Disney’s October 2013 operating schedule went live on their internal website on Friday and is now available to the public here: http://media.disneywebcontent.com/StaticFiles/DTA-Domestic/pdf/ParkHours/WDW_Operating_Calendar_oct.pdf. Click the refresh button on your browser if it doesn’t say “October 2013″ in the top right corner. As always, this is the official schedule that will appear on DisneyWorld.com at some point in the future. On dates where Animal Kingdom isn’t showing any operating hours, the operating hours are currently 9am – 5pm. Animal Kingdom’s hours should be extended to 9am – 7pm or 9am – 8pm as we get closer to October.
The schedule is just about identical to what we would expect. The big problems in October are the Food & Wine Festival and Mickey’s Party schedule. Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Parties are scheduled on three to four nights each week in October. These Parties close Magic Kingdom at 7pm and no nighttime entertainment is offered during regular theme park hours. While these days are excellent opportunities to visit Magic Kingdom in lighter crowds, it means that Main Street Electrical Parade will only be scheduled on three nights each. Wishes is scheduled three nights a week, except for Columbus Day Week, where it’s scheduled four times. This makes seeing the nighttime entertainment more difficult because dates that offer it are so much busier. In addition, I’m expecting Disney to open Magic Kingdom at 8am on most Party dates, which eliminates the benefit of scheduling an early breakfast at Crystal Palace or Cinderella’s Royal Table.
The Food and Wine Festival causes Epcot to be busier every day, with the heaviest crowds on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Unless you want to take part in the chaos, World Showcase should be avoided on weekend nights. Future World is impacted less and World Showcase will see relatively light crowds on weekdays, particularly before 4pm.
October crowd levels are mostly average to slightly above average. It is decidedly busier than September, but significantly less busy than the summer and most holidays. For the most part, crowds in October are similar to those found in May.
The October crowd calendar should be available in the next couple of days – I need to see if there are any more pressing changes to prior months.