, it may still be your best option, particularly if you can take advantage of the full morning Extra Magic Hour.

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 7:30pm (Most Recommended)

Expected Average Wait: 13 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

We’re in business at Animal Kingdom with tomorrow’s morning Extra Magic Hour pushing resort guests to Saturday and the same operating hours as every other day this week. Those arriving for Martin Luther King Jr. Weekend are unlikely to begin their stay by visiting Animal Kingdom. Crowds and wait times are below average.

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

Expected Average Wait: 20 minutes

This is the first day of Epcot’s Festival of the Arts, but it shouldn’t have much of an impact on crowds in the Park and today will be significantly less busy than either of the next two days, making it the best day of the weekend to attend the event if you have interest. If you’d prefer to visit without any of the festivities “getting in the way,” then any of the previous few days would be fine even if they are not explicitly recommended. But the Arts Festival should add some interesting things to look at around World Showcase and shouldn’t adversely affect Future World wait times whatsoever. World Showcase and the IllumiNations crowd will be a little heavier than they would be otherwise, but it’s still easily manageable.

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

Evening Extra Magic Hours: 8pm – 10pm

Fantasmic: 7pm, Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular Fireworks: 7:45pm

Expected Average Wait: 45 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

On-site visitors: If it’s a cold night, crowds will thin considerably after 8:30pm. If it’s warmer, expect on-site guests to linger around for a while longer as the 8pm-10pm time frame isn’t necessarily late enough for most people to naturally head to the exit because it’s time for bed. Those that stay for the evening EMH will have the most success if they save Toy Story Mania, Tower of Terror, and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster for the final hour. Ride Star Tours a couple of times along with The Great Movie Ride from 8pm to 9pm or see Voyage of the Little Mermaid or Muppet Vision 3D. Actual waits should be under 20 minutes at all attractions by 9:15pm.

Off-site visitors: The morning will be similar to other days this week, so if you have in mind to arrive by 8:15am and tour from 9am-1pm or something before heading out then you’ll be just fine. Afternoon crowds will be heavier with more people in the Park, but wait times shouldn’t suffer excessively as capacity is ramped up at variable capacity attractions like Great Movie Ride and Star Tours. Still, shows will be a bit busier and FastPass+ harder to come by. You can still do just fine with a smart touring plan, but other recommended days should offer a better afternoon experience and the nighttime spectaculars will be considerably busier than days without evening Extra Magic Hours.

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

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Upon A Time Castle Projection Show: 7:30pm, Wishes: 10pm

Expected Average Wait: 25 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

On-site visitors: Fantasyland and Tomorrowland are open during the morning EMH and the hour is a good opportunity to visit several of the headlining Fantasyland attractions in a short amount of time, particularly without FastPass+ bogging down standby waits. On-site visitors able to arrive by 7:30am may want to consider visiting, particularly if they can be elsewhere from 1pm to 7pm when wait times are a bit higher than recommended days. With the relatively late close, wait times will drop significantly after 9pm. So while the Park is “not explicitly recommended,” you can have a tremendous amount of success if you can do 8am-11am and 8pm-11pm.

Off-site visitors: This is not an ideal rope drop as thousands of Disney Resort guests will have a head start. But if you need to visit today, starting in Frontierland, Adventureland, or Liberty Square is viable and Tomorrowland won’t be too bad either. Most Fantasyland attractions are best skipped until the evening or with FastPass+. Afternoon crowds will be heavier than recommended days, but wait times shouldn’t be adversely affected with a ramp up in staffing. Stay through close if you can because waits will be much shorter after Wishes.

Saturday January 14

4 Park Crowd Level: 8 out of 10.

We see a big jump in crowds and wait times for Martin Luther King Jr. Weekend.

Animal Kingdom 9am – 7:30pm (Not Recommended)

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am-9am

Expected Average Wait: 35 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

On-site visitors: Ordinarily, we wouldn’t expect the morning Extra Magic Hour at Animal Kingdom to have an appreciable effect on wait times, but Saturdays at the Park have far and away seen higher wait times than any other day during the week. If you can make it here by 7:45am then you can do very well before 10am, but expect surprisingly long wait times from 11am-5pm.

Off-site visitors: Those visiting for regular rope drop will be at a disadvantage and wait times will be higher than recommended days in the afternoon. Most other days this week are better, but intelligent FastPass+ usage and staying through close can make the day work.

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Not Explicitly Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

Expected Average Wait: 35 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

Epcot is not recommended for the first Saturday that the Park is hosting the new Arts Festival. While the Festival itself should not prove to boost attendance significantly, wait times have been higher at Epcot on most Saturdays over the last year with an increase in local visitors. You’re also more likely to run into a rowdier experience in World Showcase with the heavier amount of alcohol served. Future World crowds should remain manageable, but expect higher than average wait times given the high overall crowd level.

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

Fantasmic: 7pm, Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular Fireworks: 7:45pm

Expected Average Wait: 50 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

We’re coming off evening Extra Magic Hours yesterday and have another morning Extra Magic Hour tomorrow, each of which should prove slightly more popular with Disney resort guests. However, with the same operating hours/nighttime entertainment as every other night and exactly five rides, decent afternoon wait times will materialize given the high crowd level. Take advantage of the first morning hour and/or the last 90 minutes of operation. With Fantasmic and Star Wars Fireworks attracting so many people, the headliners will see short waits after 6:30pm and there will be just a handful of people in line at Toy Story Mania after 7:30pm.

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

Upon A Time Castle Projection Show: 7:30pm, Wishes: 9pm

Expected Average Wait: 35 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

It’s a Saturday during a holiday weekend at the world’s most popular theme park, which means wait times will be well above average. The early morning and period after Wishes will still be good times to tour, but we’re talking about a lot of people in the Park and above average wait times from 11am-7pm. Those able to visit on a weekday are better served and tomorrow should also see shorter waits.

Sunday January 15

4 Park Crowd Level: 7 out of 10.

There’s a bit of a drop in crowds and wait times today, probably due to an above average number of people arriving and departing, but we’re still caught in the middle of a busy holiday weekend.

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 7:30pm (Most Recommended)

Expected Average Wait: 30 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

Animal Kingdom makes a lot of sense as we’re in between two morning Extra Magic Hours that are more popular with Disney resort guests. With the above average overall crowd level, afternoon wait times will still be relatively high, but you can do very well from 9am-10:30am and 5:30pm-7:30pm. Overall waits should be lower than yesterday or tomorrow.

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Tentatively Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

Expected Average Wait: 32 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

Epcot will see a slight uptick in crowds for the Arts Festival and the holiday weekend, but it should be far more manageable than yesterday and the effect on Future World should be even less. Those that don’t have interest in the Festival may want to hold off until Wednesday when it’s not an issue, but wait times will be relatively reasonable given the above average crowd level.

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

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Fantasmic: 7pm, Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular Fireworks: 7:45pm

Expected Average Wait: 55 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

On-site visitors: You can accomplish more on a morning Extra Magic Hour day than a regular opening if you actually arrive by 7:30am and take advantage of it. But only plan on visiting if you are pretty certain that you can accomplish that as you’ll be at a disadvantage if you’re inside the Park any later than 8am. With the high overall crowd level, the Studios will likely be overwhelmed in the afternoon with the few rides still operating given more Disney resort guests in the Park. You’ll probably want to be on your way by 1pm or have plans to use FastPass+ and see some of the high capacity shows/attractions.

Off-site visitors: This is a really lousy rope drop situation in most scenarios as 2,000+ Disney resort guests will already be inside the Park by 9am, even if they don’t get there until closer to 8:45am. They’ll be clogging up lines and increasing wait times before you have any hope of arriving at a priority. You could show up later to do a couple of things with FastPass+ and potentially see a couple of shows, but expect long wait times and a lot of crowding in common areas.

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

Upon A Time Castle Projection Show: 7:30pm, Wishes: 10pm

Expected Average Wait: 32 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

While we’re in the midst of above average holiday crowds, Magic Kingdom should see fewer people and lower waits than either yesterday or tomorrow and is thus recommended. Still, afternoon waits will be long and the late night is your friend for those that can take advantage of short waits at most attractions after 9pm. Those that can wait until Tuesday may want to do so as the lower crowd level means lower wait times.

Monday January 16

4 Park Crowd Level: 7 out of 10.

Above average crowds continue with the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 7:30pm (Not Recommended)

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Expected Average Wait: 35 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

On-site visitors: Those able to arrive by 7:45am may want to take advantage of nonexistent waits during the morning Extra Magic Hour and short waits continuing through 10am. The afternoon will see a slight uptick as more Disney resort guests fill the Park, but it won’t be that much worse than other days over the weekend. Expect waits to linger a bit later into the evening with short waits at most attractions after 6pm.

Off-site visitors: A late arrival would be okay with FastPass+ and reasonable expectations about what you can accomplish, but standby waits will be long from 11am-5pm with the above average overall crowd level. If you do arrive late, strongly consider staying through close to take advantage of the shorter wait times after 6pm.

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Most Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

Expected Average Wait: 28 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

Tomorrow should prove more popular with Disney resort guests with evening Extra Magic Hours attached and the Arts Festival is much less of a concern than it would be on a Saturday or Sunday. Wednesday is the best day to visit for relatively short waits and no complications from the Festival for those that want to avoid it entirely. Today is the best day to visit for those that do want to check out what the Festival has to offer.

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

Fantasmic: 7pm, Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular Fireworks: 7:45pm

Expected Average Wait: 52 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

It’s a bit curious that the Studios wait times are so much longer on Mondays than most other days during the week, including those with Extra Magic Hours attached. But casual vacationers continue to swarm the Park that they expect to see the strongest Star Wars presence. Longer wait times may also be indicative of reduced staffing earlier in the week.

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

Once Upon A Time Castle Projection Show: 7:30pm, Wishes Fireworks: 9pm

Expected Average Wait: 29 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

Mondays typically see higher waits at Magic Kingdom due to the number of people that travel over the weekend and elect to visit the Most Magical Place on Earth on their first full day. We also have the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday driving crowds higher. Anybody that can hold off until tomorrow or Thursday is better off, but today is still manageable with an intelligent touring plan and reasonable expectations about what can be accomplished given elevated wait times from 11am-7pm.

Tuesday January 17

4 Park Crowd Level: 3 out of 10.

We enjoy a big drop in crowds after the weekend holiday.

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 7:30pm (Recommended)

Expected Average Wait: 13 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

With the drop in crowd level, Animal Kingdom will be just fine today as we come off a more popular morning Extra Magic Hour yesterday. While the Park won’t see anything close to peak level staffing, crowds should be low enough that it’s not much of an issue from waits at attractions to restaurants or quick services.

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Not Explicitly Recommended)

Evening Extra Magic Hours: 9pm – 11pm

Illuminations: 9pm

Expected Average Wait: 22 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

On-site visitors: When Epcot is hosting evening Extra Magic Hours, there is typically a slight uptick in average wait times over the course of the day, which translates to the Park being “not explicitly recommended” since you could experience shorter waits and lower crowds on another day. That’s partially offset by lower wait times at secondary attractions during the evening Extra Magic Hours themselves and the fact that attractions like Living with the Land and Journey into Imagination with Figment don’t close at 7pm like they normally do. Soarin’, Test Track, and Frozen Ever After typically see relatively high wait times during the first hour of the EMH, but wait times after 10:15pm are typically much shorter. If you’re staying for evening Extra Magic Hours, consider visiting secondary attractions or enjoying World Showcase from 9pm to 10pm and then hit the headliners in the last hour. Frozen Ever After is best when you get in line around 10:55pm as Disney will allow anyone in line before 11pm to ride regardless of how long the line is, but you do risk the attraction going down. It may be worth the risk to ride with a relatively short wait, particularly if you have another opportunity to ride.

Off-site visitors: Rope drop crowds and wait times will be similar to other days this week before 11am, but afternoon wait times and crowds will be heavier than recommended days with a similar crowd level due to the number of Disney resort guests streaming in throughout the late morning and afternoon. The day is still more than doable with an efficient touring plan and intelligent FastPass+ choices, but those not planning on taking advantage of the evening EMH may want to pick a day with shorter waits and fewer people in the Park. Dinnertime crowds will be heavier, but not necessarily prohibitive.

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

Fantasmic: 7pm, Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular Fireworks: 7:45pm

Expected Average Wait: 30 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

Hollywood Studios is the most recommended Park with nothing specific attracting anyone and nearby Epcot proving more popular with Disney resort guests. However, with the same operating hours and nighttime entertainment as every other day this week, wait times will be moderate in the afternoon with the few rides in the Park. Take advantage of the first hour and last 90 minutes of operation.

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

Once Upon A Time Castle Projection Show: 7:30pm, Wishes Fireworks: 8pm

Expected Average Wait: 27 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

Tomorrow’s evening Extra Magic Hours should prove more popular with Disney resort guests and we’re coming off of what is historically the second busiest day of the week at Magic Kingdom, in addition to the heavier holiday crowds. It’s a better day than most others to visit the world’s most popular theme park with below average wait times.

Wednesday January 18

4 Park Crowd Level: 1 out of 10.

Crowds drop off significantly during the week as we enjoy some of the lowest crowds of the year.

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 7:30pm (Highly Recommended)

Expected Average Wait: 12 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

Wednesdays usually see the lowest wait times of the week at Animal Kingdom as Magic Kingdom draws the majority of Disney resort guests. As always, 9am-11am and 5:30pm-7:30pm are your friends.

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Most Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

Expected Average Wait: 22 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

Tomorrow will be more popular with Disney resort guests and we don’t have any of the complications that come with visiting Epcot on a weekend during the new Arts Festival. This is one of the two easiest days to visit this week with some of the lowest wait times.

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 8pm (Recommended)

Fantasmic: 7pm, Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular Fireworks: 7:45pm

Expected Average Wait: 30 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

This is another adequate day to visit the Studios with no overt complications to speak of. Tomorrow should see slightly higher attendance and longer wait times to go with it. Still, take advantage of low waits in the first hour of operation as well as after 6:30pm.

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

Evening Extra Magic Hours: 8pm – 10pm

Once Upon A Time Castle Projection Show: 7:30pm, Wishes Fireworks: 8pm

Expected Average Wait: 25 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

On-site visitors: The rope drop and early morning experience should be similar to most other days this week with a slight uptick in the afternoon as Disney resort guests arrive to see the nighttime entertainment and potentially stay for evening Extra Magic Hours. With the EMH running from 8pm-10pm, it isn’t late enough to dissuade the majority of people from attending, but wait times should be shorter than most of the day with the lack of FastPass+. If the weather is relatively cool, crowds and waits will also be lower. With the low overall crowd level and better staffing, today will be just fine most of the day.

Off-site visitors: Expect heavier crowds for the nighttime entertainment as Disney resort guests head in late for evening Extra Magic Hours, but the morning will be similar to other days this week and the afternoon will be far from unmanageable. One potential bonus is that fewer people will be heading to the buses/boats/monorails immediately after Wishes and Once Upon A Time since many will be staying for at least a couple of rides during the EMH. It’s not the “best” day to visit, but it’s not going to be bad enough that it’s worth specifically avoiding if you need to visit.

Thursday January 19

4 Park Crowd Level: 3 out of 10.

There’s a slight uptick in crowds heading into the weekend but we’re still decidedly below average.

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 7:30pm (Not Explicitly Recommended)

Expected Average Wait: 16 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

Animal Kingdom’s wait times have been higher on Thursdays during the “off-season” over the last year, perhaps due to lower staffing. The day is still more than manageable, but most guests will want to key in on a better day at Magic Kingdom before heavier crowds and longer wait times take over this weekend.

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Not Explicitly Recommended)

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Illuminations: 9pm

Expected Average Wait: 24 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

On-site visitors: Those that can arrive by 7:30am will find success touring during the EMH without FastPass+ bogging down standby wait times and fewer people at rope drop than usual. Afternoon waits will be a smidgen higher than recommended days, but not so much that it makes the Park “feel” much more crowded than other days. A late arrival for some attractions, dinner, and IllumiNations is also fine.

Off-site visitors: This is not an ideal rope drop for those that aren’t eligible for the morning Extra Magic Hour as anybody inside the Park will be headed to Frozen, Soarin’, and Test Track. Soarin’ will still be viable at 9am, but Frozen will already be rough and Test Track doesn’t have the capacity to keep up with the number of people interested in riding come 9:15am. Still, a late arrival is fine and those relying on FastPass+ or visiting the anytime attractions/World Showcase can still put together a fine day.

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 8pm (Recommended)

Fantasmic: 7pm, Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular Fireworks: 7:45pm

Expected Average Wait: 34 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

Hollywood Studios doesn’t have anything attracting anyone to it specifically with Fantasmic and the Star Wars Fireworks scheduled every night this month, in addition to the consistent operating hours. What you do will end up being more important than the day you do it with easy touring in the first hour and after 6:30pm. If you’re not interested in Fantasmic or Galactic Spectacular, you’ll have Toy Story Mania more or less to yourself after 7:30pm with short waits at other attractions as well.

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

Once Upon A Time Castle Projection Show: 7:30pm, Wishes Fireworks: 8pm

Expected Average Wait: 24 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

We’re in between yesterday’s evening Extra Magic Hours and tomorrow’s morning Extra Magic Hour, which makes today see fewer complications for off-site visitors and those unable to arrive very early or stay late. Still, with similar operating hours and the same nighttime entertainment, the Park will be far from empty even given a below average overall crowd level. The early morning is your best bet though evening crowds won’t approach “crazy.”

Friday January 20

4 Park Crowd Level: 3 out of 10.

Saturdays and Sundays during January are typically much more crowded than weekdays, making whichever Park you decide to visit today significantly less crowded than it would be either of the next two days due to the lower crowd level. While the Park you’re planning on visiting may not be the “most recommended” today, it may still make sense to prioritize it over choosing a “more recommended” day on Saturday or Sunday that will end up being busier. There’s really no getting around that when you’re talking about so many more people.

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 7:30pm (Most Recommended)

Expected Average Wait: 13 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

We’re in business at Animal Kingdom with tomorrow’s morning Extra Magic Hour pushing resort guests to Saturday and the same operating hours as every other day this week.

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

Expected Average Wait: 20 minutes

This is the first day of this weekend’s Festival of the Arts, but it shouldn’t have much of an impact on crowds in the Park and today will be significantly less busy than either of the next two days, making it the best day of the weekend to attend the event if you have interest. If you’d prefer to visit without any of the festivities “getting in the way,” then any of the previous few days would be fine even if they are not explicitly recommended. But the Arts Festival should add some interesting things to look at around World Showcase and shouldn’t adversely affect Future World wait times whatsoever. World Showcase and the IllumiNations crowd will be a little heavier than they would be otherwise, but it’s still easily manageable.

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

Evening Extra Magic Hours: 8pm – 10pm

Fantasmic: 7pm, Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular Fireworks: 7:45pm

Expected Average Wait: 45 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

On-site visitors: If it’s a cold night, crowds will thin considerably after 8:30pm. If it’s warmer, expect on-site guests to linger around for a while longer as the 8pm-10pm time frame isn’t necessarily late enough for most people to naturally head to the exit because it’s time for bed. Those that stay for the evening EMH will have the most success if they save Toy Story Mania, Tower of Terror, and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster for the final hour. Ride Star Tours a couple of times along with The Great Movie Ride from 8pm to 9pm or see Voyage of the Little Mermaid or Muppet Vision 3D. Actual waits should be under 20 minutes at all attractions by 9:15pm.

Off-site visitors: The morning will be similar to other days this week, so if you have in mind to arrive by 8:15am and tour from 9am-1pm or something before heading out then you’ll be just fine. Afternoon crowds will be heavier with more people in the Park, but wait times shouldn’t suffer excessively as capacity is ramped up at variable capacity attractions like Great Movie Ride and Star Tours. Still, shows will be a bit busier and FastPass+ harder to come by. You can still do just fine with a smart touring plan, but other recommended days should offer a better afternoon experience and the nighttime spectaculars will be considerably busier than days without evening Extra Magic Hours.

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

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Upon A Time Castle Projection Show: 7:30pm, Wishes: 8pm

Expected Average Wait: 25 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

On-site visitors: Fantasyland and Tomorrowland are open during the morning EMH and the hour is a good opportunity to visit several of the headlining Fantasyland attractions in a short amount of time, particularly without FastPass+ bogging down standby waits. On-site visitors able to arrive by 7:30am may want to consider visiting, particularly if they can be elsewhere from 1pm to 7pm when wait times are a bit higher than recommended days. Wait times will also be reasonable from 7pm through close with crowds thinning considerably after 8pm. So while the Park is “not explicitly recommended,” you can have a tremendous amount of success if you can do 8am-11am,

Off-site visitors: This is not an ideal rope drop as thousands of Disney Resort guests will have a head start. But if you need to visit today, starting in Frontierland, Adventureland, or Liberty Square is viable and Tomorrowland won’t be too bad either. Most Fantasyland attractions are best skipped until the evening or with FastPass+. Afternoon crowds will be heavier than recommended days, but wait times shouldn’t be adversely affected with a ramp up in staffing. Stay through close if you can because waits will be much shorter after Wishes. Tomorrow will see much heavier crowds and longer wait times.

Saturday January 21

4 Park Crowd Level: 6 out of 10.

We see a significant increase in overall crowd level on Saturdays and Sundays in January as local visitors fill the Parks.

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 7:30pm (Not Recommended)

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am-9am

Expected Average Wait: 22 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

On-site visitors: Ordinarily, we wouldn’t expect the morning Extra Magic Hour at Animal Kingdom to have an appreciable effect on wait times, but Saturdays at the Park have far and away seen higher wait times than any other day during the week. If you can make it here by 7:45am then you can do very well before 10am, but expect surprisingly long wait times from 11am-5pm.

Off-site visitors: Those visiting for regular rope drop will be at a disadvantage and wait times will be higher than recommended days in the afternoon. Most other days this week are better, but intelligent FastPass+ usage and staying through close can make the day work.

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Not Explicitly Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

Expected Average Wait: 25 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

While the Arts Festival itself should not prove to boost attendance significantly, wait times have been higher at Epcot on most Saturdays over the last year with an increase in local visitors. You’re also more likely to run into a rowdier experience in World Showcase with the heavier amount of alcohol served. Future World crowds should remain manageable, but expect higher than average wait times and a more congested experience in World Showcase. It’s still more than doable with an intelligent touring plan and the drinking and shenanigans in World Showcase can be fun if you appreciate the atmosphere.

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

Fantasmic: 7pm, Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular Fireworks: 7:45pm

Expected Average Wait: 40 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

We’re coming off evening Extra Magic Hours yesterday and have a morning Extra Magic Hour tomorrow, each of which should prove more popular with Disney resort guests. However, with the same operating hours/nighttime entertainment as every other night and exactly five rides, decent afternoon wait times will materialize. Take advantage of the first morning hour and/or the last 90 minutes of operation. With Fantasmic and Star Wars Fireworks attracting so many people, the headliners will see short waits after 6:30pm and there will be just a handful of people in line at Toy Story Mania after 7:30pm.

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

Upon A Time Castle Projection Show: 7:30pm, Wishes: 10pm

Expected Average Wait: 28 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

While the expected average wait isn’t much higher than other recommended days during the week, there will be a lot more people in the Park, which will make other facets of the day a bit more difficult to enjoy. The lack of an 8am open or later close also doesn’t help as heavier crowds will be condensed into shorter operating hours. Still, 9am-11am and 9pm-11pm will be good times to tour and your day could go just about as swimmingly as other days during the week with an intelligent plan.

Sunday January 22

4 Park Crowd Level: 6 out of 10.

Above average weekend crowds continue.

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 7:30pm (Most Recommended)

Expected Average Wait: 19 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

Animal Kingdom makes a lot of sense as we’re in between two morning Extra Magic Hours that are more popular with Disney resort guests. With the above average overall crowd level, afternoon wait times will still be relatively high, but you can do very well from 9am-10:30am and 5:30pm-7:30pm. Overall waits should be lower than yesterday or tomorrow.

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Tentatively Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

Expected Average Wait: 23 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

Epcot will see a slight uptick in crowds for the Arts Festival, but it should be far more manageable than yesterday and the effect on Future World should be even less. Those that don’t have interest in the Festival may want to hold off until Wednesday when it’s not an issue, but wait times will be relatively reasonable given the above average crowd level.

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

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Fantasmic: 7pm, Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular Fireworks: 7:45pm

Expected Average Wait: 45 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

On-site visitors: You can accomplish more on a morning Extra Magic Hour day than a regular opening if you actually arrive by 7:30am and take advantage of it. But only plan on visiting if you are pretty certain that you can accomplish that as you’ll be at a disadvantage if you’re inside the Park any later than 8am. Afternoon waits will be slightly higher than more-recommended days, but it isn’t like a 50-minute posted wait at Toy Story Mania is that much worse than a 45-minute wait. The evening should be similarly crowded.

Off-site visitors: This is a really lousy rope drop situation in most scenarios as 2,000+ Disney resort guests will already be inside the Park by 9am, even if they don’t get there until closer to 8:45am. They’ll be clogging up lines and increasing wait times before you have any hope of arriving at a priority. You could show up later to do a couple of things with FastPass+ and potentially see a couple of shows, but expect long wait times and a lot of crowding in common areas.

Magic Kingdom: 9am – 10pm (Tentatively Recommended)

Upon A Time Castle Projection Show: 7:30pm, Wishes: 9pm

Expected Average Wait: 26 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

Wait times should prove to be lower than either yesterday or tomorrow and right around average overall. The later close than most weekdays will also provide two good hours of touring in the evening after 8pm, in addition to what will be the usual morning rope drop. Overall crowds will be lower later in the week and wait times lower regardless of recommendation because of it, so you may want to hold off for a couple of days. But if you’re looking for a day to visit around now, today is as good or better than the alternatives.

Monday January 23

4 Park Crowd Level: 4 out of 10.

Crowds return to below average levels, though the Magic Kingdom wait times and crowds move us up to a “4” from what would otherwise be much closer to a “3.”

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 7:30pm (Not Recommended)

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Expected Average Wait: 20 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

On-site visitors: Those able to arrive by 7:45am may want to take advantage of nonexistent waits during the morning Extra Magic Hour and short waits continuing through 10am. The afternoon will see a slight uptick as more Disney resort guests fill the Park, but it will still be more than manageable with an intelligent touring plan and FastPass+. Wait times may linger a bit later into the evening, but expect short waits everywhere after 5:30pm.

Off-site visitors: A late arrival would be fine with the below average overall crowd level, but afternoon waits will be slightly longer than a recommended day later in the week. This obviously isn’t a great day for a regular rope drop as there will be some Disney resort guests in the Park before 9am, but it shouldn’t be that detrimental. It can come together, but it’s going to take some more work and you’ll end up waiting a few more minutes in line throughout the day.

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Most Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

Expected Average Wait: 23 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

Tomorrow should prove more popular with Disney resort guests with evening Extra Magic Hours attached and the Arts Festival is much less of a concern than it would be on a Saturday or Sunday. Wednesday is the best day to visit for relatively short waits and no complications from the Festival for those that want to avoid it entirely. Today is the best day to visit for those that do want to check out what the Festival has to offer.

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

Fantasmic: 7pm, Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular Fireworks: 7:45pm

Expected Average Wait: 42 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

It’s a bit curious that the Studios wait times are so much longer on Mondays than most other days during the week, including those with Extra Magic Hours attached. But casual vacationers continue to swarm the Park that they expect to see the strongest Star Wars presence. Longer wait times may also be indicative of reduced staffing earlier in the week.

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

Once Upon A Time Castle Projection Show: 7:30pm, Wishes Fireworks: 8pm

Expected Average Wait: 27 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

Mondays typically see higher waits at Magic Kingdom due to the number of people that travel over the weekend and elect to visit the Most Magical Place on Earth on their first full day. While wait times will be higher than recommended days later in the week with a similar crowd level, the day won’t be unmanageable overall with a similar rope drop experience and similar crowds for the evening spectaculars. Expect average to slightly above average waits from 11am-7pm.

Tuesday January 24

4 Park Crowd Level: 3 out of 10.

We enjoy a big drop in crowds as this is one of the least crowded times of the year, particularly with lower South American attendance.

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 7:30pm (Recommended)

Expected Average Wait: 13 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

With the drop in crowd level, Animal Kingdom will be just fine today as we come off a more popular morning Extra Magic Hour yesterday. While the Park won’t see anything close to peak level staffing, crowds should be low enough that it’s not much of an issue from waits at attractions to restaurants or quick services.

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Not Explicitly Recommended)

Evening Extra Magic Hours: 9pm – 11pm

Illuminations: 9pm

Expected Average Wait: 22 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

On-site visitors: When Epcot is hosting evening Extra Magic Hours, there is typically a slight uptick in average wait times over the course of the day, which translates to the Park being “not explicitly recommended” since you could experience shorter waits and lower crowds on another day. That’s partially offset by lower wait times at secondary attractions during the evening Extra Magic Hours themselves and the fact that attractions like Living with the Land and Journey into Imagination with Figment don’t close at 7pm like they normally do. Soarin’, Test Track, and Frozen Ever After typically see relatively high wait times during the first hour of the EMH, but wait times after 10:15pm are typically much shorter. If you’re staying for evening Extra Magic Hours, consider visiting secondary attractions or enjoying World Showcase from 9pm to 10pm and then hit the headliners in the last hour. Frozen Ever After is best when you get in line around 10:55pm as Disney will allow anyone in line before 11pm to ride regardless of how long the line is, but you do risk the attraction going down. It may be worth the risk to ride with a relatively short wait, particularly if you have another opportunity to ride.

Off-site visitors: Rope drop crowds and wait times will be similar to other days this week before 11am, but afternoon wait times and crowds will be heavier than recommended days with a similar crowd level due to the number of Disney resort guests streaming in throughout the late morning and afternoon. The day is still more than doable with an efficient touring plan and intelligent FastPass+ choices, but those not planning on taking advantage of the evening EMH may want to pick a day with shorter waits and fewer people in the Park. Dinnertime crowds will be heavier, but not necessarily prohibitive.

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

Fantasmic: 7pm, Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular Fireworks: 7:45pm

Expected Average Wait: 30 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

Hollywood Studios is the most recommended Park with nothing specific attracting anyone and nearby Epcot proving more popular with Disney resort guests. However, with the same operating hours and nighttime entertainment as every other day this week, wait times will be moderate in the afternoon with the few rides in the Park. Take advantage of the first hour and last 90 minutes of operation.

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

Once Upon A Time Castle Projection Show: 7:30pm, Wishes Fireworks: 8pm

Expected Average Wait: 26 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

Tomorrow’s evening Extra Magic Hours should prove more popular with Disney resort guests and we’re coming off of what is historically the second busiest day of the week at Magic Kingdom, in addition to the heavier weekend crowds. It’s a better day than most others to visit the world’s most popular theme park with below average wait times.

Wednesday January 25

4 Park Crowd Level: 2 out of 10.

Crowds drop off significantly during the week as we enjoy some of the lowest crowds of the year.

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 7:30pm (Highly Recommended)

Expected Average Wait: 12 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

Wednesdays usually see the lowest wait times of the week at Animal Kingdom as Magic Kingdom draws the majority of Disney resort guests. As always, 9am-11am and 5:30pm-7:30pm are your friends.

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Most Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

Expected Average Wait: 19 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

Tomorrow will be more popular with Disney resort guests and we don’t have any of the complications that come with visiting Epcot on a weekend during the new Arts Festival. This is one of the two easiest days to visit this week with some of the lowest wait times.

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 8pm (Recommended)

Fantasmic: 7pm, Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular Fireworks: 7:45pm

Expected Average Wait: 30 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

This is another adequate day to visit the Studios with no overt complications to speak of. Tomorrow should see slightly higher attendance and longer wait times to go with it. Still, take advantage of low waits in the first hour of operation as well as after 6:30pm.

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

Evening Extra Magic Hours: 8pm – 10pm

Once Upon A Time Castle Projection Show: 7:30pm, Wishes Fireworks: 8pm

Expected Average Wait: 26 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

On-site visitors: The rope drop and early morning experience should be similar to most other days this week with a slight uptick in the afternoon as Disney resort guests arrive to see the nighttime entertainment and potentially stay for evening Extra Magic Hours. With the EMH running from 8pm-10pm, it isn’t late enough to dissuade the majority of people from attending, but wait times should be shorter than most of the day with the lack of FastPass+. If the weather is relatively cool, crowds and waits will also be lower. With the low overall crowd level and better staffing, today will be just fine most of the day.

Off-site visitors: Expect heavier crowds for the nighttime entertainment as Disney resort guests head in late for evening Extra Magic Hours, but the morning will be similar to other days this week and the afternoon will be far from unmanageable. One potential bonus is that fewer people will be heading to the buses/boats/monorails immediately after Wishes and Once Upon A Time since many will be staying for at least a couple of rides during the EMH. It’s not the “best” day to visit, but it’s not going to be bad enough that it’s worth specifically avoiding if you need to visit.

Friday January 27

4 Park Crowd Level: 6 out of 10.

Crowds increase to above average heading into what is historically a busy final weekend in January. The Pro Bowl festivities also begin today with a parade in Magic Kingdom. The Pro Bowl, which is arguably the worst football game of the year (that the Browns aren’t playing in anyway), shouldn’t have a dramatic impact on theme park crowds or wait times. Orlando hosts a variety of bowl games and other major events that bring the same or more people to the area.

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 7:30pm (Recommended)

Expected Average Wait: 25 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

We’re in business at Animal Kingdom with tomorrow’s morning Extra Magic Hour pushing resort guests to Saturday and the same operating hours as every other day this week. With the above average overall crowd level, afternoon wait times will be on the long side at the majority of the rides, but those able to stay through 7:30pm should find much shorter waits in the last 90 minutes of operation.

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Most Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

Expected Average Wait: 28 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

This is the first day of the weekend’s Festival of the Arts, but it shouldn’t have much of an impact on crowds in the Park and today will be significantly less busy than either of the next two days, making it the best day of the weekend to attend the event if you have interest. If you’d prefer to visit without any of the festivities “getting in the way,” then any of the previous few days would be fine even if they are not explicitly recommended. But the Arts Festival should add some interesting things to look at around World Showcase and shouldn’t adversely affect Future World wait times. World Showcase and the IllumiNations crowd will be a little heavier than they would be otherwise, particularly with the higher overall crowd level, but the Park will still be manageable.

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

Evening Extra Magic Hours: 8pm – 10pm

Fantasmic: 7pm, Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular Fireworks: 7:45pm

Expected Average Wait: 47 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

On-site visitors: If it’s a cold night, crowds will thin considerably after 8:30pm. If it’s warmer, expect on-site guests to linger around for a while longer as the 8pm-10pm time frame isn’t necessarily late enough for most people to naturally head to the exit because it’s time for bed. Those that stay for the evening EMH will have the most success if they save Toy Story Mania, Tower of Terror, and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster for the final hour. Ride Star Tours a couple of times along with The Great Movie Ride from 8pm to 9pm or see Voyage of the Little Mermaid or Muppet Vision 3D. Actual waits should be under 20 minutes at all attractions by 9:15pm.

Off-site visitors: The morning will be similar to other days this week, so if you have in mind to arrive by 8:15am and tour from 9am-1pm or something before heading out then you’ll be just fine. Afternoon crowds will be heavier with more people in the Park, but wait times shouldn’t suffer excessively as capacity is ramped up at variable capacity attractions like Great Movie Ride and Star Tours. Still, shows will be a bit busier and FastPass+ harder to come by. You can still do just fine with a smart touring plan, but other recommended days should offer a better afternoon experience and the nighttime spectaculars will be considerably busier than days without evening Extra Magic Hours.

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

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Wishes Fireworks: 9pm, Once Upon A Time Castle Projection Show: 9:45pm

Expected Average Wait: 33 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

On-site visitors: Fantasyland and Tomorrowland are open during the morning EMH and the hour is a good opportunity to visit several of the headlining Fantasyland attractions in a short amount of time, particularly without FastPass+ to bog down standby waits. On-site visitors able to arrive by 7:30am may want to consider visiting, particularly if they can be elsewhere from 1pm to 7pm when wait times are a bit higher than recommended days. The evening shouldn’t be appreciably busier than other days during the week, though the weather may come into play.

Off-site visitors: This is not an ideal rope drop as thousands of Disney Resort guests will have a head start. But if you need to visit today, starting in Frontierland, Adventureland, or Liberty Square is viable and Tomorrowland won’t be too bad either. Most Fantasyland attractions are best skipped until the evening or with FastPass+. Afternoon crowds will be heavier than recommended days, but wait times shouldn’t be adversely affected with a ramp up in staffing.

Magic Kingdom will be hosting a Pro Bowl players parade that will have an impact on afternoon crowds at the Park. Those interested in seeing the festivities may consider visiting, but it will push a couple thousand people to the Park that would not be visiting otherwise and it would be wise to choose another day if you don’t care about seeing whoever actually accepts the invitations this year.

Saturday January 28

4 Park Crowd Level: 7 out of 10.

Above average crowds continue throughout the weekend.

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 7:30pm (Not Recommended)

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am-9am

Expected Average Wait: 33 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

On-site visitors: Ordinarily, we wouldn’t expect the morning Extra Magic Hour at Animal Kingdom to have an appreciable effect on wait times, but Saturdays at the Park have far and away seen higher wait times than any other day during the week. If you can make it here by 7:45am then you can do very well before 10am, but expect surprisingly long wait times from 11am-5pm.

Off-site visitors: Those visiting for regular rope drop will be at a disadvantage and wait times will be higher than recommended days in the afternoon. Most other days this week are better, but intelligent FastPass+ usage and staying through close can make the day work.

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Not Explicitly Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

Expected Average Wait: 35 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

Epcot is not recommended with the Park hosting the new Arts Festival and elevated weekend crowds. While the Festival itself should not prove to boost attendance significantly, wait times have been higher at Epcot on most Saturdays over the last year with an increase in local visitors. You’re also more likely to run into a rowdier experience in World Showcase with the heavier amount of alcohol served. Future World crowds should remain manageable, but expect higher than average wait times given the high overall crowd level.

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

Fantasmic: 7pm, Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular Fireworks: 7:45pm

Expected Average Wait: 45 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

We’re coming off evening Extra Magic Hours yesterday and have another morning Extra Magic Hour tomorrow, each of which should prove slightly more popular with Disney resort guests. However, with the same operating hours/nighttime entertainment as every other night and exactly five rides, decent afternoon wait times will materialize given the high crowd level. Take advantage of the first morning hour and/or the last 90 minutes of operation. With Fantasmic and Star Wars Fireworks attracting so many people, the headliners will see short waits after 6:30pm and there will be just a handful of people in line at Toy Story Mania after 7:30pm.

Magic Kingdom: 8am – 12am (Tentatively Recommended)

Upon A Time Castle Projection Show: 7:30pm, Wishes: 9pm

Expected Average Wait: 30 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

The long hours offer two very good opportunities to tour, even given the high overall crowd level and the fact that it’s a Saturday with above average attendance. The 8am open is beneficial because few people will arrive by then, making the 8am-10am time frame better than most other days from 9am-11am. The late night is also great for anyone that can stay out late with short waits at most attractions after 9pm and largely nonexistent waits after 11pm. Consider visiting Magic Kingdom if you can take advantage of one or both of these times, but keep in mind that the afternoon from 11am-7pm is going to have above average wait times. Most people will want to take a break or use FastPass+ while mixing in the high capacity/less popular attractions. Overall, you can do very well in the early morning and late evening, but the afternoon will be a bit of a mess.

Sunday January 29

4 Park Crowd Level: 7 out of 10.

Above average weekend crowds spill into Sunday.

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 7:30pm (Most Recommended)

Expected Average Wait: 27 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

Animal Kingdom makes a lot of sense as we’re in between two morning Extra Magic Hours that are more popular with Disney resort guests. With the above average overall crowd level, afternoon wait times will still be relatively high, but you can do very well from 9am-10:30am and 5:30pm-7:30pm. Overall waits should be lower than yesterday or tomorrow.

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Tentatively Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

Expected Average Wait: 32 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

Epcot will see a slight uptick in crowds for the Arts Festival, but it should be far more manageable than yesterday and the effect on Future World should be even less. Those that don’t have interest in the Festival may want to hold off until Wednesday when it’s not an issue, but wait times will be relatively reasonable given the above average crowd level.

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

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Fantasmic: 7pm, Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular Fireworks: 7:45pm

Expected Average Wait: 50 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

On-site visitors: You can accomplish more on a morning Extra Magic Hour day than a regular opening if you actually arrive by 7:30am and take advantage of it. But only plan on visiting if you are pretty certain that you can accomplish that as you’ll be at a disadvantage if you’re inside the Park any later than 8am. With the high overall crowd level, the Studios will likely be overwhelmed in the afternoon with the few rides still operating given more Disney resort guests in the Park. You’ll probably want to be on your way by 1pm or have plans to use FastPass+ and see some of the high capacity shows/attractions.

Off-site visitors: This is a really lousy rope drop situation in most scenarios as 2,000+ Disney resort guests will already be inside the Park by 9am, even if they don’t get there until closer to 8:45am. They’ll be clogging up lines and increasing wait times before you have any hope of arriving at a priority. You could show up later to do a couple of things with FastPass+ and potentially see a couple of shows, but expect long wait times and a lot of crowding in common areas.

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

Upon A Time Castle Projection Show: 7:30pm, Wishes: 10pm

Expected Average Wait: 33 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

We should have a similar number of people in the Park as yesterday, but don’t benefit from the 8am open or 12am close, which should push wait times and “crowd feel” higher. If you have no ability to make it to yesterday’s 8am but today’s 9am open is doable, then you may want to visit today instead in order to make it to Seven Dwarfs Mine Train or Peter Pan’s Flight first thing to experience shorter waits than yesterday. Obviously you would be at a disadvantage with an 8:20am arrival on an 8am open day compared to the same arrival time with a 9am open. Otherwise, afternoon waits should be slightly longer than yesterday, but the overall experience will be similar if you need to visit.

Monday January 30

4 Park Crowd Level: 4 out of 10.

Crowds return to below average levels, though the Magic Kingdom wait times and crowds move us up to a “4” from what would otherwise be much closer to a “3.”

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 7:30pm (Not Recommended)

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Expected Average Wait: 20 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

On-site visitors: Those able to arrive by 7:45am may want to take advantage of nonexistent waits during the morning Extra Magic Hour and short waits continuing through 10am. The afternoon will see a slight uptick as more Disney resort guests fill the Park, but it will still be more than manageable with an intelligent touring plan and FastPass+. Wait times may linger a bit later into the evening, but expect short waits everywhere after 5:30pm.

Off-site visitors: A late arrival would be fine with the below average overall crowd level, but afternoon waits will be slightly longer than a recommended day later in the week. This obviously isn’t a great day for a regular rope drop as there will be some Disney resort guests in the Park before 9am, but it shouldn’t be that detrimental. It can come together, but it’s going to take some more work and you’ll end up waiting a few more minutes in line throughout the day.

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Most Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

Expected Average Wait: 23 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

Tomorrow should prove more popular with Disney resort guests with evening Extra Magic Hours attached and the Arts Festival is much less of a concern than it would be on a Saturday or Sunday. Wednesday is the best day to visit for relatively short waits and no complications from the Festival for those that want to avoid it entirely. Today is the best day to visit for those that do want to check out what the Festival has to offer.

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

Fantasmic: 7pm, Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular Fireworks: 7:45pm

Expected Average Wait: 42 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

It’s a bit curious that the Studios wait times are so much longer on Mondays than most other days during the week, including those with Extra Magic Hours attached. But casual vacationers continue to swarm the Park that they expect to see the strongest Star Wars presence. Longer wait times may also be indicative of reduced staffing earlier in the week.

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

Once Upon A Time Castle Projection Show: 7:30pm, Wishes Fireworks: 8pm

Expected Average Wait: 27 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

Mondays typically see higher waits at Magic Kingdom due to the number of people that travel over the weekend and elect to visit the Most Magical Place on Earth on their first full day. While wait times will be higher than recommended days later in the week with a similar crowd level, the day won’t be unmanageable overall with a similar rope drop experience and similar crowds for the evening spectaculars. Expect average to slightly above average waits from 11am-7pm.

Tuesday January 31

4 Park Crowd Level: 2 out of 10.

We enjoy a big drop in crowds as this is one of the least crowded days of the year, particularly with lower South American attendance.

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 7:30pm (Recommended)

Expected Average Wait: 13 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

With the drop in crowd level, Animal Kingdom will be just fine today as we come off a more popular morning Extra Magic Hour yesterday. While the Park won’t see anything close to peak level staffing, crowds should be low enough that it’s not much of an issue from waits at attractions to restaurants or quick services.

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Not Explicitly Recommended)

Evening Extra Magic Hours: 9pm – 11pm

Illuminations: 9pm

Expected Average Wait: 21 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

On-site visitors: When Epcot is hosting evening Extra Magic Hours, there is typically a slight uptick in average wait times over the course of the day, which translates to the Park being “not explicitly recommended” since you could experience shorter waits and lower crowds on another day. That’s partially offset by lower wait times at secondary attractions during the evening Extra Magic Hours themselves and the fact that attractions like Living with the Land and Journey into Imagination with Figment don’t close at 7pm like they normally do. Soarin’, Test Track, and Frozen Ever After typically see relatively high wait times during the first hour of the EMH, but wait times after 10:15pm are typically much shorter. If you’re staying for evening Extra Magic Hours, consider visiting secondary attractions or enjoying World Showcase from 9pm to 10pm and then hit the headliners in the last hour. Frozen Ever After is best when you get in line around 10:55pm as Disney will allow anyone in line before 11pm to ride regardless of how long the line is, but you do risk the attraction going down. It may be worth the risk to ride with a relatively short wait, particularly if you have another opportunity to ride.

Off-site visitors: Rope drop crowds and wait times will be similar to other days this week before 11am, but afternoon wait times and crowds will be heavier than recommended days with a similar crowd level due to the number of Disney resort guests streaming in throughout the late morning and afternoon. The day is still more than doable with an efficient touring plan and intelligent FastPass+ choices, but those not planning on taking advantage of the evening EMH may want to pick a day with shorter waits and fewer people in the Park. Dinnertime crowds will be heavier, but not necessarily prohibitive.

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

Fantasmic: 7pm, Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular Fireworks: 7:45pm

Expected Average Wait: 27 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

Hollywood Studios is the most recommended Park with nothing specific attracting anyone and nearby Epcot proving more popular with Disney resort guests. However, with the same operating hours and nighttime entertainment as every other day this week, wait times will be moderate in the afternoon with the few rides in the Park. Take advantage of the first hour and last 90 minutes of operation.

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

Once Upon A Time Castle Projection Show: 7:30pm, Wishes Fireworks: 8pm

Expected Average Wait: 26 minutes

Actual Average Wait: TBD

Tomorrow’s evening Extra Magic Hours should prove more popular with Disney resort guests and we’re coming off of what is historically the second busiest day of the week at Magic Kingdom, in addition to the heavier weekend crowds. It’s a better day than most others to visit the world’s most popular theme park with below average wait times.

Comments

  1. Mel says

    Feeling giddy! Happy dance!! Wow, that was fast since the Twitter post!

    Happy New Year Josh and thanks again for all that you do!

    Now I can sit back, read about my specific dates and assess whether or not I make any changes.

  2. Helen says

    Hey Josh! Happy new year! I’m curious why you’ve decided to do these again? I have to say I’m pleased about it, we are going back in august & used your plans on our past two trips to guide us. Will you be doing a guide for each month? As augusts park hours are out soon! (Hint hint!)

  3. snickers says

    Thanks for doing these again despite the problems with having all the information you would like to have. I didn’t do too bad on my own for the January trip.

    I did notice one thing while checking my dates, Thursday Jan 26th is missing from the day-to-day section. Not a criticism but thought you would want to know.

    • Joy says

      I’d also love to see the analysis for that Thursday. For now, I will go ahead and read the Thursday prior and after. Thanks for doing this, Josh!

  4. Jenn says

    Happy New Year! Thanks for undertaking this project again. Are you planning to update the month by month overview for 2017? We’re trying to pin down a Spring trip, but want to avoid the worst of Spring Breakers. Thanks!

  5. Janet says

    I am soooooo happy to see this! My trip is in June and I hope hope hope, you will get to other months soon! You are the best and your plans have helped us on many a Disney trip! You are AWESOME,

  6. Lauren says

    Thank you Josh!!! Your crowd calendars are like security blankets for some of us- this is the best Christmas present ever. Thank you thank you thank you for all you do!

    • Ange says

      Agreed! It was odd to plan a trip without cross-referencing. Thank you very much for all of your hard work, Josh, and may your new year be blessed and bright!

  7. Sabyan says

    Happu New Year Josh ! And thank you so much for all your work, so happy to see your crowd calendar back again.

  8. Kyle says

    Josh – can’t express how happy i am to see crowd calendars return. I totally get the reason why you felt they were becoming obsolete, but they are still a key factor in choosing which park on which day, etc. Thanks again

  9. Joanne Paar says

    I am so happy that you have decided to start the Crowd Calendars again! Your information can always be counted on to give us the unvarnished truth. Thank you!

  10. Dawn says

    This is one of my favorite aspects of this site, so glad to see it come back!! Can’t wait for April’s!! Thank you Josh!!

  11. Trish says

    So excited these are back & just in time for my trip later this month! Thank you.

    Thursday, January 26, appears to have gone missing. Do you recommendations for that day?

  12. Liz and Jason says

    As lifelong Cleveland Browns fans, we begrudgingly agree with your remark on January 27th. :) Happy new year!

  13. Courtney Rader says

    How difficult is it to see Fantasmic and then get to the Star Wars fireworks? On Saturday January 28. Thank you!

  14. Carrie says

    I am also very excited to see these back again. It is weird planning a trip without the crowd calendar despite my many trips and knowledge. Thanks Josh!!!!

  15. Martyn says

    We visited in November 2014 and found these guides so useful. We are visiting again in November this year and hope to use them again.

    I guess the question is how far in advance of November will that month be up? With trying to reserve restauraunts etc it all needs a lot of planning :)

  16. Rachel says

    Are you going to have September 2017 available in the next 2 months by any chance? I rely on your calender to plan dining reservations. PLEASE!!!

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