Disney released the March 2016 operating schedule at the usual link: http://media.disneywebcontent.com/StaticFiles/ParkHours/WDWTravelAgent_march.pdf. Click “refresh” on your browser to load the newest version.

This year, the earlier in March you can go, the better. And if you’re flexible with your dates, I’d look at a trip that ends no later than March 5th if possible. Once March 6th arrives, you’ve got the state of Texas inbound. March 13th-19th looks to be the second best week to visit with a lull in spring breaks. You’re still paying Peak Season prices to stay at Disney resorts, but the crowds will be more of a “manageable” above average instead of a “what were we thinking” above average. Easter pricing and holiday crowds arrive on March 20th and continue through the week after Easter Sunday on April 2nd. This is one of the busiest and most expensive 2-week periods at Walt Disney World.

The rest of April should see below average to average level crowds and temperatures that are comfortable, but continue to heat up. At the end of March, the average high is 75 and the average low is 55. By the end of April, you’re looking at highs in the low 80s and lows in the low 60s. Then by the end of May, it’s high 80s and mid-60s.

Schedule-wise, nothing really sticks out, other than Disney’s annoyingly conservative operating hours in their initial release. You can check out March 2015′s final operating schedule here to get an idea about what to expect. Expect Animal Kingdom to open at 8am during the busier spring break weeks and stay open until 7pm or 8pm. Epcot should continue its usual 9am-9pm schedule. Magic Kingdom will open at 8am most days and close between 11pm and 1am. Hollywood Studios should be open from 8am or 9am to 9:30pm daily.

Currently, there are no Fantasmic shows scheduled in February or March, but I would still expect them to be added in the future. There is of course a lot of chatter going on about what’s coming to the Studios, and while Tower of Terror and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster are assuredly “safe,” there’s some talk about a daytime show coming to the Fantasmic theater and Beauty and the Beast switching out for a dated show from the Cruise Line. With so much already removed from the Studios, it’s hard to imagine Fantasmic going dark for months on end on top of it. But as of now it’s not on the schedule.


Be Our Guest Breakfast Extended

by josh on August 3, 2015

Edit: Looks like breakfast reservations after October 3rd are now live for booking at DisneyWorld.com.

Breakfast at Be Our Guest Restaurant at Magic Kingdom has been extended permanently. Currently, breakfast is being “tested” with dates through October 3rd available for booking. Beginning now August 5th, dates from October 4th and beyond will be available under the usual reservation guidelines. The price is going up to $21.99 for adults and $13.99 for kids. That’s an increase of $2.

I have an extended look and review of breakfast in this post. I’m a proponent of the 8am breakfasts when Magic Kingdom opens at 9am due to the advantage it presents (but doesn’t necessarily guarantee) in getting to Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and the Anna/Elsa Princess Fairytale Hall Meet and Greet before the hordes arrive from the main entrance. For those that don’t care about the advantage or if Magic Kingdom is opening at 8am, then I recommend lunch. It’s probably going to be less expensive and you can take your time enjoying the atmosphere and your food. There isn’t much use eating breakfast here at 9:30am as waits increase at the attractions. In my estimation, at least.


Larger: http://www.easywdw.com/reports13/onemore.jpg

We return to Epcot to check up on things that are coming or have already arrived.

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This is the Free February 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.

Monday February 1

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

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am-9am

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Highly Recommended)

Illuminations: 9pm

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 7pm (Most Recommended)

Fantasmic: 7pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Today Lisa takes us to Senses at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa. According to Disney:

Rejuvenation awaits you in a serene sanctuary that captures the pastoral beauty of the American countryside. Here, nature meets nurture. Reminiscent of New York’s legendary mineral springs, the spa will transport you to another era—to a time when people looked to the land for health and prosperity.

Let’s go.

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We head out to Magic Kingdom on a particularly wet Wednesday afternoon – July 22, 2015. So wet that I didn’t want to pull Tom out and get him wet, so we just have this cell phone picture of the entrance.

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There isn’t a lot going on at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, but some pictures from this past Sunday and a couple more from today (7/23) should help cover some recent happenings at The Little Park That Might.

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Disney made a few additional changes to the last week in July. Occasionally, Disney will neglect to include the last week of a month in its updates from the month before. This looks to be one of those months. The crowd calendar for July has been updated with the changes. The extra hour at Animal Kingdom is always beneficial as it just means another hour for the crowds to clear out. 8am openings at Magic Kingdom are good news if you’re able to arrive by 7:30am to take advantage of them. It’s obviously less good if you’re already struggling to arrive by 8:20am for a 9am open or have a pre-opening breakfast reservation.

Sunday July 26:

  • Animal Kingdom hours extended to 9am-6pm from 9am-5pm.

Tuesday July 28:

  • Magic Kingdom hours extended to 8am-12am from 9am-12am.

Wednesday July 29:

  • Magic Kingdom hours extended to 8am-12am from 9am-12am.

Thursday July 30:

  • Animal Kingdom hours extended to 9am-7pm from 9am-6pm.


We’ll pop into Epcot on Bastille Day – Tuesday July 14th. It says it’s a Nikon picture spot so I don’t know what choice we have.

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Disney released what’s expected to more or less be the complete lineup for this year’s Food and Wine Festival booth menus here: https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/dining/epcot/food-wine-marketplaces/. You can click “read more” under the name of each Marketplace for the menus. Or just follow along here. For each marketplace, I’ll list the new items and copy/paste my reviews of returning items from last year along with last year’s pricing. Expect prices to be 25 to 50 cents more expensive this year. For a complete look at last year, including pictures of the various kiosks, menus, and reviews of just about everything, visit this link. The reviews are broken up into something like seven parts with links to previous pieces at the top. Completely new booths are listed at the end.


New items:

  • Buttered chicken with micro cilantro and naan bread
  • Indaba Chenin Blanc
  • DeMorgenzon DMZ Cabernet Róse
  • Jar Sweet Shiraz

The wines are available in bottles at Animal Kingdom Lodge and Zuri’s Sweets at the Animal Kingdom theme park. The chicken sounds like it’s right out of Sanaa’s playbook.

Returning items:

  • Berbere-style beef tenderloin tips with onions, jalapeños, tomato and pap ($4.50)
  • Fairview Pinotage ($3.25)

Beef tenderloin tips berbere-style with okra, jalapeños, tomato and pap. You can smell how spicy it is as you walk by. That spiciness overwhelmed whatever other flavors were going on for me. The pap underneath, which is ground corn porridge, soaks up the lingering spicy sauce from the beef. If you like spicy dishes, you should enjoy the beef here. But if you don’t, it’s best to steer clear. The quantity is a good value for the money. But it’s really spicy.

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