This is the Free May 2016 Disney World Crowd Calendar that shows the Recommended Parks to Visit, Overall Crowd Level Estimation, Cost, Historic High/Low Temperature, Historic Chance of Precipitation, Extra Magic Hours Schedule, Fantasmic Show Times, Holidays, and Special Events.
Make sure you first read my month-by-month overview of visiting Disney World, located here. The overview will give you an idea of what to expect in terms of cost, crowds, weather, and special events on a broader scale. Once you figure out when you would like to visit, you can move on to this more detailed look.
Here’s a quick explanation of how to read the calendar and what the numbers mean. It may seem like it’s a little long, but you’ll only need to read the explanation once.
- The first line in each box is the date.
- The second line shows the cost to book a room at a Disney-owned resort. $ = Value Season, $$ = Regular Season, $$$ = Summer Season, $$$$ = Peak Season, and $$$$$ = Holiday Season. Occasionally there will be a + or – after the $$$ to show that the cost is slightly higher or lower than usual, but not by enough to raise it another $ notch.
- The third line is the average high and low temperature and the chance of precipitation. All data is based on the last 15 years. I wouldn’t read too much into the precipitation percentages for each day because just one or two additional days of rain in the last 15 years can raise the percentage substantially. I included it so you can look at the precipitation trends throughout the month(s) and take it into consideration when deciding when to book your vacation. For a broader overview of the month, read the month-by-month overview I linked to above.
- The fourth line is an estimation of the overall crowd level. A “5″ refers to average crowds. Numbers above 5 refer to a larger than average overall crowd level and numbers below 5 refer to lower than average overall crowds. A day with an overall crowd level of “1″ means that the crowds are expected to be the absolute lowest of the year and a “10″ means crowds are expected to be at their largest of the year. In other words, the overall crowd level estimation will give you an idea of how many people are in the four major theme parks. Individual theme parks can have smaller or larger crowds than the overall estimation, which is where the theme park recommendations come in.
- The fifth line shows the theme parks I recommend visiting in green and the theme parks I recommend avoiding in red. There is also a | sign that splits up the recommended and not recommended Parks for the color blind or those printing in black and white (the Parks to the left of the | sign are recommended). I use the usual abbreviations for the Parks; AK is the Animal Kingdom, EP is Epcot, HS is Hollywood Studios, and MK is the Magic Kingdom. In addition to the colors, the Park on the far left is the most recommended Park to visit that day. The Park second to the left is the second most recommended and so on. For example, if the line reads AK EP | HS MK then the Animal Kingdom is the most recommended and Epcot is the second most recommended. On the other side of the | sign, Hollywood Studios is not recommended and the Magic Kingdom is expressly not recommended even more. If possible, I would strongly recommend you visit the Park that is most recommended each day. Please read below the calendar for an overview of how I’ve selected the recommended Parks and also a day-by-day explanation.
- The sixth line lists which Parks have Extra Magic Hours and at what time they start. Morning Extra Magic Hour lasts one hour and usually starts at 8am. Evening Extra Magic Hours last two hours from the start time. For example, if you see AK:8am EP:9pm, that means the Animal Kingdom has a morning Extra Magic Hour from 8am-9am and Epcot has evening Extra Magic Hours from 9pm-11pm.
- The seventh line lists the Fantasmic show times at the Hollywood Studios.
- The eighth line lists the start time of Main Street Electrical Parade (MSEP:) and Wishes Fireworks at Magic Kingdom(W:). For example, if you see, MSEP: 9pm & 11pm W: 10pm, it would mean that Main Street Electrical Parade begins at 9pm and 11pm and Wishes begins at 10pm.
The Calendar is also available in an easy to view and print PDF file, Here.
Click the image to enlarge it.
Sunday May 1
Animal Kingdom: 9am – 5pm (Most Recommended)
Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Recommended)
Hollywood Studios: 9am – 8:30pm (Not Recommended)
Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am
Magic Kingdom: 9am – 10pm (Recommended)
Festival of Fantasy Parade: 3pm, Main Street Electrical Parade: 9pm, Wishes Fireworks: 10pm
Animal Kingdom is the most recommended Park. We’re coming off a popular morning Extra Magic Hour yesterday and have another tomorrow, both of which will be more popular with Disney resort guests. It’s also unlikely anyone arriving over the weekend will begin their vacation with Disney’s least popular theme park. You should be able to do just about everything the Park has to offer if you arrive prior to Park opening. Focus on riding Kilimanjaro Safaris and Expedition Everest as early as possible or use FastPass+. After getting those out of the way, move on to DinoLand USA or one of the more popular shows – either Finding Nemo the Musical or Festival of the Lion King and you’ll be set for the rest of the day. Keep in mind that crowds disperse in the afternoon and the last hour of operation will only have diminishing waits. End the day in Asia with Kali River Rapids and Expedition Everest and waits will be nearly nonexistent.
Epcot is recommended, though it isn’t necessarily the best day of the week there. A Wednesday or Friday would be better with more attracting casual visitors to other Parks. Still, Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios will be attracting the majority of off-site and on-site visitors with long hours and plentiful evening entertainment. Take full advantage by arriving prior to Park opening and head straight to Test Track, followed by Sum of All Thrills, Mission: Space, and Soarin’ with FastPass+ or on the other side of the Park with Soarin’. If Character Spot is a priority, visit after 7pm when waits will be shorter than the afternoon and you won’t have to waste precious morning time. It’s also an excellent day to stay for IllumiNations and enjoy the World Showcase in the afternoon because a lot of people will have their eyes on the Electrical Parade and Fantasmic.
Hollywood Studios is not recommended. The sizable Disney resort contingent numbers 75,000+ people. Because Disney sells the Extra Magic Hour program so well in its marketing materials, many of these Disney resort guests follow the Extra Magic Hours schedule because they think it’s Disney telling them where they belong each day. While you can have success if you are Extra Magic Hours eligible and arrive by 7:15am, most people will want to visit another day. Avoid it unless you can’t visit any other day or are certain you’ll arrive by 7:15am and plan to hit Toy Story Midway Mania, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, and Star Tours first thing in the morning. Yesterday was a better day to visit with fewer complications touring in the morning.
Magic Kingdom is recommended though most people will want to wait until Tuesday to visit if they can. Today will see above average crowds with the above average overall crowd level, in addition to an increased number of locals able to visit on the weekend. Saturday is a more common arrival day than it once was and many casual vacationers prefer to start their trip at the Most Magical Place on Earth and the most popular theme park on the planet. The morning Extra Magic Hour will help lure away some Disney resort guests, but that won’t have a major impact on wait times. You can still do very well with an arrival prior to Park opening and an efficient touring plan, but the afternoon will see moderate crowds that will only get heavier as it gets later in the day.
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